News O'Clock: To All The Moms Out There, Thank You!
A very key White House staffer has coronavirus, Scaachi Khoul talks through the internet’s ~discourse~ about Adele’s body, and we talk to Mother.ly stories editor Conz Preti about her experience as a mom to newborn twins AND a toddler in a pandemic.
A key White House staffer, who’s married to ANOTHER key White House staffer, has coronavirus and that seems bad. Whew, “The Chipmunk Adventure” sure loved racist tropes, didn’t it? Scaachi Khoul joins us for a Rant O’Clock, inspired by the internet’s ~discourse~ about Adele’s body.
And we talk to Mother.ly stories editor Conz Preti about her experience as a mom to newborn twins AND a toddler in a pandemic. Plus she tells about the BEST and WORST advice moms are getting right now.
Read the full episode transcript here:
Hayes Brown: Another White House staffer has tested positive for Coronavirus. So yikes.
HB: Adele lost a lot of weight, and well, some people had a lot of feelings.
HB: And Motherly Stories editor Conz Preti joins us ahead of Mother's Day to talk about how moms are doing out there.
Casey Rackham: The date: May 8th, 2020.
HB: The time: News O'Clock.
HB: Hello friends. I'm Hayes Brown.
CR: And I'm Casey Rackham. Welcome to News O'Clock. Happy Friday.
HB: And to you. Okay. Real quick. I need to talk about this. You know how some movies from childhood don't quite hold up?
CR: Yes, absolutely.
HB: Well, last night, my fiance and I decided to watch the Chipmunk Adventure, which for Gen Z listeners was a 1980s animated feature film based on the three cartoon chipmunk brothers and it is absolutely bonkers. Did you watch this when you were a kid, Casey?
CR: I definitely didn't. So I'm going to need you to recap this for me.
HB: Okay. So Alvin and his brothers, Simon and Theodore have their female counterparts, the Chipettes and in the whole boys versus girls thing, a pair of creepy Germans hanging out in the arcade where they are, convinces them to take a trip around the world in hot air balloons.
HB: But it's secretly a plot to have them sell their stolen diamonds overseas. And that's the story. They sent children in hot air balloons to race around the world with stolen diamonds. And somehow that turned into a movie. But-
CR: It's the eighties.
HB: It's the eighties. But a couple of things really stand out. One is that I am really concerned for the people who wrote and drew this cartoon because the Chipettes, despite being like 10 year old girls, are drawn in weirdly sexual costumes and positions. At one point they're dressed in harem outfits. They're in swimwear. It's a lot of weird up-skirt shots. I don't know why anyone thought this was a good idea at all. And it gets worse because, oh boy, does this movie love it's brown people stereotypes. They travel to Mexico where they wear sombreros and sing about, and one of them really wants enchiladas. They go to the middle East where the Chipettes, again, harem outfits, and they are told, "One of you will marry the very young Sultan." And to make clear just how racist they could be, this is a clip from when Alvin and Simon meet up with a native tribe in, I don't know, South America, the South Pacific, they don't make it clear. Whatever. They're brown. They live in huts, and Alvin says this.
Alvin: You take all this wampum, and we take little butterball you steal from us last night.
HB: Wampum big. Like what the shit? How did this pass?
CR: Why and how? Oh my God, it's so bad. That's so bad.
HB: And so, unfortunately, my childhood is ruined. Can never watch this film again and, creators of Alvin and the Chipmunks, if I thought that you guys rebooting it to do the films with Jason Lee, the CGI ones was bad, this is somehow worse. Blah.
HB: Well, okay. Anyway, enough of that. It's time for the Corona update. Here are the three things you need to know today.
CR: Let's do this.
HB: All right. Number one, today, it was announced that the unemployment rate in the United States hit 14%. Just a massive numbers of jobs were lost in one month, 20.5 million in April alone, to reach an unemployment level we have not seen since the Great Depression. It's 40 times worse than the most single month losses in the great recession a decade ago. And, surprise, surprise, it's hitting low wage workers, women, and people of color hardest. But not everyone is doing terrible. Grubhub took in a record $363 million in revenue as people stayed home and restaurants struggled. And the stock market actually went up after the drops report came out. Same as it did with the last record breaking bad jobs report in 2008. Meaning, just like then, investors weren't shocked by the news today. Even so, unemployment is likely to continue rising higher and higher while the pandemic is still going on.
CR: Yeah. I've actually been trying to order directly from restaurants and doing pickup. Or if you call them, sometimes they have their own delivery service. And it seems like most do appreciate that. I saw the other week, I cannot remember which delivery service it was, but an owner of a restaurant posted basically this invoice from the delivery service, where, after all the fees, all those discounts that people get, I always thought maybe that comes from the delivery service. It doesn't, it comes from the restaurant itself. So they're impacted from it, for some of them at least. And so basically this invoice I was seeing, the restaurant basically broke even. And it's really tough. So yeah, I believe that Grubhub took in $363 million.
HB: Woof. Okay. Number two, rolling on with the bad corporations, Zara has been praised for its Coronavirus response, but that apparently doesn't extend as far as its garment workers. Zara is a Spanish based retailer and early on in the crisis it got huge thumbs up for its quick action. They closed down 3000 stores worldwide and ramped up its online sales. Spanish workers got their full salaries as they stayed home. The owner, Amancio Ortega, is the world's sixth richest man. And he had his factories pivot to start making hospital gowns and other protective equipment. But as BuzzFeed News reporter, Nashita Jha, shows, there was a cost for that and it was paid by the garment workers at two factors in Myanmar that supply Zara. Those workers weren't given any protective gear at all while working for $3 and 50 cents to $4 and 74 cents per day.
HB: And when they tried to organize and actually push the factory to give them this equipment, 500 of them were laid off.
CR: Is this where I'm allowed to say, eat the rich?
HB: I think it is, in fact, where you are allowed to say that. I think that is a completely valid place to say that. And number three, a second White House staffer in the last two days, tested positive for Coronavirus, prompting some serious side eyes and major concerns. Katie Miller, a spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence got the results right before Pence was due to depart for a trip to Iowa. Air Force Two was held up at the air base for an hour as staff dealt with the news and several staffers straight up got off the plane.
HB: Katie recently got married to Stephen Miller, Trump's top immigration advisor and domestic policy person and speech writer who sees the president and other senior staffers all the damn time in a White House where almost nobody is social distancing or wearing face masks. Just yesterday, a naval officer serving as Trump's valet, who did things like bring Trump his multiple Diet Cokes throughout the day, tested positive. Trump said, as a result, he and Pence will be tested daily to make sure he is legit and chill, which is not something that can be said for the rest of us.
CR: I wonder if they have to do the nose testing every time.
HB: No, they're not doing the nose testing. They're doing a very quick, couple of minutes test result that is fast. But some experts are like, "This is not exactly as accurate as the one where you send it off to the lab and it takes a couple of days." So trade offs. Hmm.
CR: Ah, definitely. All right. It's time for today's Good News, Bad News.
CR: This is where I bring you some of the most aw yay and most ugh, that's not great, stories from around the internet. A special double feature of good news today for anyone who loves sitcoms in the late 2000s. First up, looks like we're getting six seasons and a YouTube table read. The cast of NBC's Community announced they will all be doing an online table read and Q & A to benefit COVID-19 relief efforts. It's all going to happen on Monday, May 18th, publisher's YouTube page and we'll feature the complete cast. Yes. That includes Donald Glover who left the show in season five. Plus the show's creator writer, Dan Harmon. As Magnitude would say, "Pop, pop."
CR: And for everyone who loved How I Met Your Mother, ending aside, we got an updated rendition of the Robin Sparkles classic, let's Go to the Mall. Cobie Smulders, who played secret former Canadian pop star, Robin Scherbatsky, posted the new version to Instagram yesterday. Instead of celebrating going out to shop, the song now celebrates staying the heck home.
HB: Oh man, that new version makes me really happy. But wow, How I Met Your Mother, looking back, what a problematic show in so many ways.
CR: Hayes, I couldn't even finish it though, going all the way through at the present time. But that's also because I deeply found Ted problematic. He's classic nice guy. He's like, "I deserve all of this for being nice." And I'm like, "Oh, okay, Ted."
HB: Okay, Ted, you and your sexual assault bro can go have a seat. They grew throughout the show. I was there for Alison Hannigan and Jason Segel, so-
CR: Wonderful. Loved them. And Robin Sparkles will remain a national treasure forever.
CR: And now, onto the bad news. Legendary Queen guitarist, Brian May is in the hospital, but not for Coronavirus. May posted on Instagram a picture of himself in a face mask saying, and I quote, "I managed to rip my gluteus maximus to shreds in a moment of over enthusiastic gardening." Before you laugh too much, it actually sounds really terrible. He said, "Turns out I did a thorough job. This is a couple of days ago and I won't be able to walk for a while or sleep without a lot of assistance because the pain is relentless." May also found time in his Instagram caption to ding the UK for beginning to lift its stay at home order, saying, "Hope you're all keeping extra safe out there. A decision to relax controls doesn't suddenly make the danger go away."
HB: I have several questions. Number one, what was he gardening? How do you manage that? What happened here? Brian, what?
CR: Okay. Listen. As someone who has sciatica, herniated disc, et cetera, I know how quickly something like that can happen. And, oh my God, that sounds truly terrible. And if he's saying that he is having trouble sleeping, it sounds like he's just not getting relief in any way. That's so horrible.
HB: I don't know what to do with that except I am sorry. I have to say, something, something-
CR: Don't do it.
HB: Fat Bottomed Girls.
CR: Don't do it.
HB: I've got to. I had to. I'm sorry. It's Queen. I did it.
CR: You did it. You did it. It's okay. I forgive you. I forgive you. Okay. When we come back, we're talking to Conz Preti about Mother's Day and all her work as an editor for the site Motherly. Stay right there.
HB: Welcome back. It's time for Say More. This is where we get to chat it up with some of the best dang people out there.
CR: This weekend, folks in the US and a lot of other countries will celebrate Mother's Day. And if things have been tough for everyone under Corona lockdown, that has to be minimum double tough for all the moms out there.
HB: We're joined by Conz Preti to talk about just that. She's the stories editor at Motherly and herself a mom to three. Good afternoon, Conz.
Conz Preti: Hi guys. How are you?
HB: So, off the top, thank you so much for taking the time. When I first reached out to you with the time when we record the show, you said, "Perfect. Everyone is taking their naps then." So is everyone just down for the count?
CP: Actually, no. The girls, the twins are awake, but my husband is taking care of them. The toddler is asleep, but the toddler is the problem because he yells and runs and gets into trouble.
CR: Okay. So for people who aren't familiar, what is Motherly?
CP: Motherly is a media company that creates content for the millennial mom. We felt like traditional media was just not really connecting with moms today. And everything felt very fear mongering and old school and outdated. So we create content for millennial moms that want to read about all the things mom related and also all the things non-mom related.
HB: You gave birth to the twins not too very long before this pandemic hit, it feels like, and that just changed life up completely. That's not exactly something you can plan for. How have you been holding up?
CP: Yeah, it's been crazy. The twins were born on March 2nd. I remember that we were in the hospital watching the news and the hospital pediatrician came in and he was like, "Oh, why are people freaking out about this COVID-19 thing? It's not going to get that bad." And then a week later we were in lockdown. So it's been crazy because the first time that I gave birth to my son, I suffered from postpartum anxiety really, really bad. So this time around, I was like, "I'm going to plan for all the worst case scenarios. I'm going to have all the help that I can. I'm going to pull my mom community and all the resources that I didn't have the first time around to make sure that this time I'm good."
CP: And so I had a doula and a postpartum doula and a nanny for a toddler. And my parents came from Argentina, and a week into being parents of three kids under three, we were left alone because even before people were taking it seriously, we decided to self isolate because we had newborns. So very quickly, everything turned upside down. And clearly, I didn't plan for a global pandemic in all my worst case scenarios.
HB: If someone planned for that in their worst case scenarios, they are the most prepared for the job of motherhood ever. So, of all of those systems that you had set up, were you still able to tap into any of them while you guys have been self isolating?
CP: We isolated ourselves physically so far away that we have not been able to tap on to any of that. I actually had to call our nanny from up here to let her know that because of salary cuts we couldn't afford her anymore. And we didn't know when we were going to see her again. And we couldn't just keep paying her until who knows when. So it's been hard because even from here, we had to make tough decisions on the help that we wanted.
CR: It's definitely so much to be going through with children. What's something that you think more moms need to hear that they're just not being told right now?
CP: It's funny. I had a call with some guy for a project and he doesn't know me. We were just talking about this possible idea of doing something together. And at the end of the call, he basically said, "I honestly can not believe how much you're doing. You are a superhero. I'm in awe that you are just doing it with a smile and doing it day in and day out." And hearing that from a stranger. I hear that from my parents and I hear that from my partner, but hearing it from a stranger was so encouraging. And it made me actually feel like a superhero. If I can do this and just keep doing it, I can do anything. And I feel like all the moms out there deserve all the kudos that they can get, because this is so hard.
HB: So on the flip side, though, what's the worst advice that you think moms are getting right now?
CP: Oh, that they should take time off, that they should have a self care hour or whatever. We don't have time. We don't have time to take an hour off. I would love to take an hour off. It's not helpful. Who is going to do the laundry? Okay. Maybe my husband can do the laundry, but then we have to fold it. And then who's going to do dishes. And there's stuff happening all the time that people telling you, "Oh, take it easy. Just relax for a little bit. Take a moment for yourself." I don't have time and being reminded that I don't have that time, just makes it worse. So, don't tell moms to just take a break. Because there is no break.
CR: You've been documenting your children's lives since before they were born on Instagram. Has being this out-there-in-public-with-everything stance had an impact on how you come at being a mom.
CP: Absolutely. When I became a mom the first time around, I felt like I was failing because I saw all these Instagram posts about moms having perfect makeup and hair and being so well put together. And I was a mess with leaky boobs and covered in puke from a newborn. And I was like, "How is it that I am failing so badly of this and that everyone else on Instagram seems to have it so well put together?" So I just wanted to be more honest about what my experience was. And that really resonated with a lot of people because it's hard to be a mom. It's sometimes really isolating, even when you're not going through a quarantine. And it's so easy to compare yourself to others and feel like you're doing everything wrong.
CP: And so I've gotten a lot of messages thanking me for being so honest and transparent and admitting how hard it can be. But I've also gotten a lot of hate from people being like, "You should be grateful that you're a mom." Which I am. I love my children more than life itself, but it's hard and it's especially hard right now. And sometimes I need to step outside of the house and walk to the mailbox by myself, even if it's just 15 seconds of just me in silence, that's all I need because it can be overwhelming.
HB: So I've been a follower of your Instagram, which for listeners is @Conz, the whole time. And it is wild to see Ozzie speaking so much. And it's just really delightful to hear how bilingual he is. So was that a conscious decision or just a no brainer?
CP: It was a conscious decision. I am from Argentina, so my first language is Spanish. My dad's Italian. So he grew up speaking Italian and Spanish. He didn't really talk to me in Italian. So I can understand it, but I can't speak it. And that was a big thing that I'm still angry at him for it because I would love to be able to speak another language. So we decided with my husband that he would speak to our children in English and I would speak to them in Spanish so they can have both. And also because when we go back to Argentina to visit my family and my cousin, so they can also communicate with their family in Spanish. But it is wild to see him. We sometimes can't believe how easy it is for him because he can switch between one and the other. He can come to me and ask me something. And then I say, "Go ask your dad." And he asks the same thing in English and it's fascinating. It's truly fascinating.
CR: Oh, that's amazing.
HB: I love that so much.
CR: So we've been asking all our guests this week how they plan on spending Mother's Day. How is your family celebrating?
CP: Honestly, I don't know if my husband remembers that it's Mother's Day because today he asked me what day it was of the week and he had it completely wrong. So we'll see. But we're just going to be doing the same thing that we do every day. Wake up at 6:00 AM when the twins wake up to feed them, then wake up the toddler at 8:00 AM, have family breakfast and then try to keep them entertained as much as we can. We're probably going to watch some TV so the toddler can sit and be quiet for a second. And if I get really lucky, I'm going to be the one napping at 1:30 with all the kids.
HB: Aw, fingers crossed for you.
CP: Please. I really need a nap.
CR: Well, Conz, thank you so much for joining us and Happy Mother's Day.
CP: Thank you so much.
HB: It's time for The List because if you know BuzzFeed at all, you know how much we love lists and today we've got a special Friday In Case You Missed It edition because there's been a lot happening out there that isn't Coronavirus related.
CR: Well, that sounds extremely fake, but I'm believing you on this one.
HB: Thank you for that trust. So here are five headlines that you might have missed. Number one, two men have been charged with murder in the shooting death of black jogger Ahmed Aubery. Number two, facial recognition company Clearview AI has promised to cancel all relationships with private companies. Number three, former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, admitted lying to the FBI. The Justice Department now says that doesn't matter. Number four, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos finalized new regulations that advocates say will hurt sexual assault survivors. And, number five, Venezuela said it captured two Americans during a failed coup and the backstory is incredibly wild.
CR: Okay. First of all, I want to say it's incredibly wild that all of these stories are happening while a pandemic is also happening.
HB: I know.
CR: And also, I think we all know it's truly insane that it took so long for these two men to be charged with murder. But I do want to talk about the facial recognition company, Clearview AI, because I think we have all been under the assumption that, of course, people are selling our information to private companies. And now this proof. I mean, come on.
HB: I know. So here's the thing though, Clearview AI, it's a New York based company and they had been promising that, "Nah, we're cool. We're good guys. We're only going to work with law enforcement to make sure that they're keeping you safe." Turns out, according to BuzzFeed News investigations, that really was not the case ever. And so under threats of lawsuits and a lot of scrutiny, they're saying, "Okay, fine. We will cancel all of those contracts. I guess we will do the thing and actually be a good company."
CR: Oh my God.
HB: So, I'm sorry to anyone who was hoping that you would just be able to show your face in public and get ads directed at you. First of all, that's a weird thing to hope. Second of all, Clearview AI is out of that game now.
HB: All right. So all of these stories and many, many more are available at Buzzfeednews.com or on the BuzzFeed News app.
CR:We're going to wrap the week with an addition of Rant O'Clock. But today, we're turning the floor over to a very special guest.
HB: The internet has been fighting for the last few days about a new set of pictures Adele put out to celebrate her birthday. The many, many-time Grammy winner has recently lost a lot of weight and a lot of people have feelings.
CR: We haven't talked about this yet on the show, but when we saw that Buzzfeed News culture writer, Scaachi Koul had written about it, we knew that she's the only one who could do it justice. Hello, Scaachi.
Scaachi Koul: Hi. How are you?
HB:Oh, we're doing pretty good. Okay. So Scaachi, the floor is yours for the next minute and a half. Your prompt: should anyone care that Adele lost weight? And go.
SK: Okay. First of all, I think I should consistently always have more than a minute and a half at all points for any reason, regardless of what it is. So I'm offended right off the bat. But I'm going to let it go for now. I think what's really odd about the photos is that anybody cares at all. I think she didn't say anything about how she lost the weight. I think that was probably intentional. She hasn't made any statements about whether the weight loss was for health reasons or for her own or how she did it. It does not appear that she is selling any tummy tea ads, which is a real comfort to me personally. But naturally a lot of people saw the photo and then got really excited, and they've been celebrating her and saying, "Congratulations" as if weight loss is an accomplishment larger than any of the other millions of accomplishments she's already had.
SK: And then conversely, there were a lot of people who felt kind of mournful about it and that her losing weight was a judgment call on their own bodies. And that's the tricky thing about being a public figure and having your body change, is that you don't get to own that message and you don't get to own the medium. The public does. And that is really unpleasant, really hard. And, of course, people ascribe value and meaning to it. But it still fucking sucks, and ideally, we'd be in a world where nobody gave a shit about anybody's bodies for any reason and didn't care if somebody gained or lost a pound. But unfortunately that's not where we live.
HB: Holy cow, you nailed that. That was a minute and 20 seconds, Scaachi. And you were just really like-
SK: Listen, I'm ready to be mad for 90 seconds at any point.
HB: And that's why we appreciate you. So why are we even talking about this in the first place then? I'm not even sure what prompted the internet to decide today is the day that we'd we go out there. Because this has been a minute. She's has looked like this-.
SK: Yeah, but I think because the last time we saw how she looked, it was last October. She was sitting down. The photo wasn't very clear. This was a full body shot and everybody was pooping their pants over it. I also think we're all bored and we don't know what else to talk about. And any time there's anything we can talk about that isn't about this fucking virus, everybody's all about it. I don't begrudge people looking for stuff to talk about, but I just think maybe the body of a 32-year old lady is not the one that we need to worry about. Also, she was standing in front of two giant rings of flowers and we didn't even register that. If we're looking at it, we're like, "Oh look, she's really thin." And then meanwhile, we're like, "What are these orbs of this floral arrangement and a laptop next to her?"
CR: Wait, yeah. Can we talk about the laptop? Why was the laptop there? That's my question.
SK: I don't know. I have a lot of questions. I saw it, I was like, "Wow, impressive. She put on an outfit and heels and did her makeup and her hair." I can't even get myself to brush my teeth. That is too much of a burden because I'm like, "Ah, who's near me except my husband? He sucks. That doesn't matter." So then you get over it real fast and she put on shoes. Disgusting.
HB: Do you feel any better after getting your rant out? Do you feel any-
HB: No, 0% better?
SK: No, I have not felt better since the late nineties. So I don't think it's going to start now.
HB: Well Scaachi, thank you so much for sharing your rant with us. And if people want to go and read the full piece they can do so at BuzzFeedNews.com.
SK: Thanks guys.
HB: All right. Folks out there, do you have a topic that you think is worthy of a Rant O'Clock? Give us your suggestions. Send an email to newsoclock all one word at buzzfeed.com, and you can either write down your brilliant opinion or even better, record it as a voice memo and send it to us. That's email@example.com or DMS on Twitter. We're also @newsoclock there.
CR: All right, that's it for today. Join us next week when we're rested, rejuvenated, and somehow still utterly unprepared for whatever the week will throw at us.
HB: And remember, like your mom, your stockpile of quarantine canned beans is always going to be there for you.
CR: News O'Clock is produced by Dan Bauza, Alan Haburchak and Silvia Obell.
HB: Special thanks to Tracey Eyers, [Monash 00:26:26], Samantha Henig and Patrick McMenamin.
CR: Be sure to subscribe to News O'Clock on the iHeartRadio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you go for your sound stories.
HB: And please take the time to leave us a rating and a review to helps us figure out what you like about the show, what you love about the show. And tell all your friends about us. They'll be super grateful. I promise. Then, set your alarm so you never miss an episode of News O'Clock.