Exhibitionism

08 Jul

Dan Carlin, host of the great Hardcore History podcast, said that podcasting is like being a street performer, standing on your little digital corner busking for listens–miss, can you spare an iTunes review? How bout a mere rating?

It’s hard out here working the digital corners not to feel like a bit of an audio prostitute. But that’s okay, because my favorite podcasting is emotional porn, where we are voyeurs to the raw vulnerability of strangers. Two people, expressing their deepest desires and defying their insecurities, engaging in acts that are part indulgence of selfish cravings and part selfless act of getting off on getting others off. This symbiosis makes for good “sex on tape that’s probably ruining our ability to be have meaningful sex with people we know”, and I think it makes for good conversation.

While I’m not yet as vulnerable as I want to be, I love how CYOR forces me to be, because the subject is so personal to me (if you’re just tuning in, my dad is a Presbyterian pastor, a fact that will come up endlessly), and because it’s already got so much juicy guilt baked in.

But I have less guilt from religion itself than I have about drifting away from people I love when I disavowed the Presbyterian tribe. This podcast has let me tiptoe back closer to religion in a sorta bullshit, fence-sitting, “all religions are kinda the same and they’re kinda cool but kinda suck and I don’t really buy em or not buy em” way. But it’s also made me feel like I’ve drifted away from my more recent tribe of Los Angeles artists, who are largely NOT fans of religion. And they have good reason to hate it. It’s no secret that religions were already imperfect attempts to systemize the mystical for mass consumption, and that was before they started being abused for power, which according to historians happened after approximately 20 minutes. I imagine a smile creeping over a priest as he thought, “They actually believe in Hell? Wait, really? Get me a kiln, we have donation plates to bake!”

I’m not in any tribe right now. But I don’t believe in tribes as much as I do Community, which despite sounding like something on a pastel pamphlet, feels like a bigger and better version of being in this shit together. To find my community, one where we can all be authentic, but different, it’s crucial that I keep pushing my own levels of honesty. Being honest also helps me deal with shame like exposing a wet floor to the sun. Maybe it would dry on its own, but it dries faster, and the faster it dries I’m less likely to bust my ass slipping on it, and I’m less likely for my neighbor Chris to come to my door with a half-full 40 of malt liquor asking if I’m alright. Thanks man, we’re all alright. But I already drank a King Cobra when I was 18, and that’s enough for a life.