Bat Signals Transcript

Carrie Gillon
Hi, and welcome to the Vocal Fries Podcast, the podcast about linguistic discrimination.

Megan Figueroa
I’m Megan Figueroa.

Carrie Gillon
And I’m Carrie Gillon. And today is our spooooky Halloween episode.

Megan Figueroa
Which is really also like a brain break for us and for everyone.

Carrie Gillon
Well, kind of because we are going to talk about real science but

Megan Figueroa
That’s true.

Carrie Gillon
It’s science that’s outside of our area of expertise. So…

Megan Figueroa
Although, science feels like a brain break from like the world.

Carrie Gillon
Well, that’s true.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. The science at least.

Carrie Gillon
Yes. But it’s not intellectually a break really.

Megan Figueroa
Right, no, no.

Carrie Gillon
And I can’t really judge judge it because I don’t have the credentials and skill set.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, that’s okay. You know, we’ll just talk about things like we know what we’re talking about. Because..

Carrie Gillon
wWll, I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna- we’re just gonna present it. And then people can say, You know what, actually, they did that wrong. Here’s why. And we’ll talk about it.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So feel free to tell us that the study that we’re talking about is wrong.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Doesn’t affect us.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, no.

Carrie Gillon
No skin off our back.

Megan Figueroa
Right. It’ll just be like, Oh, wow, this is the first time we’ve ever been wrong, thanks. [both laugh]

Carrie Gillon
Very first time ever in our lives.

Megan Figueroa
Yes. Never been wrong before.

Carrie Gillon
But before we get to that, I would like to thank our three newest patrons. So we have Joseph Gilbert, Brett C. Nelson, and Catherine S. Flowers. So thank you to you three.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, thank you so much!

Carrie Gillon
For supporting us, and they’re at the $5 level. So that means that they get access to our bonus.

Megan Figueroa
Bonus! Which are lots of fun because we have no rules. We just talk.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, they’re more loosey goosey.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, as if we any rules in the other one.

Carrie Gillon
It’s true.

Megan Figueroa
I mean, there’s a structure. Kind of.

Carrie Gillon
Bit more of a structure, yeah, usually.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
This one I guess is kind of more like the bonus and that we’re not gonna have as much of a structure because we don’t have a guest, it’s just the two of us.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And it’ll be longer.

Megan Figueroa
And we do have a couple of upcoming episodes where it’s just gonna be you and me. So that’s interesting. But that’s…

Carrie Gillon
True, yeah.

Megan Figueroa
They will be related to linguistic discrimination and not just Halloween.

Carrie Gillon
Yes, yes. Oh, yeah. And I don’t think I actually think Becks Raymond. She started at the $1 level, and then went up to six, which is really sweet.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, thank.

Carrie Gillon
Which is very nice of you. So we should thank you.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Because, you know.

Megan Figueroa
Yes, thank you.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, that’s exciting. And you also, if you’re at the three or five you get a sticker. So, if you want a sticker?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, yes.

Carrie Gillon
You could join us up patreon.com/vocalfriespod. And if you ever want to email us, we’re also vocalfriespod@gmail.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. If you ever want to tweet at us dogs eating french fries that’s all for it.

Carrie Gillon
Or humans eating french fries or– ooh– or bats! Bats eating french fries! I don’t know if thatt’s really healthy for them.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, I know. I mean, it’s not healthy for dogs, but it’s a quick little treats. Anyway.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. So that’s what we’re talking about today is bats. Because Halloween. Specifically bat communication. But before we get to that, when I was Googling for bat communication, I found something through– I hate to say it– but one of the Russian propaganda outlets.

Megan Figueroa
Ok, no.

Carrie Gillon
But it turns out to be like true. So there’s this Sacramento County news release from late last month about rabies positive bats.

Megan Figueroa
Oh no.

Carrie Gillon
So public health search continues for others who possibly handled bat and I don’t know why that makes me laugh because it’s also very scary. And if it was me, I’d be mad that people were laughing at me, but. Possibly handled bat.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, well, because it’s the rabies– the shot sequence isn’t great.

Carrie Gillon
Oh, no, it really– it’s horrible.

Megan Figueroa
It’s pretty terrible. Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. So if you- if you do get bitten by anything, any animal with rabies…

Megan Figueroa
By bat.

Carrie Gillon
By bat, dog, anything. Raccoon. I mean, they’re like, lots of ways that you can get bitten. It- I’m sorry. That was that must be really, really horrible. Yeah. So get better.

Megan Figueroa
Russian propaganda machines on tictoc are spreading.

Carrie Gillon
They’re not always talking about things that are in their best interest. Like, this is not– this is irrelevant, right? But it’s a way of making them seem more legitimate.

Megan Figueroa
That makes sense.

Carrie Gillon
So- so not everything that RT does or Sputnik does is, you know.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Propaganda it, but they’re building up their cred.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So that’s why I was like why did I click on this link?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
But then I was like, Oh, they have the actual press release. I’ll just go to that.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And I’ll feel less dirty.

Megan Figueroa
Was it through Facebook?

Carrie Gillon
No, no.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, right. Okay, okay. I was just like, god, Facebook, get your shit together.

Carrie Gillon
Speaking of Facebook. I don’t think this has ever happened to me before. But yesterday I posted something from someone else. I think it was like the Maricopa county election recorder.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
I think anyway, it was somebody legitimate posted about hey, tomorrow is the last day that you can register to vote in Arizona, so I reposted it. And my mother asked why can’t you just register today– on the day of the election which you can in Canada?

Megan Figueroa
Voter repression. Wait, sorry, voter suppression.

Carrie Gillon
Suppression.

Megan Figueroa
Suppression, repression, yeah, all of it.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, both. But so that’s exactly what I said.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And I don’t know if it’s because I said that. But it got deleted. Facebook deleted it. Yeah. Never happened to me as far as I know before. And it wasn’t something like spammy.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
It was just hey, Americans. Well actually Arizonans, if you can, register!

Megan Figueroa
It deleted the whole post, not just using voter suppression?

Carrie Gillon
No, the whole thing. It’d be even weirder if it deleted my comment, I think.

Megan Figueroa
But it probably deleted the whole thing because of your comment.

Carrie Gillon
Well, I don’t, I mean, I don’t actually know that. I don’t know what happened. But that’s the only thing I can think of. I guess the other thing could be that the person who originally posted it might have deleted it. So then, mine would delete too maybe. I don’t, but I don’t think that they would do that.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Especially if I’m writing it was the elections guy.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Adrian Fontas.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Anyway, so I’m a little bit mad about that.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
I’m weirded out.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. I’m still surprised. I’ve never been like, silenced yet on any of the platforms. I say some. Shit.

Carrie Gillon
Well, you might not know.

Megan Figueroa
That’s true.

Carrie Gillon
Because like, the only reason why I knew was because my mother had liked one of my comments. I think.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, you went back to it?

Carrie Gillon
And I tried to go back to it. I think she may have also commented again. And so yeah, so I was getting the notifications for that. But the post had disappeared.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So I mean, if they had done it and– before my mom had a chance to do that, I may never have known.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Well, that’s a good point, we’re recording today on the last day to register in Arizona. So we can’t say anything about that. But we’re wrapping up to vote here in America. So everyone needs to vote that can vote.

Carrie Gillon
Yes. And that’s true in all countries. I just want to point out. Every country if you can vote, please.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, yeah, definitely. And now I’m all upset about voter disenfranchisement. Okay, anyway, no, bats! Let’s talk about bats.

Carrie Gillon
I’m also upset about that among other things, but yes. Ok, bats, bats, bats, bats, bats, bats, bats. Okay, so, this study was published back in the end of 2016. But for some reason, last month, some outlets were talking about it. So I don’t know why it took over a year and a half to get into the news.

Megan Figueroa
It’s because it’s really hard to read science articles. Maybe we should be better at outreach.

Carrie Gillon
Well, we definitely should be and that’s what we’re doing, but… And any bat scientists, I bet there’s a better word for it.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, no, I was gonna ask you, what is a bat scientist called? Hold on I’ll look…

Carrie Gillon
I don’t know.

Megan Figueroa
You keep talking, and I’ll look it up.

Carrie Gillon
Good. Well, I kind of like bat scientist. If I were a bat scientist, I would just call myself a bat scientist. Even if there’s a better, more Latin term. Anyway, so we’re talking about an old study– well, you know, old-ish study– It’s called “Every day bat vocalizations contain information about emitter, addressee, context, and behavior.”

Megan Figueroa
We have those in…

Carrie Gillon
I mean, it sounds like a linguistics paper.

Megan Figueroa
I know.

Carrie Gillon
And I hope I pronounce the names correctly, and I apologize if I mess them up. Yosef Prat, Mor Taub, and Yossi Yovel are the authors.

Megan Figueroa
Does it say like what kind of department they’re in?

Carrie Gillon
Not in the Nature article.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, okay. I’m just like wondering what kind of departments bat scientists are in.

Carrie Gillon
Some kind of biology. I think. Or, or… Yeah. Biology, right? Oh, dear.

Megan Figueroa
Wow. Really what we’re just showing everyone is that you know, sometimes you’re good at one thing. And you don’t know about others.

Carrie Gillon
Yes.

Megan Figueroa
Okay. There doesn’t seem to be a word for bat scientist by the way.

Carrie Gillon
That’s good. Because bat scientist is pretty hot.

Megan Figueroa
It is. Maybe I should go get another PhD.

Carrie Gillon
Don’t do that. But, but I do understand the impetus. I– every once in a while, I’m like, ooh, I should do this. And I’m like, no, no more education. You’re done.

Megan Figueroa
I know. I’m like, why don’t I study how dogs communicate? Because then dogs come into the lab. But anyway.

Carrie Gillon
That’s true.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. That’d be fun. Okay. So I’m just gonna read their abstract because I think… Well, we’ll see. At least part of it, I think, is interesting. So, animal vocal communication is often diverse and structured. That’s true. It’s less- it’s less diverse and less structured than human communication.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
Or especially- especially the language part of our communication. But, yes, it is.

Megan Figueroa
Right. Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Yet the information concealed an animal vocalizations remains elusive. It’s true,

Megan Figueroa
Because.

Carrie Gillon
It’s very true.

Megan Figueroa
It’s really hard. To get bats to talk to you.

Carrie Gillon
Apparently not. [bat noises]

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, oh yeah, let’s see.

Carrie Gillon
They chatter a lot. Oh, and this kinda reminds me, I meant to look this up too, but prarie dogs. There’s also some research on prarie dogs. And they do a lot of chattering.

Megan Figueroa
They do! Like I know, but.

Carrie Gillon
No, they do.

Megan Figueroa
From what I can– from what I can glean from my…

Carrie Gillon
And actually, that study– which we’ll post it– was interesting because they claimed that- that they had different calls for like wolves versus like German Shepard which looks a lot like a wolf. [wolf howl] Which I- I kinda believe that that’s possible. I think, again I can’t really evaluate the study properly. But, Alright. “Several studies show that animal calls can give information about their emitter and the context.” Yes. Obviously, the animals are going to make noises or- or create signals like ants create chemical signals, because they want to say something. They have some of that message to give.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
Of course it’s going to be about the emitter and also the contex. “Often these studies focus on different types of calls, as it’s rarely possible to probe an entire vocal repertoire at once.” That’s absolutely true. Same with the prarie dogs. There are at least two types of noises that they they make, and one of them, they just ignored because it was too complicated or something. “In this study, we continuously monitored Egyptian Fruit Bats for months, recording audio and video around the clock.” That is so much data. You guys, well done.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
“We analyzed almost 15,000 vocalizations, which accompanied the everyday interactions of the bats and were all directed towards specific individuals rather than broadcasts.” So they’re actually like they have adressees, as they say in the title.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Calling at individuals. “We found that bat vocalizations carry ample information about the identity of the emitter, the contex of the call, the behavioral response of the call, and even the call’s adressee. Our results underlined the importance of studying the mundane, directed, vocal interactions of animals.” Like, really cool!

Megan Figueroa
Oh my god, I totally believe everything. I just looked up a picture of them and one of them is giving me this side-eye, so I can tell that this one has a lot to say. And it knows who they want to say it to. Oh my god, look at them with their little wings. They’re so…

Carrie Gillon
Yes. I mean, I think bats are so cute. Like, I get why people are afraid of them but I also kinda don’t get it.

Megan Figueroa
Well, they look pretty scary.

Carrie Gillon
Unless they’re like in your hair.

Megan Figueroa
Well, yes.

Carrie Gillon
That’s true, they do look kinda pteradactyl-ish. Except with cute- cuter faces.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. And they- eat fruit. Come on.

Carrie Gillon
Well, some of them do.

Megan Figueroa
Well, I’m guessing the Egyptian Fruit Bat does.

Carrie Gillon
I guess so? They’re not always accurately named, but I think that’s true in this case? Bats are also really important pollinators.

Megan Figueroa
That makes sense.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. So certain cactuses I think are mostly pollinated by bats.

Megan Figueroa
Wow. What?

Carrie Gillon
I think. I could be wrong about that. Feel free to tell me I’m wrong. But I’m pretty sure that’s true.

Megan Figueroa
Diet. Fruit bats are… they do eat fruit. Just to say.

Carrie Gillon
Well, you know the vampire bats are not vampires, you know.

Megan Figueroa
Yes, that is in…

Carrie Gillon
That’s why I’m always a little suspcious of the names. I’m like, they could be that they’re descriptive, but they’re not always descriptive. But it’s good to know that these ones are. Anway, so they have different kinds of calls. They have mating calls which males produce, isolation calls when, you know, the babies are left alone.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, I thought it was like leave me alone.

Carrie Gillon
No, no, no, no, no. The opposite. They’re like, oh I’m alone. Come to me mama.

Megan Figueroa
Oh because I would be like leave me the fuck alone. Here’s my isolation call.

Carrie Gillon
Your also an adult.

Megan Figueroa
That’s true.

Carrie Gillon
These are babies. Babies usually want to be with their mother. They’re seclusion distress calls. So when they’re adults who are distressed, and they don’t– there’s no one else around them, they’ll say hey, come help me. They have the echolocation clicks, which is how they find their like prey. So if they’re looking for flies or insects, they use echolocation. So I think fruit backs also eat insects. There are aggression calls and apparently this is the most common thing. So everyday squabbles between pairs of bats, they use the aggression calls. So they are very angry animals. Isn’t that like the most adorable thing? I’m sorry bats, I should be taking you more seriously.

Megan Figueroa
You– listen, listen. You don’t owe them anything.

Carrie Gillon
Well, I know. But I felt a little condescending as I was saying it so…

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. It’s true.

Carrie Gillon
I know they don’t give a shit.

Megan Figueroa
I mean, who knows what our laughter sounds like to them. It could be an aggression call.

Carrie Gillon
Mm. Maybe. Maybe. Yeah, so those are the different types. So apparently, there’s a lot of complaining that’s how at least the news was talking about it– the media talking about it. Like, they’re just complaining at each other. I think that’s the aggression calls. They were interpreting them as complaints?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Which I think is definitely anthropomorphizing but… Maybe it’s not wrong, I’m not sure. So the paper uses the word quarreling or quarrels, so, it’s not that far from quarrel to complaining I guess. Yeah, so apparently, they fight a lot.

Megan Figueroa
Oh my gosh. Does the– I wonder so this is Nature reporting on it. I wonder if the original article has supplementary materials, and it has the audio. We’ll look for it and maybe we can include it. I– it might.

Carrie Gillon
Okay, there is. Suplementary information accompanies this paper at http://www.Nature.com/srep.

Megan Figueroa
S R E P. Oh.

Carrie Gillon
Srep. So, yeah we’ll site– we’ll post the paper and also the supplementary information in case people want to like check it out and. I just– I think this is so fun, and I think we need more… They’re right, there might be more articles on different kinds of animal communication because we really don’t know that much.

Megan Figueroa
So it gives you a greater appreciation for the animals and also for human language.

Carrie Gillon
Yes.

Megan Figueroa
Both are pretty remarkable. And it’s- it helps you to understand how remarkable each one is when you understand more about both so.

Carrie Gillon
Yes, and I think it helps us understand, like just how complex all communication can be, but like human communication is just a different level. Qualitatively and quantitatively.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, it’s a lot to do with our physiology, right?

Carrie Gillon
I mean, yes, that part of it. Like our mouth can create all kinds of sounds that, you know, our closest cousins, the chimpanzees and bonobos can’t. Or bonobos. I never know how to pronounce that word.

Megan Figueroa
I think it’s bonobos. Or at least…

Carrie Gillon
I’ve heard both.

Megan Figueroa
You know they had a bunch of research assistants looking at them– all of that video.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, so they had to like make sure they knew which bat was actually making the signal. Like acutally, you know, yelling.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And so, this is how they say it. An emitter bat was recognized by it’s mouth movements. And they had to use two or three cameras to make sure that that really was the bat that was screaming.

Megan Figueroa
I mean, did the bats all consent to all these cameras?

Carrie Gillon
Mmm. No.

Megan Figueroa
Those poor little guys.

Carrie Gillon
I mean, would you rather be watched or be eaten?

Megan Figueroa
Oh. Good point. Yeah. [both laugh]

Carrie Gillon
I– And also they’re– I think– I’m pretty sure– oh no, they’re in cages. Yes, I guess this would be really hard to do a bat study in an actual cave.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, yeah. How would you?

Carrie Gillon
But that would make me feel more comfortable.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. There’s no way to like– tracking them would be impossible. I guess not, I mean they go back there but, I don’t know.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, you can put a tracker on them. Like that’s what they do for like birds and stuff. They track them.

Megan Figueroa
That’s true.

Carrie Gillon
Yes.

Megan Figueroa
That’s true. Good point. But, cage is so much easier.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Sadly.

Carrie Gillon
Sadly. Yeah, I hope they were allowed to fly out of the cage sometimes.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Anyway, I don’t want to think about that part.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, no. We’re not talking about bat politications.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, so they were all marked with a collar with a reflective disk, so they could actually tell which one is which. This must have been really hard.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
You know like, like I always think that what we do– like we’re linguistic research is hard but, you know in some ways, it’s a lot easier.

Megan Figueroa
Now, listen to me right now. I work with babies.

Babies are harder. They are definately harder than other humanoids.

They are hard, although, I get it. I think bats might be a little more difficult than babies.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, cuz at least there’s one baby at a time.

Megan Figueroa
That’s true.

Carrie Gillon
You don’t have to like have all these cameras to make sure you know which baby is the one crying.

Megan Figueroa
That’s true. That’s true. Oh my gosh that sounds like a nightmare. Like that’s basically like preschool or pre-k like daycare. Shout out to all the educaters out there. Doing the work.

Carrie Gillon
Oh my god, Especially- especially with the really young ones like they’re adorable at that age but also wow.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Oh my gosh.

Carrie Gillon
And also, on mass. One or two children?

Megan Figueroa
I know.

Carrie Gillon
Fine. The more there are, the more I’m like, Oh.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
How? How, how would you do this?

Megan Figueroa
Think of all the vocalizations! Aka crying.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. Mostly crying.

Megan Figueroa
Mostly crying, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So apparently, one of the things that is the most surprising about this paper is that they’re actually, you know, communicating at individuals. I mean, okay, so like baby cries are always directed towards their mother, or often directored towards their mother. So that part maybe is less surprising, right? Like you would expect a baby animal to cry for their mother, but the other stuff is apparently– mostly directed at individuals or maybe always directed at individuals. And that’s surprising because we think of animals many, in many instances, or at least, the community– the scientific community often thinks of animal communication as being more group oriented. Like, hey there’s a snake over there.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
Let’s run rather than hey you, I want to fight you.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
Although there are some other cases obviously. Dolphins have– apparently have– apparently have addressee specific calls, as they say. So. You know.

Megan Figueroa
Well dolphins are geniuses.

Carrie Gillon
They’re very smart. Definitely very smart. And…

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, I don’t think– we definately don’t know everything about their comunication system.

Megan Figueroa
No.

Carrie Gillon
I mean, we don’t even know everything about human communication systems.

Megan Figueroa
I know. That’s why I have babies with sticky fingers coming into the lab every week. Still trying to figure it out.

Carrie Gillon
And apparently also primates– when primates make their calls sometimes– at least sometimes, it depends on who their audience is. Which makes sense of course. There are, you know, we’re primates, they’re, you know. We expect them to have somewhat more similar communication systems than other animals perhaps. So. But it’s still apparently this has– we didn’t know this about bats or many other animals.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. I’m still guessing that wolves, dogs they must be very pack oriented. Like their calls.

Carrie Gillon
So apparently, wolves are less pack oriented than we think. It’s more like a family unit.

Megan Figueroa
Ok. That makes sense.

Carrie Gillon
And so like, you know, all this alpha- alpha male bullshit.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, the lone wolf thing? Is that what we’re talking about?

Carrie Gillon
Not the lone wolf but like there’s like the Alpha leader of the pack, and then all these Beta wolves. But that all comes from lab experiments in wolves, but in the wild, it’s not how it works at all.

Megan Figueroa
Ok.

Carrie Gillon
So it’s all because we put them in this really artificial environment. And that’s when this weird behavior started arising. But, so this whole notion of alpha males is bullshit, even if it were true of wolves, it would be bullshit because we are not wolves but it’s extra bullshit…

Megan Figueroa
Because it’s not true. Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
The experiment was based on like a lab– like them being in a lab which is not at all how they live.

Megan Figueroa
No. That’s a really big point about science too is like how artificial is the setting that we put- that we’ve created.

Carrie Gillon
Right, right. So, I mean, some of the arguments you might be able to make about this bat study is like, Well, maybe it’s different in like nature, but they don’t seem to be saying anything totally insane. So I don’t– my suspicion is maybe there’s more calls if you look at them in nature, but we’re not gonna be– The- These are not gonna be wrong outright.

Megan Figueroa
Although they may not be so aggressive. If they weren’t in a cage.

Carrie Gillon
Right.

Megan Figueroa
Maybe that’s why they’re fighting all the time.

Carrie Gillon
That is- that is possibly true, but have you ever been in a cave with bats?

Megan Figueroa
No.

Carrie Gillon
They do yell at each other a lot. [bat noises] Ok, I didn’t know they were yelling at each other but now I understand that’s what they’re doing. Like they– there’s a lot of noise.

Megan Figueroa
Oh. Ok. And a lot- a lot of pooping.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. A lot of guano. I’ve never– I don’t think I’ve ever been shat on by a bat.

Megan Figueroa
You know, just put it right there on the bucket list. Bats are awesome– why? So we just like associate bats with like Halloween and spooky things because like Dracula? [Dracula noises]

Carrie Gillon
That’s a good question. I don’t actually know.

Megan Figueroa
It has to be dracula.

Carrie Gillon
Let me speculate.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Speculate. Please speculate wildely. Wildly… and widely.

Carrie Gillon
So why is Dracula associated with bats in the first place? I think because we– a lot of people think bats are creepy.

Megan Figueroa
And so they think they’re bloodsuckers, right? Like they’re like…

Carrie Gillon
Yes. Right. The vampire bat thing like that’s because they think they suck blood

Megan Figueroa
Because they’re creepy because they look

Carrie Gillon
Because they’re creepy.

Megan Figueroa
They look like something from another world. These- these weird wings. These little fingers.

Carrie Gillon
I mean, they’re not pretty like bird– Yeah. I mean, they’re rodents with wings. I mean, that is kind of weird.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So, I don’t know. I think probably. Yes, Halloween is probably– the fact that it’s associated with Halloween is probably associated with the fact that they’re associated with Dracula, but I think that the creepiness goes further back than that. But, you know, again, let us know if I’m wrong.

Megan Figueroa
But also like they probably spread a lot of disease, right. So like, people were like, Fuck these things. Gosh.

Carrie Gillon
That might– I wonder if that’s true. I know rats do. So why not bats?

Megan Figueroa
I guess I just assume because I’m like flying rodent, Wow. They’re gonna spread lots of disease and they’re gonna fly doing it.

Carrie Gillon
I don’t know if it’s true. So rats definitely do but I think it’s because they would get into the grain supplies and so they would infect the grain. Yeah, I don’t know. There. It’s- it’s a good- it’s a good possibility.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Well, I hope that a bat scientist listens to our show.

Carrie Gillon
If they can, they’re like, no.

Megan Figueroa
Here are all the things that are wrong with what you said.

Carrie Gillon
And for once, I won’t mind being contradicted because I’m like, I don’t really know.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Whereas when someone is like, actually, vocal fry is horrible.

Megan Figueroa
I know. I’m like, Oh, Okay,

Carrie Gillon
I’m like, why are you contradicting me on this? Out of all the things.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, we talk about a lot of science on this show, and that’s never contradicted. It’s always the- it’s people wanting to go back to vocal fry or…

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, which again, science we did talk about the science of that like how it’s–

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Created but also like, how it’s just a thing we can do– everyone can do. And it’s a social thing. Not a– like how can you just say vocal fries it’s just bad? Like I–

Megan Figueroa
I know.

Carrie Gillon
It’s because they’re told over and over and over again that it’s an acceptable thing to say.

Megan Figueroa
Well, it’s true. And the same thing goes for being like a quote unquote grammerian that’s the thing that’s going to be hard to get rid of, too.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, that’s another thing that people wanted that seems to be like, not wanting to like go over be a little bit angry about is like being told that like fixing your in your is not like totally cool. A.) making a typo says nothing about your intelligence so stop. But b.) pointing it out doesn’t actually make you look all that great.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Just makes you look like an asshole.

Megan Figueroa
It does. Oh, I was listening to a feminist podcast that I’m subtweeting words right now. That someone was like

Carrie Gillon
Subpod?

Megan Figueroa
I like it. Wow. Okay, so subpodding. But yeah, this- this person was like really angry about the passive voice and said,

Carrie Gillon
Oh my God!

Megan Figueroa
And said to stop using it. And then they said not only is it ungrammatical…

Carrie Gillon
What?! What?

Megan Figueroa
But I also mark my students off, or I also give my students F’s when they use it.

Carrie Gillon
F’s?

Megan Figueroa
Okay, this person. I don’t know if they really mean it, but marking off is bad enough, but it’s really they’re like markdown to an app immediately for passive voice, which is not ungrammatical.

Carrie Gillon
A.) it’s not a grammatical B.) Sometimes it is actually the better way to talk about it.

Megan Figueroa
Yes.

Carrie Gillon
Like if I want to say I was hit by a car as opposed to the car hit me. That’s fine.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Like there’s no difference. Actually, I think I was hit by a car is actually better.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Than the car hit me.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Because I’m putting myself first because it is affecting me more.

Megan Figueroa
Exactly.

Carrie Gillon
Than the car.

Megan Figueroa
This is kind of like with our discussion with Santiago about like communicative intent kind of thing, like both ways are- are like– find a way to say it because, you know, we understand what you’re saying either way, but we’re trying to make a point. Sometimes when we use the passive voice over the active voice or whatever.

Carrie Gillon
Right. Right. So I do want to say that sometimes the passive voice is bad because it’s sneaky. Right?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Like mistakes were made. By who?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Yeah. No it’s going to be sneaky and assholey for sure.

Carrie Gillon
Like you’re just trying to sweep things under the carpet. So there are times when it is 100% bad and sometimes also when you use the passive, it just like it’s a little bit more convoluted, but not always.

Megan Figueroa
But and it’s never ungrammatical.

Carrie Gillon
It’s never ungrammatical.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
That is like the, you know, we need to say something to this person. I don’t think we should just subpod.

Megan Figueroa
Really?

Carrie Gillon
I think we have to, we’re linguists, it’s our expertise.

Megan Figueroa
Okay. I was wondering about it last night I was like working out, you know, like the first time I’m like, Okay, this– I’m gonna listen to this because it’s gonna get me revved up and I was like, God damn it, and I had to like, stop it. And I was like, am I– what am I going like bananas over this so ridiculous. I was so mad.

Carrie Gillon
I think we should write something.

Megan Figueroa
Okay.

Carrie Gillon
Is there anything else we want to talk about bats or the other Halloweeny things?

Megan Figueroa
Well, I’m just– I love Halloween, but also try, Okay, so don’t be an asshole. This is important. Don’t fuckin like– watch your costumes, but also say–

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Like, watch your accents your mock accents too like.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, yeah, the accent thing is it’s kind of tough because it’s not always mocking and it’s not always bad.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
It can be, very easily.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, like, especially if you’re a white person. Yeah. It’s like one of those things like you need to stop and think. What am I doing here?

Carrie Gillon
But yeah, I definitely, definitely am like, can we stop with the Pocahontas outfits?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
It’s really both racist and sexist at the same time. So…

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
If all you care about is sexism. Can you not?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, exactly.

Carrie Gillon
For that reason? I know we’re probably preaching to the choir, but…

Megan Figueroa
It’s true.

Carrie Gillon
But there are other racialized costumes that are also problematic. It’s just that that one– it never goes away and people– like so for example, earlier this year, someone actually a local company to Phoenix. I think it’s Yandy or something? They made a costume that was a sexy Handmaid’s Tale, and honestly, I actually thought it was really funny.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
It did not offend me at all because I’m kind of a little bit evil. But like, anyway, so I, I was just laughing and I understood why people were upset and it’s fine. Like if you found it offensive. Absolutely. That is, you’re– it’s fine.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And they took it down. They stopped selling it.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, wow.

Carrie Gillon
But have they stopped selling the Pocahontas ones?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
No. And so it was like this– Like, why is it only when it affects white women?

Megan Figueroa
Right? Yeah, It’s like- it’s a white feminism costume fix. I don’t know. Yeah, it’s definitely white- white feminism interesting.

Carrie Gillon
And I’m way more offended by the Pocahontas thing.

Megan Figueroa
Oh yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Even though I’m a white woman.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
Way more.

Megan Figueroa
Well, we all should be.

Carrie Gillon
I know we should be but you know, but like The Handmaid’s Tale one, I just like, I don’t know. I don’t know why makes me laugh so much.

Megan Figueroa
Because it’s like, it actually feels like great satire, like.

Carrie Gillon
Right! Or at least you could make it into satire. Like there’s no way to make it like, actually kind of work.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
In my opinion.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Obviously.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Not– you never– you don’t have to agree with me like, it’s totally fine. I get why people are upset.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
But.

Megan Figueroa
No, no, I think that’s funny. Like I wouldn’t think it was funny if you’re like, here’s a sexy Planned Parenthood worker costume. Like suddenly that feels weird.

Carrie Gillon
That is weird.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
I guess it would just look like a sezy nurse or something. Right?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, I guess it goes back to that. It really does. Because what is it that makes you Planned Parenthood worker besides maybe like your- your labor– name tag has Planned Parenthood on there?

Carrie Gillon
But yeah, ’cause I like think you would be wearing scrubs right? Like most of them would be?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, you’re a doctor, you’re a nurse, you’re a–.

Carrie Gillon
Sexy scrubs.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Oh my god. I don’t know. Halloween can be so much fun. So don’t be an asshole about it.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, let’s try to make it at least somewhat less fraught.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Just a little bit. Yeah. Just enjoy yourself in a way that doesn’t hurt other people, which is basically how you should try to live your life in my opinion, like.

Megan Figueroa
Exactly. But also yes, Dia de Los Muertos is not Halloween, Mexican Halloween. Or like, Latinx Halloween or whatever. Do not dress up as your interpretation of Calaveras for Halloween. Because you think that…

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
I don’t know. It’s- it’s so complicated. It’s so offensive. It’s cool if you, I don’t know it. I’ve seen people talking about it on on Twitter, like, is it okay if we use like the skull makeup for Dia de Los Muertos if we’re not like Mexican or such and such. And it’s like if you’re coming from a place of respect, right? But so many people aren’t.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, yeah, and I think it does look worse on Halloween because then it just looks like you don’t know what you’re talking about. Whereas if you’re doing it on the actual day of the dead right, then, unless I have a reason not to give you the benefit of doubt, I’ll probably just give you the benefit of the doubt. I know it’s not my place to but.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, yeah. It’s like as long as you’re not wearing a shirt that says lock her up at the same time, probably like, ok?

Carrie Gillon
Can you imagine? I bet it does happen though.

Megan Figueroa
Somewhere that’s happened at some time, surely not just in my imagination and nightmares. So next, we have some couple things coming up on the docket. We’ll have a listener question episode. That’ll be fun. We’re gonna record it in person together.

Carrie Gillon
Yay. But unfortunately, by the time you hear this, we have are– will have already recorded it. So yes, so but if you want to listen to an episode of us being interviewed by someone–

Megan Figueroa
Oh yeah yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Cappetta did an episode with us.

Megan Figueroa
The New Jersey guy.

Carrie Gillon
The New Jersey guy so if you are still mad about the Central Jersey thing.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
He apologizes for it on this episode. So…

Megan Figueroa
Yes.

Carrie Gillon
Or on the most recent release as of right now the most recent episode of Lou Capetta’s show so check that out.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah it’s always fun to talk to Lou. Yeah. And you know, in two weeks, we’ll be back at it with telling you not to be an asshole about something.

Carrie Gillon
Yes, yeah. And, you know, we’re always looking for guests. So if you have a particular thing that you’re interested in, you want to talk to us about as long as it has linguistic discrimination element.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Hit us up.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, definitely. I mean, not all of the guests are people that we approach. Some people approached us so.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Please do.

Carrie Gillon
Yes, absolutely. If it makes sense. We’ll definitely have you on.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. I’m always happy to learn from other people.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, me too, because there’s a lot of stuff that I don’t actually know or I only know very superficially.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So if you have the expertise. You can let us know.

Megan Figueroa
Yep. All right. Yeah. So don’t be an asshole.

Carrie Gillon
Still. Even after Halloween.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Especially on Halloween. I don’t know.

Carrie Gillon
Every day but.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. And goodbye.

Carrie Gillon
Bye.

[dracula song]

The Vocal Fries Podcast is produced by Chris Ayers for Halftone Audio. Theme music by Nick Granum. You can find us on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @vocalfriespod. You can email us at vocalfriespod@gmail.com.

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