We the GT People

#304: Link watched Netflix’s We the People, a short animated musical series about US government, and wanted to discuss it with the team. We talk about how, while similar to Schoolhouse Rock, it ultimately feels more like visually attractive propaganda than useful educational content.


Josué Cardona 0:11
Welcome to gt radio on the Geek Therapy network here at Geek Therapy. We believe that the best way to understand each other and ourselves is through the media we care about. My name is Josué Cardona joined by Lara Taylor.

Lara Taylor 0:21

Josué Cardona 0:23
and Link Keller.

Link Keller 0:23

Josué Cardona 0:26
Link What’s up? What are we talking about today?

Link Keller 0:28
What’s up? Hey, howdy. I watched yesterday and today, a new short series on Netflix called We the People. And it came out on Fourth of July very fitting an

Josué Cardona 0:49

Link Keller 0:50
educational and I wanted to talk about it with you guys.

Josué Cardona 0:53
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Why? Why, though?

Link Keller 1:02
Because it’s something that I watched.

Lara Taylor 1:07
That’s the name of the episode.

Link Keller 1:11
Um, because I thought it was it was very cool. It’s in in the vein of Schoolhouse Rock. It is educational, short. Music videos, basically. And it was produced by the Obamas, which is a big a big selling point for some people.

Josué Cardona 1:37
My neighbors.

Link Keller 1:38

Josué Cardona 1:39
yeah. Their house is a couple blocks away.

Link Keller 1:42
Oh, right. Yeah, look at you. Yeah. But yeah, I thought I thought it was really interesting. Um, I, you know, it’s me. So of course, I have some criticisms, but overall thought it was gorgeous animation. And the songs are fun. And some of them are legitimately earworms. So, yeah, I wanted to talk about with you guys and see what y’all thought and yeah, try and process it together.

Josué Cardona 2:15
Okay, where do you want to start?

Link Keller 2:20
At the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start. let me get my notebook.

Lara Taylor 2:27
Now that song is stuck in my head thanks.

Link Keller 2:29
I know, right?

Josué Cardona 2:31
which one?

Lara Taylor 2:32
From the sound of music.

Josué Cardona 2:38
What are in your notes, Link? What’ve you got?

Link Keller 2:40
honestly, I did. I did not take very extensive notes. I got really hung up on wanting to know anything about the animation, because that was not something that was being promoted very much focus on the Obamas. And then the the musical people, some of whom are very well known. Special shout out to Janelle Monae is my personal favorite.

Josué Cardona 3:04
no way!

Link Keller 3:08
but yeah, yeah, I was I was interested in the animation stuff. I had to fight with Netflix to actually watch through the credits. To find them,

Lara Taylor 3:24
because they wanted you to, like watch a new thing or watch the next thing or whatever.

Link Keller 3:29
Yeah, this this is a real aside, and not related to the topic. But by God, you’ve given me an opportunity to talk about Netflix. What the hell that was. Awful viewing experience for me. My housemates had watched it first. So they like watched it, and it auto played through all 10 episodes. So when I watched it, it showed that they had already been played, but except for the very end of it. And so I was like, Oh, what is it going to do? At the end of every episode, instead of playing the next episode, it showed me a trailer for a different show. Every. one. every one of them and then I went back to rewatch it again, and that time it did autoplay. And then today, I watched it again and it was very inconsistent. Sometimes it autoplayed sometimes it showed trailers. Sometimes it wouldn’t let me like it wouldn’t even give me the watch credits button. Like it just it just wouldn’t give it to me at all. Man. I got real I got real mad at Netflix about it. Oh, okay, rant over

Lara Taylor 4:30
you can write an angry letter.

Link Keller 4:33
That’s what I said. I’m like, I’m going to write a strongly worded email to Netflix about this. very infuriating. I just want to see who the heck animated this thing, beautiful piece of animation.

Josué Cardona 4:45
First of all, why we’re using someone else’s profile. That’s messed up.

Lara Taylor 4:49
You can have another profile on a Netflix

Josué Cardona 4:52
I’m just saying. I’m just saying if the first time you went through and someone had already watched it, and you can see that they had already watched it. That’s um yeah I dunno, I don’t think that’s polite to use.

Link Keller 5:03
Oh, no, I like sharing.

Josué Cardona 5:04
Oh, no,

Link Keller 5:05
I’m all about sharing

Josué Cardona 5:07
get your own profile.

Link Keller 5:09
It is my profile. they were watching it on mine nyehh

Josué Cardona 5:15
Somebody being disrespectful is all I’m saying. And I want to point that out. Yeah, yeah, seriously. That’s not okay.

Link Keller 5:25
I thought it was fine. It’s I put blame on Netflix, whoever, whatever system they’re using to program the autoplay and trailer watching features. I don’t understand them, and it frustrates me. Yeah, just want to watch the credits without having to fight you for it.

Josué Cardona 5:47
So I had feelings going through it. Um,

Link Keller 5:53
yes. Back Back to We the People, the actual topic at hand here. Tell me your feelings Josué. How did you feel about it?

Josué Cardona 5:59
So, obviously, at some point, I was like, oh, okay, is this trying to be like Schoolhouse Rock? This is trying to be educational. At one point, I thought, there were a few things I thought I thought I’m watching and going through all 10 I was like this is this is why we have 20 different podcasts and we don’t do everything we want to talk about. On one feed, because they feel so different. That it doesn’t feel… it feels it feels strange, right? And then the many times I was thinking about Hamilton and I was like, Why Why doesn’t this feel as good as Hamilton? Like Like there’s production quality here there’s there’s known artists there’s money behind it and

Lara Taylor 6:44
There’s no Lin-Manuel Miranda,

Link Keller 6:45
there is a Lin-Manuel Miranda!! He’s in the fourth song

Josué Cardona 6:52
and he went hard

Link Keller 6:53
about the three branches.

Josué Cardona 6:54
He’s very excited. in that song too.

Link Keller 6:55

Lara Taylor 6:57
I’m sure he is.

Josué Cardona 6:59
He’s super into it

Link Keller 7:00
Hamilton was definitely also inspiration for for the series. I think the big difference is that Hamilton was telling a story.

Josué Cardona 7:12

Link Keller 7:13
Over over and you know, an hour to two and a half hours however long the play is that these were like three and a half minute songs. So even though some of them had a story element to them. Most of it was the content was not a story. The content was providing information to a sick catchy beat. Some of the animation had stories to it. I one that comes to mind is the First Amendment. I felt like the story that the song was telling. It didn’t match. It didn’t it didn’t did not match up. The words of the song did not match up with what was happening in the visuals.

Josué Cardona 8:00
Yep, that’s what I think for me, I believe it was federal versus state power is the only one that felt like a story. Because it was like a like a. Like they made the I think it was I think that’s the one but the federal government was like a character. And it was it was talking about about, you know, like, what its role is and how it you know, and its relationship with

Link Keller 8:28
relationship to each other. Yeah,

Josué Cardona 8:29
I was like, okay, there’s a there’s a character that’s telling me a story. But the rest, it felt like someone who’s reading this is it felt like someone was reading something out of a textbook. And it felt like a like,

Lara Taylor 8:44
sort of pulled you out of it?

Josué Cardona 8:46
There was there was why I kept thinking like, how, how would I recommend this to someone? Or when would I recommend this as I’m wanting to who? i? I couldn’t I could never find an answer for that. There was never a satisfying answer for me, for any of them. Also, some of them like are wrong. Like, for an educational thing? There should there should there should be factual and they are not, which was infuriating.

Link Keller 9:21
Give us an example.

Josué Cardona 9:22
Immigration, for example, is one of them. Where in the chorus. It’s like, hey, you’re an American citizen. They can do stuff like vote for the President. I was like I can I can tell you I know. I can give you millions of Americans, citizens who do not have the right to vote for president.

Link Keller 9:37

Josué Cardona 9:38
And and, and the courts. The courts was infuriating the courts that one, that one at that point, I had to stop. I was actually I was actually mad. I was mad. I wanted to walk over to the Obama’s house and tell them a piece of my mind.

Lara Taylor 9:54
I’m glad you said those words and not something else because the Secret Service might be listening

Josué Cardona 10:00
Look, I have a story about that would be

Link Keller 10:04
welcome listeners of the Secret Service. Oh, yeah, no, I agree.

Lara Taylor 10:09
Get Obama to listen to our show

Link Keller 10:11
immigration and the courts, both of those were tough to watch without my my media psych brain and my, like, raging leftist brain going off it was it was hard to just watch those I got really hung up on. I desperately want to know who got to choose which court cases were listed, and which, which foreign citizens were listed. Like, I’m like, who, who decided what got what got put in here and what did not like I want to know,

Lara Taylor 10:54
and that person might be listed in those credits that you had to fight to watch, but you’ll never know which one. But

Josué Cardona 11:01
the immigration one, I think that really bothered me that they showed, like a famous person in quotes for some countries, but for somebody like, I don’t know, we can’t find a single Egyptian, you know, American citizen. It’s like, Oh,

Link Keller 11:14
yeah, United Kingdom, that they just left that one blank. I was like, Really? Yeah. Interesting. Yeah. interesting choice.

Josué Cardona 11:23
So it’s like, it’s like Wayne Gretzky for Canada, right. And then, like Sofía Vergara for Columbia, and then what? And then it was it was it bothered me. It just wasn’t one for each one.

Link Keller 11:37
Yeah. First thing is like, Okay, why is it not consistent on that? And then second, like, okay, who got to choose because there’s not just one person for each of these categories? Like you had somebody made a decision here, but who and how, what was their criteria? And?

Josué Cardona 11:55
Yeah, yeah, it was, um, again, the immigration one really, really bothered me. Because

Link Keller 12:05
it was over simplifying to the point of doing damage to people, I would say,

Josué Cardona 12:12
I think that’s probably it. It’s like, it’s like, it’s like it was a dictionary definition of immigration, and not and not an education on. It wasn’t a three minute education on immigration. It was because I’m only expecting so much from a song that’s 3 minutes long. I’m my expectations are

Lara Taylor 12:31
immigration, Well, I guess you could argue that all the topics are probably not easily summed up in three minutes. But immigration, I know, a lot of you can nuance that you could I don’t

Link Keller 12:43
it is difficult, but this was this

Lara Taylor 12:46
but they chose it.

Josué Cardona 12:48
It’s what you chose to say with your three minutes that that that makes the difference?

Link Keller 12:53

Josué Cardona 12:55

Link Keller 12:55
So we’re for clarification for our listeners, if you haven’t seen

Josué Cardona 13:00
what is We the People?

Link Keller 13:01
if you haven’t seen it yet is in the court. I am paraphrasing the lyrics, but basically says if you’re born in America, you’re already a citizen. If you live somewhere else, there’s still an option for you. All you have to do is wait a couple of years and say that you love America best. And then it goes on about how we’re a nation of immigrants. And isn’t it great how we can vote and and showing all these beautiful people from all over the world and everything. But simplifying our immigration process into, you know, just you know, you might have to wait a couple of years and all you have to do is like pass a test and then say that like, Oh my god, America is my favorite. Yeah, oversimplification to the point of, of potentially causing harm for people if they if they do not do additional research, if they don’t have contextual information, if this is all that they’re getting. No, it is not good education. It is incredibly optimistic. Sometimes.

Josué Cardona 14:12
But it feels unrealistic. It’s not It’s not even it’s not just optimistic. It’s unrealistic. Like, like, it feels like it feels like a lie. Sometimes.

Link Keller 14:20
I okay, I came across…

Josué Cardona 14:22
What’s the thing? What’s the thing? What’s the thing that’s like? A lie. It’s not true.

Lara Taylor 14:29
a Lie.

Josué Cardona 14:29

Link Keller 14:31

Josué Cardona 14:33
No, it’ll come to me later.

Lara Taylor 14:34
a fallacy?

Josué Cardona 14:38
nah, like, I feel like it has an agenda and you know, iy’s trying to, I don’t know, can’t think of it?

Link Keller 14:42
Oh, it’s a word that you’re trying to think of?

Josué Cardona 14:45

Link Keller 14:46
it’ll come to you. It’ll come. Sure. Okay. We’ll stop and we’ll circle back around to it. I came I came across an article on variety, which I feel sort of encapsulates my own own feelings about it pretty well. It is by Caroline Framke it is titled “Netflix’s we the people from executive producers Barack and Michelle Obama puts optimistic spin on civic duty”. And there is a line “the clash between the series overall commitment to viewing the government through rose colored glasses and trying to be as truthful as possible is unavoidably confusing. We the people is at its core well, meaning it’s just not especially illuminating in the way I would like it to be. Having preemptively stopped itself from exploring anything beyond the basics.”

Josué Cardona 15:39
Does it say the way I would like it to be or the way it would like it to be

Link Keller 15:42
the way it would like to be.

Josué Cardona 15:43
It would like to be

Link Keller 15:44
also the way I would like it to be. Yeah, I, um, somebody phrased it as it feels like, it is very intentionally ignoring what has happened the past four, five years, and,

Lara Taylor 16:06
tried to make it like a blip.

Josué Cardona 16:08
Oh, yeah,

Link Keller 16:09
it’s just it feels optimistic, but optimistic circa like, 2015. And, and it can feel very jarring, um,

Josué Cardona 16:18
especially the courts,

Link Keller 16:20
especially, especially immigration and the courts. Yeah.

Josué Cardona 16:26
Yeah, cuz, cuz like, because like immigration, I get it like that. That might that could be your brochure. Right? It’s like, you know, you’re trying to but the courts. That one, just that one hurt it, I felt pain with the courts. And yeah, it’s like it feels it feels like a misrepresentation of the country. Not just the topics, right? Because obviously, it’s, it’s about America, all of it is about America. And it feels Yeah, yeah, I think I think that quote from from that article, I think, I think sums it up real well. There’s,

Link Keller 17:11

Josué Cardona 17:12
you I had a student of mine. It was great. I love it. When you know, the students from a long time ago, reach out to you. And former student, Sean reaches out to me as Mr. Cardona. Do you think that, like, podcasts are like long enough to really get into a topic? Right. And I was like, that’s an interesting question. And obviously, it depends, right? I mean, depends on the podcast. But I think, I think one of the reasons why podcasts are so popular is because they’d let you just go off on a topic, you’re not limited. And but even then, like, if you want to know more, like, there’s a whole book, and you know, and you shouldn’t limit yourself to one resource. So in terms of education, right, I mean, there’s only so much you can do and I don’t know, like, I don’t. I wasn’t like a big Schoolhouse Rock person. So like, I don’t remember a lot of that, that wasn’t like, formative for me. But like, Hamilton has been instrumental, like for a bunch of kids to learn about these people and that piece of history, whether some of it is accurate or not, and all that stuff, right. But there’s still like, enough there. And it’s because there is a story and there’s like, there’s so much to it. I don’t know, it was it was it was a very strange experience. And and it made me think, I think also have we mentioned this a lot more on rolling for change, than then we have on headshots, but it’s this idea of a game being designed for a very specific thing. Like, I can an educational game or a therapy game and it’s like ugh

Lara Taylor 19:03
game first, then the application rather than the opposite. Yeah,

Josué Cardona 19:08
yeah. So some of these songs don’t even feel like songs. Right? Like, I don’t think they were it was so strange. Um, and I was wondering like, who wrote them like did the people who who perform them actually write them? Like did Janelle Monae write We the People?

Link Keller 19:24
yes, with somebody else.

Josué Cardona 19:26
Okay. Everything about the song is great, except I felt like we the people was tacked on. Like, it was the only part that it felt like it did. It wasn’t part of the song. It felt like it was another song and they changed part of the lyrics to be We the people. That’s the way I felt about it, I guess.

Lara Taylor 19:44
Which may have been part of your writing process, right? writing something else in there and then like, you know what? We the People.

Josué Cardona 19:51
Yeah, but I’m curious again, having been having taught a whole bunch of different topics and always looking for For an even now, when I, when in my day job, I’m trying to, like I’ve used so many clips of blackish, for example to illustrate different points, right? And sometimes it is just a three minute clip. In a rap song you can depending on how fast you go, you can say a lot in three minutes, way more than in, which was the ballad when the first amendment right. Like that one doesn’t say to, you know, doesn’t say as much as like the song before.

Lara Taylor 20:31
But then get to any song and Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda has said, like everything in like, a minute and a half

Josué Cardona 20:39
the advantage of you know, of a genre where it’s okay to say a lot of words.

Lara Taylor 20:46
Very fast.

Josué Cardona 20:47
Yeah, yeah, I think those are most of my feelings. I’m just I don’t I don’t know. I wouldn’t. I think about my niece and my nephew all the time. I bring them up all the time. I don’t think that I would show them I especially wouldn’t show them immigration or the courts. Like I don’t know if I if I’d bother to show them any of the other episodes. Taxes bothered me to that one bothered me.

Link Keller 21:11
That one’s my favorite.

Josué Cardona 21:12
That one’s your favorite?

Link Keller 21:13
I like the song the best. And I like animation is really fun.

Josué Cardona 21:18
the animation’s good, but it’s something it’s what I wish I had the lyrics up. It was like, he’s like, telling you like, Hey, kid, you got to pay your taxes. Pay him

Link Keller 21:28
little homie better pay your tax.

Josué Cardona 21:31
Yep, that one. Yeah. That one felt preachy. Some of them felt preachy, which is interesting. I don’t expect an educational song to appear preachy.

Lara Taylor 21:47
I feel like some of Schoolhouse Rock was kind of preachy. We watched Schoolhouse Rock in my high school government class, and like, it was a thing. My class was my, my high school government teacher was also my psychology teacher, and favorite teacher, ever. And she did a really good job of like, going through all the different parts of government and teaching us to think for ourselves and not pushing any direction. And I don’t know. She rarely used Schoolhouse Rock, but she grew up when that was like the new thing. So she showed us a few clips. I like the idea and I didn’t have time to watch we the people, but I I like hearing what your thoughts are. And I liked the idea of something because when she would show us the clips of Schoolhouse Rock, we got into it, right? It was it was different from some of the other things we did in class. So I like the idea of educational music. I think Hamilton like Josué you said it’s changed how some kids think about government and want to learn about it. People have been buying and taking out Hamilton’s I’m wearing my Hamilton hat, yes. But people have been taking out and from the library and buying the autobiography or not The Autobiography and the biography that inspired the musical. I did and I couldn’t even get through. Like it’s like 1400 pages, and I checked it out twice. So that’s six weeks, and I couldn’t get through like 400 pages. But it was really cool to read and get more information. And it’s inspired me to do things like Fourth of July, our tradition was going to be watch Hamilton every year, but this year, a client of mine suggested watching 1776 the musical from the 70s which was actually really funny and interesting. So musics a good way to learn.

Link Keller 23:58
God I imagine stuff made in the 70s is actually a lot more radical than stuff made in 2021.

Lara Taylor 24:05
That is that is the point that my that my client made was. It’s it’s very radical. And it calls a lot of bullshit out.

Josué Cardona 24:18
Yeah, yeah.

Lara Taylor 24:20
It was made in like, the the movie version was made in 72.

Josué Cardona 24:25
Yeah. Yeah, I can. Obviously we’re always talking about using media to learn about everything, including ourselves and each other. But yeah, I mean, it’s I was really excited. And they pushed Janelle Monae hard in the promotional material. Made you wait till episode nine to get to Janelle.

Link Keller 24:49

Josué Cardona 24:49
yeah. Yeah. It’s Yeah, it’s interesting. I don’t, I don’t Okay, so you said music can be good to learn. Like what is another example But just a song.

Lara Taylor 25:04
Just a song.

Josué Cardona 25:06
Yeah. Because again, because yes, Hamilton is a very long, like, very immigrant song in Hamilton, out of context. And on the mixtape is not very, it’s not super educational. It’s just it just the hype song if you’re an immigrant, otherwise, I don’t know if it works for you.

Lara Taylor 25:28
I’m trying to think of you say what music is educational?

Josué Cardona 25:33
Well, I mean, obviously, like, Is there an example,

Lara Taylor 25:36
the thing that comes to mind, I don’t even know if the example really applies to what we’re talking about. But in one of my cultural anthropology classes, undergrad, my professor had us listen to California love by Tupac and Dr. Dre. Yes, yes. over and over and over and, like broke down the lyrics. And I cannot remember what I learned from that. But I learned a lot because I had a whole grade on that.

Josué Cardona 26:08
But did you learn about like, geography of California, because it mentions

Lara Taylor 26:13
a little bit, a little bit

Josué Cardona 26:14
cuz thats a part of the song. It’s talking about the different, like different places, and how they are.

Lara Taylor 26:20
We also watched the music video in class. And, and then

Josué Cardona 26:25
did he make you watch? Mad Max to get all the references?

Lara Taylor 26:29
No, but you know, I wasn’t

Josué Cardona 26:31
what was he trying to teach you?

Lara Taylor 26:33
I don’t know what he was trying to do. I think it was. The idea was listening to the lyrics and thinking about how someone growing up in a situation that you’re getting firsthand experience in music. Possibly.

Josué Cardona 26:51

Lara Taylor 26:52
possibly, depending on the artist and the context of the song because we the people, you’re not getting necessarily firsthand information. It’s written about other people. And other topics.

Josué Cardona 27:05
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, no, yeah. I was just challenging the notion. I mean, I think,

Lara Taylor 27:10
yes, Schoolhouse Rock is the clear, like, educational. Fucking Sesame Street. Blue’s Clues!

Link Keller 27:17
Sesame Street is a great example. There are songs on Mr. Rogers. that were educational, though, you know, his focus was always more like emotional,

Lara Taylor 27:30

Link Keller 27:32
Yeah. But my thought when you ask that question, Josué, was the Americas song from Animaniacs where they list of all the countries

Lara Taylor 27:45
okay Yep.

Link Keller 27:47
I don’t remember the whole song. But I did immediately think of that song

Josué Cardona 27:51
that’s [vocalising] I remember that. And I probably can’t tell you all fifty states. When put on the spot.

Lara Taylor 27:59
I I can we had to learn a song and choir in school in elementary school 50 nifty United States.

Josué Cardona 28:08
So so

Lara Taylor 28:09
I know how to say the states alphabetically. I don’t know if I remember the whole tune anymore. But

Josué Cardona 28:14
so there’s something about the transfer of knowledge here are the application over the back of the acquisition of it is a saw Tik Tok there the other day on there talking about I don’t teach kids the ABC song. Because they’re just learning the ABC song. And I don’t know about you, but still to this day, I have to recite the ABC song in my head. To know which letter comes after which

Lara Taylor 28:40
you’re not you’re not even teaching them that you’re also teaching them Twinkle, twinkle little star and

Josué Cardona 28:46
twinkle twinkle little star isn’t isn’t helpful.

Lara Taylor 28:48
I know, but it’s the same tune.

Josué Cardona 28:51
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, but it’s like I have to I have to go through it in order right to see that. And how awful is it? I guess you learn the 50 states? Oh, wouldn’t I but I

Lara Taylor 29:06
I don’t know the tune anymore. But I can still name all the states in alphabetical order. Same with the alphabet. I don’t need to sing the song.

Josué Cardona 29:15
I can’t I need to I still do it. I still

Link Keller 29:18
I used to be having to go through the whole alphabet. And then I worked at gamestop where I had to alphabetize things regularly. And that actually fixed my problem. Yeah.

Josué Cardona 29:30
Yeah. And that’s kind of the that’s one point I wanted to get to, which is like, there’s no I’ve never been in a situation where I needed to actually do that. Like learning the alphabet in order was a waste of time. I still to this day, have not needed to apply that.

Link Keller 29:48
I would say that there are like auxilary benefits to working with preschoolers and kindergarteners on that kind of stuff. It’s more about You know, practicing singing songs and following the time and being able to repeat things back to each other. But I do get what you’re saying a, it, it becomes a whole piece of information instead of what letters are, which are individual pieces, unique in their own contexts, and everything in it, and it just clumps it into one. One brain idea. Yeah. I mean, education. Research has shown pretty consistently that, you know, providing information in the form of a story or musically helps people remember it. So I follow that, but

Lara Taylor 30:48
And it’s like, it’s also different because these these are songs with a story or more information. It’s not memorization of the state.

Link Keller 30:59
Its distinct.

Josué Cardona 31:01
Yeah. So the three branches of government, that one in particular, I remember very clearly a conversation that it haunts me, still that I had at work once. I mean, I must have been 20…22, 23. Maybe. And Tim was like, oh, Congress, I don’t remember exactly how it went. But it was something about like, is our is Congress only the House of Representatives? Or is it both the Senate and the House together? Like, why are some people congressmen and like, we were like, We were confused. You know, it’s like one of those moments where like, we know this, but we’re not sure. No, we were adults. I was like, No, like it would be beneficial if I had a song. I’m not saying the ABC song. Yeah, that’s the only way I know the ABCs. If I knew three branches of government song at that moment, I could have brought it up. I’m like, Ah, no, it’s this. these are these are the three.

Lara Taylor 32:03
If you can’t have Miss Frasca for high school government teacher, you definitely need a song to remember the things.

Josué Cardona 32:14
I need something. Yeah, I think I’ve got it now. But um, you know, I don’t know. But that was one right. that these are three different things. None of the others. Really the the Bill of Rights doesn’t go through all the Bill of Rights. It’s very general.

Link Keller 32:32
Right covers it covers the 10

Josué Cardona 32:35
it does?

Link Keller 32:36
and says that there are others amendments,

Josué Cardona 32:38
I would just consumed by Adam Lambert’s voice and very distracted by how hard the you know, like this. This is essentially a queen song kind of, you know? Yeah, yeah. Huh.

Link Keller 32:52

Josué Cardona 32:54
Yeah, there was something you said about can’t remember now. Oh, when you said, like, musically, and stories and things like that, yeah. Like I’m learning science, like just presenting information in multiple ways. Is, is like reinforcing for the for the brain even presenting it to him, like, no, simplifying it. But again, if you have two different songs presenting the same information, you’d be much more likely to learn it. They’re different, just in general, right? presenting information two different places at different times, in different ways. can be very, very helpful. And yeah, no, I mean, it made me think about so many different things. That’s but ultimately, it’s it’s that like, when it’s mental health when it’s other stuff. It’s like, how effective is it? Is it a good idea? Was it does it does it matter, right? Like when we talk about games, it’s like, oh, but the game isn’t fun as well. Does that matter? Like I? I would argue,

Lara Taylor 33:53
it does matter.

Link Keller 33:54
Yes and, Or, no, but

Josué Cardona 33:56
I mean, depends on what yeah, I mean, does it have to be fun? No, I don’t think it has to be fun. Does this song have to be good or not? I don’t think it has to be good. Like, if it’s meant to be educational. If it meant to be educational, I guess if it’s catchy, that would be that would be more useful for me. Feels like easy to play or easy to follow along. Like if it was like changing chords constantly and just like didn’t have something that felt like, you know, was easy to remember. That’ll be that’ll be hard, like some of these are unsingable. like to me, at least, and the way you know, like, I don’t know what the Lin-Manuel goes so hard. I don’t I can’t do it. I can’t do it.

Lara Taylor 34:39
I mean, so does yakko Warner.

Josué Cardona 34:42
I can’t I can’t sing it. I can’t sing it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I can’t do it. I can’t do it. Yeah,

Link Keller 34:48
I do. I do want to sidetrack you brought up blackish before. One of the executive producers is Kenya Barris. Who is the creator of blackish.

Josué Cardona 35:01
I saw

Link Keller 35:02
so you thought of blackish as watching this? thats why!

Josué Cardona 35:08
It surprised me when I saw his name actually. It surprised me. Because I

Lara Taylor 35:14

Josué Cardona 35:16
because what?

Lara Taylor 35:16
immigration? because of the courts in immigration,

Josué Cardona 35:18
because I was disappointed already. When I saw the credits, and I saw Kenya Barris, I was like, Aww,

Lara Taylor 35:25
that’s what that’s what I was getting at.

Josué Cardona 35:28
yeah, it’s like, really? How do you feel about this? Kenya Barris? Who made black AF on Netflix paid to make immigration and the courts? Or is getting paid? For those songs being distributed on Netflix? I’m sure it’s both. He paid for. He invested money in perhaps was involved? I don’t know, I’m not assuming he was involved. I’m just saying. Like, like, I assume he was involved in a production capacity. Financially, not necessarily

Link Keller 36:02
he is listed alongside the Obamas on every episode as executive producer.

Josué Cardona 36:07
Yeah. But again, that could mean that they were in like, involved creatively. But it could also mean that they just gave money and not all that involved. That part’s never really in the credits. So that did surprise me. But um, blackish has an episode that was almost completely animated. That was about I think it was about voting rights. And I believe it was two parts. And it was

Link Keller 36:29
Do you know who animated it?

Josué Cardona 36:32
You’re asking you do you know, or do you not know?

Link Keller 36:35
I’m just having realization today that it is very difficult to find this information.

Josué Cardona 36:43
I don’t remember

Link Keller 36:44
I think it is not prioritized by the people who produce this stuff. Which is interesting.

Josué Cardona 36:49
Yeah, yeah, I don’t I don’t remember. I don’t remember ever knowing. Or ever looking it up. I don’t think I ever finished watching those episodes. Because they I love blackish. And this is the first time that they felt preachy to me, and the show has never felt preachy. But that, those felt preachy? Like I’ve talked about

Link Keller 37:10
maybe your pre preach threshold? Are you more sensitive to like cartoons? If cartoons are telling you something that’s like, more preachy than if a human person is saying it?

Josué Cardona 37:19
I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s the I listened to some of the songs. Like I watched, and I listened separately, right to some of the episodes of we the people? Yeah, sometimes just listening bothered me. It was. Yeah, I don’t know about the animation. I don’t I don’t think that’s an issue, I think. Yeah, no, that’s a good question. I don’t think so. I’m not averse to animation.

Link Keller 37:49
I mean, that’s, that’s what I liked. That’s, that is my favorite part of this series is getting to see the animation.

Josué Cardona 37:55
Oh, I agree. animation was great.

Link Keller 37:57
gorgeous. There is many different styles represented.

Josué Cardona 37:59

Link Keller 38:00
And um

Josué Cardona 38:01
see that’s funny. That part doesn’t bother me. It’s kind of like, it’s like a comic book Anthology, right? Like,

Lara Taylor 38:07
It’s an anthology. some art styles you jive with and some you don’t. It’s okay.

Josué Cardona 38:12
But the music part does bother me. Like, like, even though

Lara Taylor 38:17
you just wanted something to be a little consistent.

Josué Cardona 38:19
No. I’m like that with music. Hello. Once you listen to our music podcast, you have to ignore everything. I’m just saying, because it’s all over the place in terms of that. But there’s a thematic thing bringing the songs together. Night here that, of course, is a thematic thing coming together. But it’s like, I don’t know. It was kind of jarring to to have the different. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know what I because music is one of those things that is very. I feel like a lot of people that like, sometimes I’m in the mood for a certain type of music. I’m not just like, yeah, play whatever for me. are you like that? No, no?

Lara Taylor 39:00
No. I need to be into.

Link Keller 39:04
certain vibes

Josué Cardona 39:04
I remember a lot of playlists certain correctly. It was all like, songs she heard. And during a particular era of her life, that’s basically it. Yeah. All right. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, no, I don’t know. There was. I may just be irritable. I don’t know. Ask me again at another time. Will there be a season two? Because that’s a thing. I was thinking sometimes you’re like, oh,

Lara Taylor 39:38
the courts, part two.

Josué Cardona 39:41
So So I mean, once you have like 100 episodes and you have a library to pull from like, I think it will feel I might feel very different about it. But as a as a package. I it’s difficult for me to recommend and then individually And there’s some that maybe, maybe I would recommend,

Link Keller 40:05
I feel like these in the same way that as Lara was describing, I had a similar experience in school where a teacher would show Schoolhouse Rock episode. And then we would go on to have a class lesson on that same topic. I feel like this could provide a similar thing where it’s like it is a starting place, you have something bright, catchy a song, get, get people a little bit interested, and then expand on the actual information. I don’t know if this was created with that intention to be used in the same way. I would like to think so

Lara Taylor 40:47
but it could be used that way.

Link Keller 40:48
It could be used that way.

Josué Cardona 40:49
I can’t imagine it not being intended for that. Right?

Link Keller 40:55
I mean, they directly have said that Schoolhouse Rock is inspiration for this idea

Josué Cardona 41:00
Yeah, yeah.

Lara Taylor 41:00
So I guess so.

Link Keller 41:02
so I hope so

Josué Cardona 41:03
Yeah, yeah. it again, because it’s not like songs inspired by

Link Keller 41:08
getting access to netflix stuff is a little bit different than getting access to schoolhouse rock

Lara Taylor 41:13
After the last year

Josué Cardona 41:14
So I checked on YouTube, I checked on YouTube. And there’s only four episodes on YouTube, which I was surprised by because I was

Link Keller 41:21

Josué Cardona 41:22
I thought, hmm, if it’s gonna be if Netflix did it, I was surprised that they didn’t also have them on Netflix, because I mean, on YouTube, because they, they do that sometimes. Something like educational like this, that you saw on PBS and you put it on Yo,

Link Keller 41:37
they feel like YouTube, like a YouTube series. Like you told me it was a YouTube series. And it didn’t do that bom bom N thing at the beginning of every episode, like yeah, I’m watching something on YouTube. Like, yeah, yeah, the PBS series or something. Exactly. Yeah,

Josué Cardona 41:53
I think I think there’s a lot. Yeah, I think I think there are tons of YouTube videos that do this. do this effectively, and have been doing it for years and their educational channels and their people who used to do it with music, and there, lots of them are animated, and some of them aren’t. But there’s a lot of stuff on YouTube that covers these topics, in short, videos. Very well.

Link Keller 42:18
Sometimes with music,

Josué Cardona 42:20
sometimes with music. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. But that’s, I think that the final thing that I was thinking about that haven’t brought up yet, which is it feels out of time, like it feels like a like something from another time. And not just like, a Schoolhouse Rock kind of thing. It’s like, there’s something about it

Lara Taylor 42:44
it’s 2015

Link Keller 42:45
Yeah, it’s it’s like optimism circa 2015.

Josué Cardona 42:48
Not just that, but it feels like the, the the creation of it, the distribution of it, the style of it. It feels Okay, I’m gonna I’m gonna I’m gonna share something, please don’t tell my neighbors. I thought Obama was really cool. And the more I learned, I see him afterwards. I think he’s not cool. Like, he’s like, like an old like, he’s like, I’m not cool. Like, he’s like a, like a grandpa nerdy kind of like, there’s something about him. That’s not cool and suave. He was just cool and suave for like a president. Like as a as a as a guy. He’s like, it was like a,

Link Keller 43:25
it was only contextually that he was cool.

Josué Cardona 43:28

Lara Taylor 43:28
he’s the coolest president

Link Keller 43:29
when you’re surround by that many stiff old boogers Like, it makes it really easy to appear cool.

Josué Cardona 43:33
No, he’s just like a nerdy professor, like nerdy old professor. And, and so a part of me like, like, it feels like how part of my impression of the series feels like, like, I can feel Barack Obama through it. And like, like, like an old person trying to be hip and young. And and it feels disingenuine in a way regardless of how hard Lin-Manuel Miranda goes on that song. Um, I appreciate I kept it kept it kept it like he usually would. He has some great songs about civil about civics.

Lara Taylor 44:16
Yes, he does.

Josué Cardona 44:18

Link Keller 44:20
Yeah, I do. I do want to say one thing that is fantastic is the in the creator’s representation of people of color is excellent. In the animation, like the visuals themselves, there’s so much representation in how do I how do I describe this feeling when I watched three branches the first time and it has a black woman, president and The Supreme Court justices are all very diverse, at least half of them are women. And it was such a treat to see. And then it shattered my heart into a million tiny little pieces because I went, Oh, it does not look like that. nor has it ever looked like that. And God, I would love it to look like that. But it doesn’t. And the system that we have right now doesn’t support that kind of change. So it was a Yeah, beautiful eyes were like enchanted little sparkles coming out around my head about how pretty everything was, and then my heart just shattering because I have to live in this real real world nightmare.

Josué Cardona 45:54
It’s like historical fiction, right? You’re like, oh, like, oh, wait a minute. No, it’s not. It’s not like that. It’s it’s historical, right?

Lara Taylor 46:02
It’s like Hamilton.

Link Keller 46:03
It is it is in that vein, where is made shinier and fun and flirty and fresh. And the real experiences? None of those are words.

Josué Cardona 46:21
So it seems like this brought up a lot of feelings. For us, different feelings, some of joy. Some of I would

Link Keller 46:30
say. Watching it with a baby. She definitely enjoyed the visuals. Yeah.

Josué Cardona 46:38
So that makes me think my niece got super into Hamilton super, super into like on repeat, like, like Link listening to Inside over and over again. Right like like obsessed, right? If I if I heard my niece singing the courts, like for fun for immigration? I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t. I would, I would. It would require an intervention on my part, I wouldn’t be able to help myself. I don’t know how I would supplement the information or the knowledge. like

Lara Taylor 47:23

Josué Cardona 47:25
I mean, I mean, look, I love the idea of a conversation starter. I think that’s good. But yeah, I don’t. That concern. And that’s all you hear in my voice just concern. Yeah, yeah. Interesting. Huh. Also, how do you gauge success on something about something like this on Netflix? I mean, I guess people start podcasting. Doing podcast episodes on it. That’s probably a good

Link Keller 47:57
good indication.

Josué Cardona 48:00
good indication. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I

Link Keller 48:03
when I was trying to do some research on it. I think it’s up now. But yesterday, when I was looking the we the people did not have a Wikipedia page. So I don’t know if that’s because it is still being worked on or if it’s because it is being brigaded currently, and so they just shut it down. You never know. You never know.

Josué Cardona 48:25
Obviously. I’m, I mean, I’ve been on it this whole episode. So

Link Keller 48:29
i’m glad that it’s up now.

Josué Cardona 48:31
Yeah, but it’s true. Sometimes, you know, they get taken down because they’re, somebody changed something. That’s uh not okay

Link Keller 48:41
we touched on the last one, the Miracle of Morning, which was a poem by Amanda Gorman, which was less focused on us civics lessons and was very much a poem about our country, coming out of the pandemic, as stronger people, that is the vibe of the poem. I would like to believe that it’s true. Sometimes I don’t feel it, but I would like to believe it.

Josué Cardona 49:17
Yeah, and that was a poem, right. It wasn’t a song. And I will say it was also I have feelings about it, too. Yeah. It was it was a rose colored glasses thing again, right? Yeah. It’s like, it’s like you’re really only telling you like, you’re telling you’re telling one half of the story? Yeah.

Link Keller 49:41
It’s like on the one hand, I absolutely understand wanting to focus on the positives, wanting to maintain a upbeat tone,

Lara Taylor 49:54
wanting to think about what things could be.

Josué Cardona 49:57
Yeah, that one’s not educational, like our You can’t argue to me that one’s educational

Link Keller 50:02
yeah, it’s. Yeah. But

Lara Taylor 50:08
it’s supposed to be inspirational.

Josué Cardona 50:13
Yeah, maybe again. Yeah. Yeah. No everything Link said that is. Spot on. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it was, it was an interesting way to, to to end it again. animation. Beautiful, the words beautiful. This isn’t a fictional story you’re you’re you’re telling a version it feels in a way it feels like history. Because it feels very strange to hear her speaking in the present tense about something that now is starting to feel more and more past tense, but still there was something. Yeah, I mean, there isn’t like revisionist history there. It’s like the opposite of like, the tik tok videos are everybody’s like, Oh, I got to wear seven masks. And you know, the zombies were out. And it’s like, you know, this exaggerated version of it. And this is like, no, like, it was beautiful. Everybody came together. And we were so nice. And everybody wore masks would take care of each other. And it’s like, no, there was a lot of that. Yeah. But the full story? Like, like, that doesn’t feel like, like an oversimplification, like that is a that is very much a retelling of a very particular retelling. Wasn’t it a bad No, nothing bad happened. It was great. It was it was beautiful. Humanity shine through are so good to each other.

Link Keller 51:39
whenever it was a little bit bad. Everybody came together as one unified movement to make things great

Josué Cardona 51:49
didn’t mention how many people died or even referenced said that’s enough.

Link Keller 51:53
Now it just mentioned that we are mourning.

Lara Taylor 51:58
probably didn’t

Link Keller 52:00
a little play on words there.

Lara Taylor 52:02
Didn’t want to mention the numbers since you know, people are still dying.

Link Keller 52:05

Josué Cardona 52:07

Link Keller 52:07
Yeah. It’s in a lot of ways it does. It feels like the pandemic is over. But in it’s not reality. It is. It’s

Josué Cardona 52:15
it’s not.

Link Keller 52:16
It’s not that it’s not something that ends in a satisfying way, like stories do.

Josué Cardona 52:24
But it’s still it’s still feels. Yeah, I get that one feels late to me as well. Like it would have been more inspirational. Six months ago, I think, then than now, because it’s not, it’s not a it’s not. Again, it’s not educating. It’s not trying to warn you that I could, you know, I’ll take a few songs about you know, like, yeah, the pandemic really isn’t over. You should be careful. You should you know, don’t forget, you know, there’s a whole bunch of stuff. I want to mine a couple songs about. Yeah, yeah. Oh, okay. Okay. All right. Will you be listening to the soundtrack again? Or have you already gone back to inside? Yeah, me too.

Link Keller 53:21
well well Look who’s inside again.

Josué Cardona 53:25
Yep. Yeah. So I did think about Bo Burnham’s, inside during this, but it was it was it was about like, the catchiness of it and the like the relatability of it. And and there was an I remember saying in that episode that I would, I would share songs from that album to describe a real event that occurred and the feelings that were that happened then. And and it’s I don’t know, I find it strange that I feel the opposite feeling about it

Link Keller 54:00
I feel like probably more people relate to Bo Burnham’s take on the pandemic experience then Amanda Gorman’s. Very beautiful and uplifting poem. it did not match my lived experience.

Josué Cardona 54:18
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And even just like as a pure like, historic, like, you want to learn something about a moment in time. Here you go. This is it like I thought that with with and that one we like we discussed like, yeah and he’s like, it’s fake. It’s like an outhouse behind his mansion. Right? Like it’s it’s it’s performance art, like it’s not even real. And it’s still felt more real. than some of the songs on here, which come on. That’s, that’s my feeling. But I think I think this was a worthy discussion? Because I think I think with a lot of I don’t know, with all media, I think I think a lot of these questions, same questions that come up. And I just wish I could come up. Yeah, I couldn’t. I can’t think of them of why I would show these songs except some of them about like, here’s a bad take.

Link Keller 55:22
Oh, my gosh, I wish greatly that there was a making of short

Josué Cardona 55:34
we get it. You want to know who animated it! I know,

Link Keller 55:37
I think honestly, this stuff that went into making this project is more interesting to me than the project itself. But maybe that’s just me.

Josué Cardona 55:47
Yeah, I mean, I mean, so again, I think I think there’s a lot of great stuff on YouTube, that you can find a lot of people who, who probably came at this with the same exact motivation of like, let’s make something fun, let’s make something meaningful. Let’s make something educational. It’s just that this one seems to have a lot of money. And, and also when, you know, when the Obamas call, you probably say yes, I would have I would have sung

Lara Taylor 56:14
you would’ve sung a song?

Josué Cardona 56:15
I would have thought immigration if if my neighbors asked me you, yeah, yeah. Michelle was like, hey, neighbor, do you? You know, Could you sing like some background vocals on immigration? Yes, I’d still complain about it on a podcast, but I would. I would, I would do it. I think.

Lara Taylor 56:40
you’d do it.

Josué Cardona 56:40
I’ll let you know. I’ll let you know if that happens. I’m still hoping right on that. You know? Hey, you’re here getting coffee too. Hey, Michelle. How are the plants? How are yours? mine are lego. That’s how I imagined that conversation playing out. Thank you for listening to this episode of GT radio. Check out on most of them are only some of them are on YouTube. But the whole thing is on Netflix right now. We the People. I wonder if it’s in other countries Netflix. Interesting. Does it have?

Link Keller 57:22
Probably not?

Josué Cardona 57:23

Lara Taylor 57:24
it might be

Josué Cardona 57:25
Huh, huh? Fire up those VPNs and check and let us know. And any of our community spaces, which are all listed in the show notes. For more Geek Therapy visit Geek therapy.org Yeah, thank you so much for listening. remember to geek out and do good. and we’ll be back next week.

Link Keller 57:42
mmm Little homie, you better pay your tax.

Josué Cardona 57:48
Geek Therapy is a 501 c three nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world a better place through geek culture. To learn more about our mission and become a supporter, visit Geek therapy.org

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Characters / Media
  • We the People Netflix series
  • Schoolhouse Rock
  • Hamilton (musical)
  • Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  • Blackish
  • 1776 (musical)
  • California Love, 2Pac ft. Dr. Dre
  • Sesame Street
  • Blue’s Clues
  • Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
  • Nations of the World, Animaniacs
  • Bo Burnham’s Inside
Themes / Topics

Conversation Topics:

* Educational content
* Cultural representation
* Difficult emotions
* Honesty/Lies
* Leadership
* Strong female role models
* Propaganda

Relatable Experience:

* Existing in USA
* Existing during Pandemic
* Learning via educational songs

Questions? Comments? Discuss this episode on the GT Forum.

Links / Social Media

Check out the GT Network: network.geektherapy.com

GT Forum: forum.geektherapy.org

GT Discord: geektherapy.com/discord

GT Facebook Group: facebook.com/groups/geektherapy

Find us at www.GeekTherapy.org | @GeekTherapy | Lara: @GeekTherapist | Link: @CHICKENDINOSAUR | Josué: @JosueACardona

Ask us anything through the Question Queue and we’ll answer on the show: geektherapy.org/qq

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