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Captain Woke vs Jordan Peterson

The progressives’ latest offering of ‘woker-tainment’ shows they are more interested in political posturing than creating beautiful or meaningful art. The Nazi supervillain ‘Red Skull’, in Marvel’s recently released Captain America comic, is a parody of one of the favourite woke targets — Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson. 

In the story, Red Skull has ’10 rules for life’, encourages young men to ‘find purpose’, and talks about ‘chaos and order.’ These are easily identifiable quotes and lessons drawing on Peterson’s famed  first book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, which sold five million copies.

To the woke, pop culture … and all entertainment for that matter … is simply a set of tools to proselytise progressive pieties.  The Grammy-winning rap song WAP was praised, not for its lyrical genius, but for being an “empowering anthem”, and challenging ‘the patriarchy.’ In reality, the lyrics are more akin to what one would find scrawled on the wall of a public restroom.

Likewise, rapper, Lil Nas X’s latest music video was celebrated for being “unapologetically queer.” The video, in which Mr Nas X, slides down to hell to engage in a rather risqué performance with the Devil is quite a departure for a performer who once appeared on Sesame Street.

But when the goal is to produce supposedly shocking, Satanic imagery — a motif Marilyn Manson well and truly wore-out 20 years ago — moving from Elmo to Lucifer’s lap, and on to releasing shoes that allegedly contained human blood, is a natural career progression.    

The overtly political nature of these performances is not only dull, but also turning off consumers. The pop culture review site Rotten Tomatoes has now become famous for continuously producing reviews where there is a massive gulf between the critics and the audience.

Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby’s stand-up routine Nanette scored 100% with the critics but only 26% with the audience. Dave Chappelle’s Sticks and Stones comedy performance, scored 99% with audiences but 35% with critics, who claimed: “it won’t elicit many laughs.”     

Similarly, the unapologetically conservative American news site, The Daily Wire, has branched out into entertainment with its first feature film: Run, Hide, Fight. And (entirely predictably) the critics gave it a measly 44%, while the audience scored it at 93%.

Politics has always infused art. Captain America himself — who was first devised in the 1940s — was an expression of American values and attempted to galvanise Americans around a common enemy. 

But what the woke are doing now is overtly using pop culture, and well-established characters to lecture consumers about politics; and in the process, sowing division. This strategy is not only designed to advance their political agenda, but ensure they can easily dismiss criticism of their work.  

Any criticism of certain pop stars such as Cardi B, Beyonce, and Ariane Grande, is often dismissed as simply being racist or sexist; therefore reassuring the performers of their creative genius and mocking their critics as uneducated, rubes.

The sneering tone of those mocking Peterson — for objecting to the parodying of his work — is also telling.  Keyboard journalists, the ones who mine Twitter for stories, teased Peterson for being ‘shocked’, ‘upset’, and ‘mad.’ The absurdity of using the teachings of an academic who has spent the past 30 years trying to understand the horrors of the totalitarian regimes of Nazism, and Communism, in the hope society can avoid repeating the same mistakes, was obviously lost on them.

But, then again, missing the point is the default function of woke whiners.  There are many reasons we listen to a piece of music, or watch a film. The most engaging, successful, and enduring stories tend to tell us something about the human condition.

Therefore, when we feel we are being patronised, mocked, or insulted by rich, famous, talentless ‘entertainers’ — who would rather sneer at us than take the time to learn and perfect a craft to produce high-quality art — it is reasonable that we will go elsewhere.

As the woke-artists, and their enabling critics, continue to produce drivel and insist it is ‘stunning and brave’, they should not be surprised if we turn off from content that overtly hates and insults us.  

Monica Wilkie is a Policy Analyst at the Centre for Independent Studies.

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