Shut up, Jordan Peterson


Can he just go away now? He’s in the news again because the Sunday Times has published an interview with him…which I haven’t read since it’s behind a paywall, but here’s the teaser:

Ithought this was going to be a normal interview with Jordan Peterson. After speaking with him at length, and with his daughter for even longer, I no longer have any idea what it is. I don’t know if this is a story about drug dependency, or doctors, or Peterson family dynamics — or a parable about toxic masculinity. Whatever else it is, it’s very strange.

It sounds like it’s an accurate description of how weird the Peterson family is, but obviously, Peterson disagrees and thinks the published interview grossly distorts the truth. I don’t know, not having read it; maybe it’s horribly biased, maybe it mangles the whole story, I just don’t care, but I can appreciate that Peterson would want to correct the record, if so. So Peterson chose to release the complete transcript of the interview.

If he thinks that makes him look normal, oh man, the Times article must be a rip-roaring phantasmagoria of bizarreness, because yikes, the transcript is freaky. His daughter, Mikhaila, is very much an enabler of his delusions. For instance, he really goes on and on about his diet obsessions.

Jordan 16:15
When I talked to Sam Harris- it’s very complicated, and I’m still trying to piece all of this together, but I had gone to see my family, my extended family on my wife’s side, and Mikhaila and her husband, and me, both- all of us came down with the same symptom set that lasted about three weeks, and it was absolutely terrible. I couldn’t get up without fainting. I’d faint, fall to the floor, gray out, not blackout completely, but gray out every time I got up. I couldn’t get warm. I was wearing multiple layers of clothes and multiple layers of blankets, and I couldn’t get warm. I had an overwhelming sense of doom and anxiety, and I didn’t want to move, and plus I couldn’t sleep for days and days. I don’t- I was without sleep for many weeks. And you know-

Interviewer 17:17
And this was from inadvertently ingesting apple cider?

Jordan 17:22
Look, that’s- that’s-

Mikhaila 17:24
It wasn’t. No. Hold on.

Jordan 17:26
There were, no doubt, multiple-

Mikhaila 17:28
Hold up. It wasn’t apple cider. It was sodium metabisulfite in apple cider. Like the alcoholic apple cider was added to a stew.

Interviewer 17:40
Understood.

Mikhaila 17:40
So it was sodium metabisulfite in that apple cider, but it wasn’t apple cider.

He was sick. He had problems. I can’t deny that. But the idea that one sip of sodium metabisulfite sent his life spiraling into catastrophe is unlikely.

Apparently he was a total wreck, but he was swiftly cured by his all-meat diet. This guy sounds exactly like one of those gullible tools promoting snake oil.

Jordan 22:09
Yes. And the diet did a lot of different things, had a lot of different effects on me. One of the most market effects immediately was that I stopped snoring, and that happened within a week. It was very, very surprising to me. And then I had psoriasis and that cleared up, and I had gum disease, and that cleared up which is- that’s not curable, gum disease, so it’s treatable, but not curable, but it’s completely cleared up. And I lost 70 pounds over about a seven month period. So the transformation was remarkable. And I’ve had other autoimmune symptoms in my life. I had alopecia areata at one point and thought I was going to lose all my hair, but luckily that stopped. And I had this condition called peripheral uveitis, which is an inflammation in the tissue of the eye, and markers on my fingernails for autoimmune- like an autoimmune condition, your body attacks its own cells, and I had markers for that as well. And I have had a lengthy history of mouth ulcers…

I suspect the Times committed the unforgivable crime of editing his words and trying to make the Peterson family interesting, because oh my god, it was the most boring thing ever. It’s an old man whining about his multitude of illnesses, with his quack of a daughter chiming in now and then with comments about how she, lacking all medical training, had diagnosed him and cured him with her magic diet. It’s stultifyingly stupid and uninteresting and morbidly bizarre. He does talk at one point about how the political left and right are exactly the same, and that what’s ripping the US apart is the feedback that keeps them swinging madly back and forth…I just wanted to yell “PROJECTION!” at the screen, because there is clearly some kind of pathological hypochondriac dynamic going on in his family that is pushing him back and forth.

But mainly, it’s agonizingly boring. I imagine the reporter struggled to extract anything at all interesting from it. Apparently, the Times reported that he’s a schizophrenic weirdo, to which Mikhaila just says nah, he was akathisic (akathisia is mentioned 91 times in the interview!) — but no one is going to confuse akathesia with schozophrenia, except maybe that colossal ignoramus, Mikhaila. All I can think is…

Shut up, Jordan Peterson, you meandering mumbling old git.

Comments

  1. numerobis says

    Apple news popped up on my laptop with a notification about Jordan Peterson (presumably this article).

    It prompted me to finally figure out how to turn that notification thing off.

  2. raven says

    But the idea that one sip of sodium metabisulfite sent his life spiraling into catastrophe is unlikely.

    QFT.
    It’s closer to impossible.
    I’m sure he has zero proof of that.

    Apparently he was a total wreck, but he was swiftly cured by his all-meat diet.

    IIRC, his major problems started after his all meat diet. That is when he became addicted to benzodiazapines, an addiction he couldn’t get rid of. He ended up in a Moscow clinic, where he caught pneumonia and ended up in an induced coma on a ventilator. Then went to Serbia where he caught Covid-19.

  3. raven says

    Canada declares the Proud Boys a terrorist group – The …www.washingtonpost.com › the_americas › 2021/02/03

    19 hours ago — The announcement comes less than a month after group members allegedly joined the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

    Canada just declared the Pathetic Boys a terrorist organization.
    It is Canadian, inasmuch as the founder and leader, Gavin McInnes is Canadian.
    Why do we even let people like Gavin McInnes into the USA?
    He is a terrorist for Cthulhu’s sake.

    Speaking of terrorists, why do we let people like Jordan Peterson into the USA.?
    We don’t have to let Canadian terrorists in. We have enough of our own.
    Peterson is just a conperson, a kook selling hate for money.
    He hates everyone but cis white xian males.

    Peterson belongs on a terrorist list with a Do Not Let In order by his name.

  4. raven says

    … to which Mikhaila just says nah, he was akathesic (akathesia is mentioned 91 times in the interview!) — but no one is going to confuse akathesia with schozophrenia, …

    Speaking of trying to extract meaning from the Petersons.
    Akathisia is a movement disorder.
    It has a lot to do with schizophrenia.
    It is mostly an extrapyramidal symptom caused by the dopamine receptor blocking class of antipsychotic drugs.
    She is implying here that Peterson is now on or has been on antipsychotic drugs.
    One reason why you get prescribed antipsychotic drugs is because you are…psychotic.

    Tell me again why we should pretend that Jordan Peterson has anything worthwhile to say?
    And why you are at it, why is he a tenured psychology professor at U. of Toronto.
    Most of his later research seems to have been on himself with a poor record of success.

    Akathisia: Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment – WebMDwww.webmd.com › Schizophrenia › Reference
    Dec 13, 2020 — Akathisia is a movement disorder that makes it hard for you to stay still. It causes an urge to move that you can’t control. You might need to fidget all the time, walk in place, or cross and uncross your legs.
    Usually, akathisia is a side effect of antipsychotic drugs.

  5. PaulBC says

    Peterson’s medicine show spiel is amazing. It might be a little too over the top to work. I am not familiar enough with the genre to say. He needs a product to sell, like Jordan’s little meat pills or something. If it was as simple as subsisting on steak and vodka, my grocer can supply everything I need.

  6. Rob Bos says

    I think the weirdest thing there for me is the “sodium metabisulfite” part. Those are just Campden tablets, aren’t they? They’re used in homebrewing to stop yeast from reproducing. They’re safe to ingest,

    Distinguishing between cider, and cider with campden tablets, is an additional layer of weird-stupid. It’s really commonly done. If you want a sweet cider without creating bottle bombs, you have to add something like that. There are other methods, like heating, but that’s one of the more common ones.

  7. jacksprocket says

    Deep research (Wkipedia) tells me that sodium metabisulfite can be used to remove tree stumps!!! If it can do that, it should have no trouble laying Jordan Pesterson flat. Don’t drink too much cider, it affects your stump!

  8. ardipithecus says

    @9 Giliell

    The advantage of that diet is that if you actually do die, you still lose weight.

  9. tacitus says

    “But I’m not interested in generating controversy.”

    Yet he certainly wasn’t averse to amassing a fortune by capitalizing on a controversy he went out of his way to generate.

  10. PaulBC says

    tacitus@14 Right. You can almost hear him say “little old me.” He’s just some guy. He says stuff. And he cannot for the life of it understand why people get so worked up about this little old clinical psychologist merely saying stuff.

  11. tacitus says

    I just read through the interview. Among the things that stand out — he seems to have a near Trumpian obsession with his YouTube viewing figures, including the like-to-dislike ratios. As soon as it turns to politics, it’s “identity politics, identity politics, identity politics.” And Mikhaila is incredibly sensitive to how some of his medical travails are characterized, though she seems to be focused most on trivialities.

    But most of all, I get the impression that the entire family would have been much better off if Peterson hadn’t catapulted himself into the limelight and had remained a relatively obscure Canadian academic publishing little read tomes. We certainly would have been.

  12. jack lecou says

    @Raven, #3:

    IIRC, his major problems started after his all meat diet. That is when he became addicted to benzodiazapines, an addiction he couldn’t get rid of. He ended up in a Moscow clinic, where he caught pneumonia and ended up in an induced coma on a ventilator. Then went to Serbia where he caught Covid-19.

    To be as fair as possible to Peterson, the onset of the drug problem, or the acute stage at least, seems to have been more or less contemporaneous with his wife’s cancer diagnosis (just caught up on “Behind the Bastards” episodes on him). That’s a pretty stressful thing that might naturally throw anyone for a loop (especially a guy like Peterson, who was clearly already mismanaging some pretty serious struggles with anxiety and depression).

    Of course, not everyone proceeds to fly to Russia for a medically induced coma.

    To be less fair to Peterson, there’s still something that strikes me as a little unseemly about that timeline. Tammy was dying of cancer, but suddenly it’s Jordan’s medical/psychological issues that everyone’s scrambling to take extraordinary measures for? I certainly don’t think there’s a single “right” way to emotionally cope with a spouse’s severe illness, but maybe there can be wrong way…

  13. says

    psoriasis
    gum disease
    alopecia areata
    peripheral uveitis
    mouth ulcers

    How many of these were self-diagnosed, I wonder? It’s the standard approach with miracle cures. After all, it’s easy to cure a disease you never actually had.

  14. John Morales says

    Rob @10:

    I think the weirdest thing there for me is the “sodium metabisulfite” part. Those are just Campden tablets, aren’t they? They’re used in homebrewing to stop yeast from reproducing. They’re safe to ingest

    I wouldn’t want to ingest the stuff, myself.

    I’ve brewed cider, and I’ve used the stuff (in powder form) to sterilise clean bottles.
    Dissolve it in water, put a small amount in the bottle, swirl it around to coat the inside, drain excess and hang the bottles upside down. Quite a strong smell of sulphur during the process. After it’s totally dried, thoroughly rinse the bottles again with clean water, to get rid of the dried coating, and bottle the cider.

    And I’ve never tried to stop the yeast from reproducing, it happens all by itself (well, slows down markedly) once most of the sugars are used up — converted into ethanol. During bottling, one can add some more sugar for secondary fermentation.

    So, at best, there will be trace amounts in the finished product, but it would take a laboratory to detect such a small amount.

  15. PaulBC says

    I’ve never done any brewing, but this is what Wikipedia says about Campden tablets:

    It is a common misconception that Campden tablets can be used to halt the ferment process in wine before all the available sugars are converted by the yeast, hence controlling the amount of residual sweetness in the final product. This however is not true. In order to halt fermentation, enough Campden tablets would have to be added to render the wine undrinkable. Alternatively, when used in conjunction with potassium sorbate, the yeast population will be greatly reduced and prevented from reproducing. Without the addition of potassium sorbate the yeast population will only be stunned and eventually repopulate if provided with enough fermentable sugars.[3]

    The wine I drink usually says it “contains sulfites.” I think they’re common in processed meat and used for preserving dried apricots so they stay orange, among other things. Sodium metabisulfite sounds like something I would not want to ingest much of, but I doubt a small quantity would cause a sudden, severe reaction like the one Peterson describes.

    Actually, red wine sometimes gives me mild hives that go away with an antihistamine. It isn’t something I noticed until a few years ago, and I think it must depend on something specifically in one kind of wine. The first time this happened, I was just a little itchy and ignored it. When it recurred I noticed the reaction was very visible. I sort of wonder what that’s all about and why it only started happening a few years ago, but it isn’t something I’m going to scream to the media about even if given the chance.

  16. Tethys says

    Reading through his various symptoms is basically a list of the multiple conditions caused by chronic vitamin C deficiency.

    An all meat diet would eventually cause all those conditions he claims were cured. This malnutrition is also a side effect of long term alcoholism with fatty liver disease.

  17. PaulBC says

    True, “Man eats only meat for several months and develops scurvy” makes for an unsurprising headline.

  18. karmacat says

    Tethys I was also going to say his symptoms sounded like vitamin C deficiency. When it comes to weight, any diet can cause weight loss. When people stick to a diet that are more conscious of what they are eating and keeping track of it. Oftentimes people eat snacks, etc without really registering that they are eating extra food. The bottom line is that there is no magic diet. It is significant that they don’t mention any blood work results.

  19. hemidactylus says

    Well I suppose we haven’t heard the last from Lobster Boy as Beyond Order drops in less than a month. I’ve been reading a multi-authorial critique of him called Myth and Mayhem. Zizek makes an opening contribution where he recaps the debate of the century.

    Some have gone as far as reading Peterson’s drier more scholarly and nuanced Maps of Meaning for fodder. The authors are more about trying to understand where Peterson may be coming from than reflexively dismissing him.

    I think the assumption he is best known for is the status hierarchy thing (which PZ had latched on long ago) and whether lobsters are an apt analog for humans, whether human hierarchies are natural, or whether they can be justified. In David Hawkes’s Ideology he lays out the Aristotelean contrast between first and second nature. The first is given and the second formed by sufficient repetition as a habit to emulate the first as a social construction. Would human status hierarchies be first or second nature? And how does an appeal to nature not come into play as a justification? Matthew McManus, in the book I’m reading, brings Rawls’ maximin justification in as one way if the hierarchy benefits those on the lower rungs by some sort of trickle or rising tide effect. I think he also gets into Peterson’s assumption of resentment for those who hate the hierarchy. Amor fati, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, read my book and aspire to be an ubermensch with proper posture, clean your room and set your own house in order before fixing society’s injustices. Pet a stray cat? Yeah that will end well.

    These authors are also adept at pointing out Peterson’s terrible misrepresentations of Critical Theory and postmodernism as bogeys.

    Anyway as I enjoy adding more suffering into the world I leave you with this podcast where Peterson debates philosopher David Benatar on antinatalism. McManus alluded to Peterson’s Schopenhauerian pessimism in the above book yet Peterson doesn’t cash that out as antinatalism. Embrace the suffering I suppose as it makes you stronger Bucko. If presented with a world where potential offspring might happen upon this podcast episode, would it be better not to engage in behavior leading to procreation?:

    Renegade Report [Jordan B Peterson & David Benatar]
    https://iono.fm/e/516604

    “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

    I had nodded off a few times, but Benatar gets frustrated as Peterson seems to prefer arguing against a mischaracterization of his views, for instance the difference between not bringing a life into existence and snuffing out someone already born in their sleep. I think Peterson may have made an argument as if antinatalism entailed the Holocaust too. Benatar held his own though I’m not on board with his worldview. Maybe my disdain for Peterson biases my judgment.

  20. says

    And I have had a lengthy history of mouth ulcers…

    AKA canker sores.

    raven @ #6:

    Akathisia is a movement disorder.
    It has a lot to do with schizophrenia.
    It is mostly an extrapyramidal symptom caused by the dopamine receptor blocking class of antipsychotic drugs.

    It’s a side effect of drugs. It isn’t a symptom of any disease. Companies sold (pushed, got governments to force people to take) drugs for a fuckton of psychological problems. The drugs cause Parkinson’s-like effects, and now they’re selling other drugs to allegedly address one of the many problems caused by the first drugs. It’s a nightmare.

  21. chrislawson says

    PZ, the article is available through my university library, so you might be able to access it without paying for it yourself. Some points after reading the article.

    (1) Yes, akasthisia is a well-known side effect of many antipsychotic medications, but there are other causes too so I wouldn’t be drawing too much of an inference there, especially as neither Peterson in this story has shown any sign of understanding anything about biomedical science so I don’t trust their self-diagnoses. In fact, the evidence in the interview directly contradicts their self-diagnosis since it is impossible to have akathisia (a movement disorder characterized by subjective feelings of internal restlessness or jitteriness with a compelling urge to move leading to the observation of repetitive movements, such as leg crossing, swinging or persistent shifting from one foot to another”) AND “I didn’t want to move”. It is possible that the akathisia and the immobility were at different times, but between the addled recollections of the Petersons and the superficiality of the interviewer, it’s impossible to tell.

    (2) I don’t know if this applies in the US but here in Australia, apple cider vinegar is one of the currently faddish alternative cure-alls (annoyingly marketed as such in pharmacies everywhere). I note that despite its incredibly widespread use, I have seen exactly zero reports of these side effects from apple cider vinegar use and also question how they know not only that it was the apple cider vinegar in the stew but also the specific metabisulfite component that was the trigger. I suspect that all they did was look through the ingredient list and choose the scariest sounding chemical. I say this not because sodium metabisulfite can’t cause reactions but because anyone with even a passing familiarity with food allergies and intolerances would know that to make a specific positive diagnosis you have to do a lot more workup than that.

    (3) Peripheral uveitis can only be accurately diagnosed by a trained professional with an ophthalmoscope or slit lamp; alopecia areata can be provisionally diagnosed on clinical examination but only confirmed with (again) trained expertise and specialised equipment, and many, many healthy people have at least one positive marker of autoimmune disease, and these often fluctuate naturally and more to the point, fingernail changes can be associated with autoimmune diseases but also about a thousand other conditions including dietary deficiencies.

    (4) Mikhaila Peterson is genuinely stupid. Here is her explanation for why benzo withdrawal is so difficult: “Benzodiazepines have such a long half-life, there’s a theory that maybe some of the withdrawal is because you still have benzodiazepines in you.” Worth noting that in fact benzodiazapines have a huge range of half-lives, including very short-acting agents used in anaesthesia/sedation for quick procedures, but the real problem here is the astonishingly idiotic idea that withdrawal is harder because there’s more of it left in your system.

    (5) Why the hell is anyone dignifying Peterson with an interview at this stage? Yes, Peterson should shut up but he is psychologically incapable of doing so. The real culprit here is the goddamned journalist and editor. The story is not flattering to him, but it doesn’t matter. Experienced journalists should understand that personality cultists don’t retreat because of negative coverage, they just eat it up. Especially as this interview was arranged as part of Peterson’s publicity for his new self-help book (exploding irony meter alert — and no, this is not coincidence, the article ends with a publishing promo for the book so this was a publicity interview).

    Experienced journalists should also know to check with some actual scientists before opining bullshit like “Whatever your opinion of Peterson, however, his scrupulous deference to scientific data is indisputable.” Or re-reporting his transphobic bullshit without the slightest bit of critical analysis, describing it as “on free-speech grounds, a new Canadian law he argued would legally compel him to use transgender people’s preferred pronouns.” Which as we know was a complete fabrication. So fuck Decca Aitkenhead for enabling Peterson while thinking she has done her duty as a reporter by salting critical observations about his stupid diet throughout but not grappling with his misogyny, his anti-evidence agenda or his transphobic lies which are, after all, the seriously harmful things he promotes. What a shitty piece of journalism.

  22. hemidactylus says

    Regarding the Benatar v Peterson debate Peterson took issue with an antinatalist position that bringing children into the world imposes an unchosen, presumably negative overall fate. He counters that parents are actually giving the child an opportunity instead. Benatar gets into the sticky issue of parents aware that a child may come into the world with a genetic condition imposing a short life with great suffering if that’s an opportunity. This position is fraught with potential ableist dangers, but still gives parents an informed choice. Peterson nuances this more with cases where the outcome may not be as severe and prefers specific cases over generalizing from worst case. But then he flips the argument from potential births to the scenario of snuffing out someone with a horrible life in their sleep and offers that as a bridge to anitnatalist justifications for killing people in asylums etc during the Holocaust. This was involuntary euthanasia of the born though, not contemplating whether to bring life into the world. That shift by Peterson was unfair IMO. And he warns of a danger based on that in the antinatalist position. I don’t think that’s a position Benatar takes. Peterson verges on a Godwin level moment here.

    There are those who support voluntary euthanasia for a variety of scenarios, but even that isn’t akin to it being involuntary.

  23. hemidactylus says

    And Peterson has an unhealthy obsession with imposing a snuff sleeping people with horrible lives position on antinatalists. WTF? I may not agree entirely with antinatalism, though it is among viable justifications for the childfree folks, but Benatar clearly distinguishes the interests of the already born in continuing existence however absurdly Sisyphean or unpleasant and the ethical choice of not having children that entails a fate of overall suffering. Beats Quiverfull.

    If you invite an antinatalist over to stay at your house should you hide the pillows or hire a food taster if they bring a covered dish? They instead might think the enjoyment of a tasty dinner isn’t sufficient warrant to stop blaming their parents for having them. That’s pretty much it.

  24. raven says

    For anyone feeling sorry for Peterson, don’t bother.
    The guy is a hater and a conperson.
    He is also a terrorist or a terrorist enabler.
    He has in the past shown an interest in violence and has come close to advocating violence.
    Old post.

    Peterson and violence
    Unlike PZ Myers, Jordan Peterson makes a point of often using violent language and comes close to flat out calling for violence.
    He is just another in a long line of hack right wingnut hate merchants like Alex Jones, Ann Coulter, or Rush Limbaugh so this is no surprise whatsoever.

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/feb/07/how-dangerous-is-jordan-b-peterson-the-rightwing-professor-who-hit-a-hornets-nest
    He describes debate as “combat” on the “battleground” of ideas and hints at physical violence, too. “If you’re talking to a man who wouldn’t fight with you under any circumstances whatsoever, then you’re talking to someone for whom you have absolutely no respect,” he told Paglia last year, adding that it is harder to deal with “crazy women” because he cannot hit them.
    and
    Interview in Reason Magazine
    “It’s very helpful for people to hear that they should make themselves competent and dangerous and take their proper place in the world.”

    Stossel scoffs, “Competent and dangerous? Why dangerous?”

    “There’s nothing to you otherwise,” Peterson replies. “If you’re not a formidable force, there’s no morality in your self-control. If you’re incapable of violence, not being violent isn’t a virtue. People who teach martial arts know this full well. If you learn martial arts, you learn to be dangerous, but simultaneously you learn to control it … Life is a very difficult process and you’re not prepared for it unless you have the capacity to be dangerous.”

    Peterson comes close to flat out calling for violence.
    He is also a merchant of hate, hate for women, atheists, Muslims, trans, nonwhites, the educated, Progressives.
    Add them up.
    This is most of our society.

    This is why Peterson and his fanboy trolls are getting a huge amount of push back.
    They are all haters and violence is a real possibility here.
    In fact, violence by his fanboy base has been increasing rapidly, i.e. last at the Capitol building.
    Wherever you have hate speech, you will have hate violence.
    We have the right and responsibility to defend ourselves and that is what we are doing.

  25. raven says

    Peterson’s advice is so stupid, it is amazing anyone takes him seriously.
    According to him, you are supposed to make yourself dangerous and “capable of violence” so people will what? Avoid you? Call the police? Fight you? Take out their gun and tell you to go away while they dial 911?

    That will work until you meet someone else who is dangerous and violent. And you will, our society has many of those.
    Sooner or later, that dangerous and violent person is likely to be…a police officer. Oops, bad idea.

  26. PaulBC says

    raven@31

    For anyone feeling sorry for Peterson, don’t bother.

    The thought hadn’t occurred to me.

  27. hemidactylus says

    The Myth and Mayhem book gifted me with this tidbit for Peterson’s pervasive cultural influence:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregg_Hurwitz

    According to Conrad Hamilton a character in Orphan X puts some of Peterson’s Quora derived rules on her refrigerator. And this could become a movie or TV series. Great…😬

    Peterson has perhaps acted as inspiration as Joseph Campbell did for George Lucas???

  28. rietpluim says

    “Jordan 16:15” sounds like a Bible verse, which wonderfully suits someone with messianistic tendencies.

  29. KG says

    I’ve been reading a multi-authorial critique of him [Peterson] called Myth and Mayhem. Zizek makes an opening contribution – hemidactylus@24

    Huh. I have nearly as much contempt for Žižek as for Peterson*. From Wikipedia:

    In 2016, during a conversation with Gary Younge at a Guardian Live event, Žižek discussed Donald Trump running for the US presidency in the 2016 election. He described Trump as a paradox, basically a centrist liberal in most of his positions, desperately trying to mask this by dirty jokes and stupidities. In an opinion piece, published e.g. in Die Zeit, he described the then frontrunner candidate Hillary Clinton as the much less suitable alternative. In an interview with the BBC, Žižek did however state that he thought Trump was “horrible” and his support would have been based on an attempt to encourage the Democratic Party to return to more leftist ideals.

    Just before the 2017 French presidential election, Žižek stated that one could not choose between Macron and Le Pen, arguing that the neoliberalism of Macron just gives rise to neofascism anyway.

    From the same article, a bit more on Žižek’s positively Petersonian self-promotion – the two of them even collaborate in it:

    Žižek participated in the 2012 Sight & Sound critics’ poll, where he listed his ten favorite films as follows: 3:10 to Yuma, Dune, The Fountainhead, Hero, Hitman, Nightmare Alley, On Dangerous Ground, Opfergang, The Sound of Music, and We the Living.

    In 2019, Žižek began hosting a mini-series called How to Watch the News with Slavoj Žižek on the RT network. In April, Žižek debated psychology professor Jordan Peterson at the Sony Centre in Toronto, Canada over happiness under capitalism versus Marxism.

    *But I do take the trouble to spell his name correctly.

  30. Owlmirror says

    If anyone cares, someone copy-pasted the text and photographs of the Times interview to the Jordan Peterson subreddit.

    I note that it is tagged “Hit Piece”. Presumably the fanboys didn’t like it because Peterson didn’t like it.

  31. PaulBC says

    Žižek discussed Donald Trump running for the US presidency in the 2016 election. He described Trump as a paradox, basically a centrist liberal in most of his positions

    He’s not the only one who made this mistake, though it’s really inexcusable. If all you knew about Trump was that he liked hobnobbing with celebrities and doing movie cameos, that he was irreligious, and sometimes talked about spending money for infrastructure, you could possibly reach this view. I might have accepted this before his involvement in birtherism. Honestly, all I knew about Trump was that he was a casino operator and object of ridicule in New York and New Jersey where he had many of his businesses.

    On the other hand, he has worn his racism on his sleeve for most of his career. Publicly, he took out a full page ad in 1989 against the Central Park Five calling for the death penalty to be restored. Privately, he reportedly stated that he would not trust a Black accountant and took the opportunity to repeat a stereotype of Jews in the same breath.

    I think his authoritarian impulses were also clear from the start. Even The Apprentice, which I admit I have never watched, seems like a celebration of autocratic power more than anything.

    I don’t know much about Žižek, though from what I’ve seen, he seems like a gadfly who likes to make provocative statements and really doesn’t have a enough understanding of American culture to tease out some subtle differences (though anyone in the world could figure out Trump is a fascist just by watching and listening to him). Lumping Trump as “centrist liberal” is probably just a corollary to the view that all major American political parties are fundamentally identical and work for the same big money bosses, a view that I know is popular in some circles, but doesn’t leave much to discuss or a viable alternative, since nobody else is likely to gain any power.

  32. says

    @Owlmirror, 37

    I note that it is tagged “Hit Piece”. Presumably the fanboys didn’t like it because Peterson didn’t like it.

    Peterson the Younger labels it as such on her relevant YouTube video(s). Gakk.

Leave a Reply