A few facts about me:
a. I’m a big Joe Rogan fan. And my feelings about CNN are neutral, at best.
b. I like podcasts; however, my patience is limited and I prefer listening in 5-15 minute bursts.
c. I loathe intellectual dishonesty and the inability in our modern era of having a nuanced and civil discussion.
Joe Rogan vs Dr. Sanjay Gupta
When I started seeing clips on YouTube of Joe Rogan’s podcast with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical advisor, I was intrigued.
For the uninitiated, Joe Rogan is by no means against the Covid vaccine. But he retains an extremely healthy skepticism, and questions everything from vaccine mandates to vaccinating children, who have an extremely low risk of developing a serious case of Covid.
And then Joe Rogan got Covid himself.
And the vultures came out from the woodworks, dredging up every soundbite they could find, attempting to belittle his attitude, beliefs, and skeptical ways.
And then he got better in five days, without a scratch. He’s alive and well, ready to discuss the dangers of how media outlets, like CNN, addressed the situation. And it’s not pretty.
Joe Rogan vs The Media
One of the medications Rogan took is called Ivermectin. This is a drug used across the world to treat a myriad of illnesses, and it is so effective and impressive, its creator was awarded a Nobel Prize. It’s also a drug used for deworming horses. And the media, like CNN, chose to criticize Joe Rogan for risking his health and the health of anyone who might be listening, by subjecting himself to medicine designed exclusively for horses.
The mainstream media had a goal here: Full and complete capitulation. They wanted Joe Rogan to get seriously ill, and then fall to their feet explaining that the virus is the most horrible thing the world has ever known. And they wanted him to exclaim, repeatedly and emphatically, that there is no way out of this crisis other than every human being alive running out and getting the vaccine right now. In fact, not only should you get the vaccine, but you should get a new one every two months, wear a mask even in the privacy of your own home, quit your job, and never interact with another human being again. The Corona Oracle has spoken!
But they messed with the wrong person.
Rogan was back training like a monster in a matter of days, and was able to tell his CNN tale to his audience, his audience that is more than twice as large as that of CNN. And he didn’t offer a groveling apology, so reminiscent of countless people in our generation. No, he told the facts. And he did not give CNN any wiggle room to pretend like they told the news in any fashion that was accurate or appropriate.
And he made them look like fools. They deserved it.
They still do.
But the conversation was not over…
What happened next was both a miracle of our generation and very indicative of it as well.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, reached out to Joe Rogan and they arranged to do a podcast together. What followed next was a perfect example of what always happens nowadays.
I found out about the interview after seeing countless YouTube videos with titles like “Joe Rogan obliterates CNN chief medical correspondent” or “Rogan humiliates CNN and proves they are liars”. But digging a little deeper, I was able to find some more clips speaking about how awful Joe Rogan looked in the face of the brilliant Sanjay Gupta. I watched as members of The View mocked Rogan and said they had no interest in hearing the naive opinions of “crazy people”.
So I decided to do something that goes against my nature, because it had to be done. I didn’t want other people using five-minute clips to tell me what the two spoke about. I went ahead and listened to the entire three-hour (!) interview. And what I listened to was a miracle of this day and age. No one was obliterated or humiliated. No one was mocked. No one oozed naivete or insanity. No, I listened to two wise, grown adults have a civil and intelligent discussion. I listened to two new friends share some whiskey together and bond over a riveting and extraordinarily important topic.
And I was once again reminded that we live in a post-conversation era.
The Vital Conversation
This conversation was vital. They debated about whether children should get vaccinated, who should get booster shots, the legitimacy of vaccine concerns, other factors that affect immunity, alternatives to vaccination, and so many more extremely important topics.
But most of those sound bites are not circulating around the internet. It’s not newsworthy to say two grown men engaged in polite dialogue, no matter how great the conversation went. No matter how much can be gained from listening to every word.
No, in the eyes of the media and the world at large, Joe Rogan and Dr. Sanjay Gupta were locked in a cage and were battling it out. There could be no common ground. One would emerge clearly victorious, and the other would be devastated, and shamed out of public life for good. Their career would be terminated and we’d never hear from them again.
Embrace the Different
It breaks my heart.
It pains me that we’re incapable in this generation of talking to each other like human beings. We can’t disagree and still like one another. We can’t argue without derisive mocking. And we’re certainly not capable of backing down and admitting that maybe we’re mistaken or at least have more to learn about a topic.
This conversation needed to happen.
And thousands more just like it need to happen as well, or we’re going to lose our humanity. We’re going to cease to be the great and mighty species we’re supposed to be.
We need to be able to look at each other and see similarities instead of differences. Or see differences, but love and appreciate them. And we need to learn that opinions could and should have nuance. In between one viewpoint and another is a world of subtle differences, and they should all be explored. Or at least respected.
Anything less, and it doesn’t matter if we’re all lost in a pandemic. We were already lost well beforehand.It pains me that we're incapable in this generation of talking to each other like human beings. We can't disagree and still like one another. Click To Tweet