Unknown Dangers

When I was a child, my mother slapped a bumper sticker on the refrigerator door that said, “Question Authority.” It was bright orange and the letters were a blue serif font of some kind. Whenever I sat at the kitchen table—during dinner, after school pretending to do homework—I contemplated the meaning of it, which spawned a litany of other questions:

What makes someone or something an “authority”?

What’s an “authority”? Can it be anyone? Or do you need a certification of some kind?

How does that happen: is it a democratic process, a power grab or a series of orchestrated lies? Like, is the whole notion of authority based on a belief system of some sort?

Why should authority be questioned? Isn’t some authority needed to keep us safe from ourselves as well as others?

Who are we really being kept safe from?

What are they doing right now?

What’s that sound?!

At some point, the concept of questioning authority evolved into the idea of questioning everything. Not as a whole-hearted pessimist.[1] Not to cultivate a sense of superiority. Not to be a contrarian ass. But in a genuine attempt to understand why the world works the way it does. And how it can be better.[2] Either way, this heathy dose of skepticism paved the way for GoonSquad Sermons.

What is GoonSquad Sermons?

It’s a mom-and-pop shop located on a small, fairly well-lit, side street of the internet that challenges popular assumptions and questions the topics—politics, media, culture—that affect the quality of our daily lives. Sometimes, that’s done in an introspective way. Other times, that’s done with humor. Each piece will be engaging and thoughtful. And fairly short. It’s the internet, after all.

It’s about discovering the truth of matter, in whatever form it takes. I want people to be surprised—not shocked—by a perspective of the world that provides more clarity and honesty. Is that too much to ask?

Most importantly, I’m attempting to do this through original content. Mine. Other writers’. And, to be profoundly ambitious: I’m going to compensate them.[3] No one’s getting rich here.[4] I also hope you’ll pay a bit too, through donations and purchasing t-shirts.[5]

Why the name GoonSquad Sermons?

Why not? At first, I liked the way it sounded. It fit my personality, to some extent: a big lug who waxes poetic.

In the days of the American labor struggle, a goon squad was a group of men sent to bust up pro- or anti-union protesters.[6] Roughly speaking, a sermon is a talk about the way someone should behave. Putting these two concepts together: It’s a talk or a speech to people who stand too strongly against or in favor of an idea. It’s not about picking sides. It’s about understanding each side of the story.

The Age of Information has evolved the concept of the goon squad. People are raw nerves waiting for the discussion of a particular topic to aggrieve their condition. Social media beat-downs follow. It’s like the world is made of various goon squad factions ready to pounce on any anti- or pro- stance someone else may take. The amount of communication that happens between people who don’t know each other is amazing in its breadth. It’s also kind annoying. Can’t we all get along?

And if any of that doesn’t make sense, I’ll say this: I still like the way GoonSquad Sermons sounds. So I’ll keep it. I hope you grow to enjoy the melodic cadence of it too. That is, if you don’t already.

Who’s the GoonSquad?

Right now, my parents. Some of my friends say they’ve read this thing, but I don’t think they’ve been honest about that.

While I’d like to blurt out some detailed demographics, the truth is, I’m really trying to get that shaped out. But I do have a picture of you in my head. I imagine:

  • You’re a curious sort, who seeks out news and interesting information on the internet, while at work, mostly. And at home. But mostly at work (slacker).
  • You like to read. But hate reading the same thing over and over.
  • You use social media, whether it be Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. And you share information with your network.
  • You’re someone who likes something new and a little different.

Most of all,  I hope you know authority is in the eye of the beholder. That makes you special. And exactly the kind of person I’m looking for when GoonSquad Sermons launches in August.[7]

[1] Tapered cynicism is perfectly acceptable, however.
[2] Or worse. It can always be worse. Remember that.
[3] I mean, not, like, a lot of money at first. Maybe it’ll be some spare change, a gift card for Chili’s or a few stray Legos.
[4] At least, not yet.
[5] The t-shirt market is hot right now. All the economists say so.
[6] I used Wikipedia as a source here. Don’t judge.
[7] You sexy motherfucker.