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Saturday, 1 August 2020
The Problem with Peterson
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by Fergus Downie

I really don’t like to say it, but Jordan Peterson really bores me. Until recently I repressed the urge to say it out loud because these days anyone saying a man is not a woman is a prophet and when all is said and done, sometimes you just have to choose your sides. 

I’ll stay on his but the notion that someone who trades in such verbose and  thundering vacuities is entitled to preening deference is too much to entertain. Rules for Life is simply abysmal and his prose is so bad it’s almost a relief when a cliche interrupts the performance. I agree people should tidy their rooms- it seems a good idea on balance but I’ve never been sure why, after giving him the sympathy he deserved for being forced out of his job I have to pretend something profound is going on when he forces these searing aphorisms out. With Peterson we know when he thinks this is going on - he italicises it and when all else fails in an interview he creates an awe struck silence. Douglas Murray in the time honoured manner of serious British intellectuals pauses his flow and launches the killer parody with a light touch - Peterson by contrast is picturesquely brooding and always looks like he’s about to cry, which after the 57th Jungian reference is almost a relief. Small wonder he’s click bait and YouTube abounds with segments of Peterson making a heroic stand and saying the gulag was bad . It was but only CNN anchors and Alexandra Occasional Cortex need need to learn that. The medium here is trivialising the message. It’s cut price education for the young  but they should stick to digestible books and authors who can teach them how to write. And how many people reading this actually think psychoanalysis is any more of a science than Scientology?

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Posted on 08/01/2020 8:03 AM by Fergus Downie
Comments
2 Aug 2020
Stan
This was relevant over two years ago.

2 Aug 2020
Sunya
" It’s cut price education for the young but they should stick to digestible books and authors who can teach them how to write." Why ***should*** they, and who's going to make them do this? And how?

3 Aug 2020
LRAS
"the notion that someone who trades in such verbose and thundering vacuities is entitled to preening deference is too much to entertain". Pots and kettles spring to mind.

3 Aug 2020
Send an emailHOWARD NELSON
JP has triggered more good for young and old via his book of 12 guidelines, and lectures, than all of the pseudo-sages criticising his style rather than his substance.

4 Aug 2020
dan
It's strange to say the least to see a hit piece on Jordan Peterson in New English Review. While the author may not appreciate Peterson's style, or verbosity, or his overt sentimentality and compassion for others, Peterson is really a hero in that he speaks the truth. There are so few now who do. What is the value of denigrating Peterson when he is almost a lone voice of reason and rationality in a morally and ethically corrupt world? Leave it to the leftists and cranks to destroy their heroes -- rationalists and decent people should not do the same to ours. The author leads his bitter attack by informing the reader that Peterson "bores" him. What sort of criticism is this? It's ridiculous. Now, apparently, some in the community of reasonable people such as are the readers and contributors of New English Review think it of value to savage allies? Isn't that what leftists and democrats are for? Why would a contributor of New English Review do the work of leftists in the pages of New English Review itself? Attacks on Peterson by people in the community of rationalism and decency adds as much value as a light-bulb lit by the pedal-power of a bicycle-riding fish.


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