My Inspirations: Kai Hiwatari

kai53
Kai Hiwatari is one of the four central characters on the original three seasons of the TV anime, Beyblade. Kai started out as the villain of the series, as the leader of a gang called the Blade Sharks. He is defeated by Tyson early on and goes on to lead the central character team, The Bladebreakers.

As a child, Kai was born and raised in a Russian Abbey, where his grandfather trained him as a foot solider in his plan for world domination. Kai was never shown affection or love as a kid, and he comes off as aloof and cold to most people who meet him. Kai uses the Dranzer Beyblade, possessed by the spirit of a phoenix based on the real-life Kyoto legend of Suzaku.
image_188828

I was a huge fan of the show while I was in high school and my early years at Parkside. My interest in Kai and everything about him bordered on idolization. Kai doesn’t speak much over the course of the series, but what little he does say I used as my mantras in life and how I saw the world.

Kai goes through quite a bit of evolution over the course of the three seasons. As I saw him evolve into a better person on TV, I tried to emulate that and grow for myself. Kai eventually confronts his past and deals with his inner demons. While I didn’t have any inner demons to confront, I still used Kai’s struggle and his quest for strength and growth to fuel my own desire to “grow up.”

image_609013

Kai is shown on the series to be a loner and an introvert. Kai spends as much time as possible on his own, practicing his skills and making himself stronger. Since I was idolizing Kai during the most crucial time in my own development, I picked up habits that I saw Kai doing on TV. It’s because of Kai that I identify myself as a loner/introvert, and my mind has shaped itself to function that way.

image_397077

Kai is one of the most popular characters on the original series of Beyblade, and much of the public interest in him stems from his “cool” factor. Kai looks the most appealing of the characters, his few sayings are particularly witty, and he gives off the vibe that he can never lose, which everyone wishes they could say.

I’ve also found myself drawn to the Beyblade gear that Kai uses over the series as well. Back in those days, I would get incredibly excited whenever the next incarnation of Kai’s Dranzer would appear in stores. To a minor extent, it’s a hat-tip to my Power Ranger days when I’d get super excited about the next Megazord appearing in stores.

The two incarnations of Dranzer that I loved most of all were Dranzer V2 and Dranzer G, both of which appeared in 2004. This interest in “the latest gear” has translated over to my interest in technology. Getting the iPhone 6 this year was like getting Dranzer V2/G all over again.

image_53277

When I went to Parkside, I made a pact with myself to grow beyond what Kai had taught me. Over the past several years, I’ve found new people and characters to look up to and model myself after, but Kai was one of the first. There are parts of him that I still look up to, and identify with, and I’ll probably have that forever.

image_188847

Thanks Kai, for being an inspiration!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Don & Charlie Epps

eppes03

Charlie Epps:

Numb3rs_guy

Charlie Epps is a fictional math professor at CalSci, and a consultant for the FBI on the TV series, Numb3rs. He is portrayed by actor David Krumholtz. Charlie is the younger brother of Don Epps. As a mathematical genius, Charlie is able to pull out equations and mathematical theories about any of the crimes that come up throughout the series. Charlie is known on the show for CharlieVision, which is when the camera goes to a cutscene or vision in Charlie’s head with the equations related to the investigated crimes flying in the air around the images in Charlie’s head. Charlie is very logical and scientific, and is highly skeptical of pseudosciences such as psychic ability and UFOs.

During the course of the show, Charlie develops a relationship with his student, Amita. Their relationship is very intellectual and starts off very un-romantic, since it’s hinted that Charlie has little dating experience.

charlie_eppes_deviantart.com_

I first discovered Charlie Epps during my junior year of high school as the series Numb3rs was starting to air. My pre-calculus teacher showcased a few episodes as part of her class, and I fell in love with the show instantly. I was actually a pretty weak student during my middle and high school years, and Charlie was the first spark to lead my interest in not only math and science, but learning and education in general.

article-geek-guys-2

Charlie is a master of his craft (mathematics), which is part of the core of his inspiration to me. Charlie is an example of someone who has dedicated their life to their strengths and their passions.

Don Epps
0000043529_20071001142840

Don Epps is the older brother of Charlie. He is portrayed by actor Rob Morrow. Don runs the FBI Violent Crimes Squad in Los Angeles. Don manages the investigative team, and leads them into various confrontations with the violent criminals they track and expose. Don sees his career as his way of life, and makes great personal sacrifices for his job, often at the cost of his social life.

Don is one of two characters that started my interest in criminal justice. Don, much like Charlie is incredibly dedicated to his craft, and it shows in his leadership. He can take command of a dangerous situation, but is also a great mentor to many of the people on his team, particularly David Sinclair and to a lesser extent, Megan Reeves.

tumblr_lznvn3TBhy1rpgh07o1_500

Don is one of the few people who has taught me what I define as masculinity. Don starts as a less emotional (though not necessarily “cold towards others”) of a character, and gives off an air of strength and power wherever he goes. There is plenty of physical strength references with Don, but not without showing his own intellect. Don understands emotions and feelings of others, and cares about them, particularly his family and his FBI Team. Don is the clearest example of what I define as a leader, which is a quality that I have plenty of room to improve on.

113

To a lesser extent, Charlie also shows masculinity to me, but in a more academic and educational fashion. A hybrid of these two fictional brothers would display many of the points on my ideal man, and on a subconscious level, both of these characters were probably some of the base for that list.

Thank you Charlie & Don, for being inspirations!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Sakura Kinomoto & Rose Tyler

Sakura Kinomoto
Sakura Avalon - Sakura Kinomoto 13
Sakura Kinomoto is the titular character of the series Cardcaptor Sakura. I first discovered Sakura when the series was brought to American television in 2001, right about when I was in 7th grade. Sakura is an extremely energetic, cute, sweet, and very cheerful character. She is very athletic, being a member of her school’s cheerleading squad and an excellent runner, a trait she inherited from her father. Her invincible spell, “Everything will be all right” has carried her through innumerable trials and obstacles as she masters her magical skills. She often comes across as naïve, clumsy, dense and clueless, but she has her perceptive moments on occasion. Sakura’s optimistic and trustworthy character allows her to be friendly with everybody, she is very outgoing and the entire series focuses on the friendships she creates with people, whether strangers, loose acquaintances, or rivals. In fact, her personality is a dominating factor in her relationships.

As the heroine of the story, she is destined to discover, release, and re-capture the Clow Cards. During her adventure-slash-mission, she meets Li Syaoran, who starts as her rival but eventually becomes her love interest.
Sakura-cardcaptor-sakura-2475468-1024-768
The big point that I want to show is that it’s the story between Sakura and Syaoran that inspired me the most in the series. The anime (i.e. televised series) greatly downplayed this, but the manga (i.e. the book series that most anime tends to start as) had it as the central plot line. (Side note – the manga had several same-sex relationships and one relationship with a large age difference, which is a huge thing for a pre-2001 manga series in my opinion!)

Syaoran is introduced shortly after Sakura begins her journey to capture the Clow Cards, and is initially her opponent-slash-rival, trying to catch them before Sakura can get to them. After the cards are collected, the journey leads to converting the cards to Sakura cards. Syaoran was hesitant to stay at first, but discovering within himself that he has fallen in love with Sakura is what causes him to stay and help her finish her destiny.

Sakura is the epitome of what I consider to be pure and innocent. She is bubbly, happy, and everything I wanted to be when I was a child. Her weaknesses seem big to her, but she’s also in 4th grade for most of the series, and anything about ourselves seems gigantic at that time. Sakura loves her friends and classmates with all her heart, and shows this as often as she can. I have tried to emulate this in my own life.

As Syoran courts Sakura, she remains blind to his affections until the end of the series. Sakura’s closest friends comments to Syoran that she is so filled with happiness and love for others that unless Syoran told her directly about his love for her, she would never figure it out on her own.

In an obscure way, I still emulate this piece of her in my own life.
Cardcaptor.Sakura.full.25422
Sakura’s relationships with her friends and Li is my old ideal, but I still dream about continuing to strive for it. There are still many things I see in Sakura’s heart that I want to emulate and embrace, but this leads me to my evolved dreams about romance, which is Rose Tyler.
Rose Tyler
rosetyler
Rose Tyler is the companion to the ninth Doctor, and one of the companions to the tenth doctor in the series, Doctor Who. She is discovered by the ninth Doctor in the first episode of the reboot, and is invited to travel throughout time and space with him. She is a brave, resourceful, and sweet hearted girl. She is quick to adapt to strange events. She is brilliant and observant, often seeing things that that Doctor does not. As she spent more time with the Doctor going on adventures, facing aliens of all kinds, including psychological and physical threats, she started to develop feelings towards him.

Rose shows great forgiveness and mercy, even to those who have admitted to murder. Rose was also not afraid to call out the Doctor when she believed him to be wrong. At the same time, she had a jealous streak when it came to the Doctor. Once she had developed her feelings for him, she became more interested in her own desires, even above the consequences of her interests and actions.
rose-tyler-doctor-who-for-whovians-and-rose-807464248
Rose represents my evolved and more adult views on relationships. If Sakura is how I saw love and romance back before 2006, Rose is a picture of how I see myself falling in love after having been learning from Dan Savage for many years now. The love story of Rose and the tenth Doctor is more subtle, and therefore more romantic to me at this point in my life. The passion and raw emotions that Rose displays for the tenth Doctor in “Doomsday” is the kind of feelings I want to experience when I fall in love.

RoseSeparatedDoomsday

By starting with Sakura and evolving her into Rose leads me to what I expect out of love in my life at this point. I know that love is messy, complicated, disorganized, but also one of the best experiences that I could ever hope to partake in.

jT8ktd-3JH4

I’d also like to point out the fact that my romantic role models are female, while my sexual role models are male, which is an interesting perspective on relationships as a whole. I also feel this balances me more as a person.

Thank you, Sakura & Rose for being inspirations!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

(My source for Sakura’s bio.)

(My source for Rose’s bio.)

My Inspirations: Brian Kinney

This is probably going to be my most controversial post in this series.

tumblr_l21oibTOQf1qzsv52o1_500

Brian Kinney is a fictional character from the American TV series, Queer As Folk. Brian is portrayed by actor Gale Harold. Brian is a handsome, masculine, successful advertising executive living in Pittsburgh in a loft, and he leads a glamorous and indulgent lifestyle. Brian is promiscuous and narcissistic, proudly clinging to his status as “the most desired man on Liberty Avenue.” Brian is famous for being a character that is shown having sex with a different guy on nearly every episode of the five season series.

Brian entirely rejects the concept of heteronormativity, including being against all marriages and monoganamus relationships. He spends the run of the series in a complicated non-monoganamus relationship with a guy named Justin, who is just over half of Brian’s age.

Brian is considered to be one of the most iconic gay characters ever portrayed on television. He was voted most popular gay character in 2007 by the website AfterElton.

Brian was my first real look into what life is like as an out gay man. Now, I’m fully aware that not every gay man lives his life like Brian does, but there’s a great deal of men who do. With the advent of Grindr, Scruff, Recon, Manhunt, and many, many more, any man who wants to can try and play Brian for however long they want.

8_81

Brian is a master of his craft. First and foremost, Brian is an advertising executive, and a successful one at that. Brian starts out as a top notch executive in the first episode and eventually starts his own agency, which quickly takes off because of Brian’s raw talent. Whereas Kai was my childhood inspiration to teach me to strive for perfection, Brian is my adult inspiration to show me how important it is to constantly improve myself and my craft. Brian is a smooth talker, and knows how to get the job done in a short amount of time.

1402544_1300713926178.7res_500_273

Brian is a sex symbol. He has more sex than any other gay character I’ve seen on any other medium in my life. Every time I open Grindr or other such app, my mind always flicks back to him, because there are Brian wannabes on every gay social app on the market. While the amount of sex that Brian has is scary to some, he was never ashamed of it, and never regretted it. Brian was the first person (granted in fictional form) to show me that there is nothing inherently wrong in having sex.

Where my deep respect for Brian’s status as sex symbol comes in is that even with that many hookups/partners, he always advocated and enforced using condoms. As much as Brian played with other guys, he played on the safer sex side.

A part of Brian that I don’t draw inspiration from was that he also used plenty of recreational drugs. While I have no interest in drugs myself, he was the first person/character to start breaking down false images that I had put in my head from the anti-drug programs in elementary school.

3903244034_96b0b5efcf

No apologies, no regrets. This is one of Brian’s core values, and I feel that I have much to learn from this. Brian always stands behinds what he does, even if it’s unpopular or hated. Brian lives for himself, and sees that he is the keeper to his own happiness.

tumblr_lukvc63vhg1qijx05o1_r1_500

The things I can learn from Brian are specific and complicated. While I dream of the life that Brian has – wildly successful and a symbol of a sex-filled life, there’s a lot to making that happen safely. I had a phase years ago when I was watching Queer As Folk regularly where I spent more time thinking about getting laid than actually putting in the work to make myself succeed in life.

As I revisit Queer As Folk, Brian serves as a constant reminder that his life is the prize for mastering my skills in life, and putting in the work to reap the rewards.

Thank you Brian Kinney, for being an inspiration!

Respectfully Submitted,
Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Dan Savage & Joe Jervis

Dan Savage

Dan Savage for Intiman by LaRae Lobdell | PhotoSister.com

Dan Savage is an author, a sex-advice columnist, a podcaster, a pundit, and a public speaker. His sex-advice column, “Savage Love” first appeared in the Seattle weekly paper, The Stranger, in 1991. Dan has published six books in his life, including his most recent, American Savage. In 2010, Dan and his husband Terry launched the It Gets Better Project. Dan started the Savage Lovecast in 2006, which is how I first heard of Dan.

I have been a subscriber to the podcast since the beginning, and have strived to stay involved by catching the Magnum versions of the podcast since the format change earlier this year.

Over the years, Dan has given volumes and volumes of sex and relationship advice. His advice and views have evolved over the course of the decade that he’s been on the air, showing that even well known celebrities (and people I look up to!) can continue to learn and improve themselves as human beings. I have been using the Savage Lovecast as an ongoing relationship and sex education hour during each week.

What makes Dan Savage and the Savage Lovecast stand out is that it’s not just Dan giving advice based on his own life. In fact, he tries to refer to his own experience as rarely as possible. Dan has heard from tens of thousands of people, all with unique stories an questions to ask, so he’s had quite a wide palette of stories to draw his advice from.

Dan Savage for Intiman by LaRae Lobdell | PhotoSister.com

Dan Savage has given me some excellent guidelines to lay the groundwork for not only my romantic relationships, but all kinds of relationships I have with people, including platonic ones. Dan’s insights into life and how to view it, through the lens of romance or sex has really shaped how I feel about both subjects. Of course, there’s been other inspirations on those subjects beyond Dan Savage in my life as well. In this respect, I am striving to be as informed and well-rounded in my relationships as Dan talks about someday.

Dan Savage

Dan Savage is not only an advice columnist, but an activist as well. He has been on the front line in the fight for equality, and sometimes even criticized by members of the LGBTQ… community. Even I admit, Dan Savage has made his mistakes. But who hasn’t? Part of why this series of blog posts is about my inspirations as opposed to my heroes is because my inspirations are human and make mistakes and they grow from their mistakes.

As hated as the It Gets Better Project is in many circles, the videos created through the project have helped me in tough times. While I haven’t been at risk for suicide in particular, I can relate to the messages the each video presents, and sometimes just hearing the voices are of huge comfort. The following video is my personal favorite from the collection of tens of thousands, and Dan has referenced this video in particular on many occasions.

Joe Jervis

jervis_082312

Joe Jervis is a blogger based out of New York City. He is the author of the blog, JoeMyGod, which is technically his personal blog, but he has covered nearly every LGBTQ issue that’s been around since he started in 2004. JoeMyGod is the first website/blog that I ever put into an RSS Feed Reader, and I have been a loyal subscriber since I started following him in 2010. Like Dan in his column, Joe brings just enough of his own personality and life into his blog to give some hints about him, but otherwise lets his work speak for itself. It is thanks to Joe that I know who the real enemies of the equality movement are. By simply reading his blog every day for a long enough period of time, I have grown as a person and as an activist. I have also grown in my technical knowledge, sine Joe comments on tech and science discoveries in his blog as well.

JOE-JERVIS---BACK---WATERMARKED---800x1000

Joe has shown more than just the basic elements of the complex LGBTQ community. He has featured Drag Queens, Kinkster Events, Furries, and plenty of other people in the vast Queer umbrella during his time running JMG. Most of the time, I’ve heard it first from Joe. What I look up to in Joe is his level of connection to the world, and his mastery of the craft of blogging. Joe was the first journalist/blogger that I looked up to, and had an interest in trying to emulate. Other journalists have since helped grow my interest in journalism, but Joe was definitely the spark that ignited that fire.

What Joe and Dan have in common is that they are both constantly learning about others, and using that knowledge to make the world a better place, which is a lesson I continue to learn over and over again.

Thank you, Dan Savage & Joe Jervis for being inspirations!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Kinsey Millhone

“My name is Kinsey Millhone. I am a private investigator, licensed by the state of California. I am thirty-two years old, twice divorced, no kids. The day before yesterday I killed someone and the fact weighs heavily on my mind.”
— the opening lines of A is for Alibi

I first heard of Kinsey Millhone back in 2005. My grandmother had collected the book series by Sue Grafton since they first came out in the 1980’s, and she passed her collection to me when she died. I had started reading the summer before I was a senior in high school, and fell in love with the main character almost instantly.

Here is Sue Grafton’s biographical description of her star character.

annie-hall-01_zps42c04113

The first thing to note: Sue Grafton will never allow her book series to be turned into movies, so there’s not really much I can use to describe Kinsey physically. (Kinda like Cecil!) The Thrilling Detective claims that Dianne Keaton in her Annie Hall years would have been the best candidate to portray Kinsey, and I can see that. While Kinsey is often described as having short hair, I can’t help but keep a mental image of a long-haired woman in my head when I’m reading. The other person who I often envision in the role is Gwyneth Paltrow.

Proof-gwyneth-paltrow-310216_900_1350

“With intimacy, the wreckage starts to show, damage rendered in the course of passions colliding like freight trains on the same track.” -Kinsey Millhone, D is for Deadbeat

With all of that being said, the biggest way that I can let Kinsey into my mind to inspire me is through the words in the novels, which is why this post will have more direct quotes and not nearly as many images as usual. Kinsey has been an evolving inspiration to me, meaning that what I see and relate to her now is very different that what I saw and could relate to in 2005. I’m going to focus on how Kinsey inspires me today.

Kinsey has been through two marriages, the first of which she broke off, the second of which she was dumped. I’ve only been in two long-term relationships since high school (let’s not count anything in my life before high school graduation!), and both ended in the same fashion as Kinsey’s marriages. Yes, I’m aware a marriage is very different from a mere relationship. The story picks up after Kinsey’s second marriage is over, and she goes through a series of relationships – some are short and more sexual, some are more serious. I can see myself relating to Kinsey’s shorter term relationships, because it’s pretty close to how I view my own short-term relationships.

“I know a couple of guys on the circuit and they’re hard as nails, you know? Unhappy. Hostile towards women. They get laid, but that’s about all they get.” -Kinsey Millhone, D is for Deadbeat

While I’m not “on the circuit” as Kinsey is describing here, I am finding myself growing “harder” when it comes to men (flipping the genders in this quote). Sure, with the use of Grindr, Scruff, Manhunt, and the like it’s easy to go get laid. Serious relationships are a much rarer find on them though. I’m not really comfortable going out to a bar or club and start talking to guys there to try to find a date. If there’s any kinds of mixers in the area for finding dates offline, I’m not aware of them.

I’m on the fence when it comes to being hostile towards men. On one hand, the first thing I always see is if I would sleep with him or not. I’ve come to accept this will always be a gut reaction to any guy that crosses my path, no matter the context. That being said, knowing this is the first step to work on changing it. Kinsey is kind enough to remind me of my own faults by pointing them out in others.

Kinsey has a very solid belief when it comes to men and money:

“Rule number one, first and foremost, above all else was financial independence. One should never, never, never be financially dependent on anyone, especially a man, because the minute you were dependent, you could be abused.” -Kinsey Millhone, D is for Deadbeat

Ever since I first read this, I knew it was something I needed to strive for myself. I have thankfully never been abused because of being financially dependent on someone, but I have been deeply stressed by financial dependence. One of the many, many layers for my cross-country move is this. I’m inching closer and closer to being able to support myself, and Kinsey is that spark that started that goal. The above quote has been a mantra of mine for some time now.

“I’m capable of screwing things up by trying to solve all the problems in advance instead of simply taking care of issues as they surface.” – Kinsey Millhone, D is for Deadbeat

I have this problem. More than I’d like to admit, honestly. I am a major planner, and try to set everything up so I never have to worry about anything. Life rarely works so automated though, and I tend to forget that. I tried this when I was a student at Parkside, and the result was academic suspension. For a short while, I was trying to do the same out here in Vermont, but I’m more mindful of how I’m organizing myself.

“If the Bad Guys don’t play by the rules, why should the good guys have to?” -Kinsey Millhone, O Is For Outlaw

This quote in particular opened my mind. I was raised on the concept that good guys were good guys because they were always right, and were always capable of defeating the bad guys. Recently, all the lines of “good” and “evil” have become severely blurred. “Right” and “Wrong” are much more complex and subjective than I’ve ever seen them before.

The most specific example I can give of relating to this quote is on the subject of guns. I used to be hardcore “guns are evil, we need to get rid of all guns.” Now I realize how utterly impossible that vision is. Thanks to friends of mine who own and use guns, I can see that guns aren’t inherently evil, but rather the person who wields the gun is evil. To that end, I have made it a life goal to learn how to shoot a gun, and practice with that a bit. Why write it off until I’ve tried it?

“Here’s my theory. Things get bad? Think about the last place you were happy and go there.” -Kinsey Millhone, P is for Peril

This has been another mantra for me since I first read this quote. I even go as far as having my own little universe to escape to when life stresses me out and I can’t exactly drive somewhere that makes me happy. In the real world however, it’s all of my online profiles that I can escape to. Hence why the title of this blog (and my Tumblr) is “My Little Corner Of The Universe.”

“We all need to look into the dark side of our nature – that’s where the energy is, the passion. People are afraid of that because it holds pieces of us we’re busy denying.” -Kinsey Millhone

Kinsey is very guarded – not many people get to know about her life, unless they gain her trust first. This is how I’ve always led my life, and my instinct at this point. Sure, I put a ton of stuff out on Facebook, this blog, twitter, but at the end of the day my innermost thoughts and feelings stay with me. Only a handful of people get to hear about them. Once upon a time, I had a bigger support network. One day that network came crashing down around me, and I lost (in one way or another) all the people I trusted and cared the deepest about. That’s what led me into my death trap of failing out of college and having to move back in with my mom, even though I didn’t want to. I love my mom, but I never want to live that downfall ever again.

On a deeper note: the above quote is something I’ve been trying to dig into more recently. I spent the year leading up to my move not just trying to make the cross-country move happen, but to move past my second relationship, to prepare myself for a new life, and above all else: define what my real passions are. While at my last job (and to a much smaller extent my current job) I’ve been trying to deny what I really want to spend my time doing, and just being distracted. By going back to community college in fall 2015, I need to take a hard look at what it is that I can commit myself to studying and getting better at. Otherwise, I’ll be just spinning my wheels and throwing away money again.

Giving a hat tip to “dark side of our nature” – this was the beginning spark for me looking into what BDSM is, and if I should pursue an interest in it.

“If life is a play, then there’s a logical explanation, an underlying tale that pulls the whole of it together, however clouded it first appears.” -Kinsey Millhone, O Is For Outlaw

Kinsey is a very independent woman, and I’m a very independent man. As a child, I used to spend the bulk of my time by myself in my room, in my own little universe. Even now, I’m happiest when on my laptop on the internet, alone, or watching Netflix, alone. Kinsey is the most realistic character/person with an independent streak that I relate to.

I love Kinsey’s notecard system for organizing information, and am working to make my own system like it. I also enjoy signing off on my blog posts just like how Kinsey does at the end of each novel.

Kinsey is a licensed private investigator, and since Sue Grafton does such an amazing job at researching the relationships between the police and PIs, it is through Kinsey that I have learned about the differences between the two. Knowing that the series is meant to be dramatic and Kinsey reminds us in every novel that the vast majority of her work is simple research in a library or steak outs for photos of people committing adultery, Kinsey started an interest of mine in the criminal justice system as a whole. At one point I was even considering criminal justice as a major because of her.

Thank You Kinsey, for being an inspiration!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: David Pakman

and_image_1340343463

David Pakman is the host of the radio/TV show, The David Pakman Show, which is a daily politics and news talk show that is filmed by David and his producer Louis, and airs on various networks internationally. It started as Midweek Politics in 2005, by David when he was still a student in Massachusetts. In 2010, David opened up the show to a membership base, which is the primary support system for the show. I discovered the show in 2011 via iTunes suggestions, and became a paid/subscribed member in April 2013.

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls

 

Prior to discovering David Pakman, my interest in politics and the news was limited to only LGBT topics, and I was also limited to getting my news from JoeMyGod and Towleroad. I had little to no idea how politics and government function in the United States, except about which politicians were supportive of LGBT people and which ones were against equality. I also had a very black and white view of the world when it comes to news and politics – there was a “correct” and there was a “wrong.” I also saw the binary of Democrat and Republican, and felt that was the norm and few people fell outside this binary.

When I first heard The David Pakman show (the free version with commercials as a podcast), I struggled to understand most of the issues that David talked about. I didn’t understand the different issues that the nation was facing, and felt very out-of-my-box trying to wrap my mind around what they meant. It was only when I started hearing David talk about the struggle for marriage equality that I finally started to hear him with understanding ears.

I decided to continue listening to his show and see what he had to offer, and I’m glad I did.

Pakman-David

I finally started to understand bits and pieces of the rest of the country after about two months of listening to his show, which I was able to start doing on a regular, consistent basis in October of 2012. I first started listening to where his sources were coming from (i.e. Raw Story, ThinkProgress, and many others) and trying to see David’s viewpoint on various issues through his own lens on the show. Through small quips over the course of several months, I began to understand David as a person and where he forms his beliefs from. From there, it’s easy to understand his commentary on issues he presents on his show.

On it’s face, I was able to follow and agree with most of the points that David presented on his show, and proceeded to add the sources he mentioned on the show to my RSS reader, so I could follow along in real-time. During this process, I realized how much passion I was gaining for following the news and watching events unfold through different written articles or as events were live Tweeted on Twitter. This is one of the basic reasons why I am considering finishing my bachelors degree in communications or journalism.

David strikes me as a very grounded person, who deeply analyzes the world around him. David is also deeply into his career, doing what he loves and making a full-time job out of it. Some things he has mentioned about the show bring my thoughts back to my brief time working in social media, and I can see the mistakes I made during that time, and how I can be better in it, which feeds my interest in following this blog.

David has gone toe-to-toe with some people who I consider to be the “Voldemorts of our time” on his show. During his interviews with these people, David is able to maintain his cool, to speak rationally, and to stay intellectual in his discussions. Until I saw David doing this, I did not understand how anyone could have a rational discussion with these people. Examples of this can be found here, here, and here.

Ferrin3Guy+Maddow300

The above picture is of the two people who have influenced my political beliefs the most. I’m sure you can figure out who they both are!

It was after my move to Vermont that I started watching the video version of his show (with help from Apple TV), which is what airs across the world. It’s a little mind-blowing to actually see David talk into a microphone and gesture to images on-screen, after having heard him merely as a voice in my ear for well over a year. While keeping calm on TV is an obvious trait for any show host, it’s now something I can see instead of merely listen to.

Giving a hat-tip to Rachel Maddow – I can say similar things about her. In Rachel’s case, I love the humorous spin she puts on her news commentary.

With that being said, I feel that David’s commentary and demeanor on the show is his mark as a gentlemen, which I am striving to become. On a micro level, I really like some of David’s fashion, which is another thing I’m learning from him. I want to look/dress like him on a daily basis. (There are other people who are teaching me about men’s fashion on a macro level, but that’s a future post!)

pakman

In summary, David has opened my eyes to areas of the world outside of the LGBT movement that are in need of change, or ongoing events that I otherwise wouldn’t have known about. David has planted the seed of thinking critically about these areas of the world in my mind. For now, I continue to be a proud member of his show (and have the bumper sicker displayed on my car) and will always be listening to his opinion, which leads to me forming my own. It is why I use the label “Independent Progressive.” David has also taught me to look in new places for information, and always be seeking out fresh material in places I haven’t explored yet. I will push myself to stay grounded when discussing issues with others, and to act as he does on the show.

Thank you David, for being an inspiration!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie