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Media Appearances

The Wall Street Journal interviewed me about "independence," and I got stippled!

Baratunde gets stippled by the Wall Street Journal, and he likes it.

Baratunde gets stippled by the Wall Street Journal, and he likes it.

Several weeks ago I got an email from someone claiming to work for the Wall Street Journal who wanted to interview me. "Too soon!" I thought. I had not yet perfected my doomsday domination of all the world's capital nor fully implemented my plan for reverse colonialism (which imposes a hefty licensing fee when people like Miley Cyrus decide to twerk or whatever). But, "better too soon than never!" I thought.

So I spent about an hour on the phone with their reporter discussing the broad topic of "independence." We ended up talking a lot about the shame of dependence, and the section they printed reflected that part of our conversation. They interviewed six "luminaries" which means I'm a luminary! I need to start saying more luminarious things like "The key is not to open the door but to let the door open you!".

Anyhow, they interviewed Jonathan Adler, Nadya Tolokonnikova (Pussy Riot), Diane Von Furstenberg, Richard Ford, and Diana Nyad. We had very different things to say. I'll pull quote my own but you should read the entire page. It's quite thoughtful and dare I say illuminating. 

Independence means nothing without the concept of dependence. Independent from what? In this country, we're fond of the idea of independence being founded in opposition to something. We've got all these legends and myths in America about rugged individualism. There's almost a sense of shame associated with dependence. But dependence is where society comes from, why families stick together, why churches work. Things are shifting, and some of the tools and language of emerging businesses are more about interdependence than independence, but the overall narrative of the country is still very much: We're on our own.

—Thurston is the author of the book How to Be Black and cofounder and CEO of the digital agency Cultivated Wit.



I proudly return to cable news to talk NY/NJ infrastructure aka Chris Christie

A lovely view of 30 Rock from the streets. Lots of cameras up in there!

A lovely view of 30 Rock from the streets. Lots of cameras up in there!

It's been a while since I've mouthed off on cable news about anything, and it was nice to return to Chris Hayes's show on MSNBC to think out loud about NJ Governor Chris Christie's presidential prospects in light of the George Washington Bridge controversy.

I joined Sam Seder and the actually, truly, legendary Charles Pierce (of Esquire Magazine). Happy fun times via moving images and recorded sound below. 

Why I prefer to be on the giving end of unrequited love. via Ask Roulette

Photo via Flickr , by WhatDaveSees

Photo via Flickr, by WhatDaveSees

Last year I took part in a live stage show and podcast called Ask Roulette. It was my second time appearing, and I got hit by host Jody Avirgan with an unexpectedly deep question

In unrequited love, would you rather be the person who is in love with someone, and it’s unrequited, or would you rather know that someone is madly in love with you and just not be in love with them?

I'm not going to do be Internet-annoying and bury the answer so deep in embedded media that you have to hunt for it. You can hear the audio starting around minute 22 in the player below or on this page. Ask Roulette just posted a supercut highlighting exchanges from several shows, and my response made the cut (or supercut). If you prefer ingesting words with your eyes, just keep reading. Here's a near-exact transcript of my response:

To be on the receiving end of love that you don’t want is its own form of awkwardness at a minimum, and you have to make certain/different types of choices about how to behave and how open to be and how much you trust and how much you share. Whereas you being on the giving side of that love, whether it’s requited or not, you’re giving. And you’re not choosing whether to return. It’s still a difficult choice, but it’s not really a choice. You just feel compelled. So, I would choose compulsion over active denial in the area of love.

The full version of the original show where my answer first appeared is here

Join WTF And Marc Maron's Prying Into My Soul

It's kind of a dream come true to be invited to talk with Marc Maron on his podcast. On April 9, I made a special trip to Los Angeles to spend several hours on the messy garage/studio where Maron interrogates his subjects. We talked and talked about all sorts of things. Twas much fun, and I got a free mug!!  Listen to the full interview. Learn new things!

I'm on the cover of Fast Company for my #unplug feature

December 15, 2012 to January 8, 2013 I left all email and social media. It was 25 days of relative digital quiet, and I loved it. The experience was so profound, I wrote about it for Fast Company. The piece launches online this week, and is accompanied by related stories and Twitter activity around the hashtag #UNPLUG.

Here's a more digestible version I and my colleagues at Cultivated Wit made for Tapestry.

Update: here's an audio performance I posted to SoundCloud 

Oh, and they made me the cover of their July/August 2013 issue which hits newsstands June 25 and looks a little something like this:

Actually, the cover looks looks exactly like this.

I talk with @cc_chapman about what inspires me on #PassionHitTV

My man C.C. Chapman has a new project afoot called "Passion Hit TV," and I'm honored to be his first profile! Check out the video above and stay connected to this cool show which "focuses on people, companies and events that have taken something they loved doing and turned it into something much more. You’ll learn about their journey and what inspires them to keep going forward. The goal is to inspire you to stop dreaming about the future and to make it happen."

By the way, C.C. and I recorded this in Louisville, KY while at the amazing Idea Festival. I can't recommend this annual event enough. Yes, they paid for me to be there and blog/tweet about it, so there's your danged disclosure. But even without that, the event is amazingly diverse, inspiring and in a great city who's unofficial motto is "Just Add Bourbon."

I banter with Melissa Harris (no relation to Rick) Perry on MSNBC

This was so much fun. Last night, I got to join friend, awesome person and America's Substitute Teacher Melissa Harris Perry as she covered in for Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC's The Last Word. They invited me on to talk a bit about The Onion's political coverage. It felt like an on-air tweetup. I wish we could do this on every Whiskey Friday.

I also have to add that doing cable news segments in which I'm in the same room and at the same table as the host is so much more fun and human than the disembodied, Futurama, talking head-in-a-box method. I don't mind being a talking head. I'd just prefer not to be a talking head in a box.

BTW, you're going to want to mark your calendars. Tuesday October 4 at 10pm is the return of Onion News Network on IFC. This year, the news is even less merciful.

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