Follow Friday
Meme history, happy dogs, and the cutest animal: Elephants

Amory Sivertson and Ben Brock Johnson (Endless Thread)

An illustration of a woman and a man in business attire, under the words "Follow Friday: Amory Sivertson and Ben Brock Johnson"
Endless Thread hosts Amory Sivertson and Ben Brock Johnson
Jump to transcript ⬇️

After three years of reporting out stories that originated on Reddit, the WBUR podcast Endless Thread parted ways with the social app this year, and started asking, "What else can we say about the internet?"

"Follow Friday is a great example of how there's so much out there, and we felt like we had more work to do," says Endless Thread co-host Amory Sivertson. "So that's where we are now, telling stories that paint a broader picture of our online interactions and the communities that are formed."

And most recently, Amory and her co-host Ben Brock Johnson have been tackling the history of some of the internet's greatest memes, including Rickrolling, Scumbag Steve, and "Woman Yelling At Cat."

"A lot of times the image kind of speaks for itself, or at least it brings a vibe that — as long as people put a caption on it — is understandable to you, you can enjoy it and you can pass it on," Ben says. "But there are multiple layers to memes."

Today on Follow Friday, Amory and Ben recommend four of their favorite accounts from across the internet: A cinematic and pastoral YouTube channel about food in western China; a curated and approachable collection of women's art on Twitter; a pragmatic meme expert who's making the internet a better place; and a Kenyan nonprofit protecting elephants, rhinos and more. Plus: What are their favorite memes?

You can get bonus episodes of Follow Friday every week — including two bonus follows from Amory and Ben, one of which is already out — when you back Follow Friday on Patreon, starting at just $1 a month.

Follow us:

- Follow Amory on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @AmoryMusic
- Follow Ben on Twitter and Instagram @TheBrockJohnson
- Follow us @followfridaypod on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok and find clips and full episodes on our YouTube channel
- Follow Eric on Twitter @heyheyesj

Theme song written by Eric Johnson, and performed by Yona Marie. Show art by Dodi Hermawan.

Thank you to our amazing patrons: Jon, Justin, Amy, Yoichi, Shinri, and Elizabeth

Full transcript of this episode
Click to expand
ERIC JOHNSON: Today on Follow Friday, we're going to talk about the history of memes, Chinese food, beautiful art, Guy Fieri, happy dogs, and the cutest animal of them all, elephants. That's in a minute with Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson from Endless Thread.

But first, today's show is brought to you by The Edit from Timber. The Edit connects podcasters with industry professionals who will listen to their work and give them constructive feedback. Check them out at

[theme song]

ERIC: I'm Eric Johnson. Welcome to Follow Friday, the podcast about who you should follow online. Every week, I talk to creative people about who they follow, and why. This is a guided tour to the best people on the internet, led by your favorite writers, podcasters, comedians, and more. If this is your first episode of the show, please take a moment now and follow or subscribe in your podcast app, it's free and you'll get fresh interviews with your favorite creators every week.

Today on the show, we have Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson, the hosts of Endless Thread from WBUR in Boston. It's a podcast about the blurry line between the online world and the real world. And recently, they've been releasing episodes about internet memes that you have to check out. Here is a clip from one of my favorites.

[clip from "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley]

OK, technically, yes, I did just rickroll you, but it's not just a bit. The Endless Thread episode about Never Gonna Give You Up is fabulous. You can find Endless Thread wherever you listen to podcasts. Ben and Amory, welcome to Follow Friday.

AMORY: Thank you so much.

BEN: Thank you so much for having us, it's Friday, you know? It's a good day.

ERIC: Yeah exactly, we're recording on Friday. Everyone's feeling good. It's great.

AMORY: Oh, yeah. That was very smart. We're the zone.

ERIC: I think we're in a golden era for internet culture podcasts right now, and you two were ahead of the curve. You launched Endless Thread in 2018. Talk about where the idea for the show originally came from.

AMORY: Ben, you want to take this one?

BEN: I was lost in the desert and I wandered into a cave, and inside the cave, there was a fiber optic internet connection, connected to like an old Apple laptop and I opened it up and it said, you must make this show. And a week later I wandered out of the cave and said "I've seen the truth" and the rest is history. No, that's not the true story. Amory, do you want to tell the true story?

Amory was actually around for the true story and I wasn't actually really around for the true story. It wasn't either of our ideas, we should say, but we've settled in and it feels like home now. But Amory, do you want to tell the true story?

AMORY: Yeah, it was a former colleague of ours within the iLab, which is the WBUR podcast team. I think there was another podcast called Kind World, stories of profound acts of kindness, and there was a story featured on that podcast that came from the online platform Reddit. And this colleague said, "Wow, Reddit is actually a gold mine of material of all kinds, so what if we just reached out to them and see if they wanted to make a show?"

So I believe she cold-tweeted Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, and Alexis put us in touch with the person who we ended up working with there the most, a cool guy named Michael Pope. For the first three years, the show was a partnership with Reddit, where we were finding incredible stories on the platform of all subject matters, reaching out to the people behind them, and digging deeper into the subject matter.

And it's just this year that we decided to consciously uncouple with Reddit, through no animosity or anything like that. Just really realized we wanted to tell more stories across other platforms on the internet. And Follow Friday is a great example of how there's so much out there, and we felt like we had more work to do. And that's where we are now, we are telling stories that paint a broader picture of our online interactions and the communities that are formed and that sort of thing.

ERIC: Well, I love the series you're doing now about memes. I feel like there is so much unexpected depth to internet culture. Another example would be the episode you did about the meme of 'woman yelling at cat', and I'd seen that picture a million times. And as someone who had never watched The Real Housewives shows, where the woman yelling picture was taken from, I never processed the fact that A, of course this came from somewhere and B, the fact that there would be such a harrowing story behind her yelling.

AMORY: Same!

BEN: Yeah, that's how most of us consume memes, right? We talk about this a fair bit in the series, that there are so many different layers to it, and you can kind of come in at any layer. Like, you can come in not knowing anything about the image that you're playing with. A lot of times, the image kind of speaks for itself, or at least it brings a vibe that — as long as people put a caption on it that is understandable to you — you can enjoy it and you can pass it on. But then there are multiple layers to memes and you can also be like a huge Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fan...

AMORY: Like Ben.

BEN: ... like me, and have seen the original episode. So it's really interesting how memes have this potential for incredibly rich communication of information. I didn't know where it came from either, Eric, I had no idea, and so digging into that story was really interesting for me as well. And I knew Taylor, because my wife and I watched that show sometimes, I should just say it that way, but I didn't know the trauma that it came from. And learning that through working on the episode with Amory was really interesting and fascinating and also kind of disconcerting too.

AMORY: And that also really captures what you were saying about the blurred lines between the online world and the real world. Because there are some memes that are born of stock images where yes, there are real people featured behind them, but you're not seeing them in a real genuine moment. And so it is really hard, looking at anything online and knowing, is this real? Is this manufactured? Was this person paid to do this? Was this just a screenshot grabbed of them? So I'm glad that we get to explore some of that through this series.

ERIC: Absolutely. So yeah, the name of the show is Endless Thread, we're talking to the hosts, Amory Sivertson and Ben Brock Johnson. But now, let's find out who they follow online. You can follow along with us today. Every person they recommend will be linked in the show notes and in the transcript at

Ben and Amory, before the show, I gave you a list of categories and asked you to tell me about four people you follow who fit in those categories. Ben, we're gonna start with you. Your first pick is an expert in a very specific niche that you love, and you said Li Ziqi, who is on YouTube @cnliziqi. This is a huge YouTube channel, but I'd never heard of it. Explain what Li Ziqi does on her YouTube channel.

BEN: I don't know that much about this person. She appears to live with her mom in Western China, I want to say, and she's got legit following, she's got 16 and a half million subscribers. She makes the most beautiful and almost just mind-numbingly…what's the word I'm looking for, like she makes these videos where she's making soup, but it looks like it takes six months for her to make the soup. She's planting the ingredients that will eventually be in the soup, or she's like building the garden that she's going to plant the ingredients, that she's going to eventually put into the soup.
And then she's building the tools that she will use to harvest the garden. It's crazy how involved she gets in creating these incredible-looking traditional Chinese meals.

It's really hard to describe, but her videos are like 20-minutes long and it just looks like they'll stretch over a months-long period. And it's interesting because … I've wondered sometimes if she is just straight-up propaganda, like Chinese propaganda. Because it's very bucolic, it's very pastoral, like, these videos make you want to be in China, at least they make me want to be in China.

ERIC: Same.

BEN: And it's just hard to describe how beautiful they are, they're like incredibly beautiful.

ERIC: I think what you're getting at is that they are cinematic, is the thing. So when you're watching them, it's not just like food porn or something, it's not just that the end result is beautiful, but every single step of the process, there's these deliberate artistic choices being made along the way, of how to frame something, how to light something, how to show the weather or smoke or whatever. I guess neither of us really knows, but I was wondering, does she have a professional film crew or something working with her here, because this a professional-level production.

BEN: Yes, and here's what's interesting. This is what little I do know from Googling around and reading some Reddit threads is she started out just, I think, by herself effectively making these videos. And then over time, she of course got a ton of subscribers and she got noticed and stuff. Also, I think her mother appears in a bunch of the videos. I suppose it could be her grandmother, I'm not sure. But there's an older woman who appears in a lot of the videos and she's conversing with this woman and feeding this woman. And it's sort of weird too, right? Because she lives on this beautiful farm and it sort of looks like it's just her and her mom there, but it's clearly not.

So she started out by herself, supposedly, and then she got noticed by a person who I think is from Japan who manages YouTube talent. And that person eventually said like "Okay, you need a real camera crew with you, we need to like set you up," blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And so now it's a much more sort of professionalized outfit that is creating the videos.

But there have also been these kind of weird conspiracy theories around her, where her channel went dark for a little while and then came back and there's not a lot known, at least as near as I can tell, about what happened there. There's a lot of speculation. Like, some people think it was just this transition between her making her own videos — which I think as near as people can tell are also incredibly beautiful, but probably just took much longer to put together — and the videos that she makes with a professional crew behind her. So maybe they were just kind of like retooling or whatever.
People also think that she might have gotten popular enough that the Chinese government basically was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, what are you doing? What is your messaging?" And they basically stopped her from producing content and then somehow she's come to an agreement with the government and now she's producing it again.

ERIC: I'm a little wary speculating about that, but I see where you're coming from. And all I know is, the videos are gorgeous.

BEN: Yeah, they're amazing, and I want to know all the background. Don't you want to know? I want to know. It has to be that she's sanctioned.

ERIC: Oh, I would assume she has to be at least sanctioned, but my feeling is that as long as there's not overt political messages, I'm OK with that? I mean everyone does the sort of soft power stuff, and I'm kind of supportive of it as far as a benign form of cultural soft power. If you want to release cinematic 20 minute videos showing me how beautiful agriculture in China is… sure, go for it.

BEN: A hundred percent, I'm in, and it's working. Like I said, I want to go to there, as Liz Lemon likes to say, I want to go to there.

ERIC: Oh, me too. Well, that was Li Ziqi, who is on YouTube @cnliziqi.

Amory, let's move on to your first follow. I asked you to tell me about "someone who inspires you," and you said #WomensArt, which is on Twitter @womensart1. This is a pretty self-explanatory account showcasing all kinds of art, all made by women, and it's curated by the writer and art historian, PL Henderson. So Amory, talk about why #WomensArt inspires you.

AMORY: Well, I just like this little dose of…you know, when you're scrolling through Twitter and there are all kinds of content on there, from animal pictures to politics, to horrible breaking news, it's just nice to interrupt it. It interrupts the flow of unpredictability with predictable beauty in surprising places, or even in unpredictable places, or in unpredictable mediums. Like there was one this morning — this is a Japanese artist, New York city-based, Kumi Yamashita, who makes portraits by wrapping a single thread around nails, presumably like nails in a board. And I don't know if you pull this up, this is from earlier today, Friday the 12th.

BEN: I'm looking at it, it's awesome.

AMORY: Right? So you look at this picture of, presumably, a Japanese woman, the artist is Japanese, so I'm making an assumption there, and you have no idea what you're looking at per se, until you read this description. And then you're like, oh my God! How does anyone do that?

I make podcasts, I'm a musician, I know how to do what I know how to do, but there are so many films I see or works of art that I see that just leave me in the truest definition of the word "awe." Where my jaw drops, and I just say how does anyone do that? Where did the idea come from? And not only where did the art come from, but where did they get the idea to do this in the first place?

And I think #WomensArt is just perfect for that reason. You're seeing paintings, but they also feature tattoo artists, they feature photographers, they feature dancers, and then they feature art that you didn't know existed, like wrapping a thread around nails to form a portrait.

So it just kind of interrupts the flow of whatever you might be scrolling through. And it's proof that not all Twitter scrolling is doom scrolling, because it just kind of says "Hey, take a break, take a look at something beautiful." And also, women from throughout the centuries and decades, to remind you that there was a time when women artists were not celebrated and were not recognized. And maybe these people's work is not surfacing until after their death.

And so by featuring all these mediums and all of these women from around the world, it just kind of snaps you out of whatever you're doing and says, "Hey, there is beauty and there is awe and pay attention to that." Because most of the artists, and actually I could probably say all of the artists that are featured on #WomensArt, and this probably says more about me than about anything else, but I've typically never heard of any of them. And my day is better having seen whatever this account posts.

I think whenever there are like Follow Friday posts going around, I think that I have shared this account before, too. And I had no idea how many followers the account had, it has hundreds of thousands, which I'm thrilled about.

ERIC: I'm so glad.

AMORY: Yeah, me too. So it's not like I'm bringing recommendations that are like underground, but hey, if you don't currently follow this, please do, your day will be better and you'll see things that you won't find featured elsewhere.

BEN: You sold me, I just followed while we were talking. I'm in.

AMORY: Yeah, it's incredible. Highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

ERIC: Yeah, and I think this really speaks to something the internet has done for a lot of stuff that used to be reserved for the privileged and the elite. It really makes art so much accessible and so approachable where you don't need to have been to an art school, you don't need to have been to a fancy college. You can just follow an account like this and really give yourselfthis introductory education in the sheer diversity of artwork that's out there. I really love what the curator, PL Henderson, is doing here just because it's such an approachable way of introducing people to stuff they probably have never seen before, as you were saying, artists you've never heard of before.

AMORY: Yeah, and think about art museums and how those are cultural institutions that have to stay afloat and have to charge a certain amount for admission in order to do that. And you might see a whole exhibit of one person's work. #WomensArt, the account, is like an art exhibit full of just one-offs, you know, like here's one piece. And you can go find a lot more of this person's work, but in the meantime, just scroll through our little museum that's gonna introduce you to people you've never heard of before and people who might never have their own exhibit somewhere.

BEN: I think another thing that's interesting is like finding stuff that speaks to you and so much art is very subjective in the way that you consume it. And even though some of it's supposed to be good and some of it's supposed to be not good, at the same time, it doesn't really matter. What matters is how you consume it as a person who is coming into contact with the art. I don't know anything about art history, really, and so for me, when I consume art, I just love a situation where I can just respond to things that I like and learn about them.

Instead of being told — I mean of course it's curation and I'm being told that this is good, but this is a bunch of different kinds of things and I can consume them as an ignorant person, and still figure out what I like and kind of lean towards that in a way that I don't feel the same way necessarily in an art museum, if that makes sense. Like that feels so much more curated. Whereas this, I can scroll through it and be like, "Don't care, don't care, don't care. Ooh this one with like the maze and the woman's brain being part of the maze and like whoa, this is awesome." Then I can lean towards that. I think that's cool.

ERIC: So Amory, you said that this account inspires you and you mentioned that you're a musician as well as a radio journalist. Does this inspire you to make visual art, or to try something like this?

AMORY: No, I am not capable of making visual art. But I would say … I mean, I have made music based on visual art before, but I can't personally make visual art myself. But I think this is a reminder that people can do anything. The internet can both be a dumpster fire and it can be the thing that absolutely changes your life. And I don't need to make visual art, I just need to look at it, and that's kind of my daily reminder that we're capable of doing a lot. I'm not being articulate at all, but it just really breaks my brain, what people are capable of. And it doesn't inspire me to make visual art, it inspires me to want to make more of the art that I'm capable of making. And to make it as true to myself as possible in the hopes that someone will appreciate it for whatever it is, the same way that I appreciate a lot of what I see on this account.

ERIC: Exact same here. So if you want to add inspiration to whatever you're doing in your life, you should follow #WomensArt, which is on Twitter @womensart1.

We're going to take a quick break now, but we'll be back in a minute with Amory Sivertson and Ben Brock Johnson from Endless Thread.

Today's show is brought to you by Ransom Notes, the party game of hilariously terrible sentences! Players use word magnets to respond to outlandish prompts, such as "Tell someone you've clogged their toilet at a party." You can learn to play in under one minute, and even the shyest players will be creating laugh-out-loud word magnet responses right away. I've been playing this game recently and it is SO MUCH FUN. You can get 10 percent off your copy of Ransom Notes when you go to and use the promo code FOLLOWFRIDAY, all one word. That's, and don't forget to use the promo code FOLLOWFRIDAY for 10% off.

Today's show is also brought to you by The Edit from Timber. If you have a podcast, then that's amazing, you should be proud of what you've made. But that doesn't mean you can't make it better, and The Edit from Timber will help. For only $20 a month, you'll get constructive feedback on your podcast from industry professionals like Skye Pillsbury, Jenna Spinelle, Shruti Ravindran, and me, Eric Johnson. Sign up today at That's

Welcome back to Follow Friday. Ben, let's move on to your next follow. I asked you for 'someone you have a non-romantic crush on,' and you said Kenyatta Cheese, who is on Twitter @kenyatta. Kenyatta is the CEO of a digital agency called EA1, which I think is short for Everybody At Once. But he's best known as the founder of a site that anyone who cares about internet culture has probably been to, at some point. Do you want to talk about what that site is?

BEN: Know Your Meme, baby. Kenyatta, his online social presence is not super heavy, but I guess this is just a person that I've discovered through the work that we've done on our meme series. So we talked to him for one of our episodes that's about the Gregory Brothers, these guys who have made a lot of money and created these sort of unintentional singer videos, Autotune the News, this stuff.

And it's a complicated story because the Gregory Brothers who have made all this money doing this stuff are of course, super talented. We had a good conversation with them, but at the same time, their work is really drafting off of statements made by people of color. And they are taking these statements that are often made on evening news reporting, or at least sometimes, they're in situations that are not great. And they're making these folks into singers, without really asking for consent before they do that. And so it was a really interesting story for us to dig into and shout out to Endless Thread producer Dean Russell, who really went after this, and Amory also, who came up with the idea of covering this.

But Kenyatta Cheese is himself a person of color, and he was so wonderful to interview and talk to about this very issue. Like, he's super thoughtful about it. And really just gave us so much of a better understanding of the role that we all play when we consume content online, and what that means. I think at one point, he says that memes are the final boss level of appropriation, which is super interesting to think about.

Anyway, it was a wonderful interview for us, but also he's just a great guy. He came and participated in the event that we did to kick off our series. He's just so thoughtful, he's very aware of all of the bad things that the internet has created, and yet he's still very optimistic about fixing things. And to me, that's such a wonderful thing, when you meet someone like that, because I feel that way too.

We're all increasingly living online and consuming the online world. And I think a lot of times, as Amory was saying earlier, you look around and it's a dumpster fire, but then you find these bright spots. And I think it's really nice when you meet somebody who's very tech-savvy and tech-oriented and has actually had a palpable impact on the internet and internet culture as we know it, who is also like so thoughtful about trying to fix some of these problems and has a real deep understanding of the problems and how they impact people like himself. And has a lot of interesting and powerful things to say about it. So Kenyatta Cheese, follow what he does, he's wonderful.

ERIC: This is why it drives me nuts when people are talking about like, are you an optimist or a pessimist, as if those were the only two options, right? Because the optimist is like things are gonna work out, the pessimist is saying no, they won't work out. But you have people like Kenyatta who seems to be a pragmatist, who's saying there are problems, but we can do something about it. There are choices to be made, there are people to be led, stuff to be created.

I mean, that's my philosophy on a lot of this stuff, too. I had not heard of Kenyatta Cheese, I'd obviously heard of Know Your Meme and of Rocketboom, which is where Know Your Meme started. Side note, I had completely forgotten about Rocketboom, I used to be obsessed with them in the mid-2000s. But I'm so glad that there are people like him who are finding ways to, as you say, bring bright spots to the internet.

BEN: Absolutely. Yeah, you've got a good philosophy on this too, clearly.

ERIC: Yeah, so let me get both of your favorite internet memes since we're talking about Know Your Meme. Ben, you first, what's your favorite meme?

BEN: Oh my God.

ERIC: No pressure.

AMORY: Oh my God, I'm thrilled that you went to Ben first while I quickly wrap my brain on what the hell I'm going to say.

BEN: Oh God you're killing me Eric, but I'm in. So okay, here's the thing. This is one that I don't even know the origin of it, I need to look it up on Know Your Meme, co-founded by Kenyatta Cheese. "Please, my son, he is very sick." Do you know this?

ERIC: Uh, I think so?

BEN: Like I don't even really know what this is or where it comes from. I think it may come from Guy Fieri, and like some image of him carrying a hot dog. I don't know the origin of this.

ERIC: I got here on Know Your Meme. "'Please, my wife, she's very sick,' refers to a phrasal template that is generally matched by an image of the subject cradling another in their arms. The template most commonly used follows the phrase 'Please, my x, they're very sick,' with slight variations. It started with a picture of a raccoon standing upright and cradling a cat in its arms." And I guess the Guy Fieri version is … oh, here it is, it's Guy Fieri holding a gigantic hot dog, it says "Please, my son, he's very sick."

BEN: Yes! And just the idea that like Guy Fieri is related to a giant hot dog, somehow it just feels right. But I saw one recently and this is how I discovered this. The way into this meme for me was like a backhoe, it was like a piece of a large piece of John Deere equipment carrying the exact same piece of equipment that was like much smaller. It was like on a street, and it just said, "Please, my son, he is very sick." And for some reason, that just tickles me. There's something about it that is hilarious to me.

ERIC: Amory, how about you, what's your favorite meme?

AMORY: You'd think I would have thought of one by now … Okay, I don't know if this is actually a meme, but it's been stuck in my head ever since. And I think it's been memified, I've seen one application of it.

I'm getting into are TikTok memes which maybe are not a unique brand of meme. But I'm liking what people are doing with audio and taking an audio track and putting a different visual to the audio track, so that the audio means something slightly different.

And the one example that I can think of it was like a dog. I don't know what this dog was doing, but this dog was tapping its back foot, very rhythmically. And so this guy, the original video, is he's filming his dog, doing this like rhythmic tapping and he's singing along to it, like "I'm a hap, hap, happy guy, I'm a happy, happy, happy guy."

ERIC: That's a good impression.

AMORY: Well I do it all the time, you can just ask my husband, I do it about everything. And someone took that audio and then set a different video to it about a different happy guy, of a sort.

[clip from original video]

AMORY: And I just love that, I think that stuff is so clever. I love when the internet makes me go like people are so funny, where do they get this stuff? Where do they come up with this stuff? What I also love about it is that I do stuff like that all the time around the house. I make up little songs, I do ridiculous stuff, and TikTok is where a lot of those things are finding a home. And then other people are finding a new home for those things by repurposing it. So yeah, I will say generally, I'm really into audio memes right now, where people take audio and put it in a new context with a new visual.

ERIC: I love both of those, and that was Kenyatta Cheese who is on Twitter @kenyatta.

We have time for one more follow today. Amory, I asked you for 'someone you've followed forever' and you said the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which is on Instagram and Twitter @sheldricktrust. This is also one of my personal favorite accounts to follow, so you must have very good taste. Talk about what the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust does.

AMORY: The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is an animal orphanage, sanctuary sort of an organization primarily focused on elephants. I think they also do some work with giraffes, they do some work with rhinos, and this represents my very deep love of elephants, and I sponsor an elephant through them. I have an elephant son named Ambo.

And it's kind of like a backup plan in life, that if everything goes to s**t, I will flee to Nairobi where I believe their main elephant orphanage or sanctuary is. And will just say "Please teach me everything I need to know about caring for elephants," and I'll just want to do that because I think they're incredible creatures, they're just the best species in the world.

When they rescue an orphan, typically they're finding babies whose mothers have been poached or whose parents have been poached, but elephants of all ages. Even when the elephants are old enough and well enough to be released from the sanctuary back into the wild, they will come back and visit their human caretakers every year. Because they remember them and they want to pay them a visit, and that's beautiful, man.

ERIC: Aww. You're gonna make me cry.

AMORY: I remember, I was preparing for a big work thing, this was maybe five or six years ago and I was so stressed out and I don't even know how I first came across the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. But I came across a post of theirs, and it was like one of their most recent rescues. And I watched this video of this elephant rescue and I burst into tears and I went on their site right away and that's when I became a supporter. And it really just put a lot of things into perspective.

That's not to say that I wasn't still stressed out about work, but it just put things into perspective a little bit, that there are other creatures out there going through rougher things, and it totally cheered me up and turned me around that particular evening, and I've been following ever since. And again, it's just like a nice break in the timeline, break in the feed. There's no time that I do not want to see an elephant. I always want to see an elephant. And so yeah, I think it's good to follow, it's good to support and yeah, if I have introduced just one person today to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, I'll be happy.

ERIC: Every follower counts. Yeah, I follow a lot of animal accounts, like a lot of cute animals of different kinds. And before anyone asks, yes, elephants are the cutest animal, thank you for coming to my TED Talk. But I will say that some of the accounts are a little bit suspicious, a little icky, because it's like, oh wow it's this adorable video of 20 identical puppies. And then you start to think, wait, you have 20 identical puppies, are you a breeder? Are you a good breeder? And so it feels really good to follow an account like Sheldrick where I know that these videos are in service of a good cause. I feel morally in the clear when I'm watching these videos.

AMORY: Yeah, if you want to support the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, I don't know if this still happens, because I admit I haven't looked at mine recently, but you get like a watercolor painting of your elephant once a month. So, someday I hope to meet Ambo, but in the meantime, I have watercolors galore of him

ERIC: You mentioned your deep abiding love for elephants, does that come from a specific thing you watched when you were a kid, or is there some other experience that led you to feel that way? Do you know where that started?

BEN: Dumbo, I think when she saw Dumbo.

AMORY: That movie is so sad. I can't watch Dumbo. I don't know where the love of elephants specifically came from.

BEN: Elephant ballerinas in Fantasia.

ERIC: Those are hippos in Fantasia.

BEN: Oh, they're Hippos! Good call, my bad.

AMORY: It's a good question. You know what, I'll have to ask the Sivertson brain trust. I'll have to ask my parents to know if there was a moment for me. But I've gone through phases like that with different creatures, throughout my life. And they're giant herbivores who look like they came from some prehistoric time. And so I'm in awe of them, I guess, they look like they can't quite be real, but they're real. And like, if elephants exist and are real, then more things are possible than you maybe thought were possible.

ERIC: Well, that was the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which is on Instagram and Twitter @sheldricktrust. Ben and Amory, thank you for sharing all these follows with us today. Before we go, let's make sure listeners know how to find both of you online. Amory, where should people go if they want to follow you?

AMORY: I think I'm @Amorymusic on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Maybe TikTok? No, I have no content on TikTok, you don't need to follow me there yet, so Amorymusic.

ERIC: And Ben, where should people follow you online?

BEN: Oh man, I'd really like to come up with something really funny to say right now, but it's Friday, so I'll just say …

AMORY: And you want people to actually follow you.

BEN: I know, I do. I was going to say 42069huskybro at …


BEN: Yeah, at AIM. No, it's @TheBrockJohnson, as in Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, but the Brock Johnson. And you can find me there on Instagram, if I let you follow me and on Twitter where anyone can follow and yeah, I'm team follow back, so hit me up.

ERIC: And you can find Ben and Amory's podcast Endless Thread at or just search for Endless Thread in your podcast app. Follow me on Twitter @heyheyesj, and don't forget to follow or subscribe to this show, Follow Friday, in your podcast app, if you haven't already.

If you like this episode, then check out the past interviews with Garbage Day's Ryan Broderick, or ICYMI hosts Rachel Hampton and Madison Malone Kircher.

Our theme music was written by me and performed by Yona Marie. Our show art was illustrated by Dodi Hermawan. That's all for this week. This is Eric Johnson reminding you to talk about people behind their backs, and when you do, say something nice. See you next Friday!

Recent episodes:

Made on