Stuff

I think it's problematic to use the term "minority" when discussing a group of people who are suffering and have suffered systematic discrimination and oppression, because the abuse hasn't been about numbers, but about power, and the label of minority can too easily be co-opted by the powerful. For example, straight white Christian males are a minority group in Canada, always have been, because they are fewer in number than the combined groups of people who are LGBTQ, people of colour, people who aren't Christian, and people who aren't male. We've got a court case in which the very powerful, never oppressed white Evangelicals are trying to claim that, because they are a minority within the Christian faith, they have somehow suffered oppression akin to what those in marginalized groups have actually suffered. And that's why I use the term marginalized instead, to refer to those who have been pushed aside or down to the benefit of that very powerful minority. If someone has a better term, I'd like to know of it.

Writing

One of the things I need to do to give my detective/urban fantasy book some verisimilitude is learning about cop procedure in the real world, so I know what rules I'm breaking as I change things to fit my world. I have made contact with the Ottawa police and found someone willing to answer questions, and I've been compiling a list as I write. But even better, I'll have the chance to attend a panel that is exactly about police procedure in novels, with a member of the RCMP as one of the panelists. The RCMP has a different jurisdiction than the local police, but I do refer to it in my book as well. Strange how sometimes things just fall together.

Jordan B. Peterson’s Self-Help Book for Misanthropes Part 3, Final Part

An examination of Jordan B. Peterson's book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Part 1 can be found here: https://moiraj.livejournal.com/446888.html
Part 2 can be found here: https://moiraj.livejournal.com/447154.html



Mom bashing.

Life sucks for boys. Everything favours girls now, but it should continue to favour boys.

Hypocrisy.

Denial about his own behaviour.

Denial of facts in general.

He tells a story of harassing a co-worker and fails to understand that he was a total ass.

Trigger warning: In an execrable example of Peterson’s approach to “therapy,” a patient makes the mistake of telling him that she thought she might have been raped. There are no details about the acts of sex or rape – That might involve examining the behaviour of the men, and we can’t have that – but Peterson’s dismissive approach to rape is typical of a misogynist, and it might be hard to read.

Added March 28, 2018. I just came across an article from the National Post.

“Celebrity psychology professor Jordan Peterson was the subject of a professional misconduct complaint for his work as a clinical psychologist, resulting in a written promise that he respects his patients’ boundaries and will address how he communicates with them.” http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/after-misconduct-complaint-jordan-peterson-agrees-to-plan-for-clinical-improvement Collapse )

Jordan B. Peterson’s Self-Help Book for Misanthropes Part 2

An examination of Jordan B. Peterson's book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Part One can be found here: https://moiraj.livejournal.com/446888.html

The third and final part can be found here: https://moiraj.livejournal.com/447391.html

In the following chapters, Peterson reveals his general perspective of life, which is that it's horrible. He reveals a dark understanding of friendship, which is that it is a trade agreement from which you get as much as you can while giving back as little as possible. His view of generosity is that you should avoid it if you can. You're probably only doing it to feed your own narcissism, and your default position should be that the victims of misfortune probably brought it on themselves by being lazy. Unless that generosity results in your getting a reputation for generosity, which you can use as a tool.

He repeats himself, contradicts himself, and ignores a lot of facts in an attempt to strengthen his argument.

Rule 3: Make Friends with People Who Want the Best for You
Or, How to Screw What You Need Out of People Without Giving Anything in Return.

Don’t try to help people, because it’s likely that you’re acting out of narcissism or that they don’t deserve it. Maybe you’re hanging out with people in trouble purely because their messed-up lives make you feel better about yours.

He’s not claiming this is always true, but he does seem to think it’s much more common than people who are genuinely nice, which makes me wonder what kind of people he’s been hanging out with.

Then, this gem:
“Before you help someone, you should find out why that person is in trouble. You shouldn’t merely assume that he or she is a noble victim of unjust circumstances and exploitation. It’s the most unlikely explanation, not the most probable. In my experience – clinical and otherwise – it’s just never been that simple. Besides, if you buy the story that everything terrible just happened on its own, with no personal responsibility on the part of the victim, you deny that person all agency in the past (and, by implication, in the future as well.) In this manner, you strip him or her of all power.” (page 80)

Hey, you’re hit with cancer? You must have done something to bring that on. A child being beaten? They must have deserved it. You got fired because your company got shut down? Maybe you should have worked 20 hours a day instead of just 16.

He goes on:
“It is far more likely that a given individual has just decided to reject the path upward, because of its difficulty. Perhaps that should even be your default assumption, when faced with such a situation. That’s too harsh, you think. You might be right. Maybe that’s a step too far. But consider this: Failure is easy to understand.” (page 80)

It’s hilarious that he thinks believing in the goodness of people is simplistic while dismissing them as lazy is somehow wise or complex. And that’s what he spends the next paragraph saying. You fail because you’re lazy.

You know how the title of this chapter is Make Friends with People Who Want the Best for You? Obviously, this guy isn’t one you should be choosing as a friend. He doesn’t want the best for others. He wants to cross them off as lazy. Sure, everyone is worthy of respect, he claims, just not from him.

Well, ok, maybe you can help. (But make sure it’s not just about your own ego!) But not too much. Only if your “friend” is just a little bit badly off. If they’re in serious trouble, screw ‘em.

After a few pages of saying how wrong, wrong, wrong it is to try to help people, he writes:
“And none of this is a justification for abandoning those in real need to pursue your narrow, blind ambition, in case it has to be said.” (page 82) CYA statement.

The last bit in this chapter is called A Reciprocal Arrangement. It’s about choosing people who will help you do your best, instead of those who might undermine you. It says nothing about what you owe them.

Reciprocal, was it?

This is definitely the approach to charity and kindness I would expect from someone who thinks only the naïve can believe in the qualities of Jesus. (More on that later.)Collapse )

Jordan B. Peterson’s Self-Help Book for Misanthropes

Jordan B. Peterson has recently enjoyed newfound fame by producing stuff that has his fans claiming, “He’s just saying what others don’t want to hear.” You know the sort. The sort who has figured out exactly what certain others want to hear and is able to profit from it. Pandering to the middle class, straight white Christian set is a good way to make money.

He’s a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, which is horrifying. I hope his students are well versed in critical thinking. Not long ago, he planned to create a website that would encourage people to report on university courses that were “neo-Marxist cults,” and push to have them eliminated. But he wasn’t going to wait for the results of the snooping before choosing programs that should be attacked. You won’t be surprised by his chosen targets.

"Women's studies, and all the ethnic studies and racial studies groups, man, those things have to go and the faster they go the better," he said. "It would have been better if they had never been part of the university to begin with as far as I can tell."

Also:
"Sociology, that's corrupt. Anthropology, that's corrupt. English literature, that's corrupt. Maybe the worse offenders are the faculties of education." http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-friday-edition-1.4396970/u-of-t-profs-alarmed-by-jordan-peterson-s-plan-to-target-classes-he-calls-indoctrination-cults-1.4396974

In that article, he warns that if the left pushes too hard, the right will wake up and commit violence. The implication that the left, by expecting civilized behaviour from everyone,(my wording) will be treated with brutality and will have asked for it. Also, he ignores the sharp increase of violence being perpetrated by the far right already. But he likes ignoring evidence.

After enormous backlash from everyone with a brain, he backed down from creating the website while whining that his freedom of speech was being violated. Apparently, he and his followers are the sort to believe that freedom of speech means no one can speak against what he’s saying.

Yes, he’s married. Misogynists marry women all the time. Yes, in the acknowledgements, he thanks women. Who have been useful to him.

This isn’t anything like the length of my review of Diane Francis’ Merger of the Century crap. I don’t have the time to chase down the source material for this book.

I originally called this post The Self-Help Book for Misogynists, and there is certainly a ton of evidence in the book pointing to his contempt for women, but, having read the whole book, I have come to the conclusion that he hates not only women, but all humans, and life in general. Peterson comes across as a resentful, bitter guy.

Again and again, he says that people who hate life, and themselves, commit suicide and/or attack others. I am in no way advocating the former, but it’s clear he’s luxuriating in the latter.

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
For some reason, I assumed this was about addressing chaos in society. Peterson is known for railing against Canada moving away from tradition (British) and religion (Christianity.) But it’s not. It’s supposed to be about eliminating chaos within your self, by adjusting your views and your memories. Change yourself, but don’t dare try to change the status quo. Reshape who you are to accommodate everyone else.

And, of course, drive out any feminine part of your nature, if you're a man.

But stand up to bullies.
But don’t.
Dominance is good.
Except when it’s not.
Women should stand up for themselves.
But not to the point of straying from the role order has chosen for them.
If you fail to dominate others, you’re pathetic. Following the rules will enable you to dominate. (And get all the girls.)
Woman is chaos, and chaos is destructive and evil. Those things must be contained via the rules for life.

That’s the book. He tarts it up a bit through some truly special imagery and by referring to experts the average reader might have heard of, but I could easily see stuff like this on an MRA site. The rules seem to make sense, something you’d find in many self-help books, but the text that follows them twist them out of shape.

There’s a fair amount of victim-blaming.

He really likes the Old Testament, especially the bit about harshly punishing people who stray from the one true path.

Cover Your Ass statements. He has a habit of using these. He’ll spend paragraphs or even pages saying something revolting, and then throw in a single statement meant to shield himself from being criticized for the revolting stuff.

I can't decide whether he's actually that ignorant of law and history of if he's just ignoring it all because they don't support his claims.

The book is, really, a mess. Most of his experience writing involves articles, and the book reflects that, because the argument doesn't flow naturally from beginning to end. The argument is provided in chunks that don't always work together. It's not just the contradictions. He'll give a chapter a subject and then veer wildly from it, all over the place. It's like the editing process involved only spelling, punctuation, grammar, maybe some sentence structure, but not content, not making sure the argument holds together in a sensible manner.

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Find part two here: https://moiraj.livejournal.com/447154.html

Writing

A tiny, new Canadian publisher is looking for submissions for an anthology. They are looking for horror stories that have magical elements and have a Canadian setting. It just so happens that I live in a place where grave robbing was a roaring trade, and I think I can do something with that. It won't be for money, and a good thing, given the ridiculous offer. More like an exercise to see if I can write a short story - The CEO was meant to be a short story and it turned into a novella - and if I can write horror, and it would be fun to be picked, paid or not.

NAFTA stuff

And now Canada and Mexico are exempted from the tariffs as long as NAFTA negotiations last, part of a scheme to force us to submit to Trump's demands. Trump is gloating that a NAFTA that gives him everything will be signed very quickly. He doesn't understand that America's reprehensible demands aren't the only part of the agreement. Even if Canada and Mexico cave, there are 20 or so other chapters that have to be hammered out, and that can't be handled in a month, unless, maybe, the negotiators were at the table every day, all day, over the next thirty days.

I can't predict what will happen, I'm no expert, but I do know a few things.

This is a Canadian perspective. I know little about Mexico.

Trudeau 2, for all his flaws, is very intelligent. I can't stand the guy, he's done some jaw-droppingly stupid stuff, but he is smart. His dad, who was brilliant, would have drilled respect for intelligence and competence into him. Trudeau 2 has been studying Trump from the day Trump was elected. Trudeau 2 consults more experienced politicians in other countries. Trudeau 2 appears to be consulting members of all Canadian parties as well as heads of industries and other stakeholders. I have no doubt that he would love to express the contempt he feels for Trump, but that wouldn't serve Canada's interests. His approach to this whole mess is to be as prepared as possible. And to not freak out every time Trump throws out something ridiculous. I think our last federal campaign, in which the Conservatives indulged in the filthiest, most childish, most unprofessional campaign I remember in Canada, gave him some practise in staying calm and graceful in the face of outrageous attacks.

Trump sees Trudeau as nothing more than young and inexperienced, which, granted, he is, and weak, which he is not. Trump expected Trudeau to roll over instantly. Trump and Lighthizer dumped a big pile of steaming shit on the negotiation table and expected Canada and Mexico to immediately slurp it all up. But we haven't, and now Trump and Lighthizer are acting indignant and self-righteous and call us unreasonable.

Trump doesn't know anything about Canada, Canadians, or our history. If he did, he would know that we've had to waste enormous resources to keep America off our backs since before Canada was a country. Invasions, threats of invasions - so many threats, my god - arm-twisting, and even trying to trick us into giving our country away, because Americans have always thought Canadians were stupid and easily fooled.

Doing this is practically part of our national character. For some, it's even a source of pride. Yes, things are much different now. America's military is huge while ours is tiny, and we no longer have a British Empire to protect us. America can stomp us into the ground. But when I walk down the street, I pass a number of people who could beat me to death should they choose to. I'm not going to stop walking down the street, and I'm going to stand up to people who abuse me no matter how much power they have.

And we know America can probably destroy us economically. We simply can't spend our existence cowering, hoping America doesn't flatten us. That's no way to live.

Before 1994, the last attempt at a free trade agreement between Canada and the US fell apart in 1911. The thing had been drafted but not signed. By all accounts, it was a horrible agreement for Canada, and it was one of the reasons the prime minister lost the following election. But the final nail in that coffin was something the American Speaker of the House said in a speech to Congress, praising the agreement as a first step to taking us over:

"I look forward to the time when the American flag will fly over every square foot of British North America up to the North Pole."

Maybe he thought we wouldn't learn about that. Maybe he thought we'd be too stupid to understand what he was saying. Maybe he thought we were all illiterate.

And now, we have Trump's supporters rubbing their hands together in glee, talking about using the threat of tariffs as cudgels to force Canada and Mexico to bend. It's like they think the internet doesn't exist in Canada and Mexico. Or we're too stupid to understand what they're saying. Or we're illiterate. What they definitely don't understand is that rhetoric like that makes Canada and Mexico more determined to stand up to them.

Trudeau 2 knows that if he caves, he's thrown away the next federal election, and will have to spend the next year and a half courting votes after screwing the whole country over with a crap agreement. Maybe attitudes will change. Maybe Trump will threaten every industry we've got, and Trudeau will have to contemplate caving for pragmatic reasons. But we aren't there, yet.

NAFTA stuff

Dear the clueless among Canadians:

Trump will not exempt Canada and Mexico from the steel and aluminum tariffs as a result of NAFTA negotiations. The exemption relies on reaching a "fair" trade agreement, "fair" to be determined by Trump, Canada treating American farmers "better," "better" to be determined by Trump, and Mexico "do[ing] much more" to stop drug trafficking over the border, "much more" to be determined by Trump. He will move the goal posts. He brags about screwing people over. We know he breaks promises. Exemptions might happen for other reasons, but it won't be because we grovel at Trump's feet in the hope he will keep this sorta but not really promise.

Reading

I'm currently reading a book called the Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo. It involves a Chinese custom in which a girl of poor marriage prospects might marry the ghost of the son of another family, thereby ensuring that she properly belongs to a family and will be honoured after death. I can't remember the date right now, but China is under the control of the British Empire.

The main character is seventeen. Her family was once prosperous, but due to the poor judgment of her father, they're broke. She gets an offer to marry the son's ghost of a wealthy family, and she would live with them and have a luxurious life. She's creeped out by the idea. She has dreams in which he appears to her and acts like a jerk.

While the book is interesting due to the descriptions of the various beliefs and traditions, I'm having trouble really getting into it, because I don't care about the main character. I'm sympathetic to her plight, but she, as yet, doesn't have a personality beyond being a well-mannered person. She doesn't have a sense of humour, and she doesn't seem particularly bright or talented. It's like she's nothing more than a lens through which to view the culture.

Also, she is so intrigued by the first young man she's ever met - she seems to have lived a very cloistered life - that she wishes she could marry him. I've never liked that sort of plot.

There's no humour at all, and no clever dialogue.

I'll keep going, though. Maybe she will develop a personality over time.

Christian Movies

From what I've read, the new Samson movie bombed last weekend, it's opening weekend, and the reviews are, overall, negative. The only reviewers who seem to like it are Christians, and even some Christian reviewers think it is, at best, mediocre.

Whenever I hear of a Christian movie, I follow it's release and read the reviews. I always try to find articles and videos in which the writers/directors/actors are interviewed, because I want to see if one of the motives for creating the movie is to convert people, and it always is.

They don't use that term, of course. Roma Downey, the principal actress from tv show Touched by an Angel, and her husband make a lot of Christian movies. With the release of one of her movies, she said something like she hoped the movie would "bring young people to the cross." Those words creep me out, though I don't know why. The guy who plays Samson, Taylor James, said he hoped the movie would inspire people to think about Christianity and ask questions. The message of the movie is that people should bow to God's will.

Why in the world would I, an atheist, pay $12 to be preached at? Lots of movies are preachy in their way, challenging the status quo, but they're pointing out power imbalances that have excluded anyone who isn't a straight, white, Christian male. Sometimes that message needs to be anvillicious to be obvious to the viewer. Christian movies aren't about challenging anything. It's a message that's roughly 2,000 years old. It's a message that everyone in a society dominated by Christians, as Canada is, has heard all their lives.

Maybe if they stopped worrying about converting people and just told the best story they could, their movies would attract the broader market. Never me, though. I can't think of a single religious story I would want to watch, even for free on tv.