Stuck On Getting It Right When We’re Wrong | Crooked Media
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May 17, 2022
Stuck with Damon Young
Stuck On Getting It Right When We’re Wrong

In This Episode

Damon unpacks what it means to be truly accountable, publicly and privately, with Marc Lamont Hill and Kara Brown.

Damon Young: So one of the reasons I love to write is the control that’s inherent to it. And if I write a thing that feels off, you know, I have a chance to edit it before it’s read. But when a word is spoken out loud, it’s gone forever.

And while I feel more comfortable with panels, keynotes, and even my book tour, that process was assisted by repetition. I mean after being asked “So, who’s the audience for your book?” 17,000 different times, I developed a template for it. A muscle memory. But what gave me so much anxiety about creating this podcast is that it wouldn’t be worth my time unless it was a thing that explored some of my deepest neuroses.

But when you get that deep, sometimes unexpected shit gets unpacked, and there’s no backspace button to hit once it leaves your brain.

So you might be wondering what the link is between this anxiety and accountability – which we plan to unpack in this episode. The answer is that they exist in the same part of my brain.

Of course, fucking up is inevitable. But after being broke my entire life, and finally getting some money last Tuesday, I’m terrified of doing or saying a thing that could jeopardize that. And, most importantly, saying or doing a thing that inadvertently harms someone. But what happens if I do?

This is Stuck with Damon Young, the show where we ain’t apologizing for shit! But on today’s episode we unpack what it means to be truly accountable, publicly and privately.
Marc Lamont Hill: Richard Pryor talked about that nigga in the barbershop with an almanac, just waiting for you to fuck up.
Damon: So that’s the homie Marc Lamont Hill. He’s a journalist and a professor, he’s also a Philadelphian, which means that we are rivals. And he is someone who has experience with the whole public accountability thing.
Marc: I come out of a tradition of sort of extemporaneous speaking, speaking off the cuff, not writing notes, and I’ve been giving speeches publicly for, I guess, 15, 16 years now. And I feel very confident with my ability to process and speak and self-edit and self-correct and when I hear myself say something that could sound wild, out of context, let me adjust, let me fix it in real time. Where I started to lose my sense of confidence on that is actually after 2018 when I gave my speech at the United Nations.
Damon: Ok.
Marc: I spoke at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people at the United Nations in November of 2018. And I gave a speech calling for, you know, justice, human rights, et cetera, for Palestinian people. At the end of that speech, the last six or eight words of the speech where I said, well, I said we must do what justice requires. And justice requires a free Palestine from the river to the sea. And there were people who said that “from the river to the sea” was an anti-Semitic slogan. It was a slur. It was a call from Hamas to destroy or remove Jewish people from Israel. None of those things were what I was saying. None of those things were my intent. Some people had a principle disagreement with me. There are some people, I think, who were reading into what I said more than I actually said. And there are others who I think in bad faith were attempting to construct my argument a particular way so they didn’t have to deal with the other 15 or 16 minutes of the speech.
But what was interesting was after that, once there was a spotlight on me around this issue, every time I gave a speech, every time I gave a talk, I found myself hyper-correcting everything, overexplaining, over-emphasizing certain points versus others. And whenever I got too comfortable, whenever I feel like I’m on good ground, I know what I’m doing and I’m in that same zone that I’ve always been in, I get a note or I get a newspaper article or I see a tweet that says Marc Lamont Hill said this. And I’m like, well, that’s not what I said, or I said that but like, there was three other sentences before that, or every once in a while I’ll be like yeah, I fucked that one up. Not on purpose, but I said this word instead of that word. But the stakes are higher because people are listening with the intention and with the desire to find something. They’re looking for an aha. And so, you know, I think that’s more what it is. And so when I’m in a comfort zone where I feel that the audience trusts me and I feel that they’re listening in good faith, I have a particular kind of understanding when I feel like people are listening in good faith but don’t agree with me, you know, that’s a different kind of register. And then there are people who listen in bad faith. To be clear, I’m not suggesting everybody who disagrees with me on the Palestine issue is listening in bad faith. This is the kind of stuff I have to do. What I’m saying, though, is some are, but many just disagree with me.
But either way, even if you have a principled disagreement that colors how you hear somebody and the same thing happens in our own end, that there’s a whole bunch of people on the right, there’s a whole bunch of white folk also in addition to people on the right, who when I hear them say certain shit, I’m like, all right. Yeah, I’m hyper scrutinizing it, you know what I mean?
Damon: How do you deal with that fear you spoke of before that didn’t exist the same way before 2018? The fear of of fucking up in that way, is it like a preparation thing where you overprepare? Are you more careful with what you say or you add more context, or are you more discerning about who you talk to and what subject you talk about?
Marc: It’s all of the above. I prepare a hell of a lot more. I wrote a book on Palestine called Except for Palestine: The Limits of Progressive Politics. I wrote it with Mitchell Plitnick. I decided to write this book before the speech, but after the speech I was like, yo, I got to really drill down. You know, I went to, I went back to graduate school. Got a Masters in Middle East studies. I was like, I’m not fucking this one up, you know, I need this to be a level of care attached to this. So that’s the preparation piece. I do pad my words as, I’m extra careful. You know, I ritually denounce anti-Semitism in every speech that I give on the Middle East. Right. And there’s an argument to be made that even doing that reinforces the idea that there’s a natural relationship between Palestinians and anti-Semitism, or Arabs and anti-Semitism, you get what I’m saying? That I have to denounce, there’s an argument that I’m doing a harm there. So trying to trying to thread that needle as well is a challenging one. But then there’s another thing that you also get to, which is to say, at some point I have to do the very best I can, put forth the most persuasive and compelling and principled argument that I can. And I have to trust at the end of the day that I’ll be understood for who and what I am. That can’t be that can’t be the position instead of the other two things. But if you’re doing the work and you’re careful and you’re smart and you’re prepared and you’re in the right spaces and you do all the other things, you can’t keep listening to that small group of people who are invested in misunderstanding you, who are invested in misreading you. You can’t make them the center of everything.
Damon: Yeah, it’s you know, and it could be really difficult to try to distinguish between the bad faith, the bad faith disagree-ers and the people who just disagree on principle or just disagree with the thing you’re saying versus the people who are just there waiting to pounce. It’s like double dutch and waiting for an opportunity to jump in. I got you right. And I guess how do you make those distinctions? Because particularly on Twitter, because it could be really difficult to tell who is upset with you with an agenda or who is just like, hey, I just I fuck with you, but I don’t fuck with this particular thing.
Marc: Yeah, I’m hyper aware and hypersensitive to what people think. So I have to self correct because my natural instinct is to respond to every person who has a critique, every person who has a challenge, every person who says I messed up, even if even if they’re clearly not operating in good faith, even if they got 50 followers and, you know, a lizard as their profile pic. And, you know, and all the tweets are to me. But I have to make myself not do that. I have to not respond to that.
And so what I’ve done more recently is kind of just be much more dismissive and just say, is, you know, have I made a principled argument, have I have I have I explained it well, is it possible that someone could genuinely not hear this? I mean, the UN speech is a good example. I believe that many of the most prominent people who were challenging me were not people who are critiquing me in good faith, but they you know, they simply wanted to find a way to push back against the message I was calling for. But I had to also confront the fact that there are people, who, for whatever reason, also may have felt hurt by what I said, they may have felt harm from what I said, and so I thought, so I wrote a statement afterward not apologizing for the speech, but saying, look, I don’t want these words to be a distraction to the to the to the speech and I’m absolutely sorry for any harm I’ve caused. However, there’s this other thing that we can’t ignore either. I’m not going to, I’m not going to pull back on the spirit of what I said or the principle attached to what I said. Sometimes I have found it’s easy, the bigger your platform gets and the more people who are critiquing you, it’s easy to dismiss everybody as a naysayer and a hater and somebody who doesn’t care. And that’s what we’re trying to do with hip hop culture and Instagram culture and you know, all these haters out here, I’m ain’t paying nobody no mind. I’m going straight, doing my work. And that attitude can actually blind you to a legitimate critique.
Damon: When we talk about public accountability, it’s usually about public figures, and people who have these large followings, maybe a large social media presence, and have something to lose in that regard. But what about just your regular 9-5 person, like once you remove the criminal justice system from the equation, what does accountability, public accountability look like for someone like that?
Marc: I’m not sure that we always have a space for accountability, for proper accountability, you know, part of why I’m an abolitionist is because I believe in a world where we can hold each other accountable and where accountability doesn’t have to look like punishment or accountability doesn’t have to look like revenge or blood lust, but that we can actually find ways to restore people. We can find a way to make people whole again. And I think that, and for everyday in everyday life, a lot of times, because so much of our logic, so much of our practices, so much of our understandings and frames of meaning around what accountability looks like and what fairness looks like and what justice looks like are rooted in the logics of the prison, I think a lot of, in everyday life, a lot of times when we deal with accountability, we deal with it as punishment. Right. I did something to you. I’ll pay you back, you know, I mean, I find a way to get paid back for it, right? Whether it’s financial, whether you’re getting punched in the face, whether it’s, you know, I’mma do to you, what you did to me, you know, whatever the thing might be, we have very narrow ways of thinking about accountability. And I think in the best of our moments, though, I think accountability comes through in a very different way. I think accountability comes through in everyday life by saying, here’s how I harmed you. What do you need? Here’s what I’m willing to do. You know, I mean, also here’s my understanding of how I harmed you, you know what I mean? Not just I did it, but here’s my understanding of how I harmed you. Here’s how I’m willing, tell me what you need here, I’m willing to make this whole again, I’m sorry, right. That’s what it should look like. But sadly, and I’m not, I’m not speaking from a moral high ground here. I’m saying in most of our relationships whether it’s romantic relationships, friendship, relationships, professional business relationships, there’s not that kind of space for it. It’s all about blame and punishment.
Damon: It gets messy when you try to, I guess, divorce, accountability from revenge, you know, and particularly when talking about public accountability, it’s like, do you want this person to sincerely do better, be better, or do you want them to be shamed? Or do you want both because I feel like shame, shame has a value, like I’m scared as fuck of being shamed. It’s like shame, shame is scary. I feel it has this negative connotation of making people do things that they wouldn’t do under regular circumstances. But shame or the presence of shame or the fear of being shamed can set someone right.
Marc: I’m going to push back on that a little. I understand what you mean. What you’re saying should happen is correct. I’m going to say let’s use different languages and shame. I agree that there’s something that we want people to feel. But I would still unpack that and ask why we want them to feel that thing. And is that part of the revenge again? Right. If a politician is doing some ill shit that has done harm, our goal should be to restore the people who he or she harmed to to fix the damage and to get them into a space where they don’t do it again. If they feel bad about that, cool. I ain’t gonna lose no sleep about them feeling bad about it. But I think we have to imagine new possibilities of accountability, because the truth is often times the punishment, or rather, the shame becomes the punishment in our minds and so and we feel like we’re good now. I’ll give you an example, you’re a parent, you’ll understand this, right? Daycare, when you’re like five minutes late, they’ll charge you like a gazillion dollars. And a lot of, I know of one study that showed that when you charge people ridiculous amounts for being five, 10, 15 minutes late, it actually, it doesn’t stop lateness because people feel like, well shit, I just paid $100 for this 15 minutes, like we even. And you get the money, but it doesn’t actually stop the practice because this pound of flesh you got from the person makes the person feel justified.
Damon: Mhm, yeah, and I think that’s, that’s the part about people who I guess who, who’ve been on this end of the, you know, done a thing, done something wrong. It’s like you could have a sincere reckoning and a sincere change. But that doesn’t mean that people still have to fuck with you.
Marc: And that’s the lesson that I’ve had to learn both, at the kind of large scale level, but also the micro level in terms of my own personal interactions. Right. You know, there are ways that I’ve done harm to people, you know, emotionally, you know, in relationships where, you know, I may feel like I’m a, I’m less trash now than I was 10 years ago or 15 years ago in terms of how I engage people, you know what I mean? And I can apologize for, like, emotional harm or for, you know, ghosting or, you know, shit. You know, I’m just saying I shit people might do. But one, they don’t owe me forgiveness and two, their forgiveness doesn’t mean that the relationship or dynamic has to be what I want it to be. Our ideas sometimes around what accountability looks like are too romantic, you know, sometimes they’re too harsh and sometimes too romantic at the other end. Like, I apologize and then we all good again.
Damon: Yeah, I forgive you doesn’t mean I fuck with you.
Marc: Right.
[Music Transition]
Damon: What’s the nigga’s name who, the white nigga, who, like he squints all the time, he was in Spiderman, his dad was the green goblin?

Producer: Oh, Pineapple Express, James Franco.

Damon: James Franco, yeah, like so you know he was accused of sexual misconduct and some just really awful problematic stuff, and there were all these accusations and he went away for like a year or two, to like some wokeness bootcamp or something. And he came back and there was an interview where he was talking about all that he’s learned and how he knows it’s bad to be a predator. And this motherfucker quoted me! Like he name-dropped my book. And its like, you know well, “Damon Young said this thing, but I disagree and I should do this other thing,” and I’m like, dude, keep my name out of your mother fucking mouth.

Producer: Oh definitely, keep my name out of your mouth. What did he say, why is your book a part of this wokeness bootcamp?

Damon: I just don’t get this fucking tendency, this inclination to, you know, white people get accused of something awful, something terrible, and its like, you know what, I am going to hide behind like a fucking, a bush of Blackness. [laughs]
Producer: Would you keep that energy if you ever saw him? Would you do the clap? Like, Keep. [clap] My. [clap] Name. [clap]

Damon: I would tell that little squinty ass motherfucker, that I’m glad for whatever growth that you’ve had. Good for you, James Franco. Just keep my name out your motherfucking mouth.

[Music Transition]

Kara Brown: Hopefully they won’t play this one day when I have to make a big public apology and they’ll be like, did you hear this idiot talking about apologies?

Damon: That’s the homie Kara Brown, who used to be a blogger like me but now writes for TV and movies. And I wanted to talk to her about why celebrities are so bad at apologizing. And why we’re so bad at it too.

Kara: I wonder if we’re bad because we don’t do it enough, so when you have to do it in a big way, it probably feels scarier because, I don’t know that we move through life with like the level of accountability that we should be. But I don’t know, it’s like it sucks to be wrong. Like, I don’t like being wrong. Sucks to have done something bad or like made someone feel bad and like, you know, the whole thing with an apology is like, we’re very much laying out that I have done something wrong. Who likes that?

Damon: I don’t think it’s even so much about admitting to wrongdoing. It’s more, you know, I think for most people admitting the hurt. Like people, fuck up, you make mistakes and whatever, but there’s a difference between having to do that. And then also like, you know what? Not only did I fuck up, not only did I make some mistake, but I actually hurt this person, and now I am acknowledging that. And then, because I think a part of the hesitancy is also like, you know what? Since I’m admitting that I did this thing that hurt this person, that kind of gives them carte blanche to return it to me in a way. Like if I admit to this wrongdoing, then that gives them a free pass for payback. And I, like I even even thinking about how you talk about like larger cultural conversations of, you know, about about our country and about, you know, apologizing for slavery and for for, you know, just having some sort of accountability for how we treat indigenous people and all that stuff and why, one of the reasons why I think we are so reluctant to do that – and when I say we, I’m talking about white people – But why we are so reluctant to do that is because I think that they feel like, you know what, if we admit this, then we are also, you know, creating a path for that same shit to happen to us.

Kara: And I think it’s, you’re also in that moment you’ve lost any moral standing. Like it feels like if I’m apologizing, if I have to apologize for something and I’ve caused someone pain. It’s only about what I’ve done and the person I’m apologizing to is probably also I do apologize and it’s probably also messed up or caused someone pain or whatever. But in this moment, you know, like it just feels like I’m the only person who has done this wrong, and I now have to atone for it. And it probably feels uncomfortable or like lonely or just like you’ve lost some kind of moral standing that maybe you thought you had. When in reality, everyone has done something they need to apologize for.

Damon: So when was the last time you apologized? And I’m not, I don’t mean like you bumped into someone at Starbucks and said my bad, but I mean an actual apology for wrongdoing.

Kara Like the most reasonable way I can think of was given to me. The thing about our apology is you can ask for it or, you know, but or you can or you can make it clear that you’re upset or hurt, but you have no control over the apology being satisfying, it being for the thing that you’re really upset about, like it is… And so I am sometimes, like I personally, I was unhappy with something. I’d moved past it and I kind of don’t always want an apology because I worry the apology might make it worse sometimes. And if I’m kind of personally over it and they apologize in a way I don’t like now, I have like now I’m pissed about something I wasn’t even mad about. But recently, like there was a friend who did something that upset me and like, you know, I was like, this like, hurt me and it hurt my feelings. And then she gave me a really nice apology. I was probably more worked up about telling her that than she was about giving me the apology.

Damon: What constitutes nice, is a nice apology about tone or content, because I know it’s a combination of both. Or even agenda, even agenda too, because you could master the tone and the content. Yes, and it not be genuine.

Kara: Yeah, I mean, like psychopaths are really good at giving apologies that seem genuine. I think it was like, I didn’t understand that this would be something that would be that upsetting to you and I, which I believe because I don’t like, I’m also like, I don’t believe everyone is moving through the world thinking about me. So I think just like it hadn’t occurred to her, and if I hadn’t told her, it wouldn’t necessarily have occurred to her and in the same way. And I think it was it was like not trying to tack on anything else. It was like, listen, I didn’t realize this would upset you. I’m sorry. It wasn’t as much about perhaps why she felt like she could make the decision that she could have, she was entitled to make the decision that she did. It was just like, I don’t like that you’re upset. And she was like, you’re someone I care about, and I don’t like upsetting you. And so thank you for letting me know that it upset you because that’s never something I’m trying to do. And it’s a friend, right? So I believe. I don’t think my friend is trying to bullshit me, even if it wasn’t true, it works for me. But I think that’s why.


Damon: What makes, I guess, the public apology so different and also so unsatisfying all of the time?

Kara: If you think of like you’re apologizing as acknowledging that you’ve hurt someone or taking responsibility for something, I think it’s hard to do that on a large scale. Like it’s almost only something you can do on more of a personal level. So like something that always drives me crazy when like a public figure or celebrity apologizes or something and they’ll be like to the people that I’ve hurt. And I’m like, you didn’t hurt me by being racist, like me, you did not hurt me. My problem is like your ignorance or your lack of thought behind, you know, like, I’m not actually, you didn’t hurt me. And in a way that I think in a more interpersonal situation, it is about the way you’ve made someone feel. So I think it’s just hard to get to that in a public apology because it’s not like you can’t apologize to everyone individually. Like you have to kind of do this one size fits all thing. And like just necessarily that that is not going to satisfy everyone.

Damon: Yeah, it’s you know, it’s the performance of contrition. And even if the apology is genuine, there has to be some performance aspect to it because you are doing it publicly. You know, the only people who are tasked with having a public apology are people who, you know, have a big enough platform or have enough followers or are public figures or whatever. And so you have these people who are trying to, you know, apologize to the masses. And yeah maybe, maybe Kara is not hurt. But maybe I don’t know. Amy was hurt. So I have to make sure that my apology is heard by Kara and also heard by Amy. And then you have multiple writers of it, you have multiple takes. You know, sometimes it’s market tested. But is that performance aspect, which I feel like is antithetical to the actual apology? Because the apology should not be about performance. It should be about contrition, it should be about sincerity. But mostly when I hear those apologies, I’m thinking, OK, he has the right people around him or her to make sure that they say the right words. But the level of sincerity is never like, I don’t even consider it any more with those public apologies.

Kara: Yeah, my outlook on like a number of things that fit into this general box has really shifted and I think like, it’s sort of related, but there was that big story about Joss Whedon in New York magazine. You know, and it’s like, OK, this guy was a cheater and a creep, and he was a nerd who suddenly had money and access to women. And he acted like a monster like many men because of entitlement that he was told he was entitled to, and he abused that. And I read this story and I’m like, for me at this point, and let’s say whatever we’re calling the MeToo movement, when it’s not rising to criminal behavior, I don’t really care that Joss Whedon is a bad person because there’s a lot of people that are bad people and there are a lot of people in Hollywood that are bad people. I care about everyone else who allowed him to behave that way. And I think that’s a much more interesting conversation. I think it’s something that actually fixes the problem. I think it’s also like harder to do. That’s what I care about. And so I think with like apologies, where now we’ve had so many people who have had to apologize. I, to your point, like I don’t really care about the words that you’re saying. And I think, you know, if you’re like, if you’re a white person who has said something racist and you have people of color in your life like, I think you should probably personally apologize to them because you’ve you probably have hurt them because you have a real relationship with them or you embarrassed them by, like like someone that people know I’m friends with moves through the world that way. But for me, I need you to just be different. I don’t need an apology from you. I need like, I need the action. And so I, for me now, I’m just like, what is the action? I really don’t care about the words from people who are not in my life.

Damon: Who, in your opinion, had the worst, the worst possible apology, the worst celebrity apology that you could think of?

Kara: One that I remember really bad was I thought Justin Timberlake’s was bad. The one he did, so you know, this was like this a couple of years ago, or a year ago. And it’s like when everyone was starting to pay more attention to, like, who had been racist. And everyone was like, You know, he did Janet dirty. And so it’s like no one was really talking about him in that way. You know what I mean, like, Justin Timberlake was not the biggest issue of the day, but then he went and made this apology. And you know, I think the way he treated Janet was terrible. I would also argue that, like, sort of co-opting Blackness is maybe as bad or if not worse or harms more people in terms of like who got pushed out of something. So I just felt like he missed the point a little bit. I thought he inserted himself when, like, no one was really asking him. And then now it’s like, now we all got to talk about Justin Timberlake when that’s not really what the conversation was. But yeah, that one was not that one was not great.

Damon: Well, the Timberlake thing is tricky because, you know, on one hand, so he’s a person who wronged both Janet and Janet’s daughter, which is Britney Spears. OK. And had to apologize for how he treated both these women. So there’s that, and that’s the reality. But then there’s also the fact that when he did these acts, he was one 20, 21? I’m not trying to, I don’t have the power to forgive him, so this isn’t a thing to try to minimize what he did or whatever, but I think for most other people, if they had behaved badly when they were 20 years old, right? And then they came back 20 years later and apologized for it, we would be like, OK, you’re, wow, you’re still thinking about this thing that happened 20 years ago. That’s, you’re an amazing person. Yeah, right? But because he’s been a public figure that is like, you know, what the fuck is wrong with you? Why are you doing this?

Kara: He probably, frankly should have just apologized to those women privately. And what I would have done is said, listen, you know, this was my behavior at this age, and I’m proud of whatever, I’ve apologized to the people that I personally like hurt. He didn’t hurt anyone else by his treatment of Britney Spears. He hurt that woman. And I think it was like, I’ve apologized to the people I’ve wronged and they’ve accepted my apology or whatever. And like, I’m leaving it at that. Like, you don’t need to apologize to me for being a dick to Janet Jackson. You didn’t hurt me and making it a public thing felt like you’re kind of missing the point of what you’ve done wrong.

Damon: Do you think that there is a statute of limitations on accountability or an apology?

Kara: I think personally, there’s absolutely no statute of limitations, like if you’ve hurt someone and it’s something that’s like, you know, you’ve thought of and you and you knew you did it. And I think like I think anyone would be appreciative of an apology in that setting. I think on a macro level, if we’re talking about like people, I would really do some thinking, perhaps with a communications professional, about like, what have I done wrong? And like what is accountability in terms of an action? I don’t know that the apology is going to is, has anything to do with the accountability. Because if someone’s apology, it’s like a celebrity is apologizing for something they did 10 years ago, that does not feel sincere, like unfortunately. But I think if it’s, you know, I think if there’s actions that have been taken that does feel like, OK, at some point you understood that you’ve done something wrong. I think, you know, it’s maybe a double standard, but I just think like with people that are in your life and you have real interpersonal relationships where it’s just different. And you know, I think an apology 10 years later is still not as good as an apology a week after, but I think it’s still appreciated in a more sincere way.

Damon: It depends on the act also. And also, you know, people have to recognize that just because you apologize, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be forgiven. Yeah. And you could be forgiven, but it doesn’t mean people are still going to fuck with you. Yeah, too. I mean, can you think of an example of, I guess, a celebrity who’s done it right?

Kara Yeah, I think Alison Roman to me has come out of the the situation she put herself in quite well and in part because, you know, she made her apologies and she’s talked about it a little bit, but she kind of just went away, kept doing her job and then just started doing better and started just doing tangible things to help people and to to to be better and to, you know, maybe amend for a group she’s hurt. So what I like is that she just took it and then took action, and isn’t trying to get points for it, which to me says like, to me just feels like a more sincere, a more sincere reveal of like that, she actually feels bad, you know. But she’s one of one, can’t think of anyone else. Apologies are hard. They’re hard and they’re highly situational.

[Music Transition]

Damon: So the fear of fucking up will never not be there. And neither will the butterflies, the lightheadedness, the indigestion that anxiety produces.

Sure, it’s possible to get so bogged down with it that it paralyzes you. But it’s better to think about it like we think about shit and fertilizer. Because the fear of fucking up can be repurposed: as fuel to be more prepared and even less holier than thou when other people make well intentioned mistakes.

Instead of being a straight jacket, it can be an anchor – a guidepost reminding us that there will always be work to do. And that responding to your mistakes with sincerity and humility is a function of that work too.

Or you could just not give a shit. That’s always an option. Just not mine.

[Music Transition]

Damon: Stuck with Damon Young is a Spotify Original Podcast from Gimlet and Crooked Media. It’s hosted and written by me, Damon Young.

Ruben Davis is our Executive Producer. Our producers are Ashley Velez, Morgan Moody, Carlton Gillespie, Priscilla Alabi, Stephen Hoffman, and Corinne Gilliard.

Mixing and Sound Design by Jesse Naus, Charlotte Landes, and Veronica Simonetti.
Theme Music and Score by Open Mike Eagle.

From Crooked Media, our Executive Producers are Tanya Somanader, Sarah Geismer, and Katie Long. From Gimlet, our Executive Producers are Rosie Guerin, Krystal Hawes-Dressler, Collin Campbell, and Lydia Polgreen.