TBT: Big Deal

The big news in media a year ago was that Joe Rogan had signed an exclusive deal with Spotify, purported to be worth around $100 million.  At the time, it seemed that Rogan and/or Spotify was/were purging from the platform the edgiest of Rogan’s guests, the interesting dissidents like Gavin McInnes.

As I wrote last year, “Imagine, though, what [Rogan] could have done for free speech and liberty if he’d fought against the SJWs and taken the McInnes route [of starting his own platform].”

Well, it seems that Rogan is beginning to realize the price of doing business with the wokesters.  In a recent interview, Rogan bemoaned the death of comedy films, as now any bit of humor can be construed as a form of privilege, or of otherwise marginalizing some allegedly oppressed and, therefore, humorless minority.  Rogan even went so far as to claim that “it will eventually get to straight white men are not allowed to talk.”

Rogan seems to be waking up to reality, albeit belatedly.  Let’s see if he puts his money where his mouth is and pushes back against the social justice tyranny, or continues to rest on his lucrative laurels.

Here is 20 May 2020’s “Big Deal“:

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Phone it in Friday XIII: Come on Get Happy

It’s been another wild Friday afternoon of funcling, so I’m resorting to phoning it in once again this evening.  I spent the morning at the doctor’s office for my annual wellness visit, got an end-of-summer-vacation haircut, and finished up my Pre-AP Music Zoom sessions.  Since then, I’ve been knee-deep in babies for the second day in a row.

While I was driving all over the Central Savannah River Area, I tuned in to Z Man’s weekly podcast, which pops Friday mornings.  The show this week is called “Happy Happy Fun Time,” in which Z Man shares a message I promoted a few weeks ago:  despair is a sin, and we have much for which we can give thanks.

Z himself can over a jaundiced, cantankerous perspective on the world, a la H.L. Mencken (whom he clearly admires).  But Z’s argument is straightforward:  if we just focus on politics, all the time, we stop being fun.  Life is for the living, and many folks on the Dissident Right tend to get so bogged down in the seeming hopelessness of the Leftist-dominated culture wars, they cease enjoying life.

NEO at Nebraska Energy Observer attributes a similar nugget of wisdom to one of his regular contributors, Audre Myers.  It’s also the guiding principle of Gavin McInnes (and, to an extent, Milo), who laments how much more fun life used to be before the Leftists sucked all of the joy out of it.  Z points out that the Left wants us to despair because their lives suck.  Their unhappiness is, to some degree, why they are Leftists in the first place.

It’s well worth setting aside an hour to listen to this episode of Z Man’s podcast, The Z Man Power Hour.  So I’m dedicating this post to just that:

Happy Friday!

—TPP

Big Deal

A big story in media this week is Joe Rogan, host of the popular podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, has signed an exclusive deal with Spotify that could be worth over $100 million.

Joe Rogan’s podcast has been around since 2009, and features long (two hours or more) interviews with personalities from every background and occupation.  The long-ranging, free-flowing conversations (really, they’re more conversations than traditional interviews) make for great listening, and I suspect part of the key to Rogan’s success is that he offers something for everyone.  For example, I ignore most of Rogan’s content, but I’ll never miss an interview he does with any of the various figures on the Right, from Ben Shapiro to Gavin McInnes (persona non grata from Rogan’s show these days, unfortunately).

McInnes describes Rogan as a man with a “blue-collar brain,” but who is generally open to learning.  That is, he’s rather meat-headed and unsophisticated in his analysis, but he’s willing to discuss anything with anyone (Flat Earthers, for example, are regulars on his show).  His only real sticking point, until the SJWs targeted him, was marijuana.  He lost it on Steven Crowder for merely suggesting that copious consumption of marijuana isn’t completely benign.  Yikes!

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Phone it in Friday VI: Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, readers!  Don’t try going out to eat tonight—it’s going to be a mad house.  Sensible couples will probably wait and dine out on a less sexy night, like Tuesday, or pick up Taco Bell.

We’re in the midst of a glorious four-day “Winter Break.”  The great thing about teaching is all the bogus holidays.  Valentine’s Day and President’s Day just happen to bookend the weekend, so why not turn it into a slightly-extended holiday?

In the spirit of Jay Nordlinger, today’s post is going to be a series of barely-related reflections, as well as some links to the stuff you should read or watch.  Speaking of Nordlinger, how do I land a gig getting paid to write about classical music in exotic parts of the world?

But I digress.  Here are some reflections on this Day of Love:

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Dawn of a Decade

Happy New Year!  It’s 2020!  Wags will quip that “it’s not really a new decade—that doesn’t start until next year, in 2021.”  It’s a case where the wags are correct on the facts, but don’t appreciate how appealing that nice, round “0” at the end looks.  Everyone was excited for 2000 AD; 2001 was greeted with shrugs.

Regardless, it’s an exciting time to be alive, in every sense of the word “exciting.”  2020 is a presidential election year, with a contentious, cartoonish Democratic primary season to endure.  The impeachment trial is (allegedly) coming up soon, if Speaker Nancy Pelosi decides to rummage through her purse and take them to the Senate.

America is enjoying an economic boom, with a long bull market and the lowest unemployment rate since 1969.  President Trump’s administration is restoring some sense of sanity and reason to the absurdity of 21st-century governance.  He at least expects the government to work for the American people, not actively against them.

New Years’ Day is when bloggers both look back to the year recently passed, and look ahead to the coming year.  Prediction posts are popular and fun, so long as you don’t take them too seriously.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: End-of-Decade Reflections; Age and Class

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

Today’s post is a bit of a counterpoint to yesterday’s Trumpian triumphalism—not a repudiation of my own points, but a mild qualifier.  Yesterday’s post discussed the hard numbers behind the Trump economy, and the enormous gains in the S&P 500.

I argued that, unlike the “sugar high” years of the Obama Fed—when stock prices soared, but wages remained low and unemployment high—the growth we’re currently enjoying more accurately reflects the reality on the ground.  Americans are benefiting in their 401(k)s and their IRAs, to be sure, but they’re also enjoying higher wages, and more of us are working than at any point in our history since 1969.

All of that is true, and good.  But as I wrote yesterday’s post, I couldn’t escape the nagging feeling that something is still off.  There remains a real disconnect between the prosperity we see both in reality and on paper, and the sense that there is a lack of prosperity.

Since popular politics is a matter of emotions and feeling far more than it is about reasoned discourse, addressing that enduring sense of economic disparity and privation is critical.  My foolish but troubled generation, which came of age and fought for jobs during the Great Recession, perceives that gap profoundly—with potentially major consequences for the future of the United States and the West.

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Napoleonic Christmas

It’s Christmas Week!  And what a glorious week it is.  It’s been raining persistently in South Carolina since Sunday morning, but I’m enjoying the coziness of the hygge—warm coffee and lazy reading.

PragerU had a little video up this morning from historian Andrew Roberts about Napoleon.  It’s an interesting take on the not-so-short French emperor—an apologia, really (for those that prefer reading—as I often do—to watching videos, here is a PDF transcript).

Roberts argues that Napoleon was not the necessary precursor to Hitler, et. al.; rather, Napoloen was “sui generis“—a man unto himself.  While I believe the ideas of the French Revolution did unleash the totalitarian forces of Hitlerism, Stalinism, Maoism, and all the rest—a murderous, bloody Pandora’s Box—I’ve never considered Napoleon among their ranks.

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A Little Derb’ll Do Ya: Haydn’s “Derbyshire Marches”

My Saturday morning ritual involves “sleeping in” until about 8:30 AM, brewing some coffee, and listening to Radio Derb, John Derbyshire’s weekly podcast for VDare.com.  Derb goes back for years—he used to write for National Review, before they kicked him out for writing “The Talk: Nonblack Version” for Taki’s Magazine.

I first found out about him and his controversial essay from NR, back when I was a devout print subscriber, amid the heady days when campus protests were novel enough to be terrifying.  NR ran a little blurb about Williams College cancelling a scheduled talk from Derb, and I’ve been listening to his podcast—an entertaining mix of news, science, political and cultural commentary, and updates on the president of Turkmenistan—ever since.

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