By David Futrelle
Some public intellectuals are so public that they inspire entire mini-genres of memes. One can find innumerable memes featuring the indomitable Marxist philosopher and hot dog fan Slavoj Zizek, left icon Noam Chomsky, and panopticon theorist Michel Foucault; even someone as seemingly memeproof as Susan Sontag has inspired a few. Lesser intellects like antifeminist think-tanker Christina Hoff Sommers and wannabe thinker Ben Shapiro have somehow inspired memes of their own.
Then there’s Jordan Peterson. The reactionary Canadian fussbudget psychologist has inspired more than his fair share of memes, of course. But he also inspires something more: actual fan art — paintings and drawings that have been fussed over for hours.
Some are near-photo-realistic portraits, skillfully done if not terribly original — most are copied or traced directly from photos circulating online. Though done with love and a great deal of earnestness, they’re not always what you might call flattering to Dr. P. (Click on any of the pics below to see the full-sized originals.)
The further they get from their photo originals, the weirder they become. This guy almost gets the head right, but he seems to have used a package of hot dogs as his reference for Dr. P’s fingers.
I don’t know what this guy was thinking; he’s clearly got some technical skills but the results don’t look much like Dr. P or anyone else in particular.
This alleged portrait of the not-so-good doctor looks more like a black velvet painting of some rockabilly artist no one’s ever heard of.
Here Dr. P looks a bit like a startled deer.
Here he looks about 14 years old:
The proportions in this one are so far off I can only conclude it was drawn while looking in a funhouse mirror.
Oh, they get weirder.
… and even weirder than that.
In case you’re really taken with Zombie Peterson here, you can buy an 28″ by 28″ art print of him for the low, low price of $53.99 — reduced to $37.79 if you act by midnight tonight!!!1!!
But the strangest bit of Peterson fan art I’ve seen thus far has to be anime Peterson, complete with the requisite huge eyes and hair that seems to have been borrowed from Milo Yiannopoulos.
It’s the kind of art that makes you ask yourself WHY WHY WHY?
Look, I understand why people do fan art — if you’ve got the talent (and even if you don’t) it’s fun to draw pics of your pop star idols or your favorite characters from a show you love. It’s possible that when I was in college I might have drawn/traced pics of Prince and Adam Ant because, I dunno, I liked their music and thought they looked cool. But I was never tempted to draw pictures of my intellectual idols, who were decidedly less glamorous and, more importantly, it just would have seemed wrong somehow, at odds with the sort of skepticism and critical thinking that they promoted.
Drawing glamorized pictures of Jordan Peterson seems even more wrong. Idolized as a Great Thinker for our age, he’s actually a ponderous lightweight offering little more than reheated Jung mixed with assorted reactionary bromides. When he moves beyond the trite — “Clean your room” — he can barely write a coherent sentence to save his life. He’s a misogynist and a transphobe and a dietary crank.
Yes, I made fun of most of these pictures. But I’m much less bothered by the assorted artistic failures on display here than I am by the fact that these drawings exist at all. Peterson doesn’t deserve fans, much less fan art. Find someone or something better to draw. Might I suggest kitties?
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