This Week's Guest: Joe
Do you ever find yourself engaging in self-sabotage? Maybe you avoid important work or important people. Or you dismiss your potential. Or you lie about yourself to yourself. Or you surround yourself with people who undermine you.
My guest this week spent years working for Republicans, wavering in and out of the closet. Inside, he knew who he was. But he also desperately wanted to be accepted and to belong, even among people who might reject him if they knew the truth.
Eventually, Joe managed to shed those secrets, the sabotage, and self-medication that could have easily turned fatal. Now he's feeling a lot more free, and he works for nonprofits that expand freedoms instead of restrict them.
It's Joe's way of hopefully sparing others the pain he went through. And also working through his lingering guilt.
This Week's Recommendation: You Can't Take it With You
For my recommendation this week, I was at a bit of a loss. I wanted to find a gay movie -- or at least gay-adjacent movie -- where a character learns to kick loose and have a good time. For some reason, the only one I could think of was Overboard, with Kurt Russel and Goldie Hawn. So I asked my friends on Facebook and Twitter for their ideas.
By the way, if you'd like to be in touch and suggest recommendations for future episodes, you can follow me @mattbaume on Twitter, or under the same name, Matt Baume, on Facebook.
Unfortunately, when I put this question to the internet, the very first suggestion I got was the movie Overboard. But then dozens more came in, from Desperate Living to A Christmas Carol to Mame and Fried Green Tomatoes. I haven't seen Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day but so many people suggested it that I think I probably need to. Same goes for Now Voyager.
But it was friend of the show Alonso Duralde from the Lineoleum Knife podcast who nailed this week's recommendation: a wonderful and often-overlooked film called You Can't Take it With You.
The movie's based on a play by Moss Hart and George Kaufman, and as is so often the case, I do believe the book is better. But the movie's no slouch: it's the story of a quirky live-and-let-live family of weirdos who don't care about money and follow their dreams. When the story opens, the family's being pressured to sell their home so a millionaire can build a weapons factory in its place. Yeah, it's a little on the nose.
Jimmy Stewart plays the son of the capitalist, and because this is the era of screwball comedy, he falls in love with a company typist who just so happens to be a member of that household of crazy free spirits.
I love the movie and the play for the snappy comedy, both physical and verbal. But the meaning of it is what sticks with me -- and conveniently enough, it's encapsulated right there in the title. You can't take it with you.
Money and power sure is nice, and for some people it's all they need to be happy. That's fine -- in fact, it's a good thing, because if everyone was running around chasing their heart's desires, we'd be living in a hippie commune with no running water. We need big-picture power brokers to fight with each other over who can build the biggest, bestest infrastructure.
But for other folks, money and power just isn't enough. For them, gathering resources is meaningless if you can't spread it around, give it away, share it, and improve the lives of others.
The key is for there to be a balance of those two types: the big-picture power brokers driven to build the world up; and the folks who are happiest when they have happiness to give away.
Your job is to figure out which one of those is you. And if you realize you're in the wrong game, to find a way to switch sides.