Plain English with Derek Thompson - Buy or Sell Pandemic Trends: Peloton, Movie Theaters, Masks, and More!


Today’s episode is about predicting the future after covid.

So last week I was in San Francisco for an in-person meeting and I walk up to three people.

First guy reaches out to shake.

My hand open Palm totally normal handshake.


Second guy, offers a fist bump.

I’m fine with that.

I make a fist, do the bump third guy, does the elbow thing?

You’ve seen the other thing like he kind of puts his hand in a shoulder and the swings around the elbow and I’m supposed to swing around my elbow to meet in midair it A weird amount of elbow coordination between two people who don’t know each other.


Anyway, the point is pandemics leave a weird mark on culture disasters, leave a weird mark on culture.

Like the idea that the simple handshake is being semi replaced by the flying elbow.

This is not a future that I saw coming and it reminds me of the very first article, I wrote, for the Atlantic about covid, and how the pandemic would change America in the long run.


I talked to this And who said, look, predicting the future is basically impossible.

But there are three kinds of changes you need to think about here.

There are inventions there are interruptions, and there are accelerations and invention is just something plain new.


Like masks not a thing.

Then there are thing flying elbows.

Not a thing than a thing.

That’s an invention, an interruption is a change that snaps back.

So for example, indoor dining at restaurants.

Are it disappears for a few months?


It comes right back, but accelerations are the really interesting one online shopping online delivery.

Zoom calls, remote work.

All these things were already growing before covid and the pandemic, supercharged them.


So today’s episode is all about which cultural and economic Trends will thrive in the 2020s that got their start in the pandemic or got their acceleration in the pandemic.

So remote work wearing masks in public buying a Peloton instead of a gym membership.


What will accelerate?

And what will snap back?

I’m Derek Thompson.

This is plain English.


Today’s guest is Amanda Mall.

Amanda is a staff writer at the Atlantic covering culture and business.

She writes about the weird things people do with their money and why they do them.

Amanda welcome to the podcast.

Thank you for having me.

That’s a better description of my beat than I have ever been able to come up with, feel free to steal it.


So today we are playing buy or sell pandemic Trends.

Here’s how it works.

I’m going to name a cultural or economic Trend and then you and I are gonna get say whether we are buying or Selling that trend for the 2020s.

So the way I see it by means the trend will thrive in the 2020s and sell means that the trend will taper off or die off in the 2020s.


And to be exquisitely, clear for ourselves, and for our audience.

These are predictions.

Not necessarily what we’re rooting for.

So don’t scream at us.

If we predict something that you don’t like just because we think it’s going to happen.

We might just think it’s going to happen and aren’t necessarily rooting for it.


Amanda’s, does that all sound kosher to you, too?

Sounds great.

I’m ready to guess the future, which is, which is always such a such a reliable way to go about things a frog business indeed.

All right, first up athleisure domination.


Do you envision a continued rain of sweatpants, or do you think we might be in line for something like a revenge of the Roaring 20s, like a revenge of suits and formal wear in the next decade?

So buy or sell the continued domination of athleisure.


I am.

Sweatpants both literally and figuratively.

Yeah, I think that this is an interesting situation because like the, the history of clothing is a history of casualisation over the course of like hundreds of years.


Yes, and it’s something that’s really interesting about the past couple decades is that, you know, a lot, a lot of clothing has been sort of pushed forward by actual Innovation.

There’s a Lot of advances in textile technology.


A lot of advances in in what can be created and what can have stretch put into it and in how the clothes that we that we wear behave and how they feel.

So I think that even before the pandemic, especially people who just sit in a chair all day.


There’s a lot of reason to not want a binding waistband and that scenario and I so I think that a lot of things were getting stretchier and getting more sweatpants.

In getting and getting more casual in that way.

And this is really just like an accelerating event on that.


So I think that, you know, I don’t think jeans are going anywhere.

I don’t think high heels are going anywhere, but I think that day to day, people are going to be pretty comfortable being comfortable.

I am buying this so hard, and I swear to God, Amanda and I did not compare notes before this podcast, but we think about this in the exact same way.


Like, most Trends are cyclical, like, skinny, jeans are in then They’re out there in then they’re out.

But like the one fashion trend that is clearly.

Structural is the 100-year and probably longer declined a formal wear.

Like if you jump into a time machine and then step out, 1920s America.


It looks like a black tie wedding.

Like, people were three piece suits to baseball games.

They wore hats and gloves, inbred lines and homeless shelters.

A famous antistick from an old piece that I did on clothing history in 1920.

Sears Roebuck sold 12 different kinds of formal hats that number of formal, hats sold by Sears Roebuck declined, every decade for half a century.


And by the 1980s, they did not sell any like hats gloves.

These just went from absolute ubiquity to Nowhere at all and it’s because everything has become athleisure a little bit.

Like, sweatpants.

Why do you call him, sweat pants?

Then merge.

The 1890s as College gym attire their pants.


You sweated, in polo shirts.

They were actually invented as a A tennis shirt by Rene Lacoste.

And then they were stolen by the English and they turned the tennis shirt into a polo shirt and sold it to Americans.

Tennis shoes, sneakers invented the 1890s.

They were called sneakers because they had rubber soles, you could sneak up to people in them.


They didn’t clink-clunk, like maybe a hard-soled shoes.

All this stuff that was invented.

The late 19th century is just totally taken over leisure in the 20th century.

Everything is becoming athleisure.

It’s basically one of the few rules of Life.

Gravity, athleisure, Ivan, buying this.


For years and I think the pandemic absolutely accelerated it and it did.

So I think you’re so smart to point this out.

I think it did.

So by getting more kinds of companies to experiment with all these new kinds of fabrics.

Like my wife just bought me a pair of sweatpants that I swear to God.


Look, exactly like slacks.

They look like likes for beautiful.

Silver slacks that you would think you could wear to, like, to the office, or even to know some formal party, but they basically, Feel like this lobbyists sweatpants, you could possibly imagine like as companies learn how to mold formal looking at Tire with athleisure, sort of feel.


I think this stuff is just going to continue to take over and look.

I love a good suit.

I love a good tie, but I don’t think the age of the of the daily suit is, is here for long anything.

They are, you want to, you want to pick up on or push back against?

I think that, you know, once people try things that are comfortable, once people get used to having Physical Comfort or having things that don’t physically bother them on their bodies.


During the day.

It is very hard to unwind.

That it is very hard to to get somebody back into high heels every day once their foot has known and Ugg boot, you know, human bodies, one Comfort.


They don’t want to be harmed in some way all day and, and I think that once you Find openings for that.

Once you find Opportunities to get a little bit more comfortable.

It’s really hard to take that back.

Yeah that it’s a fantastic point.

And look, I’m speaking from a place of privilege here.


I’ve never had to wear a high heel, but I do Wonder Maybe the only argument against my strong by is that the door swings, both ways that suits and formal wear might be able to sort of like pull in some of these super stretchy fabrics and thereby make sort of at least I’m what I’m more familiar with which is 4.


Menswear feel more and more like a sweatpants or a stretchy soft shirt.

Alright next by your cell is Peloton.

Peloton the at home fitness stationary bike company, a quick three year history of Peloton, 2019 the company IPOs that come out with an embarrassing.


Add that everybody makes fun of 2020.

Jim shut down across the country.

Peloton absolutely takes off conquers.

The world 2021 the world opens up a bit.

Gyms are back online.

Peloton stock is down significantly since its high in January, Amanda buy or sell, Peloton for the 2020s right now.


I am push bit leaning by, I know that we, we just started the game and I’m already introducing a third option that we did, not agree on.

But I am pushed leaning by on Peloton.

I have been following the Peloton story for for several years, starting before the pandemic before before the really cringe-worthy.


Miss ad from a couple of years ago.

I during the pandemic bought a Peloton of my own using their, their financing, which has made it possible for a lot of people who might not have otherwise to about to buy a Peloton.

And, you know, I think it’s a really good product in a lot of ways.


I think that they have really sort of tapped into something that people want to do which is find a way to exercise without having to Route to and from a space in which they can do that and have found a way to also, you know provide people with programming.


A lot of the problem of going to the gym, for people who aren’t already fit is going to is figuring out what you’re supposed to do when you’re there and how you progress at anything.

So, I think the Peloton has done a really good job of setting up programming.

A really good job of making like a good physical product and although like I think that a lot of people probably are Really really anxious to go do something else rather than what they’ve already been doing.


I think that ultimately they will, they will have an okay time retaining customers, even if everybody just really wants to get out of their houses right now.

So I am also on the razor’s edge here, by the Numbers.

The company is kind of a mess right now.


So I checked out their latest quarterly.

Earnings report bike revenue is down and average monthly workouts are down.

That’s not good.

Your company is all about selling bikes and working people out on it.

So what this tells me is that they’ve had a terrible time fighting back against gyms and maintaining growth, even as the world is opened up.


If you look at their stock, if you bought Peloton stock $100 a Peloton stock in January, you’ve got 20 bucks left in your account today.

Their stock is down 80%.

Since the beginning of this year.

That is putrid but but Peloton is not just a company.


It is the market leader in a growing business.

The at home, fitness and internet connected Fitness business.

And so the important question here, I think is do.

I think at home fitness has room to run in the 2020s.

I think it does.

I think Peloton could help a tech company get into fitness via an acquisition or a fitness company to get into Tech.


So if your Amazon, if your Apple, if your Nike, if your, if your Facebook trying to build out your metaverse thing, like do you want to Burn ten billion dollars building a top-notch, internet-connected fitness machine or do you want to just buy the market leader at a fairly distressed price and just take it Supernova.


So the company is not doing well right now by the numbers.

But it is surfing a trend that I am long on which is at home fitness and internet connected Fitness.

So I am buying Peloton because I am buying the future of digital Fitness.

I think this is a big juicy delicious acquisition Target for a big tech company or Fitness.


A Amanda on a scale of 1 to 10.

How excited are you to ride with Cody in the Facebook Peloton metaverse with me.

I am excited about Cody and I’m excited about writing, and I’m excited about you as a friend.

I’m not quite this excited about Facebook metaverse.


So, but I think you’re right.

Like, if all the tech companies are telling us right now, that like a really important thing in the future for them is finding more.

More immersive, more 360 ways for people to interact with technology to use technology as part of their, their day-to-day physical lives.


And I think something like Peloton is going to be like, a really obvious like first step for somebody.

That is, it’s sort of a proof of concept that there there is a way to make digital programming that people want to interact with physically.

That when people want to interact with, in a way that is, you know, fully fully immersive.


Not just something that they have in their hand, not just something.

It exists in their in their living room that they can interact with sometimes but something that they want to like throw themselves into.

And I think another important aspect of this on sort of like a whole different plane is that it has something that is that people really want to have business-wise right now, which is subscription Revenue.



I think it’s a good point.

I think it’s important to look at Peloton not just as a fitness company, but as a kind of media company with recurring subscription Revenue, that’s probably going to be is is pretty profitable.

Because that stuff scales really well.

A lot scales, a lot better than making Hardware.

I think you have fundamentally is an excellent product, the people who use it, Love at the people who use it are evangelist the practically cult members.


And that is a really, really important thing to have in what’s going to be really crowded space at home and internet connected Fitness.

What a move on remote work.

So this is a big one.

Lots of people are talking about this white collar workers, obviously were forced into this Mass experiment to work at home throughout 2020.



About 20 percent of white collar workers in, Professional Services, managerial services, like 20% of the knowledge, economy is still working from home or working remotely.

Are you buy or sell remote work?


My thinking about this.

Topic has changed a lot over the course of the pandemic get and I sort of go back and forth right now.

I am cell and and that is something that has changed a bit in the past.

I would say six months, especially I remember going to one of my first dinners out in Manhattan.


After I had gotten vaccinated a friend of mine was getting ready to move to LA.

I took him out for a steak and we went to this very trendy Steakhouse downtown and, and I don’t know what I was expecting.

When I arrived there.

We were like, pretty early in the evening.


I think our reservation was for, like, seven and I got there.

And the place was absolutely packed with business guys in their blue button-down shirts, having happy hour.

And, you know, being someone who works in an industry that is largely not back in the offices and living in.


Brooklyn are around other people who work in digital media or other digital things who are also not back in the office.

It was sort of like an eye-opening moment to me, like, oh, all the all the finance guys are back into the office already if In some respect.


And like I said, this was like six months ago.

So so that sort of like, it was sort of like a jolt like that’s not information in and of itself but it was sort of like, okay, so I started asking around friends who don’t work in and digital stuff specifically people who work in law or Finance or other types of Industries and and a lot of them are already back even in New York where where things have I think stuck remote pretty pretty?



A lot of them are already back, several days a week.

For most of the week, A lot of my friends back home in Atlanta where I’m from have been back in the office entirely for for God knows how long now.

So I think that like for a subset of the workforce, this this remote work situation is going to is going to persevere.


It is going to change how probably how people in media work for a really, really long time.

But I sort of question the scale of the impact outside of these very digital types.

Of Industries.

Yeah, I think it’s a really good point.

I should say, first of all, this is our first big disagreement.


I am a strong buy with remote work, but I just want to press on what you said, say, I think there’s a lot there.

You know, white collar workers are this portfolio of industry is that aren’t really that, similar, you have finance and law, and you have media and Tech and software engineering, and they’re not all going to go in the same direction.


You’ve already seen companies, like Goldman Sachs, We don’t care that some media companies are basically going to be remote forever.

If you want to work at Goldman Sachs, you are working in the office.

Meanwhile, you look at companies like say Twitter or our own company, which has been much more accommodating of working from home.


At least, you know, up to today.

November 20, 21.

So, I think this is really, is going to come down to sort of the, the preferences of managers in terms of whether or not they’re going to allow their companies to to remain a remote.

You’re not why I’m a Ang by is.


Well, first, I want to be clear.


I’m buying.

I’m not buying the remote work.

Is going to be Universal.

I’m not buying that it’s going to be easy.

I’m buying that it’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.

And it’s never going away for a large segment of this knowledge economy.

I think, if the Riser remote work, could be the most important change to White Collar jobs in the 2020s.


It doesn’t matter that.

It won’t affect everyone.

In fact, it will probably only effect as you pointed out.

A minority of a minority, like, less than me.

Thirty percent of White Collar, knowledge, economy workers, but it will touch everything, the spillover effects.

The Ripple effects will touch everything if 20% fewer people, for example, commute to downtown Manhattan to Midtown, that’s going to affect the revenue for the subway.


It’s going to affect what it feels like to be downtown.

It’s going to affect commercial real estate values.

It’s going to affect retail in downtown because they’re going to be fewer window Shoppers.

It’s going to change office culture as bosses.

Have to figure out how to manage hybrid work and and hybrid versus all in office.


Versus nothing in office and fully remote.

I think it’s going to change the way that we think about creativity.

I wrote this piece for the Atlantic where I tried to distinguish between two kinds of white-collar work hard work, which is the work that you might be literally paid to do, like, for you.


And me.

It’s writing, it’s calling people editing.

And then when I called Soft work, which is kind of chatting and gossiping and Milling about the office or Chatting to people on slack offices, I think specialize in that kind of soft work that you don’t need an office necessarily the right.


But you do need an office to have a certain amount of you know, social liquidity and II.

Do I think that building that out online is going to be an amazingly difficult challenge for managers, but fundamentally, the reason that I’m buying is that enough workers seem to love it and as long as this is now a part of the menu You the people are asking for when they’re like when they’re looking for a new job there, like talk about pay talk about benefits, talk about company culture.


Okay, and also, what’s your remote policy?

This is just going to be permanently a part of the conversation.

So the next one is zoom.

Hangs replacing phone calls.

So brief story here.

I have definitely found with friends that I have across the country and in cities that I haven’t visited in a while that phone calls that used to be, just me.


Lee all voice.

Now, I want to see their face.

I have had Zooms normalized in my life and as a result I say, oh, you know, I need to hop on a resume in order to see this person.

And so zooms have replaced phone calls for me.

I am, I am buying a zoom.


Hangs replacing phone calls, but I want to know for you whether you buy this as well.

I am selling and even more than I sold remote work.


I have had like the the complete opposite experience of yours.

Where are you know, towards the beginning of the pandemic, people were really interested in seeing each other’s faces really wanted to, to arrange, you know, like a happy hour or something like that or, you know, get on the get on the computer with extended family and see everybody and That just absolutely no longer exists in my life.


And I’m glad it does not.

I, you know, I don’t know anybody who is who is still pushing for that kind of thing.

And and largely, I do know people who are saying, you know, I can send you a zoom link, but but do you want to just do this on the phone?


And we tell me, tell me more about that so I can, I can understand how, you know, during the pandemic everyone was zooming.

No one.

Seeing people or a lot of people weren’t seeing people outside of their household.

And so it kind of made sense to do a zoom so that you could, you know, have the the excitement of seeing another human face.


I guess they kind of feel sad now because more people are leaving their house and it feels like a bad pixelated substitution for seeing a person to zoom with them rather than just have a phone call.

But why, why have you felt yourself pulling away from from Zoom calls?

I think, zooms feel like work.


I think.

The the zoom sever suffers a little Bit from from its success in, in the realm of knowledge, work in Creative work.

And that a lot of people, I know who are either, you know, working on the internet and some capacity or who are in a sort of meeting.


Heavy industry, law Finance just spend a lot of day looking at people on their computer already and and feel really just like fatigued by that at the end of the day and at the end of the week.

So our are just ready to To do anything else when it comes time to interact with people in other parts of their life, like I am really huge fan and this, you know, this is living alone privilege to a certain extent of taking a phone call while I am lying flat on my back on the sofa and I just put the phone on speaker and set it on my torso and to lie down and chat and you can’t do that on Zoom, you know, it’s frowned upon because just look at the sea.


Lean for 45 minutes while you speak to them.


Yeah, sometimes he’d stare at the ceiling though.

I mean, sometimes he just need like it requires different.

Sort of, I think cognitive processes to to have a conversation with when your disembodied versus having a conversation in person versus having a conversation and then trying to also focus on somebody on video.


I think that those are just like three distinct types of interactions.

And the the one that where you’re talking And trying to follow along with a video is to me just really, really tiring.

Alright, the next one is germophobia.

Are you buying or selling a permanently heightened anxiety around getting sick in America?


I’m selling.

Hmm, another disagreement.

Okay, I’d kind of like his first.

Yeah, go for it.

Okay, great.

All right.

I am I’m buying this.

I feel pretty strongly about my by position here.

So I think the pandemic was a trauma and One thing we’ve learned from there.


I can history is the traumas typically leave a mark, like, people that grew up during the Great during the Great Depression were famous Penny Pinchers for decades.

And there’s research showing that people that grow up during ordinary recessions are more likely to support government help for decades or have less confidence in public institutions like that.


Right there stands a lot to me like the great recessions traumatic imprint on Millennials.

So traumas, leave a mark and I think going forward People are just going to be and maybe I’m specifically talking about, you know, liberals here.

I might be talking most more about sort of the people who live on the coast people live in blue States.


I’m more familiar with I think they’re just going to be more anxious around getting sick, they’ll avoid illness and new ways.

They’ll protect their kids from avoiding from getting sick and I just see this everywhere.

I look a company is still making a show of wiping the tables Airline still handing out the hand.


Schools shutting down for deep, cleans buildings, still talking about and I actually definitely be with this part new ventilation policies.

I think the same way that the legacy of 9/11 is most visible in TSA lines, a legacy of the pandemic that will thrive in the 2020s will be this sort of heightened anxiety about germs and our health.


What are you selling here earlier in the pandemic.

Very actually, very early on in the pandemic in April 20.

See, I reported a story that ended up being about.

What would happen to kids, who are sort of graduating from high school in college or graduating from college right now as the pandemic were on which again, predicting the future, really great position to put yourself in.


Kanye will come back in a year and I’m talking about how we, how we were wrong about everything.

Yeah, but I did a bunch of interviews for that story, of course.

And one of them was with a woman who is a disaster Anthropologist, which is a Illya fascinating line of work.


First of all second of.

All right, please tell me.

What is a disaster?

Anthropologists somebody who studies like the aftermath of disasters.

Basically and how different populations react to different types of stressors.

The that’s fascinating.


She was wonderful.

I would like to call her back up again actually after member to pitch this.


But and so what she told me and I was asking her to predict the future and and there’s nothing that historians and anthropologists.

State to do more than predict the future.

If what she said is that, you know, there, there will be scars left on on our social culture on us as individuals after this, but fewer things change than people think will change in the aftermath of disaster.


And I have been thinking about that over over the past year and a half and trying to figure out, you know, what, what stays and what goes, as far as these things that we think will will be with us for a long time.

I think.


An attachment to hand, sanitizer will stay like I find myself when I, like, if I sit down at a restaurant and I look for the bottle of hand sanitizer, even though, I know that it doesn’t prevent covid.


Even though I know that, that’s not how that particular illness is passed.

I and when I take, when I bring in, take out or anything like that, before I eat, I wash my hands because it feels weird to touch food after I have touched stuff that’s been outside.

So I think that For some people like there will probably be one or two habits like that that sort of stick when when other stuff doesn’t.


But I don’t think an overall sense that we are terrified of getting sick that we are going to do a lot to prevent people from getting sick is going to stick in society at large.

Because I think that for a huge portion of society, we have not treated them like that throughout.


Out the pandemic.

A lot of people have been sort of forced to go to work, force, to work through, you know, exposure to covid, and things like that.

So so I think that like, society-wide, if anything, what I’ve learned from the last year and a half that we are is that we are fine with people getting sick.



That is such a good point.

I really, I really like the way you put that I let me let me amend my thesis here even though I still want to represent myself as being a strong by on germophobia.

So We have an understanding of like widening political polarization.


The idea that left and right on the political Spectrum are getting further and further away.

I wonder if the pandemic will increase what you might call like Health polarization, or even like germophobia polarisation, like when I think about my friends and how am I friends collectively in 2019 before the pandemic?


Thought about hand sanitizer or Or being around lots of people in an indoor space.

Even after being vaccinated.

I thought of them as kind of belonging to the same Clump and now they belong to like five totally different clumps from the totally laissez-faire whatever.


I’m, I’m vaccin relaxed and living my normal life attitude on.

Let’s call it, the, you know, the one side of the spectrum to the really, really still quite neurotic about exposing themselves.

Wolves and their loved ones to the to the virus.


Even after all of them have been vaccinated and even boosted.

So it seems to me like one thing that we might see here is that, that that Spectrum will get a little bit wider and that it might even intersect with the political spectrum because, you know, one position like the far left position on on covid.


Might seem to feel like a far left but a composition like, for example, when one place, where this sort of makes contact with with something specific, It’s like handshakes and elbow.


Like, how do you feel about the re-emergence of handshakes?

I feel fine about it.


That that is something that I am fine with the re-emergence of handshakes and like the idea that handshakes would go away.

Permanently is something that seems like bullshit to me even in March, 20, 20, that just seemed like something to me that like, that’s how we as people sort of think through the things that are currently changing in our lives, but it’s not necessarily how we go on living once those changes are done.


So I get why people sort of like fix Dated on the fact that like, oh, this, this sort of social thing that we do all the time is suddenly no longer allowed for safety.

Reasons is no longer safe.

And in the assumption, that, that would imprint on us as a trauma that we would, you know, continue to to adhere to that.


After the threat was done, but I think that like, you always have to greet people and it’s just easier to sort of go ahead and do it.

The way we’ve always done it then to change.

And I think that something you said about how sort of, you know.


Hand sanitizer and and things like that have been sort of like mapped onto the political Spectrum in a way that they weren’t before.

And I think that, you know, a certain subject subset of the population sees, an adherence to sort of like good cleanliness practices is perhaps something that is indicative of fear indicative of a lack of toughness, a lack of willingness to live your life and then on the other end of the spectrum, you know, Adherence to all of these things is seen as good like pro-social behavior and like some of these are probably good pro-social behaviors and some of them are not, some of them are indicators of fear, and some of them are not.


But I think that there’s this, this pretty widespread tendency by people all along the Spectrum to map, certain behaviors to certain dispositions and attitudes toward life.

And I think that the longer that goes on, the more likely we are to see this sort of spreading out of things that were like, previously, not partisan on to partisan ideals where it’s, you know, Are you telling people you’re a republican?


If you eventually stop wearing masks, all together, like, is that is that something that Liberals are going to begin to worry about even like even after wearing masks is no longer, you know a safety necessity.

I don’t know but I think that that is probably something we’re headed for.


Well, let’s go there right now masks as a permanent part of being in public by yourself.

I am perhaps counter-intuitively base.

My previous cell position buying this.

Okay, but in a very specific way, I think that for a lot of people, especially a lot of people who are left-leaning, who work in the types of jobs that might send them on business trips.


The whole lot who have gotten used to, you know, wearing masks in certain situations and, and it, that being sort of the thing that is sanctioned within their social group, who live in San Francisco, or New York, or La, where these things have not been.

Ben as like, As contentious in some ways.


Like, of course, they’ve been contentious everywhere, but I think that, you know, when you get on a an airplane and flu season in three years and five years and you know, that wearing a mask for the duration of that flight makes you a lot, less likely to get sick when you get home.


Like, that sort of seems like a no-brainer and I think that we have also an indicator that that that that is a long-term outcome and other cultures.

Like, when you look at a mask mask, And in a lot of different Asian countries in Asia.



Yeah, as a consequence of the first Stars pandemic or epidemic.

I can’t remember which one it was.

But so I think that a lot of people are going to go.


I got used to this for two years.

I know it’ll make me less likely to get sick in these specific scenarios in which it’s not that big of a deal to wear one.


I’m just going to do it.

Yeah, I would agree with that.

I mean, this is related to my germophobia prediction.

I was long germophobia.

And here, in terms of masks in public, it’s a regional by and I should have said this for my germophobia protection as well.

I think, if you go to rural Texas, or if you go to some parts of Florida or Georgia, where you’re from, it seems to be that masks just aren’t a part of daily life at all.


But I live in Washington.


You live in New York City.

I just got back from a trip to San Francisco for work.

It’s masks Galore in these places.

It’s masks on street.

It’s definitely masks and grocery stores its masks entering into Two restaurants where you, by the way, also, in a lot of these places have to show proof of vaccination.


This is very much still.

Obviously a late pandemic, not post, pandemic phenomenon and reality here.

I can’t see an obvious point where masks won’t be a part of being in public on planes in grocery stores and places like this.


I just think that an elevated and elevated rate of mask-wearing is just going to be with us for years.

Now, if the pandemic is Basically, officially knock on wood over in the middle of next year.

I am less certain of what like the and we have and let’s say we have no more pain demux for the net for the next decade.


Do I think is going to be maskull or in America in 2032?

I don’t know.

I don’t know.

Like maybe in San Francisco.

Maybe in New York maybe in those in those, you know, more liberal places that have had more what they call npi’s non-pharmaceutical interventions may be there, but I think I do think We could we could maybe slowly see phase out, but is a regional by for the next say, three to five years.


I just think masks are probably with us.

Does that, is that more or less than up with your position or with a little parts of my argument?

You want to push back on now?

I think that that is is basically it and I was talking to my mom about this recently.

As you said, I am from Georgia and my parents live in metro Atlanta, and my mom really loves this bakery that sin.


Smaller town.

In Georgia.

That’s like a little bit outside of exurban.


It’s not like rural but it’s like, you know, it’s one of these sort of like, middle-ground places that it’s hard to explain what it is.

And there there’s this Bakery there.

That she really likes the cookies from there and she’s retired.

So so she decided that she wanted to go on a little car trip because she hasn’t been out a lot in the past two years and where she is in in metro Atlanta is like a pretty blue area.


They have a they have a democratic congressman.

And they have been there, the entire pandemic, going to the grocery store, and to Target, and whatever else.

And she, in my little brother, went out to this Bakery in a pert, fairly rural area and, you know, she and my brother wore their masks into the bakery to order cookies, and she said that people looked at looked at them like they were nuts.


Like, they had four heads because they were wearing, because they were wearing their masks but where my parents are in metro Atlanta, in general, people are still doing that.

Maybe not everybody, you know, you go into public sir Target or whatever and they’re people without masks, but the uptake is still pretty high even though that’s not like a heavily partisan leaning area.


So I think that you know, the flu kills, tens of thousands of people a year in this country, even when we’re not having like a terrible flu pandemic.

So, I think that a lot of people especially people who have elderly parents that they want to interact with people who No, have little little kids who are sick a lot.


I think that there’s just a lot of individuals who in certain situations are going to see utility in this going forward.

I agree with that.

All right.

Last one buy or sell the future of movie theaters.


I am sort of a push on this because I think that there are theaters with with a bright future and then there are theaters that do not have a future.

So I think that probably what is going to happen.

If I had to put money on, it would be that we end up with overall fewer movie theaters and the theaters that survive are the ones who are going to do the best job.


Making an experience out of going to the movies Alamo Drafthouse already.

Does a really great job with this and tell people about Alamo Drafthouse.

If you’re not familiar, yeah, Alamo Drafthouse.

You reserve your seats, you have a table.

You have, there’s a whole ordering system.


You can get a full meal, you can get alcohol, you can get desserts.

You can order things by putting a little card up on your seat throughout the throughout the movie they have.

Parties for different movies.


Both current releases and sort of like cult classics and movies that people would still love to see and like, 35, mm or something like that.

They have events.

So I think that like the events business is probably going to boom and if you can make going to your theater, feel like an event feel like something that that is worth the expenditure.


Then I think that you have probably a bright future, if you’re if all you have is a screen.

I don’t think that At that, your long for this world.

Yeah, I’m sell movie theaters as an industry and by as a fun thing to do, like once or twice a year, I think the rule of movie theaters is going to be fewer and fancier.


It’s just what you said and this is honestly a little bit.

Like what we talked about with regard to athleisure.

This is a structural Trend that the pandemic really accelerated movie tickets bought per year.

If you look at a graph of movie tickets bought per year per person, like Average American was buying like 35 movie tickets a year, the 1940s 1950s.



He had the invention of Television that number declines from the mid-30s to like maybe 65 movie tickets per person per year.


It’s I think under three it might even be under 24 2021.

So you’ve just had this continuous decade over decade decline in movie theater tickets as a annual or monthly activity, and I think that’s just going to continue.


I And I think that movie theaters as a place to experience a handful of just like Soul shaking, like, you know, stomach rumbling epics.

Like I saw Dune in IMAX and was totally blown away.


I easy layup, for me.

I adore the book.

I love the series and I was I was absolute Away by the movie.

I can I watch it again at home.

I have HBO Max, I watched it again at home.

It was still good.

It just wasn’t the same.

You didn’t have the same sort of, like, just stomach-churning.


Down that can only really come from a theater like this.

So I can imagine going back to movie theaters, you know, once maybe twice a year for the true epochs for the true, like just visual auditory experiences, but I’m just, I’m not going to go for the December Oscar hopeful is that I used to really want to see every year.


I’m just going to wait the six weeks and say I’m sure that by the time, the Oscars actually happened.

I will have seen this on streaming in, in January or February, so I see movie theaters.

Continuing to decline.

Yeah, the one thing that this sort of hinges on for me.

I know that there have been Rumblings of movie Past coming back and I don’t think that that’s enough to save like the theaters that aren’t providing you anything, but a screen.


But the I think that there is something to be said for the experience of going into a dark room where you are not supposed to touch your phone and just being sort of overtaken by something.

I tend to not like the sort of like big popcorn epochs that draw, a lot of people to movie theaters.


I do like watching, you know, a two-hour story be told to me and in such a way where I have nothing to do, but pay attention.

And I used to go to all kinds of movies in the morning because I live in New York City.

And I am privileged in this way, that there were like nine am movies and I could do that on the weekend before.


My friends woke up.

Do you have, do you have like, a classic favorite movie experience the last five years, like the sort of film that you go to the movie theaters.

For I saw all the last What’s the last movie that I saw in theaters before the pandemic was uncut gems?


And oh my God, one of the most stressful two hours of my life.


Go on.

Yeah, and it was one of those ones where I where I just like went to the Alamo not far from my apartment in the morning.

When when I saw on the the app that they were only going to be a couple other people there.

It was towards the end of the run like it was February and and I was like, okay.


Now I’m going to do this and I think that like sitting there and letting that movie sort of wind.

Up Tighter and Tighter and Tighter is something that works better in the theater than it would have.

If I were watching it at home on my TV, because it was so immersive.


And I think for something like that, you know, I’m willing to go to the movies or something like that.

What are you telling me that you watched uncut gems at 9 a.m.

In the morning.

I was like a half.

I can actually I did you smoke like three packs of cigarettes over the course of the day.

Oh my God, I don’t know how I could continue my weekend having that at that experience and Her breakfast.



Well, Amanda.

Thank you so much for playing by herself and every trans with me, and we will talk to you very very soon.


Thank you so much for having me.

Thank you, all for listening.

Plain English with Derek.

Thompson is produced by Devon manzi, Please Subscribe rate and review us on Spotify.


Apple podcast, wherever you listen to this.

We will be back next Tuesday, November 30th until then have a Happy Thanksgiving and we’ll talk to you soon.

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