There’s no hiding place down here, There’s no hiding place down here, Oh I ran to the rock to hide my face The rock cried out, “”No hiding place”” No hiding place down here.
— Traditional Gospel Song
It seems there’s a whole lotta hidin’ goin’ on out there, folks. While I’d like to spend a thousand words chronicling my disappointment with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for his hypocrisy over the Joe Rogan controversy, that would miss so much of the point.
Not that Dwayne doesn’t deserve our derision for abandoning Rogan. He does. For a guy who’s built his persona around embracing everything that came before, good or bad, watching him reconsider his friendship with Rogan publicly is the ultimate betrayal of that carefully crafted persona.
Respect is hard to earn and very, very easy to lose.
Especially since it took the internet all of five minutes to dig up performances as “The Rock” which are cringe-worthy by any recent standard and him deleting tweets which were, by his own standard today, unacceptable.
So, how many rocks do you have to hide behind in your glass mansion, Dwayne?
But, again, this article isn’t about Dwayne’s flirtations with mendacity. I could literally give zero shits about his past, even though what he did as The Rock in the ring was far more venal and debasing to himself and his audience than anything Joe Rogan ever said on his podcast about black people.
Because there are no good guys in this scenario. Johnson should have stuck by Rogan. Rogan shouldn’t have apologized.
Everyone is making mistakes left and right and it will cost them more than millions of dollars.
But it wasn’t because Rogan used the word that rhymes with bigger in honest inquisitions on racism and the fearlessness of those comics who blazed a trail before him. It was because he vastly underestimated the scope and scale of the operation being run on him.
Rogan handled the initial onslaught well. As Jordan Peterson pointed out a few days ago:
That was early last week. But then the next hammer dropped. He committed the unforgiveable sin.
This is both a strategical and tactical error on his part that will hurt him more than Peterson sees here. Because they won’t stop until he’s destroyed, now that he’s given them something to throw at him. They know his weakness now.
I’m sure that Rogan thought, “I’ll just tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may.” That is consistent with his personality and his persona, since they are one and the same, unlike apparently Dwayne.
Never Give Up, Never Apologize
But there’s no hiding from the mob, especially an unforgiving mob obsessed with power and the need to take Joe Rogan down now that he nearly single-handedly destroyed the COVID-19 vaccine narrative with the truth and a couple of podcasts.
It’s easy for those behind this targeted smear campaign to gin up some fake outrage which empowers the false virtue of their cult members to attack Rogan and Spotify. When all you believe in is power, when humanity is nothing but a wall to project your own self-loathing onto, then there are no restraints on your behavior.
My intuition here is that this is not just Davos at work, but specifically this bus is being driven by Obama, who pulls the strings of the Biden administration and who, it looks like, has now corrupted Dwayne Johnson since Dwayne’s being courted as the Democrats’ 2024 savior.
(and I’m happy to have Dwayne disabuse me of this accusation)
One only has to look at the arc of Johnson’s character in the latter seasons of Ballers to see where he’s personally headed: to take on the “old boy’s club of the NFL (Wall St.) and be a champion of the people.” If there was ever a job interview masquerading as entertainment you couldn’t have asked for a better example. (Again come at me bro! mahalo!)
The difference between these two guys couldn’t be clearer. Johnson was chosen by the Old Boys’ Club while still thinking he’s the one making the choice to be a leader of the people.
On the other hand, Rogan was chosen by the people to be their proxy for keeping the lights on in the cave, screwing up the shadow play on the wall so they can make up their own minds.
Leaders are Made, Not Born
And while Joe can deny that responsibility, or more importantly, refuse to play the game, the game came to him when he signed a $100 million contract with Spotify last year.
I told you then that he blew up the Death Starwith that contract. He moved off YouTube and gave his content to Spotify to distribute, validating them and providing a counterpoint to Apple, Amazon and everyone else.
But he had to know spitting in their eye repeatedly would bring the hammer down.
Joe Rogan has now told the entire country that he’s had enough. And we needed someone like Joe to do this.
That said, Rogan is only one half of the story, however. Because at the same time, one of these platforms needed to break away from the herd and welcome the dissenters.
For Spotify, Joe Rogan is the ‘killer app’ they needed to differentiate themselves as non-partisan and begin the exodus away from the big platforms who have become nothing but partisan.
I don’t know if the board at Spotify know what they’ve just unleashed but they better realize it quick. They’re Echo Base and the walkers will be landing real soon now
And this is why Rogan’s apology is so damning. He had the world ready to follow him. But he did the one thing you can never do in this Age of Rage, apologize to them for who you were or who you are.
If they can’t handle all of you then they can’t have any of you.
So, Joe, I know you feel terrible about this, but why? No one owns any word. Words are not violence if they aren’t meant that way. Anyone who thinks that is the one with the problem.
No matter how big your voice, you can’t be responsible for people’s reactions. Their emotions are their own to process. And if they choose to process them as temper tantrums on Twitter or Instagram then let their actions be their judge.
You gained my respect speaking honestly. You lost it, apologizing because that honesty hurt the feelings of people who already despise you.