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Pathetic display by anti-peterson woke mob


Axiom 1. The purpose of an enterprise is not to assuage or submit to the immature predispositions of its most self-centred and querulous employees.


Rule 1.  Any employees at a publishing house who break down in tears when they hear a certain book is to be published should be kept far, far away from the author's promotional tour.  (Penguin Random House — take note.)

Enough is enough.  Who let the toddlers run the day care?

In the unlikely event you haven't heard, there has been a woke-monsoon at Penguin Random House Canada.  Tears were shed.  People wept.

Details I'll come to, but first some general principles.

The inanity, silliness, indulgence, narcissism and anti-rationality of the woke mobs have been tolerated and coddled far too long.  They should not be listened to.  They should be laughed at.  And they should never be given the slightest influence or leverage in the major decisions of the company that pays their salaries.

The woke mindset brings nothing to the table.  Its principal identifiers are but two: weeping and whining.  Both infallibly accompanied by "demands" for the weird thing they call a "safe space," which may most easily be defined as anywhere they can break out their toys and stage their incessant tantrums.

It is degrading to adult dignity and intellectual integrity to allow a woke mob sway or say over anything.  And most emphatically over what may or should be written or said.

The most prominent Canadian intellectual of our day, Jordan Peterson, has a followup book to his incredibly successful, international best-seller, 12 Rules for Life.  It sold millions.  12 Rules had an impact that no other book of its kind can pretend to.  It rocket-shot Dr. Peterson into world prominence and influence, and was a King Solomon's mine for its publishers.

And now ( this makes the teeth to grind) we hear that Penguin Random House (PRH) has endured one of those Mao-like "thought-sessions" that wokesters put on whenever they sense a wisp of a thought, or a fragment of opinion that injures their eggshell sensibilities, or threatens a dent to their highly-inflated and unendurably fragile self-esteem.  The princess and the pea-under-the-mattress is the woke template.

It is reported that staff at PRH held a meeting at which — and this from international headlines the day after — "staffers broke down in tears over release of (a new) Jordan Peterson book."

The staff meeting at PRH was described — it is disgraceful to learn this — as a "tearful town hall."  There was an "emotional outcry" from staff and "an effort by employees to pressure the company into cancelling" the release of Dr. Peterson's new book.

Ah yes, this makes sense; employees at a book company clamouring for a censorship veto over forthcoming books.  A little like bread-makers protesting dough.  Or dogwalkers allergic to barking.

The biggest question of all: Who do they think they are that they should judge him?

Emotional outcry?  Tearful?  People were weeping.  Did somebody die?  Was a favourite pet run over?  This precious bunch whined they "were ambushed" by the news.  Ambushed mind you — a very animated verb in this context.  Were they lured into the Canyon of Dangerous Books and bombarded from above with blurb-heavy dust jackets?  Perilous business this, working at a publisher's.

What it is, really, is just vanity holding hands with folly.  If there are people in full employment at a respected publishing house crying over a book yet to be published, and if there are actual tears rolling down social justice cheeks, because the company they work for has the gift of Jordan Peterson as one of its authors, it is probably too late: but send in the therapists.  By the busload.

What are the accomplishments of the would-be censors compared with Dr. Peterson's?  What are their intellectual attainments compared with his?  What have they written, what audiences have they attracted?  How many books have they sold?

Biggest question of all: Who do they think they are that they should judge him?

By what standards, intellectual or moral, do those who do not like what Dr. Peterson writes claim the right to shut him down?

Here's a few more questions I'll guarantee didn't come up at the "town hall."

Do they know more?  Have they read more deeply, more widely?  Are they as educated as he is?  Have they produced work of equal range and force?  Do they overmatch his intellect?

Just what, besides adolescent cowardice and bluster in the face of notions different from their own shielded and limited half-thoughts, do they have to offer the world?

It is time to be direct about these adolescent displays.  The lachrymose venting at Penguin Random House was a pathetic and embarrassing display of overindulged "activists" and cause-addicts.

Should Penguin Random House give so much as an inch on the cardinal idea of free expression, or bend a knee, so much a single centimetre, to still the clamours of the jejune Pharisees whose salaries it pays, then let it get out of the book trade and go into something honourable like refurbishing used tires.

The biggest question of all: Who do they think they are that they should judge him?



NationalPost Rex Murphy. "Pathetic display by anti-peterson woke mob." National Post  (November 26, 2020).

Reprinted by permission of the National Post.

The Author

Murphysmmurphy Rex Murphy was host of CBC Radio One's Cross-Country Checkup, a nation wide call-in show, for 21 years before stepping down in September 2015. Murphy is a frequent presence on the various branches of the CBC. He has regular commentary segments entitled "Point of View" on The National, the CBC's flagship nightly news program.  See Rex's TV commentaries. In addition, he writes book reviews, commentaries, and a weekly column for the National Post. He is the author of Canada and Other Matters of Opinion and Points of View.

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