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October 30, 2020

The Unreality of Now

Ahead of the election, we have stories about people trying to live in the unreality that defines this moment. Election officials combat a contagion among their very own workers; people who've never owned guns suddenly go buy them; and two women who allege they were sexually assaulted by the president compare notes.

DEREK R. HENKLE/AFP via Getty Images

Note: The internet version of this episode contains un-beeped curse words. BEEPED VERSION.

Prologue

Ira gives us a recent shortlist of things that feel almost too unreal to believe as we head into the national election. (5 minutes)

Would You Like to Come Up to First Class?

The journalist E. Jean Carroll is one of dozens of women who’ve accused the president of sexual assault or harassment. These stories have been so widely covered and everyone’s so used to them that to Carroll, it felt like at this point they were just being ignored.  Which seemed sort of incredible to her. She has a frank conversation with another one of the president’s accusers, Jessica Leeds. (16 minutes)

The story is adapted from a series in The Atlantic. E. Jean Carroll is the author of the memoir What Do We Need Men For?

Song:

“Daredevil” by Fiona Apple (podcast only)

The Gun Reality of Now

The statistics on first time gun ownership are higher than ever in America. Producer Lilly Sullivan wants to know: What inspired people to buy a gun right now? What are people afraid of? (16 minutes)

Song:

“I’m Scared” by Lon Milo DuQuette (podcast only)

Second Time’s the Charm

Reporter Johnny Kauffman embeds with the election staff in Georgia’s most populated county to find out if the staff—who had a horrible go of it during the primary election—can possibly do better this time. (14 minutes)

Song:

“Unreal Reality” by The Kinks