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What media pieces were influential on your life?

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Books, movies, games, songs, art--what have you seen, read, or listened to in your life that had an impact on it? Maybe it was something you saw really young, or came at a time in your life where it fit perfectly, or was just really, really good.

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Music in general is really a big foundation of my life. Listening to rap for the first time changed mine completely.

 

Playboi Carti - No Lie is one of those songs that has been there for me through happy or pain.

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Grantland used to put out amazing content that The Ringer will never compare to. Helped me appreciate good sports journalism and is now a big reason why I subscribe to The Athletic.

 

Podcast Pardon My Take has been awesome to listen to. Haven't missed an episode in three years. Listened to it while in Afghanistan, road trips, while commuting to work etc.

 

Fighting games have helped me become a more analytical and critical thinker. Snap decision making will determine whether you win or lose and you have no one else to blame but yourself when you lose. 

 

Early comedies like Airplane!, The Three Amigos, and Blazing Saddles helped develop what my sense of humor is today.

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"To Pimp a Butterfly" by Kendrick Lamar is probably one of the most influential albums that I've ever listened to- the album helped to radicalize me and empower me to become passionate about social justice and also helped me better come to terms with self-acceptance and just helped me develop a new lens of both seeing the world and myself.

 

Another album that really impacted me was "By the Way, I Forgive You" by Brandi Carlile as the concept of forgiveness surrounding the album just really resonated with me and helped me better cope with the trauma that I've experienced in my life and see the positives in who I have become from a negative situation instead of solely focusing on the negative situation.

 

I'd also be lying if I didn't say that Community had a major impact on the person that I am as the referential style of comedy and meta-humor is something that almost solely defined my sense of humor for a long time- but I feel like the show also defined me in helping me contextualize that bad people can make good things and having a critical lens to those in power is necessary. I remember watching the Harmontown documentary and seeing how Dan Harmon was talking to his then-wife Erin McGathy and just thinking "Wow, he's truly an abusive piece of shit" and after the news came out about his harassment of Megan Ganz, it definitely changed how I viewed the show and now will always see a cycle of him apologizing for his actions and then not following through on them. So, in a roundabout way, it continued to teach me how to be a better person by recognizing those problematic behaviors and seeking to be different.

 

Also, just want to shoutout Comedy Bang Bang for being another major influence on my sense of humor and sending me deep down the rabbit hole that is the alternative comedy world- some of my happiest moments in life have stemmed from that world and that wouldn't have happened without me finding Comedy Bang Bang.

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good kid, m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar probably ensured that I was going to be a fan of rap music and is the album I think about most often in day to day life. It's truly a coming of age album lyrically, and it came out at a pivotal time in my own life (16-17 y/o) and I think helped me quite literally learn how to empathize in real time as I would listen to Kendrick's retelling of his own life and compare it to my sheltered, suburban, middle class experience. My own personal values developed in part due to this album as it made me go learn more about the type of life that Kendrick was describing. There's also a level of self-reflection in relationships that this album covers - songs like Real for example emphasis the importance of self-confidence and maturity. The song Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst is a masterpiece in my opinion and has only made me more reflective of life in general as I've gotten older.

 

 

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A lot of music stuff obviously and movie and book stuff too, but my favorite piece of media is probably live theatre. 

Going to a live musical is like nothing else in the world. The power of the orchestra, the talent of the actors and actresses, and the general thrill of walking into the theatre is impeccable. My first show was Phantom of the Opera in Raleigh, and they even did the crashing chandelier here. I've seen a handful of shows, but less than I would like, and everyone I've enjoyed. My younger brother does theatre, and a good amount of our conversations have been about theatre

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