Goodness Gracious

So, I listened to A Joe Rogan podcast today. I used to listen to his show almost everyday, he was my introduction to the podcast world. Lately I’ve been listening to other, more intellectual shows – because I’m so much smarter than Joe Rogan and his fans (that’s sarcasm, I just realized how pretentious my statement sounded). But every now and then I’ll check his show out. He does have some great guests, he has some terrible guests as well, but he is very entertaining and there are some things that I agree with him on and appreciate. I would recommend his show to most people, but I’d emphasize how important critical thinking is, and I’d remind them not to take things anybody says for granted without scrutinizing them. I’m not trying to bash the show here, I enjoy it, it’s just that it’s often problematic.

I enjoy podcasts. Much more than I enjoy listening to radio. I have a painfully mundane job, and listening to something is the best way to alleviate some of that pain. I haven’t listened to music on the radio since I was a kid in the backseat of my grandmother’s Chrysler and I was stuck listening to the Blackwood Brothers. I don’t like talk radio because it’s just the same thing over and over and over again, and the restrictions placed on the shows by the advertisers are not conducive to genuine content. I sometimes listen to music, but I feel that a full day of listening to music I already own doesn’t really do much in the way of broadening my horizons. I will listen to an audiobook now and then, but it’s too easy to either get too caught up in the book and make a mistake, or get too focused on work that I’ve no idea what is happening in the book. That leaves me with few options. Listening to podcasts is the one I most often take.

Speaking of podcasts, if you’ve got three hours to spare you can go listen to the most recent episode of Whiskey Tango Talks, which features this guy and four others having offensive conversations, right now! You can go straight to YouTube and listen, unfortunately the video has yet to be uploaded, or you can go to Spotify or Podbean and search Whiskey Tango Talks. That’s it for my shameless plug, I’ll get back to my rambling.

So, today I was listening to Joe Rogan and he had on a guest who I don’t care for. This is usually the case, and usually I listen and learn some things and get frustrated after a couple hours and move on to something else. Today the episode was a short one, so I wasn’t worried about fatigue. The guest was a journalist, but I am kinda reconsidering what that word means now, who was recently assaulted at a rally in Portland, Oregon. I’m not really sure what the rally was about, and I’m not sure what actually happened, but I don’t think this guy was very genuine. Regardless of how I feel about this guy or his ideology, I can say one thing for sure, he was assaulted and that is never okay.

Apparently this guy goes around to events and rallies that are near their flashpoint and writes about them on the internet. Sometimes he seems to goad people into doing something foolish, sometimes he insults and demeans people, sometimes he shares personal information and then lies about it later. Again, irrespective of this guy’s actions or my feelings about them, it is never okay to assault people. The way in which this guy was assaulted is unclear, but he was hospitalized and there is some video of it, and it is disgusting. The people who assaulted this guy are wrong and made the group they claim to represent look horrendous, and they should never be allowed to act this way and claim they’re on the right side of the issue. Violence is almost never the answer, unsolicited and unreciprocated and unfair violence absolutely never is.

The thing that really bothered me in this episode, however, was the fact that Joe and his guest both failed to mention some fairly disturbing news. Now, I’m not saying that this rally and this piece of news are connected, I have no idea, I don’t know the facts about either, but they are at the very least associated and the complete lack of acknowledgement was troublesome. This rally and assault happened in Portland, Oregon. Oregon has been in the news recently for some other stuff as well. A group of Oregon lawmakers refused to do their jobs, the jobs that voting taxpayers rely on them to do, threw a fit and descended into absurd internet extremism, and then blamed it all on people who were actually trying to make a positive impact on the world. After these respectable, profession public servants absconded from their publicly-funded duties, they turned to armed extremists for support and assistance.

You should look in to both of these issues, they’re both disturbing and we should all work together to ensure that they don’t ever happen again. It really bothered me that Joe Rogan and his guest didn’t even mention the crazy stuff going on in Oregon, while discussing a specific event that happened, and many sociopolitical issues in general, in Oregon. Kinda one sided. Then it struck me that I haven’t been hearing much about this assault either, that I’ve been reading article after article about this state senate thing, but dismissing the articles about Andy Ngo without a second thought. I realized that I myself was being one-sided and that that is exactly the issue that I’ve been trying to address with all this internet stuff anyway.

The podcast that I was just part of brings this point to mind as well. I am usually pretty Liberal on social and political issues, though I hate that term and I hate the idea that you always have lean in a certain direction rather than having the power to make your own decisions every time. My host and co-panelists tend to lean in the opposite direction on these questions, at least superficially. When I think of this type of stuff, I tend come from a position of compassion, so when you ask me about health care and education of course I think it should all be free, everybody should have their needs met! When you ask these guys these questions, they are more prone to take a pragmatic approach, so despite the fact they they are compassionate beings, they think that if we gave it all away for free it would screw everything up for everybody; I get that, I like to think of myself as a pragmatist or utilitarian. There is no inherent difference between us, just a simple matter of perspective. Now, I always try to go a bit further and demonstrate that there is in fact enough to go around and that we would all be better if we focused more on community rather than capital, but people don’t always want to hear that. The thing is, almost every single one of us wants and fears and believes in remarkably similar things. An adopted or assigned label is not capable of transforming someone into an idiot or a reprobate or a righteous or an evil person. We’ve got to stop letting these labels dictate how we interact with each other.

I wholeheartedly believe that bad people are so rare that you’d have to search far and wide to find even one. Bad ideas, on the other hand, come a dime-a-dozen and everybody’s got a million, and we’ll all have a million more before we’re done here. There is nothing wrong with having bad ideas, I do it all the time in fact. There is something very wrong with automatically categorizing and ostracizing and villainizing another human being for their ideas that may, or may not, be bad.

We’re better than this, folks. We’re smarter and more compassionate and more patient and more able. We ALL need to hold ourselves accountable before we go out and start attacking and assaulting other people over what almost always amounts to an issue of perspective.

Just a quick word, if you do go listen to the above-linked podcast, please be sure to stay patient and open-minded. Things were said that I wish weren’t, opportunities to challenge bad ideas were missed, and I really do hope that I get some criticism. I do, however, think some progress was made, I think it was a decent demonstration of how to  constructively disagree with someone, and most importantly I had fun!

Thank you all so much for stopping in and spending some time digesting my thoughts! I appreciate your time and attention, and I welcome your feedback! Go out and be the best version of yourself that you can be!



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