My first instinct after reading three of four of these hit pieces was to compose a formal rebuttal of them, but that would grant these articles far more attention than they deserve. Instead, I chose to write a silly and satirical short story where I take a speculative peak at the possible motivations driving the composition of a Jordan Peterson hit piece. Though it is a bit provacative, I wrote the story in the spirit of good fun, packing it with every cliché and oversimplification I could muster. It is painfully over-the-top in its sweeping fictional depiction of a hit piece writer, yet I have the sneaking suspicion that maybe, just maybe, my story cuts much closer to reality than the Jordan Peterson hit pieces do. In any case, I humbly invite you to give my story a read.
The Glorious Motivation Behind the Writing of a Jordan Peterson Hit Piece (Through Which The Author Hopes to Become Famous AND Signal His Virtue to the World - A Short Story -
It’s an okay life, I guess, this writer/professor life. It's about all a useless blob of sub-atomic particles like me could hope for. Though my life is okay, I think life overall is nothing but meaningless suffering. Most of the time all I want to do is complain bitterly. Nevertheless, there are times when I experience a strange yearning – times when I wish I could reach my full potential. Even though I hate the profit motive and loathe hierarchies of every type, there is one thing that makes me feel all hot and tingly inside. That thing is power.
Though life is meaningless, I want to spend mine creating a world where suffering no longer exists and everyone is equal. Everyone but me, of course. I make a point of not revealing this to any of my social justice warrior comrades, but I feel no shame in telling you that the initials SJW represent something else when applied to me. You see, I am not just a social justice warrior – I am really the Supreme Justice Warrior. And yes, one day the world will come to its senses and recognize me as the anointed one. Though I despise heroic archetypes and other Jungian gobbledygook, I am convinced, down to the very core of my soul, which, by the way, I vehemently deny the existence of, that I am destined to be the Supreme Leader of the Best Dang Utopia the World Has Ever Known. Unlike Stalin, Mao and all the other failed comrades before me, I know I will make it work because I am good enough, I am smart enough, and by gosh, people will fear me. Yes, one day I will become a shining red star perched atop the Pareto Principle pyramid. All I need is a break - an opportunity to escape from the oppressive oblivion of this six-figure professor's salary. If I could just make myself known, I could rally my forlorn comrades and begin the work of my true, glorious calling.
But how? How would I catapult myself out of insignificance and take my rightful place as the leader of the next revolution? The question plagued me for weeks. After much agonizing, I woke up this morning and vowed that the day to find a solution had come. I vowed not to leave the claustrophobic confines of the cluttered catastrophe I call my bedroom until I had found the key to my personal emancipation. Squinting against the sunlight streaming in through my window, I got up and fed my cats, Derrida and Foucault, their daily ration of organic tofu cat food (which is imported from Japan and available exclusively from Whole Foods). Once I had fed the cats, I sat down on the edge of my bed and channeled all the mental energy I could summon into the activity I detest above all others - thinking.
After three excruciating minutes, I still had not discovered how I would make myself known to the world. Feeling exhausted and dizzy from the iron-fisted abuse thought had inflicted upon my mind in its savage attempt to cerebrally colonize my mental safe space, I picked up my iPad with the hope of distracting the victimized confines of my skull from the trauma it had suffered. I went on YouTube with the intent of finding some soothing Antifa protest videos, but to my utter horror, I was instead subjected to the most terrififying, violent, and brutal macro-aggression I had ever experienced.
Rather than seeing soothing hordes of pajama-clad ideology ninjas triumphantly subduing a rabid pack of Trump fascists in MAGA hats, I came face-to-face with the devil himself - Jordan Peterson.
(I hate to ruin the mounting tension of the story here, but I have to let it be known that I don't really believe in the devil and all that religious stuff. I just like using religious language for dramatic effect because people seem to get religious allusions and ideas even though it’s all nonsense. Anyway, back to the story!)
The evil, transphobic, misogynistic, alt-right cult leader the world knows as Jordan Peterson glared menacingly at me from within the confines of the iPad screen. I swear I could smell the scent of his Patreon money wafting up through the glass. He smiled a rare, brief, close-lipped smile, and then slowly raised his right hand to reveal a Pepe hate symbol-inspired Kermit the Frog puppet. Before I had a chance to recover from this brutal amphibian micro-aggression, I heard a voice speaking in a commanding tone reminiscent of a story I once heard about some old, white guy who came down from some mountain holding two tablets upon which some patriarchal, make-belief god had inscribed ten tyrannical rules.
"Sort yourself out!" a voice boomed.
I could not tell if the terrifying voice had come from Peterson or Kermit.
"Clean your room!"
My hands began to tremble. Faint hints of the seven vanilla soy-chai lattes I had consumed the night before gurgled threateningly up the length of my throat. I reeled back from the screen and overcome by a sudden desire to flee. I looked reluctantly upon the mess that was my room and noticed my cats, Derrida and Foucault, squatting over a framed picture of my father that had somehow found its way onto the floor which, incidentally, is little more than a variegated landscape of cheese-doodles, porn magazines, and pizza boxes.
“Rescue your father from the underworld!” the fascist crustacean king barked from the iPad.
A blood-curdling scream began to build up inside me as my terror mounted, but when I opened my mouth to release it, all that came out was a chai-dampened whimper. Unable to bear it any longer, I hurled my iPad out the open window and collapsed onto the sordid sanctuary of my moldy bed. I had barely blinked when, out of nowhere, an imaginary angel faintly resembling Judith Butler spoke to me in a vision.
“Write a hit piece against Peterson!” the angelic illusion sent from an imaginary infantile need for a father figure declared. “Find your fame by attacking your enemy. Use the quills of bias, dishonesty, disrespect, misrepresentation, and oversimplification to write a venomous and vitriolic piece SJWs worldwide will sing the praises of for a thousand years.”
Before I could respond, the winged Judy Butler angel melted away in the air like a tender little snowflake hitting a white-hot, cast iron frying pan. (I don’t need to tell you that the frying pan is an obvious representation of the patriarchy.)
“That’s it!” I chortled as I swallowed hard against the soy-chai lattes rebelling to emancipate themselves from the oppression of my stomach. “Though I know barely anything about him and have not taken the time to examine his work objectively, I shall find my glory by writing a hit piece targeting Jordan Peterson!”
Immediately after I made this declaration, I stumbled into the bathroom, knelt down before the toilet, and let the soy-chai lattes liberate themselves from the tyranny of my stomach. A few minutes later, I walked back into my bedroom and watched Derrida and Foucault ceremoniously empty their bowels on the framed, glass-encased image of my father. It was undoubtedly a sign from above (even though I steadfastly refuse to believe in that sort of archaic rubbish)!
A moment later I was out on the street clad in a Trotsky hoody, skipping gleefully towards Starbucks, my Apple laptop snugly tucked under my right arm. As I neared the coffeeshop, I was accosted by the smelly, homeless war veteran who lives in the dumpster behind the Bed, Bath, and Beyond store. As had happened countless times before, the bum humbly asked if I could spare a dime. I curtly informed the imperialistic brute, as I had countless times before, that he should beat it and get a job. I had no time or money for losers like him. Couldn't he see I was dedicating my life creating that sacred utopia where he would finally be treated fairly and equally?
Inside the Starbucks, I greeted the comrades with a surly nod, and then sat down at my usual table. Once I had scanned the room to ensure it had not been infiltrated by any Peterson cult members, I flipped open my laptop and made a concerted effort to look like I was ruminating about something really deep. I wanted to get to work on the article, but I was not really in the mood. Even though I knew the hit piece article was the only way I could ever hope to rise above the mediocre herd that is humanity, I could not find the discipline to write it.
I stared at the laptop screen and concluded that writing was oppressive.
Ten minutes of nothing followed. I yawned, got up, and ordered a soy-chai latte. As I returned to my table, I had an unexpected revelation. I could incorporate my illustrious PhD dissertation into the Peterson hit piece. If I did that, it would cut the writing down by at least fifty or sixty percent. I worked out the first paragraph in my head after I sat down again. The first paragraph would go something like this:
Jordan Peterson’s philosophy is akin to a thong on a woman when viewed from the back. At first glance Peterson's thought, like the thong undergarment, seems to contain an emancipatory dynamic, but like the G-string snaking up into the valley of the female gluteal landscape, the sheer bulk and volume of the curvaceous space he exposes is deceiving. On closer inspection, the hidden strand of divisiveness that runs through his thinking is instantly revealed. Worst of all, like the thong, Peterson’s philosophy is patriarchal and tyrannical. In addition to completely obliterating and oppressing the female space in the front, it also serves to hide and oppress the less visible anus, which here symbolically represents that marginalized group of intellectuals working incessantly to liberate humanity from the seemingly soft and silky, but ultimately repressive and constrictive confines of patriarchal oppression.
I took a sip of my latte and grinned. The article would cause a sensation. A scandal. A revolution! It would lead to calls for Peterson arrest. After I became Supreme Leader I would be sure to have him hauled off the gulag, and I would make a point of having his entire collection of Soviet socialist realism paintings confiscated and transferred to the walls of my crummy apartment. Better yet, I would just move into his house after he was gone and rule my empire from there. It would all be so glorious!
Inspired by these visions, I hunched over my laptop to type the first line. Nothing happened. I did not feel like writing the article at all. But the article simply had to be written for the revolution to occur! Rather than panic, I quickly went online and began to search for cheap ghostwriters.
"I'll hire some wretch in India or the Philippines to write it for me," I thought cheerfully. "It'll probably cost me less than the price of a vanilla soy-chai latte!"