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Unacknowledged Bubble Baths (w/ Frank Bruni)

April 9, 2023
Notes
Transcript

Frank Bruni, veteran opinion writer for The New York Times, joins Tim and JVL on this week’s Sunday show to talk Trumps indictment, his esteemed career, which includes covering the President George W. Bush’s administration, the future of journalism, modern day challenges to free speech, and much more!

Watch the gang record this episode here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XXMZkdu-M0

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This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:09

    Hello, and welcome to the next level podcast. I’m your host, Tim Miller, and I’m going to be here with my buddy, Jonathan V last in my aspiring buddy, Frank Bruny of The New York Times. Frank was the first openly gay New York Times columnist Now he’s a newsletter at the times. He has a beautiful book which we talk about called The Beauty of Dust which deals with physical deterioration and how he dealt with that after he had a stroke and speaking to others. He’s also a professor at Duke, speaking to Bitt on about campus politics.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:39

    We do plenty of politics altogether, actually. So we’re just gonna spare you the intro and get right into it. But first, if you haven’t liked us, if you haven’t commented, subscribed, please do. YouTube, Spotify, Apple, And most importantly, share this with a friend. You know, we’re hoping these interviews can bring some new people to the Bulwark, new people to be introduced to Charlie Sykes’ daily podcast, Beg to Differ, Sunny Secret Podcast, our whole suite of, you know, ear joy that we bring you every week.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:05

    One other thing I have an article out on Thursday, if you missed it, And if you wanna see what it’s really like for somebody to be a victim of politicized justice, I wanna introduce you to Jordan Hamlet. His story is a lot different and a little whining and complaining we’ve been hearing from old Donald Trump about the way the justice department has been to him over the past week. So enjoy all that. We’re up to Frank Bruny next, but first, our friends of acetone and happy Easter. Hey, Frank.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:50

    Thanks so much for doing this. I’m so grateful you are our sloppy seconds guest for the week, and it’s just my honor that you are
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:57

    willing to do that. It’s my honor to be sloppy seconds, Tim. Usually, I’m nasty third, so I’m moving up in the world.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:06

    We’re taping this minutes after we just saw the first surreal photos of former president as a criminal defendant, thirty four felony counts in New York. New York will get you like that. The Bulwark gonna have all the wall coverage of this all week. This is airing on Sunday, but I am curious just your very top level thoughts, thirty thousand feet on on the scene, what’s happening. Our life.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:28

    I’m gonna
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:29

    say something that probably is not what you wanna hear, but it feels strangely anticlimactic to me. If that makes any sense. I’m at a point now and I don’t think I’m alone. I think I speak for probably many Americans where I I’m so exhausted by the Trump Melo drama. I feel like we’ve seen versions of everything before.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:47

    I know this is the first former president, you know, to be criminally indicted, criminally arraigned. I understand the history of it, and all of that is important. But in some weird ways, just just feels like the latest inevitable chapter of the Trump saga. And I’ve always maintained that kinda one of the most insidious things he’s done is he’s just so overwhelmed us, you know, with all of the drama, with all of the offenses, that it blurs together and becomes a kind of wallpaper paste after a while. And so I wanna feel more I don’t know whether be called excitement or outrage or whatever than I do.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:21

    Glie. But yeah. Glie, but I just shot in front of me. I’m just running out. Does that resonate for either one of you?
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:27

    It
  • Speaker 3
    0:03:28

    does not resonate for me. The good news is you only have two more years to to endure
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:32

    that before. This next presidency.
  • Speaker 3
    0:03:35

    By then, everything will be behind us. You know, they’re gonna get rid of the son of a bitch for us.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:40

    I hear you I it resonates to me and that I understand this the sentiment. Maybe it’s just a little bit, you know, the personal element. It’s a little bit more of a family feud, you know, having you know, been cast out of my birthday party over this person and, you know, having friendships lost over this person and having you know, feeling like you’re right is really a nice feeling. So maybe this is maybe it’s my own ego that makes me feel in a different way that I just wanna bathe in my rightness right now. But I do understand your weariness over at all.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:10

    But
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:11

    here’s the thing. You you can bathe in that rightness, but the people or in their wrongness are not gonna acknowledge your little bubble bath. Right? I mean, that’s why this doesn’t feel like any sort of conclusion because The fact that Alvin Bragg indicted him, the fact that he’s been arraigned to the true believers, to the people who have decided that Donald Trump is their horse and they’re gonna ride them to wherever he’s bringing them. This does not change anything.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:34

    This does not mean, oh, we were wrong. This does not even mean there’s political careers over. Yeah. You
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:39

    know, Frank, though, here’s the here’s the thing. What I think bothers certainly me. And I think Tim though isn’t the true believers. The truth is I kind of respect the true believers like the margarita or of the world, because at least they’re telling you what they actually think. Whoa.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:53

    Whoa. Whoa. Did you just say you respected Marjorie Taylor? I mean,
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:57

    I respect her insofar as that she’s
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:58

    not running
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:59

    some double game. Where she knows one thing, but is saying another thing because she’s trying to affect a quadruple bank shot to get to this fifth thing. And, you know, like, okay. Like, they’re crazy people and crazy people genuinely believe crazy things. What bugs me and I think bugs Tim is that you have this in higher class of people who absolutely know better and who know that he’s guilty of sin and who are desperate to get rid of him and all of that stuff and they will not only not admit to anything of this stuff publicly, even though they privately say it all the time, they go around attacking anybody who is trying to do the right thing by seeing justice done against Trump even though again they are desperate to see Trump have justice done against him.
  • Speaker 3
    0:05:43

    And that’s that’s the really painful part of it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:45

    Hello,
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:45

    Kevin McCarthy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:46

    Yeah. There are two things you have recently that were a little bit against the liberal pioneers, little conventional whiz You’re in you’re in North Carolina now. Who knows? The stuff is rubbing off on you maybe. First was Biden at eighty.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:58

    And you essentially wrote that that you weren’t sympathetic to or maybe you’ve been agreed with. I’ll let you speak for yourself the idea that he should make the challenging decision to step aside. Because of his age. I
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:09

    think he should step aside, so I’m not just sympathetic to that. I I think he should. And it relates back to what we’re just talking about. I think as with the last election, as with the twenty twenty election, I don’t think we can afford right now to have a Republican you know, win the presidential contest because it looks to me like that Republican will have made compromises and sacrifices and and done the sorts of quadruple quintuple bank shots that you you were both just talking about. And I feel that it’s too much of a risk to have Biden run.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:39

    I I know that seems counterintuitive or wrong because he’s the president. He’s got, you know, he’s got the most stature in certain ways. It would seem like he’s the best bet. He does not seem to me as steady on the public stage as he was in the past whether that is a substantive observation or whether that’s optics doesn’t really matter in terms of how voters perceive it. And I think when people say, well, but who else?
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:02

    We don’t have anybody else. We, in in that sense, I mean, Democrats, You can’t know who else you have until the stage is cleared. No one can really emerge as a viable and vital candidate as long as Biden is in the center of the stage. So for me, it’s just all pragmatic. It’s I think at this juncture in time, given the corruption, the indecency of so much the Republican party, I think a Democrat has to win the White House for all the party’s flaws, which are many.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:28

    And I just think Biden is actually risky at this point.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:32

    Kamala doesn’t make you scared? A little. I mean, that’s not exactly a sure bet. Did I say that Kamala would take his place?
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:38

    I think
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:39

    it’s an I mean, the vice president is a black woman. I just think she would be an overwhelming favorite, worried to set aside, to be the nominee. It’s hard to imagine who is gonna to come up with somebody that would be beating her in a primary in South Carolina.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:53

    How’s that hard to imagine given her performance in the two thousand twenty primary. Well,
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:58

    it was better than Joe Biden’s performance in the nineteen eighty eight area.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:02

    I know. But I mean oh, yeah. But I hope there’s there’s a lot of distance between nineteen eighty eight and twenty twenty. I don’t sense broad support for her in the party, and I think if Biden’s step to side. Step to side meeting said, I’m not gonna do it again early enough.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:14

    I absolutely think there would be people who would challenge Kamala, and I think there’s a decent chance she would not end up with a nomination. And I don’t say that with pleasure or with displeasure. I’m just telling you what I see when I look at the at the players in the field. I agree on the
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:28

    merits there, Frank. But what worries me about is when I when I game this out is So if the sitting vice president fails to win the nomination of her party because the sitting president vacates his office or not make it to clients to to seek reelect, That means that we have a pretty bitter primary fight. Right? And I assume it means at least a two way possibly a larger than two way hard fight. And, you know, the most important power of incumbency is is universal name ID and then the fact that you emerge without having any primary challenge with a unified party.
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:05

    And so you have, you know, like, two years to unify the party ahead of the election. Versus the opposing party, the the insurgent party having, like, three months, right, really from the from the convention to the November election. And to give that up, especially in a moment where for all we know, Trump winds up with basically a coronation. Right? I mean, who knows?
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:26

    Maybe you can imagine a world in which the, you know, the insurgent Republican is Trump. He is nominated basically by acclimations with nothing but a pro form a challenge and do broad sixty percent support from Republican Party voters. And then you have
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:43

    a fractured Democratic Party Does that worry you at all? It worries me a little bit because you have to be worried about everything, and there’s much historical truth to what you say. But there are also asterisks and butts to that. Right? I mean, the twenty twenty Democratic primary up to a certain point in time looked pretty bitter and had many, many candidates and was divisive and all of those things.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:04

    And Democrats rallied big time around Joe Biden at the end of the day. Right? The nineteen ninety two Democratic primary was not exactly a Mary and United one and Bill Clinton ended up being elected president. The twenty sixteen Republican primary was ugly as ugly can be, and Donald Trump ended up when the White House. So while there’s much historical truth to what you say, there are exceptions to that rule, and we’re living in an era where political rules are being broken all over the place all the time.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:33

    I don’t know how much precedent binds us anymore, given the changes in our world, changes in the media, ecosphere, social media, given the metabolism of the world these days. I don’t know how much we can look to the past to predict the future, but I also think the past is a mixed lesson in this regard. I want
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:49

    to get into your book a little bit later, but a lot of theming about your book is is kind of meditating on aging, thinking about aging, speaking to you interviewed on as, you know, older people going through decline, I’m just wondering if that influences the way that you kind of assess Joe Biden or makes you think about it in a way that’s more nuanced than maybe you might have five years ago. Well,
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:11

    if anything, it inclines me more favorably toward him despite what I’m saying. There’s actually a chapter in my book where I talk about him and Nancy Pelosi and what both of them show about the merits and upsides and wisdom of aging. You know, I think Nancy Pelosi was able to must earn exhibit the kind of grace and cool headedness that she did when Donald Trump was president in part because of all that experience and because of the years she’d lived, and everything she’d been through. And so I think we’re regularly, even now as we’re talking, experiencing the benefits of Biden’s perspective and of his age. But there is a point at which what you project to the public is mixed, and people have doubts.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:52

    And just go to the Democratic voter surveys. A pretty decided majority of Democrats do not want him to be the nominee. Again, do not want him to run again. And that’s not because they’re dissatisfied with him. It’s not because they think he’s a bad person.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:06

    It’s not because they’re obsessing over Hunter Biden and his damn lap up or Hunter Biden’s lapped for that matter. It’s because they have concerns.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:14

    Hunter Biden’s talk is actually AP style on this podcast.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:17

    Is that okay? Thank you. I’m bad about that stuff.
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:20

    From the cold practical point of view, if Trump and Biden are both the nominee, do you think the Biden age problem is largely neutralized or not at all neutralized or something in between? It’s a
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:35

    great question. I think Trump exists outside all categories. So when we talk about, like, young versus old ozempic slim versus a little bit chubby and really can soups that hide it really well or very chubby and soups. Like, every category that we analyze politicians by Trump is not in any of those categories. He’s sue each generous.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:55

    He’s a beast all the zone. I think if Trump is the nominee, the issue becomes what the issue was in twenty twenty. Do we want what seems to be the stability of Joe Biden with whatever the lack of excitement is and whatever his flaws are? Or do we want chaos and crazy town? Does chaos in crazy town mobilize and turn out the polls see, I don’t think Donald Trump has ever enjoyed anything close to support from a majority of Americans.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:19

    And I think the raw percentages of Americans who can stomach the thought of another Trump presidency. I think we’re probably talking well under forty percent. Of Americans. But that’s different from who is gonna get the most votes in the electoral college on election day. And tell me if I’m crazy, please.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:34

    No.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:34

    I I think that’s a fair assessment. This is where you get into this danger zone where some Democrats talk we kind of are rooting for Trump because it would in a certain way neutralize Biden’s age, at least as compared to, like, forty five year old. He or forty four. However, Rhonda said it’s, like, looks like he’s seventy eight, but No. He does.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:50

    He doesn’t. You mean, he doesn’t
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:51

    like me. I’m happy to hate on Ron
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:53

    DeSantis. And he looks like he could be my father if we were together and we’re peers. It’s
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:58

    because you look so dewy young, Tim.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:00

    Thank you. Thank you, Frank. I don’t think that’s why, though. That
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:04

    would just mean that he had you at the age of twenty one or something. We
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:06

    can see my wrinkles likely were not on HD. The like, I forgot what I was supposed to be talking about old people. Diane Feinstein. I loved your article about Diane Feinstein. Because I am, like, a not so Secret Podcast of her.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:19

    I mean, she was good with the gaze and she’s a hawk and not much more that you want to get into my good graces. You know, you it’s in your article that was just a little bit of a zag. I think there was a lot of frustration among progressives about her, some of her votes, fact she’s sticking around. They wanna replace her with, you know, the perfect progressive, you know, vision for the future. And you, I think, wrote quite beautifully about, like, her long career and her career an icon.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:41

    There was one little nugget in there though about how you had to spend a lot of time with her. You know, the way that she presented herself off the record was maybe different. Than what she was saying on the records. I’m just wondering if you have any memories, insights about Diane Feinstein, as we sent valedictory insights into her. Well,
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:58

    I’m glad you asked her about it because I do have enormous respect for I mean, I’m something of a stand too for some of the reasons you just mentioned, maybe not the Hawk stuff so much. But, you know, you said she was never really a favorite of progressives and they want someone more progressive. So part of what I loved about her when I spent a lot of time with her and when was that, like, nineteen ninety nine, two thousand, I lose track of time. But also later if she didn’t fit in any kind of neat box. Progressives were unhappy with her.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:23

    She certainly was in Christian Cinema with, like, Republicans loving her. We live in this era where most politicians end up towing the line of whichever caucus party they’re supposed to be in. And I just love those people who refuse to do so. Her political positions felt to me genuine. They were what she believed and some of them caused her grief and some of them didn’t cause her any grief.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:43

    And I just really respect that. I I don’t believe any of us is as easily kind of tagged and corralled as the parties that we belong to or that we end up supporting at the polls. And I feel like Diane Feinsen in that sense is a vanishing breed, and I wish the breed wasn’t vanishing. As far as talking to her off the record, she was one of those politicians when she was off the record. I mean, she told me exactly what she thought in all its nuances and wrinkles about the Clinton’s.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:08

    That never came out when the tape recorder was on. And I’m not gonna say anything more out of respect that maybe there’s a statute of limitations, but I’m not gonna say anything more. She was sassy. She was real. You know, I once did a long magazine piece on Hillary Clinton.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:22

    And other than that, I had not spent much time with her. And I was blown away by how much fun it could be to ride around during an off the record period and a car with Hillary Clinton. I mean, I will tell you this, and I guess I’m breaking it off the record rule. But Hillary and Clinton and I even had a conversation about which of her male colleagues in the senate, we thought were were more and less attractive physically. That was off the record.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:45

    And maybe she’s gonna I don’t think she’s gonna draw attention to what I just said, so I don’t think we’re gonna
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:49

    see it, you know, and Was John McCain Lindsey Graham where were they at the top of all this?
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:53

    I’ve done what I can with the statute of limitations running up, but that’s John
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:57

    Thun, probably John Thun, pretty hot.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:59

    You both have seen this probably more closely in different ways than I have, and and you, Tim, on some as an insider on some of these guys.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:05

    Job was like this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:06

    It always blows me away. We create a culture where so many politicians operate with such a profound sense of caution and with such fear. That the things that inspires the people who work for them, you know, what makes people like them enough to get them into the race disappears. Once they step out in front of the microphone because now they are this kind of consultant, you know, washed, cautious, fearful version. Die fight, Hillary.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:33

    One on one behind the scenes. They are funny and charismatic people. In a way that somewhat vanishes when they step out on stage. And that to me is a really sad part of politics, but it it also means people never know them truly.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:47

    Think there is something to this about women. And obviously, who will media go to? There’s massaging about this women are sort of this is ingrained in them as politicians. I and I think that there’s definitely something to that. But Jeb very much had this trait.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:58

    You know, I I think that there is also something that like that it’s our political culture where maybe it’s exacerbated with women candidates. And and I I’ve never spent any time out there with Comma, but maybe this is a situation with her. It’s not true. Nikki Haley is totally
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:10

    genuine. There’s a person you get who’s you know, it’s the same person as you know on the TV’s culture. I have
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:15

    spent some time with Mickey, and that is true. You know, she never lets off the mask. From the old to the kids, you’re a Duke now, you know, which is a little weird.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:24

    You visited us recently. You were
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:25

    I did come to visit you recently. I I really enjoyed it. The Duke Kids do kind of fit the stereotype a little bit. Not every kid. No.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:32

    You’re just walking around campus and you got the, you know, the Brooks Brothers shirts and the khakis and the and the haircut. Air.
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:39

    From haircut,
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:40

    they look like they might be going to McKinsey.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:42

    Most of them are going to McKinsey. If not Bain, if not Accenture, if not Deloitte.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:48

    And so they look at and so they look at nothing wrong with that. We all fit in our boxes from time to time. Obviously, there were exceptions to the rule. I liked being there. But you’re a North Carolina guy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:58

    So that’s a little bit of a was a little bit of a trade risk. I guess I would almost say.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:02

    Yeah. Well, I’m sitting here in Chapel Hill — Not Durham or Duke is. They’re they’re right next door to each other. And I am a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill. You
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:09

    ever had, like, blood thrown on your on the house, like, on Duke Week, you know? Rams
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:14

    blood. Rams blood. Rams blood.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:16

    I I tell you I had something worse happen. I was the UNC Chapel Hill commencement speaker a year ago this May. When you’re a commencement speaker, like, they kind of give a version of your bio when they give you the honorary degree on the stage. And then again, when you step up to give the commencement address, which in a football stadium of like more than ten thousand people is a pretty intimidating thing. I tell you it’s a lot more intimidating when the entire crowd boos when they mention Duke as your current position in biography.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:42

    Try giving a speech to fifteen thousand people after you’ve been booed. I do not wanna relive that experience. I would rather have had blood thrown on my house. Because the rain would come along and wash it clean eventually, whereas the memory of those boos will never be away from me. That’s just
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:58

    echoing your ears at night. I’m wondering, we had as you know Diaz, unless we’re who’s at MIT. So I guess we’re talking to people pretty elite institution. But I I’m interested to do your follow-up. In his view was we’re asking about this, you know, question of, you know, obviously, on the right, you hear oh, you know, the kids these days.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:15

    They’re so illiberal. They shut down all conversation. We’ve had the end of discussion. You know, you get shouted down. If you have contrary view to whatever their pioneers are.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:25

    And as you know, his view was that, you know, the the the reality is more complicated than that, but that he does think that the universe cities do enable kind of that instinct. And I’m wondering what what your experience is at a different university. Gonna
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:39

    go back and listen to that interview with Juno because I I agree entirely in the broad strokes with the way you characterize what you had to say. There is a problem on campus now. I think students who don’t believe are speak a certain way or afraid to speak. And I do think that professors do not do an aggressive enough job of signaling to their students that they can say what they want in the classroom and in signaling to those students who may be policing conversations that that sort of policing isn’t accepted. I have found I’ve been honestly maybe it’s because I expected I was girded for something else.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:09

    I’ve been happily surprised by the conversations that have occurred in my classrooms. Just a week ago, two weeks ago, I lose track of time. I have a lot of people zoom in to my classes. I’m teaching an opinion writing class this semester for the second time. Week and a half ago, I had Kevin Williamson zoom in because he and I are strange email buddies.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:28

    And the students certainly read up on him and they read about the stuff that got that Atlantic job offer retracted. And we had a perfectly civil conversation and and nobody complained and and on. We rolled to the next guest Zimmer who will be tomorrow, Carlos Lozada, whom you’re a fan of, I know. You know, so these disasters that are supposed to happen, they happen. The stuff you read about in the press is true, but it is somewhat cherry picked.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:53

    And the reality is a little bit more nuanced and complicated. You know, I I taught a class on media ethics and media trends. And we talked at length about the sixteen nineteen project, and I asked the students to respond in a kind of class blog to the question, from the point of view of traditional news coverage and traditional news stories, did the sixteen nineteen project push the envelope in a good way or in a concerning way. You would have been surprised by the number of students who in that public blog that their classmates could see. Said, well, I I have questions and problems with it for x, y, and z reason.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:27

    I think if they get the signal from professors who are part of the problem, that they can speak their mind, that they can play with ideas. I’m teaching another class now where student after student because of the signal that they’ve gotten, are are writing essays where just to play with the ideas they’re taking a kind of quasi conservative viewpoint. They’re writing about like the argument against Bernie Sanders, the argument against cancel culture. And some of them are saying to me, I don’t really believe it, but I wanna see what that sounds no. But I think that’s a great thing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:00

    It’s not quite the caricature, the negative caricature. That you maybe read about in national review, it’s much more nuanced than that, but the concerns that people have are legitimate concerns. So if that sounds mealy mouth unmealy mess about it. Yeah. No.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:13

    It doesn’t. I mean, do you think that there’s something about Duke? I mean, obviously, we’re stereotyping Duke earlier. You know, it’s sagging exactly, you know, Duke’s not liberty. But, you know, some of the kids that come to Duke, I think probably there, you know, it’s probably more of a mix, ideologically, maybe than in some of these other schools.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:28

    I think it’s a little bit more of a mix. I think Duke is not Yale, is not Brown, is not Overland, for sure. Right. But the average student at Duke, I think once you get to a certain here with a possible exception of the University of Chicago, the average student body is is well left of center. But yes, I think you probably find more center center right students at Duke than you would at some of those other schools.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:50

    I have yet to meet a student who’s proud that Duke was the was the cradle of Steven Miller, end of Eric Ritten. And I may be losing my job, having highlighted
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:00

    those alumni transfenser to? Let’s get the full white Jonathan Last Mount Rushmore up there. It’s just important to
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:06

    I should quickly say, but our alumni also include Tim Cook and Judy Woodruff
  • Speaker 3
    0:24:10

    and Okay. There we go. Judy’s great. I don’t know about Tim at the Chinese sweatshops. Frank, how do you this is a Much more of concern to me than cancel culture stuff on campus is how you teach journalism students who if they go in journalism or entering a field which has been devastated.
  • Speaker 3
    0:24:30

    Yeah. And because when I talk to young people who are interested in journalism, I waive them off as to the best I can. That’s fine. Because, I mean, not to put too fine a point on them, but your career is not possible in today’s economic environment of media. I don’t think I don’t think somebody could do what you did going from you know, paper to paper and then working his way through, what, eighty five different jobs at the times and that’s not how it really works anymore.
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:00

    And I I am very fearful of twenty year olds who wants to make a career in journalism because I just don’t know. There’ll be plenty of jobs for them at age twenty three. I don’t know that there will be jobs for them at age forty.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:14

    That’s a great concern, and I share it. And I’m not among the journalism professors at Duke. And I should hasten to add, we don’t have a journalism department, and I believe in that. I mean, I went to UNC Chapel Hill, you could major in journalism. There’s a journalism department.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:27

    I didn’t take a single journalism course. I wanted to take English and history courses. I felt like I could do my journalism at the campus newspaper, etcetera. And I wanted to make sure during those four years to, like, stuff myself with big thoughts and big words and some sort of historical timeline, all of which I’ve forgotten and is, you know, I’m — Yeah. — I don’t — Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:47

    — cheerlead for journalism with my students. Most of the students I’ve taught oddly are not going into journalism. Like, they’re taking media or writing courses with me like opinion writing, but they’re not going into journalism. They just kind of want to learn a little bit more about the media. They wanna learn to be better writers.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:03

    And I don’t when I see one that’s really good and I I have this disagreement with some of my fellow professors, I don’t immediately say, I’m gonna convince you to kinda go all in on journalism because you’re really talented. Because I have the same concerns about their futures in the profession that you do. That said, it is correct that none of these students will have my career, which was kind of methodical and predictably choreographed, smaller paper, bigger paper, bigger beat, bigger beat, However, there are students today. There are people, young people in journalism say, who will skyrocket to glory to the top in a way that you couldn’t. In my era.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:37

    Sure. If
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:37

    they have a lot of TikTok followers
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:39

    or they break a big one and, you know, I mean, I think the rules are out the window and and that means there’s no guarantees but there are also in isolated cases, limitless possibilities and a sort of kind of open field that wasn’t quite that way when I was back when I was going to work in a in a horse drawn carriage?
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:57

    You at least had combustion vehicles when you went to UNC. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:03

    Yeah. Well, do we I don’t remember. I mean, I don’t think we had nova king — Yes. — very painful moments.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:09

    You gotta be young’s. I have another stereotype for you. I want you to either debunk or confirm for our listeners. They’re riddled with anxiety. To get into a place like Duke, they had to have ninety different extracurriculars.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:23

    You know, I have I followed this TikTok feed. This is, I guess, IV League, Acceptance Week right now. So in my TikTok is like all people getting rejected from IVs, and I see people like five point o They have their resume up there, and then they show themselves crying, which is just very bizarre, you know, sort of Harikari practice and to begin with, but What is your sense for that? And you’re seeing these kids coming in? Like, how are they adjusting to all that?
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:49

    Are there things that we should be doing to try to lessen that? Level of anxiousness?
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:55

    Oh, absolutely. And I don’t know if you know this, but one of my well, not that long ago, one of my books came out in two thousand fifteen. I know that. It’s a call yeah. It was a where you go is not who you’ll be an answer to the college admissions menu.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:07

    So this is a subject near and dear to my heart. Things we need to do, we need to do before they get to college. We need to do them at a pretty early moment. And and we basically need to push back it and change this culture that says that Where you go to college is going to cast the die on your entire life, that the decisions you make from essentially kindergarten forward should all be made with an eye toward the perfect transcript resume, whatever you wanna call it, CV package that’s gonna please a bunch of strangers in Princeton, New Jersey or providence Road Islander Hanover, New Hampshire. And we need to kind of just, like, explode and attack that thinking at a very early age, culture wide, because it’s not doing any anybody any favors.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:47

    Because you do have, as you just mentioned, Tim, and you obviously have read up on this, you do have, you know, high rates of mental illness that are not There are other causes than this, but this is absolutely, you know, an aggravating factor or a conspirator in that. And you then have the sensibility that’s no good for these young men and women and there’s no good for the country. They make value judgments and they measure things in ways that are reflective of that entire path to college. It doesn’t lead to their contentment. It doesn’t lead to their fulfillment.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:13

    I I’ve had so many students at Duke and I taught at Princeton briefly years ago who come into your office and what they really want to know is what are the exact things I need to do to get an just tell me how to get an a. And you want them to, like, you know, when I when you have other students who come in and I think of one in particular, and I was fortunate to have him in my very first semester too. He would come to office hours and he would say, you’ve had
  • Speaker 4
    0:29:36

    a really crazy all over the place in interesting life. Is it okay if I drop by occasionally and ask you questions about that? You know, I said to him at
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:44

    the end of the semester, I said, I realized for well. And I say this with great respect. You’re an operator and you’re gonna do really well in life because you knew because you knew you were flattered. I mean, I said, but at the same time, you were using me so much better than any of your classmates, where what you
  • Speaker 4
    0:29:59

    should be doing at college is identifying really interesting people, identifying really interesting courses and just making yourself bigger and brighter and more interesting than you were the day you came in. And you can’t do that if everything is being done with an I toward a four point o grade average. And the I toward a four point o GPA is a vestige of the way they’ve gotten to college and it ends up being a kind of thinking and trajectory for their whole lives. And it’s a real crime that we’ve done this to a couple generations now. Some
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:28

    of these kids on TikTok have five point out. I’m not even sure. I don’t get that. That must be a new thing. A
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:33

    lot of high schools give extra points for AP. I think colleges, it does top out at four point o. Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:38

    So, Frank, this is all well and good as a theoretical construct for society to aspire to. But when you are at the point of the spear, which is where I am because I got a kid who’s a my oldest is a freshman in high school now and starting to think about college stuff. It’s a little hard to say I’m going to unilaterally disarm while the rest of the world is stockpiling nukes. Give me wisdom. What should parents such as myself?
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:05

    Because I I was very much an organization kid who was obsessed and plotted my from sixth grade on was plotting my extracurriculars and mapping out. Well, if I drop my lunch course, can I get an extra two hundreds onto my GPA by taking another class? Oh, yes, I can. Okay. I don’t need to eat lunch for all four years of high school.
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:25

    I’m
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:25

    sorry. I’m interrupting this question. Can’t you just say to flash? By the way, I’m on the same podcast with somebody who skipped school to smoke weed and did not like to do any of those things and did not try it and and got way worse grades than he should have. Based on as a But
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:41

    look at what became a view ten. We became the cautionary We became
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:44

    the same. That’s what I’m saying. We became the same. So chill out. Smoke a bowl.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:49

    So
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:49

    Frank, give me wisdom. Give me the wisdom that every every parent of a kid who’s in high school should hear.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:55

    Well, I mean, I I the wisdom, I don’t know if it’s wisdom. I never have anything approaching wisdom, but I’ll take my best stab at it or swing at it, whatever. But it’s what I was just talking about there are a lot of risks involved in not pushing back at that programmatic and that planned an approach to high school. And especially, you know, given the craziness and all the different kind of variables that keep rising and falling when it comes to what admissions office’s way. There’s a lot of risk in investing a kid a young person too much in what happens on decision day.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:24

    And, you know, if you’re gonna live by this sword, you may die by this sword. The wisdom is, like, I just think it’s a high stakes game to attach whether you feel your high school career was a success, to attach, whether you feel like you’re getting the right launch in life, to whether you got into exclusive of college as your classmates did. I think you can send that message without stopping on ambition or without saying, I mean, you’re not saying, don’t aim for Yale. Don’t apply there. I mean, you’re just saying, like, keep that in a in a really healthy perspective.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:54

    Then you can say, look at Tim Miller. Follow his path. It’s a very different path. Yeah. Look
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:59

    at Timur. If I wanna go the other way, not the wisdom for the kid, the wisdom for the school. If the chancellor of any of these schools, I guess I won’t put you on the spot about Duke. I don’t want you to get in trouble with the boss. But if if if a chancellor of a prestigious school called you and said, Frank, what should we do differently?
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:15

    So that we are not like maximizing, you know, the amount of anxiety and self harm that we’re that we’re placing on these kids.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:23

    First thing I would tell them to pull out of the US news rankings. Hundreds. They use the phrase unilaterally disarm. That’s what schools are afraid that if they do that, this is just happened at a very high level with law and medical schools. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:35

    That’s not going to mean much unless it happens with undergraduate institutions. Now Colorado College pulled out of the rankings. And they had a very respectable ranking among national colleges as the category therein, but they were not ranked where Will Saletan. They were not ranked where Amyrstis, you know. If if a couple of the really big schools pulled out and in the PR about pulling out made it a big moral point, I think it could actually other schools could feel pressure to pull out.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:04

    Like, they are actually the crafts or institutions if they don’t. And if all of them pulled out of US news, that that has such metaphoric resonance and sway, the US news rankings, I think it would say to the world there’s a new day here. I think it would then encourage more schools to stop doing this horrible thing, which is called recruiting to deny. So the way schools like come up in the world. Is they beat the trees harder and harder for more applications so that they’ve got all these young people applying.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:34

    You have no chance of getting in, but now you have twenty thousand people who applied for only three thousand acceptances. And you say to the world, this is our acceptance rate, and now that’s a lot of ways. And now you’ve gone from Walmart a Nordstrom. Now you’re Nordstrom. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:48

    I think that would happen less if there was this kind of first domino of pulling out of US news.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:54

    Frank, I’m like the Vince McMahon meme here with the This is this is all but here’s the thing. This is not a pie in the sky. Think. There’s all the takes. Is like the h y p’s of the world.
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:06

    Right? You get Harvard Princeton and Yale all deciding to pull out. And then everybody else in the top tier has to pull out because if they stay, they look billing out market. And I look at some of these schools in Princeton. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:17

    Princeton going through all of its woodrow Wilson reckoning with the Wilson’s history and Georgetown to this with Samara, these elite schools are willing to have hard conversations about their origins and some of their ties but they’re not willing to just pull out of fucking US news rankings. That makes no sense to it doesn’t It doesn’t point out of US news should be the easiest thing in the world if you have a two hundred fifty year legacy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:40

    I
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:40

    think that’s very well argued and very well said. And the reasons I would say, oh, well, they’re reluctant to pull out because of x, y, and z. Those reasons don’t contradict what you just said. I mean, I think you always have to think about money. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:51

    I met Duke. One of the things that makes Duke such a great school. I’m just talking Turkey. I’m talking Oscar. Is what an affluent of school it is.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:58

    Now I don’t mean the affluence of the student body. I mean that, you know, because they have such devoted alumni, because they get such enormous donations from those alumni. We have a physical plant. We have classrooms. We have a faculty size that enables them.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:12

    And I I’ve set the limit at twelve students for many classes I’ve taught, and that’s just fine. And you know what that matters when you’re teaching certain kinds of things. If you’re trying to teach people how to write, and you are are line editing twelve papers versus twenty five. That’s a very different experience for the student. Anyway, money does a lot of the talking here, but all of those difficult things they’ve taken on have risked in raging alumni as much as pulling out of US news rankings with.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:39

    So, no, I don’t get it. I don’t get it. And that’s why I think it could happen. That’s why I think it’s not hard to imagine if not h y p, h y or y p or h p, pulling out, and it’s not hard to imagine a domino effect to that. And then I think we’re lurching toward a new
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:57

    era. Own of on to your writing career a little bit. And I’m gonna butter you up like that one good student, the first semester. Yeah. So this is not a work though.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:07

    This is just earness complement. Before I give an earnest compliment, I have to do a very big wind up because I get so uncomfortable giving earnest compliments. But one thing I’d I’d mind her about you is just you haven’t gotten bogged down. And and JV also said your career path isn’t possible, but your career path is also very strange. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:23

    I I get it as not typical. Right? Like, you’ve not gone the path of, oh, I covered George Bush in two thousand. So now I’m covering Obama in two thousand eight, and now I’m covering this, and now I hope get on to meet the press panel. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:36

    You’re a restaurant critic. You went to Rome. You know, you’ve covered gay issues. You’re the first gay columnist at The Times. Your books that have been about.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:43

    You’ve you’ve written two memoirs?
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:45

    Yeah. Yeah. I know that’s embarrassing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:47

    But you’re reluctant about writing and and eating. And and you’ve covered so much where did you find a, any advice somebody like me who doesn’t wanna write about that? I’ll drop my whole life. And b, like, where’d you find the confidence to be like, wait. I can write about Rome.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:02

    I can write about food. I I don’t need to get caught in this lane of how people perceive me as a writer. You
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:08

    know, I never had the confidence I don’t have the confidence today. It’s hard to explain, but I’m I’m completely not confident at all and totally insecure, but I kind of convinced myself because I wanted experiences and I wanted adventures that if editors, if seemingly in elegant responsible editors who are caretakers of their institutions were willing to have me do certain things, then somebody felt I was capable of it and why not, like, trust their judgment and see what happens. You know, when I was assigned to cover a WU’s two thousand campaign, I had done a bunch of local stuff on Chuck Schumer, but I hadn’t really done that much political reporting, but I thought if they think this is gonna work out, who am I not to give it a shot. And on and on, Rome restaurant, you know. And it wasn’t about confidence.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:55

    It was about the fact I’m not very smart about much, but I do think in retrospect, I was smart in the way I I approached my journalism career, and even saying my journalism career feels weird to me. I felt like journalism was this amazing passport to adventure. It was a ticket that got you into rooms where you had no place. It was a ticket that put you on planes and in countries that you wouldn’t see otherwise. And I always felt like if I didn’t, like, punch that ticket in every way it could be punched.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:20

    If I didn’t, if I didn’t use that passport to breach as many sanctums as could be breached, then I was a fool because I was losing out on the experience. And I looked back on my life and and on my career and I have many regrets, but when I kind of towed up the celebrities I’ve profiled, the politicians, whom I’ve spent off the record time with, as we were talking about before, the countries I visited, the earthquakes that have happened under my feet, It’s just been really cool. And so I put confidence out of the picture and thought, I’m not gonna gauge these opportunities from the standpoint of whether I’m confident or not I’m gonna do them. I’m gonna do them until someone tells me, you schmuck, you screw it all up, go away. Your most recent book, The
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:58

    Beauty of Dust, which is my final Ernest Castle in here, which I love the title. Don’t know who did that, but it’s a really it is a beautiful title of the book.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:05

    No. That was actually mine. Other titles I don’t have dessert credit for, but that one was mine. Yeah. It was
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:09

    really lovely. There’s a lot there and you’ve done a bunch of of interviews on this. The one thing I wanted to pull out from it is, I thought it was interesting, is that you said this experience that you went through losing the site in one eye and reflecting on it, talking to other people who had who had gone through similar things, the phrase uses have made aging less scary. I just turned forty. This is a tough one for me.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:32

    Aging is very scary for me as as probably evidenced by all my gerontocracy jokes in the first fifty minutes of this podcast. Because
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:39

    you turned forty, aging is scary. Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:41

    Well, fine. Just don’t make it about me then. Alright. For the for others out there in the world, for whom aging is still scary. What was the insights that you gained that gave you that maybe distance from those fears?
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:53

    Really basic stuff. You know, I I encountered and still encountered some limitations that I didn’t before, but I have found that the human being and I am much more adaptable than I realized. You come to understand how many kind of workarounds and how many sort of side roads there are in life. I live with, as we all do, with profound uncertainty, but my uncertainty has like a name and it as contours. You know, I I live with a twenty percent chance that my other eye will wink out and I will be blind.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:21

    And I have found ways not to be terrified or undone by that, and that tells me that all of the other possible infirmities or informities of aging are going to be much, much more manageable than I thought they would. It’s hard to distill and hopefully that’s why I spent the space of a book. Trying to explain it, but I always come back to something that a very distinguished judge, David Tadel, who was on the US circuit district court in DC. The court that all the supreme court justices come from. I mean, that’s how kind of high level he was.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:54

    And he went blind in his early thirties when I met him was long after that, and I interviewed him for the book and got to know him and his wife. One afternoon, one early evening, I was going with him from his chambers back to his apartment to have dinner with him and his wife, and he was leading me through the streets of DC to the metro and leading me onto the metro. He was doing all of this from memory and from, like, what’s called, Echo location. He could, like, listen to his environment and extract more information from that. Than someone who hasn’t been forced into that position can extract.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:25

    And we sat down on the metro and I knew him well enough at that point to know that he wouldn’t feel kind of condescended to a patronized And I said, David, I just have to tell you, I’m in awe of of what we just did. I thought you were gonna be holding my arm and I was gonna be leading you to the metro. And that’s not how it went down as you know. And he said to me, you know, Frank, starfish can regrow limbs and that’s nothing compared to what people can do. And if you actually kind of look around you with a certain inquisitiveness and you take a full survey, you see proof of that all over the place.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:56

    And to see that proof, and to dwell on that proof is to be much much less scared about the uncertainty in your life and about aging and that sort of thing. We
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:04

    know about Echo location finding an email. I’ve I’ve one more question and follow-up before we get to the rapid fire, which scares me. Where is that the rapid fire shit scary? The twenty percent the forty percent something that struck me, you didn’t write about this, but I made me wonder, is you kind of lived with this a little bit through the AIDS crisis Right? And the eighties, right, like, is a gay person?
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:23

    I I didn’t, you know, luckily, I came to the age kind of after the acute portion of the age crisis at least. And even still, you feel like you lived through this as a gay person where, like, every time you go in for a for a, you know, check, you know, for you getting your blood drawn, in your head, do you feel like you have a twenty percent chance of something horrible coming out even if that’s not really true? I’m just I’m wondering if you, like, leaned on that at all. That experience. You
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:46

    know, it’s funny. I think it’s a great question and that may have been somewhere. It wasn’t something I consciously experienced. The AIDS crisis is funny because not it’s not funny. But, I mean, it was to a game out of my age.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:57

    It was so central to your life in your early twenties, mid twenties. You know, you you went to act up meetings, you you went to funerals, you know, at a at a stage of life. Right. It is so strange how once we were past the age crisis, how quickly and this there’s some danger in this, but how quickly it receded from being, like, conscious and and present. And I know other gay men of my age feel the same way.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:20

    And sometimes that worries me because I I I wonder if we if we held onto and extracted all the lessons we should. But that too is sort of something that speaks to human resilience. We’re really good at kind of optimizing the situation and what’s ahead. And so for some reason, I wasn’t thinking a lot about AIDS, except in one sense, when something bad happens to you of a medical nature, when something is scary happens to you, is what happened to me, and there’s much, much, much, much, much, scarier. You have to avoid the trap of self pity.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:49

    And one of the things that I think you can do or you do, do or that I did is you sort of kind of towed up, like, all the ways in which you’ve been extremely fortunate. And I remembered. I did pause and remember how many men my age, how many acquaintances and friends. Were not as lucky as I was and died from AIDS. And I thought to feel sorry for myself, for what I’m going through in my late fifties when all these people similar to me didn’t even reach their late fifties.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:14

    Like, that is the height of being an asshole. You have
  • Speaker 3
    0:45:16

    to choose gratitude. Right? One of the keys to having a happy life is cultivating the ability to choose gratitude.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:22

    Yeah. You can tally your slides or you can tally your blessings. Yeah. And doing the latter is so much smarter and so much more happy making.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:30

    That’s wonderful. Okay. Here we go. Rapid fire. We’ll do this first one might not be quite as rapid.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:36

    The rest of them will be, but I’m wondering something you’ve change your mind on later in life as never Trumpers. We’re all we’re cultivating gratitude, but also cultivating and reviewing all the things we are wrong about in the past that led us to this moment. So like giving that insight from other people. What what’s something that you feel like you’ve changed your mind on in adulthood?
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:53

    I’m much more concerned than I was as a as a youth in excessive government. Regulation. Right. Yeah. I don’t know if your red S.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:59

    Recline’s really terrific column. And S. Was to the left of me, but his terrific column in the Times yesterday called the problem with everything bag of liberalism. And he was talking about how regulation upon regulation upon regulation is why you can’t build housing for the homeless in San Francisco.
  • Speaker 3
    0:46:12

    Right. And
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:13

    it was a great peace because I think it’s something too many Liberals have not reckoned honestly with, which is, you know, you want this to be regulated. You want that to be regulated. You want this protection. You want that protection. Add them all together and you have a degree of of civic and economic constipation that works against what your goals supposedly You’re
  • Speaker 1
    0:46:31

    preaching on the choir here. No wonder you name your dog, Reagan. Okay.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:35

    Reagan. Reagan. I’m sorry.
  • Speaker 1
    0:46:37

    Reagan. Okay. I
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:38

    know you got
  • Speaker 1
    0:46:38

    it as Rechin. Fellow
  • Speaker 3
    0:46:40

    for Don Reagan. For Don Reagan. Wow.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:43

    Exactly. Exactly.
  • Speaker 1
    0:46:45

    Fellow columnist whose output you’re the most jealous of. Or or write or it’s not a call. That’s a guess. I
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:52

    mean, right now, I mean, this is just at the moment. It seems to me that David French is writing up, like, three or four time a week storm. It’s annoying. And I’m getting tired, just reading it. And I mean that as a compliment.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:02

    I don’t
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:02

    mean it Yes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:04

    So David French at the moment.
  • Speaker 3
    0:47:06

    Who is the best colleague you’ve had in your journalism career? Best in what sense. The best to you. Who’s been
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:12

    the best colleague? You know, in her quirky and inimitable way more in doubt. Newell’s coming. I want your LGBTQ plus American Mount Rushmore. We’re building a Mount Rushmore.
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:25

    We’re we’re chiseling people into stone. Who is who is on there? These are tough. How I was supposed to do these rapidly. Well, if this is, you know, this is this is the fun of the game.
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:37

    It’s just your it’s just who comes to mind.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:39

    Oh my god. I’m drawing a total blank on that one. I’m sorry. And you were
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:44

    the first New York Times columnist, gay columnist, you know? So maybe other people have put you on the route rush for.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:49

    It’s like when people ask me, like, what’s the one restaurant I should go to? When when you’re when you’re little I’m gonna really date myself here. Okay. When your little card of index folders has too many index cards in that. You’re I mean, like, you’re you know, those things are then you don’t you can’t pick out.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:02

    Well,
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:02

    the answer is that it’s Harvey Milk. Okay? It’s RuPaul. It’s whatever your favorite twink is at a given moment, choice of on for me right now and now wildcard. So, you know, now you only have one to ask.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:13

    I
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:13

    don’t have twink fascinations in my life. I’m sorry about that. That’s fine.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:18

    Fine. Okay. Boring, but we’ll
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:20

    I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Well,
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:21

    no. Here’s all the we’ll ask the readers send in No.
  • Speaker 3
    0:48:24

    It’s really
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:25

    cute. Plus about popcorn, we’ll send it to you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:27

    I like the idea. I will think about it. May May I read a comment on it? Some point when the answer comes to me. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:33

    Alright.
  • Speaker 3
    0:48:33

    So you’re you just taught a class on op ed writing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:37

    Who is
  • Speaker 3
    0:48:37

    the worst? Op ed writer in America. Who’s who’s the the writer who you said to your students? Don’t ever be like this,
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:45

    not going there, not There’s there’s no there’s no upside to answering that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:50

    Come on. Sure. There are a lot of easy ones. No. No.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:54

    No. No.
  • Speaker 3
    0:48:55

    Okay. Well, then I’ll I’ll throw this at you then. You are stranded on a desert island. You can have one periodical subscription. Who
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:04

    do you choose? Right now, the Atlantic. Mark Tiesen was the answer to the other question, by the way.
  • Speaker 1
    0:49:09

    Mark Tiesen, you don’t have to you can just blink or you’ll you blink. Okay. Frank Brody. He’s so interested.
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:19

    But wait a second. Why were you so surprised by the Atlantic?
  • Speaker 3
    0:49:21

    Because it’s monthly. I would go to New Yorker because it’s really weird. I’m in Desirae island. I want to do something because I need it every week.
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:28

    But you see so this is this is the problem. I’m such an idiot. That I was forgetting that my island didn’t acquire this. And I no. No.
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:36

    I’m serious. So I I experience periodicals as, like, a slow drip on the Internet across the month. Amazing. I actually I have an online subscription to the Atlantic but not
  • Speaker 1
    0:49:47

    Atlanta would have been.
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:48

    I don’t even experience it as a print entity. Atlanta
  • Speaker 1
    0:49:51

    would have been my answer to New York Magazine close, but I wouldn’t I wouldn’t need that much Sean McCretia in my life. Did you see triangle of sadness?
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:57

    It’s about the abundance. I did see triangle of sadness in all of its in all of its vomit and diarrhea. Yes,
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:03

    sir. But they didn’t have any, you know, Internet. On their island? No.
  • Speaker 2
    0:50:06

    But there was a resort on the Dam Island. They just had to go over the mountains and their oops. Furloughed. Bad thing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:12

    Anyway, trying to go set as one girl. Frank Bruny, I just I’m eternally grateful that you did this. Thank you for hanging out with us. Hopefully, we can do it again another time, and I can get invited back to Duke. And spend a lot more time together.
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:24

    We’ll see you all next time at the next level. Be safe out.
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