Oh my god. Jesus. Holy fuck. I’m reading this critique of Jordan Peterson by Nathan Robinson, and at every paragraph all that’s running through my head is expletive-laden expressions of disbelief. It’s not at what Robinson says, though — it’s because he has taken Peterson very seriously indeed, gone back to his first book, quotes extensively from it, includes some of the diagrams, and also transcribes some of talks, so the article is like a mega-dose of Petersonisms so thorough that you’re not going to be able to claim these are out-of-context excerpts that distort his meaning. There is no meaning there.
Jordan Peterson appears very profound and has convinced many people to take him seriously. Yet he has almost nothing of value to say. This should be obvious to anyone who has spent even a few moments critically examining his writings and speeches, which are comically befuddled, pompous, and ignorant. They are half nonsense, half banality. In a reasonable world, Peterson would be seen as the kind of tedious crackpot that one hopes not to get seated next to on a train.
You have to read the transcript of his lecture about a children’s book to believe it. It starts off with Peterson reading a few lines about feeding a dragon pancakes, and then he meanders off into this long twisty anecdote about how he and his wife were taking care of some kids and they had to give them lunch and one of the kids wasn’t enthusiastic about eating but they were having none of that and then it segues into this totalitarian morality play.
So, we bring all the kids to the table and they’re sitting around and they’re having lunch and the rule is, as I said, eat what is in front of you and be PLEASED AND HAPPY ABOUT IT.
Oh, you better. Because Jordan Peterson is going to sit there for four hours poking your face with a spoon if you don’t eat it all up, and he expects to be able to control your thoughts about it, too. And then the story ends with the kid’s mother coming to pick him up and Peterson is visibly furious about this anecdote from years ago because the mother was far more casual about forcing the kid to eat than he was, and he’s now calling that mother the dragon who probably ruined the kids life. It’s nuts. You can watch the performance, and it’s horrifying. He is supposedly talking about his book, Maps of Meaning, and analyzing this children’s book, somehow, yet he spends 17 minutes in this incoherent angry ramble about a trivial incident that he has stuffed full of nefarious meaning in his head.
I read one chapter of Peterson’s latest book and was dismayed and incredulous that this guy is considered a popular, serious scholar. Nathan Robinson dug deep and reviewed a mountain of Peterson’s work, and I don’t know how he did it. I hope he’s OK.
That one chapter was enough for me to see that he was a worthless pseudo-intellectual. But then, I’ve been reading intelligent design creationism crap for years, and have learned to spot a fraud pretty quickly.