Monday, October 1, 2018

My sexed-up Jordan Peterson fantasy

Picture me dressed in "a new three-piece suit, shiny and brown with wide lapels with a decorative silver flourish" and my cranium and jaws draped luxuriously, top to bottom, in Jordan Peterson hair.

I even pronounce "so-ree" like he does because I got my first period while living in Ontario, so I earned the right. Also, I don't care if it offends him or you.

I am pulling this off beautifully. Trust me:

This is me being Axl Rose.

Jordan Peterson and I, his chaotic mirror, are sitting across from one another in comfy leather armchairs, with nothing in between to break the gaze of my crotchal region pointed at his crotchal region. I'm as cool as he is. I don't have to act like I've been here before because I have.

I'm leaning in, in the most specific way, towards Jordan Peterson, a model of human success.

I ask my first question.

"Could you please lay out the scientific logic linking lobsters to the patriarchy?"

He says many things, including that people obviously aren't lobsters and how we aren't even chimpanzees, which is reasonable because he is skilled at reason.

Then I say, "You're a man of science. So, what do you have to say about any evidence that contradicts your ideas about the natural ways of hierarchies and how they're particularly relevant to human society? Also, have you thought of any ways your ideas could be tested?"

He says many things, but they have little to do with taking contradicting evidence seriously or having thought through the difficulty of testing much of what's fundamental here. And this is largely because, despite the veneer of science, these ideas have breeched the bounds of reasonable, feasible testing.

"What about this, eh?" I offer, "We take the top lobster from the west side of Prince Edward Island and move him to the east side of the island. Is he going to be the top lobster there too? And would this same experiment work for chimpanzees? Or for humans?"

He says many things but will make it seem like there is no point to what I asked. The idea that humans are not lobsters or chimpanzees will resurface--tethering him, once again, to reason and nuance yet not actually producing anything of the sort for us.

So I continue, "Because if this link to lobster hierarchies is supposed to go not just from lobsters to humans, but to individual humans and their natural strengths and weaknesses compared to other individuals, then context shouldn't matter and if we transplant a lobster or a human then they should each assume their natural position in the local social hierarchy, wherever we plop them."

He says many things that sound reasonable.

Then I add "It's not just the top lobster's lived experience that contributes to his place atop the hierarchy, it's everyone else's below him in that hierarchy too--right?"

He must agree with this and does. He says many things that sound reasonable.

"And so where do you change from lobster to human and acknowledge that bad luck and circumstances of birthplace and family and everything else stick people lower in the hierarchy than they could be in different circumstances?"

He says many things about how this is absolutely true for so many young white men in North America all of whom can improve their station if they just read 12 Rules For Life and fill out the worksheets.

"Could a lobster improve its station in any way comparable to what you suggest for your readers?"

He isn't having my silliness.

"Okay, let's back up. What is evolution?"

He's stunned but plays it off perfectly.

"How would you define evolution to your readers/viewers?"

He says many things straight out of Descent of Man and nods to some of the least huggable atheist superstars.

"It's not a single reader or viewer's fault that they don't know any better and just believe your evolutionary insinuations and assumptions, but don't you think you should know better? ... If I were to become globally influential and I wanted to share ideas about clinical psychology that would influence masses of people, being the Ph.D. and professor that I am, I would go to the cutting edge of the field and learn there first before going public. I would try to understand what is known and what is unknown in that field, your field, and appreciate how those things are known and why there still are unknowns. And, if my masses of followers were misunderstanding my take on clinical psychology or my takes on my own areas of expertise, being the Ph.D. and professor I am, I would go out of my way to clarify my ideas in hopes they'd understand me better. Do you do that with the ways that folks interpret your views, like how some take you literally about sex distribution and enforced monogamy?"

He says he thinks his readers/viewers understand him quite well on those topics. This is vague and elusive and I move on because I feel an odd mixture of disappointment, pity, and disgust and I'd like to leave it behind as soon as possible.

"I believe with confidence that there are fundamental cognitive differences between humans and other animals. Do you agree?"

He says he does.

"Do you agree that these cognitive differences have contributed significantly to our domination of the planet?"

He says sure, of course.

"So why be so limited in your vision for achieving equal freedom, equal opportunity? All I've heard from you is that men should act more masculine (and less feminine) and that so should women if men and women want to succeed. Do you have any other ideas?  Or is that the extent of your imagination? Because it feels like quite an underappreciation of humankind to me. Like, the opposite of a moonshot, eh?"

He says many things that sound epic, I guess, if you are already a fan of him.

"Lobsters don't go to the moon. I think humankind can do better than just man-up."

He just plays it cool in his chair, there. And we can hear his fans all over the world laughing at me. No amount of masculine dress, hair, or swagger can disguise my big powerful lady PhD. And that's not just hilarious, but it also proves that men hold disproportionate power because of simple lobster logic. I've been dominated, which makes Jordan Peterson even more right about everything.