The Experience that is Joe Rogan
By Guy Shepherd

Plan to catch 'The Joe Rogan Experience' It's an experience every man should share.

The Experience that is Joe Rogan


Who needs The Joe Rogan Experience? According to Devin Gordon, "Single guys, White guys, black guys, Dominican guys...

"Two South Asian guys swear by him.  My college roommate.  My little brother.  Normal guys.  American guys.” You.

I have previously expressed in PM my admiration for Joe Rogen and other men of Massachusetts origin—of which I am a less-accomplished striver.

Here was my drive-by statement on Joe:

“Joe Rogan—this guy has some manly range: comedian, ring commentator. He’s a black belt’s black belt. But Rogan’s gift to the world is The Joe Rogan Experience—an experience that is showing the way forward to a shared, sane lane. Come back after checking out this spinning, back kick.”

“It’s fair to say that I like him—and looking at the success of his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience—my experience is not out of the ordinary.  One might even call it mainstream.”

I was inspired to launch Planned Man because Joe’s success and the success of others showed that there was a market of men—already with their heads screwed on straight—ready to recognize and respond to a voice like this. I spent countless hours watching, enjoying, and taking notes.  My ambition was to go through the JRE archives to mine it for Planned Man riches and keep an updated commentary of what he is saying week to week.  It has not materialized because doing it is wicked hard.  Just listening to his podcast is like committing to a few rounds of golf a week—let alone the cutting of the clips and the brilliant summary commentary that would be needed to layer on it.  Sorry, Joe.  (Eventually, we’ll get a guy to make covering the JRE his beat.)

Until then, I committed myself to think through what is so good about Joe.  So think of this as “Episode One: Guy Shepherd Experiencing the Joe Rogan Experience.”

Think of this as “Episode One: Guy Shepherd Experiencing the Joe Rogan Experience.”

I thought it would be good to get a baseline of what critics thought of the JRE, so I went to Google and typed “Joe Rogan.” Near the top was this article from The Atlantic, under the headline, “Why is Joe Rogan So Popular?”  The answer’s in the deck: “He understands men in America better than most people do.  The rest of the country should start paying attention.”

I clicked on it for two reasons:

  1. The Atlantic is a pretty sensible mainstream liberal publication of ideas.  I thought that a guy like Joe Rogan was Atlantic-worthy.  Kudos to them.
  2. It was also obvious in the title that the author, Devin Gordon, saw something in this guy that is deserving of our attention. 

Gordon does a good job of seeing Joe on his own terms, understanding — at times with deep appreciation — the subtlety of his natural gifts and his gift to this moment in time. Overall, it’s a schizophrenic read with two pieces posing as one.  It seems like the author felt compelled to cover his tracks having said good things about Joe.  The piece has tempo: Gordon says something revealing and true, but then judges Joe and finds him wanting for failing to live up to the progressive catechism. (My reading is that Gordon needed a beard to both write such a piece and still live in his corner of censorious society.)

To make my point—and to give those who cover or want to cover Joe—here is a cheatsheet of the great quotes that carry Devin Gordon’s byline with The Atlantic affixed to it.

  • “Few men are as popular among America Men as Joe Rogan.”
  • “It’s a massive group congregating in plain sight, and it’s made up of the people you know from your high school, guys who work three cubicles down, who are still paying off student loans, who forwarded jealous girlfriend memes, who spot you at the gym.  Single guys, White guys, Black guys, Dominican guys.  Two South Asian guys swear by him.  My college roommate.  My little brother.  Normal guys.  American guys.”
  • “Joe Rogan has managed to recruit a following the size of Florida.”
  • “They’re (Joe Rogan’s fans) not aligned around any set of curiosities or politics.  They are aligned around Joe.” 
  • “The hard truth for some of Rogan’s critics in the media it is that he is much better at captivating audiences than most of us, because he has the patience and generosity to let his interviews be an experience rather than an inquisition.”                                                                                                  
  • “But is it not unreasonable for Rogan to consider that line of questioning someone else’s job.” 
  • “He’s right! It’s is! And don’t we want men thirsting for knowledge? Don’t we want them striving, setting goals, learning, learning, learning?  Don’t we want more Joes?” 
  • “A brighter and more virtuous future?  Wonderful! If you need anything from us, we will just be here peering into the void. Meanwhile, the irony is that so many of the men who demonstrate a level of intelligence and empathy worth aspiring to—pretty much they have all been on Joe Rogan’s podcast.” —Devin Gordon, The Atlantic