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Photo by Claudia Wolff

I mean it. And not in the sweet way you see in the movies when people say, “Let’s get some cocoa and have a cry together.” This is not how you quietly wept watching the Notebook. This is not how you self-consciously teared up when Sheriff Hopper sacrificed himself to save the world in Stranger Things.

This is a primal cry.

A cry when you find out your parents are getting divorced, or a loved one dies. A cry when you fall helpless and nothing else matters. A suspended moment when you are fully present, and the past and the…


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Photo by Max Letek

As the world emerges from a debate that may have been the lowest point of civil discourse I have ever witnessed, I find myself less confused with Trump, and more with those who continue to support him.

I know Joe Biden is no saint. Generally, all politicians are about self-preservation, skirting the issues all in the name of party. Biden didn’t dunk on Trump last night, but it didn’t really matter. His job was to simply keep the ball at midcourt and wait out the clock. …


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Recently on LinkedIn I came across a post from a high-ranking agency leader. He was making provocative statements about creatives, (self-deprecating as he is a creative as well). It was about how “All” creatives feel like imposters. Or “All” creatives were afraid of the blank page.

But the message was lost by one simple word. “All”

When you think about it, we do not live in a world of absolutes. All people from a group, race, religion or even an occupation cannot be clustered together. …


As Election Results Continue to Roll In, Let’s Reflect On What Drives Donald Trump’s Behavior.

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Photo by Jose M. on Unsplash

Donald Trump emerges from the motorcade. He looks across the divided Manhattan landscape of red and blue. A city block full of people that easily represent the divide he has caused across the country.

It is blocked off by barricades to prevent the protesters, and the counter-protesters from getting violent. Trump eyes his supporters and then scans the crowd. Against the advice of the agents, he walks towards the “Never Trumpers,” holding signs. He reaches into his pocket, and quickly pulls out a small firearm…


A Commencement Speech For The High School Class Of 2020

Dedicated to my son, Noah Barbush and the entire graduating class of 2020. Listen to the speech here.

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Photo Courtesy of Baim Hanif

Welcome to the High School graduating class of 2020. It’s an honor to address all of you, on this most uncommon of ceremonies.

These past few months have been emotionally and physically devastating. Many important things have been taken from you, and my goal today is to give some of that back, the best I can.

This moment is called culmination for a reason. Because it all comes to this. It’s not just moving on academically, it’s moving on fundamentally, as a…


RIP America’s Dad

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I’ve only watched a few minutes of Some Good News. But that was all that was necessary. Here was someone I loved as an actor, harnessing his charm, star power and emotional intelligence to deliver something our country desperately needed, Some Good News.

Shot from his home, it felt like a very homespun take on the events of the world. He called in favors and presented his star power in a way that felt much more authentic than Gal Gadot’s sad attempt with Imagine. Our heart grew every week, as he broke through the news cycle to deliver a mental…


We may not be able to control the virus, but we can control how we respond to it.

a little girl wearing a big sweatshirt
a little girl wearing a big sweatshirt

Well, here we are. Faced with what is being billed as one of the most existential threats of the century. The optics are hard to ignore, with closures, quarantines, not to mention the emotional, financial and environmental crisis we are now all facing.

How we act in these moments is critical. Because our actions now will affect the actions of our future. The actions of our children. And their children. As they and the world watch, we must be our best selves. We must set a proper example.

Right now, we’re not.

This is an inflection point of humanity, not…


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Every year I gather with my family to watch the Super Bowl. These are right-brained, advanced-degree engineers, math chairs, chemists, and the like. Watching the commercials with a group like this is a true reflection of how commercials hit in a real-world environment.

They don’t know why everyone keeps saying ‘big game’ and not Super Bowl. They have no idea how brands painfully decide each year when and where to pre-release. …


America’s Most Dangerous Drug.

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Hate is a drug. A beautiful one for some. A metabolic elixir with a side of adrenaline. Hate makes us the server and the served, the dealer and the junkie, the bartender and the alcoholic. Hate is active, and fuels us with the intensity of first love but with the ability to kick in by simply losing a parking spot, being cut off at rush hour, or reading an opposing tweet.

People come alive on hate. It shakes them out of a routine existence. It allows them to be irrational, territorial, barbaric, without conscious or consequence…


Four Grateful Dead Songs That Made Me A Better Dad.

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Vegas Shows with my amazing wife, friends and my Jean Shorts. Does it get much better?

The Grateful Dead have played a huge part of my life for 32 years. From college through kids, their music has been with me, like a spiritual partner holding my hand through moments of joy, uncertainty and sadness. Most people are surprised when they discover I’m a Deadhead, as that band is more of a counterculture lifestyle than a musical preference. More times than not, I’ve been told I don’t look like a deadhead, whatever that means.

Actually, I know what it means.

The songwriting of Robert Hunter and John…

j barbush

Co-Founder Cast Iron LA agency. Webby Judge. Satirist. Contributor to FastToCreate, AdWeek, HuffPo, Digiday and others. I fight fire with humor. www.castiron.la

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