Cinema, Free Speech, Must Reads, Recommended, Review

‘The Rise of Jordan Peterson’—A Review

Given today’s downward cultural spiral, it’s disturbing but not surprising that the makers of a thoughtful new documentary about Jordan Peterson are having a hard time finding somewhere to show their film. Many mainstream and independent cinemas have refused to screen it because they’re “fearful of controversy” or “morally concerned.” One theater in Toronto cancelled a week-long showing after some of the staff “took issue with it.” A theater in Brooklyn cancelled a second screening, despite the fact that the first sold out and received good reviews, “because some staff were offended . . . and felt uncomfortable.”

Jordan Peterson. Jordan Peterson. Jordan Peterson! That name, that man, that swirling storm of impassioned controversies—again? After the flood of protests, podcasts, profiles, social media storms, hit pieces, and heartfelt testimonials that saturated the English-speaking world after Peterson posted his “Professor Against Political Correctness” video in Fall 2016, some might assume that squelching a new film about him is no big deal. After all, is there really anything worthwhile left to say about the man and the cultural maelstrom he provoked?

As it turns out, the answer is “yes.” Having watched the recently released 90-minute documentary, The Rise of Jordan Peterson, I can say this with confidence. The documentary follows Peterson’s unexpected skyrocket to fame by cross-cutting previously unseen and pre-existing footage in ways that are original, empathetic, and thought provoking. Clips of lectures, protests, and newscasts familiar to those who followed Peterson’s rise are expertly interwoven with fresh footage of past events, as well as exclusive interviews with him and a wide array of family members, friends, colleagues, and, importantly, critics (categories which, in some cases, overlap). There are also intimate scenes of Peterson in his home—strangely and rather disturbingly decorated with giant agitprop paintings—and his hometown of Toronto, Canada (which looks oddly bucolic, by comparison).

What makes The Rise of Jordan Peterson particularly notable is that it neither shies away from the political controversies surrounding Peterson, nor allows itself to be defined or limited by them. Peterson, of course, became an intensely polarizing figure immediately after posting his video critique of then-pending Bill C-16, which added gender identity and expression to the categories protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code in 2017. (Peterson’s core objection to the legislation, as I understand it, is that this constitutes a dangerous expansion of the state’s power to control and even compel speech.) Consequent commentary tended to follow predictable lines: Progressives condemned him; conservatives praised him; and his more apolitical fans tried to stay out of the fray.

Photo courtesy of Holding Space Films

Rather than conforming to any one of these positions, The Rise of Jordan Peterson weaves the political debates into a richer tapestry of human issues, concerns, and relationships. The psychological and mythological realms, which are central to Peterson’s primary body of work (a fact since overshadowed by ugly disputes over his real and imagined politics), are invoked in ways that communicate their irreducible mystery and complexity. This is not easy to do, particularly when navigating such intensely contested ideological terrain. The result is a refreshingly original take on the Peterson phenomenon, with the vision and skill to transcend the intellectually and emotionally suffocating boxes with which it has typically been framed.

A Kaleidoscopic Narrative

The film (and its trailer) opens with an image of an unusual stained glass window that I found so arresting, I paused the video to look at it more closely. There’s a horseshoe studded with faceted jewels, a circle of roses, two green clovers, blue-green ivy garlands, classical columns. The images feel symbolically resonant, but impossible to place. The window looks like it might be part of an old university, or perhaps a church.

In fact, it’s located just outside Peterson’s front door. The camera follows him as he walks toward the window, opens the door beside it, and turns to go down the hallway and up the stairs. Virtually all of the available wall space in his house is filled with paintings. There’s a gigantic image of a triumphant Lenin pontificating before an attentive crowd, peppered with men brandishing rifles and red Soviet flags. All this flashes by in less than half a minute, accompanied by foreboding music.

A barrage of film clips and voiceovers then roll by in rapid succession—shots of Peterson’s lectures, newscasts, and podcasts; protesters; theater marques announcing his appearances; newspaper headlines denouncing him. A fan testifies: “He is the ultimate father figure.” An anti-Peterson activist sneers: “So, you’re anti-justice. Are you a Batman villain?” We see Peterson lecturing in front of enormous crowds. “Man does not live by bread alone,” he says. “Spiritual bread, that’s the story.”

Open-minded viewers may wonder: Why has there been such tremendous cultural and political churning around Peterson? Why did he so suddenly become such a famous (or, for many, infamous) public figure? What’s the best way to understand the significance not only of the man and his work, but also the tsunami of positive and negative attention he has generated?

The Rise of Jordan Peterson offers no simple answers to questions like these. It isn’t a conventional talking heads-style documentary. It doesn’t seek to hammer an agenda into its audience. Instead, the film honors the complexity of both of Peterson, his supporters, and his critics. It recognizes that the issues involved are enormous, complicated, and in many ways much bigger than the particular individuals, groups, and causes involved. Following Peterson’s sudden rise to fame in real time with an attentive ear, the story it shares is not reducible to a hashtag.

To appreciate the profound complexity of individuals and events is to recognize that both are embedded in larger patterns of social and historical relationships. Some of these patterns are so big that they are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to grasp. While it’s never explicitly stated, The Rise of Jordan Peterson feels like it’s exploring terrain that includes more than the understandings of reality and fact many of us take for granted. The many symbolic images that flash by—the stained glass, the paintings, a crucifix, and what look like several indigenous masks—evoke the extra-rational power of art, myth, ritual, ideology, and religion. These are powerful themes, central to Peterson’s primary body of work.

The Rise of Jordan Peterson constructs a kaleidoscopic narrative that enables the viewer to look at the same sequence of events in several different ways. Engaging with the film fully demands a willingness to listen to a wide and often conflicting range of perspectives. Those who insist on placing Peterson in an airtight box, and seeing him solely as either a holy prophet or a demonic villain, will almost certainly neither like nor understand this film. After all, it’s designed to raise questions that, if acknowledged, would devastate such one-dimensional caricatures.

On the other hand, those open to considering the man, his work, and the controversies swirling around him in a new light should value and enjoy the film. It’s an exceptional accomplishment that this should be true regardless of whether they’re fans, critics, or simply curious to know what all the fuss has been about. Weaving a multiplicity of narratives together into a powerful, if complex storyline, The Rise of Jordan Peterson inspires the viewer to think, feel, question, and reflect.

The Backstory

After watching the preview screener, I contacted the director and producer, Patricia Marcoccia, to learn more about how it came to be made, and the distribution problems she’s now facing. Having spoken to Marcoccia and her husband and co-producer, Maziar Ghaderi, for over an hour on the phone, I have a better understanding of how and why they came to make such an unusual film.

Patricia Marcoccia and Maziar Ghaderi. Photo courtesy of Nino Jovisic

Given Peterson’s political divisiveness, one might assume that anyone deciding to make a film about him would be motivated by pre-existing views on the controversies that have engulfed him (in particular, hot button issues of sex and gender). By extension, one might think that any film about Peterson would want to show his social impact as either redemptive or destructive. But that wasn’t the genesis of this film, and it’s not what it communicates.

Marcoccia wanted to make a film about Peterson well before he became a public figure. She’d become interested in his work while she was a college student studying psychology at McMaster University back in the early 2000s. “I found his work on the psychology of meaning very impactful,” she explains. “And I knew he was having a big impact on his students over in Toronto, too.” After graduating and shifting her focus to journalism and film, she decided that she wanted to make Peterson the focus of her first independent feature. She approached him about it in 2015.

After learning more about Peterson’s personal life, Marcoccia decided to focus on his friendship with Charles Joseph, an accomplished third-generation Kwakwaka’wakw carver/artist. A year-and-a-half into that project, she awoke one morning to find that Peterson had posted “Professor Against Political Correctness” on YouTube and that all hell had broken loose. “The video was a total surprise to me. I had no idea it was coming,” she says. “I’d been filming conversations about dreams, Charles carving masks and totem poles, and a sacred potlatch ceremony”—Peterson and his family were at the time immersed in a very involved process of being ceremonially inducted into Joseph’s extended family—“and all of a sudden, there was all this conflict and controversy.”

After a few weeks, Marcoccia decided that she needed to change the focus of her film, and follow the rapidly developing story on which, unexpectedly, she had a uniquely privileged perspective. At the time, neither she nor her husband, a multimedia artist who was now working with her on the film, felt particularly happy about this switch. “This wasn’t the ambulance we would have been chasing” had circumstances been different, she explains. “We didn’t feel comfortable dealing with the ‘free speech versus transphobe’ controversy. But we also didn’t see walking away as an option. You need to follow a film where it takes you.”

“There was so much of this culture war stuff that we didn’t understand,” Ghaderi reflects. Personally and professionally immersed in the left-leaning worlds of art, film, and theater, working with his wife on the documentary when everything “suddenly blew up” was “confusing.” Marcoccia and Ghaderi agreed that if they hadn’t known Peterson and his work personally, and had only read about him in the media outlets they normally digested, they would have most likely been swept up in the anti-Peterson sentiment that dominated their milieu. Instead, they became hyper-aware that “there was all this complexity that we couldn’t ignore.”

Holding Space

Marcoccia and Ghaderi watched—and filmed—as activists, journalists, bloggers, fans, and even their close friends, rather than acknowledging this complexity, turned Peterson into a dichotomous “messiah/devil” icon. “There are right-wing opportunists who want to use Jordan for their own political ends,” Ghaderi notes. “There are people who want to use him to fill the gap of not having a father. There are the Antifa types who condemn him while they’re wearing a mask. It’s the media—journalists, writers, bloggers—that create Jordan’s persona.” The film’s official poster symbolically illustrates that these many competing forces collude to create a false image of the man they’ve come to know.

If the respect that the Marcoccia and Ghaderi have for Peterson is obvious, it’s also unexceptional. That respect extends to all their subjects, including a trans activist who criticizes them for making the film at all. As their website explains, they named their company “Holding Space Films” because the concept of holding space “is central to the filmmaking process”:

To hold space for someone is to metaphorically walk with them amidst their experience using genuine presence and deep listening to enable authenticity to emerge.

Rather than sorting their interviewees into partisan boxes, the filmmakers engage sympathetically with the multidimensional complexity of everyone involved. The consistency of Marcoccia and Ghaderi’s method constitutes a critical theme throughout the film. It’s what enables the (open minded) viewer to experience the nuances under investigation as thought provoking, rather than merely confusing. The people, issues, and events may sometimes be abstruse, but the unpretentious clarity of the filmmakers’ method results in a film that is intelligible, accessible, engaging, and coherent.

It’s important to note that “holding space” in the sense Marcoccia and Ghaderi mean it is difficult. It’s not easy to remain steady in the midst of intense conflict, and listen to the different sides involved with curiosity, empathy, and respect—let alone capture that in a 90-minute film. That they have largely succeeded is a significant accomplishment; one that’s much needed and all too rare. It requires a disciplined commitment to a deeply humane sensibility, an ethos that is widely misunderstood and ignored, if not denigrated and attacked today.

Blocked Access

Given most cinemas’ refusal to show the film, Marcoccia and Ghaderi have shifted to a “cinema-on-demand” model. This means that anyone who wants to see it can request a screening in their locale via an online platform. (For details, visit the website.) If 40 percent of the tickets for a given venue are sold in advance, the showing is guaranteed; if not, it’s cancelled. Another option, currently only available in the US, is to watch it at home via iTunes and DVD/BluRay at the end of October; about a week later, it will be available worldwide. (Availability on Android and other platforms is also planned.)

Photo courtesy of Holding Space Films

It’s sickly ironic that a film of such outstanding originality is being shut out of independent and arthouse cinemas, the very cultural institutions that should be most committed to supporting such creative work. It’s also pathetic that “progressives” preoccupied with a fashionable politics of identity can’t bring themselves to care about the hypocrisy of seeking to sabotage a film made by a woman (Marcoccia) and person of color (Ghaderi). No doubt, they’d also prefer to ignore the fact that the original project was to document Peterson’s friendship with an indigenous artist who, among other accomplishments, created a 55-foot high totem pole honoring the survivors of Canada’s residential school system, which forcibly placed First Nations children in shockingly abusive church-run schools.

Of course, it is unsurprising that those most committed to maintaining today’s dominant political narratives won’t like the complexity of The Rise of Jordan Peterson. And so most will probably ignore it, and some will try to shut it down. (As I was completing this article, I learned that another screening scheduled for November 17 at the Grand Gerrard Theatre in Toronto had been cancelled.) Happily, the flip side is that those who dislike such suffocating ideologies will find the film a fascinating, rejuvenating, and enjoyable breath of fresh air. My hope is that sufficient numbers of such people will not only see the film, but help to get it into theaters where it can reach the widest possible audience.

 

Carol Horton is an independent writer interested in the intersection of spirituality, politics, and culture. She is the author or editor of five books and holds a PhD in political science from the University of Chicago. Carol’s website can be found at www.carolhortonphd.com and you can follow her on Twitter @CarolHortonBks

Featured image courtesy of Holding Space Films

Comments

  1. My own view on Jordan Peterson is one of gratitude. I don’t necessarily subscribe to all of his views. In particular, my views of the Catholic Church’s role in using the confessional and the idea of original sin, to institute a religion-based patriarchy stand in contrast to his. Although confession and forgiveness as concept stand as a triumph of Western thinking, they were used as a means of asserting the Church’s own power over the lives of ordinary parishioners (although I would agree that in the modern context, Patriarchy is all but gone in the West). But in many ways, he empowered a spirit of intellectual re-engagement with the world, acting as a gateway to other thinkers like Steven Pinker and Jonathan Haidt.

    Before him, I was going through a deep sense of intellectual malaise with the world, a disillusionment of postmodern construction (the origins of which, I was largely unaware). I viewed the world as largely dystopian, and had become particularly cynical about modern capitalism, alarmist over climate change and cynical about people, in general. I should mention here that this was coming off the back of nearly a decade of CBT-orientated counselling following a family death, acting as a designated driver for two family members undergoing treatment for breast cancer, the death of two further elderly family members for whom I acted as free-time carer and the death of my dog. So father, nan, dog and great uncle dead, mother and favourite aunt suffering (and thankfully recovering) from breast cancer- all within the space of a decade- some might say that I had every reason to feel depressed with life in general. I almost forgot, I also inherited two other dogs during this period, which I subsequently had to ask a good friend to bury at the top of my garden, along with my own dog.

    But as I have generally observed to be the case amongst the intelligent, I redirected my sense of feeling cursed, my dissatisfaction with my personal circumstances, into a general sense of unhappiness with the world, as a whole. I have to say, that a broadly intellectual question to a senior manager over the potential redundancy of workers as the result of an automation project, to which the reply was “they’ll find other jobs”, hadn’t inspired confidence. It stuck with me- particularly given that I had already observed that whilst capitalism is great at redistributing capital, it’s terrible at redistributing labour. Part of my disillusionment over capitalism had come from my uncle-in-law’s explanation, that the reason why my company was only valued at double it’s gross profit margin, before the management buy-in, was because it hadn’t announced any plans to offshore.

    Of course, despite having read a little about economic theory, perhaps erroneously self-directing towards political economics, I had no broader knowledge of the economic miracle that this painful process of efficiency and cost-saving has had, in transforming the lives of people in the West for the better. The history GCSE course content that I studied during the eighties, thanks to the educational establishment of the time, covered the rise of fascism and the ‘miracle’ of FDR period. Even back then, nobody bothered to articulate the other side of the argument- probably because they weren’t even familiar with the counter-argument, apart from a general loathing of Reagan and Thatcher.

    So, back to Jordan Peterson- it did seem strange to see him in one talk or lecture, describing the miracle of strip lighting in a large seminar room, or small auditorium. It was only as I expanded my viewing (and reading) to Steven Pinker and Jonathan Haidt, that I realised what he was babbling on about. I had read Adam Smith years ago, as part of my attempts at independent study, but had somehow failed to link it to the marvellous expansion in Science and Technology, that powers the modern world. I just did not fully realise that it is commerce and profit that pays for it all, both as a motive and a revenue source. Maybe it’s because, whilst in some ways the British are a match for America when scaled to population sizes, in terms of innovation, historically we have been terrible at monetising it, ever since we financialised our economy in the late 19th century.

    Imagine my surprise, when reading Enlightenment Now, to find that contrary to my general perceptions of the world, thing were getting better- and not just a little, but a lot. That we’ve possessed the technology to mitigate a huge amount of climate change for over 60 years, but have failed to utilise it over irrational fears. Or that whilst climate change is serious, the danger is in no way imminent. What a shock to find, through reading The Righteous Mind, that the difference between conservatives and liberals has it’s grounding in deep psychological foundations and the WEIRD phenomena. That upon further investigation, being a conservative does not have it’s roots in the greedy representation of the rich, but rather in a natural and healthy scepticism over the role and power of Government, and it’s ability to effect positive change. Or that most conservatives are going apeshit, over our inability to ever pay for, or maintain, our current spending commitments.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a centrist, but rather than being socially liberal and economically centre-right, I now believe that we need to engage the best ideas from both sides, and be radical about it. We need to change the incentives within civil service bureaucracies, so that government can be redirected to services that the market can’t easily supply profitably, and away from unjustifiable intrusions that businesses and citizens resent. We need the market to do what it does best and innovate our way out of climate change. As a climate capitalist, I have to say that Jeff Dahn’s new battery could be a game changer for EV’s, if paired with other cost-reductions that enable a lower prices that trigger consumer engagement, especially if pared with sensible carbon pricing (starting at $5 per tonne) schemes that incentive switching to EV ownership. It only renews the need for more hydro where possible, and more nuclear where not.

    So in summation, I grateful to Jordan Peterson for helping me shed my sense of cynicism with the world, and helping me engage intellectually with the great ideas of our time. As I have said I don’t necessarily agree with him on everything, and I would direct him towards this article:

    Generally, I agree with Bjorn Lomborg’s approach to climate change, but he is wrong on EV’s, especially in the light of current and ongoing developments. Apparently, the reason why Elon Musk is hostile to dealerships, is because they are somewhat hostile to him, given that they rely on post-sticker ongoing costs, to which Tesla is largely immune, to support their business model. It really might make sense to switch to electric within a year to two years, from a purely financial perspective, especially given that petrol prices equate to five times the cost per road mile versus electric in the US, and considerably more in other parts of the world:

    For those who are more sceptical of the markets ability to innovate our way out of climate change, I would direct them towards Michael Shellenberger, and particularly his take on the ulterior motives of the ‘dark green’ environmental movement. Jordan Peterson’s questioning of the motives of some, is quite legitimate…

  2. Can’t wait to watch this one.
    Peterson reminds me of Yoga, a trendy curiosity at first but infinitely more. Political correctness drew me in but this just scratches the surface of his depth.
    What a gift this human is.

  3. This article led me to buy two tickets for an October 30 screening in Ancaster Ontario (a suburb of Hamilton, home to the filmmakers Alma Mater). The film will be released in other formats soon after that.
    Calling Jordan Peterson controversial because dishonest actors make false accusations about him is if not disingenuous at least distracting. It is those who attack him who should be called controversial. Painting everything as a catastrophe has not resulted in recruiting more than a minority to causes both good and bad but instead has led too many people of good will to disengage. Sensible voices calling us to have hope and contribute are going to right the ship eventually

  4. Well no, it is not a given. Why is articulating the principles that almost everyone recently agreed to now “divisive”? Why are not the Michael Eric Dysons of the world labeled divisive? They, as the purveyors of identity politics and are precisely the ones dividing us apart along racial and gender lines. For the last decade it has been towards those having the temerity to dispute the left’s latest asinine decree that are repeatedly labeled “divisive” or “controversial” or “extreme”. It is well past the time that we cede to the left the language and continually allow them to define the playing field.

    If there is one reason for rise of Peterson it is that he is someone profoundly sensible, articulate, and was unwilling to be silenced by the leftist authoritarians currently trying to hijack our culture. The fact that Peterson, someone who is having an enormous positive and critical impact on the lives of thousands of individuals, is continually labeled by media types as “divisive” is a blazing indicator of who is actually divisive.

  5. I see it as a serious problem that movie theatre managements should be able to refuse to screen a film, or that staff should refuse to work at the screening of a film, on ideological grounds, assuming that the film itself does not break any laws. In the case of the management, one would hope that market forces would eventually force them to screen popular movies despite their ideological squeamishness. In the case of the staff, all I can say that if I ran a theatre and my workers refused to work at a particular screening, I would sack them all and hire new ones who didn’t think that their own personal political tastes trumped the principle of free speech.

  6. When those who don’t believe in the Social Justice axioms try to speak out, it is very common for Leftists to try to no-platform and unjustly vilify them, while it is very uncommon for more moderate Leftists to speak out against this censorship and abuse. When the moderates are unwilling to take a stand against the extremists, I feel justified in judging the entire movement by what they do or allow to happen (I’m not religious, but Matthew 7:16 seems appropriate here: “By their fruit you will recognize them”.)

    Your narrative that the ostracized are to blame because of their own behavior is a classic narrative by which those who abuse their power to exclude and silence justify their behavior.

    Regarding guilt by association, it’s the kind of thing scoundrels do. If I can’t come up with a rational take-down of your beliefs, I’ll just tie you to a demon. And everyone hates demons!

    “If you stand up against the radical left, you’re in a group that also has Nazis in it. Because the Nazis also stand up against the radical left. So it’s perfectly reasonable, from a strategic perspective, for the radical left to say, “you’re against us, how do we know you’re not a Nazi?” Well, statistically, I’m probably not. But you could say at least the question is open. It’s motivated epithet slinging, because if I’m reasonable, and I’m standing up against the radical left, and they admit I’m reasonable, then there has to be an admission that reasonable people could stand up against the radical left, which kind of implies that the radical left isn’t that reasonable. And so they’re not going to go there. Of course, they’re not reasonable. They’re unreasonable beyond belief, as we saw with the situation with Lindsay Shepherd in Canada.”

    – Dr. Jordan Peterson

  7. Being a older than Jordan Peterson I used to see University Professors as being like him, while in fact they are, for the most part, very much unlike him. Grovelling, politically correct toadies, not just in the humanities, but creeping into other disciplines as well. We live in an age of obsequious moral vacuum, the mainstream media foremost among them. I hope to live long enough to see the degenerates slip into obscurity again.

  8. The Cathy Newman interview was my primary introduction to Jordan Peterson and it was extremely satisfying to see someone so rationally, articulately, and politely rebutting the cultural Marxist talking points. I hadn’t realized prior to then that there was any significant pushback to those ideas by anyone other than right-wing ideologues and had felt very alone as a left-leaning person who absolutely loathed identity politics. After that, I read and watched a lot of other Peterson content and became familiar with his perspectives on various issues, some of which I agreed with already and some of which he caused me to rethink my positions on. Therefore it was additionally eye-opening to see how the media responded to his rise in popularity, portraying him as an alt-right, fascistic figure, which I knew to be completely contrary to reality. As a result I began to view the media much more skeptically than I had before, and this skepticism has of course only been further reinforced by everything that’s happened since then. So I have Peterson to thank for helping me get “woke” to the rampant ideological possession in contemporary society, and for introducing me to other independent thinkers and communities such as Quillette where I can be exposed to a variety of ideas that are expressed in the spirit of true curiosity and a desire to find real solutions to problems rather than to promote an ideology.

  9. There are two parts to the “Jordan Peterson Phenomenon”. The first is his remarkable popularity. I saw a lecture of his in the summer of 2017 and I was amazed that he could attract 400 paying customers to a lecture about bible stories. Then he went on to fill 5000 seat theatres. The second part, of course is the intense, vitriolic, obsessive reaction he gets from the left.

    The only way I can understand this spectacle is as a religious conflict. Social Justice has pretty much replaced Christianity as the mainstream religion of the West. I’m old — I remember mumbling the Lord’s prayer every morning at public school. That’s long gone — replaced by a curriculum that teaches the catechism of diversity, inclusion and equity.

    This new religion isn’t working for everyone. This is what happens when only a portion of the congregation is told that they harbour the Original Sin. Another preacher comes along and says “Hey. I’ve got a better way. Here’s a set of moral principles — really good, time tested moral principles — that you can use to guide your life, and furthermore, you can feel good about yourself at the same time!”

    Why wouldn’t that be popular?

    And wouldn’t you expect the old religion come out in full force against this blasphemy?

  10. Sounds like a great film, I will certainly buy it when it becomes available in Oz. I have to admit that I am the type that sees JBP more as a Messiah than anything. He helped me understand what is going on with the radical left, awakened me to the danger Canada faces from it, and introduced me to Quillette. At first it was his role in the political sphere that I thought was urgently necessary. We’re facing a great danger, and JBP explains that in a way that’s accessible to people on both the left and right. Although those of the reasonable left are still afraid to voice their support out loud.

    It was only later that I discovered JBP’s true appeal. I more or less had my life together by the time I was introduced to him, but when I was devastated by a miscarriage last year, his teachings helped me find a way to overcome and make the sacrifices I needed to to get pregnant again. If my baby had been a boy, we would have named him Jordan (oh well, maybe next time!).

  11. Jordan Peterson had the courage to challenge the growing influence of identity politics on the left in a way that was thoughtful, nuanced, and persuasive. His program is positive, focusing on individual development and uplift. He was never about putting other people or groups down. The reaction to him was rooted in fear, as he was able to challenge the narrative in a way that was changing many people’s minds. Because they have trouble debating him, they must resort, with the aid of many mainstream news outlets, to smearing and silencing him.

  12. I’m looking forward to seeing the documentary. Thank you for the review.

    I stumbled upon Dr. Peterson’s coursework videos on YouTube, just a few months before all the controversy began. I’d finished “Maps of Meaning” and was just beginning the “Personality” lecture series when the C-16 story erupted. Having sneered at Jungian analysis most of my adult life, Peterson’s classes were a revelation.

    When films of the political/social controversies began to air, I started to mistrust my own motivations. Upon constant reflection over how congruent his stated positions were with my own, I suspected myself of having an exceptionally severe case of confirmation bias; I didn’t believe I could trust my own fair-mindedness and objectivity, such was the strange fascination I discovered within myself, for Peterson’s outlook. As a result, I scoured the internet and the libraries for views contradicting Peterson’s conclusions. What I found was virtually nothing of substance. Surely there must be more? I thought. Someone must have a substantial set of arguments, or at least theories, in contradiction to the doc’s analyses.

    I watched debates and oppositional lectures. I read entire books. I listened to podcasts and watched innumerable interviews. I do not agree with every single conclusion and observation made public by Jordan Peterson, but I could not find fault with the majority of his underlying premises, nor can anyone else, at least so far as I’ve yet been able to discover.

    Even had he not become a lodestone for the reasonable centrist movement (such as it is,) I will always be grateful to Peterson for uploading his lecture series’. They’ve been interesting, engaging, thought-provoking, informative and tremendously entertaining. My intellectual and emotional inner life has been tremendously enriched by “attending” his lectures.

    When he came to nearby San Francisco, I missed the ticket opportunity, owing to uncertainty about my work schedule and being enmeshed in a rather complicated personal commercial transaction, and that missed opportunity is the only “show” I have ever regretted missing.

    I would have to consider myself a “supporter” of Doc Peterson, but one who is more than willing to listen to any coherent argument in opposition to his views. I’ve found plenty of opposition, but virtually none that is rational or coherent. The portion of the psychological establishment that have demonized him has displayed an intellectual bankruptcy that makes me fear greatly for the future of the mental health field and wonder far less at the miserable outcomes increasingly obtained by modern “therapists.” The academic establishment that has similarly denigrated his outlook adds an aspect of moral bankruptcy that engenders despair for the future of the Humanities.

    Peterson is a man, flawed and sinful like the rest of us. He is no Messiah, either. What he is, however, is a learned man with keen and penetrating insight into the roots of, and remedies for, a great deal of what we know as “human suffering,” and stumbling over his lecture series’ is one of the happiest occurrences of my intellectual life, right up there with happening on a collection of Emerson’s essays, back in the halcyon days of my youth. Watching Peterson is like reading “Self-Reliance” for the first time, all over again.

  13. If Trump were like Peterson, Hillary Clinton would be president.

    Trump had to be obnoxious to get left-wing media to cover him. When they covered him, they inadvertently revealed to the world that their take on him was much further from the view of most voters than Trump himself was. Presto - Donald Trump becomes president.

    He played them like a fiddle, and even many on the Right still don’t see how it worked.

  14. I see Trump’s main benefit as being disruptive. Personally, I don’t like the man. But, like Brexit in the UK, he has been very useful at lifting the veil of ignorance from the public’s eye, regarding the innate Leftist bias of many media outlets. Before Brexit, I was comfortably esconced in a bubble of mainly Channel 4, BBC and The Times journalism- I read other sources The Economist, The Guardian, etc, but the political diversity of my reading and viewing was exceptionally narrow.

    I now fact check anything that sounds the slightest bit like conjecture or opinion, and a lot of stuff that doesn’t. An interesting barometer, is whether a news source is willing to cover Andrew Yang with any degree of consistency. Regardless, of what you may think of his ideas, the fact that he was a Washington outsider meant that anyone who did cover him was usually fairer than the average media outlet- although this tendency is fading, given that he gradually continues to do better in the polls.

    The most hilarious aspect of this tendency, are the MSM graphics that deliberately skip over him, when he is clearly in fourth place now. It’s fucking bizarrely amusing!

  15. Wasn’t it the New Statesman that did the interview with Roger Scruton and then cut up his words on twitter in order to make them sound vaguely offensive, leading to his firing from the UK government commission for improving the beauty of buildings? But when the video and full transcript of his interview came out, it was clear that the New Statesmen had in fact deliberately and grossly misrepresented his point, in fact to the extent they made him sound like he was saying the opposite of what he did.

    I think it was only after the Spectator fully investigated this that Scruton was eventually reinstated. In fact, I think the New Statesmen journalist eventually resigned, but in reality it should have been the editor who should also get the sack.

    Full details here

    I would consider New Statesman, Guardian and the Independent as entirely untrustworthy. Truth is, I go by the view that if their news is for free, it means you’re the product.

    It’s well worth paying for the Spectator - much better than the rest.

    Ps: in a moment of cosmic karma, the minister who sacked Scruton, on a whim based only on twitter posts of a activist journalist, was eventually sacked by Boris Johnson when be became PM, just days after Scruton was reinstated.

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