Given that I just got raked over the coals for taking the name of Frozen in vain, this was particularly intriguing to me:
In your new book 12 Rules For Life, you’re very critical of Frozen. Why do you call it “deeply propagandistic”? It attempted to write a modern fable that was a counter-narrative to a classic story like, let’s say, Sleeping Beauty — but with no understanding whatsoever of the underlying archetypal dynamics. You could say that Sleeping Beauty was raised out of her unconsciousness via a delivering male. Another way of reading the story is that unconsciousness requires active consciousness as an antidote. And the unconsciousness is symbolized in that particular story by femininity and active consciousness by masculinity. I could hardly sit through Frozen. There was an attempt to craft a moral message and to build the story around that, instead of building the story and letting the moral message emerge. It was the subjugation of art to propaganda, in my estimation.
Not just a lovely story about sisterhood? No, not just a lovely story about sisterhood. No, ‘fraid not. No, you don’t spend tens of millions of dollars on a carefully crafted narrative that’s just a lovely story unless that’s what you’re trying to tell. That isn’t what the people who made Frozen were trying to tell. Not in my estimation.
You regard it as more propagandistic than say, The Little Mermaid? Those other movies are based on folktales that are maybe — some of those folktales have been traced back 13,000 years.
Aren’t we allowed to make up new stories? Not for political reasons.
Who gets to choose what’s propaganda? I mean, they’re Disney movies. None of them are super subtle. Well, that’s a good question. I wrote a whole book, Maps of Meaning, about that. It’s about 500 pages long, and it’s an attempt to answer that really complicated question. A properly balanced story provides an equal representation of the negative and positive attributes of I could say the world, but it’s actually a being. Harry Potter’s a good example. So Harry’s the hero, right. But he’s tainted with evil. There’s a dark and a light in every bit of that narrative. It’s well balanced. And in the propagandistic story, you don’t see that. You see the darkness all being in one place and the light all being in one place.
Note the bobbing and weaving. On the one hand it’s “just a simple Disney movie” and thus beneath critique. On the other? The reviewer will throw every challenge to Peterson’s perspective that he can come up with! When the phenomenally successful psychologist is talking, everything is suspect and nothing is clear. But it’s somehow crystal clear that there’s nothing to see here. This is then capped off with a variant of Cathy Newman’s “what gives you the right to say that?” Because once every objection has been answered, it’s all the interviewer has left!
It’s weird. There’s a perspective in front of him that is like kryptonite to him… it’s solid, coherent, potentially compelling to a not insignificant audience. What to do?! Disqualify the person defending the position, that’s what. And if you can’t do that, call into question his very right to speak a contrary opinion at all.
The moral of this particular fairy-tale? No one has the right to counter the narrative under any circumstance. Even when it’s baked into a ludicrous children’s movie.