Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Jordan Peterson vs. Queer-Eye: The Battle For Aimless And UNLOVED Men....,


opendemocracy |  In each ‘Queer Eye’ episode, the ‘Fab Five’ co-hosts give a struggling hero – usually a depressed man – a lifestyle refresh: teaching him to cook something scrumptious, buying him stylish clothes, grooming him, doing up his house and supporting him to confront troubles in their life.

What this means for each character varies. But the underlying message of every cry-athon episode is the same. Toxic masculinity and competitive ultra-capitalism have taught men life lessons which make us miserable. To find joy, we need to unlearn.

While reality TV is notoriously cruel, the ‘Queer Eye’ cast specialise in kindness. Each of them opens up about their own struggles: grooming expert Jonathan Van Ness is an HIV+ non-binary former sex worker and ex-meth addict. Interior designer Bobby Berk is estranged from his Bible-belt family, and was a homeless teenager.

Culture expert Karamo Brown is of Jamaican-Mexican heritage, grew up “very poor” and became a father at 17. Fashion aficionado Tan France comes from a “very strict” Muslim household in Doncaster, and is one of the first openly gay people of South Asian descent on a major show. Chef Antoni Porowski, the son of Polish migrants to Canada, is estranged from his mother.

Each episode, I would sob to a stream of touching moments and familiar feelings, and an unbearable pressure would slip from my chest.

Far Right masculinity 
As I gossiped around that Veronese conference hall, I realised I had rarely met people who so desperately needed to learn from the Fab Five.

The event was a sort of rally for far Right forces hoping to storm the European elections. But the combination of speakers seemed a bit incongruous: Catholic bishops and alt-Right YouTube stars; Italian far Right politicians and American evangelical pastors. While most started their speeches by announcing the enormous number of children they had fathered – as though success comes with the capacity to ejaculate – they were otherwise an odd mix.

When you met their audience, it all made sense. This was a world which gave struggling men meaning. Rather than helping us confront our demons, it suggested we worship them, weaving myths about masculine superiority, encouraging a world in which husbands and fathers are mini-dictators. A world where “the strong and the weak will know their place”, as Franco’s great grandson, the self-proclaimed heir to the French throne, declared from the main stage.

The key preacher in this world wasn’t any priest. He wasn’t even there: it was Jordan Peterson.