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"We Were a Bad Influence on Each Other from a Very Early Age"

Greg Lukianoff's free range friendship with Anthony Rodriguez

Each one of our Coddling interview subjects could carry an entire documentary, and that’s a mixed blessing for a filmmaker. Of course any filmmaker would choose the “too much good stuff” problem, but that means you have to make some very painful choices. One of the hardest things to do as a filmmaker is to decide what to include in the final cut.

Often some of the best footage doesn’t make the cut, and that can be due to mundane reasons—maybe it simply strays a bit from the focus of the project. That’s the case here. When you’re making a film about the Gen Z mental health crisis, it’s hard to develop a friendship between two Gen Xers, even if it does address topics like free play and free speech.

At “The Coddling of the American Mind” premiere in Beverly Hills - Anthony Rodriguez (center) responds to a question during the Q&A. He’s flanked by Greg Lukianoff (left) and fellow interview subject Saeed Malami.

It was so difficult for Courtney and me to leave most of the story of the lifelong friendship between Greg Lukianoff and Anthony Rodriguez untold.

Two smart troublemakers faced with hardship find each other as teenagers. They spend their days either ditching school or get liquored up before class. They watch a friend get stabbed almost to death. They go through hell and back together, and then somehow they end up as respected intellectuals in academic settings — Greg is president and CEO of FIRE and Anthony is a professor at Providence College.

We love all of our subscribers, and this DVD extra is a thank you to our paid subscribers who help use reach audiences across the world. To enjoy the full experience—including behind-the-scenes coverage of our upcoming East Coast Trip (Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Wake Forest)—please consider becoming a paid subscriber..

Greg and Anthony’s diverse, blue collar childhood neighborhood taught them lessons about antifragility and the civilizing power of free speech. It’s an angle viewers rarely see, and it’s just so good!

Alas, we can’t tell the whole story, but we hope you enjoy this small taste. Here’s another DVD Extra—a deleted scene that could have been an introduction into a new storyline.

And as you’ll see, Greg and Anthony haven’t changed all that much from their teenage days — they’re still causing trouble and drinking bad beer.

Check out past DVD Extras:


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