Dr. Jordan B. Peterson on Kekistan

University of Toronto professor and clinical psychologist Dr. Jordan B. Peterson appeared on the May 9, 2017 edition of the Joe Rogan Podcast.

In this clip Dr. Peterson explains in part the phenomenon of “Kekistan”, a fictitious, tongue-in-cheek country and ethnicity comprised of “shitposters” known as “Kekistanis” who worship the ancient Egyptian deity Kek, a god of darkness and chaos. Kekistan gained traction as a meme in Jan. 2017 due to the efforts of YouTuber Sargon of Akkad.

Also worth checking out is Sargon of Akkad’s vid having a pretty good laugh at the the Southern Poverty Law Center’s expense for getting their take on Kekistan wrong:

The SPLC is the organization which absurdly put liberal Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz on it’s list of “anti-Muslim extremists” for his efforts in combating Islamist extremism, and was reprimanded by the Obama administration for being too loose with accusations of racism and bigotry.

Jon Stewart’s Preachy, Unfunny Legacy

 

Rachel DiCarlo Currie wrote something for Acculturated titled “What the Late-Night Lefties Get Wrong“, which I thought worth sharing.

In short she argues that comedy on late-night TV has suffered because comedy itself has taken the back seat to politics when they “destroy” people.

Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart was the original “destroyer,” as National Review’s Kevin Williamson discussed in a brilliant 2014 piece. Today, the chief “destroyers” include Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, and Trevor Noah—all of whom, save Meyers, are either Daily Show alumni or, in Noah’s case, Stewart’s replacement on the Comedy Central show.

Judging by internet headlines, Bee has used her TBS program, Full Frontal, to “destroy” Vice President Mike Pence, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Republicans, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Maine Governor Paul LePage, former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, Tennessee state lawmaker SheilaButt, the so-called alt-right movement, and NBC.

And that was just in the show’s first year!

What to make of all this “destruction”? For one thing, it tends to be highly subjective. If you don’t subscribe to the progressive worldview, you probably will not agree that Samantha Bee “destroyed” Kellyanne Conway, or that John Oliver “destroyed” charter schools, or that Trevor Noah “destroyed” Tomi Lahren.

To take just one of those examples: Following Oliver’s anti–charter schools diatribe, Nick Gillespie of Reason noted that the British comic had spouted a number of misconceptions about charters, while failing to mention just how much they have helped poor, minority students in cities across the country. Joy Pullmann of The Federalist made a similar point, reminding us that the problems afflicting charter schools must be compared with the much-larger problems afflicting America’s traditional public schools—a comparison that Oliver left out of his anti-charter jeremiad.

In other words, the segment offered a hopelessly slanted and misleading bit of policy analysis. Did it work as comedy? If you already had a negative opinion of charters, and if you appreciate cheap barbs in service of cheap propaganda, then maybe it did. For everyone else, the “jokes” (such as they were) probably sounded like lame additions to an unconvincing polemic. That’s certainly how they sounded to me.

This gets to a broader issue with John Oliver–style comedy: The humor tends to be almost entirely contingent on one’s political or ideological affinities.

Consider Samantha Bee’s January 18th segment on White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. While there are legitimate criticisms to make of Conway—especially when she does something foolish, such as publicly endorse Ivanka Trump’s product line—there is nothing particularly funny about calling her “the soulless, Machiavellian despot America deserves,” or declaring that she “doesn’t believe anything in her heart” and “will say literally anything.” If you already hated Conway and/or Trump, perhaps those lines gave you a chuckle. Likewise, if you are a staunch supporter of abortion rights, you may have enjoyed watching Bee mock Conway for being pro-life. Yet in each case, it was politics, rather than genuine comedy, that drove the laughs. If you oppose abortion and take a more favorable view of Conway and/or Trump, chances are you found Bee’s attack to be shrill and tedious.

She also seems to conclude that the method of comedy has replaced any semblance of a persuasive argument:

In many ways, Bee epitomizes the culture of contemporary progressivism. It’s a culture that too often confuses snark with wit and sneering with reasoning—a culture that values a good “takedown” more than a good argument. Rather than ramp up the derision now that Trump is sitting in the Oval Office, Bee might want to ponder a question that Mark Steyn asked a week after the November election: “If elite condescension failed to deny him the presidency, is it likely to be any more effective now that he is the president?”

I presume just about anyone who leans even vaguely to the right knows and understands this as well as finds it as insufferable as I do even though I may never consider myself a conservative.

I’m not unaware of the need to laugh at whatever you find ridiculous, even if it gets you banned from Twitter because it doesn’t come from the “correct” political stance.

A woman (from what I’ve been able to gather) who draws comics under the name (He He) Silly Comics, for example, was permanently suspended from Twitter for violating rules governing “targeted abuse”:

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From Gab.ai

No one — not even she — seems to know exactly who she “targeted”, nor what she did exactly to warrant such sanction, but she’d only been publishing her comics since Jan. 20 — she has since migrated to the Twitter competitor, Gab.

Whatever the real reason, you could probably work out why the progressive-left overlords at Twitter gave her the boot:

YouTuber Bearing provides context on the “pregnant people” comic.

I used to laugh with Jon Stewart back when I resisted the stuffy conservatism of the Moral Majority types who whinged that Mortal Kombat and Doom would turn myself and my generation into mindless killers.

Now left-wing SJWs insist that video games are “problematic” products of the “oppressive, white, capitalist cisheteropatriarchy” and should be contorted into high-handed, ham-fisted vehicles for far-left politics:

View post on imgur.com

Bonnie Ruberg @ GDC 2017

I’m just including Jim (FKA Internet Aristocrat, AKA Mister Metokur) on general comedic principle:


If anything, it shows that the counterculture is arguably on the right now, when left-wing political comedy and culture so thoroughly permeates mainstream, establishment media and academia that the powers that be felt the need to disappear or destroy anyone who jokes from the other direction.

Currie also mentions Stephen Colbert’s own reflection on the toxic state of American politics, when Trump’s victory was increasingly evident on the evening of Nov. 8:

So how did our politics get so poisonous? I think it’s ’cause we overdosed, especially this year. We drank too much of the poison. You take a little bit of it so you can hate the other side. And it tastes kinda good. And you like how it feels. And there’s a gentle high to the condemnation, right? And you know you’re right, right? You know you’re right.

Colbert has since jettisoned such wisdom to join the collective campaign to take down the Trump administration by any means necessary.

I’ve come to a point at which I now accept that Jon Stewart, and by extension Colbert, Bee, John Oliver, Noah and others did enormous damage to the United States with his legacy of poisoning political discourse to dangerous extremes in part by fomenting an unearned sense of moral superiority and epistemic self-certitude as opposed to encouraging any kind of thoughtfulness from within or constructive discourse with those who disagree with them.

The ability to joke and laugh about the issues of the day is important no matter where in politics you call home.

But just as left-wing comedy has degenerated into little more than snarky but vapid political rants buoyed by institutional entrenchment and intellectually atrophied by preaching to the choir for too long, I hope right-wing comedy remains sharp, constantly challenging the status quo from the bottom up without also degenerating into a substitute for a persuasive argument the same way the left has.

(H/T to Nick DiPaolo for the heads up to the on his Feb. 22 podcast. You can subscribe to his show at ConnectPal. Free versions are published Mondays on iTunes.)

‘Racism Simulator’ Changes ‘White’ to ‘Black’ On Leftist Media Sites — The Results Are *Hilarious*

That left-wing media seem dedicated to re-electing President Donald Trump because they keep doing things to remind a significant portion of the electorate that the identity politics they peddle as the basis of their politics is pure cancer:

Needless to say MTV and the like probably won’t make a “2017 Resolutions for Black Guys” video anytime soon, however a man who goes by the name @UncleChangNYC  is already ahead of them in a way:

The results are hilariously wrong:

https://i.redd.it/pfq096lpp8hy.jpg

Fighting racism with more racism is at best counterproductive.

“If you were offended by one but not the other, maybe you’re the racist one,” says the end of his promotional video.

He’s right to highlight such obvious double standards — I’m glad he did it in a way that helps us laugh at them.

You can get the extension here.

Video Games, Control Culture, and Moral Choices

Republished from Refined Right

Yet another entry in the video game culture wars is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.

It’s the latest in a series which features a dystopian, cyberpunk setting whereupon the protagonist must, in one way or another and for one reason or another, contend with secret groups and conspiracies like the Illuminati.

Mankind Divided picks up two years after it’s predecessor, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The year is 2029, two years after the events of Human Revolution and what’s known in game as the “Aug Incident” wherein humans with cybernetic implants suddenly lose control over themselves and become lethally violent for unknown reasons.

In secret, the affected “Augs” actually received implant technology designed to control them by the Illuminati. This is however abused by a rogue member of the group to discredit augmentations entirely.

The Illuminati successfully covers up the causes of the incident, condemning the augmented as outcasts from normal society in a new state of “mechanical apartheid.”

It’s the kind of setting and story fraught with intrigue, secrecy and questionable moral choices; in a dystopian, cyberpunk universes like Deus Ex, there aren’t a wealth of choices for a player or character to feel good about.

However uncomfortable one might be watching a movie, reading a book, or playing a video game that makes the player/audience member grapple with tough choices – and internalize the consequences of those choices in a safe, simulated environment – moral uncertainty is a storytelling staple.

Fortunately the last people in the world anyone wants to come to the “rescue,” has.

“Devs say it’s up to players to decide if internment camps are good or bad?! No. The question itself is political!” writes Jonathan McIntosh, self-styled “pop culture detective” and producer for Anita Sarkeesian’s Feminist Frequency, the YouTube series notorious for questionable fundraising practices, breathtaking intellectual gymnastics and lies of omission to spin and perpetuate far-left, politically correct, anti-gaming/gamer narratives.

Mcintosh is the producer for Anita Sarkeesian, whose influence is dangerous to underestimate.

Macintosh unleashed a string of tweets condemning the idea of moral choice made available to players by game developers.

“Game developers like to pretend their narratives, scenarios and mechanics are politically neutral but that’s never really the case,” McIntosh continues.

Ian Miles Cheong covers this more directly in “Now SJWs Want Video Game Developers to Force Players to Make the ‘Right’ Moral Choices.”

This isn’t meant as a critique of Cheong’s article, but more of a corollary and concurrence of sorts.

Long gone are the days in which video games were mere pixels chasing pixels for the sake of beating a high score.

Video games are now arguably the most immersive storytelling medium made available by current human technology, with augmented and virtual reality poised to further cement (if not enhance) that status for the foreseeable future.

While many still trash the medium as fit only for children – or adults stuck in a long, drawn out adolescence – video games make a lot of grown-up money.

There’s a clear market for video games, however little social capital gamers have.

But while the dollars and cents are one of the primary ends of producing games like this, such a task tends to be much more difficult absent a story, unless the objective is a Candy Crush knockoff.

This is why imagination matters and why tireless rebukes against ceaseless attacks by pearl-clutching church ladies or blue-haired social justice warriors are necessary for the preservation of human liberty regardless of medium.

The late Christopher Hitchens said to the effect that literature can offer better moral lessons than scripture.

Whether anyone agrees with this or not, he isn’t exactly wrong.

He cites The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky as an exemplar in Chapter 16 of God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything:

Tell me straight out, I call on you—answer me: imagine that you yourself are building the edifice of human destiny with the object of making people happy in the finale, of giving them peace and rest at last, but for that you must inevitably and unavoidably torture just one tiny creature, that same child who was beating her chest with her little fist, and raise your edifice on the foundation of her unrequited tears—would you agree to be the architect on such conditions? Tell, me the truth.

My favorite citation is one particular speech in “A Man For All Seasons”.

The play portrays the 16th-century Chancellor of England Sir Thomas More as a man of principle for refusing to endorse King Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon for failing provide an heir so that he can marry Anne Boleyn.

I’ve always received this particular “Devil Speech” as a lesson in the value of human liberty, awareness of unintended consequences, limited government and the rule of law:

And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you where would you hide Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast. Man’s laws, not God’s, and if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the wind that would blow then? Yes. I give the Devil benefit of law for my own safety’s sake.

There’s also the “Trolley Problem” thought experiment.

The Trolley Problem

This exercise in utilitarian ethics requires you to imagine an out-of-control trolley hurtling down the tracks.

You stand at a track switch with a choice to make:

  1. Do nothing and allow the trolley to kill five people
  2. Throw the switch to divert the trolley saving the the five, but consequently killing one on a different track

What do you do and why?

This thought experiment takes many forms both serious and silly.

Would you torture a child to make all of humankind happy, whatever that might look like?

Would you knowingly, deliberately kill one person to save five?

Would you cut down all the laws of the land to strike out at a hated political enemy knowing those laws (in part) protect you from the passions of others as well?

This is of course all speculative, but as life imitates art people side with cutting down their own laws for the sake of political correctness and expediency.

Thought exercises can have very practical applications.

Such moral questions can be infinitely stimulating and don’t require an overpriced and undervalued philosophy degree to pose, ponder, or argue.

Deus Ex also attempts this with the use of contemporary language such as “mechanical apartheid,” and “Augs lives matter” to communicate a component of moral agency in video games, genre or politics notwithstanding.

One of the characteristics that separate literature and TV/film from video games is that in earlier storytelling forms, the author dictates what the reader experiences through however they tell the story.

Video games let the player act out the story itself, making all of the relevant moral decisions.

Some games penalize the player for making morally questionable decisions.

Grand Theft Auto players learn this quickly by the time they’ve racked up their sixth star – the most aggressive in-game police response to the player’s by-then multitude of “crimes.”

McIntosh isn’t the first person to fan the flames of moral panic over video games. Instead, this represents another entry in a long line of ostensibly benevolent totalitarians who make political and ideological careers out of dictating what people can enjoy for themselves, shaming those who do.

Such teleological visions of human imagination are always clear, chilling threats to human liberty.

With the cultural equivalent of the Stasi pounding at the door, it’s important to celebrate the common sense freedom to enjoy whatever media you like and never hesitate to tell those who say otherwise where they can go.

One of the most precious gifts we have is the ability to imagine whatever we like and, barring any obvious criminal activity, express that in whatever way we like in general, and through mediums which employ fiction in particular.

The proto-totalitarian demand that such expressions conform to certain strict ideological should be resisted, at almost all costs.