It is always interesting having conversations with people when it comes to questioning their belief systems. Depending on the emotional intelligence ofthe individual you might find yourself in a very sticky situation if you begin to allege that what ever the believe is simply not true. No one likes to have their bubble popped, and for a long time, I believed that even if I was to send the person in a tail spin temporarily by popping their bubble, I honestly believed that the truth would set them free, and even though they would hate me in the moment they would thank me for it later. They approach worked about 1% of the time.
Case and point. One day I made some comment on Facebook about why football was a modern-day bread and circus. I went on to say that “it is ridiculous to spend as much time, money, and effort following, knowing about and discussing football games, players etc.” What happened next was absolutely mind-blowing. A group of my so-called “Facebook” friends turned on me and started attacking me. It was as If I told them Jesus doesn’t exist and their mom is a Kunt!
As I watched these people attack me personally and go through my past Facebook posts trying to find hypocritical statements that would give them more fuel to de-legitimize me as an individual proving to anyone who looked at the post that I was an idiot and fuck me because I didn’t like football. I should have known better. You can questions someone’s religion, you can punch them in the face or call them an idiot, but don’t EVER attack football! And if you are going to attack football, don’t do it in a public forum like Facebook, ask me how I know. I’m pretty sure I lost about 25 or so Facebook friends that day.
So what does this have to do with VICE. Well everything actually. As one of my favorite political philosophers Herbert Marcuse wrote about in his book The Dimensional Man. He introduced the idea of “Repressive-Desublimination.” It’s the idea that Pop-Culture eclipses real culture. For example, give a 21-year-old the option to listen to Frederick Chopin or Flo-Rida and see what happens. Even though Chopin is considered by many to be one of the best pianists of all time, most of my generation doesn’t even know who he is.
Here is a better example, and one you test. Next time you’re in a group, ask the group “who here know’s who Brad Pitt is married too?” Guaranteed 100% will know the answer. Then ask “Can anyone in here name just 2 standing supreme court justices.”
No one will get that one. So what does this all mean? It simply means that the media has done an incredible job of keeping us fat, entertained and happy. This won’t stop either. As long as we continue to plug-in and support shows like MTV’s Teen Mom, or Jersey Shore, and have a bigger turn out for the super bowl than the popular presidential vote. The Media or the people/corporations that control the media, aka: the elitists, illuminate, the Bush’s, Clear channel, AOL-Time Warner, Disney, The Kerry’s, Powell’s, News Corp, GE, and of course Wal-Mart will continue to sell you watered-down cheap thrills, food, explosions, wars, and fake Chinese-made bullshit wrapped up in American flags as long as we continue to buy it.
So coming back to why I love Vice is because they are the one entity that is going against the mainstream and finally getting some traction. If we as a public sphere could become more educated as a culture, then we could do a better job at such things like electing public officials or not allow ourselves to be manipulated by some dodgy lobbyists looking out for the corporations the represent and not the people. I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with anything. I’m not representing a conservative or liberal biased here. I’m not even going to tell you what you should or shouldn’t believe, all I ask is that you look and decide for yourself.
God, or the Universe, (what ever you believe) gave a you a brain and the ability to reason so that you could make informed decisions about your life and the world around you. As for as American Democracy is concerned, what I believe is that because it is a democracy, we all rise or fall together as a nation of people. Just because I may have been against the war in Iraq doesn’t get me off the hook for all the innocent people who died out there at the hands of American Soldiers. If you disagree, good, but what did you do to stop it then?
You see, in a democracy, like it or not, any decision made as a country represents the individual decision I make or don’t make if I agree to call myself an American Citizen. So with that being said, lets stop complaining about shit that we “DO” have control over. Educate ourselves, and become a more informed populous. A more informed populous = better elected officials. Better elected officials = Government that represents the people better. Government that represents the people better makes for a happier life. Happier life = longer life and a solid future for us all. Choose wisely.
Now here are my most favorite media spot Vice ever put out, I guarantee once you watch one or two, you will be hooked too! After all, the truth feels good!
Here are some of my favorites!!!
Vice (Show: Guide to Travel) North Korea, the only American media outlet ever to get in to the country.
Vice (News) the aftermath of Iraq and Afghanistan (This is what winning looks like)
Vice (Documentaries) “The Jesus of Siberia” Classic Vice reporting! Awesome
Vice (Picture Perfect) Saudi Arabian Women “Unveiled”
Vice (Fresh off the Boat with Eddie Huang) FOB in Mongolia
Vice (Far out series) Surviving in the Siberian Wilderness for 70 Years
See more at Vice.com
As you may or may not know, I am somewhat of a political / media watch dog. If you are not sure what a media watch dog is, let me fill you in. The “Media Watchdog” is a person or organization guarding against illegal practices, unacceptable standards or inefficiency in the media, and the “Political Watchdog” is a body or person which watches something, especially government departments, or businesses, to see that regulations are being obeyed.
Usually, other self-proclaimed watchdogs like myself can be a little extreme. Like my main man conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of infowars.com.
Although Alex does make some valid points, he can go a little off the deep end from time to time as seen in the video. Then of course there is my favorite local activist/antagonist Mr. Mark Dice. Mark and I have done some activism together and I really like working with him. He is probably the most Punk-Rock political watch dog/activist that I have ever had a chance to know. He makes some ridiculously entertaining content showing just how brain-dead some people really are. Check out this video
So aside from some very animated personalities that are very clear on their agendas and absolutely serve a purpose in not only pushing the limits of, but reinforcing our 1st amendment right to free speech and press; where can we find some real news that speaks to our culture? This is a questions that I posed some years ago, and while I was in my undergrad program at CSUSM I did a very interesting research project on media outlets around the world to see just how fair and balanced our news outlets here in the states measured up to news outlets outside the country.
As it turned out, Al Jazeera, the Iraqi based news conglomerate headquartered in Qatar was gave the most fair and balanced report based on the criteria that I had set which by the way was non-biased, and compared all the major U.S. networks and others from around the world like the BBC, Australian and Russian news. In an even more surprising turn of events, out of the 25 media outlets I compared, the U.S. media outlets didn’t even break the top 10 out of 25 for being the most fair and balanced. There were communist countries and Theocracies that had more fair and balanced news than anything we were putting out. Sad? That doesn’t even begin to express how it made me feel.
So for the next 5 or some odd years, Al Jazeera was my go-to network to get my daily dose of what was going on in the world. Although they were somewhat limited as to what was happening in America, I could at least get an idea of what was happening in the world around me with some amount of confidence that the information that was being given didn’t have some secret plot or agenda involved in it.
Then about 2 years ago, I rediscovered Vice media which was a little magazine publication out of Montreal founded in 1994 by Suroosh Alvi, Shane Smith, Gavin McInnes. I remember seeing publications of Vice magazine back in 2002 while I was attending the Magic International Trade Show in Las Vegas Nevada promoting my clothing company. The magazine back then seemed to appeal to a very sub-culture group of New York hipsters but upon further investigation, the articles seemed to speak to me in a way where they weren’t biased, they were just writing content in a way that really engaged my generation. In fact I remember thinking to myself “wow, if this could only reach main stream press, we might actually be on to some kind of cultural revolution in this country!” Then I put the mag into the the magazine holder next to old editions of Surfer and Thrasher and didn’t hear or see anything about Vice for years.
It made me a little sad because after everything I have seen and lived through over the past 10 years, I knew that the ideas that Shane Smith and Vice were putting out were way ahead of their time and that no one from the main stream media would even blink or think twice about giving these guys some love for investigative journalism or writing even though it was some of the most real, and thought provoking writing I had ever seen in any publication to date at that time.
Furthermore, knowing that “we” (meaning America politically, socially and psychologically) were on the brink of indoctrinating a generation (AKA the “Gen-Xers” and “Millennials” or “My generation”) of mindless media Zombies through use of consumerism, advertising and scare-tactics, I become more and more apathetic to the political process. This all came to a head in my last year of my undergraduate studies in college when I came to the realization that by going to and completing college only reinforced the ideas and ideologies I already believed and confirmed my biggest fear to be true.
What was that fear of mine? My fear was that college, a place that I was raised to believe was a market place of ideas where you could freely discuss any and all subjects turned out to be an outrageously expensive watered-down version of liberal pop-culture indoctrination with a blip of conservative ideas that were only entered in to the discussion so the institution could make the claim that they were being fair.
I went to college somewhat optimistic that would be able to find like-minded people who like me were fed-up with the bullshit, and ready to instate some kind of change, some how through activism, political awareness, or in the very least, entering alternative ideas in to the classroom. But what I found was that the same brain-dead zombies who weren’t in college were really not all that much different then my classmates at all. My college experience felt more like going to the DMV for a couple of years with the exception of a couple teachers who were my only light in that pop-culture media cesspool, and I am grateful they were there, because without them, it would have truly been a lost cause and waste of time and money.
When I found Vice again 2 years ago, I quickly realized that they had come a long way and that people were really starting to take notice. What changed in me? Nothing. What did Vice do differently to attract more people to it? Nothing. They stayed true to their core ideas which I must say is pretty fucking Punk-Rock considering every single media conglomerate in this country has been bought-up re-sold and watered down to 2 very singular ideas. 1) NBC, CNN, and MTV – They gay loving, super liberal, democrat blue team or 2) FOX, ABC, and ESPN The bread and circus, gay hating, gun-toting bush-loving AMERICA fuck-yea red team. There is no 3rd party, there is no middle any more, there is only Vice.
Here is a good example of the mentality behind Vice’s political views: In a March 2008 interview with The Guardian, Shane Smith (Vice Founder) was asked about the magazine’s political allegiances and he stated, “We’re not trying to say anything politically in a paradigmatic left/right way … We don’t do that because we don’t believe in either side. Are my politics Democrat or Republican? I think both are horrific. And it doesn’t matter anyway. Money runs America; money runs everywhere.”
This statement personified exactly how I felt. It spoke to me in a way even Al Jazeera couldn’t because even though they put out fair and balanced content, they are not here and they don’t pretend to understand the struggle of my generation. All that I ever wanted was to be told the truth. Stop lying to me and tell me the truth. It’s so comical because it seems like despite knowing that we are being lied to on a daily basis, no one seems to give a shit anymore. Russell Brand says it the best here in this interview on Newsnight with Jeremy Paxton on the BBC network.
In about a month (June 13 to be exact) I am turning 30 years old. It seems that even though I have arrived at this point in my life with a nonchalant free-spirited attitude not giving any real weight, worry or concern to the age milestone, people around me seem to think that it is a huge life changing event. I never really understood the phenomena of people getting anxious each year they grow older. For me, I have always believed in the buddhist ideology that our body started dying the day we were born and more importantly that this (life) is all temporary. I also did most of my radical changing in the early parts of my 20’s. Meaning that from where I am sitting today, I have direction, purpose and drive and I am not nearly as impressionable as I was at 22.
Before I go off on a philosophical rant about my metaphysical beliefs in modern Tibetan Buddhism, lets just agree that it’s impossible to get younger, all we have is the body were given, and one day, like it or not, I am going to physically DIE! I cannot change these things no mater what I do, therefore for me to get upset that my body is getting older is about as crazy as crying because the sun keeps coming up every morning.
So why is turning 30 such a big f&^%ing deal. Well, depends on who you talk to me. For me, the only real mile stone that I set out to accomplish by 30 years old was that I would stay sober (as I have been since 16 years old) and that I would be a millionaire. Fortunately I am still sober after 13 years and counting, but I haven’t quite made my first million dollars yet, but I’ve done ok. Perhaps just because we’re 30, we fill its high time we get our shit together. All my friends seem to be getting married, having babies and doing the things “adults” do. There is nothing wrong with that. Some of my friends refuse to do this as for me, I have always been open to it. In fact I look forward to getting married and having kids of my own to indoctrinate in to mini me’s! For fun I took a list that I found on Buzzfeed.com entitled “30 signs you’re turning 30.” and added my own twist 🙂 Enjoy.
You get carded, and your first instinct is, “AWESOME, then your annoyed.
Instead of drunken party photos, your Facebook friends are all about the baby pics.…and marathon times.
You have 10,000 business cards from old jobs that you have no idea what to do with.
You find celebs who are in their early thirties and think, “There’s still hope, or it’s time to switch careers.”
You’re getting increasingly scared to check your credit score.
You’re seriously thinking about getting a dog. No, having a baby. No, definitely getting a dog.
When you do drink beer, it’s not Spuds choice, it’s Imported or micro-brewed locally from organic hops.
You’d rather pay a little more for a “nice, clean” hotel room than cram into a hostel with 12 of your friends.
Everything cool is being marketed to people younger than you now.
You’ve definitely lost the enzyme that lets you digest Taco Bell.
There’s an increasing number of musical artists you haven’t even heard of.
You realize your parents were your age (or younger!) when they had you, and you start cutting them some major slack.
Teen slang words like “YOLO” makes you viscerally angry.
An 11-year-old has to show you how to do something on your smart phone.
When you watch teen movies/TV shows, you find yourself siding more with the parents than the kids.
The Punk-rock scene is truly done.
Turning 30 isn’t going to be all that bad. I’m not dreading it, I am embracing it. There are so many great people who had success after 30.
The Entertainment Industry.
The Oprah Winfrey show didn’t debut until she was 32. Sylvester Stallone didn’t make Rocky until he was 30, and was in a porno to make ends meet while shopping the script around. Dick Van Dyke and Gene Hackman didn’t get their first major roles until their mid-thirties. More recently, The entertainment industry recognized Jon Hamm, J.K. Rowling and Tina Fay’s talent all after they hit 30. Vincent Van Gogh had his first art exhibition at 32.
Suze Orman started out as a waitress and held that job until age 30. And she didn’t publish her first financial book until age 44. Nowadays, she’s sittin’ pretty as one of the most-trusted voices in the world of personal finance. If Ray Kroc had quit pushing the ideas of serving a billion Big Macs world-wide, McDonalds wouldn’t exist. If he quit trying before the age of 52, he never would have created one of America’s best-known restaurant empires. He kept at, working day in and day out at his restaurant until he died. While Dave Ramsey thought he’d figured things out in his 20s with his $4 million real estate portfolio, he lost it all by the time he hit 30. A few years later, he found his passion in financial counseling, and today his books and radio show have millions of dedicated fans.
When it comes right down to it, Age really is just a number. I believe I am going to live to 100 anyway so who cares, Im 20 years from my half way point with so much life to live. I get sad when I come across people who have thrown in towel because they feel like they missed their window or something in their 20’s. It’s so far from the truth.
Sure, if I could go back, I would have made some different goals knowing what I know now. Who wouldn’t? Making a million dollars seemed really cool at 22 but I never understood or realized all of the liability and responsibility that comes with that. I would write that goal much differently now, something like “make enough money so I don’t ever have to be in debt or depend on anyone to support myself having enough left over to help friends, family, and people in need when possible.” Despite all of my shortcomings, or what I should or shouldn’t have done, the goal now is to create enough abundance to be happy and get my time back.
Regardless of what you have or haven’t accomplished, it’s not over. The journey truly is just beginning. I would take years of experience over raw talent and crazy ambition most of the time these days. I sacrificed a lot of relationships in my 20’s chasing a dollar and losing sight many times about what was really important. The last 3 years of my life have been the most gratifying years so far and they are nowhere near what I set out to do 10 years ago. In fact, if you told me 10 years earlier where I would be now, I would have gotten upset, and depressed because the only way that I measured success was by the size of my bank account, and if what ever life you told me I would have had didn’t involve me being filthy rich, I would have gone a different direction.
So what now. Where do we go from here.
Well I know what I am going to do. They’re wont be all that much of a change for me. I am well on my way to doing some incredible things in my life. I have great business opportunities that I have started in the last year. The first one being my tech start-up (Roommatefax.com) and the second has been learning to trade the FOREX market. As far as hobbies go, I have always maintained a work-hard-play hard mentality, So I picked up skydiving 2 years ago as well as training MMA (Krav Maga). I am in the best shape that I have ever been in my life. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I eat healthy and I exercise regularly.
After living a little here on earth for a little while, I have come to understand some things about life. Most of which I recently published in my latest book The Young Entrepreneurs Guide To Life. I just want to live my life to the fullest. I want to experience and see as much as this world has to offer while I am alive and kicking. I will never stop seeking. To me, business is just another adventure. I have had jobs here and there but they were always stepping-stones to get me to a place where I would take my life back, live it how I wanted too. As an entrepreneur, I get bored and need to switch projects it seems about every 2 years. This is very bad for job security, but great if you love starting new things.
Money comes and goes. I have learned that it is a tool, that’s all, it’s only emotional if you don’t have enough of it. If getting it ruins your relationships, you’re doing it wrong. I’m looking forward to enjoying what I have now. The potential of marriage, kids one day soon. Seeing places in the world I have never been too and accomplishing things to better myself physically, spiritually, and in business. These are all things that I am looking forward too.
So all in all, turning 30 is going to be great. I have done a lot of big things in my 20’s. I failed in some areas, and absolutely dominated in others, these days I just want to enjoy the journey, and go for happy instead of being right or “winning.” Remember that the only thing to dread or fear comes from your own inability to accept the reality of your situation good or bad, and then doing something to better it or make it worse.
Go lose 10 lbs if it will make you feel better. Take a trip to South East Asia if you have never been. Buy a nice car if you have never had one before, but just be real about it. Honor those who love and support you. Remember where you came from and all the shit you have been through to get to where you are. Don’t lose perspective, gain it, be a wolf, go hard, and most importantly follow your heart. Fuck what society says or thinks you should do some random age, I’m trying to live more and more like a kid the older I get. I will never conform, and no matter how up and down the roller coaster of life takes me. I choose to have fun and a good attitude about everything as much as possible regardless of what type of shit gets flung at me. Maybe you should too! Stop worrying and start living.
So if you’re approaching 30, and you have some anxiety, don’t worry, there is plenty of life to live and I hope I have alleviated some of the worry and concern with this post!
Now let’s go celebrate!! Happy 30 everyone.