TIK TOK: The Time is NOW

Bringing Josh Brandon Media to Social

While always opinionated and vocal, I have always trodden the higher road of social acceptability as well as social media decorum.  In that, my private social media is just that. While those in my private sphere may grow weary of my opinions, they have been largely set to “Private”.  Publicly, I have professional accounts to share my work.  However, recently, as the content I create has been influenced by what is going on in the world, I realize I am who and what I am:  An educated and informed, compassionate human with ideals that transcend fairy tales or any politics of imaginary lines. I am done sitting on the sidelines playing fiddle while the world burns.  If anyone will listen, it’s time to talk. 

This isn’t to say that I think I am smarter or better than anyone – except myself.  I strive to be better than I was and how I was raised – better than the offerings of the places I was raised – better than the potential anyone ever dreamed of me.  That single determination has pushed me to great heights, personally and professionally.  I am proud of the work I do and I am proud of the work I’ve done on myself. I am through apologizing for my well-founded ideals on how this world should work.  I am no longer holding back on what I think it says about those who compromise their values, character, integrity, and morality.  

I have struggled for a long time with how to present myself publicly.  I feel like I need a clean coat of shine to be marketable to agencies and casting directors.  However, while I am privileged and blessed beyond all compare to be doing what I do, I am also wrought with this overwhelming obligation – an onus to own my own toxicities and errors while shining a huge spotlight on how those manifest in us all, especially in my culture, still to this day.  I feel like I’ve lived this life of internal self-hate and white superiority, it’s my duty to claw out of that and help others who might want to dig out as well – or at least be another voice of solidarity for someone, like me, who felt so alone surrounded by dangerous and terrible human beings

You see, being in the public eye, for me, isn’t anything I could have contemplated when I was 19 and got my first TV job.  My dad got a phone call from the local cable access channel trying to sell him advertising.  Daddy didn’t believe in paying for advertising, so he told them to bugger off, but then, realized I was piled up on my butt sleeping until noon not working.  I had money stashed aside, paid my bills in advance, and took the Summer off.  I worked non-stop since I was 16.  I wanted a break before the next semester started.  Dad’s toxic live-to-work ideals wouldn’t have that.  He asked if they were hiring and sent me on my way.  They hired me as a news anchor and that was the end of my private life.  From there, it was radio, theatre, television, cable, films, voice acting and now I have a website with my name and face. Value your anonymity. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  But, I argue with social media, we are ALL public figures now.  

I always dreamed of being an actor.  I never had the faith in myself – or my mental health – to chase that dream.  Health Ledger comes to mind.  Had I not torn my ACL and gone to Hollywood after college graduation, I almost certainly would be dead today.  River Phoenix.  It wasn’t that I was THAT good.  It was that I was that reckless and unhealthy with myself.  But…that first television news job was the last time my life was a private one.  There is a difference growing up in a small town and being “Eddie’s boy” or “Helen’s grandson” and then being on TV.  When you’re reading the news to people every day at 5:30, things get pointy and starey when you go to the grocery store.  I didn’t handle that well. 

Today, I am a different man.  I enjoy expressing myself in funny ways, in creative ways, and in important ways, using my own stories and life experiences.  I feel like if I HAVE a voice, then it is MY responsibility to ensure that the voice I have is heard and that I am judicious with my words.  I wasn’t always, you know.  This journey is one of humility and one of sadness, mourning the death of a me I didn’t like all that much.  It’s that abuse cycle.  Like a parent who hit you, once they’re gone, you romanticize who and what they were.  I do that with myself, a lot.  I think about the horrible jokes I said, comments I made, stories I told thinking I was being badass or making a point no one cared about but me.  I think of the potential harm that could have come from those words.  I think about what led me to think those things were ok.  

It weighs on me.  Heavily.  

As I have evolved out of the toxicities (plural, oh god there are SO many) of my indoctrinations, I have begun deconstructing things in my podcast, Overthinking Everything.  Foundational ideals of morality, spirituality, and religion; political, economic, and social ideals; love, relationship dynamics, and interpersonal communication; business, personal, and social norms, and acceptable practices; and more.  When I started the podcast, Overthinking Everything, it was because I spent a lifetime overthinking SOME THINGS, but then selectively NOT overthinking other things.  As in, if it challenged my indoctrinated ideological comfort zones, I didn’t really accept it, in a nice way of putting it.  I looked for those who validated my stereotypes and preconceived notions to reinforce the horrible things I was taught to believe.  Self-fulfilling prophecy of hate, fear, ignorance, and bigotry.  

I would like to say I didn’t know any better.  But I did.  We ALL did.  And, I believe my mission now is to speak out for other voices that aren’t heard in my community, while speaking TO my community, be it of white people, voice actors, performers, Progressive Americans, gingers, or whatever the niche may be.  I cannot speak FOR anyone else but myself.  I cannot be the voice FOR any community but my own.  I can speak OUT and UP for others, though.  And THAT is what I’ve chosen to do.

This may cost me business.  I may lose opportunities over it.  TikTok and YouTube may not pay the bills.  But, I believe in higher purposes than cashing a check.  With respect to everyone’s specific fairy tale, even my own, I say that I am Called to do this.  I have been for a very long time and I have remained silent, or at least isolated to my own echo-bubble.  Recently, as events in America, caused by toxic Americans, have played on my foundational teachings or patriotism, religion, and morality.

I am angry about things.  Many who oppose me comment on how angry I look in some videos.  I have an expressive face.  I am genuinely angry, don’t get me wrong, but sort of laser focused in my content.  In that, when the camera is off, I am smiling and happy.  When the camera is on, I am smiling and happy, too.  Because I am a content creator.  Some of it will be serious.  Some will be silly.  Some won’t make any sense to anyone else but me.  But, I am NOT angry about any of that.  My LIFE…my personality…my existence in this world is filled with thanks and gratitude for the dreams I’ve realized, the goals I’ve smashed, and the accomplishments I never even dreamed were possible.  My soul sings and my heart shines.  I am loved, I am accepted, and I no longer feel like I am the only person in this world who feels like this world needs help.  I no longer feel alone in my voice, because I know that voice is one that is shared by thousands and thousands and tens of thousands and that voice and those ideas are growing by hundreds, if not thousands a day on ONE social media source.  

Someone mocked me in the comments, which I always find SO personally entertaining that I made a whole song about it.  They said something like “nobody cares what you think”.  While I have always accepted that to be true, at this time, I was pushing 18k followers on TikTok, which I pointed out.  He made fun of me for flexing 18k.  It isn’t many, I’ll be honest.  But, that’s 18k in 5 weeks. That’s from less than 120 to 18,000 in FIVE weeks. SMDH. It’s always the accounts with 21 followers who say stuff like that.

Upon the ridiculous response to vaccines and mandates and masks by SOME people, I wrote and recorded a song, released under a pseudonym.  I’m never scared of attaching myself to projects, I just like making up different characters.  I’m a voice actor.  While most of my music is released under the SirTalksALot moniker, this song, “My Freedoms”, was by “Keith Tobins featuring The Spreadnecks WITH SirTalksALot”.  That way I can still sneak it only my album, hopefully due out soon.  

My Freedoms was a tongue-in-cheek country music clap-back to the anti-vaxxers.  It was done in a way where hopefully the subjects of the song would share it thinking it was a pro-anti-vax anthem.  And, share it they did.  Next thing, I’m getting “#FJB” vandalized in front of MY home and neighborhood.  The police couldn’t do much.  So, the media came out, reported a story, and the negativity flowed more than ever.  I didn’t read the comments of the news outlet’s Facebook story, but I heard they were cancerous and toxic.  These things prove my points 100%.  So toxic, that I followed up My Freedoms with “Faketriot”, a song dedicated to the many “Patriots” who use the American Flag to justify hate, sedition, religious extremism, and treason.

I made a TikTok about the attack and it spread like wildfire.  Next thing I know, 5 weeks later, almost 18k followers and over a quarter million likes on my account.  A quarter of a million.  That blows my mind.  

So, I feel like if I lose business because of what I am saying, it isn’t the kind of business I want to do, nor are they the kind of people with whom I want to associate my brand, persona, or voice.  I am grateful for the opportunities I have earned.  I am grateful for the opportunity to even do what I do and have any platform where anyone listens to me.  

Most of all, today and every day, I am thankful for my life – the one I tried to take so many times – and I am grateful I sucked at suicide long enough to get help for it and finally be in a great place mentally, emotionally, and personally – a place SO great that I can harness all of my frustration, anger, and disappointment in our society into messaging that needs to be said.  If it makes someone think about things in a different way, that’s all I am going for.  I’m going to enflame those who aren’t ready to accept what I am saying and I am ready for that, as well.  

I also know I have to be ready for worse than spray paint.  Death threats have already come. Threats of harm to me, assuring me that I will be silenced or “disappear” have poured in along with the support, followers, and likes.  The hate for my message is strong.  But, I argue the hate for my message is born in guilt and a deep-down understanding of what they are.  You see, just like the classroom and staff meetings, if this doesn’t apply to you, don’t get your feelings hurt.  

Lots of feelings are hurt.  Lots of people angry with me.  Lots of horrible things being said.  

But, just like Facebook, Twitter, and everything else I do, it is one giant sociological case study.  I am researching, studying, analyzing, and observing.  Everything I do is genuine and authentic to who I am.  However, almost everything I do has a deeper, higher personal purpose.  Social Media is solely for me to study how humans treat one another.  It’s more fodder for Overthinking Everything – in all its forms.  I am so excited for 2022 and the things it has in-store for me – and US! 

Thank you for joining my journey.  My links are below.  If you don’t follow me on TikTok, you’re missing out.  Subscribe to my YouTube channel, too.  My Podcast is on Spotify and I am everywhere else.  Until next time, remember that all we need is a LOT more Love, so…Give a Little.