Salt Fat Acid SHADE Transcript

Megan Figueroa
Hi and welcome to the Vocal Fries Podcast, the podcast about linguistic discrimination.

Carrie Gillon
I’m Carrie Gillon.

Megan Figueroa
And I’m Megan Figueroa. What are we doing today?

Carrie Gillon
Well, we’re answering listener questions.

Megan Figueroa
And we’re staring at each other.

Carrie Gillon
That is correct. We are in the same room.

Megan Figueroa
Yes.

Carrie Gillon
Which is weird, because normally we’re staring at each other through Skype.

Megan Figueroa
It’s true. It’s true. Yeah. And it’s different etiquette. So like, I’m like looking around way more than when I’m on Skype and recording.

Carrie Gillon
It’s true.

Megan Figueroa
And there’s usually another human person.

Carrie Gillon
Usually, yeah.

Megan Figueroa
So…

Carrie Gillon
Yes.

Megan Figueroa
So I try to be looking at our guests more because, you know, respect.

Carrie Gillon
It’s true. But it’s the just two of us.

Megan Figueroa
It’s just the two of us, and no respect needed. And we have listener questions that, you know, we might not get to all of them? Probably not, actually, I’m saying it that we aren’t. But we can answer some. And we’ll even try to answer ones that are way beyond our abilities.

Carrie Gillon
We’ll at least address them even if we can’t actually answer them.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. But I think, okay, well let’s just go– just go into one of them. Okay, so how can other common speaking styles past and present be described in contrast to the vocal fry many criticize? Often, it seems with a set of features in mind, not just register. For example, I noticed on TV from the 70’s and 80’s, many people talk very differently, sort of a breathier voice. But I haven’t been able to find other speaking styles like this described in any detail, compared to all that’s been written about vocal fry. I think the lack of available info on other speaking styles which go unnamed leads to the latter being treated as marked. That was two tweets. So that was– just so everyone knows.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, that was a lot. Um, okay. So, yes, there is also breathy voice, and people– I don’t know, I really don’t know if people used it more back in the day versus now?

Megan Figueroa
No.

Carrie Gillon
Let’s pretend that that’s true.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
But there was no social media at the time.

Megan Figueroa
Ooh, social media. Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
There was no– There was very little attention paid to language use beyond very prescriptive stuff. Nothing really about tone of voice or anything.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
So– So breathy voice is another modality– or another way of using your vocal cords. So there’s modal which is sort of the normal vocal fry, which is the one that gets shit on the most, breathy voice, whispering, and falsetto.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So people aren’t going to use falsetto all the time.

Megan Figueroa
No. But falsetto is like Prince, right? Just so for people that don’t really.

Carrie Gillon
Prince, Beegees. I mean, it’s usually used in singing, but you can use it outside of singing.

Megan Figueroa
Does Britney Spears use breathy voice in singing?

Carrie Gillon
Probably?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, I’m thinking. So breathy voice is using singing too.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, I think…

Megan Figueroa
So is vocal fry.

Carrie Gillon
All of the styles.

Megan Figueroa
So is whispering.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, I think everything is use– all the styles are used for different effects, obviously. But anyway, so yeah, breathy voice, if it were happening now, I think it would get shit on more. I did see someone complain that people– that women were using breathy voice and vocal fry, and I think they were misunderstanding what’s going on because I– you could technically go back and forth between breathy and vocal fry. But…

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
I don’t hear that.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, I’m trying to imagine a scenario in which you would want to do that. And I’m not imagining one.

Carrie Gillon
Right.

Megan Figueroa
I mean, maybe it, you know, when it’s scripted, and it’s on TV or something, but…

Carrie Gillon
I don’t think that’s what they’re talking about? I think they’re– I don’t remember where I got this from.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, oh, what you– you don’t mean the question.

Carrie Gillon
No, I mean, a different tweet. Someone was tweeting not at us.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
About this. And I was just, I didn’t even know how to respond. Well, how I want to just respond was it’s very unlikely they were using these two different modalities together? Like obviously, you’d have to switch back and forth. You couldn’t use them at the same time. It’s impossible. But um, but then I was like, well, maybe. Maybe there are some people doing that. But…

Megan Figueroa
I mean, I have to switch between vocal fry and whispering if I whisper. I don’t switch between vocal fry and modal.

Carrie Gillon
You do a little.

Megan Figueroa
A little.

Carrie Gillon
A little. You just you don’t notice it because…

Megan Figueroa
It’s super, I don’t mean to. Also known as subconscious or unconscious.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. So Okay, so go back to the question, because I think we only partially answered it?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, no, I’ll just to the question part, not their example. How can other common speaking styles past and present be described in contrast to the vocal fry many criticize?

Carrie Gillon
Well, I mean…

Megan Figueroa
In contrast.

Carrie Gillon
It depends on what you mean. If you just mean like modality, like the way that we use our vocal cords. There’s only five. I just described them.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. The example does talk about breathy voice. Yeah. So maybe it is modality.

Carrie Gillon
But then, that’s not that interesting, right? Why is vocal fry picked on? Well it’s because women are using it, but they’re like lots of other things that women use that have been picked on in the past. So like up talk, which is still picked on. Less so than vocal fry, but it still is. If we go back like 20 years ago, that was the main thing that was– that women were criticized for.

Megan Figueroa
Right. And that wasn’t really like a social media thing, because there’s no social media.

Carrie Gillon
Right. And there was– the internet existed, but barely. Right? I mean, it existed before that, but you know, like, not in the same way it does now.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
So I just…

Megan Figueroa
I mean it, and women, even though we’ve been set back a few decades, women have more power. I mean, there’s, you know, it’s a way to– way to take them down a notch from…

Carrie Gillon
Right. And because it’s– vocal fry is associated with authoritativeness. If women are using it, they’re- they’re taking on too much authority. So…

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
It’s that I just think it’s a consequence of events. It’s not so much vocal fry being actually special in any way, except for the fact that it used to be associated with men.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
So we’re being uppity by using it.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. It’ll be something else. And I don’t even– I was gonna say, like, 10 years, but it might even be like one year. You know, like, you never know with this stuff.

Carrie Gillon
Well, I mean, and I’ve talked about this before, I was like, although maybe not on this podcast, but the reason why it took off was because there was one study on it in 2011. One study. Well, two, but the first one is what really matters.

Megan Figueroa
That like one that got into all the Business Insider and forbes.com. And…

Carrie Gillon
Right.

Megan Figueroa
You’re not going to get a job.

Carrie Gillon
Well, okay, so actually, that’s a separate one.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, which one are you talking about?

Carrie Gillon
This one is just, hey, look, these 30- out of these 30 women at this one college?

Megan Figueroa
Oh, right. Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Most of them have vocal fry. That’s all that that study said.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
But it got turned into only young women have vocal fry.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
Which is not what the study said. And that’s not what the study had any evidence for. All it had evidence for was that it existed in some young women.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah

Carrie Gillon
Well, a majority of young women within this tiny sample. And it turns out that it’s true that lots of young women were using it and are using it, but it wasn’t it was never just young women.

Megan Figueroa
Right. And then that- the one that got picked up by like Forbes and stuff was a shitty shittily done. I don’t even want to use the word experiment. But they have their supplemental audio files, and I listened to them and they’re supposed to be files that where they’re not using vocal fry, and I’m like, this is fucking vocal fry.

Carrie Gillon
Right? Because almost everyone uses it in english anyway.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. So it’s not a- it was not a good experiment. None of them were linguists. They’re all like, they were business people and like one biologist or something.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. If you’re gonna do a linguist study, goddamn ask at least one fucking linguist.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
To be on your study.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So they can say, Ah.

Megan Figueroa
I know. Just to vocal fry back at you. Be like what?

Carrie Gillon
But the reason why that study was done was because this original study, and that’s when it blew up in the media was, they said, hey, look, we did this study. It’s going to be published in like five months.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Here’s our results. And it just got. Anyway, it just blew up. But I just don’t think that it would have blown up pre-social media.

Megan Figueroa
Right. So.

Carrie Gillon
Anyway, that’s a very long winded answer.

Megan Figueroa
To say that vocal fry isn’t special in that in–

Carrie Gillon
No.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So there’s no really compare and contrast in that sense.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Ok. Next question. Cool.

Megan Figueroa
Okay, so what about those shady private accent reduction programs advertised online that claim to eliminate accents in a matter of days slash weeks? Shady’s right.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. A) shady. Shady AF.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
B) There’s no way you could change your accent that fast ever. And C) you’re not reducing your accent, you’re just adding a new one.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, you’re like accent switching. Code switching.

Carrie Gillon
Right.

Megan Figueroa
Just, you know, just like how we register switch or whatever

Carrie Gillon
You’re just adding something to your repertoire, which in and of itself is fine.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to gain a new accent.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
It can give you- confer benefits to you. But just know that you’re not doing anything to reduce anything.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. And I mean, actors do it all the time.

Carrie Gillon
Of course.

Megan Figueroa
They do it poorly all the time. Some do it

Carrie Gillon
better than others.

Megan Figueroa
Goodly. [both laugh]

Carrie Gillon
Well, British actors tended to be better at it than American and Canadian as well because…

Megan Figueroa
Yes.

Carrie Gillon
Because they have to be because if you’re doing if you’re in a show in the UK, you could be doing someone from a different region, different class.

Megan Figueroa
I see.

Carrie Gillon
And like, yeah, it’s- you have to have a huge repertoire of accents. Whereas in the United States and Canada, as well, there’s fewer to play with. So…

Megan Figueroa
I mean, when… Okay, I knew Hugh Laurie was like British from his name. Just felt really British to me.

Carrie Gillon
I mean, yeah.

Megan Figueroa
But I didn’t know from his great American accent.

Carrie Gillon
Yes.

Megan Figueroa
But maybe it’s because of– was it from like Fry and Laurie. Maybe that’s why I knew I was like, Are you that? Are you that Laurie?

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, that he’s that Laurie

Megan Figueroa
It must have been that. But I just like knew he was British. But I was like, but I but I don’t know you’re British because that’s a great American accent.

Carrie Gillon
No, he did a very good job. Yeah. I actually knew him also from Oh, PG Woodhouse what was it called? Jeeves in West. Yes. That was my favorite.

Megan Figueroa
I love him.

Carrie Gillon
He’s so good. He’s so good at- as the dumb aristocrat. Plus, it has great jazz music from the 20s.

Megan Figueroa
Does he played on the piano?

Carrie Gillon
No, I just mean the theme.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, okay.

Carrie Gillon
He does play on the piano too.

Megan Figueroa
I know. I just really wanted our listeners to know that he also plays the piano. So Hugh Laurie’s great.

Carrie Gillon
He’s pretty good.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
It’s pretty good.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. So yeah, yeah. So they’re shady. It makes me angry when people tell you to, like, get rid of the accident, or…

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Because I as an undergrad worked at the journalism school, around a lot of people that wanted to be on TV, and there was a lot of shitting on your humanity honestly. You’re not going to meet- your hair is not going to do well, like that. And also like…

Carrie Gillon
Yearh.

Megan Figueroa
Here’s how we want you to change the way you speak kind of thing.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
So that happens a lot in news.

Carrie Gillon
Oh, yeah. So I think the media, like the TV media might be one of the most conservative places you could work in. And, yeah, the things they expect you to do to change about yourself can be quite shocking for outsiders.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And the makeup women are expected to wear.

Megan Figueroa
I know. No it’s- it’s not not a great– it doesn’t- it can’t feel good for people to tell you how to change the way you speak. I mean…

Carrie Gillon
When we- we talked to Beth Troutman about that.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, that’s true.

Carrie Gillon
She was told to talk in a different way, and she just couldn’t do it. She was like, No, this is my accent this how I want to talk so…

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
It did limit her I think in some ways but…

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, and I mean, and she’s white. So again, it’s gonna limit people.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Other people more.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, she’s white and blonde.

Megan Figueroa
Yep

Carrie Gillon
And pretty.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Which is already like…

Megan Figueroa
I think she even acknowledged that.

Carrie Gillon
Of course she did.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, yeah. So I don’t remember. God that was like that episode three. Yeah, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
No, she totally did.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Um, I’ve never been told to change my accent honestly because mine is very– if it’s called anything it’s called Californian but like…

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
What you might hear on the news, but of course, I’ve been told to get rid of my vocal fry.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
So…

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
It- It hurt me when I was a youngin. So like undergrad, but now I’m like, Are you serious?

Carrie Gillon
I know, I just… Yeah, fuck off.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Fuck off. Yeah, exactly.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, the only thing I was, I guess there were two things like uptalk, I was told to stop doing at some point. I think I was a teenager at the time. And I did. I mean, I still can use it if I want to, but I don’t use it. It’s just not part of my normal speech pattern anymore. Except there. But I used it a lot more. And then like, also, my parents were like, You shouldn’t use “like” so much. So I tried to get rid of it. And then at some point, I brought it back into my repertoire. Because I was like, this is…

Megan Figueroa
It’s such good word.

Carrie Gillon
It’s useful. I don’t use it as much as I did. Like when I was 11, my parents were like you use “like” a lot.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
I don’t use it much as I did then.

Megan Figueroa
Like is like…

Carrie Gillon
But…

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, all those shitty tools or whatever that’s like 12 in one tool, you know and like…

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, it’s it’s a Swiss army knife.

Megan Figueroa
It is. But the thing is, I feel like some of the tools are better like on a Swiss army knife and the others. Like is good and all of it’s situations. Like it is equally good of a tool in all situations or whatever.

Carrie Gillon
You know more about Swiss Army knives than I do.

Megan Figueroa
I got one of those little mini little ones and it has the most terrible toothpick. And I’m like that’s a bad toothpick.

Carrie Gillon
I wouldn’t really want to use a metal toothpick anyways.

Megan Figueroa
It’s not metal. It’s plastic.

Carrie Gillon
Oh.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, exactly.

Carrie Gillon
Okay.

Megan Figueroa
So there you go.

Carrie Gillon
Okay, like is better than a plastic toothpick? Yeah?

Megan Figueroa
Exactly, exactly. I have– Yeah. I mean, there’s a lot of… just implicit stuff that makes people want to change their accents too, so that’s– I mean, it’s not just like people advertising to you. There are really like, when people advertise that stuff, they’re really like hitting something really deep in some people.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
And.

Carrie Gillon
They’re hitting, they’re playing on insecurity, just like diet plans, you know, people’s insecurities. It’s like…

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. And I know that I, I mean, I did it somewhere along the way without even noticing, but like, I grew up with the double negative. And like all of these things that I got rid of on purpose.

Carrie Gillon
Most people do, frankly, like, okay, so I grew up in a pretty, you know, middle class white family. And even though my– my mom had to tell me not to do it, right? I think double negatives are just actually, or multiple negatives really, are actually just part of English. And like, you have to beat it out of children.

Megan Figueroa
I’m thinking, I’m thinking– not about. I’m like, Oh, I study children. What does the thing go? Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
They might be a little too young for double negatives at that age. I don’t know.

Megan Figueroa
No, they have a lot of cute negatives. Yeah, they probably have to grow out of it, now that I’m thinking of it. I, you know, study younger kids, like the negatives and stuff are coming in like little bit older.

Carrie Gillon
Exactly.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
They’re little young for it.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
All right. Next question.

Megan Figueroa
Okay, here we go. “Being that elements of the far right are centering many of their attacks on academia’s role in inclusive language movements, what do you envision as the most effective way to combat their virulent [emphasis on ent].”

Carrie Gillon
Virulent [emphasis on vir].

Megan Figueroa
Dammit. “As the most effective way to combat their…

Carrie Gillon
Virulent.

Megan Figueroa
“Virulent.” Actually, just leave it in there. Because I’m not gonna get it right. “Ways to combat their virulent disinformation campaigns.”

Carrie Gillon
That’s an excellent question, but I don’t know the answer to it.

Megan Figueroa
I would love to know the answer to it. Well, they do ask like to envision.

Carrie Gillon
Okay, but like, I really, I don’t know how to fight the alright. I mean, I might as well just say it. My brother, I consider him to be a member of it. And I couldn’t convince him otherwise.

Megan Figueroa
So this is the only time I’m glad I’m an only child.

Carrie Gillon
There are definitely advantages to having siblings. And there are also advantages to not.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
My sister is not.

Megan Figueroa
Right. Yeah. No. That I, is there any getting through to them?

Carrie Gillon
I mean, yes, there has to be, right. There’s always a way because people change their minds. I just, I’m at a loss when it comes to this. I know I’m not good at it. Because I just find– I just get angry that people see things so– like to me evilly.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, I don’t think my mental health is good enough to go up against them. ‘Cause I’m like, I– we’re so different. If you believe that someone’s humanity is less because they’re not white or because they’re poor. It’s like…

Carrie Gillon
Or a woman.

Megan Figueroa
Or a woman. Yeah, of course.

Carrie Gillon
That’s, I mean, frankly, this whole new version of this horrible racism kind of all feeds through all funnels through sexism for…

Megan Figueroa
We hate women.

Carrie Gillon
So I there’s gotta be an answer, but I just don’t know.

Megan Figueroa
You know, I’m- I’ve been reading so many books and articles on women’s anger. A lot of people seem to think that it’s just gonna take a lot of people that are all angry at the same thing.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, no, I mean.

Megan Figueroa
So.

Carrie Gillon
Absolutely. I mean, all– this does not mean– how do I say this without like, sounding like I’m asking for revolution. Well, I mean, like, the storming of the Bastille, that was driven by Roman’s anger.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, no. Exactly.

Carrie Gillon
And like yeah, if you get enough people directing their anger all at the same place, as opposed to– well, I mean, that- that’s why the alt right is winning, or maybe not winning. That’s why they’re doing so well. Because they have found a few targets: women, Muslims and Black Lives Matter. They pretend not to hate all- black people, but they do but you know, whatever. They- so they have like these really targeted people and then it kind of diffuses out into other things as well, like they’re transphobic. And…

Megan Figueroa
Of course, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Often homophobic but not always.

Megan Figueroa
I didn’t realize that Islamophobia was like a central tenant of…

Carrie Gillon
Oh, yeah.

Megan Figueroa
The alt right. Okay.

Carrie Gillon
Oh, yeah. So, again, my brother. He’s an Islamaphobe.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So it just– it’s, I don’t know.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
I don’t know what the answer is. I know that people have– the people who- who know a lot more about this shit should be the ones answering this question.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Because there are people who know how to fight this stuff.

Megan Figueroa
I mean, I mean, I don’t know whatever. From a linguistic standpoint, it’s just like, Don’t fucking use slurs against other people.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, but that’s like, they don’t they don’t give a shit about that.

Megan Figueroa
I know. I know.

Carrie Gillon
Like with- at that point, we’re definitely only preaching to the choir like…

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
We have to convince– you know what we really need to do. I think. Fuck those people the peop- members of the alt right. They will- they are reachable for- by some people, but not by us. Like, they’re not gonna listen to us. But if we can convince the media to stop talking about them in- in like, sort of kind of good ways. And stop being like, well, Antifa is just as bad. Mmmm. So we need a way to like

Megan Figueroa
You mean the there’s good people on both sides argument?

Carrie Gillon
Kind of. Yeah. Although the media is not usually as disgusting about it as Trump was. But yeah, so I think what we really need to do is get the media on board with like, calling it out for what it actually is.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And have them showing how dangerous it is. And then we might be able to peel away members or at least stop new members from joining because they might go oh, that’s toxic.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Michelle Wolf at the correspondance– White House Correspondence Center was right on when she’s basically like to the media.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
You’re happy because you’re making money. This is this is like, perfect for you.

Carrie Gillon
I– Yes. I mean, I have lots to say about that. Like, not just Michelle Wolf’s take, which is absolutely spot on, but like other shit going on.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
But that will take us too far afield. So…

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Well, so the answer is use your anger for good.

Carrie Gillon
Definitely use your anger for good but well, how is the question worded again?

Megan Figueroa
So it’s “Being the elements of the far right are centering many of their attacks on academia’s rule and inclusive language movements, what do you envision as the most effective way to combat their virulent…”

Carrie Gillon
Virulent. I mean…

Megan Figueroa
Carrie, it’s a word that I read. Not that I say.

Carrie Gillon
Well, you also must not- never hear it then either.

Megan Figueroa
I’m not hanging out with SAT words. GRE words. So academia’s role?

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, that’s the thing, like the academia- like the academia’s role part is what I’m tripping up on. Like, yes, they’re attacking academia. Because here’s the- here’s the reason why. Kids go to college or university or whatever. And they become– they tend to become more liberal.

Megan Figueroa
They’re exposed to lots of things that they weren’t exposed to before in their maybe white, middle class bubbles or whatever.

Carrie Gillon
Right. So… yeah, white people with college degrees lean democratic. Democrat, whatever, however you say it. So that- they know that this is a way– they don’t want people to think that college is good. They don’t want people to think that getting an education is useful. Because then it prevents a few more people from becoming Democrats.

Megan Figueroa
Oh yeah. And they’re gonna continue to suppress minoritized people’s access to education.

Carrie Gillon
And then there’s that too, even though minoritized people tend to already be more Democrat, but they just don’t want them to gain– on that score is more about hey, I don’t want you getting my jobs. We have the good tech jobs. We don’t want you to get them too.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So anyway, it’s just- it’s a huge– that’s a huge fucking question.

Megan Figueroa
It is. And also academia has some problems. And that’s, you know, another problem too.

Carrie Gillon
Right. Right. Yeah. So that’s a whole other issue, which we are going to get to.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, yeah. But let me just say, Fuck you, Steven Pinker.

Carrie Gillon
Right. I think we should talk about him. In the next question.

Megan Figueroa
Well, let us go– maybe our final question from listeners, and then I’ll probably ask you something.

Carrie Gillon
Okay.

Megan Figueroa
So I want to end with this one, because it’s a good one, and it’s directly relevant. Why are some prominent linguists such asshole?

Carrie Gillon
Well, because they’re humans. And humans…

Megan Figueroa
Yes.

Carrie Gillon
Some humans are assholes

Megan Figueroa
Some humans are assholes and the prominent ones tend to be white men. Fuck you, Steven Pinker. Although he’s, what does he call himself. A cognitive scientist?

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, and I mean he’s a fucking–

Megan Figueroa
And he doesn’t have a linguistics degree technically, but I’m not trying to be like, Oh no, he’s not linguist, so he can’t be an asshole. No, he’s definitely an asshole linguist.

Carrie Gillon
I mean, he’s also a psychologist.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
He’s, so he’s not just a linguist, but that’s.

Megan Figueroa
He’s just like a crossover hit in assholery.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, and he’s definitely, I mean, I know people are gonna argue with us on this, but I think he’s a member of the alt right now.

Megan Figueroa
I was just gonna say he is leaning alt right, or just already there. Maybe he toppled over.

Carrie Gillon
I think he’s toppled over at this point.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
But he’s definitely one of the members of the dark web, so. Intellectual darkweb I should–

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
Sorry, I should say.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
Which is one of the most ridiculous things.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. But up to this point, he’s been a very prominent face for linguistics.

Carrie Gillon
Yep.

Megan Figueroa
Like up there with Chomsky?

Carrie Gillon
Yep. Almost as famous as Chomsky.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And actually more famous for what he actually does for a living then Chomsky? ‘Cause Chomsky’s more famous for his political stuff.

Megan Figueroa
That’s true. That’s true. Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And he gets completely misunderstood. Even within the field of linguistics. Chomsky, I mean.

Megan Figueroa
Right, right.

Carrie Gillon
But that’s a whole other issue.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, yeah, eayh. I mean, I have to say, since he’s, you know, at the U of A peddering around, he’s just, he’s just a really nice man.

Carrie Gillon
He is! Yes. And he’s very helpful to students, and he gets a bad rap, I think for some good reasons.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, yeah. For sure.

Carrie Gillon
You know, definitely some things in the past.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
There were linguistics wars.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Those need to die.

Carrie Gillon
But- but I would say like, at least when it comes to students, he is, like, really helpful. And I’ve never heard anyone be like, he didn’t help me. Like he responds to emails from random grad students all the time.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, he does.

Carrie Gillon
So, but that’s a whole other shit.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So let’s turn back to the assholes.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So Pinker. Yeah, I mean, he, I don’t know. He’s bad.

Megan Figueroa
He’s just really bad. And unfortunately, his work like, has like been the basis, or stuff that I’ve looked at, and it’s so annoying to see his name. And…

Carrie Gillon
I know.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
But he’s not the only one. He’s just like, the most prominent

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, again, like very prominently out there.

Carrie Gillon
And then there are ones who are like… basically, sexism isn’t really real, or…

Megan Figueroa
There’s a lot of that

Carrie Gillon
Sexual harassment’s not really real.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, my God, there’s so much of that.

Carrie Gillon
And it’s not always but it’s often European white men. Some European white women. So it’s just like.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
It’s a shit show. And it’s because we are humans. And any community of humans is going to have some bad people in it.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And I just.

Megan Figueroa
You know, and also, linguistics is such a big field. I don’t know if people realize that. We’re interested in so many different things. So it doesn’t really connect people the same way some other fields can. Like, maybe you’re studying something that’s more narrow that like, Okay, we have a lot of similar personality types going for this. Like, like educational psych or something. There are people that are very interested in helping children, or whatever. I don’t think linguistics has anything that- anything like that besides language, which is a huge, huge thing.

Carrie Gillon
That’s true. That’s true.

Megan Figueroa
So huge.

Carrie Gillon
That’s true. We’re still one of the smaller fields. Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, in terms of people.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
For sure. But not like in terms of the things you can study as a linguist, so.

Carrie Gillon
There’s many, many, many subfields.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And there’s lots of inter-nesting fighting between them, which I hate.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, yeah, me too.

Carrie Gillon
I really. I don’t give a shit which part of linguistics you want to study. I’ll still think it’s cool.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. As long as you’re like, telling me about yourself, your not being an asshole,

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, just like, if you’re an asshole about it, then I don’t like- that. Okay, I guess there’s some subfields that I really don’t care. Like, if you’re like really mathematical, and it’s just about, I started to get bored. But like, I don’t know, theoretical syntax to me is very fun. As long as it’s not too too, too in the weeds of- of like math. Or… like, sociolinguistics I’ve never studied it, but I find it really fascinating. And it’s like- there’s lots of stuff in between and outside of that, and it’s just. Stop shitting on other subfields

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
For the love of God.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
This is like the worst– well, like one of the worst things about linguists in my opinion.

Megan Figueroa
Shit on individual people.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And it’s also okay to critique. Like, Hey, I just think this- I feel.

Megan Figueroa
In a science way.

Carrie Gillon
In a science way. Like it’s- it’s going down the wrong- a bad path because of this or this or this. There’s ways of doing it that are like, I think okay, but it’s just the way people talk about these things. It’s like they’re- they- it’s like they think some subfields are evil.

Megan Figueroa
And they might be associated with specific people maybe? I don’t know.

Carrie Gillon
Yes. There’s a lot of anti Chomsky stuff that’s like, really weird.

Carrie Gillon
Yes. There’s a lot of anti Chomsky stuff that’s like really weird.

Megan Figueroa
Are they- are assholes confusing it with his like politics, and they don’t, and they’re.

Carrie Gillon
No, I don’t think so.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
‘Cause usually the these people actually agree with his politics.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, people are just getting– I know it’s- it’s not that important to hate people like, Are you kidding with me?

Carrie Gillon
Well, I mean.

Megan Figueroa
The syntax or semantics or the phonology, whatever,

Carrie Gillon
You’re not even hating people. You’re hating a whole subfield, whatever it is, and people do, and it’s across the board. Like there’s been technicians who are like, say this Linguistics is stupid. Like it’s across the board. I’m not- I’m not picking on anyone.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
It’s just, ugh!

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Stop it.

Megan Figueroa
I was going to say another– oh, I mentioned it briefly on Twitter. And I’m not gonna actually say a name because it was in a review in like, HIPAA violation or something. But yeah, there was a white male linguist.

Carrie Gillon
Oh, it’s not a HIPAA violation. But yes, ok.

Megan Figueroa
No, I know. I’m joking. I’m not a doctor.

Carrie Gillon
Well, ethical violation.

Megan Figueroa
Not that doctor, not that kind of doctor. White male linguist who totally shit all over. I mean, by extension, his student for applying for like an ethno racial diversity scholarship to go to our annual conference. And it was a diatribe. There were footnotes. I was just like.

Carrie Gillon
There was a footnote and a reference letter.

Megan Figueroa
Yes.

Carrie Gillon
How arrogant are you when you are like

Megan Figueroa
I know.

Carrie Gillon
I need a footnote.

Megan Figueroa
I know. I’m like You are the worst person that has ever written a recommendation letter. And I know it’s not true even because I’ve seen terrible recommendations. But yes, this is the worst I’ve ever read.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, no, that’s bad.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. And I’m like, you don’t even mention– no, he did mention the student’s name. But like, obviously, it wasn’t a matter of–

Carrie Gillon
No. No. And you know, that person should be red flagged, like hate maybe don’t ever read their reference letters.

Megan Figueroa
I tried. I was just a student? Who am I? But yeah.

Carrie Gillon
We– I think our field and probably other fields as well need to have a better- we need to have a reckoning with bad- bad men.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, I mean, we- we tried to with Florin Yeager.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, that was so frustrating. So- So.

Megan Figueroa
There’s another really prominent asshole.

Carrie Gillon
Right. Again, a Cog psy side.

Megan Figueroa
Yep.

Carrie Gillon
Not that that means that they’re bad all across the board. But this particular one was, anyway he… is. He spent basically- like he sexually harassed many women in that department, both his colleagues and his students. He made really disgusting comments like, something about the taste of one woman’s vagina.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Which I’m like, that should be an immediately- immediate fireable offense.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Immediate.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And I know, I still have Facebook friends in common with him. And I’m like, how?

Megan Figueroa
I know.

Carrie Gillon
How is this possible? How is this still fucking possible?

Megan Figueroa
Oh, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
You’re friends with this guy who said that about his own student.

Megan Figueroa
I know. Now there’s, like, definitely a loss of respect when I see.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
The mutual friends.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
And it’s like, it’s another case of people just not wanting to believe woman. And it’s…

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Disgusting. Because there are a’ lots of women. Yeah, that came out against him. And they’re are really, really prominent, well respected. I really respect the professors that actually left Rochester.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Because of him.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. Good for them.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, I’m sure they have a better job now too actually. I think they’re in a better state.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. One of them is. One of them. Yeah, I a couple of them are in California. No, I mean, like, like, professors that weren’t even involved, because I know that some people left because they were harassed. But there is a man, Richard Aslan, who just left because he was like, it’s gotten, ya.

Carrie Gillon
That’s really good.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. I mean, you’d hope men would do that in this situation, at least ally with the women, but ya, no, it’s terrible. And I think it speaks to, you know, our problem in our field with. I mean, we tried like at the annual conference after that, we’re like, let’s- let’s do like a sexual harassment, no tolerance policy statement, let’s all think about this.

Carrie Gillon
I was so happy that that was actually going to happen. And then what happened was this weird panel about harassment and other things.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And it was just– at first I didn’t I didn’t even really realize like, how, you know, like, how it was not even addressing the elephant in the room at all until afterwards. I got back to the hotel room, and I was sharing with these- with two other women, and one of the other women was like, Well, that didn’t even talk about the elephant in the room. And I was like, oh, oh, yeah. Oh, you’re right. And then suddenly I went from like being like, oh okay to…

Megan Figueroa
Angry.

Carrie Gillon
Livid.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And I am still angry that the LSA did that. That they tried to like shove it under the carpet. There’s no like, Hey, what should we do when someone doesn’t even get fired? Like, should the LSA actually do something like at least expel the person or something?

Megan Figueroa
Right. Yeah. To the– Florian Jaeger’s not expelled from the LSA, is he?

Carrie Gillon
Not as far as I know. I mean, I- I literally do not know if they did anything to him.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
The worst thing that they did was this panel that didn’t even talk about him, or the allegations or anything.

Megan Figueroa
Right. Yeah I know, his name wasn’t mentioned. It’s like, can’t talk about it.

Carrie Gillon
Which, okay, that part I can sort of understand, but at least have like, Okay, going forward, this is what we’re going to do. If we- if we find out that there are these really serious allegations, and there’s like, some kind of corroboration, which there was in this case, there was lots of cooperation, because there were many people.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And also the, the university admitted that he had said certain things like the her vagina comment, like, Are you fucking kidding me? That’s not enough?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So I’m sorry. I’m just, I’m livid.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. And yet he is still standing.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, he’s still–

Megan Figueroa
He’s one of those people that that I’ve heard other men call one of those– how do they call it? Rock star, you know? And– I’m like, he’s- he’s not going down because he’s protected by so many things. Tenure, being a white man, people really liking his work, which is like, come on.

Carrie Gillon
I have no idea. I can’t speak to his work. So I’m not going to talk about that part. But like, Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
But it doesn’t matter.

Carrie Gillon
Can you imagine like, even a white woman doing any of this shit? And getting away with it? Let alone anyone else?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, you’re done.

Carrie Gillon
Like, yeah, there was.

Megan Figueroa
And I would want you to be done, right? But I want him to also be done.

Carrie Gillon
Of course, of course. Of course. I’m not saying that I want to get away with it too. No, that is not what I’m saying.

Megan Figueroa
So yeah, there’s lots of assholes.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, so I yeah, I can I could just talk about this forever. But.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
He’s not the only one. He’s just the most prominent one that people talk about. I know of at least one person who’s actually harassed my friends. Well, and then another guy who kind of sexually harassed everyone, including me, sort of, but– just under the, like, what he said to me was kind of inappropriate, but not to the level of well, I should report you.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Especially at the time. Maybe if I was a grad student now, and he said that to me, I might have said something to other people. I don’t know. But.

Megan Figueroa
And like if you reported it, would it really, what would have really happened?

Carrie Gillon
Nothing.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, exactly. So.

Carrie Gillon
I would have probably not been able to finish.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Because it’s always- it’s always worse for the student.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Anyway.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Is there like a nice light question?

Megan Figueroa
Well, I was gonna– no, there’s not any like questions from. Well, I think the wire linguistic assholes really was probably light question kind of.

Carrie Gillon
No, it wasn’t.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
No, no, it’s true. That’s not a light question.

Megan Figueroa
I mean, okay. Maybe it could have been lighter by how we answered it. But it’s like, wait, no, there’s actually some real assholes in there. And sorry that it’s not funny.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
So.

Carrie Gillon
And that person knows that.

Megan Figueroa
Yep. So. What is the thing that you’ve learned in the 30, I don’t know, episodes that we have that sticks with you the most?

Carrie Gillon
That’s a good question.

Megan Figueroa
I’m like, God, there’s so much that I learned how am I supposed to pick one thing? I even learned for myself I’m that good.

Carrie Gillon
Well, I mean, sometimes it forces me to organize my thoughts a little bit.

Megan Figueroa
It’s true.

Carrie Gillon
Probably the episode about Gandhi in English. I knew the least about going in.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And I still really liked the chop bar.

Megan Figueroa
I love the chop bar. I love– what was it? A linguist is the person that like.

Carrie Gillon
The spokesperson or the chief.

Megan Figueroa
It’s so cool.

Carrie Gillon
It is very cool.

Megan Figueroa
That’s true. I’ve like had no idea and I feel like there are a couple of episodes where I had no idea. Yeah like…

Carrie Gillon
How about you?

Megan Figueroa
Oh, the-the. The thing that sticks with me. I think the most is I don’t know. Do you know what actually, I think it’s the fact that I had no idea that French in Louisiana had the kind of status that Spanish does in the southwest. Just no concept that, you know, people are struggling for their language in their language being French. I just never thought of French that way.

Carrie Gillon
Ah, well, even within Canada, yeah. Especially pre pre 70s. Before like, the quiet revolution.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Oh, it had the same status as Spanish does here. Yeah, it was only because there was like this huge political uprising. Part of which entailed kind of kicking the Catholic Church to the curb a little bit. But like so basically, just like completely, like, fighting back on all these fronts.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
They finally were able to, I mean, English is still dominant.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Not gonna lie.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
But like, French is like, has a way better status than it ever did before.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And I mean, it really speaks to how the only way you can get things to change is by fighting.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So that’s a lesson for Spanish speakers and heritage Spanish speaker. Yeah. People with heritage Spanish who wann- who want to fight.

Megan Figueroa
Let’s fight all these structural systems while we’re at it- while we’re at fighting all the.

Carrie Gillon
I mean, that’s the thing is like this huge monster, this huge beast, like how do you fight all these things?

Megan Figueroa
I know.

Carrie Gillon
And everything is interrelated. Like, yeah, so if we don’t fight sexism, racism is definitely going to win, because that’s how they get sucked into the racist bullshit is through sexism. But if we don’t fight racism, then white women can’t win either because like, there’s not enough, but if we all somehow join forces in Kumbaya.

Megan Figueroa
Oh my god.

Carrie Gillon
But we do. I mean, we do have to join forces. That’s the thing like whether we want to or not.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
And, yeah, I don’t know. It’s a mess.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. And that’s a lesson from French. From from Louisiana French.

Carrie Gillon
Louisiana and Quebecois French.

Megan Figueroa
I have to say, I mean, I don’t want to pick, like, favorite guests or anything, but the one that made me cry that no one knows about would be fucking Alberto Rios made me cry with his beautiful poetry.

Carrie Gillon
Nobody knew about that?

Megan Figueroa
About the border.

Carrie Gillon
Pretty sure you’ve said that.

Megan Figueroa
Here’s my deep dark secret. Poetry makes me cry, especially when it’s about where I’m from.

Yeah. It’s a really good episode.

It is.

Carrie Gillon
I like– Tito’s such a sweet man.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. And it was like quite different from other ones. And of course, it was like, a lot of fun to be here with Ursula. So our Black Lives Matter episode.

Carrie Gillon
Yes. Yes. Yeah. Ursula’s a super fun.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Person to hang out with.

Megan Figueroa
Those are the- that’s the only episode that we’ve done with our guests all to– And me and you in the same room?

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
That’s right. Cool. Woah, that’s not true. When we had the lingthusiasts.

Megan Figueroa
Oh that’s right!

Carrie Gillon
We were all in the same hotel room.

Megan Figueroa
That’s true. It didn’t feel real because it was a hotel room. Yeah. True, true. Yeah, well.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. So, if this is the kind of rambling that you enjoy, you can become a patron.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And if you’re at the $5 level, you get to access two of our bonus episodes, which are more rambling.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Than our regular ones.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, let’s structure Yeah, what did I say before more salt? No, I mean, everything’s pretty salty.

Carrie Gillon
This one– this episode is very salty.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, so salty. We need to contact our lawyer to see if we can.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, I mean, yeah. I’m gonna think about how- how much to keep in I mean, Steven Pinker’s obviously.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And we have the receipts. I mean, you just look on Twitter.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Florian Jaeger too. It’s everywhere.

Carrie Gillon
Oh, that one’s Yeah, again. Receipts. Like I’m not making that shit up. There’s a document where that is said.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, so And be careful when you read it because it’s horrifying.

Carrie Gillon
It’s really horrifying. And you know what? If you’re still friends with him, you should feel ashamed.

Megan Figueroa
You should.

Carrie Gillon
At least publicly. Jesus fucking Christ. Like what kind of message are you sending, if you’re a professor anyway? What kind of message are you sending to your grad students, your especially your female grad students? When you’re still Facebook friends with this person?

Megan Figueroa
Not a great message. I know.

Carrie Gillon
Gross. I mean, it makes me feel sick to my stomach. Yeah. And I’m not a female grad student.

Megan Figueroa
No, I was. And it made me feel sick.

Carrie Gillon
I wasn’t at the time. But yes, I was.

Megan Figueroa
I was at the time. Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Be better. Just be better everyone. No, not everyone, everyone. So many of our listeners are so good.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
What am I– who am I talking to? No you!

Carrie Gillon
Although I guess every single person probably has an area that they can work on.

Megan Figueroa
Yes of course.

Carrie Gillon
But definitely, many of our listeners are better people than I am so. So yeah, yes.

Megan Figueroa
So yeah, be our- be our patron on Patreon, if you can.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, if you can.

Megan Figueroa
You know, I know a lot of we have a lot of grad students and undergrads and I know it’s hard because I was just one of them.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, absolutely. I totally get it.

Megan Figueroa
But if you can.

Carrie Gillon
So we forgot a couple of linguists to talk about.

Megan Figueroa
Yes.

Carrie Gillon
So we decided to come back and record

Megan Figueroa
An addendum? There’s an addendum of assholes.

Carrie Gillon
One of them we really did forget. And the other one actually, something new came up. So.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So we’re– you wanted to talk about Nunberg first? He wrote a– I think it was a language log– blog about how it’s okay for him to use the N word.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, we may have talked about it when we talked about like swearing. And we were talking about slurs briefly.

Carrie Gillon
Yes. I may not have said his name, though. Maybe I don’t remember.

Megan Figueroa
This is a white man. Just to make it clear.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. We would not be talking– Well, I guess. Anyone non black i a- is problematic. But it was a black man. Obviously. I wouldn’t bring it up at all.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, this wouldn’t be a thing.

Carrie Gillon
I don’t care. Like.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
But yeah, he’s- he’s definitely an old white man. With certain privilege. So that’s, that’s definitely something we should have talked about when we were asked about assholes.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, and I think this is a specific, like, tying it back to linguist specifically, the he’s specifically an asshole because he thinks as a linguist, I don’t know. I don’t know you know what I’m saying?

Carrie Gillon
He thinks he’s an expert about language, which he is. Granted, yes he is. But that means like, he understands, like, how the N word is like, used and so, I don’t know. It’s just, it’s just a weird argument that, yeah, he thinks he’s above it. Because he’s never using it– he isn’t directing it at anyone.

Megan Figueroa
Just intellectually using it.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. Like it’s the mentioning rather than using. There is a distinction. But still, I think it’s somewhat problematic for us to worry about that so much. Like worry about that distinction. Like it’s still harmful.

Megan Figueroa
It’s harmful. For a non black person to say it, so it’s not Yeah, so don’t, man Come on. Yeah. And other linguists don’t use that. Don’t use being a linguist as an excuse to fucking say that.

Carrie Gillon
Right. Some do. But yeah, he’s not the only one. Just that he’s the most– probably the most prominent one who has. And then, I mean, so John McWhorter has done and said some problematic things in the past. But anyway, but I kind of forgot about him, because I don’t know. He’s like one of these people that sometimes I’m like, What are you saying? And sometimes I’m like, yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Like when he talks about Sapir Whorf hypothesis.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
He’s right on with that stuff. So. Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Which is what for our listeners? Just briefly.

Carrie Gillon
The idea that language determines your thoughts.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
And, it like– he- what he basically what he points out is, there are definitely some influence of language on like, what words you can use, like, what concepts you can use, but it’s like kind of actually boring. So like, the fact that there are two words for blue in Russian doesn’t really tell us anything special about Russians. You know, like, yeah, okay, so they’ve got, like, we have, like, how many words for different breeds of dogs? Doesn’t really tell us anything special about English. So, anyway, so I liked that stuff. But then, you sent me an Eventbrite link.

Megan Figueroa
Yes. Yes. The Soho forum is hosting a debate between John McWhorter and Nikhil Singh in November. The resolution is quote, the message of anti racism has become as harmful a force in American life as racism itself. And who’s for the affirmative? A John McWhorter.

Carrie Gillon
McWhorter. Yeah, yeah, I just I’m, I’m not actually all that surprised, because he’s, he is conservative. But I’m a little bit surprised. Because that- you know, right now, we don’t have time for this shit.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, it’s destructive. It’s not like a neutral thing to talk about. And it’s taking away from other things.

Carrie Gillon
And it never would have been an okay thing- to- like

Megan Figueroa
Believe, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
To believe it like to argue for but right now in particular, like dumpster fire. Like, we- we’re in triage mode. We don’t have time for this shit. So, anyway.

Megan Figueroa
I mean, I just reading that- that sentence I’m like, what?

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, how do you- how can you believe that anti racism is harmful? Like I know what he’s gonna say. He’s gonna say like it’s counterproductive the way that they’re talking about anti racism or, or they’re just calling everybody racist. And, you know, that just turns people off. I’m sure he’s gonna make these kinds of claims, but.

Megan Figueroa
I mean, it’s- it’s gaslighting. Honestly.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. It is gaslighting. I mean, and also tone policing. Because you’re like, you’re- you’re allowed to talk about racism, but only in these ways that I find acceptable.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. And I’m just convinced that tone policing is like gaslighting. Always. It’s like.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, yeah, they’re definitely.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Most of the time. They’re hanging out together. So. So yeah, that- that was, I don’t know. That’s disappointing. So thank you to Nick Hill Singh. Who’s gonna go up against that in the negative so.

Carrie Gillon
I guess, but like, why, I don’t know, why bother?

Megan Figueroa
Why agree to do this?

Carrie Gillon
I guess maybe he thinks that you have to otherwise.

Megan Figueroa
This guy just gets to talk. Yeah. I don’t. On the surface.

Carrie Gillon
Well, I mean. Someone’s going to debate him. Maybe I should be the one who’s going to do it. Because I have the best ideas or something? I- but I don’t know. I just I worry about even engaging in this kind of argumentation.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. So. Fun.

Carrie Gillon
Fun. So that’s definitely assholish. Going back to the previous conversation about Jaeger, Florian Jaeger. Someone last year had posted this long post about how someone had told her, Hey, look, this- my ex is fairly tame- is a terrible, dangerous person. And she’s- she had had conversations with him. And she just didn’t see that- he just didn’t seem dangerous to her. So she didn’t delete him as a friend, didn’t take her- her female friend seriously. And then a few months later, or like a little bit later, another friend talked about how isolating it was to tell her professional personal communities about the abuse that she’d suffered at the hands of well known colleague. And then, you know, a bunch of women started sharing their own stories of similar kinds of behavior. They all said, hey, we’ll never work with him again, because… So they took aside.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
But she hadn’t taken a side. And so she was like, Oh, I see now that remaining neutral is damaging. It’s a betrayal. And I agree. It’s betrayal.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah me too. Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So I’m going to try and remember to post this particular post because I think it’s important.

Megan Figueroa
Right. Jaeger is a very famous, and like a very relevant. I don’t know, I don’t know what I’m saying. It’s just that it’s so obvious that he has damaged people’s careers because.

Carrie Gillon
So many people’s careers.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So many. And it rippled out. Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
And this is something as linguist that some of us aren’t addressing, and that you can’t be neutral here. He’s a negative force in our field.

Carrie Gillon
And worse, we do know some people who’ve taken a side.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, and it hurts.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, it’s gross. It’s really, really gross.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, it’s really hurtful. Especially since I was a grad student, when this all happened, and I saw people taking his side and I was like, I can’t trust them anymore. That’s hurtful.

Carrie Gillon
I mean, that’s actually kind of a good thing to know.

Megan Figueroa
It’s a good thing to know for sure.

Carrie Gillon
But it’s shitty. is so fucking shitty.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
That you have to know it.

Megan Figueroa
Yep. So there those are our demons in linguistics. That we know of.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. Those are the only ones…

Megan Figueroa
And that we can talk about.

Carrie Gillon
And that we have receipts for.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, receipts, because we are about to get like a lawsuit of slander up in this biz. So.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. There’s definitely some people that I know some shit about that.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
That we’re not talking about.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And you too, I’m sure.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
But the people who have been obviously publicly shady.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, yeah, there’s there’s news articles.

Carrie Gillon
Or their own tweets.

Megan Figueroa
Or Eventbrite links. So.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, and I know that some people well, I don’t know about our listeners, but I do know that people are going to be like, why shouldn’t you be allowed to debate whether anti racism is bad? I guess technically, you can do whatever you want. But it’s just, we don’t have time for this shit.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, even if he were being devil’s advocate. We don’t have time for that shit, but he’s not he believes this.

Carrie Gillon
Probably. He probably believes it. I mean, I’d say 90, 95% sure he believes it. OK, on to better things. We’ve decided that if you use one of our episodes in your class, we would like to send you one of our buttons.

Megan Figueroa
Which are cute and fun.

Carrie Gillon
They’re very cute. Yeah. So just let us know that you’ve done it and give us your address or an address.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. It could be your university address. If you don’t trust us.

Carrie Gillon
Or you don’t trust anybody? That’s fine.

Megan Figueroa
Yes.

Carrie Gillon
Definitely. Yeah. Just give us some kind of address. And we’ll send you one as a thank you. So yeah, so that’s kind of fun.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, that was Carrie’s idea. I want to give her credit because it’s a good idea.

Carrie Gillon
Sure, it was my idea. Every once in a while have a good one.

Megan Figueroa
I hope this- this episode was…

Carrie Gillon
Cathartic.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, right. Yeah. It was for me. Maybe- maybe for some listeners, too. I don’t know.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. I hope so.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
So. Alright, and still don’t be an asshole.

Megan Figueroa
Not being an asshole.

Carrie Gillon
Bye!

Megan Figueroa
Bye!

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

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