Troll Detection

After 20 years on the Internet, my troll detector has become pretty finely-tuned.  I can usually spot a troll (loosely defined as someone who engages in the discussion dishonestly in some manner, for the sole purpose of derailing it) within a few exchanges, and there have only been a couple times that I identified a troll and then discovered I was wrong.  I suppose I can attribute it to many years on Usenet, the original breeding ground of Internet trolls.

One of the most difficult trolls to spot is the concern troll — especially for nice guys, because the concern troll is always polite and acts like he’s trying to understand.  It’s a method of attack that strikes directly at the Nice Guy’s weak spot: wanting to be nice and help the needy.  So to help others in fine-tuning their own concern troll detectors, here’s how a conversation with one goes:

  • Concern Troll: I’m totally with you guys, but I’m not sure I feel right about this one little thing [which is really the entire premise/strategy under discussion].
  • Normal Human: You’re wrong or you misunderstand. Let me explain/clarify it for you….
  • CT: Ah, that helps a lot. Thanks so much, I get it now. You guys are really awesome. But I’m still not sure about [repeat previous objection in different wording].
  • NH: You’re still not getting it, but maybe I didn’t explain it well. Allow me to explain further.
  • CT: Ok, I really get it this time. I have so much respect for you guys. But [repeat objection, again with different wording].
  • NH: I’m starting to think you’re thick, but you’re being polite, so I can’t be mean to you. I’ll try again. Here’s what you’re still missing.
  • CT: Wow, that really helps. It seems like you’re saying [repeat objection in new words again which completely misstate what NH just said].
  • NH: Ok, I’m done. [Wishes this conversation were taking place in real life so he could punch CT in the face.]

The first question is free. Anyone can have an honest misunderstanding. After that, you get three strikes. I can usually spot a concern troll after 1 or 2 strikes and predict the third, but the third is always decisive.  Incidentally, if you blow up his game by pointing out what he’s doing, he won’t respond with umbrage as a normal person would.  He’ll claim to respect you even more, insist that he’s really trying to understand and beg for your help, and then if you fall for it he’ll go right back to the above script.

Note that this is not about disagreement. Honest men disagree all the time. If you disagree, just say so, and argue your case if you want.  Maybe we’ll go back and forth, maybe one of us will change the other’s mind or maybe he won’t, but we’ll walk away respecting each other at the end. The concern troll doesn’t openly disagree; he pretends to agree while picking away at the premise with his “concerns.”

So that’s the process and what to watch for. It’s at least 99% accurate for me. If that’s too complicated, here’s a simpler detector: imagine that the conversation is taking place in real life. If you would feel compelled to punch the guy in the face in less than 5 minutes, you’re probably talking to a troll.  If you’re not sure why, and you feel kinda bad about wanting to punch him because he seems nice, then you’re probably talking to a concern troll.

Aging Like an Old Cheese

During my short stint in college, a few people tried nicknaming me Arnold because I looked like Schwarzenegger.  I wasn’t nearly that built, not to mention several inches shorter, but I was in good shape, and had a similar face, I guess.  And this was the Predator/Terminator era, not Twins/Kindergarten Cop, so that was pretty cool, though I didn’t really get it until years later.

So I was just watching a newer Meat Loaf video, and realized now I look like Meat Loaf.  Which might be kinda cool in its own way.

Except that I still sing like Arnold.

Taking 5-1 on Roosh vs. MGTOWs

Vox posted a video by Roosh about a schism that’s going on in part of the manosphere. The first thing I saw claimed it’s between Roosh and Rollo, but the video makes it sound like it’s really between Roosh and a group of MGTOWs who dominate the red-pill subreddit. I’ve never been there, but based on the way many MGTOWs have been acting elsewhere lately, my immediate sympathies are with Roosh.

I’ve been following the general topic of socio-sexual relations since the mid-1990s, when I discovered Ross Jeffries’s work and the Usenet group alt.seduction.fast. Back then, the main focus was on practical results: how to be attractive to women and succeed with them – how to get the number, the date, the kiss, the lay, etc. Common topics were pick-up lines and specific techniques for the point of attack, along with self-improvement methods for looks and bearing.  NLP and hypnotism were big.

Over the years, the scope and the body of knowledge have expanded greatly and shifted. There’s been an increased focus on overall philosophy and less on specific techniques. Christians have carved out a section of what was previously a completely secular movement, offering a scriptural alternative to the evo-psych explanations that had dominated. The scope expanded from getting a lay or relationship to include maintaining one, and even to cover marriage.

The vocabulary has changed too. How many guys in the manosphere today know what I mean if I say, “I went out sarging last night and split a mixed three-set with an AMOG destroyer, then took the HB8 for two venue changes before heading back to my place. Hit too much LMR, though, so I had to settle for the k-close”? Terms like manosphere and red pill came along later.

And yet, from my perspective, there’s been an ongoing, organic development from then to now. So Roosh’s “Manospherians, I am your father” routine just makes me laugh. (But as a rhetorical device to smack around MGTOWs: awesome, go for it.) He’s been one of the critical developers, but he built on the work of others just as others have built on his. The manosphere has many “fathers” who have changed or added to it, and it’s such a loose confederation that there may be no one man who could write an accurate history of the whole thing. One of the biggest influences for me was DeAngelo, whose DYD assembled a ton of good info and presented it well, but if you missed him and caught someone else, you might not count him at all.

One difference between now and then which this has brought to my attention, is that back in the “sarging” days, all the guys involved in the discussion liked women. Some only liked them for sex, but that’s why they were there: they wanted a woman/women and needed help to make that happen. It wasn’t until the last few years that the manosphere started picking up a lot of men who really don’t like women – they don’t want a woman at all, or at least claim not to want one. That wouldn’t be a problem, except that many of them seem to think it’s their mission to convince other men to emulate them. They’re not willing to Go Their Own Way alone; they’re determined to take all other men with them. My impression is that the thinking is, “If I can’t be getting laid and happy with a woman, no one else should be either.”

So if Roosh is under attack from MGTOWs, I’m on his side. I can’t say I’m thrilled about the term “neomasculinity,” though. “Neo” makes me think of “neo-conservative” and “neo-Catholic,” and in both of those cases the “neo” actually means “not really but pretending to be.” I’m willing to be convinced, though, or maybe someone will come up with a better term. (Obviously we don’t need a “new masculinity,” as original-recipe masculinity would work just fine, but I understand the need for a catchy term.) “Ortho-masculinity”? Nah, too much of a mouthful.

“Red pill” was a handy term because everyone saw the movie and instantly got what it meant – seeing the true reality behind the “pretty lies,” to use Roissy’s term. It was never perfect, though, and I’ve seen some confusion between red/blue pill and pink/blue science fiction (where blue is good), not to mention the backwards red/blue states in US politics, so maybe it’s time to get away from that anyway.

A last thought: one great thing about Men is that we can disagree, even beat each other bloody over it, and then shake hands and walk away as respectful associates, if not friends. We don’t have to do the SJW thing of deciding who/whom and then casting the whom into the outer darkness. Yet that’s increasingly how the vocal MGTOW subset works (which supports the recent observations I’ve seen about how they act like women). I hope Roosh and Rollo are both able to handle this like Men and not let the troublemakers drag them down to their level. I’m more familiar with Rollo’s work (he’s written a ton of foundational stuff) than Roosh’s, but they both deserve the respect and thanks of countless men. We wouldn’t gain by losing either of them.

Blue Pill Movies: Independence Day

Donal reminded me on my last post that I also wanted to do an analysis of Independence Day, so here it is.  First, let’s look at the four main “heroes.”  On the plus side, they’re all men; you probably couldn’t do that now.  But how manly are they?  Let’s look:

1. An alcoholic widower who’s screwing up his business by flying drunk.  He’s a father (a plus), but his kids appear to pretty much take care of themselves, and perhaps him, while he screws up in ways that probably make it hard for them to get by.

2. The President, who is pushed around by his underlings until being mentally attacked by an alien appears to give him a testosterone boost.  His wife and female chief of staff are both more assertive than he.  When the movie opens, he’s home playing Mr. Mom while his wife is doing something political across the country.

3. A handsome, clearly alpha, fighter pilot with the qualifications to be an astronaut, but (according to his friend) NASA keeps turning him down because he’s shacked up with a single-momma stripper.  Of course, she’s the good kind of stripper, who’s just doing it for her baby, instead of a head-case who hooks on the side for crack money. When he marries her before going on the Final Mission, he apologizes for taking so long.  We don’t see her thank him for overlooking all her baggage.

4. A nerdy, environmentalist tech guy whose ex-wife (the aforementioned chief of staff) divorced him three years earlier because he wasn’t ambitious enough to suit her.  He was happy with his job and his recycling obsession and their marriage just the way they were, but apparently she thought he should be out chasing Nobel prizes or something.  This is presented as a sad thing, but completely understandable on her part.  He’s still pining for her to the point of continuing to wear his wedding ring, so it’s up to her whether they’re together or not, and that’s how it should be.  She starts to tingle for him again when he saves the world.

The three women characters — the stripper, the chief of staff, and the First Lady — are cool and competent at all times, whether running from fireballs or even dying.

I don’t think it would be exaggerating to call this movie a defining moment of its era.  It was the largest-grossing movie of 1996, breaking records and winning awards.  Everyone saw it and was quoting it.  Everyone remembers the scene of the helicopter swinging away from the White House as it explodes, and the alien ship blasting the buildings with people waiting on top to meet them, causing city-wide explosions for people to run from.  (Fireballs were really, really slow in the mid-90s.)  Tied to July 4th as it was, it reconstructed the idea of non-ironic, fist-pumping, pro-military patriotism as something good, as long as it had a global flavor.

So in this movie everyone was watching and imitating 18 years ago (about the time today’s marriage-delaying 30-year-old girl was growing up), what did we learn?

  • Men have a lot of flaws. Women don’t seem to.
  • Men are sometimes able to get better, maybe good enough to deserve a woman, if they work really hard to redeem themselves and meet her expectations.  Saving the world may improve a man’s odds.
  • Strippers with other men’s children are smart, capable, classy, and generally great wife material.
  • If a man’s wife falls out of love with him, it’s not her fault, and is probably his.
  • A father without a mother will probably crack and be the kind of guy you wouldn’t let take care of your goldfish, let alone some kids.

Am I forgetting any?

Blue Pill Movie: Godzilla (1998)

I used to think 80s teen movies were blue-pill, but most of them are really a decent mix of blue and red.  I’ve been catching up on more recent movies lately, thanks to RiffTrax, and I’ve come to realize that newer action movies are far more blue-pill, often overwhelmingly so.

Maria Pitillo (hot girl)

Maria Pitillo (hot betrayer)

Case in point, the Godzilla film made in 1998 (extremely stupid movie; great RiffTrax).  Matthew Broderick plays a scientist who’s studying the effects of radiation on earthworms — pretty much the very definition of undatable nerd.  In his science nerd van, he carries around a collage of pictures of his old girlfriend (Maria Pitillo), who we later find out left him eight years ago, and it appears he’s been pining away for her ever since.  She’s ridiculously cute with a tremendous body, but it’s never explained how he got her in the first place.  She tells her friends they were together for four years.  He proposed, and she turned him down (of course, since she’s at least a 9 and he’s a worm scientist who looks like Matthew Broderick, so she wasn’t about to settle for him).  She ran off to New York to try to become a famous reporter, but didn’t even have the guts to break up with him, just ran off without a call or a letter.

Vicki Lewis (invisible girl)

Vicki Lewis (invisible girl)

Meanwhile, Vicki Lewis (from NewsRadio) is basically throwing herself at him from the moment they meet.  She’s no 10, but she’s not ugly either, but he barely sees her because he’s still waiting for Cutie.

When he and Cutie inevitably bump into each other while he’s saving the world and she’s being an annoying junior reporter, she accuses him of still being angry and causing her feelbad. He gives her the mildest rebuke in history for leaving him without a word after four years together, so she acts hurt and starts to walk away, until he apologizes to her for his rudeness, and then things are okay.  She sees his collage of pictures of her that he’s been carrying around — even in the middle of saving the world — and instead of being creeped out, she’s touched.

  • So, she dumped him, in a particularly hurtful way, but it’s his job to make her feel okay about it.  Check.
  • He stayed loyal and waited for her for 8 years while she Pursued Her Dreams.  Check.
  • She never apologizes for the dumping, and he takes her back without the slightest repentance or penance.  Check.
  • His one-itis touches her heart and brings her back, instead of driving her away again or telling her she can blow him off for another ten years because he’s sure to keep waiting.  Check.

It’s got it all, all the blue-pill lies about how to get a girl (or how to get her back, in this case), what they find attractive, how caving in and being nice works better than standing up to them, etc.

There are a couple of very small red-pill truths, though, if you look hard enough (in a way, there have to be, to set up the blue-pill lies).  For instance, the way a man being more in love with a woman than she is with him, and making her too comfortable by proposing, can push her away.  That’s the one true note here.  Unfortunately, the typical Nice Guy who needs to learn that lesson will miss it; he’ll focus on all the rest, and come away thinking, “Okay, so I just need to keep waiting for my runaway Princess, doting on her from afar, avoiding attachments with other women, until I get a chance to save her from a giant lizard someday — and then I’d better remember to be nice to her and not push her away again.”

He should have grabbed the girl who doted on him, burned the nostalgia pics, and then told the ditz he had better things to do than rehash old news.

Corwin and Hugi, the End

This is my favorite part of the Corwin & Hugi story, so I’m finally getting around to it:

“I can’t beat it across that place,” I whispered. “There is no way.”

“You say you have failed,” Hugi said. “But this is not so. There is neither failure nor victory in striving. It is all but an illusion of the ego.”

I rose slowly to my knees.

“I did not say that I had failed.”

“You said that you cannot go on to your destination. [….] No, Corwin. Resignation is the greatest virtue you might cultivate.”

I raised my head and lowered the staff to the ground. Hugi fluttered down to stand beside it and I regarded him.

“You do not want to believe any of the things that I said, do you?” I told him. “It does not matter, though. The conflict between our views is irreducible. I see desire as hidden identity and striving as its growth. You do not.” I moved my hands forward and rested them on my knees. “If for you the greatest good is union with the Absolute, then why do you not fly to join it now, in the form of the all-pervading Chaos which approaches? If I fail here, it will become Absolute. As for me, I must try, for so long as there is breath within me, to raise up a Pattern against it. I do this because I am what I am, and I am the man who could have been king in Amber.”

Hugi lowered his head.

“I’ll see you eat crow first,” he said, and he chuckled.

I reached out quickly and twisted his head off, wishing that I had time to build a fire. Though he made it look like a sacrifice, it is difficult to say to whom the moral victory belonged, since I was planning on doing it anyway.

**************************

Now, I’m not saying that when leftists tell us that striving for the Good is useless and that we should all wallow in the mud together, we should pull their heads off and eat them.  But many times it would be helpful to remind ourselves: “‘The conflict between our views is irreducible.’ I’m not going to convince this person that my way is right, because he’s opposed to the concept of right. I’m not going to talk him into striving for the good, because he considers all such striving to be counterproductive. His only goal is my resignation.” So at some point, usually earlier in the conversation than normal people realize it, you have to say to yourself, “Facts, logic, and appeals to virtue are worthless here; it’s time to shift to their weapons: ridicule, illogic, and beheadings.”

What’s in a Name?

Vox linked to and commented on a piece by Rollo about the dangers he sees in the “First Mate” paradigm suggested by Athol Kay’s Married Man Sex Life.  As often happens in such discussions, people soon got bogged down in worrying about the specific words and batting anecdotes back and forth about one phrase or another.  So one guy says calling your wife your “bride” is pedestalizing her, and another guy counters by saying he’s been doing that for 40 years and his wife still dotes on him.  If we looked long enough, we could find good and bad marriages using every possible term.

We should all know by know that the words don’t matter; it’s the attitude behind the words that matters.  Your choice of words might be a reflection of your attitude, but only you can know that for sure.  So if “my bride” makes you feel studly and makes your wife blush and giggle, keep right at it.

As far as the “first mate” thing, here’s what I see happening — not just on this topic, but in general in the manosphere:

  1. Many guys are trying to have equalitarian 50/50 marriages and failing.
  2. A guy comes along and says, “That won’t work; you need something more like a Captain/XO relationship, where your wife is your most trusted assistant, but you are the ultimate authority on everything.”
  3. Many guys say, “Hey, that’s really helpful; I never thought of it that way.  I’m going to try to bring that frame into my marriage.”
  4. Tradcons and other white knights become uncomfortable, because while they might agree with that paradigm in theory, it’s too rigid for them, because: “What if my daughter marries a shitty captain?”  They therefore need to reframe it so it still looks traditional and patriarchal, but leaves the wife a veto.
  5. So the tradcon says, “Hey, this First Mate idea is great, because, you know, a smart captain knows he can trust his First Mate and the First Mate often knows more than he does about the situation at hand.  In fact, if his First Mate disagrees with him on something, a wise captain will go along with his First Mate’s opinion.  If he doesn’t, that just shows that he’s not man enough to deal with any threats to his command, or that he should have done a better job of picking a First Mate.”

See how easy that was?  In three sentences, I reframed it so the First Mate is really the one making the decisions after all, and if the Captain objects, he’s being a whiny bitch.  That’s what they try to do with every idea the manosphere comes up with that challenges the female imperative — twist it around until the man is responsible and the woman is in charge.

That’s what we have to watch out for.  We’re not going to find some perfect vocabulary that they can’t subvert.  These are people who can turn “wives, be subject to your husbands” into “assign your husband a to-do list,” after all.  We have to keep our focus on what we mean, what frame we’re projecting, not particular words.  That way, when they try to twist our words around to serve the female imperative, we can recognize it and say, “Nope, that’s not what we mean; you’re doing it again.”