Joe Rogan, Experienced

Out of a sense of fairness, I gave a listen.

Screencap from episode 1761.

So, due to a combination of a statement made by regular commenter Andy, as well as an acquaintance with whom I recently had a conversation, I decided to listen to the Joe Rogan Experience on the notion that it is not fair to draw substantial conclusions based on second-hand evidence. As a friend quipped to me when I said I was going to listen, I did my own research. In all seriousness, it seemed reasonable that if I was going to form an informed opinion, I should listen to the program.

I initially decided to partake of episode #1761, Jim Gaffigan, which I listened to in its entirety. I picked this one because I like Gaffigan and know him to be non-crazy, but also since he is a comedian that whatever Rogan did, or did not say, about covid, politics, etc. would emerge organically as opposed to being driven by a covid-specific guest. Indeed, I was curious if having an entertainer on would mean that the topic would only be passingly discussed at most. Also, the episode was from January 11, 2022, making it recent but before the controversies became a major story. For additional research, I decide to listen to about 15 minutes of the H.R. McMaster episode (which was a pretty standard interview) and then a substantial (over an hour) of his October 13, 2021 interview with Sanjay Gupta, which was heavily focused on covid.

While I have seen and heard clips, I had not had any previous prolonged exposure to Rogan. I have been aware of him for years, but only vaguely. I will say that the show was less bombastic than I expected (I imagined a more Limbaughesque FM radio DJ vibe). It was fairly “bro-y” with a significant “dudes chatting at the bar” vibe (which I suspect is part, if not all of, the appeal). He does appear to be a genuinely curious individual and he has legitimate interviewing skills (keeping multi-hour conversations going, even with interesting people, requires some level of skill, which he displays). I will confess, however, I am not sure why he is the podcasting sensation that he is (although I suppose if I did, I, too, could make hundreds of millions of dollars).

So, as I noted above, I picked Gaffigan because I find him entertaining and was curious as to how much covid would even come up. Well, it came it pretty immediately because Rogan commented on the fact that Gaffigan had had it. This provided fairly immediate (with the first 4 minutes) assertions by Rogan that masks don’t work and that tests produce a lot of false positives.

Most of the first hour was not all that different than other comedy-based interview podcasts I have listened to over the years (with a host and guest who are both comics). However, right around the 58-minute mark, Gaffigan suggests that they should give their predictions about the next ten years.

Rogan goes first and starts offering a narrative about how people are currently afraid of not getting vaccinated for fear of ostracization. Moreover, this has created a circumstance in which the vaccinated are classified as the “good” people and the un-vaccinated are the “bad” people. He believes that this perception can be used by the government to induce compliance and could lead to the establishment of a “social credit” system which apparently exists in China (Rogan is no fan of China). An example was given about this possible system: if you don’t pay your taxes, you won’t be allowed to go to the movies because you lack sufficient credits.

The basis of the social credit system will be vaccine passports. “It’s letting you slowly get integrated into this system and the benefits that you get from it”  and then “they have their hooks in.” I am pretty sure that the “it” in question is vaccinations or vaccine passports (although maybe even the “social credit” system) and “they” is the government. In this discussion, he asserted that “social psychologists” are terrified of these developments, and they will lead to a future that is “dystopian at best.”

I must confess, this all sounded more than a bit conspiratorial, if not straight up cuckoo-for-cocoapuffs.

To bolster this position he cites an article he “saw on Yahoo” about the potential of loan companies linking better rates to customers who are willing to share their browser history. This is supposed to be an example of the “social credit” structure that he is concerned about. Indeed, he gets his producer to pull up the piece from a financial news website MoneyWise: Your credit score may soon depend on your web history

research posted to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) website suggests companies will soon be looking at a lot more data to get an accurate picture of the risk you pose as a borrower.

[…]

Lenders could soon use data from your browsing, search and shopping history to create a more accurate credit score, researchers say.

Much of that information is publicly accessible, while some might need to be provided to credit bureaus. Taken together, that data forms your “digital footprint.”

To be honest, this does not sound to me like the coming authoritarian apocalypse. Nevertheless, I found it instructive because it fits his “I am curious and just ask questions” and “I do my own research” self-narratives. I am also sure that it impresses his audience because he is at least producing an article, which means he isn’t making it up out of thin air (even if his interpretations are more than a bit suspect).

As it pertains to this specific story about credit ratings, I would note that he got some of it significantly wrong: the story is talking about using primarily publically available data, while Rogan intimated that one would be induced to turn over private data for cheaper loan terms (that’s not what the article says–still, at 1:01 he talks about people “allowing access” to browser info so that they can get better credit–which is not what the article says). Further, this is a report about a report on a hypothetical outcome and is hardly evidence of much of anything.

Back to the googling, this was done several times during the interview, often over minor things, like one might do at a bar drinking and talking with buddies to confirm what year Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl or somesuch. Further, the sophistication of information sorting was not much better than a B-/C+ undergrad who knows they want information on, say, the history of the sugar trade (a real topic from the show) but really has no idea how to sort through the results of a search for quality information.

Again, if this is how he does his covid research, no wonder he ends up where he does. However, and I will reiterate, I am sure that this kind of thing is convincing to a lot of listeners because Rogan appears to be actually looking beyond himself for information. But what are the odds that most listeners then go and look at the links to assess their quality or to determine if they say what is claimed? (Likely only a weirdo would do that).

I could say more about the Gaffigan interview (such as Rogan stating that Obama was “the greatest president of our lifetime,” a lot of bothsiderism, and his preference for the next POTUS: Tulsi Gabbard), but should note the Gupta interview as well. I skipped about 30 minutes on marijuana and listened to an hour-plus on covid, which emphasized to me that Rogan is not getting a bum rap in the press about covid misinformation. Some defenses have suggested that he is “just asking questions” and that the bad info is from his guests. Well, there is little doubt he was advocating against vaccinations for the young/healthy and offering up a number of anecdotes that would help fuel the general anti-vaccination narrative. (And there is his social credits theory from above).

He also engaged in some similar google-fu with Gupta, pulling up articles and reading excerpts that Gupta was not always prepared to rebut given the limited amount of information about the excerpts at his disposal. Indeed, Gupta had the distinct disadvantage, from a debating POV, of being the one who was unwilling to assert didactic conclusions if had not fully examined a given claim. Rogan, however, is quite certain about his claims.

He personally knows, for example, two (IIRC) people who got strokes immediately after getting the vaccines. He know numerous people who got sick even though they wore masks. He has anecdotes such as one, which I don’t think a linked story was produced, about a 19-year-old girl who had to get a heart transplant after the shot and subsequently died, etc (TBH, I listened to that anecdote twice, and I still don’t fully understand the claims being made). He made a host of dubious claims about death, illnesses, transmissibility, and so forth. He likewise was promoting the efficacy of ivermectin while also preferring simplistic notions that if people were just healthier they wouldn’t have to worry about covid, and so forth.

For some additional examples of covid-related claims by Rogan, here are a few run-downs:

So, at the end of the day, I can say with first-hand authority that yes Rogan clearly is promoting any number of problematic, if not dangerous, theories about SARS-CoV-2, the public health response thereto, and the vaccines in particular. Further, it is not unreasonable for artists hosted on Spotify, and the customers who use the service, to complain to the company about his exclusive deal. I also can see, if I look at the program dispassionately, why he might be appealing to some folks (although I am not sure what it is about him that he attracts an audience big enough to justify the $100 million deal he has with the platform). I will admit, likely to consternation of some readers, that I do not find him so odious that I will be canceling my subscription to Spotify (but explanations of that position would make a very long post even longer).

So, yes, I have done enough research to confirm that there is a substantial basis for the criticisms that Rogan has received. Moreover, I have experienced as much of the JRE as I plan to.

I do not know if this exercise has been of use to anyone but me, but here it is.

A parting PS is this story from WaPo that I noted Sunday morning: Joe Rogan apologizes for ‘regretful and shameful’ past use of the n-word.

FILED UNDER: COVID-19, Media, Podcasts, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Gavin says:

    Please note that the assertion of “Just Asking Questions” is 110% of the time pure trolling. Conservatives have in fact not found One Neat Trick to shoulder their preconceived notions into objective conversations.

    A person who is actually Socratic asks questions that don’t imply/reflect a bias. EG, “tell me more about masking” rather than “Why are we asked to wear masks that fail”.

    The purpose of the troll question is both to assert the conservative’s superiority over the person who is actually objective and obviously To Trigger The Lib.. because of course the conservative’s Fantasy Liberal is too weak to do anything but follow their framing into the rabbit hole of nonsense.

    So even guests on Rogan need to be on alert to make sure to keep yanking the conversation back onto objectivity.. and few are because Oh He’s The Host.

    Steven, your observation about Rogan not understanding how to vet sources is really pertinent and seems a key element applicable to more than just Rogan.. I often forget that my librarian mom drilled that into me from a very young age. I sincerely wonder if the concept of evaluating sources has ever been introduced to him or even if [at this age] he’d take that as a Left Wing Concept, which seems alternatingly strange and sad, but helpful to understand a psyche.

    A recent historical comparison I can think of [which we’re seeing a slow unfolding of in real time] is the re-evaluation of the reality of the eastern front of ww2 [Glantz and others] given the recent opening of the Soviet archives.. this has been my lever [with a couple of buddies] into introducing the concept that there never really is One Source Always Truthful With No Spin.. on anything!

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  2. MarkedMan says:

    FWIW, the Chinese Social Credit scheme is real. There is a SC evaluation for businesses and one for individuals too. Like many big Chinese initiatives, it is being implemented separately by each province and even ar the city level. If the past is any indicator, over the course of time a set of best practices will emerge and parts will be incorporated into a national scheme. The provincial bent is more effective in China than it would be here, in part because there is much less mobility than in the US. You have to have government permission to accept a job in a different province or, even within a province, certain large cities. This is one aspect of the hukou system.

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  3. drj says:

    Rogan is not getting a bum rap in the press

    I am not surprised at all.

    Despite all the hand-wringing about liberal/left-wing cancel culture, this never translates into mainstream media campaigns against either middle-of-the-road or idiosyncratic personalities or positions.

    Leaving out left-Twitter (which is pretty much by definition made up of total nobodies), I can’t think of a single example. And no, the Oberlin Student Council doesn’t count either.

    “Liberal mainstream media” is a lie that is used to justify naked right-wing propaganda. (Fox News in particular.)

    Unless someone can come up with some decent examples, I’m going to continue to assume that whenever “liberal cancel culture” is brought up, there is simply no there there.

    22
  4. M. Bouffant says:

    I will confess, however, I am not sure why he is the podcasting sensation that he is (although I suppose if I did, I, too, could make hundreds of millions of dollars).

    Neither you nor I are his target audience. And if the $100,000,000 is anywhere near true it probably represents what he could get if half the country tunes in daily. And the contract is no doubt over a long term, like 10 yrs., & has options to change/cancel everything after three or four yrs.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    Not surprising that Rogan’s “research” turns out to be merely an imitation of actual research. It’s a kind of protective coloration, which is an assumption of the look of a serious animal so as to fool others into believing that it has the characteristics of that animal, but without incurring the costs associated with whatever traits are desirable. See also the writers at “Reason” magazine.

    3
  6. Joe says:

    James, I appreciate you wasting your time on him so I don’t have to. Like you, I have only been vaguely aware of Rogan and, thankfully, having gotten your insight, I will remain only vaguely aware of him. Limbaugh would force himself into my world from time to time by being on someone’s radio where I had no capacity to change the dial, but Rogan as a podcast is a problem I would have to go looking for and I will avoid doing that.

    I am reminded of my Dad responding to a cable sales call in the 1980s pushing the fact that they had the Playboy channel: “I already have to carry the garbage out of my house. Why would I pay you to bring it in?”

    5
  7. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    For a certain type of individual, “do the research” means “believe whatever The Gateway Pundit and The Conservative Tree House are peddling.”

    5
  8. KM says:

    “I’m just ASKING!” is functionally equivalent to “I’m just SAYING!” or “Just Joking!!” for jerks – it gives them some level of plausible deniability with too polite or gullible people when they spout their lies. They mean what they say and they know it’s controversial/ wrong/ bigoted / hateful but don’t want the stigma that comes with saying it. Nothing good has ever come after “I’m just…..” because it indicates the speaker is acknowledging something obviously problematic about the statement themselves and then says it anyways because they want to.

    Notice they never “just asking questions” about their own ideology or beliefs. They are never willing to critically examine who or what they are, only their opponents. Weird how they never think to use such valuable “logic” to ensure they are correct when doing “research” into their own side! It’s merely linguistic code for “opinionated nonsense” and should never be treated as legitimate questioning.

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  9. Scott says:

    Yeah, I don’t know what to do about any of this. I have never listened to Joe Rogan (there is just so much time in the day to listen to all the podcasts out there). Not even sure what his demographic is.

    It is interesting that there is pushback on Spotify from its other content providers (not just aging musicians). Wendy Zukerman, the creator and host of Science vs. (also owned by Spotify) let the Spotify president that the misinformation spewed by Rogan is a slap in the face.

    Now, I do listen to Science vs. and find it to be well researched, breezily presented science (typically about 150 citations are listed for each episode).

    On a side note, it seems as if this country is run by talk show hosts. Texas Lt Gov was a far right radio host. Mike Pence got started there. Trump was a reality star. They all communicate well, if not wisely or accurately.

    5
  10. Argon says:

    For a guy who has been doing his own research throughout the pandemic, Rogan has amazingly little understanding or well supported conclusions…

    I read a comment elsewhere that it seems remarkable how so many obstinately unvaccinated and vaccine skeptics claim to have friends / acquaintances / friends of a friend who had strokes or died from Covid vaccines. Sometimes before the vaccines were available!

    5
  11. ptfe says:

    I once looked up the approach speed of the F-35 landing on an aircraft carrier. A quick Google search showed it to be 202 kts. It turns out this is extremely not true – Google pulled up the number based on an accident report in which the pilot erroneously flew that speed, which is 50 kts above the normal approach speed (and therefore was a likely causal factor in the accident).

    I think about this a lot with the “doing my own research” people, who, if pressed, will type a question into Google and use the top result as evidence, with no further reading required. And often these mis-citations become a circular claim – Person A’s “a fact I read once…” becomes Person B’s “Person A says…” becomes Person C’s “Person B and Person A agree that…” becomes Person D’s “there’s plenty of evidence that…”

    In too many cases the evidence is simply having read a story somewhere and you’re like “wait a minute, where did you read about this? and did you check it? is it an actual story? can you confirm any of the details? didn’t the name ‘Dingus McDoodleberry’ set off alarms? or wouldn’t you expect to see Result X and Report Y or Statement Z if it were true?” Which gets some blank stares like you’re some sort of monster for even thinking the whole thing isn’t a government conspiracy and coverup, as though word of Little Johnny Twelve-Toes who was made unholy by the COVID vaccine only made its way out only by the grace of God through a network of sympathetic anti-vaxxers who are reporting The Truth.

    And what’s equally weird is that, just as often, if you ask a “doing my own research”-er where they’ve read things, they’ll be extremely cagey on the topic. They know their sources are bunk, they know they haven’t done actual research, and they’ll immediately back off that line and use what Rogan did when faced with factual information antithetical to his prior view: “Oh, that’s not what I’ve read in the past.” Good lord! If you haven’t read the study that includes 40,000 people but you’re telling me an anecdote about someone in Last Chance, IA, as reported by a letter written to the Coralville Courier, just admit you haven’t read anything!

    But none of that is really important. The path almost always starts and ends with the conclusion. It doesn’t matter that the research is in a shallow pool of grifters or a chain of known liars, it’s the confirmation they crave. If Joe Rogan didn’t confirm their POV, he would be worthless to his more easily-duped listeners. But since he’s the kind of guy who clicks on the One Weird Trick articles then has their authors on his show after nearly killing himself doing something really medically stupid, you would also expect him to click on the Twenty Things They Don’t Want You To Know article.

    15
  12. CSK says:

    Spotify CEO Daniel Ek announced that the service has no plans to get rid of Rogan.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I read Ek’s message to Spotify employees. His tack is to not even acknowledge the difference between hosting a show under the standard few pennies that most podcasters get, and paying $100M for one and then relentlessly promoting both on the site and off. Doing anything to a $100M employee is censorship.

    1
  14. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Argon:

    I read a comment elsewhere that it seems remarkable how so many obstinately unvaccinated and vaccine skeptics claim to have friends / acquaintances / friends of a friend who had strokes or died from Covid vaccines. Sometimes before the vaccines were available!

    Oh! They finally got the tachyons to work? Cool!

    5
  15. gVOR08 says:

    @Mu Yixiao: The tachyons have always worked. But try finding one when you need it.

    2
  16. mattbernius says:

    @Argon:

    For a guy who has been doing his own research throughout the pandemic, Rogan has amazingly little understanding or well supported conclusions…

    Rogan, from all I can tell, is someone who at least appears to be intellectually curious.

    Unfortunately, all signs show that curiosity is not accompanied by the necessary intellectual rigor necessary to do deep research or the intellectual honesty necessary to really interrogate his personal biases (and really look at data points that contradict his personal beliefs).

    Combining that with a brand that is deeply based on being a heterodox “thinker” leads us to bad places (and the platforming of really crappy people and ideas–which honestly is my bigger issue with him).

    7
  17. Mu Yixiao says:

    @gVOR08:

    The tachyons have always worked. But try finding one when you need it

    But the last I heard, they couldn’t get them to work in the vaccines. They interfered with the 5G chips, resulting in dial-up speeds and people farting a 14.4 modem squeal.

    6
  18. Stormy Dragon says:

    This is how extremist recruitment works. There’s always the nice, normal guy off to the side who is most emphatically not with the extremists, but “just asking questions”. I don’t know if this is intentional on Rogan’s part or if he’s just a “useful idiot”, but it doesn’t really matter because in the end he serves the same function either way: a plausibly deniable way for extremists to approach people who would normally avoid them, desensitize them to extremist viewpoints, and beginning the process of identifying people who can be drawn in further

    The Alt-Right Playbook: How to Radicalize a Normie

    7
  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    You took one for the team, Steven. Thank you.

    5
  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    One more thing I want to note: A friend of mine got the vax and on his way home lost control of his truck, rolled it several times, broke his neck and is now permanently paralyzed from the neck down.*

    So the vax is obviously hazardous to one’s health.

    *total bullshit just in case anybody can’t tell.

    1
  21. @Stormy Dragon: As a matter of accurate characterization, based on what I have read and what I listen to, I would not consider Rogan as part of the alt-right.

    4
  22. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    And Betty White died from the Covid vaccine.

  23. EddieInCA says:

    Go into any working class neighborhood bar in any American city, but preferably, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, or Trenton, and look for the guy at the end of the bar, drinking his fourth Miller Lite of the day.

    Buy him his fifth, sixth, and seventh Miller Lites, and engage him in conversation for three hours. Listen to his half-baked ideas on Covid, Vaccines, MMA, politics and culture, and answer his questions honestly.

    There. You’ve just done the equivalent of a full episode of the Joe Rogan Experience.

    Seriously.

    20
  24. Dude Kembro says:

    So much for the bogus theory that the innumerable Joe Rogan quotes and 5- 10-, and 15-minute clips all over the internet are not sufficient to understand that re: COVID he’s a peddler of deadly broscience. As if a harmful conspiracy theory magically becomes okay if you change the cropping at an .mp4’s ends.

    @Scott:

    Not even sure what his demographic is.

    He’s the Patron Saint of Dbags. Goop for guys with daddy issues and adjustment disorders. Astrology for incels. And he and his guests can also be amusing, good for a laugh or three. So.

    7
  25. KM says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Then consider him alt-right adjacent – the gateway drug so to speak.

    He’s the outer layer of the rotting onion that’s not part of them per se but still he’s still got his place of the rot. You only watched a little; it’s the prolonged exposure that show him for what he is. There’s plenty of clip videos of his views that can easily fit into the alt-right sphere. It’s like gradual poisoning @Steven, you might be able to get away fine from the first small dose but repeated exposure can and will damage you, potentially fatally.

    As for not being odious enough to cancel, that’s up to you. However think of this – had enough people put this kind of pressure on Lambaugh’s sponsors early on, we’d all be living in a much better world. If enough people think it’s not bad enough, then all the changes will be for the worst since the poison will continue to flow. The alt-right and their grifty enabling cousins thrive when decent folks are willing to put up with them for mere convenience sake and give them room to operate.

    10
  26. Not the IT Dept. says:

    It’s always about the fear with these guys, and its classic projection. Like if other guys – and I mean guys – are afraid then that somehow proves that the individual isn’t a wuss. I really think it doesn’t really get past that.

    “I’m afraid of fill-in-the-blank, I’m uncomfortable admitting that, so I’ll offer the same blanket protection to other guys, and then it will be the fault of those awful others that we’re afraid but not really afraid because we’re men. Watch me break a beer bottle on my own head.”

    2
  27. Gustopher says:

    Now listen to an episode with the founder of the Proud Boys, or one of the other White Nationalists. He may not be alt-right, but he’s very comfortable with the alt-right.

    9
  28. Sleeping Dog says:

    @EddieInCA:

    You left out that the 4th miller was downed before 10:30 AM.

    That was a cousin till he finally sobered up. Though the other day I called him and needed to listen to 5 minute rant on the public schools and covid. Then I remember he’s probably taking care of his grand kids and he’s feeling the frustration that many parents are.

    2
  29. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: But, if he hadn’t had to go get the jab, he wouldn’t have even BEEN IN his truck when it rolled over.
    (Did I get that right?)

    2
  30. Kurtz says:

    @KM:

    However think of this – had enough people put this kind of pressure on Lambaugh’s sponsors early on, we’d all be living in a much better world.

    Goldbond Medicated Powder? Maybe. All the random gold companies trying to get you to buy coins? Don’t think shame works for them.

    1
  31. Steveo says:

    I find it interesting that a guy that interviewed Bernie and then endorsed him, that stated Obama is the best President of our lifetime, that likes Tulsi for President in, is linked to the Republicans.

    I listen to a couple of podcasts a week and enjoy the diversity of views. Yes, he is a vaccine skeptic. Yes, he does not care for Biden. Yes, he believes that free speech is being limited by people disagreeing with what the speaker says. So do many other citizens from all walks of life.

    I don’t agree with a lot of his positions, especially the legalization and promotion of psilocybin drugs, but I do learn something listening to the wide range of topics and guests he represents.

    If you do not like his brand of humor mixed with social commentary, do what I do with The View, or Samantha B, just ignore it and go about your day.

    6
  32. steve says:

    Sounds similar to the clips I have heard from him. Some of his comedy stuff is better that what you experienced.

    The Gupta interview points out a big problem you face if you are a real doctor or scientist and not a grifter. You need to try to stick to the science or medical literature plus maybe some of your own personal experience. The grifters and charlatans have no such restraint. They can just lie, make up stuff and deny truths. The person who is genuine will sometimes have to say they dont know. Or maybe something might work but we dont know for sure. Or you say the evidence is positive but weak. The charlatan need not express any doubt. The kind of person who “does their own research” seems to be drawn to those who speak with total conviction.

    Steve

    6
  33. MarkedMan says:

    @mattbernius:

    Unfortunately, all signs show that curiosity is not accompanied by the necessary intellectual rigor necessary to do deep research or the intellectual honesty necessary to really interrogate his personal biases (and really look at data points that contradict his personal beliefs).

    …and that adding any of that rigor would drive away most of his audience and he wouldn’t be getting $100M.

    2
  34. Kathy says:

    @KM:

    It is a rhetorical tactic, known in Skeptical circles as JAQing off.

    2
  35. inhumans99 says:

    I have been wondering, is this the same Joe Rogan that used to be part of one of those before the movie starts sketch bits. I could swear that perhaps 20-30 years or more back that he was in one of those bits before films that try and entice to to purchase popcorn and soda, it was just a short comedy bit. If so, of course this was when he was very young and just coming up in the comedy business.

    I have not listened to Joe Rogan pre or post Covid, but if he was that guy described above it is a bit depressing to see the path he has gone down. Even Steven’s brief exposure to Rogan led him to appreciate that Rogan has the chops to come off as that person you would hang out with for a couple hours at a bar and just have some lively conversations during your hang time with him, that he went down the Covid Conspicuity Theorists rabbit hole, well, for some reason it just makes me a bit sad at what could have been.

    Right now, Rogan being the darling of the Right seems to be working out for him great, at least financially, but eventually things will change, the mood or what have you in this country, and he will just become background noise, one of many nutters that is just for the most part ignored by most in this country. Of course, it may be many years before this happens so I am well aware to not count my chickens before they hatch.

  36. Beth says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    @KM:

    I have a dear friend who is about my age. We were really close and used to talk about our anger issues. Life didn’t go as expected for either of us. He got married young, had three kids fairly young, cheated on his wife and then got divorced. He wanted to be a firefighter or something productive. He ended up working nursing adjacent surrounded by “idiots”.

    We’ve hashed over my story here before, but simply put, I’m Trans. Whoops. The difference between my friend and I, is I got therapy (lots of it), did the mental heavy lifting to deal with my issues, and caught a couple of breaks. My friend started listening to Rogan. Then he started posting on Instagram about how smart Jordan Peterson and Dinesh D’Souza are. Then whatshisface from Texas with the eye patch. Then about how all of them were right. I haven’t heard from him in a couple years now (he got mad at me when I pointed out D’Souza is a moron). Honestly, I’m actually afraid of him and sad for what he’s become. He didn’t start out an alt-right lunatic, but I’m confident that’s where he landed.

    drip, drip, drip…

    11
  37. MarkedMan says:

    We need another word besides “censorship”. If Joe Rogan were saying that he thinks redheads were beneath him and they should be prohibited from drinking from the same water fountain as him, cancelling his show for those reasons would be censorship. However, to me at least, canceling his show because he spreads misinformation is not censorship. Truth is knowable. Facts are real. He would be cancelled because he is lying or indifferent to the truth. To me, that is not censorship.

  38. just nutha says:

    @Kurtz: Most of the “gold” companies didn’t even have coins to see. They’re part of the whole 2 0r 3 hundred percent of the gold reserves available for investment are already sold crowd. Gold futures, gold shorting, gold on margin, stuff like that.

  39. Gustopher says:

    @Steveo:

    If you do not like his brand of humor mixed with social commentary, do what I do with The View, or Samantha B, just ignore it and go about your day.

    Quite the minimization of Rogan’s contributions to Ivermectin Culture which is literally killing people, and his normalization of the Proud Boys and other alt-right figures. I’m pretty sure The View doesn’t have much of a body count.

    And, this started with people not wanting to support Rogan — either through having their music on the same platform, or having their subscription money shovelled over to him.

    7
  40. CSK says:

    @inhumans99:
    According to IMDb, Rogan was an actor in several movies and tv series.

  41. DK says:

    @Steveo:

    If you do not like his brand of humor mixed with social commentary, do what I do with The View, or Samantha B, just ignore it and go about your day.

    And if you don’t like criticism of Joe Rogan etc etc etc.

    P.S. As to Rogan’s opinions on Bernie (not a Democrat), Tulsi (not a Democrat), and Obama and Biden, many political schizophrenics are linked with Republicans at times. Trump once donated to and endorsed Hillary Clinton, we know how that turned out.

    3
  42. @Steveo:

    Yes, he is a vaccine skeptic.

    While, to be fair, I would state that some of his views are within the realm of genuine skepticism a great deal of his position on this topic is a combination of junk science, total misinformation, and conspiracy theories.

    6
  43. ptfe says:

    @Steveo: Wellness and conspiracy-mongering have a strangely large overlap in this country. I am not the first to observe this: “[T]he entire wellness space quickly became one that was open to rejecting Western medicine as a whole, and by extension science, expertise and government authority.”

    And as @Dude Kembro points out, Joe Rogan is bro’d up Goop, capturing “guys who don’t want to admit they’re into Wellness.” These are people who would make fun of vegetarianism and candy asses doing yoga, but they’ll go all-meat and talk ad nauseum about how best to beat their deadlift max.

    The reason you can’t “walk on by” a Rogan is that he reaches millions of listeners actively and his normalization of people who have no other platform broadens their reach well beyond that listenership. And on the one really critical item of social importance today, he’s dispensing the opposite of sound medical advice. He’s bringing us a new generation of the Grifterhood of Traveling Quacks, and I think now that the product isn’t sold by Oprah to POC and women, people are finally starting to notice its rank odor.

    (Though this does make me wonder how many of these same entertainers would have had the same reaction if Oprah had run a podcast.)

    4
  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @just nutha: Yep, ergo paralysis is a side effect of the jab.

    1
  45. ImProPer says:

    I haven’t experienced much of Rogan or his schtict. I watched a show of his on YouTube some time ago. I thought it somewhat funny, and can see an appeal for younger listeners, especially those that are a bit anti-status quo. That he would be considered an authority on covid, or should be, is what’s alarming to me. One of the few positives of the last two years, is that we should all know that there is a place called the Centers for disease control (CDC) , and they have a website that will keep one up to date with real results of actual research. Which can only be carried out in sophisticated laboratories by highly trained individuals, then controlled studies among groups of people getting the vaccines. Sorry to state the obvious, but ignoring it has become quite a National pastime, and for some, a highly profitable one. 100 million dollars wow! That’s capitalism, and I don’t see him changing into a purveyor of straight up wisdom any time soon. Dr.Taylor, I appreciate you and your continued effort to keep people well informed, please don’t get any ideas ;●)

    1
  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steveo: Yes, he believes that free speech is being limited by people disagreeing with what the speaker says. So do many other citizens from all walks of life.

    So… They should just shut up? Some freedom of speech you believe in there. That cognitive dissonance would give me some serious whiplash.

    If you do not like his brand of humor mixed with social commentary, do what I do with The View, or Samantha B, just ignore it and go about your day.

    You mean, boycott it? And maybe the network that hosts him? Like people are doing right now? And Joe Rogan and other like minded individuals think is a terrible infringement of his 1st Amendment rights?

    Damn, I think my neck just broke.

    4
  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: If Joe Rogan were saying that he thinks redheads were beneath him and they should be prohibited from drinking from the same water fountain as him, cancelling his show for those reasons would be censorship.

    No, just No. Only if the govt canceled his show would it be censorship. If Spotify cancelled his show it would be business. That’s all.

    “Sayonarra, Aufwiedersein, Adios, have a good life, maybe you can find somebody else to carry your BS but for us, there is too much baggage and you cost more than you are worth.”

    4
  48. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Beth: This all the way.

    We do not have a fully formed domestic community in psychology that understands radicalization. We’ve been studying it in DOD for 20+ years so the psychologists in that niche understand it–but are still working out how to undo it.

    The radicalization playbook is really unmistakable and the trade-craft over the years has passed from AlQueda > Drug Cartels > ISIS–each organization improving it along that way for everyone [interested] to plagiarize.

    You simply would not believe how many people from all walks of life bought one-way plane tickets to Turkey to be smuggled into Syria to join the Caliphate. Doctors, Lawyers, Housewives, Students, Tech people, etc. All of these people left behind lives where family and friends were stunned that their loved one had been radicalized.

    Humans, like other animals, have instincts which, when understood, can absolutely be exploited against the best interest of the subject. Animal instincts are more behavioral based than human–but human instincts are more psychological-based.

    EVERYONE is susceptible–but some of us are harder targets than others. The best defense I know is to understand those psychological vulnerabilities and how various techniques are designed to exploit them. You can then evaluate in real time your interactions with people and entertainment and have the wherewithal to retain agency over your own emotions and subsequent actions. You thought you were there to look at Cars and–whoooppsss you just bought a fully loaded 2022. Its wasn’t as much of an accident as you think it was.

    If you don’t understand this game you can absolutely be the guy/gal traveling to a pizza parlor to save exploited children in a basement. This is no different than putting a baited hook in a patch of lily pads at spawning time–you know the bass will hit even if they aren’t hungry. The bass is one that doesn’t know. Whether Rogan is witting or unwitting is irrelevant–what he’s doing is part of a long-term process that has proven effective and almost irreversible as far as we know. drip drip drip

    11
  49. Barry says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “As a matter of accurate characterization, based on what I have read and what I listen to, I would not consider Rogan as part of the alt-right.”

    I can’t remember his name, but the guy who blogged under ‘Orcinus’ used the term ‘transmission belt’.

    2
  50. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    No, just No. Only if the govt canceled his show would it be censorship. If Spotify cancelled his show it would be business. That’s all

    Sure, fine. But my point was that the word “censorship” is I’ll fitting here, even if it was a government sanction. Rogan is not pushing opinions, he is pushing falsehood.

  51. senyordave says:

    @Steveo: Joe Rogan to a guest who said he has a Black dad and a white mom:
    “Powerful combination genetic wise. Right? You get the body of the Black man and then you get the mind of the white man altogether in some strange combination.”
    “Black people” have “a different brain.”

    When he walked through a black neighborhood it was like being in the planet of the apes.

    But he’s not a racist, right.

    4
  52. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Steveo: The fact that you characterize the experience as “learning” is an indicator that you are susceptible to suggestion. You might not be susceptible to Rogan’s POV but you’re vulnerable to be manipulated into believing someone else ideas as your own for their purposes.

    This is not condescending–EVERYONE is susceptible because the instincts exploited are controlled by the oldest and most simple part of the brain. I suspect that you agree with Rogan far more than you disagree {which you will deny} because you made an overt attempt to dismiss critical analysis as: “well change the dial”. Not exactly a response from a non-polarized consumer of “entertainment”. You are more vested than your reasoning parts of the brain might understand

    5
  53. Gustopher says:

    @Beth: I’ve been watching my brothers move steadily to the alt-right for a bit — they’re firmly at the alt-right-lite stage where Joe Rogan is just asking questions that no one has the answer to (except, you know, educated people).

    I send them crazy Q stuff, because either I will innocculate them and make them wary of sources that start repeating it, or I will get them believing in Liberal Nazis Living On Mars With Jewish Space Lasers… I’m weirdly good with either. I’d prefer them not go alt-right, but if they’re going to, I want them so far out there that it’s funny, and that they can have no influence on anyone even remotely sane.

    @Jim Brown 32:

    The radicalization playbook is really unmistakable and the trade-craft over the years has passed from AlQueda > Drug Cartels > ISIS–each organization improving it along that way for everyone [interested] to plagiarize.

    If you have any information on how to break that radicalization when the person barely listens to anything outside of their circle of information, I’d love to hear it.

    3
  54. Gustopher says:

    @senyordave:

    When he walked through a black neighborhood it was like being in the planet of the apes.

    I think he was committing a Critical Race Theory — the Republicans should boycott. Isn’t CRT the real racism?

    Anyone remember when Fake News was literally fake news articles coming out of Russia and Serbia, part of a carefully designed misinformation campaign in 2016, before Trump decided to start using it to describe anything critical of him? Perhaps we should do the same with CRT.

    And we can rename actual CRT in the process.

  55. dazedandconfused says:

    Been following the trucking problem in Canada. On one chat site someone speculating that long exposure to diesel fumes affects mental functioning. Another trucker responded by quoting the post, striking out “diesel fumes” and inserting “talk radio”.

    7
  56. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    We’ve been studying it in DOD for 20+ years so the psychologists in that niche understand it–but are still working out how to undo it.

    And sales and advertising have been doing so even longer–except they’re doing it in subtler ways, and to a lesser degree.

    This was one of the topics I dealt with when teaching sales. Two of the simplest (and often most powerful) techniques are the “string of yeses” and “small moves”.

    Small moves: You never go straight in. You take things that the person already accepts and shift slightly to where you want them to go. For example: You never say “These two things are completely different”, you show minor differences (which often make no real difference) and let the person “realize” that the two things aren’t exactly the same. Just keep slipping that wedge in a little at a time (not telling the victim.. err… customer, directly what the difference is, but leading him to “realize it on his own”. After a while, they two things are…. completely different.

    The second technique is the string of yesses. Ask questions that you know the person is going to answer “yes” to (or at least acknowledge that it might be true). The more times a person answers “yes”, the more likely they are to answer “yes” to the next question.

    People like Rogan are doing this (whether he’s smart enough to do it intentionally or is just a natural, I don’t know). They’re not telling people what to think, they’re leading people down a path where they have “done their own research” and convinced themselves. And once you’ve got them there, it’s damn hard to get them back–because nobody likes to hear that they’ve been deceived.

    4
  57. Jay L Gischer says:

    Addressing what counter to the radicalization might exist I have to say I don’t know for sure, but here’s a comment (emphasis is mine) from a video posted early on (don’t worry that you don’t know what “gabe” culture is, it represents radicalization, or a radicalization step):

    Funnily enough, as a young black man I was very close to gabe culture. At first I felt alienated in real life, as a minority in a small racist town. Going on 4chan, I couldnt immediately see that these people were white, and the anonymity made me feel safe, and when I became aware of the racist ideas I fell hard for the “you’re one of the good ones” spoon. What deradicalized me was finding friends in real life (who were white anyways lol)

  58. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Honestly, it’s nice to hear you say this explicitly because it validates something I do in response to that sort of thing, sensing that I didn’t like where the conversation was going. I go off script. I know the script has a “this is where I say yes”, so I will instead tell a joke or change the subject. Likewise with the small changes.

    Honestly, training people about these sales techniques may be the most valuable counter-radicalization strategy we have. It will also give people a lot more sales resistance, and well, that’s probably why we haven’t seen more of it.

    3
  59. DK says:

    @ptfe: If Oprah (or Gwyneth) were peddling COVID disinformation as often and widely as Rogan, the reaction would be even more furious, tinged by a sense of betrayal.

    Rogan isn’t in the crosshairs due to questionable therapeutics. He’s just bearing the brunt of lefty pandemic frustration right now + he’s contracted to a platform whose userbase skews young and left. That allowed a handful of social media influencers and legacy musicians — Young, Mitchell, India.Arie — to make Rogan into a PR problem for his corporate parent.

    The criminally underrated Arie has admitted shock that anyone cares about her opinion. My great pleasure in this is seeing delighted Zoomers discover her music (“She is such a QUEEN!” read one Instagram comment) and the back catalogue Mitchell and Crosby Stills Nash and Young.

    Were folks not weary of antivax broscience prolonging the pandemic, Rogan would still be dropping n-bombs and promoting all-meat diets, sight unseen. So I guess blame this latest culture war skirmish on…Biden for not getting masks and tests out earlier?

  60. Monala says:

    @Argon: I marvel at this too. I know my own experience is anecdotal, but I know dozens of people who are vaxxed and boosted, and only one who has had a negative reaction (heart problems, still being treated) beyond the day after soreness or fatigue. The only people I know who have died in the last two years either had serious diseases prior to Covid such as cancer or Alzheimer’s, or they were unvaccinated people who died of Covid. Yet somehow these anti-vaxxers know all these people who have died from the vax!

    1
  61. ImProPer says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    “We’ve been studying it in DOD for 20+ years so the psychologists in that niche understand it–but are still working out how to undo it”

    Scrambling the egg is a straight forward process, unscrambling one however is a different beast entirely. If DOD has been working on a method the last 20 years, this is good news. Now that every rube with an internet connection has plenty of of paint by numbers examples in basic propaganda techniques, and the ability to reach mass targets, it certainly is, imo, a national security emergency. Educating the masses to be immune in the future is a large, but straight forward task. However it involves rendering useless, tools that have throughout history, created vast wealth, and power.

  62. Jay L Gischer says:

    You know, I just watched a video, linked above, that spent a long time discussing the strategy of “the person bringing up controversy is the problem”. And then I come back here an hour later to see someone posted that very point. Fascinating.

    What we are discussing here is Steven’s viewing and listening to Joe Rogan and what he liked and didn’t like about it, and how we all react to what Steven saw. This has, in fact, not very much to do with Biden. And even less to do with getting out vaxes and masks to people who refuse to wear them.

    However.

    Yes, it is about a frustration most of us feel about people who are refusing masks and refusing vaxes and making this harder on everyone. Covid has killed 900,000 in the US in the last two years. Can you say that about the flu?

  63. Jay L Gischer says:

    @ImProPer: Watch the video linked upthread. It describes some of the pathways out. It isn’t, in fact, all that easy to scramble the egg, even though some get thoroughly scrambled.

    The fundamental problem the alt-right has is that it doesn’t lead to the formation of a community that actually cares about the person it is radicalizing. It’s all scapegoating, and no caring.

    Some of what needs to be done can’t be done in public, unfortunately, and that’s pretty incompatible with the Internet. But the hand of friendship means a lot, and can do a lot.

    1
  64. ImProPer says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    “And sales and advertising have been doing so even longer–except they’re doing it in subtler ways, and to a lesser degree.”

    Absolutely. Edward Bernays, became the Socrates of Madison Ave. from its inception.
    Governments are undoubtedly the first to press propaganda into the service of power, then the merchant class truly turned it into an art form, now it is used for mere amusement by anybody seeking a little attention on the web.

  65. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Having lost a job once when they caught me giggling at La Rush at the mandatory lunchroom listen-a-thon, I managed to dismiss JRE as something I had no interest in listening to. Thanks to our host for covering that grenade for me. And thanks to my HS teachers who insisted on clarity and thought (although I sniveled about it at the time, I’m sure).

    2
  66. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Honestly, it’s nice to hear you say this explicitly because it validates something I do in response to that sort of thing, sensing that I didn’t like where the conversation was going.

    Thank you.

    I go off script. I know the script has a “this is where I say yes”, so I will instead tell a joke or change the subject. Likewise with the small changes.

    But you can only do that if you notice what’s happening. It’s easier to notice it with a salesman, because you’re always aware that he’s trying to sell you something. It’s not as easy when it’s someone you like or trust.

    There’s one more technique that I learned, but I’m not sure if it fits into radicalization. Maybe @Jim Brown 32 can chime in.

    Quite a few years ago, I worked at a boat dealership. I was the marketing guy, but occasionally stepped in to handle the starting part of sales (we only had two people who could actually handle full sales–the salesman and the owner). I started paying attention to the salesman and noticed some things.

    One of the products we sold was pontoon boats. If anyone isn’t familiar with them, here’s an example (that’s the brand we sold). These are luxury living rooms on the water. The Q series (15 years ago) ran $40k – $55k.

    When a couple would come in* Tony would immediately walk them up onto the boat, invite the man to sit in the captain’s chair, and the woman to relax on one of the couches. And then he’d just talk to them–not about the boat, but about them. Where are they from, where’s their “cottage” (almost always Chicagoans with summer homes on the lake up here), how long have they had the cottage, how was the drive up this weekend… just sitting and talking. The entire time, the man is looking at the controls (and getting a sense of the power and control he has in that chair) and the woman is stretching out more on the couch (getting a sense of how luxurious and comfortable the boat is). Slowly, he’d mention small features, like the built-in cooler in the floor, or the rear sun loungers. He’d spend half an hour or more on small talk, letting them just sit there.

    All that time, they were coming to the conclusion that this was their boat–without ever being “sold” anything. He didn’t about specific features unless asked about them. And as the conversation slowly shifted to the boat, he’d start the “sales” portion–a complete soft-sale. At some point (and he was very good at knowing where it was), he’d just say “So… shall we go draw up the paperwork?” The number of people who just casually responded “Yeah” was amazing.

    ========
    They always come in as couples. The man picks out what he wants, and the woman decides what they can afford. Cliche, but true.

    2
  67. ptfe says:

    @DK: “Rogan isn’t in the crosshairs due to questionable therapeutics. He’s just bearing the brunt of lefty pandemic frustration right now…”

    I guess I’m wondering who Oprah would be hosting, since she swam in the sea of grifter woo-peddlers, some of whom (regulars Dr Oz and Christiane Northrup) went on to be – or started out as – big names in the anti-vax movement (oh did I mention Jenny McCarthy, Plandemic‘s Kelly Brogan, and…uh…Gwyneth?) She uncritically hosted a lot of cranks claiming you could improve your life – often medically! sometimes curing cancer! – by doing things that definitely were not going to improve your life. That is, of course, different from Rogan pulling in interviewees who are already on the anti-vax spectrum thanks to his beliefs own research.*

    Given Oprah’s history I have a hard time imagining her doing the very heavy journalistic lifting of telling someone “this information is wrong.” On the other hand, she’s vociferously pro-vax/pro-quarantine, so it’s really hard to tell. If your profession/profits depend on being OK with junk science purveyors, what happens when the pandemic hits?

    * I don’t think Gwyneth even ranks on this scale, she’s so far out in the Woolands. She apparently went on a keto diet to cure her long COVID, if you need a Goop sanity indicator.

  68. gVOR08 says:

    Ezra Klein had a column over the weekend arguing that COVID results, country to country, really came down to two variables, age of population and trust in government and fellow citizens. Aging populations have a higher fatality rate per case. And countries with low trust had higher rates of infection.

    Why is our trust so low? Kevin Drum offers the explanation you’d expect from him – FOX “News”. But of course he backs it up with data. Trust in government was fairly steady until around 2000, then started to rise. FOX “News” started up in 1996 and their audience size grew steadily from there.

    Public trust didn’t die, it was murdered by Rupert Murdoch.

    7
  69. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Gustopher: Unfortunately, I have nothing. Every study I’ve seen coming out the Internal Displacement Camps where they are attempting to deprogram people before sending them back to their country of origin has been very disappointing.

    What I suspect–and I am by no means qualified to have a confident opinion–is that deeply held beliefs reside below the reasoning part of the brain which consumes and decides how it feels about information. Therefore–we can not access those belief via *more* information.

    What I am doing in Desantistan–is anecdotally observing how a different approach might work (for my own edification). The objective is not to change people from liberal to conservative but for people to have less conviction to the righteousness of their cause. I do this by capitalizing off an emotion (anger, fear, etc)– acknowledging the higher principle then describing an alternative scenario from a Team Blue perspective that matches that principle and elicits the same emotion.

    Ex: {

    T: “They are experimenting on people with vaccines…”
    Me: “Its horrible if companies use the people to do their R&D–everything boils down to money” (Principle, True, Populist Framing)
    T: “Damn Right”
    Me: “And I’ll tell you what–somebody is going to have hell to pay if these Monoclonal Antibodies start screwing with people long term. Nobody is showing the long term data on that either…” (reconnecting the anger with the principle but on the opposite side of the spectrum…also semi-conspiratorial which appeals to this audience.)

    I have started to notice different conversation than when I first got here–in that my conversation partners speak more broadly about news of the day than the boiler plate FN talking points. I actually get a few R rants from time to time. In order to do this I have styled myself as a technocrat above the fray of partisan persuasion tactics which I’ve pointed out in my faux rants at FN and CNN on my office TV when people are in the office. The identity of the messenger does count. A guy has to amuse himself some kind of way here…

    4
  70. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Mu Yixiao: Yes, the foundation in DOD was taken from marketing and sales psychology which is 1oo years older. That’s basically what “Hearts and Minds” was all about–marketing.

    The marketing and Ad business has invented whole industries out of whole cloth: Toothpaste, Deodorant, Wardrobe, Diamond Wedding rings.. The list goes on and on. How do you make people want something they currently don’t know that they want? You know–like an Authoritarian President; or a 2-party system with 1 ever-dominant party? Once you answer the question–its simply a matter of knowing your target audience and what emotions resonate with them. Once you know that—its as you say—a matter of using those emotions to move the audience in small steps (based on their propensity for simple linear logic) to the position you want. And they’ll think it was their idea and conclusion the entire time.

    You can change the vector of a straight line with a series of small lines, successive and changed by several degrees over time. It was going North–now its headed South.

    2
  71. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Jay L Gischer: I immediately end any engagement once I sense techniques being used.

    I guess that’s how Jabba felt when Luke tried to Jedi Mind Trick him–it like a…”the nerve of this bozo” kinda thing. On rare occasion, I drop counters to test the skill of the person.

    But it is very important to realize that everyone is susceptible and to have humility–and not walk around thinking one is impervious.

    2
  72. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Last comment before I head out for the night.

    What I suspect–and I am by no means qualified to have a confident opinion–is that deeply held beliefs reside below the reasoning part of the brain which consumes and decides how it feels about information. Therefore–we can not access those belief via *more* information.

    I have commented (sometimes extensively) on various platforms about “the human need for fear”.

    Humans have learned to use and understand logic, but that requires fighting half a million years of evolution. Two groups of “humans” hear a noise, or see what they think is the face of a tiger, in the grass of the Savannah. One says “it’s nothing, there’s no proof”, the other is afraid and acts accordingly.

    A false positive for the first group results in death. A false positive for the second group results in… nothing. Evolution sides with those who “don’t die”. As a result, fear is an absolutely integral part of not only our evolution, but the results of that evolution. We need something to fear. Conversely, we are satisfied by defeating that which we fear.

    Historically this is the role played by religion and superstition. They “revealed” the things to fear, and gave us well-defined ways to protect ourselves–or defeat–that which we feared. Most of this was supernatural creatures (garlic on my door will protect me from vampires?! Thank you!), but more often than it should have, it spilled over into human targets.

    Vampires and ghosts are things we see in the movies for entertainment. As horrible as COVID is, it’s a shadow compared to previous plagues. Most of the world hasn’t seen a major war in over 50 years–many in almost 90.

    We live in the Safest. Time. Ever. We live in an unprecedented time of goodness. The fact Joe Rogen saying a bad word is a top story shows just how far we’ve come–further emphasized by the fact that a black woman is the one making a major corporation take action.

    The problem is: We have an evolutionarily powerful “human need to fear”. And there’s nothing left to be afraid of.

    So what do we do? We find things to be afraid of. We manufacture things to be afraid of.

    And we follow that fear because it’s in our genes.

    6
  73. Gustopher says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Covid has killed 900,000 in the US in the last two years. Can you say that about the flu?

    Absolutely I can, if I have no real knowledge but just a conviction that covid is just like the flu. I would even start coming up with rationalizations to hold that conviction if I was confronted with facts that don’t match. They really are underreporting flu deaths, you know — if the flu tips you to a heart attack because your body is stressed they call that a heart attack, but if covid does it then its a covid death.

    What’s always fun is when you discover that you are doing it on something that you don’t care that much about or which has very little importance and you’re trying to make sense of them. “Han Solo could do the Kessel run in 22 parsecs rather than some unit of time, because the trick is to cut close to dangerous things” — and now there is a whole movie about that.

    (Also, since Chewbacca knew Yoda, you have to conclude that either Chewbacca took a serious blow to the head before A New Hope, or Han didn’t understand a word he said, or Chewbacca just gave up on correcting Han by the time Han was saying that he didn’t believe in any mystical force — I prefer the “Han only thinks he understands Wookiie” explanation because it is by far the funniest, and it is similar to Jim Caviezel’s “speaking” Chinese and other languages (He was Jesus in Passion O’ The Christ, and the main character in Person of Interest, and has gone full Q))

    Anyway, my brothers have been engaging in Covid Fan Fiction.

    1
  74. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Without having witnessed him in action–I would guess he had knowledge of veiled suggestion and association and how to deliver it when the listener is in a mild trance–which almost everyone goes into they are talking about themselves and their life. It is completely normal to go into a mild trance–we do it multiple times per day naturally but don’t notice it.

    Advance practitioners understand when people go into these states and seek to keep the trance window open as long as necessary to suggest the desired outcome to the subconscious mind–not direct but coaxing. I doubt its an accident the woman (his actual target) was asked to lie on a couch–a psychiatrist/psychologies/hypnotist asks their subjects to the same to begin the induction process.

    The subjects were already willing because they came looking. As soon as they got on the boat they would be imagining outings on it–all that was needed was a extended trance induced by people’s favorite subject–themselves–to make a powerful association with the boat. Good formula for success there.

  75. ImProPer says:

    @Kurtz:
    @just nutha:

    Gold, schmold. Everyone knows that 911 silver coins were the real investment for the savy fox investor

  76. DK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    The fact Joe Rogen saying a bad word is a top story shows just how far we’ve come–

    And shows how lazy much of the American press is. I can’t figure out why thousands of daily COVID deaths, Supreme Court justices hobnobbing with right wing politicians, and the ongoing Trump-Putin joint effort to destroy Western democracy aren’t the only top news stories.

    But I and others spent 2016 saying the same thing, when the top news story was Hillary’s emails. We were accused of hysteria and McCarthyism. By the time Russian tanks roll into Kyiv, Rogan’s looming Whoopi Goldberg interview will be dominating headlines. During which Rogan will drop that he’s on an antivaxxer group chat with Clarence Thomas and Ron DeSantis. And everybody will yawn.

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  77. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Jim Brown 32: I couldn’t agree more about the humility part. I regret if I gave some other impression.

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  78. Andy says:

    Steven,

    I haven’t read the 70+ comments yet, but I’d guess that I probably appreciate this post as much or more than anyone here. I really wasn’t expecting anyone to do what you did, but I can’t say that I’m surprised that if anyone did put their money where their mouth is, it would be you.

    I think you described the gist of Rogan’s style and attendant strengths and weaknesses really well.

    Personally, I never cared for his banter with other comedians and also all the MMA/sports people he has on which seem to be the bulk of his shows. And seeing the episode number in your post is startling – 1761 episodes. I think I’ve listed to maybe 2-3 dozen of his podcasts over the past couple of years. My time is limited, so I focus on guests that interest me, and comedians and the MMA are not my thing.

    And that’s really what I listen to Rogan for – it’s about what guests he has on and not Rogan himself. And when he has good guests on, the style he uses to interview them works very well IMO. The lack of a script is a big part of the appeal for me and, as you noted, he’s good at keeping the conversation going. The last episode I listened to in full was Steven Pinker which was from December and I thought it was really good, but then I like Pinker.

    And maybe that’s part of the reason I don’t get upset at Rogan’s antics and frequent stupidity. I tend to listen to shows with guests that I either already like or interest me.

    As for why his show is so popular (with an audience that is 2-3 times larger than all of cable opinion/news), that is a good question. I would chalk it up to generational and stylistic differences. For example, the people who watch cable news are overwhelming old – Rogan’s audience is young. I think younger people prefer the lack of contrivance and, as you put it, the “‘bro-y’ with a significant ‘dudes chatting at the bar’ vibe” which describes it well. That is a pretty big contrast to the highly produced, and scripted nature of much of the media environment.

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  79. @Andy:

    I really wasn’t expecting anyone to do what you did, but I can’t say that I’m surprised that if anyone did put their money where their mouth is, it would be you.

    Thanks–I appreciate you saying that.

    I think younger people prefer the lack of contrivance and, as you put it, the “‘bro-y’ with a significant ‘dudes chatting at the bar’ vibe” which describes it well. That is a pretty big contrast to the highly produced, and scripted nature of much of the media environment.

    I think there is truth to this. But I am still at a bit of a loss as to why Rogan has capitalized on this more than others. I started listening to podcasts quite a well ago (over ten years) and while I recognize that taste is subjective, I don’t see what sets Rogan apart from any number of other interview-based shows. But again, if I understood that alchemy, I would be a wealthier man.

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  80. Andy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    @Stormy Dragon: As a matter of accurate characterization, based on what I have read and what I listen to, I would not consider Rogan as part of the alt-right.

    Yeah, it’s kind of funny reading that and the many other comments who accuse Rogan of being a conservative or alt-right. As if liberals are somehow inherently incapable of being anti-vax dolts.
    Not everything fits into binary narratives.

    @EddieInCA:

    Go into any working class neighborhood bar in any American city, but preferably, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, or Trenton, and look for the guy at the end of the bar, drinking his fourth Miller Lite of the day.

    Buy him his fifth, sixth, and seventh Miller Lites, and engage him in conversation for three hours. Listen to his half-baked ideas on Covid, Vaccines, MMA, politics and culture, and answer his questions honestly.

    There. You’ve just done the equivalent of a full episode of the Joe Rogan Experience.

    Seriously.

    I’m surprised we agree about something – I don’t think that description is unfair.

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  81. DrDaveT says:

    He know numerous people who got sick even though they wore masks.

    I remain stunned by how few people can absorb the idea that the purpose of the mask is primarily to protect other people from you, not the other way around. They are so fundamentally selfish that the idea can’t stick for more than a few seconds…

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  82. de stijl says:

    He was mildly amusing on Talk Radio. Andy Dick was funnier. Stephen Root, too.

  83. Pylon says:

    @de stijl: He was, in fact the least funny actor on NewsRadio, and considering Andy Dick was on the show, that’s saying something.

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  84. de stijl says:

    @Pylon:

    I have a bit of a soft spot for Andy Dick. Not a soft spot really, but more like tolerance for.

    I get that he annoys a lot of people to a very large degree. I don’t mind him.

    Can’t tell you why. I most always pull for the outsider.

    Root was the gem of that show, though.

    1
  85. KM says:

    @Andy:

    Yeah, it’s kind of funny reading that and the many other comments who accuse Rogan of being a conservative or alt-right. As if liberals are somehow inherently incapable of being anti-vax dolts. Not everything fits into binary narratives.

    Maybe because he’s not just spewing anti-vax nonsense and is actively pushing MAGA viewpoints currently? Spotify *specifically* cited his MAGA audience as why they wanted him and were willing to pay. Why yes, there are anti-vax liberals but guess what – they’re usually screaming about autism claims, not the New World Order’s plan to enslave us all and evil Chinese people. Bothsiderism really does like to try and square that circle by shaving off all the disagreeable racism and paranoia from the right, doesn’t it?

    If Rogan is/ was liberal, he’s doing a great job of faking being conservative right now… which makes you wonder if he was really a liberal at all. He’s internally recognized as one of their number one voices of what to think and how to be outraged – they think he’s one of them, clearly. Steven listened to one podcast, not months of it. A sample size of one is an anecdote, not data so I’m going to go with the audience who clearly have identified him as conservative-leaning at best if not straight up one of their flock.

  86. @KM: I didn’t get into this in my post, but it was striking to me that when Rogan engaged in bothsiderism, it is was interesting to me to note that he seemed to ultimately come down on the rightward side of the issue and that the bothsiderism was a smokescreen to make him look reasonable.

    Likewise, his praise for Obama (and for Michele Obama) also felt like a way to look reasonable and open-minded, even if he really was locked in on his views.

    I think he thinks he is open-minded, and he is certainly not a Sean Hannity type who feels the need to adhere to the party line. But reminds me of the type of person who thinks they are libertarian because it makes them sound smart, but when push comes to shove they aren’t as sophisticated as they want to act.

    Plus, the cleaving to conspiracy-land and immediately citing Tulsi Gabbard as someone who should be president is enough for me to say that he isn’t someone I wish had the level of influence that he does.

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  87. @Andy:

    Yeah, it’s kind of funny reading that and the many other comments who accuse Rogan of being a conservative or alt-right. As if liberals are somehow inherently incapable of being anti-vax dolts.
    Not everything fits into binary narratives.

    To clarify: if I had to put Rogan into the left-right spectrum, I would put him on the right, just more the dorm-room-libertarian-who-doesn’t-really-understand-political-philosophy strand. I just don’t think he is a Steve Bannon/Milo/Proud Boys alt-right type.

    But, he has given voice to some of those folks, and he deserves criticism for that.

    I can also see how he could be considered alt-right adjacent as he clearly appeals to a certain kind of young male who feels isolated or ignored and therefore might be susceptible to alt-rightization.

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  88. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    just more the dorm-room-libertarian-who-doesn’t-really-understand-political-philosophy strand

    This is pretty much the larval stage of the alt-right

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  89. Andy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    To clarify: if I had to put Rogan into the left-right spectrum, I would put him on the right, just more the dorm-room-libertarian-who-doesn’t-really-understand-political-philosophy strand. I just don’t think he is a Steve Bannon/Milo/Proud Boys alt-right type.

    I think what’s going on is the Cheney effect. Liz Cheney is a pariah in her own party and some on the left are even toying with the idea of supporting her as an independent candidate in Wyoming to counter whatever MAGA candidate replaces her during the primary. But it would be wrong to say that Cheney doesn’t have conservative views and isn’t a conservative. She has one of the most conservative voting records in the Senate. To suggest otherwise is to buy into that simplistic binary narrative that demands 100% compliance on certain litmus test issues.

    Similarly, Rogan has long had liberal, if eclectic, views. The idea that a guy who basically agreed with everything Bernie Sanders said two years ago is suddenly a right-winger seems fanciful at best. Instead I think what’s happened is that elements of the right have glommed onto Rogan in the past year as a reactionary response because he’s being attacked by the left and because he somewhat aligns with them regarding Covid and particularly covid restrictions. And elements of the very online left have shown little hesitation to cancel liberals and progressives for ideological transgressions. So it becomes a case where Rogan’s views on a host of issues that would put in solidly in the liberal camp don’t matter in a similar way that Cheney’s conservative creds also don’t matter.

    And Tulsi Gabbard, while heterodox in a couple of ways (mostly related to foreign policy), is hardly conservative much less alt-right. If anything she’s probably closer to the Bernie wing of the Democratic party than the center. I mean is this the platform that someone on the right would support?

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  90. Modulo Myself says:

    I’ll chime in late and say that if you go down the list of Rogan’s recent guests it’s striking how old some of them are. (I’ll admit that the ones I don’t know I didn’t google.) I mean Jim Gaffigan, Oliver Stone, and Carrot Top (lol). Beeple was on there and he’s relatively young, I guess. But the younger people I recognized were all pretty much anti-woke/IDW/angry about cultural marxism. Unless I’m mistaken, there’s nobody who plays well in Brooklyn or Silver Lake with 20-somethings…it makes me wonder how much of the bro-ness of it all is just a safe space for 20-something guys who clam up if they have to think about art or literature or how to talk to a girl who says she’s queer on Hinge. I.e. he’s offering a way for people who get anxious about social status to feel unburdened by reality.

  91. ImProPer says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    “It isn’t, in fact, all that easy to scramble the egg, even though some get thoroughly scrambled.”

    I guess “easy” is subjective. I would point out that the works of folks like Rogan aren’t particularly sophisticated, if they are guilty of anything more nefarious than simple stupidity.

    “Some of what needs to be done can’t be done in public, unfortunately, and that’s pretty incompatible with the Internet.

    This paradox is quite poignant, and invokes
    the spirit of Joseph Heller. The problem is misinformation on the internet. By utilizing the internet, and discussing it, it seems to grow stronger.
    What gives me some hope though, is there are also forums such as this one. I think it is quite good at keeping people pretty well informed though the sharing of personal knowledge, by many well reasoned, and sincere individuals.

    “But the hand of friendship means a lot, and can do a lot.”

    To be sure! Thank you for this.

  92. Pylon says:

    @de stijl: I like Root, but Phil Hartman was the legend on the show and, as a Canadian I am all in for Dave Foley. Lovitz was good as Hartman’s replacement.

    1
  93. EddieInCA says:

    @Andy:

    I’m surprised we agree about something – I don’t think that description is unfair.

    The difference is that I can’t get past the parts of his “act”, “commentary”, “shtick” that is actively hurting people, and you can. You continually gloss over the batshit crazy things that he says that are objectively wrong and dangerous. You simply ignore it, because he has guests on other times that you enjoy.

    That crank at the corner bar who is spouting his Q-Anon theories, Ivermectin ideas, and hydroxychloroquine medical advice doesn’t have 11 million listeners. He’s not dangerous. Rogan is.,

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  94. Gavin says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    anti-woke/IDW/angry about cultural marxism

    When someone says Cultural Marxism.. yep, they’re quoting no less a luminary than Lyndon LaRouche. That guy.

    I’d actually skipped over that term before today because I thought it was words after each other meaning nothing.. but with conservatives, it’s always worse than you think.

    “Cultural Marxism is a contemporary update of antisemitic conspiracy theories, such as the Nazi concept of “Cultural Bolshevism”, and is directly associated with the concept of “Jewish Bolshevism”.

    1
  95. Andy says:

    @EddieInCA:

    The difference is that I can’t get past the parts of his “act”, “commentary”, “shtick” that is actively hurting people, and you can.

    As I noted before, I don’t agree that he is “actively hurting people” so I don’t accept the premise of your argument. It’s like arguing Rogan is responsible for drug addiction and deaths because he smokes pot on his show and openly talks about the other drugs he uses. Or that romantic scenes on TV and movies cause people to have sex and generate unwanted pregnancies. Or that heavy metal music makes kids worship satan. Or the right’s moral panic over things like the Drag Queen Story Hour. It’s all the same bogus argument IMO.

  96. @Andy:

    As I noted before, I don’t agree that he is “actively hurting people” so I don’t accept the premise of your argument. It’s like arguing Rogan is responsible for drug addiction and deaths because he smokes pot on his show and openly talks about the other drugs he uses.

    Is not someone who advocates for X behavior or Y treatment (or lack thereof) responsible for their advocacy?

    I would also note that I don’t find his covid misinformation and his marijuana advocacy to be the same. There is a far higher risk of death from covid than there is from marijuana consumption, yes?

    Moreover, and more importantly, I am unaware of any misinformation he is pushing about marijuana. If he is advocating junk science and direct misinformation that is leading people to use marijuana in a way that is dangerous, then that would be a problem.

    In short: covid misinformation is not the same as being pro-pot, in my view.

    As it pertains to other drugs, I don’t have enough knowledge as to what he advocates (mushrooms, maybe?) to comment on his responsibility one way or the other.

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  97. EddieInCA says:

    @Andy:

    Right. Because advocating for smoking pot is exactly the same as pushing Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine to people suffering from Covid. That’s weak, even for you.

    Again, you’re intentionally ignoring the public health aspects of the Joe Rogan positions. Whether you like it or not, people listen and FOLLOW Joe Rogan. He has a responsibility, given the size of his audience. Just admit that you don’t care about his misinformation. Own it. You enjoy some of his guests, do you don’t care that people have died due to listening to Joe Rogan. Own it.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/60199614

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