It’s Hardcore History, Attention!
So last October 2019, right around Halloween, I was in Toronto to do a promotional event
for The End is Always Near, the book I got out last year.
And I went to the theater and I met the guy who was going to be the interviewer, it was
a Q&A set up, which works really well in these kinds of environments.
And I sat down and just had the best time for a little while before the actual event,
getting to know Canadian broadcaster Jeff Merrick.
If you don’t know Jeff, it’s probably because you live in the United States or somewhere
where he’s not, well he’s a hockey savant, so you know, knowing about hockey or being
in a country where hockey’s important might help.
Jeff is a host on Roger’s Sportsnet, he’s a co-host of the 31 Thoughts podcast and he’s
just an awesome guy.
So we hit it off right away, and then we went on stage, and I do these things from
time to time, and most of the events you hear the same questions over and over, and Jeff
had just great questions, different questions, he knew my stuff, he’d done his homework,
we just had a great time.
And I said afterwards, let’s not lose touch, and he got a hold of me a couple months later
and said, you know, I’ve been looking on the internet at some of the interviews you’ve
done over the years, and I just think, you have a free show or two of your own, you could
just crank out really quickly if somebody just interviewed you, you know, maybe on
your hardcore history addendum feed or something.
And I said to him, I said, listen, it ain’t always that good, it depends on the questioner
and all these kinds of things, and I basically told him, you know, it was great, Toronto
though, if somebody wanted to do it again, and long story short, Jeff was willing to
get roped into this a second time, and long story short again, if you don’t like this
program, remember Jeff works at Rogers Sportsnet, and there’s probably an email you can get
in touch with him to complain on their website, so Jeff, that’s my thank you for hosting this
and being such a good guy, all the complaint mail goes to you.
So let me just tell you that this was a coronavirus-inspired program, meaning we did things a little differently
than normal on both ends of the interview, so there are a couple of digital glitches
or dropouts, I apologize, there was no way to fix them, so you’ll notice them in there.
We’ll have some conversation for you, a few notes, a few updates, and some teases maybe
even at the end of the show.
So without further ado, Jeff Merrick returns, and hopefully only the second out of many
times in the future, to discuss whatever the heck he wants to for the next, what, hour
So Jeff, take it away.
Today, you’re the host.
You know what I wouldn’t mind talking about to kick it off, Dan?
I would like to talk about the title of your book, which I love because I was a huge Doors
Now, true or false, The End Is Always Near is a tribute to Jim Morrison and the Doors.
Well, I think the broad answer is true.
I wanted to have, I always like those books that have sort of the, in italics, a quote
or a famous phrase or something to lead off each chapter.
And so at one point in my book design, I was going to have one of those leading off each
And I had the Jim Morrison line, the future’s uncertain and the end is always near, before
finding out how expensively copywritten that whole phrase was.
But so somehow, as these things tend to go, you know, somewhere down the line, these things
find their way back in a transmuted form or another, and the fact that it became a partial
title of the book is a little bit surprising, but that’s how it was originally going to
And so in a roundabout way, the answer is yes.
Because I was a huge Doors fan as well, and I think, you know, for a period of time there,
that was pretty much all that I listened to.
I was fascinated with Jim Morrison, was an on-ramp to a lot of poetry, a lot of literature,
a lot of brainy, geeky kind of stuff.
And the music was fantastic as well, and it made me appreciate something about myself
Perhaps you’re similar, I’m not sure.
Things that have a brooding undercurrent, I find that I really enjoy.
That type of music.
You can, I’ve always believed you can write in two separate moods.
You can write in either bloom or you can write in brood.
And for me, the Doors, as far as American bands go, whether it’s Riders on the Storm,
The End, or even The End is Always Near, which is just a great bar tune at the end of it
as well, had that element of brooding.
And that’s why, when I first saw the book, Dan, I said, okay, this is going to hit me
where I live.
Carlin gets it.
You know, this is, I’m flashing back to our conversation in Toronto, because you asked
the most interesting, different questions.
Because normally when you talk to people and they ask questions, you get the same ones
all the time.
And nobody ever asked me about things like music and stuff, but boy, I feel exactly like
And I want to add something.
I’m going to add a different emotion to the brooding versus the blooming.
A friend of mine used to say, when we were growing up, he said that he was a Pink Floyd
fan and he said that there was something about the rhythm of Pink Floyd’s music that synced
up with his internal heartbeat or his rhythm or something, right?
And I remember thinking that it would had to have been turned up to like 78 speed on
my record album to have synced up with mine.
And so I always gravitated towards something that was, Iggy Pop said he had a heart full
of napalm instead of a heart full of soul.
And so, yes, I like the darker stuff, but I like the Stones, Give Me Shelter, right?
If you go look at the Rolling Stones, I always tell people, go online, look at them in like
1971, 72, live in that era, 1970.
To me, that sounds like a punk band, right?
It’s very stripped down.
It’s very, I mean, it sounds like what it really is, what punk really is, too.
What the Doors really were, too.
It’s a stripped down kind of rock and roll where the brooding slash edge comes through.
And I should say this, this isn’t as much with the punk stuff as with the Stones and
the Doors, but there’s also a little bluesy thing going on there, too, that I think really
ties it together.
And so in answer to your question, yes, when I was a kid, there was a lot of music that
was popular in the 70s, Peter Frampton, Foreigner.
It didn’t speak to me at all.
And so I went back and listened to the stuff that you’re talking about.
And then when the stuff that was similar in sort of tone, feel, vibe came again with 77,
78, 79 and the punk and the new wave stuff, that spoke to me, too, the same way that Nirvana
and all that grunge stuff spoke to the people who liked the early punk stuff.
See, but I think what we’re talking about, too, is sort of music.
And you’ve written about this and you’ve talked about this on various podcasts as well.
This idea of studying behavior at the extremes, when you stretch the elastic to the point
at which it can no longer stretch, you know, what’s the behavior around that?
And I’ve always been fascinated with that as well.
And I see that, you know, this comes out and I think we have a mutual admiration for the
sport of boxing, for example, sports like MMA, these types of events where really I’ve
always wondered, you know, why am I attracted to things like boxing?
Why am I always attracted to Shakespearean slasher plays, you know, Titus Andronicus,
heads rolling all over the stage, blood all over the stage.
And I am King Curtain.
And that’s like, why am I attracted to that?
Like I’m a pretty left left wing leaning kind of guy.
I mean, I’m a typical Canadian, you know, always looking to apologize and make accommodations
Where does that come from?
And I find myself in a situation where I think I’m attracted to events and sports and situations
that exist without metaphor, where everything you say you want to do is what you want to
Everything you intend to do.
Like there’s no, you know, in some sports they’ll say, oh yeah, I really want to kill
Well, no, you really don’t.
But then there are sports where you really kind of do like there are sports where that
metaphor doesn’t exist.
It is a metaphorless environment.
And I think maybe that’s why I’m attracted to music that speaks there and sports that
speaks there as well.
There is, um, I pulled it off of my bookshelf just now.
There’s a Latin phrase I read and I, I hope it’s true.
It’s one of those things I’ve learned in my line of work, not to just blithely quote or
assume any quote is true.
So I always, I always disclaim it a little bit, but it’s an inscription in Latin that
says it will give you pleasure to look back on this scene of suffering.
And it’s about sort of the love of history, kind of right.
The fact that, isn’t it weird that people like you or people like me who are such, um,
you know, I like to think of myself as sort of a humanist, right?
Why would I enjoy seeing scenes from history involving suffering?
Why would I enjoy watching Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier at the Thrilla in Manila come as
close to death as Muhammad Ali said, as he’d ever been?
Why is that interesting, entertaining, uh, why would I go back and watch it again?
I mean, what is it about our character?
I had a professor, uh, the late great Robert Poise at the university of Colorado.
He’s famous there.
They planted a tree after he died.
Uh, he, he, he had said almost the same thing you did.
He said, why?
He called himself a lily hearted, bleeding heart liberal.
And he said, why would a lily hearted, bleeding heart liberal like myself be so fascinated
by these right wing strong man dictatorial?
He was like a Nazi history professor in terms of what he focused on a Bismarck and those
And he questioned himself, why am I interested in this stuff?
Um, I don’t think we have an answer, but I do think there’s the wonderful side of it
where we can enjoy it.
Like that Latin inscription says, look back on this play and not have to be a part of
It’s the same sort of vicarious thrill we could have at the time where I wrote my book
talking about how strange it would be to live in a pandemic and how science fiction
like that might be an, Oh wow.
Can you even imagine?
And then to have it happen where you kind of go, Oh yeah, I, I much more liked the theorizing
back in the day when this was a theoretical than I do now.
And now we find ourselves, you know, all, you know, various Edward Hopper paintings
or at least that’s how we feel right now.
It is bizarre, isn’t it?
It’s, um, and, and, but the, the interesting thing about it, um, to me, and, and again,
you know, we’re all on quarantine, you know, I’m removed from my job and surrounded by
my family 24 hours a day and, um, I love it.
I’m not so much sure that they do, but you know, I, I, I look at this and I say, is this
Is this weird?
Is this freakish or have the last, I don’t know, 150 years been the freak?
And is this just sort of what reality always has been?
And now it’s caught up to us.
I don’t know the answer to that.
I think that’s exactly what I couldn’t have phrased it better myself.
I think that’s exactly, I think, uh, uh, to paraphrase, uh, uh, I think it was Samuel
Huntington when he said the end of history, we’ve been living in a break, uh, a break
from a rhythm that our forebears knew so well and here, and this is the part that, uh, it’s
hard to get your mind around as crazy as everything’s been.
They never had the luxury of only having one bad disease out there, right?
When they had all the bad diseases you can think of, they had all the other bad diseases
at the same time.
So you didn’t just have cholera, right?
You had smallpox, you didn’t just have plague, you know, you had typhus, it was all there
And you had measles and mumps and all the childhood diseases that killed you once upon
So I think about this as the tiniest little taste of what it used to be like.
And I sit there and shudder because look at what it’s done to us with just the tiniest
And I could say that the reason it’s done this much to us is because we haven’t been
accustomed to feeding on this sort of problem for a while and maybe you grow a little bit
more calloused and a little bit more resilient or maybe your system has become a little bit
less fragile over time if the disease rates higher and more lethal than it traditionally
is like now.
On the other hand, it is a, you know, what I said in the book, people are saying all
the time, I had an Israeli reporter to me the other day say, is this helping book sales
as though this is a good thing, right?
We have a pandemic and I was talking about it.
But you know, every major thinker, expert, I mean, heck, Bill Gates for the last decade
has been saying something like this was coming.
What I think is fascinating from the history side of it, though, because all I did in the
book was pick out these historical situations to show sort of how humans have behaved in
those circumstances before and that seems remarkably instructive for sort of how we
So that’s the part that’s kind of interesting where you go, you know, times change, medicine
evolves, but we human beings are about as panicky and predictable as we’ve always been
That’s interesting about that comment, you know, how is this helping book sales?
And I think of the old Carney saying, what we lose on the swings, we gain on the roundabouts
through all of this.
You mentioned resiliency there a second ago, when we were in Toronto together, we talked
you and I about the difference between, you know, Canada and the United States and where
the United States is more based on an ethic of conquer.
Canada is traditionally based more on the idea of survival.
And I do wonder if what we’re seeing right now is a clash between business and institution.
And always the default has been business can solve this, business can be bloated, only
necessary things, chop it right down to the bone.
I mean, business hates excess.
It’s all about bottom line.
It has no time for something like institution.
Institution is slow.
Institution is bloated.
Institution is a waste of money.
But right now we find ourself in the situation, Dan, where it’s the institutions that are
probably going to get us out of this thing, not business.
And we’re starting to see that clash each and every day.
I wonder how, I really do wonder where this one ends up.
And if at the end of all of this, there’s more of a, there’s more of a premium placed
on not chasing speed, not chasing a fast dollar, but maybe we slow down a little bit.
Maybe we’re a little bit more deliberate in what we do.
Maybe we think a little bit more about our choices.
I mean, right now we’re looking at, I think this battle between efficiency and endurance.
And right now what we need more so than efficiency is that type of institutional endurance that
business has always had nothing but contempt for.
I think that’s a fantastic analysis.
I said to somebody else recently, too, we were talking about maybe the way something
like the current situation we’re going through makes us simply reframe the lens through which
we view some of this stuff.
So whereas a business institution running a hospital might see a lot of ventilators
that no one is using and a lot of hospital beds that are empty as waste, at a time like
now that looks more like insurance.
And when you look at the costs of what we’re going through now, it looks like relatively
But that’s simply something that comes into play as part of the, I would call it the give
My stepfather’s metaphor for it was a tug of war.
And there’s a tug of war.
I would call it the institutional side, that’s a good way to put it, and the business side.
And they’re pulling, right?
They’re both pulling in opposite directions.
And sometimes I would argue we’ve lived through, and I don’t think I have to make much of a
point on this, an amazing growth stage in terms of the information revolution, the 1990s,
the 2000s, the phones, the texting, the social media, the whole thing, right?
That’s a giant, huge boon on the business side of things with institutions playing catch-up.
So imagine that tug of war leaning heavily toward the business side of things for a while.
And then the realities of existence, like plagues, coming into play to force some correction
on the institutional side of things, pulling the rope back towards the center a little
If only because one is theoretical, on the business side of things, you can push, you
can push, you can push, maximize profits, maximize gain, maximize stock price until
something stops you.
Now that could be the market.
That could be your own business model.
That could be what it is you sell not being desired anymore.
Or it could be a black swan event like what we’re going through now, right?
Or a 9-11 attacks or anything like that where all of a sudden, okay, you have to stop and
think for a while.
Your momentum, your forward momentum is slowed for a reason, and you have to ask yourself
whether or not this is a temporary break on things and we can continue to do things just
the way we did after a slight pause, or whether, as you were suggesting, this is a lesson,
And the lesson is let’s not get caught again.
Let’s build in some resiliency, some redundancy, and some ability to counteract what this plague
we’re going through right now has exposed in terms of our systemic fragility, maybe
is a good way to put it.
So I think I would make the case that there’s always the balance between the institutions
and the business side of things, and that it’s been slanted toward the business side
of things because the pace of change has been such that it would be crazy, I think, to imagine
the institutions keeping up with it.
And by the way, not just that, but they inherently move more slowly because, I mean, the pace
of change on the business side slash tech side of things, I’m not sure how brick and
mortar things can keep up with it.
So I think maybe what you’re suggesting makes some sense, at least from the vantage point
where we can see it here in the midst of it.
It seems like it’s exposed something where you go, well, let’s not get caught without
enough ventilators again, you know, things like that.
And then what becomes of us at the end of all of this is another question.
Elliot Friedman, who I do the 31 Thoughts podcast with, his grandmother always had the
best saying, you plan, God laughs.
We all have an idea of what this is going to be at the end of all of it.
But I can’t, Dan, help but feeling, I guess we all try to figure out who we’re going to
be when all of this is done.
I kind of feel like we’re all sort of, I don’t know, kittens chasing laser pointers for information
What do the medieval map makers always write when they had, you know, unknown territory?
Here be dragons.
We don’t know.
I just can’t help but thinking that there’s this area that we’re all headed to where here
It’s a great question.
And what are we when we go through this, you know, calm waters make poor sailors.
Is this like, how is, we know we’re going to be different people at the end of all of
We know our technology is going to be different.
We know how we consume, what we consume, how we live is all going to be different.
How are we going to be different people?
My gut on it, Dan, is to say that we’ll all understand how interrelated we all are from
person to person and also person to nature.
You know, you look at the tree outside your window and you realize, oh, hang on a second
Now that I really had to think about my health for the last 12 months, maybe now I do understand
that half my lungs are hanging in that tree.
I’m guessing that we have more of an appreciation how everything is joined, how everything is
But again, I don’t know, because here be dragons.
We did a show a long time ago now, old style, hardcore history, short light by modern standards
where we talked about the Great Depression.
And there was a quote that we used by a New York Times economic writer, Robert Samuelson,
and the gist of it was that we make fun these days or economic experts make fun these days
of the stupid, silly mistakes that the money experts back in the great before the Great
Depression era made, right?
Laugh at their stupidity and their naivete of markets and all that kind of stuff.
But his point was, before you get too haughty about it, realize they were doing the best
that they could with what they knew at the time.
And they got blindsided by something they didn’t see or know about.
And that can always happen again.
And of course, before Samuelson, after Samuelson said it, we got hit by the dotcom crash and
all that kind of stuff.
The point being that it’s always something that you can’t see coming that’s going to
get you because if you can see it coming and you could plan for it, you know, it’s a lot
less likely to hurt you.
But those things are reliably out there.
That’s the black swan idea, right, that you don’t know that something’s out there.
But you can imagine that something out there that you can’t plan for is going to hit you.
So like you said, and God laughs, right?
So you see, that’s what your idea about the fragility and all that sort of stuff comes
Also, when you’re talking about excess hospital beds, the excess hospital beds are not there
for no reason.
They’re there in case.
So when you say changing us, that right there might be an example of how it changes us in
the same way that the headstrong rush towards business moving forward might get slowed by
the reality of something like a plague.
People’s forward thinking and continual momentum toward the next goal, I think, takes a hit
here where everybody is just forced.
My kids are at home.
My kids have no, they can’t do anything but just think about kind of and try not to think
about what’s going on here.
I would make the case that there is some value in thinking about things like this.
And especially if you want to get into stereotypes about generations, you know, always looking
at their phone, five seconds of attention span, never thinking about deep subjects.
Well, they’re thinking about deep subjects now, if only because it’s affecting their
day-to-day existence in a way that just it preempts thinking about other things.
Would I have wished this on us in order to get that benefit?
Of course not.
I’m going to give the commencement speech at my alma mater in like a couple of weeks.
And the whole point of it is to try to point out that there might be some good sides to
this, but I’m not saying I wanted it.
I’m not glad your commencement was canceled.
Don’t get me wrong, kids.
But if it’s going to be canceled anyway, maybe there are some side benefits.
And to answer your question sort of at the end of it a little bit about, you know, does
it change us?
There’s a chapter in the book and we did a podcast, Do Tough Times Make Tough People.
It sounds like an MMA style phrase, doesn’t it?
But I don’t mean it that way.
It literally is just the same thing one would wonder about seeing in the animal kingdom
or the plant kingdom or any sort of like life’s reaction to adversity.
And I mean, if we’re this adaptable species, right, if that’s the number one thing we bring
to the table, we don’t have sharp teeth.
We don’t have long claws.
We’re the we’re the smart ones who can adapt like coyotes.
Does adaptation require adversity?
Like you said, if it does, then this is a this is going to be something that helps create
a more formidable generation down the road.
Yeah, you know, there’s to extend that, you know, there’s that there is that feeling that
at the end of all of this, we’re going to see in this tough situation who got tough
and who cut the laces on their shoes when the fight was about to start.
You know, there’s and we talked about, you know, why are we so attracted to these these
Why are you so attracted to, you know, the macabre?
Why are you so attracted, you know, to behavior at the fringes of the extremes when you’re,
you know, a pretty middle of the road kind of person, maybe left leaning, maybe a little
bit of a humanist, a little more understanding.
Someone looks for different looks for similarities instead of differences.
You know, just because you’re a pacifist doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate the value of passing
the fist is something that I’ve always maintained.
And I think in this situation here, you know, and other generations have gone through it
before and you’re right about you laughing at these, you know, kids playing Fortnite
all the time.
And, you know, the closest thing to a, to a fist fight is a, is a nasty tweet, um, that
they, they send to someone in, in anonymity on a, on a eggshell Twitter feed.
But I think at the end of this, we’re gonna, we’re gonna find out, you know, whose, whose
spine got hardened, um, through all of this.
And, you know, you’re going to find out, I think through all of this, um, who can endure.
Cause I know I keep coming back to this, the Margaret Atwood survival, uh, uh, issue or
the Margaret Atwood, you know, survival aesthetic here, but, um, you know, we’re going through
something that is not just physical, but is mental as well.
And already we’re seeing people that have, you know, completely abandoned themselves
and everything that they believed in or perhaps prepared for because they want to get back
to normal quickly.
And there’s an attractiveness to getting back to normal quickly.
And I all understand, and I understand that all too well.
Um, you walk into the front door of my house, there’s a two Kanjis and it’s a Japanese saying
it’s a Taoist saying it says unlearn something daily.
And I really feel that that has that one saying, Dan, more than anything else has helped me
in my life at every single stage unlearn something daily.
And I think if we’re going to survive through all of this, and if anyone’s going to survive
through all this, I think we need to unlearn things from the past because this is all going
to be different.
Uh, as we mentioned, the media is going to be different.
The way we go shopping is going to be different.
The way we greet each other is added for handshakes.
Everything is going to be different.
And I really think that one of the keys to survival with all of this, if we’re going
to get tough and not cut the laces is to start on learning things as quickly as possible.
Being the cynic that I am, I want to know what you mean when you say the people that
are going to survive this, the people, I mean, let’s, let’s define the term.
What is a person who doesn’t define this or survive this or a society that doesn’t survive
this in your mind?
What does that mean?
That’s a great question.
Um, I think people that can come out at the end of this and can still have, how do I say
this properly here?
I don’t want to offend anybody, um, surviving both literally, um, uh, and I also think surviving
and still being able to work within a society, still work within a group of people.
And that doesn’t just have to be immediate.
Um, that can also be online, but still, you know, what did, what did Nietzsche always
If you’re a monster, it’s important not to become the monster at the same time.
At the end of it, not become the monster.
Um, what’s a great Twilight Zone episode, the monsters who do on Maple Street, you know,
where it’s never about the monsters, it’s about how we treat each other.
I love that.
That’s always been a big lesson for me.
It’s my favorite Twilight episode, Dan.
And when I say survive all of this, you know, survive in the sense that we don’t turn on
You know, we have this ritual in my family now after the day is done, um, our three-year-old
goes to bed and I stay up with my 10-year-old and my eight-year-old and we watch Walking
I’ve never seen the Walking Dead series before, so we’ve started at episode one and we’re
now plowing through the fifth season.
I don’t know if I should be showing my 10 and eight-year-olds the Walking Dead.
I’m not sure I’m going to be on the cover of next month’s edition of Today’s Parent
Magazine, Dan, but it’s a nice tradition that we have.
And the one thing that I’ve learned through all of it is the lesson from that Twilight
zone episode, which is it’s not about the zombies.
It’s about us.
And the greatest threat comes from us.
If we can come out and survive this by that, I mean, if we can still not turn on one another
on the last common sense podcast, you talked a lot about partisanship and what partisanship
is doing to us.
And I, I couldn’t agree more, um, with the points that you were making because at the
end of this, if we can’t get along, if we can’t all survive with one another or come
up with some, and it doesn’t have to be like this Matthew Arnold idea of, you know, Elizabethan
England is the absolute model of how things have to be.
We have to come up with this idea of, we have to come up with a way that we can all get
along with one another and not let this tear us apart.
Not let that monster separate us from one another.
I hope that makes sense.
I think tough times are, are points of a fracture.
In other words, one of two things happens, they bring you closer together and heal some
of those things.
I mean, you have a war and everybody unites, you know, in a common cause and forgets their
partisan differences, for example, or crisis can make the fault lines larger and fracture
I mean, we see that too.
So, so this could go, things like now could break in a number of different fashions.
When I have conversations with people, people get angry at me after the last common sense
shows a perfect example.
And for those in the history audience, you don’t know, I’ve done a current events podcast
for longer than they’ve been podcasts.
I was doing it when it was a radio show, didn’t used to be as hard as it is now because everybody
is so angry that trying to find this ground that Jeff’s talking about, where you can actually
try to talk to people who disagree strongly about things with each other and speak to
both of them tends to get the same treatment that a police officer showing up at a domestic
violence quarrel with a drunk couple runs into where they might’ve been trying to kill
each other five seconds ago.
But the minute the cop tries to come in and bring peace to the situation, they both turn
So that’s, I kind of feel like the cop in the domestic violence situation sometimes,
but moments like now are tests.
And so when you say we have to be able to get along, cause I keep asking myself, what’s
I mean, if you, I tell everybody, regardless of where you are on the political spectrum,
you’re not going to win now.
And that’s where we are.
If you can’t think of the now what, then you’re planning for some, I don’t even know
if you’re planning for a perpetual political war that will continue long after you’re gone.
And what did it get you?
Um, maybe, maybe that’s short sighted and you know, but, but at the same time, I’m looking
at it now going, um, I’d like to save reality a little bit because when you jump off the
edge in terms of, of going off the deep end with say political realities, I mean, it’s
funny, we have a plague now in a sense that we haven’t seen in a very long time.
What if we started to see political outcomes of the sort that seemed to be the things that
are consigned to your history books, right?
What if all of a sudden those didn’t seem so strange and abnormal and out of the blue?
Let’s try to avoid that, shall we?
At least that’s kind of how I try to think about it.
And that sounds like you.
And I think a lot of people who form what I would consider to be sort of the ballast
of society, these people that might want reform, might want change, might disagree with each
other over specifics, but sure as hell want to keep the boat intact.
What do you, what do you think happens, um, with technology and all of this?
You know, last time we were together in Toronto, we talked a lot about, uh, Marshall McLuhan
and the idea that, you know, technologies have these hidden agendas, you know, they
shape the way, um, they, they shape the user in ways that the user never would have imagined.
You know, we see major events, you know, dictating, you know, what type of media gets
consumed and how it gets consumed.
Not that I want to couch this in wins and losses, but I do wonder what type of media
You know, we think of the Vietnam war and we think of television, you know, we think
of, you know, the, uh, the first Iraq war.
And we think of cable news in this situation, Dan, what wins, what comes out of it in your,
in your estimation?
I obviously think a lot about this.
Uh, I, and I consider myself to have a tiny little bit of, of responsibility in making
it worse maybe, uh, because in, in the 1990s, late 1990s, I was working in a company.
I started with some friends and one of the things we were pushing was amateur content.
And one of the ideas behind this was some of how, how the idea of how it was going to
And I thought it was going to be something for the better.
It was going to be opening up news to all sorts of views and opinions and journalists
and reporters on the ground.
And you didn’t have to be, you know, I was a reporter and I was saying you didn’t have
to be a reporter to report on a news story.
You just, all you have to do is at the time I was saying, have a tape recorder or a cam
quarter and take it out there and record what’s going on around you.
And I thought this is going to democratize news.
But you know, it’s funny, it’s got me thinking about a lot of things, uh, in, in, in including
something that I’m uncomfortable with.
I was thinking the other day, not to jump around, but, but, uh, it’s such a multifaceted
I was wondering about the value of a, um, a shared view of reality, even if the shared
view of reality wasn’t true, right?
Is there a vet?
So like if you’re having the water cooler discussions and it’s 1975 and you’re in an
office in Los Angeles, uh, discussing what you read in the news that day, about 85 to
90% of the people around that water cooler are going to accept the same facts, uh, from
the New York times and the Washington post and the, and the, the nightly newscast and
Walter Cronkite or whatever, and all those people, not in 75, but you know what I’m saying?
Maybe in 75.
Um, but, uh, but, but now a person today might say, well, you know, that was a bunch of BS
and they didn’t know what was really going on here and there, and they might be right,
but there was a shared idea that about 85 to 90% of the people had on reality, which
allowed them everything from the ability to debate things to have, I mean, it was
something that passed for truth.
It’s like the Fiat money.
People always tell me, you know, the money you hold in your hand is just paper.
The only thing that matters is how much stock people actually put into it, right?
Cause you believe it.
Well, the same thing was true of reality.
It always is true of reality.
You believe it.
But if 85 or 90% of the people believe on the same reality, you can kind of work.
It’s, it’s a Fiat currency of its own, right?
It’s information Fiat currency.
What we have now though, is nobody believes the same reality.
We’re into these camps.
We’re all reading different stuff.
And the first thing you say in a discussion with anyone is you question their sources.
Um, this is a democratized news environment, but it’s also a democratized truth
And I’m finding that this is a situation that, um, I’m not finding good historical
analogies to use as, um, as guideposts on how something like this might go.
It’s a fascinating human experiment.
I don’t know how to navigate through it myself.
I remember Jello Biafra, um, once said, don’t fear the media, be the media.
And that’s always stuck with me.
And I think that that hits where you live when you’re talking about creating
amateur content and democratizing media.
Um, you know, it’s interesting when you talk about, you know, look, okay, so
what, you know, where are you?
Are you left wing?
Are you right wing?
You know, what are your media biases?
You know, what’s the old, what’s the old journalist saying?
If your mother says she loves you get confirmation.
It kind of feels like we’re, we’re, we’re at that point now, um, with all of it.
I’m curious, um, because you know, that point about having a, you know, if 80% of
people are on the same page about history, about current events, and there’s an
accepted, um, media, there’s a, there’s an accepted version of the news that we
all agree upon, then we can have the conversation.
You know, I think that that has, um, that has really done a disservice to
television now because it is demonstrated the limits of that, of that format.
Um, and by how an hour is divided in, in, in TV time, because as you well know, in
every segment you have between six to eight minutes to speak, and unless you.
Go along the same lines as those that have come before with all the basic
assumptions, if you try to paint outside the lines a little bit, you spend the
entire segment trying to explain the premise of your point without actually
ever getting there.
And that’s why I think, honestly, and I know that I’m saying this on a podcast.
I know that I have a podcast myself as well, but honestly, I see as, as, as far
as the, the big winners through all of this, I think this is going to be, cause
I still believe we live in the golden age of audio.
I think the big winners of all this is going to be podcasts.
I really do.
I think at the end of this, this is where ideas can get, um, can, you know, like a
symphony, you know, the melody can, can rise and can fall and can come back again
and can turn into something else.
And you aren’t limited by the authority of time, or you aren’t limited by a
certain programming formats.
I think, you know, really at the, at the, uh, to be self-serving here,
considering I do have a pod, I think that this is going to be yet another moment
where podcasts demonstrate that this is the ultimate media to consume right now.
And of course, not all podcasts are created equal.
Uh, not all podcasts are the same.
And yes, I do understand that, you know, right now we look for, you know,
we have these, these biases.
We only want to what’s the line.
Nobody wants to hear other people’s opinion.
They just want to hear their opinion in different sounding voices.
Um, that’s kind of, kind of, kind of where we’re at right now.
Um, but I do think that this is the place where, you know, the
revolution will not be televised, right?
The revolution is on podcasts.
And I really do believe that this is going to be another brick in that wall for pods.
I hope this is the hope.
I hope that, um, deep conversation and in-depth, um, looking at things the way,
you know, a lot of podcasters like to do it, by the way.
I mean, when you have a three-hour podcast, you have time to go into
depth on issues, right?
Um, I think that it’s a little like vegetables, even to some kids where if
you give them cake long enough, even some of the most anti-broccoli oriented
kids start going, you know, a few carrots might be okay right now.
I mean, maybe, maybe, maybe it’s like, it’s, it’s, there’s a pendulum swinging
back and forth, or there’s always a segment of humanity that craves.
This is the other possibility that we’re all created differently.
And there’s always a segment of humanity that craves looking at things
through a different lens, a higher zoom perspective, or a more granular one.
You know, it’s a personality question.
Uh, and so something like that, rather than the five second
quick hit, uh, appeals to them.
I always said one of the great things about podcasting is it is a giant
pie of listening audience size.
And if you appeal to just a tiny little sliver of it, that can still
be a heck of a lot of human beings.
And that allows you to pick some topic that might be extremely
narrow that 90%, you know, 90, uh, Mexican science fiction, comic
books from the 1950s or something.
Uh, but the, the small segment of that slice of the pie that finds
you may be a huge number of people.
And they’re all going to be fanatically cult driven like folk because they’ve
been waiting for someone like you their whole lives, you know, I think podcasting
has innate advantages over that.
I also think, and this is just, I find this all the time, you
know, all about this too, Jeff.
And, and by the way, that your insider stuff on the industry is absolutely
dead on and we can go there if you want.
I’m sure there’s, there’s a lot of people in the audience who are
actually in the industry, so they would understand it too.
Um, but I would, I would like to point out that it is, there is a huge
difference between creativity with a large group of people and creativity
with a small group of people or a single individual, you and I were
talking before we started here about how interesting it is to watch all the
late night talk show hosts do their, uh, Corona virus at home versions of
their shows without the lights and the, and the camera angles and the glitz
and the band and the audience and the whole thing, and they look remarkably
like the rest of us, which makes some of the better podcasters who do similar
stuff to them, uh, look that much better by comparison, right?
When you take away all the lights and everybody’s equal,
those guys might be funnier.
So, so I think, uh, maybe your point is well taken.
I think there, last time I heard there were 750,000 podcasts.
So there’s really something for everybody.
And what I do love about it, it is, is a natural place for genius talent to be
found, uh, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, uh, any, any people who are like great
talent, uh, Robin Williams, none of those people today would have had anywhere
near as tough of a struggle as they did in their day, because they would just
have to have a podcast and everything else would take care of itself from
The tech, the talent would, would move mountains.
You know what, you know, a lot of it is too.
I think Dan, well, first of all, there’s going to be a whole new star system
that’s created through all of this.
You know, once everything is equal, then, okay, it’s the best ideas.
It’s, you know, the best shows it’s the most creative people.
It’s the most engaging, thoughtful people.
Uh, those are going to be the ones that end up coming out shining, uh, at
the end of all of this.
I think one of the failings of, uh, of media right now is this idea that
everything needs to be multi-platform.
Well, you know, we’d love to on-ramp this television show.
How can we repurpose it as well?
Uh, how can we repurpose it as well for radio or for podcast?
And you can tell the difference.
I mean, I know you have all people specifically know the difference when
you are listening to a radio show that’s been podcasted versus doing a pod cast.
And even though it’s subtle, the difference is huge radio.
And you talked about this on the last common sense and you’re bang on this
idea of heat, heat, heat, heat, heat, and yell and scream and choose, you know,
confrontation over conversation that’s going to get those people that generally
on their radio will only be listening.
You know, what’s the average TSL for a time spent listening for radio listener?
Like if you’re lucky six to eight minutes while they’re in their car, before they
get out of the car, they do something else.
You just want to capture that one slice.
That doesn’t work for a podcast that doesn’t work at all.
One of the things that I think a lot of people have always appreciated about
other common sense or hardcore history.
And I try to do on every podcast that I’m part of is the respect and
acknowledgement that you’re broadcasting generally when you’re doing a podcast
right into someone’s ears.
And the last thing that people want to hear in their ears is screaming and
And that’s why I think, um, as far as, you know, what’s going to be that media
that helps to define this generation after this pandemic is, is all done.
I think it’s going to be the medium that chooses conversation and is easy to
And to the earlier point has the best ideas, has the most, you know, interesting,
uh, observations and is easy to listen to and doesn’t scream at the, uh, uh, at
the listener, you know, radio is generally broadcast into a car.
So you’re still broadcasting to the back seat.
Television is broadcast into a living room, right?
There’s still that old theater idea of talk to the person in the last row.
Podcasts go right into your brain.
They should be listenable and quiet and not jarring.
That’s what I’ve always believed.
Jeff, I’m going to try to not assume that this is some sort of passive aggressive
attack on me personally, because I am well known for, for going in a nice low
tone of voice, and then all of a sudden screaming in the ear of the listener.
That is almost like one of my known traditional styles.
So I’m going to take this as a personal slam against me and my approach to
podcasting, because that’s, I’m known for doing that and just, and listen, this is
a good time to address the issue.
Cause I did, uh, I did, uh, a virtual reality thing, a world war one, uh,
exhibit in Skywalker sound, uh, George Lucas’s company did the sound and they
were nice enough to have me up to their facilities in Northern California.
Gave me the grand tour.
I got to meet the staff and, and when I met the staff, one of their real
fantastic, great sound engineers comes up to me and says, I’m this big fan.
I really want to tell you how much I love the show.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Have you ever thought about using any compression on your voice though?
Cause it just gets, you know, and I got, I came back and if there’s a band, I told
him, I said, well, everybody’s still talking about the compression issue.
And just so everyone knows in radio, when you’re on the air at a traditional
station, they have compression, which is, you know, it squashes your voice
between the highs and the lows.
They have it for all sorts of reasons built right into the soundboard.
So it’s not, it’s nothing you think about when we got off radio and we
got the freedom of podcasting.
Uh, it, it, it became like Nuke and Jeff, you’ll understand this.
It became like new audio colors to paint with all of a sudden, you know, and I
was always in the VU meter red anyway.
So I was never, I was never a good boy anyway.
Um, but all of a sudden I had these, you know, with the, with the compression
giving me sort of a light pink or a, or a pale blue, all of a sudden I had dark,
angry blues and bright reds.
And now the, the downside of that is you could clip a little bit with the
software, you could bother people’s hearing or whatnot, but the, the ability
to go soft and low and high and loud and mix it all together, those are the tools
of a traditional oral storyteller in any society around the world.
And so, uh, we do some compression, but every time people want to push for more,
I keep thinking I become the, the, um, selfish, uh, PV artist who doesn’t want
you messing with my most extreme colors in any direction, you know what I mean?
It wasn’t a slight, uh, first of all, because one of the great things about
what you do and how you couch all of your podcasts is you do all that.
My, my main point was this wall of sound in radio that we normally get, which is,
you know, scream at people for five or six minutes to capture their attention
and ignore something, which I think is perhaps one of the most important things
in either radio or podcast.
And that’s silence.
You know, what’s, what’s one of the great things that can get people
to lean forward right now?
Silence is a note, right?
That’s a great, wow.
What a, that’s a great way to free.
It is a note.
And I didn’t make, I didn’t make it up.
I think that’s a musician thing.
I did not make, I’m not taking credit for that.
That is, that’s a wonderful, I gotta write that down.
Silence is a note, but I mean, it’s like.
When I listened to your podcast, the one thing that I appreciate is that you use
all those different paints and all those different brushes, but it’s not
overwhelming, you know, it, it’s well-placed like, listen, there’s nothing
wrong with a great scream.
I don’t know that I can take five minutes of it when I’m trying to listen to
someone’s point or trying to, to, to learn something here.
Um, but again, this goes back to part of the early, earlier conversation.
We had to talk about, you know, blooming and brooding, you know, these two things.
Um, what are the Taoists say?
They arise mutually.
Um, that which is, um, explicitly two is implicitly one.
They go together.
So you need both.
Um, I think where a lot of radio tends to go wrong and certainly talk radio, which
is the background that I’m from and you’re from as well, uh, there’s this idea
that we only have them for four minutes, make it loud, make it aggressive, really
grab their attention because they’re not going to be in the car long enough to hear
And, oh yeah, we’ve got to get to traffic and we’ve got to get to weather and we’ve
got to get to the stop sets.
Oh, well, I mean, no argument there.
I, as I said, I, I don’t really even hold, I don’t hold anybody accountable for that.
That’s the format.
And within the format, as you said, you’ve got, you know, this is what was, and I
always, when, when people ask me about podcasting, I always talk about how
attractive all the creative white space was, because when you come from radio or
television, as you said, at the beginning of our conversation, you have these little
blocks where you can be creative and there’s six minutes or four minutes or
eight minutes, and then somebody gives you a podcast and you open up a, and you
look and you, and it’s just a giant, big, complete white space.
And, and my whole early career was listeners helping me to understand that that
white space was even less constrained than I thought it was.
I mean, I always say that we, we issued an apology to hardcore history listeners on
the show the first time we went over an hour long, because it just seemed like
some horrible transgression, you know, on their time.
And they would write back and say, and obviously this is the very early years,
but they would write back and say, we have pause buttons.
And this became a way for them to teach me the unlimited size and scope of this
white space that we were working with.
There’s, there’s no limits at all.
And so once you do that, I told years ago, I mean, we were probably into podcasting
only about a year and a half before I turned to somebody and I said, I can never
go back to radio again.
I said, I can never go back to radio again because one, I lose this white space.
And two, how, you know, you know this too, Jeff, every radio station I’ve ever
worked in, you have a map.
And on that map is a, is a bunch of concentric circles emanating from your
transmitter, showing you how far the broadcast signal reaches on a map.
Podcasting is global.
I mean, it reached North Korea may not hear us, but I mean, if I do a show about
Iran, I’m going to get letters from Iranians and emails from Iranians.
I mean, it’s, it’s, I could go to New York, which is the number one radio station, uh,
market in America.
And it would be like a downgrade in terms of, of, of who could hear me.
So when we talk about podcasting being the better medium in terms of format and what
it gives you in creativity and depth and all those things we talked about, how about
just the old fashioned metrics?
You can reach more people, which is what the advertisers and the radio station owners
and the broadcasters always cared about the most to, you know, it’s funny.
I was making that point, uh, on a previous podcast a few years ago and, and someone
sent me in, um, an Edward R.
Murrow quote, and it was, it was perfect.
I always love these moments where I get grounded from listeners.
Um, and she said, uh, what was the quote?
Edward, uh, because your voice goes across the world now doesn’t mean you’re any
wiser than when it only went to the end of the bar.
It was such a wonderful, such a wonderful, like, oh, wow.
Good for you.
You’ve got a podcast.
You have people are texting you in and emailing in from Australia and all over
the place in Sweden.
Uh, let’s not forget this doesn’t make you any smarter.
Uh, it just means your reach is that much longer.
Um, the only, the only other big, um, event sort of historical dividing, uh,
event, Dan, that this generation has gone through was nine 11 and, and, and couched
in the area of, of media and what we’re watching and what we’re consuming.
I can recall, you know, September 10th, the headline stories were still shark
attacks and then nine 11 happened and somehow sharks stopped attacking people.
But do you remember what the big television shows were pre nine 11 was
travel shows everywhere.
You, every, every time you turned on the television, it was travel, go here, go
there, this fantasy, you know, this wonderful voyage, this exotic play was
all trial and even on radio, you know, a lot of travel shows all, you know,
sponsored in order to, to, to sell you, uh, various trips.
Um, but it was travel shows.
And then after nine 11, it seemed as if Dan, that entire industry, that travel
show industry was over and it all became about home improvement.
People stayed home, people nested, people feathered their nests.
That’s what they wanted to do.
That’s how they felt.
I’m too scared to go anywhere right now.
I’m going to take care of this little plot of land and this pile of sticks
that I’ve sort of cobbled together here and call a home and try to make it as
nice as possible because the world out there is really scary again.
I’m going to ask a question.
I have no even remote clue what the answer might be, but what do you think
we’ll be interested in at the end of this pandemic, whether it’s six months,
12 months, 18 months from now, I mean, I think programmers are all asking
themselves the exact same question.
I, I mean, I, I’m pretty sure we’ll all take more of an interest in our own
health, um, but I, I, I wonder what, what we’re going to be consuming, like,
as far as, you know, people that watch television, listen to podcasts.
What do you think people are going to want?
I mean, they wanted travel shows pre nine 11, but after nine 11, the last
thing they wanted was to travel.
Well, in, in, you know, I might not be a historian, but I can sure hedge like one.
Uh, let me give you some examples of how it might go.
So it kind of depends.
Um, the first big variable is how quickly does this thing go away, right?
So if, if this, uh, if this Corona virus is significantly better in two and a half
months, then this chance of simply trying to bounce back and return to some level
of normalcy seems more likely to me.
I think that’s the natural human desire is just to get back to the way things
were and forget this ever happened.
But well, one, obviously that’s going to be hard to do for people who’ve lost
their jobs and businesses that have gone under and all that kind of stuff.
Um, but if it doesn’t go away like that, if it goes away more slowly, or if
there’s several reoccurrences and respikes, say when the weather gets cold
in the Western hemisphere, again, things like that, well, then this is going to
be more of a scattered thing, more of a, no, you’re not going to be allowed
to just pretend this never happened.
You’re going to really have to make this part of your longterm.
You’re gonna have to build this into your thinking longterm.
Um, you know, you don’t, my family is so beset the news.
It’s funny with the bet, not to change the subject, but the bad news itself
begins to get to people after a while.
Um, and the way that the media sort of, uh, is always weighted towards
whatever’s going to get the most eyeballs, extra, extra read all about it.
The bad news right now is what people are interested in.
So you’re seeing a predominance of disaster.
And it doesn’t mean it’s not out there, but, but it’s what people are getting.
And so I think there’s this desire for bounce back.
I don’t know if the, the nature of this virus is going to allow for that.
And I think if it doesn’t, that’s when you’re going to see the changes that you
were talking about more because we’re living in a new world and that you just
have to write.
So like the media thing we were talking before we turned on the recorder about
your new reality, which is like my old reality.
You’re all just podcasters to me.
Now, all you professional guys, uh, you don’t know what you were missing, being
able to work from home in your sweats.
And now you’ll never go back.
They’ll never have you back.
They don’t have to pay for those free croissants and donuts anymore.
Uh, no insurance, no liability.
You just work from home, Jeff.
And, uh, and I, and I’m going to make you work twice as hard.
Um, but I, I think that this is, this is going to be heavily dependent on the way
we come out of this.
Um, I do think, and I always feel this way, but this is sort of, I’m a, I’m a
devil’s advocate person.
So when things are good, I’m always a doom caster.
When they’re bad, I’m always a silver lining guy.
But this has always been the idea behind the, the, the, uh, there’s a capitalistic
idea that when times get crappy like this, um, there’s a, you remember Ray
Arcel, the boxing, um, the great boxing trainer, and he had a line.
He said, he said, um, hard times make monkeys eat red peppers.
And it’s, it, it was a, it basically, cause monkeys won’t eat red peppers
unless they have to, cause they’re starving.
So the idea here being that there are going to be a bunch of people that will
find, and I don’t mean to sound unicorns and rainbows about it, but this is true.
There’s going to be a bunch of people that find their path to success in life
right now, because they have to, uh, because something that might’ve been
comfortable and easy is no longer comfortable and easy, and they have
mouths to feed at home or whatever it might be.
Uh, this does not legitimize or make okay, or ameliorate the suffering of
all the other people that don’t do that.
Uh, but I’m suggesting that this is all part of how people individually are
going to respond to their own circumstances and how we respond as a
society is going to depend, to depend in large part about how, how all of us as
individuals do, and that’s going to depend in large part about how this damn
virus leaves us or doesn’t leave us.
Does that make sense?
And I wonder if too, if we start to see and not this, you know, we’ve, you
know, uh, Shakespeare, for example, you know, wrote King Lear, um, during a
pandemic, you know, a pox on both your houses, Romeo and Juliet.
I mean, all this type of, of, of speak is all something that William Shakespeare
was, uh, was going through.
And a lot of this great, um, you know, a lot of, uh, a lot of Shakespearean
tragedy was, you know, written, um, uh, in, in the time of a plague.
Um, but I wonder if at the end of this too, or through this, to your point
about people finding out what they should do and, and charting a new path
and discovering more about, about themselves and figuring out where they
should be going and solving that finally.
Um, considering that there are, you know, you can, you know, there are ways
that we live and then there are reasons why we live and now that we’re all in
quarantine, um, it’s a lot more about music and art and books and paintings
and poems, like we’re learning a lot about the arts and perhaps we’re
realizing too, that as much as, you know, we chase the dollar every day,
chase the dollar every day.
Um, you can’t live without the arts.
And I think people are realizing that this is, you know, one of the reasons
why you stay alive more so, uh, more so than ever.
So I, I do wonder if at the end of all of this, there will be some type of
creative Renaissance because doesn’t that normally happen, Dan, when we’re
all asked to look inside as opposed to just chasing something externally, when
we look inside of ourselves and, you know, realize, you know, what’s in our
hearts and what’s in our minds and how do we want to express ourselves?
And now we have the time to do it.
Doesn’t that generally lead to some type of artistic Renaissance?
Oh, my answer on this is going to be multi-pronged because the first thing
is, is yes, I absolutely think that.
I think it’s a great thing.
You know, I’m, uh, art is one of those things that some people are born
appreciating and some people really learn to appreciate as they grow older.
And I fall into that category more and more and really understanding, uh, well,
first of all, the timeless nature of it.
I mean, Cicero, I think it was, who said, you know, writing is
the only true form of immortality.
Art is a form of chasing immortality of having a piece of you, the artist live
on in some way beyond your mortal existence.
Uh, but, but let me, this is why it’s a, it’s a complicated answer because I don’t
want us to, to smudge or besmirch the purity of creative art with money and
finances and personal gain and all that.
But I’d like to point out, and this is something that I tell college students.
I have two children who lean toward the creative rather than the engineering
side of the temperament also.
And what I try to point out is when I was a kid, everybody would try to talk you
out of the creative pursuits because you thought you were going to be waiting
tables at some restaurant and that was going to be the end of your life.
And you were going to be, you know, you’re gonna be on welfare because
you, you spent all your time with a theater degree from some school.
But, but I try to explain to my kids now, look at the enormous amounts of
money that people who create in the entertainment world get, I mean, I
always say JK Rowling, look at how’s that for a good idea?
How many people have made the living of their entire lives off her idea?
So that’s the power.
I mean, Jay Tolkien, look at all the, now I’m picking individual, but, but this
is what I say, if you are creative, that is ground zero for everything.
Everybody else in the entertainment world does all the lawyers, all the
attorneys, all the agents, all the cameramen, you know, and, and you know,
I had, um, uh, there was a South Park episode once.
I’m going from memory here.
So I hope you’ll forgive me.
It’s not a South Park episode.
It was, it was the making of South Park and they showed you how they made it
and they showed the facilities and they have this place where all the artists
who do it and everything, uh, are playing ping pong and they have a green room
and they’re all, but there’s only one guy.
It’s one of the, it’s, it’s Stone or Parker that comes up with the actual
ideas and because they’re on a tight schedule and because it’s all out of
his head, nobody can work until he comes up with the idea.
And so the camera follows him around the hallway and you can just see this
look on his face.
Like I’ve got to have an idea.
I’ve got to come up with, everybody’s waiting for an idea.
And as he passes by the green room, everybody in the green room stops and
looks out in the hallway to go, you know, has he got an idea yet?
Cause nobody can do anything but play ping pong until the guy who is creative
gets the engine humming with the ideas.
And so what I point out is yes, we can all be unpublished poets in our house
with the Corona virus going on and be inspired and that’s fabulous and we need
it and it’s beautiful and it’s artistic and it, many of the greatest artists of
all time fall into that category.
At the same time, let’s not pretend that it’s not a great way to get ahead in
Uh, these days, the people that make the really big money are the showrunners.
You know, those are basically the writers, the people who come up with
these ideas, the people that have, I’m going to use the term IP, the
intellectual property, come up with intellectual property, who comes up with
Do lawyers come up with intellectual property?
Do agents come up with intellectual property?
Do you need all those people?
And they’re all creative and they’re all wonderful, their jobs, but nobody works
until the South Park guy comes up with the idea.
And so what I always say is the creative people are the genesis of the entire
And so to think about it as some job where you’re going to be waiting tables and
wasting your college degree to me seems ridiculous.
You’re going to be out there, JK Rowling, you know, J.R.R.
Tolkiening up the place, right?
And so in my mind, this is a great opportunity for a bunch of people who,
because of their jobs, never had time to sit at home and work on their poetry or
their music or their play that they’re writing or their YouTube videos.
I mean, do it now, right?
It’s a great opportunity.
What are you doing?
It might change your life.
You know, I can recall very specifically, do you remember a guy by the name of
Jim Rose, Dan?
Who was he again?
Wasn’t he like a table guy or something, right?
Jim Rose Circus.
The Jim Rose Circus was that, uh, that, um, uh, then I’m not sticking to the same
So Jim, so Jim Rose was the, um, uh, was the architect of something called the
Jim Rose Circus, uh, toured with Lola Palooza, grunge circus, crazy things, guys
getting darts thrown into their backs.
Um, you know, various piercings, lifting weights from different body parts.
It was like a chaotic circus that you would imagine traveling around with, you
know, Trent Reznor, um, and nine inch nails.
And so when I first started my career in 1994, uh, it was me and my buddies, Bob
Mackwoods and George Trombolopoulos.
And we’re doing a late night show on Friday nights and sports radio, which
had nothing to do with sports.
And we got to spend an entire afternoon with Jim Rose, did an interview with him
one, one and a half hour.
Then Jim and I went out for lunch.
I was a big fan of Jim Rose, still am.
And he said something to me that always stuck with me and there’s no right answer
to it, but it’s a place that everybody sort of comes into, into conflict.
There’s that, that choice moment.
There’s two paths, which way are you going to go?
Um, we’re having lunch.
We’re having a cup of coffee.
And he said to me, so you’re just starting your career, right?
I’m like, yeah, but I’m not sure about that.
If it’s, if it’s going to work out, you know, I still have these, you know, dreams
of, of going back to university, chasing a PhD, who knows?
And he said, well, if you decide to chase this, if you decide to go this media route
or whatever route you take for that matter, realize one thing, as you begin, there’s
going to be a place in your career where you’re going to get to a crossroads that
we all get there, but just be aware that it’s coming and here’s the crossroads.
You’re going to have to make a decision whether you need to quit or work harder.
And there’s no right answer.
And there’s no obvious answer.
And you won’t know if it’s the right answer until many years later, should you
quit or should you work harder?
And I wonder now in this situation where people are forced away from their natural
existences and their natural to further to your point, this is your opportunity to do
this. This is a chance where you don’t have to face this dilemma, right?
There’s two types of freedoms in the world.
There’s a freedom, you know, there’s a freedom to do anything and there’s a freedom
from having to choose to do anything.
And right now we have more of freedom from having to choose to go out and do work.
I wonder if through all of this right now to your last point, Dan, this is the
opportunity where you don’t have to face this dilemma of quitting or working harder.
It is wide open for you to your point.
Go for it now.
This might be your best opportunity.
Well, and I can say from a personal side, the hardest thing for me as a younger guy
was when somebody would say, OK, after you’ve worked hard all day at your job, right?
I was at KBC in L.A., for example, working on the assignment desk after you worked hard
all day at your job and you come home exhausted, then put time into your side gig.
Right. And I always thought, oh, my God, that’s so hard.
I have nothing left and I especially don’t have the best of me left.
Right. And so I always found that to be so hard.
This is the opportunity, though, to do that.
If you’re I always said boredom is a wonderful motivator to go do something.
And I always thought that’s kind of the problem with the kids that I have.
I mean, they’re never they think they’re bored, but they’re not bored.
Like we we were like little rascals bored.
Like, you know, I was I was throwing anvils off of my garage door roof onto a onto a
board that I’d set up on a fulcrum to imitate something from a cartoon I saw that I
left a dent and a chip that’s still in the Toluca Lake sidewalk in front of that house
I haven’t lived in in 40 years because we were so bored.
We were just trying to.
But my point is, from that boredom stems a bunch of stuff.
And I can think of a bunch of things I did throughout all those bored times that I have
a buddy I’ve known since I was four years old.
And he said all that crap you were doing when we were kids somehow wove into your
modern life today.
So it’s weird how all that I have nothing to do.
I guess I’ll do this.
And your mind coming up with something from nothing to make this.
So you could be entertained, plays into something down the road.
There’s a lot of bored people right now who are binge watching and doing all these
things. Eventually, they’re going to get tired of doing those.
Well, then do something you would do on your side gig time if you weren’t so tired
when you got home from work.
Right. What would you do if you had the energy?
Maybe without your job now you have the that sounds awful.
I didn’t mean it that way. But but you know what I’m saying?
That that from these terrible kinds of limitations we’re under now, there are
potential opportunities that some people in lucky situations, right, who aren’t
caring for a sick loved one, for example.
I mean, if you’re sitting around bored, wondering what to do, this might be
something you could take advantage of.
Now, that’s a better way to put it.
Truth, and I’m with you on that one.
And folks, to Dan’s point, do it now because the plants are farming us.
They give us oxygen until we decompose and then they consume us.
So you got one shot at doing what’s it what’s the old saying, Dan?
Everybody is born with two lives and your second life begins when you realize you
only have one.
I think that this is that that moment where we’re all starting to get that.
Do you mind if we do a couple of questions from the Toronto show?
No, no, no. We can we can do anything.
I just don’t want you to ever feel compelled to do a Q&A type of format.
Please jump in and add or subtract anything you want to after we start talking.
Sure. Well, usually there’s a jumping off point.
Okay, well, see, there’s so when we did the Toronto show, I get a handful of these
cue cards, and I think we only were able to get to maybe five or six questions for
you, but some of you were awesome there, by the way, I had to just tell the
audience they didn’t hear it.
You were awesome there, by the way, the best questioner I’ve ever run into ever at
one of these things.
Oh, I have you fooled, Dan.
I thought you were so much smarter than that.
But I’ll take the prove me wrong, Jeff.
Prove me wrong.
That was a lot of fun.
Like when I’m going to look back on this on this year in my career, that was the
highlight going away.
Remember all the audience thinking I was drinking beer throughout the whole thing?
Well, they gave us beer bottles full of water and they had me what I thought was
a beer and I said, oh, no, thanks.
I don’t drink. And they’re like, oh, no, this is why they like Heineken bottles.
And so we’re like Heineken bottles full of water.
And I was like, OK, these two guys are getting are getting pickled up there.
There’s a few questions that I wanted to that, you know, I drive home and I get
back to my office and I pull these out.
I’m like, oh, you know what?
I wish I would have looked through these.
I wish I would have looked through these a little more closely because there’s
some really good ones here.
So if you don’t mind, Mr.
Carlin, I would like to interview you on your podcast.
It was your idea.
Let the audience know you you’re the one who came up with this plan.
I just sent Dan a text saying, hey, you know, it’d be really cool if you just
grabbed a bunch of questions from Twitter and did a Q&A on your own podcast.
So here we go.
This one going back to the Toronto event from Sean.
You tell it in a dramatic, captivating and succinct way.
Whom and what experiences do you credit as influencers of your style?
I got lucky because the times changed on me.
I have a vivid memory of
a radio station I worked at and meeting my boss at the urinal, you know, when I’m
like on a break, the show’s in a commercial run to go to the bathroom.
The boss walks right next to me.
You know, there’s that awkward silence for a minute, you know, never see the
boss and here I am within here and I’ve got to get back upstairs before the
breaks over and all of a sudden out of the out of the silence as we’re both
standing there looking up, he says, ever thought about getting your adenoids out?
Um, because, because those were the days when you wanted to have the big Gary
Owens voice, you know, the whole wall and everybody sounded the same and I
didn’t sound like that.
Um, so in the time that I was doing radio, the desirable sound of, of a male
broadcaster’s voice changed.
And all of a sudden it wasn’t about all sounding the same.
It was about all sounding distinctively individual.
And I was already there, right?
I was the guy who needed his adenoids out.
Well, fast forward, you know, uh, uh, getting older, uh, whiskey, everything
else that comes with age and, and my brain slowing down and I just sound like
a, a less speedy, uh, uh, probably less smart, certainly less quick, uh,
a lower voiced version of myself.
So it wasn’t a style that developed.
This is just how I talk.
And luckily the industry came around and made it okay for me to talk
this way without surgery.
You know, there was a, um, you know, mentioning, you know, having a, a
squirt beside a program director.
We used to do this segment on this old show that, uh, that I just referenced
with, uh, with Strombo and Mako, uh, called celebrities I’ve urinated next
to, and the most famous person for me, the most, it was, it was late at night
at a, uh, a club down a bar downtown Toronto called Bistro 990 during the
film festivals, like three 30 or four o’clock in the morning and a very
inebriated Sean Connery pulled up next to me.
So that was my big celebrity.
Do, do you have one Dan Carlin, the most famous person
you’ve urinated next to?
It wasn’t, I don’t think it was most famous, but it was certainly
most cringe worthy response on my part.
Um, so I’m one of these people.
I was, I was born in a family, uh, where, you know, you ran into famous
people pretty often, and so normally I’m pretty good about not losing
my mind or anything like that.
But there’s always a few people, right?
Everybody’s got, it doesn’t matter who you are.
Everybody’s got a few people where you just lose it.
Uh, and I was, uh, when I was a kid, I was a baseball fan and for some
reason that is absolutely, I have no connection to the city.
I don’t know how it ever happened.
I was a Baltimore Orioles fan in the 1970s when, when, you know, it was
those great teams and everybody else in the, and the pitcher I liked
so much was Jim Palmer, um, you know, who does a, yeah, he does a great,
great, uh, job broadcasting everything today.
And when I was a kid, uh, my stepdad who was in radio also got me on the
field to meet all these guys.
I got, I was totally mute.
I mean, I was stunned.
And he said, I’ve never heard you not talk for like two hours.
I just, I couldn’t even speak around these people.
So I got all their autographs.
I was about 10 or 11 years old or something.
So fast forward, I’m working at ABC and they have those morning that the
cheesy, well, I guess they’re not cheesy.
I shouldn’t even say they’re cheesy, but you know, they had those local
LA morning shows with, you know, Tawny Little and Steve, uh, whatever his
And they’d have those guys and they’d always have, you know, uh, Evander
Holyfield is on or, or, uh, and you know, all the morning stars or whatever.
So one day they have Jim Palmer on, but I didn’t know it.
Um, but I walked into the bathroom down there, got myself a croissant or
something off their set, walked into the bathroom down there and Jim Palmer
walks up right next to me at the urinal.
And I don’t know what I was thinking.
Cause there can’t be a more inappropriate time.
Maybe like when they’re going into surgery is worse.
Uh, but, but there can’t be a more inappropriate time to say something like,
Hey, by the way, you know, blah, blah, blah.
And, and, uh, and I, you know, I want to say to his credit, he was awesome
about it, but he wasn’t happy.
Uh, and, and I understand it totally.
He was like, really?
It was something like that.
You don’t really, you would do this now.
And I was kind of thinking to myself later, I don’t know, but now even, you
know, I always say I’m, I’m not famous, Jeff, unless I’m at an event that’s,
that’s there specifically for me.
So I have no, no ability to know how to behave, uh, in those situations.
So I, I did a speaking engagement once at Stanford and I was there like 15 minutes
early and I said, um, is there a place I can get some coffee?
And they said, Oh yeah, the Stanford place where coffee is right,
right around the corner.
So I go there not thinking at all.
I walk in and the entire place freezes.
And it took me a minute to realize that every single person that was going to see
me 15 minutes from now was in that coffee place waiting for the thing to start.
And I’d walked into one of the few places in the entire world where I was famous
and it got, and it got, and it got weird right away.
It’s bizarre right away.
And it’s not that people aren’t cool.
It’s that I don’t know how to behave.
Do you know what I’m saying?
It’s I’m uncomfortable with them being so glad to be around me.
You got to treat me more like my wife and kids treat me a certain level of
disdain and, and, and, uh, and impatience and, and rolling of your eyes for me to
be comfortable, people being nice.
And I just, but, but it’s funny because it’s that same sort of thing where you go,
God, I just, if somebody had come up to me in the urinal next to me,
would I have even been as nice as Jim Palmer?
But you know what though, at that, at that event that we did at the, uh,
the hot dogs theater, the Ted Rogers theater, I mean,
you were like Beatles come to America when, when they got off the plane,
like the places sold out.
I mean, there’s a huge lineup for books afterwards.
And you know, a couple of people, uh, on the way out, you know,
just sort of turned to me and said, I can’t believe how, you know,
gracious and nice and genuine, like to every single person.
I get a lot of these, a lot of these events, you know, just grab the stamp
and Dan Carlin, Dan Carlin, thanks for coming, Dan Carlin, thanks for coming.
But I mean, Dan, you stayed and talked to everybody and then the next event was
coming on and you took everybody out in the lobby to talk with them some
more and sign more books.
Like, was that an, I don’t want to say overwhelming, but was that a unique
experience for you, that packed house in Toronto?
Were you ready for something like that?
They may be a, an honorary Canadian citizen, you know, that day, just so
you know, and they said it was because of all the apologies I made on stage.
They said that, that obviously I have Canadian blood.
Um, here’s the way I looked at it, to be honest, Jeff, I feel like those
people see normally, normally I’m a person, uh, that you don’t have to pay to
hear, uh, my shows.
I mean, we, we obviously after several years put the archives in a paid area,
but I mean, I’m, I’m a free guy.
Uh, so I don’t owe you anything.
I’m glad you’re listening, but I mean, you didn’t have to pay anything.
Normally I don’t have to worry about that.
So, so the Toronto event that we went to was a paid event.
Uh, I don’t do those really.
And so these people paid money to come and see me.
And I just sort of felt, you feel a little guilty about that.
Cause normally I’d be fine.
I mean, the podcast is the equivalent of walking in there on stage and just
letting anybody come in and sit down.
And, and then if they don’t like it or if they want to leave or whatever, I
don’t feel sort of beholden to them to the same degree I do if they plunk down
12 bucks or whatever it was.
Um, so I feel like I, I, I felt a real sense of, um, uh, well, both camaraderie
because it’s, it’s, it’s weird to, uh, as a podcaster when you, and you know
this too, when you speak into a microphone, you don’t see the people on
the other end and it is always, it is always, um, I’m not sure what the word
I’m not sure the adjective quickly springs to mind.
It is an interesting and unique experience to all of a sudden have all
these people that you have a relationship with, but you’ve never met together.
Does that make sense?
You do understand.
I mean, you get this as much as anybody else who does pod.
I mean, those are one-on-one relationships that you are creating.
Now, as we talked about earlier, radio, you’re broadcasting into a car,
television, you’re broadcasting into a living room full of people.
But podcasts, like, I don’t know how many times that you have ever said,
cause I know the number for me is zero.
You’ve ever said, Hey, come on, let’s all listen to a podcast together.
Like it is a real intimate bond that you form with people, you know, especially
when you have something as compelling as you present in either hardcore or common
sense, like that is a real, like none of that surprised me.
Like when I, when, um, when Harper Collins called me and said, Hey, would
you like to, we understand you’re a big Dan Carlin fan, would you like to host
I was like, I hope it’s a big theater.
Cause I know how popular this guy is.
And I know how much people love him.
Like that’s a real intimate relationship you make in this medium.
You know what, can I circle back to something we talked about earlier when
we were talking about people, maybe at home, maybe working on some creative
idea, not sure what they want to do and all these kinds of things.
I don’t mean to sound like something out of some pep talk, um, you know, Tony
Robbins, you can do it video, but to hear you say that Jeff, and to have come from
a place where, like you said earlier, when you’re talking about the Trent
Reznor advice or whatever it was, where it was like, uh, you know, where there’s
a time where you go, am I doing the right thing?
Should I continue to do this?
And now looking back on it, saying, you know, having Jeff say that I’m going,
wow, you know, uh, what if I hadn’t stayed and done what I did?
I mean, I think when you get to the end of your life, whether you’re happy with
your life or not happy with your life or, or have mixed feelings about it, I think
it’s normal for a lot of people to look back at it and go, what if, right?
And a lot of times it’s what if I made a better decision somewhere, but I mean,
what if I made a worse decision somewhere?
What if I didn’t do this?
Or what if I, what if I had all these same qualities, but lived in a time period
that wasn’t conducive to podcasting, right?
What if it’s 30 years ago or 40 years ago?
So to hear you say that, um, it’s, it’s a, it’s a unique feeling.
I always say that, that, um, you know, when you get to be my age, I’m 54 now,
you see a lot of people who, you know, whose dreams have not panned out, whose
lives have not gone the way that they would have hoped.
There’s a lot of regret that creeps into some people in older age.
And if you don’t have that, you just feel so fortunate.
And you look around and you say, well, why do I not have that?
And a huge part of the reason why are those people that showed up to the
show in Toronto, uh, the people that listened to the podcast.
I mean, I tell them all the time and it must sound like some sort of just, you
know, thing you say at the end of the show.
Uh, but if not for the collective audience and much more than say a big
broadcast network or something like that, if not for the audience, my whole
life is different and not in a good way.
So, uh, I think about it a lot actually.
And, and so the relationship between the audiences, I may be speaking in their
ear and I might have a personal relationship with them, but the reason I
stay afterwards and I would have stayed afterwards at that show, whether or not
they plunked down the 12 bucks is because I’m aware every day that this
life I have is because of them.
It sounds cliche, but it’s literally true.
I mean, we, we exist on donations and people who buy the old shows.
It doesn’t get any more personal and connected than that.
There is a real freedom to that too.
I know it, it tends to be harder work.
Like I work for Rogers, you know, a major communications company.
Um, and, and you’re one of the great independents and there’s a lot of
different and harder work that comes a lot that comes along with it.
Could you ever see yourself not as an independent?
Well, the first thing I’d like to point out is that I’m not good at a lot of
the other stuff that comes with being an independent.
And there’s a couple of ways you can go.
There’s a lot of people always want to know about the business, uh, that I
operate here and, and there’s a, I could have gone the route where you hire a
lot of people.
There’s a lot of work to be done, but if you do that, you become a people
manager and I’m not good at that.
I’m what I’m doing here now.
See, this is what the great, this is the great thing of working for say a radio
station or a broadcast outlet.
They do all that stuff for you, right?
They sell the airtime.
They promote the show.
They’re the infrastructure and you get to be the tip of the spear that just
focuses on what you do.
If the infrastructure is not there, you have to provide it and you have to
provide it by hiring people to do it.
In which case you’re the boss of a bunch of people or doing it yourself.
A financial advisor told me a while back that we’re leaving a lot of money on
Well, there’s no doubt we’re leaving a lot, but I mean, in order to get that
money, the things we would have to do would destroy the creative side of what
we do here, which is what’s both what we enjoy and what makes it good on the
listener’s end of it.
So you say to yourself, uh, I’m not going to make as much, I mean, listen, we
could do a lot of ads, uh, but I think it spoils, you know, some of the, the
quality of the experience, you know?
So, I mean, I feel like, um, what, what’s the question again, bring it back to
the point for me here.
Jeff, we talked about this in Toronto.
We, we talked about, you know, could you, could you see yourself existing as
anything outside of an independent?
Uh, uh, well, listen, the one, the one thing that, that, um, that I’ve gotten
out of practice of is, and I started to talk about this earlier and I got off on
a tangent where we were talking about, uh, collective creative work versus
individual creative work when I was starting to talk about the South Park
guys and stuff.
Um, you know, if you’re Jimmy Kimmel or, or, or whatnot, uh, you’ve got a whole
huge staff of people and you’ve got writers and everybody’s part of the
creative, uh, contributing staff, right?
Um, so you get sort of a creativity by committee and when it works, you have a
Or something really magical.
Um, but I find that when I do creativity by committee, me being the persnickety,
very specifically weird person I am, I like it less than when it’s my own baby
And so being an independent allows me to not have to do anything I don’t want to
And I don’t, we make no allowances at all for anything for, I mean, at this
point, this is the wonderful, you know, we talked about regrets earlier.
The wonderful part of my life now is to be able to sit here and go, I don’t care
about any of the, I’m going to do the show the way I want to do it.
If I have some, there’s just, there’s nothing that comes into it other than,
uh, cause I, here’s the way we figure it.
We figure that this stuff outlives us, right?
The stuff we’re making, the stuff you’re putting online, uh, this stuff will be
around longer than we will.
And so we have to live with it.
What’s more, it’s going to be the best representation of who the hell you were
when you were alive that you could find.
Can you imagine having, um, a podcast of the kind that we do with hardcore
history or common sense from any of the great figures in history centuries and
Think about how much of their soul would be transmitted.
I mean, Cicero, we said earlier, said that writing’s the only true form of
Well, think about if it was on YouTube instead.
Think about the other nuances of that guy’s personality you’d get if you could
see him, hear him.
You know what I’m saying?
It’s, it’s a three-dimensional, uh, transmission of one’s soul, personality,
and, um, and sort of character.
And so, I mean, I’ve often said I feel like my great-grandchildren will get a
chance to have a sense of who I was if they simply listen to these podcasts.
Now, that, that boomerangs back, though, when you’re doing them and you think
about, okay, how much should we tweak this or exactly how right does it need
to be before we release it and all this?
Because you have two audiences.
It’s like when you’re writing a book.
You have an audience if you’re serializing it in a magazine, right?
Chapter one in June, chapter two in July, chapter three in August, right?
Uh, you’ve got an audience waiting for each of those.
That’s one audience.
But then you have an audience who’s not going to find your book for five years,
Who’s not going to have to wait for any of it.
That’s a different audience.
So, we’ve got people waiting on the next show for us that are, you know, when’s it
When’s it coming out?
And so, we’re trying to make a good show for them.
But we know that there are going to be people that don’t find this for years and
years and years.
And we have to make a show for them, right?
That, that, that’s, that’s, they don’t care how long it took five years from now.
They just care how good it is.
So, these are the kind of things we think about.
And to dovetail it with your point about independent versus corporate, can you
imagine going to a giant corporation that invested in this and has a publicity staff
that’s working in line with their promotional side and, you know, to get this out
of the, you can’t do it.
They can’t function that way.
And I, and it’s not a slam on them.
They have to coordinate the activities of all kinds of people.
I have to coordinate the activities of me.
And it changes how I approach this creatively and how I can make something that
hopefully my grandchildren are happy with, you know?
You know, there was, there is a feeling, and I believe this, that things like music,
for example, where at their most vibrant, when the people that ran the shops didn’t
know what they were serving up, when there were the program directors that got a new
album across their desk and said, I don’t know, maybe the kids will like it, put it
Let’s see what happens.
And some of it’s crap, as we’ve heard before.
But a lot of it is good when you just admit that, well, I don’t know, let’s just try
You can, you go back and listen to, I’m going to sound like an old guy here.
Oh, everything was better in the, in the olden days.
But if you go back and listen to music in the late sixties, in the early seventies,
like every song, you know, on, on any top 30 list, every song was distinct from the
very next song.
There was, there was a vibration of so many vibrant sounds and different types of music
that made its way onto radio.
It was fantastic.
And then things like, you know, formats got tighter and program directors who thought
they knew what the kids wanted became more of a things and focus testing, which is still
the bane of, of a lot of, uh, of a lot of radio people’s, uh, existence.
Um, do you find that you’re the kind of person that is more willing to just try things because
you don’t know, or Dan, do you already have this idea of a focus test in your mind before
you put it out?
You know, William Butler Yates, I’m one of my favorite poets used to talk about killing
skepticism because in his mind, it was the acknowledgement of a limit.
And he didn’t want to have that with his art.
Do you feel similar?
Are you the type of person that embraces the let’s just try this and see what happens
It’s, it’s one of the reasons the shows take so long.
And, and, uh, one of the things I don’t ever want to do is have a template for this.
I mean, once you say you’ve got this giant creative white space that we talked about
earlier, and once you acknowledge this is something you really like about the medium,
well, why do anything that then creates your own boxes that you’re then constrained by
Radio used to give you those boxes.
So you’re going to put your own boxes in there.
So when I try to figure out how to weave a narrative together, one of the things I ask
is, is this something we do all the time?
Or is there a way we could switch that?
Can we tell the end of the story first and then switch it around?
So not only does that keep that fresh from a listener standpoint, it keeps it fresh from
a storyteller standpoint and helps you help.
I mean, I guess I, there was a friend of mine and he’s probably going to listen to this
who, who, who described what I do.
Cause, uh, we used to just do this entirely.
Like all my shows, I would walk in and record it and we’d be done.
Um, and, and we can’t do that with six hour podcast or three hour podcast or whatever.
So we started, um, editing them.
And I always said that one of the things I didn’t like about live talk radio was that,
as you know, you’re juggling ads and you’re juggling news and you’re juggling the next
guest and you have to, you have 900 things to think about while the caller is talking
with you, but then you have to live with whatever political statement then comes out of your
mouth over three hours, over 15 hours a week, over all those months.
And I used to say, God, I just would love the, the freedom that an editor has at a newspaper
when they write a column to go, Oh, that’s the wrong word there.
Strike that and put the words you really want there so that when, when it goes out to the
public, you can say, I’ve signed off on this.
This is really what I meant to say.
And I feel like the way our podcast developed has given me that freedom.
Now, what that does though, is, you know, and you, you know, this, but the audience
maybe doesn’t, this is not a scripted program.
So my friend who I was just mentioning had, had described what I do as edited performance
And that kind of is a good way to put it.
It’s because we get up, I get up here and I just sort of riff.
I know what I want to say.
Usually if I’m, if it’s the history show, I have a couple of quotes usually marked that
I want to include.
And then as soon as I run out of steam or it starts falling apart, or we tried some
experiment and it didn’t work or it did work, we cut off for the day and then stitch it
to whatever last worked.
And then by the end of it, you have a bunch of improvisational sessions that hopefully,
you know, tell a story in a way that keeps it fresh and moving.
And hopefully if you’ve heard a bunch of my shows, doesn’t sound like all the other shows,
Has all the things you like from all the other shows, but keeps you guessing in terms of
show design, narrative, the way the story is approached and all that kind of stuff.
So in answer to your question, we experiment all the time and it is one of the things I
like most about the gig.
So let me follow that up then with this question and this audience member didn’t put his or
her name on it, but it dovetails your idea about learning.
What’s the old saying?
When one teaches to learn.
Dan, what podcast did you learn the most from?
It’s a tough one for me for two reasons.
One, when we started podcasting, there weren’t all that many podcasts, 2005, June or July
The second reason why is I don’t listen to much in the way of podcasting because I’m
I mean, that’s what I, that’s my medium.
And in part because of the speed at which I read.
So conversation often goes too slowly for me.
And I don’t have a, I live in a place where I don’t have this long commute.
So my lifestyle isn’t conducive to lots of radio or broadcasting.
So the podcasting answer is going to be more.
I mean, the podcasts that we learned from in 2005 were the, I mean, Adam Curry had the
daily source code.
I mean, that’s an example when you would listen to go, well, what the hell is Adam Curry
I mean, so, but at this stage we were at, you weren’t sitting there trying to pick up
You were sitting there going, uh, now does he have an email linked to this on a webpage?
I mean, it was really, really basic stuff you were trying to learn.
Um, I remember when people were trying to figure out how to ask for donations and that
kind of stuff, we would look at what other podcasters were doing and say, okay, did they
put a note on their front page or are they running ads in their shows?
And so it was more trying to get a sense of where the industry was and where trends were
moving rather than, oh, this host had an approach I like, or, uh, I liked the way that that
show did intro music.
I mean, I feel like in a lot of ways, everything from, uh, the imaging to the branding to the
show announcer, the, the, the buffered, I mean, all the, I think we, you know, hoping
in a non-arrogant way, but I think we introduced some standards on those things that hadn’t
been around before.
I mean, we brought a big voice in a friend of mine I’ve worked with for many years, the
great Bill Barrett.
Um, and all of a sudden, you know, podcasting sounded like your radio show.
And I don’t mean we invented that, but that was one of the things that we just said, okay,
well, we have access to a big voice.
Let’s use them.
Um, we named all the episodes.
So instead of a lot of shows, we’re just doing numbers when we started, right?
Show number 140.
And, um, the feeling was, is that if you name these shows, it’s like a Star Trek episode,
It gives it a personality and it has, it’s not show 127.
It’s trouble for tribbles, you know?
And you go, oh yeah, I know.
So we thought the same thing.
And then the history show was the same sort of deal too, where you turn around, you go,
um, that’s the idea behind the artwork with the history shows to our wonderful artist
Nick Lay said, um, uh, I think all the shows should have individual artwork for the same
rationale that having an individual name was thought of, right?
It gives them even more of a personality, even more of a, of a standalone sense of,
uh, this is a book, right?
It’s not a podcast where, uh, all the shows are the same.
This is a, this is a, a, a piece of art that is a standalone piece of art.
Uh, and, and I don’t mean the art of the cover or the album art.
I mean, the entire package wrapped in the art, right?
The art in the art.
Um, and, and so when you say, what did you learn from other podcasts?
Well, most of what I learned was trying to figure out, and I think they did the same
We were all watching each other to try to figure out what’s everybody doing, what’s
the newest thing, what works, what doesn’t.
I remember when some guy, I don’t remember when it happened.
One of these podcasts tried to make it, uh, was the first guy that tried to make it a
members only thing, or you have to pay for it thing.
And I forgot who it was, but they had a lot of listeners, whatever that time period considered
to be a lot of listeners, because it’s probably 2006 or 2007.
And they went like pay and everything dried up instantly.
And I remember they came back and said, okay, rule number one, don’t ask him to pay.
But I mean, but nobody knew until somebody tried.
So what I learned most was we were watching this develop and, and, and you didn’t want
to have to learn everything by trial and error yourself.
So you kind of watch what everybody else was doing and try to figure out what was adaptable
for you and what wasn’t.
A lot of what other people were doing wasn’t adaptable for, for our particular style of
But, um, but I think everybody watching everybody, that’s how, that’s how the early industry
sort of moved forward.
Let me follow up with a question about reading.
Cause you talked about that off the top of that answer.
I can recall specifically, cause you know, like you, I was a big reader when I was a
kid, always have been.
I can remember my mom saying to me once, never make fun of anyone who mispronounces a word
because that means they learned it from a book and didn’t just hear it.
And we should be encouraging more people to read.
How do you talk to your kids about reading?
Well, first of all, that, that’s the kind of statement I can completely, um, get behind.
Cause you know, when I mispronounce words, that’s why I mispronounce them.
Thank God, the audio pronunciations online are getting so much better.
Uh, it’s, it’s easier to work with.
I, it’s funny too, cause Jeff, I always get these wonderful offers from people all around
the world to help me with pronunciation.
If I ever am in, am dealing with anything from their neck of the woods, but, but it’s
funny cause you go, oh, you know, I had that Japanese guy five years ago who told me he’d
You do what are you going to do?
Find the email, look the guy.
It just isn’t.
So, so thank God for the audio pronunciation things because that, that’s been a, that’s
been difficult for a lot of history show people, uh, over time.
Um, how do I teach my kids about reading?
It’s a tough one because, um, I happen to be a person who probably, uh, assumes some
level of magical power comes from reading.
I do think that, that, that statement in the, um, in the world of the blind, the one eyed
man is King.
I do think that as less people do things, the people who still do those things become
There was an interesting book out, uh, head in the cloud.
I think it was called something like that, where the author was talking about how important
it is to still know things, even in the era where everything is look up a bull.
Uh, and in part, because you don’t know what you don’t know, uh, the reading is the same
thing where, um, I think, and I talked to a guy who said, cause he knew I was a big
And he said, can’t you just get everything a college can give you from reading it yourself?
And I said, yes and no, you don’t know what you don’t want to read though.
You don’t know what you don’t know.
And that’s what sometimes the professors are there to guide you, right?
If they said here, make sure you read this.
Well then maybe yes, but if you’re just reading, what’s interesting to you, you’re going to
find that your knowledge is, is somehow limited by that, right?
Your choices on what you find interesting has determined the parameters of what you
You didn’t learn what you didn’t want to know.
And it’s skewed your image.
So when I look at my kids, I’m trying to figure out how much the term reading applies to what
they do now.
So when you say reading, are we talking about the greats or are we talking about they’re
on the iPad and they’re, you know, I mean, so I think we have to define, are we talking
about the, what they’re not getting with the great pieces of literature or the ancient
classic scholars, or do you know what I’m saying?
That there’s, there’s all kinds of reading, there’s trashy novels and there’s Steinbeck,
And do you get the same from both of them?
So, um, I think all the kids today read a lot.
They just are reading little snippets here or there on, on, in a, in a digital format.
The question is, is that, is that giving them the benefits that we always associated with?
And I’m using air quotes with my fingers reading.
Is there enough water to the village?
If you do it that way is what you’re saying.
Well, I mean, look, if I’m reading, uh, if I’m reading a digital piece on TMZ right now,
I’m reading, uh, but did it, did it improve, uh, did it provide any of the qualities we
associate with bettering us as human beings that, you know, when I was a kid, they say,
you know, readers, this and readers that, well, what if I’m reading the national inquirer?
See, from my, I mean, my kids are 10, uh, 10, eight and three.
So we try to encourage things that encourage the kids to ask questions.
Like we’ll always, okay, so sit down and read and then we’ll sit and talk to them about it
and ask them about the questions just to sort of trigger the idea of a questioning things
that you read, finding things that are interesting.
Um, cause that’s what I always did when I was a kid feeling that eventually that type
of curiosity in reading will lead to all those things that you talk about.
Eventually, if you can understand that, you know, through, you know, even just, you know,
reading a book about like right now, my kids are, what are they reading now?
I think they’re reading the walking dead, you know, graphic novel series, but they have
a million questions about them and they’ll come to us with like ethical questions about
And although you can’t talk to your kid about utilitarianism when they’re eight years old,
those same questions still do exist.
So for us, as long as they’re still asking questions based on what they’re reading,
then I think they’re heading in the right direction.
I always try when I’m talking about education reform to, to, to focus on taking what the
child’s already interested in and then trying to figure out a way to help them distill value
based on what they already find interesting.
So for example, um, I have a daughter who’s not going to like any of those kinds of, who’s
not going to get into those kinds of questions with you, but she’s going to be very interested
in the way a story is told.
So she’s got a very good head for story development and how the pieces fit together, right?
Some of the stuff we just talked about with how I like to try to switch it up with our
So she’s got a very good sense of that.
So that’s when we read, I break the stories down that way.
I’ll say, well, do you see how the author tried to tell this story this way?
And she’ll say, yeah, but they could have done this also.
And so she’s not necessarily getting, she might not be absorbing whatever the message
that the writer was trying to get to her was.
She’s more absorbing the way that the writer, uh, decided to tell the story.
There was a, I read a story about John Belushi once, and I think it was, uh, Lauren Michaels,
uh, the Saturday Night Live, the Canadian Saturday Night Live, um, a producer who was
saying that he was giving John Belushi one of these speeches about cleaning up his act
for his health purposes and all that.
And he goes, but he’d already heard that story before.
He says, when you tell a comedian like that, something like that, they’re more probably
trying to work out an impression of you and how you raise your eyebrow and how you, how
your voice talks and all that sort of stuff.
Instead of hearing the content of the message.
Well, my daughter wasn’t hearing necessarily what that, what that writer was trying to
impart in terms of data and story and information, but she was paying close attention to the
way the eyebrow went up and the tone of the voice and the way the story was told.
So in answer to your question, I try to find out what it is that they’re finding appealing
from the work.
And then I try to examine that.
Um, I, I did, I wrote a piece once for Edutopia, which is, um, it’s an education reform, uh,
online, uh, resource.
And, and, uh, I didn’t want to write it cause a lot of teachers use it and I didn’t feel
qualified to tell teachers how to teach.
They’re in the classrooms every day.
So I try to just say, um, isn’t it silly to teach kids a bunch of things if they don’t
remember it later?
Because the whole idea behind teaching say names and dates is it’s important stuff for
a citizen to know these things, but it doesn’t matter if they don’t retain that knowledge.
And so I was trying to point out that maybe if you started with the fact that we’re all
interested in history innately, but just not the same history, you find out what your kid
likes and then you teach them the history of that, right?
They like hockey.
Hockey has a history.
They like fashion.
Fashion has a history.
You can teach how, you know, historical evolution and historical processes and all these things
by sticking with the subject the kid already likes.
And so when we talk about books and my kids, they aren’t necessarily getting, you know,
you could say here, read this book, you’ll learn a lot kid, but they might learn a lot.
It just might not be what you think they should learn.
So I try to craft, um, what works in the piece with what the child, what resonated with the
Does that make sense?
And there’s actually a follow up, another question here that sort of follows that up.
Again, from someone unknown, they didn’t write their name.
Dan, I have a three-year-old daughter.
I can’t yet play her your podcast.
What do I do until I can?
How can one gradually or best introduce children to history?
Again, I think this is something that you tailor to the personality of the individual.
That’s why we all that’s why we all choose.
If you go to a history section at a bookstore, if there are any old brick and mortar bookstores
left or in the future, different people are going to pick different books.
It’s all history, but different.
I mean, for a while, one of my kids was interested in the life of pioneer women on the frontier
in the middle of the United States.
And she was really taken with their stories.
So she’d read these novels or these pieces that would include a lot of the primary sources
where you’d hear, you know, what it was like growing up in little house on the prairie
And that resonated with her.
And so you find something you go, well, if you like that, you might like this.
All you’re trying to do there is awaken a love of the past.
Again, this is what I said in the education article.
If you can manage to turn that spark on, if you could appetize someone for the love of
history, they still may not know what year Columbus discovered the new world from the
old world, but they will be continually reading historical things, be interested in it.
And they will begin to fill in.
This is what I always hope that you start to fill in broad areas of knowledge.
Oh, before our own time, you had this era.
And then before that era, you had this era.
And so you begin to form a framework for how the broad eras of humanity have fit together.
But you have to do it like a jigsaw puzzle.
And when you’re talking about your kids, you start with whatever piece of the puzzle first
is attractive to them.
That is, you know, my parents did that with me in one very specific way, Dan, every year,
at least once or twice.
This is before, obviously, you know, the internet and, you know, they have various books about
hockey, but as a kid, I was always fascinated with hockey, still am to this day.
They would take me to the Hockey Hall of Fame in downtown Toronto and leave me there.
I had a notebook in my little knapsack.
Jeez, Dan, I was eight, nine years old, and I would write everything down.
I would sit there and watch all the videos and make notes.
And I come back with my notebook all filled up with observations and just regurgitation
of facts that I knew about hockey.
And honestly, afterwards, I would start to ask questions about what was happening around
the games that weren’t just the games.
Who are these guys?
Where did they go?
What was the circumstance?
Why didn’t they play this game?
Why did this person get arrested?
Different things like that.
So I can, from personal experience, that’s how my parents did it with me.
Now, maybe they just thought the Hockey Hall of Fame was going to be the world’s cheapest
I don’t know, but they would just plunk me down at the Hockey Hall of Fame, and I would
stay there the entire day.
I got one more for you.
This is a really interesting one.
Um, how does our tendency to gloss over the carnage gore and unforgivable aspects of
history affect how we interpret our past?
Well, obviously, we do the opposite in the Lord Gore History Program.
We don’t gloss over it.
You know, I think it’s an interesting question because I would argue that we don’t gloss
We zoom in and zoom out in a way that gives us quick hits of the nastiness without any
of the long-term contemplation that you would hope comes with it, right?
So if you look at both World Wars, any major events like that, you’ll see that there’s
a period of almost like international reflection afterwards, where everyone’s trying to absorb
the enormity and the lessons and everything of what just happened because it’s so fresh
and so enormous.
I think that there may be almost an evolutionary self-defense mechanism that allows us over
time, if not to forget that, then to not feel it at the same levels of intensity.
I mean, imagine if human beings still felt with the same intensity all of the great traumatic
events of history.
Over a couple generations, it fades, and that may be like a protective measure, right,
to allow us to move forward unburdened by all of the trauma of the collective past.
But of course, it comes with the downside, too, which is without the trauma and without
it being fresh in your mind, that contemplative reform period, that period where you say,
what did we learn from this?
Let’s make sure this never happens again.
That fades, too.
I was talking to somebody the other day.
We were talking about a line.
I forgot where I heard it, but it’s about the smell of the bodies.
And we’re talking about the concentration camps at the end of the Second World War,
where some of the Allied generals made some of the local Germans from the nearby town
walk around the camp with all the dead bodies out.
And there’s film of this, by the way.
And one of the generals had said something like, you know, I want them to smell the bodies.
I want them to remember the smell of the bodies, something like that.
And so that became almost like a term that you use to say when the smell of the bodies
is fresh, we’re in one frame of mind.
But after a couple of generations, when you don’t smell the bodies anymore and you don’t
remember them and you know those people and they’re not even real to you, it’s almost
like, OK, well, the contemplative and reform side that came as a result of the smell of
all those bodies also seems to fade.
So, you know, one might say that there, you know, when the person who asked the question
was asking, he’s basically sort of asking, isn’t he?
How can we how can we maintain the benefits that come when somebody smacks humanity in
the face with something like a world war long afterwards?
And I don’t know the answer to that.
That’s the old line about people forgetting history, right?
It seems as if as well, my buddy Bob phrase it to me the other day like this.
It’s like it’s like trying to do a Rubik’s Cube that fights back.
It’s a wonderful line.
Or it’s like playing a game of cards where every two minutes a new deck is introduced.
You’ve talked a couple of different times in a couple of different places about this
idea that history doesn’t teach us what we think it can.
Can you expand on that?
Yeah, sure, because I think everybody winces when they hear somebody trying to say something
like, well, 1938 at Munich teaches us you can’t appease dictators or something like
that, because that’s exactly what history doesn’t teach us.
That’s exactly the line that somebody had once said about it being like a river where
you can put your toe in the river and it’s the same river, but it’s not the same water,
And it’s not the same water at the same place at the same time.
So what I always say about the Hitler analogy is what 1938 really teaches you is you can’t
appease that dictator at that time over that subject.
So it really doesn’t teach you much of anything.
But what history does seem to teach us is certain things involving, well, for example,
the herd stuff.
So we talked earlier about how we’re all reacting humanity-wise to what we’re facing now with
the coronavirus and that some of that stuff was that if I brought anything in the recent
book I wrote to the table, it’s certainly not the Nostradamus-like prediction about
a coronavirus, because all the experts were predicting that.
It’s about how people behave once they have a threat of a virus, though.
So the 1938 analogy doesn’t work, but it does teach us the herd stuff, right?
The stuff like we were talking about in the book, the Nostradamus-type thing.
It’s not Nostradamus to predict a COVID virus.
It’s predicting how we’re all going to react.
And truthfully, we reacted a little like you’d expect a mass group of humans to react, whether
it’s the 21st century or the 10th century.
So I found that to be something where you could say, OK, history doesn’t teach us how
to behave in any given situation, but history shows us how large groups of us might behave
in certain situations.
And so I think it’s a little bit less about specific lessons and a little bit more about
big picture, broad trend reactions, if that makes sense.
Dan, we started this conversation by me asking you about the title of your book, The End
Is Always Near.
If you release this book now, as opposed to last fall, would chapter six be chapter one?
I’m not sure chapter six, and that’s the pandemic prologue chapter.
I don’t know if it would be in the book at all.
It’s one of those things where you look at it now and you would almost say, well, why
would you put that here?
I mean, we it’s almost like we understand it’s only interesting to me because it hasn’t
I would suggest that if I wrote the book today, that probably wouldn’t even be in there
because you would sit there and go so often, you know, well, what’s the I mean, we know
I’m asking about all these science fiction like things that might happen during a pandemic
and you’re sitting here going, it’s not science fiction.
I’m doing it now.
One guy wrote me an interesting line.
It was on Twitter, I think, where he said, I thought you were jumping the shark when
you said that, you know, would society shut down again with a modern pandemic?
And yet here we are.
But I’m as surprised as everybody.
I didn’t say this.
I asked it.
So I was asking a bunch of questions throughout the whole book.
There’s no answers.
It’s a bunch of questions.
So when you ask a bunch of questions about what if a pandemic happened and then a pandemic
happens, it’s almost like, well, why would I put those questions in the book?
That chapter is moot.
One final one from me.
The themes you tend to talk about a lot, end of the world, technological regression.
What interests you right now, Dan, as we record this podcast?
What is top of mind outside of pandemic, which is on the top of everybody’s mind?
What else interests Dan Carlin right now?
I think, listen, I think like a lot of Americans, I’m watching the political situation.
I think that’s something that that has become so unpredictable that I think it’s hard to
take your eyes off of it very long and focus on other things.
So I would say that right now and obviously this is highlighted by the situation we’re
But if you recall before this situation, we had a not as significant, but another significant
So I feel like even if you want to focus on other things right now, at least in the United
States, but I would imagine worldwide, your attention is is drawn away from those things
towards the the bigger show going on right now.
Maybe that’s a way to put it.
Dan, you’re the best at this.
How do we end this one on a positive note?
I’m out of cue cards from the the hot docks event.
You know, somebody was saying to me the other day, I was having a conversation with somebody
the other day and we were talking about worst case scenarios and they were saying, well,
and they were saying that they thought the worst case scenario would be when somebody
did something really drastic, right?
Terrorism or somebody bombed something or just some big, awful thing.
And I said, yes, I said, that does sound pretty darn bad.
And you might be right.
I said, although we should understand something, that there’s another way it can go when that
The other way it could go is that it’s like a slap in the face towards society.
So let me use the example of the late 1960s, early 70s and what was called the new left
back then and what became the edge of the violent left back then, the weather underground,
those kind of people.
When SDS went to the weather underground or when the Symbionese Liberation Army was running
around and all these things, those people took the political rhetoric of the time, which
seemed pretty extreme to the logical conclusions, and started planting bombs.
When we had hundreds of bombings in a couple of years, the average Americans, who might
have been some of them anyway, open to some countercultural message.
Remember the John Lennon line, you know, if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao,
you ain’t going to make it with anyone.
And you have that.
There was something about, hey, man, right on.
This all sounds great, the revolution and all that.
But when people are getting bombed a lot, it wakes.
It could go the other way, too.
Like we said, the burning of the Reichstag enables Hitler.
And you have the Nazis.
You can go that route, too.
But it can also go, wait a minute now, time to get real here, right?
It has a way of waking up the ballast of society, or what did Nixon call them?
The silent majority.
Does this mean the silent majority?
We just have to just wait for a good terror attack and all this will be over?
Of course not.
You can have the Reichstag burning thing we just mentioned.
But for your silver lining here, there is a possibility that the way you get a correction
is when something goes too far.
So if something goes too far, that would be called looking at the bright side.
I don’t want to tell you how to do your podcast, Dan, but that is a perfect line to end it.
A thousand thanks to my friend Jeff Merrick for being willing to do this,
not once, but twice for me.
Check out his work on Rogers Communications’ Sportsnet.
You can also find his stuff.
He’s the co-host of the 31 Thoughts podcast.
He’s an awesome guy.
And if you’re Canadian, you don’t need me to tell you about Jeff Merrick.
You probably heard about me from Jeff.
In any case, he’s a wonderful guy.
I enjoy him a lot.
And hopefully we can do this again and make it a trifecta at some point.
Also, just a little update on Supernova Progress.
I’d say more than two-thirds of the way done.
Sorry for the wait.
But you know how I roll.
I’ve got multiple feeds and I like to put out just a trickle of content out on each one of them.
And sort of trickle down economics.
This is trickle-out podcasting and we are just, you know, reverting to form here.
I should point out just a little announcement.
If you ever want to find out where the shows are in terms of,
you know, when we release them and make sure you’re on,
we do have a Twitter feed at Hardcore History.
And we make sure that anytime we put anything out, we announce it there.
So you’ll never miss a show release.
Also, if you’ve had any problems accessing the paid archives.
And for those who don’t know, we keep the recent shows up free for years.
And then after several years, we move them to the paid archive.
And you can get them off our website or iTunes or some other places.
And apparently we had an OS update that broke something
that we didn’t know about on Apple Podcast or iTunes.
So if you’ve had problems getting shows recently, that should be fixed.
And I wanted to make sure we thank you all
because you telling us about it helped us to find it.
So once again, we’re like a little community here.
And I do want to say that as a little community here,
it’s a little weird during this whole period we’re living in right now.
This whole coronavirus era.
I feel like we’re getting, I feel like that line, you know,
the end of history or sort of a respite from history
that they used to say about geopolitical concerns
after the Cold War and before the 9-11 attacks.
I think that kind of applies to us now in a germ virus disease kind of sense maybe.
Like all of a sudden we’re getting the tiniest little taste of what it was like.
We probably deal with it differently.
But what it was like to live in fear of communicable disease
is in a way we haven’t done in a while.
That’s a crappy way to have to have some empathy with people in the past, isn’t it?
It’s also a weirdly human thing to kind of almost need something like this
to remind us that we’re all in this together, isn’t it?
I mean, do you have to have a world war to create national unity?
Do you have to have a coronavirus to remind us that we’re all connected?
I don’t know.
But I’ll tell you what.
I never feel disconnected from you folks.
It’s funny because everybody’s lives have been totally put upside down
and I’m still working the way I always do.
And because my life is not disrupted as much as most people’s,
I constantly am thankful for the fact I’m able to do this.
And that’s all your fault.
So thank you.
I hope you’re all doing okay.
And we’re going to, you know, ease out of this thing, I think, together.
Stay safe, everybody.
And, you know, we’ll be trickling out our content to you
at our normal torrid pace in the near future.