REBECCA ROBERTS, host:
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Rebecca Roberts in Washington, sitting in for Neal Conan.
In the '80s and early '90s, teen magazine readers could be grouped into two distinct categories. The "Seventeen" reader had New Kids on the Block playing in her Walkman, her prom dressed picked in September, and probably went to the prom with a senior. Then there were the "Sassy" girls. A "Sassy" magazine reader listened to Fugazi, didn't wait for someone to ask her to the prom, and was certainly capable of making her own dress.
"Sassy" was the antithesis of the homecoming queen, please your boyfriend culture. It published articles about suicide and STDs, while "Seventeen" was still teaching girls how to get a boy to notice you. Although "Sassy" folded in 1994, the cult of "Sassy" is alive and well. The generation of women that was influenced by the magazine has gone on to create a new batch of "Sassy"-type magazines like "bitch," "BUST" and "Venus." In the new book, "How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time," co-authors Kara Jesella and Marisa Meltzer detail the rise and fall of the "Sassy" moment, and argue it was less a teenage moment than an early feminist movement.
Later in the hour, D.C. is closer to voting rights than ever. But first, "Sassy" magazine. Did "Sassy" change your life? What do you think of current teen magazines? Our number here in Washington is 800-989-8255. That's 800-989-TALK. Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can comment on our blog at npr.org/blogofthenation.
Kara Jesella is an editor at the New York Times Style section and co-author of "How Sassy Changed My Life" and a "Sassy" fan. She's in our New York bureau. Welcome.
Ms. KARA JESELLA (Author, "How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time"): Thank you. Yes, I am a big "Sassy" fan.
ROBERTS: What were you like as a teenager?
Ms. JESELLA: You know, I grew up in a very small town, and I was pretty bookish. You know, I loved to read, and I was really interested in getting out and exploring other places and maybe moving to New York. And, you know, those aren't the kinds of things that were really supported in a magazine like "Seventeen." So when "Sassy" came out and sort of really validated those kinds of interests, it was just amazing for me.
ROBERTS: And as you were putting together this book, you must have heard similar stories from all over the country.
Ms. JESELLA: It was funny how similar the stories were. I mean, so many girls said, you know, that "Sassy" was really their lifeline and that, you know, they felt like they were alone. They felt they were different from the other girls and the other boys that they knew. And just knowing that there was this whole community and there were all these other girls across the country like them was really an important experience for them.
ROBERTS: So when you say girls like them, what do you mean? So what - define a "Sassy" girl.
Ms. JESELLA: I would say that a "Sassy" girl was someone who maybe didn't think that high school was necessarily the best time of their life.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Ms. JESELLA: And it's funny, too, because people have this idea that every girl who read "Sassy" was really, you know, unpopular or alienated, and that wasn't necessarily true. But it was girls who felt like they were a little bit different, who were really interested in pop culture, who were maybe budding feminists, so interests that might have been a little different from the so-called normal teenage interests.
ROBERTS: Which were well-represented in magazines like "Seventeen."
Ms. JESELLA: Oh, absolutely. I mean, it's so funny to go back and look at "Seventeen" magazines that came out right around the time "Sassy" first came out. I mean, they were still telling you, you know, this is what you should do with your husband when you first get married. I mean, this is for girls who are 15 years old, so it was very different back then.
ROBERTS: So how did the idea come about to target those girls whose needs were unmet? I mean, who had the brainstorm that that was a market worth reaching?
Ms. JESELLA: Interestingly enough, it was an Australian woman who came to New York and saw that there just weren't any magazines that were talking to teenage girls in a real way. And there was a magazine called "Dolly" in Australia where she was from, and she thought that American girls needed an American version of "Dolly." And so she is the one who set all the wheels in motion.
ROBERTS: And they did some interesting things editorially - hired a very young staff.
Ms. JESELLA: Yes. I mean that was completely unusual. What they did was they first hired Jane Pratt, who was only 24 at the time. She had interned at a few magazines and been on staff at a few magazines. But Sandra Yates, the Australian woman, really believed that having a young leader and having young editors was what was going to keep the magazine feeling real and speaking in a language that girls would really relate to.
ROBERTS: Let's take a call from Jenny, in Portland, Oregon. Jenny, welcome to TALK OF THE NATION.
JENNY (Caller): Hi, there.
ROBERTS: Hi, there.
JENNY: Yeah, I took it - actually, my - it's funny, my mom was the one that subscribed for that. She was, like, she heard somewhere that it was a good magazine, so she said, oh, we should get this for you, so then - which you wouldn't think, but it was - I liked it because it was kind of - it was, like, more witty and sarcastic than some of the other magazines that - well, I don't know if it was - I guess that's the only difference I noticed, because I took it for such a long time. I didn't really notice different - the differences between, like, "Seventeen," because my friends got those, but I didn't really read them too much.
ROBERTS: Jenny, thanks for your call. Yeah, witty, sarcastic, very self-referential. The writers became characters in the movie - in the magazine.
Ms. JESELLA: All of that is definitely true. Many people say that, you know, there's still no women's magazines that are really funny. And "Sassy" was funny, and it assumed that teenage girls had a sense of humor. And also, as you said, one of the things that they did from the very beginning was that all of the writers and editors became characters. And it got to the point where they actually would sign their articles with just their first name because everybody knew who they were so well that it became sort of like a proto blog. You know, girls would read the magazine every month because they wanted to keep up on the lives of these characters.
ROBERTS: And it was sort of recognizing that in addition to, you know - I learned from "Sassy" that if you run out of shaving cream, you can save your legs with your hair conditioner, by the way.
(Soundbite of laughter)
ROBERTS: It's hell on your razor, but it's pretty effective. You know, in addition to stuff like that, you sort of - it was acknowledging that teenage girls kind of liked to know the personality behind the information and liked to feel like it's a conversation with a girlfriend.
Ms. JESELLA: Absolutely. These girls who read "Sassy" really felt that they knew the people putting together the magazine, and the magazine received all kinds of letters, all the time. And they were really committed to forging a relationship with girls, so they had contests all the time - things like the Sassiest Girl in America - and they would bring girls into this - into the magazine and, you know, then put them in the magazine as well. And, you know, they always had girls there doing internships, so it really felt like a back and forth.
ROBERTS: Let's hear from Mindy in Tulsa, Okalahoma. Mindy, welcome to TALK OF THE NATION. Hey, Mindy, you're on the air. I'm afraid we've lost her. Let's try Katie, in Phoenix. Katie, welcome to TALK OF THE NATION.
KATIE (Caller): Hi, I just wanted to let you guys know how much "Sassy" changed my life. I started reading it in sixth grade, and that's where I learned about the plight of women with the Taliban. And that's where I learned about environmental issues, and those things affected my life so heavily. It made me realize that there was other things that I could do besides, you know, worry about the prom. I spent a year, the last part of high school, in South America because it was an idea that I had gotten out of "Sassy." And then I had a great chance of working in environmental education, which is actually what I do now. I'm a grant writer, and I work in environmental education with the federal government.
ROBERTS: And, Katie, did you think there was another way to find out about things like that when you were a teenager?
KATIE: You know what? I think that there was slight ways, but there was not a lot of things that were targeted towards girls my age to really let you know that there was a lot more happening in the world at that time.
ROBERTS: Yeah, thanks for your call. Kara, you know, when we were talking about putting this show together, it was - you know, this is a teen magazine. There was a lot of sort of almost snobbery about it. It's all about boys and makeup, and people who didn't read it or who weren't part of that generation don't necessarily understand that there was a real message and a real empowerment to girls, not just saying that they could be anything they wanted in a very sort of broad, generic way, but these specific accomplishments that were not necessarily what was being portrayed in other media.
Ms. JESELLA: I think that's very true. From small accomplishments, like being able to say, you know, I don't want to go to spring break because I don't want gross guys to be leering at me, to much more important things, like what the caller who just called in was mentioning. I mean, a lot of women that I've spoken to who have positions in the media now or who have positions at nonprofits have said that they are now doing what they're doing because of this magazine.
ROBERTS: And do you think that once "Sassy" became popular and other magazines sort of noticed that there was a tone to it or an audience for it that they hadn't been reaching that they caught up to some degree?
Ms. JESELLA: Yes. I think that there was a change in many of the magazines. I think "Seventeen," in particular, realized what was going on and did start to take a little bit more notice of things like feminism and things like indie culture, which was something that "Sassy" was very much a proponent of. So, yes, I do think that there were changes, but it never totally caught up to where "Sassy" was, and it couldn't. I think that "Sassy" - in some ways, it really was an organic thing that was about this group of people who had this vision and were really able to execute it in a way that people responded to.
ROBERTS: Let's hear from Chris, in California. Chris, welcome to TALK OF THE NATION.
CHRIS (Caller): Hi. Yeah, I was really surprised, actually, to hear the subject of today's show because I had a girlfriend back when I was about 15 - 14 or 15 - about 13 years ago who was huge into "Sassy" magazine. And I totally forgot about the magazine until I was listening to this morning's show. And I, you know, I was pretty young and didn't really know the difference between "Sassy" and "Seventeen" at the time. I kind of thought they were all the same. But, you know, after a couple of months of dating her and stuff, she started showing me these articles. You know, thinking back on it, they were pretty ahead of their time, and I think they were a little bit over our heads. And I think it definitely helped us become educated teenagers and grow up pretty well rounded.
ROBERTS: Chris, thanks for your call. Did boys read "Sassy?"
Ms. JESELLA: You would not believe how many boys read "Sassy." It's actually - it's really surprising to me, but I think guys also were looking for some kind of advice from someone who was a little bit older but still, you know, young enough that they understood their concerns. And, you know, again, I think it was funny, and I think that boys responded to that as well.
ROBERTS: We're talking with Kara Jesella about her book "How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time." After the break, we'll bring in a former "Sassy" reader who went on to edit her own magazine and take more of your calls: 800-989-TALK. Or you can send us e-mail. The address is email@example.com.
I'm Rebecca Roberts. It's TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.
(Soundbite of music)
ROBERTS: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Rebecca Roberts, in Washington. Neal Conan is away.
We're talking about a cultural moment for teen girls that didn't have to do with the prom: "Sassy" magazine, the answer to Tiger Beat and "Seventeen." My guest is Kara Jesella. She's the co-author of "How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time" and an editor at the New York Times Style section. You're invited to join us. Did "Sassy" change your life? Give us a call at 800-989-TALK. Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and check out our blog at npr.org/blogofthenation.
A generation of "Sassy" readers went on to be editors of their own magazines. One of them is Amy Schroeder. She's the editor and founder of "Venus Zine," and she's in our Chicago bureau today. Thanks for coming in, Amy.
Ms. AMY SCHROEDER (Editor and Founder, "Venus Zine"): Thank you.
ROBERTS: How did you discover "Sassy?"
Ms. SCHROEDER: I discovered "Sassy" when I was about 12 or 13 years old. I was living in a very small town in Michigan - western Michigan. It was very conservative. And I saw it at the grocery store, and it was love at first sight, basically. And I became a very loyal reader for the next few years of my teenage years, and I really feel that it did change my life.
Ms. SCHROEDER: It inspired me to realize that I really could do whatever I wanted to do in life, and at the time - I was always a new kid. My family moved around from school to school, and I was a creative kid who was shy, and I wasn't quite sure of myself, really. But I discovered zines, what zines were, by reading "Sassy," and I decided to start making my own zines.
ROBERTS: Let's take a call from Diane, in Detroit. Diane, welcome to TALK OF THE NATION.
DIANE (Caller): Hi, I - first of all, I have a comment. I'm in my early 30s, and I have to fess up that I still have the first three years of "Sassy" stashed in my closet. I don't want to get rid of them. And I...
ROBERTS: I think you could make quite a lot of money on eBay with those, Diane. There's a trade going on.
DIANE: I know, but I don't want to get rid of them. I have a two-year-old daughter, and I'm kind of saving them for her, which leads me to my question, which is that currently teen magazines seem to kind of pay homage to the path that "Sassy" blazed with their language and the, you know, pop culture references, and yet it's - they're very dumbed-down and they're not as intelligent. And I'm just wondering kind of do you see a correlation? Or are there even magazines out there that are anything like "Sassy" for young girls? And I'll take my answer off the air.
ROBERTS: Thanks, Diane.
Ms. JESELLA: Mm-hmm.
ROBERTS: Kara Jesella?
Ms. JESELLA: Well, I do think that it's true, that teen magazines have incorporated a lot of the things that "Sassy" was a proponent of. And I do think that in many ways they are smarter than they used to be, and a lot of them don't do some of the bad things that they used to do, which means they don't do the diet tips - although some still do, but some don't.
So, you know, there has been some changes. I think one thing to understand is that it's a little bit of a different point that we're at in our country right now, and also I think magazine publishers are very, very careful. And one of the things about "Sassy" was that, in the end, it couldn't sustain itself. You know, the kinds of very progressive, very sort of intellectual stories that they were running, in the end, you know, the magazine companies just didn't really want to support that.
ROBERTS: Let's hear from Jean in Brighton, Michigan. Jean, welcome to TALK OF THE NATION. Jean, you're on the air.
JEAN (Caller): Hello?
ROBERTS: Hi, Jean. I'm afraid we've lost Jean. Let's hear from Rachel, in Bakersfield.
ROBERTS: Hi, you're on the air.
RACHEL: Hi, hi, my name is Rachel. I'm from Bakersfield, California, and I happen to be 37. I am - I was a "Sassy" reader. And the problem that I have with the legacy of "Sassy" is that when I look at magazines like "Jane" and "Venus" and things like that, I'm almost really upset at the emphasis on sex, and it's almost as if saying the only thing that women really do is have sex, and women do a lot more than more than that. We have jobs, we have emotional responsibilities, and that's basically a lot of what I think is missing in your teen magazines.
As women get older, when you reach my age or - you know, as I go on in life, there are emotional responsibilities that are going to come up that you have to take care of. And if your emphasis is on sex, you're not necessarily going to be ready for that. I had to handle a situation in my family where I had to take my dad for an MRI, and you needed emotional understanding to do that.
And that's - along with talking about sex, you have to understand - I mean, women are the ones who go to the hospitals. Women are the ones a lot of times who put dinner on the table. Women are the ones who manage a family difficulty. Women are the ones who do it. Now if all the emphasis is on sex, I don't see women handling that very well. And I'm sorry, around the world, women are the ones who handle a lot of the stuff. If you get a man who can understand and can help you with this, you're one of the luckiest women in the world.
ROBERTS: Rachel, thanks for your call. Amy Schroeder?
Ms. SCHROEDER: That's interesting, because I feel that "Venus" does not focus on sex, or focuses on creative women, particularly musicians and creative artists and DIY superstars. And we do have a few pages that are dedicated to empowering women to enjoy their sex. And keep in mind that we're not targeting young teenagers. We're targeting females 18 to 34, as well.
ROBERTS: Well, also, it's interesting that sort of the media landscape has changed. You know, so much about "Sassy" was about girls finding each other when they weren't sure they existed, and that - was that a sort of artifact pre-Internet, Kara Jesella, do you think?
Ms. JESELLA: Yes, I absolutely think so. I think that things have changed so drastically now that - you know, girls who feel like they're outcasts in some way or alienated or just simply have interests that maybe their friends don't have, they really can find each other now via the Internet. So I think that that's a great thing, and I think if "Sassy" were around today, it would probably have a very strong Internet presence.
Ms. SCHROEDER: Mm-hmm.
Ms. JESELLA: And then the one thing that is sort of the dark side of that is that girls reaching out to each other on the Internet is a great thing, but I think what "Sassy" provided was also some older voices to sort of give them some guidance, and I think that that was really important.
ROBERTS: And, Amy Schroeder, in this sort of zine, self-publishing world, are you to some degree free from the pressures of advertisers and allowed to take some of the content risks that ultimately "Sassy" was not anymore allowed to take?
Ms. SCHROEDER: Definitely. I've never really felt hindered by advertising pressure or advertiser support, everything that we've had to say in the magazine. I mean, we're focusing mainly, again, on creative women who are in bands and, you know, starting their own record labels and running their own businesses, and all the advertisers that we have support that.
ROBERTS: Which was not true for "Sassy," Kara. There was an article on incest that really sort of pushed the edge.
Ms. JESELLA: Absolutely. "Sassy" really had problems with advertisers throughout its short lifespan, and it actually - some of their coverage of sex led to a boycott that almost brought the magazine down very early on in its inception. And they were able to come back. They were able to regain advertisers, but I think they always had a reputation as sort of the sexy magazine, and that really hurt them with advertisers.
ROBERTS: Do you think that sort of public sensibility has changed since then? Do you think it's no longer as risque as it was then?
Ms. JESELLA: Well, I do think that you can be a - you can talk about sex a little bit more today than you used to be able to. And it's interesting, because a lot of the advertisers that had a problem with "Sassy's" sexual content advertised in "Dolly" in Australia, and had no problem with their sexual content, which was actually much more risque. So really it wasn't a matter of these advertisers' morals, so much as saying, you know, we don't think that American parents are going to support this magazine, and we need their money. We want them to keep spending money with us. So I do think it has changed a little bit since then.
ROBERTS: Let's hear from Moe, in San Jose. Moe, welcome to TALK OF THE NATION.
MOE (Caller): Hello?
ROBERTS: Hello, you're on the air.
MOE: I'm up?
ROBERTS: You are.
ROBERTS: Moe, you're on the air. You need to turn off your radio and join us.
MOE: Oh, OK.
ROBERTS: What's your comment?
MOE: Oh, my comment is I - let's see, I'm a 47-year-old guy, and I used to work with "Thrasher" magazine. We helped create that back in '81. And, let's see, I guess about '87 or so I remember coming - well, actually I remember exactly when "Sassy" came out, but it used to come into our office, and Jane and that group would contact us and say how stoked they were about all the skater kids and stuff that we had. And then we read their magazine and thought it was quite the girl/female equivalent of what we were doing at "Thrasher" at the time, and thought it was surprisingly very, very edgy and cool and unique for the rest of the stuff that was out there.
ROBERTS: Moe, do you think there's anything like it out there now?
MOE: No, not really, because I think after that, everybody tried to jump on the bandwagon and pretend to be like that, but it just got pasteurized down into being just like junk journalism is today.
ROBERTS: Moe, thanks for your call. Jane Pratt, the founding editor at "Sassy" went on to found the magazine "Jane," which was supposed to be sort of for "Sassy" readers getting older.
We have e-mail from Liz in Hercules, California who says how does the magazine "Sassy" compare to the magazine "Jane" that came out in the early '90s?
Ms. JESELLA: Well, I think that there are some similarities certainly. I think that "Jane" also made an attempt not to be all about dieting and to give a little bit more of a well-rounded view of women. I also think they talk a lot about indie culture, which has become pretty normal now for a lot of magazines. But when "Jane" first came out, it was still a little bit unusual.
But, again, I think that "Jane" is different, partly because it is a more mainstream magazine. It has big advertisers that it has to answer to. And I think that it's also for an older audience.
And sometimes I wonder if part of what made "Sassy" so great was, you know, a lot of us who read it were younger and we really needed a magazine to give us guidance. I don't know if women who are a little bit older need a magazine in quite the same way. But I'm sure people have different opinions about that.
ROBERTS: Amy Schroeder, what do you think?
Ms. SCHROEDER: What do I think about…
ROBERTS: About older women not needing a magazine for advice in quite the same way that teenagers do.
Ms. SCHROEDER: I think women are always seeking out advice in various forms. And I think a lot of women like the idea of communicating with other women and are seeking out in magazines and online.
ROBERTS: Let's take a call from Carrie in Flagstaff. Carrie, welcome to TALK OF THE NATION.
CARRIE (Caller): Hello?
ROBERTS: Hi, you're on the air.
CARRIE: Hi. I just wanted to comment on "Sassy." I'm into my early 30s now and I was a teenager when my mother subscribed me. And "Sassy" magazine was the first time I had ever seen the Navajo tribe, which are my people, profiled in any sort of mainstream magazine. Not really mainstream, but something that wasn't arts-related or anthropology-related.
It was the first time that I saw my people as actually part of the broader country. I had always had this perception that we were somehow separate from that, because we were so isolated. And "Sassy" was the first magazine ever that I had ever seen that, sort of, included us in the national, sort of, conversation for teenagers.
ROBERTS: Carrie, thanks for your call. Kara, how good do you think teen magazines in general, and "Sassy" specifically, are at profiling someone other than white suburban girls?
Ms. JESELLA: Well, I think that most teen magazines really make an attempt. I don't know that they always live up to what a lot of us would like. I think that even "Sassy" was sometimes criticized for not covering life outside of what was going on with middle class white girls as much as it could.
And just one example of that is with music. There was lots and lots of coverage of indie bands and grunge music. There was much less of hip-hop. And I know that's something that readers often sent in letters and criticized them for. And I think they did respond and try to do a little bit more. But it is, sort of an ongoing problem. Not just at teen magazines, I think in women's magazines in general.
ROBERTS: You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.
We have e-mail from Sara, who says I just now realized how much of a role the magazine played in shaping my life. At the age of 27 I still listen to Fugazi. I saw Sonic Youth last summer. And I just went to see Yo La Tengo last week. The magazine didn't only influence my taste in music, but also brought pertinent issues to women in the world to me on a monthly basis. I truly feel the magazine made me a much more aware and active citizen and human being. Now, I'm scouring eBay to rebuild my collection of "Sassy" magazines.
Do you think that is, sort of, nostalgia from women, sort of, looking back at a moment of their teenage years or do you think there're still articles in archived "Sassy's" that are relevant to those women? Kara?
Ms. JESELLA: Well, I think that - it's so surprising to look back at them now and realize just how contemporary they feel. And I think - I think it is partly nostalgia, but, you know, it's funny, because a lot of the girls who are reading "Sassy" weren't necessarily that happy in their lives at the time that they were reading "Sassy." So I think part of it is trying to get back to many of the messages that "Sassy" was getting across.
I think that "Sassy" really was a proponent of this idea of a, sort of, liberated spirituality or this idea that you should really do what you believe in and, sort of, you know, work on becoming smarter and more intellectual. And if you wanted to be an artist, do that. And you didn't have to listen to your parents or just do what you thought boys would want. And I think that that's a message that is still relevant to women and they, sort of, want to reconnect with that.
ROBERTS: Amy, do you think that there was something about the late '80s and early '90s that helped "Sassy" succeed or do you think teenagers are substantially different now or is there a place for it now, do you think?
Ms. SCHROEDER: I definitely think there's always going to be a place for "Sassy," and I think a lot of people would appreciate "Sassy's" existence now. And I think - whereas, back in the day in the late '80s and early '90s, especially the late '80s - Internet wasn't around yet and so there were just fewer resources for people in general to connect with people who are similar to them. With the onset of the Internet now and with more publications, I think, people are better able to find their voice or find other people or media outlets that they can relate to.
ROBERTS: Let's hear from Richard in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Richard, welcome to the show. Richard, are you there? Let's try Lexi(ph) in Tucson. Lexi, welcome to the program.
LEXI (Caller): Hello?
ROBERTS: Hi, Lexi, you're on the air.
LEXI: Hi, I can barely hear you. I assume I'm on the air.
ROBERTS: You are on the air.
LEXI: Okay. Yeah, I just wanted to comment - I'm almost 30. I read "Sassy" when I was a kid. I think my sister got it and I read it. I'm not sure if she did. I'm also from a small town, but I'm, you know, listening to this conversation I'm realizing - I think it, you know, really influenced who I am.
You know, I remember some of the magazines specifically - I know I still have the Kurt Cobain-Courtney Love one in my closet. And I just definitely live, sort of, outside the box. And I think I live that "Sassy" mentality. So it's just - it's really interesting when you hear the conversation and it reminds me of the things I read when I was a child.
ROBERTS: Lexi, thanks for your call.
And thank you both my guests for joining us. Kara Jesella, co-author of "How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time." Thanks, Kara.
Ms. JESELLA: Thank you.
ROBERTS: And Amy Schroeder, editor and founder of "Venus Zine," joined us from our Chicago bureau. Thanks, Amy.
Ms. SCHROEDER: Thank you.
ROBERTS: When we come back from a short break, the fight over voting rights in the capital. Washington D.C. is closer to getting a vote in Congress than it's been in years. Do you think D.C. should have a vote in Congress? 800-989-8255 or send e-mail to email@example.com. I'm Rebecca Roberts. It's TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.
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