How Joe Rogan Makes New Ideas Accessible to Average People

He lets you think you’re smarter than him.

Taylor Foreman
Dec 1, 2020 · 5 min read
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Jumancha, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

I feel smarter than Joe Rogan.

It took me a long time to realize that he wants me to feel that way. He also wants his guests to feel that way. It makes people open up like a bloomin’ onion.

“I’m a certified moron.”

I’m starting to think you’re not a moron at all, Joe.

Not exactly the kind of quote you would expect to see from one of the most influential thinkers of our time. And — like it or not — he is one of the most influential thinkers of our time.

Joe is edging out all types of traditional media. He gets more views for a fraction of the production effort. His show was just bought for 100 million dollars by Spotify.

What is it about Joe that we love to pretend to not love?

The Smart Police Aren’t Coming

I was watching the movie “Holidate” with my girlfriend. I complained about the writing, the acting, and how dumb everything was. She put a hand on my chest and said,

First of all, that’s so awesome. I’ve never been more attracted to anyone burning me in my life.

Second, she’s right. We are all caught up in the ego game of wanting to be smart. It’s a dumb game because the prize — if achieved — is making other people feel small and alienated.

Any chance I get, I will whip out my big words and try to make everyone around me realize how smart I am. Threatened, they either do the same or withdraw from wanting to talk to me.

The more often I “act dumb” and let other people feel smart, the more love and connection I feel. No one has yet to call the smart police on me!

I have a lot to learn from Joe Rogan.

Macho Doesn’t Mean ‘Mean’

Joe is a tough dude, obviously. He has made a career out of it.

By contrast, I cry at the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when Harry says to Voldemort, “You’re the weak one. And I feel sorry for you.” I am getting teary just writing it down.

On the podcast, a guest had a bad habit of saying “like,” too often. Joe joked:

“Dude, if you say ‘like’ one more time I’m going to punch you in the throat.”

The guy laughs and they move on. It’s how people really speak to one another. It’s not “professional,” but it is honest.

Joe isn’t afraid to say what he — and likely his audience — are thinking. Guests seem to take it as a sign of respect. Joe thinks highly enough of his guests to tell them what he really thinks.

When asking Jon Stewart about his decision to not eat animals, Stewart seemed to hedge, thinking he was in the presence of a jock bro that was going to make him feel weak for being vegetarian.

“It’s because you’ve got a big heart!” says Joe. “You don’t want to eat animals because you’re a sweetie. That’s what makes you a good person.”

Relaxed by the praise, Stewart seems much more willing to talk about his diet.

Joe is unafraid of both confrontation and feelings. He can use each when the situation calls for it.

Thanks to this talent, conversations flow, and people open up to Joe.

I Feel Respected by Joe

Anderson Cooper went viral recently. He started to talk about Trump, then pivoted “off the cuff,” saying:

“You know what? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because Trump lost.”

No argument from me, but my issue with it was the obvious phoniness of the entire moment. I know you’re not actually going “off script,” Anderson! How dumb do you think I am?

When I see something like that from the “old media” I am reminded that they are trying to elicit a certain reaction out of me. They are engineering it from the ground up. No part of it is “real.” By the time it makes it to me, I feel totally disconnected from it.

Joe refuses to disrespect his audience like this. He doesn’t care what reaction he elicits, his goal is to have a real conversation. When I listen to Joe, I don’t get the sense that he wants to trick me.

What I get from Joe is who Joe really is.

Joe Isn’t Perfect

Anderson Cooper says exactly the things he is supposed to say to not offend anyone in his political sphere.

Joe Rogan talks to many people and comes to his own — often dumb — conclusions.

I would rather listen to someone like Joe. In temperament, I am more similar to Anderson Cooper, but I would rather get the truth from a brute, then get lies from a polished talking head.

Joe says stuff that I find ridiculous. I don’t care. I know exactly who Joe Rogan is.

We Need Better Conversations — Not Ideas

Joe may be right about the things that I don’t like about him. I still think he’s wrong, but I know crazier shifts have happened in my brain before.

What I think is much more important is that Joe has a strong character. I don’t care if he lines up with my ideology, as long as he is doing his best to listen and be the best version of Joe Rogan he can be. I’ll be over here trying to be the best Taylor Foreman I can be.

What Joe is demonstrating is that it is good to listen to people, even if you don’t agree with them. Ideas can come from places you never expect.

If Joe can appeal to me as well as my cousins back in Louisiana, then that’s a damn miracle. I can forgive a few faults.

We don’t need perfect ideas. People have been trying to figure that out since long before we were born.

We need to learn how to have a conversation.

We need to learn to be wrong and be OK.

Life is a process, not a contest to be the most right.

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness and fulfillment.

Taylor Foreman

Written by

Lost southern boy learning to be a storyteller in Los Angeles. Interested in writing together? taylorforeman.com

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment. Join 150,000+ others making the climb on one of the fastest-growing pubs on Medium.

Taylor Foreman

Written by

Lost southern boy learning to be a storyteller in Los Angeles. Interested in writing together? taylorforeman.com

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment. Join 150,000+ others making the climb on one of the fastest-growing pubs on Medium.

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