Joe Rogan has a monumentally popular podcast. And he used to host Fear Factor, a show in which people ate an increasingly baroque series of bugs until they’d proven they could eat insects with an alacrity and fervor unsurpassed by all the other insect-eaters in the multiverse. And he’s a stand-up comedian or something. He also likes to talk about psychedelics a lot, which I genuinely find interesting—though not quite interesting enough to actually listen to his podcast. He was also on News Radio.
That’s about all I know about the guy. Hey, if I’m going to watch or listen to an online talk show hosted by a stand-up comedian, it’s going to be this one from The Planet of the Apes’ Dr. Zaius.
That said, I’m not sure what Rogan was tripping on when he offered his nonexistent expertise on vaccines and who should be getting them.
On Friday’s The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Rogan drew on his years of experience in epidemiology and infectious disease mitigation serving lightly braised cockroaches to fame-thirsty hipsters to enlighten us on our nation’s push to reach herd immunity against COVID-19 through universal vaccination.
ROGAN: “And people say, ‘Do you think it’s safe to get vaccinated?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I think for the most part it’s safe to get vaccinated. I do, I do. But if you’re like 21 years old and you say to me, ‘Should I get vaccinated?’ I’d go ‘no.’ Are you healthy? Are you a healthy person? Like, look, don’t do anything stupid, but you should take care of yourself. If you’re a healthy person and you’re exercising all the time and you’re young and you’re eating well, I don’t think you need to worry about this. … But there’s a lot of jobs that will tell you you need to have this.
People are worried about them doing it for their children. We talked about this earlier, that you might have to have your children vaccinated. And, you know, I can tell you as someone who’s, both my children got the virus. It was nothing. I hate to say that, if someone’s children died from this, I’m very sorry that that happened, I’m not in any way diminishing that. But I’m saying the personal experience that my children had with COVID was nothing. One of the kids had a headache, the other one didn’t feel good for a couple of days. … No coughing, no achey, no, like, in agony. There was none of that. It was very mild. It was akin to them getting a cold.”
For the record, Rogan has Spotify’s most popular podcast, so he wields quite a bit of influence. And telling young people not to get vaccinated is, well, not helpful.
And that’s why Dr. Anthony Fauci, who I can only assume does not trip balls before appearing on the air, felt the need to rebuke him. Personally, I would have preferred Fauci had said something more like, “Hey, I don’t show up at your job and knock the dung beetles out of your mouth,” but he’s a lot more diplomatic than I could ever be.
“You’re talking about yourself in a vacuum,” Fauci said of the podcast host. “You’re worried about yourself getting infected and the likelihood that you’re not going to get any symptoms. But you can get infected, and will get infected, if you put yourself at risk.”
Fauci also said there are still cases of asymptomatic people infected with the coronavirus “inadvertently and innocently” spreading the virus.
“So if you want to only worry about yourself and not society, then that’s OK,” Fauci said. “But if you’re saying to yourself, even if I get infected, I could do damage to somebody else even if I have no symptoms at all, and that’s the reason why you’ve got to be careful and get vaccinated.”
Wait, what? You mean we live in a society? With other people? And they matter too? What is this commie shit?
I’m glad Rogan—who in the past has welcomed dangerous right-wing weirdos like conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes to his show—is at least telling his listeners that the vaccine is safe. But we don’t need to give people any more excuses to skip their shot, and that’s exactly what Rogan is doing here.
The White House was equally frustrated. Communications director Kate Bedingfield brought the fire on CNN’s New Day Wednesday. “I guess my first question would be, did Joe Rogan become a medical doctor while we weren’t looking?” Further, Bedingfield asserted that “I’m not sure that taking scientific and medical advice from Joe Rogan is perhaps the most productive way for people to get their information.”
I’m not sure how we ever got to a place in this country where people feel they can just substitute their own ignorant opinions for those of world-renowned experts. But I see that kind of thing every day now. Makes me want to travel to Switzerland and heckle those smug proton beam motherfuckers at the Large Hadron Collider.
Incidentally, in case, like me, you’ve never actually listened to an entire episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, here’s who you’d be taking your medical advice from:
And … scene.
If you’re 16 or older, get the vaccine. It’s the compassionate thing to do. Whether or not you want to follow your shot up with a side of weevils is, of course, up to you.
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