You can read this series from the beginning here.

"So I’m getting paid now?" I asked.
"Of course you are," Aunt Joan said. "You always should have been. We just didn’t get around to the details until after the holiday break, that’s all."
I was back in Washington, back in the corridors of power, which I had learned was just an expression that didn’t mean anything, like "fiscal conservatism." And I was back in my old job, working for a nonprofit public policy and media watchdog group who was working on efforts related to the Hillary Clinton for President campaign without being a formal part of the Hillary Clinton for President campaign, which officially doesn’t exist at this time anyway and I hope I got that right just in case anyone at the IRS reads this blog.
"Can I ask how much I’ll get paid?"
"Certainly. Minimum wage in the District of Columbia is five dollars and sixty-seven cents per hour. That’s what you’ll be getting. However, we consider all work done outside of office hours to be voluntary contributions to the organization, so we won’t be paying overtime."
"I thought that former Secretary Clinton was in favor of a fifteen-dollar minimum wage," I said. I didn’t need the money, of course, but I think ideological purity is a real advantage we have over the Republicans, and it would be a shame to throw that away for a little money.
Aunt Joan–who, as I think I have explained, is not really my aunt–looked blankly at me, as though I’d just said something stupid. "This reminds me," she said. "I need you to conduct the orientation for our new hires on the blacklist."
"The what again?"
"I’ll print it out for you. One copy, mind you, and be sure that you destroy it after the orientation. We’re keeping it top secret."
"If it’s secret, then why am I telling the new hires?"
"It’s the list of everything that we’re keeping from the media," Aunt Joan said.
"Why does that have to be a secret?" I asked.
"In case the media gets hold of it," Aunt Joan explained.
"We have to keep the list of everything that we’re keeping from the media secret from the media?"
"We have to keep the list of everything that we’re keeping secret from the progressive media out of the hands of the right-wing media. If the right-wing media gets it, they will try to embarrass the progressive media to actually ask us the questions about the things that we want to keep secret from the media."
"Would that work?" I asked.
"Of course not. You can’t embarrass the progressive media. But it might make them a little more defensive, and we can’t have that." Aunt Joan brought up the blacklist on her computer, printed it out, and handed it to me. "Here you are, Justin. Use it with caution."
I glanced down the page. "Why are we keeping the former Secretary’s position on the minimum wage a secret from the media?"
"Use your brain, Justin," Aunt Joan said.
"If the former Secretary publicly comes out for a fifteen-dollar-an-hour minimum wage," I said, "that means that interns here have to be paid fifteen dollars an hour, and the campaign can’t afford that?"
"Is that why you think you’re making the minimum wage?" Aunt Joan said. "Because that’s not why you’re making the minimum wage. Think, son."
"Me specifically or all the interns?" I asked.
"You specifically."
"In the intern pool," I ventured, "there are three people with a primarily male gender expression. Two if you don’t count Rebecca. All the new hires have a female gender expression. How much money are they making?"
"Very good, Justin. Outstanding. You are correct. All of our female interns are making fifteen dollars an hour. The male interns are making minimum wage."
"It’s an equal pay issue," I said. "That makes sense."
"We need to try to have it both ways," Aunt Joan said. "The only way to balance out our pay so that all female staff were substantially equal to the male staff in terms of salary was to hire a lot of interns at fifteen dollars an hour and pay you less. So the numbers balance, and we can show that we’re paying a living wage, too. With me so far?"
"Of course," I said. "I don’t mind being paid less than my peers in the name of equality."
"See that you don’t. And be sure to burn the blacklist when you’re through with it."
*
The intern orientation meeting the next morning did not go as smoothly as it should have.
"Let’s just try to get through the list, and then we can have questions at the end, all right?" I said. "The former Secretary is not answering any questions or having any discussions about any of these items, and so therefore we’re not addressing them either. First are the old scandals: Rose Law Firm, cattle futures, Travelgate, Whitewater, Susan McDougal. With me so far?"
"I’m sorry, what kind of gate was this?" Rebecca asked.
"Travelgate. The firing of the White House travel staff in 1993."
"I was, like, two years old in 1993," she said. "What in the what?"
"These are old scandals," I said. "And, yes, they are from over twenty years ago, which is why the former Secretary isn’t addressing them. At all. Same thing with the Puerto Rican pardons, and Marc Rich, and the deal with the White House silverware."
"What about Puerto Rico?" one of the other interns asked.
"This is all really old stuff," I said. "If you need to look it up, Wikipedia is your friend. All I ask is that you not go through and edit what you find there, because we don’t want anyone to get in trouble for editing negative stuff off there. It’s happened before."
"Why are we just now hearing about all these scandals?" another intern asked. "I was brought up to believe that Hillary was a great woman who was going to lead this country to greatness, and I come here to work, and right away we have to learn about all these scandals she was supposedly involved in? Does that make sense?"
"No, of course not," I said. "All of these so-called scandals were engineered by the extreme wing of the conservative movement to discredit the former Secretary. None of them have any relevance today. This is why the former Secretary won’t discuss them. I’ll be sending around a YouTube clip later today of the ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’ speech."
"Is that the reason we have all the Obama scandals?" Rebecca asked.
"Right. Exactly. Fast and Furious, Solyndra, the B-word," I explained. "The vast right-wing conspiracy came up with all of those to discredit Obama, just the same way as they did for the former Secretary. That’s why the former Secretary won’t discuss any of those scandals, either."
"We get it," Emma said. "You don’t need to keep mansplaining it to us."
"I’m not mansplaining," I said.
"You are," she said. I could hear the emotion in her voice. She hadn’t handled our breakup well, and it sounded as though she was still a little upset with me because of it.
"I was asked to give this presentation," I said. "It’s important."
"I consider that a microaggression," Emma said. "Check your privilege, Justin."
So I checked my privilege–it’s a good habit to get into–and I saw myself from the perspective of the other interns. "Oh, my God," I almost said, but I caught myself in time, thankfully. "Oh, my… garlic," is what came out, and I hoped I didn’t offend any werewolves or whatever. "You know, you’re right. I am running this meeting in a non-collaborative, top-down way, and I am sorry for that. And I’m using a podium, which couldn’t be a more obvious phallic symbol. I say we start over and try this again, shall we?"
"Since you’re a lowly minimum-wage intern," Rebecca said, "I think that one of our more highly-paid senior content specialists should facilitate."
I handed Emma my copy of the blacklist. "Be sure to burn it after you’re done," I said. I sank into a chair at the back of the room. It was a victory for equality, I thought, but it also looked as though I’d have a harder time making a difference than I thought.
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