Janelle Jolley 0:07
Hey there, welcome back to What's Left To Do. I'm your host, Janelle. Let's pick back up with Kat on part two of her story. So, you were attending NYU for a couple- how many- did you stay in New York, even after school?
2009, and then I dropped out of the Ph. D program. And when Hurricane Sandy, or Superstorm Sandy, happened, which was 2012?
Janelle Jolley 0:38
What was it like living in New York during that time, being in school?
Oh my gosh...amazing. Just- I'm really glad I lived in New York City in my mid 20s. I highly recommend it to most people- I mean, and just being on the bipolar spectrum, New York's a very bipolar city! So I was like, "This is my reality. Like, everyone here is like, on my page, on my vibe."
Janelle Jolley 1:02
You're so wild. Oh my gosh.
Everyone's so intense and super into what they're doing, trying to make something happen, and then eating amazing food, and then getting drunk and going here. Like, it's just...it's just a...it's just an endless, sensory stimulating fever dream, in many ways. But there's a lot of status, or whatever, with working in a museum, working at a art gallery. Like, wearing black and black glasses and just standing around talking about art, right? I mean...I hope I'm not offending anyone right now. But, there's status to it.
Janelle Jolley 1:44
And so, because it doesn't pay very well, but it's kind of high status, the people who end up going far or doing well in it often are people who come from money.
Janelle Jolley 1:56
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
And who have connections. Their parents collect art. Like, I'm not talking about collecting, you know- I'm talking about Van Gogh paintings. Yeah. Yeah. Million dollar, whatever, like, you know, have art collection, and such. So I, became immersed in that world. That was the world that I...I didn't know I had chosen it, but that's what I became aware of. And...again, it was like, "Oh, I'm not a good enough person.' Like, "These people have better circumstances." Because I think I still believed in a meritocracy at that time.
Janelle Jolley 2:40
Completely not even realizing, "Oh...her great, great grandfather owned slaves and had a plantation in the south. And that money kept getting passed down and property, such that her parents didn't even have to work."
Janelle Jolley 3:02
And she definitely doesn't either.
Janelle Jolley 3:04
That's right, that's right. Wow. But you didn't contextualize it that way at the time. You just internalized the negative...the decontextualized disparity, negatively upon yourself, or to yourself?
I did, yeah. I made everything mean that something was wrong with me.
Janelle Jolley 3:24
How long did it take you to unlearn or untangle all of these messages that you, again, you internalized in a decontextualized manner? Like, how long did that take?
Oh my god. I mean, I think it's still happening. But, I mean, there were definitely big breakthrough moments. But, I mean, 35 has been great. This is my most DGAF year, like, don't give a fuck. Like, this is just how I am! I'm like, basically fully cooked at this point, right? Like, how much better can I get at this point? Like, so just try to accept myself as I am, instead of constantly striving to be a better version of myself, or whatever. Like, I mean, women, a lot of women and female identifying people have this story running in their head, right? It's like...but, yeah, it's incredibly sad to me that I saw people with so much privilege who basically, even if they fucked up 76 times in a row in a royal way, even if they murdered somebody, they would be fine. You know what I mean?
Janelle Jolley 4:33
Right, right, right, right.
And then I- and I was like, "Oh, I must not be working hard enough. I must not be focused. I must not be studying enough."
Janelle Jolley 4:41
I must not be rising and grinding enough.
Janelle Jolley 4:45
Uh-huh, uh-huh. But it's just like, "Actually, I'm just not rich."
Janelle Jolley 4:48
That's really what it all comes down to.
Janelle Jolley 4:51
When you left...when you left New York to come back here, weren't you working at a museum for a bit?
Janelle Jolley 5:00
Was that the first job he took when he got back?
Yeah, I interned there for a while. And then they offered me a job.
Janelle Jolley 5:06
Oh, right on. And what was that job? And how did you enjoy it?
It was at the San Jose Museum of Art, so my hometown contemporary art museum. And they- it was a curatorial assistant position, which is like the entry level curator role. So I, well, you know, I...I got all this training, like, definitely way too educated on art history, right? Like, nobody should spend so much time studying it. But, so I... yeah, I wanted to be a curator. And my vision of being a curator was more like, I want to find artists who are making really important work for society, like in a public sense, and help the public, understand it, interact with it, benefit from it somehow. I learned very quickly, I mean, I learned this over time working at museums for like, 10 years, but...that's not really how it goes. There's politics to everything, there's bureaucracy to everything, right? And museums are no exception. And the part that I loved, which was sitting down like this, like one, one on one with an artist, or designer, or choreographer, or whoever we were working with for an exhibition, and helping them clarify their creative process, and like, contribute something they feel really great about, and that the museum felt really great about? That was my favorite thing. I did that 10% of my time. The other 90% of my time, I was like, "I don't care for this very much at all." And so I stayed for two and a half years. And I finally just had to, like...I...well, first I went to Burning Man, and then I came back and then I was in a bike accident the day that I got back from Burning Man. Yeah, so I was on a bike biking back home from yoga and a car hit me at 35 miles an hour.
Janelle Jolley 7:11
Janelle Jolley 7:12
I didn't know you were in a biking accident. Were you crazy hurt?
No, that's the thing. I mean, eye witnesses said that the car hit me and I flipped a few times, hit the hood of the car, then hit the ground. But I was- I think, because I was so relaxed from yoga, and also from being at Burning Man, maybe? I was...like, I didn't tense up. So that makes it really bad. You get more pain that way. I was just kinda like a sack of potatoes. So I kind of like, I hurt my left hip a bit because I landed there. But otherwise, I was totally fine.
Janelle Jolley 7:52
Whoa. Those events kind of get your attention and...I'm not saying that you deserve to get hit by a car. But what I am saying is sometimes things happen to get your attention and like, or prompt you to shift or change something or blah, blah blah. Like, is that- was that you're, at the time, interpretation of those events?
Oh, for sure. It was a wake up call.
Janelle Jolley 8:19
Like a- yes, that's the word for it.
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I...it- that accident totally woke me up to not only like- I mean, you know, people always say like, "Life is short! Life is short!" That's actually not true. If you are very present to every moment in your life, it can feel like a very luxuriously long, amazing thing. It's that your life can be taken away from you at any time.
Janelle Jolley 8:43
You have no say. And we all walk around in fear of that. So we act like, "Okay, let's make plans. I'm gonna live, I'm gonna keep living." But in reality, I mean, you just don't know.
Janelle Jolley 8:58
Talk to me about your political evolution, or your evolution...the evolution of your...of your ideology, your politic, I don't know how to...however you want to put that. How did you get to that point where we were phone banking in your living room and listing your cats as comrades as we were smiling and dialing?
My politic has mostly been shaped by Rising. Like, Krystal and Saagar on Rising.
Janelle Jolley 9:31
Love that show. Every morning it's like, "So, Krystal said da da da," like, please run it down for me.
I just love both of them, actually. Because, yeah.
Janelle Jolley 9:43
You gotta be a little...you gotta be careful with Saagar, though.
Saagar is, you know, he's not as 100%. I mean, I'm just a Krystal fan. But, the thing is that you- I've learned so much from hearing them speak. Also, it took me a really long time to figure out that he is on the right, like, or, quote unquote.
Janelle Jolley 10:02
In a big way. Oh yeah.
Yeah. But, the thing is, that I really feel is very true, Left-Right is not very interesting or useful as a cut for me right now.
Janelle Jolley 10:19
Okay. Tell me why and tell me what you mean by that.
I think people think Left, blue, Obama Biden, Bill Clinton. I think people think Right, red Trump, you know, Republicans, talk radio, whatever.
Janelle Jolley 10:39
What do you think- let's- cuz I want to park here for a second- what do you think are the attributes that people assign the Left-Right, kind of, spectrum or binary? Popularly, not what you think. But what do you think people think when they...outside of the characters, like what does it mean?
Yeah, what does it mean to be liberal? And what does it mean to be conservative?
Janelle Jolley 11:02
Yeah, how do you think people think about that? And also, do you think- sorry, I'm bulling you over right now.
No, it's good.
Janelle Jolley 11:08
Do you think that people conflate liberal and left, popular?
Janelle Jolley 11:12
Janelle Jolley 11:12
And is that a false conflation? Or, not in your head?
I think it's not as helpful. Because, like, case in point, Obama. Right? Obama is liberal.
Janelle Jolley 11:26
He is liberal, but he is not a leftist.
He is not a leftist, no.
Janelle Jolley 11:30
That's right. And why? But, like, what are the attributes in your mind that make- that are- that categorize liberal versus left? How do you think about that?
I find it very much more helpful to think in terms of establishment versus anti establishment, which I would fully identify as the latter, anti-establishment.
Janelle Jolley 11:52
Ah, ah, ah.
So, populist. I don't know if that's a dirty word on the show or anywhere else. But, yeah. I, like, above the 99% of this country, and what would be- what would make a categorical material change in people's lives, so that they could live better lives. Like, the way capitalism- oh, my god, I'm gonna make an ass of myself trying to talk about capitalism right now. But the way capitalism works is...it's extractive, right?
Janelle Jolley 12:27
Public companies are beholden to their shareholders above all else.
Janelle Jolley 12:33
To do what?
To...to make a profit for-
Janelle Jolley 12:38
One time or all the time?
No, every fucking time.
Janelle Jolley 12:41
Right, all the time.
Yeah, all the time. So how can that be the Northstar metric? How, right?
Janelle Jolley 12:51
Janelle Jolley 12:53
Janelle Jolley 12:54
Right. There are...I think what I hear you saying, and I believe this, too, is that the left prioritizes the needs of working people, whether or not that's good for any particular market force, whereas liberals, they try to clumsily negotiate, kind of, balancing the needs of some people, so long as it is good for markets. So long that market forces are not negatively impacted. That's what I think of in terms of the differences. Like, people need to go to the doctor and we're going to make sure that they get to the doctor to get the care that they need, quickly, efficiently, and, you know, at no cost? That is orthogonal to the interests of the healthcare industry, so this market, and the market forces that dictate it. Therefore...fuck it. Like, fuck this. Like, that is not the priority. So we are deprioritizing that. Whereas liberals, it's like, "Well, yeah, people should be able to go to the doctor." It's like, "Okay...but, you know, but we have to worry about companies being able to, you know, companies being able to, you know," and, you know, a lot of the time they hide behind this idea of innovation, so, you know, we'll-
Competition breeds innovation.
Janelle Jolley 13:43
That's right. "And so we'll, you know, we'll- the poorest people, you know, we'll help them go to the doctor sometimes, but everyone else should be able to, you know, if we make it affordable, everyone else should, you know, be able to still get care." And it's just like, then, you know, you kind of stretch that out, and it's like the idea of affordable gets shifted and defiled over time because that's just their way to sell it. It's under this guise of just kind of like paternal care, but what they really cared about is this market's still working and extracting profits- enormous profits, by the way. You know, regularly and as efficiently as possible, and trying to balance that with what I think a lot of liberals do believe, in terms of, you know, people should have, quote, access- we need to abolish that word, by the way- access to care, but balancing that with the need for these markets to operate, you know, fairly unencumbered and efficiently. So it's like, to me, that's what the difference is.
Yeah. Yeah, that's very clarifying. And it helps me get to this next point, which I feel very deeply right at this moment, which is, most people I know who are on the left, know true suffering or have seen it. And...
Janelle Jolley 15:49
Can I clarify that?
Janelle Jolley 15:51
I think you're right. Before people that I've met that I...that, you know, self ID as le- and I believe that are leftist, even if they haven't experienced suffering personally, I think they have an understanding of what it means to suffer?
Janelle Jolley 16:07
And that it is, that is a political choice. And it's unnecessary.
Yeah. And it's unacceptable on a- not to be moralistic, but on a moral level. Like, we should not be allowing people to suffer.
Janelle Jolley 16:19
Like, is generally what I feel.
Janelle Jolley 16:22
Yeah. I mean, there, you know, there will always be some- a level of personal suffering that I think human beings encounter. But a lot of what we understand-
Avoidable suffering, as Adam said.
Janelle Jolley 16:31
That's right, There's a lot of avoidable suffering that is a result of material deprivation, that we can absolutely address and absolutely should. And I think that is the driving impetus behind a lot of people's, like, arrived leftist politic.
I mean, I wonder about the neuroscience of wealth, because...it seems to me, there's this very weird, interesting thing that happens when you are wealthy, or have always been wealthy, or becoming wealthy. Kind of like a, "I worked hard to get here." Right? "I worked really hard to get here. I want a PPO where I have choice and I don't want to have to wait, and da da da da da," right?
Janelle Jolley 17:15
Yeah. Very Karen attitude that's embodied in a lot of people's view on health care.
Yeah. And it's hard because America's a...started off as a very individualist place and still is. I am trying to make it as collectivist as possible. But it's hard for people because it's like, "Every man for himself," quote unquote, "Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps." Like, meritocracy, these mythologies that- okay, maybe they made some sense pre-neoliberalism. But neoliberalism has gone on for, what, 40, almost 50 years? Yeah. Just relentless extraction from the bottom to give to the top.
Janelle Jolley 18:04
That shit doesn't apply anymore. We can't- none of that makes sense in our world.
Janelle Jolley 18:10
At what point would you say were you able to develop the capacity...to- for the language you have now to like, discuss the things that we're talking about? How, like, when did that happen? How did that happen?
Yeah. I think- I am endlessly grateful that my parents- we were poor.
Janelle Jolley 18:28
We were actually on the poverty line and my dad worked to get us, like, three economic- like, middle class. To middle class, right? Whatever the levels are. In terms of, he was able to buy a house. So I...it was a dizzying amount- just like South Korea's ascent. Like, he just brought us through three socio economic levels in 20 years. So I know what it's like to not have stuff. I know what it's like to worry about how I'm spending even, like, five minutes of my time. That immigrant anxiety is in my body because my parents have it and they raised us with it. I also, between coaching and my curatorial career, I actually was an after school teacher in the Tenderloin for two years. I taught after school there and I had students who were homeless and lived in bands with their families, and didn't get a shower, so they would come to school, you know, smelling. And kids are so mean, right, about that. And they ate all their meals at school because there wasn't a lot of food at home. Like behavioral problems. It's like, can we stop calling it- they're traumatized and living in poverty because this country can't get it's shit together. Like, let's just say it.
Janelle Jolley 20:04
Yeah, let's be honest about what's happening here.
And that woke me up so much to the inequity, and how gross it is that- and I-
Janelle Jolley 20:15
That same city where, you know, people, you know, just have-
Billionaires making it rain.
Janelle Jolley 20:22
Just, a disgusting amount-
Holiday parties that are, like, $750,000 to-
Janelle Jolley 20:29
That's a cheap holiday party.
Yeah. Like it's...it's just wrong.
Janelle Jolley 20:34
Yeah. And that was laid bare for you during this time.
Oh, for sure.
Janelle Jolley 20:39
Are there- was there any particular kind of experience during your time volunteering there that sticks with you, and maybe haunts you?
I mean, I was...it was stressful to...it was a stressful job, you know? You have to keep the kids engaged and you had to get them from break to studying to whatever. But- so I didn't have that- but now, in retrospect...yeah, the kids I remember the most are the ones who were the most down and out. Like, yeah, homeless, living in a van. And my heart just, like- and it's so fucked up because you feel so helpless. Like, you want to help. And I have some money in my bank account. Is it on me to try and do this right now? Like, you know, it puts...good, regular people in this really painful place. And...like, I'll be the first to admit it. Like, feeling that much pain and empathy for the human existence and suffering and the human existence? Like, I just...I just max out on it. And I'm not much good. Like, I can't...I'm not like my husband. He's like, "Okay, we got to do this, we got to do this, we got to get these kids food, you know, or whatever. Like, his brain still works. My brain totally shuts down.
Janelle Jolley 22:09
And that's what happens with a lot of us.
Janelle Jolley 22:11
Yeah, that's right.
Because we just don't know what to do.
Janelle Jolley 22:13
What did- you know I have to ask you this question. And I forgot to ask Holly this question.
Oh, scary. Scary.
Janelle Jolley 22:19
Did you...were you ever, like- before you became... before you came into this understanding of a leftist politic. A, you know, a universal material leftist politic. Did you- were you ever an insufferable liberal? Like when you were in New York in the art world?
Janelle Jolley 22:36
Like what are some- give me an embarrassing story, because Liz will hate me if I don't ask you.
Ugh. So embarrassing.
Janelle Jolley 22:47
No, it's okay, we're all ?
Well...I mean...there's this quote I love, which is, "Your mind is like a temple. Do not leave the door clumsily ajar," right? So what you take in matters because it shapes you. And yeah, I was just taking in hardcore neoliberal propaganda, nonsense, whatever, you know? And I think my most embarrassing thing- I don't have like one particular story necessarily, but I think it was like, "Oh..." I think I just tried to be part of that. I mean, in the art world is very shishi and full of people with money and, not only money but taste, which is a dangerous thing. And so I can still talk about art and talk about, like, high minded, high brow, like high brow ivory tower, you know, like, high academia, like this kind of stuff. I can put it on if I have to. But...yeah, it was just so inauthentic to my history, my parenting my childhood. And I was- I really thought for a long time that that was how I was gonna find happiness. Was, like, fitting in with people who have a lot of money and have power and...being thought of as- being liked by them.
Janelle Jolley 23:55
But how did- give me an example of how this showed up and what you did. Can you think of one?
Probably. Like- oh, you mean some outrageous behavior that I displayed, to that end?
Janelle Jolley 24:38
Yeah. Or thoughts you had or, you know?
Well, I think I erased myself.
Janelle Jolley 24:48
I was, like...I made myself as white and upper class, upper middle class conversant as humanly possible.
Janelle Jolley 24:59
Ah. Give me an example.
Yeah, just, you know, we'd go to- we wouldn't even just go to museum exhibitions, you know? In grad school, we would go to lectures. Like, watching people lecture about art. Which is, you know, it's great. It's very edifying. But also, it's like, you got to be of a certain comfort to do shit like that, right? And I would go and play the game of, you know, having some high minded-ass conversation about this work and how it cuts through class, and how class was being perceived at in, like, 20th century Paris. And just- I was like, you know, spewing, like-
Janelle Jolley 25:49
You were like a ? art hoe.
Yeah. I was like, "Oh, Marx would say this about it, and blah, blah, blah." And meanwhile, like..."Girl, your parents still worry about money, are in debt," like...putting on airs, you know? As if I was born into money, or something.
Janelle Jolley 26:13
Ah, you had to- you decided to play the part for a while.
Oh, yeah. I mean, you kind of have to, to, like....you gotta talk the talk.
Janelle Jolley 26:21
What annoyed you the most, or got under your skin the most, in terms of...a liberal misunderstanding, or a liberal, kind of- the hegemonic liberal coverage of Trump's term as a leftist? Like what about- what- pick one thing that annoys you the most, or just piss you off. Or has you screaming at the TV like, "You don't get it!" Or, "You got this all wrong! Like that, or blah blah, blah.
Well, just in general, I rage against the liberal media machine for the choices they make. Right?
Janelle Jolley 26:56
You're like, "Why are you giving this man more power, ever more power every day?" That's what- he's playing you! He's playing you like a fiddle. He knows- he's not an intellectual man. But he-
Janelle Jolley 27:03
He's not dumb.
He, like, in his being- somewhere in his dark belly, he understands the human monkey mind, monkey brain, right?
Janelle Jolley 27:25
And he just hooks, hooks, hooks and you fall for it every fucking time. Because why? Greed. Because you do not serve the American people, you serve your fucking stakeholders of your...whatever media company. Yeah, you serve advertisers. So, yeah, just that, generally speaking. And whenever I read stories in the New York Times where their like, "Oh," well, you don't even really read this, but you just care about, "Oh, such and such Ford factory jobs got shipped to China." I didn't really have an opinion about it. I was just like, "I guess those people are out of jobs." But...I guess I just didn't know what to think of that. And...yeah, we just keep shipping jobs, we just keep shipping jobs. And these people...what are they doing?
Janelle Jolley 28:23
Yeah. What are they-
Janelle Jolley 28:24
Yeah. Are these jobs getting replaced?
Janelle Jolley 28:26
If so, with what kind of jobs? How is their standard of living?
Janelle Jolley 28:31
They had union jobs and now they don't.
Janelle Jolley 28:36
Yeah, that's right.
And now America doesn't know how to make anything.
Janelle Jolley 28:40
Not a fucking- masks too-
Janelle Jolley 28:43
A pandemic, we do not have the capacity to make shit except-
We have the old ladies in Wisconsin sewing masks and sending them to people. Like, this is-
Janelle Jolley 28:52
Public health policy.
It's very cute, but we should be able to make some fucking access and make a vaccine.
Janelle Jolley 28:57
Janelle Jolley 28:59
What was the understanding you were able to arrive at about why he won? Even in this bubble.
My first impulse was to make my feed purple. So I started subscribing to Fox News. And that was my first instinct. I was like, "I need to understand this. I don't understand." And, then, you know, the liberals got really obsessed with like, "Well, Hillary did this wrong. And Hillary did that wrong." And I got all into that. He- I didn't even know how to think about him.
Janelle Jolley 29:29
But now, you know, having developed a little bit more of a politic, I'm like, "We were not paying attention to so many Americans and the reality of their lives."
Janelle Jolley 29:45
And, actually, the things that he was saying and promising? Why wouldn't you vote for that if your job got shipped to China?
Janelle Jolley 29:53
Hello? Hello? It's that simple.
Right? If he had actually stuck to his guns, as an outsider in Washington and delivered on that stuff?
Janelle Jolley 30:03
I wouldn't have a huge problem with Trump.
Janelle Jolley 30:05
Is that where you're where your, kind of, understanding or analysis of Trump being elected ended? Or did it continue to evolve or incorporate other ideas?
Oh, it continues. It continues. Mostly because, I mean, my dad voted for Trump in 2016. And my dad...you know, it's very common, even if you jump socio economic classes, you still identify with where- your roots. And my dad identifies with being working. I mean, he paints hou- he painted houses for a long time. He owned a body shop. You know, these are all blue collar jobs that my dad had and still has. He paints houses now.
Janelle Jolley 30:42
And talking to him about what- and my mom- about what- some of, like, their leanings towards Trump? Has really illuminated a lot for me.
Janelle Jolley 30:54
What were the- what are- what were driving their leanings?
So my dad is... my dad's very- this might be what the Russians kind of feel with Putin? But, my parents seem to think he can stand up against China.
Janelle Jolley 31:09
Like he could go to a meeting with-
Janelle Jolley 31:11
They think he's tough.
Janelle Jolley 31:12
And will stand his ground if it ends up being ?
He's got business savvy, and he can go and he's not gonna just let China, you know, push them around. Yeah, exactly. And my parents are very concerned with China's rise, because they gave up everything to come to the United States, which was supposed to be the best, most powerful country in the world. And now that is in question. And so my parents are Team USA, you know?
Janelle Jolley 31:40
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sure.
They gave up so much. My mom was like- my mom could have had a very happy, chill life in South Korea, probably. Like, she knew the language. She knew the language really well, she had friends. Like, she came here, uprooted herself and just suffered for decades. People want to know that that was not for nothing.
Janelle Jolley 31:58
Janelle Jolley 31:59
That makes sense.
And so it's like, "Oh, he seems like he could stand up for us and we would be strong-
Janelle Jolley 32:04
Janelle Jolley 32:05
The reasons that I came here.
Janelle Jolley 32:07
Or, the country I understood this to be and why I came here.
Janelle Jolley 32:10
Uh-huh, I see, I see. That makes sense.
Yeah. And I'm just speaking for them, like, based on conversations I've had with them. That was- I was like, "Oh, okay."
Janelle Jolley 32:20
That makes sense.
Yeah. I have a lot of privilege because I think about how racist, how sexist he is.
Janelle Jolley 32:28
My parents are like, "But the economy's good."
Janelle Jolley 32:31
Hmm. And it was, up until-
And it was. He was handed it by Obama and stuff. But like, yeah, it was good, if you just look at the numbers.
Janelle Jolley 32:39
And...diabolically he, you know, the stimulus checks? Right? He signed them.
Janelle Jolley 32:46
Not the IRS, head of the IRS. He made sure he signed them. My mom got-
Janelle Jolley 32:51
? said like, "Don't spend it all in one place."
President Donald Trump helped my mom make more money than she's ever made.
Janelle Jolley 32:59
That's, and that's honest. An honest to god truth. How do you think about the work we need to do moving forward as leftists, as, you know, progressives, as people who want to live in a better world? How do you think about the work that needs to be done in order to produce a better future? How do you- what are some of your thoughts on that? I'm not...I know that that's a big question because it's like, so the fuck much needs to be done.
Janelle Jolley 33:34
But, like, how do you think about it? Where are you in your analysis regarding that question? And where do you plug in? Where do you think about plugging in? What emails are you going to send me tso I can join you?
Well, yes, action is very good. And I think it starts with some reflection.
Janelle Jolley 33:55
Joe Biden was elected president.
Janelle Jolley 34:00
Which is an absurd thing to even have to say out loud in the year 2020, year of our Lord, but-
Mm-hmm. And this is not...let us all learn from how we behaved when Obama was elected and not repeat that.
Janelle Jolley 34:18
Hashtag never again.
Yeah, never again. I think actually, it's great that Biden is not so captivating, and such an orator and such like a leader. Because people are like, "Okay, so we did a step, but we still gotta like, you know." And I really hope that stands.
Janelle Jolley 34:41
I mean, I'm kind of- I'm only half joking here, but I think everyone should do...some...do some psychedelics. And like-
Janelle Jolley 34:54
I would 100% do shrooms with you.
Do shrooms, do MDMA, trip some acid, like, plug your brain tendrils into the fact that we are all connected.
Janelle Jolley 35:05
You are not unto yourself, you are a part of a lineage of, not only your ancestors, but animals and plants and water and-
Janelle Jolley 35:15
Ahh. Help us.
So, you know, yeah, maybe get into psychadelics in 2021. And then from there- like, because it needs to start in the heart, I think. Our hearts are very-
Janelle Jolley 35:31
You have to feel that.
We have had to callus over our hearts just to live. Like just to be- we walk down the street, homeless- I mean, San Francisco, right? Like, so much suffering just out in your face.
Janelle Jolley 35:33
Yeah, on your sidewalk. Yeah.
And always- and, because of COVID, we don't really walk around on the street anymore, either. So the...like, becoming...like, allowing ourselves to feel it, I think is an essential step. The work to do is, I think, inner work. And...and also, like, Pareto's Principle is, what are 20% of the things that I can do that make 80% of the difference, right?
Janelle Jolley 36:18
So instead of policing your own and other people's, like-
Janelle Jolley 36:24
Individual choices, how can we come together as a collective and, yeah, become a forcing function on systems and leaders and people with power who are not wielding it effectively, to say the least.
Janelle Jolley 36:41
If not being flat out corrupt. We are the only ones who can...make America great again, quote, unquote. We are the ones that will do that by connecting to each other. Like, if there's an elderly person in your neighborhood, and it's a really hot day, check in, see if they're okay, right? Yeah, do they have what they need? It just starts with small stuff like that. And you can do whatever it is that you, that's in your wheelhouse. Like, what you like to do, right? Like this podcast, for example. Obviously, you're gifted with the word. Like, yes, do it, amplify it! There's just so many gifts that we all have and we can all, I think, use them to just make sure, like- and I think what I'm leading up to is, I would love to see a radical re-envisioning of your vote, quote, unquote, as not a vote for what you want and what's important to you personally, but let it be a vote for the poorest person in your city.
Janelle Jolley 37:59
Like, what do they need? Cuz you're kind of fine, right? Like, if you're listening to this podcast on your iPhone 10 or whatever, you're fucking doing fine. Yeah, and so, like...make your vote count, like, your vote, your vote. I want to- it needs to be rebranded or something to like, "Our vote," like, "How can we vote?" And I know that that's probably not a very popular thing to say. Like, I actually also- I mean, I'm not of one mind about that. I also believe it's your vote, right? It's totally yours. And politics is pheromonal. Like, you like whoever you like and you don't like what we don't like, and that's fine. But there are people out there who are trying to make a difference for the people who are suffering the most among us. And that says something about someone's character, rather than trying to make rich people more rich. Like that's a very uncreative uninteresting-
Janelle Jolley 39:09
Platform. Yeah, project. Exactly.
Janelle Jolley 39:11
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. What are the good parts of it?
The parts of it that work are, I mean...it's kind of, in a resigned way, like it is the system that we're in, right?
Janelle Jolley 39:26
I don't want to....there are many moments where I want to just be like, "Fuck capitalism." And I do, I really feel that way, but-
Janelle Jolley 39:36
Yeah. You do have a blanket.
But also I'm an entrepreneur. And so I benefit from capitalism. That's how I make my money. Kind of.
Janelle Jolley 39:43
But here- this is an unnecessary, kind of like, wonky clarification. It's not- I think you...you are able to benefit from having- being able to have more favorable terms under which you sell your labor, like, for your own, you know, for your own, you know, business, your own entrepreneurial enterprise. But that in and of itself, I don't think, is indicative of a part of capitalism working for you. Like you are- you benefit from preferential or favorable terms...favorable conditions under which you exert and sell your labor, but that doesn't...I don't know that that's...I don't know that that's the same as saying that, like, capitalism is working for you. Do you understand what I'm saying? I think it's a component.
Yeah, it's not working for me either on a big sense, right?
Janelle Jolley 40:42
Sure, sure, sure.
But like, I mean, if we just take supply and demand, I supply something that there's a demand for, basically.
Janelle Jolley 40:48
And I try to think about the reality of that, and how I can basically subvert it to help people who, for whom, they cannot supply.
Janelle Jolley 41:02
Because they don't have a supply or an education.
Janelle Jolley 41:07
Then have any purchase in the market.
Janelle Jolley 41:09
Or, very much purchase.
And that should not mean that you are a subs- like, a second class or third class citizen.
Janelle Jolley 41:17
Right, right, right.
Just because...Google doesn't love you, or whatever, like, whatever, you know...however people make money. I don't know how people make money these days. I don't know how I make money sometimes. But...yeah, I guess the reason I said that has more to do with...I'm no longer interested in just being like, "Fuck capitalism," and just kind of being, you know, like, leaning back? I'm kind of curious about how can we make capitalism find its weakness and make it eat itself? Or something, you know? And I have no answers about that. And it connects really well with what I was saying, in terms of this- the thing to do next is actually a heart centered exercise. And when you go out there and work shoulder to shoulder, or social distance, with other people who are...who want to put in energy and effort towards a vision of the future that you share?
Janelle Jolley 42:09
It changes you.
Janelle Jolley 42:36
It changes you incredibly.
Janelle Jolley 42:37
You know, which is why, like, you know, for people who are feeling like really overwhelmed and burnt out on the news, for sure. You know, like the doom scrolling we've all been doing this year, it's like, insane. And a lot of that stuff is like...I mean, politics for a lot of us is a way to kind of cut our teeth on intellect and stuff. You know, it's like, "Yeah, cool." It's really fun to kind of...to do that and-
Janelle Jolley 43:11
Demonstrate your intellect through how you consume politics.
Yeah. Cuz it's a really interesting intellectual arena.
Janelle Jolley 43:16
And I don't know how much I'm transformed by those conversations versus phone banking for even 20 minutes.
Janelle Jolley 43:27
Yeah, that's right.
And talking to someone in Kentucky, like a volunteer for Charles Booker's campaign who was running against Mitch McConnell.
Janelle Jolley 43:34
And Kentuckians are amazing! They're so nice! And even the ones who did not want to talk to me, were so polite.
Janelle Jolley 43:43
Yeah, that's right.
And that...that just makes me feel like, you know, I am more American, because I speak to other Americans that are not like me. They don't talk like me, they don't sound like me, and-
Janelle Jolley 43:59
We may disagree.
Yeah, they disagree with me. And it...and that's where I feel like...that has so much capacity for change.
Janelle Jolley 44:12
Is getting to know people that may or may not feel like you?
Heart to hearts. Yeah.
Janelle Jolley 44:16
And just connecting as human beings.
Yeah. They...the circumstances of their material lives differ from yours. That's why they disagree with you politically.
Janelle Jolley 44:27
That's right. That's right.
Janelle Jolley 44:29
Their reality is shaped differently by the material forces that that are acting upon them.
Yeah. And we learned this campaigning for Bernie because initially, you know, we've all been on a call with somebody who initially was anti-Bernie. And then we talk to them and they're like, "Oh, yeah, that matters to me too. My aunt has a chronic illness, and she spends $8,000 a month on health care bills." And it's like, "Yeah, we are- like, this is the 99% of us, right?" And remembering that is not as effective as maybe just stepping out a little bit and actually experience- like, direct somatic body experience of doing that. Cuz, yeah, we went in, made physical calls, we went and walked and knocked on actual doors and talked to people. Like, that is so transformative. It's really hard for me to even describe how exactly.
Janelle Jolley 45:29
But...yeah, I know what you mean. That leaves a big kernel of hope in me, because we looked people in the eye and we heard their stories.
Janelle Jolley 45:40
That's right. And now we have to figure out a way to do that- I think what's so difficult right now for me when I think about like, "Okay, what the fuck do I do now?" Like, there's no turning back, you know, I'm just fuckin'...the campaign turned me out. Like, let's be a freak for liberation. But I think that there are so many things that are emerging and coming- trying to come to life and break through, that it's like, "Okay, where do I plug in?" And I think for right now because I'm everybody's bitch out here, you know, like with the A&M thing, it's like- to me, even though that feels insignificant and not like it's going to matter, it's like, "Okay, well just do it. You were asked to throw your name in the hat. So do that. And it see how you can affect things in that arena."
Janelle Jolley 46:01
But, you know, additionally, it's like, "Okay, is that enough?" And to me, it doesn't feel like enough. So it's like, "Okay, how do I...like, how and where do I plug in?" And I think that there are things that are emerging, like, maybe- what is it? A People's Party. Like, maybe there's a new party forming that, you know, I kind of help out an organize with. Maybe there are...like, with the upcoming, I don't know, efforts that I'm sure will be emerging soon because I just know that they're going to try and nationalize this Prop 22 bullshit. Like, how can I, you know, how can I help out in terms of, you know, being a part of lending some capacity to organizing against things like that, or blah, blah, blah. But it's like...it just seems so much easier under the auspices of a campaign because it's just, it's centralized, it's organized, it's blah, blah, blah. But- and so, I try not to drive myself crazy trying to plug in, but I am, you know, I am plugged in, certainly to a lot of the lefty orgs out here.
Janelle Jolley 47:38
And maybe that's- and maybe I need to calm my tits and not been such a frenzy of just like, trying to do everything and be everything all the time.
Yeah, I mean, that's another way...yeah, that's another function of capitalism, right? It's like, "Be the best. Optimize the shit out of something." And actually, what happens is like, "Oh, it's okay. Like, just do the 50% optimal thing, but do it and then you have information." And you're like, "Oh, do I want to keep doing this? Or maybe explore something else?" And there are so many orgs out there, and that can get overwhelming, too. So I think it's really important to do this in community.
Janelle Jolley 48:20
Because we can support each other with different organizations we know about and-
Janelle Jolley 48:26
Yeah. And help you see, you know, talents that maybe you don't see because, you know, we're all kind of like fish swimming in water. Fish don't know, they're swimming in water, right? Unless they jump out and fall back in. They're like, "Whoa, this was where I was swimming the whole time?" You know? So, yeah, I think, like, let's not be individual about this, let's be truly a collective about it in the sense that, like, let's have conversations with each other about how we can do this. Like, my initial thought, like first thought, it might not be the best thought, is I love writing letters and I feel this urge to write to Kamala. I'm like, "Is there something underneath? I totally get it like, you had to make all those choices, or you thought you had to make all those choices, to play the game or whatever. But now that you have this seat of power, can we help wake up the little Kamala who might have been more about justice before-"
Janelle Jolley 49:34
Okay, we force her hand. If she's like ?-
Janelle Jolley 49:37
Then, I mean, there are- we just have to get organized and do it. But there's absolutely- there are absolutely ways to do that.
Yeah. So, yeah, just, yeah, just thinking about like, what do you enjoy?
Janelle Jolley 49:48
Dark as fuck in this bitch. Imma get up for a second and turn the lights on.
It is! We're like...we're closing out the day. Yeah. Oh, nice. No, not at all. I'm really excited to see what gets...what stays in and what gets cut out.
Janelle Jolley 50:08
Oh, my producer's about to have the time. Sorry, go ahead, continue.
Yeah. Like, you know, I'm a coach. Small sweet steps.
Janelle Jolley 50:24
Janelle Jolley 50:24
Small. We're not gonna, you know, we're not going to like-
Janelle Jolley 50:33
So, where are the places you're plugging in? And what are- or, what are you thinking about plugging into and why? And, just to give people an idea of some concrete things that you do or are thinking about doing, in addition to just fucking surviving a pandemic?
Yeah. Well, I, you know, I don't have children, so I feel like I have a lot more time than people who do have children. And so I'm, for lots of reasons that I've revealed, you know, today, I'm really passionate about good mental health services for the public, like in terms of public health. And I heard a story, one of my friends' friends, long story short, they were eating outdoors in San Francisco one day and my friend had her baby and a mentally ill homeless woman came over and tried to touch her baby. Or, like, made moves to take her out of the carriage, or whatever. And all of them freaked out.
Janelle Jolley 51:38
And one of them called the cops on her. She was a mentally ill homeless black woman. And I was like, aside from being a very Kareny thing to do, I was like, "This is the problem. We only know one number to call."
Janelle Jolley 51:58
The people who are on the other side of that line are not trained in mental health stuff, generally. There are better numbers to call. And so I looked it up, and San Francisco has, like many cities, has a behavioral health commission, or like a mental health board. And there are 17 total seats, seven of them are just empty, because people are just not...I mean, I don't blame people. I'm barely interested. I'm like, "Ugh, how much fucking bureaucracy am I gonna have to swim through to do a good thing?" But I think at this point, it's more important to me to actually be a citizen of this city and see what is going on. Because all I do is walk down the street and see homeless people and feel horrible.
Janelle Jolley 52:44
Yeah, that's right.
That I can't do more. So...
Janelle Jolley 52:50
Are you gonna join this board?
I'm gonna...I'm gonna go to a meeting and see how dysfunctional it might be. And if it's just marginally dysfunctional, I'll try to join it.
Janelle Jolley 53:01
Nice. I didn't even know that was a thing, so, I mean, thank you.
There's lots of commissions in San Francisco, like environmental, also labor, you know-
Janelle Jolley 53:09
Targeted issues that, like they are especially trained or germane to certain issues. So it's like, not everything goes in the catch all of 911.
Yeah, yeah. And also, so this is- you get a seat as a commissioner, or whatever seat as- it sounds way more fancy than it is. It's just like a- it's a citizens commission. And you you meet with, like, different organizations in the city. Like, there are different seats for consumers of mental health. There's different seats for family members, and also mental health practitioners. So anyway, all this to say that probably in your city, there are empty seats, because, millennials, we generally are not interested in-
Janelle Jolley 53:57
We're also poor and not-
Boring bureaucratic- yeah, we're always working, we're always poor. So, but...I really think our energy is necessary on these boards, because it's a lot of retired people.
Janelle Jolley 54:10
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
And wastes, like, time.
Janelle Jolley 54:15
And their understandings of things might be a little-
Janelle Jolley 54:18
Yeah, different. A little dated. I mean, I'm not- not to- I don't do the generational shit talking thing. But we do, you're right, we do need to be...I think it would help us and help society at large if we become more active and integrated and not just leave things for, either retirees, or fuckin', you know, pussy-ass moderates.
Yeah. Or people who are just holding these seats to gain political power and run for something like city council later.
Janelle Jolley 54:45
They don't care about the issues.
Yeah, yeah, exactly. And as Adam rightly, like, I mean, I cite him a lot here because he's a big influence.
Janelle Jolley 54:53
Will be on this podcast.
Yes, he will. You will love it. Hold on to your butts. But, you know who has power? People who are willing to do boring stuff and attend boring meetings.
Janelle Jolley 55:07
That's absolutely right.
That's where it happens. All kinds of shit gets decided because we're just too bored to go. We're like, "No, we're not going to go."
Janelle Jolley 55:15
"I'd rather be on Instagram."
Janelle Jolley 55:16
Janelle Jolley 55:17
I would rather be sexting right now.
Yeah. Way more interesting. But, yeah, so that's one thing. I gotta give a shout out to Sunrise Movement. Like, Sunrise Movement is one of the best organized climate justice movements. It's also a political movement, because they do people power and political power. So part of what they do is put pressure- they, like, bird dog politicians, like put them on the spot.
Janelle Jolley 55:47
And try to make the video go viral. And it's worked really well.
Janelle Jolley 55:51
And in terms of, yeah, like, I mean, even on a small level, I do want to write a letter to Kamala and just see how that goes. And maybe if I could organize other people to write to her as well? I don't know who reads mail these days, you know? It's like, are these emails? Is this snail mail? I don't know. But it does feel like the most empowering to be like, "Dear Kamala, I am talking to you about this. I am talking and you are not talking. So I can say this to you." You know? And, like, what's left to do? So much! And so literally, like anything..any- I think any issue in your community that has an emotional charge for you? Like, maybe follow that, you know? Like, pull yourself along that rope and see where you end up because we- like, civic participation in our society is at an all time low.
Janelle Jolley 56:53
And that's how stuff like this happens with Trump getting elected. Trump is a symptom, not the rot problem, core rot problem, as they say on Rising very often. So.
Janelle Jolley 57:05
Right on. Thank you for that. Because I don't know why, but I just never even considered like, "Oh, yeah, there's probably, especially in a city with such a high population of homeless people, many of whom have mental illness, there probably is a, you know, a body to help with that or address that-"
There's a 24 hour, I think, like, not well funded enough, clinic, where like, ostensibly, if you saw a homeless person and they asked you for money and they were really down and out, you could put them in a Lyft, send them there, so that they could have a warm bed to sleep on and detox from whatever drugs they're on, you know? Like, that exists.
Janelle Jolley 57:53
And nobody talks about that, right? Because we just...we just get so frozen and overwhelmed by the plight, that we don't know what to do.
Janelle Jolley 58:00
But there are numbers, there are organizations, there's public health money. Also-
Janelle Jolley 58:04
Still underfunded, but-
A little bird told me that the city of San Francisco has defunded the police by the tune of about $150 million dollars.
Janelle Jolley 58:18
They just got a raise.
Oh, they did, I saw that. But also-
Janelle Jolley 58:19
You mean the general-
The general, yeah. And that money is supposed to get allocated to the community. So like, basically, how can we get people arrested less? Or whatever, like, helping them, give them actual services?
Janelle Jolley 58:38
Hmm, thank you. Thank you, Comrade Kat! She knows everything. That's why she's on here.
I really don't. I know less than nothing, but I'm just willing to fake it.
Janelle Jolley 58:52
Is there any...are there any parting words that you would like to share with our community of listeners?
You know, the people who are listening to this probably enjoy the podcast, because who wouldn't enjoy this podcast? I'm like, totally obsessed. And, you know, we value knowledge. But I think what want to say is, you know enough. You know more than enough to do...to take an action. And during this holiday season when a lot of us are sheltering in place, you can still do something, right? And I think everyone- I think a lot of people want to. And there are very creative ways to figure out what that might be, and to go on a journey with that. So I encourage that. Also, it's a great time to give if you don't have a lot of time, which a lot of us don't because hashtag neoliberalism. My husband Adam, and I started- oh, it's a way easier, way better, we think, way to give to charity, which is called The Foundation For Indexed Giving. It's like index funds but for charities. We've done a lot of research, many, many hours of research, so you don't have to, into the climate crisis, women, mothers, and girls, and also Black Lives Matter. So we're at givewithfig.org...www.givewithfig.org
Janelle Jolley 1:00:33
Talking to Kat was really helpful for my understanding of how or why some first generation immigrants supported Trump. Which makes a ton more- she mentioned starting with her husband. You can check it out at givewithfig.org. I'll put that in the show notes. Okay, see you next week.