It’s time Jordan Peterson’s 15 minutes of fame were up.
Peterson is making news again, summoned before the College of Psychologists of Ontario for his harmful babble, as he chortles all the way to the bank while screaming about free speech.
Peterson is a psychologist.
He’s not a medical doctor, a lettered historian, an expert in the humanities nor a particularly gifted speaker. He is as qualified to discourse publicly and seriously on social reform as the neighbour’s cat.
Still, he has 3.7 million Twitter followers and $8 million, according to celebritynetworth.com. That’s savvy for an otherwise obscure academic no one had heard of just six years ago.
Think of him as the Canadian version of a Kardashian for pseudo-intellectuals.
Let’s try to put this nut in its shell.
Peterson, who is also an author, is noted for his strong anti-transgender views and for his beliefs about the natural order; that men are inherently fit to lead ahead of women.
He denies white privilege and, straying afar from his chosen field, climate change.
These ideas find resonance within conservative circles, while they nourish and validate individual insecurities and prejudice. Peterson has recruited followers who pay his words a cult-like devotion.
But it’s a sham.
Peterson is a false prophet, for profit.
He explained it during a podcast with Spotify personality Joe Rogan.
“I shouldn’t say this, but I’m going to, because it’s just so goddamn funny I can’t help but say it: I’ve figured out how to monetize social justice warriors…If they let me speak, then I get to speak, and then I make more money on Patreon … if they protest me, then that goes up on YouTube, and my Patreon account goes way up.”
That’s not to say Peterson doesn’t swill his own Tang, and probably believes what he preaches.
Yet it amounts to manipulating the desperations of others, on both ends of the political spectrum, for financial gain.
One certainty about Peterson and those like him – for example radio shock jocks – is that to maintain a level of celebrity the bar for outrageousness and provocation must continually be raised.
That’s why someone who took his first step to notoriety by refusing to acknowledge gender pronouns in his lecture room at the University of Toronto in 2016 ended up tweeting that the plus-size model for the cover of the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition is ‘not beautiful.’
The way to shut down Jordan Peterson is not to protest him.
It’s to depart the field and move on to meaningful conversations and strategies intended to create acceptance for a variety of opinions, so long as they are not oppressive or hurtful.
It’s to regard him for what he really is: a not-to-be-taken-seriously little man.
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