Movie review

BUMPED. Update at the end.

The Rise Of Jordan Peterson

I bought this because of my interest in Jordan Peterson and because it received some good reviews as a dispassionate presentation of how a University of Toronto psychology professor suddenly became a world famous, polarizing “public intellectual.”

I was disappointed. I found it superficial and unenlightening. There are a lot of interleaved, ten second soundbites: Pro/con, “He is the ultimate father figure.”/“So, you’re anti-justice. Are you a Batman villain?” There’s a “what” to this documentary, but we are left to wonder why anyone holds such opinions.

This film doesn’t help in understanding the virality of a intellectual cultural phenom whose dozens of 2.5 hour University lectures attract ~5 million views each on YouTube. Or why an assistant professor of sociology will grade any paper mentioning Peterson with an “F;” seeming to confirm one of Peterson’s criticisms of the modern University.

Strictly as a documentary, it very nearly does manage to take no position. As an examination of Peterson’s ‘rise’ it is short on context or background.

Peterson’s objections to Bill C-16 gave him a viral blip when he publicly objected to compelled use of whimsical, invented pronouns: His corpus of prior work made him a phenomenon.

In fact, it’s the hundreds of hours of video he already had published that protected him from the SJW mob (and, until the Bill C-16 blip, was the motivation for the filmmakers to create this movie). There is no sign in this history of the patriarchal, sexist, transphobic, authoritarian, fascist thinking with which he is charged. A point which is not made evident in the film, despite a few truncated clips of his earlier work.

There’s much, much, much more explanation of Peterson’s rise in the video record preceding his tussle with the Canadian nanny-state. Peterson’s rise was propelled by the fact that he is a charismatic speaker and a powerful teacher.

The filmmakers’ attempt at even-handedness may be sincere, but the overall impression is more that Peterson promoted a free speech controversy as a way to enrich himself, not that he was risking his career. For an American audience, without a sense that freedom of speech in Canada is clinging to a cliff by one hand, the film is simply puzzling.

Supposed allies are shown expressing trepidation about Peterson’s outspokenness. This objection is to be expected from most Canadians, whose government has an uneasy relationship with freedom of speech and who are congenitally uncomfortable with controversy. See Mark Steyn, Lindsay Shepherd, etc..

And there are unanswered, factually incorrect slurs. A former supporter turned critic finds evidence of authoritarian impulses in Peterson’s collection of Soviet-era art (prominent in the movie). The reasons for this art are precisely the opposite of what is implied. If Peterson was asked for a response, it’s on the cutting room floor. Here is that response from an interview of Peterson:

[Tyler] COWEN: Let me start with a very lateral question. Why do you collect old Communist memorabilia and propaganda?

PETERSON: Well, part of it is dark comedy. Really, I spent quite a bit of time on eBay for a number of years. And I had read this article by a psychologist named James Pennebaker. He said that the past turned into history at 15 years. That’s when you start to see people commemorate events in the past. At that point, it was 2004, and I thought, “Oh, that’s interesting. It’s 15 years since the Soviet Union collapsed. Maybe I can go online and see what historical memorabilia is left over.”

So I went on eBay, looking up Soviet artifacts, and I thought that was so comical because there isn’t anything more capitalistic than eBay, right? Seriously, that was completely unrestrained capitalism. And then all this Soviet-era stuff was for sale. I thought it was absolutely comical that I could buy paintings of Karl Marx discounted on the world’s most intense capitalist platform…

Some of it is intensely propagandistic, and I’m interested in that because I’m interested in propaganda… So it was interesting to surround myself with these works that were battlegrounds between art and propaganda.

Here’s a vastly better look at Jordan Peterson from the Claremont Review of Books: The Jordan Peterson Phenomenon and it takes less time to read than it takes to watch the movie.

I was quite disappointed, and it caused me to wonder if those cancel culturists pressing theaters to scrub scheduled showings (that link also has a positive review, for contrast) had any idea what was in it. They couldn’t have watched it. Maybe that was just a marketing ploy by the producers.

2 stars anyway, because I learned more about his parents and his family via of the access Peterson granted.

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Update: March 10th, 2020
I’ve watched a Q&A with the filmmakers arranged by Columbia University (the filmmakers have established a presence on thinkspot, Peterson’s Patreon replacement), wherein they explained how they approached the filming. And where they answered some of my objections. I was impressed with their commitment to truth. I withdraw my suspicion of ‘marketing ploy.’

I can be persuaded by speech to change my speech.

So. I re-read the favorable review at Quillette. I watched the film again. I’m changing my rating.

If your expectations are informed by some knowledge of Peterson: That the pronoun controversy only triggered ‘The Rise,’ and that that ‘Rise’ would have been a two-day wonder, and only in Canada, and flaming out in a dog-pile of SJW hatred except for the preexisting, deep background of his lectures – then the movie is well worth watching for the peek into his life and family.

I’ll give it 4 stars on that basis.

Jordan Peterson was always the guy who would calmly expose Cathy Newman. We just would never have known it but for Bill C-16.

Rainbows everywhen

87983-poppyIf Ye Break Faith With Us…
-Mark Steyn on 11/11/2001

[T]hough we can scarce grasp what they symbolize, this year the poppies are hard to find. Three Canadian provinces had sold out by last Monday, and by the time you read this the rest of the Royal Canadian Legion’s entire stock of 14.8 million will likely be gone.

Canada today…
Former Conservative party candidate apologizes for viral rainbow poppy tweet

The apology was mistaken:

Rather than having been suspended for rejecting the poppy during choir practice as Bird’s initial tweet read, Natalie outlined that she had been suspended for “rejecting the idea” of the rainbow poppy…

It’s worse that Natalie was suspended for “rejecting the idea.” The idea is the problem.

I do know why Cyara Bird apologized: Unless you enthusiastically support the appropriation of Remembrance Day at SJW whim, and embrace compelled speech, YOU are a bigot.

The LGBT+ folks already have a plethora of their own days, weeks, and months – with parades and celebrations.

Every other occasion for reflection or pride does not require fealty to a group of aggrieved, narcissistic activists who occupy the space at the very edges of the Bell curve of human sexuality.

Single-nayer

What We Call National Health Care or Single-Payer Is a Crime Against Humanity

Wait times are rationing. The payer just says “nay” to timely treatment. The Other Club has been writing about wait times in Canada’s single-payer medical system since 2005. Click the tag below.

Elizabeth Warren’s plan would be worse than Canada’s.
The math for Warren’s health-care plan adds up if you accept its ludicrous premise

Consequences: logically absurd conclusions

I sent this link to a friend and muttered about “logically absurd conclusions.”

A Canadian Human Rights Spectacle Exposes the Risks of Unfettered Gender Self-ID

Part of his reply was, “It is interesting that this topic is consuming so much energy – and the unintended consequences of the efforts of those seeking change.” The assumption that the results are unintended is charitable. And self-disarming.

There is a VERY tiny number of people for whom the trans-absolutist contention that a man who says he’s a woman is a woman even matters.

Nonetheless, they are driving the debate over whether the fundamental concepts “male” and “female” have any biological or cultural meaning. That is intentional. In fact, it’s the core intent.

I want to believe that individuals like “Jessica” Yaniv are simply profoundly disturbed. Eventually to be dismissed. Yet, they have a following and are supported by large corporations, government, academics, and frothing at the mouth Twitter warriors. They are distorting the public perception of victimhood and oppression, while redefining “violence” to include pronouns.

In this article the author refers to Yaniv as a woman because he would otherwise be courting legal jeopardy in Canada. Yaniv is a sick man, being indulged by government (behind which indulgence is a gun) out of fear of the fraction of a fraction of (by one estimate involving 19 US states) .52% of the population attesting gender dysphoria.

I reluctantly include a link to social media threads between Yaniv and ~14 year old girls wherein, among other vile conversations, he is asking for advice about how to talk to the girls’ peers about tampons and pads when he is in a female locker room/bathroom. Until recently the records had been sealed by Canadian courts.

This link is supplied for documentary purposes. The content is disturbing, though the site is safe.

This man is heinously twisted. He is a sexual predator. A person possessing a penis and testicles who insists on a Brazilian wax job from 16 different economically marginal, immigrant women.

Using the word “man,” to describe him may be verboten in Canada. It is already verboten on Twitter. Meghan Murphy and Lindsay Shepherd were banned from Twitter for suggesting Yaniv is not a woman.

The charitable explanation fails to account for this:

“In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is…in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.””

― Theodore Dalrymple

Maybe Yaniv is simply a useful idiot taking advantage of an inflamed social zeitgeist to indulge his sexual deviancy while making a few bucks, but the purpose of those who originate such ideas is not to protect the marginalized, it is to marginalize and undermine Judeo-Christian mores, the idea of the nuclear family, freedom of conscience, and ultimately Western Civilization.

And even useful idiots are not innocent. They are culpable for their practiced, willful ignorance.

Look at where we’ve come. Children as young as 6 are being mutilated and poisoned to change their sex. Martina Navratilova, formerly a respected lesbian spokeswoman, is defenestrated for disagreement with the ‘men can literally be women’ trope. Men are winning women’s sports competitions. Female Brazilian waxers are being sued for refusing to manipulate a penis and testicles. Churches are being riven. Language is being radically distorted. College dorms are being resegregated according to identity-group fractures. Quotas based on sex, and sexual identity, are in place or being contemplated. Males are routinely vilified for their chromosomes. The Army pays for sex-change surgery. Libraries sponsor drag-queens reading to toddlers. Legislators cheer themselves for approving abortions at any time if the mother’s health is at risk (without defining ‘health’). Speech is being compelled. See also.

This is not an exhaustive list. It’s just about sex, and even then incomplete. If you take ‘intersectionality’ (the SJW claim that all ‘victimhood’ is related) into account, the list grows much longer.

It does explain why so much energy is being expended: Those consequences were foreseen and desired. Assuming otherwise is dangerous.

Canadian model?

At Neo-neocon: The cost of Canadian health care

It’s not just the financial cost, it’s also the suffering cost while waiting for an appointment.

There is no free lunch. There is no free health care. And anyone comparing outcomes in different countries by comparing statistics on infant mortality and life expectancy is comparing apples and oranges. These matters are influenced by much more than a healthcare insurance system.

Among other things, it’s whether you count preemies who die as stillbirths. In the US, it is far more likely they’ll be counted as live births.