Getting old is neither easy nor fun. It’s part of life, and it’s a challenge we all must face. One key aspect of that challenge is being able to stay current. We must strive to not only understand the changes affecting our families, our individual health, and our own spheres of influence, but we must also work to grasp the realities of an ever-changing society. Neil Young is a 76-year-old singer/songwriter and, based on his sparse musical output over the past few decades, his recent focus has not been on producing compelling, appealing music. And after what we witnessed this week, it’s also safe to say that Mr. Young hasn’t exactly been spending his days brushing up on modern American culture either.
Winner: Neil Young tries his hand at Cancel Culture and gets himself canceled instead.
Musician Neil Young’s leftism has been obvious from the very beginning, and he at least deserves credit for consistency. From the Vietnam War to the Reagan Era, and then to George W. Bush and Iraq, Young has never been shy about taking a position on the far left and making as much noise as possible.
That trend continued this week when Neil Young, for reasons that are still unclear, decided to force the hand of Spotify by demanding that the platform either discontinue offering the podcasts of Joe Rogan or take down Young’s own catalog of music. Young, as it turns out, doesn’t like some of the things that Rogan has been saying about COVID, the vaccines, and treatments such as ivermectin.
It didn’t take long for Spotify to decide, and if you’re looking to hear a Neil Young classic like Heart of Gold, or perhaps Old Man, you’ll need to look for it somewhere other than Spotify. Meanwhile, Joe Rogan’s top-selling podcast remains readily available: at Spotify and elsewhere.
Full disclosure: I’m a big fan of Neil Young’s music. I don’t appreciate his politics, particularly when it seeps into his lyrics in songs like Rockin’ in the Free World, but he’s a tremendous talent and I’ve enjoyed his work for years. I’ve seen him in concert at least five times that I can remember, and I was never disappointed in his performances. As a result, the decision to honor Young as this week’s top knucklehead wasn’t an easy one, but just like he did with Spotify, Neil forced my hand. What he did this week was so idiotic, it couldn’t be ignored.
Make no mistake, Neil Young has been an extremely successful artist. During his career, Young has sold over 75 million records and reportedly enjoys a net worth of approximately $220 million. Today’s younger folks may not be familiar with his works, but during his heyday, Neil Young was a rock star in every sense of the word, and an influential one as well. He could sell out stadiums and arenas with ease and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame not once, but twice – as a solo artist and as a member of Buffalo Springfield. But those days are gone… long gone.
Conversely, Joe Rogan is about as hot as any entertainer/media personality in the world. His podcast The Joe Rogan Experience receives 11 million streams per episode. Put another way: Joe Rogan has more downloads of his podcast in seven days than Neil Young has sold records over his entire 55-year career. See the problem for Neil Young? Joe Rogan makes more money for Spotify in ten minutes than Neil Young will make for them in an entire year. So, when Young sent his open letter demanding that Spotify choose between the two, saying essentially, “It’s either me or Joe Rogan, Spotify,” Neil was overplaying has hand at a level seldom seen before. Neil Young had a 10-high and Joe Rogan had a royal flush, but Young decided to go all-in anyway. Not a very smart move, Neil.
For those who argue Neil Young was simply standing up for his beliefs: nonsense. He’s still got some clout and could have made his point in other ways. Young’s open letter to Spotify could have been a polite but emphatic request instead of a grandstanding ultimatum, and then he could have hit the podcast circuit himself making his case. Young took his stance and did so in such a public manner because he thought he would win out. He thought Spotify would relent and shut down Joe Rogan. Young thought that he still had the same juice he had forty years ago when his record company would have fretted over the idea of losing his talents. But Neil Young was sorely mistaken.
Finally, we must note the irony of Young attempting to be a champion of censorship. Though Canadian by birth, Young was a product of California’s 1960s hippie culture. He sang about the authoritarianism of Richard Nixon in The Campaigner, and the injustice of the Kent State tragedy in Ohio. Young promoted the idea of free love in Mr. Soul, and he protested the mistreatment of Native Americans in Pocahontas.
Neil Young was as anti-establishment as one gets. And now, in the October of his years, Young has totally flipped. He’s fully on board with government control, so much so that he’s willing to put his money where his mouth is. A man whom the establishment would have loved to have silenced in the early days of his own career is now calling for the silencing of others, particularly Joe Rogan. The singer who attacked the government and the establishment for putting “Mother Nature on the run, in the 1970s” is now advocating for that same government and establishment to de-platform those with whom he disagrees.
This week, Neil Young totally backtracked on his values, he openly embraced a newfound affection for suppression of speech, and he got himself kicked off of Spotify in the process. This week, Neil Young was our top knucklehead.
Honorable Mention #1: AOC worked on recreating the Space Shuttle Challenger mission… yes, the one that blew up.
A tweet by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) from 2019 resurfaced this week in which the esteemed member of the squad reminisced about her childhood in the Girl Scouts stating, “@girlscouts is how I first practiced how to change brake fluid, start a fire, practice self-defense, recreate the NASA Challenger mission, and v importantly: learn to teach myself new skills + navigate ambiguity.”
Was AOC confused? It certainly wouldn’t be the first time, or the last certainly. Or did she really practice blowing up spaceships? If so, the FBI might want to look into that Girl Scout troop
Honorable Mention #2: Psaki and MSNBC host miss the point on Biden flip-flopping.
You didn’t think we’d go a week without a mention of the Biden Administration, did you? During an interview with Mehdi Hasan on MSNBC on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was surprisingly taken to task by the far-left host. At issue was Joe Biden’s recent flip-flopping on the Senate filibuster. In a normal world, with a rational interviewer and interviewee, one might expect Psaki to be questioned on why Biden – who served in the Senate for decades and supported the filibuster during that time – suddenly changed his mind. But such an expectation would be a mistake because there was no one rational participating in the interview.
Hasan asked Psaki, “Why [did Biden] wait almost a year to change his view and come out so publicly against the filibuster?” Psaki then replied, “I agree with you, Mehdi. I agree with you.” So, the issue with Biden for Hasan, and apparently for Psaki as well, is not that Joe Biden changed his view on the filibuster for political convenience. No, that’s not a problem at all. The problem is that it took Biden so long to ditch his scruples and bow to the leftwing mob. That’s the problem. But perhaps we should be grateful. If nothing else, these duplicitous hacks are beginning to say the quiet part out loud.
Featured photo by Man Alive!, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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