Weekly Wrap: 'One Hot Mess' As Shutdown Continues, Plus Millennials And Burnout : It's Been a Minute It's Friday. Sam is swimming through the latest in shutdown and border wall news with help from NBC White House correspondent Geoff Bennett and CNN senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson. Race is seemingly absent from that debate, even though it's a big predictor of voter attitudes on immigration. Plus, why BuzzFeed writer Anne Helen Petersen dubbed millennials the "burnout generation."

Weekly Wrap: 'One Hot Mess' As Shutdown Continues, Plus Millennials And Burnout

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/684526803/684641377" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

AUNT BETTY: Hey, y'all. This is Sam's Aunt Betty. This week on the show, CNN's senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson and NBC White House Correspondent Geoff Bennett. All right, let's start the show.



Aunt Betty's going to freak out because I know she's seen both of y'all on the TV.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: Oh, my God. That is so cool. I'm freaking out.

GEOFF BENNETT: Thank you, Aunt Betty.

HENDERSON: This is like James Earl Jones saying my name. This is fantastic. I love it.

SANDERS: Oh, my God, that's going to get to her head. Oh, my goodness. From NPR, I'm Sam Sanders - IT'S BEEN A MINUTE. I am taping the show this week from Washington, D.C. That means I have a guest with me here in person from D.C., Nia-Malika Henderson from CNN. And also joining us from down the road at the White House, Geoff Bennett, NBC White House correspondent. He's working out of the White House today. You both are hearing a mariachi remix of "Baby Shark" this week.


SANDERS: This song has exploded.

HENDERSON: Oh, my God.

SANDERS: Let's pull it up so we can hear even more of it.


UNIDENTIFIED SINGER #1: (Singing) Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo. Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo. Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo. Baby shark.

SANDERS: It's so good.

HENDERSON: I know this song.

BENNETT: Thank you for the ear worm.

HENDERSON: As does my niece, yeah.

SANDERS: Well, Geoff, you have a kid right? Are you baby sharking with your child?

BENNETT: Yeah, but he's too old for the "Baby Shark" thing. I missed "Baby Shark" by a couple of years, thank goodness.

SANDERS: Oh, my goodness.

HENDERSON: My niece, who's 2, knows this song very well. And she specifically shakes her little booty when she hears this song.

SANDERS: I love it. I love it. So this version is by La Banda del Mango. It is a mariachi remix to "Baby Shark". But I'm playing "Baby Shark" because this kids' song that's been sweeping the nation - it is now officially one of the top 40 songs in the country.

HENDERSON: Deservedly so.

BENNETT: It's better than Barney. Remember those Barney songs like in the '90s and early 2000s? It's better than that.

SANDERS: I used to like clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere. That one was good. So anyways, this week it was announced that the "Baby Shark" song is No. 32 on the Billboard Hot 100 - the 32nd most popular song in America.

HENDERSON: And climbing, I'm sure.

SANDERS: Yes. It is definitely climbing, which is crazy. It was streamed more than 20 million times last week. I want to play you guys the original so you can hear that one - the original earworm.


PINKFONG: (Singing) Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo. Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo. Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo. Baby shark.

SANDERS: It is catchy.

HENDERSON: It really is.

SANDERS: It's catchy. So this version was made by a South Korean educational video company called Pinkfong. And it really started to go viral over here when there was the "Baby Shark" challenge where people would do the dance themselves on video, including people like Ellen. But I'm kind of annoyed that a song like this hits the Billboard charts because it shows how much the charts have changed over the years. Now they count things like social media likes. They count YouTube streams. So a song can make it big on the Billboard charts from YouTube now.

BENNETT: So some 4-year-old asking his dad to hit repeat on YouTube...

SANDERS: Literally.

BENNETT: ...Is sending "Baby Shark" up the charts.

SANDERS: Yes, that sends a song up the charts. I went down the "Baby Shark" rabbit hole this week and I actually found a German version from, like, 2007. And that version - it's a lot darker. And at the end of the song, the shark, like, eats a person. I want to play a little bit of that for y'all.


UNIDENTIFIED SINGER #2: (Singing in German) Baby hai, doo doo doo doo doo doo. Baby hai, doo doo doo doo doo doo.

SANDERS: It's really weird.

BENNETT: This sounds like the Migos version of "Baby Shark".

BENNETT: Baby shark.



UNIDENTIFIED SINGER #2: (Singing in German) Kleiner hai, doo doo doo doo doo doo.

SANDERS: I now have to pivot to a much more serious topic, the news of the week. We are all going to describe our week of news in only three words, but because I know what y'all cover and because I know what the news was like this week, all of our three words are going to focus on one topic. You know what it is.

HENDERSON: The shutdown,

SANDERS: The shutdown, the border wall debate. It's been - what? - almost three weeks of shutdown?

BENNETT: It has been three weeks.

SANDERS: And a really weird - not weird - sad thing I saw Friday morning was that paychecks went out to federal employees with an amount of zero dollars. So you still got a check, but it was just blank.

HENDERSON: Maybe for a second you thought...

SANDERS: You were hopeful maybe.

HENDERSON: And then the zero.

BENNETT: And you know what is so crazy about that? So there are, of course, those 800,000 federal workers who are directly affected, but then there are contractors, people who work on contracts for some of these affected departments and agencies, janitors, food service workers, security guards. They will never get paid. There is no mechanism for them to get paid back.

SANDERS: That's crazy. Well, we each have three words about this crazy, ever-evolving story. Geoff, because you're in the White House right now...


SANDERS: ...Waiting to hear whatever the Trump White House says today. You get to go first.

BENNETT: So my three words - and they're alliterative because I figured, why not?


BENNETT: Symbolism, strategy and suffering.

SANDERS: OK. Unpack that.

BENNETT: So the - I'll start with symbolism because this deadlock has moved far beyond being about policy. This is really about politics. And it has been from the beginning. So, you know, funding the border wall is as much a personal victory for Donald Trump as blocking funding for it is for Democrats. And the president all along has been concerned that if he makes a deal, if he compromises or if he's seen as caving, he would pay for that. He would pay the price for that. Strategy comes in because the White House and the president all along have miscalculated. From the very beginning, when Donald Trump said he would be proud to own the mantle of shutting down the government over border security, there were Republicans who were in shock over that because they saw that as an emotional reaction not a tactical one. And ever since then, he's been trying to find a way out of this corner that he's painted himself into. Up until the point where he thought that once Nancy Pelosi became speaker, that she might be more inclined to do a deal.

SANDERS: Wait. He thought...

HENDERSON: (Laughter).

SANDERS: ...That she would be more inclined.


SANDERS: Does he know who Nancy Pelosi is and what party she's in?

HENDERSON: And the caucus, right?


HENDERSON: I mean, the most diverse...


HENDERSON: ...Caucus...


HENDERSON: ...That you've seen on the Democratic side.

SANDERS: The Democrats sent people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Congress.

HENDERSON: She's not voting for a wall.



BENNETT: Yeah. And at one point, they were trying to play Schumer and Pelosi against each other.

SANDERS: That ain't happening.

BENNETT: Well, exactly.

SANDERS: Mom and dad are a united front.

HENDERSON: (Laughter).

BENNETT: Yeah. Yeah.

SANDERS: But one of my favorite visuals of the dueling speeches about the wall this week was seeing disappointed mom and dad, Nancy and Chuck...

HENDERSON: (Laughter) Yes.

SANDERS: ...Giving their response.

HENDERSON: Not the best staging.

SANDERS: Yeah. Geoff, we - so your third word, Geoff, was suffering. What do you mean by that?

BENNETT: Third word was suffering for all the things we just talked about earlier - about the federal workers who are, in effect, held hostage by all of this.

SANDERS: What I wonder in all of this is why Donald Trump feels so obligated to please his base on this issue? - because what I keep saying to myself is, Donald Trump, where is your base going?


SANDERS: They're not going to go to someone else.


SANDERS: They like you.

HENDERSON: Exactly, they like you. And you're the one who said of your base that...


HENDERSON: ...You could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue...


HENDERSON: ...And they wouldn't go anywhere.


HENDERSON: And I actually believe that's true - I mean, not literally the part about shooting somebody on Fifth Avenue. But they are so emotionally attached...


HENDERSON: ...To this president...


HENDERSON: ...That it's very unlikely that they would - certainly, they wouldn't vote for a Democrat. They're not going to...

SANDERS: They're going to go support Mitt Romney in 2020?

HENDERSON: Exactly, exactly.

BENNETT: Yeah. I think a couple of things account for this. One is that there really is no legislative agenda for the rest of the year beyond this wall, in part, because Democrats now control the House. So in many ways, this border wall, border security...

SANDERS: Is the last hurrah.

BENNETT: ...Is the only game in town for the Trump administration.



BENNETT: And every offramp that his aides or allies have tried to give him, you know, by expanding the deal to include DACA - maybe that's something that Democrats can get behind. We can do that. He has shut it down. And what I can't figure out is, short of declaring a national emergency, what is the endgame? Like, what is the acceptable way out?

SANDERS: Nia, you have three words?

HENDERSON: Oh, my three words - one hot mess. And...


SANDERS: Me every week (laughter).

HENDERSON: Yeah, yeah. Right. And it really, I think, explains not only the situation that's going on here in Washington, it also explains the immigration system, right?


HENDERSON: The - what is going on at the border...


HENDERSON: ...Is, basically, these folks are coming up from Central America. And they are fleeing crime and drug-ridden, gang-ridden areas in countries that are, basically, corrupt and in the pockets of a lot of these drug cartels. And so they're fleeing - coming here, women and children, some men, obviously, too, and seeking asylum, right?


HENDERSON: And there's nothing illegal about seeking asylum. And the courts are completely backed up in hearing cases. And so that's one of the fundamental issues that's going on. Of course, the president wants to paint it very differently.


SANDERS: You know, there have been moments in recent history where it felt as if Republicans and Democrats were close to something on immigration. When was the last time that happened? And what did that look like?

HENDERSON: Yeah, that was 2013, right?

SANDERS: Oh, wow.

HENDERSON: That was right after the shellacking that came at the hands of the Republican Party or was delivered to the Republican Party at the hands of Democrats in that 2012 election where Obama did so well with black and brown voters. And the idea then was, listen. As a Republican Party, we need to do better with Latinos. So you had Marco Rubio, who was...

SANDERS: I remember that.

HENDERSON: Yeah. You remember Marco Rubio on the cover of Time magazine...


HENDERSON: ...As the savior...


HENDERSON: ...Of the Republican Party? He didn't like that. He thought that sort of language - Christian language - wasn't great for him. But anyway, so yeah, they came up with a pretty comprehensive plan that would have a pathway to citizenship for the 11 or 12 million or so that would also include some border security ended up passing the Senate with about 14 votes from Republicans, people like Lindsey Graham, people like Marco Rubio, people who weren't around in the Senate anymore...


HENDERSON: ...like Corker and Flake and Heller and the late John McCain. So that was something that they felt like, OK. This is a great thing.


HENDERSON: But, of course, it never made it...

SANDERS: Never made it to the House.

HENDERSON: ...To the floor of the House. And that's - you know, it was much more conservative.

BENNETT: That's the thing about immigration is that it has always been the third rail of our current politics.


BENNETT: It gets even thornier when you have an administration, when you have a president who fudges with the facts. So that poisons the well of negotiation. And then if you add to the fact that the president started his campaign pitch by attacking undocumented immigrants, that's why Democrats are against the wall. It's not just...


BENNETT: ...The fact that they say it's bad policy.

SANDERS: It's symbolic.

BENNETT: They say it is the physical representation of Donald Trump's anti-immigrant, xenophobic campaign pitch. So that's why Democrats have been dug in all along...


BENNETT: ...Both on the substance of the thing and on the politics of it.

SANDERS: Are they smart to be as dug in as they are? - because if you look back in these Democrats' votes, there have been Democrats before that have voted for border fencing and wall...


SANDERS: ...Under President...


SANDERS: ...Obama, under President Clinton, under President Bush. Like, this has happened before.


SANDERS: And Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Obama have supported it.

HENDERSON: One of the reasons they - I think Geoff hits on a great point here. And you do, too. The idea that Democrats do have a past of voting for some of these - securing the Fence Act or whatever. And partly, it's because they were dealing with a broker like George W. Bush - right? - who never demonized immigrants, illegal immigrants, and never was disparaging in the way that Donald Trump is. And that's the big problem here.

SANDERS: The rhetoric has changed.

HENDERSON: Yeah. I mean, they can't be seen as a party that is, essentially, co-signing what they see as Donald Trump's racism.


SANDERS: I have three words, as well. They are - about race. And both of you have already said that, like, in many ways, this debate over immigration and the law is about race. But what I found really interesting this week is how, in both their addresses, Trump and - like Democrats, they kind of stripped race from the debate. We did hear Trump mention race briefly in his address from the Oval Office, when he alleged that illegal immigration hurts blacks. But after that, he didn't address it at all. And then Pelosi and Schumer talked about how the shutdown's hurting Americans, but they didn't address race at all.


SANDERS: And I think it is impossible to have a truly candid conversation about Americans and immigration and a border wall without talking about how our views on race and diversity and the browning of America affect your views on immigration.

HENDERSON: Yeah. And if you look at polling, the people who are most supportive of the wall are white evangelicals, right?


HENDERSON: And I think the white part of that white evangelicals is probably more important than the evangelicals part of that.

SANDERS: Than the evangelical, yeah.

HENDERSON: The folks who are least supportive of it are African-Americans and Latinos. So there is this racial divide.

SANDERS: There's a cleavage.

HENDERSON: There is also a sort of anxiety around the browning of America that, quite frankly - and all the data show that from 2016, right? It wasn't economic anxiety. It was cultural...

SANDERS: Racial anxiety, yeah.

HENDERSON: ...Racial and cultural anxiety. And this idea that, if you're white, you were going to be displaced, both economically and culturally, by people who didn't look like you.

SANDERS: Yeah. You know, there's countless data points that speak to this, but the one that I was, you know, looking at this week was this working paper from Steven Miller of Clemson University. And he found...

BENNETT: The other Steven Miller.

SANDERS: The other Steven Miller. Yes. Oh, my goodness.


SANDERS: He found that racial resentment is a much better predictor of your thoughts on immigration than any thoughts on economic anxieties. And I think that we're not doing our part as a country if we don't have a conversation that also speaks to that.

BENNETT: This is one of those things where I think Donald Trump benefits from the fact that he so often floods the zone with statements and even scandal, that you often forget what he's already said about a given topic. Remember when Donald Trump called African nations s-hole countries? The thing that he also said that oftentimes gets forgotten is that the next thought was, why can't we have more people from places like Norway? - which I think is instructive.

He was also on the record saying that one of the reasons why he doesn't like immigration, legal or otherwise, is because he thinks that immigrants vote for Democrats, which I think is also instructive. So those two things taken together, I think, explains his entire worldview when it comes to immigration.

SANDERS: Well, on that note, we're going to take a quick break right now. When we come back, we're talking millennials and the unique factors that make us all - me included - feel so burned out. All right. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm Sam Sanders. We'll be right back.

We are back. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR, the show where we catch up on the week that was. I'm Sam Sanders, here with two guests - friend of the show and veteran of the show, Geoff Bennett, White House correspondent for NBC News. He is such a trooper. He is joining me right now from the White House.

BENNETT: (Laughter).

SANDERS: You're in the - what is the room called? I don't even know.

BENNETT: Oh, the NBC White House booth.

HENDERSON: (Laughter).

SANDERS: So you're, like, how...

BENNETT: So right behind the briefing room.


HENDERSON: Tiny, tiny booths, those are.

BENNETT: That's right. It's like an airline seat.

SANDERS: Glad you're here. Yes. Yes. And here in studio with me is Nia-Malika Henderson, senior political reporter for CNN - your first time here.


SANDERS: I'm so happy you're here.

HENDERSON: I hope to become a friend of the show.

SANDERS: You already are.

HENDERSON: Yes. Great.

SANDERS: You already are. So I want to talk to you both about a story you might have missed this week 'cause you were covering other things.

HENDERSON: (Laughter) Right.

SANDERS: But my Internet all week was consumed with conversation about one particular story from one reporter at one news outlet. I'm talking about this article from Anne Helen Petersen at BuzzFeed all about millennial burnout. Did you guys see this?


SANDERS: So the article is called "How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation." And in this piece, Anne Helen basically argues that millennials are suffering right now from this unique and kind of constant state of burnout that's really shaped by the economy and the Internet and all these other kinds of things that are specific to how this group came of age. This article was big. It sparked dozens of response think pieces, thousands of tweets. BuzzFeed even made a quiz based on the article, so we can all find out just how burnt out we are. I took the quiz. I got a 33 out of 54 - mildly burnt out (laughter).

HENDERSON: I want to take it.

SANDERS: Take it. Take it.

HENDERSON: Yeah, I'm going to take this quiz.

BENNETT: I'm too burnt out to take the quiz.


SANDERS: So all this to say there was a lot to unpack with this piece. So I called up Anne Helen Petersen to talk about all the buzz and the arguments that she sparked with this story on burnout.

Hey. How are you?

ANNE HELEN PETERSEN: I'm great. How are you?

SANDERS: I'm good. So let's talk about that burnout and talk about your piece, which I've been seeing, literally, all over the Internet for a good week now. What do you mean exactly by that phrase?

PETERSEN: So I think that what I was conceiving of as burnout and what most people conceive of as burnout is something that you reach and then you recover from. And so I really rejected that I was dealing with burnout in any capacity. I was like, no, I'm not burnt out. Like, I'm just working. You know, I keep working, so I can't be burnt out. And what happened was that I started doing a lot of reading on burnout and on, like, why I couldn't get simple errands done and came to realize that the way I was thinking of burnout was wrong that it, for millennials - and, obviously, for more than just millennials - but specifically for millennials, burnout has become our base temperature.

SANDERS: And it's, like, what I think you got at really well in the piece is that we simultaneously are overburdened by all these pressures and collapsing but also still working.


SANDERS: And that is the maddening (laughter) state that we're in.

PETERSEN: Yeah. It's that you reach the point of collapse, and then you keep going, you know? It's like you finish the marathon, and then you start running another marathon.

SANDERS: Yeah. And, like, you open so beautifully, writing about how this can be manifested in what you call errand paralysis.

PETERSEN: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Like, the small things that we just can't do - you know, can't file the insurance claim, can't go to the post office. And I was like, oh, my God. It's me.

PETERSEN: (Laughter) Well, and the thing is, like, that term sounds ridiculous, right?

SANDERS: Oh, it totally does. Those spoiled millennials.

PETERSEN: Like, it sounds like such, like - such a bourgeois problem. Or even this, like, oh, I can't, like, mail my thank-you card. But I think that everyone has a to-do list - right? - in their head, written out - whatever. And there's a bottom half of that to-do list, and everyone's is different. But what happens is that that bottom half keeps not getting done. And it weighs on you in a way that you internalize - shame or just, like, failure, right? It's like, OK, I'm, like, killing it in my job, so why can't I do these other things that would either, like, make me feel good about myself or also, you know, like, bring me closer to my family or make me a better citizen?


PETERSEN: Like, you know, that sort of thing.

SANDERS: Or even, like, how can I find 30 minutes away from my smartphone to do a chore?

PETERSEN: Yeah, because you feel like - I think, oftentimes, our being tethered to our phones is characterized as an addiction, and it's more that I feel like I have to be able to be accessible at all times to my boss. Like, I always need to be checking Slack...

SANDERS: Yes. Yeah.

PETERSEN: ...So that I can - even if it's just to, like, put a little comment in there, so they know that I'm working.

SANDERS: Oh, yeah.

PETERSEN: Someone I know calls this, like, LARPing your job.


PETERSEN: You're like - you are live-action role-playing your job, and that is exhausting.

SANDERS: It's exhausting.

PETERSEN: And that's why we're addicted to our phones.

SANDERS: You outline some specific factors that affect millennials that lead to this type of burnout, you know, for our generation. And you write about how we were expected to kind of grow up with better lives than our parents, to do better than them. And we grew up in this time of relative prosperity, but then we're working in this economy, you know, post-recession, where a lot of us are doing worse than our parents. And that reality kind of also leads to this burnout. Explain that.

PETERSEN: Yeah. I think that a lot of us entered the job force at a time when those entry-level jobs were no longer available. So trying to deal with that - right? - trying to figure out, OK, what is my path? Is there a path? Just blindly looking for some way to keep afloat. And let - you know, to find a job, let alone a career, that will lead you toward something like a 401(k) or even the hope of ever retiring, that mental load is something that we have been dealing with for a long time.

So I think that, like, we say that we're recovered from the economic downturn. And that works differently depending on where you live in America, what profession you're in, you know, how much student loan debt you have - all sorts of things - if you're helping support your parents. But at the same time, that means that, oh, some of us are finally getting job stability after 10 years. So we are 10 years late, right?


PETERSEN: Like, we are starting adulthood...


PETERSEN: ...At 33 or 35.

SANDERS: Yeah. Well, and then also, it's like - for me, I think a lot of it is the Internet and our smartphones having us always plugged in, while at the same time, always comparing our lives to someone else's through, like, Instagram. But I don't know. Like, what's the biggest reason for you?

PETERSEN: I mean, the Marxist in me says capitalism. But I don't think we're going to overthrow capitalism. I think a lot of it has to do with just the veneration of labor and also, like, an old-fashioned, Protestant work ethic, which says that, like, suffering is good. So that's really, really root and also speaks to the fact that, like, a lot of the criticism of the piece is that, you know, this is something that all generations experience. And I absolutely agree with that, that burnout is not something that is unique to millennials by any means. But I think, as you point out, there are all of these specific factors, including, you know, growing up into the digital, like, into lives that are incredibly mediated in a way that no generation has before us, but also understanding, like, most of us have that before and after with digital technologies.

SANDERS: Oh, yeah.

PETERSEN: Like, I had a college experience where I had, you know, email. But we checked it twice a day. And then I have my experience now, so I can see how my life has changed.

SANDERS: Exactly. What are the, like, specific cures or remedies that you see? Like, talking specifically about how to fix this problem, what is it for you?

PETERSEN: Well, I think, you know, there was just a piece published in The New Republic by a friend of mine, who actually has been thinking about burnout for a long time. His name is Jon Malesic. And he burnt out of academia. He had a tenure-track job and just left it. And what he writes about is that it's not just about curing burnout in yourself or trying to think about, how can I alleviate these behaviors in myself? The real solution is thinking about, how can I not create burnout in others as well? So what things are you doing as a manager, as a member of a family, as a friend that are making others burnt out? And I think that...

SANDERS: Like what?

PETERSEN: Like, from the managerial perspective - not even just, oh, I don't expect you to email me back, but just, there is no email after this time. Like, we will deal with it when we get into the office...


PETERSEN: ...Or trying to rely more on one-on-one communication, which, actually, like - as much as millennials hate the phone or hate, like, you know, Skyping in person and that sort of thing, like, it takes less time, and also, I think, creates less stress because it's easier to be explicit and to not read other things into what someone's saying. So there are things like that but also, just in the home, you know? Like, I think a lot of women I know have shown their partners that mental load cartoon that I reference in the piece...


PETERSEN: ...That's about - it's not just about dividing chores. It's about who is carrying the mental load of trying to, like, make all the trains come in on time in our family home. So once you make the other partner in the relationship aware of that, they can be much more mindful about trying to help you with that as well. So yeah, I know that's all abstract. But I really do think that, like, just talking about it and having language to talk about it explicitly is incredibly helpful.

SANDERS: Well, I have to say I'm so glad that we had this talk. It has been...


SANDERS: ...The buzz of my social circles all week. When we told NPR that we were going to talk to you for this piece, a fellow producer for a different show said, quote, oh, good. Please talk to her. I've never read anything that spoke so clearly to my deepest soul.

PETERSEN: Oh (laughter).

SANDERS: So your work is working.

PETERSEN: Ah, thank you so much. This has been wonderful.

SANDERS: Thank you.

PETERSEN: All right, bye.

SANDERS: Bye bye.


SANDERS: Many thanks again to Anne Helen Petersen for talking with me about her BuzzFeed article all about millennials and burnout. So what did you guys think about that?

HENDERSON: The article was interesting. I didn't really relate to it. And I couldn't figure out if it's because I'm a Gen Xer, if I'm black or because, like, I kind of grew up very working-class because a lot of - I felt like there were a lot of markers of class. And, like, at one point...



HENDERSON: She said, you know, her to-do list included getting knives sharpened. And I was like, I didn't know - I mean, is that - are you taking your knives out to get sharpened?

SANDERS: (Laughter).

HENDERSON: Is that, like, a thing? I...

SANDERS: That's a thing.

BENNETT: That's a thing.


HENDERSON: Yeah, I didn't know. So in that way, I couldn't necessarily relate.


HENDERSON: But the whole idea of burnout - my goodness. Last night, as I was - you know, as I was prepping for work, my girlfriend came down. And she basically said, babe, I'm about to go to bed. And I said, really? It's 8:30. Are you sure you want...


HENDERSON: You know - and I think, you know, this is burnout. She's a doctor. She works very hard.

SANDERS: Also, you're still working at 8:30 p.m. (laughter).

HENDERSON: Yeah, I'm still working at 8:30. But - and she wants to go to bed at 8:30. And I think at our age, you know, going to bed at 8:30 (laughter) is probably the norm...


HENDERSON: ...And maybe recommended for some of these millennials...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

HENDERSON: ...Who might be burning the midnight oil...


HENDERSON: ...A little bit much.

SANDERS: You got to sleep, kid.

HENDERSON: Yes, get to sleep.

SANDERS: So, Geoff, you saw the article.

BENNETT: Yeah. And I am a millennial. And I will have to say that millennials don't own a monopoly on burnout. But I think the thing here is sort of the cult of expectation, right? I mean, a lot of us grew up assuming that by the time you hit 22, 23, you'd be the CEO of some Fortune 500 company, right?

HENDERSON: (Laughter).

BENNETT: And so if that doesn't happen, what is wrong with you? It only means you have to work harder. The thing I've learned in my sort of edge of millennialness (ph) is that you just got to focus on the work. Focus on the work. Trust the process. When you get up on the...


HENDERSON: That's like the 76ers.


BENNETT: ...Social climbing, the ladder climbing, stuff starts to open up to you. And if you aren't an entry-level CEO when you graduate from college, you'll be OK.

SANDERS: You know, I read the article. And I'm 34.


SANDERS: I'm an old millennial. And I was like, oh, shit. It's me.

HENDERSON: Yeah, yeah.


BENNETT: You have to go get your knives sharpened.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

HENDERSON: I know. He's going to do it. It's what he's doing after the show.

SANDERS: Exactly. But, you know, she talked candidly with me about knowing that the way that she wrote that piece was just from her...


SANDERS: ...Perspective as an upper-class, white woman. And, you know, there's this burden nowadays to make sure that the one thing that you make speaks to everyone. And she's grappling with that. And she knows that she's writing as a privileged, white woman. But I also know and she also knows that we would all hate it even more if she tried to write the perspective of a black person.

HENDERSON: I think that's right, yeah.

SANDERS: You know?

HENDERSON: Yeah. And I think the issue is - and it's great to have her voice out there. I think the issue is, are these the only voices...


HENDERSON: ...That are out there? But listen. She clearly is from a different background. And my goodness, the article was so well-researched and so...

SANDERS: And she's a brilliant writer. I've been a fan of hers for a while.

HENDERSON: Yeah, brilliant writer, clearly a super achiever, yeah. Yeah.

SANDERS: Yeah. Yeah, you know, it's funny. We talked about solutions for this problem. And one of the things she told me that she finds helpful is that before she goes to bed, she puts the phone on airplane mode. And then she reads a book...

HENDERSON: Yeah, yeah.

SANDERS: ...Because something about reading a book - it doesn't hurt your brain as much as that constant scroll of social media.

HENDERSON: Oh, I think that's right, yeah. Yeah.

SANDERS: You know? And for me, I really think the root of all of this evil and all this young people burnout is social media...

HENDERSON: I completely agree.

SANDERS: ...And our phones. Our brains aren't wired for that...


SANDERS: ...Constant bombardment of stuff.


SANDERS: And whenever I feel like it's becoming too much, I turn the phone off and leave it in the other side of the room for a few hours.


BENNETT: That's true because for so many people, the phone is the first thing you turn to in the morning. And it's the last thing you see at night.

SANDERS: Exactly. So the article is called "How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation." All right, time for a break. When we come back, my favorite game - Who Said That?


SANDERS: You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR, the show where we catch up on the week that was. I'm Sam Sanders here with two great guests, Geoff Bennett, White House correspondent for NBC News, and Nia-Malika Henderson, senior political reporter for CNN. It is time for my favorite game, Who Said That?


KANDI BURRUSS: Who had been saying that?

PORSHA WILLIAMS: Who said that?

KENYA MOORE: Who said that?

SANDERS: Basically, I share three quotes from the week. You got to tell me who said it or get a key word from the story, then you get a point. The winner gets, as you know, absolutely nothing.

BENNETT: (Laughter).


SANDERS: Speed round because Geoff has to run. He's at the White House right now. First quote is, it is false and defamatory to suggest that blank does not use cutlery or does not wash his hands. Also, it is false and defamatory to suggest that blank lives or has ever lived in a basement cupboard or under the stairs.

HENDERSON: God, I have no idea.

BENNETT: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Someone who's always fighting with media.

BENNETT: Donald Trump.


HENDERSON: (Laughter).

BENNETT: Someone who's linked to Trump and linked to Russia and linked to leaks about Russia. He lives in an embassy somewhere.

HENDERSON: Oh, yeah.


HENDERSON: What's - yeah, yeah. I...

BENNETT: Julian Assange.

HENDERSON: Yeah, yes. Yes.

SANDERS: Julian Assange.

HENDERSON: Wow, we are horrible already.

SANDERS: It's OK. I will give that point to neither of you.


SANDERS: His legal team this week gave a long list of things they want the media to stop saying about him because they say that those false and defamatory statements hurt him. As we know, Assange has been locked up in an Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 2012. And there's been reports that it's kind of nasty in that embassy where he stays.


SANDERS: Lives in a basement cupboard or under the stairs.


BENNETT: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Poor Julian.


SANDERS: All right, 0-0. Next quote - the sponsors of events need to get permission from people when they get them to take their picture next to products.

BENNETT: Oh, I know this one.

SANDERS: Tell me.

BENNETT: Jamie Lee Curtis...



BENNETT: ...Next to...


BENNETT: ...Fiji girl...


BENNETT: ...Fiji lady.

SANDERS: Jamie Lee Curtis...

HENDERSON: Oh, Fiji. That's right.

SANDERS: ...The actress, was one of the many actresses...


SANDERS: ...At the Golden Globes red carpet who was pictured with that Fiji bottled water woman.


SANDERS: This was the young model who was carrying bottles of Fiji...

HENDERSON: I saw that, yeah.

SANDERS: ...Behind all the actresses and actors at the red carpet. In an Instagram post this week, Jamie Lee Curtis said, I didn't like that. She said, you should get permission...


SANDERS: ...Before you put this spon con right behind me.

BENNETT: I did wonder...

HENDERSON: Yeah, I know.

BENNETT: ...How the Fiji woman ended up on the red carpet, not just standing there but standing there with a tray of Fiji water.

SANDERS: And a pose for the ages.

HENDERSON: Yeah, yeah. It's - yeah. I mean, it's product...

BENNETT: And a pose.

HENDERSON: ...Product placement at its finest or worst.

SANDERS: She did her job.


HENDERSON: Yeah, that's what...

SANDERS: She did her job.

HENDERSON: ...She was supposed to do. Yeah.

SANDERS: And I may have bought a bottle of Fiji water.

HENDERSON: Yeah. I mean, it's such an iconic...


HENDERSON: ...You know, bottle of water.


BENNETT: Fiji water is the best bottled water, I have to say.

SANDERS: Ready? Last quote - you both will know this - so here I am at the dentist.

BENNETT: Oh, Beto.

HENDERSON: Beto O'Rourke, yeah. Yeah. Yeah.


SANDERS: Yes, yes - Beto O'Rourke, former Texas Democratic Congressman and potential 2020 candidate for president. He has been Instagramming live, which everyone else is doing these days.


SANDERS: But this week, he had an Instagram live of him in the dentist chair getting his teeth worked on.

HENDERSON: Possibly jumping the shark on Instagram.

SANDERS: It was a bit much. It was a bit much.


BETO O'ROURKE: So I'm here at the dentist, and we're going to continue our series on the people of the border. I'm here with Diana.

BENNETT: You know what? When I saw it - when I saw it - I saw it first on his Instagram feed. And I was like, oh, that's pretty funny. The guy has nice teeth. Good for him.

SANDERS: (Laughter) OK.

BENNETT: And it wasn't until I went to Twitter and saw all of the hate and was like, OK.

HENDERSON: Yeah, yeah.

BENNETT: Like, can Beto live a little bit? I mean, it was a bit much.

HENDERSON: It's sort of overdue for Beto, though, right? Because he's so - you know...

SANDERS: He's been a golden child for so long.

HENDERSON: He's been a golden child. So this is his sort of first...

SANDERS: At some point, you all get knocked down a peg, you know?

BENNETT: Yeah, sure.

SANDERS: So he was doing this - it was this dispatch from El Paso, Texas, where he's from. He's been trying to highlight voices from the border. And his dental hygienist, Diana, lives in the region and was talking to his followers about life on the border. So it was for a good cause (laughter)?

HENDERSON: For a purpose - but we probably didn't need that shot. But he does have nice teeth.

BENNETT: Diana from El Paso.

SANDERS: Yeah, it was something.


SANDERS: Well, I hope that you're smiling there, showing your teeth, Geoff, because you won Who Said That.


HENDERSON: You did win.

BENNETT: Oh, thank you. What do I get, sharpened knives?

HENDERSON: Right, right. I want a rematch. I want a rematch.

SANDERS: We're going to end the game and say bye to Geoff because, from what I understand, you're due for a live hit on NBC right now.

BENNETT: I have to run to television.

HENDERSON: Bye, Geoff.

SANDERS: OK. Bye, Geoff. It was so good to have you here.

BENNETT: See y'all.

SANDERS: Now it's time to end the show as we do every week. We ask our listeners to share with us the best things that happened to them all week. We encourage folks to brag.

Brent, hit the tape.

STEPHEN: Hi, Sam. It's Stephen (ph) from Blacksburg, Va. The best thing to happen in my week was yesterday, I got to help one of my students get their first state ID. The student hasn't had a state ID and is 19 years old. And to see the joy on his face when he came out of the DMV reminds me of why I do my work. Love the show. Thanks.

RILEY: Hey, Sam. This is Riley (ph) from Burlingame, Calif. The best part of my week was that I got into one of my top choices for grad school in occupational therapy.

PAUL: I finally landed my dream job as a software developer in my dream city - Chicago, Ill.

LAURA: I got my very first puppy.

THEO: My first scientific paper was accepted for publication - without revision.

CHRISTINA: Hi, Sam. This is Christina (ph) in Austin, Texas. And the best thing to happen to me all week is that I got to fly to Chicago and surprise my best friend for her baby shower. And I sewed together a quilt made of her 30-year-old baby blanket, and it was beautiful, if I do say so myself. And it was so good to be there.

MARCI: Hi, Sam. It's Marci (ph) in Pittsfield, Mass. In late October, one of your listeners shared the best thing that happened to her that week, which was hearing back from her AP English teacher after 15 years. Well, after 44 years and decades of thinking about Jeannie Goddard (ph) and wanting to tell her how much she inspired me, I sat down that afternoon, and I wrote her a letter. Yesterday, I got a response in the mail. Jeannie and I live in the same state. She's invited me to come and visit her and have a cup of tea, and I'm intending to do that. None of this would have happened if it hadn't been for your podcast. Thank you so much.

RILEY: Thanks.

CHRISTINA: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED LISTENER: Thanks, Sam. Have a good week.


SANDERS: I like that.

HENDERSON: Really great.

SANDERS: That was really sweet.


SANDERS: Many thanks to the voices you heard there - Stephen, Riley, Paul (ph), Laura (ph), Theo (ph), Christina and Marci. And also, thanks to all of you that sent me a ton of dog photos all week. I love them.

We're going to go out on another remix of "Baby Shark."


SANDERS: This is an R&B remix by Desmond Dennis. Listen. It's so good.


DESMOND DENNIS: (Singing) Baby shark, whoa.


HENDERSON: I want a gospel version.


HENDERSON: They've got to do a gospel version.

SANDERS: I want a Yolanda Adams gospel version.

HENDERSON: (Unintelligible) Please, please.


SANDERS: It would be amazing.

HENDERSON: Yes, yes.

SANDERS: So many thanks to my guests today - Geoff Bennett, White House correspondent for NBC News; Nia-Malika Henderson, senior political reporter for CNN. This week, the show was produced by Brent Baughman and Anjuli Sastry with editing help from Alex McCall. Steve Nelson is our director of programming. Our fearless editor is Jordana Hochman. Our big boss is NPR's senior VP of programming here at NPR. Her name is Anya Grundmann.

Listeners, refresh your feed Tuesday morning for my chat with Dan Levy. You know him from his role as David Rose on, I promise you, one of the funniest shows I've seen in years. It's called "Schitt's Creek."

HENDERSON: (Laughter).

SANDERS: We talk about how Dan Levy had the idea for the show and how he got the idea by watching spoiled brats on reality TV. We also talk about why he made his character on the show pansexual. That chat's in your feed on Tuesdays.

All right, till next time, thanks for listening. I'm Sam Sanders. Talk soon. And stay tuned right now for one more "Baby Shark" remix from a very special friend of the show, our editor Jordana's son, Ian.


DENNIS: (Singing) Baby shark. Yeah.



IAN: (Singing) Drink some water. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Drink some water. Eat some chicken. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Eat some chicken. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Eat some chicken. Have some melon. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Have some melon. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Have some melon. Have some - have some - some rice. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Have some rice. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Have some rice.

HOCHMAN: That's good, honey.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.