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tv   Jared Yates Sexton The Man They Wanted Me to Be  CSPAN  August 12, 2019 7:00am-8:01am EDT

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please join me in welcoming mr. sexton. thank you so much for coming out. it feels really weird to be out in public talk about this book i've got around the country talking about political reporting it's really easy to hide behind all that stuff you can tell his story and pretend it doesn't
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have much to do with you in politics you can always pretend like it's an external thing. this book is exceedingly personal for me. i basically went through my entire childhood and upbringing into re-examined my life in the things i've gone through as was mentioned i come from a small indiana town clinton. my family this factory workers. they are laborers, into b frank they have made up the base of donald trump's elective base. i examined a lot of that stuff. a little background on what made this project started in the first place goes back to october 72016 which was my 35th birthday and also the day you might remember that donald trump access hollywood tape
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dropped in which she said some really terrible and misogynist disk things. on october 7 and the hurricane was coming through in the access hollywood tape dropped about an hour and a half before the hurricane hit i was celebrating my birthday and i said well, he will bow out of the race by morning. it didn't happen. i set without power for 72 hours trying to figure why it didn't happen. a tree fell in my yard had and have a chainsaw like my neighbors and they all came around and judged me and basically accused me of not being a man because i didn't have a chain saw to take care of this tray.
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that's how we got to this book. i will read a little section of it before i do, i just want to give a little bit of background i was raised in what you would call a traditional patriarchal family. the men all labored they went to work and when they came home the women would weigh on them. wait on them. and cook them dinner. they did a lot of their old traditional gender roles and i was constantly told that a boy wasn't supposed to cry or show emotions. i always felt very conflicted by that. a lot of the book is coming to
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terms with that stuff. and the american idea of masculinity is quite frankly a fraud. the expectation that they have to live up to her about realistic expectations i'm just go ahead and jump into the 2016 stuff i realized pretty quickly that what was happening with donald trump was a racial and societal phenomenon that have a lot of different aspects to it that led to him not just winning the election but basically being immune to the types of scandals and things that would normally bring down a politician. this is a little bit of a look at this. >> donald trump succeeded because he is the personification of white american masculinity.
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his graphic demeanor constant threats and boasting about money and his propensity for being cruel in his boiling of opponents which is like something out of a schoolyard socialization are all traits we have come to associate with men in this country. he is the ideal alpha male to anyone with a traditional world view. anyone who doesn't buy into the act sees before them a tragically insecure person who's bragging fails to hide the neurosis. they talk at length about their money, power in paris. you cannot help but see the same in donald trump. when men go to the
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patriarchy. they see themselves. that means they must also be buffoons. if the so-called billionaire who flies in private jets. his name. if that's not the epitome of what men can achieve in america what is a system that we have all been buying into. wearing a make america great again hat means they don't care if they hurt your feelings. feelings are for women and they don't care if it offends you. donald trump is just another product to supplement their
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masculinity. it's important to exercise the roots. donald trump's message is resident it with large swells of the country there is a kernel of truth. is indeed suffering. when i go home i see a town that is struggling to adapt to changing economic trends. the downtown is shattered. this school is june the sixth after classes. homeowners are underwater. and those lucky enough to head jobs had fallen victim to.
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as a national politicians continue to be bought and sold by billionaire donors the heartland of america gets the wrong end of the deal. it is consistently deflected blame by telling them that minorities are a threat and had abused the system to their own gain. to do on fox news anytime of the day and you will likely find a segment intended for just this purpose. that network in the political party and services has hidden their true agenda by increasing the wealth gap. oath of which harm their voters more than any other group. and they do this by pounding away at societal divisions. this hasn't perpetuated in a logical relationship between working and middle-class americans in the republican party for decades and that relationship has always been precipitated by a lack of political and imagination.
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there is a limited amount of resources available and appeals to their worst instincts. it could instead be framed that the available resources could be grown if only there was cooperation between their democrats. the battlefield that is mass media. the entire life of the united states of america. if anyone else exceeds their doing succeeds their doing so at your expense. they've been trained by conservative media to feel attacked. is constructed with an eye towards diversity. the commercials that air either promote progressive values. or they might buy the right culmination of products or they're not really succeeding as men. they can't even turn on an asphalt game and relax because
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nearly every play is over sad by talk of tragic brain injuries. the click of the remote is all they need to believe that the world is driven by an us versus them conflict. minorities have been held back with more social and economic potential. the truth is the very people that claim to help men have failed them. conservatives have won elections by appealing to traditional values and had left working and middle-class men in the lurch. the goal was always in cementing the past and present set of planning for the future.
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they lied to them by telling them that the mines were going to be reopened. they told them to persist even the most common sense gun control is their children were murdered in classrooms. all the studies and all of the books told the same story. the times are changing and you have better change with them. change has always been in their best interest. the factory jobs the mining jobs the manual labor jobs. they were awful in the first place. men who toiled in these careers are underpaid and often miserable. they die prematurely and they are exploited by companies hardly ever reward their labor or loyalty. they have long fallen for the myth of american capitalism. they find solace no matter how dismal and their pursuit in their work. they've been tricked into an minute now that the light is not real after generation into
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it. it would be one of the greatest emasculation's ever so they double down nearly every time. again they have everything to gain by accepting the emerging order. between every gender and sexuality is the only means by which the system can be challenged. it is a lie of no better future and the most base insecurities. donald trump's rise to power was paved with tragic misunderstanding and the resulting anger and frustration. he found a fresh persona with their delusion. the loyalty is unending because that fragility of their masculinity is an
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ending. they will never had to face the sobering truth that the problem is not an external threat it's always been any internal defect. thank you. [applause]. >> i would like to head conversations about the step. i would be happy to just chat does anybody had any questions. >> i assume people who watch eric are ready to have this conversation. how do you think it may be received or how do you adjust
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the large audience. >> there was a while where i was really afraid of the idea of preaching to the choir and i was really worried about writing but some would refer to as a raw, raw book. i think at the heart of it one of the things about toxic masculinity in america as i think they understand intuitively that the expectations are unrealistic i think we all feel very lonely in that and sometimes. they don't have the rewarding intimate relationships their partners in feeling members had to do all this emotional labor for them. what i had found is that when i talk to other men particularly once that don't
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want to talk about the patriarchy. they still will talk about the burden of masculinity. whether or not they want to get rid of the power construct. they feel it. they feel like it they have to have these responsibilities on top of that i think they are very we'll aware that the world is changing. the expectations of how you make a living and how you carry yourself in the world are very different. while i was doing my presentation he gave me some looks like some questioning looks. and he came up to me and he told me that he came to the event to have an argument with me but in the middle of it he told me that he started to wonder if him and his wife
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could've have a better relationship if you would just talk to her more. that is has both a tragic and incredibly helpful. the idea that that could help somebody enjoy their life more gives me hope. i hope that people can hear with an open heart and understand that they have the world to gain to change their concept of what masculinity is. i wear a flannel and bids basically every day. it doesn't change what i can wear out and about. but i do have to consider what i say and how i treat people and reconsider some of the things that i've done. teachout hopefully men can sit
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with that and resonate would you mind sharing with us what attributed to their self to discovery. in comparison to your loved ones i keep getting ask this question, how did i get out? i was raised in this traditionally patriarchal home and even though i questioned it and now i've read --dash michael written a book about it it's so ingrained. men who have been raised in the situations for not careful we can revert back to it we
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can take advantage of privileges that are really damaging. >> the second thing is that i was an extraordinarily lucky person to have my mother and my life. she was an incredibly strong woman. we went through some really bad times these men would hurt us constantly both of us they would hurt her because that's the way they maintained control and household they would hurt me because i did not conform to the idea of the strong tough boy. in my mom would take me aside and she would emphasize empathy and she would tell me that feelings were important and i needed to have them. the other factor that made it possible was i have a
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grandfather who was a war hero and he is the most sensitive man that i've ever met and he was able to be sensitive in our family because he was a war hero. nobody could question whether or not he was a real man. he have the purple heart to prove it. he fought in world war ii he came home with so many injuries and mental and emotional baggage. he would cry. he went to people's bedsides when they were sick and laid up. there was nothing wrong with crying. if you need to cry you can cry. it changes the entire conditions of a boy's life. it means that we can access our emotions which a lot of men by the way there is this incredible medical condition
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that i would butcher if i tried to say it out loud. men shut off a motion so much they are not able to recognize anymore. allowing a boy to cry or show emotions keeps them from that. it keeps them constantly questioning. the influence in an unbelievable string of people who did not give up on me on times when maybe they should do. i went through my own time where i was problematic. i drink, i ran around i thought i was performing at this role that i was supposed to do. i would get in these points in time where i hated myself so much that i wanted to kill myself. unfortunately it's something that happens with men all the time. they feel like if they fail in who they are supposed to be if they fail and being a man they
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will kill themselves before they seek help. and there were people who would not leave me alone and i am forever indebted to them. i'm very grateful that there were people in my family and circle of friends who were stronger than i was. it took a lot of people. and it took a lot of time. i'm to go back to the story they started with that you started with when the tree fell. i think i and many men felt like our inner monologue they would see that i'm not a real man. if you have an idea of what a more healthy inner monologue would be or what you could say in situations like this. i think about this all the time.
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>> i live in rural southern georgia. i came outside this hurricane have hit in the giant tree is laying across the driveway. ever since i was a child i've tried to become like a typical man. i head in acts that i bought at lowe's that i never used i think it still had packaging on it. i went to my garage to grab it and i walked back out and said this as i is i can to do anything. i'm not paul bunyan. and i cannot chop a tree in half with one fell swoop. i came back out and there was this neighbor he doesn't talk much he yells for his dogs. the only thing i've ever heard them say. he comes over, i have learned from being around my father and other men in my family you
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communicate with utility around traditional men. you answer mono it's a lot a clay. sometimes you got to get things across. he comes over and he says you got it chainsaw? i said no and you have never seen a person look more disappointed. he spit on the ground and said why not. list my first house. i'm still getting all of the necessities, you know what i mean. he goes back over to his house and he gets his chainsaw and he starts chainsaw in this giant tree. in my neighborhood is very popular to have these decked out golf carts.
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there was just a giant group of neighbor had been on golf carts parts out on the road every last one of them asked me if i have a chainsaw. when i tell them know it's the same sound. i've done a pretty good job but i call persona. i think we all do that. i'm sorry this is terrifying. after come in here and play character. to go out in the world i had had to become a version of the man that the men i grew up with wanted me to be. i seem like a pretty typical working-class hoosier.
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that disguise that i created of this working-class hoosier guy and not having the chainsaw in front of my entire neighborhood emasculating me on a level i never thought possible. the sunil trump thing with the hollywood tape happen. i was lucky because for one being a white male in america it means that you don't often had to question yourself. if you want you can stay with your general conceit. you never had to wonder if i'm doing the right thing. that total public emasculation it really mean me rethink that persona. and who i have pretended to be there is no shame in not only a trait --dash mike chainsaw
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as a tool, it's so ridiculous that tool can personify american masculinity and you see on tv all the time. they are just hearing into everything. and it says you can pay 300 or $400 to feel like a real man. it made me question myself, in the persona and it made me question the society. that totally ridiculous situation was definitely what started me down the track of thinking about all of this. can you talk a little bit about what we think for toxic masculinity.
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that is the 64,000-dollar question. for people who might not know or hear the idea of toxic masculinity men's rights advocates and people in the old rate they spend a lot of time with toxic masculinity. would it take manhood into men. there is an entire industry around that. things like alex jones into fake news and these conspiracies at the heart they're all sane and one way shape or firm you were going to be emasculating politically socially and personally. that's the idea that is there. it tries really hard to keep men from question what is happening.
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at its heart the idea of talking about toxic masculinity is talking about when men are insecure about their masculinity it has been proven time and time again they overcompensate. they lashed out because the only actual expression of emotion can be anger and violence is what eventually comes from that. you see some really terrible things. what i think needs to happen is we need to embrace the idea of what masculinity is supposed to be. let's say that men are supposed to be strong. those aren't bad qualities strength and protection are not bad things but at the heart the contradictions of
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masculinity don't work. men live shorter lives because they're afraid to go to the dr.. men are courageous and there can invincible. but they're really scared of what their gp will say. my father tragically died at 59. he didn't go to the dr. for 30 years. they are constantly having heart attacks and life expectancies are falling. we need to look at the good parts about masculinity and we need to untie them from these awful things which are about oppression and violence in subjugating people we just sort of accepted it.
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the more than i investigated the history of masculinity and how we got here is because men in a lot of ways are actually weaker than women. biologically women had tolerances almost every major killer disease or problem that faces humanity. biologists had found that they are actually not. >> it looks like masculinity was a side product of men being insecure about who they were. they built up the persona. the thing they walk around with. what we need to talk about is why we do the things that we
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do. i think the easiest thing in the world is for men to look at the howdy treat the people around you? i think this is one of the biggest things of all. many to hold each other accountable. male relationships in large part are not great when men don't talk to one another they feel isolated, they feel alone, and they feel like they are failing in some way. men had to step up and they have to stop telling meant to be misogynistic. they just need to hold each other accountable. when we start making those moves and those changes and we question why we do the things we do, i think this whole
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thing falls because quite frankly it's a lie. i think with a little bit of examination that house of cards goes down. it sounds like the flavor of toxic masculinity are talking about is mostly white christian american i was curious about how it might very based on different races and ethnicities, religions or nationalities. >> what i've come to find my particular background and this is a really odd thing because i come from this extraordinarily core family it was like one of those things where you tell someone where i come from that they had power and privilege and they will roll their eyes at you.
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quite frankly they have different types of power and privilege that they have haven't examined about. i'm very interested in what systems had been put into place in order to control people. i --dash mike is not alone in this. we have our own strain of it. it is based in this old idea of american exceptionalism. and the old idea was at the heart of america was it is free and everybody has equal opportunities. men could go out and prove themselves by doing this. meanwhile they are subjugating entire segments of people. we make it to the pacific ocean and we've we covered all the ground and men are still
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lacking. and then we get to this point where particularly white males they start to judge their worth as men based on how much they get themselves to their labor. with my family multiple generation laborers. they were never going to make it. they were never can have a plane with their name on it. but they killed themselves doing it. he has just given his back to what he has never been rewarded. other people i know they have lost hands, limbs, their lives, people kill themselves they have lived these really desperate lives.
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how it is also used to not only manipulate them but again it can track this power hierarchy. next question. i wonder how it plays in u.s. politics how will it play out in elections coming forward.
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it did not make for good couple of years. they were marching among the trump supporters. i started to notice in these clouds the top of misogyny that was waged against hillary clinton was unbelievable. and it wasn't just we heard all of these things and they say lock her up for the crimes or she is not an honest broker those are the things people can say that it wasn't that it was explicitly gender. it was a lot of misogynistic slurs. they were constantly talking in these rallies about harming her and not just political violence and sexual violence
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they could finally emasculate the american males. to have a woman on top of the power. i don't how it is good and play in 2020 well we're already seeing it. i'm so sorry about talking about likability of female candidates. i'm tired of talking about whether or not they present a shrill or if people are good to be going to be intimidated by having them in power. i think we have to do better. we have to move beyond the old tired ideas and i think that stops from -- starts from the very top. if we continue going down this road what happens is you make
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it a possibility for a political party like the republican party to put their entire power base on the stuff they get the votes of people who they harm economically and they do it because they play it up. that's why george w bush bought a farm and played rancher. bringing back factories that are not coming back. but they can be manipulated because those things are inherent and those things can be played on. we have to get better. if we don't get better at holding us back from addressing things like claimant change. it has been expressly gendered just like gendered. why would i worry about other people. by the same token they are afraid of social safety nets. they are not actually.
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they are doing it because is a seem like they're tough. it leads to really bad places in it leads to a place where not only is government gridlocked we can't even agree that the major problems of the time are real. it has to be addressed at some point or i don't even know what's can happen. it's going to get betty -- really bad. can you talk a little bit about how this book was or maybe not been influenced by college campus in the ub and a professor. i'm in rural georgia so i thought when i moved to georgia it was just can be, i come from indiana.
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i went down to georgia and what actually found was the next generation is incredibly progressive and i even mean politically i mean in terms of how they view the world. for instance gender. when i talk to people from the generation before me i talk about is gender a construct in fluid. >> at such an alien idea to them. my students one day can present themselves as female and the next day can present themselves as a lumberjack. it's incredible. actually had this moment is one of the things i wrote about in here. there is a lot of blowback agnes millenials. it's almost been a nasty word.
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what i did look at them myself and how i looked at my students i realized that in his resentment i felt was an resentment of their freedom that i did not get to enjoy. they're not afraid to be open about their sexuality or do whatever they want with gender. it does not matter to them. they freedom in a way that i can never imagine. i think has to do with the internet and entertainment and so much wrapped up in it. i resented it to a certain extent because resentment is i didn't get that how did you get that. i started looking at them and it's a death now. as such so what were dealing with right now and the crisis
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not only is it donald trump is easy to say the whole thing. were not talking about larger issues. there is internet radicalization that radicalize is mass shooting . the dots are there for us to connect. if it was muslims doing it would be on every television show constantly. there is an epidemic of mass shootings that are done from internet radicalization. i've talked to extremist, i've talked effective former and create extremists. the way they were crew. as they find insecure young men. and what they do is they fill them up with old ideas about masculinity and aggression. at the root of so much fascism in the world.
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these things that are happening right now are happening because there is a change occurring and it's the economy and its politics. and it's unavoidable. it's going to happen. and the people who are fighting right now are fighting a losing battle unless they can hire another grab control of power. students give me hope and watching them navigate these things made me feel freer and better. the stuff i used to believe and be trapped by was totally in my head it was like a social construct that i could overcome. it played a really big difference for sure. how do we give men the teal's
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-- of the tools to engage in the self-criticism and reflection. critical thinking was a cornerstone of my education. a lot of people do not had that. how do we give people the tools to look at themselves critically and to examine their beliefs while still in a broad and accessible way while still making it something that's not necessarily comfortable but is accessible and important part of our society to engage in. what i mean by safety is men who feel they are alone and they are insecure and they are insecure because the expectations are ridiculous.
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nobody could be strong and invincible their entire lives. it's absolutely impossible. they've been proven time and time again when they're scared and insecure they lash out and over perform in a violent and dangerous. if the provide them safety even while there is danger. that does not mean put yourself in danger. when you hear them talk and trumped is a really good example of this. he has really pitiful is like when he has these moments you his moments you watch him and he is such a bully and you sit there and you watch and you think you are so sad. if the boast about how much money had and who you've dated and what you own and how strong and how much everyone likes you. it's so sad.
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when we hear these people talk in our lives they're they are telling us what they are afraid of. if we listen to them and if we hear you think santos is what makes you a good person obviously there's something else. if you tell men they are not alone. if you just tell them it's okay if you feel bad. otherwise what is unintended is enablers of this. while tom doesn't talk about his feelings. it is tragic and sad. you just make yourself open. and i think the really helpful thing about all this is unrealistic to be strong forever.
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and if you give them love, and support and support he can's currents was safety i talked to talk to christian pickling it was a really interesting he told me about the only reason that he was able to get out was because people loved him. he was saying all of these terrible anti-semitic fascist things and people would still say i love you. which enabled him to get out. if men know they can be loved and appreciated in that they can be safe even while they're not living up to those expectations there is hope. it is a really daunting process i assume that some people are more reachable than others but i think it begins by giving them love.
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and as much safety as you can. >> i'm not sure what my question is but toxic men they're not just low associate economic but they're also the women who love them and have been rooster packed by them and you see them at their rallies standing right next to their man saying lock her up along with their men. i think you are right if you if such a family like that has been able to send their kids to college so that they get to hear other voices and opinions
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the next generation is indeed where our hope lies because a lot of women stayed home and didn't vote for hillary yes she shot herself in the food by not being in certain places where she should have been. but this toxicity is not just in the men but it's in the women who love them. i pray and hope that for this country the unifying factor will be the kids who are and go away from that nest and go out and are educated in the read and interact with people from all over the place to believe all kinds of differences. they learn to love the differences.
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i thought in the 2016 campaign one of the biggest misfires was the ad where it showed children watching donald trump on tv. it focused on how vulgar he was and he was a bully. the men in my family say things that are so much worse than anything donald trump would say in their wives in their mothers and their sisters and the people in the people around them love them. and so there is a cognitive distance that happens if this guy is too vulgar into awful to be president than your seen my son or father or brother cannot be president. that's an issue. what we do a lot of the time as we like to pretend that this stuff step is very simple and clear-cut and it's not.
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we found some really alarming things in terms of the roles that women play. if a woman is in a partnership with the man in for whatever reason she starts making more money than he does she will actually over perform her role in the household. she will do more work around the house while she is the main breadwinner. if other things where women are put into these tests with men and they unconsciously submarine themselves so that they won't outdo the men. she told me last week in florida it's actually heartbreaking. i think she been married for 24 years and there had never been a conversation where she expressed her full intelligence to her husband.
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she told me that she have never thought about the fact that should become an unwitting enabler of this idea and actually have promoted and her husband that women are not as intelligent. while we actually do in a lot of ways we unconsciously continue these things on tests in economics and social situations we are constantly playing the roles that are not real. weaver really hard time getting out from behind them. once we start realizing it is a social construct and once we start realizing that we are subject to a lot of forces it can change. she said she said that with her husband and told him. he said i never want that to happen. i think there is hope there.
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they have their first real conversation in like 24 years. it all happened because she admitted something that it was have happened. one of the biggest drawbacks in terms of being alive is all of the stuff that we don't talk about. so much of the importance of in our lives we neglect to actually mobilize and communicate with one another because we are afraid. i think amazing changes are possible once we get rid of that fear. i thing is a revolutionary idea to have those conversations. thank you so much. we are can have him and a table he will be happy to sign books for you and chat a
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little bit more. join me in giving him one more lout --dash mike round of applause. [applause]. here's a look at some books being published this week. and river of fire the author shares her thoughts on abolishing the debt there --dash mike does the penalty.
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they take a look at how the internet has changed people's attitude towards the truth. and john helprin in the former director for addiction and treatment provides a history. it's also been published this week brian rosenwald talk radio. explains how conservative talk radio has it transform the transformed the republican party. in the a moral majority. the pursuit of political power over christian values is detrimental to the religious rights. they recall the life of the late neurologist. and how are you. look at these titles in and bookstores this coming week. look to become verse hundreds of other programs every year and recently at harvard university the former congressional aide provided a critical look at congress.
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i was sitting here one morning. it was witness testifies and the questions making comments. in one senator finished his comments and packed up his papers and turn to go. as he did he hesitated. i was kinda drawn to this because i could see from where i was seating why he was hesitating. it was a way too large. i could see he was not sure which door led to that room in the hall. the other went to a very small and let supply closet. i'm sure by now you can see where this is going. our senator chose the wrong door. he opened the door to the closet at that point he did
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something astonishing. rather than to a knowledge acknowledge have made a mistake a publicly which by the way in the 40 years and works around the congress i've only seen maybe two it maybe two or three times they win the door in the closet. and shut it behind. i was watching them. i elbowed the guy next to me and said there was a united states senator and the supply closet. by now my credibility with my friend is going down rapidly. but all at once the door opened. at that point the senator backed out and said audibly so everybody could hear, every other senator in the witness
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at the table. okay good things for talking to you. he closed the door and walked out the door i thought to myself what a remarkable recovery. i've often wondered what this actually says about congress and the people who represent us. i think it says two things. both are will illustrated by the senator in the closet. was the quality of these people who represent us. what do we say about the rules and processes and procedures that they adapt to their own work. to watch the rest of the talk visit our website book tv.org. .. ..
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i watched, and watched some of these scenes that have been taped and gotten through, talented people by the way, but gotten through and gotten to the public where you see the hatred of our party, of our people, of our voice. and you say that's the collusion. it's a collision between the democrats and the media,

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