real life

'Joe Rogan is ruining my marriage.'

Princess Diana famously once said, "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded" referring to Charles' love affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles.

I’ve been feeling an affinity with the late Princess, though the 'third' in my marriage is an annoying male American voice who has somehow managed to insert himself into my relationship. 

Joe Rogan, often touted as the world's most popular podcast host, can be heard in our kitchen, bathroom, or backyard on loud speaker morning, noon and night.

And like the uninvited guest he is (by me anyway) he's causing tension in my home.

Before Joe Rogan arrived my husband and I had settled into a companionable acceptance of our different political views. Very loosely I am more liberal and he is more conservative. There were arguments (usually around national elections) but it didn’t really interfere with our relationship.

But since Rogan has appeared on the scene I feel like my husband's taken a trip to right-wing-crazy-town. He's developed a deep distrust of science and government. He stopped taking the COVID boosters early on and is sceptical about vaccinations generally. He once tried to explain to me why aliens probably built the pyramids. 

And while I do believe in taking a critical approach to life, relentless conspiracy theories are exhausting and can leave you feeling like you've landed in la la land. 


Like the time Rogan said that school kids were identifying as cats and asking for kitty litter in their bathrooms — a claim used by many on the right to prove that transgender activists have gone too far. A claim that is also manifestly untrue — but one he still purported without any evidence to his over 14 million listeners. Rogan later admitted that there was no evidence that kitty litters existed, but by then the damage had been done.

My husband will argue that I can't criticise Rogan because I don't listen to him, which is true. But what I can do is observe his influence on my husband, and this is what I see.

Watch: Why is there no #metoo for men? Post continues after video.

Video via SBS Viceland.

The arguments I hear via our third wheel (aka Joe Rogan) come with a basic lack of empathy. It’s all "political correctness gone wrong". The world has gone mad! Cue panic and outrage! All that bluster means there's no room for the reason political correctness became a movement in the first place. That is, to protect the vulnerable and to take care not to hurt others. How can that be a bad thing? How does that threaten anyone?


But it appears that for Rogan and those who follow him, the political is personal. My husband will often get angry about what he calls 'woke' activists and how 'they' are going too far. When he says the word 'feminist' he reduces it to a dirty word. 

And boy does he get angry about trans activists — something Rogan has covered on his show. He will get fired up about children using puberty blockers, and that pronouns should be "he" if you have a penis and "she" if you have a vagina.

I won't go into all the things that are wrong and dangerous in the above paragraph, because my main question is — why do you care so much? What does it actually have to do with you? Why are you taking such offence when it quite literally is not personal to you?

But just as I'm mentally tallying up how to split the silverware, I get snagged on something else.

I know my husband is not a bigot. If a child asked him to use a certain pronoun, he absolutely would without a fuss. He has empathy. What has this harlot Rogan done to my kind, loving husband?

Feminist writer Caitlin Moran provides some insight. She talks about young boys being drawn to influencers like Andrew Tate because they are floundering for a sense of male identity in the post #metoo era. I think Joe Rogan provides a similar sense of belonging to men. 


His show is a safe place where men are told that all that vitriol about toxic masculinity is just those woke folk going bananas. It’s a place where he encourages men to be their best selves through fitness, cold baths and healthy eating. He offers up juicy conspiracy theories alongside guests like Elon Musk, Quentin Tarantino and various comedians and actors. It’s a safe grounding in a world where that ground has been shifting for a while now.

It must feel good for men to listen to Rogan. I want my husband to feel good about himself. I just can't understand why it has to be with such an obvious lack of empathy and kindness to others.

I’m not sure what the answer is. My husband won’t hear a bad word about Rogan and defends him like they're best mates.

Moran talks about providing men with more positive role models, but who can compete with a black belt taekwondo champion- comedian with millions of followers?

I certainly can't. I love my husband, but Rogan is crowding this marriage, and I'd like him to go now. Please?

Feature Image: Getty.

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