God and...CHANEL? | Crooked Media
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November 27, 2020
Unholier Than Thou
God and...CHANEL?

In This Episode

Now that you’re stuffed with stuffing, it’s time to go shopping. Psychology professor Matt Rossano joins to argue that consumerism is filling the hole left vacant by religious rituals. Do you buy it? (What if it’s 50% off?) Then, comedian Bryan Safi offers his sinful expertise for a holiday edition of Am I Going To Hell for This.

 

 

Transcript

 

Phillip Picardi: From Crooked Media, this is Unholier Than Thou. I’m your host, Phillip Picardi. Well, everybody’s deck the halls, light some candles and cue the Mariah. It’s officially the holiday season. This year, though, we’re gearing up for a holiday season like no other before. A troubling rise of coronavirus infections across the nation threatens to seriously impede travel plans as Americans all over do their part to prevent the spread of our ongoing pandemic. So as long as we’re reimagining our holiday traditions. Today’s guest would like us to rethink just one more: shopping for gifts. No, no. Today’s guest is not the Grinch or Scrooge, for that matter. His name is Matt Rossano and he’s a professor of psychology at Southeastern Louisiana University and the author of five books. Lately, Matt has been exploring the concept of human rituals and how throughout history humans have upheld certain symbols and traditions as sacred. Matt is concerned that we’ve replaced sacred symbols that uphold ancestry, community, and family with more material things like Chanel. Guilty. To buttress his argument, he points to the wild lines and chaotic scenes at Black Friday sales all over the country. Now, all of you by now certainly know that I’m no big fan of institutional religion, but I am a big fan of fashion. So Matt and I got the chance to argue—I mean—talk about the rituals and symbols we build for ourselves and how to find meaning among it all. And later, we’ll be joined by the comedian Bryan Safi for a special holiday edition of Am I Going to Hell for This? But in the meantime, let’s talk to Matt.

 

Phillip Picardi: Matt, thanks for joining me.

 

Matt Rossano: All righty. Well, good to meet you.

 

Phillip Picardi: I’ll dive right in. You once wrote: I remain to be convinced that the world is a better place if increasing numbers of people bow at the altar of Gucci, Gap, and Lexus rather than Jesus, Allah and Vishnu. Could you tell me what compelled you to write this?

 

Matt Rossano: Well, I guess because I heard a lot of discussion that maybe the world would be a better place if there were no religion. But that often makes me wonder, OK, what are you going to replace it with? And if you’re going to replace it with something, is it going to be better? And I’m, yeah, that last line was expressing that, that I’m a bit skeptical that replacing religion with something else, whatever that else might be, necessarily means that things will get better somehow. In fact, I think there’s a lot of reason to suspect that things wouldn’t get better.

 

Phillip Picardi: Sounds like you’re making a very deliberate commentary here on consumerism or materialism, right? I mean, you chose luxury brands like Gucci and Lexus to compare to Jesus and Vishnu.

 

Matt Rossano: Right. Yeah, that’s because of this idea that—not me, but others—had been floating around that looks like consumer behavior is taking on religious dimensions. Consumerism is, in fact, becoming something of a modern religion. And if that’s the case, then that worries me. Maybe that’s one of the things that we’ve been replacing religion with in the modern world, and that doesn’t sound to me like it’s a step up.

 

Phillip Picardi: How did you come to this kind of conclusion or this thought that consumerism was becoming a sort of modern version of religion? In what ways does consumerism look like religion to you?

 

Matt Rossano: Well, you have some similarities. First of all, you have Black Friday coming up, which is something like a high holy day of consumerism. And when people are willing to give up sleep and willing to hang out at a Walmart or a Target or whatever at 2:00 in the morning for it to open up, this sounds a little like religious behavior. And others have pointed out that there is a value system associated with consumerism, something which is rather new, but the idea behind this being that you’re good, you’re doing good to your community if you are consuming, because if you consume, then of course, then the makers of those products are able to hire more people, and the retailers who sell those products are able to stay in business and hire more people. And so you’re helping to keep the economy strong by consuming and then throwing out and consuming again, because this keeps the economy humming along. And you’re being a little bit selfish if you are being frugal, because then you are not contributing to keeping the economy running and humming and maybe this is a little bit of self-centered behavior on your part. So consumerism represents a value system and you can reinforce that value system by having these events that people are willing to sacrifice for and lose sleep over and all this sort of stuff, and it’s a value system which is very contrary to the value system of most religions that preach self-sacrifice and frugalness and not conspicuous consumption, these sorts of things. And another thing that was present in that essay that I wrote is a number of studies which have shown that consumer behavior seems to be replacing religious behavior as a means of gaining self-worth. And so you’ve got these various connections which seem to suggest that consumerism is filling a gap that once was filled by religion.

 

Phillip Picardi: And then, psychologically speaking, consumerism has been shown to also produce results in the brain. It can become addictive, for example, can become instantly gratifying, right? You’re a professor of psychology so I’m sure you can explain this better than me. Please do.

 

Matt Rossano: Oh, well, right. The reward centers of the brain often gets stimulated by consuming things and getting new stuff. If you take it back and look at it from an evolutionary standpoint, if you went out and hunted something and killed something, that was a great reward and you get all this dopamine that will get released in your brain because that, your brain was now telling you you’ve just done something which is going to be very helpful for your survival and reproduction. And I’m the brains speaking here, I’m going to reward you for that, so that you do this again. You’re motivated to continue this behavior. Well, the brain doesn’t know that it’s now in a modern world where you don’t have to go out and kill a wildebeest. Instead, you can just go out and order a pizza or you can just go out and use your credit card to buy new shoes and get all kinds of material resources that in the past you would have had to have worked and sweated and put forth effort. The brain doesn’t know it. It just knows, wow, here’s material resources and food resources and status symbols that are going to potentially make my survival and reproductive success greater. And so it floods the brain with the dopamine reward chemical. And you’re motivated then to do it again and do it again.

 

Phillip Picardi: And I worked in luxury retail for a number of years. And I have to say that this concept of ritual that you talk about and how consumerism mimics religion, you know, that idea of ritual is very prevalent in the idea of selling someone a luxury good, right? You have to convince someone that a $4,000 handbag is well worth its price tag. And how you do that is often through clever sales tricks, right, where you unveil the bag or you make it so the bag is only behind the counter, so you can’t see it on the floor. You wrap the bag in a certain way so it feels like luxury, even just opening and showing it to the customer. You wrap it when they leave so that they feel like they’re opening a present when they get home to kind of take the bag out for the first time and use it for the first time and, some, and people have very visceral reactions to this ritual of luxury, this ritual of of shopping. But like, what is it about these rituals that make it such an important part of human behavior? Why are rituals so intoxicating for us to be a part of?

 

Matt Rossano: Oh, really cool question rituals have a deep evolutionary history. And so they’re going to be tapping into the deep, primal, emotional brain centers. What you’re doing in ritual typically is you’re reinforcing some kind of group values and you’re telling people that they are part of a group. Their role in the group is important, their loyalty to the group is important. And you do this usually with symbols, sacred objects of some kind, very deliberate gestures, and all of these things then reinforce that there is something special about the group, something special about what the group believes. And you’re part of this, and therefore you should be willing to give your loyalty to the group, sacrifice for the group, do what’s good for the group. All right now, going back to what you just said about the way you’re selling this handbag, you’re doing many of the things with the handbag that would have been done to sacred objects in very ancient ritual activities. These objects would have been venerated. They would have been held up in front of others. Others then are going to bow to them, kiss them. They’re going to treat these objects not as ordinary objects, but as somehow special objects that connect them to the supernatural, connect them to the ancestors, connect them to the deep history of the group. And once again, think about this in terms of the Stone Age brain, a brain which evolved over the course of a couple million years, primate brain, it’s now been very quickly, at least in terms of evolutionary time, thrust into a modern world. Well, it’s a brain that’s sensitive to these particular sorts of actions that tell us this is something special, this is something unique. This is something worth sacrificing for. Only now you’re taking all of those gestures which in the ancient past would have been associated with some kind of sacred, supernatural object, and you’re putting it onto a purse, right, or just some kind of consumer idea. But the brain doesn’t really understand the difference. It just understands the context and the gestures and the meaning that has typically been behind these things. And so the person is going to feel all of those emotions that you might suspect that our ancestors felt when they were doing some kind of ritual around the campfire with sacred objects, singing sacred chants and that sort of thing. And so you’re going to have this great sense of, wow, this is something significant, something important, something that connects me to a community. Only in this case, it’s a $400 handbag. But the brain doesn’t make these distinctions because it’s a Stone Age brain in a modern world.

 

Phillip Picardi: So, listen, you sound pretty cynical about this. You sound like people should not be venerating Chanel handbags. And I have to say, I take umbrage with this, I think.

 

Matt Rossano: Is that right?

 

Phillip Picardi: Well, I mean, I get what you’re saying, right. Consumerism as a general practice is a, not good for the environment. We’ve seen this time and time before. Fashion as an industry is one of the greatest polluters, right up there with air travel, actually. And of course, landfill and waste is a huge problem if you are constantly, as you alluded to, disposing of items and re-buying new things. Of course, that is wasteful behavior. And then there’s, of course, the predicaments that people can find themselves in if they try to spend beyond their means and how sometimes these are very predatory practices that deliberately target folks to spend beyond their means and then punish them or kind of ensnarl them in debts and loans as a way to kind of always keep them tethered to you or owing you money. So, I mean, of course, there are very tumultuous kind of side effects to this kind of consumerist era. But when you do talk about this like symbol, right, who’s to say that like the symbol of the cross or the symbol of the body of Christ, for example, if we’re taking a Catholic metaphor means more or should mean more to someone then like a really nice watch that they’ve wanted their whole lives. You know what I mean? Aren’t technically both of those symbols only what we apply to them?

 

Matt Rossano: OK, right. On one level, I think you’re correct. Something means whatever it means to the individual. But I think you’ve pointed out a lot of the arguments that I would just make saying that, well, OK, maybe it is the case that symbols mean different things to different people, but what are the consequences of those symbols? And you’ve just mentioned treating what you or the handbag, you’ve just described a number of the negative consequences. If you get a large multitudes treating consumer goods as if they’re sacred objects that they must strive for and work for. Certainly there’s downsides to religion, but to the extent religion teaches and the symbols of religion reinforce such things as self-restraint and humility and caring for others as opposed to being just concerned about yourself, then one might argue that there are potentially more positive consequences coming out of venerating and holding sacred various religious images as opposed to consumerist images.

 

Phillip Picardi: OK, sure. So let’s stay with the cross, for example. That’s a religious symbol that many people, billions of people venerate all over the world. We are talking on an episode airing the day after Thanksgiving and the cross to, let’s say, Indigenous American people could not mean the positive things you just mentioned, but rather genocide, rape, disease, the stealing of land, you know, all sorts of terrible things. So I guess my question about these symbols is and the value we place on symbols is, does all of it actually mean nothing? Or is it possible that a symbol can mean two drastically different things to two different people and maybe we need to leave room for that kind of vague interpretation?

 

Matt Rossano: Well, sure, yeah. There’s going to be variability in how different communities interpret symbols. And I guess the best you can do is to look at, OK, what does the symbol mean and what kind of consequences come out of venerating that symbol or honoring that symbol?

 

Phillip Picardi: I love that. What is your relationship to this symbol? Because you can have a toxic relationship to the cross. You can be a religious fanatic, as in a white Christian evangelist, right?

 

Matt Rossano: Yeah.

 

Phillip Picardi: Or you could have a healthy relationship to Christianity and see the positive effects of Christianity and want to be, you know, practicing what it means to be a good Christian in the world and have a net positive impact on your community. And so that brings us to this concept of Black Friday, right? Because what you’re kind of saying is Black Friday, as this ultimate ritual of consumerism is exposing the very worst in most toxic natures of consumerism as religion, right?

 

Matt Rossano: I think there’s many more downsides to this than there are positives. The positives are what I mentioned earlier, and that is that you’re keeping the economy humming. And I guess that’s fine because people need jobs and buying stuff creates jobs and all that sort of thing. But it seems to me that there are healthier alternative ways of accomplishing those same ends. As the potential downside and the potential problems associated with the way that Black Friday seems to play out nowadays, it seems to me, on balance, it’s more negative than positive. And so that’s that’s where I would go with that. We’re looking at symbols, ask how does it balance out, on the whole better or worse? And right now, and this is my opinion, I think Black Friday is worse than better.

 

Phillip Picardi: Yeah, no, I would, I would happen to agree with that. I do believe that there is a positive end to adornment. I do think that many cultures all over the world have shown us why adornment is a valuable thing, why beauty is an important thing, and why beauty has its place. I think obsession with anything in particular becomes an issue. And Black Friday, to me does seem like, is this embodiment of obsession. I also want to just point out, by the way, that like Black Friday also offers deals to folks to afford things who normally would not be able to afford them. I want to be sensitive to like acknowledging privilege within this conversation, too, because that’s crucial in how we dissect consumerism and talk about consumerism in these ways.

 

Matt Rossano: Yeah, well, I agree with what you said to a point, but I always scratch my head and wonder, gosh, do you really need those things to begin with? So if you cut the flat screen TV in half on Black Friday, if you cut it in half from a $1,000 dollars to $500, might that not it be $500 better spent for someone who is not of great means on something else? I wonder. I wonder if they couldn’t do something better with those $500 if they’re already rather scraping by with their income and their expenses and that sort of thing. And Black Friday to me is somewhat coercive in that it get somebody to spend money, more money than what they really can afford on something that maybe they really don’t need that much. And that worries me.

 

Phillip Picardi: Yes. No, that’s very valid, right? And the concept of what we need is confusing.

 

Matt Rossano: Yeah, what do we need?

 

Phillip Picardi: You could say the same thing about the iPhone, right? And yet we line up for it every time. I have never gone without the latest version of the iPhone. I’m pretty sure it’s been just a probably a negative impact on my life, if anything. But I can’t seem to think that I could live without it. So it is important to be able to, I guess, diagnose these things in our lives, even if we do participate in consumerism, which it does feel inevitable to participate in consumers as an American. I guess we just have to be able to acknowledge the role that it’s playing in our lives and in our psychology. Which brings me to my next point. You know, in closing, is there a conscientious way in your slightly puritanical opinion, is there a conscientious way to participate in Black Friday?

 

Matt Rossano: Well, if you’re going to participate, a little self-restraint is probably in order. What do I really need? I suppose if you are capable of just buying things that are really necessary, that you would be buying anyway otherwise and therefore getting a good deal on it and therefore leaving funds available to purchase other necessary things, that you’re probably approaching it in a reasonably healthy way. Now, I’m not sure how many people approach it that way. Seems to me it’s more – just a consumerist festival. But if you were to approach it that way, where you’re really getting the best out of it and you’re not harming your expenses and your budget all that much, then I suppose you’re probably, you’re probably OK. But I kind of think the folks that do that are few and far between.

 

Phillip Picardi: So I’m just curious, do you ever leave room for yourself to indulge in anything?

 

Matt Rossano: Oh, my indulgences. I am a craft beer lover.

 

Phillip Picardi: There you go. That’s not necessary.

 

Matt Rossano: It’s necessary. Just—

 

Phillip Picardi: Oh, God, it is necessary to you is what you’re saying.

 

Matt Rossano: It’s necessary for me, just for the sensual enjoyment of nourishment. It’s just good.

 

Phillip Picardi: Yeah.

 

Matt Rossano: It’s, I cannot drink Bud Light, so yeah. I’m a snob when it comes to that.

 

Phillip Picardi: I feel the same way about my Cartier watch. I’m not going to go rock a Timex on my wrist, honey.

 

Matt Rossano: All right. But let me challenge you just a little bit. Is something that can be enjoyed communally with others, who share that same value—oh, you’re sitting around a table, you’re at the tap room?

 

Phillip Picardi: Sure.

 

Matt Rossano: You’re with others. It’s a community-building activity. I’m not sure that you can say that about some other consumer indulgences. You mentioned your watch.

 

Phillip Picardi: Yeah, sure.

 

Matt Rossano: You sit around with other watch lovers, and talk about your watch and enjoy?

 

Phillip Picardi: Of course. Listen—

 

Matt Rossano: All right, ok.

 

Phillip Picardi: I would say to you, like, you can go shopping with the group of friends, and it’s a delightful group activity, community bonding. We hide our our purchases from our husbands at the end of the day, it feels very camaraderie building. No. I mean, of course, what I think we’re both getting at is that, you know, responsibly choosing the indulgences in your life is essential. Am I responsible about my choices, Matt? No. OK, if that’s what you wanted to hear from me. No, I am not. But but listen, maybe this conversation has forced me to rethink some of my holiday wish list items. I really appreciate your perspective, and you taking the time to chat with me today. Thank you so much.

 

Matt Rossano: All righty. Well, thank you very much for inviting me. I’ve enjoyed it.

 

Phillip Picardi: After the break, a special holiday edition of Am I Going to Hell for This? And now for some ads

 

[ad break]

 

Phillip Picardi: OK, it’s time for one of my favorite segments: Am I going to hell for this? Joining me for this week of eternal damnation is the comedian Bryan Safi. Bryan, thanks for being here.

 

Bryan Safi: I’m already living for this game. It just right up my alley, so I’m stoked.

 

Phillip Picardi: Do you want to dive right in? Because the first one’s quite a doozy.

 

Bryan Safi: Yes.

 

Phillip Picardi: OK, great. One of our listeners wants to know if they are going to hell for masturbating in their childhood bedroom during the holidays. What do you think, Bryan?

 

Bryan Safi: God, you know, more and more for me, hell sounds like heaven. I mean, I would absolutely endorse this. My feeling is that you’re so inhibited as a child, like you should just go back and show them who’s on top now.

 

Phillip Picardi: Wow, literally.

 

Bryan Safi:  Yeah, right. I’m going to say, I’m going to say you won’t go to hell for this.

 

Phillip Picardi: OK, can I add a plot twist to the question?

 

Bryan Safi: Of course.

 

Phillip Picardi: What if you are in your childhood bedroom during the holidays masturbating to MILF porn? I hear that’s something that straight people do.

 

Bryan Safi: They go home over the holidays and masturbate to MILF porn?

 

Phillip Picardi: I don’t know about the like the context. I just know that, like, MILF is a popular category on Porn Hub’s analytics. So I’m just like—

 

Bryan Safi: Got it.

 

Phillip Picardi: What if you’re in your childhood bedroom watching MILF porn getting off? Is that weird?

 

Bryan Safi: I feel like part of being spiritual, religious or having faith is opening your mind a little bit. And I love the trajectory of younger guys dating older women, so I’m all for it. I think you’re going to heaven for being open minded.

 

Phillip Picardi: OK, got it. And then. And then what if it’s DILF porn? Are you OK with that also?

 

Bryan Safi: You know—

 

Phillip Picardi: Are you partaking?

 

Bryan Safi: I have a very complicated relationship with my father, so if I did it, I would feel like I was going to go to hell. But if someone else did it, I feel like it would be homophobic for me to say they were going to hell. So anyone who’s free of those chains, you’re not going to hell.

 

Phillip Picardi: Yeah. And also, I want to add one thing, which is that masturbation, especially like in the context of like you’re alone, it’s just you and your screen and your hand or accessories, whatever you’re doing, this is a safe space for you to explore sexual fantasy, sexual deviances, and it just because it’s just you, it means that, like, at least you’re not taking your sexual fantasies or deviances out on a partner or expressing it in an unhealthy way. So I say what you do in your bedroom is your business so long as it is safe and legal. And that’s, I think that’s that right.

 

Bryan Safi: I do, too. And I also think, listen, for a lot of people, the bedroom is where they got the party started growing up. So, it’s kind of nice to go back there and relive it.

 

Phillip Picardi: It was the bathroom for me. But yes, I’m happy that some people had safe bedrooms. I shared a bedroom with my younger brother, which was awkward.

 

Bryan Safi: You know, I didn’t masturbate till college, so I actually—yeah. So I was too afraid to. So I actually, my bedroom is very clean. But I do go crazy in there on myself now, when I visit.

 

Phillip Picardi: Got it! Well, I’m glad that you’re making up for lost time.

 

Bryan Safi: That’s right.

 

Phillip Picardi: Good for you. OK, ready for the next one.

 

Bryan Safi: Yes.

 

Phillip Picardi: Am I going to hell for telling my quote, “gluten-intolerant friend” my friend’s giving dessert is gluten free when it actually isn’t?

 

Bryan Safi: Oh, my God.

 

Phillip Picardi: What a psycho.

 

Bryan Safi: I’m telling you, this is something I would admire, except that I actually know people who, well, I guess I don’t if have gluten tolerance is the same thing as having Celiac. I know people with Celiac that it would be really bad. I’m going to say you’re going to hell for it.

 

Phillip Picardi: I think gluten intolerant is like the level before. It sounds like that’s what they’re insinuating with the, quote placement around gluten intolerance.

 

Bryan Safi: OK.

 

Phillip Picardi: They think they’re celiacs but they’re not diagnosed.

 

Bryan Safi: Yeah, I say do it.

 

Phillip Picardi: Oh! You think that they’re going to heaven for lying about the gluten contents.

 

Bryan Safi: No, I do. You’re right. But that’s, truly I’m the devil on the shoulder. So come join me. I say they’re going to hell.

 

Phillip Picardi: OK. And you’ll see them in hell is what you’re saying.

 

Bryan Safi: You know it.

 

Phillip Picardi: I think if you willfully give someone diarrhea, as a gay man, I would say that that is a cardinal sin.

 

Bryan Safi: [laughs] I’m with you. When you phrase it like that, there’s I, yes. You took it to the level that is the most accurate and correct.

 

Phillip Picardi: One time Gwyneth Paltrow on Goop was advertising a coffee enema, and I literally wanted to be like, are you a Christian conservative woman and is this an anti-gay agenda Gwyneth Paltrow, on Goop?

 

Bryan Safi: Honestly. Wow.

 

Phillip Picardi: Imagine coffee up there. What that would do to you?

 

Bryan Safi: No. I mean, just, it would make your butt burst.

 

Phillip Picardi: Yes! literally.

 

Bryan Safi: That’s honestly completely homophobic.

 

Phillip Picardi: Completely homophobic. Yeah. I’ll write a letter to Gwyneth. I’ll let her know.

 

Bryan Safi: I’ll sign it with you.

 

Phillip Picardi: This is my favorite one because this is something that we’ve talked a lot about on the podcast. “Am I going to hell for being rude to a relative who voted for Trump this Thanksgiving?”

 

Bryan Safi: You know, I feel, I want you to answer this first, because I’ve already done that, like this weekend and I have mixed feelings.

 

Phillip Picardi: You were rude?

 

Bryan Safi: Oh, yeah.

 

Phillip Picardi: What did you do Bryan? Confess.

 

Bryan Safi: Not like screaming or cursing or anything like that? I just said I have some relatives who told me that they believe it was rigged and that there was fraud that Biden won. And I just was like: snap out of it. You’re educated people. You’re citizens of this country and it’s completely un-American, your belief system. Stop it.

 

Phillip Picardi: You literally Cher in Moonstrucked them. Minus the bitch slap.

 

Bryan Safi: I fully—I didn’t even think about that now. I literally said the words snap out of it, you’re right.

 

Phillip Picardi: Snap out it! Yes that’s Cher.

 

Bryan Safi: And I was like, grow up.

 

Phillip Picardi: Yes! That’s Cher! That is Cher speaking through you.

 

Bryan Safi: That’s right. So—

 

Phillip Picardi: Therefore it’s not a sin.

 

Bryan Safi: Thank you. I did leave out the part where I said, and you can forget about seeing me over the holidays.

 

Phillip Picardi: Do you feel that, you still stand by that, you don’t want to see them over the holidays?

 

Bryan Safi: Not if I have to listen to that. Then, no.

 

Phillip Picardi: Right.

 

Bryan Safi: Yeah.

 

Phillip Picardi: And so that’s, I think, the root of this thing. Right? If they voted for Trump and they are also supporting this Republican attempt at a coup of our government—

 

Bryan Safi: Bridge too far.

 

Phillip Picardi: Then absolutely be rude to them.

 

Bryan Safi: Yes, right. I agree, because then you’re just living in fantasy land, except it’s, that really is hell in America. It’s that, just insanity.

 

Phillip Picardi: If you voted for Trump, you’re in hell. This is like you’re in the hell part of our simulation and the rest of us are trying to climb out of it.

 

Bryan Safi: And I told them even, I was supportive in this way, being like, I know who you are, you are not this. And if you are this, I have a very low opinion of it.

 

Phillip Picardi: Absolutely. I actually have not spoken to my Trump-supporting godmother in four years since the last election.

 

Bryan Safi: Good for you.

 

Phillip Picardi: And there are members of my family who I suspect support Trump. They have not outed themselves, but I know enough to tell my family I am not going home for the holidays this year and I do not want to be in a room with them again. If they want to have the conversation where they say, I see the error in my ways and I would like to talk to you about it, I’m open to having that conversation. But they’re going to need to start that conversation. And if you want to put me in a room with those people, you better be prepared to stand by my side as the sole gay person at the table and to stand up for me and to stand up for everyone else who Trump marginalized during his presidency.

 

Bryan Safi: Here, here.

 

Phillip Picardi: Otherwise, don’t invite me home, because I want to see you either, bitch.

 

Bryan Safi: You want to see a leftist liberal scream and cry, invite me home, because there is absolutely no way you’re getting with an ounce of it in front of me.

 

Phillip Picardi: I’m not going to cry. I think I would just run for the knife, the knife rack. I’m Italian, you know what I mean? We handle things.

 

Bryan Safi: I gotta say you have made me feel so much better about that conversation I had. Because a little part of me was like, maybe I shouldn’t have gone so hard. But as the days go by, I’m like, no, I feel good about what I said.

 

Phillip Picardi: Listen, we keep on tricking ourselves, as the good little liberals. We keep on trying to rise above and we keep on rising above and they keep going lower. And I love Michelle Obama. I don’t believe when they go low, we go high. I think we can stay exactly where we are and they can go fuck themselves. I think that’s, that’s the end. I know this is a religious podcast, and I’m probably supposed to be like “find forgiveness and peace and harmony” but fuck that, OK? The stakes are too high.

 

Bryan Safi: Fuck that. And by the way, aren’t they supposed to be religious. Just accept it and move on and be kind. They can’t.

 

Phillip Picardi: Absolutely. OK, you know what the irony of this is that maybe you and I are both going to hell for this.

 

Bryan Safi: You know what we did say what we said, but we, but we didn’t get an objective God point of view.

 

Phillip Picardi: Yeah, it’s true. Well, I guess that we’ll have to take it up with Jesus or whoever you believe in, in the big house eventually.

 

Matt Rossano: True.

 

Phillip Picardi: Bryan, thank you for joining me. I really appreciate it.

 

Bryan Safi: Oh, my God, I love your show. And this was a blast. So thank you for having me.

 

Phillip Picardi: Thank you. I’ll see you in hell.

 

Bryan Safi: I’ll see you in hell!

 

Phillip Picardi: Wooh! Party.

 

Phillip Picardi: Well, folks, that’s all for our show today. If you liked what you hear, subscribe to this podcast, leave a review, give us five stars, and tag me in all of your absurd holiday purchases. And don’t forget, the Georgia Senate runoffs are happening right now. For more information on how we can save the Senate and defeat the real Grinch, Mitch McConnell, head to VoteSaveAmerica dot com/Georgia. That’s VoteSaveAmerica dot com/Georgia. We should all have Georgia on our minds—sorry for the cheesy joke. Thanks for listening and I’ll see you next week.

 

Unholier Than Thou is a Crooked Media production. Brian Semel is our associate producer and Sydney Rapp is our assistant producer, with production support from Reuben Davis. The theme song is by Taka Yasuzawa, and the show is executive produced by me, Lyra Smith, and Sarah Geismer. Thanks for listening.