I know that there are many writers and podcasters who have a massive following. I know they make a living doing what they do, and that they change people’s minds about ideas. I have respect for them. I believe what they are doing is important. It can make a difference. I, however, like my quiet anonymity on my little Front Porch. My podcast, “The Front Porch Podcast” has an estimated audience of, I believe, 15 right now. While that’s embarrassing for many, it’s really the way I like to envision it. It’s just me talking to a few folks. If you’d like to join them, I have 18 or 19 episodes up as of this writing, and you can find them here:
I believe I lost one of the few fans my podcast has today. And that’s a shame, but it is probably also my fault.
He believes I share too much of who I am, and it makes me appear too flawed. I don’t deny my flaws. In fact, I’m rather fond of them. He believed I had the potential to be a sort of cultural warrior. I don’t believe I do.
The following was the last of my writing he read. I’m posting it here to make it less likely that I misrepresent myself in the future.
I never saw myself as a warrior. I’m more of a Vulcan than a Klingon.
I have no shame about who I am. I do have some pride in it. My experiences have shaped me into who I am.
How I learned what I learned is relevant to understanding both it, and why I believe it.
I don’t mind admitting that Captain Kirk began shaping who I became when I was 4 or 5 years old. I think it’s important to recognize both the power and value of Art.
Religion and Art
Where most people have religion, I have Art.
Religion has 3 main functions:
1. To answer questions we can’t answer by traditional means. What happens after I die tends to be high on the list.
2. To give one a moral code. This is good. That is bad. Nearly every religion will decide those things for you.
3. To offer comfort. Religion is lovely when someone dies. The idea that my father is in a better place would bring me comfort if I could believe it.
Art does the same things.
1. It answers questions that can’t be answered in traditional ways. One thing that I am fairly certain that will happen after I die is that the Art I have created will live on. Maybe only for a day or so, but it would continue to touch people.
It also gives me some beautiful ideas about what happens when we die. I don’t know that any of them are right, but it’s still nice to think about.
2. It provides a moral code. I learned my morality by learning to empathize with fictional characters. I have wept when Tom Robinson was convicted, and I have cheered when Sherlock Holmes caught Dr. Roylott. No one wrote me a set of rules. They showed me in books and movies and paintings and music and dance.
3. I find my comfort in Art. When Spock died, Dr. McCoy said, “He’s never really dead… as long as we remember him.” I understand that feeling.
Hemingway told me, “Man is not made for defeat; a man can be destroyed, but not defeated.”
If I am open about who I am, I make myself more human. I am at least as flawed as anyone else. I am nothing special. I just believe some things about the world, and I hope I can get a couple more people to share the idea that homelessness, poverty, and hunger are failures of civilization. I would like people to believe that Us vs. Them is a bad idea. There is no Them. We are all Us.
If I can get a few more people to consider those ideas, that’s enough for me.
I don’t want to shout in a stadium… ever. I want to talk quietly on my Front Porch with anyone who cares to listen.