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Joe Rogan to many people is the guy from Fear Factor or a comedian and to many others like myself he is an important male role model in society. In a world where young men are taught to be ashamed of their masculinity or told they are toxic, Joe Rogan stands alone showing that men can be both athletic and smart, firm yet fair and assertive yet kind. Rogan is truly curious and open-minded; he will talk to anyone from any political point of view. His guests range from Democratic Socialist Cornel West to Ben Shapiro. Rogan’s podcast threatens the mainstream, because the days of unintelligent and frankly uninteresting talking points may end or be altered so journalists and commentators will actually have to do the job of questioning and getting to the truth.
My dad introduced to me the Joe Rogan Experience when I was 17 and he was, unfortunately, in another battle with drugs. I was 17 depressed and usually angry. I was aware of those problems and sometimes acted impulsively, filled with anger and was depressed to the point of self-harm. Those issues are now long gone thanks to my family, finding meaning in my life through God, though I am always an imperfect Christian man of course. I cleaned up my act a lot when I was 17 going on 18. Of course, I struggled, I discovered politics and was ardently conservative I would argue with everyone and anyone over politics, but this is exhausting and not healthy. I saw myself becoming what I accused liberals of being: Intolerable, angry, and very tribal. As of 2017/18 due to quite an embarrassing display of decorum, I do not debate with people online because I was not mature enough to handle it and now I realize I am confident enough in my own opinions so for me there is no need to “own the libs” online. Politics was not apart of my life it was consuming my life. It is fairly common for young people that participate in politics to have politics consume them. I would defend every conservative talking point even if I had my own reservations. As I discovered when politics becomes your only identity you will defend it no matter what. I was convinced that conceding mistakes and policies made me weak, but a man who concedes nothing all the time is an insecure man and one who only concedes is a weak men, confident men follow their own path. I am not very good at lying to myself so the behavior stopped because I did not like that intellectual dishonesty.
Joe Rogan’s guests made me question my inner cowardice when it came to the Drug War and Gay Marriage, both of which I am more liberal on and always was but tried not to be in order to be a good conservative. I listened to many people I disagree with, but that dose of dissonance is what young people need left and right. Joe Rogan changes his opinion frequently and tries to understand his guests’ views. Intellectual diversity is what we all need.
The podcast introduced me to Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, Dave Rubin, and other guests male and female who I admire. Seeing people prominent progressives like Jimmy Dore, Cornel West, or Kyle Kulinski explain their positions which I ardently disagree with humanizes both them and I making me constantly realize politics is secondary to realizing we are all human beings. I go in listening expecting to learn something I did not know. A profound quote from an episode with Dr. Cornel West is one we could all learn from where he states, “Love is not reducible to politics.”
Rogan among the media elite and dishonest actors has a reputation for “radicalizing” young men along with his fellow intellectual dark web members and I could not disagree more. Joe Rogan and his guests made me realize politics is not a game. It is fellow citizens’ lives at stake. Those who believe we should always find consensus among each other are wrong. If we cannot agree we should be able to understand each other to ensure we know that we all are on the same team. I know countless lives that have been impacted by Rogan or his guests. Joe Rogan’s audience crosses racial, gender, religious, and political lines that is why dishonest smears do not stick to him. Rogan’s podcast was common ground for my dad and I; so even when my dad struggles with addiction still I take my ego out and help him to the best of my ability a frequent guest on the podcast Jordan Peterson said something that spoke to me, “Pick up for suffering and bear it, try to be a good person so you don’t make it worse; life is suffering, accept it. What do you do in the face of that suffering? Try to reduce it, start with yourself.” Forgiveness and grace the two most powerful forces that can defy any odds. God knows I have needed it and try to help my dad and anyone in pain, because that is what good men do, they make the world less insufferable.
The podcast is a force for a good in a world that demands you pick a side. So many are tired of going on Fox or CNN only to see segments of complex issues that require complex thinking devolve into screaming matches that could make a toddler in their terrible two’s blush. Podcasting has given controversial people and controversial ideas a chance to explain. I am about as imperfect person as there is, and knowing that humbles me. Does Rogan ever get angry or stubborn? Of course, as we all do but he acknowledges when he does and his audience respects him for it, as a reward his audience grants him and his guests the benefit of the doubt. When stars get canceled often their base abandons them and because of good PR they presented themselves not as a vulnerable human, but as a star, so it is easy to dump them and move onto the next. In this era, all of our egos need to be checked. Joe Rogan himself is not the only person making a difference it is all the people he has introduced into people’s lives that have made a difference. That is something to be proud of. My Joe Rogan Experience gave me a spark of intellectual curiosity, confidence, and self-awareness that turned into a flame that I hope never goes out.Published in