In order to understand the title of this article, you need to watch a video. I regard this video as the finest low-budget cartoon ever produced. It is titled “Bambi Meets Godzilla.” It was made in 1969. This will take you only 90 seconds.
On very rare occasions, a public event takes place that represents a turning point. It is not that the public event causes the great turn; rather, it illustrates it or represents it. Such an event took place in December 1998, when Matt Drudge published his brief article on the decision of Newsweek to suppress the story of Bill Clinton and an unnamed intern. That was a visible turning point of the shift of influence away from physically published journalism to digitally published journalism. It was also symbolic of the beginning of the end of the gatekeepers’ control over the flow of information.
Today, the number of newsprint employees is down by over 55% since December 1998. The number of print magazine employees is down by 40%. Matt Drudge is worth about $90 million.
Such an event may have taken place last month. Anyway, I hope so.
BAMBI GOES ON THE ATTACK
On January 16, Cathy Newman conducted an interview with clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson. Ms. Newman played the role of Bambi. Ms. Newman is a British TV personality on the Channel 4 News.
Either she or her producer decided to interview Dr. Peterson. He was in Great Britain to promote his new book. Dr. Peterson is a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Toronto. He has an enormous following on YouTube. Every time he posts one of his lectures, it gets at least 200,000 hits. He raises so much money through voluntary donations to support his video productions that he has a team of videographers who record all of his lectures. I have never heard of anything like this in educational history.
She is a graduate of Oxford University. She is intelligent. But, like most liberal feminists in the media, she has had a free pass throughout her career. She has conducted lots of interviews. She has learned how to be aggressive. But, intellectually speaking, and especially conceptually speaking, she is Bambi in the woods. She or her producer made the mistake of inviting Godzilla for an interview.
Dr. Peterson, over the last few years, has become the most articulate conservative intellectual on YouTube. I don’t mean merely that he has the largest audience, which he undoubtedly has. I mean that, intellectually speaking, he has a rapier mind. He is also as fearless as anybody I have ever seen in front of a camera. In the phrase I have loved for many years, he takes no prisoners.
Ms. Newman had never confronted anybody like this in her career of browbeating hapless interviewees. Her victims have not had the background, the backbone, and the experience in front of a camera to respond effectively to her badgering. This has made her arrogant. As you watch the video, this arrogance will become obvious.
Her easy victories over weak-willed opponents persuaded her that she was Godzilla. In fact, she is Bambi.
What Dr. Peterson did to her will become a model in how to respond to a liberal who has not thought through his or her opinions, and who nonetheless goes on the offensive. This video has been seen all over the world. At present, there have been over 5 million viewers. This is not what Ms. Newman and her producer had expected. Most of the people viewing this video are her mortal ideological enemies. They are seeing what they have dreamed of, possibly for their whole adult lives: an articulate conservative verbally eviscerating a feminist in full public view.
I do not remember seeing anything like this before. I have been a debater. I have been involved in the conservative movement ever since 1956. I have seen a lot of articulate conservatives and libertarians give lectures and debate. But I have never seen anything like this.
I think you should watch this 30-minute interview. If you watch it, I guarantee that you will never forget it, short of Alzheimer’s.
Just for the record, I addressed the issue of the pay gap in 1971. It has nothing to do with patriarchy. It has everything to do with supply and demand. You can read my article here.
When I first came across this interview, I immediately posted it on my site. That was on January 27. I introduced it with this observation:
Here, he is interviewed by a woman who deserves a verbal beating. He administers it. But he does so politely, even graciously. It is a masterpiece of rhetoric and logic. It is like watching an Olympic fencer. Anyway, it is like watching an imaginary Olympic fencer. (I have never seen an Olympic fencer.) He parries her every verbal lunge with a deft flicking away of her verbal sword. It looks effortless. She tries again and again to score a single hit. She never does.
Although I did not notice this when I posted it, I was a late-comer in assessing Dr. Peterson’s performance. All over the world, in many languages, this video had been viewed. Today, conservative commentators are rallying to his defense, as if he needed a defense. He doesn’t.
Here is the assessment by David Brooks, a neoconservative. He writes a regular column for The New York Times. He appears every Friday on the PBS News Hour, where he debates a liberal, Mark Shields. He has been doing this since 2004. He knows a lot about TV debating. He wrote this.
His most recent viral video, with over four million views, is an interview he did with Cathy Newman of Britain’s Channel 4 News. Newman sensed that there was something disruptive to progressive orthodoxy in Peterson’s worldview, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. So, as Conor Friedersdorf noted in The Atlantic, she did what a lot of people do in argument these days. Instead of actually listening to Peterson, she just distorted, simplified and restated his views to make them appear offensive and cartoonish.
Peterson calmly and comprehensibly corrected and rebutted her. It is the most devastatingly one-sided media confrontation you will ever see. He reminded me of a young William F. Buckley.
I came of age politically in the mid-1950’s. I grew up knowing about Buckley from the time I went to college in 1959. I saw him debate on TV on several occasions. I saw him in person at a lecture. I saw him on his PBS show, “Firing Line.” In my opinion, Buckley in his most eloquent humiliating of an opponent did not come close to what Dr. Peterson did to Ms. Newman.
About a week after the interview went viral, Dr. Peterson was interviewed about the interview. He gave a fair assessment of what had taken place. He made an important point. He is a clinical psychologist. As he said, he has interviewed all kinds of people for a long time. He said that he has spent tens of thousands of hours interviewing patients. (In another video, he offered this estimate: 25,000 hours.) He said that he had to learn to listen to what they were saying. He sized her up very rapidly.
She did not size him up until it was way too late.
The liberal Atlantic ran an article on the interview. The author made these observations:
Actually, one of the most important things this interview illustrates—one reason it is worth noting at length—is how Newman repeatedly poses as if she is holding a controversialist accountable, when in fact, for the duration of the interview, it is she that is “stirring things up” and “whipping people into a state of anger.”
At every turn, she is the one who takes her subject’s words and makes them seem more extreme, or more hostile to women, or more shocking in their implications than Peterson’s remarks themselves support. Almost all of the most inflammatory views that were aired in the interview are ascribed by Newman to Peterson, who then disputes that she has accurately characterized his words.
There are moments when Newman seems earnestly confused, and perhaps is. And yet, if it were merely confusion, would she consistently misinterpret him in the more scandalous, less politically correct, more umbrage-stoking direction?
I see no way for her to climb out of the hole that she dug for herself — anyway, not without changing her style completely. From now on, she will be known as Ms. “So You’re Saying.”
I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. At no point in the interview did I feel sorry for the hapless Ms. Newman. She got what she deserved. Even better, she representatively got what liberals have deserved since the late 1930’s. He sliced her into a dozen pink ribbons.
In the circles in which she travels, she will be applauded. If she is so out of touch with reality that she does not perceive what has happened to her, then she really is just another liberal. She lives in a fantasy world. But if her Oxford education introduced her at all to the rigors of intellectual exchange, she will have to live with this thrashing for the rest of her life. As the number of hits goes up, as it will, and if she checks back every few months to see how many more people have seen it, she will be reminded of just how silly she looked, and just how soundly she was thrashed. The people watching the video are not her supporters. They are laughing in a sheer delight at what they see on the screen.
There is nothing that upsets liberals more than to be the targets of widespread derisive laughter. They are not used to this. It doesn’t happen often, but it happened this time.
Viral is good. Help it along. Post this article on Facebook or Twitter. Let the laughter spread.
Used with permission from GaryNorth.com.
Dr. Jordan Peterson recently spoke at the Sovereign Nations Conference in Washington, D.C, watch his presentation below: