Remember in fourth grade when you wanted another kid to do something they didn’t want to do, like trade their Ding Dong for your bruised banana or let you cut in front of them in the lunch line? You basically had three options: you could ask nicely for the coveted thing, you could try to take it by force, or you could unleash the threat; the big one, the queen-mother of nine-year-old bribes:

“If you don’t, I won’t invite you to my birthday party.”

Most of us grew out of that phase eventually, realizing that other people have their own wants and needs that sometimes directly conflict with our own, and more importantly, that they’re wholly entitled to them.

I guess Joni Mitchell and Neil Young didn’t get the memo. Let me add here that being fairly ancient myself, I have plenty of both artists’ tunes in my Spotify library. But now the aging, desperate-to-stay-relevant rockers don’t want their music on the same streaming service as podcast heavyweight Joe Rogan, who they believe to be “spreading COVID misinformation,” by interviewing, in particular, two of the most credible subject experts on the planet.  

They can have Rogan or Young,” stomped the latter, essentially uninviting the entire Spotify community to his dusty old birthday party. “Not both.

(Spoiler: They’re having Rogan.)  

As is par for the ridiculously embittered COVID course, the internet is deeply divided by this. On the one hand, you have folks essentially accusing Rogan of murder and announcing they are “canceling their Spotify accounts immediately” in censorship solidarity.

“The only way we get this stupidity stopped is by stepping out and calling them on it,” declared one commenter. “Truth is all we want. Facts and truth!! I applaud Neil and Joni!”

Facts and truth? As in, the relentless regurgitation of “safe and effective” from alphabet agencies and Adolf Fauci? It’s worth noting that the dangerous Rogan show guests in question are Dr. Robert Malone, inventor of several of the original mRNA vaccine patents, and Dr. Peter McCullough, the most published cardiologist in the world. And yet people are boycotting not just a show but an entire platform because it has the audacity to give airtime to experts who oppose the carefully curated, albeit tenuous and constantly shifting narrative.

(Sidenote: What sort of witchcraft is the vax-camp brewing over there exactly? How on earth do they get people to not just eagerly line up to get jabbed with dangerous experimental drugs and champion censorship but to demand a swift and permanent end to all scientific discussion? It’s a shame they don’t use their impressive powers of persuasion to, oh I don’t know, get people to stop eating processed crap, get up off their fat asses and exercise or maybe just be kind to one another. But I digress.)

On the other side, you’ve got a whole bunch of fed up, freedom-loving folks citing first amendment rights and calling out embarrassing examples of the blatant and undeniable “misinformation” we’ve been fed over the past two years by the same administration the other camp has canonized.

You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccines.” ~Biden
Vaccinated people do not carry the virus, and they don’t get sick.” ~Walensky
When people are vaccinated, they can feel safe that they are not going to get infected.” ~Fauci


After Young and Mitchell had their little tantrums, Rogan came out with a heartfelt, calculated mea culpa. What choice did he have? [Insert flashback of your mom barking, “You apologize to your sister this minute for flushing her Barbie down the toilet, or else!”] His Spotify bosses were probably pissed—or maybe not? All press is good press, right?—and nobody does the self-deprecating I’m-just-a-dumb-dude bit better than Rogan.

In the video-selfie clip [which currently has nearly 7 million views], the podcaster thanked his supporters and haters, addressed the hypocrisy of calling alternate scientific viewpoints “misinformation,” and vowed to “try to balance out more controversial viewpoints with other people’s perspectives.”

Here’s the thing, Joe: You ARE the balance. The media, the CDC, the FDA and our entire administration have made an impenetrable “this is our story and we’re sticking with it” pact. Despite the fact that questioning is the very foundation of science, and that second opinions are a fundamental part of the practice of medicine, these two elements have been systematically stymied when it comes to COVID.

Why are folks so threatened by Rogan? I think it’s a little bit of buyer’s remorse. Consider: When you blow your entire budget on a cute, one-of-a-kind, final-sale dress in the almost-perfect shade of pink, the last thing you want is to find the same dress in the actually-perfect hue two stores down for half the price. You bought the dress; it can’t be returned; you’re pissed and penniless. Pretending the better dress doesn’t exist is helpful self-preservation. You make the best and move on.

Similarly, I believe the folks who loathe Joe are deathly afraid of any information that might force them to wake up from their comfortable slumber and admit that they’ve been duped.  They’re quick to attack Rogan-the-interviewer—the guy’s a comedian, a color commentator, he’s not a doctor or a scientist!—because deep down they know they’d be foolish to try to discredit his expert guests. They clearly don’t listen to the podcast; hell, they brag about not listening to it, yet they’re desperate to see him silenced, and furious that an opinion that dares to differ from the one they’ve decided to buy into is being given a global platform.

It’s sort of how the other half of us feel every time we turn on the mainstream news. So, we mostly don’t. Which incidentally, is an option plainly available to the hissyfitters who are pissed at Rogan. Clearly that won’t do though; ripping out his metaphorical vocal cords is the only way to go. They don’t want that damned perfect dress to even exist in the world. If they can’t have that dress, nobody gets that dress. Or else!

I’ve been listening to Rogan since his guest list was mostly a rotating assortment of mixed martial artists and comedians I’d never heard of. I was thrilled when he became the only guy in town to host anyone even remotely anti-narrative; when he’d bring up the vax madness with musicians and cybersecurity experts and endurance athletes just to get their take. I love his humor and his curiosity and the way he plays devil’s advocate. I didn’t even mind when he invited CNN’s puppet doctor on the show and gave Gupta precious airtime to push the ubiquitous agenda. It was an interview. I could turn it off. I chose not to.

Chose being the operative word.

I hope Rogan doesn’t cave completely and turn the JRE into a watered-down version of its current controversial self. I hope he stays quick and clever and curious and doesn’t devolve into an ass-kissing corporate shill. I don’t think he will, but if he does, he’s totally not invited to my birthday party.