Jordan Peterson is the most important public intellectual today. His only rival for pertinence and importance is Douglas Murray. By chance I was listening to Dr. Peterson’s podcast this afternoon in the car for quite a while and I had to turn him off. The ostensible subject was a Jungian interpretation of Disney’s the Lion King. But the tone of voice, the breathlessness, the apparent shouting (though he was not raising his voice): it was all wrong. It was all wrong for an enclosed space. It might have been effective in the presence of the large audience he was addressing, yet as a podcast, he entirely violated the basic rule of the radio: that you are talking into someone’s living room, that you are talking into someone’s ear.
My wife said he sounded extremely anxious. We spoke about his health problems. He seems to be a candle burning at both ends.
Peterson, by contrast, is exhasuting to listen to. He is like a man juggling chainsaws trying to recite the Iliad. All you hear is the ragged voice reciting the Iliad, and you cannot see him juggling the invisible chainsaws, but you can hear the effort. Jordan, please breathe deeply and do some enthogenic drugs and come to grips with your demons in a safe space. I wish you all the best and I do not want you to flame out. See Blade Runner for guidance.