Warrior Poets and 30 days

So, for those of you who may have gone through all (18!) of my posts, you may have heard me mention a few times about how awesome I think a production company of Morgan Spurlock’s called Warrior Poets is.  It’s true, I like ’em, and the reason why is that not only do they have a super cool name but also that many times, the things that come out of Warrior Poets leave me thinking about the bigger pictures in life. I really like trying to focus on things that are bigger than me, because I think too much about myself already, and sometimes it’s good to put the mirror away and instead turn around and look out a window.

I’ve already spoken about The Third Wave, and briefly about Failure Club which actually re-inspired me to start blogging (and thus writing) again, but one of the other shows that really knocked off my ridiculous socks (ok, I may have a…well, we won’t call it a “problem” with them, although an entire drawer dedicated to socks may be what I have…maybe) was a TV show called 30 days.

30 days is a TV series that sets out to show people what it’s like to experience something completely different from what they normally would be doing and committing to experience it for a full 30 days. This might sound vaguely interesting at this point, but here’s a list of the episodes from the 3 seasons and what topics they choose to tackle:

Season 1

1-1   Minimum wage

1-2   Anti-aging

1-3   Muslims and America

1-4   Straight Man in a Gay World

1-5   Off the Grid

1-6   Binge Drinking Mom

 

Season 2

2-1 Immigration

2-2 Outsourcing

2-3 Atheist vs. Christian

2-4 New Age

2-5 Pro-life, Pro-choice

2-6 Jail

 

Season 3

3-1 Working in a Coal Mine

3-2 Living in a Wheelchair

3-3 Animal Rights

3-4 Same Sex Parenting

3-5 Gun Nation

3-6 Life on an Indian Reservation

Many people like to believe that they have open minds. Yet, how open minded are you when you surround yourself with like minded people, such as your family or, and particularly if your family doesn’t accept or understand you, your friends? Part of the reason people group together with others of common interests is because then your beliefs are reinforced, and what you choose to believe as the truth is safe. One beautiful point that 30 Days often makes is that experiencing something different, being taken out of that safe bubble, makes people uncomfortable. It suddenly makes you the outsider, and maybe even the enemy. In that setting, it’s interesting to see how people act. Some are willing to reconsider their ideas with the new facts and view points offered, others are completely opposite and dogmatically parrot the same thing over and over, sometimes getting more and more upset when what they believe makes them look like a huge jerk when the stance they take hurts people and they aren’t surrounded by people who can agree with them.

I’m not one to revel in someone else’s misery, but I still can’t help but watch each episode with interest, and am fascinated by the inner struggle that it often spins people into, particularly when people are forced to face themselves and answer questions about why they believe what they do. I understand that people often do not want to change, and that sticking to their guns about topics can be important to their personal identity. However, if they can’t defend their views in every circumstance, maybe it’s because they don’t know what they’re talking about. If that’s the case, they really need to do some more research. Being able to have an intelligent conversation with someone of a different view without blowing it into an arguing match shows that you do know what you’re talking about, and this kind of knowledge about your topic in turn reinforces your beliefs.

Maybe enjoying poking into things that make me uncomfortable or that I only think I know something about makes me a bit crazy, but I like putting the things I believe under a microscope and trying to figure out if I’m right to believe them. Sometimes I wish that others would do the same, which is why the concept of 30 days thrills me. Now, not every episode is solid gold, but I’m content with the few that I felt were. I also love how 30 Days often has a light hearted approach to many of the topics it talks about. It makes it a bit more entertaining, without coming across as being particularly biased one way or another. Another cool thing about it is that Morgan Spurlock is willing to take some of these challenges on personally, and actually does the Minimum wage, Jail, Working in a coal mine and Life on an Indian reservation episodes himself. I really wish that they would make more of these.

So, if you are willing to take the challenge, try out 30 days by watching some of these:

Muslims and America

Immigration

Straight man in a gay world

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6 thoughts on “Warrior Poets and 30 days

  1. Hi Livesinstone. I am unfamiliar with computer games, facebook, and most TV programming. But I was able to follow you on the explanation of this TV program that you like. I consider myself an open minded person. But I believe that even open minded persons have the right to their own opinion. And it seems to me that 30 days is quite a long time to spend with a group of people that you may feel uncomfortable with. I did spent four years in a completely different society, when I was studying as a young man, though. And found the experience of great value. The subjects that you mention are of interest, too. Yet I don’t believe that people who choose to live within a circle of friends and family are necessarily choosing to support their own prejudices. I do think that many of us do have prejudices, that we take for granted. And that it is hard work for anyone to begin analyzing his opinions and doing the soul searching that is necessary to free one’s self from prejudice.

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    • Hi there Shimon. Thank you for visiting my blog! I think that you make excellent points. It is such hard work for people to examine their own prejudices, I worry that most do not even try. One of the easiest ways of doing this is thinking that you are correct and justified in an opinion without giving it the time and care it may deserve. That’s why I like this show so much. In immersing yourself in a different view for 30 days, it’s hard to put the evaluation on a back burner and pretend it is something you don’t have to do, and you can see right away if your belief may actually be hurting someone instead of a nameless group. So, the ideas that normally would occur after years of research and soul searching, should the person even try such an undertaking, happen at a much more accelerated pace because of the knowledge that comes with living with someone who feels differently. In some of the better episodes these people manage to create lasting bonds or friendships, so the 30 days isn’t necessarily a complete hardship, although it almost always takes some adjustment in the beginning. It does manage to leave some people with life changing experiences that they never thought would or could have happened for both the visitor and the host. I also agree when you say people who choose to live within a circle of friends and family are not doing it to consciously support their own prejudices, but I do tend to think that it happens unconsciously. In an accepting environment, you are not challenged to change or justify yourself or consider how your opinions may actually hurt others or impact the world at large. Stepping outside this box, however briefly, greatly increases the possibility of gaining new perspective. Trying to do it for 30 days seems to be life altering. Thanks so much for the comment! Hope you don’t mind the long winded reply! 🙂

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  2. This reminds me of the doco series Worlds Apart, where American families went off and spent a week or so in a remote, non-developed part of the world. It was a little trite I suppose, as reality series go, but I really enjoyed watching the spin-out (and trying to figure out how I would react in the same situation). We definitely could do with putting ourselves more in other people’s shoes 🙂

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