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Brian Keelan's picture

In praise of Joe Rogan

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 10:17 -- Brian Keelan

It was in high school history studying the French Revolution that I first learned about the “Estates.” At that time, there were four of them. The first three estates were the Clergy (usually where a lot of the trouble starts), the Nobility (government – where the rest of the trouble starts) and Commoners (that would be you and I who spend most of our time wondering, “what are the geniuses gonna think of next?”). The fourth estate is journalism and its battle cry was and still is all about a free press. Eventually advertising and political contributions came along and the “Free Press” became not so free anymore but if you say that to them they will get real “medieval” on you since they do not like having their “free press” integrity questioned.

Today that fourth estate - which is basically traditional newspapers, radio and TV - is getting a serious run for it’s money from the newly christened Fifth Estate. This is journalism from non-traditional sources such as blog sites and podcasts.  

I listened to Joe Rogan’s podcast of July 2nd when he hosted his third “conversation” with Jordan Peterson. In fact I listened to it twice. At three hours and thirty minutes that’s seven hours spent trying to absorb what was said about the topics they covered.

Joe Rogan is my current favourite podcaster because of the wide variety of guests he interviews. His over 1.6 million regular listeners place him at number three in the podcast world; just behind the number two podcast, “The Daily” which is The New York Times podcast  which I reckon as the fourth estate’s attempt to claim some territory in the fifth estate.

For those or you who just have to know, the number one podcast is “This American Life” which is very good but I don’t listen to it much because I just don’t have the time.

Now, given the fact that Joe Rogan is a stand-up comedian, a mixed martial arts commentator and likes to eat what he kills, I certainly did not expect him to be able to hold his own with the people he interviews; MMA fighters, comedians, doctors, scientists, intellectuals, writers, musicians, actors and other very interesting personalities.

But he does. And he has a very nice, affable way of making it look easy. This particular conversation with Jordan Peterson covered some interesting issues.

I think there’s a lot more truth in a two-and-a-half-hour conversation broadcast in its entirety versus having it edited and issued in a series of sound bites often taken out of context and used to promote the particular polarizing views of the fourth estate – the traditional media. That is the way they operate, and when that happens it really skews the content to show a particular point of view that seldom – if ever - presents a true picture of what the interviewee stands for while promoting the particular and often polarizing viewpoint of the interviewer. Sadly, that happens even more during this age of “fake news.”

As I was listening, it got me thinking about the fact that throughout history, a lot of governments like to control the information that goes to citizens so they can get them to “think” a certain way. Communism, Nazism, Fascism and other forms of dictatorship are all government methods that rely on the control of information in order to keep their people subdued and in line.

In those regimes there is no free press. The governments control the media and by doing so they control the message. In days gone by it was possible to do that, but today it is harder with internet and smart phone technology.  When I watched the Arab Spring revolution on TV, I noted that the rioters in the streets all had cellphones and I thought, “That’s why this is happening.” At Arab Spring they had smart phones and the information. Instead of flowing from the top to the bottom from a few individuals at the top to the masses beneath them - was now flowing from left to right citizen to citizen from one country to another country across the global network.

Now the governments are finding it increasingly more difficult to control or influence the truth although they are doing their very best to try and retain or regain control. But now, the truth really is, out there, and it is being embraced by more and more people every day. People are now able to make decisions about what their government is doing based on actual facts that flow freely. You just have to know where to lookm, instead of the government propaganda that flows down a river of bullshit from above the traditional first and second estates.

That was a big “aha” moment for me.

It is interesting to talk to young people and find that they don’t watch media. They mainly listen to podcasts. I now spend most of my media time in the podcast world.

Traditional newspapers have had their main source of revenue advertising seriously depleted by the new social media.  Jordan Peterson pointed out that traditional media – television, radio and newspapers had seriously underestimated their customers by assuming that they were not smart enough to want to know everything. They’d rather have it served to them in 22-minute segments with another 8 minutes of commercials. As he says, “It turns out they were wrong about that.”

Podcasting and blogging has proven that. There you can take the time you need to thoroughly discuss an issue and bring forth all the salient points involved instead of listening or watching the left calling the right a bunch of greedy, racist, gun-toting homophobes or the right calling the left a bunch of greedy, idealistic, unrealistic commie free-loaders with each side lining up to tell CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NBC , Fox, CTV or CBC that someone from the other side of the political spectrum has committed a transgression and should get into trouble. The media is only too happy to show   it over and over and over again.

Like you I have been wondering how things have deteriorated to such a sad state of affairs, so it was interesting to hear Jordan Peterson tell Joe Rogan that the “polarization of political thought” comes as, (these are my words and Mr. Peterson may not agree that I have interpreted his thoughts correctly) a last gasp effort of the top to bottom, tattle-tale efforts of the fourth estate to re-attract the audience they’re losing to the superior left-to-right technology of the newer-tech fifth estate.

Now I will agree that the fifth estate is divided into the seekers of truth as well as the left and right wing nutbars. But I think what you really need to look at are the numbers. The polarizers don’t attract the audience that the seekers of truth can claim.  The polarizers tend to get funded by people and religious and political organizations that would benefit from having their point of view being publicized. Product and service advertisers want marketing results, not votes. I also think the Chinese and the Russians and other political shit disturbers have their hand in it as well. In other words, the radical left and right wing podcasters and bloggers survive because they are funded by their top-to-bottom thinking sugar daddies.

I think that people like Jordan Peterson contribute to our society by getting people thinking and talking about significant issues that matter… really matter. I do not think he is right about everything, but I think the traditional media is unfair when they try to take him down with edited, out-of-context sound bites because he disagrees with them on some issues. It’s like they are claiming that they are the ones who are always right. That just takes us deeper into the polarization of political thought. If we have learned anything over the last couple of thousand years it would be that polarization of political thought is not a workable thing. It never ends well… but it always ends.

If I could recommend two books to any young person to read before they get out of high school, they would be Dr. Stephen Covey’s: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and Jordan Peterson’s: “12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos.”

 You may not agree with everything that gets said but that’s okay. Life doesn’t work like that. Life will always work better when you learn to think for your self. These books will just give you a track to run on. Where you ago after that is up to you.

The extreme left and right may be where the money is but the middle is where the sanity is. Now that’s just my opinion. I might be wrong so just for fun, go to YouTube and type in “Paul Thorn.” He has a great song called: “You Might Be Wrong.”

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