News O'Clock: Pandemic Parenting 101
The Juggalos won’t be gathering, Coronavirus commercials are too much and Mean Girls gets the axe.
On today's show: the Juggalos won’t be gathering this year, but at least they still have their Faygo. Meanwhile, the capitalist consumer culture somehow manages to find a way. And BuzzFeed Parents editor Mike Spohr refuses to tell us which of his two kids would be eaten first in case of emergency (along with providing some actual good advice.)
It's April 23rd. The time...News O'Clock!
Check out the full episode transcript here:
Hayes Brown: If you want to own Florence Pugh's May Queen dress, from Midsommar, you've got some major competition. The guy who was in charge of developing vaccines for the US says he got demoted, and we have BuzzFeed Parenting editor Mike Spohr with us to talk about the trials and tribulations of being a parent these days.
Casey Rackham: The date, April 23rd, 2020.
HB: The time, News O’Clock.
HB: Good afternoon, I'm Hayes Brown.
CR: And I'm Casey Rackham. Welcome to News O'Clock. Before we get started, Hayes, please tell me that I am not alone in this.
HB: In what?
CR: There are just some limits to what is and is not good quarantine television and I found mine the other night.
HB: Okay, yeah, I definitely agree with you, but what happened to you?
CR: Okay. Our mutual friend Alana, who used to work at BuzzFeed, had the nerve, the audacity to turn to me the other night and say, "Should we re-watch Glee?"
HB: Oh. Oh no.
CR: Okay, do not get me wrong, I love me a good Glee performance compilation. You could go to my YouTube history from years ago and see that I've watched them all, but just know, a pandemic is not the time to go down this road again.
HB: I can completely agree with that. I would not start up Glee again. I watched seasons I think up through three and I love Don't Stop Believing, et cetera, still gives me chills, but no, I couldn't do a full re-watch.
CR: Yeah, I love when they go to regionals and stuff. It's cool because I can't sing so I like watching them all sing together. But if BuzzFeed has a post titled 21 Times Glee Was actually Really Problematic, it's not a show I want to revisit.
HB: That tracks. I mean I could watch it if there was literally nothing else, my only hard limit right now is I can't watch anything too stressful. If it's something that has me like clenched up, the rest of my day is for that, I don't need that when I'm watching TV.
CR: No, I know. I don't have any hard nos, I only have a hard yes right now and it's Survivor. I don't know why, I've watched Survivor like my whole life.
HB: Is Survivor still on?
CR: Okay, yes. Oh, don't even get me started. Okay, I'm going to tell you. Okay, it's season 40.
HB: Oh my God.
CR: And it's a special season. So it's a special season, right? Every single contestant has won Survivor already. Okay? So it's just Winners at War.
HB: Oh my God. It's a battle of champions.
CR: And instead of winning $1 million, they win $2 million. I love it so much and it inspired me to start re-watching it all. And I really think it has to be that like you, I just can't sit down and watch something with a really difficult plot right now that's just going to bring me down. So Survivor's just lifting me up.
HB: Okay. Speaking unfortunately of survival, we're going to do things a little differently today and in the interest of staying true to our BuzzFeed heritage, today's corona update will be in list format. So here's the five things you need to know today about COVID-19.
HB: One, lots of people in New York City may have already had the coronavirus. Governor Andrew Cuomo said this morning that in a test of random people walking out and about and grocery shopping in New York City, 21% of people had COVID-19 antibodies, which is a big number. But our science editor would caution me that this is just one study, so there's not really a lot conclusive there, but still a lot of people.
HB: Okay, number two. The guy who was in charge of developing vaccines for the US says he was punished for not pushing a drug that Trump said could work miracles. So in a statement yesterday, Rick Bright said he was removed from his job as the director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, because he refused to push hydroxychloroquine, which the president and his allies have touted even without proper scientific study. In his statement, Bright said, "I'm speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science, not politics or cronyism, has to lead the way."
HB: Number three. Trump actually said he disagrees with the Georgia governor reopening the state. Trump surprised a lot of people during his presser yesterday by saying he thought Georgia governor Brian Kemp was making a mistake in having businesses reopen even though the governor had to make his own decision.
Donald Trump: I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the phase one guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia. They're incredible people.
HB: While this was a change of heart for Trump, recent polling has showed that a lot of people do want to stay inside. Vast majorities of Americans are okay with the stay at home orders.
HB: Number four, Elizabeth Warren's oldest brother died Tuesday from complications related to the novel coronavirus. It was announced this morning that Donald Reed Herring passed away, he was 86 years old. Warren in a statement said he was charming and funny, a natural leader. Reed appeared in a campaign ad with her when she was still running for president.
HB: And five, as if things weren't scary enough already, COVID-19 may or may not cause strokes in younger people under 50. One doctor reported seeing that COVID-19 infection can cause blood to clot in unusual ways and a stroke would be an expected consequence of that. So enjoy folks. And those are the five things you need to know.
CR: Oh my God. I'm depressed Hayes, that was a lot for me.
HB: It was a lot for everyone. I'm sorry, but here we are.
CR: But it is, it's just so wild how much we do not know about the coronavirus yet and how much we're learning on a day to day basis just from people already having all the antibodies in New York City to causing strokes. That's all insane. It's a lot.
HB: It is in fact.
CR: Okay, well because I can't be depressed for too much longer, it's time for today's good news and bad news and you better believe I'm starting with the good news.
CR: As you might guess from the name, this is where I bring you some of the most, "aw," and some of the most, "oh my God, no," stories from around the internet. Today we have good news for the Juggalos of the world. The Insane Clown Posse wants you to stay healthy. The metal rap duo announced yesterday that the annual Gathering of the Juggalos is off because of the coronavirus. I mean they've been gathering every year for 20 years for mosh pits in the mud and other weird debauchery wrapped in what everyone says is a whole lot of community. So in their announcement, ICP said, "The bottom line is we refuse to risk even one Juggalo life by hosting a gathering during these troubled times." And wow, I mean, that's leadership, taking care of your fan base like that. Good for them.
HB: Good for them. I knew several Juggalos growing up because they're from Michigan where I spent my teen years. They're obsessed with Faygo and I've got to say, I'm sorry for any Juggalos who may be listening. It's okay, the soda's all right. Your red pop is the best strawberry flavor soda out there, but otherwise, eh.
CR: Wow Hayes. Okay, okay. When you get the comments, don't come running to me. And onto the bad news, if you had hopes of one day owning Florence Pugh's May Queen flower dress from the movie Midsommar, you've got some serious competition. So the film studio A24 is having an auction for charities in New York and they're selling off things that include the blinged out Furby from the Adam Sandler film Uncut Gems, the bear suit from Midsommar and the time capsule from Eighth Grade. But the hot ticket item is definitely the May Queen flower dress because none other than Ariana Grande wants it and she wants it bad. Apparently when this bidding auction popped up, she got a bunch of texts from all of her friends that were like, "You need to get this dress," and now it's led to a back and forth with Florence Pugh who wore the dress in the movie and how it has armholes for wine.
HB: I hope she gets it. I really do. Who would dare bid against Ariana Grande day for this dress? Who would do that?
CR: No one. She deserves the dress. It belongs to her.
HB: Oh, can you imagine having the bear suit bought for you though? Can you even picture that?
CR: No, you need to end your relationship with whoever bought the bear suit for you.
HB: Done, canceled, broken up.
CR: Oh my God. Okay. Well, when we come back, we're talking with Mike Spohr about how parents are doing as they shelter in place with their children. Stick around.
HB: All right, welcome back. It's time for Say More, this is where we get to talk some of the best people out there into spending some quality time with us.
CR: We're a little over a month in for most people staying at home, including kids who have had their schools closed, that means parents are dealing with a lot right now.
HB: Being childless millennials ourselves, we wanted to know how that's going. So we're glad to have on BuzzFeed Parenting editor, Mike Spohr. Hello Mike.
Mike Spohr: Hi. How are you guys?
Making it through.
Making it through and we don't have children to teach, so.
That's better than what I'm dealing with.
Okay, so let's get this out of the way. How many kids do you have and have you decided which one is your emergency food supply?
I have two. I have a 10 year old girl named Annabelle, she's a fourth grader. And then I have a six year old first grader named James, and I think I'd probably eat my own arm first if we had to get down to that.
Oh, what a dad answer.
Oh, good answer Mike.
No, that's such a dad answer. No, one of them has more nutrition for you than the other. Anyway, so I remember though at the start of this, a lot of parents out there were posting schedules for their kids. Like, "First we have art hour and then we have reading and then math." But then by the end of the second week they were just like, "F this." Did you go through the same process?
It is. Well you know it's really hard and what's happening is the schools have been kind of dictating what we do. They've actually set up a distance learning program where the kids actually interface with their teachers and do assignments and so they've been setting that up. My wife has actually been every morning writing on a board everything the kids have to do and she sets up like a schedule. My kids likes to be scheduled, kids like schedule, and so that's been good for them to check the board. But we're still doing it basically because the schools are doing it so we have no choice.
Parents have had to worry about juggling a work life balance forever. Has that become harder or easier with everyone home all the time?
Oh boy, it's a lot harder. I mean we work in the office at BuzzFeed, so when I get in my car and I drive off to BuzzFeed I've got my eight hour window where I can just focus on what we're doing and get that done. But being home, you sit down and you try to work for five minutes and the next thing you hear is, "Can I get something to eat?" Like, "Okay, what do you want?" So you've got to get them food and then you work for five more minutes and then you hear that they need help with a math problem or something because just because they're doing all this stuff at home doesn't mean they don't have questions. And so they do have a lot of questions and you're trying to figure out fourth grade math again before you jump back into trying to do your work. So it's been definitely challenging that way.
Wait, so how long have you been editing the parenting section at BuzzFeed?
I joined BuzzFeed in 2013 and that was the first parenting content that we ever had at that time. It was kind of thought to be a weird direction for BuzzFeed to go because BuzzFeed wasn't known for parenting in any way. But we started from then and now we've got a few writers who do parenting stuff and it's kind of a known vertical for BuzzFeed now.
Makes total sense, we're all unfortunately getting older as millennials and having kids. So based on what you've seen in that time, have you found parents wanting different content over the last month or so?
Yes, I think so. What they really want mainly is humor and funny stuff and stuff where they can see what other parents are going through as well. It used to be at times that stuff that would do well would be kind of service-y stuff where you would talk about how you can parent better or how you could set up your home better. But really parents don't want to hear that right now, they don't want to hear it. Don't tell me how to be a parent right now. Right now what they want to see is just basically how are other parents surviving. Do you have a funny joke? They're trying to survive that way.
What's been the hardest part about working through this crisis with your kids? Do they get what's happening?
It's interesting, they do understand what's happening, but thankfully they don't seem too worried about it as you would expect, which is good. My son is kind of like okay with staying home because that means there's a lot of video game time. We don't have to go out and do stuff so he's happy to do this. But my daughter has kind of hit the wall and she misses friends and she's a big softball player so she misses her team and she misses a school as well. So that's hard and trying to kind of tell her it's going to be better when you get back and when you get back to everything. That's important and I worry my son's going to turn into like a feral creature if we keep staying in the house too much longer. He needs to get back into the real world too, so.
He needs to be properly socialized.
He does, it's true.
Are they at least providing some much needed humor throughout all this?
Oh they are. I had one thing happen the other day that was pretty funny. I was telling you that they have to do all this work with the school and the way it's set up is on a computer. They'll log onto a website and they have these assignments and they have to complete these assignments. And one of the neat things they do to kind of keep the kids close to each other is that they make the kids leave comments for the other kids. So if you put up, let's say a little paragraph or two about your day, the kids have to go on and leave comments. And for the little kids like my son who's six, they leave voice comments. And if you leave a voice comment, the teacher then goes through and listens to the voice comment, make sure it's appropriate, and if it is, they hit approve and the kid gets to see the message and it's this wonderful thing.
Well, on Tuesday I got an email from my son's teacher informing me that my son James had gone through and left a voice message on all 31 of his classmates' work. And the message was simply, "It's Wednesday, my dudes." And he just left that message 31 times. So the teacher, the poor teacher, she had to go through and like, "Well, let's see if James' first message is appropriate," and she listens to, "it's Wednesday, my dudes." Not appropriate. Well let's go to message two. "It's Wednesday, my dudes." Message three, "It's Wednesday, my dudes."
It's, it's, it's, it's [crosstalk 00:14:46]. Oh my God.
Yeah, she was not very happy in the email. You can tell that tone when teachers are being very teacher like and professional and nice but they're also kind of annoyed. So we had to talk to James. The problem also with the it's Wednesday, my dudes was it was Tuesday.
So close. So close.
So yeah, we talked to him about what's appropriate and even though we're at home, you're still in a school setting and you've still got to act appropriately and yeah. But you know, what do you do?
Okay, so real talk. How do you feel when your non child having coworkers say or post things like, "I'm bored at home with nothing to do."
Well, having worked at BuzzFeed for seven years now with a lot of young people, I'm used to that. People will come in and they'll be like, "I am so tired. I was watching this Netflix show and oh my God, I'm just so tired." And meanwhile I'm thinking back to being up five times in the night with my newborn. And I'm like, "Oh, you're tired from the Netflix show," so I'm used to it.
Okay, last thing. Yesterday we played a bit of a Sesame Street PSA for parents with Elmo's dad reminding them to just breathe. What would your PSA for parents be right now?
Oh boy, that's a good one. I think the idea of breathing is good and also just remembering that this will pass and just like anything in parenting when it's hard, eventually it's over and you're onto the next thing and things are better and you just have to be patient and kind of get through it. And I think that not just for parents, but I guess anyone, I think if we project ourselves two years into the future, a year into the future, whatever it may be, things are going to be different. Things are going to be better. We'll be back to more normalcy and I think just trying to keep that view of the future and where we'll be is a good idea.
CR: Oh, well Mike, thank you so much for joining us. All of you stay healthy.
MS: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
CR: We're trying something new for you guys today, one that I'm sure won't cause any fights between you and your loved ones. It's called Got To Pick One.
MS: Oh no, I'm already dreading this.
CR: Embrace the dread.
MS: Okay, how is this going to work?
CR: Okay, I'm going to give you a topic and a few options, all very good options. Then you have to pick just one to exist in this world. The others get cast off into the Negaverse never to be heard from again.
MS: So no pressure.
CR: None at all.
CR: Okay, today we're doing two rounds, both sets of movies. First up, we've got teen movies. Of these four you can only pick one, the rest were never, ever, ever made. Okay, here they are. One, Clueless, two, Mean Girls, three, 10 things I Hate About You and four, Bring It On. Which one are you keeping forever?
HB: Oh, I hate this already. Oh, this is bad. All of those are so important to me and my life.
CR: You're correct.
HB: Am I a racist for getting rid of Bring It On? Am I offensive to the women of California if I get rid of Clueless? Okay, I think I have to choose 10 Things I Hate About You to stick around. That's the one that has to exist for me.
CR: Oh yes, 100%. I mean fun fact about me, 10 Things I Hate About You is my favorite movie of all time. Not teen movies, no genre, it is my favorite movie. I could watch it every day.
HB: That makes my heart happy because it is a perfect film.
CR: I've seen Letters to Cleo three times, they're the band that plays within 10 Things I Hate About You.
HB: I am well aware of that fact. Their cover of I Want You To Want Me is high art.
CR: So good.
HB: Okay so, sorry to Mean Girls and Tina Fey and Lindsay Lohan's career for getting rid of that. You are also in my heart, but I had to give it up for 10 Things.
CR: I know, it's a difficult decision, but one that has to be made. Okay, moving on. The next round is comedies. One, Bridesmaids, two, The Princess Bride, three, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, four, Superbad.
HB: Oh man. I've realized within the last few years that comedies and I, I don't like most mainstream comedies. I don't know what's wrong with me. Especially if you go back to the 2000s, so I've got to give it up for The Princess Bride. That one has to stay. That has to stay in existence.
CR: That's just like a classic choice. You could watch that all of the time. Okay, another fun fact about me. When I was younger, I did try and build up a cyanide resistance eating apple seeds.
HB: Oh my God, like Westley?
CR: Yeah, like Westley because I loved The Princess Bride so much. No one try that at home, okay? It turns out that there's different types of cyanide and the apple seed one just builds up in your system forever, so don't do that one.
HB: I'm glad that you are still alive, Casey. Kids do not try this at home. We're going to edit that to add that on to the end of the last segment where we were talking to Mike about kids. That's some advice for your everyday life.
CR: I'm sorry. Okay. If you want to take the rest of this quiz online, head over to buzzfeed.com and look out for the post titled You Can Only Pick One Movie For Every Genre.
HB: And we want to hear from you out there listeners. Of these two categories, which one would you save? Let us know and tell us why. Just open the voice memo app on your phone, record your answer, including where you're sending this from, and email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. That's newsoclock, all one word, at buzzfeed.com
CR: Or DM us on Twitter at newsoclock. We're going to be gathering up the best answers you all send in and compiling them into one mega list, so be sure to listen out for yours.
HB: Okay, we have time for one more thing because we can not let you go until we talk about this. The coronavirus commercials are really bumming me out. Now, I don't know about you, but I really feel bad for the marketers of the world right now.
CR: Wait, the marketers, that's who you feel bad for?
HB: In a weird attachment to late stage capitalism kind of way, yes. I feel bad for them.
CR: Okay, if Stockholm syndrome were at all real, I'd say you have it.
HB: Probably yes, but watching TV, the commercials are just so grim. I knew they'd have to change to reflect everything, things are just getting hell out of hand though.
CR: No, that's true. Commercials were pretty weird and confusing before this, but now you just have no idea what they're selling with all of their weird empathy.
HB: I just really can't decide what's more jarring at this point, the commercials where people are just outside hanging out together or GoDaddy reassuring me that even as the bodies pile up, you can still build a website.
CR: Okay, but have you heard the super cut of all of those commercials?
HB: I have not, but now I feel like I absolutely need to.
CR: Okay, good. This went up last week from YouTube user, Microsoft Sam. We open with a soft piano that tells us your feelings. We're about to exploit the shit out of them. The company lets you know that they've been around long enough that your grandparents know them.
Commercial: Since 1926. Since 1978. For 60 years. For 75 years. For over 80 years. In 90 years. Over 100 years.
CR: A somber voice reminds you that everything is kind of fucked.
Commercial: During these difficult times. In these troubled times. In challenging times. Trying times. In these times of uncertainty. During this time of great uncertainty. During these-
CR: And then they finish by telling you that the thing that will make this all better, their product.
HB: Wow. That was exactly what I needed to lift my spirits and convince me to buy a new thing.
CR: Things. That's what you need right now.
HB: All right, that's it for today. Join us tomorrow when we talk about self care and its limits during a pandemic.
CR: And remember, there is no I in team, but there is a U in virus so please stay the hell home.
HB: Be sure to subscribe to News O'Clock on the iHeartRadio app, Apple podcast, or wherever you go for your sound stories.
CR: And please take the time to leave us a rating and a review. It helps us figure out what you like about the show versus what you love about the show. And tell all your friends to set their alarm so that you never miss News O'Clock.