By disavowing Jordan Peterson. His take is particularly damning because he gave Jordan Peterson every possible benefit of the doubt, but to no avail:
One of the more disappointing gigs of my life was An Evening With Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson & Douglas Murray at the O2 arena in 2018. It had been billed as ‘the Woodstock of live speaking and debate’ but, just like its rainwashed predecessor, it was all hype and no trousers. I walked out half way through, which was a bit embarrassing, given that I was in one of the more visible front row seats, that the PR from whom I’d got my free tickets was nearby and that Douglas was a friend.
In my head – and a subsequent article – I persuaded myself I’d quite enjoyed it and that I just needed to leave early because the O2 was miles from civilisation and I wanted to get back home. In my heart, though, I knew it had been shit. Harris had droned on, as he always does, about Marcus Aurelius. Peterson had been abstruse, remote, obfuscatory – by which I mean he was using lots of words, in that annoying wheedling voice of his, to tell us very little. And, like Led Zeppelin not playing Stairway To Heaven, he was determinedly refusing to offer any gobbets of juicy red meat to his puppyishly eager and forgiving young male audience. Douglas was feline and quite funny, but that was about it.
So why didn’t I say at the time that the Emperor was wearing no clothes? Because back then I wanted so badly to believe that he was. Peterson, I thought, just had to be a good thing because lots of people on my side of the argument, all the edgy right-wing contrarian types, were saying he was. We’d read – or even written – many pleasing articles celebrating how well he was doing (earning well over a million a year playing huge arenas like this one), which was just great because we were used to living in a culture where only liberals and leftists were rewarded. Peterson was our guy because though he came from leftie academe, he was sticking it the libs. He’d destroyed that prissy left-wing interviewer called Cathy Newman who’d tried to get the better of him on Channel 4 news; he was down with Pepe the Frog; his bestselling book was punchy, savvy, digestible; he said clever, funny stuff about lobsters. He was leading the backlash against the destruction of Western Civilisation.
Except, we now know, he wasn’t. Peterson is a bad actor – and probably was so all along.
Vox Day was ahead of the game on this as he so often is. As early as 2018, he published the (so I gather: I really must read it) corrosive and utterly damning Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker. It has taken most of the rest of us till now to catch up.
For me, the clincher was watching a video called Jordan Peterson Dismantled, which argues, plausibly I think, that Peterson’s goal is not to bolster the political right but to neutralise it. That was made three years ago, so I’m a bit late to the party. The reason I’m thinking about him now – to be honest I’d pretty much stopped doing so since that 2018 snoozefest – is because one or two people on my side still appear to be taking him seriously. And I don’t think they should. He’s a menace.
Peterson is a bad actor. He’s a very bad actor in both sense of the term. He’s now such an obvious psychosexual train wreck that it’s astonishing anyone still even tries to take him seriously.