Fragile Masculinity Under Attack! Part II

Back from Thanksgiving vacation. I had enough time driving back to think of things that piss me off. This is what I came up with.

I’m  always skeptical of someone that declares themselves to be something rather subjective. I worked with a guy that claimed to be a genius…I mean, with a straight face, he said to me “I’m a genius”. Now there are certain “objective” ways to declare yourself as something. If you want to say you’re a “genius”, the best objective way to do so would be to say something like “I have a 190 IQ” and/or “I’m a member of Mensa”. If true, those would be irrefutable facts and, I suppose, by definition you would be a “genius”.  Otherwise, most people would think you’re just a stupid asshole.

And speaking of assholes, have you ever listened to the Jason Stapleton podcast? I once listened to him regularly but one thing that drove me crazy was his insistence that he was an “alpha male”. It made him sound more delusional than cool, which was the complete opposite intention. It’s been awhile since I’ve listened in, so maybe he stopped doing that. But Jason is hardcore libertarian and one of those white guys that came from nothing, now has something, and believes everyone owes him something. Very similar to Adam Carolla. You know, just because you make millions of dollars talking about the stock market and libertarianism…apparently that makes one important. But Jason and Adam, you guys don’t serve important functions in society so I really don’t feel sorry for you because you have to pay millions in taxes. But I digress. Jason wants you to believe he’s an alpha male. He tells us all the time. But is declaring ones self to be “alpha” an action that a genuine “alpha male” takes?

Now I’ll admit, Jason is probably more alpha than I am, but that’s a low bar to hurdle. He’s successful, according to him he’s good-looking…he seems to hold a degree of objective criteria to be classified as an “alpha male”. But again, how masculine can you be if you have to keep reminding people how masculine you are?

And that’s always been the weird thing about the anti-feminist factions…feminism is a perceived as a direct attack on “alpha male-ism”. Which in some forms, it could be! But in response to this attack, instead of upholding traditional “masculine” characteristics like self-confidence in ones’ manhood, masculinity becomes overemphasized to the point where it becomes questionable. Why would a woman’s rise in power be perceived as a threat to male power? And it’s here where the “alpha male” movement starts looking paper thin. Instead of maintaining confidence and acceptance, maleness becomes overemphasized….or in other words, men overcompensate. And it looks desperate.

Not to confuse all the Right-leaning movements out there, just because something is “libertarian” doesn’t make it “alt-right” and so on, but I’ve mentioned before that many on the Right (particularly the alt-right) want a return to paternalism sans the responsibilities that were once included with it. Others have noticed the same. They’d rather sit at home and whine about how they deserve a girlfriend because through some perverse yet unrecognized sense they’ve somehow earned it! And many have flocked to Trumpism because it stokes the fires that rages from within because it takes on an exaggerated form of masculinity as a counter-attack against increasing female power in culture. It has permitted men, or emboldened them, to bring out the worst in themselves by promoting bigotry and sexism all because they can’t get laid or feel that their masculinity is threatened.

But what Stapleton and others do to annoy me is their over insistence on the things that are stereotypically “masculine” (at least if you’re a white male)…big trucks, guns, hitting the weights, and doing everything you can to not look like a pussy. Maybe my own masculinity is threatened when I see those things. Clearly I’m not a manly man. I like sports but that’s the only thing I can talk with other “men” about. I don’t give a fuck about cars, I don’t know how to fix things, I don’t like gyms, and I’d rather watch anything with Ryan Gosling over something Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was in. Mind you, maybe I do tend to do things to overcompensate…I do own a big truck that I don’t need (I only own it because I don’t want to worry about upkeep) and you can say that I like to live vicariously through James Bond when I watch those films. Fair enough. (Perhaps I’ll defend my obsession with James Bond as being a genuine artistic critique, rather than a masculine obsession, in a later post). BUT…but….in general I don’t believe that masculinity is something to be “flexed”, if you will.

While I’m absolutely a flawed person, I am who I am. The only person that I’m trying to impress is, well….ME. Seeking to become an “alpha male” by declaring yourself an alpha male is not very alpha male-like. In fact, I’d argue, just being aware of the concept throws into question of what your status might be. If you ever had to ask yourself “am I an alpha male?”, the question has effectively been answered. REAL men don’t concern themselves with such nonsense. Think James Bond has ever wondered that? Therefore, this completely disqualifies me from being an alpha. If you’re reading this post…you are not an alpha. If the TITLE of this post pops up in your feed…you are not an alpha. Alphas don’t concern themselves with such shit. They’re so cool, they’ve probably never heard of the Internet. They’re so comfortable with themselves, it never occurs to them to question their manhood.

To quote the great Commander William Riker “don’t try to be a great man, just be a man and let history make its own judgements”. Because REAL men, in addition to quoting Star Trek, don’t need to prove themselves. So put down your copy of “Gorilla Mindset” (Which you can listen to above, if you can stomach it) and just be a man for fuck’s sake.

The State of Perpetual Revolution

I’m cranky most of the time.

In spirit, I’m an 80 year old man stuck in a millennial’s body. So I don’t really have time in my life to pay attention to Demi Lovato. I’d rather gripe about grandkids and drive around with my turn signal on.

That being said, Lovato made it into the news recently for something that isn’t really newsworthy. She declined to talk about a specific area of her personal life…her sexuality. This prompted several articles like this to be written.

Now I’m a straight white male, I have a relatively easy time in America. I’ll admit. So the gentleman that wrote the article previously mentioned is calling out Lovato for her reluctance to declare her sexuality because, to him, it shows that she might be embarrassed in an era when the LGBT community needs to be loud and proud.

Makes sense.

The average white American male might read that article and think: “who cares?” or “that’s none of our business.” or “people’s sexual lives need to be kept quiet”…and so on. This view, of course, allows the heterosexual to take their sexuality for granted because they are never judged for such behavior. You see where this is going. BUT amongst the liberal heteros that might get peeved at such an article, by believing that Lovato’s personal life doesn’t belong to us, there’s still a wanting to make non-heterosexuality a normal occurrence in everyday life….thus taking away the necessity for such cheap articles.

Am I making sense?

Basically, I think that the author of the article (and his supporters) and those that might despise the article are arguing the same point from different angles. Both sides wish to normalize LGBT lifestyles to the point where it isn’t debated like heterosexuality….it’s simply a normal function of society.

Now I gave Star Trek a lot of shit in the last post. But one thing it did well was SHOW how the various HUMAN cultures interacted without controversy. In the 60s, there was a Russian navigating the ship, a Japanese guy piloting it, an African-American woman handling communications, a drunken Scottish guy running engineering….and no one batted an eye. It wasn’t even talked about. It was simply a part of everyday life. In fact, I don’t believe that the show ever addressed (or went in-depth) the prejudices that were going on while the show was airing. Within that universe, humans evolved passed the point where those things ever became an issue.

The universe of Star Trek was (is) what I like to call a “post-revolutionary” society, at least as far as Earth was concerned.

I believe that it was Slavoj Zizek that said (paraphrasing), “it’s not the revolution that’s the problem, it’s what happens after the revolution.” Honestly, I don’t know if he said that, and if he didn’t….then I just did.

But what that means is, supposing some “radical” political force achieves its objectives, it must quickly establish a degree of normalcy within its society. It can’t continue on in a state of perpetual revolution. Else it exposes itself to a series of “counter-revolutions” that might jeopardize its achievements.

Every political movement must concern itself with its “post-revolution”. By remaining in a state of violent upheaval, either through ACTUAL violence or radical expression, only begets similar reactions against the movement.  (Of course, what makes a movement “revolutionary” or “counter-revolutionary” is based upon the perspectives of the respective movement) How this is achieved is open to debate, but it’s assumed that it might require being gracious in victory RATHER than enacting vengeance against former enemies.

These so-called “revolutions” don’t necessarily mean “physical violence to overthrow the state”. They can be simple cultural revolutions. The information age opened up a wave of change across the globe. Suddenly, the internet was opening windows to perspectives that were previously living on the fringe. I don’t imagine that same-sex marriage was too popular in Ronald Reagan’s America. In fact, in 2004, I recall that several states voted to ban it altogether. Yet a decade later, it was legal across the nation. This can be an example of a “cultural revolution”.

Barack Obama seemed to have captured the zeitgeist of this particular revolution. And like all good revolutions, a counter one was soon to follow. This one was spearheaded by Donald Trump and the alt-right. (Although these two sides might argue which one is the “revolution” and “counter-revolution”)

Movements and revolutions are products of their age. Usually their successes come at such at rate, that it’s difficult or outright impossible for a generation to fully grasp their effects. Again, the information age, the age of the internet….science fiction from only a few decades earlier failed to predict its rising. No one saw it coming. But it changed everyday lives and American culture.

That was why Barack Obama came seemingly out of nowhere. The openness provided by the internet brought forth a new age of left-wing politics. Reagan-esque conservativism went out of style. It’s no wonder that Donald Trump came in the wake of its destruction. After the successes of Obama, both culturally and politically, many people were left wondering “what the fuck just happened?”. And then the Alt-Right became the digital-age’s counter revolution to Obama’s liberal popularity.

And on and on, this mad cycle goes.

This thing happened so quickly, that this generation didn’t have time to consider a “post-revolutionary” phase. We’re still caught up in the revolution ITSELF! And in the heat of the struggle, everything becomes about winning and vanquishing your enemies. This is why there’s no middle ground in the fight between the Obama Coalition and the Alt-Right. And because of this lack of middle ground, the revolution is allowed to continue, therefore permitting a perpetual cycle of movement/counter-movement. The clashing of these revolutionaries MIGHT endanger the very ideals that the two sides promote. And being birthed in the Information Age, these two sides MIGHT have more in common than what they realize.

Their ideals might be manifesting themselves in different ways…which is why it’s IMPORTANT to find middle ground, because failing to do so would endanger those ideals. But thinking about how a “post-revolutionary” world might look, is a step towards de-escalating tensions and ENACTING the principles that are behind the revolution itself.

And I already forgot how Demi Lovato fits into all of this.

I should mention that, being on the side of this so-called “Obama Coalition”, I am not saying CONCEDE to alt-right talking points. But on a larger note, it’s important to not fall into the idea of imperviousness to being wrong. When that happens, you’re already wrong. So avoid that.

That’s all I got.

Watching WAY too much “Fast and the Furious”

Everywhere I work, everywhere I go…the same bizarrely specific person appears.

I can’t escape them.

As I mentioned before, I live in a red state. But I imagine that this type of GUY can be found anywhere. But the shape he takes down south is this: A huge TOOL fan (along with a number of other aggressively mediocre metal bands that appeared in the late 90s and the 2000s), thinks of himself as a mechanic but has to reluctantly accept his current job (and despite being a “mechanic”, he has a shitty car), grew up unknowingly white trash, believes himself to be a “genius”, and hates life and blames everyone but himself for his shitty predicament.

Oh, and he has facial jewelry of sorts. AND, perhaps worst of all….he has an overbearing sense of cynicism.

I first became aware of this type of guy when I was in the Army. That pretty much describes every other white guy in the military. Of course, I was young then. The Army is full of faux-alpha male types, so I didn’t realize that these people were just self-loathing buffoons.

Then I briefly dated a “goth” girl. I was 19 and she was 25. She had all kinds of male friends (that she was probably fucking). Now I wouldn’t classify the guys I’m discussing as “goth”, but they certainly run in the same crowd. And this provided me with a brief peek behind the curtain.

All of these guys were in their late 20s or 30s, so I didn’t realize how pathetic their lives were. But they had the strangest conversations. I don’t even know if we could call them conversations as they were really just talking at each other. There was no sense of emotional reciprocation. Not that they didn’t have emotions. They just didn’t KNOW that they had emotions. But the topics of conversations were all the same: cars, buying parts for cars, motorcycles.

And they smoked. A LOT.

However, on occasion something strange would happen. They’d break from their usual topics and mention an absolutely horrible story. Usually something traumatic that happened to them. And these stories are nearly impossible to believe. Yet they always ended the same way: they felt nothing.

What the hell? Why would someone tell a horrible (and unbelievable) story only to say that they didn’t feel anything afterwords? Is it a cry for help? Is it an attempt to create an emotional connection? What’s the point?

And that’s where I discovered another trait: an obsession with the “dark” aspects of life that supposedly have no effect on them. It’s self-loathing masquerading as cool, that THEY believe makes them look tough on the exterior.

I hate Nirvana. The band, not the religious philosophy. It’s sad that Kurt Cobain killed himself. I wouldn’t wish that fate on anyone. But he was this symbol of a movement towards making sad and horrible things cool, yet being in complete denial of one’s own feelings of the sad and horrible things. Nirvana, for me, symbolizes this wallowing in self-pity. It’s not cool. It’s just shitty music.

Thankfully the relationship with the “goth” girl didn’t last long. There’s only so much of that shit one can take. But it left me with an awareness of this brand of unaware and deceptively smug jackass.

And they were everywhere. It’s understandable that teenagers would be that way. But grown ass men?

You’re probably wondering “what’s your point?” Or “who gives a shit?”

But it is becoming bothersome. Why do I keep running into these assholes? Do they actually EXIST? Or am I projecting that image onto them?

If it’s the last question, then I have a major problem. Obviously. Why would I project that onto them, and why the hell do I despise the shit out of them?

I wonder what people think when they see me. I wonder what it’s like to have a conversation with me. Do I come across as being cynical? Do my stories sound like absolute bullshit? ARE my stories bullshit?!

Unfortunately I cannot know what it’s like to have a conversation with me. I’d like to think that I’m an engaging, charming, and handsome character that people trip over themselves to meet. But what if that wasn’t true? And what if I KNOW that that’s not true, and somehow I’m trying to bury the fact that I AM a cynical piece of shit that people hate?

So perhaps those guys aren’t the problem….I’M the problem and I just see too much of myself in those douchebags. And that’s why I keep running into these mother fuckers everywhere I go.

So it’s ME that’s engaging in self-pity!

Son of a bitch!

But the ultimate question I want to ask is: what are these guys called? Is there a name for them but I’m too much of a homebody nerd to know what the cool kids are saying? If there isn’t, can I give them one?

They’re not alt-right. In fact, I don’t think they have an understanding of politics at all. Plus, these guys do get laid, so that definitely wouldn’t fit the alt-right definition.

But I’ve got nothing. Someone help me out.

Anyways, I get the feeling that these guys watch WAY too much Fast and the Furious. So that’s why I posted a Fast and the Furious video. Peace!

The Cesspool of Information: The Internet and the Alt-Right

“The internet is a mistake”

I spent a good part of my early 20s being angry. That shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. Angry because I wasn’t masculine enough, because I wasn’t the best looking guy, because I couldn’t meet women that I wanted to meet.

It sounds horrible now, but I did get caught up in the “pick-up artist” movement that was blossoming in the late aughts. Not that it ever got me anywhere, it only further contributed to my isolation and entitlement. But thinking back on it now, it’s difficult for me to believe that I once listened to garbage being peddled by the likes of Tucker Max and David D’Angelo.

Times change, of course. The older you get, the more you realize that none of that shit matters. However, because of this Travis Bickle-like isolation, I have this strange empathy with the alt-right movement. Don’t misinterpret me, I don’t agree with anything they say. But our internet age is producing a whole generation of Travis Bickles. And the failure to recognize that is allowing this movement to flourish.

Angela Nagle is an expert in these internet subcultures that she claims doesn’t have any consistent ideological foundations. In fact, they appear to hate each other as much as they hate the Left, SJWs, etc. And they diverge from the traditional conservatives in rejecting any Judeo-Christian ethic, almost appearing to embrace a nihilistic worldview. Nevertheless, they champion a return to a form of patriarchy, MINUS any of the responsibilities that have traditionally came with such a tradition. So although they embrace a male-dominated society, they’d rather sit at home playing video games than going into the world and experiencing actual stress.

From a leftist perspective, we can point and laugh at this all we want. But in doing so, we risk further contributing to this isolation that fosters alt-right ideation. Leftist taboos have prevented liberals from engaging in any sort of meaningful debate with the alt-right. There’s a fear within the Left that prevents any sort of debate because the appearance of doing so might be viewed as “legitimizing” alt-right concerns. So by ignoring this movement and manufacturing “outrage” against their beliefs is, in fact, contributing to their growth.

And as you can imagine, much of alt-right discussion is directed at feminism. This has infamously led to the formation of the “men’s rights movement”. Again, this is a misguided concept, but paraphrasing from Nagle (in the interview above): “imagine growing up with liberal parents, in a liberal neighborhood, and being unable to find a date. Then you have to listen to the Left mock male concerns.” (Which Nagle would seem to suggest that feminism should spend its time building up women rather than tearing down men). Even though some concerns might be misguided, nevertheless people ACT on these concerns and they appear to become legitimized when mocked.

So much of the alt-right movement consists of young men that aren’t successful with forging sexual relationships with women. Which, as I can attest to, is a debilitating thing. It doesn’t justify embracing a return to patriarchy or disregarding feminism and all the struggles that women face daily. However, instead of getting bogged down in what the alt-right supports, perhaps it’s time to examine what the alt-right represents. And that is a generation of socially ill-equipped men that are acting in angst. And the movement is filling a void via the internet, that can’t be found in the real world which is seemingly becoming more hostile to their pleas. Because of an inability to find a mate, they are forced to seek help from an online “pick-up” community, which somehow becomes a bridge into alt-right delusion.

I’m not exactly certain on how we address this problem. But having a generation of socially-inept men, which can often lead to violent conclusions, is cause for alarm. If the Left is smart and truly interested in attracting new followers, they should be willing to engage in an intellectual conversation with members of the alt-right. Even if their arguments are misguided, we shouldn’t ignore the source of their grievances: a lack of success with the opposite sex. So while men’s rights movements are invalid, desiring and failing to find a sexual relationship is an issue that needs addressing.

But again, I don’t know how we address THAT issue in a POLITICAL sense. In fact, that’s not a political issue at all. But it IS a social and mental health issue that needs addressing. And establishing alternative routes for helping those that struggle with this problem need to be investigated by the mental health community…SO THAT those that are struggling don’t have to resort to the “pick-up” community for help.

I know that not everyone within the alt-right fits this description. Many are these Trump-like alpha males that drive large trucks and watch MMA. They just want to feel good about being a MAN. But they share the same concern with their beta male brethren. They rallied around Trump because of a lost sense of ‘American Machismo’. For one reason or another, they felt emasculated by the bleeding-heart liberalism that flourished under the Obama years, and became especially threatened by the prospect of living under the first female president. When Donald Trump emerged in 2016, this strange congregation of alpha-males and socially-inept internet trolls rallied around him. This would explain the almost schizophrenic nature of the alt-right movement, where everyone hates each other but remain united under the “strongman” politics of Donald Trump.

Many believe that this movement will ultimately cannibalize itself. And we can hope that that will be the case. But wishful thinking doesn’t usually save the day. In the English-speaking parts of North America, we’ve managed to avoid a dictatorship. Although large scale conflicts have occurred on the continent, save for a few confined instances (September 11th, Pearl Harbor, etc), it’s been awhile since there’s been generationally-scarring event.  Compare this to the European continent, which during the 20th Century saw two large-scale wars, rise of dictatorships, holocausts, and the Iron Curtain. And not just Europe, but nearly every continent (except maybe Australia) has experienced a degree of large-scale and violent political instability over the last 100 years. But again, not English-speaking North America. We have it good, and we continue to believe that this system will continue indefinitely. Therefore, no idiotic movement can take down the UNITED STATES, we’re too great for something like that to happen!

And this is the assumption that the Left takes when regarding the alt-right. Now I’ve been on record saying that “history doesn’t repeat itself”. But it can provide us with a few warning signs. And, I don’t know, perhaps this might be misguided… But I don’t quite feel comfortable with a young generation jumping into hard-right politics. Additionally, American politics walks a slippery slope with its nationalistic overtones. We might dodge a bullet with a Donald Trump presidency potentially going down in flames, yet we may not be so lucky next time.

In fact, the blatant anti-intellectualism of Donald Trump should terrify everybody.

Not that the Right has ever really been an “intellectual” movement. It’s always been somewhat hostile to academic consensus. But this new right seems to be completely disengaged with policy making…and far more interested in “shock value” or offending others. Their primary thinkers don’t offer much in thought. They mostly prefer designing content that will help boost their Twitter followers.

The internet had dumbed down our political discourse. It’s no longer about learning and shaping ideas. It’s now about getting likes and followers. It’s about seeking information that will confirm our deranged beliefs. It provides a reality that simply allows us to escape the actuality of the physical world.

Unfortunately this alternate reality is fueling the worst parts of human nature: hatred and narcissism. And out of this cesspool of false information, the alt-right was born. The internet is a mistake.