For several years now, the world has been immersed in an unforgiving and implacable revisionist spirit. Anyone who departs from the narrative approved by the political and intellectual elites is automatically ostracized – at best. This inquisitorial phenomenon has been called “Cancel Culture,” and these days it lost a very important round.
Joe Rogan, a comedian, UFC color commentator, and the world’s most successful podcaster, has been the target of attacks aimed at getting him out of the game. Even the White House itself, joined the onslaught. Joe Biden’s press secretary asked Spotify, which hosts Rogan’s podcasts, to slap the comedian with harsher censorship.
The elites do not forgive Rogan for daring to have discussions outside the approved narrative and leftist talking points. The podcaster invited on his show two prestigious doctors who question COVID vaccines, and restrictions and government lockdowns. Because of these episodes, which were listened to by millions of people around the world, a line of once successful artists (and some who have never been), threatened to leave Spotify if the platform did not censor Rogan. The most recognizable are Neil Young and Joni Mitchell.
Of course, it is alarming that, this time, the torches have been raised by a couple of artists, against a fellow creator. Former Mumford & Sons guitarist Winston Marshall wrote an excellent essay for Bari Weiss’ Substack. Marshall talks about how serious it is that artists now seek to censor other artists. They are more like Soviet-era bureaucrats than true creators. It is serious that they are taking the initiative and setting the precedent. The message is clear: no artist is safe and free in any space, at the will of other artists.
Fortunately, the Joe Rogan episode was not won by the inquisitors of the modern era. Although it has been quite a scandal in which media, intellectuals and political power orchestrated to overthrow the king of podcasts, they could not. Spotify backed Joe Rogan and let Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and other irrelevant artists flee to other platforms.
Now, very promising projects like Rumble are taking advantage of the situation. The video platform, which aspires to be YouTube’s competitor, proposed to Joe Rogan to leave Spotify and move into their platform for $100 million and the promise that his content will never be censored. Rogan has not yet commented on the matter.
Regarding this discussion, we can mention other episodes that are relevant. A few days ago, actress and commentator Whoopi Goldberg said on her show, The View, that Jews were not killed during the Holocaust because they were Jews, but because they were white. Her statements generated a wave of rejection that led to her suspension by ABC. In this regard, very influential people spoke out, some against the suspension and others, like Ben Shapiro—one of the sharpest intellectuals of the moment—proposing that she should, instead, be fired.
Although Shapiro clarifies that at any other time he would have supported Goldberg’s freedom to continue on the show and have controversial, unpopular and, as in this case, anti-Semitic opinions (Shapiro being a Jew sympathetic to the cause of the State of Israel), this time he opts for a much more rigid sanction in response to the cancel ecosystem that people like the commentator of The View have generated.
Whoopi Goldberg belongs to that progressive elite that has accompanied the cancellation of artists such as J.K. Rowling or Gina Carano, whose case exposes the double standard of the progressive elite (Carano was fired outright from Disney for expressing an opinion on the Holocaust, much less serious than what Goldberg said).
While Shapiro’s argument is valid, we believe that adopting the trappings of bigoted progressive elites would lead us down a slippery slope. We don’t know where we might end up and, it doesn’t seem it will be pretty.
Let’s look at the case of Joe Rogan as a good sign that times are changing. The world’s most-listened-to podcaster is a fringe guy for the elites. That is, the elites are no longer on the side of the majorities, even if they pretend to tell us that they do represent them. While the idea of adopting a vengeful attitude to the madness of the left is very captivating, it is time to push, more than ever, for discussion and freedom of expression, which is, in the end, the best antidote to dangerous ideas. We believe that the more voices that join the debate, the more freedom there will be and the more the advance of the cancel culture, which has been doing so much damage, will be limited.
With the Joe Rogan episode we have won one round. Now it’s time to win the next ones, until censorship is dismantled forever.