Episode 53: Eighteen Flavors, Who

Shingles Update!
The Appendix
Ice Cream
Doing the Right Thing
Being a Hero

Episode 53: Eighteen Flavors, Who Shel We Read a Poem?

Shingles Update!The AppendixIce CreamEmpathyDoing the Right ThingWarAvatarWarBeing a HeroWarEpisode transcript here: https://laurenhudgins.com/2022/03/02/episode-53-eighteen-flavors-who/https://twitter.com/Ukraine/status/1497294422354055171Manila Luzon – "Ice Cream" ft Andre Xcellenceshelwereadapoem@gmail.com@ShelWeRead


Intro music

British Voice: Shel We Read a Poem?

Russ: Hello all and welcome to Shel We Read a Poem. I’m Russ.

Lauren: I’m Lauren.

Russ: Lauren, your face looks so much better.

Lauren: That’s kind of a weird thing to say, Russ.

Russ: But in terms of if my face had been bitten off by a crocodile, and then they did the Nicolas Cage, John Travolta Face/Off thing where they stuck a new face on me. You might say, hey, Russ, your face looks so much better. And the unspoken bit is well, because now it’s not a screaming skull anymore.

Lauren: Oh, my god, my face was never a screaming skull.

Russ: But the lesions are looking better, though.

Lauren: The lesions. Right. I’m pretty well recovering from shingles to this point. I think I have a little bit of neuropathy left. But my energy is back and I’m not having any other symptoms other than skin irritation, and maybe still a little bit of lymph node swelling, because I’ve noticed some pain in my jaw.

Russ: I liked your phrasing there that you “have neuropathy left,” like as though you had some to spare and was like oh, don’t worry. I have some neuropathy left.

Lauren: Well, I meant residual.

Russ: That remains.

Lauren: Yes.

Russ: Don’t worry, boys. I know y’all are tired. But I still have some neuropathy.

Lauren: You had some damage to your nerves from shingles, didn’t you?

Russ: Yeah, it never came back. The feeling the feeling? I have a little section on my left side where the where the primary shingles lesion I had was, and it doesn’t have feeling to this day.

Lauren: Well, at least it’s not in pain all the time. Some people end up with pain.

Russ: That is true. Oh, the human body is a miracle. Watch it break down.

Lauren: It’s not so much a… Well, it is sort of miraculous in a way. But it’s mainly just a series of accidents of evolution that weren’t bad enough to kill you.

Russ: Yep. The human body. That is the good enough school of evolution.

Lauren: Right. All right.

Russ: What does the appendix do? Well, from time to time, it explodes and kills you. Does it do anything else? Nope.

Lauren: Well, there’s some theory that it might actually be a harbor for beneficial bacteria. And so that when you get something like cholera and shit, all your good bacteria out, it can replenish it.

Russ: Oh, thank god, it also explodes and kills you.

Lauren: Right. Well, right now it probably explodes and kills you more than it’s helpful. But there certainly have been times such as when everybody else around you was also dying of cholera, that you would have needed it to keep you going. Because if you lose all your beneficial bacterial flora, you can get it back from other people. But if everybody around you is dead, you need your appendix probably to help you get that back.

Russ: This episode brought to you by Yakult. Yakult: drink your bacteria.

Lauren: All right, Russ. I have a lot to talk about. So why don’t you go first today?

Russ: Well, which poem are you doing?

Lauren: I had two options and I was going to see what you were doing.

Russ: I was gonna do “Eighteen Flavors.”

Lauren: Okay, go for it.

Russ: All right. “Eighteen Flavors”

Eighteen luscious, scrumptious flavors—
Chocolate, lime and cherry,
Coffee, pumpkin, fudge-banana,
Caramel cream and boysenberry,
Rocky road and toasted almond,
Butterscotch, vanilla dip,
Butter-brickle, apple ripple,
Coconut and mocha chip,
Brandy peach and lemon custard,
Each scoop lovely, smooth, and round,
Tallest ice-cream cone in town,
Lying there (sniff) on the ground.

Lauren: The saddest thing

Russ: A dumped over ice cream cone. My god, it has been on the centigrade scale negative two, between negative two and three, kind of hovering around there in this area.

Lauren: It’s been cold here, too.

Russ: And two days ago, I saw two maniacs eating ice cream cones on the street as though that’s a normal human thing to do, where it’s just cold as hell and I’m going to eat ice cream.

Lauren: Well, Portland has a number of—and one in particular—famous ice creameries. So you get people eating ice cream in winter all the time here and maybe it’s the same with Vancouver. Maybe it was tourists being like “Oh yes, let’s try this very famous Ice creamery.”

Russ: I only know of one ice creamery and it’s Perverted. And that’s the name of it.

Lauren: It’s just called “Perverted?”

Russ: It’s called Perverted.

Lauren: Why?

Russ: So their signs are always innuendos. Like when they put out their little sandwich board that lives outside their shop, it’s always some kind of sexual innuendo. And all of their marketing kind of seems to revolve around puns or double entendres. Beg for S’more. The Knotty Maple Drizzle.

Lauren: Okay

Russ: Barbed Wire Crumble. Oooh. They seem to pronounce it “Cocked Lit.”

Lauren: That’s uh, okay. Ooh, do you want to see a way too horny ice cream thing?

Russ: Laughs. I always want to see a way too horny ice cream thing

Lauren: You should watch in Manila Luzon’s song about vanilla ice cream.

Russ: Vanilla is an underrated flavor.

Lauren: Yeah, well, you should play it right now.

Russ: Oh, wow. Oh, we are thirsty out of the… Jesus Christ. Look at these boys. Laughs. See? This is why I need to work out because I want to be in music videos like this.

Lauren: Well, now I can share which music video I was in. And it was… Well, I was sort of in it. It was Portugal the Man’s “What Me Worry.” And you can’t really see me at all.

Lauren wearing a face shield and heavy sparkly makeup with her hair in two buns on either side of her head.

Russ: When I watched the video, I was just looking for flashes of pink hair.

Lauren: Well, I had my hair up in two buns, like the anime odangos. Like, you know, Sailor Moon, so you couldn’t really see my hair all that well, either.

Russ: That’s a thirsty video. And I like her jewelry.

Lauren: Oh my god, Manila Luzon is one of my very favorite drag queens.

Russ: It’s very costume. It’s very 60s housewife ad or something.

Lauren: It’s pretty amazing.

Russ: And then just ropey muscle dudes. So that’s, that’s always cool. Yeah, no, that’s much better than what I was planning. I had… Because the world is terrible and continues to be so, The point behind “Eighteen Flavors” was, if I were to witness this, I would probably laugh at it. Because it’s a terribly sad poem. And there’s no accompanying illustration, but you have someone this just left, you know, the Baskin Robbins and now their cone is lying on the ground. But it’s the same reason that if someone has a big arm load of groceries and falls, you laugh at them first and then help them second.

Lauren: Yeah. I have also the question though, why did they want that much ice cream?

Russ: So have you ever done the thing where you order something for the novelty of it…

Lauren: Rarely.

Russ: Kind of with the knowledge that it will make you sick?

Lauren: Rarely.

Russ: And so it’s sort of like, if you turn up with five friends to like the malt shop. Laughs.

Lauren: The malt shop?

Russ: And you order the giant ultra circus sundae thing just to see how much damage you can do to it.

Lauren: Right. I guess I did that when I was a resident advisor at college. One of the dorm activities they suggested was going to Ben and Jerry’s and getting a Vermonster.

Russ: What is the Vermonster?

Lauren: Just a whole bunch of ice cream in a tub.

Russ: Laughs. When you say tub, I am picturing a washtub like corrugated iron.

Lauren: Laughs. No, it’s more like… So you know, those like big cheap ice cream tubs that like you would have at the school picnic or something like that.

Russ: Okay, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Lauren: About that size, or maybe smaller, maybe like a big yogurt tub. In any case, they put a fair amount of ice cream in it. And it was too much ice cream even so.

Russ: See, when I want a hilarious ice cream thing, I’m thinking that one of those tubs is a scoop, and so you need 10 of those tubs to start adequately making the base for your giant ice cream monstrosity.

Lauren: I don’t like wasting food.

Russ: Yeah, you don’t like wasting food. Things like for charity, you know?

Lauren: Yeah, I also have a thing where I personally can’t eat very much ice cream. As a child I could, but there’s something about a cold fatty dessert that I can’t do a lot of. Part of it is the cold. I think after a few bites, I stopped being able to taste it as much because of the cold. And so then I’m just eating like, cold fat. And I’m not that excited about it. Other desserts I can eat plenty of but for some reason ice cream I only have a little bit of before I’m like: Well, I’m done.

Russ: What I’m going to say next might segue pretty well into your angry dome that’s going to follow.

Lauren: I don’t know if it’s angry so much as a bunch of confusion.

Russ: I’ve been reflecting on the past two years and pandemic and all that and the effects that it’s had on people and I think the effect it’s had on me is that I have lost any sense of empathy. And so when the thing with Ukraine happened, my knee jerk reaction is to blame all Russians, because Putin was elected with 76% of the popular vote.

Lauren: Oh, you know, that wasn’t real.

Russ: Now, because turnout was 67%. And so that’s, you know, fair to middlin. But his election…

Lauren: They also didn’t have really any other choices, it was sort of like…

Russ: They had four other choices.

Lauren: … it didn’t matter what…

Russ: They had four other choices.

Lauren: Well, Putin was going to win or he was going to kill everybody else.

Russ: But that’s the thing of it. And so I immediately blamed all Russians, and went through one of my many unfriending sprees on social media and everyone who was Russian I cut.

Lauren: I don’t have any Russian friends.

Russ: Oh, good. Keep it that way.

Lauren: How do you have Russian friends?

Russ: I don’t know. I’ve been to Russia.

Lauren: I’ve never been to Russia.

Russ: But it was it was more just like an “I told you so” thing in my mind.

Lauren: Oh, I have one Russian friend, but she considers herself more of a product… She left the Soviet Union as a child. And so she considers herself more Soviet than Russian. She wrote the book Mother Winter.

Russ: So she’s big on Putin’s ideology?

Lauren: Oh, no, oh, absolutely not.

Russ: Well, because he wants to bring back the Soviet Union. That’s what this whole thing…

Lauren: Oh, she doesn’t want… She identifies with being a child of the Soviet Union, not being a child of Russia.

Russ: But two weeks ago, you say, “Putin is gonna invade Ukraine, and no one’s gonna do a thing about it.” And then that thing happened. And the malaise walking down a city street where you see substance dependent populations and it’s like: Well, there you go, this story is going to end exactly where I know it’s going to end and realizing that that’s the knee jerk reaction. And that I should probably be better than that. But it hasn’t sunk in yet.

Lauren: I’m caught between trying to segue into: Guess I’m going to talk about Ukraine, and also wanting to talk about ice cream for a little bit while longer. Have you ever lost your ice cream cone on the ground?

Russ: Never.

Lauren: I don’t know if I have either. I did once smash an ice cream cone into a boy’s face once though.

Russ: Oh, tell that story.

Lauren: Oh, it’s not that exciting. I was at summer camp and I was asked to a dance by a person I wasn’t interested in. And I said no. And then they said I must be saying no, because of something that I found embarrassing, and I don’t remember what. And I was mad, and I smashed my ice cream cone in his face.

Russ: I like when boys get humiliated.

Lauren: Eh. He didn’t. I don’t know that he had much pride to begin with. Russ laughs. Actually I guess I have to hand it to him for asking me out because I was way out of his league.

Russ: Laughs. Oh, lord. Remember back in those days when we thought we had leagues? Ha!

Lauren: Laughs. I mean, leagues aren’t a real thing. But I do think I’m better than some people.

Russ: Ah, yes. We’ve made it full circle here. Here we are, better than everyone else.

Lauren: All right. Well, a lot of things have been going on. So oh, gosh, where to start? Oh, gosh, Russ, where do I start?

Russ: What’s your poem?

Lauren: Yeah. That’s a good place to start. I’m going to read “Who.”

Who can kick a football
From here out to Afghanistan?
I can!
Who fought tigers in the street
While all the policemen ran and hid?
I did!
Who will fly and have X-ray eyes—
And be known as the man no bullet can kill?
I will!
Who can sit and tell lies all night?
I might!

Russ: I don’t think I have to ask where you’re going with that one.

Lauren: I wanna see where you think it’s going.

Russ: We exist in a world where facts don’t matter anymore, and like anyone can just tell lies and they’re accepted. And so…

Lauren: That’s actually not really where I’m going with this. I have seen Legend of Korra before but I’ve been watching Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Russ: Are we going to talk about Uncle Iroh?

Lauren: No, because I’m not all the way through. I’m on you know, Book Three: Fire. And it’s really strange to be watching Avatar during the invasion of Ukraine, because of the Fire Nation’s imperialist spread, looking very much like what’s going on now. Avatar is a marvelous cartoon, and it’s also for children.

Russ: And you say you’re got through it yet? No, not completely through it. So, are you far enough along that you know what, like what the Fire Nation is all about?

Lauren: I think so.

Russ: So like they themselves are a product of toxic leadership.

Lauren: Right, right. I mean, I don’t think I’m actually that far, however, right, I can tell that they’re a product of toxic leadership. And actually, while we’re on it, I have to say, my favorite character is definitely Zuko the moody spicy boy. And every time there’s an episode without Zuko and kind of like, “Ugh, where’s Zuko?” But like, Zuko and the other Fire Nation little shit child soldiers are my favorite. I love them. They’re the most interesting characters to me. Gosh, there’s just so much that I have on my head right now. And I’m having a hard time piecing it all out. Okay, so this invasion of Ukraine feels somewhat personal to me, as an Eastern European Slavic descendant. Even though my family isn’t from the Ukraine—it’s from the Hungary/Slovakian area—it’s easy for me to identify with these people, because I know there’s like a side of my family ancestry that I don’t know a ton about—in part because my mother died when I was young, so I was partially cut off from all that. And also, by the time I was born, pretty much the only things left of that heritage was like stuffed cabbage and poppy seed rolls and things like that. I don’t even know for sure what languages my family spoke. But since they were from the Pittsburgh area, there was a strong sense of being Eastern European and having a bit of an immigrant identity, even though we were several generations removed. It’s a community that’s a little bit closed off, in a way a little bit insular or used to be in a way too. And so that made that sort of identification stronger, despite being in the US for a few generations. And because I’ve always wondered about this side of my family, whenever I see things that are from that area of the world it really piques my interest. It’s easier for me to identify with the war in Ukraine than a lot of other wars. So I’ve been having lots of emotions about that and my Slavic Heritage, and watching the Avatar during that, where it’s a world war, and maybe we’re on World War III. It’s kind of comforting to watch the Avatar because in it, you have these child soldiers that go and clobber things, and they blow up factories, and they sink Fire Nation ships, and they sabotage the machines, and they destroy the invading armies, but they’re not actually killing anyone. Everybody always miraculously makes it out. Like the fire soldiers are all you know, they all abandon the exploding war machine that they’re in. And you see, okay, they’re all fine. So it’s a sanitized version of war, despite being very anti-imperialist, because these kids are not having to make the difficult decision between helping people and killing people who may only be involved because they were forced to.

Russ: But I mean, that’s just how they got it to be a children’s program.

Lauren: Oh, no. I’m not criticizing it. I understand. What I am actually criticizing is my sense of comfort watching it.

Russ: Oh, I see. I see.

Lauren: Yeah. Because these Russians, the soldiers, their heart, for the most part isn’t in it. They don’t really want to go and take over Ukraine for the most part, they just will be severely punished if they don’t. And it’s lovely to see all the Ukrainians, hazing the Russian troops that come through. I don’t know if you saw the video of the Russian soldier crying.

Russ: I did. I’ve seen all of them.

Lauren: Yeah. Their heart’s not in it. Looking at this war, this invasion, where I really identify with the Ukrainian protagonists, that really does a number on my anti war-worldview. Because once in a while, I want the US to get more involved. And I’m like: Lauren, you are against wars. You know that the US is an imperialist nation that hurts anything it touches. On the other hand, I’m like: Don’t let the Ukrainians just die like that. And I mean, that was the that was the gist of a lot of different things. Like when I saw the film, Hotel Rwanda, it was a big awakening and that sense of seeing that doing nothing…

Russ: Doing nothing is never the right thing.

Lauren: …that sometimes going in and shooting people might be a better solution than doing nothing. And I’ve always morally had a lot of that to wrestle with. But the thing about Avatar is it’s comforting because you can both stop the bad guys and not have to worry about killing the people who were forced into being the bad guys.

Russ: It is wonderful to see that… what is it 200,000 troops, I think it was, that were part of the invasion force, that was the last number I read anyway, between 150 and 200. And that is 200,000 people that didn’t do the right thing. And because orders. And orders trump being a human, and…

Lauren: I think a lot of the reason people don’t say no, in this case, is that it seems like the Russian troops were confused, like a lot of them had no idea what they were being ordered to do.

Russ: If they were confused, they were the only ones, especially in this age, there’s no excuse. Like if you if you’re confused today, when you have all of the world’s knowledge right here, that’s on you.

Lauren: Well, their knowledge is really censored.

Russ: The fact that there are protests in Russia show that they know what’s happening,

Lauren: Although I kind of wonder if some of the ineptitude of the Russian invading forces is just their means of refusal just being like “Well, oops. Ran out of gas.”

Russ: My personal favorite is the old lady with the seeds…

Lauren: I know she’s great

Russ: …where she rolls up and like, put these seeds in your pockets so flowers can grow or you die. Like that’ll do. That’ll do old lady.

Lauren: That is so intimidating.

Russ: If they had shot her on the spot, she would have won. Like she’s won already.

Lauren: Why are old women so intimidating? Everybody fears them.

Russ: Because they can say shit like that. That’s the darkest shit I’ve ever heard in my entire life. That’s wil.

Lauren: Put sunflower seeds your pocket so my flowers will grow when you die.

Russ: That’s next level curse.

Lauren: Yeah. It’s pretty amazing. I haven’t really gotten to the gist of the poem, though. Which is that, whenever I think about what I would do in a certain situation, the answer is in general, there’s not much I can do. I can’t do much. There’s nothing really that I can do from here from the US. And then I wonder what I would do if I was in Ukraine.

Russ: I had an opportunity. It’s funny you mentioned that. I was just thinking the other other day about doing the right thing. And I think you do the right thing whenever you can, in your own life. And when you screw it up, you apologize and try to make it right. So in my case, I was on the train, going to work. And a guy left his phone in the seat. And he got off at a stop and the doors open. And he leaves the train and his phone sitting there. And I’m the only one who sees it. And so I’m like: Oh, shit, that guy’s phone. And so I ran and grabbed his phone and took it to him and chased him down on the platform was like, “Dude, your phone.” He’s like, “Oh, my God, thank you so much.” And the train left. Well, me forgetting I left my gloves in the seat. So now I’m at the train station, waiting on the next train to come and come and my gloves are gone. It was such a little microcosm of existence where it’s like you do the right thing, but no good deed goes on unpunished. But you still do the good deed. And in this situation, you have hundreds of thousands of people that have had the chance to do the right thing. And haven’t.

Lauren: What do you think the right thing would be?

Russ: If you don’t have a standing army, you can’t fight a war. And so if you have everyone that says, “No, we’re going to do the right thing.” There’s no war to be had.

Lauren: It definitely relies on everybody else doing the same thing. Otherwise, they’ll just kill you and it makes no difference.

Russ: And that’s the thing of it, you have to have everyone doing the right thing.

Lauren: Well, that never happens. Another thing of watching the Avatar that’s comforting is that these individual child soldiers have immense powers and the capability to shape what’s happening in their world.

Russ: We all can do that.

Lauren: No, you can’t.

Russ: We’re not magical, but we can all shape our lives.

Lauren: Ah, I don’t know how much we can. And that’s kind of where the poem comes in for me is that we all like to imagine that… We all think that would be miraculously effective, as if we all just aren’t individuals who have very little money and very little power…

Russ: Sure.

Lauren: …and can’t do shit.

Russ: All we have is a choice.

Lauren: Well, we do things by working together. And that’s not all that glorious, and definitely movies like the Avatar, and all sorts of fantasy things that I enjoy watching and reading, have a strong stake in the power of the individual, rather than a bunch of collective acts that are unremarkable and will never be remembered.

Russ: Yeah, I think we’ve talked about on this podcast before where people love being the hero, b ut in the but in the moment. If the solution is, you know, a long term housing project, people aren’t interested in that. But pulling a baby out of a car. That’s that’s heroic and instant and so…

Lauren: And so that’s what brings the poem up is that in something like a situation in Ukraine, we all like to think that we would do the right thing, or that we would somehow be a hero. And we would not. But we tell ourselves these stories.

Russ: And as with all else time will tell.

Lauren: Well, that’s not all. Because one thing that happened in Portland is that there was a Black Lives Matter gathering in a local park. Did you hear about this?

Russ: Yes, I did. But please fill us in on the details, because I’m hazy on that.

Lauren: All right. Well, there was a Black Lives Matter gathering in a park to both be in solidarity, for demanding justice for Amir Locke, and also a regular protest to demand justice for Patrick Kimmons, who was a black person who was killed by police in Portland, Oregon. And at this rather regular gathering in the park, there were a group of women who were trying to control traffic. And they were isolated at this moment, because the main part of the group was still in the park. And so as they were setting up and preparing, a neighbor came by enraged. And this neighbor was a white supremacist. And he shot several people, killing one of them, and paralyzing another and would have killed more, except an armed protester ran as fast as they could over and shot the man. Now, the man is expected to survive to face murder charges, but here is an example of somebody who made a big difference. And is this person a hero? Maybe. However, they are in hiding. They are hiding because they might get killed if their identity was revealed by other white nationalists. Also, I imagine they don’t really want to talk to anybody, because shooting someone who has just killed other another person and was potentially going to be responsible for the murders of others is probably a traumatic act just on its own. I don’t think this person feels good. I think this person feels terrible and would rather have not been a hero. Well, I don’t think they would change anything, but rather that that hadn’t been an option.

Russ: Laying aside the, you know, obvious implications of good guy with a gun versus bad guy with a gun. You couldn’t have said it better. Doing the right thing comes with a price. And this person, absolutely did the right thing…

Lauren: …and will be traumatized.

Russ: …and will be punished for it forever.

Lauren: I still think about what I would do in an invasion here.

Russ: And invasion into…?

Lauren: Oh, Portland, Oregon. And who would it be by I don’t know.

Russ: Who’s gonna invade that? I live on the seventh floor of a building. And so I would lean out the window with a long rifle and I would pick off people walking down the street.

Lauren: Right? Well, you know how to use a gun and also have different feelings about guns than I do. Although I know your feelings of guns have changed a lot in the past years that we’ve known each other.

Russ: Have they?

Lauren: Yes.

Russ: I love guns.

Lauren: I know. But I remember once, I resisted throwing a fit at you for something you said.

Russ: Oh?

Lauren: I think they’re a little bit of a fit at you, but I realized you would never understand. And I think you understand more now, and it had to do with concealed carry versus open carry. And I said, I didn’t like open carry and I thought it should be illegal. And you said you would much rather someone open carry than concealed carry. And I was like, “You do not know what it’s like to be a woman and to know that someone could easily kill you if you don’t do what they say.” And you were like, “Well, I’d rather know that someone could kill me.” And I said that “No. Open carry was an act of aggression and it was an intent.”

Russ: Oh, it definitely is. Yeah.

Lauren: And so I remember that. And it was like: He will never understand this. Although I think you kind of get it now.

Russ: I understand more, but you’ll probably hate me for saying I still favor open carry. Just because just because it’s easier to identify the penises in the room. You’re 100% right. It’s totally an aggression. Like it’s a it’s intended as such.

Lauren: Yeah, it’s a power move to be like, “I can hurt you if you don’t do what I say.” And so at least having it concealed carry is not as open of a sign of aggression. Like you might have a gun, but you aren’t telling people that you have a gun so that they will do what you want.

Russ: I’m super glad that I live here where I don’t have to, you know, have the argument but…

Lauren: And for me, the big question is, like, I’m not much of a gun person. I think nobody should have guns unless they are used for hunting or for, you know, protecting yourself against animals. I don’t think they should ever be used on humans.

Russ: Love guns, and I’m in favor of gun bans everywhere.

Lauren: Yeah, I know other people who love guns and are really big fans of gun restrictions. But like: How far would I go in a case of something like what’s happening in the Ukraine? Because I am big on self protection, and definitely the armed protester shooting the killer was the right thing to do. And had I had a gun, I would have done the same. But where does that stop for me? I don’t care about property. I don’t care about identity very much. I don’t care about being an American or being a Portlander or whatever. I don’t care about really a way of lifestyle and things like that. I guess when I mean lifestyle I mean, like, would I care about being culturally United States-ian versus, you know, I don’t know, Mexican or, or Canadian? No, I don’t care. But I do care about self protection. And so I guess for me, the question is, when does something become self protection for me and my community to me.

Russ: Are they killing you because you’re American?

Lauren: Nobody is.

Russ: Yeah. And that’s the question where it’s like: Oh, boy, we’re Ukrainian and the Russians are invading and they’re going to kill us because we’re Ukrainian.

Lauren: The goal of the Russians is not to kill the Ukrainians. They would rather not kill the Ukrainians, and they would rather have Ukraine as it is, under Russian control. They would rather have all the citizens as assets to the Russian state.

Russ: And the way to do that is with missiles, as we, you know, always demonstrated. Make them join by killing them. Hurray.

Lauren: But if they just let Russia come in, then they would be Russian citizens. They wouldn’t have to be killed.

Russ: If the West can offer better concessions… It’s the same way. It’s like, I’m going to convert this anti-vaxxer by punching them to death. Ah, and now I don’t have to worry about converting them anymore. They’re dead. Like, no, it’s madness. The fact that anyone would go along with this plan, that anyone would say, “Oh, this is the right thing to do,” shows me that will never reach the stars. Meteor 2024.

Lauren: Maybe I’m just very solipsistic, but I’m continuously more curious about where are my limits. You can see why I identify with fantasy and science fiction that has heroes.

Russ: Well, I think at this point, it would be prudent to forego our usual uplifting thoughts and give out any charities to whom people can donate for Ukraine.

Lauren: That’s so confusing, though. I don’t think I can vet them.

Russ: Yeah, I’ve been trying to.

Lauren: If you can vet them, go for it. If not, I think I don’t think we should.

Russ: Then I will link any that I can vet in the comments for this episode.

Lauren: Okay. Also like Manila Luzon’s nonsense.

Russ: Yes. I will.

Outro music.