In Defence of Joe Rogan

Joe Rogan

After holding on to my podcast virginity until around 18 months ago, I decided to pop my cherry and jump on the pod-wagon. Free time is scarce in my house, so when I commit to a long conversation, the content has to be super interesting. Perhaps the best decision I made was to not step into yet-another-echo-chamber and listen to people I wouldn’t usually gravitate towards. Challenging our own beliefs will always do one of two things: strengthen our position or make us see that we were misinformed and need to investigate further. It didn’t take long for me to find UFC commentator and stand-up comedian, Joe Rogan, who hosts The Joe Rogan Experience.

Although the podcast has been running for around a decade. it’s exploded since I’ve been a regular listener. He has on an incredibly diverse array of guests and will speak to literally anyone – recent guests include Edward Snowden and Miley Cyrus. Days after the covid pandemic was announced, Joe had a top virologist on the show. Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey have each been on more than once. Along with highly divisive public figures such as Jordan Peterson and Alex Jones. Presidential candidates including Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard have all been on the podcast.

Joe Rogan was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth and from everything I’ve seen and heard, he’s humble, honest and open minded. Qualities I look for in friends, yet the more we meander down this strange year, seem to be going extinct. He’s also a comedian, so he tells jokes. And boy does he get misquoted out of context. Joe’s recent exclusivity deal with Spotify has already come under fire because some of the staff are saying he is transphobic. Sadly, I doubt anyone throwing around these accusations have a real grasp on his stance on transgenderism. Which he has discussed, at length, with gender experts and trans people, including the legendary Buck Angel.

Authenticity vs the right to be offended

The article Tim Pool is referencing in the video above is particularly outrageous, because the staff were explicitly told not to leak anything to the press. Ahead they went, showing a blatant disregard for their roles and the management. Going against disclosure rules would normally put you at risk of being instantly dismissed and I’ve know plenty of people, over the years, who were sacked for less.

Rogan is one of the most authentic voices we have in the public domain. We need him and his guests to carry on having open, honest discourse. No, we might not agree with absolutely everything they all say, but in the real world people do not agree with each other on absolutely everything. When we start dictating what conversations are and aren’t allowed – because someone might find certain things offensive – we are wandering down very dangerous roads. Offence is subjective, which means it’s undefinable, which means it’s endless. Surely it’s better to teach our younger generations how to be resilient instead?

No-one has the right to be offended. And no, I do not subscribe to the idea that words are violence. It diminishes actual violence and as a person who left home at fifteen, after a slap so hard my nose was almost broken, I find the idea that words could cause as much harm as an angry man, three times my size, to be utter BS. Straight out of the 1984 playbook, this is known as newspeak.

The madness of crowds

Last week, during a podcast with Tim Kennedy, Joe offered to host and moderate a debate between Trump and Biden. Cue everyone under the sun chucking their two pence worth in to denounce Joe and tell the world why he’s the most unqualified person to do such a thing.

Presidential debates aside, I suspect it was Joe’s conversation this week with British author and journalist, Douglas Murray, which tipped the Spotify employees over the edge. Douglas’s latest book The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity goes into great detail on the hot topics of our time. Chapter headings are gay, women, race and trans, so it’s unsurprising that they discussed these at length on the podcast. Their two and a half hour conversation was nuanced, candid and ridiculously interesting. Anyone taking offence to it is probably being triggered for other reasons. Holistic psychologist, Nicole LaPera, has some great advice for when we’re triggered.

Frankly, if you aren’t willing to make the time for the entire podcast and are happy to make judgements based on click bait clips and other people’s comments, your opinions are more than likely rather vacuous. And as there is already too much pointlessness on the Internet, this isn’t very helpful.

Titania McGrath, alter-ego of British comedian Andrew Doyle, wrote a searing review of the Madness of Crowds. Pure irony, but it carries a message desperately needing to be heard.

To stop history repeating itself, we need to resist jumping on bandwagons just because everyone else is

Someone sent me a tweet once, in response to a blog I’d posted about my daughter’s autism. It read: “the only good autistic is a dead autistic”. Although I found it disturbing, rather than engage in conversation with this person – who was clearly a cretin – I blocked them and got on with my day. No sensationalism; no encouraging others to pile onto them; no rage. Simply put, people like that do not deserve my energy. If we all stepped away from the phone/keyboard when we are triggered, rather than engrossing ourselves in our anger, the world would definitely be a better place.

Ditching traditional religion to become indoctrinated into the church of wokeness isn’t brave or original. Censorship and cancel culture is not progressive. But you know what is? Summoning our courage to challenge the narratives all our peers are subscribing to, when it doesn’t feel right. Digging deep to question the things that trigger us and doing the work to heal ourselves. Approaching conversations with an open mind and not being afraid to change our stance when presented with new evidence. Progression is becoming strong. Dealing with the demons inside our heads, and being the best version of ourselves as much as possible.

The definition of success

I for one am grateful to Joe Rogan; his podcast has introduced me to lots of people I might not have tuned into otherwise. More than that, he has helped me exit my echo chamber and shine a light on the many other sides of the story I had previously been missing.

Seeing the way he’s being targeted is a very sad indication of where we’ve arrived at as a society. Because if we can’t listen to an entire conversation, so we have the context around 90-second clips or sensationalised quotes, then we really are doomed.

“I like a success story. But even more than a success story, I like a dude who fucks his life up then gets his life back together again story. Those are my favourite stories!”

– Joe Rogan

Just for the record: they are my favourite stories too.

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