Friday, 12 January 2018

Jordan Peterson: A Professor Against Political Correctness

Maps Of Meaning: The Architecture Of Belief


Carson -- Please post your 9 January fax to AMOC with this reply. It will either start a discussion that might lead somewhere or will at least mean I only have to address the on-going Jordan Peterson question this once.

Carson Grubagh;
My original letter was typed directly into the FaxZero website I use to communicate with Dave so I do not have a copy of what I sent. Dave has been informed of this, but has not sent me scans of the fax, so I will summarize what was said:

During a phone conversation I pointed out to Dave that he would probably enjoy listening to Jordan Peterson. Apparently Dave hears this a lot. Dave commented that he should probably send Dr. Peterson a letter. The more I thought about it the better the idea sounded. It strikes me that Peterson, with his interest in archetypal meta-narratives would really enjoy Cerebus. It also seems that he would be impressed that Dave was twenty years or so ahead of the curve on the battles Peterson himself is now fighting.

I outlined the kind of viewership and Patreon support Peterson receives, the fact that he often interviews other figures who have been ground down by the SJW war-machine, and proposed that a conversation between Dave and Peterson would probably be very interesting and could lead to a strong uptick in sales of Cerebus through

It wouldn't be right to just ask the man for publicity, so I suggested Dave watch Peterson's interviews with Dave Rubin and Camille Paglia to get an overview of where he stands now, as well as read Maps of Meaning to get a more robust understanding of his central theses, then write Peterson a thoughtful letter on the works and send along a complimentary set of Cerebus GNs to initiate a discussion.

Doing this asap struck me as prudent, given the typical time span of internet celebrity.

Hi Carson: 

I was kidding about contacting Jordan Peterson. 

Kid. Ding. 

Short answer: Canada doesn't work like that. In Canada, particularly in Toronto, particularly at the University of Toronto, I would be seen as a high-school dropout first of all. Even acknowledging that a high-school dropout exists and should be acknowledged for some reason would severely hurt Peterson's Canadian "higher-ed cred" and gain him nothing. "Has everything eroded in the General Trumpian Malaise to the point where we're actually listening to high-school dropouts now? That kind of thing. 

Second of all, in Canadian frames of reference, I wouldn't be seen as a writer or an artist. To be considered a writer or an artist in Canada, you have to get Canada Council Grants and/or be a member of the Order of Canada (which consists only of liberals and Liberals for the most part) or be "tapped into" the clique that has always controlled arts in Canada. No one Jordan Peterson knows and/or respects would have any idea who or what Dave Sim is. And if they did, they would pretend that they didn't because, in Canada, Dave Sim is "not on". 

The fact that I run my own publishing company would register as a) "vanity press" (you publish yourself because the handful of elite Canadian publishers who decide who is and who isn't a writer or an artist in this country don't consider you good enough to publish) and b) vulgar. Publishing is a tainting necessity in Canada which no real writer or artist would, themselves, participate in except insofar as signing a book contract and having an agent. 

That having been said, there's no reason that any CEREBUS fan who thinks a prominent blen pensee individual like Jordan Peterson should be alerted to the fact that Dave Sim was addressing all this stuff 20 years ago can't take the bull by the horns and alert him. I mean, you can trying wagging your own academic credentials at him, but, in Canada, that's just going to tar you with the same brush, I think. "You have a (whatever degree from whatever legitimate American college/ university) and you're listening to what a high-school dropout is saying? How very ... American ... of you," is my guess as to what Jordan Peterson's default setting would be/will be. 

It's happened before, behind the scenes, where, at the urging of a CEREBUS fan I have sent Person X an autographed copy of my book or "Tangent" issue. I have never heard back from anyone in that situation. I don't "register" with anyone, so I spend-my time trying to figure out how to keep the whole lurching juggernaut going on a shoestring budget (to shoestring budget) (to shoestring budget) and how to form a succession which will be impervious to the worsening politically correct currents in our society. That doesn't work well but it works a lot better than expecting help from outside comics and inside comics celebrities. 

I agree with you that if Jordan Peterson wanted to help save CEREBUS, he could probably drive some traffic to But that would require swimming very hard upstream against what I assume are his own presuppositions about high-school dropouts, unknown-to-the-Canadian-elite Canadian writers and artists, people who taint themselves by engaging in "vanity press" and Dave Sim, generally, being "not on" in Canada. 

Call it the HORTON HEARS A WHO Conundrum. "WE ARE HERE! WE ARE HERE!" Find out Jordan Peterson's contact information — whatever his e-mail address is at the University of Toronto — and deluge him with requests to interview Dave Sim and try to get more people buying CEREBUS trade paperbacks and 6,000 page digital collections. And tell him how well-educated you are, particularly if you went to school he would have heard of.

a) I can't picture CEREBUS fans doing that b) I can't picture Jordan Peterson giving me a second thought. He would just consider it weird Spam, I think.

So, what do we do folks? Do we campaign for Dave or do we let Dave have his peace and quiet out of the public eye? My guess is that if the contact does not come from Dave himself it will be even easier to ignore. I am sure Peterson receives WAY TOO MUCH MAIL. The only option to guarantee contact is dropping $200 to Peterson's Patreon which would buy a 45 min conversation.
 ~ Carson


Dominick Grace said...

Well, Dave is wrong about a bunch of things above, but one thing he's not wrong about, I think, is there being any merit or value in trying to associate with Peterson. Generally, if Dave wants to persist in his belief that he's "not on" in Canada blah blah blah, let him .. how did you put it? Have his peace and quiet out of the public eye.

Tony Dunlop said...

Dominick, are you saying that Dave Sim is "on" (whatever that means) in Canada?

And who the h*ll is Jordan Peterson? And why would anyone care what he thinks of a cranky old cartoonist?

Jeff said...

Everything is relative, somebody once postulated. A lot of us here think that Dave Sim is quite intelligent, creative, and skilled, but most of us haven't the slightest clue who Jordan Peterson is. And Dave's take on him as an elite university-based thinker is, albeit a bit hyperbolic, typical of how many non-college educated people often see published university-based thinkers.

I am reminded of when a colleague of mine, a fellow intern, who was hosting because she was the wife of the president of the university where he was to speak, invited me to join her in driving a now-deceased famous Thinker and Writer to the university for his speech. I was thoroughly impressed by his speech. On the way home, he engaged me in some small talk but mostly flirted with my colleague. When the three of us got back to her apartment, I was summarily dismissed, as it was quite clear, even to my naive young self, that they were going to have (adulterous) sex.

The moral being that even Great Published Thinkers (or, great, published thinkers) have feet of clay.

Jeff said...

I should probably hasten to add that, with my anecdote, I am not equating Mr. Peterson morally with the above mentioned now-deceased famous person. A quick search of Mr. Peterson online seems to indicate that he has been married to the same woman for nearly thirty years and seems to be a religious person. But I don't know him and know very little else about him and have never observed any of his behavior.

Anthony Kuchar said...

In response to Dave,

Why not try and contact Peterson? What could it hurt?

Dave and Jordan are very like minded.

Despite what Dave might think Peterson is not the kind of post-secondary elitist he's imagining from a University Prof. In fact, Peterson has been one of the most high profile critics of the collapse in standards of the academy in the last 40+ years. In one of his last video's, Peterson seems to be advocating students to openly question PC dogma in the classroom.

Dominick Grace said...

Tony, Dave Sim is a nobody (or virtually so) in Canada, as most cartoonists are nobodies in Canada and everywhere else, because most people have never even heard of him. Dave's insinuation in saying he is "not on" in Canada is that he is being deliberately and consciously overlooked, that he is simply beyond the pale of acceptability, because of the truths he dared to speak, because he is a high school dropout (that's a new basis of rationalizing being overlooked, I think), because he hasn't had an arts grant (has he even applied for one? my guess would be not) etc. etc. etc. And this is simply not true.

Anthony Kuchar said...

Another thing, Peterson is a great admirer of Robert Crumb and Gilbert Sheldon (Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers), and regularly screens the Crumb documentary in his psychology classes.

Peterson has also done a 10+ lecture series on the philological significance of the Biblical stories starting in Genesis. Very similar to Dave's Torah commentaries in Latter Days.

This would seem to me to indicate the possibility of at least a mild interest in Cerebus on his part.

Max West said...

Cartoonists, self-publishers, etc. are considered "nobodies" in Canada - that's not unlike the United States. I guess Americans and Canadians have more in common that we thought.

Carson Grubaugh said...

Wow, Matt really spruced that post up. Thanks, Matt!

I agree with Anthony that Dave has Peterson pegged entirely wrong and that Cerebus is something Peterson would find a lot of value in and could turn his massive fan base on to. That is why I brought it up to Dave. I also think he would be extremely interested in Dave's issues with feminism, and with Dave as someone who went on a journey for truth in the public eye. That is all Peterson 101.

Getting the attention of such a busy person as Peterson, and how much Dave is actually interested in renewed attention are other matters entirely. I gave Dave my recommendation with a clearly stated "Take it or leave it as you may" qualification and this is what he asked for in response. As far as I can see it is a, "Hey, if you guys want to waste your time go right ahead."

How about this: I will do a full 11" x 17" illustration of any SDOAR or YDKJ related character for anyone who drops the $200 to buy 45 minutes of Peterson's time and uses it to advocate that Peterson look into Dave and Cerebus. If you don't personally want to do the advocating I am happy to do so. If three people all buy 45 minutes and all spend that time advocating for Dave I guess I do three drawings. If you do the advocating on your own make sure to get proof of the event. Record the conversation.

If every thinks this is dumb I will happily go back to designing the Hermitage Awesomes YDKJ:TFCSM Collectors Edition Auction Catalog that Dave has me working on.

Jack said...

I think Peterson actually talks to people on Twitter a lot, in case you want to try him there. It's funny, I heard of him for the first time about a month ago, proceeded to watch a bunch of his YouTube videos over the next couple of weeks, mentioned him to someone earlier this week, listened to the leftist podcast Chapo Trap House make fun of him at length a couple of days ago, and now came across this. His stock is definitely rising.

I actually think Peterson is a smart guy who makes some good points, and hearing that he likes Crumb definitely makes me like him more, but I still think his political opinions are generally dumb. The Chapo guys were laughing about a recent couple of Tweets in which he implied that Google is trying to brainwash people into being attracted to semi-chubby women and associate European art with black people (just search Google Images for "bikinis" and "European art people"!). Regarding feminism, he's big on saying how ridiculous it is for Western feminists to focus on problems over here instead of protesting the treatment of women in Muslim countries, which his fans seem to view as a brilliant point. Yeah, and I guess you geniuses should be protesting North Korea instead of complaining about Western "SJWs." The fact that he's selling 45 minutes of his time (as opposed to, say, his services as a teacher, speaker, or therapist) for $200 is also pretty contemptible, in my opinion. That said, he did convince me that I should probably clean my room.

Mouse Skull Entertainment said...


You're welcome, you're very very welcom... OH WHO AM I KIDDING?!?

It was Tim. Tim returned from the wilderness to make your post all pretty.

And then he jumped on his horse, said, "Hi-yo Silver, away!" and rode out of town as fast as Silver could carry him.

And his buddy Tonto punched me in the kidney and stole five bucks.

It's been a weird day at AMOC, a weird weird day...

Tony again said...

Hmm. Thanks for the links, Matt. So Professor Peterson seems to be aiming somewhere in the Carl Jung spectrum?

I'll have to investigate; if both Jonathan Haidt (of the valuable Heterodox Academy) and Ayaan Hirsi Ali like him, he is probably worth paying attention to.

Carson Grubaugh said...

A donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has offered to pay the $200 to guarantee contact with Peterson. So, huge thanks to them. We will see if this goes anywhere.I look forward to doing their "thank you" illustration.

Yeah, very Jungian, but with the last however many years of science to make the claims more sensible from evolutionary, developmental and neruobiological stances. Also lots of very good practical advice for, as Jack says above taking responsibility, managing time, navigating relationships, etc. He is a very enjoyable speaker, for like one lecture course worth of material, then he gets largely repetitive and predictable. However, like Dave did, he is now really trying to refine his arguments in public, which is interesting to check in on from time to time.

Unfortunately his anti-ideology position is spawning a whole slew of unquestioning acolytes, James Damore, the guy suing Google for discriminating against white men being one of them.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

This post and the comments gave me the biggest laugh I've had this week! Noted non-smart people like Carson G., Jeff S., and Dave himself find themselves joined by Dominick G. in rewriting history and misunderstanding Canada (less excusable in Dave's case). Oh please, please somebody put Dave and Jordan Peterson together! (Or more charitably, as Dominick G. did suggest in his first comment, let Dave have his peace and quiet.)

-- Damian

Travis Pelkie said...

Damian wins friends wherever he goes ;)

Eddie said...

I've never read any of Peterson's writings or knew much about him, but I'll check him out. I see that he's just released a new book with illustrations by Ethan Van Sciver, so I suppose he already has some level of contact with the comics industry.

Interestingly, while searching for the Spawn info, I came cross this answer by Dave in the letters column for Cerebus #171 (Jun 1993): "The overlapping Feminist / Matriarchal agenda is political correctness: You can't offend anyone and if anyone is offended by anything you do you have to be punished for it; although this usually only applies to white males. Any image of any woman that is disapproved of by any woman is to be eradicated. Essentially each woman becomes an absolute dictator and her personal sensibilities are the guide-lines. You mean you haven't noticed this?"

If that's the type of thing Peterson talks about, the above excerpt might be helpful in explaining the type of topics Dave was addressing almost 25 years ago.

Carson Grubaugh said...

If you have some more of those quotes, and dates to accompany, that would be really useful.

Eddie said...

Hey Carson.

Sure, let me see what I can find and email them to you. I'm a bit swamped so what kind of turn around time are we looking at?

(If anyone else more familiar with Peterson wants to help out and go digging for anything they think might be helpful, a good place to start might be "Collected Letters 2004." Just go through the index looking for any subject that Dave's written about that you think Peterson might be interested in).

Carson Grubaugh said...

I am curious who else has talked to Dave about Peterson, since the general response here has been "uhh, who?" but Dave reacted like he hears this all the time.

Tony again said...

I think Dominick's closest to the truth; Dave Sim, being a very bright but almost entirely self-taught high school dropout, has a bit of an inferiority/persecution complex when it comes to people with a lot of formal education. I don't think that has anything to do with Canada per se. I think a lot of USAians who are self-taught but accomplished in their fields have the same sort of outlook.

No doubt it's partially true, but we SOB (South of the Border) types do have our Bill Gateses, though, and many University departments have the odd faculty member who got there without an advanced degree but just by being really smart and persistent. I'm sufficiently ignorant that I don't know if Canada has its own tradition of the "outsider" who makes good and is accepted on sheer accomplishment without formal credentialing. Perhaps those doors are not as open up there. I, and I think many SOBs, tend to forget that even though we speak the same language (well, most of us) with very similar accents, Canada is still very much a foreign country with its own habits and norms...

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Jordan Peterson enjoyed some brief notoriety this past fall, but seems to have faded away quite a bit since then. He's a psychologist, so I don't know that Dave can respect him. Tabitha Southey (a known woman, so her opinion is of course worthless) took a brief look at him in Maclean's a couple of months ago:

Travis P.: I should want friends like Carson "It's an objective fact, unless you challenge me, then it's just my opinion, but remains an objective fact" Grubaugh and Jeff "Sorry I'm lisping, but Dave clenched his anus this morning" Seiler? That would decrease my quality of life.

-- Damian

Jack said...

I don't think he's faded at all--he seems to be becoming one of the right's main guys and making a fortune in the process. It looks like the beginning of a self-help-mixed-with-anti-PC empire to me.

Tony again said...

"Tabitha Southey (a known woman...)"

??? By whom? Not by me...I've no more heard of her than I had of Professor Peterson before this thread.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Jack: Jordan Peterson is not getting the ink he used to, so I think his boogeyman-of-the-month appeal has waned. But I'm sure (to steal a joke from Dave) he's very popular among people who like that sort of thing.

Tony A.: I'm sorry to be the one to break it to you, but you are not the measure of all things. Tabitha Southey is more famous in Canada than Jordan Peterson.

-- Damian

Jeff said...

Damian, I would rethpond how I would like to but then, I thuppothe, it might thet the divine Mith Margaret off again.

Thuffithe it to thay, Dave and I have no thuch perthonal relathionthip.

(Man! Damn that @#<*ing thpell correct!)

I meant to thay (damn!), pleathe go be intimate with thythelf.

Betht, ath alwayth. (Damnit!)

Oh, and, Damian? Lack of knowledge by an American of Canadian bright lights (other than the Aurora Borealis), is not a sign of being dim-witted. I'm quite sure that there are many American scholars and writers of whom you have next-to-zero knowledge. We (Canada and America) share a lot, but not everything.

Jack said...

Jeff has his moments.

momentofcerebus said...


Damian: Don't be a Dick.

Jeff: Don't. Be. A. Dick.

Travis: Heh. (also, don't be a dick. Ya know, in general.)

Everybody else, to quote Yoda, "Be a dick not".

Interim Editor
(Tim may be "gone", but the rules still apply:
"Comments that veer uninterestingly off-topic will be deleted.
The site administrator's decision is final and not up for discussion.
Do not post comments on this site if you cannot handle this.")

Jeff said...

Thank you, Jack.

Matt: Not being a dick. Simply trying to respond with some levity to an extremely personal attack. You know me better than anyone else here; you know I'm not a dick.

Douchebag, maybe, but not a dick. IMHO.

CerebusTV said...

Leave us not forget the great humorist Stephen Leacock's take on the societal sheepskin psychosis about college degrees, that one is pronounced "full" (of something) and then the cap is affixed to one's head, so that no new information can thereafter be imparted (or leak out). BTW, I first read Leacock in Los Angeles, California where I attended UCLA at age 18, revealing the universal appeal of Orillia-born Canadian Leacock, most famous for Sunshine Sketches.

I'm willing to bet that there is a university somewhere in the world that would honor Dave Sim with a degree.

Is Alan Moore a college degree holder?

If worse comes to worse, you can always start your own, "The Cerebus School of Fine Farts," and grant yourself an advanced one! Art degree, that is.

CerebusTV said...

"I Was There" when Dave was making his decision to quit high school, the same one I attended. I recall that he had the support of at least one of his teachers. I did mention that the decision might have some later ramifications (such as those he cites now.) Remarkably prescient, but hey, we were prodigies wise beyond our nonconformist adolescent sensibilities. It should be said that what Dave subsitituted for the soon-forgotten vagaries of high school socialization, was something far more intellectually rigorous - what amounts to an internship and apprenticeship at a high level with professional cartoonist Gene Day in Gananoque, Ontario.

I can tell you that the art teacher I had at that high school, which creature Dave probably did too, was unrelentingly hostile to the kind of art that Dave became a master at. I would call him the type that Pink Floyd made infamous, who ought to "leave them kids alone." It would not be exaggeration to characterize his pedantic method as those that seek to crush the spirit, and extinguish the creative soul. When I left myself, I wanted to get as far away as I possibly could, and I did. Dave had saved himself, though I prefer to believe God's hand was in it. The bullies in schools are not always other children.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

CerebusTV: It would most definitely be an exaggeration to describe Dave's association with Gene Day as "intellectually rigorous", as Gene was far from an intellectual. It would certainly be accurate to describe it as creatively rigorous.

Anyway, what I came here to post was a link to this positive article about Jordan Peterson in The Guardian, for those interested: We might observe several areas in which he and Dave are in broad agreement.

-- Damian

CerebusTV said...

It's no exaggeration at all to have stated it was more intellectually rigorous than what passed for education at that public babysitting service. It wasn't Oxford University. I didn't get into university based on the coffee and donuts education I got there, but based on SAT scores. I've no doubt Dave could have taken the CSAT or SAT and been in a very high percentile too.

Based on the negative experiences there, we homeschooled our three children through high school level. All three then graduated magna cum laude from a major university, and two have advanced degrees as well.

But I have a niece who has two degrees from the U of T, and is a barista. I have a nephew who dropped out of high school, and has fabricated custom vehicles featured in Hot Rod Magazine.

As far as Jordan Peterson goes, I don't think he and Dave Sim are in the same circle, but not because of intellectual prejudice or being anti-PC per se. Lots of people of varying persuasions are.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

CerebusTV: Canada doesn't have SATs like USAnia, so I take it you moved from this country to that one? I understand SATs can determine your university admission there. Nevertheless, I'm sorry your experience at your and Dave's school was poor. Alas, sometimes schools, classes, teachers, or students are not good -- in such cases, generally to the student(s)'s detriment.

Nor do I think Dave and Peterson are in the same circle, but the article does point up several areas in which they are in agreement. The first example that popped out at me is the claim that "the pursuit of happiness" is neither the purpose of life nor a noble goal. (Even granted that "happiness" was defined differently by the USAnian founding fathers than we do today.) I think a conversation between the two individuals would be most amusing.

-- Damian

CerebusTV said...

Damian, Canada had the CSAT. At one time, all high school students on the then 5 year track "sat" for that test in the fall of their senior year, which in Ontario then was Grade 13. I ran into some irremedial conflicts at that school more than halfway through that year and got drummed out - despite attempted sabotage by interrupting me during the examination, a severe violation by the school administrator, I ended up scoring in the 99th percentile, which guaranteed university entrance even as a supposed "drop out." That was one hell of a poorly administered high school, run by a Principal who clearly had mental problems. It's not safe for a student to publicly humiliate such megalomaniacs by proving them wrong. Hell hath no fury like a tin pot emperor revealed to have no clothes - there's a reason that in the fairy tale the child who points it out disappears into the crowd anonymously. An astute adolescent named Dave Sim removed himself from an abusive environment pre-emptively. The mentality present then was remarkably like the environment of the boarding residential schools First Nations children were abused in, the difference with this school being is you got to go home at night, before being subjected to more the next day, and you didn't have to be Indian.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

CerebusTV: I am unable to verify your claims about (and barely able to confirm the existence of) the CSAT. I can confirm two facts: 1) Students across Canada are not required (or even offered) the chance to take this CSAT; and 2) Universities and colleges (different things in Canada) do not require CSAT scores for admission. Perhaps this was (and is no longer) an Ontario thing? I feel confident in repeating that Canada doesn't have SATs like USAnia.

I also think is an exaggeration bordering (if not actually invading the territory of) the hysterical to compare your unhappy experiences in one high school with the systematized forcible child abduction and assimilation, routinely accomplished through physical and often sexual abuse, of people of a particular race. Gotta call Godwin on ya, there; yer comparing apples to watermelons.

-- Damian