Neither brantly.eth nor Joe Rogan did anything wrong
(But Brantly is being a little bit braver than Joe is for now)
In nomine Patris
Greatest title formula ever, I guess. If you are homosexual, transgender, have had an abortion, had sex with contraceptives, viewed porn or masturbated, (are all of my readers holding their hands up? I would imagine so, but you never know…), please understand that while Little Bronson did go to Catholic school, (frequently in trouble with the Sisters), I am not Catholic, and do not agree with the Church—for instance, I think it’s been much too lenient on moral matters since Vatican II.
Web3, crypto, etc. whatever you like is REELING over this. They’re literally shaking right now. Someone, a White-Cis-Hetero-Male looking someone, has the audacity to share the same opinions found among somewhere between the overwhelming majority, to about the firm third, of Catholics who answer surveys in recent years ranging from Mexico to Eastern Timor, depending on the opinion.
There’s no evidence that Brantly has ever treated anyone differently as an ENS delegator. What’s an ENS delegator you ask? Well, see this very article that Brantly himself wrote before being fired from the TNL (funds ENS DAO):
ENS has always been an open public utility that belongs to the community. The core components of ENS are decentralized and self-running (e.g., no one can take away another person’s .ETH name), but there are a few things that require some human discretion. We believe that both ENS and the DAO space have matured enough that now is the time to pass ENS governance over to the community via the creation of a DAO and the $ENS governance token.
Specifically, we wish to have the ENS root multisig pass over control of the existing ENS treasury, its future funds, and control of the .ETH registrar contract that is in charge of the pricing and registration mechanism for .ETH names. The first order of business for the ENS DAO will be to formally request these from the ENS root multisig key holders.
Emphasis added……clear as mud, right?
Okay, let’s go real fast and high level (read: inaccurate/incomplete, but good enough). See the URL in your browser? It doesn’t say
126.96.36.199, but it could. Open up your terminal (go to the 🔍 thing at the top of your Mac window, type in ‘termi-’ and hit enter. Then type
ping substack.com, hit enter, and watch in amusement as your dear Macbook faithfully does that over and over and over….Okay, you can close it now.) There are a lot of good reasons that you don’t use IP addresses in the URL bar. Firstly—though I think there was a real missed opportunity in the days of early internet that would still be fun now, like those old television and radio jingles for businesses phone numbers—no one wants to type in a bunch of digits. Everyone saves their friends’ & family’s numbers in their phone Contacts, too. It’s just “Dad”. It’s better this way, everything is fine.
The service that you use to turn unfriendly IP addresses into domain names like TWITTER DOT COM is called Domain Name Service, or DNS. The way you turn Ethereum blockchain address into a .ETH domain instead of .COM or whatever is called ENS. The shittiest airport outlet situation in the world is PNS.
0xAfB5F255371Dca6666b9a9bdE2cF5Fc07721DD13 is an Ethereum address (and an active one!). It’s been registered with an ENS name, and that’s that. The ENS Registry/Resolver will tell you what it means. You can learn more about ENS here. There is an oldWIRED article by one Lakshmi Chaudhry which delves into similar issues that arose first in the .COM era, but crucially, .COM was first owned and operated by the United States Department of Defense. If you recall various conspiracy theories and rabbit-hole YouTube videos, the whole internet is Monarch Project programming run by the CIA or just a communications systems that’s particularly resilient to nuclear weapons.
Today, .COM is owned and operated by Verisign, whose registrars are accredited by ICANN. Verisign operates out of Reston, Virginia, a completely boring place not relevant to anything else in Northern Virginia, and also runs one of thirteen internet root name servers for DNS, alongside other totally unrelated entities like The US Army Research Lab and the Defense Information Systems Agency.
ENS on the other hand, is meant to be different:
Who owns the ENS rootnode? What powers does that grant them?
The root node is presently owned by a multisig contract, with keys held by trustworthy individuals in the Ethereum community. We expect that this will be hands-off, with the root ownership only used to effect administrative changes, such as the introduction of a new TLD, or to recover from an emergency such as a critical vulnerability in a TLD registrar.
Yeah, so, uh.
Here’s the DAO proposal to remove him right now as the top delegator.
Here’s the Lead developer of ENS throwing him under the bus:
🌈 rathermercurial.GAY 🌈 @rathermercurialFor the record, I'm delegating my $ENS on all wallets to whoever commits to supporting any upcoming EIP to remove @BrantlyMillegan from his role at the @ensdomains project. Currently delegating to @nicksdjohnson and @technocrypto. What's your position on this, guys?
, and here’s Brantly in his own words (after Twitter de-platformed him, of course);
If you’re still reading this, I can only assume you get what’s going on here, but being a man, and being a Brahmin, I will now explain it to you all the same.
There is no newfound utility in Web3, crypto, or life without other people. You must rely on other people in order to do anything more than what you can do by yourself. It doesn’t matter (I mean, okay, it does matter) how you get other people to do things for you (slavery is bad, slavery is bad, slavery is bad, okay? there, I said it), but the axiom remains (tautologically, indeed), that to do anything more than what you can do by yourself, you need to rely on other people’s help.
This is something that bedevils Libertarians and will bedevil crypto which is motivated primarily by that ethos. Peter Thiel is much more wealthy and accomplished than I am, so, take his word for it. How do you do things without “woke people” infiltrating it, capturing value, and telling you what to do? How do you have self-governance? How do you make anything without other people showing up and bullying you into doing what they want for whatever reason?
I don’t have a witty one-liner answer to that, so let’s go to the next section.
Okay, so, what about Joe Rogan?
There is a rule I have on Twitter; I never advance even a mild perceived critique of a mutual without DM-ing them first and offering them comment. I have DM’d Joe Rogan about this essay, sending him the draft link. If he wants to weigh in,
I will be totally flabbergasted and star-struck holy shit it’s Joe Rogan
I’ll ask his permission to reproduce his comments here /paraphrase them
I suspect his DMs look something like a stock ticker feed and are constantly blowing up, especially right now, and probably monitored by a team of people including lawyers who are telling him not to answer back to any of this shit.
I think Rogan is wrong to bend to the mob on this. So very brave, I know. Send adulation, tasteful nudes, and deal flow via telegram, please. He’s wrong to do this primarily because the compilation of him saying the Gamer Word over more than a dozen years of podcasting is a technologically-aided artificial sonic assault on sensibilities of the modern ear. It’s not real. It’s simply not real.
If I were to display below, inline, pictures of a rotting re-animated corpse from a horror movie, pictures of a naked nubile woman with gravity defying DD-breasts and surgically tidied labia, pictures of a quadrillion dollar equivalent in gold bullion, or pictures of a delicious GAN pizza, I’d be showing you things that aren’t real (in varying senses of the word) but which produce some level of emotion or instinctual reaction in you. That’s because your brain is stupid. Don’t worry, my brain is stupid, too. I also go to the movies to pay real money to be told fake shit about space & stuff.
Joe Rogan did not sit there for however long and just say the N-Word repeatedly. La Wik tells us there were more than 190 million downloads each month in 2019. Did people just hear this for the first time out of Joe Rogan? Is that really what’s happening? Of course not. Of course that’s not what’s happening, and if you call out those screeching at Rogan about it they’ll respond by pretending that Biden’s conduct or someone else’s is just so totally different. It’s always ‘кто кого?’, is all.
He’s also wrong to apologize for that reason; Rogan is, though he didn’t choose to be so, charismatic, popular, well-liked, and influential. He has real power in a manner beyond his physical self—you know, a way to get people to do things.
Yet, comparing Joe Rogan to Brantly Millegan, I notice a distinct difference, between these two titanic men whom I do not know at all; one is loaded. This could be less than true, he could be merely loaded without italics, perhaps Spotify threatened his deal, but he surely has more wealth at hand than Brantly.
Okay, so, saying The Single Most Powerful Word in the English Language and professing one’s sincere Catholic beliefs in a troll-y way are not exactly the same. That’s very true. Maybe Joe Rogan truly believes that he did actually do something morally wrong (he didn’t) and really should apologize for it (he shouldn’t) in a way that Brantly obviously wouldn’t (and doesn’t and shouldn’t).
But what about the last ‘controversy’ where people wanted Spotify to deplatform him over COVID misinformation (misinformation, according to them, the purveyors of True Information)? Is this a situation where Rogan really needs to rely on Spotify? Is he really so much more boxed in than Brantly was by ENS? That’s simply hard to believe, and I’m saddened if that turns out to be the case.
Web3 fixes this
Maybe you looked up what that Ethereum address points to (oooooh, better clear your browser history, reader! naughty reader!), maybe you’re aware that the robustness of the Ethereum network means it will be around for a long, long time, even if the Foundation and even Vitalik himself wanted it to be gone.
What’s not so obvious is that this episode reveals something crucial about ENS, and about web3 or crypto in general. It really is a way out. Recall our questions before the jump to Rogan’s particular situation. Then take a look at this hilarity:
I’m the largest ENS holder delegating to Brantly & have been asked to consider delegating to someone else.
Open to considering all this but I have a few questions & thoughts:
Is there a doc detailing Brantly’s responsibilities in his role? Does terminating mean complete exclusion & how will that impact the operation of ENS? If he is terminated, who will replace him? Brantly has proven to be an excellent operator and his exclusion could be severely damaging to ENS.
You cannot do anything beyond your own capacity except by relying on others.
This remains fundamentally true. How many of the screeching people who are calling for Brantly’s head can do what he does? Where these systems are ‘trustless’ and ‘decentralized’ they are basically commodity valued. Anyone can just buy some Ethereum and be ‘part of web3’ (believe me when I say that this is where almost all of the Inclusivity of DEI initiatives in web3 comes from lmao).
The real value of web3 remains something that people build. This is less mark-to-market accounting and more like price discovery; lots of Brantly’s effort was spent in discovering that the ENS DAO is simply hostile to Catholics and others.
But that’s out there now. One of the great advantages of web3 is that it’s easy to pull up sticks and move on; Exit is easy in web3. Rather than try to contest things with Voice the move is to wash your hands of people who suck and leave.
Let them try to do what you do, work with others who are aligned, and outbuild.
The next things that Brantly works on can and should be computationally impossible to take away from him by design, and never contradict his beliefs. This isn’t just true for him; it can and should be how we all operate. The world of bits is becoming ever more linked to atoms as building in it gets ever easier. The lines of demarcation are getting clearer and clearer. We would be foolish to look on this circumstance as anything than a strong challenge to build upon a rock.