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Ticketmaster, Gas Stoves, Video Game Music

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
The Truth Network Radio
February 5, 2023 2:00 pm

Ticketmaster, Gas Stoves, Video Game Music

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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February 5, 2023 2:00 pm

Hosted by Jane Pauley. In our cover story, Rita Braver meets Taylor Swift fans who are taking on Ticketmaster in court. Plus: David Pogue goes inside the world of K-pop; Tracy Smith talks with Motown legend Smokey Robinson; Conor Knighton looks into the rise of video game music; Mo Rocca interviews Carole Feraci, a singer who confronted Richard Nixon about the Vietnam War during a 1972 White House gala; and Luke Burbank examines the range war ignited over gas stoves.

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Good morning.

I'm Jane Pauley and this is Sunday Morning. It's one of music's biggest nights. The Grammy Awards are tonight on CBS. Reason enough for us to be talking to some of the biggest names in music. But before we get to the show, you have to get the tickets. And as some of us know from unhappy personal experience, that can sometimes be an exercise in frustration. In fact, so many fans were upset over difficulties getting tickets for an upcoming Taylor Swift tour, they took the event organizer to court.

An action that even sparked congressional hearings. Rita Braver surveys the front lines of this ticket tug of war. So, Ticket Monster. Taylor Swift fans are still outraged.

Pre-sale? Lies. Trash. Not true.

Fake. Ticketmaster's bungling of sales for her upcoming concert tour. Ticketmaster needs to be dismantled.

It just needs to be taken apart. Ahead on Sunday morning, should the federal government get into the act? Up for special honors at this year's Grammys, the man who's been called America's Poet Laureate of Love. Tracy Smith will be talking with singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson. Believe it or not, Smokey Robinson actually tried to retire back in the 1970s.

It didn't work. Do you think you'll ever retire again? I'm going to be the George Burns in the show business. No, I'm not. Retirement is the furthest thing from my mind right now. The legendary Smokey Robinson on life, legacy, and all of those love songs.

Coming up on Sunday morning. David Pong gives a listen to K-Pop, the wildly popular South Korean music that's not without the occasional sour note. South Korean pop music is much more than a music craze. It is a total entertainment that incorporates choreography, fashion, lifestyle. But becoming a K-Pop star means spending years in grueling training camps.

We don't sleep. We keep going from job to job to job. But if you make it, your K-Pop band might top the charts all over the world.

Coming up on Sunday morning. Mo Rocca's musical contribution is the story of Carol Ferasi, a singer who spoke her mind and stood up to the President of the United States. Connor Knighton checks out the newest Grammy category, video game music, overlooked no more.

Luke Burbank looks at the controversy over gas stoves and more. Sunday morning's Grammy issue, February 5th, 2023, continues in a moment. Taylor Swift live in concert. It's the hottest and toughest ticket in town.

Rita Braver reports on Ticketmaster and the tour ticket meltdown. So this room is kind of a shrine to Taylor Swift, huh? Yeah. Twins Izzy and Alexa Harrison of Potomac, Maryland, also sport Taylor Swift merch, wearing her cardigan sweaters. And how about that necklace you have on?

It opens up too. She's my role model and she just makes me happy. But the twins were not happy when their mom was unable to get tickets for Swift's upcoming eras tour, using a special code that Ticketmaster gave out to verified fans who'd bought Swift's merchandise and downloaded her music. Just disappointing and like, upsetting.

It makes you mad. Yeah. I signed on at 9.30 in the morning and at 10 o'clock it kicked me out and then you just sign back on again. So by the time I got in, it was 4.30 in the afternoon. And then the twins' mom, Penny Harrison, spent several more hours trying and failing to purchase seats. Any time I would click on something and try to put it in the basket, it would say, somebody else got those tickets, try again. And I kept clicking, somebody else got the tickets, try again. I kept trying to sign on all night. Come on.

It just sits here like this. She wasn't the only Swiftie, as the fans call themselves. Pre-sale, lies, trash, not true, fake. Who couldn't just shake it off. But one shutout Swiftie thought it was time to be fearless. Swifties, I'm a lawyer from Dallas, Texas. We need to sue Ticketmaster.

And soon Dallas personal injury attorney Jennifer Kinder had more than 300 other disappointed fans, including Penny Harrison, joining in a lawsuit against Ticketmaster. What are you alleging in the lawsuit? Well, we're making allegations of fraud, misrepresentation, and then antitrust violations. Their argument, of course, is going to be, hey, this was like a lottery. You weren't guaranteed to win. I don't think that this is a lottery.

It's a purposeful manipulation of a sale in order to increase their profit. That's really what this is about. The fans who are suing have one key supporter. Are you kind of rooting for them?

Well, of course. I'm always rooting for people that are taking on big monopolies. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, charges that Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation Entertainment, a concert promoter, do constitute a monopoly, controlling 70 percent of the big concert ticket market, leaving fans and artists alike nowhere else to go. They've actually started buying arenas. But for the arenas that they don't own, they tend to lock in on three- or five- or seven-year contracts so that those arenas are boxed out of using competitors.

So picture this. There they are with the monopoly on the ticketing, then they've got the promotion, then they've got the arenas. And as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee, Klobuchar called a high-profile hearing a week and a half ago to question whether Live Nation Entertainment needs to be broken up.

Taylor Swift is just one example. Whether it's Bruce Springsteen or BTS or Bad Bunny or, in the past, Pearl Jam or the Pixies, fans, artists and venues are facing real issues with Live Nation. Democrat Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut noted, tongue firmly in cheek, that Live Nation had done the almost impossible in deeply partisan Washington.

I want to congratulate and thank you for an absolutely stunning achievement. You have brought together Republicans and Democrats in an absolutely unified cause. Joe Bertolt, Live Nation Entertainment's president and chief financial officer, blamed it all on an unprecedented bot attack.

This is what led to a terrible consumer experience, which we deeply regret. We need to do better, and we will do better. Mr. Bertolt, I'm not against... Senators... Big... Were not...

Per se... Appeased. I am against dumb. Republican John Kennedy of Louisiana suggesting a ban on ticket resales to foil scalpers from jacking up prices. Cap the price. Cut out the bots.

Cut out the middle people. But as for those annoying fees that can add many dollars to a ticket price... Why haven't you done more to reduce fees? The fees are set by the venues.

I'm getting sick of the industry. Clyde Lawrence of Lawrence the Band begged to differ. We asked that question to the venues, and they say, not only do we not choose what it is, we don't even know what it is.

We can't even tell you what it's going to be. More than a decade ago, when Live Nation and Ticketmaster first wanted to merge, there was so much concern about competition, the Justice Department insisted on a consent decree that would forbid the company from engaging in anti-competitive conduct. Well, they had violations of that, clear violations. And because of that, they have basically extended that consent decree.

It keeps going. But whatever they've done, it hasn't been enough. And Dean Budnick, who's written a book on the ticket industry, says deliberate or not, just being part of Live Nation gives Ticketmaster an edge. Or to quote Taylor Swift...

It's hard to fight when the fight ain't fair. You don't need to directly communicate to a would-be venue partner, hey, we're affiliated with Live Nation, the biggest concert promoter in the country, and maybe if you don't enter into a contract with us, you might not get Live Nation shows. And now, CBS News has confirmed that even before the Taylor Swift ticket snafu, the Justice Department had begun an investigation into the practices of Live Nation Entertainment, Ticketmaster's parent company.

The company would not give us an interview for this story. Still, Dean Budnick argues that Ticketmaster shouldn't get all the blame. Ticketmaster's clients are not the concertgoers. Ticketmaster's clients are the venues and the promoters. And so, when customers get outraged at times, Ticketmaster, historically, they've always been willing to sort of put on the asbestos suit and take the heat. Just say no to Ticketmaster Monopoly. But Taylor Swift fans like Penny Harrison and attorney Jennifer Kinder, who demonstrated outside the hearing, are demanding action. There's something in your eyes, says we can beat this, cause these things will change.

When something is wrong and not fair, it's our responsibility to try to make the change. And with Ticketmaster starting sales for Beyonce's upcoming tour tomorrow, Washington is watching. This is an incredible gift that we have in America, which is this music industry, something we've literally given the world.

And when you only have one entity, basically, is ticketing all the big events and letting fans in the door, that gives them an ordinate power. It's the South Korean sound that's become a global sensation. And at tonight's Grammys, K-pop is poised to make its mark. David Pogue dropped in on a recent K-pop convention. This is BTS, a boy band that's nominated in three different categories at tonight's Grammy Awards.

And it's the most-listened-to group in Spotify history. Welcome to the energetic, catchy, family-friendly world of South Korean music, better known as K-pop. It's way more than music. It is a total entertainment that incorporates choreography, fashion, music. Seok Kyung Kim is a UCLA professor and author of a book about the K-pop phenomenon. We used to have very prominent boy bands and girl groups such as Kids on the Block, Spice Girls, One Direction. I think K-pop really hits kind of a vacuum that Western pop cultural trend left behind. As we discovered in Los Angeles at the 10th annual K-con convention. So, how was the concert?

So good! Everywhere you look, you see fans faithfully recreating their idols' dances. What are the odds they would be able to recite every lyric, do every dance move?

100 percent. Yeah, they know it better than I do. Kevin Woo is a K-pop star. A K-pop idol, to use the technical term, who spent nine years in a group called U-Kiss. Sometimes it gets dangerous at K-pop concerts because they're so passionate.

I've seen a lot of cases where they have to get escorted out, either to the emergency or, you know, take a breather. All successful bands have fans. But in K-pop, the fan-to-idol relationship is more reciprocal. Fans are extremely dedicated, but they also expect a lot in return from idols. According to the members of I-N-I, a K-pop idol never declines a fan interaction. Is there ever a time when you don't want a selfie? Like you're trying to shop or see a movie? No, selfies are a good opportunity for us to communicate with our fans. Some attendees are here to audition for scouts and competition shows.

One, two, and three. In hopes of becoming K-pop idols themselves someday. If you're chosen, you'll spend up to 10 years in self-defense. If you're chosen, you'll spend up to 10 years in South Korea's K-pop training centers operated by the entertainment companies. It's kind of like a boot camp. You go to your acting class, you go to your singing class, you go to your dance class. Are there people who also decide your look? Yes, you get camera tested every angle, hair and makeup. They change up different hairstyles, different colors. Is there a dark side to it?

A dark side, when there's a good side, there's always going to be a bad side. I went to Korea and I was around like 130 pounds, but I dropped to I think 95 at one point. Amber Liu is a former member of the girl group FX.

In 2020, after a series of suicides among K-pop performers, including Liu's former FX bandmate Sully, she went public with her account of those grueling, extremely competitive training camps. You're also thinking like everybody's doing it too. It's part of this, it's normal to us to feel like we're always hungry, to always feel exhausted.

And you're 15. Yeah, there's a sense of pressure of success. I'm not sure that it's unique to K-pop. It's a societal thing in Korea.

Angela Killoran is the CEO of CJENM America, the entertainment company that puts on the KCON conferences. She says that while the training camps may sound intense to Americans, that kind of competitive pressure pervades Korean culture. There's a lot of pressure on doing well in school.

They're all up to whatever time at night, like studying, doing the work. There's this idea of wanting to do your best and not disappoint others. One thing is for sure, the South Korean music-making system does produce hits. Last year alone, the K-pop industry generated more than $5 billion and landed four songs at number one on the Billboard list. According to idol Kevin Woo, that's no surprise at all. Once you listen to K-pop, you're in for a treat. I mean, it's a very different culture out there. But I feel like once you listen to the first 30 seconds, you'll fall in love.

I promise you. The Vietnam War was raging half a world away. But one night in 1972, the White House hosted a gala, complete with an easy-listening group of singers for entertainment.

Mo Rocca introduces us to the woman who stole the show. And so tonight in the White House, in this room, in this company. The date, January 28, 1972.

A monthly university in print. The occasion, a White House gala celebrating the 50th anniversary of Reader's Digest magazine. The entertainment that night? The wholesome Ray Conniff Singers. And if the music is square, it's because I like it square. But what happened next was anything but square. President Nixon, stop bombing human beings, animals and vegetation.

You go to church on Sundays and pray to Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ were here tonight, you would not dare drop another bomb. Bless the Barragans and bless Daniel Ellsberg. Could you see the president? Oh yes, he sat right in front of me in the front row. Did you look at him?

Yes, I did. I was speaking to him. You looked right at him. Yes, he was like this, frozen. He had a frozen smile. He did not know what to do.

The woman who stunned President Richard Nixon and the star-studded audience with a plea to end the war in Vietnam was Canadian-born Carol Ferossi. I folded up the sign and I stood there. I thought, okay, let's see what happens now. And he gave the downbeat for Ma He's Making Eyes At Me. Could it have been a more perfect song? No. Ma, he's making eyes at me.

Ma, he's making eyes at me. When the music stopped, Ray Coniff apologized, and Ferossi was asked to leave. She did so graciously. The war had been going on under the Johnson administration, so what specifically was your objection to Richard Nixon's handling of it? My objection was he could have stopped it at any time, and he kept telling people there were all these reasons why it couldn't happen and we were winning. It was just one lie after another. We could have gotten out of that war the next minute.

Only because of him and people like him were we still doing these atrocities to children and women and the planet. Carol Ferossi says that standing up to the leader of the free world came naturally to a girl who'd grown up in a rough Toronto neighbourhood. Was this characteristic of you? Always.

My whole life. I've been in trouble my whole life. But the right kind of trouble, right? I think so. Yes, I think so. As John Lewis said, the good trouble, right?

The big trouble. And you didn't surprise yourself there. It just came naturally to you. Yeah. Would you have considered yourself political at that point?

No. No, I just cared about people's feelings and I knew how wrong that was. As for that strong sense of right and wrong, Ferossi says that was instilled in her during Sunday school at the Salvation Army. I was a member of the Army of Christ on the planet and it was my duty to protect people and to help as much as I could, and I did. Any friend of mine didn't have to worry about being beat up going or coming from school because I protected everybody. I was a mean little kid.

I could beat anybody up. Ferossi had been a staple on variety shows in the 1960s. A sought-after backup singer, she'd performed alongside the Smothers Brothers, Johnny Mathis, even Frank Sinatra. What did you do with Frank Sinatra? One of his albums. Which one?

The Christmas album. But the incident in the East Room made her a headliner. One of the women asked me, how could I come to somebody's private home and create a fuss? And I said to her, you know, I'm sure that in the time of Jesus Christ, there were lots of people that said to him, look, you know, if you don't like it here, why don't you go back up to heaven with Daddy up there and, you know, just leave us alone? That's, you know, we've got to change it.

And that's what I'm doing. This is the front page. Of the L.A. Times. It was headlines all over the world. I mean, this is a banner headline. Singer stuns Nixon guests. Woman assails war policies from stage and White House. Did you expect this kind of press coverage? No, actually I didn't.

I hadn't thought beyond what I was going to do. President Nixon, stop bombing human beings, animals and vegetation. Her one night only run at the White House changed her life forever. The calls that came into the house, I mean, every two minutes that phone rang. And a lot of it was, we know where you live, you won't last the night.

We're going to come and kill you. There were a few rah rah for you. But a lot of it was, you're in deep trouble. How did you deal with the threats? Well, I hung up on a lot of them. You know, how do you deal with it?

You don't. Today at age 81, Carol Ferossi hopes what she did that night. There you go, grab a corner. 51 years ago, still resonates. Who do you hope hears your message or is inspired by what you did 50 years ago?

People like me, ordinary people like me, who realize their voice is just as powerful as anybody else's. All they have to do is use it. You make it sound simple. It is. Duh. It is.

Speak your mind. It happened this past week. The passing of Cindy Williams, the television star we knew best as Shirley, on the beloved sitcom Laverne and Shirley. Williams died after a brief illness at age 75.

Said her children, knowing and loving her has been our joy and privilege. And Spanish designer Paco Rabanne died Friday. Known for his futuristic fashion creations, he clothed Jane Fonda in the movie Barbarella. In the late 60s, he made headlines with his paper dresses, held together with multicolored scotch tape.

Paco Rabanne was 88. Sunday morning goes to the Grammys. Here again is Jane Folly. Tonight's Grammy Awards will feature a brand new category, Best Soundtrack for Video Games. Music that Connor Knighton tells us has come a long way.

A very long way. This theme from Nintendo's Super Mario Brothers may be one of the most recognizable songs from the 1980s. Barely a minute long, it has been played on loop in living rooms for countless hours. But in the decades since its release, video game music has significantly leveled up. Last month, the Utah Symphony devoted an entire evening to game music.

And this sold out show in Salt Lake City, an enthusiastic crowd dressed to the nines packed the concert hall just to hear the audio from their favorite video games. You're listening to it when you play the game, obviously. Do you find yourself listening to it when you're not playing the game?

Oh yeah, it's a huge part of my music taste. Today's games feature complex orchestral scores. Most people don't understand that we do write real music.

A lot of people just think it's the blips and bloops from the old days. Janine Cowan is the chair of the University of Southern California's Department of Screen Scoring, which trains budding composers to write for any sort of screen. Good composers are good storytellers, and we want to work on these properties that are telling great stories. While early games like Pong and Pac-Man did not tell much of a story, the advent of CD-ROM technology allowed game designers to create much more complex worlds with more complex music to match.

With digital audio, then we had a lot more space in order to put on actual tracks of recorded audio. A real violin, a real timpani. A real violin, a real orchestra. Best-selling series like Animal Crossing and Call of Duty feature hours of original music. The most interesting projects I've ever been asked to score have been games, and I've scored film and television. Professor Gary Scheinman got his start composing for shows like Magnum P.I., in which he'd create music to match the exact action on the screen. But when composing for a game like Bioshock, he has to create an entire suite of songs that can loop and layer dynamically, all depending on what the player decides to do.

What one player takes five minutes from get to point A to point B, another player may take 60 seconds. But if we're scoring it, how do we score that so that each player has a scored experience that feels natural? Game music has its own set of challenges, and this year, for the first time ever, its own Grammy category. That's great, though. It really does set a mood right off the bat.

Thanks, thanks, thanks. Christopher Ten's music for the game Old World is one of five albums competing tonight for best score soundtrack for video games and other interactive media. Does this feel like a significant moment for video game composers?

Oh, it absolutely is a significant moment. I mean, for one thing, we finally get the recognition that we deserve, because there's a lot of great music being written for games, as any gamer will tell you. Back in 2011, Ten made history as the first composer to win a Grammy for a piece of music originally written for a video game. His song Baba Yetu won in the category recognizing arrangements after he released it on his own album, but gamers had first heard the song years earlier in the hit game Civilization IV. Do you think that exposed you to a new audience?

It absolutely did, yeah. I mean, my audience was much smaller prior to me being involved in games, but suddenly, being able to write a theme song for such a high-profile franchise like Civilization really put my music in front of a lot of people. Worldwide, an estimated 3 billion people play some form of video game. And even after they beat a game, they may keep playing the music. For the composers who create that music, tonight, the Recording Academy starts keeping score.

What's nice is that now, every year moving forward, a video game composer will get a Grammy statue, and that's a nice thing to see. I would do anything, I would go anywhere He's a Grammy winner, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, and just days ago, along with lifelong friend Barry Gordy, was named Music Cares Person of the Year. Tracy Smith is talking with Motown royalty, the great Smokey Robinson.

Smokey Robinson was only 28 when he made this appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in March of 68. But he was already a force in the music business. In his career, Robinson has written or co-written upwards of 4,000 songs, most of them about one thing, love. What makes a great love song?

You tell me, because I'm going to stock up. He's the man who helped put Motown on the map, writing both My Guy for Mary Wells, and My Girl for The Temptations. And some of Smokey Robinson's lyrics are immortal too, like The Tracks of My Tears.

He came up with that line in the bathroom. Talk about Tracks of My Tears. You had the beginning, but you were trying to figure out the end?

First three lines of the chorus are, take a good look at my face, smile, look at my face, you're the closest, easy to trace. Trace what? Trace that I'm here and you're not. No, trace that I went through 20 of those, you know? And one morning, just by chance, I was shaving. And somehow or other, the thought just came to me, what if somebody had cried so much till their tears left tracks in their face?

I said, that's it. And like so many of his songs, The Tracks of My Tears has been picked up by artists from every corner of the musical universe. So take a good look at my face, you'll see the smile looks out of place, if you look closer it's easy to trace the tracks of my tears. Born and raised in Detroit, William Robinson Jr., nicknamed Smokey by an uncle, formed the group that became The Miracles in high school. They were one of the first acts signed by Berry Gordy at the fledgling Motown label, and they helped start a musical dynasty. But back in the mid-60s, not all of the world was ready for them. Can you talk about some of the racism that you faced, what it was like to tour the South back in the early days? Touring the South was rough back in those days, because see, we actually started touring during the height of the civil rights movement, you know? Down South, you can't even come in.

No, you're not coming in here. We've been shot at for trying to go to the toilet, you know what I'm saying? And we would go to restaurants and we'd sit there, and you'd sit there for sometimes an hour, before anybody would come and say, we wish you would leave.

Not what can we hope you would leave, we wish you would leave. And you know, we're on like a tour and this, and you know, it wasn't something that we said, oh well, we're going to stop doing what we're doing, or we can't do this, or we can't stand this, because we were young and we were just out there doing what we loved. They weren't going to stop us.

And they were, in fact, unstoppable. Smokey Robinson and others in the Motown family didn't just sell records, they helped break down barriers, even down South. We first started going there, everything was separate. Everything, everything was segregated. Rope down the center of the concert hall, white people on this side, black people on this side, not even looking at each other. And eventually, after about a year or so, we go down there and you see white boys and black girlfriends, and black boys and white girlfriends, and they were dancing together and all this stuff, because they had a common love. They had this music that they all loved, so hey man, forget all this racial stuff, we're going to dance and listen to this music, and have a good time. And it started to happen like that, and I'm very proud of that.

The way you smell so sweet, oh you know you could miss a purple one. Since then, he's won just about every award in the industry, some more than once. And this year, he's been named the Recording Academy's Music Cares Person of the Year, along with his old friend, Berry Gordy. That's not to say there haven't been a few rough patches over the years, like about with substance abuse. It's probably the worst personal time of my life that I've had. My drug of choice is marijuana, okay? I still smoke marijuana, you know, when I get ready to.

I'm so glad that they legalized it, you know, so I wouldn't have to go like we used to and buy it in the dark, you know what I mean? But it was a cocaine addiction in the 80s that nearly finished him, until an encounter with a minister at an L.A. church set him straight. And she said, God sent you here to be healed. I walked into the church that night, I was a junkie.

I walked out, I was free. That was it? That was it. That was the end for me.

May of 1986, that was it. I love it when we're cruising together. Even now, the road still calls.

We met Smokey at a gig last month at the Mesa Arts Center near Phoenix, and his fans lined up to see him. Do people come up and tell you, oh, I had my first kiss to this song, or I had a baby thanks to this song? Yeah, yeah, people tell me that.

I tell them they owe me, if that's the case. So it's what? Less than four hours before the show. What's going through your mind? Right now, eating.

Eating, yeah. Smokey Robinson will be 83 later this month, but you'd hardly know it. He's still very much into writing and recording. And with a new album set to drop in April, he can still bring the heat. Your new album makes me blush a little bit when I listen to some of those songs. All right. Was that the intention?

Yeah, it was. Gasm is anything that feels good. And few things feel quite as good as when Smokey sings. When we're talking about legacy, do you think about decades from now, maybe even centuries from now, people are still going to be listening to your music, singing your songs? You know something that I hope that decades and centuries from now they're still listening to my music? I tell everybody, I want to be Beethoven, man, you know, since I'm in music and I'm a songwriter. I want to write music that people want to sing and want to hear and want to play and, you know, have a good time, too.

So it's a dream come true. He sang around 40 concerts last year. Not bad for someone over 80. But he can still remember a time when he and the Maracles would play 35 nights in a row. That was nothing.

You know, we were young. We had that energy, you know, where you just said that you've gone home, you know what I mean? Now? No, that's not going to happen now. That's not going to happen now. No, I do as many as I can because I love my job.

I love my job. And you still do a lot of dates. You still do a lot of tour dates. Yeah. Yeah, but, you know, I can't find a replacement. And when it comes to Smokey Robinson, neither can we.

But enough about music. Time for Luke Burbank to turn up the heat. Now they're coming for our stoves.

You've got to be kidding me. Depending on which news outlets you tend to follow, it would be pretty easy of late to get the mistaken impression that someone might be coming for your gas stove. So the Chinese government, by proxy, gets to decide how you cook your dinner.

But how exactly did this most recent skirmish in the culture war start? Well, it was almost a month ago when Richard Trumka Jr. of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission told Bloomberg News everything was on the table when it comes to addressing the potential health risks posed by gas stoves. Because of the symptoms I was getting when I would be here in the kitchen, I would always have my window open a little bit, always. Maria Espada was only too happy to have her gas stove replaced. For 44 years, she's lived in the Watson Houses of New York City's Housing Authority in the Bronx, and with what she says are the effects of her unventilated gas stove, including asthma. It wasn't good.

It wasn't good at all. We recorded our own data and showed that just by taking out a gas stove, we can reduce nitrogen dioxide in someone's home by 35 percent. Annie Carforo is with We Act for Environmental Justice, the group that replaced 18 gas stoves in Maria's building with stoves that use a newer technology called induction, because they and an increasing group of scientists, doctors and chefs say so-called clean-burning natural gas is actually not the most healthy way to cook food inside your home. What our data has shown is that natural gas is not as clean as we thought, it leaks inside your house, and these leaks are both damaging to the climate and to the health.

Eric LaBelle is a scientist for PSE Healthy Energy, a non-profit research institute. In a recent peer-reviewed study, he examined just how much methane and other chemicals gas stoves emit into the home. Venting your kitchen is important, he says, but it isn't a perfect solution. Nearly every stove that we measured emitted methane or natural gas while it was off, and that gas contains benzene. Meanwhile, while you use your stove, nearly every stove emits some amount of nitrogen dioxide, which can be, you know, it's a respiratory irritant and it can be damaging to your health. LaBelle's study is one of the many that link the pollutants from gas stoves to elevated levels of asthma, particularly in children. Studies the gas industry strongly refutes.

Because it's gas, it seals in juiciness and flavor while it broils. It turns out America's love affair with so-called natural gas is no accident. It's the result of a concerted effort by the gas industry to sell its product, and it's worked. More than one-third of Americans use gas to cook at home. City, now you're cooking with gas.

Natural gas. We use gas to cook our food, heat and cool our homes. There's something very human, very intimate about cooking over an open flame inside your kitchen. And for many years, gas stoves were inarguably superior to electric when it came to cooking. But these days, many chefs will tell you... I much prefer this to using a gas stove. Induction cooking has more than caught up. How fast does water boil when you're using this technology?

So I just put this on. Water boils twice as fast. We can watch water boil. It's a thing now. So this is a watched pot that actually is going to boil.

I know. I have been working with induction for so many years, and I always still have a sense of wonder about it. Rachelle Boucher has been a professional chef for over 20 years, cooking for celebrity clients. These days, she's part of the Building Decarbonization Coalition, a group funded by electric utilities, appliance makers and tech companies that evangelizes for what she calls the magic of induction cooking. So instead of heating something up, it starts to move the molecules in the pan, and it creates friction, and that makes your pan into your heat source. Induction doesn't heat up your kitchen, as she showed me with a little crispy skin salmon that she whipped up.

It also doesn't put out the same emissions as gas stoves. Now if you notice something, we're standing here. There's a lot of cooking going on. What is not happening?

What do we not feel around here? Any kind of tremendous amount of heat. Amazing. Meanwhile, back in the Bronx, Maria Espada was also cooking salmon on her induction stove, albeit with a little less fanfare, a simple act she hopes to enjoy in her home for the foreseeable future. Are you planning on cooking on this stove for the next 40 years? If I'm still here, yes. I did ask, can I take it with me? Well, they say you can't take it with you, right?

But you were going to try? This morning's commentary comes from contributor Mark Whitaker, whose new history on the roots of the black power movement comes from our sister Paramount Global Company, Simon & Schuster. Don't be ashamed. We want black power. It began on a hot summer night in Mississippi with a cry from a young black activist named Stokely Carmichael. The birth of black power in 1966 also saw the spread of Afros, Daishikis, and the first celebration of Kwanzaa. Seen as radical then, its pioneers highlighted issues that are still very much with us today. To secure voting rights in Alabama, Carmichael pushed blacks to form their own political party with a striking panther logo.

Borrowing that symbol in California, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale created an armed patrol to monitor police. Yet for white Americans, black power rang of menace. In polls, whites suddenly opposed even nonviolent black protest by two to one.

Black rocks and racist taunts greeted Martin Luther King Jr. in Chicago. Infighting also plagued the movement. At a chaotic retreat, Carmichael ousted John Lewis, the future congressman, as leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee known as SNCC. SNCC militants pushed to expel all white members, leaving a trail of dried up fundraising. To explain black power, Carmichael often provoked more than persuaded.

In a primetime special, he spoke with Mike Wallace of CBS News. Mr. Carmichael, if you had the chance to stand up in front of the white community and say anything you desired, say to them, understand me, white man, what would you say? I would say, understand yourself, white man. You are the savages. Yes, it is you who have always been uncivilized.

Civilize yourself. For today's Black Lives Matter movement, the tumultuous history of black power offers lessons and warnings about the importance of messaging, unity, and cross-racial alliances. Yet beyond politics, black power had a deep personal meaning. In 1966, veteran journalist Vern Smith was a student at San Francisco State University, where the push for black studies began. For him and his black friends, Vern says, it was almost like a born-again experience. We were no longer Negroes. And those African dashikis that remain a symbol of proud black identity?

Well, Vern admits, we didn't even know what dashikis were before then. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-05 14:06:29 / 2023-02-05 14:22:47 / 16

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