Unwonk - Episode 7: Kryptonite

We learn about bombing white-collar endorsements and driving under the influence of sad, accompanied by our first ever podcast interview.

Listen with the player below, subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher (links above), or with your favorite podcast app.

Please enjoy the links to additional information relating to the questions on this episode:

"Blah blah blah blah blah." - LinkedIn Content

"Gotta walk away, gotta walk away, gotta walk away." Tom Waits, Walk Away

[Episode keywords: LinkedIn endorsements, bad break-ups, rear-end crash.]

Episode Transcript


Hi, friend. This is a rough transcript of this episode of Unwonk. What's that mean? It means that we're just pasting the original script for the show plus unvetted transcripts of any interviews. So, you're likely to see content that maybe didn't make the final cut, maybe not see some content that was in the episode but not the original script, and run across a few typos. 

As with everything on Unwonk, the transcript below is for general informational purposes only - this is not legal advice - if you need to have a legal question answered, please seek legit legal representation. 

Hey,everyone listening to this! Before we start this episode, just want to say that we’re really flatter by the tremendous response we’ve received so far after just month - really didn’t expect this many downloads and subscribers so quickly. 

And we’re looking to have even more people listen to the show, so if you have a minute, open the itunes store, search for Unwonk, hit the subscribe button, hit a rating of the amount of stars you chose, and, if you’re feeling really generous with the moments of your mortality, leave a sterling review. This stuff helps us stay afloat in terms of itunes store visibilty, so we’d really appreciate it. 

Now, here’s the show.

On this episode of Unwonk, we learn:

  • Why developing good glitter bombing skills can help you become president of the united states of the america, and
  • A real prescription for getting over a break-up.

This is Unwonk. We respond to your questions with relevant and useful information. If you would like to submit a question, please visit our site at

At the site, you can also find where to follow us on twitter, facebook, and all the social things. And make sure to tell your friends about us. Because friends are great.

Even though the general information on this podcast is provided by actual attorneys, you’d be an idiot to think it is actual legal advice, and you’d also be the type of person who backs into a parking spot, apparently poising yourself to shave seconds off your potential quick getaway.

And now, our first question.

Help! My old co-workers keep endorsing me on LinkedIn for pizza and pants and glitter skills.  Other than retaliate with equally childish and immature endorsements, what else can I do to make the abuse stop? 

Alright. By “old” co-workers, I’m just going to guess that you mean former co-workers. Because the image of a cluster of old people dicking around on LinkedIn doesn’t really work for me.

Childish? Pizza skills, Scott, are not childish. Burger skills, sure, a bit childish. Water boiling skills, totally immature. Pizza skills are a valuable skill, whether making it or consuming it - or,  if you’re a double threat - both. Pizza has been around for centuries, and been in the US since the late 1800s. Did you know that the name of the first national US pizza chain - Shakey’s - was the nickname of its founder, who earned the name due to nerve damage following a bout of malaria suffered during World War II. That’s PIZZA-level marketing, Scott. This brave war veteran sacrificed his steady hand for your damn American right to eat pizza, Scott. I know of no other foodstuff based on an unfortunate physical characteristic of its founder. Except for Weiner-schniztel. But that’s for another day.

And you were endorsed for pants. Are pants immature, Scott? For millenia, pants have served us well. Were there pants in the garage where the first Apple computer were born? We hope so. Were there pants at the signing of the declaration of independence? Kind of - pantaloons, but pretty much pants. What do you wear to the office, Scott? Likely pants. Hardly immature. And not everyone does it skillfully.

Finally, you were endorsed for glitter skills. As for glitter, given the recent phenomenon of glitter bombing as protest form, it would be hard to claim that glitter skills are not having a material impact on global politics. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 2016 presidential debates don’t heavily involve extraordinary claims of great glitter skills. 

And glitter, Scott, is very pretty.

Pizza, pants and glitter. I mean, Just wondering if you really haven’t gotten this switched around and are looking to thank your friends for their honorable tributes to you.

But, let’s assume that you’re right. Let’s assume that we live in a topsy turvy world where pizza, pants and glitter skills don’t necessarily go that well with professional endorsements like “good at sales,” and “proficient with numbers.” 

In case any listeners don’t know what we’re talking about, LinkedIn - the world’s largest white collar circle jerk outside of bipartisan non-binding congressional resolutions - allows users to “endorse” other users for certain skills. It also allows people to post endless glurge about entrepreneurship and what to look for in hiring employees (spoiler alert: there’s not a single surprise or new piece of information in any of these posts). Not to debase the value of LinkedIn, which is to let me frequently check to see who’s been looking at my profile - mostly someone named “Anonymous User” and some guy at a company in Bangalore who checks my profile once a month. I like to imagine that he’s from the future and is waiting for a pre-specified change to my profile that will be a trigger to fill me in on why he’s come back and what my role is to be in the plan to save the world. Just give me the sign, Naveen Gupta.

LinkedIn is also the place where people can post a badly compressed image file of a math problem that that says “Only 2% of people got this right!!!”, followed by a series of responses that either attempt to provide an answer to the math problem or decry the use of sacred LinkedIn space for such trivial purposes. My question is: Who is spending that much time on LinkedIn for either purpose? 

Also, despite having a current market capitalization of around 30 billion dollars (give or take), LinkedIn has had the same bizarre collection of six stock photos on its login screen, each of which appears to be a different and carefully selected ethnicity, with the white guy sticking out as someone who would easily fit into a 1980s teen comedy as the preppy villain.

If only LinkedIn had access to a database of millions of users with profile pics, at least a few of which wouldn’t mind rotating in photos once in awhile. 

So, I probably spend too much time on LinkedIn. 

The first thing, Scott, is that currently, if an endorsement is not one of the suggested endorsements for your profile that you haven’t already approved - these are the ones that LinkedIn shoves in your face and you click on, with all of the care of brushing a fly off the back of your hand - assuring that the person you’re endorsing will stop whatever they’re doing and pause for a few moments to reflect on how kind you were to support them in such a thoughtful way. - If you receive this type of endorsement, then you will need to actively approve the endorsement for it to appear to anyone but you. So, if you’re seeing pizza as an endorsement, it appears there are two possibilities: it is only appearing to you because you haven’t approved it, or, Scott, and think hard about this, you have approved - at some point in the past - pizza as a skill. I’m not saying you’re a lier, Scott, maybe somewhere deep in your carb-craving brain you “accidentally” pre-approved pizza as a skill.

At least, that’s how I’m reading the LinkedIn documentation on this topic.

This isn’t really a legal question. But, here’s a very quick thumbnail sketch on that front: When it comes to behavior on the internet versus behavior in the “real world,” you often don’t need to draw a distinction for litigation purposes. The question is - assuming there was no filter for random endorsements like Pizza, Pants or Glitter Skills - where is the harm? That phrase is drilled into lawyers from day one of law school and one of the few useful things you learn in law school, aside from how to calculate the interest on student loans. Have you been harmed? What if they endorsed you for “Shitty Sales Skills” or “Patricide.” And if you were harmed by those endorsement, you could take it to a litigator - could be defamation - and you could get a cease and desist against your co-workers, or even LinkedIn. Unless you’re Tyrion Lannister for Patricide, in which case, right on. Spoiler! Wait, am I supposed to say that before the spoiler? Eh, I don’t care.

No matter what, Scott, it sounds like you have some fantastic former co-workers, and my main concern is that you drop the denial about your Pizza wielding, Pants wearing, Glittery awesomeness. Live your life well, Scott GlitterPizzaPants.

I rear-ended a car this morning. I know that if you rear-end someone, it's almost always your fault, but a song on Pandora triggered a rough emotional reaction while I was driving  - it was a song that suddenly reminded me of my ex-girlfriend - we just had a rough break-up. This song never meant anything to me before, and I now I found out it’s my kryptonite. Can I claim that I was involuntarily out-of-control and therefore not liable, like having a seizure or something?  - Alex

I was going to make a kick-off joke for this that Kryptonite was used to temporarily take Superman’s powers away, rendering him a mere mortal. I would have then pointed out that you are (presumably) already a mere mortal, so not sure that your Kryptonite analogy is appropriate. Then I thought it would be pedantic and dickish for me to do that. Then I thought I’d be more pedantic and look up exactly what Kryptonite does. 

Have you see the vast breadth of information out there on Kryptonite? Did you know that there are no less than 20 kinds of Kryptonite? And it’s not the Kryptonite itself but the radiation waves that harm Supermanian type creatures. And, for the purposes of my research, it’s not just taking away superpowers, but provides a list of symptoms that would make an pharmaceutical voiceover actor sweat a little:

Use of Kryptonite may result in:

  • Loss of powers
  • Death
  • Crankiness
  • Loose stool
  • Being transformed intro a giant, dwarf, ant-headed humanoid, or dragon
  • Becoming evil
  • Becoming sad
  • Becoming cranky
  • Becoming bad
  • Amnesia
  • Telepathy
  • Loss of invulnerabilty on only one side of the body
  • Sudden existence of an evil doppleganger
  • Speaking only in Kryptonese
  • Sprouting new limbs
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid aging AND
  • mild rashes.

Supermanian beings should avoid throwing heavy machinery, time traveling, or being too earnest in a comic book hero way after exposure to Kryptonite. If the effects of Kryptonite last longer than four hours, you are probably dead.

Just the vast amount of detailed information on this critical substance that doesn’t actually exist. And I don’t know what part of that is canon or non-canon, so hold your emails, please.Anyway, no question, break-ups can be horrible. They’re of the few things in life that can make the most mundane thing a tear-jerking, maudlin experience. And music - which by its nature is specifically created to elicit an emotional response - can be especially trigger happy in the wake of a break up. 

And, you’re right, generally, the person who hits the car in front of them is at fault. There are exceptions, of course, if the person in front braked unreasonably quickly, if the front car’s brake lights are out, or if they’re just driving recklessly. Keep in mind, it isn’t a rule that the rear-ending car is at fault - it’s just that it so happens that it’s due to the rear ender’s negligence that the rear-ending happens. 

Usual warning on this: states are going to vary on criminal and civil liability on an issue like this. I think the question that I would look at is whether your distraction was foreseeable, whether it was your fault, and the degree of the distraction.

I find your analogy to seizures a little off. If you know that you have a condition that causes seizures, there’s a strong chance that the seizure was foreseeable - a big buzz word in law - and possibly even causing to drive in an impaired condition (impaired driving doesn’t just apply to drugs and alcohol). Anyway, states usually have specific rules around licensing drivers with seizures.

Now, is it foreseeable that you would have been distracted by a song on the radio due to your break-up - and to such a degree that you rear ended someone?

I’m not an expert on the power of music and breakups. But, I know someone who is. I have on the line a board certified music therapist based in Manhattan, New York. Lani, thank you for joining us today.

Lani: My pleasure.

Unwonk: The first question I have, Lani, is what is music therapy? What does a music therapist do?

Lani:    Music therapy, the million dollar question, is the use of music in a therapeutic manner to treat a person depending on their diagnosis of the goal of treatment. So that’s the general definition. Specifically right now I work in the hospice setting so I actually… the primary goal is to improve quality of life for patient who is nearing the end of life or living with chronic illness and also for their families who are often the primary caregivers and to create connections between the patient and their family.

Unwonk: Alright, so can anyone just go into music therapy or is there some kind of special training that you have to do?

Lani:    There is special training. I actually have my masters. I went through NYU’s music therapy master’s program. And in addition you have to pass a national board exam called basically the credential is MTBC or Music Therapist Board Certified. So there’s a board of music therapy that has this exam.

Unwonk: Alright, and are there music therapist with genre specialties? Like is there a music therapist out there that only does heavy metal like bringing Slayer to retirement homes?

Lani:    Sure there might be. I can’t say you know who knows. But in general, no, we’re kind of generalist in terms of repertoire I do a little bit of everything. What we do is patient preferred music is kind of the buzz word and so meaning literally whatever the patient prefers or their family depending on the level of interaction to patient is capable of we’ll do everything from jazz to hip hop, to maybe some slayer if that’s what they’re into and also you know, depending on their age, age appropriate music like from kids going up to I have a hundred year old patient as well. So of course you’re going to really diversify your repertoire based on the age range and also the culture. 

Unwonk: So I have a person asking if they’re liable for a car accident because they were emotionally destructible by a song on Pandora - and we have no association with Pandora for the record - even though the song had no meaning prior to his break up. Is it normal or to put in to legal terms is it foreseeable for someone to have an emotional reaction to a song even though it didn’t have a meaning before break-up? I mean does the break-up really have that power to you know, transcend experience and attach itself to new things?

Lani:    I think it’s not so much about the break-up transcending experiences. It’s about the power of music. I think it’s kind of the other way around so yeah I would think first of all there’s no such thing as a normal reaction to music. It’s a very deeply rooted mechanism and can stir up lot of emotions, a lot of feelings consciously and sub-consciously so it’s entirely possible that you know, if you hear a song you haven’t even heard before their elements of the music, you know, a cord or the voice or the lyrical content that can really evoke an emotion even though you never associated that song with the person that you broke up with previously.

Unwonk: Alright, maybe addressing this person, is there may be a course of music therapy that you might recommend to help get over the break-up? Because it sounds like the first step is maybe you should listen to music in the car. But then after that is there anything that you should be doing?

Lani:    Well yeah that’s interesting you say maybe they should listen to music in their car. Maybe I guess avoidance could be one thing if it does stir up too much emotion in general. Maybe they should listen to your podcast in your car instead but you know I think that… 

Unwonk: Are you saying… are you saying that my podcast is without any kind of emotional content?

Lani:    Oh, no, no, no. But it’s so fascinating that I think it will just you know… active listening and not necessarily emotional engagement you know, you’re very anecdotal and engaging but…

Unwonk: I appreciate your diplomacy, thank you.

Lani:    So the person wanted to participate in music therapy to help them recover from their break-up I would recommend seeking out a professional music therapist in their area. It will basically you know, some of us have private practice. Many of us were trained in psychotherapy myself included. So really we’re kind of like you’re you know, basic therapist with musical element added. We do a lot of verbal processing as well and analysis just depends on the client or the patient needs so this person could seek out a music therapist and to see them as they would a verbal traditional therapist and address these issues that have come up regarding the break-up through music.

Unwonk: So you guys don’t actually prescribes specific songs like prescriptions like this calls for…

Lani:    No.

Unwonk: Like, “this calls for 1984 Duran Duran”?

Lani:    No I don’t think so. I mean it’s possible we primarily try to use live music. So like I go with my guitar and voice and you know only if it is kind of needed given the situation will I informally prescribe any kind of recorded music. You know, it might be called for maybe a person wants to share a song with me then I’m not familiar with and we listen to it together or even a song that they wrote that they want to share. But generally it is… there’s a live element of music that’s kind of the… the active force in music therapy so no… I don’t… I personally haven’t prescribed a specific song or you know playlist. They could also kind of do a little music therapy on their own and maybe create a playlist of songs that either meet them where they are in the moment like if they wanted to have some catharsis through their music to process and feel the emotions they are feeling or they can you know, add some songs that take them to a place where they want to be. 

Unwonk: I just have one personal question that applies to me because [inaudible] for the last five years whenever I put my phone, I have an iPhone, I put it in the car it will automatically start playing “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. And this is… this has been going through like at least four iPhones. So there’s something about my apple account that somehow… so I’ve estimated that. I’ve listened to at least part of “Don’t Fear the Reaper” at least a thousand times in the last four years. My question for you is will I be okay? Is this affecting me in some way?

Lani:    I think you’ll be okay. I think there’s… there many songs we’ve all listened too over and over again. And regardless of that message however grim if you will I don’t think it’s an omen, no. 

Unwonk: Okay I feel better. Lani, thank you… thank you so much for joining us.

Lani:    Oh you’re so welcome. Thank you for having me.


So, I’m going to go out on a limb here, and based on what Lani said, you what said, and my personal thoughts - a break up is all encompassing - it’s going to affect your perception and emotional processing of everything on every level, whether it’s breaking down in tears because the turkey sandwich you’re eating reminds you of her poultry-like fragrance, or if a new song drags you into a dark place while you’re busy operating a multi-ton death machine on wheels. Your mind is currently looking for any reason it can to be sad. You need to get to a better place.

To answer your question, I don’t think this is like a seizure. I don’t think it’s something that’s out of your control. Pretty foreseeable that if you’re driving after a breakup, you’re going to be listening to music, and your fragile mind is going to 

In the meantime, talk to your insurance company, accept the higher premiums you’re about to pay, and put a nice Spotify playlist together to get you over this. And stop comparing yourself to Superman. It’s embarrassing. You're more of a Marvel guy, anyway.

Thanks for listening to this episode of Unwonk. 

Please visit our site at to submit your questions, and for lots of bonus material about the topics discussed on today’s episode. Please also follow us on twitter, facebook, and generally tell everyone you know to subscribe to this podcast.

On the next episode, we learn:

  • That when you’re talking to someone, and they’re nodding their head and saying things like “right” and “mmmhmm”, they’re not listening to you; and 
  • That you don’t care that people aren’t listening to you, and you just want superficial validation that being heard
  • And how to make it look like you’re really listening.