If Books Could Kill

The Worst Takes of 2023 [TEASER]

December 21, 2023
Show Notes Transcript

Michael: Peter. 

Peter: Michael.

Michael: What's your first nominee for the worst take of 2023? 

Peter: I think it's Vulture putting us as the #4 podcast of the year and not #1. 

[If Books Could Kill theme]

Michael: So a few weeks ago, we put out a call on the Patreon for the worst takes of 2023 and we received a number of excellent nominations.

Peter: Yeah.

Michael: There was one that just said, “If Books Could Kill defending Hillary Clinton.”

Peter: I know.

Michael: That was ridiculous.

Peter: That was funny. [Michael laughs] That was funny. I liked it a lot. 

Michael: You know what? There was also one person who said something along the lines of like, “This is just going to be a rundown of Mike's Twitter beefs. LOL,” which, like, first of all, how dare you? And secondly, that's correct. 

Peter: My only real criticism and it's not anyone's fault is that the recency bias is severe. 

Michael: Yeah, yeah, yeah. All of them were from like the last three weeks. [laughs] 

Peter: I knew that that was an issue. But myself, I had no memory of anything that happened more than a month ago. 

Michael: Yes, and it's insane. I know. 

Peter: So I don't know how we get out of this cycle, but we're just inundated with too much news. 

Michael: I know.

Peter: And I feel like, as a society, we need to pick maybe like one every two weeks, one [Michael laughs] new story that we talk about for two weeks and then we all move on. 

Michael: So as usual, I have overprepared for this and Peter has underprepared for this. [Peter laughs] I have three nominees and then an extremely obvious winner, and then I have a bunch of honorable mentions, and then I have the worst, just like discourse.

Peter: I also have some sort of primaries and some honorable mentions here. 

Michael: Okay.

Peter: Yeah. I think we're probably on the same page. I am underplaying how much I read for this a little bit. [laughs] 

Michael: Okay. Yeah, I read a lot too. 

Peter: I fried my brain reading the worst takes for three days straight. 

Michael: My first nomination is, this was a year with a lot of talk about how marriage is good. I feel like this has already been memory holed. But there were all kinds of studies and books that came out this year that were like, “Well, the data is in and marriage is really good for kids.” And one of my most worst takes is an Atlantic article by Melissa Kearney, who wrote this book called The Two-Parent Privilege: How Americans Stopped Getting Married and Started Falling Behind. And I am going to send you the opening paragraphs.

Peter: “Earlier this year, I was at a conference on fighting poverty and a member of the audience asked a question that made the experts visibly uncomfortable. “What about family structure?” he asked. “Single-parent families are more likely to be poor than two-parent ones. Does family structure play a role in poverty?” The scholar to whom the question was directed looked annoyed and struggled to formulate an answer. The panelists shifted in their seats. The moderator stepped in, quickly pointing out that poverty makes it harder for people to form stable marriages. She promptly called on someone else. 

I sighed. As an economist who studies inequality and families, I have often found myself in the same position as the questioner. I have suggested in similar settings that we need to consider how marriage and household structure affect children’s life outcomes, only to be met with annoyance or evasion.” 

Michael: You can't even talk about how two parents are good for kids anymore. 

Peter: I'm not like 100% sure that I believe this happened. 

Michael: I know. Ooh, oh, visibly uncomfortable. The moderators stammering like, “Oh, oh, oh the parents. Oh, kids. I don't know.”

Peter: “They've revealed that that conservatism is correct.” 

Michael: Ooh.

Peter: This is a thing that I think conservatives actually believe that like, that liberals secretly know that conservatism is right. 

Michael: Yeah. [laughs] 

Peter: And so if you ask them a prodding question, they will just literally shake and cry. 

Michael: The thing is, I found this discourse extremely obnoxious all year, both because it just comes up on three-year cycles. It's just like, “Well, we're doing it again.” When I was looking up takes on this, there was a wave of takes in 2016 as well. As we talked about in our Success sequence episode, this thing of like, “Oh, you need to be married.” This just keeps happening. It's literally the same people saying literally the exact same thing all the time. 

Peter: Right. 

Michael: I don't want to go over too much of what we said in that episode, but it's like, this entire thing seems to misunderstand correlation and causation, which the data itself cannot really untangle for you. 

Peter: Right. 

Michael: It's very obviously true that kids raised with two parents are more likely to graduate from high school, they earn more in life, whatever. But that doesn't tell you whether marriage itself is doing it. It could be that when you're married, you're more likely to be rich. It could also be that when you're rich, you're more likely to be married. 

Peter: Right. 

Michael: And as Kearney actually admits in a lot of her interviews, what she's really talking about is cohabitation. Like, when you live together, you're better at raising kids, because obviously you're sharing resources, sharing childcare. Again, nobody really disagrees with this. It's easier to raise kids with two people than with one person. Duh. 

Peter: Right. 

Michael: But how many people are living together and raising kids is much more difficult to measure. So it's like, the data is kind of garbage to begin with and it doesn't really tell us anything. 

Peter: She's talking about evasion. What these pieces all actually evade is, what is your prescription here exactly, right?

Michael: Yeah.

Peter: Some conservatives will admit that what they want is like, no no-fault divorce. 

Michael: Yeah. 

Peter: Basically, social pressure to marry and marry young. But not a lot of people are willing to admit that. And so it's a situation where what they're actually doing is just like, poo pooing other causes of poverty and being like, “Well, maybe the real problem is something that is specific to these individuals and is not solved by welfare payments” or whatever. 

Michael: Yeah. Exactly. The thing that I kept thinking was what me and Aubrey keep saying on Maintenance Phase about fatness that there's this entire debate of like, “How bad is it for you to be fat?” Blah, blah, blah. The data is more complicated. We've done a million episodes about it, but we also hate doing episodes about it because the answer to that question is irrelevant. Because even if it's straightforwardly true that being fat is bad for you, people cannot stop being fat. People can't lose weight. And so telling a 300-pound person, “Hey, you'd be healthier if you lost weight,” is not useful because chances are that person has tried losing weight a million times. And if they try losing weight again, they're going to engage in a bunch of unhealthy behaviors and two years later, they're going to be 350 pounds. 

Peter: Right. 

Michael: And it's the same thing with marriage that it's like, “Okay, we've proven that it's good for kids to get married, like, to have their parents be married.” Fine, whatever. Even if that's true, it's not like there's some reservoir of well earning, well-educated great dudes out there and single moms are like, “Oh, no, I don't want a partner.” It's like, what are people supposed to do with that information? 

Peter: Marry incels.

Michael: Yeah. [laughs] 

Peter: You'll eventually get there if you ask enough conservatives what the solution. 

Michael: Yeah. Or, like the weird sex robot thing that they sometimes come back to. 

Peter: Yeah. [laughs] Right.

Michael: We need the Jordan Peterson milking video to be public policy. I don't know. 

Peter: That was also a contender for one of the worst takes. [laughs] 

Michael: Yes. Someone appears to have attached a machine to Jordan Peterson that is milking him for the worst imaginable takes. 

Peter: [laughs] 

Michael: But then she also mentioned in this op-ed that only 1% of the federal budget for welfare or whatever goes to promoting marriage. 

Peter: That sounds like too much of the welfare budget, frankly. 

Michael: Yeah. And the thing is, this is actually already a large component of our poverty alleviation strategy, because in 1996 they made welfare be like block grants to states. States can decide how they spend it. And a lot of states, especially conservative states, spend their welfare budgets on these fucking asinine-promoting marriage, like, ”This is why marriage is good classes,” which are one of the least effective poverty alleviation strategies.

Peter: Wow. What's a less effective poverty alleviation strategy? 

Michael: [laughs] Did you know that it's good to settle down? They're using irrelevant data to promote more of something we're already doing and doesn't work. 

Peter: Yeah. 

Michael: And then another one, this is recency bias. But then there was a couple weeks ago, this discourse has been bouncing around all year and then this has now culminated in this atrocious Washington Post editorial, which I'm sure you saw.

Peter: This was my first one because this is like popular demand.

Michael: Yeah. Walk us through it, Peter. 

Peter: All right. So yeah, the Washington Post Editorial Board, the headline is, “If attitudes don’t shift, a political dating mismatch will threaten marriage.”

Michael: Threaten marriage. 

Peter: And I guess even though you read it as well, I will send you some of the choice quotes [crosstalk] 

Michael: Choice. I wonder if we highlighted the same paragraphs, because I have three yellow paragraphs. 

Peter: I only have two. 

Michael: Oh, yeah, this is the one where they're calling for a vibe shift. Okay. “Americans have increasingly sorted themselves according to ideological orientation. They are working, living, and socializing with people who think the same things that they do. Particularly on college campuses, a culture of [Peter laughs] seeking sameness has set up young Americans for disappointment. They expect people to share their own convictions and commitments. A cultural shift might be necessary, one that views politics as a part of people’s identity but far from the most important part. Americans’ ability to live together, quite literally, might depend on it. I love that they threw college students in here. 

Peter: Yeah. 

Michael: Like, this broad sociological phenomenon. Fuck these kids. [laughs] 

Peter: They can't resist. Like, there's no data or anything that they mention that links us directly to college campuses. In reality, there is some data about younger people drawing harder lines about what political identities they're willing to date. But in my mind, the subtext here is like, “No one wants to date republicans anymore.”

Peter: Yeah, totally. Yeah, which is basically women because men are much more likely to be conservatives. Yeah. 

Peter: Right. And I feel like this is unsettling in two ways. First, in the micro, it's essentially like, “Look ladies, you should be open to dating people who believe that you should not have reproductive autonomy. Spend your life with someone who just doesn't respect you at all.” That's the solution being offered here implicitly. And then, second, like in the macro, we have this broad problem of political polarization, which has all of these complex, systemic causes. This is like putting the moral responsibility for that issue onto individuals, as if-

Michael: I know.

Peter: -polarization would go away if we all just pretended to like each other, right? 

Michael: Yeah.

Peter: In reality, what's happening is like, as politics polarize around you, you are forced to make choices like this, no matter what you do. Like, as your median conservative gravitates towards being a QAnon guy, even a moderate woman on a college campus is now forced to make a choice that she didn't previously have to make, right? 

Michael: Yeah.

Peter: “Do I want to date a QAnon guy or not?” 

Michael: Or, “Do I want to treat him as a fixer upper?” which always works.

Peter: [laughs] Ladies, you can fix him.

Michael: That’s right. Ladies. 

Peter: That should have been the headline. 

Michael: I also think that on a logistical note, it's very funny to me that they bring up college campuses because, of course, college campuses are relatively ideologically coherent. Like, most people do subscribe to more left-wing beliefs. But that's the breakdown of this entire article is that like, we are sorting along ideological lines. But a lot of that is geographical and institutional. 

Peter: Right.

Michael: If you're a conservative and you live in a conservative state, you can date conservatives because they're all around you. And if you're a liberal and you live in a liberal city, you can date other liberals because that's who's around you. They're linking this to kind of this thing that threatens marriage. Like, is this the end of marriage as we know it? As we discussed in our Rules episode, people have been fretting about this since the literal 1700s, “We're not going to stop coupling up and having babies anytime soon.”

Peter: Yeah.

Michael: And the fact that people have different ideological beliefs has nothing to do with falling marriage rates. Marriage rates are falling because people are waiting longer to get married basically. 

Peter: Right. 

Michael: And the divorce rates are also falling because people might actually be in happier marriages than they used to be in previous generations. This is not the underlying crisis, is not really a crisis.

Peter: Right. 

Michael: I don't know if you noticed this, but they're talking about the ideology gap and like, “Oh, women are more likely to be liberal and men are more likely to be conservative.” And they say, “The ideology gap is particularly pronounced among Gen Z white people,” and they talk about like, “White conservatives whatever.” But Gen Z is only 50% white. 

Peter: Right. 

Michael: It's weird to, I don't know, how explicitly or consciously they're doing this, but it's like white people “resorting to” like marrying minorities because they have the same ideological beliefs as them is not bad. 

Peter: There's just something fundamentally weird about this broad implication that you don't have to vote for republicans. Of course, this is a democracy. But you should be willing to spend the rest of your life with one. 

Michael: Yeah. [laughs] 

Peter: That's a sacrifice that we all need to think hard about for some reason. 

Michael: Yeah. In the same paragraph that you sent me, they're talking about these ideological divides and they say, “Unfortunately, Americans have not equipped themselves to discuss, debate, and reason across these divides.” This is something that people just say now. I don't actually think that there's any evidence that this is the case. A lot of people are fine with their more conservative family members and even having more conservative friends. I think most people are adults and if anything are too reluctant to draw lines in the sand about this.

Peter: Uh-huh.

Michael: Also, one of my favorite things because you know I read these reactionary centrist Substacks, like this whole kind of Substack world, I find darkly fascinating. 

Peter: What's your Substack budget just for reading [Michael laughs] Substack psychos? 

Michael: I do not pay for any. For the record, I do not pay for any. 

Peter: I'm imagining you writing off like $400 a month in Bari Weiss Substack subscriptions. 

Michael: My Jesse single budget every month [Peter laughs] sending it to the IRS. No. Fuck no. But one thing that these people are obsessed with is how leftists will sometimes be like, “It's not my job to educate you.” So like, sometimes you're debating with somebody and you're like, “What's your evidence for that claim?” And they're like, “It's not my job to educate you.” But they often use this as evidence for like, “Nobody wants to debate anymore.” But I think the key distinction is that people don't want to debate on social media with some fucking, just-asking-questions asshole.

Peter: Right.

Michael: I think that it's totally legitimate to have different standards for behavior online and in person. In person, I do actually have friends that are relatively conservative. I'm perfectly happy to walk people through data on like, “Oh, actually the trans right stuff, it's not really the case that kids are getting surgeries without assessment. Let's talk about it.” I'm actually totally happy to do that. Online, I'm not though. Online, the fucking slightest hint of transphobia, you are fucking blocked. That's not like, “Ooh, ideologically, Mike can't handle debate,” or whatever. That's not the experience that I want to have online. 

Peter: Right. When you're talking politics on social media, you're constantly debating.

Michael: Yeah.

Peter: And so everyone hits their wall and it's like, “Yeah, I don't want to fucking talk to this-

Michael: Yeah. Fuck off. 

Peter: -with some person who's probably not acting in good faith and who, it wouldn't matter if I changed their mind anyway.” 

Michael: I think I already told you this when we weren't recording, but I was in an Uber the other day talking about the weather, and then he's like, “Oh, my daughter runs when it's sunny,” or something. He mentioned daughter or something, something. And I was like, “Oh, how old's your daughter?” He's like, “Oh, she's 35 now. Her mom's a narcissistic bitch.”


Michael: It’s like, “Ah, 0 to 60.” [laughs] And then he started ranting about queer people and stuff and it was just like, “Okay, I guess we're just doing this.”

Peter: [laughs] 

Michael: But I was nice. 

Peter: Good for you, not being immediately clocked as gay. I don't even know how that's possible. 

Michael: I was so proud. That was all I could think, “Oh, my God, do you think I'm straight?” Oh.

Peter: [laughs] 

Michael: Like, flipping my hair around, I'm like, “The straightest.” 

Peter: [laughs] 

Michael: But anyway, I didn't have a meltdown.

Peter: Right. Sorry, I'm dying at this guy who's like, “See this little twink, Mike Hobbes, in his backseat?” 

Michael: [laughs] 

Peter: And he's like, “First, I'm going to tell this guy about how my ex is a bitch and then I'm going to rant about gays.” 

Michael: [laughs] Only a straight person would refer to a 41-year-old 5’6” as a twink. Very adorable of you, Peter. Thank you. 

Peter: I thought that twink was entirely about being short and skinny. 

Michael: Speaking of which, this is my next nominee, which I don't think you would have clocked this. 

Peter: Okay.

Michael: So we're reaching back through time. This is from June. There is a New York Times op-ed by a person name Richard Morgan who I've never heard of before, and the op-ed is called “As a Gay Man, I'll Never Be Normal.” There's been this kind of wave this year of basically straight media plucking gay men out of obscurity to be like, “Wow, gay rights has really gone too far.”

Peter: Right.

Michael: The entire piece is pushing back against overrepresentation. So he actually says this at one point and he starts out by saying, there's all this discourse about how the percentage of LGBT people is growing, and it's now 7% of the population identifies as LGBT. And he's like, “Well, it sounds like it's so big. It sounds like we're everywhere.” But actually, if you look into the numbers, more than half are bisexuals. And if you take the bisexuals out, it's only 3%. 

Peter: I'm always controlling for bisexuals everywhere I go. 

Michael: Yeah. Why would you remove the bisexuals though? They're in the fucking acronym. [Peter chuckles] And the danger that he's warning against, he has this absurd fucking thing about how the ACLU has tweeted out like, “Trans people belong everywhere,” which is a nice little phrase. And then he fact checks it. He's like, “Actually, trans people are only 1% of the population. They'll never be everywhere.” 

Peter: I don't think that's what they mean. Yeah.

Michael: That's not what they mean, when they say trans people belong everywhere. They don't mean 100% of the population. 

Peter: Physically, trans people could not be everywhere at once. 

Michael: [laughs] Keep that voice, Peter. That's good. [Peter laughs] Save it. 

Peter: I can only do like a super nerd from the Simpsons, basically, [Michael laughs] or the Brooklyn tough guy. That's it. 

Michael: It's just like, “Shut the fuck up.”

Peter: I love that he's not counting. You know how sometimes weirdly racist people will be like, “Did you know that Obama's actually half white”? 

Michael: Argh.

Peter: These guys are half straight, keep in mind. That's how they view bisexuality as just being half straight. 

Michael: He says, “The make believe of overrepresentation is a kind of reverse closet, where instead of pushing queer Americans to pretend to be heterosexual, we ask the broader culture to costume as more queer than it is.”

Peter: I haven't talked about this on the podcast, but I feel like it's us straights in the closet now. 

Michael: [laughs] The whole piece, I was just like, “Just say you hate yourself. This is taking forever.” 

Peter: Right. It's exhausting. 

Michael: And this is the same year where we had David Sedaris being like, “They want to call me queer and that's bad. I'm gay.” And like, “David, no one fucking cares what you call yourself.”

Peter: Right. Just a fucking word.

Michael: Fucking Andrew Sullivan has been banging this drum forever. He's like, “Gatekeeping queerness.” He's like, “Oh, these aren't like real queers.” But it's like, this is actually the future that liberals want. I think it's fucking great that more people are identifying as bisexual and exploring that. It's so demeaning to say that that doesn't count.

Peter: Right. 

Michael: When a lot of people like, “I know people who are in “heterosexual relationships,” like opposite sex marriages, and they're monogamous.” There's this weird move to be like, “Oh, well, they're not really bisexual.” 

Peter: Right.

Michael: But why? Why would you take that away from somebody? That's actually fine for them to identify that way. Even if for the rest of their lives they're monogamous with an opposite sex partner, it doesn't mean they're not bisexual anymore. 

Peter: I'm married to my wife, but it doesn't mean that I'm no longer “interested in women.” 

Michael: Yeah. Exactly.

Peter: I'm still straight. Just because I've committed to one person, it doesn't invalidate my sexuality in some way. 

Michael: And the reason this feels like dog whistle transphobia to me is because there's this panic about like, “What if kids are identifying as trans?” And then it turns out, “They're not trans.” That's not a bad outcome. That's actually fine. If more people are open to maybe thinking they're bisexual and then they explore that, and then a couple of years later, they're like, “Oh, it turns out I'm heterosexual,” that's fine. That's like a future ally to me.

Peter: Right.

Michael: I think a world where people are able to explore their sexuality is better than one that we've had for most of human history, where people just had to tamp this shit down and never really know that part of themselves. It's so weird to me to see actual gay people being like, “Ah, some of them aren't even bisexual.” Who fucking cares, man? 

Peter: The greatest argument for LGBT rights has always just been, “Who gives a shit?” 

Michael: Yeah.

Peter: “This is not your problem. Just move on. Go, like, have sex with straight presenting gay dudes or whatever you're doing.” 

Michael: Yeah. Have a blast. 

Peter: Do the Andrew Sullivan, where you try your best to present straight and then have an extremely dark online life. 

Michael: [laughs] By which you mean is writing career. There's nothing else that you would be referring to there. 

Peter: [laughs] 

Michael: Okay. But then, Peter, the entire reason we're talking about this is so that we can read. This is not the worst take of the year, but this is the worst paragraph of the year. So I'm going to send this to you. Do it in a gay voice, Peter. Do it. 

Peter: No problem. 

Michael: Do it. 


Michael: I know you have one in your back pocket. 

Peter: “I don't even know what you mean-

Michael: [laughs] 

Peter: -I still don't fit in. And not just in the straight world. I don't watch--" [laughs] 

Michael: Exhausting. Exhausting. 

Peter: “I don't watch RuPaul's Drag Race. I've never been to Fire Island. [chuckles] My skincare routine is soap. I wear old navy and a raggedy bucket hat. Queer folks ask me if I'm a top, a bottom, or verse, and I give the most unpopular answer. Why wouldn't I want to love my partner every way I can?”

Michael: [laughs]

Peter: So verse.

Michael: Yeah. Thank you. 

Peter: [laughs] 

Michael: The whole Internet erupted when this fucking thing came out. Like, verse. That's verse. 

Peter: That's verse, buddy. I'm sorry, but this is so fucking stupid. First of all, use moisturizer. 

Michael: [laughs] 

Peter: Every straight guy I know for the past decade has been rocking, at the very least, a basic moisturization routine.

Michael: It is very funny to me when gay people do this straight fitting in shit, and then straight people are like, “You're overdoing it. [Peter laughs] You can wear skinny jeans, man. It's fine.” 

Peter: No, we're moisturizing. 

Michael: [laughs] 

Peter: Every street guy has one Bravo show. We're well past this. This is just like, “I'm cultureless and nobody likes me, and I'm completely unwilling like as a matter of principle to engage in anything that I associate with modern gay culture.”

Michael: Yeah. I hate myself so much, I've invented a bizarre fourth category that doesn't fall under top, bottom, or verse. 

Peter: Yeah.

Michael: I'm tired of people asking me whether I'm left or right-handed, but wouldn't I want to hold a tennis racket any way that I can? 

Peter: He's right that that is the most unpopular answer, because it's the worst way to answer the question. 

Michael: Yeah. Exactly. 

Peter: Just tedious. 

Michael: God.

Peter: Imagine hating yourself so much that you wear bucket hats as just like an adult gay man. 

Michael: [laughs] I really do blame the straights for this whole thing more than I blame this individual person, because what he's expressing here is a very typical stage of coming out of the closet. I think that, for gay people, if you're growing up gay, there're certain kinds of representation that you see. When you go to gay nightclubs, you're seeing a certain kind of gay person. It can make you a little bit uncomfortable because you're like, “I don't look like these people. I don't really feel like I fit in with these people.” But there's this stage where you're like, “I don't want to put a label on it. I'm not like those other gays. I'm into sports. I don't watch RuPaul's Drag Race. And honestly, eventually you outgrow that. It's like white people having a libertarian phase. You eventually realize that no one cares. There's no pressure to watch RuPaul's Drag Race. I don't watch RuPaul's Drag Race. No one fucking cares. It's not that interesting. 

Peter: Right.

Michael: What he thinks he's doing is challenging straight people's bigotry. He's doing this like, “Look, not all of us are these effeminate prancing queens.” That's what he thinks he's doing. What he's actually doing is reinforcing their bigotry. He is giving them a license to, when they see those prancing queens on the street or as a barista or whatever, to go, “Hey, why can't you be like this other gay guy? Why can't you be like this guy in the New York Times? He's not so effeminate. I can't even really tell that he's gay. He's wearing fucking flannel or whatever the fuck he's bragging about in this stupid op-ed.” 

Peter: Yeah. 

Michael: He is throwing other gay people under the bus in an effort to demonstrate his proximity to straightness.

Peter: Maybe you probably have stronger opinions about this than me, but there is, in my view, like a young gay monoculture to a degree. And now that's not unusual. There's a young straight guy monoculture too. It's just that we don't wrestle with it as part of our identity, because we're all quite comfortable sliding in and out of it. 

Michael: Oh, don't say sliding in and out after we just talked about top, bottom, and verse, Peter,-

Peter: What's the problem? 

Michael: -God, be careful.

Peter: What's the problem with loving whatever terminology? 


Michael: Yeah. I think this is something that I don't think any straight person would ever describe what they're doing as exploring my heterosexuality. 

Peter: Right. 

Michael: But that is something people do. You figure out what kind of heterosexual you're going to be. And for gay people, this process is oftentimes delayed because you're in the fucking closet. And then there's also this weird second coming out of the closet where you're like, “I have to now be among gay people.” And that can be really traumatic, because we all see these fucking movies where it's like, “Oh, we're just all going to be at nightclubs all the time and having a great time.”

Peter: Right. And that's only like 20% of it. 

Michael: Yeah. Exactly. [laughs] And people just beat you in the street if you're like, “I don't watch RuPaul's Drag Race. [Peter chuckles] Just explosion of violence. 

Peter: Leave this brunch right now. 

Michael: Yeah. [laughs] But that is a real-- It's something that oftentimes the broader culture, because that culture is filtered through straight people. Culture doesn't prepare you for as a gay person. 

Peter: Right.

Michael: And so we all figure out what kind of gay person we're going to be. And that means trying on different identities for a while. And for a lot of people, trying on this like, “Oh, I'm not like the other gays,” is part of that identity formation. So it's like this person is arguing against exactly the thing that could make him happier. A future where 7% of the population identifies as LGBT and like, “Ooh, half of them are bisexual.” Let's get that up. Let's get those numbers up, because a world where there's more queer people is also a world where there's more types of queerness. And it's easier to explore the kind of queer person that you want to be, right?

Peter: Right.

Michael: This was published the fucking month that we had the Target Pride Display meltdown and the Bud Light meltdown. And it's like, straight editors are commissioning these fucking pieces and being like, “Well, hasn't it all gone a little too far?” Like, “Kids are all identifying as bisexual now.”

Peter: Let's get our worst rest gay on the case. 

Michael: Yeah. [laughs] 

Peter: Let's get our flakiest skinned gay [Michael laughs] to write a column about this. 

Michael: That was the most heterophobic thing you've said [Peter laughs] on the podcast. I'm proud of you. You're a self-hating straight person. 

Peter: When I'm watching [Below Deck, [Michael laughs] I have to be looking at pictures of hot chicks on my phone to balance it out. 

Michael: Okay. What is your next one, Peter? 

Peter: My next nomination is not a single take as much as a series of takes by the same organization and really the same person. 

Michael: Okay.

Peter: This is basically best summed up as the last month and a half of the ADL-

Michael: Oh.

Peter: -under the helm of Jonathan Greenblatt.

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