We love dunking on low-information people when they say “video games cause violence” because, of course, they don’t. But nobody expected Joe Rogan to jump on this sinking boomer boat.
Yes. Joe Rogan.
“You people” were supposed to be Cherry’s last words but they weren’t.
Once again, cancel culture missed the mark.
Mainstream media still hasn’t gotten the memo that podcasting will eventually be their demise. If you got fired for something you said on a network twenty years ago you were pretty much out of options for reaching the public on a mass scale after that.
Twenty years ago, people weren’t getting fired for misspeaking or a controversial opinion so it wasn’t a big issue. These days, everybody on a network starts out on thin ice and there they stay. What is interesting, however, is that as the networks continue to tighten up their leashes the technology for an open and honest dialogue is expanding. Anybody can start a professional sounding podcast for no more than a couple hundred dollars. It’s a one time fee and you’re set for life.
So it’s no surprise that the canning of Cherry from Sportsnet won’t be the last time his fans will get to hear from him. The downside of Cherry’s new podcast is that there is no video to see him in his flambuoyant suits and it’s missing his once-loyal sidekick, Ron MacLean.
That being said, the podcast feels like you are in the living room with Grapes. So at a moment in time when the mainstream media would have you believe that Cherry is just a loud, obnoxious one-trick pony, listeners are actually now getting a calm, lucid and sentimental Don. He talks with his son and daughter on the podcast about all things hockey.
The first podcast saw Cherry briefly address the firing but he didn’t seem bitter about it, “when one door closes, another opens,” he said. Then it was back to hockey. Cherry shared an old interview between himself and the man of hockey folklore – Maurice “The Rocket” Richard.
In another episode, Cherry recounts his dog, Blue, getting into it with a skunk and having to wash out the stench with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, then it was back to discussing hockey.
One can only suspect that Cherry, 85, is going to put more money into the podcast and get a small studio up and running. There’s no shortage of legendary players both past and present who would want to be guests on Grapevine 2.0.
If Ron MacLean remains a good boy perhaps Sportsnet will even let him go on as a guest one of these days. And why wouldn’t they? Grapevine 2.0 was the number one podcast in the country two weeks ago, beating out the Joe Rogan Experience. Rogan’s podcast averages approximately a billion downloads annually so it’s no small feat to top him in Canada, if only momentarily.
Grapevine 2.0 has remained in the top ten streamed podcasts in Canada since its inception. I guess some people still really like Cherry after all.
U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience from Moscow Wednesday, and promptly reminded us why we should all be terrified of the “brave new world” that humanity is marching towards now.
Snowden, who was chased out of his home country for disclosing sensitive information, appeared on the show to remind the masses that the neon gods of technology to which we bow and pray each day are doing much more harm than good. And to promote his book about his life.
Specifically, Snowden forces the listener to reassess the role that smartphones have in our lives.
“The big thing that’s changed since 2013 is now it’s mobile-first everything,” explained Snowden, who went on to explain how the mobile tech boom has radically shifted the way that our lives function at an almost metaphysical level.
Snowden’s descriptions of how cell phones collect data and transport information to nearby cell towers, how obscure and ephemeral moments in one’s life no longer exist as a concept. Nothing enters the void, and everything is documented.
The reality that Snowden describes goes as follows: As a person who carries a cell phone around, you are agreeing to a lot of things that may not be obvious to the user.
For one, there is now a record of your presence at any place, at any time (that has a cell phone tower nearby). These records are being stored by companies that do not need to keep this information, as “there is no good argument for it to be kept forever, but these companies see that as valuable information,” something that Snowden calls “The big data problem.”
“This is all information that used to be ephemeral; where were you when you were 8 years old? Where’d you go after you had a bad breakup? Who’d you spend the night with? Who’d you call after? All this information used to be ephemeral—meaning it disappeared like the morning dew, it would be gone, no one would remember it—Now these things are stored.”
Snowden explains that unless the battery is removable from a device, it’s not guaranteed that it’s actually “turned off.” A phone can power down and brick itself until the power button is pressed again, but that’s not an actual indication of it being powered down.
And that’s just what happens when you connect your phone to a network. “That’s not talking about all those apps that are contacting the network even more frequently,” said Snowden.
What Snowden depicts is truly a Pandora’s box. There isn’t a way to undo what we’ve done.
The idea that there are moments in history that I cannot recollect, like who I was with or what I was doing 4 years ago, but observable metadata can find those things, is tremendously sad.
And that’s sticking to what Snowden discussed in about 10 minutes of his nearly three-hour appearance.
The problem is this: We are now less valuable than the data we produce. We’re now nodes, or leaves on a virtual tree, providing information to companies and artificial intelligence systems that seek to predict human behaviour, all in order to sell ads.
The more data collectively we provide, the better an algorithm can tailor advertisements to our needs. With different apps tracking where we are, what we’re doing, and often times what we’re saying to one another, is a grim sign that if the end of individuality is not near, it’s at least barreling towards us.
And no, it’s not just your paranoia. Your smartphone is listening to you in order to better serve ad space. Everyone has a story about saying something to someone and having a Facebook advertisement appear the next day.
This goes beyond “apophenia” or any other type of “pattern recognition.” According to Dr. Peter Henway, the senior security consultant for cybersecurity firm Asterix, and former lecturer and researcher at Edith Cowan University, cell phones are certainly listening to us, but not at all times.
It’s not a big secret, either. Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa has been used in courtrooms to solve murders. We’ve wiretapped ourselves, all in the name of convenience. To discredit what Snowden is saying because he’s a “whistleblower” or traitor is foolish.
Though solutions are few and far between, it does make the idea of dropping everything and moving to a cabin in the woods all the more romantic.
A new petition has popped up online requesting that UFC commentator, comedian-podcaster Joe Rogan moderate the 2020 Presidential Debate.
“We are petitioning for the Commission of the Presidential Debates to elect Joe Rogan as one of the moderators for the 2020 Presidential Debate,” reads the fast-growing petition. The change.org page lists three reasons why the world’s largest podcaster would be a worthy host.
The first reason they list is that Joe Rogan is “a widely respected host who has hosted interviews with politicians, economists, scientists, and other popular figures, who come from various walks of life.”
The second reason points to how well-seasoned Rogan is at politician interviews. Rogan has already had Democratic candidates Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, and Bernie Sanders on the platform, as well as 2016 Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
The third reason points to Joe’s vast audience, and how politically diverse it is. “Joe Rogan is not registered under any political party and is well-known for having civil, productive, and interesting, conversations about political issues without partisan bias.”
Of course, a Joe Rogan hosted Presidential debate is a fever dream that Joe himself would probably be fearful of. Based on how inefficient Rogan believes the “debate” format to be, it seems as though the only way we’re going to get to see Rogan interacting with Democratic candidates is via the multi-hour podcasts which propelled him to the top of the podcasting world.
The petition itself has gained a head of steam. It has grown by nearly 55,000 signatures since its release.
You can sign the petition here.
After having a night to sleep on the Joe Rogan podcast in which Tim Pool and Joe Rogan (from reality) took on Jack Dorsey and Vijaya Gadde (from Twitter), we have some thoughts. This may have been the most important debate in the culture wars so far in 2019.
What we find most interesting about the podcast is the discussion about bias, and the potential for the implementation of an algorithm detection system that would find “offensive” tweets that break the terms of service, and then recommend which consequences or punishments need be meted out.
There is “…a growing concern about bias, discrimination, due process, liability and overall responsibility for harm,” according to the AI Now Report 2018. This algorithm that is most likely in development: will it be subject to some of the industry’s critics calls for transparency? Dorsey and Gadde seemed to suggest as much.
Will they comprehensively log and track the creation of the data and models that are used to drive the machine learning necessary for the algorithm to function properly? If it is not transparent, it is completely useless. If the way it is structured is to continuously adjust for specific ‘fair’ results, then it will not be free from biases at all. Biases need to be questioned, but they are the first step in a judgement and decision making process, and they are based on our own, human-derived ‘machine learning’ algorithms.
There is no turning back from the Twitter model of communication. This is how we communicate now, and we have the ability to interact across the world in a second. The issue with this is that, globally, there is no agreement on how we communicate, or what standards of speech are.
There are many restrictive speech laws internationally, and the way those with free speech protections speak is, by necessity, different from those in countries where freedom of speech is not guaranteed, and is often punishable by repressive regimes that are more interested in controlling populations than uplifting them.
How is a platform, designed in the west, initially intended for those with guaranteed freedoms and a belief in natural rights, supposed to manage the speech of oppressive places in order that it may operate in those places? Dorsey seems to prefer a UN model of freedom of expression over the more robust freedom of speech that the American constitution secures for us.
Do those who believe fully in free speech and individual liberty wish to give over the management of their rights to an organization that cannot, or is not willing to, uphold those freedoms against other, more pressing priorities (customer service satisfaction, profit, interest of shareholders)?
Isn’t it up to us, the Western, free speech-oriented users of this platform, to demand democratization so that all users are able to participate freely, and in line with the natural rights and freedoms that we know and believe them to have even if they are currently being prohibited from expressing them? Is Twitter a free marketplace for the sharing of ideas, or is it subject to shareholders and international ideologies that have no basis in fact? Of course, in some ways, it must be both. But in that it operates with the benefits of a democratic republic, it has a responsibility to uphold those ideals above all others.
Using vague bits of social science data to drive ethical decision making, or using user complaints which always skew toward social justice, is no way to arrive at an ideologically neutral Terms of Service. As Pool would put, right now, “everything is flowing one way.”
Many questions remain. For instance:
Why did Pool have more accurate information about the Proud Boys, Covington, Jacob Wohl, Jonathan Morgan, Meghan Murphy and other high profile Twitter scandals than Gadde or Dorsey? Gadde and Dorsey had access to more information, but were consistently embarrassed by factual corrections from Pool; why might this be?
Pool rightly points out that Twitter basically has a virtual monopoly on political discourse and its use actually affects the results of democratic elections. Pool’s point that Americans with “bad views” are being excised from the platform while foreign “bad actors” are not is a compelling one. Why should an American citizen be deplatformed from an important part of the political process while internationally based bots and trolls have free reign of the service?
Is Twitter a publisher or a public utility? Is it fair to implement a term of service that is based on one particular ideology that is currently engaged with an equally valid ideological opponent? Since Twitter depends on user feedback in its current incarnation, then which users are more likely to head to the virtual complaints department—conservatives or leftists? Those who pride themselves on their thick skin or those who claim grievance as a matter of course?
Twitter has an opportunity to help unite a politically divided nation. To move toward that goal, however, they will have to heed Pool’s and Rogan’s advice to break out of their own ideological bubble. The idea of an ideologically neutral content jury to adjudicate Twitter disputes seems like a good one. So does Pool’s suggestion of moving Twitter operations (at least partially) out of the left-wing echo chamber that is Silicon Valley.
If Dorsey and Gadde genuinely want Twitter to exemplify “healthy conversation” (which we would envision as the kind of ideal conditions in which a Republican and a Democrat could fall in love or forge a meaningful friendship on the platform), then they will need to bridge the ideological gap.
As Dorsey himself noted in the podcast, in the lead up to the 2016 election, left wing journalists were almost exclusively following other left wing accounts whereas right wing journalists were following everybody. If this doesn’t explain the social and political climate that lead to the ongoing and seemingly intractable culture wars, then we don’t know what does.