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Mailtime - Just Don't Be An Asshole

First half of today's Mailtime is a solo flight to speak on the "terrorist skin" Rundown from 2016 and my opinion on Colin Kaepernick. I blogged ("Before and After") about how Colin Kaepernick's protest successfully changed my mind and how I did a 180 on this topic, and predictably that led to some blowback from a group of readers and listeners who dont believe in apologizing. I discuss the differences between "cancel" and "consquences." I explain the differences in defending what I do, overall, for a living and what went wrong in this one specific show. Dug into a lot of stuff. So Mailtime served a couple purposes today - 1) you can hear me discuss this topic and apologize to all my coworkers and their friends and families for upsetting them with the way I approached it, and 2) I can explain why I think owning up to mistakes doesnt mean you're some pussy who's bowing down the masses. I already talked about some of this in the Before and After blog I linked to, but A) podcasting is such an important part of my career, and 2) I think you can hear whether or not someone is being sincere in spoken word vs. written word, so I recorded this monologue.

The first part is the most important part to me. The last couple days after the initial wave on controversy, I learned a lot more about how that Rundown and how content like that can effect other people. When I spoke to a lot of guys at Barstool and learned how exhausting it can be at times to be my coworker, I felt terrible. When I learned that the shit that I say essentially directly undermines what they are trying to accomplish, I felt like a dick. I am genuinely sorry to those guys, and any of our fans who also go to bat and defend us from that reputation, and I go and prove it true (At least in 2016 I did. Lets be fair, in 2020 I'm not doing that.) Now, thats not to say I'm rewatching that video and telling you I'm personally offended by those comments. I'm not one of these people who's gonna pull that "I dont even recognize who that person is anymore..." I know exactly who that guy is - I've made stereotypical jokes about race my whole life. From beards to skin to clothes to accents to behavior, whatever, thats something I've done a million times before. And I think in the future its something I'll try to do but in a much more intelligent, savvy, and skillful way. But that Rundown convo was particularly unfunny because it was factually incorrect, and my description was blunt with zero wit or creativity. No subtlety or nuance. Just the kinda thing that I rewatched and went "BLECH." So from my own personal content standards to the impact it had on friends/coworkers/fans, it just makes me wanna chalk it up to a big fat L and own that one.

Which brings me to part 2 - I think doing that is COMPLETELY OK. if you think owning up to your fuck ups is a bad thing...if you think thats a sign of weakness or some asinine nonsense like that...thats such incredibly backwards thinking I cannot even begin to have a rational conversation with you about that. We can discuss the merits of comedy and humor and intent, for sure. But having some sort of policy saying you should never apologize, ever, and applying that to this situation where the content was dog shit and the blowback was harmful, thats just stubborn ignorance. So many of us are lucky enough that we are never told what we cant do, and we think our precious little hearts and minds are always in the right and anybody who disagrees with that is the person being weak, or being "triggered," or being a "snowflake." The reality of the situation is this - if you have such an arrogant ego, and you're fragile and insecure to the point that you are too scared to say "hand up. I was wrong," then I believe you're the one behaving like a delicate little flower. I think you're the one being weak. Because I'll be perfectly honest, for me, doing this? Its HARD. I'm a stubborn white Irish Catholic guy harbored with guilt and the constant pressure to prove himself right and so it takes a great deal of maturity for me to pause, take a breath, and say "You right, you right." I say that not for a pat on the back, more for the other Micks like me who find it impossible to do at time. The point is, theres strength in apologizing, and the same way people say you shouldnt be pressured by PC culture to apologize, you also shouldnt be pressured by fans who demand that you don't apologize. Either way, you're not making your own decisions. I live by the rule that you should always be real and honest with your content, regardless of pressure from either side.

So thats where I leave you on this one. I looked at this individual situation, felt zero pride in that performance, disagreed with my subject matter and the content, and understood it hurt my friends, coworkers, and some of my fans. Now, going forward, we'll see what happens. Its absolutely, 100% true that this all occurred because of someone digging up old content. Its not like this came about because of some self audit where I am just seppuku'ing myself. You can say I'm apologizing "because I got caught." I say that I'm apologizing from something that was brought back to the forefront thats now being judged through lens of today's higher standards, and I happen to agree with those new standards. If the next controversy that arrives is one that I believe in sticking to my guns, I will do so. If the next attempt to drag me is about some content that I am proud in, that I believe in, where the negative consequences arent as harmful, I wont apologize. If its a refined piece of humor that I think served a bigger and better purpose and I believe the reaction is faux outrage, then I'll tell you. For me its 3 general rules, that I've always tried to have guide my content, that need to be analyzed:

A) Is it funny? Like truly funny. Where the comedic relief it brings outweighs the hurt feelings?

2) Was the intent to entertain or was the intent to be mean?

and

d) regardless of A and 2, are the negative consequences within reason? Even if you check those first 2 boxes, if somehow your content leads to major, major issues, you still might have to hold that L.

So I'll continue to judge all my content by some combination of those 3. Whether its a new piece of material, or an old piece being dug up to attack. I'll use those three to govern whether or not I publish certain new content, or whether I have to defend or apologize for old content. And I know some of the thick skulled Neanderthals here might think this is some new set of standards brought about by "Cancel Culture," but I promise you thats the same system I've been using for all my content since 2008.