Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba lobsters ba ba ba
August 8, 2018 10:00 AM   Subscribe

Laetitia Sadier, former frontwoman of outspokenly Marxist lounge-pop groop Stereolab, has distanced herself from a statement she made in February in support of the right-wing firebrand and self-help author Jordan Peterson. Sadier's statements, posted to Twitter in response to a Guardian article, was brought to light recently following Peterson being photographed with popular faux-folk combo Mumford & Sons.

Sadier's statement, posted to her website, read:
“Following my tweet, I started seeing more clearly the cracks in his reasoning: his systematic assault on what he calls neo Marxism, his hang up on social justice warriors, his narrow biological determinism around gender issues were perturbing to say the least. And the fact that he would never acknowledge the malignant impact of colonialism or neo liberalism was evidence that his is a one-sided argument. It just took me a little longer than some of you to fully realise this. I didn’t make that public. I should have done and I am sorry for that.”

Bonus: Why The Jordan Peterson & Mumfords Brodown Comes As No Surprise .
posted by acb (120 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Peterson/Mumfords thing might've surprised me were it not for this previous thread.
posted by misteraitch at 10:05 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Has "cultural marxism" ever been defined, or is it a phrase designed to scare? I think "cultural marxism" would be very popular, as I'd imagine the means of production (of culture) belonging to the people is inherently popular.

As compared to "cultural capitalism," where the few powerful dictate what media we consume, I figured we'd nearly all agreed that we prefer it when we have more options than just a few particular songs or TV shows.
posted by explosion at 10:07 AM on August 8 [8 favorites]


Laetitia Sadier is pretty much the last person I would have expected to find any common ground with Jordan fucking Peterson. I'm disappointed that she didn't see through his bullshit right from the start, but better late than never.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:09 AM on August 8 [13 favorites]


Has "cultural marxism" ever been defined, or is it a phrase designed to scare?

Cultural Marxism=Jew. It's a dog whistle.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:10 AM on August 8 [66 favorites]


I'm not sure why people look to musicians for insight and wisdom - it's like expecting a professor of philosophy to be able to sing. Different skill sets.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 10:10 AM on August 8 [22 favorites]


Sean Lennon is also a big Peterson booster.... it baffles me.... my group of friends is pretty far to the left and yet probably 1/4 of them have become Petersonites, including two of the most modern, strongest, smartest women I have ever met.

When I point out sickeningly awful things he says they have one of two replies:

1. That is taken out of context.
2. Yes but he also says good things.

It is, easily, the most confused I have ever been at my group of friends.

I mean Jesus fucking Christ he literally said that a woman who wears makeup but doesn't want to get harassed is a hypocrite.
posted by Cosine at 10:11 AM on August 8 [27 favorites]


I'm not sure why people look to musicians for insight and wisdom - it's like expecting a professor of philosophy to be able to sing.

*cough*
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:12 AM on August 8 [8 favorites]


Has "cultural marxism" ever been defined, or is it a phrase designed to scare?

Like most things in the Lost/Proud Boys it's something nazi sourced with a new coat of paint, in this particular case cultural bolshevism.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 10:14 AM on August 8 [13 favorites]


I'm not sure why people look to musicians for insight and wisdom - it's like expecting a professor of philosophy to be able to sing.

And then there's Buzz Osborne:

There’s not a problem in the world you can’t make bigger by drinking a fifth of whiskey. If it worked the other way, they would market it as “problem solving whiskey.”

Sometimes you learn a few things, dealing with the music business on the road for a long time.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:14 AM on August 8 [16 favorites]


Cosine: Unfortunately, misogyny and "I'm not like Other Girls" have plenty of adherents on the far left, as demonstrated once again in the 2016 election but having a very long history.
posted by tavella at 10:15 AM on August 8 [34 favorites]


I don't think it's silly to look to artists for insight and wisdom. That's what good artists are for.

Jordan Peterson, is tough. He's smart and he has some super reasonable opinions. Also those crazy ones. It's easy to find entire lectures of his where he just makes good points about self-reliance or the dangers of not socializing young men and boys, for instance, all without nosediving into his misogynist, racist, or anti-intellectual junk. Then your youtube suggestions start trying to red pill you and you have to figure out why. I appreciate the fact that Sadier admitted her mistake and stepped back.
posted by es_de_bah at 10:20 AM on August 8 [29 favorites]


I swear I read the article - can someone explain how Mumford & Sons fits into all this, but pretend I'm like eight?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:29 AM on August 8 [7 favorites]


To give him some credit, Peterson is meticulous about maintaining plausible deniability; his “postmodern neo-Marxism” is a clean-room drop-in replacement for Kulturbolschewismus and its translation, “Cultural Marxism”, only rather than singling out the (((Frankfurt School))) as sinister propagandists trying to seduce our virtuous youth for Communism, he substitutes in some incomprehensible French philosophers; well, nobody can prove that they're not commie subversives, right?
posted by acb at 10:33 AM on August 8 [11 favorites]


My favorite person is Mumford & Sons is the dad.
posted by ShakeyJake at 10:33 AM on August 8 [5 favorites]


He's smart

[file not found]
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:33 AM on August 8 [20 favorites]


Critiquing Peterson is hard so enjoy ContraPoints doing it for you.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:36 AM on August 8 [35 favorites]


He's smart

But is he? Like, he's definitely a dumb person's idea of a smart person, but I don't think there's any reason to believe that he's any more than another articulate but not particularly intelligent academic. I reckon I've met dumber people with PhDs than Peterson, but not that many. His philosophical arguments are facile, simplistic and unilluminating, regardless of their political content. Yeah, he occasionally says some things that aren't appallingly offensive per se, but they're basically either obvious and trivial or just nonsense.

Peterson infuriates me more than most, not just because he's a woman hating bigot (although he definitely is), but because he is selling a cheap shitty knockoff of important and insightful ideas that he appears incapable of, and uninterested in, understanding.
posted by howfar at 10:36 AM on August 8 [86 favorites]




My first reaction to this was: well, Tim Gane (Sadier's ex-partner and fellow Stereolab founder) may have been more zealous about Marxism, having been in the Communist C86 band McCarthy prior to forming Stereolab. You know the old saying about each breakup taking one favourite album with it? Perhaps one can sometimes replace “favourite album” with “political ideology”.

My second reaction was one of relief, though mingled with a mild disappointment that there will never be a jaunty lounge-pop ditty whose lyrics meander, International Colouring Contest-style, about how lobster dominance hierarchies demonstrate the need to return to traditional values or something. That would have been quality bulldada.
posted by acb at 10:38 AM on August 8 [10 favorites]


he substitutes in some incomprehensible French philosophers; well, nobody can prove that they're not commie subversives, right?

Well if SJWs didn't want to be labeled as Marxists they shouldn't keep fighting oppression now should they? This whole everyone's life has value and treating everyone with dignity virtue signaling is nothing but Stalinist. /s
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 10:38 AM on August 8 [7 favorites]


Peterson infuriates me more than most, not just because he's a woman hating bigot (although he definitely is), but because he is selling a cheap shitty knockoff of important and insightful ideas that he appears incapable of, and uninterested in, understanding.

Isn't his shtick basically Slavoj Žižek flipped on the left-right axis? Or the Alex Jones to Žižek's Gwyneth Paltrow, if you will?
posted by acb at 10:40 AM on August 8 [21 favorites]


You can make a case for Jordan Peterson being a reasonable person by carefully cherry-picking his stuff, and at the same time, The Guardian has gotten an increasingly poor reputation on the left (which, unless something has changed, is still where Sadier aligns).
Unless you are extremely online (and up until recently, I thought he was just some Kermit impressionist philosopher some music producer on my twitter feed sampled on some shitty songs) and know the kind of reactionary Peterson actually is, you might as well read the Guardian piece and think "oh well, these idiots are at it again".
posted by lmfsilva at 10:44 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Unless you are extremely online (and up until recently, I thought he was just some Kermit impressionist philosopher some music producer on my twitter feed sampled on some shitty songs) and know the kind of reactionary Peterson actually is, you might as well read the Guardian piece and think "oh well, these idiots are at it again".

i mean, given that he first really rocketed to fame over his right to be a huge fucking dick about pronouns for non-cis folk i don't know why one would really give him that much benefit of doubt...

i feel like it says more about "leftist allies" than the granuiad
posted by anem0ne at 10:47 AM on August 8 [29 favorites]


I don't think there's any reason to believe that he's any more than another articulate but not particularly intelligent academic.

I agree.

But I get where the perception comes from. A lot of people believe that you need to be smart to have academic credentials. Peterson is also smarter and more nuanced than most other darlings of the alt-right; he knows what an academic argument looks like and can use that to his advantage, to increase his credibility. He uses sources, for example.

Of course, having academic credentials really only means you have a certain set of skills, only some of which are related to smarts. There are plenty of academics with massive blind spots. Academic arguments can be bad, and sources and be cherry-picked, misrepresented or simplified. It takes actual critical thinking on the part of the reader/viewer to notice this though, and most people are not engaging on that level.

Peterson looks good in comparison to to people who are worse than him.

I don't think he's responsible for the perception that he's smart, though. There are plenty of academics out there making different arguments who get dismissed as brainwashed, idiotic SJWs. People think he's smart because he's male, because he has an air of credibility, and because he's making an argument that they agree with.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:53 AM on August 8 [23 favorites]


Isn't his shtick basically Slavoj Žižek flipped on the left-right axis? Or the Alex Jones to Žižek's Gwyneth Paltrow, if you will?

I think that the second suggestion is pretty much bang on. They're all scavengers looking for easy pickings among late capitalist decay. They all present themselves as radicals, some of them represent themselves as being of the right, some of the left, but they're all fundamentally reactionary and anti-egalitarian in their arguments and influence.

TL;DR yes, they are all complete anuses.
posted by howfar at 10:56 AM on August 8 [10 favorites]


i mean, given that he first really rocketed to fame over his right to be a huge fucking dick about pronouns for non-cis folk i don't know why one would really give him that much benefit of doubt...

In the US or Canada, yeah, for sure. I never heard of him until maybe early this year. Wouldn't be surprised if the first time Sadier heard of him was also on an article filled with this platitudes that work as his foot on the door.

There's more world than your side of the Atlantic, you know.
posted by lmfsilva at 10:56 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure why people look to musicians for insight and wisdom - it's like expecting a professor of philosophy to be able to sing. Different skill sets.

It's because music is an art form. What's the point of art? Is it just to give us to sing along to in bumper-to-bumper traffic on our way to our dead-end job? Sometimes. Much of the time the music we hear is just packaged garbage, empty soul calories designed to make quick bucks. But when it's done right art can maybe to help you deal with the fact that your in a dead-end job, either to help you find the beauty in what you do anyway, or to make you start to question if this is it, if this is all that life is ever going to be. And if the answer to that last bit is no, then to maybe help provide some guidance or structure around what you can personally do about it.

Because really the whole point of art is to provide some methodology, some contextual framing to the Big Questions. The art is personal: it's how the artist is struggling to answer those questions for herself: she's spent time dealing with those core things that make humans human – love, loss, fear of death, joy in connections with others and the world – and tried to make some sense of it all through the medium of song. And sometimes when the results are really good it helps other people wrap their brains around those Questions too.

So when Sadier or Mumford & Sons make art that connects with people on a basic, human level, and then turn around and ally themselves with a hateful, spiteful, small-minded, racist nazi who garbs himself in academic taffeta, and the artists don't pick up on it, it's troubling. Because then their attempts to answer those big questions seem pretty shoddy and small. And when the fans of that art see that the creators of that art miss something pretty damned obvious and glaring, then we have to reassess whether WE – the ones who found something valuable in that art – have gotten it all wrong, if for no other reason than allied ourselves with that artist through her art.

But fear not, because I think that's where the art can sometimes transcend the artist. Sometimes the art is just less flawed than the artist. And while we should always condemn the bad acts of the artist and look critically at the art, we can still also find the good in both as well.
posted by nushustu at 10:57 AM on August 8 [20 favorites]


Wow. What?!
posted by PHINC at 10:58 AM on August 8


I'm not sure why people look to musicians for insight and wisdom - it's like expecting a professor of philosophy to be able to sing. Different skill sets.

That’s like saying I shouldn’t have healthy relationships with my friends because they’re not psychologists.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:05 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Okay, what did Žižek do to be hated by metafilter? Last I checked he just wrote mildly funny musings on film and literature?
posted by vocivi at 11:06 AM on August 8 [4 favorites]


Thanks for that contrapoints link. I normally don't like info presented in video format, but this was a succinct explanation of why Peterson is Problematic AF. I especially appreciated her disentanglement of Marxism/materialism and Modernism (thus also Postmodernism).
posted by Kitty Stardust at 11:07 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


Okay, what did Žižek do to be hated by metafilter?

DFW Syndrome: he got posted a bunch here and/or (some) people grew weary of what they took to be a schtick. Then there’s just the contrarians. (Which, when discussing Žižek is rich, I know.)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:10 AM on August 8 [4 favorites]


Mumford & Sons have never had it easy with the press, for reasons Peterson would no doubt contest. The basic principle is that it is undignified, in a developed society, to have expensively educated white men play dust bowl dress-up for our entertainment

There are probably multiple reasons that I loathe the 21st century rich-boy-indie-roots revival, but I especially like this one.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:12 AM on August 8 [21 favorites]


Fuck, can we just forget about Jordan Peterson already?

Also:

"Jordan Peterson is a prisoner of conscience in Canada" -- Saudi Arabia
posted by JamesBay at 11:15 AM on August 8 [7 favorites]


> People think he's smart because he's male, because he has an air of credibility, and because he's making an argument that they agree with.

All of that, plus he reminds me of a guy I knew in university who was extraordinarily skilled (and it is a skill, of sorts) at arguing. Not debating, but "winning" arguments by constantly shifting goalposts, throwing up nonsense or red herrings for his opponents to get bogged down in and confused by (Peterson is great at this), making outrageous statements and then backpedaling by saying he was just kidding, stating opinions as settled fact, etc., etc., etc. and above all else never, ever admitting he was wrong or even less than completely certain. If all else failed, and it rarely did because most people just gave up and/or got bullied into conceding, he resorted to threats of physical violence (which, lol, he was not equipped to back up and he got his ass kicked a few times).
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:20 AM on August 8 [37 favorites]


can someone explain how Mumford & Sons fits into all this, but pretend I'm like eight?

Hipsters hate Mumford and Sons for playing Americana influenced pop music. They apparently made some kind of invitation to Peterson to visit them in the studio and a picture was taken. When two things Metafilter dislikes come together (even in the context of a five minute meet and greet), we get a twofer.
posted by Candleman at 11:23 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Isn't his shtick basically Slavoj Žižek flipped on the left-right axis?

I mean, Žižek said he would have voted for Trump, so I'm not sure how flipped it even is. ("Stupid person's idea of a smart person," come to think of it, could be applied as neatly to Žižek as to Peterson. Yeah, yeah, I know, he was making some dumb accelerationist argument. That doesn't make it better or less dumb.)
posted by enn at 11:25 AM on August 8 [5 favorites]


All of that, plus he reminds me of a guy I knew in university who was extraordinarily skilled (and it is a skill, of sorts) at arguing. Not debating, but "winning" arguments by constantly shifting goalposts, throwing up nonsense or red herrings for his opponents to get bogged down in and confused by (Peterson is great at this), making outrageous statements and then backpedaling by saying he was just kidding, stating opinions as settled fact, etc., etc., etc. and above all else never, ever admitting he was wrong or even less than completely certain. If all else failed, and it rarely did because most people just gave up and/or got bullied into conceding, he resorted to threats of physical violence (which, lol, he was not equipped to back up and he got his ass kicked a few times).

So you’re saying he got his Protagorass kicked
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:26 AM on August 8 [7 favorites]


Akira The Don has also fallen to this madness.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 11:26 AM on August 8


Isn't his shtick basically Slavoj Žižek flipped on the left-right axis?

Who?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:33 AM on August 8 [12 favorites]


"The Guardian has gotten an increasingly poor reputation on the left"

According to who? (I donate to them monthly and find them to be pretty good as journalists go)
posted by jcruelty at 11:43 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


I'll post this here again (it popped up in one of the many Peterson previouslies) Žižek on Peterson in the Independent and his reply to his critics for his take on Peterson.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:50 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


The guardian has a terrible reputation for supporting vitriolic TERFs, for starters. (Suzanne Moore, and Germaine Greer off the top of my head.)
posted by Braeburn at 11:54 AM on August 8 [9 favorites]


I mentioned this elsewhere.....reddit served me up a promoted event: a local Jordan Peterson meetup. The scripture for discussion was, from the "10 Rules" book, one that says, in effect: don't criticize the world until you have your own house in order. I'm gobsmacked by this, which seems to be a complete interdiction on any kind of civic or political or social engagement, unless you have first attained an undefined state of perfection. No doubt Peterson fans will insist that I have failed to understand the master's thought! But it seems to me that this is a consequence. If a person is depressed, say, or struggles with debt, then they have no business having an opinion about tax cuts for the 1%, or going to war in Iran: their house is not in order!
posted by thelonius at 11:56 AM on August 8 [15 favorites]


So, I caught the last ten minutes of an excellent BBC interview of Peterson on NPR (here in the US) earlier this week. At first, I was wondering who the heck it was, because I’d never heard of the guy. The interviewer wasn’t having any of Peterson’s deflective academic-speak, and kept pressing him on his attitudes toward one thing or another.

I came to the conclusion, based on Peterson’s very, very polished responses:

1. The guy is really smooth. I mean, like, super effective at handling a difficult question. Just the right amount of poise, push-back, acuity, and reasonableness, despite the interviewer bringing up some highly concerning issues. I wish I had that kind of conversational deftness.

And...

2. Yeah, this guy’s totally a right-wing tool. He’s doing a remarkable job of concealing it with layer after layer of plausible deniability, but the way he’s doing so — and the little cracks in the facade he just can’t cover up — is a dead giveaway. Like the way, no more than a minute after declaiming that he was fundamentally apolitical, he singles out “leftists” for criticism. Or how he carefully crafted a tortuously nuanced position to express how lobster biology teaches us something about gender dynamics among humans, but then applies the analogy in a really broad and self-serving, sexist way. Or about half a dozen other tells during those ten minutes.

When the interview was over, I thought to myself: “probably a closet fascist...and one of the dangerous ones” and then forgot about him. Surprised to see him mentioned here in the Blue just a few days later.
posted by darkstar at 12:00 PM on August 8 [16 favorites]


oh God that's in the title of the Zizek piece
posted by thelonius at 12:02 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


oh God that's in the title of the Zizek piece

Yeah it is a running theme in a lot of articles about Peterson. For and against.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:04 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Hipsters hate Mumford and Sons for playing Americana influenced pop music. They apparently made some kind of invitation to Peterson to visit them in the studio and a picture was taken. When two things Metafilter dislikes come together (even in the context of a five minute meet and greet), we get a twofer.

How 'bout a threefer?
posted by lagomorphius at 12:11 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Jordan Peterson, is tough. He's smart and he has some super reasonable opinions. Also those crazy ones. It's easy to find entire lectures of his where he just makes good points about self-reliance or the dangers of not socializing young men and boys, for instance, all without nosediving into his misogynist, racist, or anti-intellectual junk.

Straight out of Charlie Pierce's Five Minute Rule.

Not socializing boys to be able to handle their emotions in a productive way is leading to a surge in domestic violence as they reach adulthood with no idea how to process anger toward their partners

*nods quietly in assent*

4:58...
4:59...


...which is why all men are entitled to sex regardless of what the woman thinks
posted by Mayor West at 12:14 PM on August 8 [35 favorites]


I'm not sure why people look to musicians for insight and wisdom - it's like expecting a professor of philosophy to be able to sing.

It's a consequence of the boomer idea that bands are in touch with Youth Culture. Basically, it's The Beatles fault, I guess.
posted by thelonius at 12:15 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


2. Yeah, this guy’s totally a right-wing tool. He’s doing a remarkable job of concealing it with layer after layer of plausible deniability, but the way he’s doing so — and the little cracks in the facade he just can’t cover up — is a dead giveaway. Like the way, no more than a minute after declaiming that he was fundamentally apolitical, he singles out “leftists” for criticism. Or how he carefully crafted a tortuously nuanced position to express how lobster biology teaches us something about gender dynamics among humans, but then applies the analogy in a really broad and self-serving, sexist way. Or about half a dozen other tells during those ten minutes.

There are Mefites who work and/or study on the University of Toronto campus who have pointed out in other threads who have pointed out that this shitheel is responsible for fomenting a toxic, transphobic environment for his own personal gain and notoriety.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:15 PM on August 8 [28 favorites]


The guardian has a terrible reputation for supporting vitriolic TERFs, for starters. (Suzanne Moore, and Germaine Greer off the top of my head.)
This is their major problem as well as their ongoing quest to bring Nu-Labour back, from what I've picked up for British leftists online. I think I've stopped going there outside their sports section when they had a teary column by Blair trying to get his sainthood or whatever.
I don't think the problem is as much the reporting of news (editorial biases aside), as much as the kind of people that get a shot at their opinion columns.
posted by lmfsilva at 12:18 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Hipsters hate Mumford and Sons for playing Americana influenced pop music.

All of the banjo players I know hate them for the aggressively banal and insipid banjo playing.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:19 PM on August 8 [25 favorites]


who have pointed out in other threads who have pointed out

I'll be back. I have to go clean my room or something to improve my writing.

Help. Am I Petersoning right?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:23 PM on August 8 [4 favorites]


The basic principle is that it is undignified, in a developed society, to have expensively educated white men play dust bowl dress-up for our entertainment

On the scale of things that modern Americans do for entertainment, that's hardly among the most undignified. I mean, what's a little dress-up between friends when you could be watching blood sports?
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:24 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Folky fascism is nothing new.
posted by lagomorphius at 12:26 PM on August 8


Mayor West, I'm with you, but he's at least smart enough that he's created some long-form content that isn't problematic. You can find a 20-40 minute video of him just using his persuasive skillset to discuss issues that are legitimately of concern to a lot of folks. Again, I'm not trying to defend him.

I'm saying that he's working that same Trump grift of "speaking to folks who feel left behind," by which I mean co-opting the grievances (real and imagined) of a large demographic and pumping it full of a hateful, racist and misogynist narrative in such a way that it doesn't look too crazy from the outside. He's the 'smartie' version of Trump, in that his main ability lies in communication and PR and he doesn't even try to hold up to scrutiny for longer than it takes his possum play to fool the bear.
posted by es_de_bah at 12:31 PM on August 8 [8 favorites]


She should have known better in the first place, but eh. Dumb rockstars are a cross all aging music fans must bear.
posted by rhizome at 12:31 PM on August 8


If you would like some music in a similar vein to Mumford and Sons, but with some actual...signs of life in it (and which is free from the taint of fascism), might I suggest Black Spruce Bog?

The Hatchery Session was recorded, unsurprisingly, in a salmon hatchery in Prince George, BC.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:34 PM on August 8 [10 favorites]


co-opting the grievances (real and imagined) of a large demographic and pumping it full of a hateful, racist and misogynist narrative in such a way that it doesn't look too crazy from the outside

....especially tapping into the ressentiment ond self-pity of young white males who are yearning to be validated in their belief that it's not fair that no one cares about their struggles in life.
posted by thelonius at 12:35 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


from the "10 Rules" book, one that says, in effect: don't criticize the world until you have your own house in order.

i've not taken out the recycling for the last three days or so

am i still allowed to have opinions on, say, policies that'll determine whether i can ever retire or not

please advise


wait, i don't have a Y chromosome

i guess not, then

nevermind
posted by seyirci at 12:36 PM on August 8 [34 favorites]


Mumfords and Peterson are both godawful. I feel both vindicated and weirdly ambivalent about feeling vindicated. I’m going to eat a burrito now and listen to the Mekons. Don’t tell me anything terrible about the Mekons. Thanks.
posted by thivaia at 12:49 PM on August 8 [8 favorites]


I actually thought allowing people whose "houses are not in order" was a feature of democracy, not a bug.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:50 PM on August 8 [14 favorites]


I tapped out of stereolab after dots and loops and I have feels of dismay towards Laeticia and defensivess towards people who wanna talk shit about my analog synth playing fave Marxist bae.
posted by nikaspark at 12:50 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


explosion: Has "cultural marxism" ever been defined, or is it a phrase designed to scare?

It's not a real thing. I mean, maybe in some distant past or some corner of academia, it's possible that the phrase "cultural marxism" is a real thing. But, in any common usage that you're likely to encounter nowadays, it's merely a shibboleth that reveals its speaker's alt-right alignment. Just like the phrase "virtue signalling." What's annoying is that these two shibboleths have a enough of an academic-sounding veneer to sound like real things so it's easy to get fooled by them, unlike say "SJW" or "red-pilling" or "cuck".
posted by mhum at 12:58 PM on August 8 [7 favorites]


Has anyone organized a reading list of the original, more serious, less fascism-lite good ideas that Peterson is luring people in with?
posted by clew at 1:09 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


I guess Laetitia is learning that life is so hard after all.

(psst watch this video. It's fucking fantastic.)
posted by item at 1:13 PM on August 8 [6 favorites]


Has "cultural marxism" ever been defined, or is it a phrase designed to scare?

I don't know if Peterson is aware that "cultural marxism" is an anti-Semitic dog-whistle, or if he's just so far up his own asshole re communism/socialism that he will latch onto any supposed criticism. He may or may not be actually anti-Semitic - but he's definitely travelling in the same direction as them. (Also with misogynists and Islamaphobes - it's so hard to tell them all apart these days.)

I also thank Contrapoints for explaining how Peterson's other phase, "post-modern marxism", is utter bunk. Marxism is itself inherently modernist. And Peterson is an idiot.
posted by jb at 1:15 PM on August 8 [9 favorites]


Eh, so, as farce is to tragedy, Peterson is to Paglia?


---------
/me wonders what Paglia's been up to lately. Staying current! (
Camille Paglia Defends Jordan Peterson, Tells ‘Sniveling’ PC Transgender Activists to ‘Take a Hike’ and here she is having a talk of some sort with Peterson himself.)
posted by notyou at 1:17 PM on August 8 [8 favorites]


Sadier tweeted he had the "clarity and -oh too rare- courage to speak the truth". The truth! I wonder what that spoken truth was. It seems like a stronger feeling than being "interested by his arguments about Nietzsche, Jung and Dostoevsky."
posted by fleacircus at 1:18 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


If you're given the chance to see her new band, Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble, do so. They're excellent.

Thank god she didn't stick to her guns with this mess. I've been a fan for 25 years and giving up her music would have been damn difficult.
posted by item at 1:18 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


Marxism is itself inherently modernist.

Yeah back when I was paying attention, the most full-throated opposition to the various Post Modernisms came from the various strands of Marxism. Marxism is deeply indebted to the European Enlightenment and imagines itself its hopeful successor.
posted by notyou at 1:25 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


right - this a major problem, to say the least, with Peterson's attempt to assimilate "post-modernism" to Marxism....he doesn't seem to know much about either, honestly
posted by thelonius at 1:33 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


What's annoying is that these two shibboleths have a enough of an academic-sounding veneer to sound like real things so it's easy to get fooled by them, unlike say "SJW" or "red-pilling" or "cuck".

The useful thing about academic terms is that you can pepper a rant distilled from xenophobia with them and instantly sound authoritative, at least to idiots:

“They have a dialectic”

“The leftists use something called critical theory, to attack institutions by criticising them.”

— an older relative whose brain had been eaten by the Australian equivalent of FOXNews.
posted by acb at 1:34 PM on August 8 [8 favorites]


Isn't his shtick basically Slavoj Žižek flipped on the left-right axis?

Slavoj Žižek is Slavoj Žižek flipped on the left-right axis.

The Guardian has gotten an increasingly poor reputation on the left

According to whom? I write for ‘em, think of myself as having decently solid progressive credentials, and understand perfectly well that it is a platform for many voices.

Fuck Jordan Peterson. Hands off my Mekons.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:42 PM on August 8 [20 favorites]


Anyway, concerning terminology of the conspiratological Right: it occurred to me that “postmodernism” refers not to poststructuralism or out-of-context juxtaposition of elements or anything, but rather to the idea that the real world is more complicated than simple black-and-white, us-vs-them dichotomies; the idea of nuance being important.

“Marxism”, meanwhile, has nothing to do with Das Kapital, the USSR, or even the Frankfurt School, but refers to any violation of the (divinely ordained or natural, depending on whether the user gets their authority from selective readings of scripture or Petersonian evopsych just-so stories) order/hierarchy of things. (For example, insisting that cisgender people should respect transgender pronouns or that white/majority people should make an effort to understand minority cultures is “Marxism”; insisting that queer people should refrain from expressing affection in public and Shahid should change his name to Stephen and start eating bacon like a normal person is just “meritocracy”.)
posted by acb at 1:44 PM on August 8 [22 favorites]


According to whom? I write for ‘em, think of myself as having decently solid progressive credentials, and understand perfectly well that it is a platform for many voices.

I know of a lot of lefties who call for them to be boycotted for their periodic anti-trans clickbait pieces.
posted by acb at 1:45 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


Well, not to derail, but I know a couple-few righteous transfolk who are happy enough to write for the Graun regardless.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:50 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Anyway, concerning terminology of the conspiratological Right: it occurred to me that “postmodernism” refers not to poststructuralism or out-of-context juxtaposition of elements or anything, but rather to the idea that the real world is more complicated than simple black-and-white, us-vs-them dichotomies; the idea of nuance being important.

It's interesting that this is a stalking horse of Objectivism too, in the form of rejecting a caricature of Kant. The idea that what is there (in terms of objects in reality) depends, in any sense, on our cognitive faculties or dispositions is anathema to them.

Now, there aren't many transcendental idealists left, but the idea that it's incoherent to postulate a realm of objectivity that's pure of any dependence or reference to the subject has endured, and they don't like that.

Kant may have been trying to have his cake and eat it with his concept of experience being "empirically real but transcendentally ideal" but he surely has some point in that what it's possible for us to conceive of as, say, objectively existing physics, depends on what it is possible for us to conceive of in general. And this point of course takes on much larger importance when you asesss purported "natural" arrangements of social relations.
posted by thelonius at 1:55 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


It's interesting that this is a stalking horse of Objectivism too, in the form of rejecting a caricature of Kant. The idea that what is there (in terms of objects in reality) depends, in any sense, on our cognitive faculties or dispositions is anathema to them.

It's not even that sophisticated; it's basically the Gordian Knot fallacy, the delusion that the world is really simple, that those who claim that there are complex factors, root causes and exceptions to rules are crooks trying to cheat honest folks, and that all it would take is the eggheads shutting up and an honest man riding into town and knocking some heads together to solve formerly intractable problems. Bring enough force to bear, all your so-called intractable problems magically go away, and anyone who tells you otherwise is a defeatist or a traitor or something equally contemptible.
posted by acb at 2:09 PM on August 8 [22 favorites]


Since this is ostensibly a thread about academic art criticism and Jordan Peterson, I'm only too chuffed to present Bob Chipman's Peter Jordansen's Masters of the Universe

Posted today (happily while I was watching this thread) it does a pretty great job of illustrating Peterson's rhetorical crap AND still makes space for a fun retrospective of He-Man and late 80s cartoon culture, as effected by Reagan policy.

And for those who know Moviebob, it's just cool to see this period of exploration for Boston's favorite youtube nerd deliver neat content. Gotta love it. Rise up, ye Cucks, Betas, SJWs, and Pajama Boys!
posted by es_de_bah at 2:35 PM on August 8 [4 favorites]


Am I Petersoning right?
Only if you pet a cat while you're doing it. I think?
posted by Ashwagandha at 2:46 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Peterson and Nickelbanjo seem like they were made for each other.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 3:07 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


clew: Has anyone organized a reading list of the original, more serious, less fascism-lite good ideas that Peterson is luring people in with?

Ok, here's the thing. While Peterson initially gained fame in Canada because of his transphobic opposition to Bill C-16 which added gender expression and identity to protected classes under the Canadian Human Rights Act, I believe his big break-out in larger internet circles came from an answer he gave on Quora to the question "What are the most valuable things everyone should know?" (a kind of question that would probably get shut down in AskMe for being too chatfilter, tbh)

Anyways, you might be tempted to think that maybe he laid down some kind of incredible disquisition of hidden truths and insights. Nah. It's literally just a list of ... well, "aphorisms" seems a bit too generous. It's just a jumbled list of things that range from vacuous platitudes ("Tell the truth", "Be precise in your speech"), to feel-good Instagram text posts ("Make friends with people who want the best for you", "Try to make one room in your house as beautiful as possible"), to unnecessarily opaque, fake-deep Instagram text posts ("Do not hide unwanted things in the fog", "Remember that what you do not yet know is more important than what you already know"), to actually not too bad advice ("Do not transform your wife into a maid", "Maintain your connections with people"). Anyways, he capitalized on his fame surge and eventually wrote up 12 things from that list and turned it into a best-selling self-help book.

I mean, I'm pretty sure this is the bait that's been successful at luring people into Peterson's influence rather than his previous Jungian symbolism stuff that I really don't think has the same mass appeal.
posted by mhum at 3:25 PM on August 8 [16 favorites]


Do not hide unwanted things in the fog

A bold move. The bar is for philosophy of fog has been set pretty high.
posted by thelonius at 3:44 PM on August 8




I hereby declare my support for hiding things in fog.
posted by kevinbelt at 4:56 PM on August 8 [8 favorites]


And then there's Buzz Osborne:

Wow, that interview is full of great lines.

Peterson is an asswipe who deserves none of the attention he is getting.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:12 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Sadier tweeted he had the "clarity and -oh too rare- courage to speak the truth". The truth! I wonder what that spoken truth was.

Clean your room and live on meat and water.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:30 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


This is the dumbest timeline
posted by octobersurprise at 6:31 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


You can make a case for Jordan Peterson being a reasonable person by carefully cherry-picking his stuff, and at the same time, The Guardian has gotten an increasingly poor reputation on the left (which, unless something has changed, is still where Sadier aligns).
Unless you are extremely online (and up until recently, I thought he was just some Kermit impressionist philosopher some music producer on my twitter feed sampled on some shitty songs) and know the kind of reactionary Peterson actually is, you might as well read the Guardian piece and think "oh well, these idiots are at it again".


I'm not really understanding this comment. People on the left might reflexively defend Peterson because the Guardian attacked him? Maybe I am "extremely online," but the only left-wing publications I've seen go to bat for Peterson are some rando in Counterpunch (which is reduced to fucking garbage-level contrarian schtick at this point and I would bet has also published things attacking him anyway) and probably the likes of Spiked but does that even count?
posted by atoxyl at 6:47 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Eh, so, as farce is to tragedy, Peterson is to Paglia?

This whole thing made me have Paglia flashbacks too
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 6:48 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Counterpunch (which is reduced to fucking garbage-level contrarian schtick at this point)

Many years ago, I had a print subscription to Counterpunch and dropped that like a hot potato when they published a defence of Ernst Zundel somewhere around 2003. So yeah, they've been doing that for many, many years now.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:53 PM on August 8 [4 favorites]


Andrew Cockburn was also a big global warming skeptic if I remember right. I wasn't exactly trying to suggest that the dumb contrarianism is new. It's more that while years ago one could argue with a straight face that this made it an exciting and unpredictable publication, the internet now provides a tremendous glut of contrarianism and Counterpunch is reduced to publishing boring reactionaries.
posted by atoxyl at 7:47 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Peterson is just another case of someone who expends more energy arguing that he isn't an asshole than it takes to simply not be an asshole. This is generally all I need to know in order to determine that someone is, in fact, an asshole.
posted by elwoodwiles at 8:26 PM on August 8 [8 favorites]


beep boop wibble
la la la, la la la-la, destroy capitalism
[sound of a Minimoog knob being turned]
[record scratch]
la la la, la la la-la
posted by holgate at 8:26 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


I followed that link for Ernst Zundel bc I didn’t know who he was, and this sentence really tells you a lot: “He had been jailed several times: in Canada for publishing literature "likely to incite hatred against an identifiable group", and on charges of being a threat to national security; in the United States, for overstaying his visa; and in Germany for charges of "inciting racial hatred".
posted by gucci mane at 9:44 PM on August 8


Jordan Peterson, is tough. He's smart and he has some super reasonable opinions. Also those crazy ones. It's easy to find entire lectures of his where he just makes good points about self-reliance or the dangers of not socializing young men and boys, for instance, all without nosediving into his misogynist, racist, or anti-intellectual junk.

The amazing thing is that he'll sometimes say something which basically looks like "toxic masculinity is really bad and men need to sort themselves out and learn to deal with their emotions" and then 10 minutes later decide that the way to do that is to bring back traditional gender roles. Like, dude, you were so close!

But I get where the perception comes from. A lot of people believe that you need to be smart to have academic credentials. Peterson is also smarter and more nuanced than most other darlings of the alt-right; he knows what an academic argument looks like and can use that to his advantage, to increase his credibility. He uses sources, for example.

I mean, you do need to be smart to have academic credentials but:
a) not *that* smart necessarily, just compared to the population as a whole
b) being smart doesn't make you a good person.
posted by atrazine at 3:56 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


I mean, you do need to be smart to have academic credentials

Not if a lot of the PhD theses (all of which did indeed result in the awarding of a doctorate) I've proofread are any indication...
posted by Dysk at 4:23 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


I mean, you do need to be smart to have academic credentials

Flatly, demonstrably untrue. You need to be good at academia to have academic credentials.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 5:30 AM on August 9 [12 favorites]


You need to be good at academia to have academic credentials.

...or hire someone to write a thesis for you. Or write a godawful decidedly substandard thesis and then get passed anyway because those international students are fucking lucrative, and your institution or department pass rate has to be good enough to attract them.

Seriously, money can absolutely substitute for any degree of competence at all.
posted by Dysk at 6:08 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


Seriously, money can absolutely substitute for any degree of competence at all.

Yeah people seem to focus a lot on Peterson's credentials as an academic as if it is some kind of indication of intelligence. His skillset is more along these lines: he's white, male, understands how to game the system and is good at arguing.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:13 AM on August 9


Jordan Peterson, is tough. He's smart and he has some super reasonable opinions. Also those crazy ones.

Early in his public career Peterson seemed to sprinkle his toxic opinions on top of a bunch of fairly innocuous, if banal, bromides. Lately, (like this year) he’s gone completely off his nut. (And I can relate!) In addition to his reactionary takes on women and gender, he’s embraced climate-change denialism, wacky, dangerous, diets, all kinds of weird shit. There’s that interview with ... Dave Rubin, I think (not gonna look it up) where he looks completely miserable, rambling about all the foods that fill him with a sense of doom. And OTOH, I feel for the guy because I think he needs help; and on the other I’m like fuck Jordan Peterson.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:34 AM on August 9 [3 favorites]


...or hire someone to write a thesis for you. Or write a godawful decidedly substandard thesis and then get passed anyway because those international students are fucking lucrative, and your institution or department pass rate has to be good enough to attract them.

Ok, cool story. Can that same person get you a professorship at the University of Toronto or is that like a whole writing team? Asking for a friend.

I don't doubt that all sorts of mediocrities produce PhD theses of bilge-water quality nor do I really doubt that there are professors at reputed universities who are much better at game playing than they are at thinking but it seems peculiarly beside the point to go after this guy for not being smart enough.

He was a dangerous fascist a few years ago, he's now coming slowly unhinged and genuinely getting weirder by the day - actually good news since he was dangerous for making fascism respectable, the right already has plenty of loons.
posted by atrazine at 8:05 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


Ok, cool story. Can that same person get you a professorship at the University of Toronto

Shifting the goalposts much? I was speaking about the idea that academic credentials represent intellect.
posted by Dysk at 8:13 AM on August 9 [5 favorites]


If we’re very lucky his bizarre meat only diet will give him scurvy and we won’t have to talk about him anymore.
posted by The Whelk at 8:14 AM on August 9 [4 favorites]


it seems peculiarly beside the point to go after this guy for not being smart enough.

Seems like a perfectly cromulent way to undermine someone whose main selling point seems to be "I'm really smart so you should listen to what I have to say".
posted by Dysk at 8:15 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


(But in all seriousness, yes, I have seen entire academic careers built on networking, departmental politicking, going drinking with the right senior staff, and having politics that align with hiring decision-makers, without a shred of academic ability. It's rare, but it happens.)
posted by Dysk at 8:16 AM on August 9 [7 favorites]


Isn't the meat-only diet meant as self-medication for depression, based on the theory that depression comes from low self-perceived status in the dominance hierarchy and meat consumption is equated to dominance?

One of Peterson's most pervasive toxic ideas is the universality of dominance hierarchies; i.e., the model that if you're not a fucker, you're a fuckee.
posted by acb at 8:18 AM on August 9 [4 favorites]


It’s like how alpha/beta wolf relationships are totally discredited cause the theory was created by observing unrelated adolescent male wolves in captivity and not like, actual wild social structures.

Actually wait given his audience that kind of hierarchy would make total sense.
posted by The Whelk at 8:24 AM on August 9 [9 favorites]


I have seen entire academic careers built on networking, departmental politicking, going drinking with the right senior staff, and having politics that align with hiring decision-makers, without a shred of academic ability. It's rare, but it happens.

I wouldn't even say that it's rare, depending on the subject area. Being clever and good at writing serviceable prose filled with jargon will get you pretty far in a lot of disciplines. If you have the money and the class markers on top of that, plus being white, cis, male, and hetero, you can go pretty far.

Also, let's remember that he wasn't a grad student last year, in the current academic market. He came of age in a job market made for mediocre thinkers like himself, whose biases were coddled and serviced at every turn.

Believing that success in this field is based on merit is a pernicious falsehood propagated by people like JP and 95% of the most abusive academics in the field.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 8:34 AM on August 9 [5 favorites]


That methodologically flawed wolf study that gave the world the term “alpha male” has probably caused more harm than everything Ayn Rand ever wrote put together. So it's probably apt that the new Rand-equivalent's shtick should lean heavily on it as a premise.
posted by acb at 8:38 AM on August 9 [8 favorites]


Gab.ai @getongab
BREAKING: Gab’s hosting provider, Microsoft Azure, has given us 48 hours to take action on two posts or they will pull our service and Gab will go down for weeks/months.

6:40 AM - 9 Aug 2018
mfw this happens
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:35 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


He came of age in a job market made for mediocre thinkers like himself, whose biases were coddled and serviced at every turn.

And the younger academics who might have been willing to challenge the tenured cohort from that era are either in precarious tenure-track positions or even-more-precarious adjuncts.
posted by holgate at 12:16 PM on August 9


That methodologically flawed wolf study that gave the world the term “alpha male” has probably caused more harm than everything Ayn Rand ever wrote put together.

Yeah, but it gave is the Omegaverse. So it's a wash I guess! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by jonnay at 12:27 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


I love you guys because metafilter is the only place on the internet or my social circles I’ve ever heard of JP or SZ. I’m in the US and I live a full life and all the super big deal influential thinkers are going around influencing under my very nose! I did skim the JP rules and it was like .... meh. Half bullshit, half things everyone already knows.
posted by freecellwizard at 3:59 PM on August 9


If it wasn't for Peterson I never would have heard about Contrapoints so ..

Also, as someone with a PhD in religion:

- Psych of religion ala Joseph Campbell & Jung is old timey and stupid but popular
- being an academic doesn't make you smart
- I wish I had a 40k a month Patreon to post dumb hour long videos about order and chaos #jealous
- again at least there's Contrapoints
posted by ServSci at 4:08 PM on August 9 [2 favorites]


Contrapoints is delightful - I also discovered her via the last JP thread, and started binging on the videos. Her videos and PBS Eons are the only thing I ever watch on YouTube, and I follow her on Twitter now. May her Patreon grow and grow - she is doing awesome work.
posted by jb at 7:14 PM on August 9 [2 favorites]


All hail our non-hierarchical lobster fairy queen
posted by octobersurprise at 12:08 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


A long twitter thread by Peter Coffin on Peterson's interrelated ties to Koch networks and TERF politics. (That sentence would sound nuts if it wasn't A) 2018 and B) all pretty out in the open.)
posted by octobersurprise at 8:27 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


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