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Episode 13 – Age Play in the Popular Media
Released May 15, 2011
Host: Spacey, Mako Guest: Ella
Transcribed by Staub. Uncertainty in transcription is indicated with [?]
ELLA: You’re listening to the Big Little Podcast, a show by, about and for age players of all kinds. We expect our audience to be mature, consenting adults because sometimes the topics on our show are pretty adult too, just like you. If you are under 18 and looking for upfront advice about sex, please visit Scarleteen.com.
[intro music~! ♪♫♪]
SPACEY: Welcome to the Big Little Podcast, a show by, about and for age players of all kinds. I’m Spacey and I’m here with my brother -
MAKO: - Mako, that’s me! And we're not alone!
ELLA: I'm Ella!
SPACEY: Hi Ella! I'm glad we're not alone. [Mako laughs] Whenever we're alone, it's kinda scary.
MAKO: Y'know, it's good to know about other people that do this stuff. It's really nice when you hear about them on TV or the radio and other places too.
SPACEY: Yeah, especially if you hadn't heard about these kinds of things before. And a lot of times everybody thinks that they're the only adult baby in the world until they find out that there are others. How they go about finding out that there are others can be kind of a tricky business. A popular way that people find out that there are other people is through popular media. So again we've invited Ella here because she has some experience about dealing with popular media. And she was on that show 'The Secret Lives of Women'. So that's the topic of our show today, is age play depictions in popular media. It felt like a good time to cover the topic because there have been a number of depictions of age play in the popular media recently. It's always hard to know where to start with a topic like this because what qualifies as popular media is kind of different. There's television, radio, newspapers, books, that kind of thing. And also what qualifies as a depiction of age play in the popular media seems kind of... It's not always easy to tell. It's usually easier to tell when it's a depiction of, say, adult babies. People in a diaper, that kind of thing. They're sort of the extremes of the age play side. But there are a lot of times when age play isn't seen as quote-unquote age play, right?
MAKO: It just sort of travels along with what they're talking about.
SPACEY: Right. It's sexy when there's somebody dressed in a schoolgirl uniform or in a movie somebody says that 'I'm gonna be the teacher'!
MAKO: Right, right. It's hard to sort of pick out. Age play is like – ooh, a food metaphor! It's like the marbling in a cake. It just sort of shows up places in some subtle ways.SPACEY: It's true. So sometimes that's hard to locate. So mostly what we'll talk about here, we'll focus on the more obvious depictions of adult baby roleplay. But know that's not because that's our particular vice but actually an interesting bias of the media in general to not call something age play unless it's pretty extreme - because typically the media don't wanna show anything until it's on the far extreme.
MAKO: Yeah, and what got us started talking about this is there's been a lot of steam - a lot of spin - lately about this particular depiction of age play in the media. There's this episode on the National Geographic channel of a show called Taboo.
SPACEY: Which, as you can imagine, is gonna be this great programme that is all kinds of sunshine and roses.
MAKO: Right, right. [laughs] We were getting set up before the show to record it and I was joking around with Ella and with brother and saying: you notice the show's not called something like 'here's something nice you might wanna try in your bedroom'! I think that that's kind of a big point, that you have to consider the mission and the message of what these shows are doing. Why they're there in the first place.
SPACEY: I think it's actually good that we have a guest who's been through this experience. So how did you for instance, Ella, decide that the show 'The Secret Lives of Women' would be a good place for you to express yourself?
ELLA: The producer of the show sent me a video of a show similar to the one they were gonna shoot with me. It was on fetishes and I liked the way that they portrayed people in that segment so I thought that it felt safe.
SPACEY: That's interesting. Had you seen the show before you got the video?
ELLA: No. I had only seen the copy that they sent me.
MAKO: But it seemed as if their heart was in the right place, right?
ELLA: Yes. They weren't trying- they were just showing facts in my opinion. They weren't showing something that was strange or weird. I mean, it's the 'secret lives' of women, so that implies that there's something that you're trying to hide, possibly, but...
MAKO: It was interesting. I'll tell you that when I saw the segment and when I saw the intro material and other stuff on that same show – and I've seen other episodes of Secret Lives – and it's never struck me as 'secret bad lives of women'. It's just something you might not know.
SPACEY: Which is kind of unusual in television programming, frankly. It's kind of refreshing in a way.
MAKO: What I think is there's this concept – and this is my own invention, okay, so it's not like you can google this anywhere – but I noticed as I was watching that and watching Taboo and a lot of other things that we're gonna talk about today, that there's this sort of narrative pressure. That the people that are making this show, that are editing it and filming it and titling it, they clearly want it to go a certain way. And the people on the show, maybe they don't want it to go that way, maybe they want it to go a different way.
SPACEY: Actually I think it happens on many levels. I think you have... At the first level, the people who are being filmed probably have a particular agenda that they're trying to share. People doing the filming may have an agenda based on either what they know about how the show should be recorded or that kind of thing that tries to push it in a direction. There's people who do voice overs and that kind of thing that actually have an agenda who bring something to it too. But most importantly, I think the thing that you can't get around, is this thing called final cut. There's somebody, there's a director somewhere, who says that 'this is what I'm going for. And I'm going to chop this down and chop it up until I get exactly the presentation I'm trying to make.' They're out there pushing, really, their own agenda. And frankly, they win.
MAKO: Right. That happened to you Ella, right, with the diaper folding thing?
ELLA: The diaper folding - they asked me to make a snow angel while wearing a diaper over my jeans, which was just strange to me, and I managed to get them to not do that. But there are some other things that they wanted to do that I felt were for shock value that did end up getting in there. Like the spanking scene on the bed for example. The filming for that was very... I thought it was done for the shock value, too. Coming around the corner, they had like a dolly for the camera, so...
SPACEY: They clearly set that up to have a certain narrative feel to it.
MAKO: When they were doing that, was it weird and confrontational between you and them?
ELLA: Slightly. I was having a hard time with it. It was very uncomfortable for me - they wanted me to say things and I couldn't say them. I don't think it went quite as well as they were hoping but...
SPACEY: I think that brings an important message, right? They can't broadcast something you don't do and you don't say, so if you have a particular message that you're trying to get out and they try to get you to do things that are off that message?
MAKO: Don't do it!
SPACEY: You should refuse. And I realise that you probably face tremendous pressure to conform to what they're asking since they've spent a lot of money and they're there and they're telling you probably why it's a good thing and why they wanna show this kind of thing.
MAKO: It makes me think of this thing, too. You ever noticed how when you get in front of a group of people to speak, if you have a microphone for some reason it makes you more legitimate? And people treat you more seriously?
SPACEY: Is that why we're on this show? [laughs]
MAKO: I guess so. I think that when people confront you with a camera and they have all the gear and they're the film maker, it just amps that up and makes it even harder to gain say. And having said that, it brings me to some points I wanna make specifically about that Nat. Geo. 'Taboo' show.
SPACEY: He says 'Nat. Geo.' – this was on the National Geographic channel.
MAKO: Yeah, I'm sorry. I'm all hip and cool with my abbreviations, okay. So there are some tough things to say about this and I don't mean these things as value judgements. But Stanley and I think her name's Sandra, his Mommy... Ugh, there's just not a nice way to say it. They're clearly not sophisticated folks.
SPACEY: Well let's start off and let's give a description about the show. We probably could play a segment on this and still be within our fair use rights but we made a decision not to do that. So we should at least share a little bit about how the show was presented and the kinds of information that came forward.
MAKO: And let me add that you'll be able to watch it in the show notes!
SPACEY: Exactly. So, again, we mentioned that the show is called Taboo and it featured two people, their names were Stanley...
MAKO: Stanley and Sandra.
SPACEY: Right. One was an adult baby and the other played a Mommy role, although she identified herself as more of an Aunt on the show. They live in California; they clearly agreed to be on the show to push their agenda of talking about adult babies being not necessarily such a bad thing, about you can be an adult baby and be comfortable with yourself. It's clear that they had a message to share.
MAKO: Which they made some mistakes in their message, honestly.
SPACEY: Indeed they did. So the presentation went on and of course it mostly focussed on video of Stanley being Mommied, of the tools that Stanley uses to be an adult baby – his toys, I should say. Like, he has a crib that he's made. During the course of the show, he constructs a high chair.
MAKO: Which actually looked pretty nice!
SPACEY: Yeah - interesting timing and an interesting sort of device to build a show around there. Also over the course of the show, their speech was interstitialed [?] with psychologists talking about infantilism. And in this case, it wasn't really clear that they had a particular relationship with Stanley itself, although they were green screened so there was videos of the stuff going on with the adult baby couple in the background while the psychologist was talking.
MAKO: Well, one of the psychologists had said that she had spoken with him and... This is gonna get into one of my big criticisms, one of my big problems, with this show. So Stanley, he had had a very rough childhood and he speaks about it to some degree and I've done a little research on him – I went and I looked at his website and I read this very long, rambling, horrible, many page account of his trauma that he went through as a child. So they said that he had even been diagnosed with PTSD. And then these experts came on and they - in a very pushy, here's our narrative agenda way - said, 'often, when a person has this kind of stuff, they regress prior to it and they cope with it by becoming adult babies'. And made it sound like people are adult babies as the result of trauma.
SPACEY: Yeah, that there's only one way, there's only one process for coming to being an adult baby.
MAKO: Right, Stanley himself said this thing about how, 'well it's sexual for some people but for most of us, it's not.'
ELLA: Yeah, I don't think it was fair that he was speaking for 'most people'. You can only speak for yourself. And I think that's the way to handle media situations, too - it's difficult to speak for an entire group. It's impossible, even.
SPACEY: I think that's a good point. So I'll also say that he may have been attempting to speak for more than himself but it's also coming from his own perceptions, just like we have our own perceptions about how the community is constructed. They operate a website and they're coming from their own perceptions from the website that they operate.
MAKO: Right, and let me state this emphatically, and I think we've said it before – brother and I, we don't speak for everybody. We speak for ourselves and our own experiences. We've done a lot and we know a lot and we think about a lot of this stuff and we over analyse this stuff to death - but I'm not gonna tell you that we're like the home office. We don't have the: 'well it has to be this way!' But I think that it's really important when you are speaking in the media to be careful about what you say because the people who consume the content, who are not age players, or are first coming into age play, not that they're indiscriminate but... it's really easy to hear something and take it as the de-facto truth.
SPACEY: Sure, when it's your only example of something then is therefore the entire way that thing must be. I hate to take an extreme example and possibly a very politically charged example, but for a lot of people, the Muslim religion, they're totally coloured by the fact that there are some extremists out there who commit terrorist acts. Because their only example of the Muslim religion are what they've heard on the media about these people engaging in these terrorist attacks.
MAKO: Right. Oh, I have even an example in my personal life. I have a relative who is from the absolute podent [?] backwater country who once said to me that they thought that President Obama was a Muslim terrorist because of his name! That 'Barack Obama' is a Muslim name, therefore he must be some Jihadist! Which... that doesn't causally follow! That's just stupid!
SPACEY: Agreed. It's ill-informed. It's a kind of ignorance that unfortunately is difficult to combat.
MAKO: The other big thing is that Stanley said this thing - no, actually, it was Sandra who said it - about how on their website, on their message board, that they have all these different members of the site and that their age ranges from 9 to 92.
SPACEY: That's why we will not be linking to the site, by the way.
MAKO: Right. That is not okay. It's not okay to speak of in the media and it's not okay to do, either. I don't care– sorry, I'll let you go ahead, I know you have strong feelings about this
ELLA: I just wonder if that website is gonna be part of an investigation or anything. I mean, if children are involved in talking about sexual things – I know they said most of their members maybe aren't sexual, but for sure it gets talked about. That could be a big problem.
MAKO: For them. Yeah, it's just self-compromising that they even said it. And I think that it begs this other point which is: people bandy about 'this is not sex for me'. I don't give a damn. It doesn't matter. Because if you have children in the same area with adults, talking about a thing that for some adults is sexual, it's not appropriate. It compromises the safety and well-being of the children. It's not as if non-sexual adult age players can go hang out with 9 year olds and have a great time watching Barney and peeing themselves. That's not appropriate. I think that when you have a- not that teen babies need to just hide in the closet somewhere.
SPACEY: And there indeed need to be resources, I believe, for teen babies. And by the way, the term 'teen babies' is kind of charged too because it can obviously cover a large range. But in this case, the way I'm using it are people who have discovered this adult baby tendency in themselves but as of yet are still under-age.
MAKO: They're not legal adults.
SPACEY: Right, they're under the legal age of consent in the United States and most other places, which is 18. But they still need an outlet, they still need a place to find safe information, a place to connect. Fortunately, it's one of the reasons why I love that on the intro to this programme, we talk about this website called scarletteen. Which is not focussed on adult babies per se but is a website focussed on getting important, sexual, educational material out to people who are 18 or younger.
MAKO: Right and I think that there's an important point to be made about that. I think when adults come to find out about this stuff, they're here for 'well, how can I increase this in my life? Or how can I be okay with it in my life? What are techniques for me to do it in my life?' And I think that when you're talking to someone that's under age, that kind of 'here's how you do it', that's not really what the focus should be. It should be that, 'you're not alone, you're not broken, you're not damaged and you don't have to do anything – wait it out, be patient and you'll be able to come into your own in a safe way when you're of age'.
SPACEY: Yeah, there's actually a really great approach to this by somebody that I have kind of a love-hate relationship with, Dan Savage. He's been pushing not for adult babies in particular but this is mostly geared towards people who are homosexual and having trouble and in their teens – called 'It Gets Better'?
MAKO: Show notes!
SPACEY: I love that. I love, love, love. It's like the best thing he's ever done.
ELLA: I wish they could expand it to just larger groups of people who are a little different maybe.
SPACEY: Who feel oppressed in that way. I completely agree. It's not specific – if you watch this stuff, it's often not specific to homosexuality, but there are a lot of homosexual examples. I guess I'm using the word 'homosexual' – let's just say 'gay'. GLBT, to heck with calling it 'homosexual'. When you use that term, that's sort of sticking to the conservative agenda there. I don't wish to do that. [laughter] We're kind of getting off the topic. They mention that they operate this website and for better or worse, yes, it includes some aspects that we would not advocate on this show and that was an unfortunate faux-pas on their point. But it's also probably what partly lead them to want to be spokespeople about their adult baby lifestyle.
MAKO: Their heart was in the right place, clearly. But I think they were a little – they were not quite on point about their message and realising who they were speaking to and why they were doing it. I really feel like... People say you can't take advantage of the willing but I really feel like Stanley and Sandra were really taken advantage of. There was this way this show was even shot and I'm not saying this, again, to value judge them but... They're two morbidly obese people, they're both on disability, and both those things were really gratuitously called attention to during the show.
SPACEY: Right - and it's not that those have been the central points of what they were talking about, but the way it was filmed tried to push those points. And in fact the narration often pushed the fact that they were on disability as well.
MAKO: It was oogie. Having said that, let's not give any more attention to this negative thing than it deserves. I do think that there were a lot of positives that came out of it and other things like it. Which is – we've all heard time and time again about the Jerry Springer show... Heck, the Jerry Springer show was what made me start doing advocacy!
SPACEY: Right, and as I've said before a few times on this show, people have said the way they found out that they were not alone was because of the Jerry Springer show.
MAKO: Right and I'm sure that there are gonna be tons of folks that are gonna watch National Geographic – well, maybe not tons. It is the National Geographic...
SPACEY: There are gonna be some folks that watch the National Geographic. [laughter]
MAKO: And will go 'wow, there are other folks like me out there' and will go hunting.
SPACEY: And that – as they say, all press is good press. I actually wanna ask Ella some questions. Did you give a lot of thought about how you were gonna stay on point for your own message when you agreed to be on this show? What the agenda when you agreed to be on the secret lives of women was?
ELLA: I honestly – I didn't know what to expect, I had never done anything like that before. I was still young, I think I was... Not that I'm that much older now but I was 19, so just out of high school for the most part. I don't think I gave a whole lot of thought – I knew what I didn't wanna do, I knew what I didn't wanna say, and I mostly stuck to that. It's not unfortunate, I guess, cause it didn't come out bad, but I mostly let them lead the show. Looking back now though, they asked me questions as part of the interview and I kind of wish I had more of a chance to say what I wanted to say instead of...
MAKO: Being lead?
SPACEY: I think that's some of the advice – one of the things I wanna share is that there are places, if you do decide that you're gonna be on the media for some reason, there are places that are geared towards making sure that you do get good, solid information out there and preventing you from being lead astray. One important organisation is the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. They have many important projects but one of the projects is if you find you're gonna be on the media, if you've done something which is gonna attract media attention, they have resources which will help coach you on how to address the media.
MAKO: Show notes! [laughter]
SPACEY: Unfortunately... I wanted to find some of those resources before we did the show but I wasn't able to really plough through their website and find that. But I know that they will actually have coaches come talk to you about how to address the media, or call you on the phone, anyway. So I think that's probably an important first step if somebody decides they're gonna be on some kind of media broadcast.
ELLA: I have to say, it is nerve wracking to do some of these interview so if somebody had an agenda before who was gonna be on one of these shows, it is easy to forget because you're sitting – for my interview I was sitting in the middle of an empty room on a chair with all the lights turned off, with their bright lights shining in my face...
MAKO: Like an interrogation, almost?
ELLA: Yes! Exactly! It's nerve-wracking!
SPACEY: Were you ever tempted to just tell them to call an end to it early? To stop because you were concerned about the way it was going?
ELLA: Um... Maybe at points I should have? But it's like an interrogation. It's scary!
MAKO: Well the good news there is that overall I think that your show, your segment, it came out mostly positive and it really did a lot of good for people. For me... I mean, I'm like most age players and when I hear about this stuff in the media, I rush to consume it and watch it over and over. And the thing that sort of sang to me in there, they were showing you with your family and that even though you had this part of your life, it was balanced and that they treated you well and that no big disaster had happened to you. And that you could live a life of integration and have these things and still be a normal person.
SPACEY: I agree. It was probably one of the most positive and balanced portrayals I've ever seen in the media.
MAKO: Yeah, for me too. I mean listen, I'm not gonna downplay it – it was very nice to see you in diaper, that's lovely. In subsequent times when we've been together, I've still enjoyed seeing you in your diaper! But I think where the value really shone and really came out there was that balance! So it worked out. [laughs]
ELLA: Yeah, it definitely came out well. I was happy with it. I would probably add more if I went back now, but it definitely... it came out well.
SPACEY: What were the other portrayals of, say, adult babies in the media that you had seen prior to being on the show, out of curiosity?
ELLA: I think the only one was the CSI episode – and the episode of the Jerry Springer one.
SPACEY: Mm. So the CSI episode was an episode called 'King Baby'.
MAKO: Show notes!
SPACEY: If I recall, the premise was about this person who was like a big boss in Las Vegas or some place like that and...
MAKO: He was murdered.
SPACEY: He was murdered by his wife, I believe, but he was murdered in the context of an adult baby scene, because apparently he was a very secretive adult baby who had this secret room that was a nursery-
MAKO: An amazing nursery, by the way.
SPACEY: Right. So it happened along those lines and of course that came out over the course of the episode and had lots of descriptions about it. It's always interesting, a portrayal of adult baby play that doesn't actually talk to actual adult babies.
MAKO: Right – like, do you remember the thing where they... As part of the investigation, the police went to this store that was like an adult baby store in Las Vegas, which... There is no such store, okay? And they talked to the proprietor of this store – Edie McClurg, strangely enough, who was like the happy neighbour from Family Matters? 'Hidey ho, neighbours!' - that person? And she was like, 'oh yes, I love all my customers'. And she talked about how there are 'stinkers' and 'drinkers', as if either you poop your diaper or you're a nursing adult baby? Which... A) I've never heard anyone refer to in our community as a stinker or a drinker! [laughs] And it's not some kind of weird binary that if you poop, you don't get to breastfeed!
SPACEY: You'd be really disappointed, wouldn't ya?
MAKO: Yeah! [laughs] It's crazy! But I guess it made for good television, right?
SPACEY: Indeed. Again, a lot of this is about shock value for a lot of the content that's out there. Again, I was very thankful for a portrayal for Baby Ella. You gotta consider, if it doesn't have shock value, if it's not memorable, then... Why are they producing it?
MAKO: It's the reason why the news is depressing. Nobody wants to hear, 'everything was great today and I had a sandwich'. That's not news.
SPACEY: That's what Twitter is for! [Mako laughs]
ELLA: That just reminds me of the show on Thousand Ways to Die. [Spacey & Mako groan] That's not- I don't believe that was a real age player/adult baby.
SPACEY: No, no, clearly actors.
MAKO: And, I hate to say it, but – show notes!
SPACEY: Yes, so let's talk about this. The programme's called A Thousand Ways to Die. It's not a programme that I had regularly watched. It's a programme on Spike TV, it's apparently a somewhat popular programme. At least from the example I've seen, it's a very spiteful programme.
MAKO: Yeah, let me say this if you're gonna go click the link and watch it: it's triggering. It's mean, it's nasty, it's name-calling, it's horrible.
ELLA: I was shocked when I saw it. I was just... Ugh, in awe.
SPACEY: And this came out just a few months ago, I think, or maybe even not that long ago. So what they do is they set up a couple of actors. There's an adult baby and a Mommy. And it starts off with them building a nursery and them talking about how sweet it is to bring a new baby into the world. But then the narration just turns mean.
SPACEY: It's mean-spirited. And so, you can tell these are actors because even the outfits they're wearing are not something I would see an adult baby wear except in the context of a costume for Halloween or something along those lines. There's at one point where there's a changing scene and the adult baby is peeing on the wall behind the person changing them. And the Mommy is just laughing about it.
MAKO: It's clearly not reality.
SPACEY: So they're clearly trying to set up something shocking and gross and disgusting in a lot of ways and so they succeed. And then it ends with the death of the adult baby because the crib rail falls on his neck. MAKO: Yeah, it's ugly, ugly stuff.
SPACEY: I don't know – does anything more need to be said about that other than it's important to remember that even that kind of bad presentation can be good for some people who might think that they're alone?
MAKO: Well, it leads us to talk about some other things, y'know. The media, they use... Okay, a couple of things. First off, there's this term in kink circles called edge play, right? And edge play is play that's extreme. And it can be extreme for any number of reasons. Like bloodsports is edge play - that's when you're hit until you bleed or you do things that involve making someone bleed.
SPACEY: Oh, I do wanna point out that there are a couple of definitions of edge play depending on who you ask. But there are some people who think that edge play literally means playing with knives. Playing with sharp, knife instruments. So this is as opposed to that term.
MAKO: But this edgy play - things can be edgy for any number of reasons. They can be edgy because they are physically dangerous. They can be edgy because they are emotionally sensitive things, like race play - where people will call someone bad racial epithets while they are smacking them. It's really triggering for a lot of people? And age play is edge play! And the reason it's edge play is because it's kind of – I hate to use the word – taboo. Kind of shocking. And it can potentially lead to, frankly, wrong associations. If you act in a childlike way, you're not a child, but it does feel like the corrupting of innocence. It's edgy. And so I think that it makes it very ripe territory for getting people's attention – for making media content that draws people to it. And that it often shows itself in places for that value and for that reason and not for the other associations that go along with it. Like, okay, the Thousand Ways To Die show, that's clearly not a medium in which to educate people. What they're doing is they're spicing up their show with a diaper for entertainment value. Unfortunately in a very mean-spirited way at age players' expense.
SPACEY: I'm sure that the age players have not been the only people on the end of their staff of their jibes as it were. [?]
MAKO: Oh, I'm sure not. But lots of people do this. There's the frolicon incident – which I know you wanna talk about.
SPACEY: Which I'll go into shortly. Did you wanna say anything more about the edge play?
MAKO: Well, yeah, one of the other things I do wanna say about this is that I think it's important to... It's hard to feel sorry for or be compassionate about people who appear to be making fun of you but what I think is, because we're edgy, we're an easy target. And that you have to consider what the purpose is of what they're doing. I think when there's that narrative pressure - like there was in Taboo, like there was somewhat in Secret Lives Of Women, like there certainly was in this manufactured piece of garbage on Thousand Ways To Die - that they're using this spicy thing to garner attention for a reason. Sometimes the reason's a good reason, sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's to make money, sometimes it's to garner viewers. Sometimes it's to say something that's patently false. But you have to kind of surf that a little bit and understand that if there's positive stuff coming out of it too, then maybe it's a little bit worth the slap in the face. And I'm saying this to you – you, the listener - that while it's easy to get insulted, while it's easy to get angry, responding to that anger-making thing with your own anger? It's not really gonna help you any.
SPACEY: I agree, that's actually a whole important topic that I wanna cover, responses to these kinds of things. Now obviously if it's on broadcast media, it's kind of hard to respond to directly unless there's a comment page on the segment that they've put up on youtube or their website or that kind of thing about it. It's gonna be hard to respond to the show's producers and say, 'you're wrong, here's the hundred ways that you're wrong and why what you did was evil.'
MAKO: They don't care anyway.
SPACEY: Right. I think the important thing if you choose to respond– and there are plenty of kinds of things you can respond on. I'm thinking of the cracked article here recently. There was an article on Cracked making fun of adult babies.
MAKO: Show notes!
SPACEY: Yeah, we'll put it in the show notes. It's pretty lame. It's really weak.
MAKO: It's terrible.
SPACEY: And unfortunately, if you look through the comments, you'll find a lot of people trying to defend adult babies. And I think that that is a useless gesture on a piece like that. I don't think – okay, you might change a few minds for some people that read it and that's great. I think the most important thing that you can do is help point people that read that and then go looking in the comments, help to point them to more important, more valuable resources. Help point them to the fact that there's a community out there and the reality as opposed to the picture of this awful thing that's depicted. Point them to places where they can learn more about the reality. Maybe talk about your experience with the reality and that's fine. But sending jibes back to the person who made the article, trying to criticise everything they wrote that was wrong, is probably not going to be very useful.
MAKO: Yeah, not to go all Dallas [?] – although I do – about this, one of the things that I do is I spend an awful lot of time pretty much every day in meditation and contemplation about all kinds of things, and I usually have one big thing I'm working on all the time. For about 6 months I spent a good deal of time on the response to anger and how to respond to anger and what different responses mean for you and where's the source of the anger. Responding to anger with more anger? I think it's kind of a waste of time. I will say that if your own anger spurs you on to do something positive, that's a good thing.
SPACEY: That's useful.
MAKO: Yeah. But otherwise, anger's a waste of time. I think instead to respond with compassion, understanding and action mean more. I find that the older I get, the more I'm for things as opposed to against them? Hateful speech and hateful action and anger-causing speech and action are kind of like dandelions or ragweed in a field. For every one or two idiots and morons and hatemongers that you mow down with your lawn mower of goodness and your righteous indignation, you know 5 more are gonna pop up. It doesn't change anything. But if you go out of your way to help another human being, you find another person that's an age player and help hem feel good about themselves, you have completely contravened the negative thing in the first place. If on that Cracked article, if someone said 'well I'm lonely and I think this is for me' and another person said 'well, here, look at this!' and that first person found it and felt better? That means everything! That's way better a thing to do than to call the editors of cracked a-holes, even though they probably are!
SPACEY: [laughs] I completely agree.
ELLA: This may be a little different but somebody wrote a blog a long time ago, a blog entry about my show and had made some assumptions about my life? And I responded to them publicly through a comment and told them some of the truth about my life and they responded very respectfully and apologised and I think that went over really well. And I think a lot of positive came out of that. But maybe it was because it was a blog entry, not an article.
SPACEY: Well in that case you were responding to an individual and not the concept. You weren't responding in anger.
MAKO: You were engaging them as a fellow human being.
ELLA: Yes. [laughs]
SPACEY: I think that makes a big difference, I really do. I would like to talk about another positive portrayal in the media – it's several years old now. So there was this programme on HBO that I used to watch fairly religiously once I realised I was an adult baby, and that there were a lot of other adult babies out there, that talked about all different kinds of sexual fetish and kink and that kind of thing, called HBO's Real Sex.
MAKO: Love it. Oh, and – show notes!
SPACEY: Indeed. So I went out of my way to try to see episodes of that over time just knowing – or hoping - that one day they were gonna cover adult babies. And I missed it! [Mako laughs] It did happen but it happened long after I'd stopped watching and waiting for it. And so they did an episode about adult babies and it was actually a fairly positive portrayal. They did it at an adult baby play party actually and some of the people featured on there are people I know and I think they're pretty great people too and I was really thankful for that. I don't exactly remember the episode number. It featured some scenes from the party – it looked like they got some extra stuff, I don't know if they already had the giant rocking horse and that kind of thing available to them, but then it had individual interviews with the folks at the party too and everybody was well spoken and talked about their interests. And I thought it was actually a very positive portrayal.
MAKO: Don't worry, when I said 'show notes', we're gonna have a link to that actual clip from youtube so you can watch it – it's great! I remember that when I saw it, I had this very positive response to it. It made me wanna meet those people? Some of whom I do know personally too. It very much gave me the desire to... Well, at that point I was already a vibrant part of the community, already going to munches and parties and knowing people. But in my head I kind of imagined that if I were fresh and new to the community, that this would make me wanna seek out these people. So it was really great!
SPACEY: I completely agree. So if you were looking for a positive portrayal, go check that out. I'm sure you can probably find some negative things in there but overall it was pretty well done. And it actually covered not just adult babies but it covered some of the gender identity kinds of things that adult babies do – that's a topic that frequently gets overlooked, that frequently happens a lot in the lines of age play as well.
MAKO: The thing I thought was neat about it too was that it – I would say for the most part - depicted what it is we do in a farily non-sexual bent. Which was fine and good.
SPACEY: It was light-hearted.
MAKO: It was light-hearted. But at the same time, it tied it to power exchange and S&M and B&D. I just watched the clip a few minutes ago again to freshen myself up and they do talk about that. It gets to this point that I'm saying all the time - and brother says all the time - that we have more similarities than differences. Whether you're non-sexual or sexual, you can have associations with power-exchange and SM and have that be a good thing. There's another relatively positive depiction on – I don't know if it's British or Australian... A show called Sin City? The guy being interviewed in the show went to go see a dominatrix and she diapers him in a cloth diaper and asks him to wet the diaper and they kinda talk about it as they're doing it. And he talks about how it feels and it's really interesting because when he first starts out in the clip, he's kind of freaked out by it. And at the end of it, he's like 'I guess I'm an adult baby because I really dug that!'
SPACEY: Kind of makes you wonder how much of a set-up that was.
MAKO: Maybe. I think it doesn't matter because what I think is, if you put the Real Sex thing and the Sin City thing into a blender and make a nice little smoothie out of it, that's a smoothie that you can drink that shows you that age play can be sexual, it can be non-sexual, it can be light-hearted, it can have power exchange... There's a lot of options there for you. And that overall, no matter how you do it, it can be positive.
SPACEY: That's right, and there's so many similarities that we all share who engage in this. Let's enjoy that, let's celebrate it.
SPACEY: When we were talking before the show, we did talk about sort of how age play – and I don't think we've covered this yet – how age play is sometimes depicted in the print media. And I haven't really seen age play depicted as frequently in the popular print media until this service called Second Life – which is this online, multiplayer, roleplaying service that people sign up to and really enjoy – had to deal with, I guess because a lot of public attention got brought to it, the idea of age play and sexuality on that service.
MAKO: I've used second life. I haven't used it in a really long time because I go through this cycle with it where I’m like, 'this is really cool, I should try this out!' and I'll play with it for two weeks then I'm like, 'this is a giant pain in the ass, I'm kind of done with it'. About once every six months or so.
SPACEY: I really hated it for a while. Because when every time I used to go out and do a search for things like age play and see what was new out there, there was always something about second life, and I'm like, 'ugh!'
MAKO: And the controversy, right?
SPACEY: Yeah, it's like – I don't care about it that much and it's burying the stuff I care about!
MAKO: I will say that one thing I was really gratified about... One day I was flying around in second life – you literally can do that, like jump off the ground and fly around like a superhero, which is kind of cool – and I kind of crashed into the ground because I was so shocked at what I saw. There was this huge building decorated with the age play baby pride symbol! And this was several years ago, back before it had really taken a foothold. And that really knocked me out that someone I don't know had plastered it all over this building! I was like – wow! The thing about second life is - why it's such a big controversy is... You can take this little avatar that you have and make it look like anything you want – a man, a woman, a child, an anthropomorphic wolf, a space alien, anything. And you can, using this command language that's in the system, transform from one form to another as you're walking around chatting and interacting with people. And one of the things that you can do – I didn't do this, but you can – is you can shrink yourself down to a child and then virtually have sex with someone who is not a child. And that stirs up people's shit really bad.
SPACEY: Or you can actually, I presume, virtually have sex with someone who's avatar is a child as well.
MAKO: Absolutely. And this caused quite a tumult in the law, in the media, everywhere. What was that you were saying, brother, about the law and avatars?
SPACEY: So eventually – let's just spoil the ending of this – Second Life banned that activity. That you cannot have an avatar that looks like a child having sex with another avatar, period. And one of the reasons that they cited for banning this is just because of the illegality of it. And it turns out that it is illegal in certain countries – in the UK, in Australia, in several other countries, according to what I've read – that even depictions that are completely computer simulated, that don't involve children in any way, it's completely illegal to simulate child sexual abuse in any form. Which gets to my concern about thought crime but we've talked about that on other episodes. I can understand it being oogie – but that's also another thing...
MAKO: Oogie and illegal – not the same thing.
SPACEY: It turns out in the United States in 2002, there was a case brought about with people who would created this computer generated – it was completely computer generated – imagery of child sexual abuse. Or just child sex in this case, since technically no abuse happened. And that made it all the way to the supreme court and the supreme court has decided that is legal protected speech. So as of at least 2002, in that case – which I'll see what I can find in the article that pointed to it cause it actually mentioned the specific case – that's legal protected speech. Now, that said, it could still potentially fall under pornography laws. Under obscenity laws, rather. So if it doesn't have any – what is it? - literary or scientific merit, that kind of thing.
MAKO: Educational merit.
SPACEY: If it's purely for prurient interest, then it may still fall under obscenity law.
MAKO: It's porn.
SPACEY: But it is otherwise protected speech. Which I thought was interesting and hooray for the United States for not creating yet another thought crime.
MAKO: That's great. Having said that, I avoid the issue altogether by just, frankly, not using second life.
SPACEY: I understand it's a great way to lose a lot of hours. But a lot of people really enjoy it and I don't judge anyone for being interested in second life. I just know for me, I have a very addictive personality and so there are things like Second Life and World of Warcraft that I don't participate in because if I did, I wouldn't be doing this show.
MAKO: Y'know it's funny, I haven't played World of Warcraft for maybe about half an hour since we started doing the podcast. It's pretty much killed it. [Spacey laughs]
SPACEY: Ella, did you have anything you wanted to add to that?
ELLA: No, not about that. I do wanna talk about something else if...
MAKO: Yeah, please.
ELLA: The 'all press is good press' – I kinda wanna challenge that a little bit?
SPACEY: Oh, okay!
ELLA: Just 'cause I wonder if people see shows like the Jerry Springer show and the Thousand Ways To Die and end up with a sense of shame rather than wanting to go seek something out. They think, like, 'obviously there's something wrong with me, I need to fix it, get rid of it...' Purge everything if they have stuff. You did say though that Jerry Springer lead you to seek out more, is that right?
MAKO: Yeah. To do more for people. You know what I think? I think that it's a case of... If you feel - if you the people out there listening - feel a desire to talk to the media, I don't think that it's wrong to do so. Because well, A) there is no right or wrong. But I think if you're clear about your focus and your message and what you're after, that actually powerful good can come of it. There's a listener to the show that... Actually it's the person who provided us with the link to watch Taboo – Riley Kilo. Riley told me that she's gonna do a popular media segment at some place, sometime, I don't know exactly when. And I'm excited to see it and to hear about it.
SPACEY: I am too. I think Riley has a strong personality from what I've seen from the blog and what I've seen from her communication elsewhere, and I'd like to get to know her better.
MAKO: Yeah, me too. I think she's cute as hell, too.
SPACEY: Yeah, I'm kind of jealous. Looks way better in a diaper than I do. But anyway!
MAKO: But having said that, I think that if you set out with the intention of disseminating good then you can be a powerful tool for good. I remember several years back, a relative of mine had called up the Dr Phill show and told them all about me. And they called me and invited me – me and my ex – to be on the show. And we said 'hell no'. And the reason why I said hell no at the time, well at the time I had an under age child I was helping to raise and that's the last thing I needed in my life.
SPACEY: As opposed to an over age child.
MAKO: Well, y'know, and nobody comes to you if you're an adult baby and on the media and says to you, 'your 19 year old is no longer your child'. But it could happen to you if you're still raising your child. And also – and this is me, I’m not saying that my way is right – but my focus and why I do my advocacy is because I'm all about helping individuals come to a place of self-acceptance. I don't give a flying fuck if some vanilla guy in a cafe in Oklahoma right now while eating his cheeseburger thinks that adult babies are okay. I don't need him to approve of me, I don't need him to approve of age players. Not interested. I’m not about getting external validation. I don't see the value. Having said that, there probably is value in it. Other people have said that there's value in it. And if that's your mission and you wanna do that, I’m all for you doing it and I think that savvy people like Riley... I'm excited to see what she can do.
SPACEY: Yeah, I agree. But to get back to what you said, Ella, about the challenge about all press being good press, I think it's important to couch what we mean by that. You are absolutely right that some of these shows are gonna cause people some personal trauma. They're gonna have some difficulty about that and it could be long-term, deep, lasting trauma. In fact you had, even just by being on TV, you had deep, personal problems that popped up because of your activity. And as we talked about on a previous show, you lost your job unfortunately because of it. You did say in the long run it seems to have been a benefit to you and to others and I’m really, really thankful about that -
MAKO: Me too.
S – but when we say 'all press is good press', it's talking more about exposure, right? It's talking more about 'there is something good that can come from all press.' It doesn't mean that everything that comes from that press is good, but that there is something good that can come from it. Does that make sense?
ELLA: That does. Yeah.
SPACEY: So I do wanna talk about something that happened recently here in Atlanta. I've been sort of saving it to the end – or at least the end of talking about a lot of this TV show stuff and this happened on a radio programme. It's a radio programme I'm not going to name.
MAKO: Because they don't deserve it.
SPACEY: It is an Atlanta morning show shock-jock programme who's purpose is to do these idiotic things and make fun of people and that kind of thing. And... So first let me talk about the awesome part that happened - which is there's this event in Atlanta which is this great geek event that i've talked about on the events update and that I've even updated since it happened last Easter, called Frolican. I love Frolicon. It's got all kinds of good kinky goodness – you can go there and learn about poly, you can go there and learn about furries, you can go there and learn about different cool types of rope bondage, you can go there and learn about safe sex, you can go there and learn about how to write good sci fi, you can go there and buy neko girl ears, you can go there and wear your lolita outfits and have a great time wearing your lolita outfits. It's one of those things that I talk about where people of all these broad different kinds of range of interest and kink and are intellectually different in so many ways celebrate what makes them the same. They celebrate their commonalities.
MAKO: Let me add very happily... Show notes!
SPACEY: Indeed. Although unfortunately the website's down at the moment. I think cause they gotta get it geared up for next year. So it was a great event, I had a great time – I was a little worried because some of the age play activities seemed to come together more last minute than in years past? And so I wasn't really able to share about the stuff that's happening and hopefully get more people as excited about it as they should be cause it's so much fun! But I had a great time. I went there as my little girl self most of the time. There was a field day where me and this other little girl, we put toilet paper around this other person and made a toilet paper mummy in the fastest time of the four or five other teams who were doing it. So I won an event in the Littles' field day ompetition! We had a Littles' craft time... There was a reading- a story time, rather, a Littles' story time where one of the Daddies to one of the little girls came in and read us stories while we coloured and played along with the story and that kind of thing and just had a great time. Also at this event – any time you get enough Littles together and we go do something? That's a Littles' activity. Littles are where we are. Littles activities are whatever we are doing. And so it was a blast.
SPACEY: Well, it was a blast but... the Monday following we found out that a local atlanta morning show – these shock-jocks I had told you about, sent in an undercover reporter. I should put the term 'reporter' in quotes – it really wasn't a reporter, per se, they came in and they took some pictures of some folks, they secretly recorded audio during some of the classes, including the Littles' story time. And they took all the stuff that they got from the con and they brought it back to the show. So the purpose of it is the jocks were able to make fun of the people at the con and the event going on - and they did. It was mean. It was bad. They talked about the size of the people – it was probably like their number one thing, they were huge sizeists. When I talk about size, I mean weight and that kind of thing.
MAKO: Yeah, it was so ugly what they said.
SPACEY: They read some of the class lists and made fun of that. They played some of the audio, which I think was terribly irresponsible and very much against the terms that that person had signed when they agreed to go to the con. If somebody's going to do that kind of thing they actually need to get a media waiver, which they did not get. So fortunately, Frolicon lawyers went after them. They'd posted some pictures on the facebook – those pictures got shut down. Fortunately, of the pictures that I saw before they got shut down, there was only one that was even somewhat identifiable for the person. So maybe the people on the show had this one little bit of redeeming value in that they didn't post these obviously identifiable photos of people. But overall, terribly irresponsible, just terribly mean-spirited. A bunch of bullies, really. And it made me very angry. And it made a lot of people really very angry. The lawyers, like I said, for Frolicon went after them and got the pictures taken down right away. But it's gonna have some repucussions here for our local community, there's no doubt about it. In fact, just to talk about our own response to it because we're talking about how to respond, it was very tempting for me to say 'well I wanna go on the show and I wanna set these people straight'. And they probably would have had me on the show. It would have been a bad, bad idea.
MAKO: A bad idea.
SPACEY: It's engaging them on their own terms.
ELLA: It's just another opportunity to make fun of us too.
SPACEY: Exactly. I'm not going to give these people another chance to try to do this shock thing and make this money that they make by doing this shock thing. So that's not how we're responding.
MAKO: It gets back to that thing that I was saying before – when they say these bad things, you hear them insulting you as a person. But when they look at you, they don't see you as a person, they see you as a spicy marketing element. And not that that's okay, not that you shouldn't take it personally, but it's kind of like trying to force this square peg into a round hole. The narrative pressure from either side is not gonna make things fit together cohesively or anything.
SPACEY: So I did get together a group of the leaders from the Atlanta Littles' Munch – because of course we have to have our own response and our own protection because part of what they did was they talked about Littles' activities specifically and obviously, again, in a very mean-spirited way. Compared it to pedophilia. They did say one other smart thing which is that it's probably not pedophilia at least and that it might keep somebody from doing things to children. So, okay, fine. That's the smartest thing they had to say. So here's our response, basically. Number one, we're supporting the people who were somewhat outed and addressed on the show. 'Cause number one is to help the people that were impacted. Number two – we know who the person is that did the quote-unquote undercover work. I got pictures, we've got their description... They're never coming back to a munch and if they do, they're gonna get ejected. I'm working with the location for the munch site that if somebody's bothering us in any way, we're gonna be able to eject them from the location. That's going to be an important component of anywhere we have a munch in the future as well. I'm gonna re-iterate our photography, recording, video-recording policy which is ' you can't do any of that without the express consent of the people being recorded'. And if anybody challenges that person and they fail to delete whatever it is that they recorded – video, photograph, audio that kind of thing – again, immediate ejection.
MAKO: They're banned.
SPACEY: Yeah, they're not coming back. What we're not doing I think is just as important - we're not gonna go underground. It was very tempting to say that what we should do is stop advertising about the munch, stop advertising the location of the munch, require that only people that are vetted through some other means can come to a munch and basically go into hiding. And we're not gonna do that. And the reason why we're not gonna do that is that we're age players but we're also grown ups and we can take care of ourselves. If we were to do that, it would be legitimising that mean spirited attack that they made. And there's no reason to... We're still gonna live our lives and enjoy being who we are. And we all accept that there's a certain amount of risk in that and that's fine.
MAKO: This is a for, not against, thing.
SPACEY: That's right. So the munch is gonna continue and we're gonna continue to hopefully provide a positive outlet, a positive place, a positive way for people to see age play.
MAKO: That's great brother, that's really, really great. Actually it brings up something else I know we wanna talk about too. So yeah there's radio and television and print but there's this other medium in which this sort of portrayal of age play and potential negativity rears its head. And that's the internet.
SPACEY: I know what you're talking about. Sites like 4chan. There are whole sites, whole threads on groups, even on fetlife, that are simply focussed on finding something they can make fun of about another person and then pushing that and making fun of them.
MAKO: Yeah, I can't recall the name of this awful site... Maybe it was somethingawful.com? I can't recall. I'll have to go looking for it. But a long time ago, my ex and I had a site, hasmako.com [?] where we organised parties and gave people advice and a bunch of other stuff and I was the victim of them making fun of us. They found some pictures of me and I weighed a lot more back then and people really like that as a target! They just said mean, hate filled things. But more recently, we've both seen on fetlife, there's a couple of groups where – and actually, Ella, you were talking about this too, right? There's this one epic megathread where they're just looking for things to make fun of, right?
ELLA: Mhm. Yeah, a couple of my friends were making fun of people on there and definitely changed my view of them... Lost a little respect for them.
SPACEY: That's really unfortunate.
MAKO: I have to say there's two or three things that sort of pop out at me about this. Understanding why it happens-
SPACEY: These are basically the equivilent of that radio show or that Jerry Springer episode and that kind of thing. Just got more focused and even more vitriolic.
MAKO: I think there's a reason why. I think there's a reason why all these things happen. And, okay, I’m not an anthropologist – I studied a little of it in college – but what I think is it's a herd calling mechanism. You look for that thing that is different from you or the weakest member of your herd and you force it to go away or you kill it. And it's a safety response.
SPACEY: I don't even see it as that. I see it as a way that people try to legitimise themselves at the expense of other folks, right?
ELLA: It's bullying people. If you're putting the focus on somebody else then the focus is not on you. If you're pointing out somebody else's flaws then they're not looking at your flaws.
SPACEY: That's exactly what I'm saying, right.
MAKO: It's a fear-statement. It's 'oh, look at this old, fat, bald, disgusting diaper guy – and look at me and how pretty and popular and sweet and lovely I am!' It's actually a statement of frailty.
SPACEY: It's one of the reasons why we did that show on baby furs, for instance. Because baby furs have often – as you've pointed out – been sort of the butt of even the kink community. 'Look at all this horrible stuff we do – at least we're not that'.
MAKO: Right and something that Ella said was kind of the other thing that I wanted to point out about that. Okay, this is kind of a caution for those people that are spewing the hate speech. It actually brings to mind something that Ella had just said – that with that big, epic, megathread of hatefulness... That she had friends - notice the past tense there - had friends in there who maybe she doesn't think so highly of anymore and is less inclined to pal around with. And it's because when you say hateful things about other people, what you're really doing is saying hateful things kind of about yourself. You're drawing attention to the fact that you're not confident, you don't believe in yourself, that you need to puff yourself up or make yourself feel better by denigrating somebody else. It's a negative. I can tell you... It's funny, because in one of the Austin Powers movies, there's a character who says 'there are only two things that I am intolerant of! That's intolerence, and the Dutch!' Which is really funny because we have a bunch of listeners in the Netherlands. [laughs] I love the Dutch, by the way.
SPACEY: Indeed. And the Danish.
MAKO: Oh, a Cheese Danish would be nice right around now, I'm hungry... But that's a different thing. But anyway – I think that what you say governs how people see you. So even though you might be saying something about somebody else, everything you say about someone else is in some way something you say about yourself.
SPACEY: Right, it's a reflection on you.
MAKO: Yeah. And I can tell you, I don't hang out with hateful people. I have no interest in them. I have compassion for them, I understand why they say these things, I feel sorry for them. But I’m not gonna be their buddy.
SPACEY: Sure, you're not gonna invite that kind of thing into your life.
MAKO: I have no place for it.
ELLA: It's toxic.
SPACEY: So I think it gets back to, again, one of the central premises of this show that you'll hear us talk about over and over again. Before we talk about celebrating our similarities, the other thing is – if you want acceptance, give it. MAKO: Absolutely.
SPACEY: And on that note, did you have anything else you wanted to add, Ella?
ELLA: I don't think so.
SPACEY: Okay, Well, I think we've reached the end of another Big Little Podcast.
MAKO: It was a good one!
SPACEY: Yeah, we sure appreciate everybody listening. Ella? How can people get in touch with you?
ELLA: Well, you can contact me on fetlife at lil_ella or - I think I'm gonna get it right this time – Ella's Play Stay... [laughs] ellasplayspace.blogspot.com [laughter] I got it right the first time. It's a tongue twister.
SPACEY: Well, we'll certainly have it in the show notes! Actually, I think we already have it in the links section too.
MAKO: That's right, we have a links section everybody – go look at it, it's great.
SPACEY: That's right and if you wanna go see our links section or read some more of the show notes, or anything else about the show, you wanna leave a comment, you can do that at www.biglittlepodcast.com. You can write to us, email@example.com and that'll go to Mako and myself.
MAKO: You can follow our twitter which is biglittlepdcast.com – wait, no, not .com! I've got that on the brain. Just biglittlepdcast.
SPACEY: Remember, our name is too big for twitter.
MAKO: Yeah. And our favourite thing, you can call us on the show line! Which is 678-421-4256. But if you do call, please be sure to let us know that it's okay to use it on the show.
SPACEY: That's right. And please do call! Because I think when you say it yourself, the message is so much more powerful. We just appreciate everyone who so far has called in, both of you. And thank you for listening to another show!
MAKO: Yeah, thanks everybody.
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