Clarifying Our Purpose

Hey, so the Juggernaut is going really well. I have a producing partner now, David Pyper, who's doing invaluable work on the show to make sure it keeps going (we think!) even during the NFL season. Thousands of you are listening. It's way cool. I still hope you'll help spread the word, because it does my heart good to know folks are enjoying this pod that's a labor of love, and the more the merrier. It also leads to more emails/tweets/feedback, which is great, too! Write me:

There's a vein of feedback I thought I might address. Nothing mean, nothing harsh, nothing like that. But I've gotten a bunch of emails and a Facebook post that have been along the lines of: "Don’t you have any guilty pleasures?" and "I'm 19 years old, so we're on pretty different cultural wavelengths and The Juggernaut's not for me." I'm very glad to have read these! I wouldn't want to embarrass anyone who's had this thought while listening to the show! I completely, absolutely, 100% get where you're coming from.

I think mostly what it comes down to is: The show is a little snobby for me.

And you know what, it might be a little snobby-seeming. Hopefully not in presentation, but perhaps in terms of subject matter. Maybe "high-minded" is a more polite way of putting it? But here's what I hope you realize: that's by design! Of course, every single totem of pop culture that I consume in my actual life isn't a Fellini movie (of the ilk that I'll discuss on this week's show with Filmspotting's Adam Kempenaar). Of course I see superhero movies. It's well nigh impossible not to consume the middle- and lowbrow in U.S. culture right now, wouldn't you say? And I do enjoy such things sometimes, in certain moods, in certain company.

But the goal of the podcast isn't to say, "Here’s absolutely everything Chris Harris enjoys." What I'm trying to do is talk to guests who have a perspective on where culture stands today, and who appreciate when creators (maybe themselves, maybe others) go against the grain. Art that doesn't settle for being comfortable or the same as everything else. Will you think every artist or work we talk about on the show is the greatest thing ever? Almost certainly not. Will everything even seem relevant to your brain? I'm guessing no. But at base, my hope is that you get to hear stories of people who are trying to buck the culture's reality-TV, corporate-music, blockbuster, non-reading mainstream, and get turned on to stuff that "regular" U.S. culture doesn’t promote. Stuff you'd never hear about otherwise.

And even that's not the end goal, because the specific art and artists I'm trying to highlight also, I hope, speak to the idiosyncratic nature of existence in this current cultural landscape that wants, very badly, for us not to be idiosyncratic beings. I want you to experience empathy. Over and over. Until you can't help do it more in your daily life. Because this horrible election and the people it's encouraging to scream terrible things — they seemingly never learned empathy.

And I empathize with that!

It's tough when in our entire lives, we only swallow what's easiest and most anodyne. It softens our brains. It makes us think our own stories are the right ones, the "normal" ones. It makes us think people who have different stories are weird.

By this point in your life, by this point in our culture, I hope "weird" is no longer a dirty word to you. Weird is good. Weird just means unexpected. And embracing the unexpected is what'll save us someday.


Oh, hey, do me a favor! Our social media presence is flagging way behind our audience size. Would you please follow @JuggernautPod and also join the Facebook fan page by searching "Juggernaut Podcast"? As ever, I'm in your debt! Thanks!