Slate Magazine Blasts "The Joe Rogan Experience" for Selling Pseudo-Enlightenment to Angry White Men
Yesterday, Slate magazine ran a lengthy feature analyzing The Joe Rogan Experience, which regular readers will know as a major vector in the spread of pseudohistory and conspiracy theories. The podcast, hosted by comedian Joe Rogan, routinely plays host to provocateurs like Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson, and it has also featured stalwarts of the so-called “alternative history” movement, including Graham Hancock and Robert Schoch. In the article, Slate’s Justin Peters takes all of these disparate characters as part of a loose but thematically connected network of “grifters” and hucksters who are selling a worldview aimed at passing off white male hegemony as an intellectually adventurous form of enlightenment. To that end, Peters sees Rogan as trafficking in lies to the benefit of an aggrieved audience of mostly white men who espouse reactionary political views even as they profess to be open-minded, tolerant, and liberal.
I’m not sure I entirely agree with everything Peters wrote—he perhaps sees things through too much of an anti-Trump lens—but much of his analysis is spot-on.
The key portion of the article involves the literal and figurative products that the typical Joe Rogan guest is selling:
First and foremost they are selling themselves: their books, their podcasts, their websites, their supplements, their claims to some secret knowledge about how the world works. “Make hay while the sun shines” is how frequent Rogan guest Jordan Peterson put it in a recent episode. Peterson and his colleagues are intent on spinning hay into gold before they are inevitably eclipsed by newer, dumber gurus. Most guests of talk shows have something or other to promote. But a good number of Rogan’s guests seem to be marketing directly to those who crave enlightenment while rejecting the notion that it takes work to achieve it. […]
To this, we can add that the pseudohistory that Rogan guests often espouse reinforces this traditional power dynamic. The typical fringe history claim argues that indigenous people were not responsible for the achievements of their own civilizations but received the knowledge and skills required to create these achievements from an outside agency. In most cases, that outside force is envisioned as either an Old World white culture, a lost civilization like Atlantis populated by white people, or space aliens who take over the traditional colonialist role of white savior. It’s certainly no coincidence that at first the aliens were envisioned as superpowered white people, the so-called Nordics.
Even when writers of pseudohistory would personally be appalled by outright or explicit racism, they still have a hand in promoting Victorian imperialist and colonialist narratives that subtly (and often not so subtly) place white people at the center of the narrative of world history and the true source of wisdom, enlightenment, and genius. Not to put too fine a point on it, but there is a reason that Europeans reimagined native culture heroes as “white gods” and why modern fringe writers still emphasize the role of “white” gods like Quetzalcoatl and Viracocha above all others.
What is interesting, however, is the way Peters looks at the range of Rogan guests to draw out the underlying patterns. Sometimes it’s hard to find terminology to describe why Alex Jones is similar to Tom DeLonge and Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris and Graham Hancock and whatever alt-right personality Rogan is infatuated with in a given week. The differences among these people are profound. They don’t share the same political views, or social views, or economic views. Some are relatively serious and others are looney tunes. But there is no doubt that they exist on the same continuum that orbits in opposition to an imaginary mainstream culture that they define as totalitarian in its ability to impose a dogmatic orthodoxy that unfairly favors people who aren’t like them. They are also almost all white men, mostly over 40, and mostly see themselves as possessed of profound secret wisdom.
3/22/2019 08:42:50 am
What are Joe Rogan's credentials as a commentator and seeker of truth in history and science and most everything else? Oh yeah - he's a stand up comedian. I wouldn't worry about him as one who will change society for the worse.
3/22/2019 10:10:04 am
White men are not destroying this world. Neither are blacks, women, or Hindus. What's destroying this world is the sick and evil belief that men aren't responsible for their actions but only their beliefs. What's destroying the world is a sick and blind allegiance to the status quo in act and belief. Alternative thinkers are among the few seeking answers and reality.
3/22/2019 10:40:32 am
I'm just wondering how far you can go in demonizing white males before they're entitled to a bit of anger...
An Anonymous Nerd
3/23/2019 10:54:21 am
Oh, I don't know....Non-White men have been demonized for centuries and continue to be so, and White men tend to object to their being angry. So I'd guess it's a few more centuries? And don't folks of your political faith tend to view the term "entitled" negatively? When it's other folks anyway.
3/24/2019 10:49:18 pm
I'm only half white but identify enough with white that this leftist psuedopsychology that seeks to boil down the ideology of every white male brain in the world into a Freudian "they think the way they do because they're losing power" sort of annoys me. When half of these angry white male ideologues are married to nonwhite women and the white savior narrative being so obviously the core of white leftism, it reeks of "we aren't going to try to refute you just call you a white man and end the debate there". Which is so bafflingly pointless because these people's ideologies are so easy to refute in any fair debate. Demonizing Alex Jones for being a white man makes him invincible because anyone who is white or looks pale enough to pass for white doesn't want to be told to shut up because they have the wrong race to engage in any kind of democratic debate. If you want to refute Alex Jones, just show clips of him talking about martian child slaves or mass graves on the moon or his crummy fake snake oil products. Saying "Alex Jones is white male therefore evil and toxic" will only strengthen him by turning it into a white male solidarity issue. Jordan Peterson is better refuted by simply pointing out that his views are wildly inconsistent, not by screaming "white male white male" especially since you people tend to play it fast and sloppy with who is and is not a white male and therefore leave it unpredictable as to who can and cannot be censored for being the wrong (white) race. Yes, I'm getting personal with this. While to anyone who isn't a moron its obvious by my facial features that I'm only half white, the nose and lips and slight tan etc, by a purely pigmentary judgement I have light brown hair and dark green eyes which makes me pass as white and I'm not going to be told to shut up because someone thinks I'm white. I'm entirely for the humiliation of these worthless Neo-victorian clowns, but they are most effectively humiliated by the airing out of their worthless ideas as opposed to demonizing them for the physiological traits they share with hundreds of millions of people.
An Anonymous Nerd
3/26/2019 07:47:17 am
Person posting under the name "Jason:"
3/22/2019 11:02:22 am
If reality is racist, then what can you do?
3/22/2019 02:14:33 pm
When the reality is a disconcertingly high percentage of American adults are extraordinarily ignorant, while at the same time arrogant and will not shut up, spewing their ignorance as authority because
Racist as in Political Correctness
3/22/2019 04:04:41 pm
Screw political correctness that has got nothing to do with "reality" - they would soon drop their faces if we cut off charities to their countries.
3/22/2019 12:05:13 pm
"—he perhaps sees things through too much of an anti-Trump lens—"
Charities in Third World Countries
3/22/2019 12:24:01 pm
"white people at the center of the narrative of world history and the true source of wisdom"
3/22/2019 01:38:29 pm
"many of them are selling the notion of re-establishing the straight white male at the center of the universe" may be true of Rogan's guests - I don't watch him. But the pseudohistorians I am familiar with don't seem particularly concerned with straightness.
3/22/2019 02:00:44 pm
The Slate piece is way too harsh. It cherry picks which Rogan guests to highlight and re-casts some people like Bret Weinstein as angry white guys (read WASP) who hate the Left in order to make the case against Rogan.
ALL AID SHOULD BE STOPPED - NOW !!
3/22/2019 04:06:55 pm
If it's "racist" to acknowledge the existence of Third World Countries that rely on the goodwill of the economical powerful white countries
3/22/2019 04:09:28 pm
Some of the stuff found on Blogs like this is just as crazy as found anywhere else
An Anonymous Nerd
3/22/2019 07:32:07 pm
[economical powerful white countries]
3/26/2019 10:30:38 am
India, Mexico to some degree, Brazil before very long, probably Indonesia too, and several others. Get used to a world where it isn't that important how the US/'West' is doing, because that matters less each decade.
An Anonymous Nerd
3/22/2019 07:28:03 pm
I don't know what to make of the Slate piece.
3/22/2019 08:59:27 pm
Slate? Really you are going there? Rogan has a very interesting podcast...hell Roger Penrose was on recently...or is he just another "white guy?" He has had on some really interesting physicists and evolutionary biologists and yes MMA fighters. The recent broadcast with Tim Poole and Jack Dorsey was insightful and damn frightful for someone like myself who believes companies need to live within the bounds of the bill of rights.
3/23/2019 12:12:57 am
"Second, and often simultaneously, many of them are selling the notion of re-establishing the straight white male at the center of the universe. They do this indirectly, by rejecting, rebuking, and mocking the ways in which members of traditional minority groups have begun to find and assert their voices and priorities via digital media. They imply that these “social justice warriors” are overly sensitive, or that they act as bullies by expressing displeasure with “politically incorrect” speech, or that they are uniformly inconsistent and insincere. […]"
3/23/2019 12:50:05 am
I'll be leaving here soon, Jason.
3/23/2019 05:58:42 am
Uh, Jason arguably IS in Gen X.
3/23/2019 10:20:48 pm
You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.
4/9/2019 11:44:16 pm
You are also a little squirmey queer.
3/26/2019 11:13:29 am
The NY Times had a more balanced piece out about Joe Rogan and the Intellectual Dark Web about a year ago: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/08/opinion/intellectual-dark-web.html
An Anonymous Nerd
3/26/2019 08:39:35 pm
[It's amazing how the notion of free speech has evolved,]
3/26/2019 08:56:53 pm
Wow. You truly are inane. A bit delusional too, believing that what I write is an invitation for you to regurgitate your bullshit politics. Cyber-stalk much?
1/24/2020 06:43:22 pm
Thats really a bad article. Its disguisting to see how some people want censorship these days. I dont see any arguments here against one real topic. Only fals accusation and cherry picking to the worst. You dont get to talk about any ideas. Joe Rogan is a good guy, he has guests from left to right. He even had Bernie Sanders on his podcast!
3/1/2020 10:26:53 pm
LOL Joe Rogan has some goofballs on, but anyone who believes television or the New York Times is either mentally retarded or a cultist. You losers are just mad because nobody gives a shit about your establishment horse-shit. America is the Evil Empire and you cuntbags are its useful idiots. Get cancer in your dick, fag.
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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