A Civil War on Bullshit
Speaking truth to bullshit is hard enough by its nature. And yet harder is staying civil as we do it – especially in conversations around social justice and politics. False dichotomies, spurious correlations, and rationalization are just a few examples of bullshit rhetoric we encounter everywhere these days. Bullshit proliferates exponentially in a culture where certainty and division triumph over curiosity and empathy. Wanna talk about abortion? Gun laws? Racism or homophobia? The healthcare reform? Let’s explore how to stay civil in these tough discourses so we could lead them in a meaningful and impactful way. No conversation is too small to make a difference.
Dear listener! 🙂🙌
At the moment, this podcast recording is only available as the audio version of my original YouTube video. As I don't have access to a dedicated studio and professional recording equipment, it's exceedingly possible that you will hear some noise in the background as you listen. As a recovering perfectionist and huge people-pleaser in the past, these things at times bother me perhaps even more than they bother you, and I shall be transparent with you around this.
Compromised sound quality was the cost I had to pay for filming my talks in the space that more or less resembled the setting of a middle-class Western life — the privileged setting in which, actually, I've never found myself throughout my life. The setting which, nevertheless, was required by the conventions of the YouTube genre. My Instagram and prospective YouTube audience — mostly Western, mostly white, mostly middle-class — would hardly want to see my talks, no matter the quality of my ideas, filmed in my POS car amidst Russian winter. My deficit of privilege, and the sound quality compromise I had to accept as a consequence, didn't mean I wasn't taking my content production seriously enough. As you watch, or listen to, my talks, you'll quickly see the substance and quality of my content. Those haven't come out of nowhere. They result from years of research, interviews, data collection, contextualization, and a very tough experience of my own artistic journey, the one I embarked upon against overwhelming odds.
My hope making these videos was to create added value for my audience around personal development, mental health, empathy, vulnerability, and human connection. Given the nature of these topics, I consciously chose to focus my efforts on authenticity and substance rather than on the form and technical aspects of my content. It's okay if you judge books by their covers and aren't interested in hearing from anyone who doesn't have a bleached smile, a professional microphone, and a nice Western [upper‑]middle‑class interior as their filming setting. It's okay if you have this unconscious conditioning, probably related with your own privilege, to see a person and their ideas as credible and worthy of your attention only if they look successful. It's okay, and it probably means my podcast isn't for you. There's plenty of content about relationships, personal development, and creativity made by middle-class, mostly white, mostly straight Western people that you might want to prefer over mine. However, it's been my existential observation that most powerful ideas and most transformative insights about life rarely come from people with privileged life experiences. They come from folks who'd gone through, survided, and constructively contextualized major trauma and oppression. It's not my merit or source of pride to find myself among those people. It does, nevertheless, make my experience of cultivating resilience, self-worth, and courage more profound and more impactful than those of people far more privileged than me. So whether you prioritize formal quality over the depth of the context or not, is totally up to you.
Please be informed, though, that in the future I plan to re-record my talks as audio podcasts with a better quality, in a noise-free enviroment (my car's the only one I can think of right now), and employ professional editing software to make them sound like "real", middle-class-American-standard quality podcasts. This conversion is just not in the cards for me right now, as I'm working three jobs trying to make ends meet after the COVID-19 recession in the already tanking economic landscape of Russia.
In 2019, recording 100+ video talks packed with substantial ideas took me almost a year of daily scripting, filming, editing, re-filming, being my own hairstylist, camera man, set designer, Web developer and Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-ALL kind of guy — juggling my other jobs to pay the bills at the same time. This year, having to work even more jobs and coming back to networking around my book project, I have very little time available for a work as time-consuming as re-recording podcast versions of my original talks.
As Pema Chödrön once said to Brené Brown about living up to everybody's expectations, What I do is enough. Amen here. From my disadvantaged place, doing what I've done for my audience over the years without any monetization so far, has been effing more than enough. So I do hope you get the awkward, brave message of self-compassion and self-worth — as a culturally subversive alternative to perfectionism — from my talks these days and act upon it in your own life. One day, I do hope to meet and connect with y'all from the professional platform, which, in my particular life, cannot come about from anywhere but years of hard work, unwavering commitment, and the increasingly difficult trust in the power of human connection. Until then, be brave, stay curious, say the truth, and take care.
Un abrazote (a huge Spanish hug) from me to y'all ❤️