The Joe Rogan v Neil Young brouhaha showcases a cultural and political divide in our society. It’s the 60s hippie culture v the Reagan 80s culture. They define the combatants in more than this skirmish.
Take Rogan. Name even sounds like the Gipper. He’s optimistic, funny, inquisitive, not obsessed with politics, but with a sharp mind. He’s a private sector success story hated by the Left. Very 80s.
Take Young, a scraggly old left wing yodeler who had his heyday before the advent of the VCR. He’s bitter, angry, and takes it out by trying to get others more popular than he ever was fired from their jobs.
Plus, and here’s the kicker, Rogan’s demographic skews young. So Neil Not So Young to them is just a crotchety old guy they’ve never heard of. And definitely, one who needs a haircut. Out of pity, we won’t even comment on Joni Mitchell. Yet.
Boiled down it comes to the acceptance of adulthood. 60s types remind one of the eternal angry messed up teenager. It’s Holden Caulfield or Cal Trask or Jim Stark (Double Jeopardy there) whining about their lives, their sob sister feelings, and deciding that their own self pity is proof of greater sensitivity. Adults are the enemy. They rob one of youthful innocence. Nah, these creepy wusses just have a hard time getting girls. So they’re taking it out on the world.
If you’ve seen pictures of Bernie Sanders in the 60s you get the drift. No job, left wing, always angry, always scruffy. They have brought those attitudes to modern politics by convincing whining types like themselves in the media and pop culture to popularize their bitterness as a search for social justice. Nah, they just never got invited to any fun parties. So, I guess it is kinda social.
The 80s were different, as people actually got rich and had fun. The 80s transcended the 60s. Navel gazing was out of fashion. Short Naval fighter pilots were all the rage. As the Republican economy boomed people left poverty. In fact, that economic era, just as did Trump’s, brought more people security and safety than any government program imaginable. So why be bitter? We beat the hippies. Be happy.
As a young man in the 80s, we didn’t have to listen to the depressing warblings of Joni Mitchell. We had the Bangles. We didn’t have to hear Neil Young warning about Richard Nixon. By that time Nixon was an esteemed elder statesman and the high pitched moaning of Young had been mercifully replaced by the glorifyingly capitalist sounds of new wave and MTV.
We welcomed adulthood. It looked like fun. No self pity for us. It got in the way of chatting up that blue eyed brunette across the bar.
On college campuses today you can see the grandkids of the 60s types recycling tired old socialist nostrums and some brand new wackiness of their own. Elsewhere in America, wherever there are conservatives, smiles, laughter, love of country, and success borne of hard work, the Gipper looks down beneficently and grins. He knows we beat the Left once. We can beat them again.