A Note on Writing, Politics & What the Hell We’re Doing Now
September 18, 2020
I really wanted to send you a personal note (wait, who am I kidding, they’re all my personal notes) to say thank you. Thanks for reading. Thanks for being here. Thanks for sticking with me through a launch like we just completed. (I know sometimes my emails are…a lot. You should see how excitable I am in person.)
I’m going to work even harder moving forward to get you what you need—whether it’s finding your voice, inspiration & ideas for unconventional careers and lifestyles, writing with confidence & creativity, no-bullshit online business advice (vodka knows, I’ve done it all!) or something else that you secretly read my emails for.
The Middle Finger Project was always meant to be a place for us: the quiet rebels in search of reinvention. I used to be a lot more philosophical in my writing—Existential crises! What the fuck are we all doing with our lives?! Why are you marrying that guy if you really want to go travel the world?!—and eventually as I experimented more and more with business as a lifestyle tool, I started sharing what was working there, too. And then the questions kept coming, so I kept sharing.
Online business is not where the buck stops for us, babes. It’s an incredible tool for reinvention, but as the echo chamber continues growing, it’s starting to feel like one of those shriveled old crusty hot dogs spinning around at 3 o’clock in the morning at a 7-11. And man, I do not want to be eaten by a drunk college kid.
I’m going to be experimenting with my writing more—and our conversation here. There are a lot of things that I want to say. A lot more ways that I want to contribute my voice. And yes, there will also be politics. To say that politics do not have a place in business is to say that customers do not have a place in business: politics are affecting us all, more than ever. In fact, I don’t even consider it politics anymore: I consider it basic fundamental knowledge.
To say you aren’t political is to say you're actively driving around drunk as a human being on this globe.
It feels reckless and gravely irresponsible, especially at this stage. The old rules no longer apply. And that’s because politics as we once knew them no longer apply.
So we must adjust and grow. It is not unprofessional, it is necessary. Anything less comes across as tone deaf and oblivious. The key is in doing so thoughtfully, and from a place of intellectual curiosity, sincerity, and perspicacity. So much of the rhetoric I see today is anything but these things: and that is why it becomes so difficult to dialogue about them. Writing is being used to divide, rather than unite. When done correctly, the opposite happens. Good writing should be about making a reader think, even if only momentarily, about what they believe and how these beliefs intersect, and what it might mean for the shape of their perspectives moving forward. Good writing is a tool to move us forward and advance the conversation together.
Unfortunately, many folks who are out there posting ill-considered memes and copy/paste posts are doing us all a disservice. There are a lot of reasons for that, but one of the reasons for our divide is a simple inability to communicate our frustrations and experiences well: with eloquence, dignity, heart, respect, intellectual curiosity, and thoroughness. If a documentary like The Social Dilemma aims to highlight social media as the reason for our democracy’s demise (note: the premise is based on the fact that content is shown to you the same way ads are: based on what you’ve already clicked on, thereby creating a self-propagating echo chamber that only reflects what you already believe), then I’d like to posit that a secondary reason for its demise is another tool we take for granted every day:
We are missing the fucking words.
Words that can help you express what you feel and what you believe and what you need…without resorting to a picture of a Trump on a Rambo body with an M60 machine gun. Words are more important to us now than ever—because guess what? The other 50% of the population isn’t going anywhere.
Yesterday at Joe’s town hall meeting in Scranton on CNN—which, fun reminder, is my hometown area that I talk about in the book—someone asked him what he planned to do to unite the country, since it’s clear we need is A BIG, FAT KUMBAYA MOMENT. And all I kept thinking about were words. Communication. Respect. You know, the basic stuff we thought we all learned and knew?
But words have failed us—even though we post them more than ever.
So that’s one of the things I’ll be bringing to us here: ways to have better conversations. Not just about that—though you can see that’s clearly been on my mind—but about all the words that matter for our friendships, our families, our marriages, our jobs, our careers, our businesses, and our lives.
The right words really can change everything.
So thank you for being here with me, for so long, reading mine. It’s an honor to write for you—and an even bigger honor to know that, no matter where you are in the world, these words matter.
…And just as a reminder?
So do yours.