Monday, January 27, 2020

On Joe Rogan's Endorsement Of Bernie Sanders

If you're paying attention to this kind of shit, you probably already know that Joe Rogan kinda sorta endorsed Bernie Sanders, saying on his show that he would "probably" vote for Sanders. The Sanders Twitter account then tweeted a video of the part of the show in which Rogan said this, also quoting him in text, which was widely interpreted as an acceptance of this endorsement.

Up front I'm gonna say that I do not like Joe Rogan. I think he's a perfect representative of the privileged cis straight able-bodied white dude who is mad that he can't throw around slurs and generally be a piece of shit without consequences anymore, but he also has a lot of money so he made a radio show about it. I blame him for having to hear my own brother say the phrase "social justice warriors" in that snotty tone and for introducing him favorably to fucking Jordan Peterson. I have been worried that my brother would be drawn into white nationalism because of Joe Rogan, because that seems to be what Joe Rogan does, knowingly or not.

People's issues with Rogan go far beyond the fact that, as some Bernie worshippers have tried to claim, saying a couple problematic things in the past. He is misogynistic, racist, transphobic, rankly ableist and fatphobic, and spreads all of this to his millions of loyal listeners. In my view, he is a shitty bigot who has occasionally had a decent thought pass through his brain. But more than that, he is a dangerous public figure who functions as a gateway to the "alt-right" and the fascism and white supremacy beyond.

Does this mean I won't be supporting Bernie anymore? No, it doesn't mean that. It does mean I don't want to support him, which is the same thing I felt back when Bernie went on Joe Rogan's show last summer. I feel like people didn't get as upset about Bernie's friendliness with Rogan back then, but that is perhaps because the primaries are about to begin and Bernie is now very clearly at the front of the pack with Biden.

There is one point that Bernie supporters have made about this that I think is a good one -- that it is just as bad or worse that Elizabeth Warren accepted the endorsement of the New York Times, or half of it, or whatever. They rightly point out that although no one blinks at a New York Times endorsement, the news giant is a neoliberal beacon that has supported imperialism and other policies that have killed more people and caused more suffering than Joe Rogan ever could, hopefully.

Though the NYT may not be as overtly shitty as Rogan, they have more influence and in a more subtle way have likely done more damage. I also feel like the split Warren/Klobuchar endorsement seems sexist. Like, Bernie and Warren have a lot more in common than Warren and Klobuchar. Liz and Amy aren't interchangeable because they're women, NYT.

Rogan has also claimed that Warren, along with most other Democratic candidates, sought to be on his show. I don't trust Rogan, but Warren's camp has neither confirmed nor denied this. As far as I can tell, they haven't commented on the Rogan endorsement at all, which I find curious.

Some people have tried to claim, or seemed to vocally hope, that Sanders was simply unaware of Rogan's shittiness. I don't buy that for a minute. Rogan is a famous man well-known for being basically South Park incarnate and Sanders' campaign managers undoubtedly held meetings to decide whether he would go on Rogan's show and whether they would accept his endorsement. If they didn't totally suck at their jobs, they weighed the benefits of gaining some of Rogan's fans against the possibility of losing some people who Rogan has harmed.

We know what he chose. That's just the reality of it. As usual, my plea to people is not to support or reject Bernie but to LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE if they're angry or publicly deciding not to support Bernie because of this. Bernie Sanders accepted that he would lose a certain number of trans people, women, people of color, disabled people, fat people, etc. You should, too.

You're not going to get anywhere yelling at hurt marginalized people that they shouldn't be feeling hurt, no matter what Bernie has done to try and help them in the past. And more importantly, you're an asshole for doing so. They have a right to their anger and their hurt. Neither you nor Bernie has a right to their support.

I know many people feel that the ends justify the means. I have in the past felt strongly that if we can't save ourselves without hurting those already in the most pain, we don't deserve to survive. Right now I just feel tired.

Just 10 months and four days until November.

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