Anger Management
Sow’s Ear

The Absurd And The Sinister Aren’t Mutually Exclusive

I understand your positionality… but the reality is it has created a toxic climate… an unsafe learning environment for students… It’s like neutrally playing a speech by Hitler.

That feeling when you’re a teaching assistant and in your communications class you play a Jordan Peterson clip about pronouns and freedom of speech, hoping to spur discussion, and you then get reported and hauled in front of faculty and the manager of the university’s Gendered and Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Office for a ritual scolding, during which you’re accused of remaining politically neutral, which is deemed both a “problem” and in itself “threatening,” before being accused of “gender-based violence.”

The teaching assistant in question, Lindsay Shepherd, has, at the time of writing, been allowed to keep her teaching position at Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, but must now file copies of her lesson plans in advance for vetting and must allow faculty members to sit in on her sessions as and when they wish. Presumably, to head off any further political neutrality

Readers can watch the Peterson clip here and are invited to report back on any “gender-based violence” they incur simply by watching it.

Update, via the comments: 

The recording – which I recommend hearing in full - offers a handy window into the fever-dream world of many Clown Quarter educators, whose incoherence is matched only by a compulsive self-flattery. (As when the professors declare themselves, at some length, the arbiters of scholarly standing and academic rigour, as being “public intellectuals,” while denouncing the notion that ideas might be discussed in a university classroom.) I can’t quite decide if their stated convictions are hallucinatory or simply dishonest, but the departure from reality is remarkable. 

To recap: Entertaining an argument, aired civilly, and testing it in class, now constitutes “targeted violence” and is something to be punished. Satirical posters (“It’s Okay To Be White”) are somehow proof of an all-pervasive “white supremacy,” a threat of “ethnic cleansing,” rather than a comment on the idiocies of leftist identity politics. Peterson’s linking to a public Facebook page used by activists intent on disrupting his speaking engagements is described, bizarrely, as doxxing, and his claim that the left holds worrying power in academia is, it seems, something to be mocked as fanciful - by leftist academics whose own behaviour and leverage illustrates his point. But then, the man is apparently on a par with Hitler.

And then there’s the admission that students must be not be allowed to arrive at their own determination of whether Peterson has a point worth discussing, and instead must be told, emphatically, in advance, that he’s a Very Bad Person, someone either to be hated or ignored. And of course there’s the eye-widening projection of it all, in which basic academic standards of enquiry, and any reference to reality, are deemed to create an “unsafe” and “toxic” environment, unlike the mediocrities peddling this nonsense with institutional authority, an air of bullying, and audible satisfaction.

But whether it’s delusional or merely dishonest, it’s quite jarring to think of such people having any kind of influence over someone’s children.

Update 2:

Incidentally, Jordan Peterson has one or two trans admirers, and there are transgender people who are happy to chat with him about ideas, and language, and about being an anomaly, without resorting to theatrical indignation, fits of victimhood or other passive-aggressive tactics. And in terms of furthering social acceptance, I’d suggest that these people are doing a much better job than the censorious scolds found on campuses. Indeed, one of the implications of the sinister farce at Wilfrid Laurier University is that conversations like this one, in which Dr Peterson talks with a trans woman named Theryn Meyer, and which I recommend, should not be aired in class either. Presumably for fear that students’ misconceptions might be corrected.