The Joe Rogan Experience; the American Male Experience.
August 20, 2019 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Where Atlantic writer Devin Gordon argues that Joe Rogan just *understands* modern men... "Single guys. Married guys. White guys, black guys, Dominican guys. Two South Asian friends of mine swear by him. My college roommate. My little brother. Normal guys. American guys." He warns, The rest of the country should start paying attention...
posted by Dressed to Kill (222 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
I am personally affronted to be lumped in with the Brogans just because I want to see Hobbes & Shaw.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:05 AM on August 20, 2019 [30 favorites]


Straight men.
posted by Automocar at 9:06 AM on August 20, 2019 [40 favorites]


grumpybear69 - don't feel bad. This article basically says without saying it that Rogan is basically the opposite of the McElroy Bros, and they saw Hobbes & Shaw in 4DX, so I think you're ok.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:07 AM on August 20, 2019 [10 favorites]


Pay attention to what, exactly? To yet another outlet propping up toxic masculinity, whose host is happy to give bigots and white supremacists three hours to normalize their hate? The article is so close to getting it, but it can never quite grasp the fact that the anger it talks about is because too many men refuse to come to terms with their privilege.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:09 AM on August 20, 2019 [126 favorites]


Oh, so I should pay attention? To Mike Pesca, Joe Rogan, everything in The Atlantic since forever ago? I should weather the immediate cortisol rampup and quash my desire to binge Hannah Gadsby videos so that I can instead suck hour upon hour of loudass guyculture jackoffery down my earholes? Precisely why? Will it help me avoid getting AR-d to death the next time one of them decides to go buckwild? Oh, no? No, it will not? Then, thank you so much yet the fuck again, The Atlantic, but I'ma spend my time otherwise, then!
posted by Don Pepino at 9:16 AM on August 20, 2019 [110 favorites]


And yes, I've read the whole thing, and the framing device the author uses at the start is ridiculous and actually undermines the piece as a whole. If you're going to argue that Rogan is an unwitting advocate for the alt-right because he's unwilling to actually apply criticism, pretending to fall down that hole at the start undercuts the premise.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:18 AM on August 20, 2019 [14 favorites]


I'll pay attention when the dudebros start paying attention to anyone but themselves.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 9:19 AM on August 20, 2019 [58 favorites]


To my way of thinking, this is more or less the male version of Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop. It's woo out the wazoo, but instead of being jade and teatree oil, it's "technical" and "tactical". Just a differnet flavour of wishful thinking.
posted by bonehead at 9:21 AM on August 20, 2019 [134 favorites]


I've paid enough attention to Joe Rogan to know that he is apparently cool with giving that evil fucker Alex Jones plenty of platform time to hand-wave away the emotional terrorism his followers visited (and are still visiting) on Sandy Hook Parents. Joe Rogan can fuck right off. And Devin Gordon can fuck off too, for expecting us to eat this apologetic shit-sandwich of a rehabilitation attempt. They both should be ashamed.
posted by Chrischris at 9:22 AM on August 20, 2019 [63 favorites]


Who doesn't need a mace? My RPG character rocks an awesome mace. I mean, it doesn't exist except on paper, but it still does 6+strength damage to equally non-existent baddies.
posted by jb at 9:24 AM on August 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


Normal guys. American guys.

"Normal American guys are vaguely reactionary and sufficiently lacking in empathy and critical thinking to happily guzzle whatever ethnonationalist slop is poured down the chute so long as it's wrapped in a southparkian 'caring is stupid and bad' aesthetic" isn't precisely wrong
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:25 AM on August 20, 2019 [84 favorites]


Rogan seems like a regular Joe, but he’s not. He is driven, inexhaustible, and an honest-to-goodness autodidact. I used to think of myself as pretty pan-curious—it comes with the job—but my Joe Rogan experience was humbling. His brain is wicked absorbent, like Neo in The Matrix, uploading knowledge through a hot spear jammed into the back of his skull. He’s a freak of nature, and most of his fans cannot, in fact, be just like him.

If, instead of using mud, you used a slurry comprised of anabolic steroids and cannabis to make a golem, you’d have Joe Rogan.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:26 AM on August 20, 2019 [75 favorites]


I mean, it doesn't exist except on paper

I'm still not over learning that morningstars weren't real.

And I hold no truck with calling them "flails". When we used to play Melee, it called them morningstars; and so ever it shall be.
posted by thelonius at 9:28 AM on August 20, 2019 [15 favorites]


Tolerant of Alex Jones is Nope.
Spreading Misogyny is Nope.
The whole article is pretty fucking toxic.

The part I agree with is The rest of the country should start paying attention to this asshole with a following.
posted by theora55 at 9:29 AM on August 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


Eventually he found two outlets: fighting and telling jokes, which just so happen to be two things that can thrill some people at the same time as they’re really hurting others.
Great line.

Joe Rogan is where you go today if you want to learn How To Be A Man, which a lot of young men and old men do. He's effortlessly generous with his guests, endlessly interested in anything and everything that men should be interested in, and his manliness credentials are impeccable. You need to know how to survive in a world of men who might jump on any weakness, who may just stab you through with a phrase in front of a group of men. If you imitate Joe Rogan perfectly, that'll never happen. If you can capture his cool and his enthusiasm about all the right things and his way of making everyone in the room feel that you are an Okay Guy, you need never worry.

He's masculine safety in a world of toxic masculinity.
posted by clawsoon at 9:30 AM on August 20, 2019 [42 favorites]


I think the author's intended takeaway was "know thine enemy" more than "more of this, please", but that message is definitely undermined by all of the superlatives mixed in to cushion the blow. Perhaps the author was trying to include enough kind words so that Rogan's fans would read it and accidentally come away more aware of his failures, but judging by the Twitter reaction, they're doubling down on the "he's just doing a comedy show, it's not his job to educate / decide for people" excuses.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:30 AM on August 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


My Joe Rogan experience ended because he wore me out. He never shuts up. He talks and talks and talks. He doesn’t seem to grasp that not every thought inside his brain needs to be said out loud. It doesn’t occur to him to consider whether his contributions have value. He just speaks his mind. He just whips it out and drops it on the table.

Yes. There is modern masculinity in broad strokes. Uncritical of itself or those it perceives as being like itself; unwilling to self-examine; just dropping things on the table and when those contributions are unwelcome, claiming that they were misunderstood or "just saying" or "playing devil's advocate".
posted by nubs at 9:30 AM on August 20, 2019 [78 favorites]


The audience strikes me as the same type of people who, in past decades, spent a lot of time hating on certain bands, celebrities, etc. Now that social media has made the lives of regular people more visible, there is a larger buffet of hate options to choose from, which makes it harder to define the group as being anti- one thing in particular.

The bright spot is the self-care aspect. Everyone deserves that.
posted by mantecol at 9:30 AM on August 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


He's masculine safety in a world of toxic masculinity.

He platforms racial phrenologists and rape apologists. He makes white men feel safe, and so do memes about throwing degenerates out of helicopters.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:35 AM on August 20, 2019 [48 favorites]


Like, Rogan has hosted Stefan Molyneux at least three times. Molyneux tweets literally every day about antisemitic conspiracy theories: last night, for example, he retweeted himself suggesting that the Jews are behind a massive elite pedophile cabal.

With very, very few exceptions Joe Rogan platforms Nazis, Diet™ Nazis and Nazi precursors. He fucking sucks and it's sickening to see anybody treat him as legitimate or worthy of any respect.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:44 AM on August 20, 2019 [95 favorites]


The article is a bit too fawning, but it makes good points amidst all the praise and maybe, just maybe, couching the criticism within an honest recognition of Rogan's popularity, appeal, and strengths will get some Rogan fans to pause and think about things like:

And a key thing Joe and his fans tend to have in common is a deficit of empathy. He seems unable to process how his tolerance for monsters like Alex Jones plays a role in the wounding of people who don’t deserve it.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:44 AM on August 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


His brain is wicked absorbent...

I have a friend who has been in the comedy world since the early 1990s. She knows everyone in that world. She once stopped me in the middle of a rant about the difference between "information" and "intelligence" (in a military context), and said "Oh shit, that's what I could never put into words about Joe Rogan!"
posted by Etrigan at 9:45 AM on August 20, 2019 [70 favorites]


Etrigan: as in, he's aligned with the former?
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:46 AM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


I guess the question is: why? Why do we have to pay attention? Understand, I know a lot of men like this guy, dudes who are genuinely disturbed when men fail to perform masculinity properly, like it freaks their entire paradigm, and sure, a person could listen to this for tips and tricks on how to act "normal." Is this why he's important to pay attention to? So you can be safe in a world of toxic masculinity? Or is it so that you can try to get these guys not to vote for Donald Trump? Ways of learning to tell them not to beat up their girlfriends? What exactly are we looking to get from this exchange? Really.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:48 AM on August 20, 2019 [25 favorites]


kfb: The author never answers that question, but I think one answer is to find out what gap Rogan is filling, how he reaches an ideologically vulnerable & socially over-powered group, and look for spaces where one might intervene in the communication cycle to give young men a different model of identity based on empathy and caring for others.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:53 AM on August 20, 2019 [14 favorites]


Etrigan: as in, he's aligned with the former?

That he's the kind of person who collects facts and knowledge (or at least seems interested in them), but rarely applies any kind of filtering or analysis to them.
posted by Etrigan at 9:54 AM on August 20, 2019 [40 favorites]


Etrigan: That's what I thought :)


The worst thing about the article is that after some pretty biting critiques of Rogan, the author ends with this garbage:

I’m glad, though, that the men of America have Joe Rogan to motivate and inspire and educate them in limitless ways, including how to recognize a moron. Whatever gets the job done. It might unsettle some of us that we must rely on his fans to separate the good stuff from the bad, but that’s the hard work of being a responsible adult in the modern era—knowing what you should consume and what you shouldn’t.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:56 AM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


As someone who only recognizes the name because it occasionally appears at the start of obnoxious ads that I skip during other podcasts, I got pretty bored 1/8 of the way in and switched to wikipedia to try to figure out why this guy is famous and why I should care about him. I'm pretty sure that's not a question with an answer.
posted by eotvos at 9:57 AM on August 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


I've been unable to take Joe Rogan seriously ever since he did this bit for the Howard Stern show a virtual lifetime ago. Round and muscular indeed. (And the difference between the older comments on that video versus the newer ones is telling.)
posted by fuse theorem at 9:59 AM on August 20, 2019


I had sort of previously formed the hot take that Rogan is Jordan Peterson in nutritional supplement form, and I found no reason to abandon this view.
posted by thelonius at 10:00 AM on August 20, 2019 [64 favorites]


I think he's the duckboard alot of men are walking over to get from "grumble grumble" to full-on Nazi. He's more fun than Fox News for those kind of men because "Weed and UFC! Wee!" He's kind of the Pinnochio-esque Pleasure Island for men rehearsing hate.

I stuck to the health products, though, because you know how it goes—you buy one quad mace and soon your apartment is filled with them. I stirred a packet of Onnit Gut Health powder into my mushroom coffee, then downed an enormous pair of Alpha Brain pills, filled with nootropics to help with “memory and focus.”

And but for the product names, his snake oil supplement business is indistinguishable from the one run by Alex Jones.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:01 AM on August 20, 2019 [23 favorites]


He makes white men feel safe, and so do memes about throwing degenerates out of helicopters.

Aye, it's a form of safety with limited distribution. Some Restrictions and Exclusions May Apply.
posted by clawsoon at 10:02 AM on August 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


I read the article and I see the point, and I'm even somewhat inclined to be sympathetic to his listeners, but this in no way made me want to spend any more time thinking about Joe Rogan than I already had. If anything, it makes me sad that his listeners have no one else to listen to.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:04 AM on August 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


We should pay attention to Joe Rogan because his propaganda business platforming Nazis, misogynists, and transphobes grosses a billion dollars a year, and he is single handedly defining masculinity for American men under 30-35.

He is what we are going to have to deal with in the future, and he’s a goddamn nightmare.

There is no single greater predictive red flag than “I listen to a lot of Joe Rogan.”
posted by schadenfrau at 10:09 AM on August 20, 2019 [79 favorites]


This article is an opinion piece framed as a profile, and is ridiculous to boot.

He understands men in America better than most people do.

Few men in America are as popular among American men as Joe Rogan.


I mean, roughly half of people are men. Who is “people” and who is “men” here—people are those of us who aren’t straight white middle-class young-to-middle-aged guys, who count as “men”? This argument reminds me of how we talk about Trump voters or white people or neurotypical people as the default. Because if you really define men in that statement as all men, it makes zero sense. I promise you Joe Rogan and his mushroom coffee doesn’t have some special understanding of my pre-Boomer dad, who has never heard of him, or my neighbor who’s a young black musician who doesn’t follow politics, or my friend who’s gay and only listens to weather-related podcasts.

Then the article gets to what it really means: middle-bro audience that the cultural elite hold in particular contempt—guys who get barbed-wire tattoos and fill their fridge with Monster energy drinks and preordered their tickets to see Hobbs & Shaw.

That isn’t “men” or even “American men.” That’s the same group who gets near-constant media attention while also bemoaning being left behind by modernity.

Like many of these men, Joe grumbles a lot about “political correctness.” He knows that he is privileged by virtue of his gender and his skin color, but in his heart he is sick of being reminded about it. Like lots of other white men in America, he is grappling with a growing sense that the term white man has become an epithet.

And yet it guarantees hundreds and thousands of books and articles about what will become of you...while I continue to interact with interesting and thoughtful men in my life and on this site who have nothing in common with how this article defines “men.”

This moment in american history is not rich with role models for men. Plenty of the role models that men choose for themselves draw eye rolls from everyone else, or dire warnings, or #cancel tweets. . . . So many of the skills and professions from which men have derived self-worth for centuries, and still do, are going obsolete in a hurry. . . . If you need anything from us, we’ll just be over here peering into the void. Meanwhile, the irony is that so many of the men who demonstrate a level of intelligence and empathy worth aspiring to—they’ve pretty much all been on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

SNORT.

I haven’t been led wrong much in life by the idea that people come in great variety and there’s not some cohesive thing like “all men” where there are more differences between any man and any woman than there are between different men.
posted by sallybrown at 10:09 AM on August 20, 2019 [47 favorites]


Joe Rogan is Joey Tribiani x Alex Jones
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:09 AM on August 20, 2019 [19 favorites]


We should pay attention to Joe Rogan because his propaganda business platforming Nazis, misogynists, and transphobes grosses a billion dollars a year, and he is single handedly defining masculinity for American men under 30-35.

He is what we are going to have to deal with in the future, and he’s a goddamn nightmare.


And the sad part is that people ostensibly on the left still don't get why this is a problem. I've seen a number of people argue why it's a good thing for Bernie Sanders to go on Rogan's show, and seem unable to understand how toxic Rogan's platform actually is.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:14 AM on August 20, 2019 [10 favorites]


Is this like Spike TV: The First TV Channel For Men (Narrator: It was very much not.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:14 AM on August 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


Man the republicans may have started the culture war but I think the left has been institutionalized by it . This constant demand for purity and overactive reaction to (possibly harmful)opinions contrary to your own ,almost as if we were an immune system dealing with an allergy, is an incredible mistake and distraction. There seems to be a real search for cultural conformity coming from the left that seems less productive than the search for political power and laws that enshrine their view of the world. Joe Rogan is offensive to the former but not the latter. But the former is easier an so people vituperate on and on.
posted by Rubbstone at 10:19 AM on August 20, 2019 [20 favorites]


It might just be a power law thing now that he's reached a certain level of popularity, but until I spent a good amount of time clicking on "not interested", Rogan clips were constantly showing up in my YT recommends.
posted by gwint at 10:23 AM on August 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


If "cultural conformity" means "saying mean things about people who choose to provide a platform to Nazis and Nazi sympathizers", then sign me up. It's easy to call a reaction to a harmful opinion an "overactive reaction" (I think that's supposed to mean "overreaction?", anyway?) when you're not a member of the group being targeted.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:24 AM on August 20, 2019 [40 favorites]


I listen to Rogan as a way to keep a barometer on things. If he has a guest on with whom I disagree, I listen because if I can't easily disprove what this person is saying then I have lost. If he has a guest on with whom I agree, I like to see how that guest interacts with him. The world is full of Rogans, and the more of em I can get to be aware the better.

BTW watching Alex Jones try to weasel out of the hole he dug himself in was useful. And I am not convinced it worked.
posted by The Power Nap at 10:25 AM on August 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


No, my problem with Joe Rogan has everything to do with how he supports people who think it should be ok to kill, rape, or institutionalize me in a camp somewhere. I don’t give a shit about your culture up until you think hurting me is a cultural value, at which point fucking yeah, I will do everything I can to fucking crush you.

To conflate that with “uniformity of whateverthefuck” is privileged nonsense. So glad Rogan doesn’t threaten you. Maybe be less of an asshole to people he does threaten.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:25 AM on August 20, 2019 [75 favorites]


i am straight and white and 33 and i think joe rogan is a fucking idiot.
posted by Bwentman at 10:28 AM on August 20, 2019 [15 favorites]


overactive reaction

Can you define such a reaction? Like, at what point do I get to express that I just don't like some asshole and think his actions are harmful to a pluralistic society and where does that drift into "overactive reaction"? Should I use smaller words? How many Twitter followers do I have to have before that becomes verboten to express? At what point do I become.... hysterical, I wonder?
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:30 AM on August 20, 2019 [46 favorites]


The 2010 census says there are about 150 million men in America. The article says Joe Rogan’s audience (not his male-only audience, but his total audience) is somewhere in the millions: his YouTube channel has 6 million subscribers, his middling episodes get about 1 million downloads, one of his most popular episodes (Elon Musk) had 24 million views. Googling hobbies for American men nets you larger numbers (perhaps of dubious accuracy!) for fishing (50 million Americans), watching football (270 million Americans), watching the Oscars (30 million), or having read at least one Harry Potter book (35% of Americans). I mean, where’s my longform article on whether watching Game of Thrones (17 million Americans) is influencing the ethics and ethos of American men?
posted by sallybrown at 10:31 AM on August 20, 2019 [19 favorites]


I listen to Rogan as a way to keep a barometer on things.

This brings up the same question I had with the article. We know what an actual barometer is measuring. What does Rogan’s podcast—his opinions, his choice of guest, the makeup of his audience—reflect? The article seems to think it tells us something about American men. Other people say things in general (and I don’t mean to pick on you, I think you are far from alone in this), but it’s a “things in general” that excludes the thoughts, opinions, and tastes of everyone but a subset of men (not all men and not all American men). It gets treated as a barometer of things in general because this same group of men is centered in our culture (if not our economy!).
posted by sallybrown at 10:35 AM on August 20, 2019 [12 favorites]


What does Rogan’s podcast—his opinions, his choice of guest, the makeup of his audience—reflect?

For me, it reflects the legitimacy of the alt-right culturally.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:40 AM on August 20, 2019 [20 favorites]


"I’m glad, though, that the men of America have Joe Rogan to motivate and inspire and educate them in limitless ways, including how to recognize a moron."

I...don't think it's working because not enough people seem to think Joe Rogan is a moron yet.

Motivate? To do what? Be more open with idiotic and hateful opinions? We have enough of that. Inspire? By platforming Alex Jones and other odious people? Educate? By spinning conspiracy theories and bolstering the alt right? Fuck that and fuck him.
posted by agregoli at 10:46 AM on August 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


Something I think this article raises that is not getting picked up much in the MetaFilter discussion is this part:

"This moment in American history is not rich with role models for men. Plenty of the role models that men choose for themselves draw eye rolls from everyone else, or dire warnings, or #cancel tweets. Men have spent centuries earning this degree of suspicion, but if we’re all going to make it through this era alive, men do need alternatives to look up to."

So... what are those alternatives? God help me if someone mentions Chapo if we're staying within the podcast world, because the meanness and unexamined dudebro-ness of Chapo doesn't seem that removed from some of what the author wrote about Joe Rogan.

I think the "who are the alternative role models for men?" is a completely legitimate question that deserves a serious cultural conversation. I also recognize that part of the appeal of Rogan et al is their transgressiveness. I have occasionally seen things that suggest Contrapoints' videos are getting increasingly large viewerships, but is that matching the scale of Rogan's current audience?
posted by mostly vowels at 10:52 AM on August 20, 2019 [18 favorites]


Whenever I hear about Joe Rogan, I'm reminded of that episode of NewsRadio where someone kept stealing Joe's gelato. Joe lays a series of traps and eventually catches the janitor doing it. He demands the janitor be fired, but instead one of the other characters offers to pay for an extra gelato so Joe and the janitor can each have one.

Later, it is revealed that Bill (Phil Hartman) has been paying the janitor to steal the gelato on his behalf, but as a reward for his service, in the future there will be a second gelato for the janitor to enjoy.

Joe Rogan is doing what the fictionalized version of himself did - manipulated into serving the elite while blaming the outsider. Except instead of being a fictional engineer, he has an audience following him in his manipulated belief system.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:54 AM on August 20, 2019 [26 favorites]


Rogan seems to be more or less a kind of Bro-prah.

Arguably that demeans Oprah's voice; personally I'll take her SuperSoul conversations podcast over Rogan's most days, thanks. But it's a comparison that gets us into the right ballpark for observing and trying to understand the phenomenon, whatever you think of the relative quality.

People criticize Oprah for various reasons, some very poor reasons (racist or misogynist), some reasons that are personal (some people are just not going to be her audience), some reasons that are valid (some of the figures she's elevated to prominence -- say, Dr. Oz -- have likely done as much real harm in the world as Rogan's problematic guests), but it would be a mistake to dismiss or merely scorn her.

She understands a sizable audience and conducts conversations for it. Rogan seems to do the same. I don't know how far to take the generalization that Rogan understands "men", but I think it'd be fair to guess that he understands some subset better than I do, even with the ostensible advantage of sharing an identity category.
posted by wildblueyonder at 10:54 AM on August 20, 2019 [28 favorites]


If you came here to say that Rogan platforms the alt right and therefore no one should spend a moment thinking about him I think you can consider your point made.
Personally, I'm interested in him because he's the closest to an intelligent, good faith public figure with a following in the conspiracy-minded right that currently dominates our country and our survival may depend on sobering some fraction of them up. Evidently, Metafilter is not a place for that conversation.
posted by LarsC at 10:57 AM on August 20, 2019 [27 favorites]


Personally, I'm interested in him because he's the closest to an intelligent, good faith public figure with a following in the conspiracy-minded right that currently dominates our country and our survival may depend on sobering some fraction of them up

If he's in that role (he is) and he's not actually trying to sober some fraction of them up (he's not) then he's worthy of the heaviest criticism.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:01 AM on August 20, 2019 [49 favorites]


Yeah, I guess we're not sophisticated enough for Joe Rogan, better close this thread, y'all.

But seriously, "good faith?" How can we take him on good faith?
posted by agregoli at 11:02 AM on August 20, 2019 [14 favorites]


He makes me laugh, and uncomfortable. And I am used to that feeling. It's like eating at a chain restaurant, or going on a bad date that you still would do again because at least you are feeling something.
posted by lextex at 11:03 AM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


then he's worthy of the heaviest criticism.

or every off-the-cuff zinger we can think of, w/e
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:08 AM on August 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


Why do cis white straight dudes need a role model that looks like them? Why does this type of masculinity need to be presented culturally in this way? Why the hell are we at the point where we demand that there be celebrities who are celebrated for modeling behavior that’s clearly already out in the wild?
Maybe I’m spending too much time in queer spaces or something, but I have role models in my life who are not cis, or AFAB, or white, or American, or educated-at-same-level-as-me. A role model for your exact identity seems like weird cultural garbage.
posted by zinful at 11:08 AM on August 20, 2019 [48 favorites]


If a chain restaurant advocated genocide as part of its marketing strategy.
posted by Autumnheart at 11:08 AM on August 20, 2019 [12 favorites]


Who are the alternative role models for men?

Set aside personal role models (family, work mentors) and historical (MLK Jr.) and religious (Jesus) figures. Set aside all women (which is a whole discussion in itself—why aren’t women treated as role models for men?). Which popular, well-known figures of this era could be considered as role models for men the way astronauts or Michael Jordan once were?

Politician: Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter
Athlete: Steph Curry
Military: Colin Powell
Business Guy: Warren Buffett
Religious Figure: Dalai Lama, Pope Francis, Russell Moore (all questionable)
Author/Artist/Musician: ?? Bruce Springsteen

All of these people have valid criticisms (the religious figures especially) but they are widely known and popular. And even extremely fair criticism leveled at them is not going to result in “oh he’s #canceled” as the Rogan piece claims.
posted by sallybrown at 11:09 AM on August 20, 2019 [14 favorites]


There were also criticisms embedded in this sort of piece about Milo and Richard Spencer. Didn't matter. Platforming is platforming. Apparently the media has learned enough not to accidentally promote actual fascists but not enough to avoid promoting the human red pills that are their enablers.
posted by maxsparber at 11:10 AM on August 20, 2019 [16 favorites]


our survival may depend on sobering some fraction of them up
This keeps getting proposed, but I haven't seen any evidence that the gradient is working in that direction, with Rogan. He seems to pretty consistently be pointed to as the public-friendly mouth of the funnel that shunts people down through Jordan Peterson and into varying flavors of incel/channer/Atomwaffen.

I'm with you on the idea that figuring out how to get people susceptible to this sort of radicalization away from the lip of the abyss, as it were, is important. But that doesn't make Rogan a force for anti-radicalization as much as it makes him a phenomena to study and either figure out how to break that pull or figure out where to intervene while there's still room to divert someone.
posted by CrystalDave at 11:11 AM on August 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


Author/Artist/Musician: John Darnielle
posted by art.bikes at 11:12 AM on August 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


The perfect masculine archetype can only be realized by reading metafilter and binge watching Stewart lee on youtube. I have proved it.

No but seriously all of the most important role models in my life, other than my dad and Benjamin Franklin Hawkeye Pierce have been women. As a boy with the maximum amount of innate privilege you don't need reinforcement, you need perspective.
posted by klanawa at 11:13 AM on August 20, 2019 [23 favorites]


Why do cis white straight dudes need a role model that looks like them?

the case for why representation matters has been made innumerable times on MetaFilter. It would be nice if we could get down on one knee and tell young white males that because of a long and terrible history, they are exempted from this need, but it doesn't work that way.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:14 AM on August 20, 2019 [31 favorites]


Expecting cis white straight dudes to be woke about their privilege and use it for good is like expecting the children of millionaires to be woke about what it's like to be poor and use their wealth largely for the benefit of those less fortunate. It's possible but very, very, very unlikely. Until you've walked a mile in someone's shoes, you probably aren't going to empathise with them very well. And motherfucking cis white straight dudes apparently don't walk anywhere at all.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:14 AM on August 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


I'm not claiming Rogan is a force for good. He clearly is not and his platforming of alt-right figures and conspiracy theorists is bad. I just don't think that is a good reason to not discuss him.
posted by LarsC at 11:18 AM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


Did somebody take an article about Rush Limbaugh from 1995, file off the serial numbers, and do a word search to replace the name?

Of course, look at where saying "He's just an entertainer" got us back then...
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:18 AM on August 20, 2019 [25 favorites]


> I just don't think that is a good reason to not discuss him.

...we're discussing him. The only person I've seen trying to limit discussion in this thread has been you, by suggesting peoples' points have already been made. If you'd like to make points in support of him, you can do that instead of hectoring people for making points against him.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:20 AM on August 20, 2019 [28 favorites]


Cis white straight dudes have SO MUCH REPRESENTATION. Joe Rogan is not a good role model for ANY cis white straight dude. That he is one...is deeply saddening, here in 2019.
posted by agregoli at 11:23 AM on August 20, 2019 [32 favorites]


representation matters because if you don’t see people who look or talk or live like you much in the wild, only within your immediate surroundings and in a heterogeneous way, you need to know that being a different way exists. White cis dudes exist all over the fucking spectrum already. There’s nothing they are seen to be incapable of, no way of being that’s denied to them. Fuck amplifying more of that. Not, to be clear, fuck the needs of people who grow up wanting it. But they’ve got it already, we are swimming in it, not just in media but out in the world. Cancel all the media representation and they’ll still have it, without fear, in ways the rest of us don’t.
Sorry to seem fighty, I don’t know why this irks me so much. I’ve had this conversation with probably 70% of my dates with men in the past couple years and it’s just...baffling why we have this cultural belief that finding a White Male Savior but for, like, white dudes this time, will save us.
posted by zinful at 11:26 AM on August 20, 2019 [47 favorites]


I think the "who are the alternative role models for men?" is a completely legitimate question that deserves a serious cultural conversation.

tbh, I think it's kind of a weird question (what is a "role model", in this context? How much can someone you never meet actually be a model to you of how to conduct yourself? Is there some reason that role models for men must be other men?), but let me propose an alternative: LeBron James.

James is significantly more famous than Rogan by nearly any imaginable metric. He's famous for actually being measurably great at something extremely difficult. He came from extremely humble beginnings and has succeeded beyond the wildest expectations possible. In the process of succeeding in this fashion, he rejected the idea that he had to entrust his future to existing power structures and instead used his own success to bring his friends and family up with him.

As a massive celebrity, he has had the option to stay quiet and rake in cash hand over fist, but he has placed himself into the political arena, publicly challenged the president of the United States and the dominant reactionary propaganda machine of our time, and called out systemic oppression and violence. He has also contributed to his community through helping found a public school in an underserved neighborhood in his hometown.

Additionally, by all appearances, he's a good guy. He married his high school sweetheart, has three kids that he enthusiastically and publicly loves and supports, and has never been involved in even a hint of actual bad behavior - to this day, if someone complains about him, the most frequently cited gripe is a TV special he participated in that publicized his choice to change teams and raised $6m for various charities. That’s it. That’s the big mark again him.

So if American men desperately need a role model, why not LeBron? Why someone like Rogan, with all the attendant baggage and issues, other than that he's a white man with blue collar affectations and white men, whether actually blue collar or just kinda faking it, always and forever get more attention than other alternatives?
posted by protocoach at 11:27 AM on August 20, 2019 [81 favorites]


I listen to Rogan as a way to keep a barometer on things.

This brings up the same question I had with the article. We know what an actual barometer is measuring. What does Rogan’s podcast—his opinions, his choice of guest, the makeup of his audience—reflect?


Honestly, it looked like a reasonable beachhead to engage with opposing ideology. I don't know if I it would be productive for me to listen to Alex Jones or Rush Limbaugh. At least with Rogan I can have some pallet cleansers where a guest will come on and talk Gauge Theory.

Rogan, so far, has been helpful in helping me engage people in my life on the other side of the fence. I am at work so please forgive me if someone has mentioned it, but if there are better sources than Rogan for this kinda thing I am all ears.

Also Christian Science Monitor seems like a good tool too.
posted by The Power Nap at 11:28 AM on August 20, 2019


Has Rogan ever exhibited regret for statements made previously on his podcast? That he's learned and grown from feedback offered? Of the three long-standing 'white dudes with a microphone' pods I listen to, two of them express regret for their earlier behavior (the third is unfortunately backsliding, thus the 20+ unplayed episode backlog on my phone).
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:28 AM on August 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


the case for why representation matters has been made innumerable times on MetaFilter. It would be nice if we could get down on one knee and tell young white males that because of a long and terrible history, they are exempted from this need, but it doesn't work that way.

Representation matters precisely because of a lack of representation. Straight white cis men have had a ton of representation for centuries. Not sure why Joe Rogan needs to be one of them.
posted by Automocar at 11:29 AM on August 20, 2019 [18 favorites]


Back to the article for a brief moment - in particular this "...recently a much-hyped “return” to the podcast in February after the two had fallen out over Jones’s Sandy Hook lies—the ones that prompted some of his listeners to harass the parents of murdered first graders, according to some of these parents." bit. That "according to some of these parents" bit.

I don't get how Gordon is so soft in the head, like a bowl of warm ice cream.
posted by zenon at 11:32 AM on August 20, 2019 [12 favorites]


I started thinking about role models that might be accessible to men infatuated with white supremacy, and I'm having a hard time. Like, I'm trying to think of men who are admirable, white, cis, and not Jewish, and...I guess they've got Springsteen, Darnielle, and like, Chris Evans. I hope I'm overestimating their commitment to bigotry.
posted by bagel at 11:34 AM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Straight white cis men have had a ton of representation for centuries.

Much of it garbage. We must do better.

Not sure why Joe Rogan needs to be one of them.

Me neither. I've never listened to his show. Let's link hands and wish him into the cornfield, problem solved.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:34 AM on August 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


This is probably a terrible idea, but since almost no one else in the thread has, I'll admit to listening to JRE. I despise what it does to my YouTube recommendations (sidebar: the EU or US should fine Alphabet a bajillion dollars a day until they fix the algorithm to stop feeding conspiracy theories to people for 10% more ad revenue). I strongly disagree with a lot of his opinions, including some of the more extreme choices he makes about guests. I also acknowledge that a some young men get way too into him, just like any celebrity with a show. I feel like I need more disclaimers but let's all just acknowledge that I'm not defending all his decisions.

But I agree with the Oprah comparison, and I enjoy some of the topics he covers. Like when he lovingly and firmly told his close friend to end his MMA career, live on the air. That was positive masculinity. Or when he had UFC champion Dominick Cruz on to talk about his depression and getting help (45:49, with backstory over the previous 10 minutes). That was two men opening up emotionally, introspectively, in precisely the way our culture needs to learn to do. That the kind of space he's able to create. Don't call me a fan, but it's why I listen to some of his interviews. I post these not to say Joe doesn't also dip into toxic masculinity and saying shitty things—he does—but merely to say that he does embody some aspects of positive masculinity.

He's also just generally interesting. One gets the impression reading this thread that Alex Jones (ugh) and Jordan Peterson (ugh) are the only guests or kind of guest he has on, and that the show is a constant stream of right-wing propaganda. I skip those like I skip most of his content. Saying he's like Rush Limbaugh (!!!) ignores the fact that he does fascinating interviews with all sorts of scientists and authors, like Michael Pollan (of "eat food, mostly plants, not too much" fame) to talk about his book on psychedelics, or this clip I accidentally came across of him saying the anti-immigrant right is beyond the pale before seguing into his support for democratic socialism, woohoo! Or discussing redlining and overpolicing in the context of Baltimore.

In the interest of not getting piled on, I will repeat that I refuse to defend his decisions and I am not saying that he is beyond critique. I'm just saying that maybe you should try finding a clip of one of his interviews that is on a topic you're interested in. We're allowed to still disagree with him afterwards.
posted by daveliepmann at 11:35 AM on August 20, 2019 [55 favorites]


I think The Power Nap's comment is legit, but it occurs to me that it is so because they approach Rogan critically, with an objective, and with a prior knowledge that he is problematic. That's something one only gets from conversations like the one we're having now.

It also means that whether Rogan is acceptable is contingent on the critical skills and intentions of the listener, but assuming the authority to make that sort of judgement is also problematic.
posted by klanawa at 11:41 AM on August 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


daveliepmann: That was two men opening up emotionally, introspectively, in precisely the way our culture needs to learn to do.

That's one of the things about Joe Rogan: He's emotionally intelligent and mature in a way that plenty of men who have better opinions aren't.

This makes me think that fighting toxic masculinity is about both moral and emotional issues. Rogan is (reasonably) good on emotions, certainly better than Manly Men role models of the past, but his moral compass drifts lazily in bad directions.
posted by clawsoon at 11:42 AM on August 20, 2019 [27 favorites]


It is super interesting to me that when we ask "what sorts of models do men have?" we actually seem to be asking "what sort of white, straight, CIS, traditionally meatheaded models do men have?"

First of all, plenty. Secondly, they're bad models.
posted by maxsparber at 11:43 AM on August 20, 2019 [18 favorites]


*squints* Okay, as someone who isn't a straight cis etc. white dude, I got a question, me.

Let me compare and contrast Rogan against, say, the McElroy empire. Hell, narrow it down to Justin McElroy, who is pretty vocal and open about blue-collar issues, particularly public science education and poverty in Appalachia.

Aside from the McElroys being more openly committed to not being shitheads to the rest of us, what makes Rogan an appealing white boy role model in a way that the McElroys are not? Is it the more "serious" cast on the comedy? Is it the interviewing guests format? What makes Rogan deserving of all these "getting inside the minds of young men" thinkpieces, but not the McElroys? Is it that Rogan's audiences are more uniformly white and male?
posted by sciatrix at 11:44 AM on August 20, 2019 [29 favorites]


I've listened to some of his shows, and I think the shaggy dog conversational style is both his biggest strength and his biggest weakness - he can create a space for a wide variety of interesting people to get comfortable and say interesting things - but that kind of gauzy-focus, we're-all-buds-here-let's- have-a-respectful-chat falls to pieces when you have somebody on who is actually a shameless piece of shit. An unwillingness to challenge toxic bullshit ends up effectively acting as an endorsement - "if Joe thought this guy was important enough to have on the show, and Joe just kinda nodded and smiled and went with it when the guy said something shitty, maybe that guy's onto something".
posted by protocoach at 11:46 AM on August 20, 2019 [17 favorites]


I think maybe his anti-feminist and sexist leanings appeal to many men, for one.
posted by agregoli at 11:46 AM on August 20, 2019 [30 favorites]


First of all, plenty. Secondly, they're bad models.

That's the entire point. So yeah it can feel like a big deal when some guy finally rolls up with the "emotional intelligence" knob dialed from zero to 2, per clawsoon's assessment.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:46 AM on August 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


it can feel like a big deal when some guy finally rolls up with the "emotional intelligence" knob dialed from zero to 2,

Well, welcome to unearned privilege and the bar being on the fucking floor.

That's not going to make men better. It just reinforces the idea that if men are just slightly less shitty its worth celebrating.

The guy is an enabler for some of the most toxic ideologies on earth and yet we're throwing him a parade because once in a blue moon he isn't a total dickhead. Hooray, future of masculinity.
posted by maxsparber at 11:49 AM on August 20, 2019 [42 favorites]


I remember hearing Rogan get interviewed by Marc Maron on WTF a long time ago, I believe long before Rogan had his own show. And it was kind of harrowing; he just dripped remorse and self-loathing, especially over the bro-y persona he'd adopted for Fear Factor. The tenor of the interview was very much "I hate what I had to contort myself into to make a living, but now I don't have to anymore and weed helps me cope," which I thought sounded like the weakest possible stab at a happy ending. He did firmly say he'd never do anything like that again.

Shortly after that, Fear Factor started back up, starring Joe Rogan.
posted by COBRA! at 11:49 AM on August 20, 2019 [21 favorites]


The guy is an enabler for some of the most toxic ideologies on earth and yet we're throwing him a parade because once in a blue moon he isn't a total dickhead. Hooray, future of masculinity.

"Joe Rogan: hero or monster?" is not the discussion I'm trying to have here, because it's a boring fucking discussion.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:50 AM on August 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


sciatrix: Aside from the McElroys being more openly committed to not being shitheads to the rest of us, what makes Rogan an appealing white boy role model in a way that the McElroys are not?

McElroy doesn't look like he'd last a second in an MMA match. He doesn't even look like he'd be interested in entering the cage. Him no muscles.
posted by clawsoon at 11:51 AM on August 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


...in other words, McElroy's masculine credentials are impeachable.
posted by clawsoon at 11:52 AM on August 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Because it's a boring fucking discussion.

Gosh, I guess you aren't threatened by the people on his show, then. But as someone who has been quote tweeted by Rogan guest Stefan Molyneux and then had to deal with the fallout of his million strong toxic fandom, I find the discussion pretty fucking interesting.
posted by maxsparber at 11:52 AM on August 20, 2019 [64 favorites]


> This makes me think that fighting toxic masculinity is about both moral and emotional issues. Rogan is (reasonably) good on emotions, certainly better than Manly Men role models of the past, but his moral compass drifts lazily in bad directions.

Love this insight, clawsoon. Navigating the intersection of emotional and moral intelligence is an important task for all of us, and I think we should celebrate small victories where we fine them -- while continuing to remind each other how we can do better.
posted by Cpt. The Mango at 11:53 AM on August 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


Okay maxsparber, I'll pick up the threads of the broader discussion about how guys are trying with limited success to find viable role models in the world we live in today, and will continue assiduously trying to avoid expressing definitive personal opinions about Joe Rogan, whose show, again, I do not listen to. Good?
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:54 AM on August 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


I think this thread drips with the kind of progressive condescension that moves people away from the left and towards people like Rogan.
posted by O Time, Thy Pyramids at 11:55 AM on August 20, 2019 [23 favorites]


Maybe that's a different discussion in a thread specifically about Joe Rogan, and maybe if there is a topic you find more interesting you might start a new thread on it, instead of dismissing the concerns of people actually harmed by the topic of the thread?
posted by maxsparber at 11:55 AM on August 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


All right, I'm done. Enjoy the thread.
posted by maxsparber at 11:56 AM on August 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


What makes Rogan deserving of all these "getting inside the minds of young men" thinkpieces, but not the McElroys?

Because Rogan advocates a lifestyle and philosophy that is constantly reflected in his content, while the McElroys create comedy content and also in an unrelated way have opinions about things. If you were to say "the Rogan lifestyle", people would know what you mean, while "the McElroy lifestyle" would be up in the air for interpretation (but would probably involve beans).
posted by FakeFreyja at 11:57 AM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


I'm curious to now how Rogan is not considered condescending to anyone other than his primarily white cis male audience. I've listened to his show occasionally. I used to love Rogan on News Radio. He's condescending as hell.

To suggest he isn't condescending or dismissive of folks who don't agree with him is puzzling at best and disingenuous at worst. It just depends on whose side you're already on.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 12:00 PM on August 20, 2019 [17 favorites]


Rogan is talking to the same audience Stern talked to- guys with time on their hands and a need to just hang and have something to converse about in real life when the shift is over. I doubt very much most of the guys listening would think of Rogan as a role model of the sort they had to write papers about back in school, Rogan is cool (in their mind), and the show format pushes that angle.

I think the failure to engage with South Park, Howard Stern and now Rogan aren't about giving people better role models- that simply wouldn't work, but about providing a form of entertainment and a charismatic fella that isn't full of garbage politics, someone who is a 'cool guy'. And these white male fans will want someone they can relate who can draw them out from their reactionary political cultural identity.
posted by zenon at 12:01 PM on August 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


Like many of these men, Joe grumbles a lot about “political correctness.” He knows that he is privileged by virtue of his gender and his skin color, but in his heart he is sick of being reminded about it. Like lots of other white men in America, he is grappling with a growing sense that the term white man has become an epithet.

"I know I'm privileged, but I wish people would shut the fuck up about it so I didn't have to feel bad or change my behavior" seems.... pretty par for the course, yeah.

I find it bizarre that asking that we not call women, including the first major female presidential candidate, "greedy bitches" or complain about not being able to call stuff 'gay' anymore (both mentioned in the article) is framed as a progressive position and not just "not being an asshole".
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:02 PM on August 20, 2019 [44 favorites]


All I knows is, the first time I tried to listen to Rogan it was him and a couple of other comedians whining about how they can't say faggot on stage anymore. That was like a decade ago, and apparently that's still part of his latest stand-up special (although Netflix made him change it to "gay" I guess). No thanks.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:03 PM on August 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


O Time, Thy Pyramids: I think this thread drips with the kind of progressive condescension that moves people away from the left and towards people like Rogan.

I think that most of what you're reading as condescension is motivated by fear. Parts of our culture are heading in very dark, violent directions, and Joe is the the friendly uncle who's introducing lots of people to that darkness in the most avuncular way.

Rogan is a likeable guy. Everything is happy with him. It's hard to see how a happy, likeable guy could be bad, and easy to dismiss angry, fearful criticism of him. That doesn't mean the criticism is wrong, though.
posted by clawsoon at 12:06 PM on August 20, 2019 [55 favorites]


So if American men desperately need a role model, why not LeBron? Why someone like Rogan

LeBron James doesn't have a podcast, are you supposed to just sit in your car quietly and think warm thoughts about him for your commute?

Representation matters precisely because of a lack of representation

But most popular media is made by upper middle class, college-educated people who sound nothing like Joe Rogan or his audience. If we had a glut of people like him he wouldn't be so uniquely popular.

Anyway if you want a recommendation for someone who talks like a normal person and not an NPR host but has better politics, Michael Brooks has been doing his thing for quite a while and I recommend him to Rogan fans precisely for that reason.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:06 PM on August 20, 2019 [14 favorites]


And the sad part is that people ostensibly on the left still don't get why this is a problem. I've seen a number of people argue why it's a good thing for Bernie Sanders to go on Rogan's show, and seem unable to understand how toxic Rogan's platform actually is.

Literally the only redeeming feature of Joe Rogan is that he's open-minded enough (in his brain-fell-out way) that it might be possible to sneak some contrary ideas on. To reject that opportunity would be strategically terrible.
posted by atoxyl at 12:07 PM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


McElroy doesn't look like he'd last a second in an MMA match. He doesn't even look like he'd be interested in entering the cage. Him no muscles.

Yeah, that's kind of my point though. If the idea is to find approachable role models for men trying to figure out how to be men in a world that feels toxic and confusing, it seems obvious to point to straight men who are doing exactly that. Not so much men who are accruing status based specifically on wallowing in the toxic signaling, like "I can tell you how to act as an adult man because my muscles are really big."

Hell, I would point to Terry Crews as an example of someone who is also walking this walk very hard, but then y'all wail that he's not white... and Terry doesn't do the posturing thing, either. There is a pronounced tendency to define role models for men as "juuuuuuust anti-toxic enough to let us claim that he's trying," because the very act of overtly and directly undermining the beliefs of toxic masculinity means that you somehow aren't masculine enough. Men, you gotta lead by example on this one. The goalposts keep shifting.
posted by sciatrix at 12:09 PM on August 20, 2019 [39 favorites]


I think this thread drips with the kind of progressive condescension that moves people away from the left and towards people like Rogan.

“People” here being all people? Or that same certain Rogan subset of white, straight, middle-class, young-to-middle-aged men?
posted by sallybrown at 12:10 PM on August 20, 2019 [52 favorites]


Don't get me wrong, you gotta have focus to be able to use a platform to deliver your message instead of its default message, but Sanders is nothing if not pretty good at sticking to his message. The idea that his interview is going to be leading young men to Rogan more than the other way around is very questionable to me.
posted by atoxyl at 12:12 PM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


> I think this thread drips with the kind of progressive condescension that moves people away from the left and towards people like Rogan.

This is the same victim-blaming logic that lets conservatives blame the left for bigotry simply by virtue of the fact that members of the left note the existence of bigots and do things to try to take platforms away from them.

What's condescending about noting a popular media figure's ideological blind spots (to put it charitably) and asking that consumers of his programs take a more critical view? If that small act is enough to "move people away from the left and towards people like Rogan", then I question how much they were ever part of the left, or whether they were just waiting for an excuse to latch onto something else.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:14 PM on August 20, 2019 [51 favorites]


Joe grumbles a lot about “political correctness.” He knows that he is privileged by virtue of his gender and his skin color, but in his heart he is sick of being reminded about it. Like lots of other white men in America, he is grappling with a growing sense that the term white man has become an epithet. And like lots of other men in America, not just the white ones, he’s reckoning out loud with a fear that the word masculinity has become, by definition, toxic.

I wonder why Joe Rogan feels like the words "white men" and "toxic masculinity" are epithets?

if you look past the jokes themselves and focus on the targets [Joe’s] choosing, the same patterns emerge. Hillary, the #MeToo movement, why it sucks that he can’t call things “gay,” vegan bullies, sexism.

Oh. That's why.
posted by mattdidthat at 12:17 PM on August 20, 2019 [25 favorites]


What do men want as models of masculinity? How much of the toxic shit is necessary to encourage men to learn not to be toxic? Are men who are already successfully cultivating huge podcast followings among both men and non-men role models for men, too, or does it only count if only men are listening?

Because I really do think that it's that last thing--it's only a role model for men if men are the only people who show up and enjoy listening--which is poisonous. It leads to entertainers who adopt ideas, cultures, and guests that subtly repulse the rest of us being held up as paragons of masculinity and discussed in the context of being role models, and entertainers who do not do this being dismissed regardless of how large the audiences are. And that's kind of shitty for everyone, including and maybe especially men trying to work out what being a man in a positive way actually means.
posted by sciatrix at 12:24 PM on August 20, 2019 [17 favorites]


What's condescending about noting a popular media figure's ideological blind spots (to put it charitably) and asking that consumers of his programs take a more critical view?

Do you think this comment is not condescending?
"Normal American guys are vaguely reactionary and sufficiently lacking in empathy and critical thinking to happily guzzle whatever ethnonationalist slop is poured down the chute so long as it's wrapped in a southparkian 'caring is stupid and bad' aesthetic" isn't precisely wrong
posted by J.K. Seazer at 12:26 PM on August 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


Reading this thread, I would imagine some of the appeal of Rogan fandom is that consumers are not going to be called toxic, reactionary, sociopathic, brain-dead nazis for listening to the most popular podcast on the planet.

Maybe I'm wrong though.
posted by FakeFreyja at 12:30 PM on August 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


sciatrix: because the very act of overtly and directly undermining the beliefs of toxic masculinity means that you somehow aren't masculine enough.

That is bang on, and it's a key to all of this, I think. If you don't buy into the system, you will be a target of the system.
posted by clawsoon at 12:32 PM on August 20, 2019 [20 favorites]


In the realm of white cishet man podcasts interviewing people with a wide range of perspectives, if anyone wants an alternative, I've been really connecting with Paul on the Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast. Will never listen to Rogan so not sure how firm the similarity is, but Paul is able to get people talking about themselves and tell fascinating stories in a nonjudgemental, comedic, buddy kind of way. It does feel like listening to my cool uncle talk about destigmatizing trauma and mental illness, finding a way towards a more open and vulnerable masculinity, and respecting your privilege and using it in a good way but also just, like, hanging out, man.
posted by gaybobbie at 12:34 PM on August 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


Isn't he the guy who stole jokes from other comedians? I've got no time for him.
posted by OHenryPacey at 12:35 PM on August 20, 2019


FakeFreyja: Reading this thread, I would imagine some of the appeal of Rogan fandom is that consumers are not going to be called toxic, reactionary, sociopathic, brain-dead nazis for listening to the most popular podcast on the planet.

Listeners to Rogan will be called greedy bitches who don't invent a lot of shit, if they're women. If that's part of the appeal of Rogan, why isn't the sloppy, angry humor in this thread part of its appeal?
posted by clawsoon at 12:37 PM on August 20, 2019 [26 favorites]


Maybe it is, I'm still here.
posted by FakeFreyja at 12:39 PM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


So we're supposed to be happy about the fact that a bunch of guys who lack empathy have found role models through a podcast that only hosts male "thinkers," including misogynists and toxic conspiracy theorists?

One that's hosted by a guy who peddles bullshit supplements and whose stage routine consists of a whole lot of "men walk like this but women—women!—women walk like this! Now I'm saying a sexist thing! Just kidding, I was doing a bit! It's called comedy."

And we should trust that said non-empathetic listeners have the good judgment to reject the toxic guests and subject material?

That's gonna be a nah from me.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:43 PM on August 20, 2019 [26 favorites]


I'm thinking about the more general question of how hard it is to find good role models for men. A private Catholic school for boys here in Toronto has the motto, "Teach Me Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge". Like a lot of other private schools for boys, it promises to build upstanding, honourable young men who give of themselves and can be counted on to do the right thing, to help the helpless and be a pillar for the weak.

How often does it work out that way?
posted by clawsoon at 12:50 PM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


jamjam: is whether there is something uniquely bad about white men at the population level — something intrinsic, something essential.

My reading of history says "no". We are currently a problem because we've inherited power. Virtually every other group in history which has inherited similar power has been similarly shitty. If you think North American white men are bad, you shoulda seen the Assyrians...
posted by clawsoon at 12:53 PM on August 20, 2019 [15 favorites]


my twin brother (we're both CHWMs), who I love unconditionally and who to my mind is one of the most empathetic and artistically talented people on the planet, listens to and loves Rogan's podcast.

it is a source of often-dormant-occasionally-simmering tension between us, at least in my mind. the way it distorts his otherwise necessarily humane and empathetic approach to other humans absolutely breaks my heart. I have no idea how to dissuade him from internalizing that stuff, nor do I think any such attempt would end up being anything other than condescending and paternalistic.

but I think that my brother, as someone who played rugby in college and who still centers a lot of masculine traits or habits (mainly a work-hard-play-hard attitude vis-a-vis exercise and beer), identifies really strongly with Rogan's casual-bro affect mixed with some degree of emotional intelligence (as others have described).

anyway. all this to say that on the one hand, fuck Rogan unconditionally for his complicitness and platforming -- but on the other hand, much like Lobster Daddy or Ben Shapiro, I'm eternally both saddened by and compelled to understand his gravitational pull, for the sake of my loved ones if no one else.

(this is probably why the rhetorical approach of someone like contrapoints appeals to me so much)

I wish an article like this could bring more to the table in that vein; it ends with such baffling complacency at exactly the place where I'd expect the grip of terror to have reached its fever pitch ("I’m glad, though, that the men of America have Joe Rogan to motivate and inspire and educate them in limitless ways" -- wh.... what???).
posted by Kybard at 12:56 PM on August 20, 2019 [28 favorites]


No one's brought up Drew McGeary in this thread but he's another example of someone who can communicate in a humourous way, and has good politics. Sports media actually has quite a few writers who fit this mold. It seems like more of them should get podcasts that cover more than just sports, which is what Rogan's podcast is. Lots of dudes like to think and chat about sports and the like but are also really curious about politics in a world where they know something is wrong but can't articulate what. Rogan lets on a lot of folks who give those people misleading easy answers but there's a huge gap there that a mainstream media dominated by upper middle class-affecting hosts doesn't know how to talk to.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:57 PM on August 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


I don't understand the need for a role model for this demographic in the first place. I listen to a bunch of Slate podcasts, and the hosts and the guests are all without exception a bunch of blindingly rich trustfundys who went to Ivyleague schools--which is the opposite of me. Somehow I manage to stick with it anyway. Is that weird? Should I be looking for podcast hosts of my ethnicity and gender and in my exact age cohort and economic class? If I don't, will I not know how to live my life?

I do find it restful and not cortisol spiking to watch Netflix shows with a preponderance of women. I absolutely get the thing about wanting to see "yourself" onscreen. But I'm not pining for somebody to model myself after when I watch Orange Is the New Black because I don't need to do that because I'm fuckin grown. Why would somebody 35 years old need a role model? Why can't they figure it out themselves like I did for decades when there were exactly two types of women on TV: Jennifer/Chrissy or Bailey/Janet on Three's Company and WKRP, respectively?
posted by Don Pepino at 12:59 PM on August 20, 2019 [16 favorites]


I'm not aware of any podcasts where the format is "telling men they are toxic, reactionary, sociopathic, brain-dead nazis". And I listen to a lot of podcasts! (Most hosted by men! This is a problem!)

My favorite podcaster right now is probably Robert Evans and he is by all appearances a quite masculine man. He shoots guns and has tattoos! He is (as he occasionally mentions) a tall, confident white man and thus can get away with pretty much anything. He also does important conflict and antifascism journalism and has made reporting on toxic reactionary sociopathic braindead Nazis into his personal brand. But, like, if you're not a toxic reactionary sociopathic braindead Nazi, he's not talking about you. This is pretty easy.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:00 PM on August 20, 2019 [26 favorites]


whether there is something uniquely bad about white men at the population level

There is something harmful in the general culture that tries to tell white men who they are supposed to be, and some of them fall for it, because all humans are fallible. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with white men that is not wrong with the rest of us, as fellow humans.
posted by sallybrown at 1:00 PM on August 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


sallybrown: There is something harmful in the general culture that tries to tell white men who they are supposed to be, and some of them fall for it, because all humans are fallible. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with white men that is not wrong with the rest of us, as fellow humans.

Situation of everybody except white men: If you don't want to be on the fuckee side of the fucker/fuckee cultural dynamic, you will have to build a new society.

Situation of white men: If you don't want to be on the fuckee side, you can become a fucker! Forget that change society shit, you can be one of the winners!

You can see how some of us would be fallible enough to make a choice which simply isn't available to most people. That's what we're fighting here.
posted by clawsoon at 1:05 PM on August 20, 2019 [14 favorites]


I listen to a bunch of Slate podcasts, and the hosts and the guests are all without exception a bunch of blindingly rich trustfundys who went to Ivyleague schools--which is the opposite of me. Somehow I manage to stick with it anyway. Is that weird

It's this near monopoly of acceptable opinion that gets us a presidential race where it's radical and out of the mainstream to want to give people healthcare. These freaks got us here and the less of them dominating the public conversation the fucking better. Joe Rogan sucks but the mainstream media are insidious. These are the people that will make bombing whatever country is next on John BOlton's list sound reasonable.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:06 PM on August 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


You can see how some of us would be fallible enough to make a choice which simply isn't available to most people. That's what we're fighting here.

Absolutely. Which is why I think it’s more effective to work to change the culture (eliminating the incentives for bad behavior) than to work to change each individual white man who’s buying into the incentives toward bad acting and swimming with the existing current.
posted by sallybrown at 1:09 PM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


> Do you think this comment is not condescending?

Does one condescending comment make a thread "drip with [...] progressive condescension?" Any MeFi thread about a controversial figure is going to contain some dispassionate analysis, some cheap dunks, and everything in between. That alone does not support the idea that a small number of comments expressing dissatisfaction with the state of American men are responsible for pushing these men toward more reactionary ideas.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:11 PM on August 20, 2019 [19 favorites]


Sports media actually has quite a few writers who fit this mold.

I'd say that Drew Magary and Jon Bois fit well here - Bois' thoughtful takedown of casual rape jokes and rape culture shows the sort of example to lead with.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:13 PM on August 20, 2019 [13 favorites]


Joe Rogan is plenty insidious. His misogyny alone should be reason for anyone to not listen to him. But he's so funny! Normal! Comfortable! Because many men love hearing the stuff they're used to - and that includes that women are simply inferior. It's garbage, it's garbage many men don't even consciously notice, and that's a huge problem.
posted by agregoli at 1:14 PM on August 20, 2019 [34 favorites]


On the gamer-American end of the spectrum another good voice is Hasan Piker. Here he is talking about Jeffery Epstein and whether he was murdered. "We're gonna go balls deep in to the dead asshole of Jerffery Epstain." This is a lot different than the "Mr. Trump you sir are a fucknugged, sir!" type of false edginess that the Pod Save America dinguses have on offer.

It is totally possible to be brash and bombastic and male and not be toxic. Some folks here are mistaking tone for content.

The beginning of that Epstein video has a pretty insightful analysis of why people turn to conspiracy theories when they feel helpless at how overwhelmingly unequal society is.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:14 PM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


posted by sciatrix because the very act of overtly and directly undermining the beliefs of toxic masculinity means that you somehow aren't masculine enough.

posted by clawsoon That is bang on, and it's a key to all of this, I think. If you don't buy into the system, you will be a target of the system.


This, exactly. The system exists and survives by targeting and preying upon those who are not part of the system, cannot be part of the system, or seek to undermine the system. In other words: the domain of racists, bigots, bullies, and the entitled.

Joe Rogan uses his privilege of being a straight white man to complain that "straight white man" is an epithet, but he ignores the fact the privileges enjoyed by straight white men exist and are built with the toxic masculinity, racism, bigotry, and misogyny found in his repertoire, and are the reason "straight white man" is an epithet. Joe Rogan is the problem about which he complains.
posted by mattdidthat at 1:19 PM on August 20, 2019 [25 favorites]


My progressive condescension: I don't feel safe around people who unreservedly consume media about how evil I am, for fun and a sense of identity. Who find entertainment in rhetoric that exclusively uplifts white men and manufactures anxiety about the loss of a molecule of their hoarded, malevolently-obtained and -maintained power in order to sell them anger and supplements and mattresses or whatever. That only allows a little bit of emotional intelligence (and gets piles of cookies for those scraps), but eschews empathy as weakness and weakness as worthy of violence.

Especially the people who revel in the participation in that culture, but anybody who even casually references it (and the thousand other productions of toxic man culture) out loud in a mixed group with no acknowledgement of the problematic nature - I have to take that as a warning as seriously as a red ballcap or, now, a fucking Tiki torch. I don't want to die, and I would prefer not to suffer any more than necessary at the hands or machinations of another person, and I am certainly not going to spend my limited free time choosing social space with someone who thinks I am a punching bag, literal or figurative.

But it's fun to be part of that culture, I understand. Hate feels good when you share it. Punching down is reassuring. It makes you feel safe, and in control, and unlikely to concede any control.

There is SO much media out there that isn't about oppressing some people's humanity to make yours seem better. That it is the most popular podcast in the world or whatever is simply reflective of status quo, it's not really an independent assessment of righteousness.

It's telling that in a lot of people's minds, the only alternatives are some other podcasts with white guys talking. Fuck those guys too, they know what they're doing. There's a bunch of people in the world who will know exactly what I mean when I say, "Oh, Podcast X! Haha yeah I had to unsubscribe from Podcast Y for that one because I only have 3 White Guys Talking slots in my life!" because I need to watch out what I pour in my earholes, just like I should be careful of what I eat or breathe or let kids consume both in terms of substances and media. There are thousands of podcasts to choose from that uplift or empower or inform in an inclusive way that make things better for everybody even if that means giving up power you don't deserve but have inherited and are still fun or energizing or interesting or healthier food for the brain, and healthier to attach to as an identity facet. Picking that one? That's a choice that is made, so either embrace it or make a different choice.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:26 PM on August 20, 2019 [52 favorites]


That's what we're fighting here.
This is a strong point, I think, that there's many other 'options' available (look at how many are 'opting' into amok-style mass murder, to echo that years-old comment here which kept getting quoted until it became overwhelming, vs. other demographics), but I also think that goes in other directions as well.
Perhaps what I've gone through & seen in some cases is too isolated to extrapolate from, but asserting it isn't for long enough to extend the conversation; I used to be much more interested in things like Art of Manliness, Good Men Project; around the idea of building non-toxic masculinity options which still managed to preserve some sort of essential 'good'-ness there.

But the more I kept digging and looking around, the more the essentialism there rung hollow, both of itself and in myself. So now I'm at some point of self-describing as "male-with-shrug-emoji (at best, some days, etc.)", and the best defense I can come up with for the entire space is "Yeah, essentialism is a horrible lie, but it's one that a lot of people believe in so it's probably better to come up with more palatable lies that get less people killed because as we're seeing many people would rather support systems of mass murder than give up their dominance", which doesn't exactly leave me in a good spot to be championing that process anymore.

And while I feel I'm more honest to myself by this point, I also have the voice tugging at the back of my mind that admitting any of this is a strategic error, that if I wanted to be most-helpful/most-effective I should keep all that tamped down because admitting any of this means I'm taking myself out of the fight (both in my own eyes and in the eyes of anybody who might possibly have listened to me in the past). (and the whole internalized impostor-ness thing, but this isn't the thread for that)

tl;dr: Being able to operate in this space seems to require striking a balance between gender essentialism & not-being-terrible
posted by CrystalDave at 1:27 PM on August 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


Rogan is just another mediocre dickhead.

The Atlantic is just a genteel version of the Volkish Beobachter.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:33 PM on August 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


No, seriously, Metafilter should treat The Atlantic as it would Stormfront.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:34 PM on August 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


If the idea is to find approachable role models for men trying to figure out how to be men in a world that feels toxic and confusing, it seems obvious to point to straight men who are doing exactly that. Not so much men who are accruing status based specifically on wallowing in the toxic signaling, like "I can tell you how to act as an adult man because my muscles are really big."

And I'm more about the four horsemen of wholesome and what not myself, but one thing I've noticed over time: many people value muscle on men, or more generally, athletic prowess or any kind of prowess. The appeal of vulnerability and emotional control is vastly magnified by other kinds of power.

LeBron James' virtues wouldn't be anywhere near as interesting to people without his status as an athlete.

This isn't a general defense of Rogan's rhetorical choices; it's an explanation of why, specifically, his muscularity might matter, and maybe why other forms of performed masculinity (among other identity-resonant features) might matter to his audience too.
posted by wildblueyonder at 1:36 PM on August 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


He understands men in America better than most people do.

I think he understands how men in America honestly *love* click bait. For me it's sad to see someone with his drive and curiosity and raw ability cash it all in on such nonsense and hate.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:41 PM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


I am always kind of shocked by the folks who desperately plead, “What are men even allowed to be anymore?” Plenty of things that have traditionally been gendered as masculine aren’t inherently bad. Shit, I aspire to some of those things. Other, smarter folks have written plenty about this, but here is a short list off of the top of my head:

It is cool to be strong, or to exercise, or to take care of your body. It is rad when guys are nurturing and even protective. There are good aspects of being calm and steady and stiff-upper-lip-ish—it can make it easier to support others who are in crisis, or to not be goaded into reacting to something shitty—though people should also be comfortable expressing their emotions and asking for help. It’s great to be brave and adventurous. I often envy my partner’s straight-up gumption. He’s capable and responsible and not afraid to tackle problems by diving right into them. It is dope as hell to be handy and good at fixing and building things. And you are even allowed to be proud of yourself.

There are a lot of good ways to be that don’t appear in the above list, and people certainly don’t have to be all or any of those things. You can be emotional and hesitant and terrible at repairing toilets! That's fine, too. (God I hate repairing toilets.)

In short, it is 100% possible to be a nontoxic, rad cis man who does Crossfit, and works on cars, and does sex with women, and plays FPS games, and doesn’t let his emotions get the better of him in heated situations.

And it is totally impossible if you can’t empathize with others.

tl;dr: To quote Metalocalypse: “Don’t be a dick. Be a dude.”
posted by evidenceofabsence at 1:44 PM on August 20, 2019 [38 favorites]


The second you allow one of those things to become part of your identity - rather than just something you do - it becomes a problem. And I really don't know how to take the suggestion that being nurturing is something that's part of traditional masculinity in a way that it's not part of traditional femininity.
posted by sagc at 1:51 PM on August 20, 2019


Isn’t the fact that his podcast is in the top 10 pretty consistently and features big name guests -including multiple 2020 candidates for president - evidence that the country is already paying attention to him? The possibilities that arise from the fact that a bunch of adults are desperately searching for a father figure are frightening - maybe that’s why the rest of the nation doesn’t want to consider What This Means.
posted by Selena777 at 2:00 PM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


No, seriously, Metafilter should treat The Atlantic as it would Stormfront.

I won't go that far, but it is insidious. I used to subscribe, around 20 years ago, but I found that it really favored a juvenile contrarian viewpoint (so counterintuitive!) now best exemplified by Freakonomics. There is (was?) good content, but there were enough odious thinkpieces that I couldn't keep sending them my money. There's merit in airing a spectrum of views, but there was no real discussion or counterpoint, and I didn't have the vocabulary of "platforming" to describe my unease. Still, I was fed up.

For similar, but different, reasons, my nag letters from NPR go straight into the trash. I don't need viewpoints from a panel of right and safe center-right commentators. I certainly don't need a daily Market Watch show whose theme music incorporates the GE jingle's melody.
posted by sjswitzer at 2:03 PM on August 20, 2019 [15 favorites]


My favorite podcaster right now is probably Robert Evans and he is by all appearances a quite masculine man.

OMG yes, Robert Evans is a national treasure. We could do a lot worse than treat Robert Evans as a role model.
posted by sciatrix at 2:04 PM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


My introduction to Rogan was comedy stand-up bits streaming on my car.

A lot of which seemed spot on. Ragging on Ted Haggard and how weed's no big deal... But I think that was early in his stand up.

Then in the Megathreads saw references to his podcast, and what a shithole he is.

Guess he decided to just get in on the grift. Totally the Stern/South Park nonsense. Ugh.
posted by Windopaene at 2:08 PM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Knowing who, or rather what, Joe Rogan is might be useful if you're in the dating market, because I'd imagine knowing someone is a fan is a pretty good indicator that a dude is Not Actually That Cool. I can think of several friends who might have saved some significant time and emotional investment by employing this heuristic.

From what I can tell, listening to Joe Rogan is almost like reading Gravity's Rainbow on the bus to a certain subset of cis white (typically bro-y / fratty, various shades of misogynist) dudes. I think the show as a touchstone for that subculture may be more important than the content of the show itself (of course, maybe this is because I don't listen to the show). But it seems to be one of the ways these dudes recognize each other in casual conversation.

It's not quite like having someone tell you they really love Jordan Peterson or Milo Yiannopoulos, or seeing 8chan or Breitbart pop up in Chrome as one of their top sites, but it's still a warning sign.

The second you allow one of those things to become part of your identity - rather than just something you do - it becomes a problem.

I feel like you can make Crossfit or wrenching on cars or plenty of other things part of your identity, if you want to, and still be just fine. The problem is when the subculture the interest leads to is really shitty, such that the interest is essentially a baited hook attached to "traditional gender roles" / misogyny / homophobia / etc. But I think the lesson there is choose your friends carefully, and choose even more carefully if you're engaging in activities that for whatever reason appeal to a lot of revanchist assholes. But abandoning those activities to said assholes is surrendering a lot of territory, intellectual and physical.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:08 PM on August 20, 2019 [14 favorites]


This thread has been very helpful, as I feel like I'll be (a bit) less likely to continue mixing up Joe Rogan and Seth Rogen.
posted by jb at 2:23 PM on August 20, 2019 [11 favorites]


It's possible to live a happy, healthy life without ever experiencing whatever Joe Rogan is and I plan on continuing to do so until I die.
posted by tommasz at 2:28 PM on August 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


Totally in agreement with the information/intelligence dichotomy problem Joe has, and I'd add that he suffers from a stumbling block that a lot of autodidacts run into . . . he has no framework for information that comes his way, no theoretical or historical grounding, and when someone comes to him and says "this is a huge problem in the world I come from", he doesn't know how to place it in a larger context.
His issues with social justice and identity politics are great examples: he discovers the problems while talking to Sam Harris, the Weinsteins and Jordan Peterson. He's never heard of this, but they say it's huge, and something "unfair" happened to them, and he reacts emotionally (because of his emotional intelligence being greater than his intellectual intelligence).
And they are white intellectuals, so he is both sympatico and intimidated.
And he gets to be dismissive of the "kids" because they're kids, and of the administrators at the schools because they sided with the "kids" . . .
. . . and his bubble keeps him from wondering "hey, what if the kids, in their young impulsive ways, are actually onto a very real problem in our society that they can't completely process, but they know that something is very wrong?"
He's curious, but not vulnerable. Emotional, but not fully compassionate. And he's a white straight dude who, while he has explored the cosmic mind in his floatsauna on DMT, hasn't really looked at the ramifications for others of his privilege.
He gets so close sometimes, but identity is a hell of a drug . . .
posted by pt68 at 2:55 PM on August 20, 2019 [29 favorites]


CrystalDave: I used to be much more interested in things like Art of Manliness, Good Men Project; around the idea of building non-toxic masculinity options which still managed to preserve some sort of essential 'good'-ness there. But the more I kept digging and looking around, the more the essentialism there rung hollow...

There's always something toxic in the essentialism of "what it means to be a man," isn't there? In the end? Even if you're asking "what it means to be a good man."

The essentialism was there in my '80s Evangelical upbringing. While I was in it, I saw lots of decent men trying to be decent men, good and deferential husbands, providers and protectors and all that. It took me years to see how much the essentialism of "men are like this and women are like this" that ran through everything in Evangelical culture fucked with my worldview and made me fail to see people as individuals.

Mainstream comedy - Joe Rogan's wheelhouse - has also been one of the biggest cultural proponents of gender essentialism. How many comedy sets have there been with "men are like this, and women are like that"? It's a major method of cultural transmission of the idea of gender essentialism.
posted by clawsoon at 3:10 PM on August 20, 2019 [17 favorites]


I think he understands how men in America honestly *love* click bait. For me it's sad to see someone with his drive and curiosity and raw ability cash it all in on such nonsense and hate.

I think it's baser than that, he just understands how American men love to be called "right all along".
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:13 PM on August 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


to be brutally fucking honest, if you're like "manhood is a prison and there's no good way to deal with inhabiting it" I feel like you should read trans dudes bc like, there are indeed people who go here on purpose.

also some fraction of "masculinity is a prison"/"femininity is a prison" feelings havers might be best helped by reading about people who agreed and went somewhere else, bc you're probably less confined than you think and here in 2019 there are many metaphorical files and bolt cutters.

and while I'm flinging the hot takes, the most desired parts of either binary gender tend to be physiological and/or sartorial. nobody thinks they gotta get a whole new gender to nurture anybody. people do it for more comfortable beach bods and swimwear.
posted by bagel at 3:29 PM on August 20, 2019 [32 favorites]


At this point someone needs to go on Rogan's podcast and pull a Jon Stewart on CrossFire where they can take advantage of his unwillingness to confront his own guests and so spend their time digging into all the ways that his lunk-headed credulity is far more dangerous and damaging than he realizes it is. Call him out on his own bullshit on his own show.
posted by soundguy99 at 3:33 PM on August 20, 2019 [15 favorites]


Y'all, the definition of white male etc as inherently bad and shameful and cringey is still centering those identities and experiences. If we're going to have a discussion about what it means to build a positive identity around these things, there needs to be room for folks to take the toxic concepts we have, separate the poison from the things that are a relatively neutral part of experience, and construct an identity that isn't based in "not-that."

If men aren't going to be the default, that means men need to have a marked space to inhabit, and men need to construct it. If that space is to be a place that men will willingly inhabit, it needs to not be made of shame. Shame hurts. It isn't sustainable. And in the long run, it does no one any good. What matters is what you do, and shame runs the risk of paralyzing people, inviting them to wallow in self hatred instead of looking at injustice and working to fix it.

So yes, I think we need a positive space beyond shame for white men to inhabit. I think we need to have models for white men that are based around positive things and not the absence of other marked experiences. What it means to be male needs to have a meaning beyond "not-female."

That doesn't mean that I would like white men to stop trying to level the playing field or become blind to race and gender. But I do think it's very important to avoid the trap of constructing the identity of what it means to be a white man who wants to do better around permanent shame. You can use the shame to motivate good works, and even better, teach men around you what it means to use advantages as a guardian shield. But you have to have something beyond shame to sustain you and make a home for yourself to find community and connection in. You gotta weave yourself into the tapestry of humanity somewhere, and I for one would so much rather see young white men draw their concepts for how to be a person from a Thaddeus Stevens or a Justin McElroy than from a Nathan Bedford Forrest or, yeah, a Joe Rogan.

We need bread as well as roses. We're all human. And yes, white men who care about justice and equality need to see a place for themselves in that struggle, too.
posted by sciatrix at 3:39 PM on August 20, 2019 [47 favorites]


Oh damn, bagel, you said it so much better and more eloquently. Yes, yes, yes.
posted by sciatrix at 3:40 PM on August 20, 2019


Thank you, sciatrix. So often - and I've said this here before - it seems like the best possible masculinity is one built of self-abnegation. That's not a pleasant way to build your identity. If I'm doing something because it's "masculine", it must be tainted - and if I'm doing something because it's a good thing to do, it's not "masculine".
posted by sagc at 3:42 PM on August 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Yes! And, like. Not only is gender a country (there's lots of neighborhoods within both Male and Female, fam), but also, it's what you make of it. It's a tradition. But traditions are what we believe them to be: we can decide that it's a masculine thing to be brave, even if masculine people aren't the only ones who can be brave. You can pick up virtues that everyone can have and filter them through your tradition to make them yours.

You can, as bagel says, file off the bars of a cage, and you can also file off the bars of someone else's cage and install some of them in yours to make a rather nice window pattern. You can make your cage into a home. That's what we collectively need to be giving men tools to do.
posted by sciatrix at 3:51 PM on August 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


That's probably the more useful reframed/counterpart/standalone-point to my point, sciatrix, yeah. By accounts, that work needs to get done, I'm just stuck between "I have an obligation to be in there working on it" and sharpening the files and bolt-cutters as bagel puts it (figuring out the question of how to flee the country while there's still a passport I can't yet disclaim comes later).

(though I'm not exactly sure how to square that particular circle of what's effectively dueling questions of "Is this my fight to be able to fight from the inside?" vs. "Don't be too quick to say that's not my fight anymore, since that's kinda part of the trouble here")

Either way there's people with a good sense of things who want into the fight on purpose, so I defer to them and hope there's a way to get the Rogan/Peterson faction to listen & look up to them without them looking for ways to disqualify anybody who's not Sufficiently Like Them.
posted by CrystalDave at 4:01 PM on August 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


I had to stop when the litany of things including the mushroom coffee got mentioned. (i.e. at the very front of the article).
posted by Quackles at 4:04 PM on August 20, 2019


And for all that Rogan's emotional intelligence may be higher than one might expect - sorry, but I don't think you're going to become a Rogan fan unless you're already pretty deeply steeped in a toxic definition of masculinity. I won't deny that UFC/MMA is a sport, nor that the fighters are genuine athletes, but it. Is. Fucking. BRUTAL. Watching two people commit genuine acts of serious violence on each other and enjoying it? That's really troubling, to say the least.

Plus his comedy schtick is basically Rush-Limbaugh-Lite, albeit presented as "funny"; he's just a "normal guy" (completely and utterly oblivious to his own privileges) complaining about how everyone else not just like him is ridiculous.

Sure, we do need better male role models (how about Patton goddamn Oswalt?) but IMO spending a whole lot of time & effort worrying about how to reach the Rogan fans feels a lot to me like spending a bunch of effort reaching all those Midwestern white diner voters - they voted for Trump because he speaks to something dark inside them, and Rogan speaks to similar dark urges in his fans. And in both cases those dark urges were incubated long before Trump or Rogan came along. It's worth combating them, overpowering them, overwhelming them - converting them? I got some serious doubts. More power to you personally if you want to try, but I'm gonna give it a pass unless it's a one-on-one situation.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:13 PM on August 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure what Rogan's trip is, nor do I care. He's an interviewer. He needs guests.

When people who interest me agree to be interviewed, I'll probably tune in to see what happens ... it was their call.

The rare interviewer is prepared, asks thoughtful questions that draw out the guest, and then stays out of the way except to ask for amplification or clarification.

Generally speaking, Joe is often that rare interviewer ... for the one-in-fifteen guests I care about. He's not Charlie Rose, but he's not aiming at that audience.

Art Bell did pretty well for himself airing people - not always reputable - that mainstream interviewers wouldn't touch. It helps to talk softly and carry a big bullshit filter.
posted by Twang at 4:38 PM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


What do men want as models of masculinity?

I don't need models of masculinity, I need models of virtue. I need ContraPoints.

He understands men in America better than most people do.

This is like saying McDonalds understands food better than most people do. No, they understand how to make and market something that people will consume in large enough quantities that they forget what actual food looks and tastes like. Until it kills them.
posted by klanawa at 5:21 PM on August 20, 2019 [18 favorites]


I'm shocked that no one has mentioned seeing their friends and family post links to the petition to have Rogan moderate the Presidential debates.

First time I saw a friend -- a liberal woman -- post it, I almost did a spit take all over my computer screen. I think a lot of people are unaware of his misogyny and platforming of virulently conservative a-holes and only see him as some kind of straight-shooting, no bullshitting, open-minded deep thinker.

Hell, when I first saw the link, I wasn't really aware of just how bad he is on those fronts, but I did roll my eyes at the idea that we'd be replacing Jake Tapper or whoever's Republican/center right talking points spewing ass with Rogan framing all questions in terms of the "man, the government needs to let me smoke pot and do molly and bring my tax rate to nearly 0 and also most progressives are virtue signaling and don't really care about the things they're complaining about" strain of libertarianism that's oddly popular among some slices of the population.

I play flag football with a lot of the dudes who are in his core demographic, and I get along really well with most of them. I see most of them as hard workers, and they're mostly law-abiding and friendly. But I split with a lot of them over their noxious transphobia and homophobia, as well as their narrow definitions of what makes a "real" man. Also, many of them are misogynist in that "females, amirite?" way, complaining about "the wife" or "the girlfriend" being unreasonable, bossy killjoys and so on.

I'm for forms of government and economic systems that bring them -- and women and people of color and LGBTQ folks -- all kinds of benefits and good things, but I feel no urge to center them and throw disadvantaged populations under the bus just to please them and their spokespeople/role models.
posted by lord_wolf at 6:11 PM on August 20, 2019 [16 favorites]


in terms of a positive or marked space for white men to inhabit, I feel like one of the things I want more people to take ownership of is the awkward, embarrassing, 800-lb-elephant-among-hummingbirds dynamic of having power.

There's people who are read as masc/white/important/intimidating enough for others, especially strangers and customer service personnel, to cautiously handle interactions with them. Some of those people don't notice or only ever try to use it to their advantage.

I think it's valuable to notice the ways that one is deferred to or supported and trying to deflect that where it's unwarranted, and to notice when one is feared or avoided and trying to deescalate, and to attempt to use power to help others. These are all, like, effort, and sometimes they're unpleasant and unrewarding, but they're worth doing.

I feel like this is very different from shame, and it's the most actionable part of privilege-having, a lot of the time.
posted by bagel at 6:46 PM on August 20, 2019 [21 favorites]


“There is modern masculinity in broad strokes. Uncritical of itself or those it perceives as being like itself; unwilling to self-examine; just dropping things on the table and when those contributions are unwelcome, claiming that they were misunderstood or "just saying" or "playing devil's advocate".”

This sounds like everyone else who thinks their opinion has some sort of value. But he’s made an example? Puh-lease.

We have one mouth and two ears for a reason.
posted by ascrabblecat at 7:09 PM on August 20, 2019


Bagel, that's pretty much how I feel all the time. Combined with an anxiety disorder, I'm just barely figuring out a way to actually interact with other people without, basically, turning them into the avatar of a comment I've read on Metafilter.

And I should add that I'm customer service personnel, and in most contexts where race and gender *aren't* the relevant axis, I get read as pretty lacking in social capital.
posted by sagc at 7:12 PM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]




I think it’s worth making a distinction between Shapiro and Peterson types - propagandists who directly and intentionally build a pipeline to the alt right, and Rogan, who’s within six degrees of separation of the alt right, but he’s genuinely an entertainer and not a grifter operative. That’s why the article is interesting - he’s mainstream. Shapiro has a podcast too but your coworker who’s not a news junkie probably has never heard of Shapiro. The article makes it seem like you can listen to Rogan for years without ever noticing the alt right stuff, although why anyone would have such catastrophic poor judgment to invite Alex Jones or Molyneux on is another question.

Out of curiosity I downloaded the Bernie episode and Rogan did not sound like a meathead jock speaking to a meathead audience. First impression: he’s a really solid interviewer. There’s a mind boggling *eight minutes* of nonstop ads upfront - which seems to imply he thinks his audience is so loyal they won’t be pissed off by that.
posted by cricketcello at 7:49 PM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


There is no single greater predictive red flag than “I listen to a lot of Joe Rogan.”

Is this like the 2019 version of "Have you read Infinite Jest?"
posted by axiom at 8:04 PM on August 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


No, people should not pay attention.

If you ignore it, it continues to happen. If you pay attention, it continues to happen and it could happen to you too.

There are immature minds out there that just need a single dangling thread of something recognisable to latch onto and use to inform and create their own worldview. Though it might be a relentless reeking shitspray of toxic masculinity, these endless, endless podcasts are eventually going to spray something that each and every one of us recognises and agrees with. Most here are thankfully immune, but that is why "paying attention" is so deadly.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:47 PM on August 20, 2019


This reminded of the post election arguments over whether reaching out to conservative family members/hometown buddies (via facebook) and trying to build bridges was the right thing to do. There were friends who were furious that they were being asked to do “racism 101” for people who had been saying and doing racist and misogynist things for years. And there were other friends angry at those friends who refused to engage with the other side, saying that to give up on people was to abandon all hope that they could become better.

I thought and still think, maybe naively, that both views are true. Someone who is criminalized, dehumanized, and whose very existence is deemed illegitimate by conservative rhetoric does not need to reach out to their Limbaugh-spouting uncle. At the same time, more power to people whose lives are not threatened by ICE or doxing and thus do have the emotional bandwidth to build bridges out of empathy and create pathways for understanding.

So what I am saying I support people in this thread who are five alarm fire angry at Rogan and cannot bear or believe that he is being legitimized or listened to in any way.

And I also support the people who think that Rogan has touched on a meaningful yearning in the psyches of some segment of white American men and that we should think through what that means and how to respond.
posted by spamandkimchi at 8:51 PM on August 20, 2019 [18 favorites]


Watching two people commit genuine acts of serious violence on each other and enjoying it? That's really troubling, to say the least.

I seldom really watch fighting sports myself though I am interested in the stories that happen around them. But, I mean, there are people who participate in these sorts of activities as a hobby and don't even get paid for it. It's a complicated thing - at the pro level I think it's often pretty exploitative - but if you can't understand that there are dimensions beyond senseless violence that actually does feel like being out of touch with something.
posted by atoxyl at 9:35 PM on August 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


Anyway I finally RTFA instead of just arguing my bit about the usefulness of the platform, and I have to say I wasn't incredibly impressed. I feel like the author is overrating the eclecticism of the show, for one thing. Here's a list of guests. I think an aspect he's missing (or talking his way around) is that a lot of those science figures actually fit into a certain mold - a lot of IDW-adjacent people, evo-psych-y people, guys (mostly guys) who made some public anti-PC stand that not be directly related to their work. Ironically I think it all sounds a lot deeper if you take a slightly condescending view of what dudes who listen to Joe Rogan are expected to be interested in. At the same time I think comments to the effect that he can be pretty good at interviewing in terms of keeping a conversation going are probably correct. He's got that and a sense for a certain common denominator of what many dudes would like to hear about, for sure.
posted by atoxyl at 9:52 PM on August 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


Still, though, I think guys who listen to Joe Rogan do in fact have some shared material interests with... most of everybody else, and I don't see anything wrong with making an appeal to them on the basis of those interests. It's interesting to look at the guest list and see who he does have on from the left side of the political spectrum, though. A lot of them seem pretty cranky, to be honest.
posted by atoxyl at 10:35 PM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Why do american cishet white men need a safespace where they can stare into the abyss of an uncertain future? Why can't they join the rest of us who have been doing it for....ever?
posted by WeekendJen at 12:38 AM on August 21, 2019 [15 favorites]


It’s funny to me that this article uses “guys who went to see Hobbs and Shaw” as an example of the types of alienated men Rogan reaches well. I’m a cis woman who saw Hobbs and Shaw recently, and one of the things that surprised me about it was how fundamentally wholesome it is underneath the ridiculous action sequences. (I have not seen any other Fast and the Furious movies, so I don’t know if this is a general feature or not). Hobbs is a big muscular guy who makes dick jokes and does that whole insult competition with Shaw, but he also sincerely loves his daughter and mother and places a lot of value on the broader concept of family. Shaw also puts aside long-term differences with his sister to save her life. There’s some benign must protect these women sexism, but very little of the blatant objectification I usually associate with action movies. I felt so much more at home watching it than I do at other action movies.

Tl; Dr sometimes the examples of less-toxic masculinity you seek are hiding in plain sight within “real American” culture. Also, isn’t The Rock a pretty good example even in his non-action-hero life?
posted by ActionPopulated at 5:51 AM on August 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


Why do american cishet white men need a safespace where they can stare into the abyss of an uncertain future?

It's not so much that they 'need' one but that they will look for one and jump in to which ever one they find.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:23 AM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


There is something harmful in the general culture that tries to tell white men who they are supposed to be, and some of them fall for it, because all humans are fallible.

I'm really going to try not to sound condescending, but I don't know any other way to say this other than "Hello, welcome to the club"

I'm bombarded constantly with direction on how I'm supposed to be.... most of it contradictory. Most of it actually makes a small group of white men rich. Most of what I'm told to be makes men powerful and happy. I'm swimming in it daily. It's the air I breathe, the clothes and makeup I wear and diets I follow. I'm acutely aware of where I'm falling short of the standards of what I'm supposed to be, how I'm supposed to look or how I'm supposed to perform.

Welcome to the club. It doesn't make me existentially yearn for the power to tell men what to be instead; we're only asking that men believe women when they say they're assaulted, or not call us greedy bitches.

Also: the "general" "American" culture is (mostly) written, directed, produced and replicated by white men for white men. Let's start there. No one wants to be told what they're supposed to be, but I have a hard time finding sympathy for men who are only just experiencing a taste of what every woman goes through.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 6:54 AM on August 21, 2019 [17 favorites]


To answer ActionPopulated: the Fast and Furious franchise is surprisingly wholesome for being a franchise about car thieves filled with swaggering alpha male types. It’s a cliche of the series that family—chosen or otherwise—comes first, that even if someone does something bad, you want to be there for them. When one of the actors in the series died, they wrote his character out by literally “he has to spend time with his family.” Jason Statham has a whole action sequence in a previous installment where he’s saving a baby in a carrier so it’s fast intercuts of him beating the crap out of dudes then leaning over a baby and making “who is a good baby?” Noises, (and it’s as funny as it sounds). I wouldn’t say the series is unproblematic but it is surprisingly wholesome to the point of cheesiness for a big budget action movie series full of swaggering dudes.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:38 AM on August 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


This comment really resonates with me (as a CWHM) because it is specific about the water we swim in, and about ongoing ways to respond sensitively to, and perhaps help change, that implicit power dynamic.

Rogan seems an interesting example of epistemic closure, specifically what happens when men move into middle age, and still only hang out with other, traditionally masculine guys: their experiential world becomes very tiny, very quickly. And while he’s curious about all sorts of things, he mostly only thinks and talks about them with people who are mostly just like him; thus, the curiosity never leads much beyond ‘huh, that’s super interesting, how could it affect me and people just like me?’ (Though I’m not sure; not a listener.)

This has come up in conversations recently with my 78-year-old dad, who thankfully continues to be an open-minded, affable person as he ages, but hangs out with a cohort of (very bright, very accomplished in their lives) old white dudes. While the conversations they have sound really interesting, it’s clear to me that they have narrow perspectives on the truly impressive depth of experience and expertise among them, because that experience—and the current conversations reminiscing about it—were and are among only white men.

I’m lucky to have active friendships with people of all kinds, and of diverse ages. They keep me honest, and aware of and sensitive to the much larger world beyond my own particular slice of experience. While this is important and healthy for all of us, I think that middle-aged white dudes especially need to get some friends who have divergent kinds of life experience, so that we don’t go more stupid as we age (and think we’re getting smarter because time automatically equals wisdom or something).
posted by LooseFilter at 8:04 AM on August 21, 2019 [14 favorites]


ActionPopulated: There’s some benign must protect these women sexism, but very little of the blatant objectification I usually associate with action movies. I felt so much more at home watching it than I do at other action movies. Tl; Dr sometimes the examples of less-toxic masculinity you seek are hiding in plain sight within “real American” culture.

That's exactly the kind of "benign sexism" I grew up with in the '80s Evangelical church (with a dose of even more "benign sexism" from my father's Mennonite background). It was anti-action-movie-sexism in every respect.

And still my sister came home seething from the most recent family funeral, from interacting with those kind older men of the family who chuckled with (at) her about how our dear departed aunt "had an opinion about everything, didn't she?"
posted by clawsoon at 8:09 AM on August 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


That's a great point, LooseFilter, and has multiple & divergent benefits for old folks. It's a proven good for seniors to have diverse and connected social networks as they age. Good for them and good for us!

There's a lot to be said for being gentle with old folks who are dealing with A) impending death; B) a changing world; and C) feeling like the only valuable thing they have to offer is their WISDOM and EXPERIENCE and KNOWLEDGE, hard-gained over their many decades of life.

Of course, myself and just about everyone else in the world is getting tired of pandering to this demographic, but I freakin' guarantee that if you got a bunch of old folks together across the orientation, gender, sex, and race spectrums, they'd have a hell of a lot more in common with each other than they might assume, and a HELL of a lot more in common than someone who shares their gender and race but is, say, fifty to sixty years younger. Just add in some increasingly younger people (nephews, daughters-in-law, grandkids) to the mix as time goes on and I think you're looking at a net gain for everyone involved.
posted by Cpt. The Mango at 9:11 AM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


" like his torso is a wine that needs to breathe"

lol
posted by ServSci at 9:12 AM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


> Shortly after that, Fear Factor started back up, starring Joe Rogan.

Idiocracy comparisons are played out, but if the guy whose job it was to shout "WOOOOOAAAA!!!!" during a show in which people drank smoothies made out of bugs is now some sort of thought leader, it's kind of hard to not go there.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:48 PM on August 21, 2019 [12 favorites]


Also, if this were just about skill in interviewing and high-profile guests, there would be a (much cooler) cult of personality around Terry Gross.
posted by sallybrown at 12:57 PM on August 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


… there would be a (much cooler) cult of personality around Terry Gross.
posted by JiBB at 1:23 PM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


Also, if this were just about skill in interviewing and high-profile guests, there would be a (much cooler) cult of personality around Terry Gross.

When I was looking at the Rogan guest list, this is the comparison I was making mentally. I don't think his range of guests is nearly as wide as Terry's. Of course as this article frames it they are implicitly not comparable, because we are supposed to keep in mind that Rogan is more mainstream and less highbrow than NPR. But Fresh Air ain't exactly obscure - I find estimates of 5-6 million "weekly" listeners, vs. Rogan's ~100 million "monthly" (no idea about the actual methodologies). And I think it's actually selling Rogan listeners short in a way to assume that they're supposed to be meatheads.
posted by atoxyl at 2:36 PM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


I guess he does go to the fringes more and that's not something I would say is automatically bad (even though I know a lot of the people he actually gets are bad). But in general he leans heavily on - comedians, MMA people, conspiracy/paranormal people, evopsych-ish or pop-neuroscience people, conspiracy-tinged political reporters and writers... not out of line with the stereotype of his interests.

There are some guests you might not expect, though. W. Kamau Bell was on! Cornell West!
posted by atoxyl at 2:52 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


(Okay Cornell West goes on a lot of things but somehow I didn't expect to see him here.)
posted by atoxyl at 2:58 PM on August 21, 2019


Reading through this discussion, I feel my hypothesis, "Joe Rogan peaked with the 2004 Fear Factor NYC Gross Out episode and it's all been downhill from there" has been supported.
posted by mikelieman at 3:19 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


The gross-out episode? Wikipedia tells me the NYC one was their 100th episode, but really it's a distinction without a difference.
posted by rhizome at 3:49 PM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


OMG yes, Robert Evans is a national treasure. We could do a lot worse than treat Robert Evans as a role model.
You mean the Behind the Bastards guy, right? (Not the other 40 Robert Evanses on wikipedia?) I agree. But, I might have to start packing bagels for self defense on a daily basis just in case this idea takes off.

This thread has done a much better job at convincing me I should care about the existence of Rogan than the article did. Thanks to many for insightful comments.
posted by eotvos at 3:52 PM on August 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


I thought that meant the REAL Robert Evans had a podcast. Excitement extinguished.
posted by agregoli at 3:57 PM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


Finished the Bernie interview and Rogan connected violence to mental illness and Prozac and stimulants, said kids are overprescribed (extreme facepalm)
posted by cricketcello at 5:51 PM on August 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


I used to love Rogan on News Radio.

Newsradio was an excellent show but of all the cast the one I would have least expected to be culturally relevant today is Joe Rogan.
posted by scalefree at 8:55 PM on August 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


Yeah I mean it really says it all when Andy Ngo is on your guest list.
posted by Carillon at 9:16 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm going to avoid biting on the potential derail of whether or not MMA is a brutal inhumane bloodsport (it's not), but I do want to take issue with this comment:

I've seen a number of people argue why it's a good thing for Bernie Sanders to go on Rogan's show, and seem unable to understand how toxic Rogan's platform actually is.

Totally disagree. What's he supposed to do, ignore the opportunity to speak directly to a huge segment of the population that is crucial to Trump's support and possibly win them over to something better? And to have Rogan basically on his side at the same time? It's no different than when he went to Liberty U, or on Fox News. It is his duty as candidate for the highest office to try to communicate his message through every mainstream media outlet (and given the size of his brand, Rogan is definitely mainstream). When he went on Fox News, that didn't somehow make Sanders a shill for the right, and going on Rogan didn't turn him into a rape apologist or proponent of scientific racism. It probably got at least a few dude-bros to take him and his platform seriously, and maybe even to question some of their previous assumptions.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:38 PM on August 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


Re: The Fast & The Furious

Although the films may be "wholesome" and "family-oriented" in some sense, behind the scenes it is a huge dick-swinging contest because none of the "alpha males" want to look weaker than the other guys.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:42 PM on August 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


When he went on Fox News, that didn't somehow make Sanders a shill for the right, and going on Rogan didn't turn him into a rape apologist or proponent of scientific racism.

No, it just showed that he was willing to turn a blind eye to the hate and bigotry they push on a regular basis. Elizabeth Warren spelled out why you don't go on these platforms:
Fox News is a hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists—it’s designed to turn us against each other, risking life and death consequences, to provide cover for the corruption that’s rotting our government and hollowing out our middle class.

Hate-for-profit works only if there’s profit, so Fox News balances a mix of bigotry, racism, and outright lies with enough legit journalism to make the claim to advertisers that it’s a reputable news outlet. It’s all about dragging in ad money—big ad money.

But Fox News is struggling as more and more advertisers pull out of their hate-filled space. A Democratic town hall gives the Fox News sales team a way to tell potential sponsors it's safe to buy ads on Fox—no harm to their brand or reputation (spoiler: It’s not).
Rogan openly espouses misogyny and transphobia. We should not be giving that a pass.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:05 PM on August 22, 2019 [20 favorites]


No, it just showed that he was willing to turn a blind eye to the hate and bigotry they push on a regular basis.

Are you pushing the "Bernie Bro" narrative?

I'd say it shows him challenging the hate & bigotry by offering an alternative.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:21 AM on August 23, 2019


I eagerly await the takedowns of others who have been on Fox News or Joe Rogan, like Cornell West, Henry Rollins, Tulsi Gabbard (or the other 2 dozen or so women, mostly comics or athletes, a few conspiracy nuts, who have also appeared on Rogan), W. Kamau Bell, Hannibal Buress, Jon Stewart, Michael Pollan, Matt Taibi, Russell Brand, Reggie Watts...

Fox News sucks shit, and Rogan is an ass-clown, but sometimes you have to step into the belly of the beast.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:52 AM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


and ANTHONY FREAKIN BOURDAIN
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:03 AM on August 23, 2019


Okay, I promise not to vote for any of those people next year either. Happy?
posted by Etrigan at 11:03 AM on August 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


[I swear if y'all start a Bernie Bros fight in here... ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:05 AM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Russell Brand? HAAAAHAHAHAHA! That's my sad excuse for a takedown. In my defense, it's been like two or three years since I paid attn to him and all I can remember is: 1. Captain Morgan; 2. Risible 3. Milo-styled misogynymouthed asshole. I can't take any of the other ones down. And Bernie should be able to do as he likes safely by remaining mindful this go-around that the male wipipo are not actually the singlemost important demographic he needs to think about and he should therefore make an effort not to piss off minority voters and women by appearing not to notice they exist, too. Maybe Rogan's is not the only mass culture podcast he intends to appear on?
posted by Don Pepino at 11:05 AM on August 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


sometimes you have to step into the belly of the beast
None of this seems to suggest "You have to step into the belly of the beast" as much as "Each of the people mentioned likes money & likes promoting their various books/media to make more of it"
Which, I can't blame them for that, that's kinda the nature of things these days, but it doesn't give them a pass.

A good bunch of those people listed also did interviews/press junkets on Fox News; all the same arguments apply there
posted by CrystalDave at 11:07 AM on August 23, 2019


*sigh*

Litmus tests, demands for ideological purity, who posted about that above?

the male wipipo are not actually the singlemost important demographic he needs to think about and he should therefore make an effort not to piss off minority voters and women by appearing not to notice they exist, too.

Seriously? Come on, that's such lame nonsense.


Did anyone who is pissed about Sanders being on Rogan actually plan to vote for him before?

And Re: Brand
He's far from perfect, but he's been a pretty vocal activist for drug reform, Palestinian rights, democratic socialism, etc. I'm not even a fan of the guy, but he is not a Milo.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:12 AM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


[Please don't dump multiple hundreds of words of quotes into a comment. Either you've framed a link such that people will read it, or you haven't, but making everyone scroll past it does not endear it to anyone. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:44 AM on August 23, 2019


No. Sometimes you WANT to step into the belly of the beast. I don’t think it’s fair to frame it as though you have to.

Other people live in threat of the beast all the time. Consider yourself privileged .
posted by Dressed to Kill at 11:48 AM on August 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


Everyone who goes on Rogan is an enabling asshole. Only one of them is running for fucking President.

If we're actually not interested in starting a Bernie Bro fight, could we maybe get rid of the Bernie Bro-ing?
posted by schadenfrau at 11:51 AM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


restless_nomad: Gotcha, no prob.

Sometimes you WANT to step into the belly of the beast. I don’t think it’s fair to frame it as though you have to.

What? So, I thought it was pretty clear that in the statement "sometimes you have to step into the belly of the beast" that "you" didn't refer to all people all the time but was specifically referring to a Candidate for the Highest Office in the Country's duty to try to reach as much of the public with their message as possible -- given that that is exactly what I had just been talking about. I don't know why you would think I meant that vulnerable people should continually put their lives on the line or something like that.

Other people live in threat of the beast all the time. Consider yourself privileged .

So we've devolved to call-outs on people we don't know accusing them of privilege because we disagree and have misinterpreted their statements? Thanks.

could we maybe get rid of the Bernie Bro-ing?

Or just straight up dismissive insults? Thanks again.

Everyone who goes on Rogan is an enabling asshole. Only one of them is running for fucking President.

Every black person who went on Rogan is enabling scientific racism? Cornell West too?

Every women who has gone on Rogan is enabling misogyny? Tulsi Gabbard too?

Please explain how it is "enabling" -- BEYOND just saying "they went on the show." That's a circular argument and nonsense. It's guilt by association. Also, please don't explain it with a colloquialism like "you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas."

going on Rogan being a microcosm of some of those flaws

Just going ON the show is a flaw, or his positions are a flaw? Or his personality is a flaw? Those are 3 very different attitudes. (I'm legitimately asking which it is, for you. And, also, assuming you examined different positions, thought about the issues, changed your mind for what you believe to be good reasons -- that's a good thing, whether you and I end up voting for the same candidate or not.)

What I don't get: how is it that going into "enemy territory," so to speak, to try to change their minds is a bad thing? Whereas going on to promote your comedy career is eh, lame, but understandable?

I'm not trying to tell anyone that they should vote for Sanders (or Warren, or whomever) -- and I'm not decided myself on Sanders or Warren in the primary, just to clarify that issue so I don't get more accusations of being a "Bernie Bro" or "privileged" or whatever the hell someone wants to pull out with no knowledge of me or my life -- but that these severe litmus tests (which are also often ex post facto justifications for what one already believes) are ridiculous and hypocritical, and they would be so no matter whom they are directed at -- Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg, Gabbard, Harris, whomever. It is picking out a single figure that you already don't like (for whatever legitimate or illegitimate reasons) and looking for more reasons to attack them. It'd be like saying, "Warren's claim that she has Indian DNA in her blood proves that she's a proponent of scientific racism and so I'm not going to vote for her" -- no, it was a stupid thing to do, it was a blunder, but it was ONE mistake.

It's not even that there isn't room to criticize Sanders (or whomever) for going on Fox or Rogan -- but the idea that THIS ONE THING IS PROOF or that THIS ACTION PUTS THEM BEYOND THE PALE is guilt by association, it's harmful internecine conflict, it's the same divisive rhetoric that Trump & his supporters use, and it only hurts the chances of whomever the candidate ends up being to gather enough support to win in 2020. The devotion many people show to one candidate -- and the lengths one will go to to denigrate every other candidate at every opportunity for not being perfect -- is not much different from the fanaticism of hardcore Trump followers. "Sanders goes on Rogan and that means he doesn't care about minorities or women" is not very different logic from "Ilhan Omar criticizes Israel's occupation of Gaza and that means that she's an anti-semite." What's the connection? It's looking for reasons to dismiss someone, and it seems to be based as much (or more) in one's visceral dislike of Rogan or Fox News (or whatever other outlet) than any consideration of anyone's policies.

I'd also like to point out that NoxAeternum was the first person to bring Sanders into this thread -- to criticize him for going on the show FULL STOP -- and that my argument is NOT about Sanders' strengths or weaknesses as a candidate, or to argue that one should support him or not support him, or about denigrating any other Democratic candidate. (I haven't said anything of the sort.)

Rather, I am trying to say that the dismissive attitude shown by some just because he went on the show FULL STOP is selectively hypocritical and is falling into the trap of divide-and-conquer that establishment figures (including the DNC) use to discredit anyone who brings up class and to undermine attempts at the politics of solidarity, and it would be so if you were to levy the same attack on anyone else. And I am also trying to say that, while maybe it's not ideal for Sanders (or anyone) to go on Fox News or Joe Rogan (in a perfect world, neither would exist), or that maybe Sanders (or anyone) couldn't have been more openly critical of his hosts or more strongly challenged their reactionary views, but that trying to reach people who would normally ignore his political message by actually going to where they are is not somehow automatically, categorically, necessarily "enabling" misogyny or transphobia or racism and that it can actually be a good thing because it can maybe draw some of them away from that horror. Or, you know, all the Democratic candidates could just go on NPR and MSNBC and ignore a massive segment of the population that already thinks of liberals as elites who don't care about them.
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:16 PM on August 23, 2019


And honestly -- if you don't want to give Fox News a pass, if you don't want to give Joe Rogan a pass, then you should be leveling the same criticisms at every one of their guests. If merely appearing on the show is somehow endorsing it, then an alternative female comic like Morgan Murphy or a left-wing intellectual like Cornell West going on Rogan is basically as bad as a politician doing so. If you want to shut Rogan down -- and I'm sure we all do -- then why target only one or two of his guests?
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:25 PM on August 23, 2019


but the idea that THIS ONE THING IS PROOF or that THIS ACTION PUTS THEM BEYOND THE PALE
You're the only one taking "people ostensibly on the left still don't get why this is a problem. I've seen a number of people argue why it's a good thing for Bernie Sanders to go on Rogan's show, and seem unable to understand how toxic Rogan's platform actually is." and ramping it up to BEYOND THE PALE, THIS IS DRIVING AWAY VOTERS here.
Really, if people/candidacies can't handle as mild of a criticism as "Going on this show that has a long history of amplifying misogyny & racism isn't great", what's left that won't also get amplified into "THIS IS JUST LIKE TRUMP"?

If you want to avoid "divisive rhetoric", stop turning the dial up to eleven in your own head and then yelling at everybody else that the volume's too high.
posted by CrystalDave at 1:25 PM on August 23, 2019 [10 favorites]


"Everyone who goes on Rogan is an enabling asshole." That's "mild criticism"?

"he was willing to turn a blind eye to the hate and bigotry they push on a regular basis." That's mild criticism?

"the male wipipo are not actually the singlemost important demographic he needs to think about and he should therefore make an effort not to piss off minority voters and women by appearing not to notice they exist, too." That's also "mild criticism"?

Which of those statements is the rhetorical equivalent of "Going on this show that has a long history of amplifying misogyny & racism isn't great"?

Which of those statements is not "divisive rhetoric"?

Which of those statements is not informed by a pre-existing bias against Sanders?

It seems like a number of people already ramped it up to "BEYOND THE PALE" in their reactions -- and that's what I'm responding to.


I expect you probably won't believe me, because you're assuming that my issue is specifically with Sanders getting criticized, but I'd say the same thing if Warren had gone on the show -- Hell, I'd make the same defense of Joe freaking Biden. My point is not about Sanders, except insofar as he is the one candidate who is specifically being accused of "enabling hate & bigotry and not noticing that minorities and women exist" (to combine a few quotes) simply for going on Rogan & Fox News to present a platform that is the antithesis of their hatred and bigotry. Is that worse than Elizabeth Warren's wishy-washiness on Israel/Palestine, or her backing of sanctions on Iran, or her blunder over her supposed "Indian Blood"?

[To be clear, I'm not claiming any of those as fatal flaws in Warren's political history. I'm just pointing out some very questionable explicit positions that she has taken (as every politician has, including Sanders) that are somehow less important to people than "appearing on Fox News and Joe Rogan."]

I'm not sure how one doesn't see that as falling prey to attempts to divide the left and undermine class politics -- if Sanders were to get the nomination, are you (generic "you") going to vote for him if you think he's some sort of closet racist or misogynist, or doesn't care about those issues? And how is picking one action and using it to demonize the entirety of someone's political views not extremely similar to Trump's (and the right's) playbook? Is it any different from accusing Obama of being an American Hating Terrorist because he went to Jeremiah Wright's church or because of his relationship with Bill Ayers?

Also: I did not capitalize "THIS IS JUST LIKE TRUMP."
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:04 PM on August 23, 2019


"the male wipipo are not actually the singlemost important demographic he needs to think about and he should therefore make an effort not to piss off minority voters and women by appearing not to notice they exist, too." That's also "mild criticism"?

It's barely criticism. It's what he did. He made minority voters and women angry. I voted for him in the primary and was unenthusiastic in the extreme about Clinton, and I might give him my primary vote again if the few people I prefer over him drop out. Regardless, if he ends up the nominee this time, I will dance a little gleeful jig (I will also dance if Elizabeth Warren wins or Buttigieg--NOT Gabbard because she gives me the shuddering Putin'spuppetcreeps). But he will not be the nominee if he does not pay attention to the whole base.
posted by Don Pepino at 2:34 PM on August 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


if Sanders were to get the nomination, are you (generic "you") going to vote for him if you think he's some sort of closet racist or misogynist, or doesn't care about those issues?

Yes, because that's how our system works, and I'm not so obstinate as to cut my nose off to spite my face. But here's the thing - the left has serious extant issues with misogyny, among other things. As several people have pointed out, going on these platforms looks very different to the people targeted by hate, and they should not be expected to turn a blind eye to that.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:38 PM on August 23, 2019 [10 favorites]


[Saxon Kane, you've made your point, please drop it now.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 3:16 PM on August 23, 2019


[One more deleted. Saxon Kane, have a day off.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 3:39 PM on August 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


the left has serious extant issues with misogyny, among other things.

I think this is generational, and the 20th Century began a process of stripping those issues away (more or less): Boomers and before having issues with pretty much everything, then Gen X being better on some, then Gen Y, Millenials, and now, as a Gen X I see society being basically 1000x better on race/gender/misogyny these days than it was in the 80s. I would completely understand if someone younger thought I was a fuddy-duddy and clueless, though, because the frames of reference keep evolving.

So, Sanders is an old guy, and thus predictable issues. This isn't "fine," but the awareness of these issues can be used to hem the person in a bit more effectively, to goad them in other directions, and basically exercise the democracy muscles. Silver lining to not having a President Trump anymore I guess.
posted by rhizome at 7:16 PM on August 23, 2019


Mmmno. Gen X here, can't participate in local leftist politics because of white guys. There is an extensive network of white guy gatekeepers, well younger than me, in leftist politics, and they *will* sneer at you if you ask about reproductive justice platforms (or any platform they aren't personally interested in) and they will cause serious party upheaval by harassing women and abusing their power to silence criticism. This is not a solved problem, and it is not limited to "old" guys. The misogyny is profound.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:32 PM on August 23, 2019 [15 favorites]


Maybe instead of "stripping away" I should have said "erosion." No, there aren't hard lines of consciousness-raising, but there is change, which I'm not sure is a point even worth making. That said, I think it's important to find ways to vote for imperfect Dem candidates, because we're going to both have them and need them. I also think primarying should not be so taboo within the party.

ETA: Ugh, I just realized this is the Joe Rogan thread, so I'll bow out of the derail.
posted by rhizome at 7:37 PM on August 23, 2019


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