Jordan Peterson's Lobster Apparel Has Questionable Undertones
Jordan Peterson, the controversial University of Toronto professor and author, has become a public figure beyond his academic background thanks to his YouTube following. His videos touch on topics like political correctness in academia, mandated monogamy, and how never eating vegetables is somehow good for you. He’s been a pariah of sorts in the academic community due to his bold (and sometimes outdated) opinions, but has gained followers who like what they perceive as a “tells it like it is” persona.
So, him selling merchandise seems like a logical step to capitalize on his popularity. What’s a bit more confusing is why he would make a whole line of merchandise based on lobsters.
Check out the the new Lobster Collection merchandise available at @teespring: https://t.co/lhqK4WMisH
Keep an eye out for more collections to be added in the coming weeks! pic.twitter.com/gIBG0dk5hQ
— Dr Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) March 17, 2019
The reason is sort of an odd one, actually.
It relates to an argument Peterson makes that social hierarchies are natural, and because lobsters supposedly adhere to hierarchies by their very nature, they’re OK in the human end of the animal kingdom, too. We naturally “know our place” in the world and either feel superior or inferior to others down to our smallest molecules, he claims. Here’s a quote, courtesy of New York Magazine:
Lobsters exist in hierarchies. They have a nervous system attuned to the hierarchy. And that nervous system runs on serotonin, just like our nervous systems do. And the nervous system of the lobster and of the human being is so similar that antidepressants work on lobsters. It’s part of my attempt to demonstrate that the idea of hierarchy has absolutely nothing to do with sociocultural construction. Which it doesn’t.
So, if you felt compelled to back Peterson’s claim that hierarchies are natural and good because lobsters are down with it, you can cough up $34 for a T-shirt, $31 for a beach towel, or $48 for a hoodie with a lobster all-over print.
This is Peterson’s latest means of raising money in addition to his legitimate academic salary at the University of Toronto, after leaving the crowdfunding site Patreon.
So, consider this when you see lobsters all over someone’s shirt this summer. It might not just mean that they like “The Little Mermaid.”