Jordan Peterson Is Mad Because His Ideas Are Interchangeable With a Captain America Nazi

Brady Langmann
·5-min read
Photo credit: Elaine Chung
Photo credit: Elaine Chung

From Esquire

If you take nothing else from what you're about to read, know this: Ta-Nehisi Coates (National Book Award winner, MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, etc) has been writing a very-much-worth-checking-out Captain America comic book series for two and a half years now. Coates will wrap up his post-Black Panther run this summer. If you want to read something, you know, with some insight before the dumbassery ahead, check out Volume One of Cap x Coates here. It follows the recovery of an America that HYDRA actually manages to conquer at one point, thanks to a fake Cap declaring allegiance to the organization.

OK. Here we go. Captain America stories have always criticized the far-rights and problematic political foes of American yesteryear. Just look at The Falcon and the Winter Soldier using its post-Blipped world as a way into investigating the motivations of forum-lurking groups like QAnon. Now, Canadian psychology professor and guy you avoid at parties Jordan Peterson believes Coates used his philosophies in the newest issue of Captain America. We'll get to the panels in a second here, but one scene sees the villainous Red Skull pointing out the "10 RULES FOR LIFE"—which feels reminiscent of Peterson's rallying cry for angry little boys, 12 Rules for Life—which include "CHAOS AND ORDER," "KARL LUEGER'S GENIUS," and "THE FEMINIST TRAP." Nice. In another moment, Captain America riffs on America's weak, young men who are "looking for purpose," making them willing to live and die for anyone who challenges their secret greatness. This, again, is reminiscent of teachings from the dude who fears that "the masculine spirit is under assault."

Peterson, never one to not be online and miss such a thing, tweeted about the seeming parody, responding to both the Red Skull panel and the Cap dialogue. And to be clear, it's not apparent what, exactly, he's taking issue with—he merely asked questions about the panels and seems surprised that they existed in the first place.

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Coates hasn't responded to Peterson's tweets, so we can't yet confirm that the correlation was intentional. But it wouldn't be a stretch to think that Coates, a longtime contributor to the left-leaning magazine, The Atlantic, and critic of America's racist past and present, would take aim at Peterson. Even if he didn't, that hasn't stopped the merry rage gang from chiming in. Conservatives seem mostly upset at the possibility of Peterson's ideas being worked into the philosophies of Red Skull, whose origins, historically, are that of a Nazi general officer.

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Aside from the Shapiros out there, people are mostly just enjoying the same thing conservatives are upset with—that the psych professor is upset that he may have been the inspiration for a Nazi-adjacent villain.

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Intentional or not, Coates implementing the culture of the anti-PC bro into a Cap comic is comic and critical gold. Of course, Peterson has long been criticized for several of his views on political correctness and feminism. Aside from that, though—and this might be what this seeming comic-book criticism was getting at —Peterson's followers have been accused of extreme Internet trolling and abuse. In 2018, British journalist Cathy Newman challenged Peterson’s arguments in an interview and says she promptly received death threats. “There were literally thousands of abusive tweets—it was a semi-organized campaign,” she said. “It ranged from the usual ‘cunt, bitch, dumb blonde’ to ‘I’m going to find out where you live and execute you.’” So it makes sense that a Cap comic would detail the radicalization of an army of idle young men.

Besides that, it's a shame that Red Skull exists in play-pretend comic book world. You really get the sense that the guy could benefit from making his bed every day. Can someone ship a copy of 12 Rules to the HYDRA headquarters?

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