There's a theme to several notes that have come in over the past couple weeks (email us: chris@JuggernautPod.com):
"Why aren't you more overtly political on the show?"
After all, here in the U.S. we've seen the two major political conventions, we've gotten a bajillion polls, we've had a crap-ton of inflammatory things said, and then reacted to, and then overreacted to. And in some folks' minds -- including mine -- a Trump victory would put the U.S. government in uncharted territory in which the president was a true total wild card, and not in a good way.
But okay, so why *not* make this an issue on the Juggernaut podcast? Why *not* talk about the U.S. election? Trust me, it's not because I'm worried about "one of the sides" getting turned off and refusing to listen. The Juggernaut isn't a moneymaking venture: Dave and I make it because it's good for our souls. I'm not concerned about alienating people, and I'm not concerned with how I "come across." Good lord, have you heard me talking on this show? I'm pretty sure I do *not* come across like a swell, perfectly well-adjusted guy.
No, there are other reasons I mostly don't go on political screeds.
First, they kind of exhaust me. I used to get in heated political debates with my uncle and aunt, the two members of my family on either side who are truly conservative. Christmas at their house was uncomfortable. I remember one year I brought a long-term girlfriend for her first holiday with my family, and we drove to my uncle and aunt's house, and there was a life-size cardboard cutout of George W. Bush, and my girlfriend thought it was meant ironically and she laughed at it, and my aunt was like, "It's really sweet, right? What a nice gift," whereupon my girlfriend realized (a) they were serious; (b) despite having years available to me, I hadn't prepared her for the political climate of that house. Anyway, eventually those dinners would always descend into them saying something inflammatory, me taking the bait, and everyone red-faced (mostly me) over mashed potatoes.
I don't really get into political debates anymore. It's not that I don't care. I care a lot. I try and live the life of a responsible citizen who recognizes his connection to the whole. But when it comes to getting worked up over outrages, I just can't do it anymore. It's physically unpleasant, and it doesn't seem to get me anywhere. For the record: personally, I do find Donald Trump repugnant. Personally, I'm more aligned with Bernie Sanders than any other candidate this past cycle. But I don't hate people who aren't, and I don't think they're stupid or evil.
To disagree in our current cultural climate is to stand on one of two poles and freak the fuck out at the other side. And I do enough freaking the fuck out over other stuff. I don't know very many people whose opinions aren't completely set in concrete. Freaking the fuck out at them isn't useful. Shouting at a political rally. Yelling at someone I disagree with. I'm not talking about civility. I don't really care about civility. I just don't get a lot from shouting at concrete. The concrete doesn't tend to move. (And if I have a "side" here, believe me, it's just as concrete.)
My larger point, though, is that the Juggernaut isn't interested in any of this. In fact, I want it to be the *antidote* for some of this. I think there's precious little empathy in our culture now. I think very few people are concerned with understanding other people's brains, without bias, without condescension. If we could just loosen up and expand the notion of what it means to "be a person," and understand that motivations across the entire extent of the human experience are so simple and elemental as to be ridiculous...I just don't think there'd be so much vitriol and hatred. I want this show to expose folks to art that illuminates this, art that isn't sanctioned by the anodyne corporate world that wants to keep us numb and asleep. And believe me, that anodyne cultural monolith doesn't have a political affiliation. It only understands money.
So listen, you agree with me politically or you don't. And if you don't, maybe that means you have to hate me and disavow me and never listen to me talk again. Okay. But realize: that's exactly the mentality I'm trying to fight against. I don't make the Juggernaut political (mostly) because the stuff I'm really trying to get at, beneath the nuts and bolts of any interview subject's life and career, is how easy it is to connect to people of any political or cultural affiliation on the basis of their humanity. And it seems to me that's the opposite of what the U.S.'s current political climate espouses.