Arriving, delivering, and why Jordan Peterson’s decimation of Cathy Newman shows why nothing has actually changed for women.

I

Idea-shaming seems to be the only trick in #MeToo’s bag.

It didn’t work for Hillary Clinton. She lost an election because of her perpetual mental laziness and inability to come up with a strategy other than trying to shame enough people not to vote for her rival.

Because shaming doesn’t actually work. 

Once upon a time people who were gay were shamed, but we can see that once a little light went off in an entire shamed group’s head, they rejected the shaming, demanded their rights, and made strides, that in truth, they should have never had to fight for in the first place.

Human beings have an uncanny ability to waste everybody else’s time for absolutely no good reason.

#MeToo, as I have repeatedly said, has way too many problems going for it, and it will backfire. It is not as if the problems outlined aren’t real. They are.

The problem is that people have mistaken an ambush as the one strategy that will continue to work.

And it won’t work in the long-term.

We have gone through this game before. Women’s rights got them so much and then there was the requisite media cheering…and then comes along #MeToo that revealed that these so-called “strong” women were being treated as slaves and victims in their places of work, even if they were bringing home millions of dollars.

So, what that basically shows is that, everything until now was some sort of sham.

It is that reality that can easily undermine #MeToo.

The marches yesterday also greatly undermine #MeToo. People who march are not the wealthy powerbrokers. It is the weak and dispossessed who missed every chance to make changes where they count, and now have been driven out into the streets to throw a temper tantrum because they have no power. It is a de facto admission that you have no influence.

You do not see management striking against workers. You see workers striking against management.

For a reason.

People in power do not resort to marches. It is beneath them. People who have no power do it as a last resort.

So to have a second march actually is an admission that nothing has changed. It is a waste of time and resources.

And the President gleefully tweaks the noses of those who are seeing themselves as victims.

And they earned that tweaking for staying static.

You cannot do the same thing and expect a different outcome.

II

Women have not begun, and proof is the Cathy Newman’s humbling by Jordan Peterson on her own program. The Independent has no clue what actually happened, and babbled some nonsense about how now poor victim Newman is being attacked because things are changing against the Old Boys Club.

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That is deluded wishful thinking.

Those men in power are in power for a reason. They know war strategy and women still think idea-shaming will magically force men to relinquish control and admit they were wrong and the queen bees and fairy princesses will live happily ever after, the end.

The Spectator actually understood what went down.

But there is far more to it than that.

Peterson is the superior intellect and Newman adheres to rules and scripts. People who follow rules blindly huff and puff and rely on feints and ruses, including idea-shaming.

Peterson is an experimental psychologist and an academic. He does his research and presents facts.

As someone whose undergraduate degree was in experimental psychology — and whose graduate degree was in journalism, I can tell you there is no comparison: it is the psychologists who have the upper-hand intellectually. I had once written a piece for my alma mater’s alumni magazine stating that the journalism absolutely needed the psychology to stay relevant.

It’s why psychology thrives and journalism collapsed.

And what proof do we have that #MeToo is effective?

The media reports. That’s it.

And that should worry any woman who thinks they have made true progress.

Peterson understood he was a soldier. Newman thought she was a queen bee. Soldier took apart the queen. The end.

This debate is far more devastating to #MeToo than most people realize: that program was Newman’s. She had editorial control and could do research on Peterson as she set the terms of engagement.

Had she done her homework, she would have never used idea-shaming because Peterson has had his ideas under attack by other academics and journalists for a long time, and he is primed to defend those ideas with ease. He has managed to carve a niche for himself, and there are almost no other psych professors in Canada who can make the same claim.

She grossly underestimated her target, the way Bill O’Reilly grossly underestimated Jeremy Glick. I discussed that exchange in my book OutFoxed, but O’Reilly’s misstep was a rare one for him. He usually was the master of sizing up his prey and then tailor-making his campaign depending on the guest’s intellectual strengths and weaknesses. His schoolyard taunts were used to unnerve guests as they were a cover to hide O’Reilly’s true cunning.

Newman is nowhere near the intellectual mettle of O’Reilly. She is a poor debater, instead, relying on a predictable and confined number of tricks and techniques that preach to the converted.

Her arena is safely rigged to protect her, but the psychologist took one look, saw all the rigs, and then covertly rejigged them to work in his advantage.

The attack was not just a one-off: it screams that it is time for those who wish to truly make changes for women to sit up and take notice that idea-shaming is not effective because unless you can think like a soldier, you are going to get mowed down by a single mediocre soldier who knows it’s all just puffing.

A man like Peterson can undo every gain of #MeToo without even trying.

Because women have no war strategies that work to their own natural ways of thinking and reacting.

III

Most of the changes that came with #MeToo have been shallow, and of the men who have lost power, a good number of them can easily make comebacks. Americans love a comeback kid. They live for tales of redemption and the phoenix who rises from the ashes. OJ Simpson is out of jail, golfing away. Bill Cosby can still pack a theatre as he is a free man. Bill Clinton is still a man about town.

And of the ones on the #MeToo Hitlist, they can stay low, get a crisis management team and a good lawyer, and turn the tables on the accusers.

Woody Allen still makes movies, for instance. He is in his eighties and had his full career and will have a longer and more successful legacy than any female director can ever hope to achieve. Roman Polanski still gets a free pass, too.

That is the truth. That is reality. And no amount of shrill squawking and sophistry can alter either.

There is something else that is equally troubling: even with cosmetic changes of adding a few more women on the news programs, for instance, the structure of the shows remain the same. The stories remain the same. The content remains the same.

They are still patriarchal shows. The ratings are still eroding. The profession is still dead.

In other words, when the profession has hit the skids, jump ship, give it to women, and let them be happy to go down on a sinking ship thinking they are going somewhere.

And nothing gets accomplished and nothing changes.

Why?

Because women have become so obsessed with arriving, that they have not given one second of thought to delivering.

If you arrive, but cannot deliver, you have wasted everyone’s time, including your own.

That’s the blind spot. That’s the weakness of #MeToo. That is what happens when your strategy is based on the slacktivist notion of idea-shaming.

You need facts, logic, strategy, feedback, and ideas. You need vision. Recently, Open Democracy had a very stupid article asking why there wasn’t a feminist Intercept…

Except I had one seven years before the arrival of the actual Intercept. The fact that two authors did not do their homework or ever considered the idea that perhaps there was a feminist Intercept, but was struggling because it is being ignored, showed the absolute ignorance and arrogance that threatens everything riding on this movement.

Their narrative was more important to them them than facts. When narrative is undermined by reality, you lose credibility, not just from enemies, but you alienate allies in the bargain.

You cannot expect victory if you do not do your research. Cathy Newman did not do her research. To be unprepared while your target is prepared and experienced is a recipe for disaster.

The problem is that you have women who can deliver. You have women who are innovators and visionaries.

But they get no support because of that tunnel vision that will derail #MeToo.

At the Golden Globes, you had grown women acting like teenagers: all wearing black dresses, having little pins, ignoring the women who were the impetus for #MeToo, such as Rose McGowan, and then having an opportunist mug for the camera hoping to run for president instead of, I don’t know, using a platform to do bring something tangible that would benefit other women.

It was all #MeMeMe. Fairy princesses and queen bees dance to the patriarchal structure, not their own natural rhythms, meaning their own thought patterns are rigged to fail when they get too close to threatening actual power.

The show was a farce that revealed every weakness of #MeToo, and there are several fatal weaknesses, make no mistake.

You had women who only hopped on the #MeToo express when they saw they could benefit, such as Meryl Streep, at the expense of Rose McGowan.

You had lip service and grandstanding, which underlined just how naive the movement has become.

#MeToo has never been about everyday women. This has been mostly a confessional for women in the arts and communications industries.

There is a great divide, and divides bring resentments, allowing anyone who wishes to throw such a movement into disarray, to easily find those vulnerabilities and exploit them.

Because there has been no plans to deliver, the arrival comes, but at a great disappointment.

Feminism needs to break away from victim-based strategies. Stop relying on passive symbols and victim-marching because you are always in a subservient position. You have visionaries and innovators who can deliver.

But they are being prevented from arriving because #MeToo has always been about following, and following a defeatist patriarchal narrative.

Do not stick to something because it seems to work. Peterson’s victory over Newman happened precisely because he actively read her, got prepared, and then used her own unoriginal and passive strategies against her. She stuck to a script and he adlibbed his way to international triumph.

And on her own program. Her rigs failed her.

Because she arrived, but failed to deliver.

The confines of the victim’s narrative did her in. Peterson is out to win. If you want to have the life of a independent free agent, you have to think like one.

And it is high time women who want a better life start breaking away from the shackles of their own mind to do it.

Why are you arguing? I am not arguing: I am presenting facts you do not like. Learning the ways of media skepticism.

Ideologues prefer propaganda to facts, and when someone presents a fact that challenges their theory, they immediately accuse the other person will accuse the presenter of the fact of arguing.

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That’s not arguing. That is showing, for instance, there is a confirmation bias tainting the ideologue’s argument.

It is showing an alternative to the sink or swim fallacy. It is showing their personal attack or appealing to authority is not divine decree.

Media skepticism is not about disbelieving journalism: it is about rejecting their methods of information-gathering and demanding a more disciplined profession. It is demanding that reporters show how they come to their conclusions than merely accepting it without question.

It is about looking directly and critically at journalism and demanding a better defined report.

Decades of television news has not improved over time: there is still happy talk, kickers, and stupid stories telling viewers that it is hot or cold outside.

Why hasn’t television news ever changed? Why does every outlet do the same thing? Why is the structure still patriarchal?

Why does the press all walk lockstep structurally?

That is a fact. Not an argument.

Facts are not just answers: they are questions to challenge ideologues who wish to mindlessly stick to rules instead of venturing out into the world of understanding reality and truths that do not adhere to hypothetical constructs or sanctioned insanity.

So no, it is not arguing when challenging faulty theories with facts. We need to find facts to challenge lies and propaganda.

It’s the only way to ever find the truth.

The Enigma of North American journalism: there are no heroes in their tales.

The Guardian, generally, is a very good newspaper, but it doesn’t always get North American mindsets.

Such as this article discussing press freedoms and its opening shows its naiveté:

Independent journalism holds the unaccountable to account and shines light on the darkest corners of our world. It seeks to inform, to ignite, to inspire and to spark debate. Yet in one of the traditional bastions of a free media – the United States – that is under threat.

That would be true if North American journalism was functional. It isn’t. It hasn’t been for a very long time.

I have always said journalists are soldiers fighting a war to liberate truth from lies. The problem is journalists have no idea what truth is nor what is reality. If they had, they wouldn’t see their fortunes collapse.

The press has spread lie after lie. We have Stephen Glass spewing lies outright. We had Judith Miller tell the world about nonexistent Weapons of Mass Destruction. The press told Americans about Iraqi soldiers killing Kuwaiti infants. They never bothered to tell the world the role PR played in the civil war in the former Yugoslavia. They assured people about the economic soundness of Enron and WorldComm.

We cannot ignore the numerous errors the press spread in 2017 in trying to convict the American president in the media. These were not minor flubs.

I wrote books on the extent of the rot in the profession, and I had to leave more out than I could put into my books.

The problem becomes when a profession is that perpetually irresponsible, they leave themselves vulnerable to their enemies. They lose public goodwill. They lose strength, and often, the detractors have every right to shut down a troubled industry.

The biggest enemy the press in North America have at the moment is themselves.

As it stands, journalism needs a revolution within before it can worry about those who oppose them. The extent of the rot is too big ignore, and defending a profession that needs an intervention will do no one any good.

An interesting article in the Japan Times about sontaku journalism

It is well worth reading.

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Sontaku journalism is the kind of journalism that proactively ingratiates itself to power players and governments. North American journalism has practice this kind of journalism in many ways: Harvey Weinstein did not get away with as much as he did, for example, without the press giving him fawning coverage.

Any time the press lavishes praise on someone in power, it is a form of sontaku journalism.

The Japan Times is questioning it, and acknowledging it exists, not making excuses for it. Had the North American press done the same, we’d still have a viable profession.

Journalism’s cultural ignorance and why it failed.

The Vienna Secession had many interesting points that journalism should have had paid attention to as they began to flounder.

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The old guard artists back then weren’t giving the new kids a break, and they decided to strike it on their own.

The Vienna Secession was part of the wave of Art Nouveau, but they had some interesting ideas.

They wrote manifestos, and decided to create new kinds of art, and went with it full force: from architecture to sculpture to even furniture and jewelry.

It sought to completely transform art.

In a way the movement for a short-lived one, but it was just long enough to help establish a new generation of artists who went on to be successful in other styles, such as Modernism. It served its purpose.

The Internet did no such thing for the profession, even if it should have. Journalism still collapsed, mostly because the Internet exposed the weaknesses of the profession. If the medium is the message, than the Internet’s message was simple: journalism isn’t working.

What the Internet should have done was transform the profession. It could have improved the product.

Doctors, for instance, have an oath to vow to do no harm. They, like lawyers, real estate agents, teachers, and even hairdressers, have to have a license to operate.

Journalists have neither oaths nor a governing body overlooking their ability to uphold their promises. They produced no manifestos or movements.

It should stand for truth, but time and again, it stands for nothing.

The profession never observed history to improve itself. It never observed art or science to see how to make themselves a better profession. Professional appropriation has its place, and journalism never considered the ways to make themselves stronger.

Had it been a profession of idealism and pragmatism, we would have seen an evolution along with a revolution.

Instead, it chose to stick to a few untested rules as it slowly floundered into nothingness.

 

More proof that Facebook doesn’t “get” news, let alone information verification. Really, guys. Pander to your users some other way that won’t annihilate the information stream.

Facebook doesn’t get news, information, journalism, or facts.

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They are going to deem a news site’s “trustworthiness” by surveying their users.

Do these users have first-hand knowledge of the publications? How to gather, verify, and analyze data? Are they trained? Have expertise? Have direct knowledge of the publication, the stories, or the methods?

No.

So how does this method do anything?

It doesn’t. It is relying on amateurs doing work for free.

Not very professional at all.

And how is this different than the status quo, in essence? People post articles they think are trustworthy on their newsfeeds, and you see them in the Trending sidebar.

Remember all that to-do about “fake news”? Who put those articles up there, commented, and shared them?

Facebook users!

Facebook is treating news like the old game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire, using the “Phone a Friend” or “Ask the Audience” lifelines to make decisions.

This is a company that is clueless about information, as in, knows zilch. Nothing.

And it glares.

Facebook should just get out entirely. They cannot handle it. They can handle other things, and should stick with their strengths.

News has always been their weakness, and they can’t fake it.

This method is an outrage to anyone who cares about quality information because this makes an already bad situation a farce.

Anarchy in the Gutter: The Internet’s Information Contamination in the Age of Sophistry.

I

Katy Way’s shrill personal attack email to Ashleigh Banfield is very instructive in explaining why the new generation of self-styled reporters/writers/etc. are useless.

Yes, useless.

We have fairy princesses and queen bees (both patriarchal constructions that firmly keep women in destructive loops all while falsely thinking they are special and cunning) who cannot fathom that they can be wrong, and Way’s personal attack on Banfield was childish and archaic, not feminist.

We can have a long debate on Babe.net’s outing of Aziz Ansari’s behaviour during a date with an anonymous woman. It was not workplace sexual harassment. It wasn’t rape. It wasn’t a date rape. It wasn’t “enthusiastic consent”, whatever that means.

From the original description, it was consenter’s remorse over a date that involved two individuals who do not seem to have mature and defined communications skills: one who is obtuse in nonverbal communications skills, and one who needs assertiveness training as she seems incapable of expressing herself clearly, taking a decisive action, such as cutting a date short when she realized this wasn’t her thing, and then settling and retreating.

It was certainly one shade worse than a mere “bad date”, but this wasn’t criminal. Dysfunctional, yes. Mutually emotionally immature, yes. Fodder to amuse Dr. Phil’s live studio audience, definitely.

And it is the last one on that list that’s the most unsettling. With one bad article, #MeToo veers into tabloid territory. It was always such a delicate balance that required finesse and nuance, but when someone doesn’t know the finer points of strategy, their lack of understanding can derail an entire movement in one fell swoop.

II

The Ansari scoop was guerrilla gossip, nothing more, almost along the lines of Spy magazine, but more Gawker than anything else. It was meant to humiliate, but just a hair away from actually indicting.

And in the whole scheme of violence against women, this does not register.

This murder is genuine outrage. This is violence — killing a victim of domestic violence…and if accounts are true, done in front of her four-year-old daughter.

Ashleigh Banfield had every right to be upset by this so-called “scoop.” She is a veteran of the business; so for Way to attack Banfield on the basis of what she does to her hair, is childish, and infuriating. Women have been exposed to “what were you wearing?” for decades; so making some shallow swipe about a woman’s appearance is just trying to create anarchy in a gutter to get your own way. Sorry, not buying that propaganda.

If you cannot use logic and facts to make your case, you have no case.

Worse, this public tiff has been called a “catfight.” Thank you, Ms Way, for setting women’s rights back with your temper tantrum. If you thought it was legitimate, rationally outline the reasons with research to back up your claims.

Or, do not respond. Life is not about arguing with people who do not agree with you. You registered your beliefs. So noted. Banfield registered hers. You can ignore bait and barbs. People disagree with me online all the time. I am not going to agree with them, nor I am going to engage them. If they are lonely, they can find someone else to indulge them.

Feminism does not mean all the women in the world all mindlessly walk lockstep and agree and applaud each other like brainless servants. Men expected that from women for centuries, and we didn’t push so hard for liberation just to cheerlead a sheltered 22 year-old writer who obviously never heard of the logical fallacy called personal attack.

Feminists come with all sorts of different and even contrary ideas. We can debate. We can disagree. We can call other women out on the carpet. We can go in separate directions and have different schools of feminist thought just as every other discipline has different schools of thought. Not everyone’s life requirements are alike.

For example, you won’t catch me cheering Hillary Clinton, for instance. She is no feminist.

You will catch me supporting people like Rose McGowan, and she too, can do with her hair whatever she pleases. It is none of my business.

Just as I have the right to do with my hair whatever I wish.

It is disturbing how much sophistry has infected the information pool, and it is spewed by those who are culturally and historically illiterate, telling other people with far more knowledge and experience that they don’t “get” it.

You don’t know a thing.

You are merely parroting whatever you heard in your university lectures, and now honestly believe that you invented that idea.

But there is a big divide between theory and reality.

And for the record, I would say Banfield’s characterization wasn’t quite as banal as she believed it to be, but she has every right to express her perspective in the marketplace of ideas.

That’s the way of progress: not shutting people down. But debating, researching, and revising ideas.

And she has the right to say it without someone making petty and catty remarks about her appearance. Get over yourself, and grow a pair of ovaries.

III

But it is not just the pantywaist set who need to grow up. Journalism has been marred by both emotional and intellectual immaturity for a very long time. When you cheat with bombast and sensationalism, your understanding of reality is shallow at best. There are no nuances, and Shibboleths and subtle clues get lost. It is the reason why such simplistic propaganda has infected so much of social media.

No one knows how to handle it. Google fact check came and went. A recent discussion about fake news shows those left in the dead profession of journalism still don’t get it. They do understand people do not trust them. They do not understand it is their own sloppiness and old habits that did them in.

Sophistry and opinion has replaced facts and logic. Reporters get fooled and played daily. They are followers, not independent thinkers. They make no attempt to define their methods or their terminology.

New generations of writers are worse than the previous generations, but as they have never had any proper model to inspire them, it is not surprising. All the President’s Men romanticized the profession, and movies since then gave people some sort of idea that newsrooms had focus and discipline.

It could not have been further from the truth.

Journalism always fell back to smearing and reporting the cheap and easy stories, and when circulations and ratings took a hit, the press went a little further down a rabbit hole to find the next freak to parade.

The rabbit hole was a gutter, and the freaks became quick studies, and turned the tables on the press, gaining control of their own coverage by using chaos.

What was needed was practical empiricism: there are ways to find information and analyze it at the same time. There are ways to verify information, but also ways to present information and find stories that serve as daily memos to the public: this is what is working. This is what isn’t working.

When the mandate is to present facts as they are, clarity makes information-gathering a straightforward affair. When it is about “taking down” people, it becomes a brawl in a sewer hole.

Focus comes from the motives of finding information. When it motive is to show facts, an information-gatherer can easily defend their work.

But when the motives are about vendettas, self-promotion, and harming, the gossip-monger becomes defensive and shrill — wildly attacking anyone who questions them, all a ruse in hopes others do not see the truth behind their methods.

Journalism has done very badly in part because their motives for gathering information are anything but noble, and their motives drove them in the direction they were looking — down.

And when that decline brought misfortune, they panicked, making them vulnerable to grifters, liars, propagandists, and other deceivers.

It could have all been avoided.

How so?

Seek truth. Represent reality. Present facts.

With such a simple foundation, it would have made the profession a thriving one.

Instead, it imploded as its rot was exposed.