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The Sternal Journal

Just a little shame-y
Sternal Journalists,

How are you? Many thanks to all who enjoyed the WAP to WUI summit. As a result of last week's piece, all municipalities have seen the error of their ways, and acknowledge that putting tax base preservation over the physical well-being of said tax payers is unethical. 

JUST KIDDING. I think everything's the same. Probably worse, so we should keep talking about it.

And speaking of talking about things, 

You should consider phone-banking.

I know you've had opportunities. Over text, e-mail, or instagram, you've certainly been asked by somebody to make some calls in favor of a candidate or maybe a local proposition.

You know the e-mail. It's like "FROM: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez SUBJECT: Hi, Julian. You are my old friend and I know you and you know me. If you don't pick up your phone right now, Mitch McConnell will sneak into your bedroom tonight and give you a wet willy this is serious."

And are some of these calls for you to make calls sensationalist? Sure. But so is your excuse for why you would never: "If I call a stranger on the phone, what if they pick up? Won't I obliviate into dust? How will I find my airpods?"

Everybody's being dramatic, okay?! But we don't have to be. Here's what happens when you Phone Bank:

1) You get on a Zoom call with 15 or more very nice people. 
2) One of those nice people spends a full hour giving you a tutorial on how to do a very easy thing you've done a thousand times (make a phone call).
3) You make phone calls for an hour or two. This is the meat of the task, so:

3a) A lot of the time, they'll work with a program that automatically generates numbers for you to call and has a little built in survey tool for you to record all of the information.

3b) They also give you a script that explains nearly every eventuality that could happen on the call: "If they haven't voted, and they are undecided, skip to HERE. If they have voted, but today is a Wednesday and a train is leaving Memphis going 90 mph at 4:00PM, skip to HERE." Really. They have it all.

3c) You stare at the first phone number. It might take a minute. It might take ten minutes. You have to psych yourself up. This is okay. 

3d) After a little bit too much time, you finally dial and.... nobody picks up. On to the next number!

3e) You have, over the hour or two, fewer than ten real conversations (probably fewer than 5). Most will be nice, a few will be awkward, any contentious ones end immediately and nobody knows it was you!

4) You got a few more people informed about the issues, not least of all you!

^^^That last one's really important. Anything worth phone banking over right now is not going to go away in three weeks. Sure, Biden might get into office, but there are plenty of things he and his administration will need to be pushed to do. That's gonna take phone banking

Yes, LA's Attorney General Jackie Lacey may get voted out, but surely her replacement will need to be held accountable and that's gonna take phone banking. 

And here's what nobody else is going to tell you:

You will absolutely suck at phone banking the first time you do it.

That doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile. Even one positive conversation makes it worthwhile, and you will always have at least one, 

And that doesn't mean it isn't easy. It's very easy to suck at phone banking. It's a necessary step. You have to learn the issue and learn how to talk to a stranger.

And in doing so, you learn more about the issues we all purport to believe in, and you get fewer heebies or jeebies from the idea of educating others about those issues. 

A more informed you. A more informed them. A more informed world. 

SO the great people at AWARE-LA have a series of actions this week, which include phone banking to vote out Jackie Lacey, and phone banking to swing Georgia left! There is like a 75% chance that, if you're reading this, LA or Georgia are important to you. So think about it. 

You'll suck. It'll be great. Then you won't suck and it'll be even better.

Okay, real quick, recommendation?

I cranked through Netflix's new Deaf U a couple weeks ago. It's a "docusoap" about students at D.C.'s Gallaudet University, a school for the deaf and hard of hearing. 

I learned a lot of things about the deaf community I didn't know. It also, neither more nor less importantly, lives up to the fact that nearly every review I read of it uses the word "horny." This is a horny show. 

But it's also problematic. You may certainly check out this nice Vulture interview with the show's deaf Executive Producer, Nyle DiMarco (ANTM, DWTS), here

But you should also check out the very legitimate critiques of the shows portrayal of Black men and erasure of Black women here (DCist) and here (PopSugar).

I mainlined the show in basically a night (episodes are ~18 minutes, so the season is the length of a long movie), and I did enjoy it! It's incredibly messy, discombobulated, and (yes!) horny. But I think the critiques (published after I watched it) are very sound, and they should be addressed/remedied if there is another season. 

Are you watching Deaf U? Skipping it? Let me know! I am dying to talk to people about it. 

All of the love,


Copyright © 2020 Julian M. Stern, All rights reserved.

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