There’s No Good Excuse This Time, Joe Rogan
There’s really no good excuse this time.
Joe Rogan is releasing apology videos this week like DJ Khaled releases mixes, although they’re far less entertaining, and his latest is really not very entertaining at all.
In it, Rogan apologizes for a video that’s out there that has spliced together various times he’s used the N word on his podcast over the past decade. It’s not a good look, and Rogan admits as much in his video, in which he apologizes profusely. As he should. I’m normally not one for encouraging apologies for most cancel culture witch hunts, which tend to be subjective, political and ridiculous. But this one is about as damning and on target as you can get. The video of Rogan may be edited out of context, but there’s absolutely no context in which it would be a good thing. Not at all. And I find this, Rogan using the N word over the past decade on his podcast, to be far more damning and unsettling than his controversy from a few days ago about having covid pseudoscientists on his podcast.
I’m certainly not for spreading covid misinformation — after all, I’m one of the few people to actually call it out when it happens in local media, unlike most people around here who curiously completely ignore that — but Rogan’s show is a free-form podcast in which he has a variety of guests, some of whom are among the medical mainstream (e.g. Sanjay Gupta), and others of whom are not.
I see Rogan’s show as being less of a news show than a long-form entertainment podcast which features news elements, like the Art Bell show and Coast To Coast AM. It’s not straight news, although it certainly has news elements, and it’s one of the few programs I’ve seen on any network that actually fact checks in real time. CNN and the others should take note, and start utilizing that on their shows, because I’ve seen plenty of BS on their networks too that could’ve been easily disproven through an on-the-spot fact check. There’s this thing called the Internet now, folks, where you can get factual information in seconds. Let’s start using it.
I also believe in the first amendment and believe that Joe Rogan has a right to interview whoever he wants to on his podcast. There are plenty of radio shows and podcasts out there, and there have been throughout the history of radio and broadcast, that have featured people of dubious scientific nature and outright diversion from the truth. That’s why Rush Limbaugh always called his podcast “entertainment,” because he didn’t want to be saddled with the label of it being straight news, and God knows Rush was quite familiar with diversions from the truth.
And as such, I believe that people bear some responsibility for their own actions regardless of what they hear. There’s been BS out there for decades. Just because someone says it doesn’t mean someone has to believe it. There’s a limit on how much we should shelter people, and that limit is very small when it comes to sheltering adults from ideas. Besides, people tend to be less influenced by ideas on the fringe than they are emboldened and reinforced by them. And so I see people who hew to Rogan’s antivaxx guests and ignore his mainstream guests like Gupta as searching out confirmation bias. The same way reasonable people listening to Art Bell interview people claiming to be time travelers have a responsibility to smell bullshit and call it that rather than making it into cologne and selling it to their gullible friends.
Now, to me, there are some gray areas in that conversation.
However, to me, there are no gray areas in the N word conversation.
It’s pretty simple folks: NO WHITE PEOPLE SHOULD BE USING THAT WORD. THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO HAVE A RIGHT TO USE THAT WORK ARE BLACK PEOPLE, and I use the term black people rather than African-Americans because I would include Jamaicans and other folks of different countries of origins who are dark-skinned among those with a pass to use that word. It’s pretty simple: If you’re white, you don’t use the word. End of sentence. End of story.
Now, if someone had audio of Rogan using it in his standup back in the ’70s or something, it wouldn’t be good, certainly, but, different time, less enlightened, etc.
There is absolutely no excuse for him to have used it in the last decade. NONE. AT ALL. Especially not on a friggin podcast! I don’t care about the context. If you’re talking about its usage elsewhere or as part of a news story, you use “the N word.” Everyone knows what “N word” you’re talking about. It ain’t Newcastle.
There is NO excuse for it to be used.
End of story.
Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.