In this week’s episode of Past Present, Neil, Natalia, and Niki debate Mike Pence’s rules for women colleagues, the end of the Senate filibuster, and Pepsi’s attempt to coopt Black Lives Matter.
The Graham Rule
A recent profile of Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, in the Washington Post resurrected a detail Mike Pence shared in 2002 that he never dined alone with any woman who wasn’t his wife. Natalia shared Jia Tolentino’s response in the New Yorker that argued Pence’s rule treats all women as a group of temptresses rather than seeing them individually. Niki recommended an Atlantic article, “When Typists Were Feared as ‘Love Pirates’,” for understanding how working women were seen in early 20th century offices. Natalia commented on Helen Gurley Brown’s advice to working women in her 1962 book, Sex and the Single Girl. Neil recommended Ruth Graham’s Slate article that collected responses from different men and women who used rules similar to Pence’s for their marriages.
The Nuclear Option
We discussed the history of the filibuster after Senate Republicans successfully ended the 60-vote threshold needed to vote for confirmation of Supreme Court nominees.
Pepsi found itself at the center of controversy after it released a new ad featuring Kendall Jenner giving a Pepsi to police officers at a protest. Natalia mentioned the iconic Coca-Cola ad from 1971, “Hilltop.” Niki recommended Thomas Frank’s essay “Commodify Your Dissent” and his book, The Conquest of Cool, for thinking about how corporations coopted the counterculture, and Natalia suggested Joshua Clark Davis’s book, From Head Shops to Whole Foods, for a history of activist entrepreneurs that pursued alternatives to profit-driven corporations. Neil recommended Jason Petrulis’s Twitter essay on the history of Pepsi’s targeted marketing and advertising to African-American consumers. Niki added Grace Elizabeth Hale’s essay, When Jim Crow Drank Coke, to the conversation.