Razer's Class Warfare

May 24, 2018

Razer: David Graeber cuts through the bullshit

Next to academic David Graeber, Jordan Peterson is a xerox of Malcolm Gladwell’s rejected TED talk notes on the topic of “Chicks: they’re just like that”

Helen Razer — Writer and broadcaster

Helen Razer

Writer and broadcaster

Last week, my father was led by the malevolence of our era to purchase Jordan Peterson's “book” 12 Rules for Life. This week, his daughter sent the antidote by mail. Not before a Skype bollocking though. When dad can forgive the exchange — "Jordan Peterson is to moral philosophy as TV chef Pete Evans is to dietary reason”; "For the nth time, Marx has almost no link with post-modern thought, but that Jordan sook is its lowest cross-disciplinary toilet”; “You’re not my real dad”, etc — he’ll read David Graeber’s Bullshit Jobs: A Theory, and recuperate. Might boost your recovery from the ills of life a little, too.

Graeber is a popular academic of the best, most omnivorous sort. Professor Peterson is basically a xerox of Malcolm Gladwell’s rejected TED talk notes on the topic of “Chicks: they’re just like that”.

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions

13 comments

Leave a comment

13 thoughts on “Razer: David Graeber cuts through the bullshit

  1. Whitehead Simon

    Jordan Peterson writes more clearly than Helen Razer

    1. AR

      Yeah, nah, as the kiddies say – it’s that damned grammar/syntax thangy makes it seem more readable.
      Like Beethoven’s muzak, it’s not really as bad as it sounds.

    2. LW

      Jordan clearly writes bullshit

    3. Lorraine Paul

      James Patterson writes for the semi-literate. Short paragraphs, very little descriptive passages. It isn’t exactly difficult to write ‘clearly’ if that is your goal.

  2. Desmond Graham

    Helen- There will be no bullshit jobs soon – it will be taken over by robots – 2 types First the mechanical /digital robots powered by digital algorithms. The other type [number 2] are the human living individuals who have been robotised by algorithms controlling their behaviour in the form of codes of conduct [eg anti bullying code, anti discrimination code]. The non digital code applying to humans is the analog code – in the form of masses of legislation. So humans do not produce thought anymore but compliance systems. So there is no production -this is now all produced by machines.
    Now there is a thought! Economic Ludovico techniques of Clockwork Orange.

    1. Lesley Graham

      Oh! yes Desmond… your observations are so on the money…the is a lot of the Clockwork Orange sort of stuff going on now in the workforce..It’s clear that the employers have through various approaches started to slowly but surely dismantle unions & their influence on the workforce…which has meant less connection to our work over the years & how we not only view it but also how we value our contribution…maybe the view around this has changed as the world is very different today than it was when I was a girl, that was only 40-50 years ago…so those who’re older are experiencing probably (the same) if not greater level of shock at the constancy of change, (I was in hospital recently & followed by a robot used to carry heavy machinery, it creeped me totally out)…I told the technician giving me my CT scan of my experience (he found it highly amusing)….this just highlights the effects & concerns around change & how people react towards it…as for bull shyte jobs, they are what they are, people need to just recognise that they’re a part of the modern era….

      1. MAC TEZ

        Des & Les Graham…any relation?

  3. Jaryd Fletcher

    Having just read Graeber’s Strike article – those ideas and Peterson’s could be seen as complementary.

  4. kyle Hargraves

    It is Sunday evening and I have been considering a reply to this article for quite some days. The options are (1) ignore the idiotic references to Peterson on this occasion and save them for next time or “attack” now. My better judgement induces me to the former option but the impetuousness of youth compels me to the latter.

    Firstly, the author of the article might case an eye over 12 (ought to be Twelve – American publishers for you nowadays!) Rules. I accept (as I have stated elsewhere on Crikey) that Peterson’s “assessment” of Economic/Social history for the last few hundred years is deficient in terms of evaluation what he has said and has written. There are other aspects, however, that are deserving of attention. It is fair to say that he is (1) anti-P.C, (2) anti-SJW, (3) anti-safe-anything but big (huge?) on free-speech (yes – literally – NO exclusions) and, less so, Nietzsche. At about this point the knee-jerker’s, who haven’t read a world of Prof Nietzsche but “know” all about him, commence whining.

    The whining includes any number of statements and assertions that are attributed to Peterson that Peterson could not have made – based entirely
    on the inconsistency of the implications. A principal virtue of Peterson is consistency. On the other hand it is now (nowadays) impossible to conduct a discussion with those who are wedded to the view that liberal (undefined) white (read latent racist) males (read aggressive {and latent rapists} even if they do say their prayers) can have no other objective than what is concealed as their implicit vocation that I have identified in the parenthesis. In other words : white + male + liberal-minded = bad. End of story!

    It is this wack-oo-ism that Peterson, with some justification, objects. Similar themes were inflicted (that is the word) onto students in courses with titles such as Eco Feminism. I’m told that one didn’t get to pass such courses unless there as a trace of acknowledgment to the doctrine in essays.

    Restating the matter, yet again, “inherent” claims of White Privilege (caps are intentional) OR (where OR implies AND – i.e. inclusive OR –> look it up) or an educated perspective amount to drivel in the first instance and a fact of life in the second. I accept that chucking about of terms such as Cultural Marxism doesn’t help – especially when such terms as strewn by those who haven’t a clue. In fact, for anyone yearning to give Peterson a label the word Conservative is as good as any – in its early 20th century sense.

    A colleague of the author pointed out in an essay in The Saturday Paper recently the idiotic slogan at a university that teaches engineering. The
    statement was “Don’t Study Problems : Solve Them”. Apparently it doesn’t occur to the dept of engineering at that university that a problem cannot be solved until it has been studied. Ditto for the analysis of Peterson on any particular topic that he either confronts or is put to him.

    To this end Peterson takes the view that some problems may not have a realistic solution; inequality (e.g. income, access to clean water for billions of people) oppression of various forms or justice (over a wide scale). It is not a case that the problems cannot be solved in principal but that under the current mode of production (i.e. capitalism) no solution can be expected so the best course of action is to “just get used to it”. Improvements may be made, willy-nilly, along the way (e.g. Civil Rights) but no eventual (utopian) solution will be forthcoming. In other words, the smart and intelligent thing to do is to learn to live with the (our) inherently imperfect systems. To the whining and yapping yahoos such a doctrine amounts to blatant racism and domination by whites. Go Figure!

    Some side issues.

    Peterson is rather dark on post-modernism for reasons that would require at least a 1,000 words. Suffice to observe that any assertion of Post Modernism
    is not susceptible to scientific enquiry in the form of (Karl) Popper or the principles of empiricism generally. The second side-issue is that of (so called) identity-politics – which Peterson deems to be a product of BOTH the Left (not clearly defined) and the Right (rather more so but limited). To this extent the Left and Right are, ironically, complementary. The third side issue is (to be blunt) journalism or inept reporting or ignorant prats scribbling on subjects they know nothing about. Ideological gurus if one prefers. The proclivities of a number of reporters who dislike Peterson have been exposed.

    Cleaning up the kitchen.

    With regard to the foregoing social ills (inequality etc) are a product of (1) arbitrary social structures that have their own social history (qua Marx if Peterson only knew it) and (2) inherent social aggression that his own research, analysing identical chemical compounds in the nervous systems of Crustations to mammals (utterly different Phylum!), confirms. The “side-issues”, presented above, maintain the ball in play and sell newspapers and magazines to a gullible public. But they don’t, materially, solve anything.

    Concluding on what some will regard as an obscure point it was Ruv, some time ago (when discussing Marx), who pointed out that one need not read The Origin of Species..” or Einstein’s field equations (i.e. the nonlinear partial D.Es that define the effects of gravity) to understand either evolution or relativity respectively. On the one hand I recognise Ruv’s point but .. never mind .. I’ll get to it some other time. The point here is that Peterson deserves to be taken “on the whole” and not selectively edited in regard to this reply or that reply. As for Graeber I am sure that his head will pop up again before too long which will provide an opportunity to critique (and compare) the two authors then.

    1. AR

      I rarely read your slabs of verbiage – a quick scan suffices – as they make Gerontius Henderson’s output seem as light’n’cheery as Ogden Nash or PG Wodehouse.
      However, it appears that other do – hi, Ruv! – and, to those so doughty, I would point out that life is too brief to waste.
      However, because the topic – wankerism – seems about to bring civilisation crashing down and I was fortified by my morning coffee, I cast caution, and common sense, to the wind and plunged in.
      Emerging, more or less unscathed and with consciousness intact, I agreed.
      A small point “… reasons that would require at least a 1,000 words.” – you probably meant another 1,000 (this wodge was only 984 to be fair).

      1. kyle Hargraves

        Oh I see AR : so the ideal reply ought to be as quick as liquor (or quicker). As to the article (and my comment) this gem, C\- of the ABC,
        has graced our screens : http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-04/denmark-burka-ban-niqab-muslim-europe-security-threats/9830848

        A glance over Sura 5 might have prevented a display of ought-right ignorance on the part of the author of the link. References to head-coverings (for females are there – i.e. khimar خِمَارٌ but even the requirement of a hijab is by no means clear. They are seldom seen in North Africa or (in better days) in Litakia (Syria) and not that frequently in Lebanon. Historically the practice (of female concealment) is Christian and NOT Muslim; a practice merely adopted by the latter.

        Such is the most extreme case of an ignorant scribbler that I found today without looking. There will be others tomorrow. As to a major cultural collision, NOT of religion but of identity politics and P.C., we (as a global community) are “right on track” as the vernacular would have it. I wonder if Peterson isn’t going to be the conductor.

        1. AR

          Kyle, in the 60s I regularly travelled in every muslim country from East Pakistan to Morocco (except for Saudi and the Trucial states – then under british aegis), often staying for as long as visas allowed (1-3 months, though the latter allowed 6 months).
          The only places where total shrouding was the norm was Afghanistan, specifically in the pathan south.
          North of Ghazni a chadoor was the norm and in Kabul (thanks King Zahir) 10-20% of younger women dressed in modest western clothing and the fly-mesh tea cozy of the south was rare.
          The Herati in the west considered themselves Persian and regarded the pathan as primitive yokels.
          In Morocco, the jelaba was very much a fashion item, highly competitive my female companions assured me and though many women did have the lower mask it would be discarded in a trice to eat and those eyes were more alluring than Bondi cleavage.
          The Berber women of course wore nothing islamic and were a riot of colour and flowing style.
          For the rest – former French colonies, British protectorates and newly independent Iraq & Syria – the women who were covered even slightly were usually rural folk come to town.
          Turkey was still under the Attaturk dictum – western clothes for men & women, end of.
          Iran was a case of forced modernisation by the Shah and the CIA trained Savaak and though chadoors were not uncommon in the far flung villages, on a dozen visits I never saw one in Tehran.

          1. kyle Hargraves

            An interesting review. Richard Burton (1821-90) the British, solidier, explorer, linguist and spy(?) made much the same comments in his books (having regard for the age, of course). It is interesting to observe just how ad-hoc particular religious behavious become. For example there was not the least authority in the Bible for the Puritans to behave (and dictate) as they did. If one visits the Wall in Jerusalem one will observe up to a dozen different types of Hasidic (or, roughly Orthodox – for the general reader – albeit variations in orthodoxy being the point). All religions are similarly affected. Local codes in regional Malaysia have a much greater influence the more “modern” centres.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details

Sending...