Neil Young — Much Ado About Nothing

As a Canadian, who just witnessed the historic Canadian Truckers Freedom Convoy travel from coast to coast across Canada to convene in our great capital, Ottawa, for a peaceful demonstration on Saturday, January 29, to protest vaccine mandates imposed this month on truckers by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, I find myself perhaps a little more surprised than I might usually be by the actions of two Canadian musicians—Neil Young and Joni Mitchel—who  took it upon themselves, this week, to give an ultimatum to Spotify regarding vaccine “misinformation.”

On Tuesday I came across the Global News headline, Neil Young threatens to pull music from Spotify over Joe Rogan vaccine ‘disinformation.’ Not much later it was followed by the CTV News headline, Spotify pulling down Neil Young’s music collection. I waited and the plot thickened as CTV News reported the next day, Joni Mitchell removing music from Spotify in solidarity with Neil Young.

“I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines….” —Neil Young professed.

I think this can only be understood in the context of the original article’s statement that “a group of 270 scientists and medical professionals previously shared an open letter with the platform on New Year’s Eve.”

Young has removed the open letter he penned on his personal site and this is unfortunate because I really wanted to get a closer look at the letter. As a matter of fact, I thought I read the letter on a news site which no longer has it either and to me the wording sounded suspiciously familiar. If somebody put Neil Young up to this, that didn’t go over so well. By no means do I think we have seen the end of this little skirmish. Not at all.

But it really is about nothing. I mean with all the money spent on advertising and the procurement of vaccines, and all the effort already put into stamping out “misinformation” I can hardly imagine that some talk show host could be a threat to the vaccine effort. With between 80-90% of adults already vaccinated and health officials telling us that everybody—vaccinated and unvaccinated—will get the Omicron variant and we should think of it as the flu and go back to work in five days, how can this “misinformation” be any kind of a threat?

Sometimes timing is everything. Just like Prime Minister Trudeau’s timing of slapping a vaccine mandate on truckers and potentially taking 16,000 Canadian truckers off the road—drivers who made sure we had food in our grocery isles during two years of a pandemic—comes at a very bad time, I think the open letter to Spotify comes at the wrong time as well. Because this virus is going to have its way, without any regard for mandates or vaccination status. It’s much ado about nothing. And it’s not very friendly.