*What am I forgetting to think about, distracted and preoccupied with that damn blockade of financial concerns and anxiety? How many of us ask ourselves this question or… how many others could we ask this question for as they too are bogged down by things which compassionate folks would like to see them not bogged down by...

*...And beyond the economic anxiety and poverty there are other things which hijack the mind’s potential or rob a life...  the emotions of serious illness, being damned by some kind of “bad luck”-- medical malpractice, just a bad reaction to a medication at the wrong time (such as was the cause of my father’s own untimely death), getting struck by lightning, figuratively or literally...shot by a bigot, victim of a space shuttle explosion or terrorist attack…. Things which haunt me to consider...when I was younger I felt morally obligated to envision tragedies of all kinds befalling me if only to “hold the hands” of the less fortunate in my own way and share the misery with them. 

But to fixate on this dogmatically is masochistic and raises no one up...brings no wisdom or improvement or real hope to anyone.    

So I seek understanding for knowledge’s sake...

*...I find myself more attracted to “the media” industry now than academia but it is strange. Like a divorce.

*...Although the trouble of people feeling they must kiss ass is just a social problem in general, not industry specific. That is one thing believe it or not I refuse to do. I find it degrading. I find ass-kissing and being told what to say or think without any invitation for discussion to be utterly degrading.

*...All of this can be VERY expensive business, I realize. You know...independent media...starting up your own business, living on your own terms, making art, saying what you really think (some people experience hurt feelings very easily. I feel bad about it but it’s also not fair for their hurt feelings to get priority over honesty. I believe the right course of action is thus diplomacy, which I give my all to as a writer and activist though I sometimes fail. I remember when I applied for a political organization and asked questions about their policy positions. I didn’t mean to poke holes in their lifework or disrespect their souls but if they will not be open to discussion then they too are poking holes...to some degree it actually is a “dog eat dog” world.

*....how many people do you know who are or seem or say they are tired or busy? 

I haven’t taken a tally but I have heard people describe themselves as tired and /or busy almost, I think, as often I’ve heard people ask the question “how are you?” which, if not followed by “tired” or “busy” is followed by that word “good” which...maybe you are a little suspicious of or maybe you know full well you are telling a so called “white lie” as to not tell the story of all that’s frustrating you. (In fact, this is all so common place that it is brought up in friendlier conversation often itself!)

*... About these somewhat and “sort of” seemingly chaotic thoughts (to borrow Dylan’s description “sort of”  once more! And perhaps not for the last time!)…the sense of chaos and confusion is not…so far as I can tell…fundamentally epistemological. (Epistemology tends towards the cut and dry for me: if you’re acquainted with me you know my mantra of objectivity, empiricism, non-contradiction, law of identity, pragmatic clarification…) Rather, it’s a struggle to accept a degree of imperfection...

*...What exactly is the definition of media? 

And why (emphasis here on the WHY) can I be confident that this definition, more so than all others, is THE definition? 

Can that which we call “art,” just to give you an example of what happens in my mind as I contemplate definitions, count as part of that broader notion of “media?”

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More Episodes

60) Gun violence: linked to mental illness, lack of ethics, both, or neither?

August 9, 2019

With the heightened tension on the right and the left with respect to the gun violence crisis in America the President is quick to blame mental illness, while many experts and critics on the left warn that mental health is not the fundamental problem and cause. But if we do not refer to the disturbances within the mind that lead up to an act of mass violence as part of a "mental illness," how are we supposed to characterize it? Mere unethical behavior? But not all breaches of ethics are the same. Is there any connection between severe lack of ethics and mental illness? What standards do we refer to reach such a conclusion? To the degree which we might associate gun violence with unethical behavior one question raised is whether or not the perpetrator of violence fully "knows" what he or she is doing is absolutely "unethical."

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#59) On the Bee Gees

August 2, 2019

"Yesterday there was nothing in my life worth living for/ you were there when I was born/ the very strength to carry on/ a miracle as come..." (The Bee Gees; Miracles Happen, 1997); can you relate to so deeply romantic a sentiment or do you relate more to something between a miserable marriage, polygamy/polyamory, sleeping around (for a lack of better terms) or are you lonely? Do you believe in "romantic love" and if so, what do you think about it? 

In my case, thoughts on love and fate are the earliest of my philosophical contemplations. By three years old I had some kind of obsession with my own ideas of what romantic love might be though I am not sure what caused this as my parents were divorced when I was quite young and my grandparents, I can't stay, were so outwardly expressive of deep, intensive, romantic love. By the time I was in 4th grade I was obsessed with Grease and West Side Story because they were such intriguing meditations on love. But around 1997-1998, when by chance (it would seem) I received for Christmas, the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever the Bee Gees forever changed my life, speaking of love as I wanted it to be spoken of, and offering an artistic angle to their songs and music which I believe is unmatched in its uniqueness to this day. Moreover, it is the Bee Gees who led me to develop such a passionate interest in poetry. So I studied them, their lyrics, their music, their career, their success. And this all only scratches the surface of how deeply the Bee Gees speak to the core of my soul and life. 

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#58) On the complexity of reconciling imperfection with principles

August 1, 2019

Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard inspired me! As my winner of last night's Democratic primary debate for cracking open Senator Kamala Harris' complex and arguably quite troubling record of hypocrisy and injustice I cannot help but wonder: to what degree to we grant anyone-- whether it is Sen. Harris in her run for president, or even just ourselves-- the leeway of humanness and the inevitability of imperfection? When is a mistake one where we say "oh, everyone makes mistakes" and move on, and when is a mistake so troubling as to bring about a major response of consequence such as disqualification of the office of the U.S. presidency? 

So in this episode I will take a look at Sen. Harris' record in the context of questioning adherence to principle in the midst of complexity. Specifically, I examine her healthcare proposal, and her record as the Attorney General of California. One media organization that proves time and time again to be a great source as I contemplate these kinds of questions is VOX. There are two articles from them today that were exceptionally useful. 

Kamala Harris’s Medicare-for-all plan, explained

Kamala Harris’s controversial record on criminal justice, explained

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#57) On healthcare policy

July 31, 2019

Health insurance: should there be a "public option" or Medicare For All?" This was a major question addressed in the 7/30/19 Democratic primary debate. It's not about left or right says Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, as candidates debated healthcare and more but I say it absolutely is about left or right! So what of this healthcare policy question? Fair points raised on both sides: if we move to socialized medicine, what happens to the healthcare industry, and in particular the private insurance companies and the insurance workers? On the other hand, how does that fit into whether or not some people simply deserve better health insurance just because they were the lucky ones? There's a crucial metaphysical way of contemplating this which delves into how we determine what a person's value might/could ever even theoretically be.  

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#57) On social & digital media (part 2)

July 30, 2019

Pieces of media, for me, just like words and thought, are like units of gold, or precious metals and stones as I contemplate what seems to be, not only an "information age" we're living in, but a "media age" as social and digital media, especially on the internet, impact our lives and international culture. So much, just in my short 33 years thus far, in the world of media, and my experiences with media, has changed, from my fixation on VHS cassettes to CD's to books, to digital files and websites. It amazes me how these various forms of media have opened me up to so much, from listening on CD's to song lyrics of the Bee Gees to the streaming audio files of Ayn Rand essays and lectures, from reading Bukowksi books in print to fixating on website experiences. 

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#56) On thought

July 29, 2019

Thought & talking comprise my "why" for this podcast series. Speaking to thought more specifically, three things which I find especially amazing about it: 1) how it directs our actions; 2) how it constructs our notions of meaning; 3) how it enables us to communicate/ how we communicate it. I believe art (which I define as contemplations and dreams) enables some of the most in depth glimpses into a person's thoughts, how they think, and the focuses of their thoughts. In my case I like to identify and record contemplations and with as much clarity as I can, which is not only an aesthetic idea but encompasses my system of philosophical thought. I believe art tends to be an expression of one's philosophy. I believe that art also stands beside journalism and history as in helping ourselves and posterity gain a fuller sense of understanding the human experience. 

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#55) On moving some place better (part 12: the starving artist phase– South Beach, FL)

July 26, 2019

The idea of the "starving artist" is one, which during the first part of my time in South Beach, I revered and practically worshiped. It's one thing to tell you about my "aesthetics" specifically, but quite another to tell you about how I conceptualized what an "artist" is, how I evolved in the sense of identifying myself as an artist, and the story behind that evolution.

This story begins with my father who was a photographer and a painter who possessed extreme (maybe excessive?) fascination with female sexuality, nudity, and pornography, and who exposed me to the imagery of female sexuality before I was even a teenager. It was through my father that I was also exposed to and influenced by the works of Picasso and Van Gogh. As far as my own interests were concerned, by the time I was 9 or 10, I discovered the world of television, movie acting, and John Travolta. In fact, Travolta became my hero and idol. I became a sort of expert on his career and he is one of the earliest direct influences in my attempts to conceptualize art, as well as career, and to have a career as an artist. 

Even before I developed a conscious love for movies and acting I was, it seemed, inherently creative. I would pretend my life was a series of television shows. I would determine theme songs of these "TV shows" and when nobody else was around, I would ever pretend to give interviews about them or explain what had happened "previously on..." whichever imaginary show, or what would happen in the next "episode."

Through studying the works of Travolta (along with Tom Hanks and other actors) I grew exposed not merely to film acting performances and a notion of career, but also I became a kind of autodidact of film in general, specifically film dialogue and the themes in movies, such as race relations, the Holocaust, American history, love, art, et cetera. 

The girlfriend I had while living in South Beach, was, herself, an aspiring filmmaker with a profound passion for film. By the time I was living in South Beach I was more interested in poetry than film but the notions of art and film that propelled my artistic inclinations as such were so deeply embedded within me that despite other problematic aspects of our relationship, our shared love for film became a foundation for our romance. 

(TO BE CONTINUED...) 

***PUBLIC COMMENT is a podcast presented in the form of extemporaneous personal essays about a political, philosophical and artistic millennial as he tries to wrap his mind around the complexities of the human experience.****

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#54) On the Mueller testimony

July 25, 2019

News organizations widely reported that the Mueller testimony failed to capture much of the country. As to why, exactly, I think it is more complex than some may think. Beyond claims of apathy, cynicism, or Mueller's failure to "perform" as some would have liked, there is the rather important consideration that many of us have to work and experience varying degrees of economic anxiety and other day-to-day pressures that make wrapping our minds around the upsetting drama in Washington something much easier said than done. While I was able to listen on my drive to the tutoring center, I did still have to "work" on things beyond the production of Public Comment, and when I didn't, I still had my own marketing, branding, and aesthetic contemplations to improve Public Comment in mind. So, while I am concerned that too many people are apathetic, to be fair, I don't know how much has more to do with juggling life than general apathy. As for the main stream media, I was saddened by those who placed so much emphasis on Mueller seeming not "as sharp" as he used to be as I wondered if in so doing they may have overlooked a number of other possible, contextual factors, such as possible anxiety over the high stakes of his testimony, and/or what he knows, but can't tell us, but perhaps wishes he could tell us? Whatever you make of Mueller's testimony, I hope enough Americans come to care so that as a nation we can get our act together and start taking care of our troubled government. 

***PUBLIC COMMENT is a podcast presented in the form of extemporaneous personal essays about a political and philosophical millennial as he tries to wrap his mind around the complexities of the human experience.****

 

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#53) On important political events

July 24, 2019

What does it mean to be aware of a political event? We all have so much to pay attention to in life so how then do we determine just how much attention to pay to politics? As I wrap my mind around this question it shapes my understanding of the aesthetics of the personal journal podcast genre, for what is an account of life without an awareness and understanding of and personal connection to consequential political happenings? In this context then, I examine the relationship between introspection and political awareness and how my interest in political awareness evolves from first hearing of President Clinton as a kid, through 9/11 as a teenager, and in the age of Trump as a man in his early 30's. What are we, as Americans, beyond the punditry and commentaries, to make of today's Mueller testimony to congress? 

***PUBLIC COMMENT is a personal journal featuring the extemporaneous personal essays of a political and philosophical millennial as he tries to wrap his mind around the complexities of the human experience.****

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