I quite like Jordan Peterson. I don’t agree with everything he says. Occasionally, as do many of his critics, I find him a bit glib and superficial. But if a generation of young men (and even some of their fathers and grandfathers) are going to listen to a social media muse on matters of culture, I’d much rather they listen to JP than, say, Susan “Why Can’t We Hate Men,” Danuta Walters, professor of sociology and director of the Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Northeastern University, to wit:
So men, if you really are #WithUs and would like us to not hate you for all the millennia of woe you have produced and benefited from, start with this: Lean out so we can actually just stand up without being beaten down. Pledge to vote for feminist women only. Don’t run for office. Don’t be in charge of anything. Step away from the power. We got this. And please know that your crocodile tears won’t be wiped away by us anymore. We have every right to hate you. You have done us wrong. #BecausePatriarchy. It is long past time to play hard for Team Feminism. And win.
Good. Lord. What a shrew.
What Jordan Peterson has over this woman and many others of her ilk, is a positive message, a constructive agenda, an organized mind, and a road map to individual character building, “standing up straight with your shoulders back, growing the hell up, accepting some responsibility, and living an honorable life.” Nothing at all wrong with that. More power to him. May he change a million young men’s minds. This week. And another million, next week.
Because as the men of America go, so go its women.
I do get a little concerned about context when I watch some of his five-minute clips on YouTube, most recently the one about how powerless a man is when he’s dealing with a difficult woman, apparently because his inherently chivalrous nature forbids the only real manly recourse–punching her lights out. I guess I believe that there are other ways to solve disagreements between the vast majority of men and women, and that most of them fall somewhere in between turning one’s back and silently walking away/going into hiding, and a swift right hook. I hope, in his heart, that Jordan Peterson believes that too. (Yes, upon further investigation and acquaintance, I think it would be fair to say that he does.)
Anyhoo, after watching that short clip, I wanted to learn more about Peterson’s attitude towards the Monstrous Regiment, so I did a bit of Google searching, and I came across a YouTube video in which he engages Camille Paglia for about an hour and three-quarters of vigorous discussion (she doesn’t do any other kind).
Clearly, these two are on the same wavelength. But so different. The very bright, but very dour man of few words, and the brilliant, explosive, very verbal, very mouthy old broad (I think she’d be OK with that description). It’s an interesting pairing.
For the first thirty minutes or so, Camille gives the most lucid and rational explanation I’ve ever heard of what has gone wrong in American academia from the 1970s onwards. (I was there for almost all of it. I remember.) It’s just masterful. And then it’s on to the patriarchy, an entertaining romp through history, art and culture, why the world evolved the way it did, why things are in the mess they are, and what, if anything can be done to repair the damage–Must women save the world? Must men stand up for themselves? What happens if nothing happens–Is Western Civilization Doomed?
The two of them energize and play off each other, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I don’t agree with everything either of them said, and there are a few non-sequiturs and, I think, a few holes in their arguments at one point or another. But it’s a free-form discussion where they play off each others’ ideas, not a formal lecture. And rather than drone on as to what I think is problematic about it, I’d rather, if you’re interested and up for it, you have a listen yourself, and see what you think.
For those of you who may not know much of Camille Paglia, there’s always a certain amount of cognitive dissonance for me in the fact that this particular anti-feminist who speaks so eloquently about, and in defense of, the “patriarchy,” the Western Canon, and the traditional roles of men and women in society (I like her explanation of how those roles evolved better than just about any I’ve ever heard) is a seriously libertarian, pro-choice, lesbian/self-identified transgender classicist who’s been tearing up whatever pea-patch she’s been in, and causing trouble, as long as she’s been alive. Of course, in this day and age, the proponents of “free speech,” and “diversity,” those who mouth words about “tolerance,” but who won’t allow someone who disagrees with them even the space to utter the words without threatening them with litigation, if not actual obliteration, want her cancelled.
I loved this. I think it’s a hoot. They look as if they’re having a blast. Enjoy.