Transcript for Michael Malice: Thanksgiving Pirate Special | Lex Fridman Podcast #402

This is a transcript of Lex Fridman Podcast #402 with Michael Malice. The timestamps in the transcript are clickable links that take you directly to that point in the main video. Please note that the transcript is human generated, and may have errors. Here are some useful links:

Table of Contents

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Lex Fridman (00:00:00) What’s your opinion on my bird here, Mr. Parrot?
Michael Malice (00:00:04) It’s a Macaw. Scarlet Macaw.
Lex Fridman (00:00:07) What?
Michael Malice (00:00:08) It is a Scarlet Macaw.
Lex Fridman (00:00:10) Oh, you know birds?
Michael Malice (00:00:11) Yeah. And that’s actually not life-sized.
Lex Fridman (00:00:15) Are you saying he’s not real?
Michael Malice (00:00:17) I’m saying it’s not to scale.
Lex Fridman (00:00:19) Okay. But he’s real.
Michael Malice (00:00:21) Are we doing that Monty Python sketch?
Lex Fridman (00:00:25) Everything is a Monty Python sketch.
Michael Malice (00:00:26) I don’t think Monty Python’s funny.
Lex Fridman (00:00:28) You don’t?
Michael Malice (00:00:29) At all. Not once.
Lex Fridman (00:00:29) That explains so much.
Michael Malice (00:00:31) Does it? What does it explain?
Lex Fridman (00:00:32) What do you think is funny?
Michael Malice (00:00:35) You not answering that question is pretty funny.
Lex Fridman (00:00:38) Yeah. What do you think is funny, having a mantis shrimp?
Michael Malice (00:00:41) No.
Lex Fridman (00:00:42) You think Big Lebowski is funny?
Michael Malice (00:00:44) Oh God, no.
Lex Fridman (00:00:46) This is getting worse and worse. The following is a conversation with Michael Malice, anarchist and author of Dear Reader, The New Right, The Anarchist Handbook, The White Pill, and he is the host of the podcast, YOUR WELCOME. This is a Thanksgiving special of the pirate and oceangoing variety. So once again, let me say thank you for listening today and for being part of this wild journey with me. This is a Lex Fridman Podcast. To support it, please check out our sponsors in the description. And now, dear friends, here’s Michael Malice.

Beauty and mantis shrimp

Michael Malice (00:01:34) The box?
Lex Fridman (00:01:35) Yeah.
Michael Malice (00:01:35) The mystery box.
Lex Fridman (00:01:36) I’m wondering what’s in it.
Michael Malice (00:01:36) There’s something in that box of exquisite beauty, both literally and in what it symbolizes and why it is here.
Lex Fridman (00:01:46) Given the kind of human being you are, I’m terrified at what you find beautiful.
Michael Malice (00:01:52) That’s a good point. You kind of hit me with a curve ball. For me, the most beautiful wildlife are what I call God’s mistakes. Because my friend came up with that term where she’s like, “God made these disgusting animals, just threw in the bottom of the ocean.” He’s like, “No one’s ever going to see this.”
Lex Fridman (00:02:12) Yeah. You commented on Twitter about some creature, a rainbow type creature.
Michael Malice (00:02:17) The peacock mantis shrimp.
Lex Fridman (00:02:18) Yeah, it’s beautiful.
Michael Malice (00:02:20) It’s horrific though. So it has, I think eight legs, six arms, two punching claws or spearing claws depending on the genus. Two eyes, two antennae, two ear flaps. I don’t know what they do. And its punch can be as strong as a bullet. And the other type with the spears, divers call them thumb splitters because if you stick your finger near it’ll cut your thumb down to the bone. So I had one as a pet. All night I would hear banging on the PVC pipe. And I’ve got to tell you, if they have the best eyesight of any animal because they see in seven different ways. And when you make eye contact with this thing, it’s just absolutely terrifying. But you can eat them as sushi. They call them sea centipedes.
Lex Fridman (00:03:01) But they’re colorful and beautiful.
Michael Malice (00:03:03) That’s species is, yeah.
Lex Fridman (00:03:04) What was it like having one as a pet, and why did you do it?
Michael Malice (00:03:09) Well, when you have a species that’s that unique and that much of an outlier, growing up, reading these books, watching these shows, I found this stuff so much more fascinating than space, which is dead. So to be able to have this specimen in your house and just observe its behavior is just an amazing thing.
Lex Fridman (00:03:32) Why’d you get rid of it?
Michael Malice (00:03:34) I didn’t have, I guess, the right minerals in the mix because-
Lex Fridman (00:03:36) It died?
Michael Malice (00:03:37) … it had a problem moulting once. Yeah, it couldn’t moult correctly.
Lex Fridman (00:03:40) Wow. Do you miss it? Think about it still?
Michael Malice (00:03:43) I do think about it, to be honest. I still have a pair of it’s punching appendages from when it moulted.
Lex Fridman (00:03:51) What pet animal in your life do you miss the most, that has been in your life that you think about?
Michael Malice (00:03:59) I’ve never had cats or dogs growing up or anything like that, which I… Oh God. My problem is-
Lex Fridman (00:04:07) Here we go.
Michael Malice (00:04:08) … if I like something, I will go down a rabbit hole. So I know if I got one tattoo, I already know my first five are going to be. Okay? So I can’t do it because then once I get those five, it’s going to be a hundred and I’m already too old to be the tattoo guy.
Lex Fridman (00:04:25) What would be the first tattoo? My face? Would it go on your ass cheeks or where would you put them if it was my face?
Michael Malice (00:04:36) If I got your face, it would definitely be on my arm right here.
Lex Fridman (00:04:39) If you had multiple faces, would you put like?
Michael Malice (00:04:42) I think delts, right? Shoulders, different faces on different shoulders.
Lex Fridman (00:04:44) And when you flex?
Michael Malice (00:04:45) I’d want some symmetry.
Lex Fridman (00:04:46) Yeah. Would you get a dictator? If you had to get a dictator, who would you get?
Michael Malice (00:04:51) Would have to be Kim Jong-il. Right? Because I wrote the book on him.
Lex Fridman (00:04:54) Oh, it’s like the plugging your book in the tattoo?
Michael Malice (00:04:57) I don’t think plugging, it’s just I have a personal connection to this stuff.
Lex Fridman (00:05:00) Good opener, the conversation. People would be asking why him and he’d be like, “Well, I wrote a book about it.” And I’d be like, “Oh, okay.”
Michael Malice (00:05:07) Okay. Here’s why-
Lex Fridman (00:05:08) “Let me check it out.”
Michael Malice (00:05:08) That would be a bad. No, that’s not what happens.
Lex Fridman (00:05:10) Okay.
Michael Malice (00:05:11) Here’s the thing.
Lex Fridman (00:05:12) What happens?
Michael Malice (00:05:12) When you write a book about North, “Hey, nice to meet you. What is it you do?’ “I’m an author.” “What kind of books do you write?” “Well, my last book was on North Korea,” 90% of the time, 90, they will then start telling me everything they know about North Korea. And it’s like, “I don’t need, this isn’t a quiz, and it’s a very poorly understood country. I don’t expect you to know anything. You’re not on the spot. And half of what you’re saying is not accurate either. It’s fine.”
Lex Fridman (00:05:36) How often did they bring up Dennis Rodman?
Michael Malice (00:05:38) A hundred percent.
Lex Fridman (00:05:39) A hundred percent of the time.
Michael Malice (00:05:40) “Oh, so do you know Dennis Rodman?”
Lex Fridman (00:05:42) Yeah.
Michael Malice (00:05:42) But I don’t understand why. I guess, people feel the need to, “All right, now we’re talking about this subject. I just got to drop whatever I can talk about.” It’s usually a small amount. And there’s this thing in the culture, which I hate that everyone have to have an opinion on everything. And it’s like it’s okay to be like, “Yeah, I don’t know anything about that. Tell me more.” There’s lots of things I don’t know anything about.

Parrots, Pirates, and Monty Python

Lex Fridman (00:06:02) What’s your opinion on my bird here, Mr. Parrot?
Michael Malice (00:06:07) It’s Macaw, Scarlet Macaw.
Lex Fridman (00:06:10) What?
Michael Malice (00:06:11) It is a Scarlet Macaw.
Lex Fridman (00:06:13) Oh, you know birds?
Michael Malice (00:06:14) Yeah. And that’s actually not life-sized.
Lex Fridman (00:06:18) Are you saying he’s not real?
Michael Malice (00:06:20) I’m saying it’s not to scale.
Lex Fridman (00:06:22) Okay. But he’s real.
Michael Malice (00:06:24) Are we doing that Monty Python sketch?
Lex Fridman (00:06:27) Everything is a Monty Python sketch.
Michael Malice (00:06:29) I don’t think Monty Python’s funny.
Lex Fridman (00:06:31) You don’t?
Michael Malice (00:06:31) At all. Not that once.
Lex Fridman (00:06:32) That explains so much.
Michael Malice (00:06:33) Does it? What does it explain?
Lex Fridman (00:06:35) What do you think is funny?
Michael Malice (00:06:38) You not answering that question is pretty funny.
Lex Fridman (00:06:39) Yeah. What do you think is funny, having a mantis shrimp?
Michael Malice (00:06:44) No.
Lex Fridman (00:06:45) Do you think big Big Lebowski is funny?
Michael Malice (00:06:46) Oh God, no. Although…
Lex Fridman (00:06:49) This is getting worse and worse.
Michael Malice (00:06:50) To be fair, I only tried to watch Big Lebowski after it’s been part of the culture for many years.
Lex Fridman (00:06:57) Right.
Michael Malice (00:06:58) To the point where every single line has been quoted incessantly by the most annoying frat bros ever. So I kind of have been poisoned to be able to appreciate it.
Lex Fridman (00:07:10) Right.
Michael Malice (00:07:10) So maybe if I’d seen it when it came out, before it became a thing, I would’ve enjoyed it. I couldn’t get through it. I couldn’t get through 20 minutes.
Lex Fridman (00:07:17) Is that how you feel about Schindler’s List?
Michael Malice (00:07:21) Well…
Lex Fridman (00:07:21) It’s so much easier for me to stare at you when you have sunglasses on.
Michael Malice (00:07:24) I didn’t think you’d be the one making Holocaust jokes today. And yet, here we are.
Lex Fridman (00:07:28) And cut scene. I actually have no trouble making eye contact with you when you’re wearing shades.
Michael Malice (00:07:35) Yes, because you’re a robot.
Lex Fridman (00:07:36) Two copies of myself.
Michael Malice (00:07:38) Yeah. Oh, you’re seeing yourself in them?
Lex Fridman (00:07:39) Mm-hmm.
Michael Malice (00:07:40) Okay, cool.
Lex Fridman (00:07:40) Yeah, I’m having a conversation with myself. It’s not your fault, Lex.
Michael Malice (00:07:46) They made you like this. You were just a good little Roman in Saint Petersburg.
Lex Fridman (00:07:51) I could see Mr. Parrot a little bit too.
Michael Malice (00:07:54) But what do you find funny? Come on. This is an interesting subject.
Lex Fridman (00:07:57) Well, I find Monty Python. I find absurdity funny.
Michael Malice (00:08:00) Yes. I find absurdity funny. I think that’s the thing. When people come at me, and maybe this is an Eastern European thing, when they’re like, “How can you find this very dark subject funny?” It’s like, well, the humor. First of all, the humor is that you’re making fun of something that’s dark. So already it’s absurd. It’s completely inappropriate. Second, just psychologically, Joan Rivers said that Winston Churchill said, I don’t know if it’s true, that when you make people laugh, you’re giving them a little vacation. And I was just thinking about this the other day, how when I die, if, I want my funeral to be a roast. It doesn’t help me that everyone’s sad. If I brought people happiness or joy in life, whatever, I want to keep doing that in death. Your sadness doesn’t help me. I know you can’t help it, but tell stories of how I made you laugh. Make fun of me. Make me the punching bag. Even literally, take me out of that coffin and beat the-.
(00:08:55) Make me a pinata. I don’t care. I don’t understand, well, I do understand, but it’s sad for me when people are like, “This isn’t funny. That isn’t funny.” The way I look at humor is the way it’s like a chef, right? It’s pretty easy to make bacon taste good, but some of these really obscure ingredients to make it palatable, that’s takes skill. So if you’re dealing with a subject that is very emotional or intense and you can make people laugh, then that takes skill and that’s the relief for them.
Lex Fridman (00:09:29) Yeah. It’s all about timing.
Michael Malice (00:09:33) Yeah.
Lex Fridman (00:09:34) Yeah.
Michael Malice (00:09:38) What’s the difference? You want to hear one of my jokes?
Lex Fridman (00:09:41) Is it a pirate joke? Because that’s the only kind I accept today.
Michael Malice (00:09:45) Okay.
Lex Fridman (00:09:45) But no, go ahead. It doesn’t have to be a pirate joke this one time.
Michael Malice (00:09:48) Do you know who Lia Thomas is?
Lex Fridman (00:09:50) Yeah.
Michael Malice (00:09:51) What’s difference between Lia Thomas and Hitler?
Lex Fridman (00:09:53) What?
Michael Malice (00:09:54) Lia Thomas knows how to finish a race.
Lex Fridman (00:09:58) Very nice. Very nice.
Michael Malice (00:09:59) Did I just get the gold medal?
Lex Fridman (00:10:00) Good job. Why does it take pirates forever to get through the alphabet?
Michael Malice (00:10:09) Why?
Lex Fridman (00:10:11) Because they spent years at sea.
Michael Malice (00:10:13) Oh, I thought it was going to be an [inaudible 00:10:15] joke.
Lex Fridman (00:10:15) Nope. No.
Michael Malice (00:10:16) That’s a good one. I like that.
Lex Fridman (00:10:17) Yeah.
Michael Malice (00:10:18) When I was in North Korea.
Lex Fridman (00:10:21) Oh, you know Dennis Rodman? It’s a callback.
Michael Malice (00:10:23) By the way, the thing that is very heartbreaking about the North Korean situation is that they have a great sense of humor. It would be a lot easier if these were robots or drones. They have big personalities, big senses of humor, and that made it much harder to leave and interact with these people because I mean, there’s nothing more human and universal than laughter and laughter’s free.
Lex Fridman (00:10:47) Are you saying there’s humor even amongst the people that have most of their freedoms taken away?
Michael Malice (00:10:52) Especially. I mean, again, we’re from the Soviet Union, there’s [inaudible 00:10:57] I mean, Russian humor is a thing because there’s nothing you can, if you can’t have food or nice things, at least you can have joy and make each other laugh. I think about it all the time, and I think about my guide all the time. It’s been, what, 2012? So it’s been 11 years since I’ve been there, and she’s still there. And everyone I’ve seen is still there. They just recently electrified the border. So you can’t even, even the few people who are escaping can’t do it anymore.
Lex Fridman (00:11:19) Well, that’s interesting that they still have a sense of humor. I attribute the Soviet Union for having that because of the really deep education system. You got to read a lot of literature.
Michael Malice (00:11:29) Okay.
Lex Fridman (00:11:30) And because of that, you get to kind of learn about the cruelty, the injustices, the absurdity of the world.
Michael Malice (00:11:40) Right.
Lex Fridman (00:11:40) As long as the writing is not about the current regime.
Michael Malice (00:11:43) Yeah. But I think if you look at African Americans, Jewish Americans, gay Americans, they are all disproportionate in terms of attributing to comedy. It’s not because these groups have some kind of magic to them., It’s that when you are on the outside looking in, A, you’re going to have different perspective than the people who are in the middle of the bell curve. But also, when you don’t have anything to lose, at the very least, you can make each other laugh and find happiness that way. So that is something that I think is an important thing to recognize.

Humor and absurdity

Lex Fridman (00:12:14) So what do you find funny? What makes you giggle in the most joyful of ways? The suffering of others?
Michael Malice (00:12:24) I mean, there are YouTube videos of fat people falling down and they’re really funny.
Lex Fridman (00:12:36) There’s two kinds of people in this world, those that laugh at those videos and those that don’t.
Michael Malice (00:12:42) No. And those that are in them. My friend Jesse just told me a great Norm Macdonald joke, and this is a good litmus test joke because he says, “A certain group of people lose their minds and a certain group of people just stare at you.” And he goes, “This kind of…” and so I’ll tell you the joke. This is Norm McDonald. A guy walks into a bar and he sees someone at the bar who has a big pumpkin for a head.
(00:13:07) And the guy’s like, “Dude, what happened to you?” He goes, “Ugh, you never believe this. I got one of those genie lamps and this genie.” He’s like, “Well, what happened?” He goes, “Well, the first wish, I wished for a hundred million dollars.” He’s like, “Yeah, did you get it?” He goes, “Yeah.” He goes, “In my bank account. Feels fine.” He goes, “All right. Well, the second wish, I wished to have sex with as many beautiful women as I want.” He goes, “Did that happen?” He goes, “Yeah, it was amazing.” He goes, “Then what?” “Well, I wished for a giant pumpkin head.”
Lex Fridman (00:13:34) Yeah.
Michael Malice (00:13:35) So there’s a certain mindset that will just be staring at the screen. And that is, I mean, there’s so many levels why that’s funny, at least to me. And I just love that kind of humor.
Lex Fridman (00:13:45) Well, Norm McDonald is just, I watch his videos all the time. He’s a guy that definitely makes me giggle. And he’s one of the people that makes me giggle for reasons I don’t quite understand.
Michael Malice (00:13:58) Did you ever see him with Carrot Top on Conan O’Brien?
Lex Fridman (00:14:01) No.
Michael Malice (00:14:02) Making fun of Carrot Top?
Lex Fridman (00:14:03) No.
Michael Malice (00:14:05) This is probably the best talk show clip of all time. He’s on with Courtney Thorne-Smith. She was on Melrose’s Place and Conan O’Brien’s the host, and Courtney’s talking about how she’s going to be an upcoming movie with Carrot Top. And Conan is like, “Oh, what’s it going to be called?” And she’s like, “Doesn’t have a title yet.” And Norm goes, “Oh, I know what should be called, Box Office Poison.” And they’re all laughing. And she’s like, “No, no, no, the working title is Chairman of the Board. And Conan goes, “Do something with that smart ass.” And Norm goes, “Yeah, bored is spelled B-O-R-E-D.” And they all just completely lost it.
Lex Fridman (00:14:39) There’s something about him with words spoken out of his mouth with the way he turns his head and looks at the camera.
Michael Malice (00:14:46) I think he is one of those rare comedians who you really feel like he’s talking to you directly. He feels like he’s winking at you in the audience. And he’s like, “Can you believe I’m doing this?” It’s like almost he feels like he’s, I don’t want to say imposter, but he’s more a member of the audience than he is a member of the people on the stage.
Lex Fridman (00:15:06) Yeah, it feels like he’s on our side.
Michael Malice (00:15:08) Yes. Yeah.
Lex Fridman (00:15:09) Whatever the hell “Our” means.
Michael Malice (00:15:11) Roseanne got him his first job.
Lex Fridman (00:15:14) Man. Roseanne, you and her have been hanging out.
Michael Malice (00:15:17) I got it. Oh my God. Talk about Thanksgiving. When you are talking to Roseanne Barr and making eye contact with this person, it is, I can’t even describe it. It’s just like, “Holy crap, Roseanne Barr’s talking to me.” She is, I’ve said this to her face, pathologically funny. It does not turn off. And you’re sitting there and you’re like, “Holy crap.”
(00:15:40) And when you make her laugh, which is that laugh that’s in the theme song of her show, you feel like, “Okay, I did a mitzvah. I did something good and right in the world that I made Roseanne Barr laugh.” And it’s also really funny because, and she’s going to hate this, because I tell her, she’s adorable. She doesn’t like that. She’s little. You think of Roseanne Barr as this force of nature, like a tsunami.
Lex Fridman (00:16:01) Big, yeah.
Michael Malice (00:16:01) She’s five three, I’d say maybe 130. And she puts on the sunglasses, you think this little old Jewish lady. You’d never know this is one of the most epic performers of all time. She lives near here now. So it’s just so much fun talking to her. There was an old satirical magazine in the, I think early two thousands called Heeb, written by Jews, and she dressed up as Hitler for one of the photo shoots, and she was baking little men in the oven. I found it on eBay, I wanted her to sign it to, “Michael, it should have been you.” But she signed it to, “Michael, you’re one smart cookie.” And now it hangs, “Love, mom, Roseanne Barr.” And I call her mom and it hangs over my desk because I have her good domestic goddess energy flowing at me. What?
Lex Fridman (00:16:52) What do you find? What else? So Norm McDonald. I guess, we’ve landed on that.
Michael Malice (00:16:56) No. My favorite comedian is-
Lex Fridman (00:16:56) We agree on something.
Michael Malice (00:16:57) My favorite comedian of all time is Neil Hamburger. So Neil Hamburger, I don’t know if I’m ruining the bit, he’s a character performed by this guy named Gregg Turkington. So he comes out in a tuxedo, big eyeglasses, holding three glasses of water, coughing into the mic. And I remember I saw him once in LA and the girl ahead of me, at the table ahead of me was with her boyfriend, this basic chick, pumpkin spice. She turns to him and she goes, “What is this?” And I remember the first time he was on Jimmy Kimmel, and he tells one of his jokes and it was like, “Why does ET Reese’s Pieces so much? Well, that’s what sperm tastes like on his home planet.” And no one laughs. And he goes, “Oh, come on guys. I have cancer.” And it just cuts to this Marine in the audience with his arms crossed. So if you know what he’s doing, it’s just absolutely amazing.
(00:17:58) He opened for Tenacious D once in somewhere, I think in Ireland or the UK, one of those. And they’re booing him because his jokes are often not funny. He’s like, “Hey, where did my whore ex-wife run off to with that dentist she’s shacking up with? I don’t know. But when I see her in court next month, Alaska.”
(00:18:20) So they’re booing and he goes, “All right, do you guys want me to bring out Tenacious D?” They’re like, “Yeah.” “Do you want to see your heroes of my Tenacious D?” “Yeah.” “Come on, let me hear it. Do you want to see Tenacious D?” “Yeah.” He goes, “All right, if I tell this next joke and you don’t boo me, I’ll bring out Tenacious D.” And it’s like, I’m trying to think of one that’s not too…
Lex Fridman (00:18:44) Self censorship is never good.
Michael Malice (00:18:45) Okay. He goes, “Can we agree that George Bush is the worst President America’s ever had?” Everyone claps. He goes, “Which makes it all the stranger that his son, George W. Bush was in fact the best.”
Lex Fridman (00:18:58) I take it back on the self-censorship.
Michael Malice (00:19:01) So two people laugh and he goes, “Oh, that’s amazing. I guess I’ll do an encore.” And he did 10 more minutes. It was just, I love him so much.
Lex Fridman (00:19:09) It’s interesting. They opened for Tenacious D. Jack Black, that’s a comedic genius of a different kind.
Michael Malice (00:19:16) Oh, yeah. And he was in one of my favorite movies, Jesus’ Son. It’s this little Indie movie. He did a great turn in that. He’s really underrated as an actor. He’s got a lot of range. I know he kind of get types cast as this one specific type, but he’s really, really talented.
Lex Fridman (00:19:30) But also just the pure joy.
Michael Malice (00:19:32) Yes. He’s clearly having fun.


Lex Fridman (00:19:35) Okay. It is Thanksgiving. So in the tradition, following tradition, what are you thankful for, Michael, in this world?
Michael Malice (00:19:45) Do you have a list too?
Lex Fridman (00:19:46) No, not really.
Michael Malice (00:19:47) Really?
Lex Fridman (00:19:48) It’s up in here.
Michael Malice (00:19:49) Oh, I mean, but you have several things you’re thankful for.
Lex Fridman (00:19:51) Yes.
Michael Malice (00:19:52) Okay.
Lex Fridman (00:19:52) Yes.
Michael Malice (00:19:53) One of the things I’m-
Lex Fridman (00:19:54) My list comes from the heart. I don’t have to write anything down.
Michael Malice (00:19:56) Well, I don’t have written down.
Lex Fridman (00:19:57) Okay.
Michael Malice (00:19:58) One of the things that I’m most thankful for, this is a common answer, but I can back it up, is my family. Because my nephew, Lucas, is now six years old. And when kids have a sense of humor, it’s like just miraculous. So he stole my sister’s phone, his mom. Figured out that grandma is listed as mom in the phone, and he calls her up and he’s like, “Michael’s in the hospital. He’s really sick.
(00:20:27) He didn’t want to tell you.” And she’s freaking out. He goes, “Prank.” So I took him, Dinesh D’Souza just released a movie called Police State, which was actually really good, highly recommend it. I was surprised how much I liked it because he wasn’t going Republicans good, Democrats bad.
(00:20:41) It was just about authoritarianism. And he had a movie premier at Mar-a-Lago. So I’m like, I got to bring Lucas to Mar-a-Lago. So Lucas is, I’m like, “We’re going to the President’s house.” He’s like, “Oh, the White House?” And I’m like, “No, no, a former president.” He goes, “Oh, Abe Lincoln?” And I’m like, “Okay, kid logic.” He’s giving logical answers. This is kind of like AI, you have to program it. It’s using logic correctly.
Lex Fridman (00:21:04) You should have told him it’s a president that’s second to only Ab Lincoln in terms of greatness.
Michael Malice (00:21:11) Accomplishments, yeah. He went up to all the women in their ball gown, evening gowns, and he goes, “You’re so beautiful. Were you born as a girl?” So when you have this six year old asking you this, it was really, really fun. So that is a great joy to have a nephew. And I have another one, Zach, who’s coming up in age, and he’s starting to talk now. That is really, really fun for me.
Lex Fridman (00:21:39) Getting to watch them find out about the world for the first time.
Michael Malice (00:21:43) And also training them, that he loves being funny and having fun.
Lex Fridman (00:21:49) You’re his audience in a sense?
Michael Malice (00:21:51) Yeah, but.
Lex Fridman (00:21:52) Because you giggle and?
Michael Malice (00:21:54) I give him, “We’re prank bros.” He gives me a high five. My family, and this is one, you talk about what I find funny, this is things that actually enraged me. When people, and this is such a wasp thing, don’t just go with the joke or they’re like, “I don’t get it,” or they don’t understand to just go with it.
(00:22:10) I was in the car with my sister when she was 10, 12, whatever. She’s much younger than me. She’s 12 years younger. And there’s this species of squid, by the way, which is asymmetric. One of its eyes is very much bigger than the other because it swims horizontally. And so one’s looking up, one’s looking down where there’s more light. Shout out. If you want to learn more about squids, go to
Lex Fridman (00:22:32) OctoNation. Shout out.
Michael Malice (00:22:34) Shout out to Warren.
Lex Fridman (00:22:34) There’s a lot of fascinating stuff. OctoNation on Instagram.
Michael Malice (00:22:37) Yes. I was in the car with my sister. She’s 10 or 20.
Lex Fridman (00:22:40) Me as a pirate, I’m sorry for the rude interruptions. I appreciate that comment, especially.
Michael Malice (00:22:45) Yeah, it’s a great. Yeah.
Lex Fridman (00:22:46) These jokes and thoughts are coming to me at a ten-second delay, so I apologize. Anyway, you were telling about the asymmetrical.
Michael Malice (00:22:54) I know where I was, don’t worry. I got it.
Lex Fridman (00:22:54) All right.
Michael Malice (00:22:56) So I tell my-
Lex Fridman (00:22:56) Sometimes you need help.
Michael Malice (00:22:57) No.
Lex Fridman (00:22:57) The age is getting to you.
Michael Malice (00:22:57) I was…
Lex Fridman (00:23:02) Your skin is showing it. It’s getting dark.
Michael Malice (00:23:06) I told my sister, I go, “When you were born, one of your eyes was bigger than the other, and you had to have surgery to fix it.” So she turns, she’s like, “Mom.” And my mom goes, “Honey, the important things that you’re beautiful now. It’s like, what’s the big deal? It was just a little surgery.” And I says like, “All right.” Calls grandma. And grandma goes, she goes, “Michael said that I was born one of the eyes.” She goes, “Why is he telling you this now? It’s not a big deal.” So the fact that everyone went with this…
Lex Fridman (00:23:35) Oh, nice.
Michael Malice (00:23:36) I was so impressed. I was like, “This is a quality family in this very specific regard.”
Lex Fridman (00:23:41) Yeah.
Michael Malice (00:23:41) Does your family have a sense of humor?
Lex Fridman (00:23:43) Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Michael Malice (00:23:43) Yeah.
Lex Fridman (00:23:47) Soviet culture, there’s a dark sense of humor.
Michael Malice (00:23:50) Very much so.
Lex Fridman (00:23:51) There’s…
Michael Malice (00:23:52) Wordplay.
Lex Fridman (00:23:52) Wordplay. Yeah. Yeah. And especially the Russian language allows for some-
Michael Malice (00:23:58) Yes.
Lex Fridman (00:23:59) Hilarity to it. There’s also culture of poetry and my dad, my mom too, but they remember a lot of lines from books and poems. So you can do a lot of fascinating references that add to the humor and the richness of the conversation.
Michael Malice (00:24:18) I feel like that’s a very Russian thing. At a party or maybe at a bar or something, I don’t know where you’d meet people, these are such great ice-
Lex Fridman (00:24:18) I never go out.
Michael Malice (00:24:25) I meant in Russia.
Lex Fridman (00:24:27) Oh.
Michael Malice (00:24:27) I meant these would be such good icebreakers, right? You go up to someone and goes, “Hey, did you hear this one?” [foreign language 00:24:32] And you just tell him some little story.
Lex Fridman (00:24:34) Did you say icebreakers because it’s cold in Russia? I’m here all night.
Michael Malice (00:24:42) That’s true. You never leave the house.
Lex Fridman (00:24:42) Literally.
Michael Malice (00:24:46) I feel like that’s a thing.
Lex Fridman (00:24:47) Yeah.
Michael Malice (00:24:48) And that’s not a thing in America.
Lex Fridman (00:24:51) You mean like witty banter?
Michael Malice (00:24:53) No. Meaning you go up to stranger and that’s your icebreaker. You tell them this little joke, and since everyone kind of has the same sensibilities, right away, you guys are chatting. I don’t think that’s a thing here.
Lex Fridman (00:25:02) Yeah.
Michael Malice (00:25:02) I think here it’s more small talk, which.
Michael Malice (00:25:00) … We’re chatting. I don’t think that’s a thing here. The thing here, it’s more small talk, which drives me crazy.
Lex Fridman (00:25:05) So what else are you thankful for?
Michael Malice (00:25:06) Well, what’s something you’re thankful for?
Lex Fridman (00:25:09) Well, you went with family. I’m definitely thankful for family.
Michael Malice (00:25:12) Okay.
Lex Fridman (00:25:12) Yeah.
Michael Malice (00:25:14) If I may ask, how do they react to you? You’re sitting down with Elon, you’re sitting out Netanyahu, sitting down with Kanye, all these big names. Are they expressing that they’re proud of you or is it more like, why haven’t you talked to this person?
Lex Fridman (00:25:30) Yeah, more Michael Malice, please.
Michael Malice (00:25:34) The people’s choice.
Lex Fridman (00:25:36) Yeah, They’re very proud. But they get argumentative and they’re just like a regular human being with whom I’m close and we just argue about stuff. They’re maybe not enough show the being proud of, but that part is just the nature of our relationship. It’s also the same with your parents?
Michael Malice (00:25:56) Yeah. I don’t talk to my dad. That’s one of the reasons because there’s never ever any good job. And at a certain point it’s like, why am I trying to search for approval from someone I’m never getting it for? And from whom it wouldn’t mean anything at this point anyway.
Lex Fridman (00:26:14) Well, that’s interesting. There’s a journey like that for a lot of people with their father or their mother. They’re always trying to find approval, and that’s life for a lot of people. That’s a really big part of the human condition is that relationship you have with your father, with your mother. I don’t know. It’s a beautiful thing whether it’s been a rough childhood or a beautiful one, all of it. That’s who you are. The relationship, especially early on in your life with your father or with your mother, is extremely formative.
Michael Malice (00:26:48) Yeah. My dad taught me a lot of things at a young age that I’m very, very grateful for. He’s extremely intelligent, very flawed, and that’s fine. We all are, except for me. And it’s the kind of things that when you learn things at a right age, and this is one of the things I like about being older, is that when I’m friends with people-
Lex Fridman (00:26:48) Much older.
Michael Malice (00:27:09) Much older, much older. When I have friends who are younger, it’s very easy for me to keep them from making the mistakes I did. So at least this is something I’m getting out of it is that, okay, I can’t fix these mistakes, but it just takes me 30 seconds and I can pull you back from making the mistake. So he’s taught me a lot as a kid, he really encouraged me very much to… He has a very good sense of humor and also very bad in some ways. Dad jokes, but also really funny jokes, but also this love of learning that I got that from him. And I have got literally right now, 98 books on my shelf to read. I remember I had a friend and she ran into someone she went to high school with and he stopped me on the train and he’s like, “Yo, you’re not in college. You don’t need to read books anymore.” And I was just horrified to hear this.
Lex Fridman (00:28:00) Yeah, yeah. Boy, don’t I know it.
Michael Malice (00:28:07) You do laugh, but there’s a lot of things I don’t understand. When you got heat for, I want to read the Western Classics. To me, that might’ve been the internet at its absolute worst.
Lex Fridman (00:28:21) I think there’s just a cynical perspective you can take that this is such a simple celebration of a thing, that there must be something behind it. I think the internet for good and bad, is just skeptical. What’s behind this?
Michael Malice (00:28:36) My hero, Albert Camus. And if there’s one thing I would want to fight, it’s cynicism because it’s such a giving up. It’s such, everything sucks, this sucks, this sucks. Most things suck. Most stand up comedians suck. Most movies suck. All podcasts suck. But it doesn’t matter.
Lex Fridman (00:28:54) Especially yours.
Michael Malice (00:28:55) Especially mine. It’s unwatchable.
Lex Fridman (00:28:58) You’re welcome. You can’t even spell it correctly.
Michael Malice (00:29:03) But the stuff that’s good is what matters. Who cares if 90% of movies are terrible? They’re the ones that change your life, the books, the people, the comedians, the shows, the music.
Lex Fridman (00:29:17) And even the terrible things have good moments, beautiful moments.
Michael Malice (00:29:22) Some, not all.
Lex Fridman (00:29:23) Your podcast being an example of not all. I keep listening for something good, something good.
Michael Malice (00:29:31) In all fairness, none of my guests have anything to that’s not on me. I try.
Lex Fridman (00:29:37) Yeah. Well, I wish you’d talk a little less in your podcast. It’s a little excessive. I only listen for the underwear commercials.
Michael Malice (00:29:46) Promo code Malice.
Lex Fridman (00:29:48) I haven’t seen you do it in a while, but this kind of commentary on a debate or I think it was with Rand, like an Ayn Rand debate or something.
Michael Malice (00:30:00) Oh yeah. Malice at the Movies. I watched the video and I broke it down.
Lex Fridman (00:30:03) That was really great. I wish you did that more.
Michael Malice (00:30:05) I haven’t done livestreaming in a long time. It was something I was doing a lot in New York, especially during COVID. I feel that I don’t know, I got so many projects on the plate. Oh, this is something else I’m thankful for. This is something I’m very, very thankful for and I’m going to announce it here.
Lex Fridman (00:30:26) Coming out of the closet, finally. Go ahead. Who’s the lucky guy?
Michael Malice (00:30:38) You’re the one in drag.
Lex Fridman (00:30:42) Guns out. Guns out.
Michael Malice (00:30:45) He makes me call him Sex Friedman.
Lex Fridman (00:30:48) You like it.
Michael Malice (00:30:50) I didn’t say I did.
Lex Fridman (00:30:52) All right.
Michael Malice (00:30:52) Didn’t even imply that. When I in, as you probably know as you know, but as many people watching this also know, Harvey Pekar who had the comic book series, American Splendor was the subject of the movie, American Splendor. He wrote a graphic novel about me in 2006 called Ego and Hubris, which goes for like $150 on eBay. It’s not worth it, just downloaded it. And I met Harvey because I wrote this screenplay about this band from the 80s called Rubber Rodeo. It’s a real band. And the keyboardist, Gary Leib, who passed away. Rest in peace, Gary. Introduced me to Harvey because he did the animation for the movie. And this script’s been in my desk for over 20 years, and I realized thanks to my buddy Eric July, who has some huge success with his comics, I could just produce this as a graphic novel.
(00:31:43) So I’ve got an artist, we’re getting it together, so I’m going to make it happen finally. And it’s some of the best writing I’ve ever done. I’m really proud of the story. It’s ironic reading it now, because when you’re a writer, obviously different books, you put different aspects of yourself into them, and this story is very, very dark because basically they did all the right things and they went nowhere. What I realized was reading it now, that all these fears I had over 20 years ago about what if I’m not going to make it? What if I’m doing all the hard work and it’s still not enough? Now it’s been disproven because I can at least pay my rent.
Lex Fridman (00:32:22) Do you feel like you’ve made it because you said you could pay your rent.
Michael Malice (00:32:26) I feel that to make it is if you don’t have to have a boss, and you know how I really felt like I made it?
Lex Fridman (00:32:36) Mm-hmm.
Michael Malice (00:32:37) This is going to sound like a joke, and it’s not. This is being an immigrant, I own as you know, Margaret Thatcher’s bookcases.
Lex Fridman (00:32:45) Yes.
Michael Malice (00:32:45) So to me as an immigrant, to have her bookcases in my house, I’ve made it.
Lex Fridman (00:32:51) You’re right. It’s not a joke.
Michael Malice (00:32:53) There’s nothing funny about it at all.
Lex Fridman (00:32:55) Not laughing.
Michael Malice (00:32:55) It’s time to get serious.
Lex Fridman (00:32:59) Oh, nice. Oh, now I’m more nervous and aroused. So what else are you thankful for? So we’re both thankful for family.
Michael Malice (00:33:10) the fact that I can-
Lex Fridman (00:33:11) Still get it up?
Michael Malice (00:33:12) What’s that?
Lex Fridman (00:33:13) Nothing, go ahead.
Michael Malice (00:33:14) I think as an author, to be able to write what you want and have of enough an audience that it covers your living, that’s as good as it gets as an author almost. You don’t need to be Stephen King or some legend. There’s lots of stand-ups who aren’t world famous, but they have perfectly good living. They do their gig, they do what they love. I feel very, very blessed. You must be thankful for your career?
Lex Fridman (00:33:43) Yeah, yeah. Career wise. But I think the best part about it’s just making friends with people I admire.
Michael Malice (00:33:52) Okay.
Lex Fridman (00:33:53) Quite honestly, just friends. The people that have gotten to know me, I hide from the world sometimes, I hit some low points, especially with all the new experiences and just the people that have been there for me and haven’t given up on me.
Michael Malice (00:34:06) There’s days, and I’m sure you’ve had this also where I literally don’t speak to someone the whole day. And in certain times in my life, I remember very vividly, I was in DC in ’97, I was an intern, and that summer, DC closes down on the weekends. And I remember those weekends when I got off the phone with the third person. I knew there was no possibility anyone was going to call and what that felt like, and it was dark and it was bad. So I remember those feelings of loneliness a lot.
Lex Fridman (00:34:44) I still feel alone like that sometimes. You don’t feel alone?
Michael Malice (00:34:51) Not anymore.
Lex Fridman (00:34:53) What’s the reason, you think?
Michael Malice (00:34:57) Because I have a lot of people who I care about and who care about me. The thing about moving to Austin is I forgot how lonely New York got because it was like one after another, I lost everybody. And then you start losing the places you go to, and then it was just like, “Holy crap. I’m very isolated.” And here in Austin, there’s not as much to do, obviously as in New York, but there’s a lot of people here. More people are coming all the time. So if I ever want to hang out with someone, I’ve got a long list. And these are people who I’ve known for a very long time, people who know me quite well, so I could be myself. My awful, awful, awful, awful self. And that is something I don’t take lightly.
Lex Fridman (00:35:42) Now you moved to Texas, it’s going to secede.
Michael Malice (00:35:44) Yeah.
Lex Fridman (00:35:44) It’s just a very-
Michael Malice (00:35:46) Do you know what happened with that?
Lex Fridman (00:35:47) No.
Michael Malice (00:35:48) I forget the guy’s name, and it’s probably for the best. On Monday, a guy in the Texas legislature introduces a bill to have it on the referendum to have a referendum for Texas to declare its independence. Tuesday, I’m on Rogan. Me and him discuss it. I give it national attention. It was also really funny because a lot of people are like, “These people have been in Texas, five minutes, blah, blah.” I go to the Texas legislature, meet with the guy, have a nice conversation. A month or two later, unanimous, I think, he gets voted kicked out of Congress because he got an intern drunk and was inappropriate with her. At least it was a girl in this case. But yeah, so that was my little Texas independence moment.
Lex Fridman (00:36:36) Oh, it didn’t go anywhere?
Michael Malice (00:36:38) It did not go anywhere.
Lex Fridman (00:36:39) Wow.
Michael Malice (00:36:41) But it’s still part of the platform of the Texas Republican Party.
Lex Fridman (00:36:45) It’s fascinating that history is probably laden with stories like this of failed revolutionaries. We celebrate the heroes, but then there’s the losers like…
Michael Malice (00:36:55) Myself.
Lex Fridman (00:36:56) Yeah.
Michael Malice (00:36:56) Yeah.
Lex Fridman (00:36:58) And we’re going to mark that one as a failure and edit it out and moving on. So thankful. Friendships, right? But by the way, I want to say just to you, I’m thankful in these lonely moments, for people who write books. I’ve been listening to audiobooks a lot and reading a lot. I really like audiobooks actually. I don’t know, I can just name random person, Serhii Plokhy. He’s a historian I’m reading on the-
Michael Malice (00:37:28) Wait, I read him. What did he…
Lex Fridman (00:37:29) It’s just he’s written a book most recently about the Russia-Ukraine war.
Michael Malice (00:37:35) He wrote another one that I read. Didn’t he write about-
Lex Fridman (00:37:37) Empires, I think.
Michael Malice (00:37:38) The fall of the Soviet Union or something like that.
Lex Fridman (00:37:38) Yeah, yeah.
Michael Malice (00:37:40) Yeah. It was very, very good.
Lex Fridman (00:37:41) He’s great.
Michael Malice (00:37:42) I used him as a resource for the White Pill.
Lex Fridman (00:37:44) He’s objective while still having emotion and feeling to it. He has a bias.
Michael Malice (00:37:49) That’s fine.
Lex Fridman (00:37:53) A lot of times when you write a story that involves Putin, people are really ideological. They don’t write with a calmness and the clarity and the rigor of history, there’s emotion in it. There’s almost a virtue signaling. And he doesn’t have that, even though he is Ukrainian and has very strong opinions on the matter. Anyway, there’s people like that and he’s done an incredible job researching a recent event. Like he says, I was looking at everything that’s been written about the war in Ukraine and realizing the old Churchill line, that historians are the worst ones to write about current events except everybody else. And so he’s like, “I might as well just write about this war.” And he does an exceptional job summarizing day by day, the details of this war. Anyway. So I’m just grateful for a guy like that.
Michael Malice (00:38:50) For me, I’ll name some historians I love. Arthur Herman, Victor Sebastyen is probably my favorite. David Pietrusza, P-I-E-T-R- U-S-Z-A. When you are a historian, and I try to do this to some degree in the White Pill as much as I could. But when you take data and you make it read like a novel, so you’re learning about who we are as people, what had happened, but also it’s entertaining and readable. That to me is like the Acme of writing. I have so much admiration-
Lex Fridman (00:39:25) What does Acme mean?
Michael Malice (00:39:27) Top.
Lex Fridman (00:39:27) Okay.
Michael Malice (00:39:28) Zenith.
Lex Fridman (00:39:29) Zenith? Okay. Is this what writers do? They just come up with these incredibly sophisticated words? I’m impressed.
Michael Malice (00:39:35) Well, Acme is-
Lex Fridman (00:39:35) Because you could have just said the best of writing.
Michael Malice (00:39:38) Acme is also the company in Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote is always Acme, like Acme bombs. When they are that good, it leaves me in awe.
Lex Fridman (00:39:52) It’s just-
Michael Malice (00:39:53) Ron Chernow is another one.
Lex Fridman (00:39:54) Who?
Michael Malice (00:39:55) He wrote the Hamilton biography.
Lex Fridman (00:39:57) Oh, nice. Well, I have a lot of favorite historians about the whole time period of World War II, William Shirer, people that lived during it, especially. I really like those accounts. Obviously Soldier Knudsen, he’s not a historian, but his accounts are fascinating. Actually, how much do you talk about Soldier Knudsen?
Michael Malice (00:40:20) Never.
Lex Fridman (00:40:21) Not much, right? Why not?
Michael Malice (00:40:24) I feel like I wanted to. There’s nothing I could add to him.
Lex Fridman (00:40:30) But he’s the Michael Malice of the previous century?
Michael Malice (00:40:34) No, he’s talented, charismatic, and skilled. So he’s not the Michael Malice. Yeah. I feel like I didn’t read Gulag Archipelago for the White Pill.
Lex Fridman (00:40:47) You didn’t?
Michael Malice (00:40:48) I didn’t. No. I got a lot of it from Anne Applebaum, who’s a very controversial figure. Her history books on the Soviet Union, I think are superb, but she’s also accused of being very much a NeoCon and being a warmonger in contemporary times.
Lex Fridman (00:41:02) Oh, I see.
Michael Malice (00:41:02) And I think comparisons between Putin and Stalin, although there is a Venn diagram, I think are a bit much, because I think it’s very hard to claim that if Putin conquered Ukraine, that there’d be a genocide. I think that’s a very hard argument to make.
Lex Fridman (00:41:19) In these tense times. Even the comparisons of what’s going on in Israel on either side, comparisons to the Holocaust are also troubling in this way.
Michael Malice (00:41:28) Yes. And I also don’t like how that… I got in trouble. There was some literal demon who works at the Atlantic.
Lex Fridman (00:41:36) As opposed to a regular demon?
Michael Malice (00:41:38) As opposed to figurative demon.
Lex Fridman (00:41:40) I didn’t know they employed demons.
Michael Malice (00:41:41) They exclusively employ demons at the Atlantic. And he was giving me crap this a couple of years ago on Twitter because I didn’t think it’s appropriate to refer to George Soros as a Holocaust survivor. And I’m like, “Listen, if you want to put him in the same context as Anne Frank, knock yourself out.” But I think that’s so completely disingenuous and frankly repulsive to me morally to equivocate between figures like that. And also to claim that anyone who is a billionaire who is including Elon, including Sheldon Adelson, there’s no shortage of these people. If you want to use your extreme wealth, use it to influence politics, you have to be up for criticism, Bill Gates. To protect these people from criticism just on the base of their identity is deranged to me.
Lex Fridman (00:42:35) But also, the Holocaust as a historical event and the atrocities within it are just singular in history. And so comparing them…
Michael Malice (00:42:47) What’s the utility? You’re just basically trying to take this brand. I’m using that term in a very specific way. And when they say climate denial, no one’s denying climate exists. So you’re just trying to go off Holocaust denial. I think it’s shameless and I think it’s gross.
Lex Fridman (00:43:04) And it cheapens everything because there’s deep important lessons about the Holocaust.
Michael Malice (00:43:09) Yes.
Lex Fridman (00:43:10) To me, the lessons are about how extreme it can get.
Michael Malice (00:43:15) And how fast.
Lex Fridman (00:43:17) Yeah, and how fast.
Michael Malice (00:43:17) That’s the one. So people ask, “Oh, are humans basically good? Are they basically evil?” I always say they’re basically animals. And I think most people are almost fundamentally deranged. And that there’s basically this veneer of civilization and decency. And when shit hits the fan and we see this over and over, they do things that would’ve been completely unthinkable even to themselves five years ago.
Lex Fridman (00:43:46) Most people are fundamentally deranged with a veneer of civility.
Michael Malice (00:43:50) There’s a show called-
Lex Fridman (00:43:51) I Think I disagree with that.
Michael Malice (00:43:53) What’s the show called? I’m having Alzheimer’s because of the advanced age.
Lex Fridman (00:43:58) The age, the skincare. It’s just working well.
Michael Malice (00:44:00) There’s a show called, I Think You Should Leave. It’s a sketch comedy.
Lex Fridman (00:44:00) I think you should leave. Okay, sorry.
Michael Malice (00:44:04) It’s a sketch comedy show. And he captures these great… How’s your hair, princess? He captures these great moments of just the very thin veneer of normalcy and just the craziness that’s so frequently lurking underneath. Another great example of this, when this is dealing with people who are literally crazy, have you ever seen the show, Hoarders?
Lex Fridman (00:44:27) Yeah.
Michael Malice (00:44:27) So every episode of Hoarders, there’s usually two people in every episode, but every episode has the same plot line, veneer of normalcy, veneer of normalcy, veneer of normalcy, slight expression of concern, full-blown derangement. And it always follows that exact pattern.
Lex Fridman (00:44:44) Yeah, I don’t know. I think the deep ocean of the human mind is good. There’s a longing to be good to others.
Michael Malice (00:44:56) I have seen literally no evidence of this. And I know everything’s a deep ocean with you people, but-
Lex Fridman (00:45:01) What do you mean you people?
Michael Malice (00:45:02) Pirates.
Lex Fridman (00:45:04) Oh.
Michael Malice (00:45:05) I don’t see it.
Lex Fridman (00:45:05) What’s that Mr. Parrot? He’s an antisemite/ No, that’s not nice to say in front of such a large audience. You’re embarrassing me, Mr. Parrot.
Michael Malice (00:45:18) Lex, you have-
Lex Fridman (00:45:19) What’s that Mr. Parrot? He’s a run-of-the-mill troll and barely an intellectual. That’s not nice to say. That’s not true. We talked about this. You have to see the good in people.
Michael Malice (00:45:31) You have seen personally, how quickly and easily it is for human beings to form outgroups and to just rid others, as I just did a minute ago with the Atlantic, completely out of the human race. And that happens constantly and very easily. Humans are tribal beings. I don’t see how that’s compatible with this essential desire to do good.
Lex Fridman (00:45:58) No, I think it’s like in 1984, the two minutes of hate. There is a part of humans that wants to be tribal and wants to get angry and hateful. And then that hate is easy to direct by, especially people as you, as an anarchist, talk about, there are people in power that direct that anger.
Michael Malice (00:46:20) Yes.
Lex Fridman (00:46:21) But I think if you just look at recent human history, the desire for good, the communal desire for good outweighs that, I think. Most of life on earth right now, people are being good to each other in a most fundamental sense relative to how nature usually works.
Michael Malice (00:46:40) Okay. I think you’re both wrong about people and about nature. So nature is not inherently violent in the sense, for example, if anyone has an aquarium or if you look at wildlife, yeah, you’re going to have predator or prey, but these animals are going to be coexisting and they’re going to be ignoring each other for the most part, right?
Lex Fridman (00:46:40) Mm-hmm.
Michael Malice (00:46:59) And as for humans being essentially good, I think humans are essentially to each other, you said, I think they’re essentially civil and amiable, but that’s not really being good.
Lex Fridman (00:47:12) Good, I think is a thing that gets illustrated when you’re challenged, when there’s difficult situations.
Michael Malice (00:47:17) Yes, exactly. Yes.
Lex Fridman (00:47:18) Civility is a good starting point. And then when there’s a big challenge that comes, people step up on average.
Michael Malice (00:47:26) I completely agree with you that human beings are capable of such profound goodness, that it makes you extremely emotional. And I certainly think that’s that’s true, but I think that’s more unusual than it’s the norm.
Lex Fridman (00:47:42) I see beauty everywhere.
Michael Malice (00:47:43) So do I, but that doesn’t mean it’s in every person.
Lex Fridman (00:47:46) Not in every person, but in most people. I wish there was a really good way to measure this, my general sense of the world. It’s just there’s so much incredible both in terms of economics, in terms of art, in terms of just creation as a whole, that’s happened over the past century, that it feels like the good is out powering the bad.
Michael Malice (00:48:09) You just did the perfect segue to the box.

Unboxing the mystery box

Lex Fridman (00:48:16) What’s in the box? Is it your fragile ego?
Michael Malice (00:48:21) You stole my joke. You stole my joke. That was the joke I made at you before we recorded. You stole my joke.
Lex Fridman (00:48:28) No, I didn’t. I write all your material, you hack.
Michael Malice (00:48:33) So as you know, I have a lot of beautiful stuff in my house because I think it’s something very important. Everyone listening, if you accomplish something that is great, some achievement, what I like to do is buy myself something to remember that moment. Because sometimes when it’s hard, you forget you’ve done great things in your life. You’ve made accomplishments. It doesn’t have to be some amazing factory. It could just be like my first job or I got a raise or you know what? Anything. So there’s this amazing sculptor named Jake Michael Singer, a singer who’s a sculptor, and I saw a piece of him.
Lex Fridman (00:49:18) How’s his singing voice? This joke’s not going-
Michael Malice (00:49:23) Hold on. I could go somewhere with this.
Lex Fridman (00:49:24) Okay.
Michael Malice (00:49:25) How’s his singing voice?
Lex Fridman (00:49:26) Do you want me to write your joke for you?
Michael Malice (00:49:27) Yeah. What’s the punchline? Harrrd. There it is, that’s the one.
Lex Fridman (00:49:33) That’s what she said.
Michael Malice (00:49:34) So I followed him on Instagram, he followed me back and he says, “What’s the point of being an artist if the work I create isn’t in the spaces of people I like and admire?” He’s a big fan of yours. You’ve given him and our episodes together give him joy. So he said, “If I make Lex a sculpture, will he put it on the-“
Michael Malice (00:50:00) He said, “If I make Lex a sculpture, will he put on the shelf behind him?” And what that reminded me of is when I was a kid, you read Batman comics and there’s the Bat Cave. And the Bat Cave has all this cool stuff in it. I didn’t realize until much later that all of those things in the bat cave had an origin story. So the giant penny, the dinosaur, there was actually a story where that came from. So if you’re a fan of a show, you can spot, oh, this is when this appeared. This is when that appeared. This is when that appeared. So he made you this sculpture. He lives in Turkey and it’s called Chance Murmur. And it is, I haven’t even seen it yet. It is absolutely beautiful.
Lex Fridman (00:50:42) So you want to do a little unboxing?
Michael Malice (00:50:42) Yes.
Lex Fridman (00:50:44) Okay. Axe or…
Michael Malice (00:50:49) Body spray?
Lex Fridman (00:50:54) All right.
Michael Malice (00:50:54) Let’s do it.
Lex Fridman (00:50:55) Let’s unbox.
Michael Malice (00:50:59) I’m so excited. He lunges out of the box.
Lex Fridman (00:51:04) You know that Steven Seagal movie where there’s a stripper that comes out of the box?
Michael Malice (00:51:07) Is there?
Lex Fridman (00:51:08) Under Siege.
Michael Malice (00:51:09) Okay.
Lex Fridman (00:51:09) He’s on a boat. You’re not an action film guy.
Michael Malice (00:51:14) No.
Lex Fridman (00:51:19) One.
(00:51:21) What does the pirate say when he turns 80?
Michael Malice (00:51:24) What?
Lex Fridman (00:51:25) Aye matey.
Michael Malice (00:51:29) Aye matey. Oh.
Lex Fridman (00:51:32) Oh.
(00:51:33) See, that’s how I know you don’t like humor.
Michael Malice (00:51:35) I just don’t like pirates.
Lex Fridman (00:51:37) Well, your mom does.
(00:51:39) Do you play any musical instruments?
Michael Malice (00:51:40) No. Neither do you. I’ve seen your guitar videos.
(00:51:46) Okay.
Lex Fridman (00:51:48) Here’s a big piece of wood for you. That’s what it feels like, just so you know.
Michael Malice (00:51:57) Oh, wow. Do you need help?
(00:51:57) Oh my God.
Lex Fridman (00:52:00) This traveled across the world.
Michael Malice (00:52:05) So here’s why his work speaks so much to me. So first of all, he’s combining so many different references. It’s Nike, the Goddess of Victory, right? It looks like an angel as well. The Italian futurist, which is my favorite art movement from the early 20th century, they tried to capture motion in 2D or 3D form.
Lex Fridman (00:52:31) Well, Jake, thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for creating beautiful things. Thank you for caring about somebody like me and somebody like Michael. We really feel the love.
Michael Malice (00:52:43) That’s the other thing.
Lex Fridman (00:52:43) Thank you.
Michael Malice (00:52:45) When you have something that matters to you in your house and you’re having a bad day, you can look at it and remember. You know what I mean? That spirit of joy. And I actually have a list here. Okay? I’ve got a little rant ready. Do you want to hear my rant?
Lex Fridman (00:53:00) Yeah. Let’s go.
Michael Malice (00:53:02) One of the things that drives me crazy is when people, especially conservatives, think that all contemporary art is ugly or abstract or literally garbage. And there’s a lot of that, but so much of the stuff out there in galleries is not only not crazy expensive, but they’re trying to sell things for people in their house. And these are young artists. They’re trying to add beauty. I have a list, so if you don’t believe me and you think all contemporary art is garbage or terrible, go to the website or any of these places that I’m going to rattle off, look through them. And you’re telling me that it’s not about creating beauty and joy and things in people’s lives?
(00:53:40) So I don’t have any relationship with any of these people, these are just some galleries I follow on Instagram. Outre Gallery, Antler Gallery, Giant Robot 2, Beinart, I don’t know how to pronounce it, I’m sorry. B-E-I-N-A-R-T. Spoke Art Gallery, Var Gallery in Milwaukee, I was there. The pieces were not expensive at all.
Lex Fridman (00:53:58) What kind of art are we talking about? Everything? Paintings?
Michael Malice (00:54:00) Mostly paintings. Mostly paintings. Some sculptures too, like this. Corey Helford is my favorite one in LA. Night Gallery, Vertical Gallery, Avant Gallery, Hive Gallery, Haven Gallery, and Curio Art Gallery. I’m telling you, it’s not exorbitant. This is not the kind of thing where you have to go to a museum and be like, “This doesn’t make sense to me.” You look at it right away, you’re like, “Okay, I know what this is.” And it’s beautiful. It’s awesome. And you’re supporting someone who’s young and creative trying to do something and make the world a better place.
(00:54:31) So I’m a big fan of the contemporary art scene. A lot of it is not great, but even the stuff that’s not great is very rarely disgusting or gross. It’s just like, okay, I’ve seen this before, or something like that.
Lex Fridman (00:54:43) Okay.
Michael Malice (00:54:44) It’s like the difference between, there’s a standup where I’ll pay money for the ticket, and someone who’s an opener. It’s like, I wouldn’t pay to see him perform, but he sure still made me laugh. That person is still by far more good than bad. So a lot of this art isn’t stuff I would own, but it’s like, okay, I get it. I like it.
Lex Fridman (00:55:01) Well, as the analogy goes, I really like going to open mics, actually, because funny… It sounds absurd to say, but funny isn’t the only thing that’s beautiful about standup comedy, it’s the…
Michael Malice (00:55:14) The agony.
Lex Fridman (00:55:17) It’s going for it. It’s trying to be funny. It’s taking the leap, trying the joke. And some of the best stuff is actually funny, but the audience is like three people, two of whom are drunk and bored, and you’re still going for it. And that’s the human spirit right there.
Michael Malice (00:55:35) Roseanne was telling me how Gilbert Gottfried would go on, it was like 3:00 in the morning. And it was her and three other comics in the audience and they all were just dying.
Lex Fridman (00:55:46) Yeah.
Michael Malice (00:55:46) He was just killing them. Who’s your favorite comedian?
Lex Fridman (00:55:53) Dave Smith.
Michael Malice (00:55:54) Who?
Lex Fridman (00:55:56) And cut scene. Favorite comedian. First, Norm Macdonald. If you put a gun to my head and I had to answer really quickly, that would be him.
Michael Malice (00:56:04) Okay.
Lex Fridman (00:56:07) I would also say Louis C.K.
Michael Malice (00:56:09) Oh, wow. Yeah. Oh my God, yes.
Lex Fridman (00:56:12) But that’s almost like a vanilla answer at this moment in history because it’s like a-
Michael Malice (00:56:16) Louis C.K.’s pretty radioactive.
Lex Fridman (00:56:18) He is. Well, yeah. He does the tough topics-
Michael Malice (00:56:21) Sure.
Lex Fridman (00:56:22) … the best. Mitch Hedberg. The wit of a good one-liner is great. I guess that’s what Norm Macdonald was a genius at. What about you?
Michael Malice (00:56:33) I mean, we’re so fortunate to be here in Austin because that Comedy Mothership, you go there and people are just killing it. David Lucas is amazing.
Lex Fridman (00:56:43) Yeah, he’s great.
Michael Malice (00:56:43) Thai Rivera probably did the best set I’ve seen since I’ve been here in Austin. And I watched him and I’m like, “This guy’s even bitchier than I am.” So I reached out to him. So he’s just terrific. David Lucas is another one, a buddy of mine.
Lex Fridman (00:56:57) You just said it twice, I think. David.
Michael Malice (00:57:00) I’m thinking of Dave Landau, excuse me.
Lex Fridman (00:57:01) Yeah.
Michael Malice (00:57:01) Dave Landau. Joe Machi is-
Lex Fridman (00:57:04) Old age catching up.
Michael Malice (00:57:04) It’s true though.
Lex Fridman (00:57:05) It’s true.
Michael Malice (00:57:06) It’s true.
Lex Fridman (00:57:07) It’s true.
Michael Malice (00:57:08) Dave Lucas.
Lex Fridman (00:57:10) You ever been to the Comedy Mothership? It’s a great spot.
Michael Malice (00:57:13) Where is that? Is that in Austin?
Lex Fridman (00:57:15) Austin? Is that where Willie Nelson is from? I haven’t really… Go ahead, I’m-
Michael Malice (00:57:19) Oh, I heard a joke about that the other week.
Lex Fridman (00:57:23) Go ahead. Tell a joke again.
Michael Malice (00:57:25) What’s the only thing worse than giving head to Willie Nelson?
Lex Fridman (00:57:31) What?
Michael Malice (00:57:32) If he says, “I’m not Willie Nelson.”
Lex Fridman (00:57:36) What’s that, Mr. Parrot? I know he’s not funny. He thinks he’s better on Twitter. But that’s not nice to say, and right in front of his face. Just think how he feels.
Michael Malice (00:57:49) The statue, Chance Murmur is judging you.
Lex Fridman (00:57:52) Chance?
Michael Malice (00:57:52) It’s called Chance Murmur.
Lex Fridman (00:57:54) Chance Murmur.
Michael Malice (00:57:55) God, that’s so beautiful.
Lex Fridman (00:57:56) That is gorgeous.
Michael Malice (00:57:58) This is another reason I hate cynicism, and I talk about this a lot. Even just on Etsy, there are so many small, not huge companies, individual artisans who are creating great stuff and just making it happen. And it’s really sad for me where people can’t see that. Or if they’re like, “Well, how could I be excited about a sculpture when blah, blah, blah, the Middle East?” And it’s just like, you can always look for an excuse not to look for joy, or you could look for an excuse to look for joy.
Lex Fridman (00:58:26) Yeah. Etsy is incredible. I feel the same way about-
Michael Malice (00:58:28) OnlyFans?
Lex Fridman (00:58:30) … OnlyFans. I can’t even get that out of my mouth before laughing at my own failed joke.
Michael Malice (00:58:34) That’s what she said.
Lex Fridman (00:58:36) Oh, all right. That might be one of the first that’s what she said from Michael Malice.
Michael Malice (00:58:43) Yeah.
Lex Fridman (00:58:43) I’m going to count that.
Michael Malice (00:58:48) I don’t know what I’m going to do with mine, because I got my own. Mine’s three feet tall, just like me.
Lex Fridman (00:58:52) Your box was much bigger.
Michael Malice (00:58:53) Yeah.
Lex Fridman (00:58:54) And it was giving me an inferiority complex. I think I’m going to invade Russia. That’s a Napoleon reference for those in the audience.
Michael Malice (00:59:09) I don’t know if I’m going to… I think I’m going to put it in my bedroom so it’s the first thing I see when I wake up.
Lex Fridman (00:59:13) Put it in the bedroom.
Michael Malice (00:59:13) Yeah.
Lex Fridman (00:59:16) Did we get through everything we’re thankful for?
Michael Malice (00:59:19) No, I’ve got lots of things I’m thankful for.
Lex Fridman (00:59:20) What else? Friends, family. We said books.
Michael Malice (00:59:26) I’m thankful for career. I am thankful for… And I know people are going to lose their minds and I can hear them flipping out already. I am thankful for social media.
Lex Fridman (00:59:40) Yeah.
Michael Malice (00:59:41) I’m thankful for several reasons. First, it is a way for people to make connections that they couldn’t have made in years past. That if you’ve got some weird hobby, you can find that other person’s weird hobby and you make that connection. It’s a great way to stay in touch permanently for people otherwise you’d lose touch with, you know, at whatever venue. And it’s also a great way to expose corporate depravity. When you have these organizations that are dishonest, I think the community notes thing on Twitter is the greatest thing ever.
Lex Fridman (01:00:09) Yeah, it’s incredible. I wish they would pay attention to the Michael Malice account more often.
Michael Malice (01:00:15) You shouldn’t be encouraging anyone to pay attention to my Twitter account.
Lex Fridman (01:00:18) Yeah.
Michael Malice (01:00:18) It’s a dumpster fire. And I don’t mean Bridget, I mean like a literal… Bridget Phetasy.
Lex Fridman (01:00:23) Oh, Bridget, by the way, is amazing. But your Twitter account makes-
Michael Malice (01:00:23) She lives here.
Lex Fridman (01:00:25) Yes. Not here. I wish she did.
Michael Malice (01:00:29) She’s in Georgetown.
Lex Fridman (01:00:30) No, I mean in this, where we’re sitting.
Michael Malice (01:00:32) Oh.
Lex Fridman (01:00:32) It’s a joke, Michael.
Michael Malice (01:00:33) Is it?
Lex Fridman (01:00:34) Yeah.
Michael Malice (01:00:34) But I’m just really glad about… It’s another way for people who before would’ve felt very alone. I know some people do feel alone, but for other people it makes them feel connected.
Lex Fridman (01:00:46) There’s been a lot of talk about antisemitism recently.
Michael Malice (01:00:49) Yeah.
Lex Fridman (01:00:49) What’s your sense about this? Is antisemitism like any other brand of hate? There’s a lot of hate out there.
Michael Malice (01:00:57) No, I don’t think it’s like any other brand of hate, because I don’t think racists or transphobes or homophobes or misogynists or xenophobes argue openly or even not so openly for the killing of black Americans, transgender people, gay people, women, or immigrants. And it’s not only something that’s talked about, it’s something that has actually happened. And not just the Holocaust, but just centuries of pilgrims, right? There’s this great book that I read many years ago called The Satanization of the Jews. Camille Paglia recommended it and I read it. And they live in this certain specific kind of antisemitism. And again, I’m not talking about people who are against Israel or something like that. I’m talking specifically about Jew hatred. They have this moral calculus that Jews are the only people who are capable of good or evil, and Jews are exclusively capable of evil.
(01:01:56) For example, if you look at the George W. Bush White House, you had W, you had Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, a lot of these NeoCon advisors. So if there’s 10 people in a room and there’s one Jewish person, it’s his fault, and the rest are Jew controlled. So again, they only exist as a puppet of Jews in this kind of worldview. And it’s like, to me, if there were no Jews on earth, it is crazy to say that John Bolton and Liz Cheney and Lindsey Graham wouldn’t be pushing for more war. That makes no sense to me. It’s like, you blame the Jews when bad things happen, but when a Jewish person does something good, it doesn’t really matter. Or just wait, he’s going to do something bad. Well, yeah, that’s true. Human beings do good things and then they do bad things sometimes. But it only counts when that Jewish person does the bad thing.
Lex Fridman (01:02:58) I wonder what’s a way to fight antisemitism and fight hate in general?
Michael Malice (01:03:02) I think the only or the best way, because I thought a lot about this, about how did gay Americans go from being universally hated and despised to the point that many people in the ’80s went to their graves, those who had AIDS, without even telling their parents because they were so scared, to now Times Square is just covered in pride flags. And this also works for Islamophobia and some of these other bigotry, is what I call the ambassador program. Because as soon as you know someone who is a member of a certain group, it is a lot harder to be bigoted against them because instead of this being this out group that’s somewhere out there, it’s like, wait a minute, I work with this guy. Yeah, he’s kind of a jerk and maybe he sees things a little differently than me, but this guy is not a horrible human being. So I think the only way to fight any form of bigotry is to be a good example of the counter to whatever archetype or stereotype is in the culture.

Karl Marx and religion

Lex Fridman (01:04:13) Karl Marx wrote that, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of a soulless condition. It is the opium of the people.” As the famous phrase goes. Do you think he has a point?
Michael Malice (01:04:26) No. I hate that quote. I absolutely hate it. I despise this sort of Reddit internet atheist activism for the simple reason that I know many people who in finding faith have become objectively better human beings.
Lex Fridman (01:04:46) Yeah.
Michael Malice (01:04:46) They start living consciously. They take morality seriously. They try, we all fail, to be moral good people. So this sneering that these midwits, these marginally intelligent people have towards religious people. Now, lots of religious people use religion to rationalize their bad behavior or sinful or big ego, so on and so forth. That exists, that’s true. But to say that it never helps anyone and it’s universally the… See, Marx was talking about a period, I mean, I’ll defend his quote, when his argument was the masses are being starved and oppressed, but they’re promised, don’t worry, you’ll have riches in heaven. So you should kind of let yourself be pushed around now, and this is kind of this BS bargain that the people are being given. So that was, I think, the point he was making. It certainly doesn’t apply nowadays. I’m close to the family in the Midwest. They’re good Christian people. I remember very specifically this guy, shout out to him, Sean Sherrod. I went to college with him. David Lucas.
Lex Fridman (01:06:01) Have you checked out the Comedy Mothership? Great club.
Michael Malice (01:06:03) Where is it? Is it in Austin?
Lex Fridman (01:06:05) Willie Nelson.
Michael Malice (01:06:07) I was 17, 18, freshman year, and I was reading all this criticism of the Bible and I was like, “Look, this is in there. Look at this in there.” And he put his hand on my shoulder and he says, “Michael, there’s nothing you’re going to tell me that’s going to make me lose my faith.” And that was a very self-aware and profound thing to say. As I’ve gotten older, I know lots of religious people. There’s no part of me that thinks they’re wrong or they should be mocked. It also reminds me of when people sneer at addicts in recovery, they’re like, “Alcoholism isn’t a disease, it’s a choice.” It’s like, wait a minute. You don’t know what it’s like to have your entire life ruined by drugs or alcohol.
Lex Fridman (01:06:48) Yes.
Michael Malice (01:06:49) And if you have to tell yourself, “I have this disease and blah, blah, blah,” and that keeps you from drinking and now you’re a moral upstanding person who’s reliable and takes responsibility for their actions, I don’t see the harm at all. So I think this kind of activist atheism is cheap. I don’t agree with it whatsoever. And I do not like that quote at all.
Lex Fridman (01:07:12) But otherwise, big fan of Marx?
Michael Malice (01:07:14) I mean, I think there’s a fan of mine, I forget who it was, apologies. He had this great quote, and this is me talking. He goes, “The games people play to feel smarter than others is depressing and annoying.” And I think this kind of fedora internet atheism is a good example, because here’s the other thing. If you’ve proven that someone else is stupid, that doesn’t mean you’re smart. You could both be stupid. So congrats, you proved someone else is stupid. Who cares?
Lex Fridman (01:07:43) Yeah. And sneering of all forms in general is just not great.
Michael Malice (01:07:48) That’s one of the things I block out people on social media instantly. You’re not going to sneer at me in my space. You could sneer at me all you want in your space, but I’m not putting up with your crap. I don’t know you.
Lex Fridman (01:07:57) MySpace, great social network.
Michael Malice (01:08:00) Is that on Sixth Street?
Lex Fridman (01:08:04)
Michael Malice (01:08:07) Clang, clang, clang. That’s how Lex comes.
Lex Fridman (01:08:12) Like a Pavlov’s dog. That was the sound before you get to see… Spend 10 minutes waiting for an image of a lady load one line at a time.
Michael Malice (01:08:24) Yeah.
Lex Fridman (01:08:29) I recently talked to John Mearsheimer, I don’t know if you know him at all. So he has this idea about offensive realism. It’s a way to analyze the world into national relations. And the basic idea, and I’ll run it by you and see what you think, is that states, nations want to survive and they try to do so by maximizing power, military power. And he talks about anarchy quite a bit, in that one of these underlying assumptions of this way of viewing the world is that states are anarchic towards each other.
Michael Malice (01:09:10) Yes, that’s true.
Lex Fridman (01:09:11) And they operate under a lot of uncertainty. States cannot be sure that other states will not use military capabilities against them.
Michael Malice (01:09:18) Right.
Lex Fridman (01:09:19) They want to survive and they want to use military power to control the uncertainty to protect themselves.
Michael Malice (01:09:29) So I disagree in that regard. And I see on your bookshelf, I think the world is a lot closer to Brave New World than it is to 1984. And I think if you look at, let’s suppose China’s influence in America. The influence is far more through soft power than military power. China doesn’t threaten America through “we’re going to kill you.” It’s more like the infiltration of universities, TikTok, things of that nature. Maybe this would’ve worked before the pop culture era, but I think one of the reasons we have this kind of American hegemony isn’t just a function of American military. I think it’s much more a function of American popular culture. When you’re exporting ideas and culture, it makes other people in other countries feel closer to you and also regard you as a friend, and also to adopt your value. It’s a great way to spread propaganda.
Lex Fridman (01:10:28) It seems to correlate though, right? It’s interesting. It’s an interesting idea. What has more power, the viral spread of ideas or the power of the military? It seems that the United States is at the top of the world on both.
Michael Malice (01:10:44) That’s true.
Lex Fridman (01:10:45) And so it’s hard to disentangle the two.
Michael Malice (01:10:48) Let’s look at Europe. American culture is very popular in Europe in many ways, right? The best music comes out of Sweden, Swedish indie pop. They’re singing in English, even though… So on and so forth. None of this is a function, maybe it’s a function of post World War II to some extent, but I don’t think it’s a function of American bases there. I think it’s a function of we’re exporting our music, our TV shows, and our movies.
Lex Fridman (01:11:14) Yeah. It’s interesting, if the battleground will be Brave New World, the battle of ideas.
Michael Malice (01:11:18) I think it’s clearly Brave New World. It’s so much cheaper, and again, this is one of the dark sides of social media, to use influence than it is to use threats. I think Covid is a good example of this. So much of the pressure, yes, there was authoritarianism, but it was the fact that everyone bought into it, rightly or wrongly. But the vast majority of the population wars behind all of these things, and that was through persuasion. And because people are begging for it to come back in many cases.
Lex Fridman (01:11:47) So who’s funding you? Which intelligence agency?
Michael Malice (01:11:50) Mossad.
Lex Fridman (01:11:51) Mossad. Mossad. This is how you do great interviewing. See, he didn’t even expect that. Okay.
Michael Malice (01:12:01) What’s that, Mr. Parrot?
Lex Fridman (01:12:02) What was that, Mr. Parrot? You knew it? But you didn’t have any documentation, did you?
Michael Malice (01:12:10) I think Mr. Parrot is threatened by the better wings on Chance Murmur.
Lex Fridman (01:12:15) He gets like that when he’s turned on, he’s not threatened.
Michael Malice (01:12:18) Oh, okay.
Lex Fridman (01:12:18) You can’t wait until all three of us are alone together. It’s going to be one hell of a party.
Michael Malice (01:12:25) Beaks and feathers everywhere.
Lex Fridman (01:12:27) And metal. Yeah, this thing is beautiful.


Michael Malice (01:12:32) It’s ridiculous.
Lex Fridman (01:12:34) You have actually a lot of really cool stuff at your place.
Michael Malice (01:12:37) It’s so fun.
Lex Fridman (01:12:39) What’s a cool thing that stands out to you? Maybe a recent addition.
Michael Malice (01:12:44) So I went to the Dallas Museum of Art last year for my birthday and there was a painting I liked, and I Googled it and I saw the auction for that exact painting. And it was, I think three grand, which is not cheap, but not something you think… You think in a museum, “I could never afford something like this,” right? So when I went to Houston with some friends… The Sideserfs, Natalie, who made the cake of you.
Lex Fridman (01:13:14) Oh, yeah, the cake. Terrified my mom.
Michael Malice (01:13:17) Did it?
Lex Fridman (01:13:18) Yeah.
Michael Malice (01:13:18) Aww.
Lex Fridman (01:13:19) No, it’s not the cake that terrified my mom. It’s you, Michael Malice, cutting it off, cutting the face off and laughing maniacally.
Michael Malice (01:13:30) Well, Natalie’s pregnant. She’s going to have a daughter named Daisy. So congrats to Natalie.
Lex Fridman (01:13:30) Congrats to Natalie.
Michael Malice (01:13:35) But I was in the museum with them and there was a statue of Thoth, who’s the Egyptian god whose head is an ibis. It’s a bird with a long beak. And Thoth is the god of the moon, god of knowledge, and supposedly he invented writing. So I thought, you know what? I’ve always loved Ancient Egypt. I know a lot about it and especially the mythology. It’d be really cool as an aspiring author to have an ancient Egyptian Thoth statue in my house. Well, it turned out that the Egyptians also killed and mummified ibises and buried them with scribes. And a week after I went to the museum, there was an auction for an ibis mummy. And I have it now in my house, still in its bandages, overlooking my desk. And we all know it’s going to come to life and peck out my eyes and write with my blood. But that is one of the recent cool additions.
(01:14:31) Another thing I have, which is like, in terms of holy crap I’ve made it. I have an original Patrick Nagel painting, and if people don’t know the name, he’s like the ’80s artist. He did the Duran Duran cover. Whenever you see him in nail salons. I have a male, which were very rare for him to do. So that’s two of my kind of favorite pieces.
Lex Fridman (01:14:49) You have what?
Michael Malice (01:14:49) He only drew women predominantly. I have one where we drew a male. It was a guy in a jean ad or something. And now I’m looking forward to, so Jake made me a three-foot tall sculpture called Future Murmur, which I am ecstatic-
Michael Malice (01:15:00) … sculpture called Future Murmur, which I am ecstatic to get.
Lex Fridman (01:15:06) Just remind yourself how many fascinating, beautiful people that are out there.
Michael Malice (01:15:14) And just the victory and holiness and technology and speed, and how many people have fought so that I could do what I do.
Lex Fridman (01:15:26) Yeah. That’s another thing I’m grateful for. Just like the 100 billion or so people that came before us, and also the trillions of lifeforms that came before that.
Michael Malice (01:15:38) Oh God, I’ve gone down this trilobite rabbit hole, buying fossils because as a kid I thought trilobites were the coolest thing, and now I’ve got like 15. And what’s interesting is when you buy trilobite fossils on eBay, they’re listed as used, because it’s got to be new or used according to the programming. So it’s used.
Lex Fridman (01:15:57) Yeah. But just thinking about all that history, just all the lifeforms that came before. It seems like a really special thing we have going on earth here.
Michael Malice (01:16:10) Oh yeah. I think that’s very fair to say, but also think this kind of is like live life to the fullest. Camus talked about living to the point of tears, especially on behalf of people who didn’t have that privilege. So I dedicated the white pill to my parents who got me out of the Soviet Union and all the kids who never could. And it’s like when I die, I want everyone else to not only, they’re obviously going to be happy, but yeah… I’m not here. Live for me, I can’t have that privilege anymore.


Lex Fridman (01:16:44) What do you think about Camus as a writer?
Michael Malice (01:16:47) I don’t like his novels at all.
Lex Fridman (01:16:49) Oh, you don’t?
Michael Malice (01:16:49) At all.
Lex Fridman (01:16:50) Yeah. You’ve talked about The Plague to me, a little bit.
Michael Malice (01:16:52) Yeah. I think the book is pointless.
Lex Fridman (01:16:55) It’s fascinating.
Michael Malice (01:16:56) Because all you need to do is read the synopsis and then you get it. I don’t think his book-
Lex Fridman (01:17:00) Isn’t that true for most books?
Michael Malice (01:17:01) No.
Lex Fridman (01:17:02) I mean, you could take, I don’t know… I just don’t agree at all. I mean, it’s Catcher in the Rye. There’s a lot of books that are seem trivial.
Michael Malice (01:17:11) I don’t think it seems trivial, but I think-
Lex Fridman (01:17:13) Animal Farm.
Michael Malice (01:17:15) Animal Farm is a methodical step-by-step examination of a transformation from one thing to another. The Plague is not that.
Lex Fridman (01:17:23) It’s a methodical examination of what a society is like under the plague, which could symbolize a lot of things, including the plague directly or Nazi Germany or ideological movements, or… It’s similar to Animal Farm. Maybe not as effective in terms of using this kind of symbology-
Michael Malice (01:17:44) I think Animal Farm has a narrative and… I’m going to spoil the whole Plague. The book, The Plague. There’s a town, I believe in Oman, a plague descends, people struggle to deal with it, and the plague vanishes as quickly as it came. The end.
Lex Fridman (01:18:02) But there’s the victims, the people that take advantage of it. There’s the doctor that, amidst the absurdity and the evil of the plague, is fighting to do good.
Michael Malice (01:18:11) Nothing for me. Does nothing for me.
Lex Fridman (01:18:13) Okay, well I can spoil the Animal Farm. There’s animals at a farm and the humans are abusing them, and then the animals overthrow the humans, but then the pigs become just like the humans. The lesson, kids, is that power corrupts, no matter whether you walk on four or on two.
Michael Malice (01:18:40) I thought the lesson was that pigs are the most human-like animals on the farm.
Lex Fridman (01:18:47) I thought the lesson was that there’s no sugar candy mountain.
Michael Malice (01:18:50) That’s right. Yeah.
Lex Fridman (01:18:53) You’ve interviewed a lot of people. What have you learned about getting to the soul of a person, the soul of an idea from interviewing? Just how to do a good interview?
Michael Malice (01:19:04) First off, I’m not interviewing just random people. I’m interviewing people who are accomplished. It’s not a random group. That’s self-selecting for something different. But I think that people love to, and this is very understandable, love to feel seen. So if you’re someone who’s done something, even if you’re like the best Guinea pig breeder in America, to have someone interested in your work and listen to what you’re saying… because I remember every book I’ve written, I have friends, and I wouldn’t stop talking about the person I’m writing with or the North Korea. And a certain point, I’m sure they’re like, “All right, I don’t care about this anymore.”But it takes over your brain. You know what I mean?
(01:19:43) So if you someone who has an interest or a hobby, I’m sure to some extent, maybe your friends or family are sick of talking about it or you don’t want to talk about it with them. That’s the private life where you could just be yourself. So I try to, and this comes from my co-authoring background. When I’m talking to people to ask the questions that they haven’t heard before. There’s a possibility that this actor I’m a huge fan of is going to be on my show. I don’t want to spoil everything. And he’s got a very specific role that he’s known for. And I’m like, “Okay, I know it’s going to be annoying for you talking about this one role, but my goal is to ask questions that you aren’t sick of asking, haven’t been asked.”
Lex Fridman (01:20:28) Porn star or…
Michael Malice (01:20:29) No, not a porn star.
Lex Fridman (01:20:32) That joke failed. Also edit out. What do you know about breeding Guinea pigs? You mentioned it. I’d love to hear-
Michael Malice (01:20:32) I don’t know anything.
Lex Fridman (01:20:42) I would love to hear more about it.
Michael Malice (01:20:44) I always use this as an example. You meet someone at a party who breeds Guinea pigs, right? There’s two approaches. Either you’re weird, okay. Or, “Sit down and tell me everything.” And I’m very much, and all the people I like are the second group. When you meet someone who’s doing something unusual and are passionate about it and are good at it, that to me is the mother load.
Lex Fridman (01:21:09) Yeah. That to me also is the thing I enjoy the most, is people-
Michael Malice (01:21:13) And then it’s like-
Lex Fridman (01:21:15) … that are passionate about a thing.
Michael Malice (01:21:16) … who do you guys hate? Do you guys hate the hamster people? Do you hate the rabid people? There’s got to be someone that you guys look down on, because the marine aquarium people look down on the freshwater aquarium people.
Lex Fridman (01:21:25) Yeah. It’s a hierarchy.
Michael Malice (01:21:26) Yes. There’s always going to be a hierarchy. This is where the left anarchists and I disagree, because they think you can have egalitarianism. There’s going to be a hierarchy.
Lex Fridman (01:21:33) Hierarchies emerge.
Michael Malice (01:21:34) Yes.
Lex Fridman (01:21:35) There’s no anarchy in the Guinea pig world.
Michael Malice (01:21:39) No. It’s just a different kind of anarchy.
Lex Fridman (01:21:41) Somebody’s always breeding somebody else.
Michael Malice (01:21:43) Yes.
Lex Fridman (01:21:44) And looking down on the others.
Michael Malice (01:21:47) Yeah, someone’s the other. Whether it’s the hamster people, the rat people.
Lex Fridman (01:21:50) And everybody’s breeding. By the way, are you an anarcho-capitalist? What flavor of anarchist are you?
Michael Malice (01:21:59) I’m an anarchist without adjectives. I like them all. The black flag comes in many colors.
Lex Fridman (01:22:04) All right. All right. You’re quoting your… No, I understand. It’s a beautiful line in the book.
Michael Malice (01:22:09) Thank you. I think the anarcho-capitalists don’t give the left anarchist enough credit, especially for their courage. And I do whatever I can in my power to talk about people like Emma Goldman, whenever possible.
Lex Fridman (01:22:24) Do you still think that “are some people better than others” is a good litmus test?
Michael Malice (01:22:29) Yes. It’s worked 100% of the time.
Lex Fridman (01:22:32) And for you, the answer is yes?
Michael Malice (01:22:35) I never answer.
Lex Fridman (01:22:39) There’s two of them.
Michael Malice (01:22:43) What are you all Hitchcock up in here?
Lex Fridman (01:22:46) Oh, hey, careful. I always got your back. What little habits in your life make you happy now that you’re in Austin?
Michael Malice (01:22:59) Oh my god. I was prepping for this interview, and I imagined this coming up, and I knew that as I explained this, you know how sometimes when someone tells a story, at first it’s amusing, then it’s amusing and concerned, and then you’re like, “Holy shit, where’s the exit?”
Lex Fridman (01:23:27) Yeah. I’m getting nervous already.
Michael Malice (01:23:30) You should. So I’m going to tell you something I’ve told only a couple of people. This is my absolutely off the charts, autistic approach to shaving. So I have this insane system. You asked about habits that give me joy. I used to hate shaving. I used to hate it. There’s something called wet shaving. So wet shaving is you get the brush, you get the soap that’s in a canister, you stirred up, you paint your face, and then you shave. The thing is, there are dozens of these shaving soap companies, okay? So I tried a couple of hundred of these soaps, because you’re testing for scent, you’re testing for, with the lather, thickness, and also how smooth of a shave it gives you. I have it down… I’m not making this up. I’m not this creative. I have it down to a cycle of 67 soaps. Okay?
Lex Fridman (01:24:40) A cycle.
Michael Malice (01:24:41) A cycle. So 67. When I use up one soap, that is a slot that I will have to try new ones, and I will try new ones in that slot until I get one that I like, and then that slot is filled. So right now, I have 67 that I use, and I have 86 candidates.
Lex Fridman (01:25:05) Like in the queue?
Michael Malice (01:25:07) In the queue.
Lex Fridman (01:25:07) Do you label them? Do you remember which one is which?
Michael Malice (01:25:09) Well, they all have beautiful labels. I mean, these are artisans who are creating these a amazing things. I would encourage everyone to try this hobby, who’s a guy. It’s so much fun. I will give a shout-out to the companies that are the best. So the best company, in my opinion, is a company called… they just changed the name because… You know what they’re originally called? I’m not joking. Grooming Department. And now it’s like-
Lex Fridman (01:25:37) Not a bad name.
Michael Malice (01:25:38) Yeah, but it has certain connotations in contemporary discourse.
Lex Fridman (01:25:42) Yeah, I understand. Contemporary discourse, yeah.
Michael Malice (01:25:43) So now he changed his name to Aion Skincare, A-I-O-N. That’s the sense of the most sophisticated, the most diverse, and the soap is just really high quality. Another amazing company is Barrister and Man. And if I’m going to tell you to try one, it’s called Cheshire. He comes out with new ones every month or so. A lot of it’s miss. A lot of it’s hit. Just great, great quality stuff. Another great company is Chiseled Face. They make something called Midnight Stag, which basically smells like a garage. It’s one of my favorite soaps of all time.
Lex Fridman (01:26:16) What makes for a good smell for Michael Malice?
Michael Malice (01:26:19) I have 67 answers. So some of them smell-
Lex Fridman (01:26:22) So you can’t convert it into words?
Michael Malice (01:26:24) Some are citrusy, some are industrial, some-
Lex Fridman (01:26:27) So garage is more industrial.
Michael Malice (01:26:28) It smells like a garage. Yeah. Midnight Stag. It smells like a garage. Some are fun. There smells that smell like other things. For example, there’s a scent in my queue called Finding Scotty. It smells like Swedish Fish. Another great company is Phoenix Shaving, and they have one called Aloha Smackdown. It smells like Hawaiian Punch. They had one called Yule Ham that they made for me special. Smells like a ham. They had a ramen one, Rock and Ramen. Smells a cup of noodles. And every year they do an advent calendar where for 12 days you have a little sample of a soap and a sample of the aftershave.
Lex Fridman (01:27:04) Nice.
Michael Malice (01:27:06) I’m forgetting someone and I’m feeling angry that I’m doing it. But those are some of the… Oh, and Catie’s Bubbles is great. They’re vegan, out of New Jersey. They’ve got one called a Knee High to a Grape. It smells like grape soda. I think those are the biggest names off the top of my head.
Lex Fridman (01:27:25) Will that list converge down to a small set eventually, or no? 67 down to-
Michael Malice (01:27:31) Well, no, it’s 67.
Lex Fridman (01:27:33) Oh, so it always keeps [inaudible 01:27:35]-
Michael Malice (01:27:35) So if there’s a slot, then, you know what I mean? I’ll fill that. You see what I’m saying?
Lex Fridman (01:27:39) Oh, so you will forever have the variety of 67?
Michael Malice (01:27:41) Yes.
Lex Fridman (01:27:46) You know how sad my brain is? When you were telling me this, I was like, “I wonder how many soaps are left in Michael Malice’s life.” You can count your life by days, by month, by years, or by soaps.
Michael Malice (01:28:01) That is depressing. That is very dark.
Lex Fridman (01:28:03) Because each experience of shaving is a little beautiful experience.
Michael Malice (01:28:07) Yes, it is. It’s so much fun.
Lex Fridman (01:28:09) How many do you have left in your life, right?
Michael Malice (01:28:10) That’s true.
Lex Fridman (01:28:11) Yeah.
Michael Malice (01:28:12) I got to tell you, there’s something else. There’s a term my friend Jackie taught me called Touching Pan. It’s a makeup term. So basically when you use it and you could see the bottom, that’s like a big moment.
Lex Fridman (01:28:24) Oh, it’s a great thing.
Michael Malice (01:28:24) Yeah. Well, it’s kind of fun. I’m telling you, people can scoff. It is such a fun… and there’s a lot of us online who are into this whole space. It’s really, really fun.
Lex Fridman (01:28:34) When did you first discover this?
Michael Malice (01:28:36) Can I curse?
Lex Fridman (01:28:37) Yeah.
Michael Malice (01:28:38) Fuck you, Cole Stryker. Because I was staying at my friend Cole’s house in LA. Fuck you Cole.
Lex Fridman (01:28:45) Fuck you, Cole.
Michael Malice (01:28:46) Cole is one of the biggest hipsters I know. He’s got the shirts with the pearl snaps and everything. And I’m staying at his house because I was doing Rogan, and he goes, “Oh, have you heard of this wet shaving thing?” And he goes, “Look, this one’s Proraso. That’s the Italian grandpa soap, which is also a great one. And I went down this rabbit hole, and now I’m like… I don’t even know how much money I spent on this. And it’s all because of him.
Lex Fridman (01:29:09) Oh. But it’s like a happy fuck you. Like, fuck you, Cole.
Michael Malice (01:29:09) Yeah.
Lex Fridman (01:29:12) I love you, Cole. Fuck you.
Michael Malice (01:29:13) Yeah, it’s just-
Lex Fridman (01:29:14) Thank you.
Michael Malice (01:29:15) Yes, yes.
Lex Fridman (01:29:16) That’s a good idea for a tattoo. Fuck you, Cole. Do you have advice on how to be happy?

How to be happy

Michael Malice (01:29:25) Yes.
Lex Fridman (01:29:26) There’s a lot of loneliness and sadness in the world.
Michael Malice (01:29:31) I can give a very easy piece of advice that worked a lot for me. Instead of telling yourself that you have these ridiculous standards, tell yourself, “I can be better. I don’t have to be a great writer. I could be a better writer. I don’t have to be a great podcaster. That will never happen. I could be a better podcaster. I could be a better person. I could be better at the gym. I could be better with my time.” And when you regard things in… and especially if you have metrics that you can go by. “I’ll run this many miles a day.” Things you have control over. Especially as males, when you have this chart and the data is telling you you’re improving, right away, it’s like you have this sense of accomplishment. So I think that is a really great way to…
(01:30:25) And if something is not working in your life… Let’s suppose you don’t have friends. Right? There’s the internet. How do people make friends? Try things out? What’s the worst that’s going to happen? Things will blow up in your face. Well, you’ll learn something at least. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. When I was a kid, I was so scared of having things under control, so like I would never have to get hit in the face metaphorically. And then I realized, and you realized this as well, everyone who’s important gets hit in the face. Look at the president, whoever the president is. It becomes a matter of being strong enough that you could take getting hit in the face. So that is a big important switch in your thinking.
Lex Fridman (01:31:05) Yeah. There’s a Bukowski quote I wrote down. “Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it. But you laugh inside, remembering all the times you felt that way.”
Michael Malice (01:31:16) Yeah, yeah.
Lex Fridman (01:31:17) There’s a part of me that’s like that. There’s some days where I feel like this is the worst day of my life. And then shortly after, I chuckle at that.
Michael Malice (01:31:26) Yes.
Lex Fridman (01:31:26) Just knowing the ups and downs of the brain and the mind and life and all that. You ever been depressed?


Michael Malice (01:31:32) Yeah, of course. I’m more anxious than depressed. I don’t really get depressed, but I’ve been depressed.
Lex Fridman (01:31:38) Like low points.
Michael Malice (01:31:39) Yeah. But I think I distinguish depression between low points, right? If things are going bad and you feel bad, that makes sense. But when I think of depression, I think of someone who feels bad when things aren’t bad. To me, it’s almost by definition irrational.
Lex Fridman (01:31:55) Well, yeah. And there’s different kinds of… There’s a exhausted kind of depression where it’s not so much sad as you don’t want to do anything. You don’t want to live. You don’t want to-
Michael Malice (01:32:09) Yeah. What’s the point? It’s a wrap, yeah.
Lex Fridman (01:32:10) What’s the point? What’s the point? And an extreme self-critical negativity, which I’m also scared of because my brain is generally very self-critical.
Michael Malice (01:32:19) Because you’re not taking enough magnesium.
Lex Fridman (01:32:21) Do you take a rectally or in the mouth?
Michael Malice (01:32:23) You take a rectally.
Lex Fridman (01:32:24) Okay.
Michael Malice (01:32:25) But as for the magnesium, you should take it as a pill.


Lex Fridman (01:32:28) Okay. Well, the way your mom explained it then is way different. What are you most afraid of?
Michael Malice (01:32:47) Holy crap. I am trying to think of anything I’m afraid of.
Lex Fridman (01:32:51) In 1984-
Michael Malice (01:32:54) I thought even just-
Lex Fridman (01:32:55) Look, if I wanted to torture you, hypothetically…
Michael Malice (01:32:59) Well, the mission accomplished. I mean, I’m scared of increasing authoritarianism, but that’s not personal. And that’s something that I don’t think is as much of an imminent concern as let’s say in Canada.
Lex Fridman (01:33:15) Are you scared of death?
Michael Malice (01:33:17) No.
Lex Fridman (01:33:17) You think Camus was scared of death?
Michael Malice (01:33:20) No.
Lex Fridman (01:33:22) He just accepted it as-
Michael Malice (01:33:24) Look, I honestly feel like if I died tomorrow, I did pretty good with what I had. I think I did things that matter to me. I think I moved the needle on things that matter to me. I think I’ve been a good friend to the people I care about. I’ve saved a couple of lives. So I think it’s a very low bar for someone to be able to grow their grave and say, “I left the world a better place than I found it.” I don’t think it’s that hard.


Lex Fridman (01:34:01) You ever been betrayed?
Michael Malice (01:34:03) Oh god, yes. Of course. Haven’t you?
Lex Fridman (01:34:07) Not as often as I would’ve predicted.
Michael Malice (01:34:09) Yeah. The Russian upbringing expects everyone to be like… it’s a time bomb before they betray you. I have been betrayed. Of course. Yeah.
Lex Fridman (01:34:16) Yeah. You value loyalty?
Michael Malice (01:34:20) I do. And I also made it a point to not let that betrayal color my future interactions and regard that as the universal or the norm. I think that’s very important.
Lex Fridman (01:34:32) Me too.
Michael Malice (01:34:34) And also, I feel bad. I’ve gotten, Lex, enough that I feel bad for the person who betrayed me, because it’s just like they didn’t need to do this. And at some point, if you betray someone, you know, and you know you’re not a good person. I believe that. Like even if you tell yourself, “This is something I had to do,” you still know you had to do a bad thing to someone who didn’t deserve it. And that’s a really hard pill to swallow.
Lex Fridman (01:35:02) In my situation, I still think good thoughts and empathize with the people that have done me wrong.
Michael Malice (01:35:11) I don’t empathize with them, but I sympathize with them.
Lex Fridman (01:35:14) My English is not good enough to know the difference.
Michael Malice (01:35:16) Empathizing means you’re putting yourself in their shoes. Sympathizing means you feel bad for them and wish them well.
Lex Fridman (01:35:25) Yeah, I wish them well.
Michael Malice (01:35:27) Yeah, but I don’t put myself… it’s very hard for me to empathize with someone who betrays someone that they care about. It’s not that just I think I’m such a great person. It’s that I feel guilt very strongly. So if I did that to someone who trusted me, it would up my head for a long time.
Lex Fridman (01:35:46) Yeah, but maybe they were in pain. Maybe they were desperate. Maybe their back’s to the wall.
Michael Malice (01:35:53) Sure.
Lex Fridman (01:35:53) They felt that way.
Michael Malice (01:35:54) Sure. Well, that’s a sympathy thing. Not really an empathy thing.
Lex Fridman (01:35:56) Yeah. Yeah. Loyalty is a fascinating thing.
Michael Malice (01:36:03) Yes.
Lex Fridman (01:36:04) I value trust a lot.
Michael Malice (01:36:05) I know you do. Especially because you’re in such a public… Both of us, we’re in very public positions. You have to be very careful who you surround yourself with.
Lex Fridman (01:36:13) It sucks.
Michael Malice (01:36:14) Does it? Well, it’s-
Lex Fridman (01:36:16) Well, it sucks because it’s hard to… I usually just trust everybody.
Michael Malice (01:36:25) Okay, that’s crazy.
Lex Fridman (01:36:29) But what’s the alternative?
Michael Malice (01:36:30) To have a filter?
Lex Fridman (01:36:33) Well, I have a filter in terms of who I interact with, but within the… I see the good in people, but then in the very rare instances that might turn. Yeah. It just sucks. It breaks my heart.
Michael Malice (01:36:48) Yeah, I hear you. I completely agree.
Lex Fridman (01:36:52) Has your heart ever been broken?
Michael Malice (01:36:54) Yes.
Lex Fridman (01:36:55) Love?
Michael Malice (01:36:56) Yes.
Lex Fridman (01:37:01) I’m just so relaxed right now, and happy.
Michael Malice (01:37:03) Good.
Lex Fridman (01:37:04) Relaxed sand happy.
Michael Malice (01:37:05) Good.
Lex Fridman (01:37:06) This is making me really happy.
Michael Malice (01:37:09) Again, it’s beautiful on like eight different levels.
Lex Fridman (01:37:11) I think that’s the deepest thing I’m thankful for, is just how beautiful people are and how beautiful the world is.
Michael Malice (01:37:21) People are going to laugh, and I welcome it. That’s fine. I really sometimes feel like the guy in American Beauty looking at the plastic bag dancing in the wind, and he’s brought to tears because of how much beautiful life is. And a lot of people feel the need to sneer at that scene and Ricky Pitts, whatever, and I think he’s got it exactly right.
Lex Fridman (01:37:45) I think he does too. Well, in the end, you and I will be both laughing,
Michael Malice (01:37:53) Right. And also seeing beauty where other people see garbage. And I’d rather be the person who sees beauty than the person who sees garbage.
Lex Fridman (01:38:02) Yep. Well, when I look at you, I see beauty when most people see garbage. And it’s really unfair, Mr. Parrot, that you keep saying that. But all jokes aside, man, I’m really grateful for your friendship. I’m really grateful for who you are as a person. Thank you so much for talking today. Thank you so much for talking to me throughout all these years. Thank you for being who you are.
Michael Malice (01:38:28) You are welcome.
Lex Fridman (01:38:31) Thanks for listening to this conversation with Michael Malice. To support this podcast. Please check out our sponsors in the description. And now, let me leave you with some words from Andre Gide. Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. Thank you for listening and hope to see you next time.