So yesterday was a really interesting day! I went to work, then went to go see Jordan Peterson, and then finally went out partying with friends. The things that are interesting in those three things are as follows: the energy of the crowd, the drinks afterwords, and how stupidly expensive Singapore Sam’s is.
If I’m walking on the street with a bunch of people, I feel safe – or rather, I don’t feel unsafe. People are going from one place to another, and you’re part of that traffic. But with crowds, I always feel unsafe.
Crowds always feel like powder kegs, or a room full of oxygen. All of the particles have immense potential energy, and it just takes one little *pop* to make it go boom. That’s what I feel with crowds: they have potential, and they have a life of their own. You can never know what’ll happen in a crowd, but you can feel the energy around you waiting to be released.
When I went to Peterson’s event on Friday, that’s exactly what I felt. It felt exactly like that scene in How to Train Your Dragon where Toothless and Hiccup are flying with Astrid right after she discovers them, and then they get caught up in a crowd (is that the word ) of dragons. Hiccup was like “everyone shut up! We’re going incognito, and we’re going to watch what’s going around us very, very closely.
I was curious to see the demographics for Peterson’s event. You see, I was a mega fan of his around a year ago, and I just couldn’t shut up about him and I would bring him up in every conversation. But I grew out of that this last semester, when my wise roommates called me out for not existing – basically, if all you’re doing is mouthing what Peterson says, then you’re possessed by him.
When you’re possessed, you’re don’t exactly exist, because you don’t speak your own words – you just speak those of other people’s. Anyways, my roommates shook me out of that, and they said that they wanted to speak to me, not to Peterson, and I knew they were right. So I kind of grew out of him. Also, his stuff started to get more and more boring – I had listened to all of his lectures and if I didn’t know what he was going to say next, I could finish what he was saying if he started it.
This was the same at the Peterson event – I caught myself thinking about other stuff multiple times, but if I wanted to, I could have just gone back to listening to Peterson. Anyways.
All of the people in the audience were like who I was – puppets of Peterson. They were enthralled at this public intellectual who knew all the answers, who was charismatic, and who was a self help coach, a psychologist, a neuroscientist, a smart person, just about everything!
And I felt unsafe because of that. When walking towards the Jack Singer Concert hall, more and more people started to show up by my side. It was as if we were all walking to church. A part of me was amazed, but a much bigger part of me was suspicious and cautious: I watched the hell out.
There were a lot of really attractive young men there. And they did seem to possess that youthful go getter attitude that all young men possess. There were women as well, but for some reason, they didn’t stand out. When they did, they seemed to be there as a couple: their boyfriends or husbands probably were fans of Peterson, and the girlfriends were fans of the boyfriends, so they wanted to see who these guys were talking about.
Dave Rubin was present at the event, opening up for Jordan with a few crackly lines. Cathy Newman Jokes, Saskatchewan jokes, so on and so forth. He did say that Calgary was the most electric audience he had ever seen on the tour, and that’s saying something, cause they had been to 40 cities so far together.
But yeah, I was really surprised to see so many young men in the audience seats. I can understand why so many journalists come and talk about the straight white men, and how they also made a step and talked about the straight white angry men. Because that energy in the crowd was for someone like me, indistinguishable from a crowd of people who wanted revenge, or who had anger. They had potential, and everyone could feel it.
It might be because I never really fit in during my teen years, or because I’m just that smart (I’m probably not), but I’ve never felt comfortable in a crowd. There’s a potential energy there, an anticipation, which I feel is too powerful to resist. Maybe that’s why protests are so effective. When you’re in them, you feel like you’re a part of something bigger. I wonder what all of the people in the crowd were like individually.