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4chan and Trump

[ 399 ] February 24, 2017 |

I know next to nothing about the subcultures explored in this essay, and therefore can’t vouch for its accuracy,  but it’s a fascinating read.

On Gamergate:

Again, here we can understand this group as people who have failed at the real world and have checked out of it and into the fantasy worlds of internet forums and video games. These are men without jobs, without prospects, and by extension (so they declaimed) without girlfriends. Their only recourse, the only place they feel effective, is the safe, perfectly cultivated worlds of the games they enter. By consequence of their defeat, the distant, abstract concept of women in the flesh makes them feel humiliated and rejected. Yet, in the one space they feel they can escape the realities of this, the world of the video game, here (to them, it seems) women want to assert their presence and power.

If this sounds hard to believe, take for example Milo Yiannopoulos, the “Technology Editor” at Breitbart News, whose scheduled lecture this month at Berkeley spawned massive riots and protests. Yiannopoulos rose to prominence via Gamergate. He is not a “technology” editor because he compares the chip architectures of competing graphics cards. Rather the “tech” here is code for the fact that his audience is the vast population of sad young men who have retreated to internet communities. Likewise the mainstream press sometimes describes him as troll as a way of capturing his vague association with 4chan. This term, too, is inaccurate. He is 4chan at its most earnest, after all these men have finally discovered their issue — the thing that unites them — their failure and powerlessness literally embodied (to them) by women.

Yiannopoulos’ rambling “arguments” against feminism, are not arguments at all, as much as pep talks, ways of making these dis-empowered men feel empowered by discarding the symbol of their failure — women. As an openly gay man, he argues that men no longer need be interested in women, that they can and should walk away from the female sex en masse. For example in a long incoherent set of bullet points on feminism he states:

The rise of feminism has fatally coincided with the rise of video games, internet porn, and, sometime in the near future, sex robots. With all these options available, and the growing perils of real-world relationships, men are simply walking away.

Here Yiannopoulos has inverted what has actually happened to make his audience feel good. Men who have retreated to video games and internet porn can now characterize their helpless flight as an empowered conscious choice to reject women for something else. In other words, it justifies a lifestyle which in their hearts they previously regarded helplessly as a mark of shame.

On Trump as Pepe the Frog:

We know, by this point, that Trump is funny. Even to us leftists, horrified by his every move, he is hilarious. Someone who is all brash confidence and then outrageously incompetent at everything he does is — from an objective standpoint — comedy gold. Someone who accuses his enemies of the faults he at that very moment is portraying is comedy gold. But, strangely, as the left realized after the election, pointing out Trump was a joke was not helpful. In fact, Trump’s farcical nature didn’t seem to be a liability, rather, to his supporters, it was an asset.

All the left’s mockery of Trump served to reinforce his message as not only an outsider, but as an expression of rage, despair, and ultimate pathetic Pepe-style hopelessness.

4chan’s value system, like Trump’s ideology, is obsessed with masculine competition (and the subsequent humiliation when the competition is lost). Note the terms 4chan invented, now so popular among grade schoolers everywhere: “fail” and “win”, “alpha” males and “beta cucks”. This system is defined by its childlike innocence, that is to say, the inventor’s inexperience with any sort of “IRL” [in real life] romantic interaction. And like Trump, since these men wear their insecurities on their sleeve, they fling these insults in wild rabid bursts at everyone else.

Trump the loser, the outsider, the hot mess, the pathetic joke, embodies this duality. Trump represents both the alpha and the beta. He is a successful person who, as the left often notes, is also the exact opposite — a grotesque loser, sensitive and prideful about his outsider status, ready at the drop of a hat to go on the attack, self-obsessed, selfish, abrogating, unquestioning of his own mansplaining and spreading, so insecure he must assault women. In other words, to paraphrase Truman Capote, he is someone with his nose pressed so hard up against the glass he looks ridiculous. And for this reason, (because he knows he is substanceless) he must constantly re-affirm his own ego. Or as Errol Morris put it, quoting Borges, he is a “labyrinth with no center”.

But, what the left doesn’t realize is, this is not a problem for Trump’s supporters, rather, the reason why they support him.

Trump supporters voted for the con-man, the labyrinth with no center, because the labyrinth with no center is how they feel, how they feel the world works around them. A labyrinth with no center is a perfect description of their mother’s basement with a terminal to an endless array of escapist fantasy worlds.

Trump’s bizarre, inconstant, incompetent, embarrassing, ridiculous behavior — what the left (naturally) perceives as his weaknesses — are to his supporters his strengths.

In other words, Trump is 4chan.

While Clinton won young voters (18-29) by a wide margin (55-37), that margin was sixteen points lower than Obama’s margin over McCain, and six points below Obama’s margin over Romney.  To be fair, sex-starved semi-employed white guys living in their moms’ basements represent only a small part of this larger demographic. Hopefully.

 

 

 

 

 

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  1. Karen24 says:

    My son had an acquaintance who was a big GamerGate fan. That kid is strong evidence supporting the thesis of the linked article.

    Slightly off-topic, this article Supports my theory that Yiannopoulos is not actually gay and that he will reappear as a darling of the scary Catholic right wing. He hates women, so he should be right at home. (The nice thing for us is that the scary Catholic right is quite small and ignored by the popular press. He’ll be stuck writing for obscure websites and appearing only on Catholic radio shows. No more late-night network or high-rated cable for him!)

    • libarbarian says:

      Yeah. I’m sure he’s in deep cover.

      • Karen24 says:

        I don’t doubt he has had sex with other men, just that it’s more like men in prison or on long sailing voyages in the18th century and not a real orientation where he feels any attraction or connection to the men. They’re available methods of getting off and not one whit more. His drug is attention and not sex, and he can keep getting attention by ‘reforming.’

        • humanoid.panda says:

          Um, this article offers no shed of evidence that Milo is not gay, it’s just evidence he is very willing to tell whatever his audience likes to hear.

          And your prison sex parallel doesn’t work, because prison sex is based on power differentials. And its hard to argue that Milo has immense power differentials with the men he sleeps with.

          And anyway: gays, Jews, African Americans, women, carpenters, plumbers, and circus clowns can all be disgusting people. I don’t understand the need to argue that person X can’t really be identity Y simply because he is a bigot.

          • Lord Jesus Perm says:

            This. We’ve really got to stop with this Milo truther shit.

          • LeeEsq says:

            Many people are attracted to dualism in their politics. Saying that X can’t be Y because X is a bad person is a way to maintain the dualism.

          • The Great God Pan says:

            I think it’s less “Milo can’t be gay because he’s a bigot” than the hetero equivalent of white people who insist that Shaun King isn’t really black.

          • rhino says:

            I would just like point out that I have a good friend currently doing time in maximum security, and prison *rape* is about power.

            Prison *sex* is about the fact that eventually, even straight guys sometimes want an orgasm caused by someone who likes them.

            I think it’s important to point out that much of the sex in prisons is consensual, if often contractual and/or for hire.

            My friend is in Canadian prison, where rape was actually pretty rare, and sex is uncommon but certainly a part of life.

        • NewishLawyer says:

          I think Milo Y is gay but also an agent provoceatuer with a talent at telling crowds what they want to here. He apparently started off as a high Tory wannabe tech writer but that did not sell because it is a dime a dozen.

          Milo Y, the outlandish, campy, flashy, gay guy who attacks other marginalized groups sells because he conforms to stereotype for traditionalists.

    • John F says:

      Lord why did you link that? JHC is that author a miserable POS.

    • Origami Isopod says:

      Policing other people’s identities, so long as they’re people we don’t like, (a) is creepy and (b) opens the door to everyone else having their identities policed.

      And if you’re resorting to a revanchist Catholic website to back up your point, you really need to examine your priorities.

      BTW, if anyone would like to read that loathsome piece without giving the site page hits, I’ve thrown it up (phrase used deliberately) onto Archive.is.

      • Bubblegum Tate says:

        Commenting in lieu of Like or Upvote functionality. But yeah, you are right. And I’m fairly skeeved out by this insistence that Milo isn’t gay. Who cares? The important thing is he’s a piece of shit who will say anything for attention/”fame.”

        • rhino says:

          People don’t want to believe that ‘the gays’, who tend both liberal and left, are sometimes individually bigots and despicable.

          It’s natural to hope or believe that assholes like Milo are not really part of a tribe you have an allegiance with.

          It’s quite similar to the discomfort the left feels with the policies of the Israeli government. We largely cope by saying that the likudniks are separate from the ‘good jews’. I got into trouble with some of our commenters by saying that they ought to kick anti-semitic jews out of their ‘tribe’ not to long ago… Similar to how people are offended that Milo is being ‘kicked out’ of gayness here.

          I’m not expressing this well, but I am going to post it anyway in the hopes that people will clarify or question and i can flesh it out.

          • Origami Isopod says:

            Nobody is “offended” that Milo is being “kicked out of gayness.” The point is that nobody is qualified to police the identities of specific other people. There are some exceptions, such as Rachel Dolezal, but they’re uncommon overall and they have nothing to do with the person in question having loathsome politics.

            The whole idea that someone belonging to an oppressed group “should be” better than someone who does not have such a membership is terrible. On the one hand, that’s not how human beings work. On the other, that holds the oppressed group to a higher standard than the other group.

    • Shakezula says:

      An out gay man isn’t really queer is a ridiculous theory. Not quite as bad as the people who assert that various homophobic hetero men are closet cases, but close.

      I suppose it’s more on par with thinking P. Schlafly isn’t really a woman.

    • Whirrlaway says:

      “everybody’s born a little bit gay”

      In the old days, I knew women who were political lesbians, so maybe M is a political faggot, but really who cares. M shtick mostly a show … it doesn’t seem to involve loving companionship, which is what normal people of whatever orientation are into sex for.

      • rhino says:

        I’ve never met a political lesbian, but I have known a lot of bi women who avoided men because we are so often assholes, and the sifting out of good ones was not worth the trouble.

        It’s a patriarchal world, so I doubt the reverse holds true very often.

        • Origami Isopod says:

          I’ve never met a political lesbian

          They’re a thing. They’re women of heterosexual orientation who think that f/f relationships are free of problems and that they’re somehow being better feminists by entering romantic/sexual relationships with people to whom they’re not romantically or sexually attracted. I’m not a lesbian, but this does not strike me as a really great idea.

  2. I posted on /mu/ for a few months before I got bored of the culture of the place (the fact that most of the time I didn’t get to read replies to my posts because the threads would have disappeared by the time I got home from work/woke up didn’t help either). These summaries strike me as entirely accurate.

    • Schadenboner says:

      I used to post on /tg/, but it got a little too /pol/ for me.

      • Matty says:

        Even /g/ and /ck/ (my other two hangouts after /tg/) got /pol/. I think /tg/ always had /pol/ proclivities, and some of the WH40K worship was part of that.

        • Origami Isopod says:

          I’ve lurked on /a/. It’s … eugh. I learned to ignore a lot of the more objectionable commentary, but ultimately I didn’t see that much of value to ignore it in favor of. Mostly flamewars over favorite anime characters and ships.

          They do post nice fanart, but it’s seldom if ever sourced, and that’s unfair to the artists (which is an internet-wide problem, hardly limited to the channers).

    • rhino says:

      The place is designed for people who live on their computers…

      …My girlfriend and I were b-tards for a few years. There was a pretty solid counterculture acting against the dominant shithead paradigm back then. No idea what it’s like now.

  3. C.V. Danes says:

    To be fair, sex-starved semi-employed white guys living in their moms’ basements represent only a small part of this larger demographic. Hopefully.

    To be fair, I was once a sex-starved semi-employed white guy who lived in his mom’s basement. But, you know, I grew out of it. These guys, whoever, are perpetual man-babies, which is why they flock to the man-baby in chief.

    • CP says:

      Also to be fair, this ultimately has very little to do with whether they’re sex-starved, semi-employed, or living in their parents’ basements. As Trump demonstrates, you can be wildly successful beyond anyone’s dreams and still come out with exactly the same pathology as them. Even the “high school loser” cliche lets them off the hook: you could give them all the money, independence and sex they could ever want and they’ll still be the same people.

    • Crusty says:

      Did you grow out of it at a time before there were interconnected communities of people telling you there was nothing to grow out of and there was nothing wrong with you but rather everyone else? I’m guessing no, and that’s the problem today- too many losers negatively reinforcing each other. And then on top of that they’ve got their internet porn teaching them about how women are supposed to enjoy sex.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

        they’ve got their internet porn teaching them about how women are supposed to enjoy sex.

        While in the back of their mind they know they aren’t “equipped” like the guys in the porn movies are who are supposedly driving the women wild with passion. So they’re losers even in their porn viewing.

      • Tyro says:

        One of the frustrating things about the online world is that while it has made it easier for us to find and communicate with likeminded people, the dark side is that it allows people to normalize their pathologies.

        • LeeEsq says:

          The Internet allows people who really shouldn’t be allowed to communicate with each other to communicate with each other and everybody goes deeper down the rabbit hole. There isn’t a good or easy solution to this problem.

          • Crusty says:

            See, e.g., that New York cannibal cop case. Oi vey.

          • It isn’t at all clear to me that this is the problem, exactly. No one here, at least, is qualified to decide who should be communicating where or with whom.

            • LeeEsq says:

              People should obviously be allowed to associate and communicate with anybody they like for the mots part. That doesn’t mean anything positive will result or that some associations aren’t problematic or even actively evil.

            • Crusty says:

              Take child porn. It was harder when they had to meet in person to disseminate hard copies.

            • Origami Isopod says:

              Strongly agreed. The idea that society overall was better, nicer, more decent when we had more gatekeepers really needs to die a painful death already.

              And, until feminists began to speak out in the ’70s and laws began to be passed in earnest in the ’80s, rape and misogyny in all their forms were already normalized and had been for millennia. The fact that few people talked about them does not prove otherwise. The same can be said of the civil rights movement and racism, other than that the timeframe is half a millennium.

              • Roberta says:

                A handful of misogynists are only talking about rape and misogyny online now because feminism has challenged rape and misogyny as institutions. Until recently, people could just take a certain amount of rape and misogyny for granted. Same for racism. The alt-right is yelling about the relative loss of race and gender privileges (among other things). Their whining is unpleasant and often scary, but less scary than actually giving them the power so they’ll shut up, which is what things were like before.

              • tsam says:

                And, until feminists began to speak out in the ’70s and laws began to be passed in earnest in the ’80s,

                I always remind myself that for a few more years, it’s still been less than a century since us super duper nice men granted women the right to vote. In fact the USA has still been around longer than women were allowed to vote. This is a disgrace and an embarrassment, and sadly, there is a non-negligible amount of men would would gladly go back to that if given the chance.

              • There does seem to be an undertone in these discussions, at times, that suggests there are sufficient gatekeepers EVERYWHERE but on the Internet, and that this is at the same time unprecedented, unacceptable, and fairly readily fixed (not sure what they have in mind).

            • Tyro says:

              If you have have problem, it is great to find a support group to let you know that you’re not alone and that you can get better. But the flip side is that “support group” can just as easily become a place where people revel in their problems and make them worse. I am a firmly grounded person, so I tend not to get caught into this psychological/cultural death spirals, but others aren’t so fortunate.

          • Hob says:

            See, for instance, apparently intelligent guys with typical experiences of romantic disappointment learning to explain their situation in the exact same paranoid terms as every MRA rant ever. And then taking that rant over to a non-MRA forum, and acting like it’s super unreasonable for the people there to find that extraordinarily offensive or expect any kind of retraction, since after all he warned everyone he was going to get “emotional”.

        • Abbey Bartlet says:

          One of the frustrating things about the online world is that while it has made it easier for us to find and communicate with likeminded people, the dark side is that it allows people to normalize their pathologies.

          This is what makes me wonder if in the end the internet will be a net good.

      • NewishLawyer says:

        I don’t know if this is limited to 4chan and it is probably the snob in me talking but I’ve noticed that among late generation Xers and Millennials, there is a strong belief in keeping childhood entertainments and nostalgia. The attitude used to be “You are too old for comics, video games,…” Now my generation and younger seems to be in the constant throws of nostalgia.

        Maybe some of this is natural. I was among the first generation to grow up with video games and remember when everyone went crazy for Nintendo and Sega Master Systems.

        But there seems to be a split in geek culture. You have geeks that learned to get into romantic relationships sooner rather than later and those that seem stuck on the more stereotypical path.

        When I was in college, I was really into anime and part of my school’s Science Fiction-Fantasy-Gaming and general geekery club. The club seemed equally divided between people whose sexual relationships seemed wild and hedonistic and your stereotypical geeks who never really learned how to advance romantically/sexually.

        I was in the later category and did not really learn how to successfully ask out women until my mid-20s and then it took to my late 20s to have any sort of success in getting women to say yes. This was long after I stopped watching anime.

        I’m in a long term relationship now but there was a long time when the whole sexual relationship thing bewildered and perplexed me. The advice the perplexed are given is never good and people might as well have been asking me to pitch a perfect curve ball on the first attempt. A lot of people who were good (or seemed good) at hooking up would say “Have you ever just asked someone?” and that always seemed odd because just asking someone to have sex seemed more like a recipe for getting slapped in the face.

        • NewishLawyer says:

          I also really hate the word adulting but that might just be me being ornery…

        • Crusty says:

          You’ve got a lot of interesting stuff in here. On video games, I think you and I are about the same age, which I consider maybe just a little too old to have really grown up with video games. I mean, we had video games, but it wasn’t quite as big. My parents didn’t indulge me too much with that sort of thing. We had atari when I was really little, but not so many games. By the time they came around to getting a nintendo system, it was more for my younger brother and I wasn’t that into it. Some fun games, but I wasn’t crazy into it. I never bothered with any upgrades like sega genesis, etc. When I got to college, I went through a brief Madden football phase. After that, they just weren’t my thing. Not that bringing home women to my apartment for romance in my 20’s was such a frequent thing, but in the back of my mind I felt like the presence of a video game system would be a turn off to anyone I might be interested in. And to some extent, I was right in the sense that I never dated people that would have thought hey, I get it, you’re into video games, that’s cool. Rather, they would have said not my type. Today, my wife indulges my guitar and music geek habit. A video game habit wouldn’t fly. I once dated someone who early on in our dating told me, yeah, I’d expect a man your age to have a video game system, but I like that you don’t, I suppose I would tolerate it if you did. I don’t know if this is generational or down to different personalities. But yeah, it seems with people just slightly younger than me, there’s no desire to outgrow things- its like an instant nostalgia.

          Something occurs to me about the movie the 40 Year Old Virgin, which on the surface, appears to mock people who are not sexually/romantically successful, but it actually dealt with the subject in a more nuanced, sensitive and respectful way. In the movie, Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd are overgrown man-babies and they play video games while making homophobic jokes to each other. But when it comes time to helping Steve Carrell, they tell him that he needs to get rid of all the childish, geeky, nostalgia toys and posters he’s got in the apartment.

          • Origami Isopod says:

            Today, my wife indulges my guitar and music geek habit. A video game habit wouldn’t fly.

            Women are gamers, too. There are het married couples who game together. It is not merely a “man-child” activity that women tolerate, and the assumption that it is also underlies the idea that women and their girl cooties need to GTFO of gaming.

            • Crusty says:

              Yes, I get that. I’m just saying that I’ve been in social circles where that stuff is viewed as childish and not something grown ups should spend their time doing.

            • efgoldman says:

              Women are gamers, too. There are het married couples who game together. It is not merely a “man-child” activity that women tolerate

              My daughter and SIL, both now mid-30s, met over gaming, they both still play. It’s like a couple who are both avid readers, but one reads history and biography, and the other mysteries and sci-fi. It just isn’t that big a deal.

              And the three-year-old granddaughter is learning Mario.

              Oh, daughter wrote abut games professionally for a while, and frankly took a lot of shit. She got out just as gamergate was warming up, but she knows most of the women who took the most crap.

            • rhino says:

              Pretty much every guy I know, but me, has either a gaming PC or a console. None of the women I know game, or own gaming equipment, aside from the SOs of the guys. Of those, only one or two game at all, and the rest bitch about the time waste.

              Sure, there are women who game, but Crusty’s experience seems far more representative of reality than not.

              I think it’s pretty fair to assume a lot fewer women game than men. I’ve seen stats that supposedly suggest otherwise, but also have seen convincing arguments that those stats are more like push polls than reality.

              None of this should be taken as supporting gamer gate idiots, or the typical sexism of some male member of the gaming community.

              • Origami Isopod says:

                I think it’s pretty fair to assume a lot fewer women game than men. I’ve seen stats that supposedly suggest otherwise, but also have seen convincing arguments that those stats are more like push polls than reality.

                Most such arguments I’ve seen are along the lines of, “Well, women aren’t real gamers. They don’t play real games, just dumb girly shit like Farmville or SJW crap.”

                • Lurker says:

                  I just revisited the world of “Elder Scrolls: Skyrim”. I hadn’t played it for a while, and was shocked. The game, despite its limitations of technology, tells a rather compelling story, which seems today almost prescient. In the game, released in 2012, you have a civil war between two factions, one of which is openly racist, sometimes even genocidal, while actually promising to make “Skyrim great again”.

                  Skyrim also has really good depictions of institutional racism, although its basic design allows the player to escape the worst aspects. (If playing as Khajit – a feline humanoid – the player is inexplicably allowed into cities, while all other Khakits are permanently banned from them. This is because otherwise, the game would be almost impossible play in a meaningful manner.)

                  I really think that games are a valid method of telling stories with political and ethical content.

                • rhino says:

                  Yeah, but like any rational individual, I don’t pay attention to those assholes.

                  That doesn’t change my pretty firmly held opinion, based on personal observation, that women are far less likely to be gamers than men.

                  Now maybe I’m living in some wierd bubble, and elsewhere there are tons of women gaming their hearts out, and non-gaming women are rare. But I doubt it.

                  This leaves the question of *why* fewer women game. And I would guess it’s a combo of games written to appeal to men, hostility from the basement troll gaming population who want to post ‘no girlz’ signs on their clubhouse, and good old fashioned harassment of women who do try and enter the community.

          • corporatecake says:

            I don’t think that people in my age cohort (millennial) regard video games as a particularly childish. The fact of the matter is that many (most?) of us play video games of some sort, whether it be World of Warcraft or Angry Birds.

        • Rob in CT says:

          SEGA!

          Up-down-up-down-left-right-left-right-select-select-start.

          I can’t remember (sometimes important) things in everyday life but I still remember (I think) the cheat code to get 30 lives in Contra.

          As for the rest… I dunno. I wouldn’t present myself as any kind of expert on the subject, but I was in neither of your groups. Hooking up wasn’t ever my plan. For whatever reason if I’m interested in someone, I’m interested in a relationship. Anyway, somehow I convinced myself to care a little less – to not be so wound up and stressed about it (and, attendant to that, feeling like some kind of loser/failure). Basically, hey you know what I’m in college and there’s lots of fun things to do here and screw this moping around shit (b/c the girl I crushed on in high school wasn’t into me. At the same time I was into her, anyway. Long, boring story). I still don’t fully know how I did that, because it’s not like I didn’t KNOW that might help. I just hadn’t been able to pull it off before. It’s easy to say and hard to do. And frankly I don’t know how long I would’ve kept it up anyway – I met someone who became a long-term girlfriend about two days later (and then proceeded to do all manner of idiot “never been in a relationship before” things that contributed to the long, drawn-out, painful failure of that relationship). Things worked out for me in the end, but for a large chunk of my adolescence and early adulthood, I was pretty miserable like so many other people.

        • Origami Isopod says:

          it is probably the snob in me talking

          Yes. There is nothing inherently wrong with enjoying “childish” pastimes as an adult, and if you are looking down upon it per se you really need to pull the stick out. Preferring arthouse movies or art galleries does not make you better, more intelligent, or more mature.

          • tsam says:

            I’m 47 years old. I STILL play Halo on the occasional weekend when the weather is ABSOLUTE FUCKING SHIT AND COLD FUCK YOU WEATHER I HATE YOU SO MUCH AND IT’S FUCKING SNOWING AGAIN RIGHT NOW wow–sorry.

            Enjoying stuff should be a mixture of things that come easy and things you have to work at (like reading Shakespeare).

            • Crusty says:

              68 degrees here in Northern New Jersey.

              • tsam says:

                What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little bitch? I’ll have you know I graduated top of my class in the Navy Seals, and I’ve been involved in numerous secret raids on Al-Quaeda, and I have over 300 confirmed kills. I am trained in gorilla warfare and I’m the top sniper in the entire US armed forces. You are nothing to me but just another target. I will wipe you the fuck out with precision the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the Internet? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of spies across the USA and your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your life. You’re fucking dead, kid. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can kill you in over seven hundred ways, and that’s just with my bare hands. Not only am I extensively trained in unarmed combat, but I have access to the entire arsenal of the United States Marine Corps and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable ass off the face of the continent, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little “clever” comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldn’t, you didn’t, and now you’re paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit fury all over you and you will drown in it. You’re fucking dead, kiddo.

            • Linnaeus says:

              It may even snow here in the Emerald City. Meanwhile, the predicted high temperature today back in the Midwest where my family lives is 65F. In February.

            • Ronan says:

              Lol. Youre a good dude tsam.(Though Halo is shit.)

        • etherizedonatable says:

          Advice for the romantically perplexed is one area we as a society definitely to get better. There is a void there, and the manosphere types (pick up artists, red pillers, etc.) are doing their best to fill it.

          I completely sympathize wit the perplexed, too. I swear I’ve lucked my way into every relationship I’ve ever had.

          • Origami Isopod says:

            These discussions always seem to assume that women are never romantically perplexed or shunned. The difference is that society blames us for it, rather than coddling us by labeling men “too picky” or creating groups that will teach us how to browbeat men into relationships.

            • brettvk says:

              Blog discussion threads on topics of interest often generate cliches and variations on cliches. Your statement isn’t one of these, and it needs to be repeated and amplified.

              Why aren’t there seething pits of women on the net, piling up their complaints about men and creating vicious memes about them? It is a mystery.

              • Roberta says:

                Because the problem is not, fundamentally, sexual frustration, but a sense of entitlement to others’ labor.

              • Abbey Bartlet says:

                Why aren’t there seething pits of women on the net, piling up their complaints about men and creating vicious memes about them?

                And going on mass murder sprees against men.

              • bender says:

                What O.I., Brettvk and Roberta said.

                Also, women talk to each other about these matters in person, or on the phone.

              • Just_Dropping_By says:

                Why aren’t there seething pits of women on the net, piling up their complaints about men and creating vicious memes about them?

                You apparently don’t read the comments at Jezebel much. On any post regarding an instance of violence against women, there will reliably be a number of commenters (allegedly women) declaring that they live in such utter fear of men as a group that they attempt to have no contact with any men other than immediate relatives and to the minimal extent necessary to hold down a job/appear in public. This strikes me as just being the reverse side of the coin from Gamergate.

                • Abbey Bartlet says:

                  You apparently don’t read the comments at Jezebel much. On any post regarding an instance of violence against women, there will reliably be a number of commenters (allegedly women) declaring that they live in such utter fear of men as a group that they attempt to have no contact with any men other than immediate relatives and to the minimal extent necessary to hold down a job/appear in public. This strikes me as just being the reverse side of the coin from Gamergate.

                  Yeah! Reverse sexism! They're the real sexists! Calling someone a rapist is worse than raping!

                • lizzie says:

                  Well, I guess it’s the “reverse side of the coin” in the sense that avoiding people and keeping to yourself is the opposite of going out of your way to harass strangers. How these are morally equivalent is anyone’s guess.

                • Rob in CT says:

                  When you’re Just Dropping By, false equivalence is what you do.

              • rhino says:

                There are.

                The main difference is that there are enough awful men that the hatred is far from unjustified, and the memes are funny.

                Patriarchy, we’re soaking in it.

          • LeeEsq says:

            Its not like the non-manosphere advice for the romantically perplexed is that great either. Nearly all dating advice sucks for one reason or another regardless of who it is aimed at.

          • NewishLawyer says:

            I would say that both my romantic relationships (one bad, one good) were the product of dumb luck.

            My current girlfriend of two years told me that she was going to write me off after our first date but she had to go home for a family emergency when I asked her out on date two. Instead of writing me off, she allowed for e-mail communication and agreed to do something with me and then we took it really slowly. Like a lot slower than many modern couples as far as I can tell.

            A lot of life is dumb luck and random chaos. I find it interesting to see when people find this acceptable and when they don’t. It is revealing.

            • efgoldman says:

              A lot of life is dumb luck and random chaos.

              mrs efg and I are married 40 years in August. We were a blind date.

              • tsam says:

                Opposite end of this, I’m engaged to a woman who was married to a good friend of mine. My then wife and I babysat their now-grown kids when they were 1 to 2 years old. We’ve known each other for 20 years, began dating after divorces, a couple of aborted attempts at dating each other in years past….and here we are.

                Dumb luck and random chaos indeed.

        • Tyro says:

          I don’t know if this is limited to 4chan and it is probably the snob in me talking but I’ve noticed that among late generation Xers and Millennials, there is a strong belief in keeping childhood entertainments and nostalgia

          This is not at all new. The “grown up” men who criticize the younger generation for keeping their childhood entertainments are the same guys who spend big money on model trainsets.

          • Solar System Wolf says:

            Absolutely. For me, the problem is if the other person has an all-consuming hobby that I don’t share and can’t work up any interest for. For example, I stopped dating a guy who had to plan all our dates around the sports schedules of his favorite teams and his fantasy baseball league. Same with video games — I don’t think they’re bad, but I’m not personally interested, and I’ve stopped dating guys who spent too much time on them.

          • MCA1 says:

            I don’t disagree with your “why, back in my day” point. Take the generational conflict/hypocrisy out of it, though, and I think there’s a different point to be considered. Shame and peer pressure have a place in the world. They can get out of control and be repressive forces in many ways, but the internet, for all its power and positive aspects, has swung the pendulum too far in some cases and removed shame and peer pressure entirely. The result is infantilization. As evidenced by 4chan and gamergate and reddit Trumpanzee chats. We’ve allowed people to not interact in the physical world, where they would be shunned and/or mocked, and the consequences of their hate speech would be met with intense enough repercussion that they’d be forced to rethink things. Witness the PS Mag article earlier this week, highlighting how being chased out of Berkeley was a hard blast of the cold water of reality for these idiot Milo followers. They had no idea how much people hated them and how their behavior had real world consequences until “winning” got them to step out from behind the keyboard.

            • Origami Isopod says:

              We’ve allowed people to not interact in the physical world

              Which is perfectly fine, IMO. I am an adult. I do not need life’s self-appointed social directors hustling me out the door, making me interact with people in meatspace, “for my own good.”

              Oh, and you may want to consider that this ability to interact online is an absolute godsend to disabled people of all kinds. Also that there is no shortage of horrific behavior that is endorsed and reinforced by people’s offline social circles (e.g., megachurches).

            • I’m continually shocked how often it’s taken for granted online these days that pretty much everyone online–at least the “normal” people in the “normal” forums–would be able to stand one another, not to mention their friends, in real life.

              It seems to go along with how often it’s forgotten that going online used to be a way to connect with new kinds of people, rather than to hide from people altogether.

        • There is definitely something generational going on. There seems to be an emphasis with younger people, especially men, on getting them out of an adolescent homosocial stage and into a “social” stage where they have families, and less these days to be breadwinners than to have wives to turn them into a mensch. People my age or older seem, instead, to expect young people have to be matured out of an adolescent hypersexual stage and into a mature sublimation of physical desire.

        • Snuff curry says:

          The first generation of Americans to cling to their comic books into adulthood is the first generation of Americans with access to comic books, so, nope. Ditto jazz records, baseball cards, mass-produced dollies and figurines, cross-stitch samplers, ad naus to the end of time. Hoarding combined with nostalgia is not a young person’s game, and never was.

          This gate-keeping apologia on behalf of men, however, has palled. Men do not have a patent on geekery, and you are forever advancing this theory in the face of considerable, substantiated dissent.

        • bw says:

          The attitude used to be “You are too old for comics, video games,…” Now my generation and younger seems to be in the constant throws of nostalgia.

          I suspect some of this is that youth today differs from youth of the past in that we have lots more stuff worth being nostalgic about. Four generations ago my ancestors had to work from dawn till dusk, subsist on cheap salted fish that they hated, drink kvass that they also had little fondness for, and had virtually no leisure time because there was no electricity to provide light once the sun went down.

          A generation later there had been huge growth in material wealth, but children’s pursuits tended to be inferior by necessity and weren’t usually the kind of thing that really kept adults entertained (it’s not like adults who could afford gloves and bats were rushing out to form stickball leagues).

          And of course the boomer generation is all about a conforming nostalgia for the avenues of leisure they had as teens – music is the most obvious example, but there are others. Once for work I had to leaf through a sort of Who’s Who of oilmen in Texas and the western US. It gave brief bio blurbs and literally all of them listed as their hobbies one of the following: 1) hunting; 2) fishing; 3) hunting and fishing, 4) golf; 5) hunting and golf; 6) fishing and golf; 7) hunting, fishing, and golf. With at least hunting and fishing I have to wonder if these were less “adult” pursuits and more that these men simply had been introduced to these as kids and lacked any desire or imagination to get into anything else.

    • John F says:

      To be fair, I was once a sex-starved semi-employed white guy who lived in his mom’s basement. But, you know, I grew out of it.

      Ditto

    • wengler says:

      This seems like a strange way to ‘other’ this troll movement. A lot of these guys have good-paying jobs(a lot of them work in my industry, IT). Some of them are husbands and fathers. This is a fucking outlook, not a perspective brought on by circumstances.

      Hell, the biggest pro-Trump troll I know not only has a good job and a family but his wife is Mexican. There is something beyond logic and reason at play. And it has less to do with sex and money, and has a lot more to do with dominance.

  4. sonamib says:

    Here Yiannopoulos has inverted what has actually happened to make his audience feel good. Men who have retreated to video games and internet porn can now characterize their helpless flight as an empowered conscious choice to reject women for something else. In other words, it justifies a lifestyle which in their hearts they previously regarded helplessly as a mark of shame.

    Frankly, if those people really retreated in the video games or whatever worlds, and didn’t bother anyone, they wouldn’t really be doing anything wrong. They’d be completely harmless.

    The problem is that their ideology also compels them to harrass other people, mostly women, and to vote for the most reactionary of politicians.

    I just hope that they could find a way to “retreat” from the world without resenting it. Some people manage to do it, like this guy.

    • Right. The fact that they’re using their ideology as a cudgel with which to beat others is what makes them a threat. And it’s not as though it’s impossible to retreat from the world and not bother anyone – honestly, I did that for several years myself. I wouldn’t advise it, but I was clinically depressed at the time, and I could’ve done far worse to help myself cope.

      I have no sympathy for people who think that not having sex makes it OK for them to hate women, or that not having a decent job makes it OK to respond to that by going full-bore reactionary. There are a lot of ways to respond to shitty life circumstances, and most of them don’t involve actively trying to make other people’s lives worse in response.

      • sonamib says:

        And it’s not as though it’s impossible to retreat form the world and not bother anyone – honestly, I did that for several years myself. I wouldn’t advise it, but I was clinically depressed at the time, and I could’ve done far worse to help myself cope.

        Yes, I wanted to push back against the narrative that’s sometimes developped : these people are sexless jobless losers, they don’t want to engage with te outside world, they’re pathetic and that’s why they have such a hateful ideology. Well, there are a lot of hermits, nuns, monks, and, yes, socially isolated gamers, who are decent human beings.

        • CP says:

          As noted above, I want to push back against it as well, but in the other direction – not only are there lots of hermits, gamers, and other isolated weirdos who aren’t like these losers, but also there are lots of people who are reasonably well-adjusted and well-tolerated by society at large, but share that pathology.

          • Origami Isopod says:

            Agreed with both ends of the argument.

            I’m absolutely fine with there being more toleration for highly introverted people. Sociability is a spectrum, and so long as one can function well enough, lack of desire to mingle should not be treated as a major flaw or deficit. This isn’t the problem with the 4chan crowd.

            • CP says:

              This isn’t the problem with the 4chan crowd.

              Yeah, and putting too much importance on tying the two together… is kind of like the “White Working Class” narrative for Trump voters. It’s allowing them to use an allegedly disadvantaged status (being weird, introverted, and socially awkward in that case; “economically anxious” in the other case) as a “go easy on them, they’ve got a rough life” shield, while ignoring the fact that what ties them all together in that movement has nothing to do with that rough life. (And that in many, many cases, the rough life thing doesn’t even apply).

            • Lee Rudolph says:

              Show me the country where bombs had to fall,
              Show me the ruins of buildings once so tall,
              And I’ll show you a young land with so many reasons why
              There but for 4chan, go you or go I—you and I.

              (Jesus. Forty-one years in less than 2 months.)

      • gmack says:

        Just to be clear, this little section of the article is basically a paraphrase of Nietzsche’s analysis of the role of ressentiment in constructing “slave morality”. On Nietzsche’s account, the basic features of what we now associate with “Christian morality” (humility, “turn the other cheek,” and so on) are efforts to lie weakness into strength; it occurs when I convince myself that my inability to act (and take revenge on those who have harmed me) is actually the expression of strength–of a choice that I’m making, and not just weakness and cowardice: I’m not a loser when I wank to video games; this is an expression of my power in taking (symbolic) revenge on those who have harmed me (women, in this case).

        Part of what makes this argument of use in the current context is that it reminds us that, psychologically speaking, the whole operation is rooted in resentment and revenge fantasies. When I lie myself into the belief that my playing video games is not a sign of my failure but of my strength and power, what I’m doing a kind of symbolic attack on my enemies who have defeated me. In most cases, this is actually pretty explicit (hence the ways in which women are depicted in many of these games). If all of this is correct (who knows?), then the longing for revenge, is in fact built into the DNA of certain aspects of gamer culture.

    • yet_another_lawyer says:

      I think this is right– and a major social challenge in the 21st century is going to be cultivating a healthy identity for permanently single people. If nothing else, there’s tens of millions more men than women in the world, so the marriage market won’t work for everybody simply because it is numerically impossible for it to do so. When you couple an unwinnable dating market with high levels of social shame for “losing,” then it’s hardly a surprise that the result is toxic.

      And this quote:

      Men who have retreated to video games and internet porn can now characterize their helpless flight as an empowered conscious choice to reject women for something else. In other words, it justifies a lifestyle which in their hearts they previously regarded helplessly as a mark of shame.

      I guess I have to quibble with the word choice “retreated.” A guy who can’t get a job is, for the most part, going to have a hard time in the dating market. That doesn’t make their desire for sex or entertainment go away. Internet porn and video games are a cheap way to satisfy those urges. There is nothing, by itself, wrong with that behavior and no particular reason it should be shamed.

      • sonamib says:

        At the very least, people shouldn’t be shamed for retreating into video games. They should be shamed for actual bad things they do, but spending the whole week-end playing Resident Evil is not one of them.

        I mean, I can’t claim I’ve had much luck in the romantic department. I haven’t compromised my politics because of that, but I reserve the right to drown my sorrows in games and books if I feel like it.

        • lunaticllama says:

          Also, even men (and women) who are “successful” by societal standards may retreat from time to time into video games. It’s a great way to entertain oneself and is comparatively cheap to many other options.

        • leftwingfox says:

          Same.

          In my case, it’s a bad case of social anxiety, introversion and poor self-esteem; it’s not the fault of women that I have no luck in the dating department, it’s not because I have nothing to offer a partner. By abandoning the toxic blaming of others, I can drill down and focus on the issues I can fix about myself through therapy.

          That was feminism which helped me realize that and get out of the selfish mindset I was stuck in. If these guys realized that by making their hobbies more inclusive, they might have more opportunity to meet like-minded people, they might not be so lonely. Instead, toxic masculinity has warped geek culture into a vicious subset of jock culture.

          • Origami Isopod says:

            These guys regularly complain about this group or that meeting being a “sausage fest.” Which is code for, “We need more hawt chix here to smile at me and stroke my ego.” They absolutely do not mean, “We need more women here who are serious about play, because they might beat me and my balls will shrivel up.”

            • MedicineMan says:

              Which is too bad, because increasing the number of women out there who share their hobbies is probably the thing that would be most likely to improve the quality of their own lives.

              • Origami Isopod says:

                File it under “Patriarchy Hurts Men Too.” But so long as they value power over actual quality of life, it’s not gonna change.

              • Snuff curry says:

                Or men can venture out into female-coded hobbies (provided they don’t do what they often do, and wrest control and prestige away from women entirely and then later write revisionist history as rationalization).

          • CP says:

            That was feminism which helped me realize that and get out of the selfish mindset I was stuck in. If these guys realized that by making their hobbies more inclusive, they might have more opportunity to meet like-minded people, they might not be so lonely. Instead, toxic masculinity has warped geek culture into a vicious subset of jock culture.

            Yeah, this doesn’t get nearly enough attention, but feminism is far more attentive to the problems of guys who don’t fit the traditional image of success than the macho crap.

            Of course, it’s got girlie-cooties.

      • Lit3Bolt says:

        In The Forever War, Halderman tries to anticipate a future Earth and comes up with a world government encouraging homosexuality to keep the population down. Maybe just like the timeline of realistic space travel, this prediction is simply off by a century.

        • yet_another_lawyer says:

          Honestly, if the money and political will were there, keeping population down isn’t that hard. Simply hand out free condoms, abortions, and sterilizations. There’s a few outliers who genuinely want gigantic families, but for the most part as soon as a population controls its own fertility they start reproducing below the replacement rate. This will, naturally, become even easier if we have better-than-the-real-thing sexbots, which is looking increasingly feasible.

          • humanoid.panda says:

            Absolutely. All across the world, outside Sub-Saharan Africa and the major battlefields of the war on terror, populations growth is either rapidly approaching or is already at replacement or below replacement level.

            If we somehow manage to forestall catastrophe re:climate and deploy renewable energy, the 4 billion large mankind of the 22nd century will probably make fun of our obsession with population growth.

            • I think the biggest obstacle between us and a more or less stable population at some lower number of people is that every economy in the world is premised on growth forever. How do we pay for retirement care for older citizens with fewer and fewer workers actually working? Automation will make those workers lucky enough to have a job more productive than ever, but will also unemploy millions, possibly permanently. without a serious commitment to a strong or even mediocre social safety net, shit will get ugly.

              • humanoid.panda says:

                As ugly as it sounds, this is really a temporary problem. Demographics right now are a reverse triangle: fat on top, thin on bottom. But by the very nature of life, that’s a problem thats going to resolve itself. Question is how we manage the transition.

                • humanoid.panda says:

                  I might have misread you: you were talking about automation, and I was talking about age structure. In that case, I think the answer is rather simple: old people vote, and they will be taken care of..

                • I was talking about both automation and an aging population. Old people may vote, but they also hate taxes like poison. So, my question is, if they have a choice between paying taxes or having a huge number of impoverished young people, they are going to choose having a huge number of impoverished people over than paying for a social safety net. They are two problems that reinforce to make each other worse.

                  For an extreme example, look at most any rust belt city. A shrinking job market (due at least partly to automation) led middle class people to leave, rich people to retreat to the suburbs and unemployed the people who are left. The tax base is gutted, leaving those cities on the hook for pension obligations, they no longer have the tax base to afford. And it’s not just pension obligations, it’s also schools, water and sewer, streets and parks that those cities no longer have the tax base to support.

                • prognostication says:

                  I’m not at all sure this is a “temporary problem” or that it will “resolve itself.” If fertility rates stay low, then the population structure remains an inverted pyramid, just one that keeps getting smaller. The problems stem from the shape of the pyramid, not just the size. This is a much worse problem in other parts of the world, such as Japan, where it’s basically already a crisis, and Russia, where they’ve resorted to paying people large sums of money to have children to help boost the fertility rate.

        • John F says:

          You can’t “encourage” homosexuality any more than you can discourage it- in The Forever War I think the Government engaged in a bit of chemical/genetic engineering to achieve that goal…

          • Hob says:

            Er… you certainly can socially discourage it, as has been done for a very long time. Under oppressive conditions, some people whose own desires might not have led them to produce children will end up doing so. So removing the oppressive conditions allows people to encourage themselves.

            In the novel, there were sort of two waves. First, in the near future (relative to where the narrator starts out), it just becomes way more socially acceptable (relative to 1974, when the book was written) and the government is on board with that. The narrator’s mother starts a same-sex relationship, which surprises him, but I think the implication is pretty clearly that he just didn’t know her that well and this is something she might have done sooner if the times had been different. Then, when he catches up with Earth again a couple hundred years later, there’s been a universal shift toward homosexuality due to some kind of deliberate hormonal intervention.

            As with a lot of SF, I don’t think Haldeman was necessarily trying to predict future events – more like setting up a situation where the protagonist would experience repeated culture shock and have to really question the assumptions he grew up with. There’s a great line where, after he’s been commanding an all-gay military unit for a while, he says it’s no problem because “I’m tolerant”, and his superior tells him something like “Yes, that’s nice, we know that you… think you’re tolerant.”

            • Origami Isopod says:

              Er… you certainly can socially discourage it, as has been done for a very long time. Under oppressive conditions, some people whose own desires might not have led them to produce children will end up doing so. So removing the oppressive conditions allows people to encourage themselves.

              Oh, I definitely agree, but the phrase “encourage homosexuality” makes me cringe. I associate it with arguments along the lines of, “When governments outlaw gay-bashing, they’re sending a message that it’s perfectly fine for men to fuck each other in the street, frightening the horses and perverting the children.”

              • Hob says:

                I was mostly taking issue there with the “any more than you can discourage it” part (even though I realize that that was probably meant to apply to inner feelings rather than behavior), and wanting to clarify that the Haldeman novel was taking a somewhat different tack.

                • John F says:

                  (even though I realize that that was probably meant to apply to inner feelings rather than behavior)

                  It was.

                  I freely admit that societies/governments often seek to discourage homosexual behavior (and sometimes succeed).

            • Lurking Canadian says:

              My memory of that book is that Haldeman was making a kind of Kinsey-ite argument. It seemed to be the case that most people were bisexual, and would essentially adapt to whatever cultural currents were around them. If, say, 10% of people are always straight no matter what, and 10% of people are always gay no matter what, and the remaining 80% will adapt themselves to cultural mores, you could certainly create a society where being straight was “queer”, as eventually happens to Mandela.

              Whether Haldeman actually thinks that to be the case, or thought it in 1970, I don’t know. It doesn’t match our current understanding of biology, but the past was a different country. People used to believe in the hard form of Sapir-Whorf, too.

              By the end of the book, of course, everybody is a clone, so all bets are off.

      • Merkwürdigliebe says:

        there’s tens of millions more men than women in the world

        What?

        In China, maybe, as a result of the one-child policy and its attending side-effects. But normally you get a slightly greater number of women in a stable population (though that’s mainly a function of their longer average lifespans).

        • yet_another_lawyer says:

          https://qz.com/335183/heres-why-men-on-earth-outnumber-women-by-60-million/

          It’s true that the global imbalance is driven in large part by China and India and that in some places (e.g. Russia) local conditions invert this situation creating a woman surplus.

          Even in a perfectly efficient dating market, we’re looking at tens of millions of men who can never have a permanent monogamous relationship because there literally are not enough women in the world. But of course the dating market isn’t even close to perfectly efficient– theoretically, single Russian women and single Chinese men who both want to marry could pursue each other, but this does not seem to be a big trend in practice. Even within China, there is both a massive woman shortage and the concept of “leftover” women who are “too old” (obviously not endorsing that concept).

          The future therefore likely contains hundreds of millions of men and tens of millions of women who would really like to get married, but will never be able to do so. That includes people who got crushed by demographics and our archetypal basement dwellers who has no realistic chance on the dating market. Whatever the reason for the status of “permanently single,” society will be better off if (a) we reduce the shame of being single and (b) they have a more positive self-image of themselves, independent of romantic success that they will, most likely, never have.

          • NewishLawyer says:

            Does this factor in homosexuality?

            • yet_another_lawyer says:

              Unless male homosexuality is a lot more common than lesbianism, it doesn’t help this problem. If x% of the men and roughly the same x% of the women aren’t involved in the heterosexual dating market, then the global imbalance of many more straight men than straight women remains.

          • Merkwürdigliebe says:

            Well, I had a look at the article and China, India, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East are basically the only places where this holds true.

            All of Europe and Americas is either in parity or majority women. So this has no relevance to 4chan or the alt-right whatsoever. The is no global “dating market” (despite what certain web banners would have you believe). For practical purposes, you are always looking at the conditions within the specific country.

            • yet_another_lawyer says:

              I did say in my OP that it was a worldwide statistic. Now, if we accept that most dating is local, then fine– there are tens of millions of primarily Asian and Middle Eastern men who can never get married simply because the numbers don’t work. The American and European experience is a bit different, in that in theory the numbers could (mostly) work, although that may or may not be the case in fact. Regardless of whether people are simply wrecked by demographics or remain permanently single for other reasons, society’s current default move is to shame them. This is both cruel and counterproductive, although I have no idea what role (if any) this plays with the average 4channer.

        • Just_Dropping_By says:

          But normally you get a slightly greater number of women in a stable population (though that’s mainly a function of their longer average lifespans).

          That’s true, but in most populations men outnumber women until somewhere in the age 40 to 50 range, IIRC, so unless you dramatically increase the willingness of younger men to have relationships with older women, the population imbalance doesn’t do anything except increase dating opportunities for older men.

      • LeeEsq says:

        As somebody whose been perpetually single, I agree with the need to create a healthy identity for permanently single people. I’m very cynical on whether this is possible though. Sexuality is complicated and I’m not sure whether society is capable of both celebrating human sexuality/romantic relationships and dealing gently and gracefully with the people who are unlucky in love. Even people who should know better seem to find it important to speak down to the people with not so great love/sex lives.

        Its a very difficult thing to balance. How do you celebrate romance/sexuality as one of the greatest sources of please/happiness that is completely natural but at the same time teach the people who are unlucky in love that there is nothing wrong about being perpetually single? Humans are status seeking creatures and romantic/sexually success is a form of status that can and is used as a way to make the less successful feel bad.

        • Merkwürdigliebe says:

          I’m not sure it really can be balanced. Being sexually and romantically starves just sucks and no amount of cultural sugar-coating is going to address the core of the problem.

          Just like lousy jobs: The situation sucks in itself, that’s why people want to get away from it and that’s why, if they fail, they’re labeled as a social failure on top of it.

          • LeeEsq says:

            Having people who are romantically and sexually successful not be so in the face of the unsuccessful could help. It won’t take away the feeling of being starved but at least the unlucky might feel less like losers. A lot of society isn’t exactly helping.

            • Roberta says:

              This is certainly the case. The current fixation on romantic relationships is a social development, not an inevitable natural state of being. (The same is true for the “need” to have a wage-earning job, to be honest). I always wince when I see the sneering at GamerGaters and the alt-right as “sex starved.” For one thing, they’re often not, as CP points out. I’d say they’re subservience-starved, as in, they’re not getting the ego-boost they want from women, but that doesn’t make them necessarily sex-starved. For another thing, I know quite a few young and youngish men who haven’t had relationships with women in years. They have not become Nice Guys(tm) or PUAs, let alone neo-Nazis. The one person I’m acquainted with who I suspect is alt-right is…married.

              One thing that would help would be to validate and celebrate (and possibly allow the option of formalizing) other forms of relationships besides sexual and romantic: close friendships, extended families, found families. Also, validate sexual and romantic relationships that are not long-term heterosexual monogamy. Part of the problem is that many people looking for “sex” or “romance” have only one model for it and that is long-term monogamy leading to marriage. In fact, marriage as a life-long relationship has its roots in economics and may not serve everyone’s romantic desires.

              Women of color and poor women have been doing this among ourselves for a long time now, because marriage and long-term monogamy has sometimes been unavailable to us even if it was desirable. Middle-class white men are having to do it now for the first time since WWII (prior to that I think it was considerably less uncommon for, say, two or three grown adult men to have a household together without necessarily being sexually involved–think Holmes and Watson).

              Will that magically take away the disappointment of wanting romance and not getting it? No. But romance is not a vital need or a prerequisite to being a functional citizen, and it’s best we stop pretending it is.

              • Origami Isopod says:

                Right on target.

                Seriously, I am as tired of hearing about the poor, sex-starved manchildren as I am hearing about the poor (figuratively poor, not literally), economically anxious racists. Women who are unsuccessful at romance never, ever get the same sympathy. We’re scorned for being patriarchally unfuckable, or crazy bitches, or “too picky.” I give absolutely no shits if Random Q. Gamer can’t get a date because he can’t be bothered to shower regularly, put on clean clothes, and stop throwing around “rape” as a metaphor or referring to people as “f*gs.”

                Beran’s piece wasn’t as bad on that count as some other pieces, though. Like this one about antisemitism from a big name in the YouTube gamer crowd. “He’s not a monster, he’s someone you know!” Yeah, uh, lots of ordinary people are monstrous, and the sympathy is better directed at their victims.

                • Roberta says:

                  Beran’s piece was pretty good. But I’m somewhat irked at the idea that it’s my job to get these people to react to their crisis of masculinity by some way other than being a Nazi. That sounds to me too much like a call for women to do more emotional labor to prevent men from becoming violent. He wasn’t explicitly talking about women–he was talking about the left. I just would have liked it better if he explicitly said it was the male left’s job to respond to this crisis. I might still disagree on whether reaching out to this bunch in particular would do any good, but that’s a different question.

                • Origami Isopod says:

                  Well, the left is feminized in the eyes of the right, and even in the eyes of the center. Cf. the whole framing discussion of “Mommy” vs. “Daddy” government. Or how it’s up to us to fix all the problems that the right causes and not get any of the credit, which sounds a lot like women’s unpaid labor.

                • Hogan says:

                  Especially unpaid emotional labor.

                • Roberta says:

                  Very true. And part of why I’m not even happy about it being the male left’s job. Beran himself acknowledges that lots of young people, like artists, have found other ways of coping with the world we live in. The alt-right rejects those other ways precisely because they’re not centered wholly on toxic masculinity. So…how is this reaching out supposed to happen? And why frame them as children throwing a tantrum, rather than men following a (vile) ideology?

                • CP says:

                  Ha!

                  I swear I didn’t see this post before making the above comparison with the “economically anxious…”

                • SV says:

                  And remember that the stereotypical loser MRA-types could find a partner if they wanted to. There must be plenty of women on dating sites – including socially awkward ones – looking for someone, and these women don’t all have the unfair impossible standards that MRA-types like to imagine. Many of these women would expect only that someone showers, wears deodorant, maybe a bit of attention to grooming/cutting their hair a few times per year, and doesn’t turn up to the date in ripped trackpants.

                  But these socially awkward women generally don’t look like supermodels. These guys think they’re entitled to an 18-year-old porn star, and have no interest in the available women: too old, too fat, insufficiently pretty, etc.

                  They’re not misogynists as a result of being single: they are single because they’re misogynists.

                  (Not to take away from the point that misogyny does in fact occur among men who are not “basement-loser” types, and “basement-loser” types aren’t all mysogynists.)

              • pseudalicious says:

                without necessarily being sexually involved–think Holmes and Watson

                LE GASP, BUT MY SHIPPING

        • yet_another_lawyer says:

          I think this is right, and I do not have good answers for how to solve this problem either. We’ll all be better off if we can come up with some sort of solution, but I can’t imagine what it is.

      • NewishLawyer says:

        Has there ever been a healthy identity for single people?

        There were always “confirmed bachelors” (which might or might not be code for homosexual depending on the situation) and there were always spinsters.

        Economic advancement and technological advancement makes life better for these people. They aren’t living in boarding houses and eeking out existences. But it seems (based on observation) that some women have turned singlehood/not being married into forms of empowerment (but mainly if you are a high-earning professional, see All the Single Ladies) However, men, even relatively to very successful men are still judged on their ability to attract a mate. In fact, a lot of guys with decent to great incomes who can’t attract a mate might be seen as worse off than guys without an income in the same problem.

        • LeeEsq says:

          Catholic clergy, Eastern Orthodox monks, Buddhist monks, and Hindu ascetics.

          • rhino says:

            Religion is arguably not a healthy thing at all.

            • LeeEsq says:

              That is a matter of debate but Newish asked if there has ever been a healthy identity for single people. Many religions of required their clergy to be celibate, chaste, and therefore single. Since being respected by society is a sign of a healthy identity, being a member of a clergy in these religions is a healthy identity at least in some part.

            • Origami Isopod says:

              While I’m not going to get into that particular argument, I don’t think it’s wrong for there to be life paths for people who have low or no libido, and/or no desire to pair off for the long term. The trick is not letting other people be pressured into same, especially women.

        • LeeEsq says:

          I agree with you that perpetually single men are going to be judged harsher than perpetually single women. The latter are seen as making an empowering choice and the former as losers who can’t get laid. We see this on this site sometimes. You are also probably right about perpetually single men with decent to great economics getting judged more fiercely than those with lower incomes. The latter are at least seen as having some reason for being single.

          • Roberta says:

            I agree with you that perpetually single men are going to be judged harsher than perpetually single women.

            HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

            • lizzie says:

              + a trillion.

              That contention…I’m speechless.

            • yet_another_lawyer says:

              I think there’s a fair bit of grass is always greenerism at work here. For an unmarried man, the default assumption is that he hasn’t settled down yet. For an unmarried women, the default assumption is that she can’t land a man. For a sexless man, the default assumption is that he can’t get laid. For a sexless woman, the default assumption is that she is choosing not to get laid.

              Which of these sets of assumptions is “harsher” is somewhat subjective, but ultimately we will hopefully get out of the business of shaming singles regardless of gender or orientation.

              • corporatecake says:

                For a sexless woman, the default assumption is that she is choosing not to get laid.

                Nah. When the culture tells you that men are completely desperate for sex, all the time, it’s also telling you that if you’re a woman who’s looking for sex with men and can’t get it, there must be something really, horribly wrong with you.

              • nixnutz says:

                Definitely agree on the grass is greener part at least.

                One thing I’ll say is I’ve read some thoughtful books on the subject by women, Bella DePaulo’s Singled Out, Anneli Rufus’ Party of One, and there are many more that I haven’t read. And there was that quirkyalone woman, she was basically me at 25, I wonder what became of her.

                There must be similar books by men that I’m not aware of but most of the reactions that I have seen from men are distinctly less helpful to say the least.

                There’s a world where I can imagine the PUA thing being a kind of crowdsourced behavioral science that’s helpful to socially awkward and studious types but because of its roots in NLP mind-control snake oil it was always doomed to be the deeply misogynist rape culture nightmare that it is today.

                • Origami Isopod says:

                  As someone who fits into the described demographic, the term “quirkyalone” made me cringe. I think writers like DePaulo and Rufus make good points; I just dislike cutesy labels, especially when applied to groups whose adulthood has been questioned because they haven’t followed a socially approved life script.

                • nixnutz says:

                  The part of the quirkyalone thing that I most vibed with was that it about trying to find a healthy model of singlehood, I thankfully never resented or blamed women my for difficulties with relationships (and in my case it wasn’t a failure to “get” one but just general unhealthiness around them) but I was pretty upset about society’s obsessions with coupledom/stigmatization of singles.

                  Also Ehrenreich’s The Hearts of Men which is mentioned in the article was a big deal to me around the same time.

          • Rob in CT says:

            Lee, wow. This is ridiculous man.

            • Origami Isopod says:

              Forget it, Rob, it’s Leetown.

            • Hob says:

              I threw in that link to Lee’s past bullshit elsewhere on this thread in case anyone hadn’t recently seen him in full MRA mode and might be unclear on who they were trying to talk to. But now it looks like that was redundant.

              The “guys with more money (coincidentally like me) have it so much worse!” bit is the icing on the cow-pie.

          • Abbey Bartlet says:

            I agree with you that perpetually single men are going to be judged harsher than perpetually single women.

            SureJan.gif

          • Snuff curry says:

            Wow, stop lying about the commentariat here. You’re projecting.

        • Origami Isopod says:

          Yes, right, a relatively small portion of American women making “All the Single Ladies” into an anthem totally overrides centuries of “old maids” being scorned and pitied. Or that many American women are still pressured to marry early and are given grief by their families when they do not marry at all for whatever reason.

          Also, boarding houses are a lot better than homelessness, even if they seem déclassé to certain people these days.

      • bender says:

        “a major social challenge in the 21st century is going to be cultivating a healthy identity for permanently single people.”

        This problem has come up in past societies. For women, the concern is mostly how they are going to support themselves and any children they have, not whether the single women lead happy and fulfilled lives. For men, the social concern is containing and channeling their sexual frustration so they don’t cause too much trouble. The most common ways of dealing with that are warfare, celibate religious communities, and physically demanding jobs plus access to prostitutes.

    • Rob in CT says:

      The issues are, I think:

      1) You can’t actually fully retreat from the real world; and
      2) Having semi-retreated into a virtual space, they decided they OWNED that space. If anyone else came into it they either got in line or would be subjected to harassment (women gamers).
      3) Assholes reinforcing one another, obviously.

      • sonamib says:

        2) and 3) are of course spot on. An asshole community is gonna breed assholes. And the gatekeeping is a problem.

        1) is a bit of a strawman. “Retreat” from the real world really means limited engagement with the real world, which is what we’re talking about here.

        • Rob in CT says:

          Sure, ok. What I was getting at is that the real world will still intrude.

          Look, trust me when I tell you I understand what it’s like to be semi-consumed with computer games. I’m a Civilization player. The hours I’ve spent creating and perfecting grand empires of pixels…

          ETA: why, just last night my Legions took Palestine & Syria. The advance into Mesopotamia awaits.

          • sonamib says:

            I’ve played civilization, but for me the game that keeps me going for months for a single campaign is Europa Universalis. God, the time I did the Rereconquista with Granada was glorious (I had to conquer all of Iberia starting from this).

            • Rob in CT says:

              Ah, yeah, I’ve heard of people raving about that game. Seems to be some overlap between Civers and EU players.

              I bet I’d like it. I’m staying away. I don’t have the time to add another game.

              …says the guy who, over the holidays, tracked down Master of Orion & Master of Orion II (Civ in space).

              • Richard Gadsden says:

                I expect you would. It’s a huge 4X game, but more closely associated with real history than Civ.

                Not close to history, mind, but closer.

                • Rob in CT says:

                  I’ve gone in a more historical(ish) bent with Civ over the past few years, too.

                  One of the great things about Civ is that you can fire up a randomly generated world and play it out from scratch. But I’ve actually gotten away from that. I haven’t started a random game like that in… wow, years.

              • Linnaeus says:

                EU is a very good game, although I find it to be very hard. I seem to have trouble doing well even when I pick an “easy” country like, say, France.

                • Harkov311 says:

                  It’s strange, I’ve played a lot of Victoria II, which I’m told is much harder, but EU4 still is difficult for me.

          • sappymallow says:

            I’m just going to finish building this archer…okay just until the Renaissance…I just want to see if I’m the first to complete this wonder…let’s see how this war with Attila shakes out…oh no, missionaries…well I might as well finish converting my roads to railroads…wait, my kid is getting breakfast? Is that the sun?

            BTW I am female, and Civ is most often held up by gamergaters as THE game that no girls are ever into, which is why they aren’t really gamers. Which is weird because all the other Civ players I know personally are women. When I used to bother arguing with them I’d have to produce pictures of my Steam hours in game to prove that I was “real”. Twerps.

            • Rob in CT says:

              I’m just going to finish building this archer…okay just until the Renaissance…I just want to see if I’m the first to complete this wonder…let’s see how this war with Attila shakes out…oh no, missionaries…well I might as well finish converting my roads to railroads…wait, my kid is getting breakfast? Is that the sun?

              You speaka my language.

              BTW I am female, and Civ is most often held up by gamergaters as THE game that no girls are ever into

              Is it really? I didn’t know that (I followed the gamegate saga from afar, mostly through the prism of the Hugo). I hardly ever played multiplayer, and didn’t really enjoy it that much, so I’ve little sense for the MP community. Back when I used to post on websites devoted to the game (Apolyton/CivFanatics), the commentariat did seem overwhelmingly male. Which I never took to mean that girls can’t be gamers.

              My wife used to play Civ a bit too, though not NEARLY as much & as obsessively as me. She liked most of the game, but hated dealing with the war part. She’d typically build away and then just quit if the AI attacked her. By the time they put an “always peace” option on the game she’d stopped playing.

              • sappymallow says:

                Well, it was reddit where I was mainly harassed, so your mmv. There’s a perception in certain subs there, like kotaku in action, that girls are into casual phone games or “sjw” titles from companies like Bioware and therefore have no legitimate criticism of games. I got bothered for awhile because I once commented that if a game’s story allowed there should be a gender choice to attract a wider audience. That’s not a popular opinion with that crowd. Which I think somehow might tie in to how success is framed in capitalism and rejection in the marketplace. Just like the Sad Puppies at the Hugos being so peeved that people didn’t like their stories so they had to game the system. But then again if you go and read their subreddits they frame these discussions as if they are fighting the last great battle of a culture war yet they are ultimately talking about products, so it all gets a little mushy.

                And my husband always yells at me that I am playing Civ wrong. “Why aren’t you attacking that city? Or that pikeman?” I don’t ever go for domination victory, I find much more satisfaction crushing everyone with my culture or religion. It’s kind of revenge of the colonized for me. Though I do love the science victories where everyone else has been so busy fighting that I get cavalry sent up against my death robots.

                • Rob in CT says:

                  Yeesh. I’m not sure I’ve ever read Reddit. Maybe once. Sounds lovely.

                  And my husband always yells at me that I am playing Civ wrong. “Why aren’t you attacking that city? Or that pikeman?” I don’t ever go for domination victory, I find much more satisfaction crushing everyone with my culture or religion. It’s kind of revenge of the colonized for me. Though I do love the science victories where everyone else has been so busy fighting that I get cavalry sent up against my death robots.

                  Um, err… I will admit to a certain amount of back-seat civving. I was trying to help, but also knew that I was sometimes annoying her. I really did know useful stuff but well, you know.

                  I actually started out as a “builder” style player. But the AI would always eventually fuck with me. Plus, even if it didn’t take a shot at me, it had this annoying tendency to build cities in nice spots I wanted on MY LAND. Or, almost worst, build its cities in suboptimal places (OMG that drives me nuts. Sorry, citizens of Delpi, but your stupid leader built your city 1 tile in off the coast so you’re all going to have to die now).

                  So I learned that the best thing to do was to knock one’s neighbors flat early on and then build to one’s heart’s content. I destroyed so that I might build. Darius of Persia, with his Immortals (bizarrely, a chariot unit in CivIV) became my favorite. Great builder (of a large empire) traits (org/fin) with an excellent early rush unit.

                  Whereas my wife would always be unprepared for the AI’s inevitable attack. Every. Time.

            • Origami Isopod says:

              Oh, Christ, the “fake gamer girl” gatekeeping.

              For the unfamiliar, this also happens in person. Woman goes to a convention, game store, comic book store, or the like. She may be wearing a T-shirt indicating her interests, she may be browsing something of interest, she may be attending a panel. It is not uncommon for some douche, including staff in the case of a business establishment, to come up to her and start grilling her to “make sure” she “belongs” there.

            • efgoldman says:

              Civ is most often held up by gamergaters as THE game that no girls are ever into, which is why they aren’t really gamers.

              My 36 yo married daughter is in the middle of it.

            • ap77 says:

              Civ VI has SO MUCH missionary spam. It basically compels constant war so you can slaughter them.

            • MedicineMan says:

              <3 sappymallow

              Europa Universalis and Crusader Kings are quite fun, though I've been more busy with Stellaris of late.

              • Tzimiskes says:

                Love those two games. Currently trying to convince myself to replace my perfectly good computer with a new one to play Stellaris. Of course, convincing the wife I need to replace my PC for one game probably isn’t happening.

          • Lurking Canadian says:

            Don’t march into the desert without an adequate and well-guarded logistics train. That NEVER ends well.

          • addicted44 says:

            I wonder how much overlap there is between gamergate types and people who play games like Civilization.

            My guess is there isn’t much.

          • Owlbear1 says:

            Civilization

            Evil! Pure and simple from the Sid Meier Dimension!

            • Davis X. Machina says:

              Ten years or so ago I wrote up a HS course that basically consists of playing Civ IV for a semester, and keeping a lab notebook, with reflections on what works, what doesn’t work, what matters, etc. etc. plus various research assignments on the history of technology.

              Got great reviews but no one could figure out which state certificate endorsement(s) you’d need to teach it, so it never ran.

              Brad Delong said he had to choose between being an econ prof and a professional Civ player, and chose econ.

    • Harkov311 says:

      From my own experience as a video game nerd, part of the problem is that a lot of these guys want to be out in the real world, having sex and hooking up with people and whatnot, but they can’t. Basically, I think a lot of them have retreated from the Real World involuntarily, and that’s why they are resentful.

      Being an introvert myself, I never developed this resentfulness because the games weren’t a substitute for something else that I actually wanted to do.

    • Ronan says:

      I wonder how true the caricature is as a description of this demographic. Purely anecdotally, the people I know who rail most consistently against feminism, “sjws”, pc culture etc, and who (often unwittingly) regurgitate mra or alt right talking points are not you stereotypical “shut ins” . They’re generally men who, to all intents and purposes, seem to be doing quite “well” (employed, in relationships etc) The thing that unites them is an endless succession of petty resentments and a serious amount of egomania (a belief that everyone is wrong or a “mainstreamer” and only they can see the light.)
      I have to say, the kinds of descriptions as in the linked article always strike me as overly cliched and probably wrong.(or at least half the story)

      • There’s a kind of just world fallacy dynamic going on, I think. It’s harder to think about what’s wrong with people who have stupid, misguided, or horrendous views when they seem successful and happy.

        It’s also more comforting to assume something like MRA beliefs come out of neurotic persons’ fever dreams than that they’re all around us, that they come from wrong understanding of something more common and not right understanding of it.

        • Ronan says:

          I agree. It’s a tendency to make awful values pathological or the consequence of some character defect (also done when the first thing people reach for after an act of political violence is whether the perp was mentally I’ll, which they generally aren’t )

          • There’s also something I’ve noticed, which is that some people seem to be raised to think in all cases “most people are bad, and if you feel like you’re different from everyone else, it’s because you’re better than them.” Others were raised to think “most people are good, and if you feel like you’re different from everyone else, there’s something wrong with you.” It’s a difference that makes it difficult to discuss or agree on much.

      • Ronan says:

        Typo ..That should be “youR stereotypical ” shut ins” (autocorrect)

  5. Crusty says:

    I don’t know much about this stuff- still not sure what gamergate was/is, 4chan, or pepe the frog (I gather he’s an anti-semitic prick or something), but this was an interesting read and I thought the idea of Trump as successful loser was kind of interesting.

  6. Sly says:

    While Clinton won young voters (18-29) by a wide margin (55-37), that margin was sixteen points lower than Obama’s margin over McCain, and six points below Obama’s margin over Romney. To be fair, sex-starved semi-employed white guys living in their moms’ basements represent only a small part of this larger demographic. Hopefully.

    In 2008, white 20-somethings freaked out about a bunch of stuff, not the least of which was a major economic crisis coming at the worst possible time for them, and broke for the Democrat for the first time since Lyndon Johnson ran for President. The subsequent two elections saw them returning home their parent’s ideology, not their basement.

    • Rob in CT says:

      Sounds more likely than this, yeah.

      • humanoid.panda says:

        The author’s usage of the margin figure is a great example of how to lie with statistics. Sure, Hillary’s margin shrunk. But, Trump got exactly same share of the youth vote as Romney. The shrinkage was all Johnson/Stein -and that’s definitely not the 4chan vote.

        • Merkwürdigliebe says:

          I’m not sure about Johnson. A significant libertarian streak exists in that subculture as well.

        • Jon_H11 says:

          Anecdotal, but the only 4channers types I knew voted Johnson or didn’t vote but leaned Johnson. Several of them voted Obama.

          OT: I still don’t think that there were more than maybe a hundred thousand Obama->Trump voters. News articles seem to assume their, at least sentimental, coherence and their existence en mass, but the ones they find seem to be noise voters and scarce.

          • humanoid.panda says:

            This is almost certainly wrong. There were a lot of counties in which votes swung to Trump by 20, 30, 40 percent. You don’t get those swing just from turnout differential. Also of note: we do know that there was a significant shift of college educate whites from Romney to HRC, so Trump had to compensate…

            • Jon_H11 says:

              But how did the raw numbers (not percentages) swing?
              For instance, turnout overall was down in Ohio, though Trump took home more raw votes than Obama 2012 did, could that not be because Obama voters stayed home or went third party and were replaced by WWC Trumpies that usually don’t vote? That seems more plausible to me, at least psychologically, than the mass defection that would otherwise have to be assumed.

              After perusing the data, I’d have to adjust my estimate upward, but I still think its well within the sub half million range, which in my mind is the usual noise voter cohort.

    • John F says:

      Clinton is, (pardon the expression) an old uninspiring battleaxe to anyone under 30- remember how young people viewed her and admired her in 1992? That was 24 years ago.

      Trump was the INSURGENT candidate in 2016, those candidates tend to do well with the youth vote. Sanders clobbered HRC in the primaries in that demo, McCain clobbered Dubya in the 2000 primaries in that Demo, it was Perot’s best demo in 1992.

      Young voters tend to like political newcomers/outsiders who are supposed to shake up the system, but Trump lost 18-24 year olds 35 to 56, he lost 25-29 year olds 39 to 53, he was the “insurgent” candidate but the youth simply were not buying what he’s selling.

      I know this is a cold comfort, but the GOP has one the popular vote just once since 1988- in 2004:

      In 2004 Dubya won among those born 1940-1974 by 52.5 to 46.5 (67% of the electorate)

      In 2016 Trump won among those born 1976 and earlier by (64% of the electorate) by 52 to 45.

      Trump did exactly as well (slightly better in fact) among those born before 1976 as Dubya did- and whereas Dubya won the popular vote by 2.4%, Trump lost it by 2.1% – that’s the generational/demographic headwind the RW faces, that’s why voter suppression is so important to them, that’s why voting and registration is the real battle. That demographic shift means that not even the Electoral College won’t be able to save them the next time.

      They’ve already maxed out on gerrymandering, voter suppression is the remaining real battle and it will be what GOP legislatures and Jeff Sessions are gonna be focused on- that’s where they have to be fought at every level.

      • Abbey Bartlet says:

        Clinton is, (pardon the expression) an old uninspiring battleaxe to anyone under 30

        Millions of young people, particularly but certainly not exclusively young women (my 21 year old brother and three of his male friends just liked my post on this subject; I know multiple male college students who interned for her; etc), disagree with you.

        One of the things for which I will never forgive certain Sanders supporters is how much they forced the rest of us to hide our enthusiasm. We weren’t–AND AREN’T–allowed to be excited by her. We weren’t even allowed to be excited by the history she made. Fuck them for that. Fuck them forever.

        (And, of course, aside from the emotional and psychological toll that took on us, it also depressed turnout.)

        • TVTray says:

          Abbey you’re a strange person! Most people under 30 supported Bernie during the primaries.

          • Rob in CT says:

            Statistically unlikely, perhaps, but strange is overstating things by quite a bit.

            This is like people being gobsmacked that there are liberals in the South (or Kansas, or Montana or whatever), or Conservatives in Blue States.

            Say someone wins a demographic 70-30. There’s a lot of people in that 30%.

            Or put this another way. I’m a fairly affluent white guy, born in ’76. I’m a liberal democrat. Is this strange, that I’m not a Republican?

            Anyway, so what? Abbey’s comment isn’t a claim that her view is actually the majority viewpoint amongst her age/gender cohort. She was responding to “anyone under 30 found Clinton uninspiring” which was overbroad.

            Also, are you capable of posting more than 1-liners?

          • Abbey Bartlet says:

            Yes, supporting Bernie in the primaries is exactly the same as finding Hillary Clinton to be an old uninspiring battleaxe.

            I’m always being told how Bernie’s supporters mostly switched to her in the general. Huh.

      • Hogan says:

        (pardon the expression) an old uninspiring battleaxe

        I don’t think I will.

  7. The rise of feminism has fatally coincided with the rise of video games, internet porn, and, sometime in the near future, sex robots. With all these options available, and the growing perils of real-world relationships, men are simply walking away.

    This is nearly a direct quote from a David Foster Wallace story. (IIRC the punch line is “this proves the Catholic Church was right about sexuality all along.) These guys are not original or interesting.

  8. humanoid.panda says:

    This paragraph here is why I hat pop-sociological ruminations

    But, what the left doesn’t realize is, this is not a problem for Trump’s supporters, rather, the reason why they support him.

    Trump supporters voted for the con-man, the labyrinth with no center, because the labyrinth with no center is how they feel, how they feel the world works around them. A labyrinth with no center is a perfect description of their mother’s basement with a terminal to an endless array of escapist fantasy worlds.

    Trump supporters are all people “in their mother’s basement?” Really? The 4channers are not even a rounding error when it comes to Trump’s support, and here we have a general theory of everything based on them…

    • Yes, this is a useful theory of “this is what these people you run up against online are”, but that’s not necessarily everyone “IRL” who votes the same way.

    • Origami Isopod says:

      Beran offers this taxonomy of Trump supporters:

      1) Generally older people who naively believe Trump will “make America great again”, that is to say, return it to its 1950s ideal evoked by both Trump and Clinton.

      2) The 1 percent, who know this promise is empty, but also know it will be beneficial to short term business interests.

      3) Younger members of the 99 percent, like Anon, who also know this promise is empty, but who support Trump as a defiant expression of despair.

      However, he leaves out a lot of people who are not young and who are neither in the 1% nor poor. Racist bourgies, basically.

    • Tancred says:

      Yeah I think too much is made of the online alt-right. For one thing, I am not sure these are all “basement-dwelling losers.” From browsing places like Reddit I notice that many of these right-wingers are probably relatively affluent, many of them apparently working in tech. I mean, aren’t most poor people left-leaning? If anything the unemployed would be a demographic that the Democrats have success with, not the GOP.

      I am annoyed by the propensity of some liberals to punch down when it comes to Trump supporters. For every one article that discussed the Republican base of affluent whites there were probably dozens that discussed Trump supporters among the white working-class. My own experience with my affluent Republican friends is that even those who claimed to dislike Trump during the primaries voted for him in the general election because of their desire for tax cuts. Yet this angle is rarely explored.

      That being said, at least Mr. Campos states that these “loser” Trump supporters are a tiny minority. But I do find the moral hand-wringing over 4chan and Pepe the Frog among liberals to be odd. It feels like something that should come from David Brooks or Rod Dreher rather than from liberals.

      • Abbey Bartlet says:

        Yeah I think too much is made of the online alt-right. For one thing, I am not sure these are all “basement-dwelling losers.” From browsing places like Reddit I notice that many of these right-wingers are probably relatively affluent, many of them apparently working in tech.

        Where they have actual power over people. You find that comforting why exactly?

        • Tancred says:

          I don’t find it comforting. I just see what is called the “alt-right” as mostly a continuation of typical right-wing politics in America. I don’t see much of a difference between the right-wing Millennials posting on Reddit or other websites and their parents who listen to Rush Limbaugh or watch Fox News.

          Demographically I think it is the same people: relatively affluent whites working in management/professional jobs or small business owners. This is the base of the Republican Party and conservatism in the U.S.

          That is why I think it is wrong to focus too much on those few right-wingers among the poor since they are few in number and lack influence.

          • John F says:

            I just see what is called the “alt-right” as mostly a continuation of typical right-wing politics in America.

            I think what is called the “alt-right” is part of the racist shithead wing of the traditional right – but a part that is no longer content to speak in code or dog whistles.

            • Tancred says:

              If anything distinguishes the alt-right from the traditional right it is the use of transgressive humor that the traditional right would have viewed as weird and disgusting. I think that is new, although you could say that radio shock jocks started the trend before the rise of the Internet. I have noticed that most shock jock radio fans tend to be right-wing and are big on being “anti-PC” and using humor as a way to deflect criticism about their views.

              But I think that the racism on the Right has been open for a while. Charles Murray co-authored the Bell Curve that purported to show that blacks and Hispanics were intellectually inferior to whites and that was back in the 1990s. Yet Murray is still considered a serious thinker within the mainstream. Trump and his followers are simply more vulgar which goes back to my point about shock jocks. I am not sure if the explosion of vulgar racism is worse than what we had before. Racism was at its most destructive when those beliefs were held by scientists and other mainstream figures who supported policies like eugenics.

              There is a tendency to whitewash the role of the professional/managerial class in the history of racism and the Right in general and that is still reflected in the obsession with stereotypes of downscale racists such as rednecks and basement-dwellers. I suspect that the reason for this is that many professional/managerial-class liberals are uncomfortable with the idea that their work colleagues, classmates, neighbors and family members can hold abhorrent views. It is much easier to imagine that the Right is comprised mainly of uneducated hillbillies and bitter losers.

            • Abbey Bartlet says:

              I think what is called the “alt-right” is part of the racist shithead wing of the traditional right – but a part that is no longer content to speak in code or dog whistles.

              That misses the edgelord/shitpost/ironybro aspect of it.

  9. rfm says:

    What I find odd about this piece is it suggests that the left (I’m assuming they are not equating or grouping the left with Democrats and liberals, which would be deeply unfashionable for most leftists) attempted to genuinely critique Trump during the election cycle. They spent most of their effort actively laying groundwork for him to win, and in special cases, transparently rooting for him.

    • humanoid.panda says:

      I’d say that’s grossly unfair to most leftists. Just like the 4channers, the Berniebusters are a twitter phenom with somewhat limited RL existence.

      • Brien Jackson says:

        I think that they helped cauterize some dumb anti-Hillary beliefs though. Certainly the constant screaming about rigged primaries bolstered the narrative that she was fundamentally corrupt, for example.

      • Abbey Bartlet says:

        Except PPOTUS used–and uses!–the Berner talking points on and off twitter. And the Bernouts harassed women into silence on and off twitter. And the Bernouts disrupted the fucking convention, leading to front-page stories.

        They’re all culpable in this.

      • wengler says:

        It’s weird. Nearly all of the Bernie voters were trying to persuade the rest to vote for Hillary even if was reluctantly. And then a whole section of the Hillary supporters just took every opportunity they could to browbeat Bernie supporters.

        Sometimes(all the time) I don’t think liberals know how to do politics. Before the election you persuade people on the left, you don’t beat them up to get them to fall in line. That works on the right, not the left.

        And now after the election I hear stories about what Trump voters might be ‘gettable’. This isn’t the time to persuade. That was before the election. They must be opposed at all opportunity. They are the ones that must be brow beaten into the ground. And here we have once again Hillary supporters saying that Bernie supporters pissed in their punch.

        Hillary fucking lost. I have a big list of things she totally fucked up, but in many ways none of that matters now. There is a real problem now and it must be opposed. If you think that real problem is Bernie supporters, you’ve lost the plot.

    • wengler says:

      Dear God, we’ve truly gone round the bend, haven’t we?

  10. Steve says:

    Strip away the specific cultural markers and this is a standard story: people who fail educationally/socially/romantically/economically may respond by latching on to sources of pride in extreme ways. In this case their identities as white and male. That they are not particularly impressive specimens of either is standard as well and a reason why they exaggerate those characteristics and strip any nuance from them. Not much different from the stereotypical Klansman.

    That said, as humanoid.panda notes, there is disproportionate focus on these people. The Klan is not representative of the typical bigot and the Gamergaters are certainly not representative of the typical Trump fan. On some level this just feeds into the standard defense bigots give…that unless they are just like these people, they are not, in fact, bigots.

    • humanoid.panda says:

      I think the problem with a lot of the obsession with alt-right/pepe crowd is that it focuses attention on exotic and exciting figure: Milo with his flamboyance, Spencer with his Nazi chic, even Bannon with his megalomania. But in truth ,the single most powerful figure of the Trump administration is Sessions: a perfectly stolid, mainstream, old, Southern conservative.

      • Roberta says:

        A very good point. And true of the general problem with Trump coverage/discourse: people keep talking about the ways in which he’s out of the ordinary, and they are legion, but a lot of his true danger and power comes from the boring mainstream right.

        • John F says:

          Yes, look at the age (year of birth) breakdowns, the people who voted for Trump in 2016 are the same people who voted for Bush in 2004, i.e., the boring mainstream right.

    • I like to think the reason a lot of internet ink gets spilled on the gamergate/4chan crowd, is not so much that they are important, but rather the internet is central to the phenomenon, and are disproportionately noticeable online. I don’t notice nearly as much concern for them in print or broadcast media.

    • wengler says:

      I really hate the ‘failure’ narrative because I simply don’t think it’s true. This is about people asserting dominance. For white people, they feel like non-whites were able to stand up for themselves and police- the instrument by which white people assert dominance over minorities in American society- were actually under scrutiny. A vote for Trump meant a vote for white authority over the black the brown.

      Similarly for men who feel their patriarchal hold has been diminished under Obama, a vote for Trump was a vote for dominance over women. Men dominating women’s ability to survive(money) and ability to reproduce(abortion and birth control) are key conservative issues that have slipped with mandates to provide birth control(ACA) and treat women fairly in the workplace(Lily Ledbetter Act).

      • Roberta says:

        Agreed. I think the failure narrative plays into their hands, actually–it allows them to conflate dominance over others with their own ability to live their lives.

  11. jimpharo says:

    Paul, you might want to check your fair-use balance here. This is tipping toward just re-posting others’ work…

  12. NewishLawyer says:

    I am always fascinated by numbers when talking about on-line communities. How many 4chaners are there? Gamergaters? Whatever on-line community? I participate in two blogs and even my girlfriend thinks that is two too many. So what percentage of the population has most or their entire social structure built into on-line communities.

  13. Peterr says:

    In other words, Trump is 4chan.

    I look forward to Joe Scarborough and Mark Halperin discussing how Democrats need to reach out to 4chan voters.

  14. Aexia says:

    This article is extremely spot-on. Gamergate really was the harbinger for the alt-right.

    It’s a mistake to simply call the alt-right “white supremacists”. I mean, sure, they *are* white supremacists but they have additional beliefs that distinguish them and their tactics are completely different. Conflating them is a recipe for not being able to fight back.

    I might as well promote my wife’s work on this – She has an email newsletter called Ctrl-Alt-Right-Delete that you can sign up for. Parts of it are up on Medium if you want to get an idea of what she’s writing about.

  15. kped says:

    Another take about a similar thing:

    http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2017/02/23/p.c.-culture-vs.-the-big-joke

    (warning…long. About Milo and his crew, but talks a lot about the same culture).

  16. Tzimiskes says:

    I’ve known a number of people like this article describes at various points in my life. Something I’ve considered is that it seems like an awful lot of life’s losers seem to be people that continue to have strong beliefs regarding traditional gender roles, or other aspects of traditional morality, but which lack the kind of social supports through family and organizations such as the church which have the power to enforce these roles. They have strong beliefs about what masculinity and femininity should be, and naturally are, and have difficulty coping with a world where all the evidence says that these ideas are not natural but rather are socially constructed.

    This leads me to think there is a major failure on the left, though not necessarily through lack of trying, to find positions of authority where they can reach out to these people to try and teach them a form of sexual morality that actually works in the modern world. Looking back, I realize how much I learned about relationships through peers in high school and college, my parents were pretty open minded but we went to church regularly and my parents were high school sweethearts before marrying. I admit to some difficulties in learning that what I learned through the church didn’t really work in the modern world and there was some cognitive dissonance between what I believed was ideal sexual behavior and what I was learning about it through peers and through learning to actually treat women as individuals with personal agency rather than as idealized figures portrayed in religion and in the media of the time.

    The failure is that this shouldn’t be happening, these people really needed someone to teach them that traditional gender roles are a terrible way to live, if they could learn to treat others as if they have agency rather than as ideal types that need to fit traditional gender roles there are doubtless plenty of underemployed women that might be willing to date them, but that won’t put up with being expected to clean their apartments or to make them a sandwich. But there just isn’t anyone preaching the morality of hookup culture the way there is people preaching the morality of saving yourself for marriage or the breadwinner/homemaker model of a relationship. And I think this leaves a lot of folks trapped who might have been reachable if they had been exposed to a more positive message regarding sex, relationships, and gender roles at an earlier point in their lives.

    I don’t mean to excuse these people for what they have become, or even really fault the left for not being able to win the moral battle against traditionalist religious types. It just seems to me to be a very sad tragedy that so much damage is being done to people by teaching them a form of traditional morality that tells them how to live in a primitive agricultural village rather than the modern world. Anecdotally, I see people that try to meet traditional sexual standards having marital problems and getting divorced earlier than the people that broke out of these patterns, hooked up while young, and then, having really gotten to know themselves, found a partner that they could actually treat as equals in making life’s decisions. But we continue to portray marrying your high school sweetheart as an ideal and hookup culture in colleges as something icky and immoral. Not that hookup culture can’t go wrong, but in general, my experiences have been that women have far more agency and choice in these relationships than in more traditional ones and that once someone of either gender decides it’s time to settle down end up in more stable relationships than those that dated only a few people and took each relationship really seriously. I’d like to see the left defend modern sexual practices much more strongly as moral as such, rather than simply as expressions of individual choice and liberty. Lost men, like those of 4chan, really need role models they can take seriously that aren’t telling them that men need to be traditionally masculine and that aren’t holding up traditional fairy tale style relationships as normative. These exist, but I don’t think they reach people young enough, by the time they are exposed to better role models regarding sex and gender traditionally minded parents and religion have already done damage to many people that may be irreversible.

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO says:

      “All my life, my parents friends and authority figures told me my wife would be this beautiful demure creature who’d cook and clean and be an absolute wolverine in the sack. And all I’d have to do was earn a paycheck, keep the couch from rolling away, and make sure the fridge didnt get too cluttered with beers.

      But then…it didn’t happen!

      DAMMMMMMMNN YOUUUUUUUU LIBERALLLLLLSSSS”

      • Tzimiskes says:

        It’s pathetic, but if you were really told something along these lines, and if whenever you doubted yourself those you expressed your doubts to instead reinforced your wrong ideas, I don’t think it is all that surprising that someone would continue to believe this expresses how things should be and that when the world fails to work out this way they would then go casting about for someone to blame.

        This isn’t to say that 4chan people believe in or follow traditional morality. It seems to me that people like this react to the world not following traditional morality as a reason to cast aside basically all morality in favor of a kind of nihilistic self-destructive attitude with a goal of taking as much as possible down with them. I see this as a tragedy, while some of these people really are just awful, pathetic people I believe there are more people who are on the margins and that if exposed to a system of morals that is actually congruent with the real world that many of them wouldn’t have descended to the kind of depths that 4 chan represents.

        The sad fact is that treating other people as people with agency equal to our own is something that has to be learned. A criticism I have of the left is that I think the left in general is too unwilling to engage in specifically moral language. Sure, we engage in a lot of actually moral action, condemning things as right or wrong and engaging in specific actions on specific issues. But for the disillusioned 15 year old brought up with messed up beliefs about what a moral life should be they aren’t going to easily be exposed to a ready made moral system emphasizing the role of individual moral agency and consent. Sure, these things exist and if you go to college you’ll probably come across them, but you don’t really get explicit exposure through authority figures either in the school system pre-college or though religious institutions* or other groups trying to explicitly give moral instructions. We really shouldn’t be surprised that there are so many terrible people out there when we do so little try to teach what we believe as a moral framework and reach out to people when they are young rather than waiting until they are in college.

        * This never ceases to amaze me. I’ve thought for a long time that the obvious conclusion to be drawn from the idea that we are all created in God’s image and that we should love one another like we love ourselves is a morality based on consent, individual moral agency, and accountability. But there are literally thousands of years of theologians tying themselves into knots to avoid this conclusion so our hypothetical socially awkward 15 year old is unlikely to reach this conclusion through religion.

        • Origami Isopod says:

          This isn’t the left’s problem, quite frankly.

          See discussion upthread about “the left” being pressured into performing this kind of emotional labor for privileged shitbags who think that because they’re not as privileged as the 1%, they’re the dispossessed of the earth.

          • Roberta says:

            I think it’s a little different when you’re talking about the education of actual kids, though. That is very much on the left’s agenda and we want to push the centrality of moral agency and consent, including sexual consent, to such education.

          • Tzimiskes says:

            Roberta already responded to this well, but the basic idea I am going for is that I think a lot of these people that are terrible now could have been better people if they had been exposed to an actual moral system, rather than faux moral system peddled by the right. My reaction to this is based on a bit of a feeling that there but for the grace of God go I. Admittedly, I found Something Awful too much for me, and never really ventured into 4chan though I was at the older edge of that age group when it came into being, so perhaps there was never any real chance of me getting that awful in the first place. But I did have a lot of really terrible right wing ideas that I didn’t manage to shed until my mid 20s. I think I would have been much better off if I had more exposure to left wing ideas earlier in life. I can’t help but thinking that maybe, if my parents hadn’t moved out of a small town when I was 15 I could be a Trumpkin today; some of my ideas then really were that bad.

            Now, this is all anecdotal. I have 0 data on whether there is a significant number of persuadable people that the left could reach out to if they found a way to start earlier so it might not be a worthwhile effort; and I have no idea what to actually do that would achieve this. But in my experience people don’t really get exposed to ideas of moral agency and consent to any great degree until they hit college and I think this is a huge failing of the left (this may have changed, I’m more than a decade out of high school now). There is enormous opposition to it, the right wing has outsize influence in school boards, but in my personal opinion I think ignoring this is an area that has really hurt left wing efforts to make society better. We start too late, and are too willing to try to let our ideas regarding sexuality be defined as alternatives to normative traditional relationships rather than as moral relationships in their own right. We have bigger fish to fry at any given moment but I think that by not challenging this when people are young we allow traditional conservatives to define the field we fight on and their ideas easily combine with feelings of privilege into a toxic, dangerous entitlement when people brought up this way encounter the real world.

      • Harkov311 says:

        This is pretty much how a lot of them actually think, really.

    • Roberta says:

      I think this is right. Modern culture seems to have this idea that it’s okay to do non-traditional things (be gay, divorce, hook up, have an abortion) but it’s really much better if you don’t.

      Maybe we need some sex-ed videos where two high school Catholic sweethearts get married and stay in their hometown and it turns out to be a disaster of domestic violence which can’t be escaped without divorcing and earning the gossipy disapproval of everyone.

      Meanwhile, one of the wife’s best friends is happily hooking up with people using safer sex methods and the end result is not monogamy but her finding a new FWB who’s really great, and she’s also running a soup kitchen or doing some other highly moral work.

      Probably there’s no way you show this in a public school without a right-wing revolt, but surely the Unitarian Universalists could show it to their kids or something.

      • NewishLawyer says:

        I went to a public school in a very liberal school district without a fundie presence and with sex ed that acknowledged pre-marital sex was okay and people had sex for fun. The parents were well-educated, culturally sophisticated professionals who largely realized that since they smoked pot in the 60s, they could not get angry at their kids smoking pot (as long as it did not interfere with getting into a good college. Almost nothing mattered if you still got into a good college.)

        I don’t think your ideas would fly in that community. I am not even sure it would fly at fancy secular NYC private school.

        • Tzimiskes says:

          I agree that people wouldn’t stand for it, but that’s the tragedy. Modern relationships work, but we’re taught they’re wrong. People stumble into them anyway, and kids teach each other in high school and college how to behave, but we continue to hold up traditional relationships as normative and decry the ones that work as imperfect exceptions to the rule. Kids shouldn’t be teaching each other what’s right and wrong and having to go against what they’ve been brought up to believe, too many people who are socially awkward and unpopular get left out this way and never learn how to behave. I believe strongly that this hurts a lot of people and it’s an area that we really need to find a way to do better at.

          • Origami Isopod says:

            Yes. These ideas might not fly now, but it never hurts to keep pushing them, because they’re inherently good ideas. Just like UBI, for example.

          • NewishLawyer says:

            During the second half of my senior year of high school (after I got into college), SPIN magazine came out with an article that dubbed my college the most hedonistic college in the United States and it was filled with people hooking up.

            I received a lot of jokes about how much sex I was going to have because I was a dorky guy without a girlfriend in school. I was dorky enough that during my sophomore year I made friends with girl who came from California until she discovered it wasn’t cool to hang with me and then she got very cold and mean.

            And in something especially not fun, a lot of girls declined to come to my Bar Mitzvah. My mom told me that the parents of a bunch of the girls came up and told her “my daughter really wanted to go but felt social pressure to turn it down.”

            Other jokes included stuff like “Newish won’t need condoms” when talking about safe sex in health class.

            I did not get laid in college as mentioned above. There was a specific cohort for whom the hook-up culture might have been true. The campus was overall “sex positive” but this was outside my realm. Now college was not a totally lost experience. I met my best and closest friend on the first day of orientation. I also have fun memories of stumbling to my dorm drunk at 4 AM and smoking weed. But there was still a lot of loneliness.

            There were also plenty of serious couples. Two friends were college sweethearts and now are a married couple.

            I think both videos Roberta mentioned would make me miserable. The first one would not apply because I was not from a conservative-traditional family with those views. The second one would just make me feel like I was on the East German side of the Berlin Wall.
            Seeing a video like that was not what I needed and possibly would have made me feel worse.

            • Roberta says:

              Obviously we also need models of singlehood that are positively portrayed. But why would a positive portrayal of a woman who hooks up with people casually have made you feel worse than the current promoting of heterosexual monogamy as the ideal? I’m sorry you were mocked and derided as a kid, but it’s not clear what this has to do with accepting that hooking up can be a positive thing.

              • Just_Dropping_By says:

                But why would a positive portrayal of a woman who hooks up with people casually have made you feel worse than the current promoting of heterosexual monogamy as the ideal?

                Because if you’re someone who is introverted and not sexually successful, depictions of sexually successful extroverts (which, pretty much by definition, someone who “who hooks up with people casually” is) are alienating/depressing, not inspiring? To put it another way, do you think showing videos of Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous to poor people is an effective technique to make them become more successful in life? I’d say that for someone who is introverted and not sexually successful (something I would describe myself as being, although at least I’m married now) the possibility of a committed monogamous relationship is much more appealing because it only requires you to convince one person to be with you.

                • LeeEsq says:

                  Bingo. The ideal of sowing your wild oats and your youth being a time of sexual exploration and romantic adventure might exist for many people but it doesn’t exist for all. People who are not romantically successful are going to feel even more distressed at not meeting the ideal.

                • Roberta says:

                  I’m a deeply introverted person. I find the idea of FWB much more appealing than committed live-in monogamy precisely because FWB doesn’t require having another person constantly in your living space. It also requires less emotional labor.

                  I buy that some people think the way you’re describing, but I think that’s also a product of having a false idea about what a monogamous relationship is. It’s not just about “convincing one person to be with you,” it’s about doing the work required for a monogamous relationship. A lot of men who are bitter about not having romance seem to think that romance involves being handed a pretty woman who will be a companion/sex worker/housekeeper–and then hey, work done, problem solved. Except that person you’re with also has their own needs.

            • Abbey Bartlet says:

              And in something especially not fun, a lot of girls declined to come to my Bar Mitzvah. My mom told me that the parents of a bunch of the girls came up and told her “my daughter really wanted to go but felt social pressure to turn it down.”

              Where the fuck were the parents in this? Everyone I know had to go to the bar/bat mitzvahs of everyone in their Hebrew school class, if not everyone in their regular class. You didn’t have the option of being social pressured out of it.

              • NewishLawyer says:

                I grew up in a hometown that is or was 50 percent Jewish* and might be one of the few places in the United States/World where synagogues outnumber churches.

                We were a well to do suburb but not that well to do where you could invite the entire town. So Bar and Bat Mitzvah season was a popularity contest to see who got the most invitations and whether you were ever double or triple booked as can only occur in my hometown and a few other places. I was probably not the worst but far from the best either in terms of invites.

                *Wikipedia tells me that my public high school went from 50 percent to Jewish to 50 percent Asian-America but the overall town is still of European-origin. There are only two high schools in my hometown and the one private school that I remember is K-8. Not sure how this works out.

                • Crusty says:

                  Dude, I used to think we didn’t grow up in the same town, but grew up near each other, but now I’m starting to wonder. But I won’t press any further.

              • John F says:

                I’m not Jewish, but the town I grew up in had a large Jewish presence, but yes, the Jewish parents were big on making their offspring do things they may not have wanted to do, like go to someone’s bar/bat mitzvah, or else.

                As a general rule “peer pressure” was not something Jewish Parents seemed to recognize. (As in they were either oblivious to it, or did a good job of faking being oblivious to it. Whining that “but everyone is doing it” or “but no one does that” had no effect on them whatsoever.

                • Abbey Bartlet says:

                  Jewish mothers are not generally all that susceptible to whining.

                  I look forward to developing that skill.

                • LeeEsq says:

                  I think that might have a religious origins. Since Judaism treats Jewishness and all the accompanying law as non-options but requirements and obligations than peer pressure really can’t be thing. You do this because God said so and that is that.

              • Origami Isopod says:

                I’m sure it depends greatly on the parents. I knew some kids through Hebrew school whom, I’m convinced, were seldom if ever made to do anything they didn’t want to, other than attend Hebrew school. The parents of theirs I got to meet were, well, what you’d expect.

            • Tzimiskes says:

              I’m personally pretty sympathetic to this. I’m not exactly a conventionally attractive male. When I was in college it wasn’t yet referred to as a hook up culture, though hooking up was a thing, and my experiences with it involved lots of alcohol and didn’t go so well the next day and were rather unhealthy in general. But looking back on it, this was because of my own personal hang ups and had nothing to do with the culture in general.

              If there were to be some kind of cultural outreach to small town kids like myself with too little exposure to liberal culture it would have to involve a much wider spectrum then just traditional marriage vs. hook ups, though I think both of these are valid portrayals. For instance, a lot of my wife’s friends from medical school married men that are now house husbands now that they have kids. In my own life my wife makes a multiple of what I make, we moved for her job and I had to switch career path. Our chores our divided in a non-traditional fashion, I do the cooking and grocery shopping. But we did all of this in our late 20s when we actually had a good grasp of what we wanted, if things had worked out with someone I knew in my teens or early 20s, as the abstinence till marriage types make normative, I’d probably already be bitter and divorced. I’ve simply changed too much over that time.

              Now, the media is doing a better job of at least acknowledging the existence of these lifestyles. However, I don’t think anyone should be learning how to have a happy relationship through a sitcom. And even then, I don’t think I’ve seen a stay at home husband portrayed truly positively on TV, at best they’re goofy and lovable if kind of incompetent.

              We need some way of reaching out to people to portray functional, happy lives that don’t fit the models they hear about in church and that they might observe in their family life. Even if they mostly see the people in their lives trying to fill traditional gender roles being miserable if they aren’t exposed to positive alternatives it’s going to be a minority that can bootstrap themselves into healthy relationships as adults. To refer back to the original post I think this is how a lot of 4chan types start out, lost confused kids who never really had exposure to a better way to live. Over time, they become irredeemable monsters but I think when talking about a group like 4chan that skews young it’s a problem of a different kind then talking about a 30 or 40 something Trump voter. They’re doing terrible things, and are old enough to have agency, but at the same time they’re at an age where they are still malleable and there is hope for change.

              • Snuff curry says:

                You’re eliding the existence of girls and young women here, by claiming that the pull of misogynist, racist 4chan is too strong for introverts, forgetting that more than one-half of all introverts are neither male nor white. Somehow this only works on white boys and young men.

                • Tzimiskes says:

                  I’m only eliding the existence of girls and young women because I don’t think my personal anecdotes meaningfully address their concerns. Girls and young women doubtlessly need better role models for something besides traditional family structures as well, but I don’t have the direct emotional experiences to be able to speak to this.

                  Now, as you say it is notable that male, mostly white introverts are drawn to these groups. I see it as a toxic intersection with ideas justifying and promoting patriarchy. I think that on the margins there are some young men that could be drawn out of these groups if presented with better role models.

                  Necessarily, showing relationships that are actually healthy would require taking into account women’s point of view, that’s the point. But I don’t feel qualified to address this directly myself, being married and trying to show empathy just isn’t enough to get me to a point where I feel that I could speak meaningfully as to what a young, introverted woman would feel they need to help them develop healthy relationships in their teenage years. Some of these probably do end of on 4chan, if likely a tiny minority, but again I just recognize that I’m not in a place where I have anything to say that would be directly meaningful to their situation. It’s my limitation, but what should I do? Feign understanding I recognize I don’t have?

                • Tzimiskes says:

                  Also, I should have added that I don’t see this as innocent slates just walking into this group. I see this problem as arising as a result of people being raised in an environment where all the relationships they are familiar with hold up patriarchal ideas as normative and have little exposure to other ways of living. I am sure this is a problem women have, my awareness of these issues was sharpened by what little feminist literature I’ve read, but given the different gender roles expressed through this ideology I would expect the resulting problems to be expressed differently. But again, I just don’t see myself as understanding what that point of view would be well enough to express anything meaningful on the subject.

                • Snuff curry says:

                  Feign understanding I recognize I don’t have?

                  Don’t cling to an obviously flawed but self-serving unified theory of organized male violence intersecting with institutionalized hatred and oppression of women that chalks it all up to the interwebs, like Millennials invented patriarchy? While carefully avoiding the just-as-pressing white supremacy angle? Just spitballing here.

                  Anxiety in economics, low-self esteem in interwebbing, erm, journalism.

      • Gareth says:

        Maybe we need some sex-ed videos where two high school Catholic sweethearts get married and stay in their hometown and it turns out to be a disaster of domestic violence which can’t be escaped without divorcing and earning the gossipy disapproval of everyone.

        If you leave out the Catholic part, that’s already a huge movie cliche.

        Meanwhile, one of the wife’s best friends is happily hooking up with people using safer sex methods and the end result is not monogamy but her finding a new FWB who’s really great, and she’s also running a soup kitchen or doing some other highly moral work.

        I’ll grant you, this isn’t.

        • SadOldGuy says:

          Well, the problem is what will the neighbors think. My parents consciously and unconsciously put pressure on myself and my siblings to have “conventional 1950s lives” because ultimately they did not have the courage to tell their siblings and parents and neighbors that their children weren’t “normal”. Or worse, they always had this nagging guilt that they themselves were not perfect 1950s sitcom parents. With my parents, not only did they ultimately divorce, but the rest of their families were much more fundamentalist Christian than we were. Dad did not want his boss nor his work rivals thinking we were hick fundamentalists like his brothers and sisters but when we went to visit we had to go to their daily revivals.

        • her finding a new FWB who’s really great, and she’s also running a soup kitchen raising her dead sister’s kids or doing some other highly moral work.

          This one is, though.

  17. Fidalgo says:

    I wonder at the usefulness of articles like this. It just seems to be an elevated form of nutpicking.

    Not unlike the rights selection of, say, a recent music studies major who leads seminars about how all penetrative sex is rape as the stand in for the “Clinton voter”

    Campos acknowledges these basement dwellers are a small part of th Trump coalition. Why elevate them?

  18. NewishLawyer says:

    Another thing I wonder about is the psychology of “Someone is wrong on the Internet” and why and how we let trolls get under our skin.

    This happens to me on another blog, there are some posters who just get under my skin. One is an absolute troll, the others are semi-trolls or at least have prose/rhetoric styles that annoy me.

    It seems to me that there are serious threats on the Internet that should be taken seriously like rape and death threats but there is also a lot of people getting really worked up about the opinions of people that they will never meet in real life. Again I do this as well so it could just be very human.

    There is also the “no one on the Internet knows you are a dog” problem and people taking concepts that are best used as pens but turning them into sledge hammers. So you have an internet community where someone is accusing X of microaggressions or privilege without knowing X’s full story or even what X looks like. We develop mental images and biographies of posters but those images might not be complete or accurate.

    Perhaps a lot of the drama can be dealt with via deep breaths and repeating “X does not know me in real life and never will. I don’t need to let them get to me”? I don’t know….

    • NewishLawyer says:

      I see this on my facebook feed where I know everyone so I know why say Samantha believes in something or phrased something in a specific way but Jane does not know Samantha and then gets into Samantha’s face about the phrasing or belief but I know Jane as well and can understand her viewpoint.

    • John F says:

      This happens to me on another blog, there are some posters who just get under my skin. One is an absolute troll

      I know what you mean, there’s a guy another blog who I thought was an absolute 100% pure Troll, and it drove me nuts that other posters seemed to treat him as a non-Troll (wrongheaded, but non-Troll)

      After putting Mr. Troll on ignore, I began to notice something I hadn’t before, other posters did frequently call him out on being a troll.

  19. Harkov311 says:

    Being at least somewhat of a gaming nerd myself (my icon is from Quake), I think most of the 4chan bunch is pretty much exactly what the linked article says they are.

  20. TVTray says:

    Wow, looks like the far-right has its own version of the Bernie Bro.

  21. Origami Isopod says:

    Tangentially, because it discusses the same crowd, this piece from Katherine Cross about Milo’s downfall is right on. Note that “mirroring” is also known as “DARVO,” a useful term both in political and in interpersonal situations.

    BTW, I appreciate her snark of “concerned liberals… armed with apocryphal Voltaire quotes.” The use of that quote, and indeed “Voltaire” in a user handle, has become as reliable a sign as “rational,” “logical,” “objective,” etc. of a commenter with nothing of value to say.

    I don’t want to overrun the link limit, but Cross’s other pieces are very good critiques of free-speech absolutism.

    • MedicineMan says:

      Excellent read.

      Some of the points Cross makes there really dovetail nicely with some realizations I recently had about Bill Maher. Maher’s short courtship with Milo really was all about personal profit, a principle that is clearly visible in his long, mutually beneficial relationship with Ann Coulter.

      Cross is quite correct that Milo was both created by and destroyed (God Willing) by profit motives.

  22. SadOldGuy says:

    So glad to find my favorite liberal hangout has decided that I should kill myself for being a 54 year old single man who plays videogames (Civ V, Hearthstone, Megaten) and enjoys classic anime. Thanks! There is a reason that I don’t have a gun.

    • SadOldGuy says:

      Now that I got that off my chest. Most people here do not run in videogame or anime circles. Nowadays if you live a in a big city, you can easily go to a local convention and meet like minded friends. They sound like fun and seem accepting of all types of people but my high social anxiety and extreme depression does not allow me to attend. Many of the related communities online strictly moderate themselves (Total Biscuit) but the smaller ones that don’t will get flooded with dudes whining about SJWs; rule #1 for unmoderated forums is never read them.

      • SadOldGuy says:

        My biggest worry about MRA types is that there was a time in my life that they could have hooked me. I had little trouble dating in college and grad school but once I had a job and a house and an apparent social obligation to get married I had no idea how to date. You see in college, you constantly meet people with similar interests, etc. just going to class; once I started working 50 hours a week and then traveling an hour both ways to work (in LA) I was too tired to leave my cheap apparent in my crappy car to go somewhere to meet people! Hollywood promised me that once I had a job that I would be handed a girl. Nope. It took much longer than it should have to figure out that this was my fault and not “evil women”. Luckily this was before I got on the Internet.

        • Roberta says:

          We do need better ways of giving middle-class people community post-college, and teaching men not to view the possession of a woman-thing as necessary to the men’s personhood.

        • Abbey Bartlet says:

          I had little trouble dating in college and grad school but once I had a job and a house and an apparent social obligation to get married I had no idea how to date. You see in college, you constantly meet people with similar interests, etc. just going to class; once I started working 50 hours a week and then traveling an hour both ways to work (in LA) I was too tired to leave my cheap apparent in my crappy car to go somewhere to meet people!

          I think Roberta’s second point is far more important than the first in responding to this phenomenon.

          Women go through all those things, and experience all the same emotions of anger and sadness and hurt, but we don’t take it out on men, because we aren’t told we’re entitled to men, or entitled to be happy.

          There’s a reason we haven’t had an Ellen Rodger, and the reason isn’t that women are just inherently better people.

          • SadOldGuy says:

            Yeah, the sad thing is that my sisters had it much harder than me. Our parents tolerated me being single and not regularly going to church but my sisters HAD to get married and HAD to regularly go to church. And they were not allowed to move too far away from the rest of the family while I was allowed to move thousands of miles away.

            • Abbey Bartlet says:

              I would say that, broadly speaking, women have it worse and complain less.

            • Crusty says:

              Just look at our language- we have the non-judgmental phrase “bachelor” or “confirmed bachelor.” Sure, there’s the word bachelorette, but does anyone use that when referring to something other than the tv show? Would anyone seriously use it to refer to a 35 year old woman with no interest in getting married in a completely non-judgmental way? Not likely. The female version of bachelor is spinster or old maid or cat lady or perjorative stuff like that.

        • John F says:

          Luckily this was before I got on the Internet.

          That depends, some people go on the internet and go to dating sites, others go to MRA sites and complain about women.

    • Rob in CT says:

      What are you talking about? Nobody is saying that.

      Well, Civ 5 is a poor choice – 4 is much better, but let’s not argue over ‘oo killed ‘oo.

      • SadOldGuy says:

        Sorry, my insurance company refused to pay for the my new antidepression medicine so I get easily depressed. I see the doctor on Tuesday so maybe we try again.

        I got into Civilization via the Revolution version on the PS3, so 4 ended up being too dense for me to understand while 5 when it started out was less complicated and I understood it as grew more and more complicated. 6 started off complicated and HARD even on the easiest settings. Again, I am extremely depressed and can barely leave the house so playing the familiar instead of newer if better is too hard for me at the moment.

        • Rob in CT says:

          Ah, well I wish you the best. I was mostly kidding about Civ IV vs. Civ V. I mean, I really prefer IV, but that’s due to a specific design choice made in V, and largely carried over to VI I gather. Not that my computer could handle VI anyway.

      • Just_Dropping_By says:

        It’s all been downhill since Civ 2. Give me, “Sir! The people! They can’t help falling in love with you,” any day of the week.

        • Abbey Bartlet says:

          It’s all been downhill since Civ 2

          This is objectively correct.

          • SadOldGuy says:

            The one nice thing about the Internet is now if you have a problem with a game, someone on Twitch or YouTube has a Lets Play that will show you how to do it. I am looking forward to watching a bunch of Civ 6 videos when I am better medicated.

          • Rob in CT says:

            No, it’s utterly wrong.

            CivII was great at the time. And CivIII, which had a number of interesting concepts, was a hot mess.

            CivIV, which took the best CivIII concepts, added some other ones, and made it all work, is significantly better than II. And I loved II.

    • Origami Isopod says:

      Aw, are you uncomfortable when we are not about you? Pat, pat.

      • SadOldGuy says:

        Yes, I have almost suicidal depression right now. I have not been at work for almost two years and I have to have someone come to my house weekly just to keep me alive. So yes, I overreacted and I apologize about it. This is why I rarely comment even though I have been reading the site for years.

        • Origami Isopod says:

          I’m genuinely sorry for your troubles, which are obviously real.

          I’ll confess that as a woman who is not very sociable nor patriarchally fuckable and who has a history of major depression, bullying, and other delightful things, I lose my patience easily in threads like this one, which always brings out the guys insisting that Sad Unfuckable Dudes have it worse than anyone else.

          • SadOldGuy says:

            I understand how you could see my whining that way. That is why I fear the MRA movement as there was a time in my life when their evil message might have captured me. Nowadays I am mostly comfortable being alone as if I actually loved another person I would never allow them to spend much time around a terrible person like me.

            • lizzie says:

              SadOldGuy, I just want to say, based on your comments, you seem like an introspective and thoughtful person, which at least in my opinion are highly valuable qualities. I am sorry you are suffering from such serious depression.

            • rhino says:

              I will say one thing. Anyone capable of recognizing their own bad qualities is probably not half as bad as they believe themselves to be.

              And you may well find yourself surprised, one day. And even if you remain alone there are many other ways to be happy, and always hope.

              My next door neighbour is 75, and was a miserable widower for 20 years. He started dating last fall, and is remarrying. You never know.

            • pseudalicious says:

              I’m really sorry you’re suffering — I have depression, too, and it’s a bitch. Also, it seems like there are a lot of LGM Civ players here that love it and you guys could probably chat about it which could be a distraction from brain chemicals being bastards? Good luck to you, for reals.

  23. Just_Dropping_By says:

    Note the terms 4chan invented, now so popular among grade schoolers everywhere: “fail” and “win”

    I’m 99% sure that “fail” and “win” were not invented by and, in fact, predate 4chan: See here re “fail” http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:_zbSVoNJ_CIJ:knowyourmeme.com/memes/fail-epic-fail+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    And here re “win” http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:dvW23apmUjMJ:knowyourmeme.com/memes/win-epic-win-for-the-win+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    (Both of them first had entries created in Urban Dictionary in early to mid 2003 — March 25, 2003 for “win” and July 22, 2003 for “fail” — while 4chan did even start until October 1, 2003, according to Wikipedia.)

  24. Abbey Bartlet says:

    Some threads and articles on the topic – I’ll post with spaces so I don’t get put in moderation:
    twitter com /spacetwinks/status/827656727088742401
    twitter com /morganmpage/status/827725973357490176
    qz com /901761/donald-trump-and-steve-bannon-are-using-gamergate-culture-to-attract-angry-white-men/
    theguardian com /technology/2016/dec/01/gamergate-alt-right-hate-trump
    Lots of other stuff I can’t find. Dammit.

    Prominent women on the internet, from Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu to Jessica Valenti to dozens of transwomen have been screaming at the top of their lungs for years, trying to warn people that these were not just silly little internet trolls in their moms’ basements being mean on the internet. The groundwork has been there. But for some reason, they were brushed off and mocked.

    • Origami Isopod says:

      Zoe Quinn posted recently that they are nonbinary and therefore not a woman. I thought Brianna Wu was trans but I could be mistaken. Anyway… good links.

      (I will say, though, I side-eyed that statement they came out collectively with last year, listing all the axes of oppression they thought were important, from which “class” was conspicuously missing.)

      • Abbey Bartlet says:

        I missed that from Zoe; good to know. Brianna is not trans; it’s a (baffling) smear by Gaters.

        And I can’t believe I forgot Anita Sarkeesian, but of course her too.

        Which statement?

        • Origami Isopod says:

          Thanks for the information on Wu.

          It was “We Are the Left.” To me, it had a distinct vibe of “Any focus on class per se is wrong.” Essentially, that if you include class as a distinct axis of privilege, you’re doing intersectionality wrong. And I can’t get behind that.

          Worse, and I’d completely forgotten about this, was that a lot of the signatories to the letter are themselves abusive assholes. Melissa McEwan of Shakesville is one of the most notorious. And then there was Cathy Brennan, well-known harasser and outer of trans youth. See also.

          • Abbey Bartlet says:

            Hmm, I remember being quite pleased by We Are the Left, because it was a response to the “leftists” who were focused on class-only, and explicitly informing the rest of us that we were not the left, attacks I’d experienced; I never read it as excluding class, but rather as pushing back forcefully against the people trying to exclude or minimize everything else. Which they were. And are.

            I did know there were some issues with it because it was a coalition document–i.e., not everyone agreed with everything–and I remember Jos Truitt being upset about it, but there are some prominent trans women on it as well (including Katherine Cross).

            Cathy Brennan isn’t on the signatory list now. Was she when it first went up? That’s awful, Jesus. (What did Melissa do? I know she was terribly rude to me once, but I hadn’t heard about her being abusive.)

            • Origami Isopod says:

              Your take and mine on the role of class in that letter are different.

              Yeah, Brennan was originally a signatory. The others repudiated her within a few days, but she shouldn’t have been on in the first place. Also, ISTR they included Marissa Johnson without asking her, and she was livid about that.

              Shakesville has been terrible since the “All In” post of 2009. Very cultish, very willing to attack people who disagree with Melissa or her mods. At the time, there was a lot of discussion about it on the internet, but most of it has been pulled or taken private. A few posts and discussions remain. (Note: This being five to eight years ago, the discussions around safe spaces and trigger warnings are not what you would expect today in progressive spaces.) There’s also shakesvillekoolaid on Tumblr; I’m not sure if it’s still active, but in its heyday it drew a lot of SV refugees who needed a place to vent.

              One of the discussions that has disappeared was an extremely long (1,000+ comments) hosted by an ex-Muslim feminist blogger who went by The Apostate. It was, essentially, a complaint session by people with years of pent-up complaints about Shakesville, on a wide variety of subjects. I wish it were still up, but I completely understand why the blogger decided to make it unavailable to the general public.

              • Abbey Bartlet says:

                I thought they just used Marissa’s name/story in a way she was uncomfortable with–I didn’t know they had her as a signatory :-o

                Oh, yeah, no, Shakespeare’s Sister/Shakesville and commentariat have long been terrible; I quit reading it in maybe 2009. And it really did get, uh, I mean, it was like a parody of SJWs (TW for “privilege,” really guys?),* and I’m the girl who’s been accused of being a parody of SJWs! It sounded from your phrasing like you were saying Melissa had abused trans people, which struck me as odd, just knowing who blogs there.

                Though, interestingly, I just went to check the current contributors and I see Fannie Wolfe is there now. I’ve been a big fan of her for years and years; I almost died when she followed me on twitter. Maybe they’ve changed.

                *Except for when I asked for a TW/CN on something and was shot down, lolz.

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