SAM SANDERS, HOST:
Aarti, hello. How are you?
AARTI SINGH: I'm well. How are you?
SANDERS: I'm good. Where are you right now?
SINGH: I am in New Delhi, India.
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SINGH: First thing is, when you're home - and I work from home. I work by a window, and I can't stop all day hearing ambulances.
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SINGH: And it's a very unnerving feeling. It feels like - you know one of those disaster films that you watch, and at the climax of the film when everything's happening and you hear the helicopters and the ambulances, but it's just for that climax part of the film? It feels like that all day here, and you want that to end.
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SINGH: There is, essentially, what I would identify as, like, carnage everywhere you go in New Delhi, and the entire health care system here is completely overwhelmed with COVID.
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AUNT BETTY, BYLINE: Hey, y'all. This is Sam's Aunt Betty. This week, the view from India and the unfair distribution of vaccines. All right. Let's start the show.
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SANDERS: Hey, y'all. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm Sam Sanders. This week, we are talking coronavirus and vaccines. Cases are beginning to decrease here in the U.S. More and more Americans keep getting their vaccines. It seems as if a brighter day is near.
But that is definitely not what's happening elsewhere in the world, especially in India right now. That country is the center of the coronavirus crisis at the moment. They've got as many as 350,000 new infections per day. And I know India is far away, and it's easy to pretend that it's not our problem over here, but we know that new variants of COVID can take hold pretty easily and spread throughout the world very quickly. And even if we feel like we're turning a corner here in the U.S., the pandemic keeps showing us over and over again that the world is really closely connected.
So as you just heard, we called up Aarti Singh to check in. She has been on the show before. And for the past three years, she has split her time between the U.S. and India. When I spoke to Aarti, she was in New Delhi, but she told us that she is planning to fly back to the U.S. as soon as possible because she doesn't feel safe in India right now. She described urgent care centers and hospitals with lines down the block, oxygen tanks running low and thousands of people across the country dying every single day.
SINGH: One of the sentiments that's really common amongst a lot of friends and family here is that you don't want your phone to ring. You don't want your phone to ring. You're so scared of your phone ringing because somebody's going to ask for help with trying to get access to oxygen tanks. I'm sorry. I'm getting a little emotional because just this morning I found out that somebody in my family passed away from COVID. So...
SANDERS: Who passed away?
SINGH: My - I have a cousin. Her husband passed away.
SANDERS: I'm so sorry. How much of a surprise has it been for you to see India like this right now? It seems like just a few months ago, most of the country thought the worst of coronavirus was over for India - and yeah.
SINGH: Absolutely. I landed back here from the United States the first week of March, and I felt safe coming back. I had received both shots of my vaccination in Maryland. And so when I came back here, I weighed all the pros and cons and how safe it was. I did all that research, and I felt safe coming back.
And then in the last seven weeks, and especially in the last, like, 3 1/2 weeks, the transformation into what has happened has left me - I'm shocked. I'm extremely emotional about leaving. I've been talking to my parents every day and just saying that I don't really even know how to process these emotions just because you have so many family and friends here. Like, I have so many family and friends and people who I love who I feel like I'm leaving behind in a fire, you know? I can't tell you the amount of death that I'm surrounded by right now. It's just death, death and more death, and it just - it's not people just getting infected. It's about people dying from it.
SANDERS: Yeah. Yeah. You know, so much of the discussion about vaccine distribution right now is very clear-cut haves and have-nots. Rich countries have a lot of it. Poorer countries don't have enough of the vaccine. But in actuality, the borders are more porous. You're someone who spends time in America and India, and you have the vaccine, right? You've got it in America.
SINGH: Yep - two shots of Moderna.
SANDERS: It's not nearly as cut and dry, but it is still frustrating and maddening. As someone who has spent time in both types of countries, those with extreme vaccine access and those with minimal, is there some - I don't know - moral of the story that you're glomming onto, some bigger truth that you've realized by being in both places, or is it just still unfair and crappy? I don't know. That's not really a question. I'm sorry.
SINGH: No, no, I completely - I mean, I get the gist of what you're asking. Listen; like, I would love to be able to say that I have had some, you know, come-to-a-God realization of, oh, this is why this happens. This is why this happens in poorer countries, and this is why wealthier nations have this. I don't. I don't have an answer because in the same way that I'm experiencing this here, like, I was here last year looking at what was happening in New York City and being like, what the heck? How is this happening in America, right?
So I don't want to say it's, like, naive or came late in life, but I consistently am telling my parents that - stop relying on any system for, like, accuracy. Like, just know that it's our responsibility to protect ourselves, our families, our communities and everything we can do. I just feel like, over and over again, systems fail us. And maybe I say that from a privileged position because I was able to get a vaccine in the United States, but I got a vaccine by standing in line, hoping that maybe somebody hadn't showed up and I would be able to get the vaccine in February before I came back. Do you know what I mean?
SANDERS: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
SINGH: And I had to stand in line. I stood - my mother's a heart patient, and she's a teacher. I stood in line for five hours in 22-degree temperature in Maryland...
SINGH: ...To get my mom her shot.
SINGH: And so I know that, like, the human race in general is - has been caught off guard, but I still think that, like, we have institutions in place that should be prepared for at least some version of this. Maybe not a calamity to this nature, but I just - you feel disappointed there. And so my understanding is that you've got to look out for yourself. Yeah.
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SANDERS: Thanks again to Aarti Singh in New Delhi. Aarti, hope you're safe, wherever you are.
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SANDERS: You heard Aarti say just now that when it comes to the coronavirus vaccine, you're kind of on your own. You can't count on institutions or governments to help. They might be able to - maybe, but don't rely on it. But here's the thing. There is a proposal out there to get more vaccines made and delivered around the world, which could potentially help a lot of countries, including India. This idea was raised back in October of last year before the World Trade Organization. At that meeting, leaders from India and South Africa suggested this kind of radical idea. It could have made for a very different 2021.
ACHAL PRABHALA: What happened was a really skillful and extremely conscious diplomat called Mustaqeem de Gama from South Africa had a brainwave to find a way not only to help us immediately but to correct what I think is a historical crime, which is an international law on enforcing intellectual property monopolies on pharmaceuticals and vaccines.
SANDERS: That is Achal Prabhala. He is a public health activist in Bangalore, India. So India and South Africa - they were asking the World Trade Organization to basically suspend patents when it comes to coronavirus vaccines so that more countries can make and import vaccines and get them quickly to their people. But India and South Africa - they are just two of the WTO's 164 member countries.
PRABHALA: Shockingly, every rich country in the world said no to it. The United States said no (laughter) surprisingly. What a surprise. Japan said no. Australia said no. The United Kingdom said no. The European Union said hell no.
SANDERS: Achal is going to tell us why that happened and why there's such a huge gulf between the vaccination rates in relatively wealthy countries like mine and poorer countries like Achal's.
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SANDERS: So how would things have looked different today if last year the World Trade Organization had said, we're going to suspend patent law for these coronavirus vaccines? How different would things have looked now?
PRABHALA: The short answer is that the world would have looked very different, but it would not have looked completely different. When it comes to things like simple drugs that we take - you know, whether it's aspirin or antiretrovirals for HIV and AIDS - those drugs have one monopoly protection around them, and that protection is intellectual property patents. Now, when it comes to vaccines, they come with two layers of monopoly protection. So think of them as a sort of two-ingredient recipe. One is the patents and the intellectual property, and then you also need the technology.
What would have happened had this proposal passed in October is that we would have had half the recipe. There would have been companies that tried to figure out by themselves how to do the other part of it, or they'd have been an immense amount of moral pressure on these companies to simply share the recipe to create this vaccine.
SANDERS: So then now we're in this situation where it seems as if richer nations like America could start sending some of our vaccines over there - just mail them over, fly them over - to places like India.
PRABHALA: Sam, firstly, you know, there's an even better solution, right? The better solution is that the U.S. government essentially created at least two vaccines that are in use in the United States. Your taxpayer money, by the way - literally, your taxpayer money went to make...
PRABHALA: ...100% of the cost of research and development of the Moderna vaccine.
SANDERS: That's my vaccine. I'm a Moderna guy, yeah. Go ahead.
PRABHALA: You're a Moderna guy, and you paid for it as well - you and Dolly Parton, you know, both of you.
PRABHALA: But with the Moderna vaccine, the U.S. government underwrote 100% of its research and development cost, right? So this is like commissioning somebody to build a house for you. And typically, when give somebody money to build a house for you, you own the house...
PRABHALA: ...Except the U.S. government does not in any way own the Moderna vaccine.
SANDERS: I mean, it seems so common sense when you say it. If our tax dollars are paying for the research for this medication, the government should get to have some say over how it's used and how inexpensive or expensive it is.
SANDERS: And then, you know, when I think about other examples of pharmaceutical companies fighting a sickness, it seemed as if there used to be a different way. Like, when I think about the way the smallpox vaccine was rolled out or the polio vaccine was rolled out, it seems as if the whole world just worked together for those and was much more collaborative. Was it different than what it is now back in the day?
PRABHALA: It really was different, actually. You know, one of the most interesting examples of that is actually penicillin. Penicillin was sort of the COVID-19 vaccine of that time. So it's a wonder antibiotic for the very first time that could cure a wide range of infections, right? A drug like it had never existed before.
And so Roosevelt was president, and what he did at that time was to create this incredible public-private partnership where any company that could do this had to do it together, working in concert with others. And they provided state support both in terms of finances and in terms of research. And they were able to save - the estimate is something like 200,000 lives of soldiers in World War II because, you know, infections were the kinds of things that killed us in the way that life-threatening diseases do now.
SANDERS: Yeah. You know, getting back to the present day, you're clearly on one side of this issue. You want the patents around these coronavirus vaccines to be opened up so anyone who can make them does make them and we get as many shots into as many arms as possible across the globe. But this week, a very powerful man publicly voiced a different opinion.
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UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And the recipe for these vaccines to be shared would be helpful. Do you think that would be helpful?
BILL GATES: No. There's only so many...
SANDERS: Bill Gates said, hey, I don't think we should suspend these vaccine patents; I think we should keep it exclusive. What do you make of Bill Gates' comments, and do you see any validity in that other side?
PRABHALA: Bill Gates, firstly, is a person who I believe has good intentions. But I have to just say I did listen to what he said on Sky News with astonishment. And what he said was, look; there is nothing that can be accomplished by sharing technology for vaccines or by breaking the intellectual property monopoly restrictions that surround them, and the reason there's nothing that can happen is that literally I, or my foundation, have identified everybody who can make these vaccines, and we're doing that.
So coincidentally, I spoke to somebody who runs a small company in Hyderabad, which is a city not far from Bangalore. They had never made vaccines, but they made a whole range of things that are close to vaccines. And the people they went to to get the technology were the only people who were offering it to them, who were the Russians, who offered them the technology for the Sputnik V vaccine. They invested $10 million. They started in December of last year, and they will be able to produce, by July of this year, 50 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine every month.
Now, imagine if he was offered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is exactly the same technology as the Sputnik V vaccine. It's a one-dose vaccine, which is of exceptional advantage in countries like ours - right? - where we just don't have...
PRABHALA: ...The human infrastructure to go after people twice. Now, imagine if a vaccine like that was offered to people here. You would have companies literally springing up to make that vaccine, right? So offer the technology. Break the monopoly. The capacity will come.
SANDERS: Yeah. So, you know, hearing you talk about all of this, I kind of get the feeling that it's highly unlikely that these big pharmaceutical companies change how they do business unless they're forced by governments, which seem not to be wanting to force their hands right now. So for things to change with vaccine access, it seems as if the citizens of some of these richer countries would need to start sounding the alarm ourselves and saying, hey, look over there. Help, help, help. How do you convince enough Americans that the lack of vaccine in India is actually a problem for America as well? 'Cause these variants are out here, and they're not playing, right?
PRABHALA: They're not playing, no. Not at all. Look; that is absolutely the challenge, Sam, and you're actually absolutely right. However, it has been easier, in my experience, to convince ordinary, good citizens of the United States to care about this more so than to convince the Biden administration or Bill Gates. There is a moral pressure that's building up to actually do something about this, but what it's coming down to is actually the Bill Gates viewpoint, which is very convenient for the pharmaceutical industry, which is, oh, you know, we would love to break monopolies, or we would be happy to share the technology; it's just such a pity that no one can use it because vaccines are complex.
SANDERS: It's kind of elitist. Only the West can make this stuff. Come on.
PRABHALA: Exactly. It is a really insidious remark that is - you know, it's sort of like a dog whistle of dog whistles. I mean, it's just - it's concealing so much.
SANDERS: Yeah. So even if, let's say tomorrow, everyone starts collaborating, coordinating, working together - even if everything works, it's still too little, too late for India, right?
PRABHALA: It's going to take six months, at the very least, right? So, of course, had we done this in April 2020, last year, instead of now, we would have those vaccines by now. Having said that, it's never too late to do this. The way that this pandemic is progressing, you have variants. You're going to need boosters. We might need revaccinations. What we thought would be this kind of one-year event is now turning out to be something closer to a forever event.
SANDERS: Oh, don't say that. Don't say that.
PRABHALA: I mean, I don't want this to be in any way.
PRABHALA: And to the extent we can all be vaccinated quickly, it won't be. And I really hope that the Biden administration, especially, does the right thing on this because they're the ones with the most power.
SANDERS: It is never too late. I thank you so much for your time and for your work.
PRABHALA: Thank you, sir. Good night.
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SANDERS: Thanks again to public health activist Achal Prabhala.
All right, stay with us. Coming up, I chat with another podcast host, Kia Miakka Natisse. She is out with a new season of NPR's Invisibilia. We'll discuss. Stay tuned.
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SANDERS: You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm Sam Sanders. And my guest for this next segment is a colleague - Kia Miakka Natisse. She is the co-host of NPR's Invisibilia podcast. They're out with a new season right now, and we're going to talk about it for a bit.
The launch of a new season is always hard and tough. Kia, on a scale of 1 to oh, my God, how tired are you?
KIA MIAKKA NATISSE, BYLINE: Very M's, very G's, lots of, like...
NATISSE: ...Extra caps, multiple exclamation points. It's a...
SANDERS: Yeah. Yeah.
NATISSE: It's been intense, but, like, the worst is over for me 'cause now it's out in the world. I'm like - I keep saying it's like when you land the plane, and now I'm just in the taxi. Like, we're almost at the gate.
SANDERS: OK, good. For folks who don't know, describe the plane that is Invisibilia for listeners.
NATISSE: Yeah. Yeah, so Invisibilia is a show about the unseen forces.
NATISSE: So one of the new ways we started to think of the show is like a sonic black light. And our stories just try to...
NATISSE: ...Help to, like, illuminate the things that are around you that maybe you can't necessarily see, but through our stories, we can help you see.
SANDERS: I love it. Now, you have an episode in this new season that's already out. I listened to it just before we taped this chat. It was a doozy. I was super into it.
SANDERS: Without giving it all away, tell our listeners what your episode of Invisibilia, that first one, is about.
NATISSE: Yeah. It's called "Eat The Rich." It's the story of a community in Vermont led by two people who decided to start, basically, a reparations list.
NATISSE: And it kind of blew up. And so the story just kind of documents how they began the list and also how it impacted the people in their community and how they reacted to it and all the questions that this sort of experiment brought up. We just kind of give it to the audience and let them field all the questions.
SANDERS: So one, we got to say, to really set it up for our listeners, when we think of reparations, we often think of, like, a government, state or federal or whatever, giving payments to slave descendants to rectify injustices from the past. In this situation, you found people that were doing this outside of the government. Black people in Vermont made a list of other Black people, and a letter was circulated just to random white folks in Vermont saying, here's our Venmo. Here's our Cash App. (Laughter) It was intense.
NATISSE: Yeah, yeah. So, yeah, it just - like, I saw that letter, and I saw this list. And there are - I want to, like, put this forward to everyone because it is - as someone who's from a hometown where it's also like, there's no Black people there - Buffalo, N.Y. - there are Black people in Vermont. And there's a list of at least 300 of them.
NATISSE: And some of them organized for reparations. That was pretty cool to me.
SANDERS: Yeah. I want to - so there is this part in the letter that gets sent to the white people of Vermont that really speaks to how direct all of this was, how direct these appeals were. Correct me with the phrasing, but isn't there one line of this letter that says, if you are a white person who relies on your parents for, like, a car payment or for your rent or your whatever and your parents send you money, give that to Black people.
NATISSE: That's a - yeah. It's, like, from the instructions list 'cause I've - listen; I - that's my favorite part, honestly.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)
JAS WHEELER: If your family supports you and is rich and racist and greedy, you can say that you need cash for a car, an airline ticket, rent, groceries, et cetera, and give that away. I got a lot of hate mail over that line.
NATISSE: It's so in your face, and it's just, like, wow.
SANDERS: Yeah, yeah.
NATISSE: Just fully wow.
SANDERS: What was the biggest thing you learned in reporting this story? I don't want you to give it away. Folks got to listen to figure out what happens. But did anything change for you in the way that you think about things like race or reparations or money or capitalism? I don't know.
NATISSE: Yeah. I mean, I think it definitely impacted the way I relate to money, which I think has always been, like, a conflicted thing because we live in a capitalist society. But so much of the rules and the ways that we engage with money just can feel very possessive. And I think what this effort taught me was about, you know, community. And for me, I started to also just think about whatever money I have and the position I might be in of, like, really wanting to practice generosity.
SANDERS: Yeah. What I found so fascinating about the episode is the extent to which the white people involved were so uncomfortable. They were so uncomfortable. Even the ones who were like...
SANDERS: ...I believe in this, and I want to help, and I should do this, they were so uncomfortable.
SANDERS: Did that surprise you?
NATISSE: Yeah. Yeah, money is such a taboo - I mean, like, not for nothing. I, too, was hesitant to have those conversations because, like, once you start talking about money, it's almost like you're talking about other things. You know, you're talking about someone's sense of security, someone's history, someone's family. Like, it just becomes bigger, and it becomes this really hard thing to talk about and then, you know, that allows inequity to sort of persist.
SANDERS: Listeners, you can hear Kia's episode of Invisibilia right now wherever get your podcasts. And if you stick around after the break, Kia's going to bring on one of her Invisibilia colleagues to play my favorite game, Who Said That?
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SANDERS: You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm Sam Sanders, here with Kia Miakka Natisse, co-host of NPR's Invisibilia, And we are also joined right now by Abby Wendle, producer and reporter at Invisibilia. Hey, Abby. Thanks for joining us.
ABBY WENDLE, BYLINE: Hey, Sam. Thanks for having us.
SANDERS: Now we just discussed Kia's episode for the new season of Invisibilia. You also got one coming down the pike as well. And I don't know if you used it or not, but you did interview me for said piece.
WENDLE: Yes. We watched some slow TV together. And I feel like you've asked me onto this quiz thingy-majigger (ph) that I think is related to pop culture maybe as, like, payback...
SANDERS: (Laughter) Yeah.
WENDLE: ...Because you know I know nothing about pop culture. And I just can't help but think that, like, this is just a punishment for me making you watch slow TV, which you really - you did not enjoy Sam. Like, you really just did not enjoy it.
SANDERS: It was very slow.
SANDERS: What did we watch? What did you have me watch? It was, like, a train.
WENDLE: We tried watching a train. And then you made me turn it off. You made us turn it off.
WENDLE: You were like, this is making me so sad. I just want to travel. And so we turned on a fire, and that was OK.
SANDERS: That was good. That was good.
WENDLE: You could handle that.
SANDERS: Yes, yes. With that, let's get to it. I believe this is both of y'all's first time playing my favorite game, Who Said That?
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA")
KANDI BURRUSS: Who had been saying that?
PORSHA WILLIAMS: Who said that?
KENYA MOORE: Who said that?
SANDERS: I'm so excited. I love when we get, like, new players 'cause y'all bring all of this nervousness and...
SANDERS: ...Excitement. And I get to just say over and over, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter.
NATISSE: Definitely nervous.
SANDERS: Well, the game is quite simple. I share three quotes from the week of news. You got to tell me who said that. There are no buzzers. There are no referees. Just yell out the answer when you think you got it. Full disclosure - I'm a very bad scorekeeper. I'll forget who gets the point and who wins. But the great thing is it doesn't matter 'cause there are no prizes, and all you get are bragging rights, if that.
OK. Here's the first quote. Tell me who said it. "This decision was not made because we hate hamburgers. We don't. It's about sustainability and being pro-planet. Our mission is and will always be the same - to inspire home cooks to be better, smarter and happier in the kitchen." Who said that?
NATISSE: Oh, no.
WENDLE: Like, Ronald McDonald.
(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)
SANDERS: It was a food publication.
NATISSE: "America's Test Kitchen"?
(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)
SANDERS: No. Keep going.
NATISSE: Oh, God...
WENDLE: Was it just Julia Child?
(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)
SANDERS: She's dead. Keep going (laughter).
WENDLE: From beyond the grave. OK. What other food publications are there? Oh, my gosh.
NATISSE: Abby, this should be yours.
WENDLE: I just eat, Kia.
NATISSE: And watch YouTube.
WENDLE: Ryan (ph), my boyfriend, like, does all the cooking and knows all of the things about cooking. I just take it in.
SANDERS: I'm going to start spelling the name of the food publication, and one of you just say it once you get enough letters. E-P-I...
(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)
NATISSE: All right.
SANDERS: All right.
NATISSE: That is, like, the most consolation-prize win ever.
WENDLE: I only know him as a philosopher. I did not realize that was a food publication.
SANDERS: Ah, yes, the great philosopher Epicurious and his theory of Epicuriosity (ph) (laughter).
NATISSE: Got one.
SANDERS: So that quote comes from an Instagram post by the food publication Epicurious. This week, Epicurious said, hey, we are no longer going to feature beef in recipes, articles, newsletters or on social media. It's a big deal.
WENDLE: Yeah. It's a huge deal.
SANDERS: I believe it's the first major news site saying no more beef. How do you feel about that?
NATISSE: That's shocking, honestly. Also, I feel like the beef lobby is fairly litigious, if I remember Oprah correctly.
SANDERS: Oh, yeah. They almost took Oprah down.
NATISSE: Right. So I'm like, are they going to come at Epicurious now?
SANDERS: It gave me a flashback to one of my favorite daytime TV moments of all time, when Oprah, like, goes to Texas to fight the beef lobby...
SANDERS: ...And do the whole court case, and then she flies Maya Angelou down to pray for her. Do you remember that?
NATISSE: Wow. That was on the show? I just...
NATISSE: I do remember her being in Texas. I don't remember that Maya Angelou moment. But that's also such a Oprah flex.
SANDERS: Yes, yes.
SANDERS: Maya Angelou...
NATISSE: Praying over Oprah.
SANDERS: ...Praying for God to save Oprah from the beef lobby.
NATISSE: Wow. You don't want those problems. You really don't.
SANDERS: All right, that point goes to Kia. Here is the next quote. "I talked to all the people in my community, my sponsor, my network, my therapist, and they all agreed that they were at the point where I could look into having a dog. I read the article, I connected to it, and I was like, you know what? Why not? I'll just send them an email. What's the worst that could happen?" Who said that?
NATISSE: I'm just going to, like, randomly guess Demi Lovato.
(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)
NATISSE: Well, because I just got finished watching her YouTube series, and I know, like, she's in recovery. And so I'm like, maybe she wants to get a dog. I don't know.
SANDERS: It's funny. We had Demi Lovato on the show last week - well, not her - a quote from her - 'cause she got into a weird fight with, like, a frozen yogurt shop in LA. It was really strange.
NATISSE: Oh, wow.
SANDERS: But it's not Demi Lovato. This is - just tell me the story we're talking about. It was a feel-good story about a dog this week. Come on now.
WENDLE: Have you ever had just people just strike out on all three, Sam, 'cause...
SANDERS: Y'all remember that dog? It was the Chihuahua?
NATISSE: Oh, wait, wait, wait. I remember this one. OK. Yes. But, wait; what's the - the dog just got adopted, right?
NATISSE: It was the evil Chihuahua?
(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)
NATISSE: It was possessed by a Victorian...
SANDERS: That's close enough. We're going to take it. We're going to give you the point. We're going to give you the point.
NATISSE: I know this just 'cause NPR posted it.
WENDLE: Wait; was it a Chihuahua possessed?
NATISSE: Oh, it was great (ph).
SANDERS: It was called the Victorian demon Chihuahua.
WENDLE: Oh, my God.
SANDERS: There was this Chihuahua (laughter). It's going to take so much setup for this, but bear with me. So that quote comes from Ariel Davis of New Haven, Conn. She just adopted this chihuahua named Prancer. Prancer became famous because a few weeks ago, the adoption notice put up for him online to say, please take this dog, said that Prancer the Chihuahua was, quote, "a vessel for a traumatized Victorian child that now haunts our home."
SANDERS: So a few weeks ago, these folks were like, someone has to adopt this dog; it's a demon dog. Prancer apparently hates men, also hates children. In spite of this note saying this dog might be the devil, it was also kind of endearing. And this week, there was a happy ending when Ariel Davis of New Haven, Conn., adopted the dog, Prancer. And Ariel said, I get it. Y'all think this dog is, like, a traumatized Victorian child demon. This dog hates men. This dog hates children. But, listen; I'm a single woman and a lesbian. This dog will be fine with me.
NATISSE: He found his forever home.
WENDLE: I love the, I get it. This dog is...
WENDLE: ...A possessed Victorian child demon.
WENDLE: I get it. I understand that.
NATISSE: Coincidently, I know someone named Ariel Davis from New York City. I'm like, I wonder if that's her.
SANDERS: Is it her?
NATISSE: It might be. I'm going to have to Google after this.
SANDERS: You - six degrees of separation for Prancer the Chihuahua.
NATISSE: I know (laughter).
SANDERS: What is the...
NATISSE: I could get the connect for you if you want to have Prancer on the show.
SANDERS: I don't. I sure don't.
SANDERS: Last quote. (Laughter) This one's funny. It involves two movies - or a few movies. Here's the quote. "It's interesting. It's different. In fact, it's bizarre enough to become a museum piece. But its sacrifice of simplicity to eccentricity robs it of distinction and general entertainment value."
WENDLE: (Laughter) What?
SANDERS: One of the most well-reviewed films of all time is what this review is talking about.
SANDERS: Like, a classic.
NATISSE: Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. OK, OK, OK. I know this one. But I only know it because I think that because of the scathing review, which is really, really old, "Paddington Bear 2" became, like, the best-reviewed movie of all time.
NATISSE: But I can't remember the name...
SANDERS: Beating what movie?
NATISSE: ...Of the movie that it replaced, though.
NATISSE: I know. That's the one problem. I'm like, it was a old movie. "Citizen Kane?" No.
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SANDERS: Look at you.
NATISSE: I got a real win. Oh...
NATISSE: ...I had to reverse engineer that one.
SANDERS: It's OK. It's OK. So that quote comes from a negative review of the movie "Citizen Kane." That review was written by Mae Tinee in 1941 in the Chicago Tribune. That review and that quote surfaced this week because a Twitter user noticed this week that at some point in the last few months, that review of "Citizen Kane" from 1941 was added to Rotten Tomatoes, the film review website. And because that review was added, it robbed "Citizen Kane" of its 100% fresh rating or, like...
SANDERS: ...Basically perfect review score. So because "Citizen Kane"...
SANDERS: ...Dropped off a bit by that negative review, now the most well-ranked film of all time on Rotten Tomatoes is "Paddington 2."
NATISSE: Man, time is a flat circle. You can be taken down at any point in time.
WENDLE: "Paddington 2."
SANDERS: Have y'all ever seen it?
WENDLE: No. I mean, I know Paddington Bear.
SANDERS: I don't even know that.
NATISSE: He's a franchise now.
SANDERS: I'm a Teddy Ruxpin girl myself. Who was Paddington Bear? I don't know her. I don't know her.
NATISSE: (Laughter) Good luck, Teddy.
SANDERS: On that note, thank you both for playing Who Said That. Drumroll - the winner is Kia.
NATISSE: Yay. I mean...
NATISSE: ...Abby, we knew that was going to happen.
WENDLE: Who could've guessed?
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SANDERS: Thanks again to Abby Wendle and Kia Miakka Natisse and NPR's Invisibilia podcast. Their new season is out now. Go check it out.
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AUNT BETTY: Now it's time to end the show as we always do. Every week, listeners share the best thing that happened to them all week. We encourage folks to brag, and they do. Let's hear a few of those submissions.
LINDA: Hey, Sam. This is Linda (ph) from Redlands, Calif. And the best part of my week was that my birthday was on Saturday, and my husband made me Aunt Betty's pound cake. We had it with strawberries and whipped cream, and it was so good. It was the perfect way to celebrate my birthday.
EMMA: Hi, Sam. This is Emma (ph) calling from Vancouver, Canada. And the best part of my week is that I finally, after much drama, bought a house with a yard for my son.
CAROLINE: Hi, Sam. This is Caroline (ph). The best part of my week was telling my employer this job was not working out and I needed to move on, that they should start looking for my replacement. I tried to make it work. I said I would give it a year. I just can't find contentment, and life's too short.
ELOISE: Hi, Sam. I'm Eloise (ph), and I'm 10 years old. And the best part of my week was that I got to see my grandmother in Atlanta 'cause I hadn't seen her in a long, long time.
JULIA: Hi, Sam. This is Julia (ph) calling from Northern California. The best thing that happened to me this week is that my husband and I finally introduced our almost-5-year-old daughter to "RuPaul's Drag Race."
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RUPAUL: (Singing) "RuPaul's Drag Race" - gentlemen, start your...
JULIA: And my daughter loves to style me with makeup and jewelry in the morning, and I figured she probably would have a great perspective on the show. She told me at the end of the show, how on earth is Ru going to choose? They are all so amazing. So I have hope for our future. Thank you for the great work you do. I really appreciate you. Take care.
CAROLINE: Keep doing what you're doing. Appreciate you. Thanks.
LINDA: Bye, Sam. Thanks for all you do.
SANDERS: Thanks to all those listeners you heard there - Julia, Eloise, Caroline, Emma and Linda. This is a reminder I should share my Aunt Betty's pound cake recipe on the internet once more. I'll do that soon. Check the Twitters.
All right, listeners, you can send the best part of your week to us at any point throughout any week. Just record yourself and send us that voice memo via email to email@example.com - firstname.lastname@example.org.
SANDERS: This week, IT'S BEEN A MINUTE was produced by Jinae West, Andrea Gutierrez, Sylvie Douglis, Christina Cala and Liam McBain. This week, we had engineering help from Alex Drewenskus and Josh Newell. Also, special thanks to Hafsa Fatima (ph), Zane Rizvi (ph) and Yasmeen Sirhan (ph). Our fearless editor is Jordana Hochman. Our director of programming is Steve Nelson. And our big boss is NPR's senior VP of programming, Anya Grundmann.
Listeners, till next time, be good to yourselves. Stay safe. Have some pound cake if you're so inclined. I'm Sam Sanders. We'll talk soon.
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