Follow Friday
The Tudors, The West Wing, and Cate Blanchett

Rachelle Hampton and Madison Malone Kircher (ICYMI)

On Slate's new internet culture podcast ICYMI, Rachelle Hampton and Madison Malone Kircher "gaze deep into the online abyss—and tell you what's gazing back." They've covered topics like Clubhouse, millennials vs. Gen Z on TikTok, and the controversial music video for Lil Nas X's song Montero (Call Me By Your Name).

On today's episode of Follow Friday, Rachelle and Madison talk with Eric Johnson about who they follow online, and why. Topics include: Joe Biden's dogs, the War of the Roses, The West Wing, the only person who's good at Twitter dunks, and the "Sapphic looks" of Cate Blanchett.

Follow us:
- Rachelle is @heyydnae on Twitter
- Madison is @4evrmalone on Twitter and Instagram
- This show is @followfridaypod on Twitter and Instagram
- Eric is @heyheyesj on Twitter

Who Rachelle and Madison follow:
- Brandon Taylor
- Christina Tucker
- Jasmine Sanders
- The Queer Cate Blanchett Lookbook

Rate Follow Friday:

Theme song written by Eric Johnson, and performed by Yona Marie. Show art by Dodi Hermawan. Additional music by Katherine Chang and Purple Planet Music.
Full transcript of this episode
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MADISON MALONE KIRCHER: Sorry, spoiler alert, but that show's mad old.

ERIC JOHNSON: [laughs]

RACHELLE HAMPTON: [laughs] Guess I'm not gonna watch it!

MADISON: If you were still going to watch it ... I'm sorry, but your time has come.

ERIC: This is your only warning. This episode will spoil one plot point from Season 2 of The West Wing. And here's another spoiler: Rachelle Hampton and Madison Malone Kircher from Slate are really fun to talk to! You are about to hear why, today on Follow Friday.

[ad + theme song]

ERIC: I'm Eric Johnson. Welcome to Follow Friday, a show about the best people on the internet and why you should follow them. If you're new to the show, welcome! Every week, I talk to the internet creators I admire most about who they follow online. These include podcasters, writers, comedians, musicians, and more. They have amazing taste and will guide us to the people they find fascinating who we should be following, too!

Today on the show we have Rachelle Hampton and Madison Malone Kircher, the hosts of the podcast ICYMI. That's short for In Case You Missed It, and it is a lovely new internet culture podcast from Slate. Here's a clip from a recent episode they did about Lil Nas X's song Montero.

MADISON: "I really feel like I owe Lil Nas X a thank you as a gay person who spent 10 years in Catholic school because I feel very much primed to explain that there is a quote in the book of Luke that goes, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning," which this video takes incredibly literally."

RACHELLE: "I mean, the reaction me and Madison are having is largely the reaction the Friday night internet had. People were losing their absolute s**t. There were just so many supportive tweets. There were so many tweets from gay kids who grew up in the church, there were just tweets from people ... like someone named Catboy Slim, who said 'If being quiet and chill is your thing, that's absolutely wonderful for you, but it's genuinely nice to see someone with Lil Nas X's reach and influence getting killed by a butt plug and pole-dancing into hell. Finally, a little freak representation.'"

ERIC: And you can follow along with us today. Every person they recommend will be linked in the show notes and in the transcript at Rachelle and Madison, welcome to Follow Friday!

MADISON: Hi, Eric!

ERIC: Hi, thanks for being here!

RACHELLE: Hi! Thanks for having us.

MADISON: Thank you so much for having ... I've already forgotten which nice word you use to describe our taste about the internet, but the bar has been set high. [laughs]

ERIC: [laughs]

RACHELLE: [laughs] We're going to give you some absolutely trash content, just to say that you are to your lovely listeners.

ERIC: Oh, no. Oh, no. How horrible. Well, before we get into the follows, there's this idea I wanted to ask you about. It's this sort of meme I've seen floating around Twitter, roughly since Joe Biden was inaugurated, that we've somehow time-warped back a few years to like a different era of the internet. Like we have a cultural reset going on. So do you agree with that? Are we are in a cultural reset?

RACHELLE: I feel like we kind of always are like. I think there's always just like these waves where it's like, OK, something new is about to come up and are we going to accept it? Are we going to deal with it? I think there's just like a lot of things happening on the internet right now because we're all online, extremely online.

And so, because we are all online, there's always just something new happening, some new meme that's going to be overused in exactly 24 hours. So you could say that a cultural reset happens every 24 hours on Twitter, or on the internet in general.

MADISON: I'm thinking about like the cultural reset, the return to internet culture of late, to me, is best signified by the obsession with the Biden's dogs.

ERIC: Yeah!

MADISON: My least favorite genre of Twitter, because "Did you know? Centrist policies are great as long as they also own a puppy? A rescue dog? How cute!

ERIC: The Associated Press wrote a story about where one of the Biden's dogs pooped. Yeah.

MADISON: It's just, it's so funny to me that that ... I just can't believe it's still going. Like, we're months past the inauguration and the "doggos" of the White House are still being...


MADISON: Yeah. I'm sorry to use such a cursed word.

ERIC: All right, so let's say we are in a rest. What is something good about the old days of the internet that you would like to see come back?

MADISON: Well, this probably wasn't great for her, but I missed the era of the internet where teenagers ... I miss Rebecca Black, is what I'm saying.


MADISON: I want like bangers brought to you by cookie-cutter companies that people's parents paid to make them into pop stars. "My Jeans," "Friday," these these were hits.

RACHELLE: I feel like that Rebecca Black definitely appreciates that that song came out. It's why she's still YouTube famous.

ERIC: She just did a big collaboration with 100 Gecs, I think. She's still going.

RACHELLE: She's still got it.

MADISON: Yeah. She's living her absolute best life.

RACHELLE: Yeah. On a Friday, driving in her car, in the back seat. I want to bring back ... Honestly, there was this era — I really go back to Tumblr so often that Madison is gonna murder me if I say Tumblr one more time. But there was this era in Tumblr where it just was like purely aesthetic blogs. Like, it was just photos that were all one color, with random interior design things. And it somehow felt less manufactured than the really pretty Instagrams do. I don't know why, but I kind of miss that, where you could just go on a blog and just be like, it's devoted to the color purple. And I'm going to see photos of lavender and like Paris in a purple filter.

ERIC: Yeah, Instagram gives you the filters, so it gives you the chance to "correct" the colors of something, whereas Tumblr, you had to have the discerning eye from the get-go. Like, "I know this is the best lavender picture."

RACHELLE: Yeah, exactly. I'm like, "You curated this. You curated this photo of lavender just for me, and I love it."

MADISON: That, but specifically the era where the color greige was a Tumblr thing.


MADISON: It was a grey/beige hybrid. This was probably like 2015. It was like a very buzzy design word, but it just translates to what you're describing, Rachelle, like very calming Tumblrs of just lovely, soothing pictures.

RACHELLE: I miss it. Bring her back!

MADISON: ... Which then inspired me to buy a lot of greige bedding, which I promptly stained.

RACHELLE: [laughs] Wow.

ERIC: [laughs] I have never heard of greige, but I will have to look into that. Let's get into your follows. Let's find out who Rachelle Hampton and Madison Malone Kircher follow online.

So, before the show I gave both of you a list of categories, and I asked each of you to tell me two people you follow who fit in those categories. Rachelle, we'll start with you. I asked you for "someone who inspires you," and you said Brandon Taylor, who writes the email newsletter Sweater Weather on Substack. So talk about what Brandon writes about, and why he inspires you.

RACHELLE: So, he writes about so much. He's a cultural critic, although it's really strange. He doesn't describe himself as a critic. He calls himself like a "baby critic," even though he's like straight up writing essays about how TikTok stars are like the New Romantics and how internet novels are like Gothic novels. It's like this return to Gothic literature.

And so it's deeply funny to me that he's like, "I'm not actually a cultural critic. I'm like a baby critic." And I'm like, "If you're a baby critic, I don't know what the f**k I am!" [laughs]


RACHELLE: But he's just like, he has this amazing ability to kind of wed this traditional literary critic's sensibility, where he's talking about like Calvinism and Freud, while describing like TikToks or Lauren Oyler's Fake Accounts.

I just, I really love that. His Twitter presence is also amazing. I also feel like I should mention that he's also a writer. He wrote a really amazing novel called Real Life, which is this campus novel set at an unnamed Midwest college, and it's about race. He also writes a lot about race, which I also enjoy.

But he has a sensibility that I feel like a lot of Black critics should be able to do, where he doesn't directly address the "white gaze," or he very much is like, "I'm not speaking to white people right now." Like, "I'm going to read Marx and all these mid-century writers, not because I want to be able to speak to the white writers of the nation of the new republic, but because I want to know what's been influencing my writing, do this kind of trickle-down effect of being in an American literary society."

And I really just love the kind of posture he has. And he's also just a really funny writer. [laughs]

ERIC: That helps.

RACHELLE: Yeah, it also does help. He's a really engaging, funny writer and he has very niche interests that also overlap well with mine. Like he's really into the War of Roses, which ... is a very specific ...

MADISON: Your favorite thing!

RAHCELLE: [laughs]

ERIC: That's ... English history?

RACHELLE: Yeah! That gave us the Tudor Dynasty, like he's really into like the War of Roses and I'm just like, I have never met anybody else who was into this specific era of history in the same way that I have been. So I just love that he tweets about like the War of Roses all the time, or like the Habsburgs or like random royal dynasties.

He tweets about it in the way that you live-tweet a show, where he's like, "These are messy bitches who love drama, these upstarts!" He's tweeting it like he's tweeting Real Housewives. And so it's just like this wedding of sensibilities that I really love.

ERIC: So I was looking at his newsletter, Sweater Weather. It seems like he's really tapped into what he likes, what he knows, and he's connecting cultural events like Montero to his own life. So he wrote in a recent newsletter about the moral panic over Lil Nas X and how it reminds him of being a schoolkid and hearing evangelical Christians freak out about stuff back then.

He says "they banned books about magic and made rules about how we weren't allowed to engage in occult behaviors or activities. My bus driver banned doing sorcery and putting spells on people." [laughs] I always really appreciate it when someone's able to take a historical event, like the War of the Roses, or a personal/historical event and are able to connect it in a really satisfying, engaging way to what's happening to our culture now. And it seems like he he's really doing that.

RACHELLE: Yeah, it's really amazing the way that his ... I think the kind of mark of a really good cultural critic is taking something that you may not necessarily be interested in, but the weight of their passion for it just makes you care about it. And he has this ability to do that about literally anything. Like, I have never in my life thought "I want to read about what Calvinism is, but reading Brandon Taylor's Substack, I'm just like, "Maybe I should read a book, find out what Calvinism is."

ERIC: You want to read what he says about Calvinism. That's the important thing.

RACHELLE: No, exactly. I'm just like, what if you just distilled all this down for me? Because I know if I actually read this, it's not going to be as interesting as you're making it seem. And so I just, I really love that about him.

ERIC: And you also mentioned that he has a novel that came out last year, called Real Life. And I saw he has a collection of short stories coming out in June called Filthy Animals. Do you have a preference for the type of reading he does, like novel versus newsletter, tweet? I don't know if you have any particular ... preference.

RACHELLE: I don't. Like he is, just like the way he masters so many different kinds of tones of voices is incredible. I'll read him across any platform, which ... there are so many writers who write novels, who I would never want to see their Twitter presence, or their unfiltered Substack thoughts. [laughs] So the fact that Brandon manages to just be so engaging across all these different mediums is incredible. I'm really excited to read Filthy Animals. I just think he's one of our best writers, across all the platforms he writes on.

ERIC: Madison, have you read any of Brandon's work?

MADISON: I have. I think Rachelle's really underplaying how big of a War of the Roses stan she is. Like, you just name-checked the Habsburgs. And I feel like I need to note that in the first pilot/practice episode we recorded, you made like four Archduke Ferdinand references.

RACHELLE: OK, that's World War II, not War of the Roses. But yes, I have a very specific interest in like ... I don't know why, like European war history. I think it's because it's just messy white people. World War II was not just white people, but like that's ... it's like watching like Real Housewives of New Jersey, but like from 1565! [laughs]

ERIC: [laughs]

MADISON: You should do their PR.

RACHELLE: The Tudors' PR? [laughs]

MADISON: That's a great sell.

RACHELLE: Put me in charge of the Tudor legacy. I swear, I'll do it justice! [laughs]

ERIC: [laughs] I didn't watch ... there was a big TV show about the Tudors a little while back, right?

RACHELLE: Yeah, The Tudors, yes.

MADISON: It's incredibly horny.

ERIC: Really?

RACHELLE: It is one of the horniest shows I've ever watched. Which like, it makes sense. The Tudors were an incredibly horny dynasty. But yes, it's a Showtime show, I think? And yeah, it's just. A lot of boobs, a lot of butts.

ERIC: Is that an endorsement, or...?

RACHELLE: Um, I don't know if it's an endorsement. A lot of people who actually know a lot about Tudor history don't like the show because it's really inaccurate, as most Tudor adaptations are, but it's really dramatic, and it's an engaging watch. Just don't go in expecting historical accuracy ... or like good dialogue. [laughs]

ERIC: Well, that was Brandon Taylor, who writes the newsletter Sweater Weather. Let's move on to Madison's first pick. Madison, I asked you for someone who makes you laugh, and you said Christina Tucker, who's on Twitter @C_GraceT. She's the co-host of the podcast Unfriendly Black Hotties. So, talk about Christina and why she makes you laugh.

MADISON: Christina and I have never met, this is a person I know only through the internet. And we were introduced by a mutual friend after I tweeted something really dumb about ... I think it was the Oscars. Anyway, it was like comparing a dress that Greta Gerwig was wearing on a red carpet to the dress that Stockard Channing wears in the episode of the West Wing at her birthday party, the night before she admits the whole like MS scandal ... Sorry, spoiler alert, but that show's mad old.

ERIC: [laughs]

RACHELLE: [laughs] Guess I'm not gonna watch it!

MADISON: If you were still going to watch it ... I'm sorry, but your time has come. Anyway, my friend was like, "This tweet is for an audience of one. You need to meet Christina Tucker." Who I have since discovered just to be an incredibly funny writer, podcaster, whether she's tweeting about like ... she has this whole great bit about how she's a coatsexual, she's like really attracted to good coats.

ERIC: [laughs]

MADISON: I don't know, if did either of you watch The Flight Attendant?


MADISON: OK. That show is just like, a paean to good coats. It's Kaley Cuoco in endless good coats. Earlier this week, she tweeted what is perhaps the most compelling argument for me watching The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and that is that apparently, there are good coats in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

ERIC: I have not noticed good coats, but now, I will be watching for them. I gotta check this out, I gotta pay attention.

MADISON: She's got this great running bit about just like ... I don't know how dirty we can get on this podcast.

ERIC: Go for it.

MADISON: The things she wants Allison Janney to do to her, I respect and I respect even more that she puts them on the internet. I think that's how The Secret works, right?

ERIC: [laughs] Just put it out there in the world and hope it happens.

MADISON: Yeah, she's also one of three co-hosts on a limited run podcast called A Simple Podcast, which is about the movie ... Have you seen A Simple Favor?

ERIC: I have!

MADISON: It's like Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick. It's a movie that you would watch on a plane and then you realize halfway through the flight, this movie is so much better than JetBlue deserves.

ERIC: I saw that in the theater, actually.

MADISON: Wow! OK. I did not.

ERIC: It had a good trailer. It had a very "what the hell is going on?" trailer. So that was enough to get me in the door.

MADISON: Yeah, she co-hosts this podcast with Alanna Bennett and Jordan Crucchiola, who are two other women on Twitter that I think are very funny and talented writers. It's sort of like a perfect encapsulation of what I love about Christina's humor. She just picks a bit, picks a niche, a movie, and is like ...

ERIC: "This is my lane. This is where I am."

MADISON: This is it. Yes. And I think, they ultimately wound up getting Paul Feig on the show.

ERIC: The director of the movie?


ERIC: Wow. I love it when ... there's a bunch of these, there's podcasts and blogs and stuff where it's just like, "This specific movie. We are only talking about this one thing." My favorite of which, which I haven't actually listened to, but conceptually my favorite is, I think it's called The Worst Idea of All Time. And it's a podcast where these comedians decided to watch ... I think it was Grown-Ups 2, or maybe Paul Blart 2 every week for a year.

EVERYONE: [laughs]

ERIC: And they just decided, "We can make this entertaining."

MADISON: I didn't know there was a Paul Blart 2.

ERIC: I think there was, yeah.

RACHELLE: There was. I didn't see it, but there was.

ERIC: Rachelle says that's so knowingly, like, you know ...

RACHELLE: Just, you know ...

MADISON: Rachelle wrote the Wikipedia page for Paul Blart 2.

RACHELLE: Yes, I did. Having not seen it, I wrote the Paul Blart 2 Wikipedia page.

ERIC: Yeah, it seems like one of those movies you don't actually have to watch, yeah. But back to West Wing. It's good to know that West Wing is a big part of Christina's online identity because she recently did a critique of this TikTok where a guy imagined, what would the West Wing do if there was an episode now about the Suez Canal being blocked. Did you see this TikTok?

MADISON: I did see this TikTok.

ERIC: It's a walk-and-talk and it's a guy on TikTok saying, "Here's what Sam says. Here's where Toby says, here's what CJ says." And I really love Christina's reaction to this because she like, OK, Sam and Toby, they're perfect. But Josh would actually say this, CJ would say that, and there would definitely be a reference to HMS Pinafore in there somewhere. That is a deep level of knowledge and just an intimate sense of exactly how the series would handle this, and her critique rung perfectly true for me as a fan of that show.

MADISON: It's perfectly true. And the thing I love most about her West Wing bits in particular is like, this is a show that you could drive a truck through the holes in the plot, the problems in the plot, in 2021. And so, I love that she is able to like craft these witticisms about it that allow me as a once-upon-a-time West Wing Lemon Lyman stan...

ERIC: [laughs]

MADISON: Rachelle is just ... You don't need to know.

RACHELLE: [laughs]

MADISON: And it's better that you don't.

RACHELLE: OK, I'll stay in ignorant bliss.

MADISON: But she crafts jokes in such a great way. Her tone is just always so spot on that she's making fun of it, but also in the way that only like a fan can make fun of something and criticize something.

I should have realized that that nominating Christina here was going to force me to out myself as a has-watched-the-West-Wing a dozen times start to finish type.

RACHELLE: What? [laughs]

ERIC: Yes. There's two of us on the podcast, so you're in good company.

RACHELLE: OK. I see what kind of podcast I'm on. War of the Roses, not allowed. West Wing, we got it.

MADISON: I feel we ... we encouraged the War of the Roses dialogue!

RACHELLE: [laughs]

ERIC: There is room for all of these messy governmental, political dramas here. We have room for everybody.

That was Christina Tucker, who's on Twitter @C_GraceT. We're going to take a quick break now, but we'll be back in a minute with Rachelle Hampton and Madison Malone Kircher from ICYMI.


ERIC: Welcome back to follow Friday. We're here with Rachelle Hampton and Madison Malone Kircher from ICYMI. And now it's back to Rachelle to talk about her next follow. She picked someone who both makes her laugh and makes her think. That person is Jasmine Sanders, who's on Twitter @JasMoneyRecords.

So looking at Jasmine's Twitter account, I think I see, Rachelle, why you say she belongs in both these categories, but why don't you explain why you had to bend the rules a little?

RACHELLE: Yeah. I really had to cheat with Jasmine just because she is one of the funniest people on Twitter, but it also just felt so kind of diminishing to only to be like, "She makes me laugh" when she's also just an incredible cultural critic. Like, she wrote this piece about Black romantic art, kind of referencing these mass production prints that like are very familiar to me and like most Black people. Like you see them in everybody's houses and where they came from and how they like came to just be ubiquitous. And it was just such an amazing piece of writing.

It's honestly unfair that she just is also so funny on Twitter. Like, I think she went off Twitter for maybe like six months or like a few months during the pandemic and there are so few people who I'm like ... If I haven't seen their tweets in a few months, I'm like, all right, whatever. I'm sure they're fine. But Jasmine was gone and I was like, "Where did she go?! I need this!" [laughs]

ERIC: "Twitter is worse now!"

RACHELLE: I was like, "Twitter is worse now. I need her take on something absolutely dumb that's going across the feed." She's just biting and irreverent and also willing to make fun of herself in a way that doesn't cross over into the eminent self-negging that so many people kind of do.

MADISON: I'm right here, Rachelle. I'm right here.

ERIC: [laughs]

RACHELLE: You know, we have a saying in the South, "Hit dogs holler." Whoever feels called out by that, love yourself more!


RACHELLE: But Jasmine, I feel like she also belongs in the category of like, I would love to be friends with her. Cause she's just like ... Everything she tweets about, I'm just like, "Wow, how are you so funny?"

ERIC: I saw something she tweeted a couple of years ago. She was quote-tweeting Paris Hilton, who had said, "If you don't know what to say, just be like 'that's hot.'" And Jasmine quote-tweeted to say "Paris, you are 37."


ERIC: Just, the economy of that burn.

RACHELLE: It's just beautiful. So many people use quote tweets to dunk on people in a way where I'm just like, "That's boring! 27 other people have done that." But when Jasmine does and I'm like, wow, that's original.

ERIC: Nailed it.

RACHELLE: Yep, absolutely nailed it.

ERIC: When someone says that someone, you know, makes them think, I often like to ask, what's something they either changed your mind about, changed your perspective about. Is there anything that comes to mind there, where it's like, I don't know, something you read that Jasmine wrote that really moved you, changed you in some way?

RACHELLE: Yeah, there was this piece she wrote in the New York Times about Black women and fur coats, which.. There's this very kind of one note discussion about fur coats right now, because of PETA and animal rights, which like ... Obviously, we all support animal rights. We don't all support PETA 'cause they are crazy sometimes, but the piece she wrote was just ... There was a level of care in it that I don't think a lot of cultural critics take with the things that they're discussing or writing about.

And I don't think all critics have to bring a personal element into their writing, but the way that Jasmine does it, it just feels like so organic and natural and just moving. Literally, whenever she writes anything, I'm like, immediate bookmark, tab. Like, I'm going to save that to read later. I'm not going to half-read it while I'm in a meeting. I'm going to make sure I'm like sitting in a place and I have time to fully engage with what she's writing about.

ERIC: That is a really good endorsement, I've gotta say.

RACHELLE: Yeah. [laughs]

MADISON: Yeah, that paired with like, "She's a person who made Twitter worse by leaving it." Can you give higher internet praise?

RACHELLE: Who knows? But Jasmine deserves all of it!

ERIC: Another thing that I noticed when I was looking at her Twitter feed is, as you said, she's incredibly funny, incredibly smart, but she also seems to be really cognizant of the way that our attention is so easily distractable online.

She's very cleverly refocusing the conversation — mixed in, between the tweets, she'll be tweeting about news, trying to focus the conversation on like, "Hey, you know, this is still a major problem," talking about deaths from COVID, talking about police violence, talking about all these things that are really heavy, not-funny issues, but she finds a way to thread that needle, which I really admire for a creative person who is still posting really funny stuff other at other times. She's able to make that work for her account, for the sort of stuff she posts.

MADISON: I'm thinking about the time she tweeted she was going to start OnlyFans for plant pictures.

RACHELLE: Yes! [laughs]

ERIC: [laughs]

MADISON: Like, I would give that so much money.

RACHELLE: At one point, she was like, who wants to know about the drama in plant influencer Instagram right now? And I was just like, give me 5,000 words about that! I want to know about this, please tell me immediately. It's when someone's really funny on Twitter and it's part of their "brand," when they like choose to kind of turn a serious lens toward something, it kind of hits. It can either come off as diminishing, or just have kind of a heavier weight to it. And I think Jasmine manages to turn the topics she actually cares about. And like, make sure that it gives the kind of proper weight to it. I keep using the word "weight," I don't know why. [laughs]

MADISON: Gravitas.

ERIC: Gravitas!

RACHELLE: Oh yeah! Gravitas is the word that I was looking for. Thank you, Madison.

ERIC: [laughs] That was Jasmine Sanders, who's on Twitter @JasMoneyRecords. We have time for one more follow today and it's going back to Madison. I asked for someone she's embarrassed to admit she follows, and she said the Queer Cate Blanchett Lookbook. As a straight guy, I don't think I should say the name of this account, but it's on Instagram.

MADISON: [laughs] I'll say it, Eric.

ERIC: Madison, do you want to give the username?

MADISON: Yes. The account is @dykeblanchett.

ERIC: There it is. So talk about this account. I am very curious to see how you're going to define this for the listeners who can't see it right now.

MADISON: It is a perfect place on the internet. Number one, if you haven't seen Carol, the movie ...

ERIC: Great movie.

MADISON: ... that might be a good place to start for understanding sort of the ethos of @dykeblanchett on Instagram. But it is a meme page that is devoted to cataloging all of the "Sapphic looks" of Cate Blanchett. So basically, it's a meme page engineered to trigger all of my pleasure centers.


MADISON: Uh, hi mom. There are pictures of just Cate Blanchett in like endless suits, in various pairs of good eyewear, standing next to Gillian Anderson. Do you remember, there was a series of press photos from Cannes film festival a couple of years ago that came out where Kristen Stewart is just staring, like super longingly in the background, at Cate Blanchett?

ERIC: [laughs]

MADISON: Like that's the platonic ideal meme image for this page.

ERIC: In the language of this Instagram account, we are all Kristin Stewart. That's the perspective.

MADISON: Yes, exactly! Explain a meme ... There's, you know, a picture of Cate Blanchett in a mask and somebody's holding up one of those like ray-gun thermometers they use in hygiene theater all over the world ...

ERIC: [laughs]

MADISON: ... and it's like, "Cate Blanchett tests positive for Big Dyke Energy."

RACHELLE: Oh gosh. I can only imagine ...

MADISON: It's a beautiful place.

RACHELLE: ... that that video of Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara has to be on there, right?

MADISON: Yeah, absolutely.

ERIC: What video is this?

RACHELLE: Oh, they're doing press for ...

MADISON: Um, it must be Carol, right?

ERIC: Yeah. They were in Carol together.

RACHELLE: I haven't seen Carol. This is where I'm outing myself.

MADISON: Well, they're both, there's a new movie they're both in ... there was like a press still that came out and they're both in period pieces. So I definitely wrote a dumb blog that was like "Carol 2 looks really great!"


MADISON: Uh, it's not Carol 2. Hold on ...

RACHELLE: It's basically Carol 2. But in this video, like Rooney Mara, I think the interviewer asked her, "How do you portray attraction to Cate Blanchett or something. Like, how did you get that kind of chemistry? And Cate Blanchett says something like, "Why don't you take this one darling?" And Rooney Mara just looks so flustered as she's answering this question.

ERIC: [laughs]

RACHELLE: Like, she's just looking over at Cate.

MADISON: [laughs]

RACHELLE: I'm just like, there's something going ... Like, anybody who is complimented by Cate Blanchett or called "darling" by her would probably look the same way, but it's just like, I can't imagine that this video would not be on this specific account.

MADISON: ... It is a Guillermo del Toro movie that has nothing to do with Carol, but ...

ERIC: Well, Guillermo watched Carol and was just like, "Yes, I would like to make one of these."

RACHELLE: [laughs]

MADISON: [laughs] I, yeah, that was possibly one of my favorite headlines ... headline? Maybe I didn't get them to put it in the headline. There's a joke in there that reads like "Carol 2: The Empire Dykes back," which is ...

ERIC: [laughs]

MADISON: I'm proud of that one.

RACHELLE: You should be, that goes into your hall of fame.

ERIC: That's amazing.

MADISON: At the risk of sounding like a crazy person who Cate's PR person is going to put on a blacklist forever ... I was watching all of the Marvel movies in quarantine, some of them for the first time. When we got to Thor: Ragnarok, which I didn't know anything about, I didn't know anything about the cast of, and Cate Blanchett is in this. And just the, like, first time she appears, her like body in shadow, I was like, "Oh! Cate Blanchett is in this movie!"

EVERYONE: [laughs]

ERIC: Clocked it right away.

RACHELLE: You didn't even see her face? Just her shadowed silhouette?

MADISON: [laughs] She's just like ... Yeah.

ERIC: She's like walking out of like a space portal or something, and she's all dressed up in this crazy black leather getup and you immediately recognized...


RACHELLE: That's a talent.

MADISON: I'm a broken woman.

ERIC: We should probably acknowledge, so as to not antagonize her PR people, that Cate Blanchette is married to a man. She's married to a man named Andrew Upton. I was just listening to an episode of Ologies recently, talking about fandom. And they're talking about how in fan fiction, it's really common for characters who were written as either ambiguously sexual or straight to be reinterpreted as queer.

And the difference here is like, this is sort of like fan fiction, but this is a real person. So I don't know, Madison, what are your thoughts on that? I'm not trying to be a party pooper on this very fun and, I think, generally harmless account, but does that give you any pause?

MADISON: Not really? I don't know. I don't think you take the role in Ocean's 8 that Cate Blanchett opted to take, which was basically just like a parade of excellent sentient suits, without like being in on this bit, without knowing that you have this like built-in fan base who enjoy your performances. And I think it's harmless. I'd like to think it's harmless mostly because I think that there's like ... we should be past the point societaly where like, "Oh no, someone thinks you're gay." Like that's not an insult.

ERIC: Yeah. We're not in Chandler Bing territory anymore, we're long past that. I'm going to give you a totally unfair and impossible question. And either of you can chime in here. Top three Cate Blanchett performances?

RACHELLE: Ooh. So I just watched Lord of the Rings for the first time. So I guess I will put that up there. That was pretty great.

ERIC: I think every movie should start with a Cate Blanchett monologue.

RACHELLE: [laughs]

ERIC: "The world is changing ..." Just literally, any franchise, you know?

RACHELLE: I was just like, "Wow, this is Cate Blanchett talking to me about this world. Maybe I'll actually finish this movie this time." And I did!

ERIC: [laughs] It worked!

RACHELLE: It worked, and I know Oceans 8 gets dragged a lot, but I really liked it. I really like Cate Blanchett.

ERIC: I only saw it once, I gotta see it again.

RACHELLE: Yeah. It's fun!

MADISON: Blue Jasmine, obviously.

ERIC: OK. I haven't seen that one yet. It's on my list.

MADISON: OK, yeah. Blue Jasmine, Carol ... honestly, maybe Lord of the Rings in third? All that matters is that Where'd You Go, Bernadette? is at the bottom of this ranking.

RACHELLE: [softly] I liked that movie...

ERIC: I saw the trailer for that and the reviews were so bad that I stayed away when it came out.
RACHELLE: I liked that movie! [laughs]

MADISON: I liked that book!


ERIC: Well, wherever you come down on Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, that was the Queer Cate Blanchett Lookbook, which is on Instagram.

Rachelle and Madison, thank you so much for sharing your follows with us today. Before we go, let's make sure the listeners know how to find both of you online. Where do you want them to follow you?

RACHELLE: You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram. All my handles are the same on every platform, it's @HeyyDnae.

MADISON: My handles are also the same on every platform. And I am at "forever Malone," but the good spellings of that were taken by the time I joined Twitter. So that is @4evrmalone.

ERIC: [laughs] Anything for a good pun. You know, it's worth it. You go to any lengths. You can find me on Twitter at @HeyHeyESJ and this show on Twitter or Instagram @FollowFridayPod.

And a quick request: If you're in a group chat or a Discord or a Facebook group where people recommend podcasts, please consider giving Follow Friday a shout-out. This episode, any episode, you can find them all at I really appreciate everything listeners like you do to spread the word about this show. So thank you.

Follow Friday's theme music was written by me and performed by Yona Marie. Our show art was illustrated by Dodi Hermawan. Additional music by Purple Planet Music and Katherine Chang.
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!

[music ends]

RACHELLE: That was fun!

MADISON: I did really wonder if you were going to say the name. [laughs]

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