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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Russell Brand: A Man I Love


I've always had a mad crush on Russell Brand.  I've sat through every one of his movies, even though most of them were crap, just to watch him.  His gypsy-boy physicality is dead sexy: the unruly hair, licorice-whip legs, yoga-toned torso, the manic energy his wiry frame can barely contain, those black eyes glinting with mischief...

But as we all know, physical attraction isn't enough to sustain a long term relationship, even one as unilateral and unrequited as the one I have with Russell Brand.  No, it's his brain that really turns me on: the cliche "rapier wit" was invented to describe Russell Brand.. 

When did I first know that it was love, not just lust?  Perhaps it was when he hosted the Westboro Baptist Church on his talk show.  It's hilarious.  He is irrepressible, and yet so sweet in his mockery.  He shreds them, but in the kindest way.  One imagines that it would be impossible to have a real quarrel with Brand: in minutes, he would have you on the floor laughing at yourself in spite of yourself.  He would kill you with kindness.

Then yesterday I read his remarkable essay on the demise of Margaret Thatcher.  It was one of the best things I have read for a long while.  Although I am neither British nor of Brand's generation, he made me understand what it was like growing up under her administration.  (Actually, liberal Americans who have been living with the post-Reagan legacy will relate equally well to what Brand writes about Thatcher).

The entire essay is a masterpiece -- anyone with the slightest interest should read it in entirety -- but this bit really stayed with me:

It always struck me as peculiar, too, when the Spice Girls briefly championed Thatcher as an early example of Girl Power. I don't see that. She is an anomaly, a product of the freak-conomy of her time. Barack Obama interestingly said in his statement that she had "broken the glass ceiling for other women." Only in the sense that all the women beneath her were blinded by falling shards. She is an icon of individualism, not of feminism.

And this!  This is when I knew beyond any doubt that the love I felt for Russell Brand was no passing fancy, but The Real Thing:

Interestingly, one mate of mine, a proper leftie, in his heyday all Red Wedge and right-on punch-ups, was melancholy [upon hearing of Thatcher's death]. "I thought I'd be overjoyed, but really it's just... another one bites the dust..." This demonstrates I suppose that if you opposed Thatcher's ideas it is likely because of their lack of compassion, which is really just a word for love. If love is something you cherish it is hard to glean much joy from death, even in one's enemies.


(SIGH)


Sunday, April 7, 2013

On PUA

Are you old enough to remember when the back pages of comic books and popular magazines had ads for stuff like "X ray glasses," that promised to give readers the power to see through girls' clothes, and Charles Atlas programs that guaranteed to turn any 90 lb. weakling into a muscle-bound beach bully?  There was always at least one ad for a guide to picking up girls.  I'll admit I was intrigued by glasses that provided x-ray vision, and I remember buying at least one clutch of "sea monkeys," but I knew the pick up guides had to be a load of rubbish and even if I had been a boy, I was pretty much sure I wouldn't have fallen for those scams.

Nowadays, we have infomercials and pick up artists like Roosh.  And while I'll confess I still slow down at the Walgreen counters where "As Seen On TV" products are displayed, I still scoff at the sad sacks who think the secrets of successful seduction can be found in slim missives dispatched from turd world countries.

Although I am contemptuous of PUA, I don't hate the suckers who support this industry: I feel kind of sorry for them.

I don't really hate PUA on principle, or rather I don't hate it more than I hate Cosmopolitan magazine.  PUA is like Cosmo for boys.  Adolescents are desperately looking for answers to the burning teenage question, "How do I make [people of the opposite sex] desire me?", and these sources give lots of advice, repetitive and reductive and simple-minded to be sure, perhaps reassuring by its very repetitive, reductive simple-minded nature.  It's understandable to devour junk when a person is fifteen, but by the time he/she has graduated from college and entered the "real" adult world, it's time to grow up.

Anyway, I'm all for everybody pursuing as much sexual validation as they need or want. What I hate is reducing both men and women to the sums of their worst parts.

My problem isn't with PUA or MRM in theory, it's with misogyny  misanthropy.  My problem with the PUA of Roosh, Rossy, et al. is that it isn't "sweet love making" that is being promoted, but rather opportunities to degrade, exploit, or humiliate a.target.  My problem is with referring to women as "notches" and "flags" or to men as "betas" and "manginas."

My problem is that I just don't recognize the people who inhabit the PUA/MRM world, where every man is a caged, snarling predator in a gnawing state of priapism, and every woman is either a conniving gold-digger or a maniacal, castrating bitch.

For one thing, nurturing a hateful, resentful, "us against them" mind set is counter-productive to the immediate, pressing concern of getting laid.  We won't even think about how it ruins any chance of a long term, emotionally intimate and trusting relationship.  C'mon guys, think about it:  Roosh gets his dick wet maybe once a month by making pick up his full time job but he's in his mid-thirties now, and he doesn't seem to have ever had a real friend, much less a regular girlfriend.  And this is your relationship guru?

People like Roosh or Roissy or (God forbid) Paul Elam are not making the world a better place, that's for sure.  And the irony is they're so self-evidently miserable themselves.

What's in that red pill, anyway?  Why would anyone want to take it?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Roosh Hates Toronto

One of these days I mean to visit Toronto, because until recently I had heard nothing but rave reviews of this sparkling, multicultural cosmopolis.   My parents visited Toronto when I was a teenager.  They returned with a beautiful Indian scarf for me (which I still cherish) and praise for the sophistication and civility of its residents.  A friend of mine used to date a Canadian lad.  Unfortunately, when he sold his Toronto condo and moved to Edmonton, she kind of lost interest...

The only person I've run across to say a disparaging word about Toronto was Roosh, who had a recent, spectacularly unsuccessful weekend there, unable to persuade one single lady to return to his hotel room for a sip of flavored vodka. (I know, flavored vodka?  Blecchh.  But apparently that's what all the cool club kids are drinking.)

Apparently, he is still stinging from his defeat.

Roosh was offended by a young Toronto lass' words in response to his negativity about "game" in Toronto.  (Read her entire post; it's quite funny.)

Roosh observed that "Girls are more excited about getting late night food than having sex."  

Emilia: "Could not agree more. Everytime my friends and I heard the song “Gasolina” we changed the lyrics to “Pizzaiola”. The Diana. The Americana. OOOOOhhhh Vittoria. No sex beats a late night slice."

This made me chuckle.  It also made me recall the great Southern wit Florence King, who once wrote, "I've had sex and I've had food.  And I'd rather eat."  Never were truer words spoken.  And the older a woman gets, the truer they become.  Which explains Food Porn and my own ever-expanding waistline.
 
Roosh also wrote that "Girls [in Toronto] cock block more than anywhere else in the world.

Emilia responds:  "Girls don’t cock block. If a girl wanted to fuck you, she’d fuck you. Even with seven of her friends yelling at her to stop, she will proceed with no caution. I’ve literally had to owe my friends money for sleeping with people they hate. I’ve had friends run out of cabs and go back to people they were dragged from."

I nod my head vigorously in agreement.  I hate to tell you how many guys I had sex with that my girlfriends warned me about.  (Did I listen?  Never!  Were they right?  Always!)

I'll admit that due to my advanced age, the term "cock blocking" is new to me.  Back in the day, we just called it "being a good friend."
 
Roosh also complains, "Buy a girl drinks or she loses interest."

Emilia says,  "I don’t know how to say this without sounding shallow but here’s the truth: whatever you’re talking about, we don’t care. Something about sports, something about your job, maybe you have a dog, we don’t give a shit. Less talkee, more shotsee."

I mean really, Roosh (and his lame-ass followers):  Do you expect intelligent, attractive young women to fuck you stone cold sober?  Men like you should fucking worship at the shrine of  Dionysius.  

Anyway, I guess Roosh has declared Toronto off-limits to his acolytes, which is nothing but good news for the ladies of Toronto.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Don't Bang Danish Girls (or Only In Your Dreams)

I've always been irrationally proud of my Danish ancestry.  Although my ancestors left Denmark in the late nineteenth century, I even allow myself to take vicarious, wholly-unearned pride in the loyalty they demonstrated toward their Jewish citizens during WWII. (How dismayed I was to learn that the story of King Christian X displaying the Star of David on his lapel was entirely apocryphal!) 

Visiting Denmark some years ago with my mother only deepened my admiration for the Danish people.  At one point my mother's bum knee forced us to visit a clinic for treatment.  After the doctor gave her a cortisone shot, we asked where to pay, only to be told that medical services were free to anyone who needed them -- even hapless American tourists.

What most struck me about Denmark was how uniformly good looking the people are.  I expect this has a lot to do with the excellent standard of health care, nutrition, and sense of social security.  Despite a diet that is traditionally heavy with dairy products (butter, cheese, ice cream...) I did not see a single fat Dane.  Maybe that was because everywhere we went, people were walking, bicycling, or sunning themselves in the public parks.  We were actually relieved to finally encounter a woman with rather poor teeth -- finally, an imperfection!

Roosh's complaints that Danish women are unattractive and "manly" are patently ridiculous.  On the other hand, I expect it is difficult to "game" a Dane.  They are not easily impressed by or even very curious about foreigners (as Americans we were mostly ignored).  It wasn't easy to engage Danes in conversation although, when we were able to, they were unfailingly civil, and every Dane we met spoke English fluently (although they were modest about their ability).

Perhaps what offended Roosh was subtle prejudice based on his near-eastern appearance.  A lot of Danes seem a bit weary with their immigrant population, vestiges of a Turkish guest worker population that have overstayed its welcome.  As one Danish woman explained to me, "I understand why they come here, with our great social services and public education -- I don't blame them, really -- but..." she trailed off helplessly and sighed.  Being Danish, she couldn't bring herself to admit that these swarthy, "backwards" people didn't belong to her vision of a progressive, liberal Danish society. 




It's A Big Country

I haven't read Matt Forney's blog much, mainly because when he isn't trolling for hits with outrageous posts, he's really, really boring.

He's an acolyte of Roosh, and religiously reviews everything Roosh writes, but never writes about his own adventures putting "game" into practice.  He comes across as the prototypical "forty year old virgin."  He seems deeply cynical about politics although he leans toward libertarianism.  He is very interested in the male-bonding aspect of being an MRA, and his writing about the need for male friendship is his most original and poignant.   His current preoccupation is how to make a living as a blogger.  Good luck!

For a while he was working in the oil fields of North Dakota before he did a mini-Jack Kerouac and hitch-hiked to Portland.  I understand that Williston is about the worst place in the world for horny guys (with the possible exception of Saudi Arabia).  But my burning question to Matt is, Why Portland?

For a guy who really hates social liberals and radical feminists, Portland seems an odd choice indeed.

Why don't these lonely guys move where the odds are more in their favor?

If you are an introverted, deeply conservative guy who wants to meet women, why leave the midwest?  Why not head for, I dunno, Wichita or Tulsa? Why not join a fundamentalist church (where there are loads of pretty, virtuous girls who are busting to become full time home makers for some traditional, manly-man)?

If you want a woman who looks and comports herself like a bimbo a starlet, why not take up pimping photography and move to Los Angeles?

If you are a guy who is only attracted to women with <7.5 body fat, join a coed sports team or start running marathons.  

If you don't like dissolute women, stay out of bars.  (Hint:  Bars are where barflies hang out.)  On the other hand, if you believe only drunk women will "bang" you, but hate gold-diggers, stay away from the clubs where "venture capitalists" and attorneys hang out.

If you yourself are overweight, quit whining that only fat chicks will date you.  Or perhaps entertain the possibility that equity of physical attractiveness is a good predictor of long term stable relationships.

If you know in your heart-of-hearts that you can't compete for top-drawer "talent" but refuse to "settle," well, instead of zipping off to Moldava, why not save your pennies and occasionally treat yourself to a really high class call girl?  

My point is, to sit around and complain about the dearth of models in your basement is pretty silly, isn't it? 
.

Is Roosh a Sociopath?

Roosh is now in Romania, a country I've never visited.  I've always assumed From the little I have read and seen on television, it's kind of a shit-hole a developing country with many socioeconomic challenges and seriously ugly Soviet era architecture. 

This is nothing against the people.  I've had several wonderful Romanian students in the past.  Rather, it's because Romania is still recovering from the disastrous socioeconomic policies of the Nicolae CeauČ™esc regime, i.e., a large population of unwanted young people who grew up on the streets due to Ceausesc's prohibition of contraception = a high crime rate, degraded family structure, and pervasive despair.  It certainly isn't a place that would draw me as a tourist, although I might take a temporary assignment there as part of an international aid program. yet. 


But Roosh favors Eastern European countries like Romania because the people (specifically, the women) are poor and desperate.  American tourists are rare for the reasons described, and they represent opportunity (for cash or green cards).  This is Roosh's value in the eyes of young Eastern European women.  The language barrier which he occasionally complains about actually works in his favor; it's harder to evaluate a stranger's intentions or character if he does not speak your language, and people tend to forgive foreigners for social faux pas that they would not tolerate in a native.

Roosh likes Eastern European girls because, unlike American or Scandinavian women, they embody traditional "feminine" characteristics: they put effort into their sexual appeal (naturally enough, as it is their only real avenue of social mobility), they tend to be thin, they defer to men (at least in public).  And unlike American and Scandinavian women, they are not "promiscuous" (that is to say, sexually autonomous).

The problem is that the chastity that Roosh admires is an obstacle to his mission, which is to have sexual intercourse with as many nubile teenagers as he can without either opening his wallet and paying upfront, or establishing a committed relationship.  He deals with this by deceiving women, either directly or by omission.  For example, he suggests he's more interested in a serious relationship than he really is, he attempts to disguise his true identity, he doesn't hang around too long in one place.  He coolly acknowledges the occasional tears, the sense of betrayal these girls experience, yet remains emotionally detached.  He is, after all, a predator, so is only acting according to his authentic nature: "This is what I do."  

He is not disingenuous when he denies that the appalling way he exploits girls reflects any animosity toward them. In the same way, many of us are genuinely fond of animals, yet still enjoy eating cheeseburgers.

He blames global feminism and western materialism on corrupting the women he himself is trying to corrupt.  He refuses to acknowledge his own culpability in the process.  The lack of integrity, the disconnect, is mind-boggling.  He doesn't seem to be stupid.  He certainly takes his own intellectual pretensions seriously, with his regular reports on the "big ass books" he is reading (Thucydides, really?). 

And yet there is a giant blind spot in his moral consciousness that defies explanation.

To read Roosh is to enter the mind of a functioning sociopath.

In a Roosh V forum thread, a reader worries whether he himself is a sociopath. Some readers dismiss his concern, reassuring him that the fact that he asks is proof he is not. 

I dunno, if I thought I might be a sociopath, I'd be running, not walking, to a good shrink. But that's just me, your garden-variety neurotic.

Roosh, on the other hand, responds, tellingly, "Why do you feel the need to label your behavior?  Do what you want. As long as you don't get arrested, get AIDS, or cause unreasonable harm in other individuals, who gives a fuck whether you are or not."  [italics added]









Thursday, March 21, 2013

Steubenville Rape Verdict

I went to college in the seventies, which makes me a kind of historical relic.  In 1973, Roe vs. Wade had just made abortion legal, the "sexual revolution" was well underway, and the second wave of feminism was reaching its zenith.

I had just turned eighteen.  I had lost 100 pounds, morphing from a very obese high school student beyond the social pale, into a very pretty, very buxom blonde.  I could hardly wait for my life to begin.  I was all juiced up on my own hormones and fantasies.

But I was also riddled with anxiety and crippled by lack of confidence.  I didn't have a clue... about practically anything.  So I made a lot of foolish, impulsive choices, as many young people do, especially regarding alcohol.

I attended a large public university in a dry state in the midwest, where the only alcohol legally available was 3.2 beer.  I had very little experience with hard drinking.  One night I went to an acquaintance's room in my dorm with several other people.  He was lavishing us with screwdrivers, and I got very drunk very fast.  One of the young men in the group, Simon, offered to help me back to my room.

(I call him a young man now, but in fact he was a grad student at least ten years my senior, with a receding hairline and a pot belly, so from my perspective seemed positively middle aged.)

I remember little of the rest of the evening, except coming to, face down on his bed.  He had removed my bra and pulled my jeans down to my ankles.  He was attempting to penetrate me anally; it was probably the pain of this that brought me back to consciousness.  Although I was now aware of what was happening, I was literally immobilized.  I said, "Please stop" before passing out again.  Perhaps an hour later, I stumbled out of his room and made my way back to my own, losing my bra (never to be retrieved) in the process.

In 1973, the concepts of "acquaintance rape" or even "sexual harassment" didn't exist; they weren't.even on the radar.  I knew whatever had happened to me did not fit the legal definition of "rape."  It's true Simon had acted caddishly, but I was the one who had been defiled. I was responsible because I had put myself in the position to be taken advantage of.  Therefore, I carried the burden of shame alone, and never questioned for decades that I should not.

So I never said anything to anyone about this incident, including Simon's "girlfriend," who happened to live on the same floor.  For the rest of the academic year, I passed Simon in the cafeteria or lobby.  He was usually sitting with his friends.  Every day I passed through this gauntlet, as they pointed, jeered, and muttered to each other.  I had become an object of their endless contempt and amusement.  One of them once made a clumsy pass at me at a dance; when I politely declined, the ridicule and gossip escalated.  It was as if  by "allowing" myself to be raped, I had lost the right to own my own body.  I pretended to ignore them, praying the scandal would not spread beyond his immediate coterie of pals.

The same year, two girls who lived in the same dorm, and whom  I vaguely knew, were picked up by some boys in a bar.  They were invited to a party.  They jumped into the boys' cars and were driven to an abandoned barn, where a dozen men were already queuing, and where they were gang raped repeatedly.  One of the girls was hospitalized for physical injuries that included abrasions in her throat and vagina.  I don't recall if there were any arrests.  I do recall the charges were ultimately dropped for "lack of evidence."  The girls were pitied, but also ostracized, and shortly thereafter, they dropped out of school.  The message was clear: report rape at your own peril.

You might have thought I would have learned my lesson about drinking with strangers, but in fact, this episode ushered in a period of hard partying, many hours of drink-fueled dancing and relentless carrying-on.  A year later, I was at a party chugging tequila out of the bottle, while the people around me cheered.  The next thing I remember was waking up in the front seat of an unfamiliar boy's glossy Trans Am..

I tell this story to demonstrate that not all young men are opportunistic rapists.  In fact, I suspect only a minority of them are though it's a theory that I cannot prove.

Anyway, the boy was very concerned about me.  He didn't want me to pass out.  He kept suggesting we stop and get some "bread" because the bread would "soak up" the alcohol in my system.  Every time he said the word "bread," I retched, jeopardizing the upholstery of his new sports car.  He finally drove me to a trusted female friend's house, put me to sleep it off in a back bedroom, and disappeared.  I didn't wake up until three the next afternoon and I never saw him again.  (Of course, in light of what I now know about alcohol poisoning, he should have dropped me off at an ER, but I expect he didn't want me to "get in trouble.")  My finger tips were numb for days and I couldn't look tequila in the eye for years, but I passed through the dreadful experience without the added trauma of having been sexually assaulted.

So what accounts for the difference in behavior between these two young men?  Why will one man view a woman's incapacity as an opportunity to have intercourse, knowing full well she would not consent if she were unimpaired, while another man is motivated in the same circumstances to protect her?  This is the question we need to be asking ourselves, and for which we need to elicit the input and support of men too. 

And another question I've been asking myself is, Where were the Steubenville victim's girlfriends while she was being assaulted?   Why do young women so often fail to look out for each other?  (Although I am somewhat reassured by Roosh that this sort of "cock blocking" is a standard part of the clubbing scene.)

It's hard for me to see the convicted football players as "victims," but it strikes me that they also have been badly let down:  let down by their parents, their team mates, their classmates, and just about everyone in their community who had a chance to support their character development and failed to do so.
  
There is a petition to make "consent" a mandatory part of sex education in school Because all men are born criminals

No, Roosh, not all men are "born criminals," except insofar as all humans are, by our imperfect natures, capable of doing appallingly evil shit to each other.  Education helps.  As civilization evolves, our mores change.  In fact, statistics indicate the rate of rape has fallen fairly dramatically in the past two decades, even as the definition of rape has broadened, and this does seem correlated with the inroads feminism has made in convincing people that women are autonomous beings worthy of respect and compassion.

I appreciate how fast standards seem to change, and that it is hard for some folks to "keep up,"  (As fond as they are of evolutionary psychology, MRAs don't seem to have read enough "Evolve or Die" bumper stickers.)  Although I am not very old, I have lived long enough to see social attitudes change in ways that I could never have anticipated.  Were I now the 18 year old I once was, I would have felt significantly less shame and significantly more anger at Simon and his friends.  Of course, it's likely it would never have happened at all because Simon was a smart, ambitious fellow who would have been loathe to put his academic career and social reputation in jeopardy.  And nowadays he would know what the consequences were, thanks to education about "consent."

By teaching adolescents the concept of consent, girls are also taught to be accountable for their own sexuality.  I look forward to the day when girls who want to be sexually expressive with a partner take responsibility for communicating that and owning it enthusiastically and unambiguously.

I note also this week the kerfuffle regarding Adria Richards and the vicious backlash she is experiencing.  I have nothing to add to this story except to agree with comments that, while I sympathize with her frustration, she seems to have over-reacted, that sex jokes are not necessarily sexist, that it is a shame the offending programmer was fired and an equal shame that Richards was fired.  The social media has evolved faster than our standards of professional etiquette and decorum can accommodate.

I enjoyed the hilarity of the tweets regarding Roosh's "Feminist Victim Fund."  Nice to see at least half of the ridicule coming from men.   I will also confess to a certain cruel satisfaction in seeing the widespread coverage of Roosh as an "admitted rapist" tied in to the mockery, and knowing that whatever he does, he will never escape that label.