By Kit Knightly
Joe Rogan has just been cancelled. Again. It’s not about covid “misinformation” this time.
No, now he’s a racist.
Some enterprising young mind combed through 13 years and hundreds of episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience, and cut together around twenty instances of Rogan using “the n-word”.
This video was shared by award-winning musician India Arie, and used to explain her pulling her music from Spotify’s platform in protest of Rogan’s continued presence there.
Rogan claims that these clips are all taken out of context in his recent apology video, and none were ever intended to be racist. This may well be true…we can’t check for ourselves, because Spotify removed all the episodes.
These important bits of context were, naturally, removed from the viral video. Besides, it has since been said that context doesn’t even matter.
And you know what, they’re right. The context doesn’t matter, perhaps the intention doesn’t even matter, what matters is “Why now?”
Some of these clips are over twelve years old, and yet there have never been any calls to boycott Spotify or cancel his show until just the last couple of days.
Were they not racist before? Or was everyone just OK with the racism? Could there be something else behind this?
…but why bother pausing the hate-fest to ask questions, right?
The only message that matters is – Joe Rogan is a racist now, and streaming giant Spotify have pulled over seventy episodes of his show from their platform as a result.
Of course the cyber-torches and internet-pitchforks coming for Joe Rogan is nothing new. Having preached the tenets of a healthy lifestyle, promoted alternate Covid treatments, and invited dissenting experts onto his show, Rogan has obviously been on the establishment’s hit list for a while.
This reached a peak in January when ageing rock royalty Neil Young gave Spotify an ultimatum: Remove Joe Rogan’s “misinformation”, or take my music down.
Despite adding a weasely disclaimer to the beginning of the podcast’s episodes, Spotify essentially sided with Rogan, probably because they couldn’t be seen to bow to that kind of pressure, and because they figured most people had forgotten Neil Young was still alive.
In short, and despite other musicians like Joni Mitchell adding their voices to Young’s, the gambit failed and Rogan remained on the air.
Then, just last week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki added fuel to the fire by announcing the President would like to see “more done” by tech companies to “limit the amount of misinformation” on their platforms.
Within days of that press conference, the viral video compilation of racial slurs had appeared, and Rogan is now a racist as well as an “anti-vax covidiot” or whatever they are calling us these days.
He’s also an object lesson in the entire purpose of cancel culture, and extreme identity politics in general.
I don’t know how many of our readers are gamers, or remember Half Life 2, but go with me here…
Around two-thirds of the way through the game you encounter giant insect-like aliens called Ant Lions, and soon afterwards get a special attack: The ability to “paint” enemies with pheromones which cause an unending swarm of Ant Lions to attack them.
Of course, the giant insects don’t know WHY they are attacking your enemies, they don’t sympathise with your aims and are not capable of understanding your plans, all they know is the chemical signals driving them to fits of rage.
You probably don’t need me to explain the metaphor.
This is the purpose of rampant, hysterical identity politics. You can paint your enemies as a target and watch the mindless swarm do its work.
As much as “cancel culture” is portrayed as a totally organic process, without any top-down control, this is simply not the case.
It is almost NEVER organic, and seemingly ALWAYS contrived.
If you need to be persuaded of that, simply look at who is immune to it.
Both Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau have got enough racist (or at least racist-seeming) scandals to get them cancelled if the process really was anything but a covert tool of maintaining the status quo. And yet still they stand.
To show how selective it is, we have examples of the same exact behaviour eliciting complete opposite responses depending on the person involved.
When Gina Carano compared the hatred of the unmasked and unvaccinated to the way Jews were treated in Nazi Germany, she lost her job and her agent.
When Margaret Hodge made similar comments about Corbyn’s Labour party, there was no rebuke at all.
It seems only people outside the establishment, or promoting the ‘wrong’ opinions, are ever in real danger of falling victim to ‘organic’ cancellation.
Indeed, one can be a totally white-bread member of the entertainment industry for years and be safe in the knowledge your racism/homophobia/misogyny etc will never really come to light, but step out of line on the wrong subject at the wrong time, and you will suddenly find yourself facing a tidal wave of past “sins” about to wash over you.
Look at Donald Trump, an insider to the bone when he was just a billionaire reality TV host, but then he ran against Hillary and became “literally Hitler” overnight.
Rogan is a perfect examplar of this phenomenon. Spend ten years going on about legalising weed, taking DMT and talking about martial arts and you can say “the n-word” as much as you want and nobody notices or cares. But the minute you even mildly interrogate an important media narrative, then the mob ‘organically’ remembers you were a racist the whole time.
The evidence of contrivance is obvious. Simply ask yourself: where did this video compilation of racial slurs actually come from? Who made it?
Rogan’s uses of “the n-word” are not new. They are all several years old and from 23 separate episodes, all multiple hours long. And there are almost 1800 episodes of the show to plough through if you decide to go searching. So making this video is at least two days’ work of simply watching the episodes – and that’s assuming you know where to start looking.
And that’s before editing or trying to make it “go viral”.
Was all this done on a whim by some bored pro-vaxxer?
Does that sound likely?
Far more likely is that it was created and deployed to discredit Rogan’s COVID-questioning without having to engage with the Covid sceptic evidence or arguments.
It’s even possible the video may even have already existed before the current controversy. After all, why create this climate of stifling sensitivity if you don’t have the tools to use it?
Perhaps most authors, actors, comedians etc. have a “tape” in the vault somewhere. A database of racism, homophobia or transphobia just waiting to be released when needed. A collection of neo-kompromat that works best as a deterrent, but is always ready to be loosed if needed.
Those people who do step too far out of their box are taken down, and act as an example to others. Ensuring everyone on the public stage is singing from the same hymn sheet.
Because that, it seems, is what cancel culture is for.