Post-modern neo-Marxist cultural Marxists are coming to get you!

Jordan Peterson is a colossal ass — an ignoramus who has become a professor of psychology and uses his tiny sliver of specific knowledge to grant him the authority to pontificate on every other field, about which he knows nothing. He’s putting together a website that will tell you how wrong, as determined by him, your college classes are.

They can use the website to distinguish between people who are credible and people who aren’t and maybe we can drop the damn enrollment in those horrible courses by 75% over the next three years … it’s in their best interest both, I would say, spiritually and economically to avoid those courses and those disciplines like the plague and then maybe we can get the disciplines that have become entirely corrupt and the ones that started that way to put themselves back together before they run themselves out of existence completely, and I might as well name a few of the disciplines that i think are particularly reprehensible to begin with … So, as I said already, women’s studies, and all the ethnic studies and racial studies, studies groups, man, those things have to go and the faster they go the better. It would have been better if they had never been part of the university to begin with as far as I can tell. Sociology, that’s corrupt. Anthropology, that’s corrupt. English literature, that’s corrupt. Maybe the worse offenders are the faculties of education.

I’ve got some rather awkward news for him: there are biologists (I’m not one of them) who think psychology is worthless and corrupt. There are physicists who think biology is trivial and useless — “stamp collecting”, I think they called it. A good scholar recognizes that there are domains of knowledge in which we lack expertise, and that our ignorance is not an indictment of the field.

And look at what he wants to get rid of! Women’s, ethnic, and racial studies — does he think that those groups don’t have unique problems and perspectives? Does he believe that White Man is the standard by which all should be measured?

Sociology, anthropology, and English literature have to go? Is he insane? These are rigorous disciplines in important subjects. That they are too difficult for Jordan Peterson to understand does not mean they are invalid.

And my god, he despises education faculty? He’s got a job at the University of Toronto. He is supposed to be an educator. Part of his responsibility is teaching, and teaching well, or he’s got no right to be a member of a distinguished university. His only pedagogical technique seems to involve standing up and stammering out bigotry at an audience — an audience of like-minded assholes who applaud in contempt of genuine academic disciplines, by the way.

I’m just trying to imagine an institution of higher learning where he got his way. At my university, we expect students to acquire some breadth of knowledge. We require students to take courses in literature, history, sociology, the arts, even — I know, it’s hard to believe — psychology, a discipline that must be corrupt if it tolerates this jerkwad. If we demolished all those other disciplines that are so essential to developing our students as well-rounded, comprehensive citizens of the world, they’d be reduced to inane Jordan Peterson clones and the kind of people who write for the Morris North Star (I notice they don’t care much for sociology, either).

Let’s call Peterson what he is: an anti-intellectual. He’s stupid and proud of it, and he’d like everyone else to be as stupid as he is, which is why he wants to destroy so many worthy and important academic disciplines. He’s a neurasthenic Rush Limbaugh, and about as well informed. I wouldn’t even trust him in his own field of psychology.

But he’s part of a rising wave of anti-intellectual barbarism, and he’s profiting well from it. He’s making half a million dollars a year from his gullible alt-right fans!

This is an effective strategy, though: create a boogeyman populated with shadowy figures out of your audience’s paranoid imaginations, and convince them to throw money at you for batting them away. We saw the same thing with the bullshit specter of “cultural Marxism”, a non-existent movement that was conjured from whole cloth by right-wing know-nothings.

Oh god, the Morris North Star

They’ve come out with another issue of their dreadful alternative campus newspaper. Although I fear that disclosing these facts may harm the reputation of our students, I must, in the interest of openness and transparency, reveal that some of our students seem to lack basic skills in logic, reason, grammar, and spelling, as well as being politically regressive and lacking in empathy for others.

I blame the high schools. Or possibly the home schools. I have this dream that a four year education in a public liberal arts college might fix some of these problems.

However, in response to an accusation that their previous issue exhibited a poor understanding of biology and sociology, they offer this embarrassing defense.

I can assure you that with many biology majors contributing to the paper, we are more than well equipped in the biology department and they ask you to remember that personal thoughts and opinions don’t contribute to scientific evidence. As for sociology, we dont have anyone currently on staff with a background in brainwashed jargon.

So I guess UMM biologists are partly to blame. We’ll try to do better in the future.

If you want to see the depth of the ignorance we’re working against, here’s one example: an article that attempts to vindicate Christopher Columbus and salvage his reputation. I won’t include the whole thing because I’ve already dealt myself a savage dent in my forehead with just these short excerpts.

Here’s one argument that Columbus wasn’t really so bad — he didn’t actually murder any Americans, you know, indigenous people who lived within the modern boundaries of the United States of America, which is the only True America, and the only America that counts.

First, contrary to popular belief, Christopher Columbus didn’t discover America and never harmed a single Native American. Columbus actually spent most of his time sailing around islands that make up the modern day South America like modern day Haiti and Dominican Republic. While it is true that Columbus and his crew slaughtered the island’s native people, his captain’s log and maps documenting his travels prove he never entered the modern day United States and therefore never harmed a Native American.

I just want to point out that America includes North, Central, and South America. Even Canada is part of the North American continent, and that “Native Americans” refers to people who live all over the Western Hemisphere.

Do only people who live in one specific region of one specific continent count as “people”? That admission that Columbus and his crew slaughtered the island’s native people, while excusing it because they didn’t live within our current borders, sounds so…Republican.

The tribes were also far behind the entire world in terms of technology, shockingly enough the wheal was still not used until England colonized it.

Yes. He misspelled “wheel”.

America was not built on genocide like some people would like you to believe. The tribes were hostile towards them because of their pale skin and attacked them. Eventually tribes warmed up to the pale faces and started trading with them, one of the most popular trade items were guns. The tribes that had guns would then kill rival tribes that only had stone tomahawks and take their land. Most native americans didn’t even die of war but from diseases.

Truly, a remarkable bit of projection. Indians were the bigoted ones who attacked blameless Europeans for the color of their skins. Then white people generously traded with the natives, who chose to get guns and kill each other. Disease wiped out the rest. Europeans didn’t kill Indians, it was all a result of Indian on Indian crime!

You’re going to have to trust me on this. Most of our students aren’t this terrible.

I know I’m going to regret this

But I’m going to The Genesis Movie tonight. I figure this is my only chance before it is relegated to church basements around the country. I’ll be at the Parkwood 18 theater in Waite Park if anyone wants to join me in misery.

Just so you know, though, I do follow the Prime Directive in these events — no interference with the primitive, crude, barbaric civilizations that put on these ignorant demonstrations. I’m there to observe; I might ask questions of citizens who are open to that sort of thing, but otherwise, only respectful behavior while I take notes on the foolishness on display. If your intent is disruption, no no no, stay away from me.
There is a good chance I’ll get thrown out even if I’m quiet and polite, so I don’t need need any assistance from rowdy compatriots.

Do not underestimate the military strength of the human navel

After the success of Wonder Woman, you may be wondering whether the upcoming Justice League movie will continue to correct the dismal, depressing failure of the DC comic hero franchise. Have no fear! They’ll find a way to fuck it up.

One sign that they will is…costuming. Wonder Woman’s Amazons wore practical, reasonable armor that were less about fan-service and more about warriors not wanting their guts stirred with a sharp piece of metal. In Justice League, though, the Amazons are ditching the uncuddly, relatively unrevealing metal plates for soft leather bikinis, because, apparently, belly buttons are more ferocious and intimidating.

Perhaps the US Army should ask Zack Snyder to design their uniforms?

Both sides suck

Sean Hannity has been defending creepy hebephile Roy Moore, so people have been calling for advertisers to pull their ads from the Hannity show. One advertiser who has done so is Keurig, which has been prompting the triggered snowflakes on the right to #boycottkeurig. Suddenly I’m seeing angry videos of right-wingers throwing Keurig machines from balcony windows or shooting them with shotguns. It’s absurd.

But what is equally absurd is that I’m seeing liberals declaring that they’re going to buy Keurig machines, or trade in their Nestle equivalent for a Keurig, or are celebrating by drinking coffee from their Keurig. Aaaaargh. K-cups are wasteful — consisting of almost as much packaging as coffee. Why are you celebrating a minor tactical decision by an exploitive, destructive capitalist company by rewarding them for a design that promotes convenience over the environment? I don’t get it.

I should also remind you that Keurig was supporting jingoistic, far right wing propagandist Sean Hannity all this time, that they didn’t seem to mind his constant America-First schtick of hatred for immigrants and people of color and queer folk and the poor, but only broke from the pack when he supported sexing up underaged white Alabamans. There’s an unconscious prioritizing of problems here. It’s not that I don’t think it’s despicable for Roy Moore to have been assaulting children, but that there is so much that is despicable about Moore that it’s shocking that his supporters are only noticing a problem now.

I appreciate that the opposition is finally crystallizing around this one incident to try and kill Moore’s career, and I’ll be very happy if it succeeds, but I’m just disappointed that his long history of theocratic bullshit and general incompetence weren’t enough to have kept him out of office, any office, for the last 40 years. But then incompetence and ideological asininity are no barrier to success in this country.

A review of Louis CK’s latest, and possibly last, movie

I haven’t seen it, probably won’t have an opportunity to see it, and have no desire to see it, but Alexandra Schwartz reviews it. It sounds like it’s just Louis CK playing himself (as he always does), and it sounds rather sad and ugly.

The only generous way to read “I Love You, Daddy” is as a portrait of male cowardice. What kind of man would be so shamefully pathetic as to avoid confronting the famous geezer who may or may not be screwing his underage daughter because that geezer has offered to read his latest script? The same man, presumably, who winces but doesn’t intervene as his dumbo comedian buddy (Charlie Day) describes, at gleeful length, all the ways that the man’s daughter has probably been fucked on spring break. As is often the case with the roles that Louis writes for himself, there is a strong note of masochistic pleasure in this extreme passivity. Louis, famously obsessive and controlling of his work—he writes, he directs, he edits, he acts, he produces, he distributes, he does it all—likes to play losers who are at the mercy of others. Often, those others are women. It’s hard not to wonder, in the wake of Thursday’s revelations, to what extent Louis has used this persona to shield his reputation. But cowardice is not just an avoidance of a moral stance; it is a moral stance, too, and not a flattering one.

His character always seems to wallow in his failings as a man, which at first is part of the appeal — at least he’s aware of his shortcomings. Unfortunately, it’s always coupled to an even lower opinion of women, who must be kind of dim and oblivious to be willing to associate with such an unappealing character. At least now we’re all seeing through the pretense to recognize that there’s not much thoughtfulness there — he’s just another opportunist with a schtick.

Live! From #Skepticon! Well, mostly alive, anyway

Yesterday, got up at 6am and prepared for my busy day, went to one conference, then got on a plane for another one…with an itinerary that went from Minneapolis to Baltimore, then a 6½ layover in the dead of night, and then to Atlanta, and finally to Springfield. I did not sleep a wink the whole time. I attended a series of talks: a workshop on queering violence with Randall Jensen, which was a nice eye-opener. A talk by Nikki Jane on hip-hop as a tool for coping with mental illness. I learned about pre-apocalyptic party planning from Mika McKinnon, and that was a nice surprise. You don’t prepare for disaster by by getting a bunker and a big gun and 5 years worth of processed food, but by making social connections and building a more resilient community. And finally, Mandisa Thomas spent an hour being fierce and strong, as she does.

No sleep yet. I’m feeling it, though, boy am I feeling it. I’m too old for all-nighters. So, for dinner, I took a long hot shower to try and restore some humanity. It didn’t work, as you can see.

I look even more terrible than usual. Those aren’t eyes, they’re aching blobs of bloodshot gelatin, and all that lurks behind them is a howling void. I should collapse into a bed right now, because I’ve been 36 hours without sleep. But I’m not. Because obviously I’m a party zombie.

There are two more talks ahead of me. Samantha Montano is going to be talking about Disasterology, because somehow I think a theme of this year’s meeting is coping with catastrophe. It would be useful, except that as the old decrepit guy, I know what my role would be. I’d be the grey-haired crusty cynic dispensing advice who eventually gets eaten by zombies to the relief of the stalwart band of survivors, who were just to noble to admit the he was slowing the whole group down.

Then Leighann Lord is going to invigorate me with an hour of comedy, so I might have the energy to drag myself to the Skeptiprom, where I will have one drink, and only one drink, which will make me fall over in an unconscious stupor.

Instructions to kindly skepticonners: I’ll have my room key in my front left pants pocket. I’d appreciate it if you’d carry my unconscious form to my room, and drop me on the floor or, if you’re especially nice, on my bed. Don’t worry about the usual defenses against choking on my own vomit, because I won’t be drunk, just exhausted.

I can do this. Jeez, though, it sure was a heck of a lot easier when I was 19.

Louis CK: just stop and go away, OK?

You’ve probably already heard about Louis CK’s mea culpa. I’m unimpressed.

I want to address the stories told to the New York Times by five women named Abby, Rebecca, Dana, Julia who felt able to name themselves and one who did not.

These stories are true. At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.

I have been remorseful of my actions. And I’ve tried to learn from them. And run from them. Now I’m aware of the extent of the impact of my actions. I learned yesterday the extent to which I left these women who admired me feeling badly about themselves and cautious around other men who would never have put them in that position.

I also took advantage of the fact that I was widely admired in my and their community, which disabled them from sharing their story and brought hardship to them when they tried because people who look up to me didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t think that I was doing any of that because my position allowed me not to think about it.

There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for. And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with.

I wish I had reacted to their admiration of me by being a good example to them as a man and given them some guidance as a comedian, including because I admired their work.

The hardest regret to live with is what you’ve done to hurt someone else. And I can hardly wrap my head around the scope of hurt I brought on them. I’d be remiss to exclude the hurt that I’ve brought on people who I work with and have worked with who’s professional and personal lives have been impacted by all of this, including projects currently in production: the cast and crew of Better Things, Baskets, The Cops, One Mississippi, and I Love You Daddy. I deeply regret that this has brought negative attention to my manager Dave Becky who only tried to mediate a situation that I caused. I’ve brought anguish and hardship to the people at FX who have given me so much The Orchard who took a chance on my movie. and every other entity that has bet on me through the years.

I’ve brought pain to my family, my friends, my children and their mother.

I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen.

Thank you for reading.

My reactions:

  • He confessed that the accusations were true. That’s good. This might have been a great statement if he’d said, “These stories are true. I am sorry.” FULL STOP.

  • At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true. See? He should have stopped before this. That was just stupid. Sure, he asked. They said NO. I’m gonna go ask this guy in front of me at the airport for his wallet, and if he says no, I’m just going to take it anyway. Asking first makes it OK.

  • I don’t care if you have power over a person or not, asking them to look at your dick is just plain weird. I have no power over this guy with the wallet in front of me, I’m not going to put on a penis puppet show for him, against his will. Because that would be wrong.

  • How often is he going to tell us how admired he is? I’ll remove that source of guilt from him, at least: he’s not admired anymore.

  • He only learned yesterday how much he hurt people? He should have been able to figure this out before he inflicted his kinks on others. To claim now that he was unaware of the wrongness of his actions is bullshit.

  • He wishes that he’d reacted by being a good example to them as a man. OK. Please understand, then, that he’s been a poor example of a man, and should shut up about how he was admired. That admiration was undeserved.

  • The only people who deserve any sympathy here are his family, friends, children, and wife. And his victims. He can self-flagellate all he wants, it’s not going to win him any pity.

  • He’s going to listen. Great. Listen to this: go away. Louis CK has disgraced himself and his work, and I for one don’t need to hear any more about him.

I don’t accept the Christian principle that an admission of contrition is sufficient to absolve someone of bad behavior. It requires real change. I don’t see what Louis CK is going to do to be a better person, and I doubt that he’s going to adopt a quiet life of faithfulness to his family and respect for others — he’s tasted the heady waters of power over others and used it for self-indulgence. I’ll believe he’s a changed man when he shows it, but not when he practices a written form of exhibitionism.

Busy busy busy — #MnCOSE17 and #Skepticon

This day is just done. I’m at the MnSTA conference on science education today, speaking about the state of evolution education this afternoon (there is bad news, and there is good news, but the bad news is surprisingly manageable). Once I’m done babbling, I’m rushing off through rush hour traffic to catch a plane to Skepticon, sorta. In my quest for a cheap flight that was compatible with my awkwardly full schedule, I’m catching a flight to Baltimore (?), with a connection to Atlanta, and from there to Springfield, Missouri. This is too complicated. I’m already scheduled to not get in until tomorrow morning, and I have a feeling that something is going to break and who knows when I’ll arrive. Everyone will be all partied out by the time I drag myself in.

Anyway, you know the drill. Behave yourselves while I’m out of touch, spit venom at the trolls, and I’ll clean up the mess tomorrow morning.