Saw this going viral Between The World And Men: Truckers, Rogan, Peterson and the revolt of masculinity
You can see similar “tough people” fault-lines in the other recent Covid contretemps involving Joe Rogan. The millions of men (71 percent male, and evenly split between high school and college grads) who listen to Rogan’s legendary podcast have rallied to him, even as the media establishment has been waging a fully-flexed campaign against him and some of his Covid coverage. There’s something about masking — chin-diapers — and mandating vaccines, and vaccines themselves, that some men seem to find feminizing.
Except that enough men do not find them feminizing, or do not care either way, so this is how in spite of Congress being 90% male there are still mask mandates in certain states, and why masks still persist even if a lot of people really dislike them (even in ‘red states’ there are many stores that require masks).
He’s in no way a bully or blowhard. Just listen to him: his tone is mellifluous, curious, amused. His masculinity is unforced, funny and real. He’s genuinely ingenuous — the way most humans are, possessing the kind of credulousness journalists are trained out of. But that’s why he has 11 million listeners and CNN has a little over 500,000. One of his most frequent guests is the brilliant comic Tim Dillon — openly gay and stereotypically male.
The U.S. adult population is 200 million people. I would estimate at least 100 million have no idea who Rogan is or do not care. Same for Tucker, who despite being in the news constantly, only draws 3 million nightly viewers, which is tiny relative to the size of the U.S. population.
Rush Limbaugh was a bigger deal in the early 90s than even Mr. Rogan is now. There was much less competition back then, so Mr. Limbaugh was probably the only major voice of conservatism in mainstream American media. What did that get us: 2 terms of Clinton, 2 terms of Obama, and 2 Terms of Bush, the latter who appointed John Roberts, arguably one of the biggest betrayals ever. Trump is the only possible exception to what has been a 30+ year trend of the perseverance of the status quo. The 90% male, GOP-controlled congress, whether under Gingrich, Paul Ryan, or Boehner, were predictably useless at stopping the inexorable march of the left. Hannity weas a big deal in the early to mid 2000s and that too led to Obama.
Why do people mock David French as being weak, low-T and sexually incontinent? Because pieces like this announce he’s a little bitch … *also because, come on, look at him.” Never mind that French served in Iraq, and has long fought courageously for religious freedom.
Why does Mr. French still have a large platform and is influential if his opinions are so wrong? By Mr. Sullivan’s logic, low-T Mr. French should have been put out of business by now by this new brand of masculine conservatism, but this has not happened. Mr. French still fills a sufficiently important niche to be employed and be influential in his own right. We see this over and over, whether it is never-Trumpers, National Review, Newsweek, Gawker, ‘legacy media’, etc. All of these things that are supposed to be dead or unpopular keep hanging on forever.
David Frum (and others) is still important even though he was the biggest cheerleader for the Iraq war. It’s not that people have short memories, but that everyone fills a niche. He fills a niche of being a counterpart to Tucker and a tool for the establishment and those who agree with it. If these people were being hired only for their accuracy, they’d all be out of business by now.
Outside of the major party platforms, everything is a niche to some extent. Online, it’s easy to overestimate the size of one’s social circle or influence, because social media tends to put a megaphone to the loudest or most controversial of voices, but this does not necessarily mean that such people are powerful per say. Rogan’s tweets and Instagram updates routinely get hundreds of thousands of engagements, so one may be inclined to overestimate his popularity relative to the overall country, when he’s really just a niche, albeit a large one. David French and his low-t brand of conservatism also is another niche.
Rogan and Peterson are very popular among their respective audiences, which on an absolute basis is a lot of people (in the millions in the U.S. alone), but still not enough to have an affect on policy, and even if it did have an effect, would it lead to the outcome ‘we’ desire? Do we want to replace democratic multiculturalism with just more bland, racially-blind, center-right conservatism? Multiculturalism and racial blindless are just opposite sides of the same coin.
Overall, Mr. Rogan, as popular and influential as he is, is unfortunately not a harbinger of anything. A single individual who holds the the levers of power is equal to probably hundreds of thousands of Rogan listeners.