What is there to say about Jordan Peterson that hasn’t already been said? In 2018, the Canadian clinical psychologist was seemingly on top of the world, with young men flocking to his lectures about advancing one’s social position through a clean room and upright posture. A prominent fixture on the cultural right, Peterson has been relatively quiet over the past two years, but recently assumed the position of daily Twitter bozo this week after weighing in on the physical appearance of Yumi Nu, a cover model for the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.
Beauty is subjective and everyone has their own preferences, so I guess Peterson is free to be uninterested in Nu, but describing her appearance in a swimsuit-focused magazine issue as an example of “authoritarian tolerance,” is hilariously dumb. Accordingly, the backlash was swift and and the YouTube academic promptly got his ass kicked in the mentions.
This fierce response led to the free speech advocate throwing a tantrum, describing the “incentive structure,” of Twitter as “intrinsically dangerous and insane.” Taking things a step further, Peterson claimed he was taking an extended break from the social media site and had his staff “change his password, to keep him from temptation.”
The marketplace of ideas — People like Peterson are enamored with the idea of the free market serving as a great, democratizing force. It’s ironic that his “take” on Nu’s cover shoot, was rejected by the same system he advocates for — he introduced an opinion that was forcibly rejected by the public, and now has to go back to the drawing board.
As things stand, the post has garnered an impressive ratio, with just over 10,000 quote tweets to about 5,000 regular retweets. We won’t take likes into account, given the size of Peterson’s profile and his general visibility as a public figure. Moving the goal posts is perfectly acceptable in this case.
For what it’s worth, Peterson has not quit Twitter either — after announcing his break, he proceeded to tweet or re-tweet 28 different posts.