I finally slogged my way through the latest (5/18/18) Munk debate. I only learned of it because my YouTube feed kept pushing clips from it of Jordan Peterson. What a slovenly presentation. Ostensibly, this was to be an argument regarding political correctness as opposed to free speech. However, beyond the opening monologues, any pretense of decorum on the side of one, a Mr. Dyson, was dispensed with, and the discussion soon devolved from its subject. I know nothing of the man outside of this video, but his reprehensible manner was incredible to the level of farce. Had this been a scene in a movie, were I its critic, I would have said the presentation was an offensive caricature.
Somewhat offsetting this, the actor Stephen Fry waxed eloquently. His points hit home, and his soft spoken humor so far outclassed Mr. Dyson’s vitriol as to almost redeem the evening. It was eloquence as opposed to babble, reason as opposed to sloganeering.
I very much liked Peterson’s opening. Though at the start I wondered if he hadn’t wandered off of the topic, the broad view he presented served wonderfully to reveal the ideology behind political correctness.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I can’t say much of Michelle Goldberg. Upstaged by the antics of her counterpart, she hardly left an impression. I will say that replaying some of her arguments gets me no closer to understanding them, and at one point Mr. Fry even challenges her argument as supporting the free speech position.
All in all, this was a very poor debate, and not worth the two hours. Catch Peterson’s opening statement, find some clips of Fry’s wit, but in general skip the intellectually debased, verbose ramblings which cast a pall over the night.
(Should any masochists wish, you may watch the debate here.)