With a bit of retrospection to what I picked up from Jordan Peterson’s books and lectures, I’m exploring a fresh (at least to me, maybe someone else picked up on it before – I wouldn’t know) competition to “Political Correctness” culture: Comeback Culture.
While I have no idea where POC started from and how it evolved, my take: Comback Culture emerged with Forum-Grown Individuals (FGI), suppose, today they are around the ages 20-40. What it means to be a “Forum-Grown Individual”? Someone who has spend much time on forums, made thousands of comments, posts, arguments, knows at least 10 fallacies listen in wikipedia by heart and can call them out when can be called out.
Measly attempt at profiling a Forum-Grown Individual: spends most time of his or her life online arguing about stuff on forums or social media, maybe reads a lot of blog posts and the occasional paper intros on health, anything related to politics, diet, but mostly about politics. Has a keen eye for fallacies, calls them out even when they technically aren’t there and he or she just can no longer argue against the arguments the opponent puts out. They also enjoy watching other arguments, or reading them, occiasonally end up in Taleb’s twitter commentary and demand he change his tone or have a debate with Jordan Peterson (or someone else from the Intellectual Dark Web); probably watch a lot of things connected to IDW – louder with croder, infowars, tim pool, rubin, joe rogan… Not really bad people, but may have forgotten that shit won’t be built with arguments, but by actually going out there and with building, tinkering, Ok.
I, too, am partly forum-grown, know my way around arguments and even a little bit of rhetoric – which might be the requirement for detecting what I have detected and am about to further showcase via this humble overly-worded exploration.
Now; since JBP popped up on the timeline for a bit and people were commenting on him (and most of the comments are petty and annoying, actually, but I’m not going to talk about that), something else lit up about the context of his book and youtube lectures – and why they might have become as popular as they did.
Here’s the first clue: I came across JBP while I was scrolling in 9gag (a site of joke pictures and videos, don’t go there, it’s a time sink and it’s not THAT funny). There was a clip or meme about his interview with Cathy Newman – basically she made a very stupid interpretation about some of his argument and he called her out on it – and everybody liked that.
I suspect this very interview was one of the biggest points which drove him to his popularity.
But let’s get back to the “argument” – back to rhetoric – back to debates – because this is where this new connection is realized.
Before seeing his stuff and reading his book I was spending most of my free time online, a lot of time on forums, checking out what is going on with Trump and anti-Trump, political fights on forums, red pills, blue pills, all sorts of weird stuff… And I might have missed it back then – but it could really be – why writers and tawkers like Adams and JBP resonated with me was because I was INTO this whole arguments business, and they seemed to be the masters at it.
So, critics say that the 12 rules is not as practical a book as the fans say – it doesn’t really give any usable tips other than “clean your room”, “don’t compare yourself with others,” and “don’t argue with your wife” – nothing that hasn’t really been said before; and although it refers to a lot of mythology and religion and it sparks some interesting thoughts (yet, interestingly does not spark further curiosity into said religions or mythologies), it’s not a philosophical book either. So, if it’s neither a how-to self-help book, nor a philosophical one, what is it?
HERE WE GO: 12 rules for life is a fat encyclopedia of bite-sized arguments for forum/twitter debates. So, in that sense – to a regular FGI it IS a practical book – especially when he or she happens to be politically aligned with the author – he has done the work of arranging words in manners that are difficult to push over, a lot of “catchas”, a lot of comebacks. A lot of neat words and sentences and classics to cite when in trouble defending against gay laws or getting annoying with feminists.
The existence of online forums, coinciding with the political heat in the USA might have created this specific niche – a strong current for books like 12 rules and win bigly (and there are many more, but I’m not going to read them :)). If true, it’s not necessarily so that the world is full of more Lost Boys than ever before – but there certainly are more forum dwellers and twitter smartasses ready to argue about things people have been arguing about for the past 50 years – JBP just refreshed and brought in a few new arguments – and the crows goes wild.
Trying to get the last word, the last comment in these forum places is like a serious hunt to some (and I have no idea why:))) – can’t argue against my argument? Okay, argue against my person, so I can call out that this isn’t an argument, but an (imagine me saying this in a fancy very high pitched voice) Ad Hominem attack… What a way to spend time. After learning Incerto stuff this all just seems silly to me now u.u
Maybe this “comeback culture” is mostly an online phenomenon – and maybe it will pass, people might get bored with the same arguments over and over again, eventually (I did, why wouldn’t others?), although I have had the pleasure of knowing a few guys who are forum-like combative in real-life as well (a very unpleasant company, even worse to work with). But the so-far unnamed culture certainly helped some guys make some buck selling a few books. And thanks to the niche going on (maybe for a second term, too?), there just might come another JBP, who hopefully doesn’t drive himself to burnout with tours he cannot physically handle.
Take care o/