-I look at why Joe Rogan is appealing
-I touch on the “male crisis”
-I conclude his range of subjects is more positive than you might think
I’ve been vaguely aware of the Joe Rogan phenomenon. A recent Atlantic review article (see end, by Devin Gordon) brought him to my attention more closely.
By some commentators, men and masculinity is in a crisis. It’s intersectional with many factors but it’s notable to me that poor white American men have recently peaked in life expectancy and recent trends are downwards. (See fascinating White / Case paper link end).
Life expectancy is one rolled up blunt figure that can point to problems and these problems revolves around suicide, drugs and alcohol abuse. These in turn have causal factors embers in our social capital (or lack of).
So - where are men turning to for their role models? Some would suggest Donald Trump.
Others might point to another phenomenon in Jordan Peterson.
But, I’d like to suggest that a significant number are listening to Joe Rogan.
As Devin Gordon observes Rogan interviews a vast array of people. These people are thinkers as well as extreme sports and entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk or Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.
Rogan’s Musk interview is famous for the spliff smoking but it may well end up as one of the only public glimpse of a complex extraordinary man when he is not on corporate show.
I was most touched by the comments left on YouTube.
If you take a typical Bill Gates post or video on climate change or some worthy impact cause. Typically in the comments a fair portion are vitriolic and mean. In many types of videos do I see that. It’s part of the problem that online gives you.
I randomly turned to this video of Rogan interviewing David Goggins. I glanced the comments and sure there were a bunch of jokes but nothing mean (maybe there’s moderation) but also a fair number of comments were along these lines:
David Goggins gives you his life story about how he turned himself round from an unfit fearful person who caught cockroaches for a living from a difficult family background to an ultra althete and elite solider. Goggins uses familiar - and admittedly cheesy - tropes - the clip of a Rocky about never giving up; the film platoon - the idea of fail, fail, fail again until you succeed.
In edu-consultant speak the “growth mindset” is talked about. Goggins gives you his real life experience of it.
Sure, there will be more extreme and alt-right people who follow Rogan. But, there will also be people who are not racist. (And maybe many of those people will be the poor people referenced above). Goggins indirectly comments on this in his early life and takes an intersectional look at racism and the military. He moved to a town where there were good people but also racist people.
Who do we want people watching and learning from ? They are not going to watch Oprah. They are not going to watch Bill Gates. They don’t trust the mainstream like the NYT.
I’m sure they can find hate videos.
Or, maybe they can learn about some like David Goggins.
Having watch some Rogan - I don’t think I will be watching that much again - though who knows with the range of guests he has - but I end up on the same page as Devin.
I think we might need more Rogans not fewer but don’t make me drink Mushroom coffee.
Link to Atlantic article here: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2019/08/my-joe-rogan-experience/594802/