One of the reasons that I believe The Antony Gordon Show seems to be resonating with such a diverse range of people is the general sentiment amongst most folks having weathered the storm of the COVID-19 Pandemic. More specifically, the virus impacted everyone - regardless of race, color, religion, or socio-economic status. One of the life lessons of this pandemic is the humbling reality that we are all in this together and clearly finger pointing and accusations are not the ingredient for unity.
One of the themes of The Antony Gordon Show is breaking down stereotypes and dispelling myths that - if left unchallenged - are assumed by the mass media to be based on fact.
This point was underscored recently when Antony’s special guest was Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter, the Editor- In-Chief of AMI Magazine, one of the leading publications in the Orthodox Jewish community which is clearly read and impacts a far larger demographic.
As Rabbi Frankfurter noted during the discussion with Antony “... sadly many people still harbor the view that Orthodox Jewish People have parochial views based on antiquated beliefs. People like you Antony and Ben Shapiro break down this stereotype based on your broad intellect, Ivy League backgrounds and ability to hold your own in any business or social setting.”
Rabbi Frankfurter went out to explain that the importance of breaking down inaccurate stereotypes not only makes it harder to dismiss people once the stereotype is dispelled but more importantly what becomes evident is that we have a lot more in common than people appreciate.
Antony and Rabbi Frankfurter discussed how breaking down stereotypes in turn allows erroneous myths to be challenged. By way of illustration, Antony cited two classic myths perpetuated by pop culture which he noted not only are not grounded in reality, but have become the source of unnecessary pain in peoples’ lives.
Firstly, the notion that people who have different opinions or beliefs to us are malicious or harmful! The latter sentiment has caused unnecessary divisiveness. The refusal to hear opposing opinions has exacerbated polarization not only for millions of people but animosity within families.
As Antony points out in his inimical way:
“Imagine two life-long friends, say Harry and Sally. Sally makes a comment to Harry that she had chest pains the other day and thankfully she was carrying baby aspirin and made it safely to the hospital and now all is well. Harry looks at Sally incredulously – ‘What? You believe that a baby aspirin can really make such a difference to the cardiovascular system?! That is bogus!’ Over the next few weeks, Sally notices that Harry no longer responds to her texts or phone calls. Harry and Sally finally happen to bump into each other at the grocery story and when asked about the lack of response, Harry’s knee jerk response is ‘... frankly it is difficult to look at you the same way now that I know your opinion on the impact of baby aspirins!’ The exchange between Harry and Sally is intended to sound bizarre ... Truth be said, how different are the dynamics in the animosity between people in recent months when they find out that their friends or family members have different political opinions or different views on global warming etc.? We must learn to separate people from their opinions. The blurring of this distinction is causing an increase in challenges such as depression and anxiety.”
The second illustration articulated by Antony is the myth that pop culture has portrayed about fame and fortune. The belief that earning tons of money and followers on social media is the ticket to a happy and fulfilled life is not borne out by the facts. One need go no further than look at the sad and harsh reality that there is a disproportionate number of celebrities who struggle with addictions and the number of famous Hollywood personalities that end their lives prematurely surely flies in the face of the nirvana that wealth and prestigious is supposed to bring.
As the Chairman of the Board of Advisors of American Voices in Israel, a non-profit organization responsible for taking professional athletes and celebrities to Israel, Antony has seen how sport and entertainment transcend the petty fighting that has caused such polarization in America and how, when politics and pre- conceived ideas are left out of the equation, barriers are broken, and relationships are forged for life.
Antony’s sincere appreciation of all human beings and desire to bring people of disparate backgrounds together is part of his life mantra which has endeared him to people of different religions, races, and economic standing. Antony sums up his life philosophy best in citing the words of Sir Isaac Newton, “we build too many walls and not enough bridges.” If ever there was point in time for those words to be internalized by all of us, is now!For more information: The Antony Gordon Show