You either die a rebel or live long enough to see yourself turn into a snowflake. The generation of free love and free expression have gradually transformed into the baton-wielders.
I’m referring to Neil Young’s demand that Spotify either pull his entire catalog or do away with Joe Rogan’s podcast. Spotify reportedly paid $100 million to acquire Rogan’s podcast in 2020. You’d imagine their contract includes legal bulwarks against such demands. Young is reportedly upset with Covid “misinformation” (the media’s new favorite vague term) and is no longer willing to abide by a streaming service that plays host to Rogan.
It took Spotify about three seconds to make their decision: Neil Young is no longer on their platform. Soon after, Joni Mitchell issued the same demand, as did some fella who played in a Bruce Springsteen cover band or something. Thus far, no artist on Spotify under the age of seventy has rallied against the streaming service.
Take a bow, flower children: you’ve officially become the authoritarians you always warned us about. Just as in politics, the hippies have decided they are not leaving our culture without a feeble hypocritical fight.
Young’s former bandmate David Crosby has now jumped into action, and is tweeting about how to get a hold of Taylor Swift. This gamble, of course, entirely depends on whether younger artists like Swift, or Billie Eilish are willing to join in this septuagenarian crusade. Who knows if they will? The thing Neil Young doesn’t seem to understand is Eilish has the rest of her life to ruin the career ahead of her.
Young and Mitchell are far from the only examples of the rebel-without-a-cause generation evolving into Nurse Ratched. Former shock jock Howard Stern has taken his place among the old scolds, demanding hospitals turn away unvaccinated patients and cussing out tennis star Novak Djokovic for his stance on vaccines at the Australian Open.
I’m vaccinated and recommend that everyone else gets vaccinated. That doesn’t stop me from enjoying when former tastemakers and media revolutionaries, who came to fame in the times of endless social and cultural revolution, bow to the will of overbearing government mandates and the ever-changing messaging on whatever the science is that day.
In the era of the Summer of Love, Timothy Leary demanded everyone “Think for yourself and question authority.” At the very least, he had the good graces to drop out before he could see his fabled peers become everything they used to despise.
These older musicians are demanding censorship and fealty to the Man. That should be Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Howard Stern’s legacy from here on out.