Are you right to cut ties with your grandpa now that his sociopathic, incestuous, and pedophilic history has come to light? Welcome to Feedback Friday!
And in case you didn’t already know it, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) banter and take your comments and questions for Feedback Friday right here every week! If you want us to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- Some people in your family disagree with your decision to cut ties with Grandpa now that his sociopathic, incestuous, and pedophilic history has come to light. What should you do? [Thanks to Maria Socolof and Brad Watts for helping us with another heavy one!]
- Six months off weed during a manic period brought you artistic success and closeness to your wife and kids. Now, in a ‘down’ time, an urge to resume communion with the righteous herb has returned — much to the chagrin of your wife. Is it worth it?
- Your father gave you and your siblings each $100,000 to use for investing in real estate. While you did use much of it to put a down payment on a house, you wasted about half self-soothing while dealing with a depressing, friendless work assignment in the middle of nowhere. Though you know your dad would be disappointed, should you come clean?
- Management at your company has become toxic since a recent merger, and they want you to jump through the hoop of finishing your bachelor’s degree to make an extra $10,000 in your current position. Unfortunately, a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis has you worried you might not be up to the challenge. What’s your best move?[Thanks to HR professional Joanna Tate for helping us with this one!]
- Is there value in platforming divisive figures like RFK Jr. on this show?
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHarbinger and Instagram at @jordanharbinger.
- Connect with Gabriel on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi and Instagram @gabrielmizrahi.
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider leaving your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Please note that some links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Jordan Harbinger Show receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. We appreciate your support!
This Episode Is Sponsored By:
- Airbnb: Find out how much your space is worth at airbnb.com/host
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Miss our two-parter with former Westboro Baptist Church spokesperson Megan Phelps-Roper? Make sure to catch up starting with episode 302: Megan Phelps-Roper | Unfollowing Westboro Baptist Church Part One here!
Resources from This Episode:
- Que Bonito Hat | Bonito Coffee Roaster
- Homeopathy | Skeptical Sunday | Jordan Harbinger
- Annie Ikpa | The Campaign to End Child Sacrifice | Jordan Harbinger
- What We Can Learn from Envy | Deep Dive | Jordan Harbinger
- Antisocial Personality Disorder | Psychology Today
- Cutting Ties with Toxic Family Members: An Act of Self-Care | Live Well with Sharon Martin
- Maria Socolof | LinkedIn
- Confronting & Healing Sibling Sexual Trauma | 5 WAVES
- Brad Watts | Website
- Sibling Sexual Abuse: A Guide for Confronting America’s Silent Epidemic by Brad Watts | Amazon
- The Effects of Child Sexual Abuse | IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
- Popcorn In a Pickle | Trader Joe’s
- Gabe’s Popcorn & Movies Rant | Twitter
- Now Playing | Oppenheimer
- Real People. Real Pain. Real Hope. | Sibling Sexual Trauma
- Survivors Who Harm Others | Sibling Sexual Trauma
- Tragedy, Impact, and Intent | Sibling Sexual Trauma
- Many People with Bipolar Disorder Use Cannabis. It May Sometimes Help | Scientific American
- What Blowing a $250K Inheritance Taught Me | The Week
- Joanna Tate, MSHR, PHR | LinkedIn
- A Few Thoughts About RFK Jr. | Making Sense with Sam Harris #325
- Sam Harris | Rationally Confronting the Irrational | Jordan Harbinger
- Paul Hutchinson | Beyond the Politics of “Sound of Freedom” | Jordan Harbinger
- Cindy Otis | Spotting Fake News Like a CIA Analyst | Jordan Harbinger
- Renee DiResta | Dismantling the Disinformation Machine | Jordan Harbinger
- Andy Norman | The Search for a Better Way to Think | Jordan Harbinger
885: No Need to Be Chummy with a Grandad So Scummy | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to Airbnb for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show. Maybe you've stayed at an Airbnb before and thought to yourself, "Yeah, this actually seems pretty doable. Maybe my place could be an Airbnb." It could be as simple as starting with a spare room or your whole place while you're away. Find out how much your place is worth at airbnb.com/host.
[00:00:22] Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. But we're laughing already because of shenanigans prior to hitting the record button. We had to hit record or we're not going to be serious this whole day. I'm here in studio with Feedback Friday producer, a guy who's literally wearing a hat today that says, Que Bonito. Are you trying to make it embarrassingly easy for me to roast you?
[00:00:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:00:46] Jordan Harbinger: Because it's working.
[00:00:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:00:48] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:00:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's working. When I put on this hat, I knew it was a choice.
[00:00:52] Jordan Harbinger: Is that a brand? Que Bonito? Or is it just like, hey, this is how I'm feeling?
[00:00:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: If you want to hear the whole story, I can tell you how I came by this hat.
[00:00:57] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm, I don't know about the whole story. What's the abbrev version?
[00:01:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: I just found out because I did not know this until I looked it up online. It's a coffee roasting company.
[00:01:06] Jordan Harbinger: Aah.
[00:01:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: That makes merch, and a friend of mine bought it at my suggestion, and it did not look very good on her, so she just gave it to me, which was the correct decision.
[00:01:15] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:01:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: And I've been wearing it ever since, and it seems to be a hit. I love this hat. I'm really into this hat. But yeah, it's a coffee company.
[00:01:22] Jordan Harbinger: Que Bonito, in the pink font, we're going to find out in two or three years, or right after the show, that means something that neither of us are aware of, that's either horrifyingly sort of gross or possibly a subculture reference that we're just not picking up. Because a lot of people are giving you attention because I refuse to believe it's just because those beans are that popular.
[00:01:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, the problem is that, okay, so it's que bonito, which means like, how beautiful, right?
[00:01:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:01:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: But I thought it meant like, how beautiful is life? You know, that was how I was going out into the world with this hat.
[00:01:53] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:01:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: But then, about halfway through my trip in Spain, a bunch of people kept stopping me and asking me where I got it. And then I realized, like, maybe I'm wearing a hat that suggests that I think I'm que bonito. And so now I've been a little bit self-conscious about it.
[00:02:04] Jordan Harbinger: Aah.
[00:02:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Because I was trying to express something very different.
[00:02:07] Jordan Harbinger: Got it. Well, yeah.
[00:02:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: It hits on a few levels.
[00:02:09] Jordan Harbinger: It hits on a few levels.
[00:02:10] On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice you can use to impact your own life and those around you. And our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker.
[00:02:24] During the week, we have long-form conversations with a variety of amazing folks from cold case homicide investigators to four-star generals and Hollywood filmmakers. This week, we had Annie Ikpa on child sacrifice. She's an activist that got a law passed in Uganda about child sacrifice. Can you believe it? Not that it was legal, but there was no law against it, so it was kind of hard to prosecute this kind of thing, which doctors were killing children or having parents kill their own children. It's a horrifying story, but if you want that horrifying story, Annie Ikpa from this week, actually a really great episode. Moving, and she's just such a gem of a human.
[00:03:01] Gabe and I also did a deep dive on envy. Unpacking this complicated emotion, learning how it operates in your life, figuring out what your envy is trying to teach you about your goals, your needs, your life. Some super interesting and hopefully very useful general life stuff in this one all inspired by some conversations Gabe and I have been having lately about how to take so-called negative emotions like envy and make them your teacher because they ain't going anywhere.
[00:03:27] And finally, another Skeptical Sunday last Sunday on homeopathy with Michael Regilio, an episode that I fully expect is going to fill my inbox with even more kooky crazy hate mail So if you want to send me something nice, I'm all ears.
[00:03:39] On Fridays, we share stories, we take listener letters, we offer advice, we play obnoxious soundbites. And obviously, one of the key activities is mercilessly roasting Gabe for his appearance and life choices.
[00:03:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:03:50] Jordan Harbinger: Speaking of which, I did get a few DMs from people over the last couple of weeks going, "Dude, why you so mean to Gabe? Lighten up. He's not that bad. You know, your friends aren't going to stick around if you treat them like this." And I was just thinking, wow, I notice a lot of these people have really obviously foreign names.
[00:04:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:04:04] Jordan Harbinger: And I wonder if they can't tell that I'm joking or maybe I can't tell that they're joking. I'm open to that interpretation.
[00:04:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:04:11] Jordan Harbinger: But do you guys not know that making fun of Gabe's weird workouts and veganism and silly hats, that is my love language? Gabe, are you just over there trying not to cry and I'm too self-absorbed to notice?
[00:04:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: No, I love it. Are you kidding me?
[00:04:25] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:04:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: You're just saying all this stuff I think about myself. So, it's great. It's hilarious.
[00:04:29] Jordan Harbinger: Cool. Yeah, I don't know. Maybe I overdid it one week or something. So you can relax, guys. You know, you're listening to two men who express their love through insults.
[00:04:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's right.
[00:04:36] Jordan Harbinger: As is the custom of our gender, frankly.
[00:04:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Correct.
[00:04:39] Jordan Harbinger: We can't communicate on any sort of open, reasonable level. That would require a lot more therapy than even either of us plan on getting.
[00:04:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: So awkward.
[00:04:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's 13 years of friendship, you're hearing in those roasts.
[00:04:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Exactly. That's the sound of history. Guys, sit back and enjoy.
[00:04:54] Jordan Harbinger: Now, let's hear the sound of the first thing out of the mailbag.
[00:04:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Okay, before we dive into this next one, just want to give you guys a heads-up that this is a difficult one. It's about sexual abuse and it goes into some vivid detail. I just want to let you know.
[00:05:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, all right.
[00:05:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, last fall, my mom sat my siblings and me down and said that we needed to have a difficult talk about grandpa, her father. She then told us about how he molested my aunt, my mom's youngest sister, since she was 10 years old. My mom went into graphic detail, how on a hunting trip when they were alone, my grandpa exposed himself to his daughter and grabbed her hand to touch him, how he would walk in on her while she was in the shower, how he would come into her bedroom at night and put his mouth on her genitals and want her to do things to him as well.
[00:05:41] Jordan Harbinger: So gross.
[00:05:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ugh. Rough start to this letter.
[00:05:44] Jordan Harbinger: It's really dark, super sad. This guy's a real predator, ugh, this poor woman.
[00:05:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: My grandparents, my mom, and her siblings have known about my aunt's abuse since she told the family in the early '90s. By the time she opened up about it, she was grown, married with children, and didn't want to report anything. The siblings agreed not to tell their children, which includes me and my cousins, and my grandpa said that he would seek counseling. After a year or so of counseling, my grandpa said that he was, quote-unquote, "cured." Then, last year, all of my mom's siblings agreed to spill the family secret about my aunt's abuse because she's an author and is writing a book about her experiences. Since then, so much more has come out about my grandfather. Two granddaughters and one great-granddaughter have come forward with experiences of my grandpa exposing himself to them. And one granddaughter was forced to perform oral sex on him.
[00:06:35] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my god.
[00:06:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: One incident has been reported to police, but they said there wasn't enough evidence to pursue it. Other than that, he's faced no consequences for his actions.
[00:06:46] Jordan Harbinger: Dude, I'm getting angry. This is the problem with keeping this sort of thing secret, is people don't know to keep their kids away from these predators. I understand there's a shame element here. Obviously, this guy's not cured whatsoever, he's an absolute monster, this is horrifying. If you think about it, you take the shame element out, which is really hard. If your kid falls into a hole in a vacant lot, you tell everybody that there's a hole in the vacant lot.
[00:07:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Good point.
[00:07:13] Jordan Harbinger: But when somebody in your family or close to you is a predator, a sexual predator, you don't tell anyone because it might reflect poorly on that person or you, but then other people get victimized as a result. I just can't understand this calculation. I can't.
[00:07:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's hard to know how many variables there were in that decision. Maybe they had other reasons.
[00:07:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:07:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: But you make a really, really good point that I had not thought about. So, the letter goes on.
[00:07:36] My family forced my grandfather to attend therapy and had him sign papers so that they could legally speak to the therapist about what they talked about in their sessions. Other things that came out during these sessions include the fact that my grandfather began having oral sex and giving handjobs with his own brother around the age of 13. That he's had a porn addiction since a young age and that he's frequented sex workers and massage parlors for several years. He claims he stopped when he was 70 years old after one of the sex workers turned out to be an undercover police officer. He's also forced my grandmother to watch pornography against her will. The sexual stuff aside, my grandpa can also get very angry, very quickly. And he has slapped my mom on a few occasions recently.
[00:08:18] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Wow. Okay. So this addiction slash compulsion is basically running this guy's whole life.
[00:08:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sounds like it.
[00:08:24] Jordan Harbinger: Plus he has other issues. This is intense. It reminds me. A long time ago I dated a gal who was a police officer.
[00:08:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:08:32] Jordan Harbinger: And one of the things, you know, she's young and cute so they put her undercover as a like a street walker, sex worker. I don't know what the PC term is for that. I guess I'll just leave it there.
[00:08:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sex worker, I think, yeah.
[00:08:44] Jordan Harbinger: The ones who hang out literally on the road, on the street.
[00:08:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure Yep.
[00:08:47] Jordan Harbinger: She caught this old guy and he was like 70 years old and he's like, "Oh, I'm so embarrassed. I'm so embarrassed." And she felt guilty, right? Because it's like this old guy and he's like, "Oh, my wife died. I'm very lonely."
[00:08:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:08:59] Jordan Harbinger: And she felt horrible about it. And then after a few days, one of her other officers came in and was like, "Hey, you need to not worry about that. That guy was a terrible person." And she's like, "I don't know. He's just an old, lonely guy." And they go, "No. In the trunk of his car, he had rope, a shovel, and a bag of lime."
[00:09:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, okay.
[00:09:17] Jordan Harbinger: "He was going to murder you."
[00:09:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, wow.
[00:09:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. No, he's not like a lonely old man, like, that was just BS, he was a psychopath.
[00:09:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wild.
[00:09:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:09:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's terrifying.
[00:09:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:09:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Cool story.
[00:09:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Anyway, so about him and his brother fooling around—
[00:09:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I mean, we don't know if this guy's worse than this, but this is enough to work with on its own.
[00:09:35] Jordan Harbinger: Right, yeah. I just, you know, because I thought like, oh, 70, he's embarrassed. I don't know, man.
[00:09:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: I got you.
[00:09:41] Jordan Harbinger: So about him and his brother fooling around, it sounds like we don't know who initiated that, right? If what's not clear from the—
[00:09:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Correct.
[00:09:46] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:09:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: No.
[00:09:47] Jordan Harbinger: So we don't know if this woman's grandpa was the victim there or the perpetrator there, or if they were just—
[00:09:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:09:52] Jordan Harbinger: —so young that it's kind of like ambiguous.
[00:09:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I can't tell if that backstory is part of his, like, villain origin story or just the first chapter in what sounds like a long history as an aggressor.
[00:10:03] Jordan Harbinger: I see. Yeah, interesting.
[00:10:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: We'll come back to that, I guess.
[00:10:05] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:10:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: So sad. The letter goes on.
[00:10:08] My grandpa's therapist said he's quite sure he has antisocial personality disorder, aka sociopathy. Since finding that out, I haven't seen or spoken to my grandfather. But many of my family members, including my mom, see him on a regular basis. They bring him meals several times a week and invite him over to their homes for dinner. They take him to doctor's appointments and therapy appointments. They do his grocery shopping for him. Some of my cousins even still go to his house to visit with him. Although I have a hard time with it, those who want to maintain a relationship with him have the freedom to do so. What I don't like is that some of them are now guilting those like me who have cut him out. My aunt, the one who was abused, has kept a close relationship with him through the years. She says that if she can forgive him, then others should be able to forgive him too. I wasn't abused by him, at least that I have any memories of, but I feel like my family is dancing around what my grandfather really is — a sociopathic, child molesting, pedophile.
[00:11:05] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:11:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Am I a bad person to not want a relationship with this abusive, violent man who isn't at all who I thought he was? Signed, Choosing the Right Camp When It Comes to This Twisted Gramps.
[00:11:16] Jordan Harbinger: So, man, I'm a bit stunned, Gabe.
[00:11:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: I am too.
[00:11:20] Jordan Harbinger: We've heard a lot of very difficult stories on Feedback Friday.
[00:11:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:11:23] Jordan Harbinger: But this one is definitely up there.
[00:11:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Way up there.
[00:11:25] Jordan Harbinger: I don't know if there are really words for this kind of abuse. It's just, ugh, it's really gross. Your grandfather hurt a lot of people very badly.
[00:11:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:11:34] Jordan Harbinger: And by the way, I think this is maybe the most important part, he's still hurting them.
[00:11:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:11:38] Jordan Harbinger: So it's unclear in my opinion. I mean, I'm no professional here, but it's unclear if he can really be helped. I personally find this guy terrifying, and disgusting, and unsympathetic. Although, you know, I'm trying to hold my anger alongside the fact that somebody who does this is maybe also in a lot of pain himself, but you know, or is just a terrible psychopath that doesn't give a sh*t about anybody else. I don't think you become a sociopathic child abuser in a vacuum, but in my book what he's done is absolutely unforgivable, and it's important, again, to remember that he is still very dangerous, as proven by his actions. So my heart goes out to you and to the rest of your family, because this is deeply painful stuff.
[00:12:18] We wanted to talk to an expert about your story, so we reached out to Maria Socolof, president and co-founder of 5waves.org, a nonprofit offering resources to survivors of siblings, sexual trauma, and their families. Maria is also a survivor of childhood abuse, so she has a personal and important lens on stories like yours. And by the way, Maria hates our jokes on these Feedback Friday episodes. And so Maria, thanks for your help. You're going to send us angry emails after this but again, we're tying to keep it 100.
[00:12:46] The first thing Maria wanted to unpack was the sibling sexual trauma angle here, your grandfather passed with his brother. Again, it's unclear whether he instigated the abuse or he was coerced into it. Who knows? But Maria pointed out that if he caused harm to his sibling and went on to be an abusive adult, he's actually in the minority. In fact, Brad Watts, the sibling sexual abuse expert we consult with from time to time on the show, in his book, Brad quotes some researchers who found that, and this is a quote from the book, "There is no empirical evidence to support that once a child has engaged in sexually abusive behavior, the child will continue to engage in sexually abusive behavior throughout his or her lifetime."
[00:13:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. In other words, if you're abusive as a child, there's no evidence that you will definitely continue to abuse as an adult.
[00:13:33] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Of course, some do go on to abuse, just to be clear. Now, if your grandfather was the one harmed by his sibling or anyone else, that also doesn't mean that he'd be destined to become a pedophile or abuse other people. But Maria said that it is certainly a risk factor. She told us about another study that found that the majority of child sexual abuse survivors do not go on to harm others, which is actually really good news. But it is estimated that around a third of survivors do, which was actually quite a bit higher than I guess I would have thought, and is pretty heartbreaking. But here's the really good news. Maria also reminded us that when children receive early treatment for their harmful sexual behavior, only about two to five percent go on to re-offend, two to five percent. Brad talks about that in his book too, and I find that really remarkable. That actually gives me quite a lot of hope.
[00:14:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:14:21] Jordan Harbinger: Because you can break the chain with the right therapy or treatment. So this tragic case of your grandfather, it really paints a picture of a person who's been shaped by a number of tragedies, has gone on to perpetrate many more, and probably didn't get the help he needed early on. And if nothing else, Maria said, your grandfather's story is a cautionary tale, just one of many reasons we are all very grateful you shared your story with us.
[00:14:45] So let's talk about your family, there are different responses to all this news. Maria explained to us that different reactions from various family members, that's very common with intrafamilial sexual abuse, such a complex family dynamic. In her experience, some people remain in denial, some people will do anything to appear as a, quote-unquote, "normal family," some will keep the secret to hold the family together, some will forgive, some can't forgive, some people may break off all contact. These responses can be all over the map, and I imagine that can be very chaotic and very confusing sometimes.
[00:15:17] So are you a bad person for not wanting to have a relationship with your grandfather? I mean, Gabe, I don't know about you, every fiber of my being is screaming no.
[00:15:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Correct.
[00:15:27] Jordan Harbinger: Call me crazy.
[00:15:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Nope.
[00:15:29] Jordan Harbinger: I do not think you have any obligation to take the unrepentant, sociopathic, pedophile abuser in your family to fricking Marie Callender's every week for a slice of pie. No.
[00:15:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Or drive him to his therapy appointments where he doesn't seem to be making any progress.
[00:15:43] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. Swinging by Trader Joe's on your way home to drop off a bag of snacks on this monster's doorstep.
[00:15:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, why? Why would you? Oh, yeah, seriously. "Enjoy the popcorn in a pickle, Grandpa," you know?
[00:15:52] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:15:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hope being absolute human garbage is going well.
[00:15:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. "See you next week, Pop Pop." I'm not trying to fear too far off from the tragedy at hand, but popcorn in a pickle, what is that?
[00:16:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Did you just catch up with that reference?
[00:16:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I was like, what, is that a joke I didn't get?
[00:16:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't know, I saw it at Trader Joe's the other day and I think it just lodged in my brain for some reason.
[00:16:11] Jordan Harbinger: But it can't be literally popcorn inside of a pickle.
[00:16:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: I think it's popcorn with pickle seasoning which now that we're talking about it sounds so gross.
[00:16:21] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, but that's pickle on popcorn.
[00:16:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't even, I'm not sure why that's a snack.
[00:16:25] Jordan Harbinger: All right, let's not split hairs.
[00:16:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. I don't know what's going on with the fine folks at Trader Joe's and why they name their snacks the way they do, but that's what it's called.
[00:16:32] Jordan Harbinger: No, it's misleading. But also, don't you hate popcorn, Gabriel? Isn't that one of your things?
[00:16:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, I hate it. I hate it. Well, actually, I'm sort of more or less neutral about it as a food. I mean, if you want to go to town on like three gallons of hot salty air, that's fine. What I actually hate is the sound of people eating popcorn, just to be clear.
[00:16:51] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, yes. You did have a meltdown on Twitter about this, I remember. I'm not calling it X, by the way.
[00:16:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: I just feel very strongly that popcorn and movies should not go together. Like, I know that's as American as apple pie.
[00:17:02] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:17:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: But they just get in the way of each other, in my opinion. The sound of people eating popcorn, which apparently no one knows how to do quietly, I don't understand why, that's what drives me up the wall.
[00:17:12] Jordan Harbinger: I'm really glad you're volunteering all this. Normally, I have to think of ways to make fun of you and you're doing all the work today.
[00:17:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Honestly, I'm happy to do it.
[00:17:19] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:17:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't mean, sorry, we're way off topic now.
[00:17:22] Jordan Harbinger: It's fine.
[00:17:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: But I have to tell you, I was in Lisbon a couple of weeks ago and I went to go see Oppenheimer and the woman sitting next to me was eating popcorn. So loudly, I was going out of my skin, but also I had just come back from a retreat. I think my senses were very heightened.
[00:17:37] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:17:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: So that's on me, I guess. I just didn't think things through and I actually couldn't finish the movie, which I have to go back and buy another ticket and finish the movie because it was just too much. It was a disaster.
[00:17:45] Anyway, shall we get back to the real villain?
[00:17:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I think a lot of listeners are screaming yes/hitting the forward 15 seconds button. Let's get back to the other pickle here.
[00:17:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:17:55] Jordan Harbinger: What I was trying to say was, I don't see what you have to gain by being close with your grandpa. In fact, I see a lot of pain in continuing to be part of his life. To say nothing of what it signals to his many victims, which are your family, if you tow the family line and play nice. Maria feels similarly, although she's much more diplomatic than I am, of course. To quote her here, "You definitely shouldn't feel bad as it's your choice."
[00:18:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, Maria also explained that anyone's response here would depend on where they are in their own grieving process, in their own healing process, right? Your aunt, the one who was abused, she's apparently forgiven her father, but that doesn't mean the rest of you have to. I mean, maybe you'll get to that point, maybe not. As Maria put it to us, discovering this kind of information is shocking and everyone's on their own path to understanding it and processing it in their own way.
[00:18:44] Jordan Harbinger: Candidly, Gabe, I'm just having a hard time believing that this aunt has forgiven her father. I'm probably going to get yelled at by people who are like, It's not your place to believe that, you know, but—
[00:18:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Interesting. No, tell me.
[00:18:54] Jordan Harbinger: —after what he's done to her, the fact that he then continued to do this to the granddaughters in the family, who I would hope she identifies with in some way—
[00:19:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:19:03] Jordan Harbinger: A young girl being molested by the same guy, probably the same or similar way, is she really that empathetic and enlightened?
[00:19:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Or is she maybe suppressing some stuff?
[00:19:13] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, or bypassing it.
[00:19:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:19:16] Jordan Harbinger: Look, it's possible to get to this point if you do a ton of processing, you've got a lot of therapy, you're a very compassionate person.
[00:19:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Which, look, to be fair. Maybe she has. I mean, she did write that book about all this, so maybe that was her big healing experience.
[00:19:27] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. Maybe. I get it. And I think it's remarkable she's written a book about all this. I could see that as being very healing, but dude, her father did a real number on her. This is where I'm having a problem with it. Okay. Not just how could you ever forgive anyone? That's not what really where my beef is. It's not like he went to therapy, he had this big breakthrough, where he was like, "Oh my god, I have serious trauma, I can't believe I've done all these horrible things, I need to go to therapy every day for three years, and set boundaries so I don't re-offend. And I need to heal all this stuff, and do everything in my power to repair things with my family, please tell me how to make this right," you know? That's not what happened—
[00:20:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:20:03] Jordan Harbinger: —at all. He just goes on to re-offend, and besides, maybe this aunt, forgave him for abusing her. Okay, let's be super charitable. She did forgive him for abusing her and we're believing her 100 percent. How do you then forgive him for abusing the granddaughters and great-granddaughters? Which, that's not her place to forgive him for.
[00:20:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's a good point.
[00:20:21] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, if you're so empathetic and enlightened, right, because you can forgive somebody who did this to you, then you know what it took to get to that point of empathy, enlightened forgiveness, whatever you want to call it. So I cannot imagine that you'd expect another person who's a little girl in your family, young ones who maybe haven't done this work at all, to be in the same place as you. Why would you expect them to have that same level of work done that you have done?
[00:20:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:20:45] Jordan Harbinger: Again, that just makes me wonder if she's trying to hold the family together in some artificial way. Because under no reasonable circumstances would you expect a child where you go, "Hey look, I know I've processed this for 40 years, got married, had kids, and just buried it and wrote a whole book about it. But, you know, can't you just forget last summer? You're 11 years old already." I mean, that's ridiculous. So I just, plus he's forcing his wife to do stuff. He's forcing grandma to watch porn. That is not normal.
[00:21:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: I've kind of forgot about that detail—
[00:21:14] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:21:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: —until you just brought it up again. And that is a very loaded phrase. Yeah. He's making grandma watch porn against her will.
[00:21:20] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:21:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Plus he has this anger issue. He slapped our friend here's mom several times and that was recent, right? So this is, again, to your point, it is still happening.
[00:21:28] Jordan Harbinger: Yes. Look, if I were the child whose kids were also abused by their grandfather, I'm fuming mad at everyone. I'm not going, "Oh, well, I guess my sister/cousin, whatever, she's okay with it. So I can't be mad about my own kid being sexually assaulted by her grandfather." No.
[00:21:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:21:45] Jordan Harbinger: I can pretty confidently say if my kids were abused in this way, I would murder the person who did it. I'm not, I guess I'm kidding, but I'm kind of not, don't get me wrong, I'd make it look like an accident, I'd pretend to be upset. But he would collapse in the backyard and die of natural causes if you catch my drift. There's just no way I'm letting that go, there's no chance in hell. So I don't believe that everybody—
[00:22:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:22:04] Jordan Harbinger: —is on the same page and should forgive this guy and like our writer is just the one holdout who's not going to toe the line. I don't buy that.
[00:22:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: I hear you. Dark Jordan is activated by this story.
[00:22:13] Jordan Harbinger: Yes.
[00:22:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: But this speaks exactly to Maria's point. Our friend here can have her stance and her experience. And she can allow everyone else, like her aunt, to have theirs, which to her credit she's already doing. And when they go, you know, "How can you cut grandpa off? You're heartless, he's an old man, he's confused, he's troubled," whatever they're saying, I think you just have to let it roll off your back.
[00:22:33] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:22:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Or you can say, "Well, I'm sorry you feel that way. I don't. I can't have a relationship with this guy and I struggle to understand why you can, but if you want to do that, I respect that you want to go a different way.
[00:22:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I'm sorry, Dad, but Dark Jordan says I have to murder you now. I would have a hard time not chewing out my family members who are eating lasagna with a guy who literally molested them or people they love and are supposed to protect.
[00:22:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's a fair point.
[00:22:57] Jordan Harbinger: But that's me. I'm just not a lasagna guy. No, I'm kidding.
[00:23:03] This is what I'm talking about, Maria. I'm sorry. I think she's typing the email already about how offensive this is.
[00:23:08] Bottom line, this is not unreasonable or cruel in our view. You've given this a lot of thought. You're not looking for a fight. You're just pulling away from a dangerous person in a heavy situation And I think that's absolutely fair and I'm so sorry that this is your grandfather This is supposed to be a kind guy that you can look up to and the family circles the wagons around and that is sort of happening but in a like a gross undeserved way. And there's a deep wound in this family that just might never fully heal.
[00:23:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:23:37] Jordan Harbinger: But it sounds like you're being very clear about all of this while still being respectful. She didn't say that she unloaded all the dirty laundry at the Christmas dinner, right?
[00:23:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:23:47] Jordan Harbinger: This is a hard line to walk and I admire her for doing it.
[00:23:50] Big thanks to Maria Socolof for her wisdom here. 5waves also has a terrific information hub that we'll link in the show notes. Siblingsexualtrauma.com is where you can find it.
[00:23:59] We'll also link to some articles Maria shared about this topic in the show notes. Highly recommend giving those a read. I think they'll be very eye-opening for you right now. And we're sending you and your family a big hug and we're wishing you all the best.
[00:24:11] And we adore you, Maria. Thanks for putting up with us.
[00:24:13] You know what won't tear your family apart? The crazy good deals on products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:24:23] This episode is sponsored in part by TextExpander. I love this fricking app, man. Last week, our team saved an entire day worth of typing a day. We saved a day a week of just typing. Every week, TextExpander sends me a report, which is pretty cool, so I can see how much time everyone saves. Save hours of typing out repetitive things, like the current date, email addresses, phone numbers, Zoom and calendar links, commonly used phrases. How many times do you type your email address? Never type it again. Type @ and then one letter, and your email address will shoot in there. Your phone number, type the first two numbers with a semicolon or something, it'll shoot in there. Zoom links, if you got one of those, calendar links. I have hundreds of these. TextExpander is keyboard shortcuts on freaking fire. There's dropdowns, you can do whole sentences. One listener wrote in saying she finally tried it. And of course, it's super easy. Typing three letters is a hell of a lot faster than digging up a Calendly link or calendar link, Zoom link, whatever. And other people have had their whole office convert to this. So if you're doing mass media outreach or networking, you got a lot of email communication, you want to do LinkedIn, whatever it is, TextExpander is so smart. It'll also suggest snippets you should create based on things you type all the time. It works on desktop and mobile and it's free to try.
[00:25:30] Jen Harbinger: Just go to textexpander.com/jordan and get 20 percent off when you're ready to sign up, textexpander.com/jordan.
[00:25:39] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Better Help. Navigating a separation or a divorce, not sure whether to pursue higher education, or perhaps you're juggling whether or not to be a stay-at-home parent or be an entrepreneur. Life's crossroads can be both exhilarating and daunting and therapy can be a trusty compass guiding you through uncharted territories. People think therapy is just for those who've weathered life's biggest storms. You got a lot of trauma, whatever it is. Yes, okay, it's beneficial for that, but it's great for everything. Every big decision, a lot of small decisions, a lot of patterns, delving into therapy gives you tools. You can face challenges head-on. You got support. You got some confidence because you got people behind you. If the idea of therapy has ever piqued your curiosity, I suggest you dip your toes in the water. Better Help is a great way to do that. It's all digital. You don't have to drive, you don't have to park, you do a questionnaire, you get matched, and if you don't like a therapist, you can switch at any time without any extra hassle or extra cost.
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[00:27:10] Now, back to Feedback Friday.
[00:27:13] Okay, next up.
[00:27:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. I'm a father of three, married for 12 years, and I'm six months free from smoking weed. It started with a one-month challenge, and I was feeling good and accomplishing some big artistic goals that I had neglected for a while. I'm a musician, painter, writer, and performance artist. So, I continued. This is my longest break from smoking in over 20 years.
[00:27:36] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Okay. That's a big deal. Congrats on that. That can't be easy, by the way.
[00:27:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: I think that I have some manic qualities where I feel fantastic at times and in a trough at other times. Sometimes, that's pretty dark, but I feel these ranges of emotion that give me a lot to work with artistically. I went to see a therapist during one of my up periods and told her how I work with myself, that I will look at some aspect of my life that needs a change, I will sit, and breathe with it, feel my body, find the resonance points, witness any potential memories or other sensations that arise, follow those around my body until they feel complete, shake, and make any sounds that come to me, finish with a shavasana, and thank myself for these moments.
[00:28:21] Jordan Harbinger: Stop. Did he say that?
[00:28:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:28:24] Jordan Harbinger: I thought this was your morning routine, Gabriel.
[00:28:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: You thought I was just—
[00:28:27] Jordan Harbinger: I thought this is what you do after your bowl of Kashi every day.
[00:28:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's actually before the Kashi, but yeah, fair enough.
[00:28:33] Jordan Harbinger: Pre-Kashi routine.
[00:28:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Pre-kash route. So the letter goes on.
[00:28:37] The therapist said that this is exactly what she would be doing, minus the shaking, vocalizing, and Shavasana.
[00:28:44] Jordan Harbinger: So everything, got it.
[00:28:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: No, no, no. She's leaving the rest of the body routine that he described to her.
[00:28:49] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I got it. Okay.
[00:28:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Because I was in an up phase, the only thing I really had to work on in my life was making more money. So we both agreed that there wasn't much for me to work on with her. But now I'm in a down period. I feel like smoking, but I also don't want to unless I can be in my creative zone for four to five hours. My next challenge with smoking is to take one hit and put it down. I enjoy self-discipline, and I can see that going really well. But then, I don't want to turn to ganja when I'm feeling down. As it is, I've been drinking during this break from smoking. One drink at the most, and I don't drink every night.
[00:29:23] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:29:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: My wife does not like that I smoke, and gets very charged around it, calling me out for being in a bad mood, which makes me become more agitated with her. She's been loving this break. My eldest child has also said that I wouldn't laugh at her jokes when I was high. And that, now I do.
[00:29:42] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, it makes me sad.
[00:29:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: But I'm worried about what I feel is a judgmental part of my wife, and that if I continue with weed and do what I feel is best for myself, it could lead to an unbridgeable divide. Am I wrong here? Is there a way to enjoy weed responsibly and still have peace in my marriage? Is being functionally manic a thing? Signed, Is the Ganja a Keeper, or Do I Need to Give Up the Reefer?
[00:30:06] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, there's a lot going on in this letter, but since we only have a few minutes here and Gabe took up an unconscionable amount of time with his weird popcorn rant, I'm going to cut right to the chase.
[00:30:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Fair.
[00:30:17] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, you're wrong here. Given what you've shared with us, I do not think that smoking weed is a good idea for you, at least not right now. And let me mirror back to you why. And before anybody's like, "Oh, Jordan's against weed." That's not what's going on here. You describe yourself as manic. Definitely, not my place to diagnose you, but you could have undiagnosed bipolar disorder, or something similar, or you might just experience mild mood swings for other reasons. But either way, generally not a good idea to self-medicate, and the weed could be interacting with these mood swings in ways that you don't even realize. Also, since you stopped smoking, you've accomplished a ton by your own admission here. I mean, go figure, right? It sounds to me like taking a break from weed really brought you back to yourself.
[00:31:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:31:00] Jordan Harbinger: It reconnected you with your art, it gave you fresh inspiration, renewed drive, made you more available to your family, who, by the way, you've said are loving this break, too. Your wife feels closer to you, something most people strive for, and spend years trying to accomplish that. She likes you more when you're not smoking. Your oldest child said that you wouldn't laugh at her jokes when you were high, and now you do, which, I said that was sad before, but as a dad myself, I got to say, hearing that was like a punch in the gut.
[00:31:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:31:30] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, laughing with your kids, it's one of the greatest joys of life. It's so important for kids to experience this. And that detail really painted a picture for me of a guy who's been, well, not completely present with his children for so long to the point where one of them, a kid who's probably still very young is literally saying, "Dad, I like you more when you're sober," which is kind of heartbreaking, in any way you slice it. And when your wife points out that your mood and the weed are a bit of a problem, you get agitated, which look, who knows what your dynamic with your wife really is. But what I'm hearing is that she's appropriately calling you out for being intoxicated or not totally on top of your mental health. And you're getting mad at her for not just letting you do what you want without any feedback. And on top of all that you've switched to drinking which you know maybe a drink every couple nights is not as damaging as the weed was at that level. But frankly, I'm just hearing some signs of dependence here in your life.
[00:32:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:32:31] Jordan Harbinger: Because between the smoking and the drinking and the whole "my next challenge is to take one hit of weed and put it down," I don't mean to piss in your Cheerios, dude. I would love for you to be able to moderate your weed intake, but that sounds like a slippery slope if I've ever heard one. I could see that undoing all of the amazing work that you have done. So I've got to ask you, why do you want to keep smoking weed? I mean, really ask yourself that. I understand that it's fun, it can be pleasurable, it can be useful creatively, it can help you sleep or whatever. It's weed. I get it. But at what cost to you and your mental health and your family? I would really, really sit with that question and answer it honestly.
[00:33:12] Gabe, am I being a total square here? I mean, maybe this guy needs to stay away from the reefer. I'm not—
[00:33:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: He needs to stay away from the reefer. Yes.
[00:33:19] Jordan Harbinger: I'm not a teetotaler by any means.
[00:33:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: No.
[00:33:21] Jordan Harbinger: Again, I'm not anti-weed on principle. I've been known to take edible if I need to go to sleep and I can't, or something like that, a light dose. I'm a lightweight. But this is just setting off a bunch of alarm bells.
[00:33:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, also, because it sounds to me like it might be getting in the way of him doing some very important work on the mood component, which is another huge issue.
[00:33:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, please tell me you're going to talk about therapist stuff. I could just feel you tensing up while you read that. I was like, "Oh god, Gabe is going to have a popcorn-induced aneurysm."
[00:33:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, well, I am pretty mystified by that part. So he goes to see a therapist during a manic phase, knowing that he's feeling manic, right?
[00:33:59] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:33:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: And he tells his therapist that he has this, I don't know exactly how to put it, we could call it a kind of meditation.
[00:34:05] Jordan Harbinger: A pre-kash route, I think is what it's called.
[00:34:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: He's got his pre-kash route, right? His bodywork performance therapy ritual which, look, I think it's interesting, and if it helps him, I'm all for it. I'm not going to take that away from him.
[00:34:18] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:34:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: But following resonance points until they feel complete—
[00:34:22] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, good, because I don't even know what that means either.
[00:34:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't know either. I'm sure it has some basis in bodywork or physiology or something.
[00:34:28] Jordan Harbinger: Maybe.
[00:34:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: But shaking, making sounds, doing a shavasana, and then just like calling it a day?
[00:34:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I needed to check in with my own resonance points after hearing that. And look, not that's complete nonsense, maybe that's part of a long list of other things you do. That doesn't sound like the beginning and the end of a therapy session from any qualified therapist.
[00:34:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: I can't see this addressing something like mood swings or possible bipolar disorder in a meaningful way.
[00:34:53] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:34:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: And in fact, it hasn't because here he is writing to us and he's still struggling with the mood swings. But the most worrisome part about all of this, for me, is that this therapist hears all of this and she's like, "Cool, that's exactly what I would be doing? Like, minus the shaking and the vocalizing and the shavasana." I don't know.
[00:35:10] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, no, that's where I go, how do these people even get licensed? What sort of crackerjack box ass therapist is this?
[00:35:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Again, I want to be respectful because I don't want to dismiss someone who might have helped him or again, take something away from him that is useful. Trust me, I have done some far-out sh*t in my day. Like, I will try anything. So I'm not saying that he can't work with himself creatively if he wants to. But I'm listening to your letter, man, and you're literally telling us, "I was manic when I went to therapy, so the only thing I really had to work on in my life was making more money. So my therapist and I agreed that there wasn't much for me to work on with her," and that is just not true.
[00:35:46] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:35:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: At a minimum, you have these mood swings to understand, but you also have a lot of other stuff to explore — the substance use, your relationship with your wife, your kids, your art, your career. So I'm just a bit confused by this conclusion. Although Jordan, you know, I guess there's a world where what that therapist said was true if she just did not have a lot to offer this guy.
[00:36:08] Jordan Harbinger: Well, this could be his version of what his therapist's opinion was. We obviously can't know what was actually said. Maybe she said five different things and he remembered that one thing.
[00:36:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:36:16] Jordan Harbinger: Who knows? What I do know is, weed isn't your friend, man. Sobriety is definitely your friend right now. The evidence is all around you, and I would listen to that evidence. And I would seriously consider giving therapy another try, maybe with a different therapist, somebody who specializes in mood stuff, so you can talk about these manic phases in more depth. I'm not necessarily saying you need to get on medication immediately or whatever. I'm not saying that you can't take care of yourself in other ways. I'm not even saying you can never smoke weed again in moderation. All of that is completely up to you. All I'm saying is that from your letter, it is clear that you have a lot to gain by not smoking.
[00:36:57] And trust me. It's way more fun to be a loving and peaceful husband with your wife and dad with your kids than to be zonked out at the dinner table staring into your bag of popcorn in a pickle while they talk about their day.
[00:37:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:11] Jordan Harbinger: Don't miss your life, dude. You have a lot of beautiful stuff to enjoy from the sound of it. And thanks for being open to looking at things in a new way and for letting us keep it real with you. This is out of love. I'm not trying to shame you on my show here. I want you to enjoy your family and your life and I wish you good luck with this and we're rooting for you. I really am. I hope that this is the kind of thing that's helpful. I know we went a little hard.
[00:37:35] I mean, damn, Gabe, after that, I need a joint and a stiff drink. You know what I mean?
[00:37:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Let's do it.
[00:37:40] Jordan Harbinger: You can reach us email@example.com. Please keep your emails concise. Try to use the descriptive subject line that makes our job a whole lot easier. If you're finding dead squirrels in your mailbox, your neighbors are eavesdropping on your therapy session through the wall, you slept with your best friend's girlfriend while he was out of town, whatever's got you staying up at night lately, hit us up firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here to help and we keep every email anonymous.
[00:38:02] Okay, what's next?
[00:38:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey guys, I'm a 33-year-old guy and I have an amazing relationship with my family, especially my father. He's always trusted me to make my own choices while never being afraid to share his opinions and concerns. We've always worked out small kinks in our relationship. And in recent years, he's even told me that he has learned a lot from me. And that he looks up to me, which meant a lot. A couple of years ago, my father told me and my siblings that he wanted to help us out financially now, rather than making us wait to receive help after he died. He gave each of us 100,000 Australian dollars, which is about $65,000 US, so that we could get into the property market. This was a shock to me, and such a beautiful surprise. It was also something that allowed me, at 31 years old, to leave the law, which was not a good fit. I was accepted into the Teach for Australia program and completed my Master's of Teaching on scholarship, making me a fully qualified teacher. The only catch was that I was placed in a desperately underfunded school in the middle of absolutely nowhere in the brutally hot Australian desert. I'm ashamed to say that living in that destitute, lonely place, steeped in the trauma of Australia's most underprivileged kids, almost broke me. I had no friends there, the town was rough, I ate more meals in my car than I did at home, I ate poorly, didn't exercise, drank, took up smoking, and I was soon on anti-depressants. In that time, I whittled away nearly half of the money my father gave me, just by being sad and stupid and self-soothing. I think it would break my father's heart if he knew. He hinted very strongly early on at how upset he would be if one of us didn't use the money appropriately. Thankfully, I made it through that chapter, I'm now a teacher in Melbourne, and I was still able to use the other half of the money to put a down payment on a house. But I feel so damn guilty. It eats away at me. I really dislike my own weakness. Do I tell my father the truth to ease my mind, or is that selfish too, and this is a burden I just need to bear on my own? How do I make this better? Signed, Coming Clean, About Frittering Away This Green.
[00:40:17] Jordan Harbinger: You know, this is interesting. I hadn't thought about this, but he went to go teach in this underprivileged area, picked up fast food, compulsive spending, smoking, and drinking.
[00:40:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:40:28] Jordan Harbinger: It's like, well, that's interesting. He did that just by being around these people in this environment. And then, it makes you think, aha, don't we usually fault these same people who literally are born into and live their whole life in this environment for doing those exact same things?
[00:40:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm. Interesting.
[00:40:42] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, I don't know the science behind this, but obviously there's a reason that that happened and it's, it doesn't happen maybe to every single person who's in that environment, of course, but if he was there for a year or two or three or however long it was, and that happened to him, imagine when you are born into and grow up around that.
[00:40:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:40:58] Jordan Harbinger: It seems like whatever effect is causing you to do that or vulnerability in human programming that gets you there is obviously going to have much more time to work its effects on that group of people.
[00:41:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Interesting theory.
[00:41:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I mean, it's not even a theory. I don't even, there's just obviously some correlation there. Causation is still up in the air for scientists to uncover and decide and hopefully educate us on.
[00:41:19] So anyway, it's an interesting question. First of all, you sound like a very thoughtful guy, which is probably why the law wasn't necessarily a fit, depending on what practice area of law I should say you were in. Congrats on transitioning to something more meaningful. I think that's brilliant. You're obviously super grateful for the gifts in your life, namely your dad, who sounds like a special guy, and this very generous help that he gave you. And you went through a difficult experience at that school. And I appreciate that you're not letting yourself off the hook for mismanaging your life, your money. I'm not going to do that either. And unfortunately, that meant that you made a huge mistake with the money. And that's just part of your story now.
[00:41:53] So, I hear you, that you carry a lot of guilt. Your dad is super loving. He says he looks up to you in some ways. So of course, you're sitting there thinking about 45 grand Australian that you blew on McDonald's, and Lucky Strikes, and Jack Daniels.
[00:42:07] Although, side note, Gabe, how do you actually spend that much money on junk food and booze and cigarettes?
[00:42:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: I was wondering the same. That's a lot of money to spend.
[00:42:14] Jordan Harbinger: You could put down a down payment on a McDonald's franchise, I would think, with that amount of money. Maybe not quite. But, part of me wonders if there's more to it than this. Like, are there strip clubs? Is there online poker? Is there some other thing?
[00:42:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Who knows?
[00:42:28] Jordan Harbinger: Or is that stuff just super expensive in Australia? That's also possible, hella taxes on all that stuff. I really don't know.
[00:42:34] The point is, I can understand why you're over there going, "Oh, I'm a total piece of crap, I've let my dad down, and this does kind of corrupt our whole relationship." I mean, that's a painful thought. So my answer to your question is, well, it might be a little frustrating, actually. On the one hand, the fact that your father told you to use the money responsibly and you didn't, and now that's eating away at you, that part makes me feel like you should come clean. You know, sit down with him one day and say, "Look dad, this is really hard for me to admit, I'm so sorry for what I'm about to share with you, but here's what I did, here's why I did it, I let you down, I let myself down, I deeply regret it, I've grown a lot since then, but I don't want there to be this big secret between us, so there it is, and I'm so sorry."
[00:43:16] And then just see how he responds, maybe he understands and forgives you, maybe he gets angry and chews you out, maybe a little bit of both. This might be a process, but then it's off your chest. On the other hand, I don't know, man. Your dad gifted you the money. He asked you to be a responsible steward of that money. But at that point, that was your money. And if you wanted to spend it numbing the pain for two years, that was a poor choice, a very poor choice. And it did not honor your dad's wishes, but it was your money to waste at that point. Plus you didn't waste all of it. You still managed to put the down payment down on the house, which is what your dad wanted. If you'd blown a hundred percent of it, I feel like there'd be a different story here than you might've had to tell your dad, because at some point he's going to be like, "So, uh, buying that one bedroom, like you promised?"
[00:43:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:44:00] Jordan Harbinger: So look, in a way, you mismanaged this, but in another way, you still fulfilled the essential purpose of this gift.
[00:44:07] And I'm not trying to help him rationalize this, Gabriel, but—
[00:44:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:44:10] Jordan Harbinger: I don't know, there's a part of me going like, does dad really need to know now?
[00:44:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's a very fair question, and I do see your point. I think where it gets tricky is that he and his dad have this special connection. And like you said, this thing he did is sort of infecting the integrity of their relationship now.
[00:44:26] Jordan Harbinger: Right, that part's a lot harder for me, and for him, I would guess.
[00:44:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: He might not need to come clean to his dad for ethical reasons, but he might still want to come clean for the sake of their relationship, to be on honest terms with him, to be on open terms with him.
[00:44:39] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:44:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: And you know, maybe to invite his dad to help him work through some of this guilt and shame that he feels about all of this. I do think that might be appropriate and potentially very helpful, because let's remember, his dad has always given him the freedom and the trust to make his own choices. They've always worked out the kinks in their relationship. Yes, this is a much bigger kink than the ones they've had in the past, but there it is.
[00:45:00] So, his dad might ultimately respond to this fairly well. I'm not saying he won't be mad or disappointed or hurt. I'm sure he'll feel a lot of things. But he sounds like the kind of guy who might hear this news and eventually land in a place of, "Well, yeah, this is really unfortunate and I'm disappointed in you, but I can see that you were struggling and you learned a lot from this and you came clean because you want us to have a good relationship, so yeah, I forgive you." And if it means that they're going to have a more authentic relationship as a result, I think this could be a really important moment for them, very painful, but important.
[00:45:32] Jordan Harbinger: You know, that's a good point. The moral dimension to this money is hazier to me. The relationship part of it, that is becoming clearer to me. So I think I'm with you. I do want to throw out one other option here, which is, if you want to, if you can, You could try to repay your dad the other 50k, or you could offer to do that. I know that's no small chunk of change. I don't know what a teacher in Australia makes. I hope it's decent. I'm pretty sure it's not investment banking money. Maybe it's unrealistic, but it is one way that he could do right by his dad.
[00:46:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:46:03] Jordan Harbinger: Or he could offer to make it up to his dad in some other way. So, yeah, I'm sorry things played out this way, but like most things, it kind of had to play out this way. This half of the money taught you some very important things, and in that sense, it might not be entirely wasted if you use it to become a more thoughtful and responsible person going forward, which is really the only thing you can do at this point.
[00:46:26] So I'm wishing you the best with your dad and your teaching career. And of course, the real estate market in Australia, which seems to always go up. So good luck.
[00:46:35] You know, it's a great way to blow your inheritance, Gabriel? The amazing products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:46:44] This episode is sponsored in part by ZipRecruiter. On the hunt for elite talent in today's competitive job landscape, securing the best of the best can feel like chasing a mirage, but fret not, ZipRecruiter knows how tough it is right now, but they figured out solutions for the problems you're facing. See for yourself. Right now, you can try them for free at ziprecruiter.com/jordan. If you're hunting for talent, let ZipRecruiter simplify the chase by broadcasting to over 100 job sites for maximum reach. ZipRecruiter's smart technology means faster quality matches, so you can invite the best candidates to apply for your job first. Also, transparent pricing means no surprise costs. Imagine that.
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[00:47:43] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by Airbnb. Whenever we travel, we enjoy staying at Airbnbs. I love that many properties come with amenities like a kitchen, laundry machines, free parking that's not fricking 60 bucks a night. Having a backyard is nice, especially when we bring the kids around. We've stayed at an Airbnb in Kauai that had like an outdoor shower. So we built one at our own house as well, and we find that Airbnb hosts often go the extra mile to make our stay special. They provide local tips, personalized recommendations, sometimes a welcome basket. I know you guys are sick of my banana bread story, so I'll spare you on this one. There are a lot of benefits to hosting as well. You might have set up a home office. Now, you're back in the real office. You could Airbnb it, make some extra money on the side. Maybe your kid's heading off to college in the fall. You're going to have that empty bedroom. You could Airbnb it, make a little cash while they're away. Whether you could use a little extra money to cover some bills, or for something a little more fun, your home might be worth more than you think. Find out how much at airbnb.com/host.
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[00:49:08] Now, back to Feedback Friday.
[00:49:11] Okay, next up.
[00:49:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I'm a 26-year-old woman with an associate's degree in business marketing, and I've worked for two years as an accounting assistant in a 12-person company. I genuinely love accounting, but my office has been an absolute hellhole lately. We recently merged with another company, and I would describe the new owner as a mansplaining, arrogant a-h*le. He's made me cry on three separate occasions. Since I started, I've had three different direct bosses come and go, and my new boss is from a different state, working remotely. Also, I've never had a formal review. The only time I had a conversation about my performance was when I was offered another job at a different company. They quickly panicked, gave me a three-dollar-per-hour raise and an additional week of PTO. Then, recently, HR posted my exact job on Indeed.com, twice now, at almost 10,000 more than I am currently making. When I confronted them about it, they said that the posting says that the candidate needs a bachelor's degree, so it isn't the same position. In reality, the posting didn't say that, but that's besides the point. My husband wants me to go back to school and get my bachelor's degree, but I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis six years ago, and I genuinely don't know if my brain can handle that much anymore. What would you do? Signed, An Accountant Trying to Tick and Tie Amidst All These Lies.
[00:50:37] Jordan Harbinger: All right. Good question. And Gabe, it never ceases to amaze me how incompetent and unnecessarily dysfunctional companies seem to be.
[00:50:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Seriously. Sometimes I hear these stories and I'm like, are you guys trying to make it harder to keep your best people? Because this is literally a matter of just communicating decently with a strong employee. And you know, like not making them burst into tears in the break room because you guys have zero emotional intelligence. Give that a try.
[00:51:00] Jordan Harbinger: It's so dumb. It's like, oh, have we hired any sociopaths recently? We need to up our game.
[00:51:05] Gabe and I have been out of the corporate world for a long time and we wanted to get an actual expert's opinion on your story, so we reached out to Joanna Tate, friend of the show and HR professional for almost 20 years. No relation to Andrew Tate, by the way, in case anyone was about to get triggered on that one.
[00:51:19] And right off the bat, Joanna said two things that I think are important for anyone, employees and employers to remember. And the first is that an HR team or HR professional, they have a real effect on an organization, especially after a major event like a merger, when managing expectations and communicating key messages like about the vision or the mission or how the organization is changing when that's really crucial. And the second thing is that performance reviews are so important. In Joanna's view, a yearly review should not be the only time a supervisor talks about employee performance. So she wasn't surprised that you're feeling a little lost and she really feels for you.
[00:51:57] That one bright spot though is, when you put in your notice, they panicked and they were like, "Oh wait, here's more money and take another week at PTO." That's a really good indication that these people need you. Unfortunately, very common with companies, although Joanna pointed out that that's a way less effective and much more expensive talent retention technique.
[00:52:16] Now, about the job posting, Joanna said it's possible that this is an additional accounting position, but then HR could have easily told you that, and they did give you more money to stay, so that raised an interesting question for Joanna. Are they trying to replace you, but then just keep you until they make an offer to somebody else? Or are they trying to keep their heads above water during this merger and fight fires until things settle down? The 10,000 difference in pay, that could mean they're looking for a higher level accountant, or it could mean that your pay over time didn't keep up with the labor market, and that you're frankly worth more. It's impossible for us to know, at least from the letter, so I would definitely do some sleuthing and or study the market right now and ask around to find out the answers to those questions.
[00:52:59] But the more pressing issue here is, you said this office is a hellhole, it's changing a lot, you need to figure out what's really going on over there.
[00:53:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right, so Joanna's other idea, which I am also a really big fan of, is just do some recon and get the goss about what's going on in your office, you know, who are the leaders, you know, well, maybe from that time when the company was actually a good place to work.
[00:53:19] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:53:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: These could be senior people who are still there or it could be previous bosses who left really anybody. Joanna's recommendation hit those people up, find out why they left or how they're feeling about the company and ask them for their opinions on what's happening with this organization these days. Either everyone at this company does have good intentions, but the stress is running super high, so everyone's being kind of a temporary a-h*le, or this really is just a toxic, disorganized group of people.
[00:53:47] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:53:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: If you book a few calls, and you take a few people out for coffee, or you take a lap around the parking lot with a few folks, I think you'll get the information you need to decide what to do. But for what it's worth, Joanna said that her gut is telling her, get out and use this experience to find a company that has a better culture and a team that actually values HR leadership. I mean, even if they offered you another three dollars an hour, when the gap is potentially 10,000 or more, that's probably not worth it, right? But Joanna also said, this doesn't necessarily have to be the answer for you. A lot of this depends on your tolerance for this kind of environment and your patience and waiting for changes to happen and just your general ability to handle these relationships effectively. And that's something for you to decide.
[00:54:31] Although from your letter, it really does sound to me like you're kind of getting to the end of your rope here.
[00:54:35] Jordan Harbinger: I agree. I think she's like six weeks away from screaming in her car on her lunch break.
[00:54:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:54:40] Jordan Harbinger: So, whatever you do, Joanna wanted to share a few practical recommendations. First off, from now on, be a duck for a while. Paddle super fast below the surface, but above the water, you appear super chill. Do your work, quietly gather information, try to let this BS roll off your back. Remember you are not stuck in this place forever, and do some prep work for your future. Also, definitely get your resume updated and visible on Indeed, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date, you have a nice smiley-appropriate photo of yourself, and indicate that you're open to work.
[00:55:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Although, interesting, Jordan, pro-tip there, make sure you select, I think it's called share with recruiters only, so that the whole office doesn't see that she's about to bounce.
[00:55:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I always wondered about that, because I can see people on LinkedIn that are like open to work, and I'm thinking like, okay, can your boss see that?
[00:55:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:55:29] Jordan Harbinger: So, good call there. Also, you can absolutely go back to HR and ask if they filled that role, and if they haven't, you can say, hey, cool, I'd love for you to keep me in mind, I think I'd have a lot to offer, which you do. And Joanna felt that too. You have a genuine passion for accounting, your skills are attractive. I mean, let's not forget that you got that job offer after all. You are valuable. Probably much more valuable than these people are making you feel right now.
[00:55:54] As for going back to school, Joanna said getting a bachelor's degree is a great long-term goal, can definitely add value to your career, as you've seen just from these job postings. We totally understand that your medical condition adds an additional layer of complexity, but one benefit of changing employers is you can find out which ones offer things, like tuition reimbursement, and professional development opportunities, and whether they actually value employee growth. So Joanna recommends looking into either a local accredited college that offers online courses, or seeking out an accredited online college program. Or, if you're close to a college campus, you could do it in person, maybe nights, maybe weekends. You could even earn your bachelor degree one class at a time. There's no timeline here, unless there is from the university, but usually that's a super long time. And Joanna reminded us that you might even be able to get credit towards your degree from your job. So make sure you ask about that. It's kind of a great hack for working professionals.
[00:56:48] But I'm with Joanna, I think there are some strong signals that this place is not for you long term, and at a minimum, it's worth looking around. You're 26 years old, 26, you are still so young, you're still building the foundation for the rest of your career, I know MS is intense, I've got a couple of friends who've got it, it's no joke, but I am so confident that you can balance taking care of yourself with being ambitious. So please don't let this stop you any more than it has to, and I say that not to brush aside a very real disease. But to remind you that with the right approach, a solid plan, your awesome mindset, your career can be bigger than this diagnosis. So good luck. There's exciting stuff ahead and way less crying in the kitchenette because your boss doesn't like your Excel formatting or whatever, and we're rooting for you.
[00:57:34] All right, before we wrap up here, I want to touch on something I've been getting a lot of emails and tweets and whatever about lately, which is whether to have RFK, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and guests like him on this show. And so for those of you who don't know or listeners outside the US, in this specific example, RFK Jr., he's an environmental lawyer, a politician, author, entrepreneur, venture capitalist. He's worn a lot of hats. He's had an objectively fascinating career. And he's gotten a lot of attention in the last few years for some of his unorthodox stances on hot-button issues. And depending on your point of view, he's either a brilliant free thinker or he's a reckless peddler of misinformation and conspiracy theories, especially around COVID and vaccines and public health, among other topics.
[00:58:22] And the reason he's in the news lately is that he's a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination in the presidential election next year. And a lot of people are responding to his message. And I get why. I do. So a lot of people have been hitting me up saying, "Hey, this guy's saying some really important stuff. Even if some of it is wrong or a lot of it is wrong, it's still interesting. You should have him on the show. It'd be amazing. And you can push back on stuff if you don't agree." So I've thought a lot about this. And I've read and consulted with a lot of people that I respect. A lot of them smarter than me.
[00:58:53] And I just, I don't believe that I could ever responsibly have RFK Jr. on this show. And for me, this comes down to the issue of platforming, giving a platform to a highly questionable figure on some incredibly important issues. Not saying he's a bad guy or whatever. By the way, this is a topic that Sam Harris, also a former guest on the show, recently talked about on his podcast, and he did so insanely eloquently in that way that only Sam Harris can, and I credit him for really helping me clarify some of my thinking around all this, and we'll link to that episode in the show notes.
[00:59:29] So, in short, would it be kind of interesting to have a guy like RFK Jr. on the show? Sure, it would. But not that interesting, and not that valuable to you as a listener, frankly, because RFK Jr. is not going to engage in a rigorous debate with me. That's not what this show even is in the first place. He's not going to give me good-faith answers on a lot of things. I should say if he does, a lot of it will be based on misinformation or disinformation. So to really engage with somebody like that, to appropriately hold their feet to the fire, I would need to be an expert with deep knowledge of these topics. And even though I can read a decent amount, the reality is I can't become a vaccine expert overnight or a gun safety or COVID policy expert overnight even if I were interested in doing so, and I'm absolutely not interested in doing so. So I can't responsibly combat a lot of the misinformation or false conclusions or data that's been misinterpreted or doesn't exist. I can't contradict that stuff in real-time as it's presented on the show.
[01:00:36] And that's what's happening with a lot of people who have had people like this, RFK Jr., especially on their programs, they simply aren't qualified for the discussion. And they don't want to admit that because their agenda is not to create a responsible and rigorous debate, they're just in it for the likes and the clicks and they'll say something like, you know, "Oh, it's better to have all ideas present in the market of ideas. And RFK delivers likes and clicks and controversial ideas." Now, some show hosts out there, and even listeners, they say, "Okay, fine, maybe we don't fact check him, we can't fact check him on every point, but the audience, they should be smarter than that, they'll figure it out." But my response to that is, okay, then what you're essentially saying is that the audience shouldn't necessarily trust you, or trust me in this instance. And if they're listening to the interview, then chances are they don't have the time, the information, the tools to arrive at the best conclusion. And that's one big reason why they are listening to a show host like me or like any other podcast host in the first place.
[01:01:38] So when somebody comes on my show, look, we're not necessarily endorsing everything they say. I've had some people on this show that I definitely don't agree with. I'm very open about that. And yes, I've had some very controversial and polarizing figures on this program over the years. But the basic bar for me is that a guest is saying something that isn't going to potentially hurt or kill other people with wanton disregard for the truth and go unchallenged in doing so.
[01:02:05] So if you know, Paul Hutchinson, investor and Sound of Freedom producer, that show got a lot of pushback. If that guy comes on the show and says, "Child trafficking is a huge problem." And we go, "Yeah, but most of that child trafficking is done by families." And he says, "Oh, well, you're right." Well, that's one thing. But if RFK Jr. comes on and goes, "Hey, vaccines cause autism," and I'm not strawmanning here. I've heard him make that case. Okay, I'm not. People go, "You're just strawmanning him." That is not what this is. If he says vaccines cause autism, and I say, "Well, no, they don't. There's tons of peer-reviewed data that says otherwise," and he spouts off a bunch of total malarkey that I can't possibly counteract in real-time because I'm not a vaccine expert with the data at my fingertips at that moment, who's going to be more persuasive? Who are people going to believe at that time?
[01:02:52] Because that's what a lot of these talking head media appearances are about. It's not about who's right, it's about who is more persuasive. And you could argue that that's one of the fundamental problems of our entire media culture right now. But that's a whole other rant.
[01:03:08] Now some of you guys have clapped back at me saying, "God, it's, you're basically just censoring alternative points of view, or you're trying to become some sort of moral authority on what we're allowed to hear." And to that, I just want to say, no, I'm not censoring anyone, I'm not the government, I'm not telling RFK Jr. to be quiet, or that Facebook or YouTube should de-platform him, or that he shouldn't be allowed to post videos online. All I'm saying is, I won't abuse the trust that I have built with you all to propagate this type of message. Nobody is entitled to this platform that we have created.
[01:03:46] And that's what I don't understand when people, they say, well you should have him on and pick his message apart. Even if I did, personalities like this who are very clever, very experienced, very media savvy, they just move the goalposts or they shift the terms of the debate. Or they bring a firehose of misinformation that would take 10x the amount of airtime to debunk. This isn't a coincidence with people who spout disinformation. It is a deliberate strategy and tactic of people who spout disinformation. That's what people like this do when they won't argue in good faith in the first place.
[01:04:23] So, I'm not accusing RFK Jr. of all these specific things, to be clear. But that's where I am with all this. And I believe quite strongly that this matters just as a principle of, you know, public discourse, but when it comes to public health, when it comes to science, I think it is absolutely crucial. Because as we all know, scientists, doctors, they argue all the time. They argue in peer-reviewed publications that have citations and data and studies attached, right? They don't argue in subreddits, in Instagram comments, in a debate on a podcast with somebody who is unqualified to moderate a debate. They don't come to truth in a series of talking head interviews on CNN between commercials. Because it doesn't matter who's more persuasive when it comes to science, when it comes to medicine, it's about data. And as much as we like to think that we can all make decisions based solely on that data, and not who presents that data, or their interpretation of that data, time and time again, society has proven that we cannot.
[01:05:35] So the last thing I want, the last thing that any of us should want, is a person who is a skilled debater who's made it their livelihood to go up against an unqualified amateur like some schmucky podcast host like me, because then you're not finding out who's science is stronger. You're just finding out who has the best spin, who's more polished, who's delivered this information more times in a more convincing way, which all well and good when the topic at hand is about entertainment or culture or even some political stuff or whatever. But when it's about something as consequential as medicine, as people's ability to stay alive and keep their children healthy and alive, the implications are huge. The stakes are too high, getting it wrong is too easy, and the consequences are potentially life-threatening.
[01:06:27] And if Sam Harris is outright stating that he is not qualified to have this conversation, and he's one of the most responsible and skilled debaters alive today, then it would be the height of arrogance for me to assume that I could do a better job, that I could do that justice. And if you want to dig a little bit deeper into critical thinking, battling disinformation, how crazy theories spread online and what to do about it, then I invite you to listen to a few episodes I did with other great experts who incidentally don't believe that COVID-19 targets certain races and gives others immunity. Although, you know, given my mixed heritage, that would explain why I got COVID more than once. One is Cindy Otis, ironically a former CIA agent, on how to spot fake news. That's episode 715. Another is Rene DiResta on how tech platforms and algorithms proliferate disinformation. That's episode 420. And then, I would check out Andy Norman, how to inoculate your mind against damaging ideologies. That's episode five 20. We've actually done quite a bit on disinformation. There's a whole starter pack on that at jordanharbinger.com/start.
[01:07:28] Anyway, look, RFK actually seems like quite a nice guy by all accounts. I've been offered to be introduced to him many times. This was not an easy decision for me to come to. And I share all of this with total respect for you guys as the audience. Even the ones who send me insults about how I'm mishandling these types of situations. And I say this with as much humility as possible around my own expertise and just a general desire to put as much good, helpful, responsible stuff out into the world because that's always been and always will be my north star when it comes to the show.
[01:08:07] Hope you all enjoyed the show this week I want to thank everybody who wrote in and everybody who made it through that rant there. I really appreciate that. Go back and check out Annie Ikpa and our Deep Dive on Envy if you haven't yet.
[01:08:17] The best things that have happened in my life and business have come through my network, the circle of people that I know, like, and trust. And I know a lot of people say, "Well, I'm a teacher, I don't need this, I'm retired, I don't need this." There's a happiness dividend to connecting and having strong relationships. We've talked about that many times on the show. Tell you what, don't go through the Six-Minute Networking course. Just do the first two drills. And if they don't change the way you communicate with friends and family for the better, then unsubscribe, I get it, jordanharbinger.com/course.
[01:08:45] And if you haven't signed up yet, definitely check out our relaunched newsletter for the show. It's called Wee Bit Wiser. It's a bite-sized gem from a past episode from me to you delivered to your inbox once a week. If you want to keep up with the wisdom from our 800-plus episodes and apply it to your life, I invite you to come check it out. You can sign up at jordanharbinger.com/news.
[01:09:04] Show notes and transcripts at jordanharbinger.com. Advertisers, deals, discounts, and ways to support the show, all at jordanharbinger.com/deals, or ask our AI chatbot at jordanharbinger.com/ai. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Instagram, @GabrielMizrahi, or on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
[01:09:26] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own, and I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. Ditto Joanna Tate. Remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love, and if you found the episode useful, please share it with somebody else who can use the advice we gave here today. In the meantime, I hope you apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you learn, and we'll see you next time.
[01:09:58] I wanted to give you a preview of one of my favorite stories from an earlier episode of the show. Megan Phelps-Roper, she used to belong to one of the most hateful religious cults in America, the Westboro Baptist Church. She was born into this church and she later escaped. To hear her tell the story firsthand is really incredible.
[01:10:17] Megan Phelps-Roper: I started protesting when I was five years old, but even at that first picket, there was a sign that said, gays are worthy of death. So God hates fags is what Westboro's message that we became known for. We were the good guys and everyone outside the church was evil and going to hell, and we had the only message that would bring the world any hope. We had to go and warn people, these terrible things are happening, and if you want this pain to stop, then you have to change, because God isn't going to change.
[01:10:46] After the September 11 attacks, we had the sign that said, "Thank God for September 11." What were we thinking? This massive crowd comes down. We were at this corner of this intersection of these three streets. By the time they actually reached us, we're just enraged. There was no space between us and them. It got really dicey. One of my cousins gave his signs to somebody else and like started standing on top of a trash can pretending like he wasn't with us. They were, again, incredibly intense because obviously, the circumstances are so sobering.
[01:11:18] It brings me incredible sadness to think about now. I can't do this forever. My family, they would refuse to have any contact with me at all once I left. Somebody that we had confided in sent a letter to my parents and told them that we were planning to leave. And then, that email came in and — and we left.
[01:11:38] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Megan, including the details of her harrowing experience and escape, check out episode 302 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:11:48] This episode is sponsored in part by The Gist podcast. I want to introduce you to a podcast called The Gist. It's not your run-of-the-mill news and commentary show. The host, Mike Pesca, is not just asking questions, he's challenging the narrative, prompting listeners to confront their own beliefs and, at times, their neighbors as well. It's the kind of show where you think, man, that's a perspective I need to share. Mike is a really sharp dude. Mike's got a knack for interviewing as well. Just to give you a taste, some recent guests include the Pixar and Saturday Night Live writer, who's now genuinely worried about AI replacing comedy writers in half a decade or less. And a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who uncovered misleading information surrounding the COVID lab leak theory. Whether it's the real-life version of The Wire from a Baltimore attorney, a high-tech gun born from a tragic event, or the bizarre mix of a cult expert who penned a song for Britney Spears and a Smurfs movie, the show has it all. So if you're itching for something fresh, dive into The Gist every evening. Find it wherever you get your podcasts.
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