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Issue #44

How Casey Neistat Might Be Cripping Productivity

John Loeppky

March 26, 2024

Casey Neistat, a white man in his late twenties, stands in a desert with a tripod in front of him.
Casey Neistat standing in the desert/Casey Neistat via Wikimedia Commons

Or it’s Just my Doctor’s Appointment Creating Weird Connections

I’ve been contemplating creating a YouTube channel to talk about cripping productivity and my freelance work— yes, I know I don’t need an additional job, but I collect them as much as some of my friends and I seem to collect diagnoses—and I’ve found myself returning to some of my favourite YouTube creators as I contemplate this new area for my business. 

One of those creators is Casey Neistat. In a fairly recent podcast with Steven Bartlett (Diary of a CEO), Neistat shared something that could have been published in a radical disability studies paper or made for the kind of Facebook post I like to call a bitter crip manifesto. Here, he’s talking about preferring the word patience over persistence. I’ve cut a couple of his stumbles out of this quote, just fyi, for accessibility’s sake. 

“You need to remove the sensationalism that inspiration has been perverted with, this idea of, like, it’s this beautiful  romantic thing, it’s not, it’s fucking awful.”

Cripping productivity shouldn’t just expect failure, it should almost demand it. Now, the funny thing is that an ableist society, inherently, fills that gap for us. It doesn’t have to demand it because society often tells us disabled people how we’re doing things is wrong. Even within disability culture, we’re often expected to be activists, athletes, and artists in a very particular way. Don’t roll over too many toes, don’t annoy the ableds too much, don’t create too many problems. Or, conversely, you’re not yelling loud enough, you’re not for the cause enough, you are not seizing enough power, YOU’RE NOT TWEETING ABOUT THIS SO I DON’T THINK YOU TRULY CARE. 

Living against that backdrop means that being productive is emotionally exhausting. In today’s newsletter, having just talked about how bad things are, I’m going to inject a little levity that helps me battle against this 

I was at the doctor’s last week, nothing serious, but the wait was two hours long and I was in a lot of pain. I didn’t end up at the clinic I thought I was going to, I hadn’t eaten all day, and everyone in the room looked just as worn out as I did. I walked up to the check in counter and just as I gave my details, “I Would Walk 500 Miles” came on. And, as an ambulatory wheelchair user. I cackled. I wrote a joke about this Proclaimer’s hit into my MFA and now I was living it out. And I couldn’t stop laughing. In that one second it didn’t matter that I was only one of two people masked, it didn’t matter that I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d need to fight for care, and it didn’t matter that all I had to keep me company was the wheelchair rugby Paralympic qualification tournament. Amidst the shit, I could laugh. 

And that’s why, even though that day felt like a failure, it felt unproductive, it felt like I was being hypocritical, in reality, I was right where I needed to be. If we are cripping productivity, we’re already throwing middle fingers up at regular discourse, we’re already rolling our eyes at typical advice, so why not laugh a little while we “fail”. So, here’s today’s question: what part of your disabled experience do you laugh at? 

Until tomorrow!


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I've decided to shift CRPL to a 5 times a week newsletter about productivity as I am fascinated by the topic, am in the early stage of writing a book about it, and want to have a place to think, and write, and create work about this vital area of thinking. Click below to join the daily newsletter and/or to help financially support this project.