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If Nardwuar Can Do It, You Can Do It, Too!

Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

For those still unfamiliar with Nardwuar (his Odd Future SXSW interview ring a bell?), the Canadian radio and television personality has been going strong and doing his thing for well over two decades. One of the higher profile aspects of “his thing” has been creating a niche for himself as one of the world’s most bizarre artist interviewers. As the written introduction to this TED video explains, “Punk Rock Journalist Nardwuar the Human Serviette wants to take you on a journey into his do-it-yourself world of investigation and adventure. Through hard work, meticulous preparation and a tremendous passion for finding out interesting facts and tidbits, he sets the stage for unexpected situations and spontaneous reactions. It is an upfront and unconventional style that has resulted in verbal attack, physical threats, desertions, and some the most insightful and genuinely engaging conversations with the biggest names in music and popular culture you might ever witness.” So if you don’t know, now you know.

Those who have been following his career for weeks, months or years should have some kind of an idea of what he’s all about and what he’s been through. But for those who are new, this video offers a number of anecdotes and short clips which feature the likes of Snoop Dogg, Kurt Cobain, Lady Gaga & former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien; if you’re already well aware of the back-story I might suggest skipping ahead to the 16:00 marker however. The purpose of his presentation during the illustrious conference series wasn’t to simply show that by having balls you can actually achieve something (though that’s part of it), but that by without trying you’re never going to get anywhere. That’s not just how a music nerd from British Columbia was able to carve out a name for himself, but that’s how anyone gets anything accomplished: by not being afraid to try.

To focus in a little more however, one of the key points during his presentation is in his lesson surrounding the Latin term “volenti non fit injuria.” The Internet says that this means “to a willing person, no injury is done,” but Nardwuar uses a craftier illustration, likening it to a punk rock mosh pit. His example to which the saying relates is of a time when he was patronizingly asked (there’s more to the story, but watch the video for the context) why he does what he does: “Do you have to do this game? This is embarrassing for you.” In Nardwuar’s position it’s been clear all along that he has been willing to except it if he gets embarrassed or shake it off when people act like he’s a joke. By simply being born we all unknowingly sign the contract of volenti non fit injuria, but many of us still fail to realize that we’re not a victim simply because someone else doesn’t like us or think what we do might have little value. You can’t take everything everyone does to heart, and even when it stings the most, you can’t let that get in the way of you taking the next step. “If I can do it, you can do it too!” exclaimed Nardwuar at the end of his presentation. Truer words may have never been spoken.