The government doesn’t want you to see this blog post!

You know, in all honesty, I have no idea whether anyone in the government gives a shit whether you read this post or not, but it felt like an accurate title for this blog post – along with a nice helping of click-bait. So, welcome.

I’ll start with this:

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

-Socrates

That quote, attributed to Socrates, is one I really like, and I think it’s important for today (and… well… every day, really… but especially right now because I’m writing about it.)

Have you ever thought about how there is so much in the world that you don’t know? It’s a bit overwhelming. Think of all the various things in which you are most likely not an expert – quantum physics, psychology, educational policy, black holes, the chemical makeup of the earth’s core, why some people embrace the mullet haircut, or… drum roll, please… the intricacies of viruses.

Let me lose my smart-ass-ed-ness (had to sound that one out…) for just a moment. Things are a bit crazy right now with the whole coronavirus a.k.a. COVID-19 pandemic going on. Things are uncertain. Things are scary. Things are closed in some places, kinda-sorta closed in others, and wide “come on down and get you some COVID-19” open in others.

And it’s still going on weeks after Kenneth Copeland blew on the virus to make it go away! Astonishing!

In our ultra-tribalistic times, it seems that people fall into two main camps: 1. Close it all down, or 2. Open it all up.

Here’s the thing: I have empathy for some on both sides of it.

I can understand people that want to keep things closed. They don’t want more people to die. They care about their safety and the safety of others. They care about friends and family, and also about total strangers, front line workers, medical professionals, etc.

I can also understand a small business owner who just wants to get back to work and thinks it can be done safely. I can understand people who are scared of losing the roof over their heads because they have no income (or dramatically less than before) and in some cases, that government help hasn’t arrived. Some people didn’t know where their next meal was coming from before all this hit, and now that number has grown.

And in all of this chaos, and in all of these areas between the two extreme ends of the spectrum, there is so much disinformation going around, especially conspiracy theories – like this very blog post that the government totally doesn’t want you to read!

I find interest in conspiracy theories in a similar way that I find interest in religion and belief systems (ooh, and cults!) I don’t adhere to or believe the stuff myself, but I find it interesting to learn about the motivations and mindsets that go into someone believing them.

Now, of course, I’m not an expert in this stuff. To pull from Socrates, I know that I don’t know. So I’ll just share a couple of things I’ve found in some articles that have caught my attention.

Mark Manson, per his website, describes himself as an author, thinker, and life enthusiast. He tends to write about psychology and human behavior a lot, in easy-to-understand language with profanity (which, apparently bothers some people, but I’m not one of them.) In his May 4, 2020, “Mindf*ck Monday” newsletter, he discussed “why people believe crazy things.” He says:

“As with most human behavior, conspiracy theorizing doesn’t appeal to us on an intellectual level, it appeals to us on an emotional level.”

He then explains that conspiracy theories originate from three things:

  1. A desperate need for certainty
  2. Feelings of moral and intellectual superiority
  3. Lack of critical thinking

He goes into more detail on all of those in the email, but I’m not going to put too much here since I’m not trying to plagiarize or get sued or something. (Please don’t sue me, Mark, although if you actually see this… uh… hi.)

On that first point – the desperate need for certainty – I read another article, this time a first-person account on Vox by Dannagal G. Young, an associate professor of communication and political science at the University of Delaware. The title: “I was a conspiracy theorist, too.”

In the article, she says:

“Under conditions of uncertainty, information that helps direct our negative emotions toward a target is psychologically comforting. When we feel powerless in a situation that is both complex and overwhelming, the identification of people and institutions to ‘blame’ feels good to us.

Uncertainty. Complex. Overwhelming. All the various emotions we’re all feeling these days have led to normally reasonable, well-meaning people getting sucked into sharing all kinds of crazy things.

Young goes on to say:

“These feelings of collective uncertainty, powerlessness, and negativity likely account for the popularity of Covid-related conspiracy theories circulating online. Perhaps you’ve seen folks on social media claiming that Bill Gates is responsible for the coronavirus (he is not), or that 5G towers are somehow amplifying the virus (they are not), or maybe your friends or family have shared pieces of the propagandistic ‘Plandemic’ documentary in which discredited biologist Dr. Judy Mikovits advances several false claims — including the notion that wearing a mask “literally activates your own virus” (it does not).”

Of course, there’s a lot of information out there on this – much more than the two articles I’ve quoted from above. I think the psychology of it is interesting.

And hey, I’ll even admit that conspiracy theories can be entertaining sometimes (I’ve seen things like Zeitgeist and JFK and some 9/11 conspiracy movie that I can’t remember the name of… ooh, and Ancient Aliens! That show is fun.) But I’m not going to stake my name on defending them or go around calling people “sheeple” because they are “blind to the truth” or whatever nonsense gets thrown around these days. (That kind of falls under Manson’s 2nd point above: Feelings of moral and intellectual superiority, if you think about it. And if you think critically about it, it hits on his 3rd point.)

So with all the insanity going on and being shared and spread – like a virus [rimshot] – maybe we should all take a step back and think of ol’ Socrates and remember that we know nothing. Or, we can remember the wisdom of Ruth Langmore from the show Ozark:

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Let’s all try to be kind to each other as this 2020 shit-show rolls on, yeah?

Much love. Thanks for reading. Ooh, and subscribe below:

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‘Carry the Wounds’ music video

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Let me start off by saying this: I hope you and your family have been safe and healthy during this pandemic. The world has been pretty crazy – more than normal, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.

A lot of artists have been trying to create things during the COVID-19 quarantines. In fact, since we have not been able to practice, BARRENS has been working on stuff by sending each other tracks (along with releasing a cover of Pedro the Lion’s “Bad Diary Days” on YouTube.)

I released my newest solo album back in early March and then – BAM! – quarantines and stay-at-home orders and no more live shows. I haven’t done any livestream events so far, either. But hey, I’m a filmmaker as well as a musician, so I had to do something. And this is it: The official [quarantine] music video for the title track from my most recent album Carry the Wounds.

Normally, I tend to veer more towards music videos with a storyline – more of a short film type thing, like the “Unalienable” video I directed for my friends in Brineaboy or the BARRENS’ “Jumper” video. Or even the previous “Liquid Heart” video from my new album.

The challenge here was more of an answer to the question: “What can I film by myself in isolation (and still make look… decent)?” So here’s the video, with me barefoot, as usual, and desperately needing a haircut while all the salons are closed. I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for watching, reading, and supporting. Much love. (Imagine Facebook’s new “care” reaction emoji here.)

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BARRENS covers Pedro the Lion

Hey everyone!

So, during this quarantine, as everything is being canceled and schedules are crazy in completely different ways than normal, and social distancing is upending band practice, your boys in BARRENS have still been working on stuff – just individually.

Yep. We’ve been recording pieces and sending them to each other, and one thing we decided to do was cover a song, which ended up being “Bad Diary Days” by Pedro the Lion.

We did an acoustic version of it and put it on YouTube yesterday:

I did the photography for the cover art as an homage to the original album that the song came from. You can see the original art and hear the original version on YouTube as well.

Anyway, we hope you enjoy it, and we hope to be able to share more stuff with you soon. In the meantime, stay safe out there, and thanks for reading.

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Hey, remember when we had events and stuff?

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Photo by Thomas Tingle, taken March 6 at Goat Haus Biergarten during my Carry the Wounds album release show. 

I joined my first band when I was 15. I loved it then, and I still do. The music, the crowds, the energy, the rush that comes with performing live.

I enjoy going to concerts with friends, and going to see friends perform, and being in a place with people and music and drinks.

All that to say: shit is weird right now.

This COVID-19 situation is rough on everything – families, communities, hospitals, businesses, arts, etc. Everything is canceled.

I do want to give a shout-out to all the artists out there doing live streams and promoting their fellow artists and just keeping things going as best they can. As artists, we have this burning desire to create, and we try to figure out ways to continue no matter what.

The thing is, live streams aren’t the same. They’re not a substitute for the actual live experience. We know this. They’re a stop-gap during this pandemic, but it’s impossible to have the energy that comes with being with our fellow art lovers in one place for one reason.

And I hope that when things get back to normal, or we as a society have something of a new normal, that we can develop a deeper embrace and appreciation for the arts and community, and remember that it was artists we turned to during this pandemic – whether watching those live streamed musical performances, listening to our favorite albums, or binging Netflix; the arts got us through.

I hope we don’t take for granted the live concert experience. I hope we make it a point to go see a play, catch a movie on the big screen, and catch that art show.

And in the meantime, if you’re able to, watch some of those music live streams and tip the artists (many are using Venmo, Cash App, and PayPal.) Buy their albums. Pick up a gift certificate or season pass from your local indie theater or community theater. Get some takeout or delivery from your favorite local restaurant.

Support the arts. Shop local. And be sure to thank those who work in the healthcare industry.

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Women in Training video

I recently directed a video for the nonprofit organization Women in Training, Inc. Many thanks to First Assistant Director Savannah Stacy and Production assistant Danielle Wallace for helping me on the crew side of things. Produced by Terrible Master Films.

Check out the video on YouTube.

 

Get music, help our community

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Hey everyone. As I’m sure you’re already aware, things are getting crazy out there. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading, and that’s affecting pretty much everything.

Many people are working from home (when possible) and some people are staying home to self-quarantine. These are good things to do for safety, especially for vulnerable friends and family, the elderly, and those with weakened or compromised immune systems.

I also know that many people want to help and are unsure as to how to do so. I am one of those. I don’t know what needs are out there or what needs are being met versus those going unmet.

I did read some stuff recently about the strain being put on local food banks due to school closings and some people being temporarily out of work. Here’s one article that mentions some of it.

So here’s the thing:

All of my solo albums are on Bandcamp, including my latest release; from March 16-31, 2020, all profits from any downloads on my Bandcamp page at music.joshcarples.com will be donated to the Montgomery Area Food Bank.

If you’re unfamiliar with the way Bandcamp works, you can read their “Fair Trade Music Policy” here. Basically, when you buy a song or album, they keep 15 percent as their share, and the payment processor takes somewhere between 4 and 7 percent. So what’s left after that goes directly to the artist.

I can’t do anything about the Bandcamp share or the payment processing share, but the percentage that actually comes to me between March 16 and 31, 2020, will be donated in full to the Montgomery Area Food Bank.

And if you think my music sucks and want to donate directly to them – boom! – here’s the link. (Donation button/link is near the bottom of the page.)

If you need food assistance, click here. From that link, you can enter your zip code and find partner agencies in your local area.

If you’ve got other ways to help, please leave a comment below. Feel free to share this if so inclined.

Stay safe out there. Much love.

‘It’s refreshing’

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Many thanks to Montgomery Marauder for taking time to review Carry the Wounds and for the kind words for both my art and me.

“His gentle voice pairs perfectly with his acoustic guitar, creating an otherworldly sound that seems suspended in midair… It’s refreshing.”

Check out the full review here, and be sure to follow them on social media for updates on things happening in the Gump!

‘Carry the Wounds’ out now!

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Carry the Wounds is out now and available from digital retailers everywhere – Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, YouTube, Bandcamp, etc!

CDs are available here.

 

And if you missed it previously, here’s the music video for the song “Liquid Heart

I truly hope you enjoy these songs. Thanks for listening and supporting both myself and my art. Much love!

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‘Liquid Heart’ video!

The first track from my new solo album Carry the Wounds is called “Liquid Heart.” Here’s the music video for it. Carry the Wounds is out this Friday, March 6!

Many thanks to Somica Spratley, C. DeWayne Cunningham, Jeff McKinney, Alana Taylor, and Jon Himsel for making this happen.

Produced by Terrible Master Films, Carolyn Jean’s Son Visions, and Gefilte Films.