Finding Beauty in Depressing Art

As an optimist, people are surprised to find out that my taste in movies, music, and storytelling is as dark as it is.

Some of my favorite stories are the ones without happy endings. Whether the bad guy wins, the good guy fails, or nothing is resolved, something is satisfying to that kind of ending.

I find inspiration in depressing music. My favorite artist, The Smiths, is known as one of the most depressing bands of all time. And I feel motivated to create whenever I listen to The Black Parade, by My Chemical Romance; the entire album is about cancer and death, yet the roaring guitars open up my heart and mind to endless possibilities.

Either I’m a walking contradiction, or bad endings, and depressing art is used for not only myself but others as a way to cope and move on through the pain of life.

Because I’m not the only one.

I used to joke that Morrissey, the lead singer of The Smiths, made music so depressing that I realized how great my life was, and looking back there is truth in that joke.
By seeing and realizing the darkness, I could see the light that others had missed.

Tragedies written by Shakespeare are not only warnings about human nature but reminders of how life can get so much worse. His stories provide insight into how we contribute to our own suffering. Some of his characters are so real that we see ourselves in his stories.

When seeing destructive or evil characters in movies or books we can do an audible on ourselves to make sure we don’t become the evil we just learned about.
We learn more from failure then we do from success, and I believe the same things true in storytelling.

Some of the best artists have tormented pasts, and they use this as motivation in their art. What comes out are beautiful images or stories that are told from dark places that few will understand.

So embrace the darkness. Don’t be scared by your love for dark story telling, and songs. Instead use it to your advantage as you turn the world into a beautiful canvas.


Let’s Rejoice, Because It’s The Best Time To Be Alive

The mainstream media will have you believe that the world is falling apart; data analysis shows that life is getting better for the average person, but why are people in such a rush to prove the opposite is true?

There is more push back against my podcast The Best Time To Be Alive, than on my libertarian views, some of which are declared problematic by many in the mainstream.

I’m not trying to prove the world’s getting better, I just see this as an incredible story where the world is getting better, but no one knows. The day to day news tells the story of the day, which is normally more depressing, and to be fair it’s tough to share daily improvements because things don’t get better by day.

It takes more work for something/someone to improve, and it takes no effort for something to get worse.

The truth is we are built psychologically to focus on the negative for survival purposes. So being negative can be beneficial, but currently, it’s hurting more than it’s helping.

I believe that it’s dangerous to discount the improvements of humanity so we can fix today’s problems. Instead, we should take what we learned from past improvements to solve our current problems.

We are facing gigantic problems, but that doesn’t mean we should avoid logic and reason, and attack everyone before us, because they weren’t perfect or as enlightened as we are. As the world improves and people become smarter it is expected for future generations to laugh at how dumb we are currently.

Let’s embrace the past, focus on the present, and focus on the future.

Some facts to prove that the world is improving:


In 1900, 90% of the world was living in what’s labeled has extreme poverty: today where that number is under 10%. This can be traced by the UN, World Progress, and the bank. Some people believe we could end poverty by 2030.



Homicide deaths in America, for example, have fallen from around 10 people per 100,000 in 1965 to 4 today. The world’s rate is around 6 per 100,000 per year, and in Singapore, the rate is at (0.2), and in Iceland is at (0.3). Both countries have radically different approaches to solving violent crime, but it’s obvious both solutions work. The World Health Organization wants to decrease these numbers in half within the next 30 years, and it’s possible.



Oil spills have been going down even though when they do occur the news acts like it’s a daily occurrence. In 1975 there were about 125 oil spills, while in 2015 that number fell to under 25, and it continues to fall because the oil companies have an incentive as well as everyone else to not destroy the earth. The US leads all nations in the decrease of CO2 emissions. Since 2005 the US C02 emissions have declined by over 758 million metric tons. Emissions increased until 2000, and since then it’s gone down by a lot.

There’s more data to prove that the world is improving there are 70 graphs of data to prove it in Steven Pinker’s book Enlightenment Now.

These stories aren’t being told so I’m going to tell these stories with The Best Time To Be Alive.



On Wealth:

  • OurWorld in Data, Roser & Ortiz-Ospina 2017, based on data from Bourguignon & Morrison 2002 (1820-1992), averaging their “Extreme poverty” and “Poverty” percentages for commensurable with data on “Extreme poverty” for 1981-2015 from World Bank 2016g.

On Violence:

United States: FBI Uniform Crime Reports, And Federal Bureau of Investigation 2016. England (data include Wales) Office for National Statistics 2017. World, 2000: Krug et al. 2002. World 2003-2011 United Nations Economic and Social Council 2014. Fgi 1, the percentages were converted to homicide rates by setting the 2012 rate at 6.2, the estimate reported in United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2014, p. 12. The arrows point to the most recent years plotted in Pinker 2011 for the world.


On The Environment: 

Ritchie & Roser 2017, based on data from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center,;l.

Our World in Data, Roser 2016r, based on data (updated) from the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation, Oil spills include all those that result in the loss of at least 7 metric tons of oil. Oil shopped consists of “total crude oil, petroleum product, and gas loaded.


Forgiveness: Let’s live in a society that treats everyone as human beings

Narcissism has plagued our society, and we normally see its effects through social media in the age of Instagram influencers.

That hit of dopamine feels so good, so let’s try and reenact that feeling with another post and another post; it’s a drug and I can’t stop.

But there is a different kind of narcissism that exists, and its lifeline is in virtue signaling by people who attempt to destroy other peoples careers.

Words are tricky, and to be honest as a writer I am nervous every time I publish anything because of this fact. I could say something with the best of intentions, but the people reading don’t always interpret what I’m saying the same way. And if you don’t like what I’m saying it can mean something worse to you.

My point is we have reached a point where we no longer forgive people for being human. If you haven’t said something mean, messed up or ‘problematic’ than congratulations you’re above and beyond everyone else around you.

Being offensive is easy because the line is subjective, everyone has a different perspective on when a joke goes too far.

Sometimes just a word can trigger someone and all of a sudden you are on the receiving end of internet hate.

I noticed it first hand when last year rapper Kendrick Lamar invited a girl on stage with him to sing along with one of his songs which featured the ‘N word’ in it several times. He stopped the song and scolded her for using the word that was placed into his song several times.

An argument broke out about white people singing along to songs to the ‘N word’.
An honest girl on my friend’s list admitted that she does the same thing, and wanted to strike a conversation with people about the word. She wanted to understand the problem with her using that word when listening to rap music.

A virtue-signaling mutual Facebook friend attacked her and tried to pin her down as a horrible person for trying to strike up a conversation about the use of the word. He claimed that because she is white she is not allowed to be in the conversation at all, and only black people can decide.

Ironically he’s white.

Both arguments have validity to them, but I’ve hung out with this virtue signaling monster before, and I heard him use the word several times.

The purpose of that story was to show that people act differently in the public eye, then they do behind closed doors. And when someone in the public eye messes up we shouldn’t be so quick to condemn that person as a bigot.

This kid may have sounded better on Facebook, but I know who he is and if he doesn’t want to admit it than he doesn’t want to accept his humanity.

I’ve been a hypocrite before, so I understand him.

My goal isn’t to try and destroy someone’s career for something they said even if it’s disgustingly wrong, a better solution in my mind is to try and understand the full context of who that person is because everyone has said something clumsy.
If that person has a history of saying racist or sexist things in a malicious way than I’ll condemn that person.
On a side note, I will always give a pass for comedians. There is a difference between saying something offensive in the context of trying to make others laugh and having malicious intent.
I’ve said some messed up things in my life. A lot of it I regret saying. Looking back at the age of 23 I’m embarrassed for being so dumb with my speech over and over.
The truth is I am just like you. I am human, and I deserve forgiveness for being human, and so do you.

The Future is Optimistic

I can’t help myself.

I am a contrarian. Nothing places a larger smile on my face then being in a room full of people I disagree with. And when I am in rooms filled with like-minded people I tend to split hairs and argue points that don’t need to be addressed.

That’s why the world needs contrarians. Cults begin because no one has the guts to say enough is enough.

Naturally, being around pessimists would assist me in developing optimistic viewpoints. Journalists, in general, tend to tell negative stories. In some circumstances, the bad news is needed especially for investigative journalists uncovering sinister plots and organizations. The truth needs to be uncovered.

But can we as journalists uncover the truth for the positive elements in society? Well, I argue we can and we should.

In 2018 I read Enlightenment Now by Harvard Psychologist Professor Steven Pinker, and the book changed my life. Pinker used data to argue that the world is slowly improving and we don’t notice it due to our instinctual bias towards the negative, which was detrimental towards our survival.

Examples from his book include: The number of people living off of a dollar a day has decreased by 30% in the past 30 years, and is now under 10%. People in developing countries have more access to food. Fewer people are dying in wars. The global homicide rate has declined.

Behind these facts were stories waiting to be told.

The world we live in today is full of problems waiting to be solved, but if we don’t take a step back and learn from our past accomplishments I don’t believe we can take on our current problems.

To be honest I want to tell all stories including the negative stories need to be shared.

But as a contrarian, I can’t help myself.