And then one day it happened.
She cut her hair and I stopped loving her.
— Billy Bragg, “Walk Away Renee”
Yesterday I read a Daily Caller piece called “Yes, Jordan Peterson Really Is That Smart,” because with that title, how could you not?
So would he have voted for Donald Trump? You might think this question would have elicited a slam dunk “Yes!” coming from a man who has become something of a regular guest on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight.
“Jesus,” says Peterson, “that’s a hard question.”
“I think what I would have done was walk into the voting booth with the intention of voting for Clinton, and then, at the last minute, gone, ‘To hell with it. I’m not doing it,’ and voted for Trump,” he said.
Like many on the right, this is a question he struggles with.
“For the entire election, virtually, I thought, well, Clinton has the experience necessary to at least keep the status quo in motion. So, in some sense, she was a conservative choice,” he continued. “Because she’d been in politics so long.”
Ultimately, though, Peterson became concerned about Clinton’s ideological direction. Likewise, he believes that Americans concluded they liked “the unscripted, impulsive lies of Trump better than the conniving, scripted lies of Clinton.”
“I think I would have impulsively voted for Trump at the last moment,” Peterson concedes. “But it wouldn’t have been with a sense of delight—I can tell you that.”
This was an academic exercise for a Canadian, but the fact that he reasoned through this hypothetical question, and answered with a sort of intellectual honesty is why Jordan Peterson matters—and why economics professor Tyler Cowen says he’s our most influential public intellectual (even if he doesn’t know it yet).
The smart answer for a guy pandering to the Fox News crowd would be to praise Trump. The smart answer for a professor trying to win friends in academia would be to praise Clinton. But Peterson did neither: He thought about it. And his nuanced answer is the kind that we don’t see enough from political commentators these days.
The Left loves it, or pretends to.
Did you know that David Brooks loves Jordan Peterson too?
Now, to state the obvious: Jordan Peterson is a brilliant man with balls of steel, and is (therefore) sooper hawt.
You know who “was in politics for so long”? Where do we start? Ted Kennedy? Maxine Waters? How is that a good thing?
Clinton has the experience necessary to at least keep the status quo in motion
And we should want that, of all things, because why now?
Peterson matter of factly presents these two points as de facto positives.
But I am David Brooks’ Sandwich Friend and therefore don’t operate on such assumptions.
I reject those very foundational premises, like I do most boring, lazy received elite “cocktail party” wisdom.
And not being a genius, I simply lack the mental capacity to comprehend how anyone could even consider voting for Hillary Clinton, for any office, let alone the presidency.
I’m not exaggerating. I. Cannot. Imagine. It.
And have you read my poetry?
(If even my most loyal 5FF readers got a glimpse of the sorts of things I can imagine, and which do not make it “down on paper,” they would be horrified. Yes, even you. Let’s just say there’s a reason I’ve never dropped acid. I burn approximately 500 calories a day sheerly through the effort of keeping these ideas inside my head…
(Anne Lamott called her mind “a bad neighbourhood,” and we all know that Anne Lamott is just a garden variety flaky yet harmless old hippie broad. She’s hardly Charles f***ing Bukowski. My “bad neighbourhood” is, I guess, pre-Giuliani 42nd Street after the bomb dropped. And was dropped by me. Actually, that’s still pretty mild. But I have to keep these ideas inside my head…)
Last week a friend and I went back and forth over Jordan Peterson’s beard, a look he’s been sporting on tour. She approves. I do not.
The beard wasn’t the beginning of the end, of course. I’m not that ridiculous. Quite yet.
But I guess it was the beginning of the middle.
Personality cults are bad. They’re especially bad for the personality himself.
So I sense a welcome-yet-saddening lowering of fandom’s temperature — even though, ironically, spring has just arrived.
“What a pathetic fallacy!” as my best high school friend and I used to say.
You had to be there.
I don’t know where she is now.
She said it was just a figment of speech
And I said, “You mean figure?”
And she said, “No, figment”
Because she could never imagine it happening
But it did.