Friday, June 15, 2018

your dose of Jordan Peterson

It's hard to find a really good takedown of postmodernist thinking, and the following video featuring Jordan Peterson doesn't quite fit the bill, either. Ideally, what I'd like to see is someone go over PoMo's core tenets and (cough) deconstruct them to show how self-undermining—and ultimately valueless—they are. For the moment, though, we have to make do with Jordan Peterson's more consequentialist approach that attacks PoMo by talking about its pernicious effects on society. This isn't a bad approach to take, but it's not ideal. I've read two of Camille Paglia's books and have sniffed around her pages for a decent takedown of PoMo, but she hasn't really said anything substantial, either. Perhaps, one day, it'll be up to me to stare beadily into a camera lens and do the thing I've been wanting better minds to do.

In fairness, here's a link to a video titled "Jordan Peterson doesn't understand postmodernism." The video is methodical and civil, and not a bad criticism of Peterson's thinking... but I find nothing in the video to be disarming enough for me to do a 180 and accept PoMo as my lord and savior. I also have to note that the narrator is obviously reading from a script and not speaking freely, which makes his presentation sound a bit stilted and forced. One final criticism: the narrator flat-out claims that nutty Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek is a Marxist tout court. However, one reader of a young Žižek's master's thesis ended up accusing Žižek of being "non-Marxist." The man is all over the place in his thinking: he endorsed Donald Trump in 2016 but also called Trump "horrible," even as he claimed Hillary Clinton to be the worse alternative. Don't expect linearity—or easy categorization, for that matter—from Slavoj Žižek. Anyway, my point is that I take the above-linked critique video with more than a grain of salt.

My buddy Dr. Steve has a great summary of PoMo for those who need a refresher.


Aaron said...

Have you read Stephen Hicks's "Explaining Postmodernism"? It's been 5-6 years since I read it but my memory is that it more or less fit the bill for what you're wanting.

Kevin Kim said...

I haven't read it, but I do believe it's on my Amazon wish list. Thanks.