(Updated February 1, 2022)
I woke up this morning to discover that Joe Rogan apologized for yet another podcast that triggered another round of social media outrage (see “Joe Rogan Apologizes For Accusing ‘Left-Wing’ of Setting Portland Fires” for his previous infraction).
Apparently overnight sometime, following Neil Young’s “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both” showdown with Spotify, Joni Mitchell joined in, insisting that all her music be removed as well in solidarity with Young.
Rogan’s moral infraction? Spreading COVID disinformation.
And there I was, standing next to my bed still in my pajamas, staring down at the WSJ article on my phone, baffled.
I did not want to start my day with this b.s. All I wanted to do was check the weather so I knew what to wear for the day. I did not want to read anything remotely political or controversial. I need my head clear so I can write entertaining fiction, because when my head gets filled with extraneous stuff like this, having absolutely nothing to do with anything I want to be writing, my mind takes off in a different direction and I get on a writing tangent that takes up my time and creative energy—and I end writing a blog post like this.
The notification stared up at me from my phone like clickbait. “Joe Rogan apologizes…” I tapped it. I couldn’t help myself.
“If I pissed you off, I’m sorry,” referring to growing backlash against him and Spotify Technology SA stemming from the folk rocker’s accusations that they spread false information about Covid-19 vaccines through the popular podcast.Joe Rogan Apologizes, Spotify Publishes Content Policy in Response to Neil Young Outcry, WSJ, Jan 31, 2022
What false information? What specifically was said that was incorrect?
I recognize their names, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, but I never listened to them. I grew up with ’80s New Wave—Joy Division, Depeche Mode, New Order.
Neil Young and Joni Mitchell are before my time. They’re ’60s counter-culture rock musicians, right? I imagine they did their share of getting drunk, high, laid, and other things definitely not conducive to good health and moral behavior. Since when did rock musicians support censorship, Big Pharma, and moralistic finger-wagging?
Another quick internet search—Joni Mitchell wasn’t big on drugs, but smoked cigarettes since she was nine and has made no apologies for her smoking habit.
“Smoking is one of life’s great pleasures,” she said in a 2007 interview published in The Telegram.https://jonimitchell.com/library/view.cfm?id=2503
Smoking is terrible for your heath. According to the CDC, smoking kills more than 480,000 people a year. How can Mitchel claim to “stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities” while ignoring her own terrible smoking habit?
Back in my day (’80s and ’90s), it was the “religious right” that did that sort of thing. Heavy metal music (especially Ozzy Osborne) was satanic. So was the Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game. I think I even remember J. K. Rowling being accused of promoting witchcraft when Harry Potter was published in the late ’90s (which is ironic, because now Rowling is being accused of being transphobic).
The internet didn’t exist back in the ’80s, so the moral outrage of the religious right was written in newspapers or mentioned on TV. I remember Tammy Faye Bakker with her heavy makeup and thick mascara being… actually, I don’t remember a single thing she said. I just remember her makeup.
But now it seems all the moral outrage is coming from the left.
I assume their point is that Rogan’s guests make claims that cause people to second guess and possibly refuse the COVID vaccine, which is a valid concern. Another rock musician Meatloaf is reported to have died from Covid-19. Like Young and Mitchell, I’ve heard of him, and didn’t listen to his music either.
Maybe the religious right is at the moment calling for censorship about something else, though I’m not aware of it. Is there still a “religious right” that people pay attention to? No one listens to anyone on the right anymore, do they? Because when they do, people like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell demand censorship. It seems these days it’s the left calling out for censorship, and the collective voice of the left is so much louder.
I used to watch Joe Rogan a little bit back when he was still on YouTube. I quit watching when he moved to Spotify because I didn’t want yet another app on my phone. Plus, he seems to be a guy’s guy sort of guy. Listening to guys b.s. about comedy, cigars, MMA, weightlifting, building muscle, and other guys’ topics isn’t my thing.
But I might now, just to find out why people are so completely outraged by a comedian and ex-MMA fighter talking to other guys.
The country’s COVID risk-reduction measures has been a complete mess. Fauci flip-flopped on the mask wearing. The CDC suddenly announced that the COVID quarantine guidelines will reduce the 10-day isolation period to 5 days. How can anyone determine what information is true if people aren’t allowed to discuss anything? Since when did America establish a Ministry of Truth where one single accepted narrative is considered “truth” and everything else “lies and disinformation?”
I wasn’t planning to write about Joe Rogan for my end-of-the-month blog post. I was thinking about summing up my January. A brand-new butterfly emerged from its chrysalis this morning. I’ve completed 66,000 words on my novel draft, and yet still have a long way to go. I tried putting on a pair of size 6 pants last week and couldn’t even pull up the zipper—COVID calories I’ll probably never be able to get rid of. Or maybe I would have posted my thoughts on a different subject altogether, maybe a blog post about my New Year writing resolutions, something I’ve been working on but haven’t finished.
But no, my brain lit up with a different topic, and I wanted to get it out of my head by writing it down and posting my thoughts. I don’t know if this was a good idea. Probably not. I hope I don’t get canceled.
Here’s Joe Rogan addressing the controversy: