The Destruction of Others
A cancelled teen prompts backlash on Twitter, but the Smoke 'Em gals see a cautionary tale of our current bloodlust. Also: why feminism is falling out of favor, online dating, and the magic of popsicles
Did you know we’ve started “Smokeshow Specials” for subscribers to answer your burning questions? We’re just getting started. Sarah sings the praises of Nancy’s recent articles, which leads to a riff on dads and daughters at the movies, how to protect tender things, and the wisdom of Nancy’s late father-in-law’s M.O.: “Do it, then talk about it.”
Episode 21's main course is a discussion of the controversial New York magazine cover story about a 17-year-old who shared a nude photo of his girlfriend and then watched his world fall apart. Elizabeth Weil’s article is a “primal scream” about teenagers who are not OK, but Twitter has been in “primal scream” mode over why that story isn’t OK either. Nancy and Sarah beg to disagree. Can anything save us from our bloodlust for suffering? Nancy gets feisty on a cultural addiction to seeing people taken down.
“They are trying to fill themselves up with the destruction of others,” she says.
We also talk about how feminism fell out of fashion, and the ways the movement is prone to “cycles of matricide,” as Michelle Goldberg says in the NYT. The in-fighting and ideological nit-picking may be why 46 percent of Democratic men under 50 agree with the statement, “Feminism has done more harm than good.” But what do we mean when we say “feminism”? The answers are all over the map, in the culture, and our own lives. We end with a discussion of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In manifesto (the most purchased, least read book of 2013?) and the “crackling hellfire of C-suite America.” Glad we aren’t there.