“On your interest in young men, particularly on the young male in Western societies… I think that’s your focus – I think it’s fair to say that your focus is on how men feel in society…”
“No, I don’t think that that is my focus…. I think the fact that what I’m doing is being construed in that manner is a consequence of the overwhelming influence of identity politics on our political and philosophical discourse. What I’m doing is constantly being viewed as a manifestation of identity politics, and so people talk about my particular attraction for ‘young white men.’ The audiences that come to see me – and I hate to even categorise them in this manner because it’s part of playing the same game – are very diverse ethnically and with regards to gender. The problem is that the way that our discourse is framed right now, it’s impossible to avoid being shunted into an identity politics box. And I think there’s nothing about that that isn’t reprehensible.”
“You sound quite angry.”
The interview is by no means a Cathy Newman-level car crash, and is at times quite interesting; but it does, I think, tell us more about the assumptions of the interviewer, and by extension her peers, than those of the person being interviewed. For instance, about 43 minutes in, Peterson mentions sex differences in antisocial behaviour, and the types of bullying that tend to be favoured by women more than men. This is met with disbelief and indignation, as if this rather obvious and unremarkable phenomenon – the differing ways in which men and women tend to express aggression - were some kind of scandalous affront to womanhood, something one shouldn’t acknowledge, and indeed should lie about.