Friday Night Fragments #34

Tonight’s edition of the Fragments is dedicated to the new “She Guardian” statue that was recently erected in London because HOLY SHIT TAKE A LOOK AT THIS THING TAKE A LOOK AT THIS INSANE FUCKING STATUE

London She Guardian Statue

LOOK AT IT

London She Guardian Statue

LOOK AT IT

London She Guardian Statue

I want one. I want one so badly. I want one and it’s beautiful and fearsome and terrifying and HOLY SHIT THIS THING IS SO FUCKING METAL JUST SO FUCKING METAL HOW THE FUCK DOES THAT THING NOT COME WITH FACE-MELTING GUITAR SOLOS AND PURE FUCKING LIGHTING RAINING FROM THE SKY?

I want one I WANT ONE I WANT ONE

I WANT ONE

I recently seized on the chance to watch the documentary “Hot Girls Wanted”, an inside look at the world of amateur porn. It’s a quick watch, and it’s rather interesting. Take a look if that sounds up your alley.

I don’t give much heeds to accounts that attest that all worldly affairs are controlled by an Illuminati. However, these accounts all generally contain a common strain that I find, if not believable, ridiculously amusing. I speak of the idea that the “Illuminati” — or the elite or the powers that be or whatever you want to call them — place symbols of great importance to them all over famous landmarks and important buildings and other places that hold a certain meaning for them. Laughably, I find this to be the best case for any kind of Illuminati because it’s exactly the sort of thing that I would do if I had that kind of power.

Perhaps that’s just my sense of humor.

Also, the idea of an Illuminati or a series of hidden conspiracies is wildly entertaining, if a bit poor in the dimension of practicality and believability. This is more a product of the various details and other specificities present in such accounts, however. The general underlying principle really isn’t all that ridiculous.

Each and every person likes being around people who are like them, from the youngest to the oldest and the lowest to the highest. Each and every person likes feeling like they are a part of a select group, from the youngest to the oldest and the lowest to the highest. Each and every person likes working with others for a common cause, from the youngest to the oldest and the lowest to the highest.

The idea that similar people of a certain tier might get together — surreptitiously or otherwise — and do things that might advance their interests is hardly an outlandish one. As always, however, the devil is in the details, and even though the general principle is always being played out, any potential manifestation of said principle that may be suggested is highly unlikely to be among that select group of possibilities that have actually played out (and/or are being played out currently).

But of course, I am a bit of a schemer with a penchant for discretion, so I would see those tendencies in everyone else, wouldn’t I?

Having worked my way through some private research on the matter of Prohibition, I am astonished by how jarring the parallels are with our own time. The “drys” were the SJWs of yesteryear (as I have mentioned in a previous Fragments), and they acted in exactly the same way as the feminists and “anti-racists” of our time cavort themselves.

Like the SJWs of today, they mucked everything up, expended all they had on instituting a ridiculous utopian vision, and suffered major egg on their face once everything they worked for fell apart (we’re still hoping on that last one coming about sooner rather than later).

Like the SJWs of today, it shook them to the core how they were ignored and mocked by all those who realized what a joke they were. Like the SJWs of today, they truly believed that they were on the right side of history and that they were truly holy for the faith they placed in their cause.

What set them apart from the SJWs of today was that they did not have the culture. Instead, the culture was against them. Hollywood made films glamorizing drinking. Wealthy East Coast brahmins made a point of offering liquid hospitality to all they could reach. The literature of the time period was awash with drink. The flood of booze could not be stopped.

Prohibition failed because really, really liked alcohol, despite all the desires of the Progressives to rewrite people to be otherwise. It’s hard to rally forces to oppose ideas like “equality” or “fairness” or “human rights”, but it’s very easy to get people to rally against anyone who comes off like the Fun Police.

This is why I believe that #GamerGate has been one of the first true insurrections against the progressive onslaught in recent times, because video games, like drinking, happen to be great fun, and there is a dedicated and reasonably-sized sub-culture of people that really, really enjoy this hobby and are willing to go to war for it.

Those who are against the ideas of the progressives would be wise to fight them not solely on those issues that incite disgust in the “ingroup”, but also on those issues in which the SJWs can be painted as tyrannical and in opposition to fun. Not everyone feels a visceral emotional reaction to various social issues, but everybody (except for left-wing activists and anyone who has a Tumblr) likes fun.

You want to hit them hard? Remind everyone around them of how much they hate fun.

Powertalk in Action

A while ago, I put up the above clip as a demonstration of powertalk in action. However, I feel that I was remiss in not analyzing exactly what about this scene makes it such a good demonstration of this particular form of verbal maneuvering. Today, I remedy that.

There is much to analyze in this scene, but for our purposes here, only the words that are spoken will be examined. There is much to learn about how powertalk in action actually works. I hope you find it illuminating.

Prince Oberyn.

Lord Tywin.

The two players exchange acknowledgement of each others’ presence without giving ground. It’s time to play.

May we have the room?

Tywin wants the following conversation to be private. Oberyn sees that the man is very serious, and it’s going to be best to go along with his request. You see how Tywin is already setting the tone for the resulting exchange.

Game on.

Would you like to sit?

No, thank you.

Some wine?

No, thank you.

Polite pleasantries on the surface, but what is happening is that Oberyn is testing Tywin to see if he will break his stern countenance and submit to the prince’s attempt to display authority over the situation. Doing so would constitute a gesture of submission to the younger man, and make it that much harder for Tywin to enforce his will over the situation and get what he wants. Tywin, being a master statesman, does not go along with this.

I’m sorry about your grandson.

Are you?

I don’t believe that a child is responsible for the sins of his father. Or his grandfather…

On the surface, more pleasantries, but Oberyn barely disguises his thrust. Oberyn despises Tywin, and being the less subtle of the two, he has no problem implying that he thinks Tywin is the one who should have died, and not Tywin’s grandson, the former king. This is another attempt to throw Tywin off of his game and expose some kind of weakness that can be exploited.

…an awful way to die.

Which way is that?

Are you interrogating me, Lord Tywin?

A normal person would have agreed with Oberyn that the king died in an awful way. A normal person would have let the flow of the conversation slip away from him. Tywin is trying to retain control of the conversation, and he also knows that Oberyn is going to be hostile and minimally co-operative. As such, he dispenses with the cooperative assumption of normal conversational implicature and tries to pin down Oberyn and get him to say exactly what he thinks.

Some believe the king choked.

Some believe the sky is blue because we live inside the eye of a blue-eyed giant. The king was poisoned.

“Some people believe this possibility that obviously didn’t happen. This is the last chance for you to retain plausible deniability before we move out of the preliminary proceedings and begin the main part of this conversation.”

“We are not some people. We both know what really happened. We will take this conversation to the next level and talk as men who know what really happened and we will not dive into discussion of things that did not happen.”

This marks a shift in the conversation from feeling out each other’s frames into a discussion of the matters Tywin wishes to discuss.

I hear you studied poisons at the Citadel.

I did. This is why I know.

Tywin is implying to Oberyn that he might be a suspect in the murder of the king. It’s an attempt to rattle him. Killing a king is a great crime, and bad things happen to those found guilty of it. In order not to lose face, Oberyn has to show that he isn’t rattled. It’s easy for him, because he isn’t. This time, it’s Tywin who fails to perturb his opponent.

Your hatred for my family is rather well-known. You arrive at the capital an expert in poisoning. Some days later, my grandson dies of poisoning.

That is suspicious. Why haven’t you thrown me in a dungeon?

Oberyn takes note of the implied threat and calls it out for the bluff that it really is. He knows that if Tywin was really planning on arresting him, he would already be sitting in a jail cell, not hosting orgies with his paramour. Oberyn still doesn’t know what Tywin wants, but at this point he knows that despite Tywin’s fearsome demeanor, there is no intention of hostile action on the part of the old lion.

You spoke with Tyrion in this very brothel on the day you arrived. What did you discuss?

You think we conspired together?

Tyrion (Tywin’s son) is the primary suspect in the murder of the king. Tywin knows that he couldn’t have done it alone. This question could help him get some information that could be useful for the trial, but the real intent here is to assess how much of a threat Oberyn might be. For all Tywin knows, Oberyn might very well be the real killer. If that’s the case, there’s no telling who else might be next to swallow something that might fatally disagree with them. Perhaps Tywin himself is in danger. This next part of the conversation is an attempt to assess how much danger Tywin and the other members of his family are in.

What did you discuss?

The death of my sister.

For which you blame me.

She was raped and murdered by The Mountain. The Mountain follows your orders. Of course I blame you.

You’ll note that this is the first straight answer that either one of these players has given the other in this exchange. They’ve both stuck to their guns in holding frame up to this point, but Oberyn switches tactics in order to 1) remind Tywin of their mutual hostility, 2) attempt to intimidate him, and 3) see if he can get Tywin to admit whether or not Tywin gave the order to have Elia Martell (Oberyn’s sister) brutally murdered. But how many of these will hit the mark?

Well here I stand, unarmed, unguarded. Should I be concerned?

You are unarmed and unguarded because you know me better than that. I am a man of reason. If I cut your throat today I will be drawn and quartered tomorrow.

 “How far are you willing to go?”

“I may be reckless and impulsive and very good at violence, but I don’t want to die.”

Oberyn loses points here. Though his intent was to imply that he hasn’t ruled out killing Tywin at some other time, he ends up admitting that he isn’t willing to die in order to take revenge on Tywin. It’s a tactical error on Oberyn’s part, and now Tywin knows that this is not a situation in which he has anything to fear from the legendary warrior. You will see this reflected in the bold-faced lie that he will tell Oberyn very shortly.

Oberyn could have taken Tywin if it came to violence between the two. Tywin knows this, which is why he displays a certain reserved caution towards the younger, more physically dangerous man. Oberyn, in letting slip that he will not kill Tywin, has just forfeited a major psychological advantage that he had been holding up until that moment. This permanently shifts the balance of power between the two. For the rest of this exchange, Tywin is in control, and Oberyn finds himself fighting from his back foot.

This could have been avoided if Oberyn had ignored the bait and had kept talking about his sister, but his hatred for Tywin drove him to run full force into the trap that the other man had set. Massive points to Tywin here.

Men at war commit all kinds of crimes without their superior’s knowledge.

You deny any involvement in Elia’s murder?

Categorically.

We see immediate effects from Oberyn’s display of weakness. Tywin realizes that he can defect without fear of punishment in this prisoner’s dilemma, and he promptly does so. Oberyn told Tywin what he and Tyrion had discussed previously because he thought that he could then get Tywin to admit that Elia had been murdered on Tywin’s orders. Oberyn offered up truthful information, but Tywin reciprocated with a lie, and Oberyn knows it. This reneges on the offer of fair play that Oberyn had implicitly granted by accepting Tywin’s frame and then speaking truthfully. Oberyn, on hearing the obvious lie, realizes his mistake, but he also knows better than to push the matter.

This is the end of this phase of the conversation. Tywin is gaining massive momentum. All that is left for him to to clean up and extract the concessions he needs.

 I would like to speak with the Mountain.

This is Oberyn’s attempt to recover from his slip-up and reclaim some sense of authority over the situation. Gregor Clegane (aka The Mountain) is on his hit list, and there’s practically nothing that Oberyn wouldn’t give for a chance to kill the man. With good play, Oberyn can still salvage this situation and extract an opportunity to take revenge on the object of his ire. It’s clear that this line of thought is running through his mind.

I’m sure he would enjoy speaking with you.

He might not enjoy it as much as he thinks he would.

“I’m sure The Mountain would be willing to let you try to kill him. You do realize who we’re talking about, right? The guy is an enormous, inhumanly strong, nigh-unkillable human being. He could eat you for breakfast and still be hungry.”

“Tell that giant, freakish, rapey, eight-foot tall cunt that I will fucking end him as slowly and painfully as I can manage before my self-control gives out and I put him in his fucking grave. I could kill him easily and I know it.”

I could arrange for this meeting.

But you want something in return.

Clegane is offered up as a bargaining chip. Oberyn wants to know what is being bargained before he takes it. He still feels the sting of the preceding moment when he charged ahead without thinking. He won’t make that mistake a second time.

There will be a trial for my son, and as custom dictates, three judges will render a verdict. I will preside. Mace Tyrell will serve as the second judge. I would like you to be the third.

Why?

Tywin dangles a prize in front of Oberyn, but it’s not much of a prize. Oberyn isn’t going to snap at such meager bait. But why is Tywin asking him to do this? What is really going on here? Oberyn wants to know.

Not long ago, the Tyrells sided with Renly Baratheon — declared themselves enemies of the throne. Now they are our strongest ally.

So you make the Tyrell girl a queen. Asking me to judge at your son’s trial isn’t quite as tempting.

The backstory here isn’t important. What is important is that Oberyn isn’t going to dance for Tywin just for a few ceremonial honors. He knows Tywin really wants to win him over, and he’s not going to sell himself for such a low price.

I would also invite you to sit on the Small Council to serve as one of the new king’s principal advisers.

Boom. This is a big offer. Very big, and now Oberyn is very curious. Tywon wouldn’t offer this up unless he really needed Oberyn for something…something important. Now the prince knows that something big is going on that he doesn’t know about.

I never realized you had such respect for Dorne, Lord Tywin.

Dorne is the region of the empire from which Oberyn hails. The other kingdoms that compose the realm tend to look down on it for its loose sexual attitudes and (on a relative basis) progressive attitudes towards social issues. Tywin himself has indicated (to Oberyn’s face) a certain distaste for the region’s cultural norms. Thus, painting this offer as a reflection on Tywin’s views toward Dorne is an attempt to draw out exactly why Tywin is so keen on allying himself with Oberyn. As it turns out, this is about winning over Dorne, and not Oberyn in particular, but Oberyn doesn’t know this yet.

We are not seven kingdoms until Dorne returns to the fold. The king is dead. The Greyjoys are in open rebellion. A wildling army marches on the Wall, and in the east, the Targaryen girl has three dragons. Before long she will turn her eyes to Westeros…

Blah, blah, blah, backstory. Basically, the Kingdom is fucked unless all the bickering, feuding families who hold power can come together, stop all their plotting and backstabbing, and deal with the perfect storm of existential threats raging outside (and inside) the borders of Westeros. Tywin is being honest and straight-talking here because:

…only the Dornish managed to resist Aegon Targaryen and his dragons.

This is Tywin’s moment of weakness. This is why he’s spent all this time trying to assert his power over Oberyn. Much as he may dislike the Dornish, they were the only people who were able to hold out the last time the Targaryens decided to fly their dragons into Westeros and take over. This is Tywin at the height of his statesmanship. He knows that he needs an alliance with people he dislikes if he is to even have the faintest chance at preventing the realm from descending into anarchy.

This sentence gives quite a bit of power back to Oberyn, which is why Tywin tried to accrue as much as he could in the previous few minutes. He doesn’t want to lose any more power than he has to here, because he’s the only one with the capability to keep the kingdom together and fend off the threats that would destroy it. If he shows too much weakness and appears too vulnerable, his rivals (such as Oberyn) might try to remove him from his position as regent and kill him. If that happens, all Westeros is likely to be destroyed. For the sake of his own position (and thus, for the sake of the realm), he needs to make this request from a position of strength. He’s been setting this up ever since he walked in the room.

You’re saying you need us. That must be hard for you to admit.

 “That must be hard for you to admit” is unnecessary here, and it exposes Oberyn’s insecurity at not being in control of this exchange. It’s very effective as a personal jab, but it’s a sub-optimal rejoinder by the standards of powertalk. It shows that Oberyn feels his control over the situation slipping away, and now he’s lashing out in an attempt to score a few more points.

It still hits the mark, but the prince of Dorne would have done better for himself had he been a little less quick with his tongue. That said, this moment is still a minor victory for Oberyn. He definitely hit a nerve with Tywin on this one, as Tywin hates to admit any weakness.

We need each other…

 No, they don’t. Tywin needs Oberyn but that need isn’t mutual. This is classic politician-speech. It’s an attempt to save face. I actually can’t tell if Tywin is just trying to reframe the situation or if he’s trying to convince himself here that both men need each other. It’s probably a bit of both.

…You help me serve justice to the king’s assassins and I will help you serve justice to Elia’s.

Is the personal political? Yes and no, but by helping Oberyn get what he wants in the personal realm, Tywin gets what he needs in the realm of the political.

Final verdict? A remarkable level of play by both participants, but with the edge to Tywin for not only his masterful display, but also his success in getting everything he needed out of the interaction for the price of mere promises.

This is one of my favorite scenes from Game Of Thrones because it’s such a superb display of negotiating and politicking between two powerful men who know how the game is played. As such, it is a rich treasure for those who enjoying studying this particular aspect of human interaction.

Wrapping this up, I will point out some principles that are at work throughout the entirety of this interaction. You will also notice that both men do their utmost to avoid answering any question directly. Doing so would do what I warned against in my last Friday Night Fragments: playing a game when you aren’t the one setting the rules. Both men here are seeking to impose their will on the situation and they are no fools. They know the pitfalls to avoid.

Why does Tywin not just come out and say all that he needs to directly? He could, but he would suffer a loss in power and reputation by doing so, as the admission that only Oberyn can help him places Oberyn in a position of power over him. These delicate maneuverings are essential to making sure that the overall balance of power between the two men remains, at worst, neutral. It also has the added side effect of making Oberyn think that he is getting what he wants in a fair trade, while also increasing the prince’s opinion of Tywin and enhancing Tywin’s reputation as a strong, forceful man. Tywin could have gotten what he wanted by sacrificing some political and social capital, but by going about things in this way, he gains in stature. It is by playing games like this that he is able to project strength and head off potential challenges to his power and authority. Were he to be straightforward and honest, his political capital would be slowly chipped away until he was seen as nothing more than an old, toothless lion, and there’s nothing like the perception of weakness to make all those with even a hint of ambition feel bold enough to strike.

And that’s just how the game is played.

Now, I suppose you could argue that this is a work of fiction and that there is absolutely nothing that you can take away from this, but you’d be wrong. Good fiction is not just grounded in real-life truths, but is immersed in it, and scenes such as the above differ from reality only in regard to the most minute of details. There are a multitude of lessons that can be learned from this material and many others like it, and you’re a fool if you think otherwise.

Besides, if you really read all of this, you don’t actually believe there’s nothing to take away. You just think you do.

Friday Night Fragments #33

Having reread The Gervais Principle as foundational material for my last post, something seems to have happened to me; namely, that the concepts have sunk in to a degree far beyond when I read the material for the first time. Everywhere I look I literally see the posturetalk and the babytalk that permeates the sound and the noise that spews from the mouths of those around me. I see it as clear as day and it disgusts me. It actually disgusts me, and those people who are exceptions appear to me as paradisaical havens in an ocean of filth.

Having seen so clearly something that I despise in others, I would be remiss if I did not seek to extirpate any such tendencies from myself. I would say that I’ve done a fairly good job of restricting this blog to either straight talk or powertalk, but from now on, I plan on making a conscious effort to do so.

My brother roped me into seeing the latest Jurassic Park movie with him, and despite myself I rather enjoyed it. I found it refreshing to see a film that dispensed with cliches about corrupt, greedy executives as a crutch to have some justification for why dinosaurs were eating people. Also, there seemed to be a strong undercurrent of tongue-in-cheek “red pill” self-awareness, leading to moments like this:

So which one’s the alpha?

You’re looking at him.

 Put there on purpose or am I just reading into it? Well, that doesn’t really matter now, does it?   Sure, the redheaded love interest manages to go through an entire film of schlepping through jungles and running from dinosaurs without ever bothering to take her heels off, but if you interpret that as a way of highlighting this most absurd of girl power tropes, it becomes strikingly less distracting (as well as exponentially more amusing).

It’s entertainment. It’s meant to be an occasional indulgence. Read into it what you like and interpret it how you like in order to enjoy it the most. If you’re going to be wasting time like that, do yourself a favor, don’t take things to seriously, and get as much out of it as you possibly can.

Ever wondered exactly what it takes to turn a man into a woman? Odds are, you just imagined losing a very special part of you. But have you ever considered exactly what it takes to make a male face look female? Isegoria gives us the answer. It turns out, it takes quite a but of work to turn a male-looking face into a female one, as biological sex is generally reflected in every part of the skull, from the chin to the forehead to all the little protrusions and growths around the eye sockets. It is a process that necessitates procedures such as whittling down bone, sawing off unneeded bits, reworking the entire jaw, and moving the hairline.

Regardless of whatever else anyone may believe on the matter, it’s hard to doubt that someone would have to feel a strong emotional compulsion of some sort in order to make them go through with this ordeal. Whether that’s a positive compulsion (I really want to do this) or a negative compulsion (I will feel very uncomfortable if I don’t do this), it’s not difficult to realize that no one with any idea of what happens during such a surgery would willingly undergo it unless they felt a very strong emotional stirring indeed.

Watch the whole documentary if you feel the inclination. Don’t if you don’t. But watch from about 15:00 – 17:00 or so.

Catch the important parts? People who take orders and trust in the command of a superior are your future soldiers. People who display prudence and caution make for your best spies. People who, when presented with high-pressure situations, look for better options that aren’t immediately obvious, are your future commanders.

If you’re like me and you like to reduce things to underlying dynamics and draw associations with disparate ideas, feel free to draw parallels with The Gervais Principle. It has been the intellectual plaything of the week, after all.

Never stop thinking for yourself, and never play a game if you aren’t the one setting the rules. Hold frame and impose your own order and your own structure on the world.

Or don’t. After all, the people running the show always need cannon fodder.

Apparently the French are advising visitors to the United States to watch their words and be exceedingly careful around American women for fear of unpleasant reprisals. Apparently the French fear that we in the US have a rabid hostility to any form of sexual expressions deemed to be outside the boundaries of propitious conduct.

Putting it in perspective, it goes back to a point I’ve made before: the more attractive women find you, the less you have to fear any sort of repercussions for sexual actions. Still, having that qualification enshrined not just into law, but also into our cultural and moral norms is still an indicator that the climate is being quite a bit more hostile for everyone (or at least, every man) involved in the sexual marketplace. Frankly, it’s hard to deny that this sort of thing is happening when citizens of advanced, civilized countries receive travel warnings that tell them to watch out for it.

The US has always had a bit of a reputation as being prudish and uptight when it comes to sex (at least form the lens of the more sexually open European countries), but to have that stereotype formalized by way of travel warning is a sign that even other developed, progressive countries think we’ve gone too far. If anyone here still doubts that the dominant strains of American culture are fundamentally Puritan, this is your kick in the teeth.

Powertalk

In a previous Friday Night Fragments, I put up a quick exchange I had with Aeoli Pera on the subject of powertalk. It is a matter worth significant attention. But what is Powertalk?

If you’ve read The Gervais Principle, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Good.

Now go read Part Two again. Do it whether you’ve read it before or not. This is not a recommendation. I just read it over again myself and I need you to be on top of your game and have the concepts completely fresh in your mind if you plan on reading this post.

Are you finally ready? Good.

 (Side note: Rao uses the word “sociopath” to mean someone who perceives things as they are and is able to think about them without passing moral judgement. I understand this can be a bit confusing in lieu of the “baggage” that comes with that particular word, but I encourage you to read his remarks on this particular word choice and at least try to understand why he does this.)

 

 Multiple layers of meaning are not what make Powertalk unique. Irony and sarcasm are modes of layered communication available to anybody. As you’ll learn if you read the Transactional Analysis books, Gametalk is all about multiple (usually two) levels of communication. What distinguishes Powertalk is that with every word uttered, the power equation between the two speakers shifts just a little. Sometimes both gain slightly, at the expense of some poor schmuck. Sometimes one yields ground to the other. Powertalk in other words, is a consequential language.

The Gervais Principle II: Posturetalk, Powertalk, Babytalk and Gametalk

Powertalk. A way of speaking in which power dynamics actually shift over the course of the conversation. Phrased like that, I would argue that all talk is powertalk. That said, 1) that is my phrasing, not Rao’s, so it wouldn’t be fair to judge him on that front, 2) there is an intentionality to powertalk not present in “normal” speech, and 3) that would probably say more about me than anything else now, wouldn’t it?

So let’s adjust that definition just slightly. All meaningful talk is powertalk.

Is your skin crawling yet? It should be. Now why should that be?

Simple. Not all meaningful talk is powertalk. Not at all.

Let us go back and focus our attention on an idea that Rao touches on only once for the briefest of moments: straight talk.

Sociopaths and Losers speak rarely to each other at all. One of the functions of the Clueless, recall, is to provide a buffer in what would otherwise be a painfully raw master-slave dynamic in a pure Sociopath-Loser organization. But when they do talk, they actually speak an unadorned language you could call Straight Talk if it were worth naming. It is the ordinary  (if rare) utilitarian language of the sane, with no ulterior motives flying around. The mean-what-you-say-and-say-what-you-mean stuff between two people in a fixed, asymmetric power relationship, who don’t want or need to play real or fake power games. This is the unmarked black triangle edge in the diagram.

Good philosophical discourse is straight talk. Proper intellectual inquiry is straight talk. An academic culture cannot function without straight talk.

Being “based” is straight talk.

The interesting thing about neoreactionary culture (insofar as there is such a thing) is that it’s respect for “being based” constitutes an apotheosis of straight-talk in the purest sense. One does not win acclaim by mincing words and gambling with status, but by being straightforward and authentic.

It’s actually a little unusual when you think about it. Granted, straight talk may seem an intuitive notion to the usual type of person attracted to this sphere, but it isn’t really a normal facet of human interaction in any significant sense. That it has become the dominant form of interaction among the right people is astonishing when you think about it.

Uniqueness aside, the fixture of straight talk among the foundations of neoreactionary culture is one of the core pieces of social technology that makes this entire edifice possible.

The risk here, of course, is that too strong an emphasis on being based leads to a short circuiting of the concept, turning straight talk into game talk and degenerating blunt dialectic into monkey politics and shibboleth-speaking.

Any status mechanism can be short circuited. Once that happens, a Red Queen scenario kicks in and everyone needs to short circuit the mechanism in order to accrue status, at which point people are pursing status for the sake of status instead of earning status commensurate with the intended purpose of the original mechanism. Holiness cycles are one manifestation of the phenomenon, and offer a great example for what happens with this chain of events is allowed to proceed to completion.

Heading these sorts of things off before they come to pass is imperative for any organization with interests beyond status signaling and monkey politics.

If you wish to straight talk to the best of your ability, then be as blunt as you can be without being more than you need to be. Try too hard and it becomes posture talk.

And really, after all we’ve been through, wouldn’t it be just downright disappointing to let that happen?

Friday Night Fragments #32

It’s another Friday night, and that means another edition of the Friday Night Fragments. We get into some crazy stuff this round. You might want to be high for this.

With that warning in place, let’s dive in.

Tonight’s edition of the fragments is brought to you by the Emma Sulkowicz (aka “Mattress Girl”) sex tape. I’d offer a quick recap and a review myself, but that would require mattressgirlthat I actually watch the whole thing. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t try, but the first 30 seconds was more than sufficient to drive me sprinting from my laptop and towards the nearest shower.

However, it appears that some had stronger stomachs than I did. Notoriously fabulous journalist (and notable GamerGate figure) Milo Yiannopolous has his own review up, and it is nothing short of spectacular. It starts off like this:

In preparing for this review, my researcher had to watch Emma Sulkowicz, a.k.a. “Mattress Girl,” perform fellatio on an overweight man eleven times. He tells me that he is now seriously considering homosexuality.

…and it only gets better from there. Milo wields both the hammer and the shiv for this one. It is absolutely brutal, so needless to say it is great fun to read.

Gregory Cochran proposes the Iraqi government hire mercenaries to deal with their ISIS problem. I’ll admit I have a bit of a soft spot for mercenaries, and I have a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to support their usage in this brave new world that is emerging. This is, of course, an impulse worth tempering, because as Machiavelli pointed out, there are times when mercenaries are the worst of all possible options for increasing your military power. As such, I shall refrain from passing judgement in this case (with the exception of noting that the US government would never allow it), but the proposal is worth looking over.

Cochran even throws in a reference to The Ten Thousand, which makes for an oddly fitting analogy in this situation. Eerily fitting, really.

Steve Harris over at Amerika asks “What are SJWs“? He gives an answer that is contestable but also interesting in its own way: they are a potentially profitable demographic that demonstrates their holiness in part by buying clothing, trinkets and other merchandise that signal “correct opinions”. They are sheep to be fleeced, and there are many who seek to cultivate their flocks.

Does this answer run up against the common trope of SJWs as rent-seeking parasites? Possibly. Possibly not. There seem to be a tension, however, between the idea that SJWs have nothing to offer except holiness and the idea that they are a profitable demographic (though you will note that “being rent-seekers” and “having nothing to offer” are two different ideas, not two ways of saying the same thing).

The conception of SJWs as a shell company of sorts for wealth redistribution from productive citizens to corporate entities is, if nothing else, a very intriguing idea. Combine that with their (indirect) cries for greater political power to central entities in the name of fighting “-isms” and “-phobias” and you can see why they make for such great useful idiots. If I was wealthy and powerful, I too would be in support of the social justice warriors.

This is an idea that I think I deserves a fully fleshed-out post.

This week, I learned that both woman’s suffrage and income taxes were pushed forward by progressives as a way of making sure that they would have political and financial pieces in place to bring about Prohibition. If that isn’t an unpleasant thought, I don’t know what is.

If you ever doubt that SJWs are manical fanatics determined to take destroy anything good in the world, remember that the SJWs of 100 years ago foisted income taxes on you in order to pay the government to take your booze away from you.

Who doesn’t like swimming pools? Pools are pretty great. One problem though: they often require a lot of upkeep. Solution? Get a mob of teens to be rowdy and belligerent in a suburban residential area to provide cover while you take over a pool that isn’t yours. Make sure said teens are “oppressed” and “underprivileged”, because when they inevitably get in trouble, the full force of the media and the manufactured consensus of the country will come down like a hammer in support of them. We have to show those evil, oppressive white people who’s boss, after all.

You know, it’s almost like the media wants people with a modicum of intelligence to assume that blacks getting mistreated deserve it in order to provide cover for the elites as they continually foment discord in order to keep everyone distracted and inattentive as they channel ever greater amounts of money and power into their clutches.

Do blacks deserve it? It doesn’t really matter when it comes to the activities of the powers that be. Truth or lies don’t matter, power always finds a way. That’s how power works.

Finally, to close off this edition of the fragments, I have a confession to make. Thanks to the courageous examples of Caitlyn Jenner and Rachel Dolezal, I feel strong enough to say this publicly for the first time.

I identity as trans-Caesar. I believe that I am the reincarnation of Julius Caesar, and it would be trans-phobic of you not to let me have sex with your wives, sisters, and daughters while I overthrow the Republic.

I’ve shared this with several close friends up to this point, and they all agree to support me in my dream, right up to the moment when I will be assassinated beneath the statue of Pompey. You have no idea how much my heart swells when I think of those who have been open enough and courageous enough to support me in my struggle. I would like to express my gratitude and love for all of you, especially those whose support was so strong and whose love was so great that you agreed to brutally murder me without hesitation and without a second thought. You inspire me to keep persisting in my struggle for acceptance, tolerance, supreme & uncontested power, and a metric fuckton of hot, adulterous sex.

#SoBrave

Interesting Times

A few years ago, in a time before I knew of The Red Pill or Neoreaction or a whole host of things that I know now, I stumbled across a Sweden-based English Magazine called Interesting Times. They were sadly forced to cease their activities after nine editions, but I devoured those nine editions regardless. Looking back, some of their stuff was a bit ridiculous, but even now, I still hold a certain fondness for that eclectic (and often eccentric) publication that believed above all else that “The future is cyberpunk”.

The future is cyberpunk. It’s not a prediction, but an aesthetic; an aesthetic that I’ve kept with me ever since. It’s an aesthetic that has been rearing its head within me once again in recent months. It’s an aesthetic that has caused me to increasingly looks towards the future for understanding, not just the past (this is one of the reasons I felt that I had to retire the “Legionnaire” pseudonym).

I’ve decided that when I free up the time (and I’ve worked my way through a bit more of my reading list), I’m going to go back and read all nine editions. I’m sure I’d find much of it kitschy, overblown, and overly dramatic. Still, there was also much in there that I didn’t quite have the tools to fully appreciate at the time, and I have no doubt that I could get even more out of it now then I did when I first read it some years ago.

You can join me in doing so here.

I have no doubt that you’ll find at least something of value in it. Will you enjoy it? I’ll leave the blurb from the about page right here below, so you can decide for yourself.

Interesting Times is a self-help magazine for extreme people, helping you survive and thrive in the cyberpunk future of today.

Headquartered in Sweden, the magazine provides a unique perspective on the current age of possibility, where every new happening holds the potential for both disaster and ground- breaking success. The magazine aims to implement total world domination using a shock & awe toolbox of positive thinking, power armor and pornstar girlfriends, edifying the reader with an eclectic mix of interesting subjects including lifestyle design, preparations for the post-apocalypse, and the pursuit of super- human fitness through batmanesque bodyhacking. Building better bad-asses is our main objective and we aim to please.

The suck stops here!

Your mileage may vary, but I can guarantee an entertaining ride.

Friday Night Fragments #31

There once was a blogger named Yarvin
Some right-wingers found him quite charmin’
But Strange Loop was not
As open in thought
And they found his views quite alarmin’

The strange affair of the Strange Loop Affair is probably not going to be news to some of my readers, but it does bear some discussion. To give a brief summary: quarantine protocols regarding Curtis Yarvin — patient zero of the NR24 Lentivirus (an infection that can linger in the body for years before manifesting symptoms) — were nearly violated by the Strange Loop Tech conference, who had invited him to speak without realizing the potential danger. Such breach of quarantine could have exposed innumerable innocents to the ravages of the NR24 virus.

Despite the fallout from this event, there are fortunately no confirmed cases of infection. If you suspect that you or someone you know has been afflicted with the NR24 virus, please contact the proper authority figures so that swift remedial action may be taken.

the-feminist-thought-police

A new study has come out that is notable not just for its conclusion, but also its awkwardly worded phrasing. I quote from the abstract:

Overall, 14.3% of female and 10.8% of male students had experienced a pregnancy.

Granted, I didn’t go to high school in New York, but in my four years, nowhere near one out of every ten boys found themselves pregnant. Not even close.

Yes, yes, I know what they meant, that’s not exactly the point now, is it?

Kidding aside, I’m not able to access the full text of the article, so I had to turn to media write-ups to get some of the more juicy details, but certain things jumped out at me in a dramatic way:

28.6 percent of self-identified gay or bisexual male students, and 37.7 percent of males who’d had sex with both men and women, had gotten someone pregnant, while only 10 percent of heterosexual male students, or those with only female sex partners, had impregnated someone.

On first reading that I assumed that the reporter covering the story had misinterpreted something. I figured there was no way that could be correct. Yet, if no mistakes were made, those are the numbers that the study found. What are we to make of that?

Those are crazy numbers.

Also of interest this week would be the South Africans mercenaries who have been fighting Boko Haram over the past few months. Most of the coverage has done it’s best to play up the “these guys must be racists because all South Africans are racist so we can’t really root for them even though they are killing people who we will admit to be bad guys” angle, but a welcome breath of fresh air has been the six-part write-up by sofrep.com (Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six).

I suppose it would be almost trite to predict an increased reliance upon mercenaries as the monopoly of the nation-state on organized violence erodes further. I’m almost embarrassed to predict this, as it’s so obvious, but even though this is akin to the training wheels of making predictions it still seems worth saying.

The Mitrailleuse has a chart up that attempts to plot the political leanings of various media outlets along with..shall we say..the tenor of their delivery. If you look closely you might just find a few very familiar names among the mess.

Life is absurd. That’s half the fun, of course, but there are times when this absurdity grates on a certain kind of person. They might find themselves asking why things are just so strange.

There are many reasons for absurdity, but one of the reasons why things might be made absurd on purpose is as a demonstration of power and a means of enforcing submission. Spandrell touches on one such example from Chinese history in The Purpose of Absurdity. He then goes on to make some clarifications in his follow-up post: The Cause of Absurdity. Both are fantastic reads.

Scott Alexander over at Slate Star Codex put up a gripping post the other day. I would call it a “choose your own adventure” story of sorts, but that would perhaps miss the point. It’s not really that on a surface level, and there’s much more to it beneath the surface level anyway. Definitely well worth a read.

I shudder to throw out even more links when this edition of the fragments has already gone from a collection of short snippets and half-completed thoughts to a link round-up, but NIO has had a couple good posts this week and I would feel remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to both of them.

The super structure upon which progressive thought resides is the Hegelian theodicy which is heavily derived from Christian theology. Within this theodicy, evil and the negative are overcome by the good and positive in a continuous process of thesis, antithesis and then synthesis until reconciliation of the universe is competed.

Theodicy, Negative Dialectics, and Post Modernism

Phronima are therefore Gnostic style systems which function as parasites on productive and effective civilisation metaphysical structures. Progressivism proper is a phronima. To this effect Jims observation that –

“Progressivism wears the religions it has devoured like a monster that dresses itself in the skins of people it has eaten.”

Is apt, very apt. Genius in fact.

Katechon and Gnosticism as a Civilizational Battle
 
                                                                                  …
Finally, since it seems fitting to actually finish off with a fragment instead of just a link, here’s a little back-and-forth from the comments on my last fragments:

Aeoli Pera: Love the map, thanks for posting.

>“People are going to project themselves onto you anyway. Why not give them more to cling to? The honest ones will always see in you truth and the liars will always assume that honeyed words mask bitter realities and those who speak neither truth nor lies will always see only possibilities. It is tempting to encourage such beliefs and sing the siren song of imagination and illusion.”

I recently hypothesized that Gervais principle “power talk” works like this [DG’s edit: post in question here]. A person says something verbally which is meant to trigger one or more associations, which in the end works out as a complex social signaling behavior.

Donovan Greene: I’d say that hits at something essential. Very essential. True “power talk” can get to be far more complex than that, but that might very well be the building block from which all the other tricks and tactics emerge.

Here’s something that might help your examination:

It’s a case study in (among other things) power talk between two (fictional) alpha males. Great example of how power talk fits in with other factors such as political negotiations and holding frame. You might find it useful as you develop your interpretive paradigms.

Get a little power talk in this weekend. You’ll feel better for it.