Forget the fact that Jordan Peterson doesn’t listen to me. I certainly wouldn’t expect him to do so. But you would think that The Most Important Thinker in Human History would at least be capable of learning from experience.
And you would be wrong:
Was I unforgivably careless in the trust I chose to show to the Times? Perhaps. I believed (as did my editors and publishers at Penguin Random House) that my story was invariably going to be told and that it was therefore appropriate to provide the details in as truthful and complete a manner possible to the most reliable and credible possible source. We all took the offer from the Sunday Times at face value and held that paper in high regard. Hence, our decision — which was considered over months.
Now, the situation is complicated by the fact that I have a new book coming out March 2 (described here). This means that the decision to participate in the Sunday Times interview was also motivated by a desire not so much to publicize the book as to clear the stage so that the book might be made the central topic of any other interviews I might give around its launch time (instead of issues such as my health). I certainly feel an obligation to work with and for my publishers so that the book’s existence is publicized, and there’s obviously an element of self-interest in that, as well. I want to act such that the book has the highest possible chance of success. I hope that people will find it as useful as they appear to have found my previous book, 12 Rules for Life.
So, what would a wise man do?
Learn my lesson, and avoid the press at all cost? But I don’t know how to distinguish that from turning my tail and hiding, and I think that would be worse for me, even in my currently compromised state, than continuing to engage as I have.
Only choose to make myself available to outlets that will produce positive coverage? First, how do I know which outlets are trustworthy. I could only talk to people with whom I have become friendly, such as David Rubin and Joe Rogan. But I don’t think it’s right to stay inside what risks becoming a mere echo chamber.
Was it a mistake for me to conduct the now-infamous Channel Four interview with Cathy Newman? Or the almost equally-viewed GQ interview with Helen Lewis? Both of those were markedly hostile. Were they failures, or successes? I don’t think it is unreasonable to note that they are markedly of our time, and perhaps indicate something important–whatever that might be–about our time. Both have garnered some 25 million views. There’s something of broad public interest about the tension that characterizes both conversations….
GQ, motivated by the success (?) of the Helen Lewis interview, plans to produce a profile on me in the near future. I have been asked to make myself available for an interview. Should I do it? I haven’t decided. If it goes badly, will I only have myself to blame? Should I therefore avoid it?
I hope to be judicious in my decisions about when and where to speak. I hope that I can stick to the truth when I do so, and believe that there is no better defense (and, indeed, no better offense) than that? Do I trust myself to tell the truth? Will my ego invariably get in the way? Has that already happened?
What part of NEVER TALK TO THE MEDIA is hard to understand? The amusing thing is that Jordy doesn’t realize that both Cathy Newman and Helen Lewis were giving him the Girlfriend Experience because it was their job to help build him up. Now he’s getting the sort of treatment that the media gives ordinary people.
He’d better learn to shut up and stop dancing for the media before he gets the genuinely adversarial treatment of the sort that Milo and I would receive if we were ever dumb enough to talk to the media, because I very much doubt his fragile psyche would survive it.
PS – I’ll tell you right now that I am going to talk to certain specific media organizations in three months concerning Project Asteroid. Why? Because it’s Project Fucking Asteroid, it’s much bigger than me, and no one is going to care at all about me or anything I have ever said or done.