Last week’s highlight came by way of a conversation on The Rubin Report between Dave Rubin and two people I’m currently favoriting in the unending marathon of cultural
bashing confrontation, Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro. Peterson is currently rocketing around internet virality after his interview with Cathy Newman a couple weeks ago in which he systematically demonstrated the superiority of intellect over straw man attacks. It’s 30 minutes long, but I highly recommend viewing it in its entirety. It’s a Class A demonstration of how to take down a (third-and-a-half-wave) feminist who hasn’t done her homework (this coming from a second-and-a-half waver, so you can’t judge me).
Anyway. So these three guys–an atheist, an orthodox Jew, and a religious philosopher, and no, the next line is not “walked into a bar”–got together for about two hours in what I can only assume was an attempt to re-energize civilization and Carl Jung while discussing freedom of speech, philosophy, religion, and a number of other sub-topics. While I by no means endorse everything these guys say in its entirety, their value lies in their perception of conversation and the exchange of ideas. As Shapiro and Peterson put it early on in the discussion,
“What we’re all really in the business of is asking questions…
“…and actually listening to the answers. Assume that the person you’re listening to might know something you don’t.”
See, the problem is today that we’re afraid. Everyone is afraid. Afraid of ideas that run like a fingernail against the blackboard of our own ruts of thinking. Liberals use identity politics and the fear of appearing insensitive and ‘outside the times’ to quietly force public conversations into the mold of correctness. Conservatives do that too, by the way. If you’re just as active about writing people off as snowflakes and proclaiming all of Trump’s words and deeds as impenetrably dazzling, you’re involved in the same cultural trend. I’ve been told by a few people already that they’ve consciously chosen not read one of my articles because they wouldn’t agree with it. Now look, I’m a nobody and nobody’s obliged to read my stuff or listen to me, and I’ll just shrug and keep shouting into the void of an immeasurable space. But once that space starts echoing back my own ideas at me, it’s time to find a new space.
It’s what we call an echo chamber, folks. When you surround yourself with your own ideas, you’ll forever see only the four walls of your own brain. Which is fine, but I’ve a hunch that someone else’s brain might have some ideas worth listening to. And that’s the beauty of independent thinkers and commentators like the three guys around which I started this discussion. They exist largely outside the script-reading self-baiting thought-fawning panels and talkshows of yesterday’s media, preferring the niches of tomorrow’s podcasts and patrons instead. They are conversation creators–and they’re sharp. They’re not always right, but they’re incisive, and you’ll be smarter for listening to them.
Because conversation, in my heavily sedated opinion, is one of the key components missing from a universe going mad. We speak. We respond. We react. But we do not converse. Once we hit the cold, hard wall of disagreement or depth, we back off in social embarrassment or degenerate into a crapshooting match in which the chief objective is getting the most mud on the other.
In other news, I’d like to speak to whoever’s in charge of Tide’s marketing. You, sir, deserve an Oscar and a large wad of cash. And that, friends, is the entirety of my Super Bowl commentary.
I’d also like to speak to whomever designed the Apple mouse to charge from underneath. You do not deserve your large wad of cash.
Today has to be short, because it’s actually yesterday evening, and I’m scribbling this together in between cramming through my local newspaper in an effort to become a city government expert in the space of a couple weeks. Tomorrow (today) (the day after yesterday which is actually today) I meet the guy I’ll be replacing as city government reporter and attend my first meeting. Good luck to me, folks.
That’s about it. So in the immortal words of Peterson, Don’t say anything unforgivably stupid. I’m sure I never have.