#22 – SJWs Always Double Down, Vox Day BOOK REVIEW

February 15, 2018
krauserpua

SJWs Always Double Down

I got it in paperback

Oh am I conflicted in reviewing this book!

Let’s just establish a baseline: I absolutely recommend this book. I read it cover-to-cover in one day, and I feel like I got good value for the £12.99 that the paperback version cost me. I read it the day after I read the Nietzsche book and, for the first half of SJWADD at least, I kept thinking “this is much more like real philosophy than that Nietzsche bullshit” [1]. So, in light of the critique I’ll subject certain parts of it to, don’t lose sight of the fact that I like this book.

The reason I’m conflicted is that I respect Vox Day more than any other blogger [2] and many times in the past five years I’ve taken his advice. He’s one of the few writers out there who, should I find myself in disagreement with him, I’ll immediately start worrying that it’s probably me who is wrong [3]. Here’s a few examples of his influence:

  • It was his articles on self-publishing that got me interested in making a professional job of Daygame Mastery in late 2013 and his then-fledging Castalia House publisher that gave me the idea of my own smaller-scale Sigma Wolf
  • His adaptation of Roissy‘s sexual hierarchy is the one I adopted and in particular his concepts of sigma and gamma were extremely influential in my inner- and outer-game ideas
  • I was aboard the Trump Train long before the first Republican primary but Vox was one of the steady voices whose analysis of polls and voting reassured me I wasn’t crazy in thinking he’d win (Bill Mitchell, Scott Adams, Heartiste, and Mike Cernovich were others). I won £5k backing him.
  • I was mostly Alt-Right back in 2008 but Vox’s constant promotion of Christianity has encouraged me to become a “cultural Christian” in that I don’t believe in God but I strongly support Christendom.
  • I watched every one of his Darkstream periscopes and was positively impacted by his moral fortitude, humility (while he’s not given to false modesty, either), work-rate, and tireless working behind the scenes to promote Alt-tech and organise against Leftist narratives [4]
  • Vox’s prodigious reading and writing gave me encouragement towards my own long-standing desires to keep up my reading and writing.

So, after reading that it sounds I’ve got my nose right up his brown-eye does it not? Well, before I get into anything critical about SJWADD let’s first look at what I thought the book did well. Perhaps time for some context.

Vox uses his blog as a test bed for ideas so, if you read him as long as I have, you’ll see him introducing concepts, fumbling towards the core ideas, and his numerous regular commentators debating him. Over time this crowd-sourced debate leads to elegant and precise theories. For example, I remember he used to talk of the SFWA crowd as “the rabbit people” and that debate led to the crossover of r/K and SJW that is pursued in SJWADD. I remember the term “secret king” emerge through a series of comments under his posts on gamma males.

Joffrey-house-baratheon-29720605-1029-587

Be glad few ever become actual kings

One outcome of this crowd-sourcing was the three laws of SJW:

  • SJWs always lie
  • SJWs always double down
  • SJWs always project

Vox has presumably planned a trilogy of books with each taking it’s title from a law, because SJWADD is the sequel to SJWs Always Lie [5]. What Vox has done with this series is to extract the results of his blogging into a structured book format to give it both permanence and a little extra polish. This is both its strength and weakness.

The obvious main strength is he has originated new ideas, streamlined the concepts, and subjected them to a peer review before even writing the book. We thus get some mature theorising that can already anticipate and rebuff the most obvious critiques. I like that.

The second main strength is at the meta-level. Vox is well into his military history and table-top gaming (Advanced Squad Leader, I believe). He is a strategic thinker who applies the lessons of military history to his own work. One recent Castalia House publishing effort has been towards popularising the concept of 4th Generation Warfare (I reviewed one here) in which a key takeaway is the importance of capturing the moral high ground and maintaining troop morale. This was succinctly put in one of his Darkstreams. I paraphrase:

“There have always been folk tales of dragons attacking the tribe and heroes going out to fight them. The point of those stories is not to teach the young that dragons exist. The point is to teach them the dragons can be killed.”

This is the role of morale in warfare. Marx knew this full well, which Mises points out in the introduction to his book Socialism in which he outlines the three memetic inspirations Marx added to the otherwise moribund corpse of Utopianism which suddenly resurrected it and inflicted Marxism upon the masses. Read those three – they are all in the introduction – and you’ll see Marx was engaged in meme warfare to improve the morale of Utopians.

Vox gets this and therefore he avoids the defeatism of most “conservative” writers on Leftism. Most take the frame that the Left is attacking society, we are under threat, and this awesome menace is so terribly frighteningly awful. They are cowering before the dragon. Vox writes about the inevitability of winning (using one of Marx’s three memes against him) and goes so far as to repeatedly state the rhetorical mantra: The Alt-right is inevitable.

This meta-level tactic is best seen in Chapter 2, “Peak SJW and the Backlash of 2016” which is one long victory parade about Trump smashing Hillary. It may seem a bit crass and irrelevant in a book that advertises itself as “your guide to understanding, anticipating, and surviving SJW attacks” until you realise this is about morale. Before stepping into the cesspit of SJW evil, Vox wants to fortify your morale by reminding you that we are winning, and our winning is inevitable. We will rout the SJWs and cut them down as they flee in panic.

Dragons

Scary dragons, yesterday

Something else I like about this book is its place in what I see as a growing convergence [6] in the modern alt-social sciences towards a Grand Unified Theory Of Everything. I say that somewhat facetiously. What I mean is this: SJWADD weaves the following strands into its fundamental framework of social life:

  • The socio-sexual hierarchy
  • Meme warfare, and its predecessor in Aristotle’s “Rhetoric”
  • r/k mating strategy and its influence on politics and interactions
  • narcissism

I believe the world is moving towards a better understanding of where Evil springs from. Vox’s thesis is that SJWs are a bizarre hybrid creature of r-selection, narcissism, Gamma ranking, and pseudo-rhetoric. In his chapter on “Understanding The SJW Mind” he explicitly draws these threads together to uncover why SJWs act in such evil, relentless and utterly stupid fashion. I agree with his analysis.

However the book has by now already begun to fall apart, something I noticed from Chapter 6 onwards. So, let me talk about the weaknesses.

The first is that this book was obviously rushed. I know this to be true because I watched his Darkstreams where he continually expressed frustration that his other projects were preventing him from finishing SJWADD [7]. I’m guessing that it was towards the end of chapter 5 where this crunch hit because the book nosedives in literary quality after that.

Not in quality of ideas, mind, they are still excellent. Rather, it’s evident that he went from writing new prose specially for the book to simply copy-pasting former posts into the document with only a cursory re-write. Chapter 7 is most obvious because his socio-sexual hierarchy text is almost word-for-word from his original 2010 blogpost, the Gamma discussion felt extremely familiar (though I can’t place it to a specific blog post), and then Chapter 8 on GamerGate feels like a rehash of tangentially-related history that assumes an incredible amount of preexisting knowledge on the ins-and-outs of the Hugo Awards that a new reader couldn’t possibly be expected to have.

It’s not just the copy-pasta. Chapters 1 thru 5 patiently lay out a case that builds organically and explains each concept as introduced. It has a logical flow as the five chapters combined are building into a coherent case. Vox then outlines the SJW Convergence Sequence which is the key value-add of the book (when assessed against the book’s stated goal). As I reached the end of chapter 5, I thought “this book is excellent!”.

It falls apart from there as it seems like it hasn’t had an editor. I know how Vox thinks because he has the same predilection as me towards hopping around topics and skipping links in the logical chain because he just assumes the reader can fill in the blanks themselves. The best way to smooth out these problems is to have test readers unfamiliar with the material to highlight points of confusion as they meet them [8]. There were many cases where SJWADD, a book intended to reach a wide audience, would benefit from precisely this process.

hot bird

Totally irrelevant, but I know my readership’s squalid minds

Some of the points of confusion are small, such as mentioning “secret king” without explaining what it means (p.134), as if it had already been addressed earlier in the book, or odd turns of phrase like “remember, nothing is ever forgotten or forgiven by a gamma” (p.135) when this wasn’t first explained for us to now remember.

Chapter 6 is mostly a discussion of logical fallacies employed by SJWs, using Aristotle as the guide. This could be considerably clearer. It feels like Vox wrote an essay to trace SJW tactics back to Aristotle (which he does admirably) and then just threw it into this book. It feels out of place stylistically (though not intellectually). In the previous chapter there’s a cleanly-written outline of the SJW Convergence Sequence using pertinent modern examples and an emphasis on clear exposition so that a newcomer can follow the argument and appreciate its modern-day relevance. In contrast, the Aristotle chapter is scholarly and archaic with unnecessarily obtuse language. The “individual SJW tactics” that follow are clearer but not as patiently explained nor demonstrated through examples as is the Convergence Sequence.

Am I nit-picking? Yeah, probably. These are not game-breakers, just a sign of being a bit rushed.

Others things made me feel the book was wandering off topic, no longer being a guidebook to “anticipating the thought police”. From the mid-point his central developing argument is abandoned and instead replaced with a potpourri of concepts that are all interesting but aren’t coherently tied to the main thrust of anticipating the thought police. For example:

  • Just after outlining the socio-sexual hierarchy, there follows a lengthy exploration of Gamma. “Great!” I thought, “he’ll tie that to examples of SJW behaviour or show how CEOs can filter for Gamma so as to keep them out of important roles”. What actually follows is advice on how to stop being gamma yourself (and a longer treatment of that in the appendix). This is good stuff but not really relevant to the book’s main thrust and thus a missed opportunity. It feels it was put in because it had already been written for other reasons and the author was too rushed to adapt it specifically for SJWADD.
  • There’s a review of the Rapid Puppies exercise (p.147-156) which seems like it belongs more in a memoir or “history of SF/F” than SJWADD. It doesn’t really have any learning points or show how to keep SJWs out of your organisation. If anything, it just shows how to burn things down rather than save the institution.
  • The ComicsGate discussion is focused on why SJWs are a problem and how destructive their entryism is, but doesn’t offer lessons. It’s descriptive not prescriptive. The bullet point lessons of GamerGate at the end are good but SJWADD would’ve really benefited from systematically applying them to the stories therein, not tagging them on the end. It was something Vox was doing great at in the first five chapters.
Puppies

If she’s selling those puppies, I’ll have the one with the pink nose

Okay, that’s enough. I don’t want to give the impression I disliked the book, because I thought it was excellent. I’m just faintly disappointed that a disciplined, systemic and original thinker like Vox couldn’t maintain the quality he’d started off with right the way through the book. I’m well-versed in all his ideas and own personal history of battling SJWs so I had no trouble following the book and filling in the blanks where needed. [9]

If you like the idea of a grand unified theory of everything that weaves together r/K, socio-sexual hierarchy, memes, and narcissism but on the topic of shagging birds rather than battling SJWs, you’ll love Daygame Infinite which you can buy here.

NEWS: I’ll be drinking heavily this weekend, out of town, with Team Krauser. Thus I’ll be a bit slower in fulfilling Infinite orders. Don’t worry, they’ll still get done by Monday (which is when printer opens offices again anyway).

[1] The more I think about it, the more I think Michael Tanner represents everything bad in philosophy and that Nietzsche was a worthless gamma hack who deserved the obscurity he seemed destined for.
[2] Yes, even more than the original Roissy.
[3] There are numerous times where I concluded I was right and he wasn’t, but the fact that I considered the disagreement itself to be grounds enough to look deeply into the topic is the sign of the esteem in which I hold him.
[4] Incidentally, it’s this organisational push which I like most about Roosh. He’s been good at building an alternative forum and various meet-up initiatives and troll jobs.
[5] Which I also read and enjoyed.
[6] In the normal sense of the word, e.g. how smart phones have converged calls, texts, browsing, cameras, video players into one device.
[7] I don’t fault him for that, he had a lot on his plate. Infogalactic, Alt Hero, Castalia House editing etc
[8] I did precisely this for Daygame Infinite and A Deplorable Cad.
[9] I’m not implying my books maintain their focus and quality any better than his either, so don’t read this as me trying to say I’m better.

#21 – All Hallows Eve, Richard Laymon BOOK REVIEW

February 14, 2018
krauserpua

I seem to be averaging about one non-fiction book for every three novels. Until starting this little review project I’d never really thought about it, but now I wonder why it is so. I suspect it’s a tension between entertainment and self-development. Investing vs spending. This horror novel is most definitely not going to develop any facet of my mind.

Richard Laymon

This edition

My first ever encounter with SJW-ism came in an old Computer And Video Games magazine review of a Japanese rip-off of Galaga. One of the alien attack waves were winged women whose animation involved spreading then closing their wings. When the wings were closed, your bullets couldn’t kill them.

Some SJW reviewer interpreted this as: you’re meant to shoot them between the legs. That’s Galaga-RAPE!!!!! Thus my ten-year old brain was confused as this SJW reviewer went on a long rant about sexism in games rather than commenting on the graphics, sound, gameplay or any of the others things that I, as the payer of his salary, wanted to know.

Galaga-Gamers-Against-Bigotry

I think we all learned something here today

My second encounter with SJW-ism came with Richard Laymon. A book review in some horror magazine, perhaps Samhain, had a real go at him for misogyny because of how some female character is murdered. I think she was thrown into a bath full of broken glass or something and he’d described her as “nubile”. The book may have been Resurrection Dreams. This is an awfully long time ago so my memory is vague.

Naturally, I went right out and bought it.

Richard Laymon has been called a ‘splatterpunk’ writer [1]. I remember thinking of him as a simple, energetic writer who had daft stories, softcore sex, and plenty of gore. As a twelve year old boy who considered Stephen King and James Herbert to be “a bit soft”, I was more into the crass exploitation of Shaun Hutson novels and collecting the ‘video nasties’ on VHS. So Laymon was right up my street.

In the spirit of nostalgia, I decided to check in with him again and see how he stood the test of time [2]. All Hallows Eve is like the famous movie Scream in novel form (but predates it). It’s focused on a high school in a small US town where there are jocks and nerds, one of the latter a bit of a dark vengeful character. Some mysterious stranger murders a few locals and there’s talk of a big Halloween party in a spooky house that’s been deserted since the whole family was butchered.

Knowing this, you can probably fill in the blanks yourself. Agatha Christie level misdirection this is not.

I read the book entirely in one sitting late at night. It took two whiskeys and three toilet breaks [3]. I enjoyed it. This is simple fiction that I like to call ‘straight line’. There are some regular folk who are good guys, a couple of bad guys, and the plot moves straight ahead without any bullshit. Nothing is there that doesn’t need to be, nothing slows the pace, and the liberal dashing of sex and violence occur at the correct intervals. It’s Friday The 13th, or Nightmare On Elm Street.

a-nightmare-on-elm-street-freedy-krueger-premium-format-figure-sideshow-feature-300366

The first and third movies are fantastic

No bullshit, no frills horror. A McDonald’s cheeseburger of a novel. If I fancy a bit more schlock-horror later this year I’ll happily pick up another of his books.

If you find yourself alone in a dark house at night with a psycho murderer prowling around, you’ll be really glad you bought Daygame Infinite. At 524 pages in a solid hardback binding, it will absorb at least one murderous blow from an axe, giving you ample time to scramble to safety.

[1] According to google when I just searched his name ten minutes ago
[2] Nothing else from that time of my life survives a second look. The music, movies, fashion, books I liked then were all utter shit.
[3] No I wasn’t scared going to the bathroom in the dark

#20 – Nietzsche, Michael Tanner BOOK REVIEW

February 14, 2018
krauserpua

This review is slightly out of sequence (it’s actually #25) but it’s fresh in my mind so I’m going with it. This book is from the Past Masters series, short introductory books for university students intended to cover the major thinkers in the Western canon.

Past masters

Never once spelled that right

I’ve long believed that understanding the personality, situation and background to a writer will tell you at least as much about his writing as the words he leaves on the page do. Nietzsche was a weirdo. Here are some choice highlights of his life:

  • His first book The Birth Of Tragedy was published when he was 27, was briefly subject to controversy within German university circles [1] and then he was pretty much ignored until after his death.
  • He caught syphilis from an Italian prostitute, which is what ultimately drove him mad
  • He resigned from his professorship long after students had stopped attending his seminars, such was the lack of interest in his work.
  • Despite falling on hard times and nobody reading him, he never stopped writing. He would frequently go back to his own older books and write his own self-critique of them [2]
  • He was convinced he had momentous ideas that the world ignored at their peril, ideas which would destroy the current basis of morality [3]
  • He once had 118 days of migraines in a single year. Ouch.
  • He began as a disciple and fan of Wagner, writing his first book to valorise him. Then he fell out with him (so passively aggressively that apparently Wagner didn’t even realise he had for several years) and wrote his next books as anti-Wagner treatises [4]

Nonetheless he seems to be taken rather seriously in certain circles so it behoved me to inquire a little into his ideas. I have mixed feelings about him now, though bear in mind this book is the only thing on Nietzsche I’ve read so I’m somewhat at the mercy of Tanner’s own understanding of the man.

Things get off to a bad start with The Birth Of Tragedy. Nietzsche shows himself to be as susceptible as anyone to the utter insanity of the post-Hegelian German intellectual tradition. This tradition seemed to mostly follow this little loop:

1. Fall in with one particular “name” philosopher who is either currently in the zeitgeist or is fashionably contrarian. Draw heavily from his ideas.
2. Recast history (“historiography” I believe it’s called) as being an eternal battle between two opposing grand concepts. For Hegel it was the master and slave, for Marx a materialistic version of the same, for Nietzsche it was epic vs tragedy.
3. Shit this nonsense over hundreds of pages of interminable obfuscatory prose intended to make you look clever.
4. Hope everyone in the coffee houses talks about it and your own name is advanced.

engels-caricature-of-the-free-the-berlin-group-of-young-hegelians-words-in-the-drawing-ruge-buhl-nauwerck-bauer-wigand-edgar-bauer-stirner-meyen-stranger-koppen-the-lieu

This kind of thing

This is what all these snidey gamma fuckers were up to and it’s left a horrendous pseudo-intellectual tradition of high-sounding gibberish behind them [5]. I suppose we can’t blame Nietzsche for it when he was 27 years old and absorbed in that way of doing philosophy. Fortunately he appears to have grown out of it.

He wasted lots more paper with Human, All Too Human but then seems to settle down a bit with Daybreak and moves away from pretension and towards coherent argument. Tanner outlines in chapter one that Nietzsche is ironically misconstrued by history due initially to his work being badly translated until 1950, secondly by him writing copious notes that are works in progress rather than completed thoughts which later writers disingenuously cherry-picked from to lend weight to their own opinions. Also, people seem to have linked him inextricably to the Nazis [6]. It’s ironic because virtually the last thing Nietzsche wrote was this:

“Listen to me! For I am thus and thus. Do not, above all, confound me with what I am not!” [preface to Ecce Homo] [7]

Tanner asserts that Nietzsche was not a proponent of the nihilism that made him famous. He actually feared it’s onset. Primarily concerned with how culture can deal with the preponderance of human suffering (remember Nietzsche’s life was full of suffering) he’d first tested his ideas with the historiography that epic plays ennobled humans but were unsustainable and that tragedies nourished the soul more effectively.

By the time of Daybreak he’d begun speaking directly of morality in the sense moral philosophers do.

“There are two kinds of deniers of morality… first, to deny that the moral motives which men claim have inspired their actions really have done so… [second] to deny that moral judgements are based on truths”

He states he agrees generally with the second, and sometimes with the first. His full paragraph is an awfully wordy way of saying (i) people claiming moral virtue are often insincere and (ii) there are no foundational ethics. Still, what do I know. I think these Germans are all full of shit and tie themselves in knots constantly [8].

Unlike Marx, Nietzsche doesn’t like the idealistic telos of the German tradition, the idea that history is progressing towards a greater goal. Marx famously built his epistemology on the proposition that all ideas in the superstructure are conditioned by the economic infrastructure, and thus we take as timeless and immutable modes of thought that are specific and conditional. Nietzsche seems to agree in broad strokes but without the inevitable movement forwards. It could just as easily regress.

His worry is that modern society has lost its originator of moral belief (God) and is thus drifting towards nihilism. He states this in Twilight Of The Idols about “the English” philosophers:

“They are rid of the Christian God and now believe all the more firmly that they must cling to Christian morality. That is an English consistency… We others hold otherwise. When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality from under one’s feet. This morality is by no means self evident; this point has to be exhibited again and again, despite the English flatheads. Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one’s hands.

When the English actually believe that they know ‘intuitively’ what is good and evil, when they therefore suppose that they no longer require Christianity as the guarantee of morality, we merely witness the effects of the dominion of the Christian value-judgement and an expression of the strength and depth of this dominion.”

I’m inclined to agree and certainly believe it an accurate prognostication of the decline of the West into atheism and degeneracy. The human mind is swayed primarily through habit, herd-instinct, and rhetoric. By kicking away the supporting pillar of Faith, the free-thinkers set the stage for ultimate collapse and rendered the West easy prey to the satanists cultural Marxists from within and the more fanatically-held Faith of Muslims rival cultures.

But is this very clever, to justify Nietzsche as a great thinker? Evidently his contemporaries didn’t think so.

3c6187926134cc0da45b06c54527ddb5

Now this is a problem of moral philosophy

Not really. This is a repeated pattern of human action. People adhere to a principle, live their lives based on it, come to believe they no longer need the principle, and behavioural inertia continues for a while to give the impression things are fine…. and then collapse. We see it everywhere. For example, the Feminists of the hippy era abandoned all the beliefs that held the family together but because those individual women had been raised under patriarchy, their pro-family behaviours held things together, mostly, until their own children grew up. The problem came when those children, raised without patriarchy, began forming (or not forming) families without having all the pro-civilisation patterned behaviours.

Thus we see the screeching harpies of the 1970s mostly got married, had a few kids, and stayed in the house their husband paid the mortgage on. The screeching harpies of the 1990s are crazy cat ladies.

This is just how people are. There’s always a group who don’t like societal strictures who will say “let’s just relax the rules, nothing will go wrong”. The rules get relaxed, things seem okay for a while, then we get the collapse which were the reason why we had the rules in the first place. The car drives in a straight line a little while after the driver has fallen asleep at the wheel.

I’ll restate that this is the only book on Nietzsche I’ve read, and thus I have far from a nuanced reading of him. But so far I’m very much underwhelmed. He seems like just another German pseudo-philosopher reheating a load of nonsense under impenetrable language. I had more than enough of Hegel, Feuerbach and Marx. I don’t need more trash.

If you’d like to see modern rationalist philosophy organised into a coherent readable structure that does not betray a syphilis-addled mind [9] then you’re best off reading Daygame Infinite. It is truly beyond good and evil.

header

Not this shitty Lefty French game

[1] In itself hardly a mean feat. Those pompous intellectuals were the manosphere of their day, gossiping like little girls over the fashion of the week.
[2] There’s a gamma tell if ever there was one.
[3] There’s that secret king thing again
[4] Funnily, I’ve experienced a low-rent version of this with former fan boys of Daygame Mastery casting me in the Wagner position. Many still write hate-fuelled long-winded comments on my blog despite them all wasting away in my auto-spam folder
[5] The French intellectuals did their own version last century which was just as awful
[6] I’m not sure why this would be a negative.
[7] Considering he was still unread and unheard at this point I don’t think anyone was confounding him with anything. Shades of gamma self-importance there.
[8] Just try reading Marx in his own words. Fucking hell, what a moron.
[9] Fingers crossed. Haven’t had an STD test in a while.

#19 – Shoot, Douglas Fairbairn BOOK REVIEW

February 10, 2018
krauserpua

“Do you want to meet again tomorrow evening?” a girl once asked me, towards the end of a short coffee date.
“I can’t. I’m halfway through Assassins Creed Black Flag, got one level remaining on Metro Last Light, and I haven’t even started Crysis 3. I simply haven’t got the time.”
She pouted. “Nick, you talk about video games like it’s work.”

Shoot book

I realised she was right [1] and there must be something deep in my personality that makes me relate to games this way. I suppose there are many ways to approach your hobbies, and gaming in particular. I remember once back in 2011 when Jimmy was on his Bioshock binge [2] he said to me, “Nick, I don’t want to complete this game because then it’ll be over.”

I play games to finish them. He plays them to not finish them. Others presumably play them to enjoy them, which is probably the most psychologically balanced way to approach them. Thinking about this further I was greatly saddened at another thought:

Even if I dedicate every waking moment of every remaining day of my life to playing video games, I’ll never complete every game that I want to.

My life is littered with lost opportunities to finish games that I know I’ll never go back to: Okami, Super Mario Sunshine, Zelda Majora’s Mask, Call of Duty 2, Skies Of Arcadia…. it’s just depressing. Even if I excluded gaming’s long back catalogue and focused only on what’s out there right now, well, my Steam library is another boulevard of broken dreams. I never will get good at XCOM or the Anno series. Sigh. Fuck my life.

Anno 2070

I may never build the city of the future

With books it’s even worse. That back catalogue stretches back hundreds of years and each month sees an awful lot more good new books than it does new games. Even if I read one Alexandre Dumas novel per week – which is basically a full time job – it would take a year and a half to finish his bibliography. And then there’s all the follow-up books other writers did in his literary universe… and how about Eiji Yoshikawa? He’s like Dumas all over again [3]

I reconciled myself to a depressing reality: I’ll never read every book that I’d like to.

The purpose of this pre-amble is to explain two proclivities I have in my selection of books to read:

  1. I’ll often read a short book I have mild interest in over a long book I have a strong interest in. This is for the OCD reason of wanting the satisfying closure of finishing a book more frequently. It is, however, a pendulum swing. After a few fast books, I’m thirsty for a big fat epic.
  2. I’ll often make impulse reads of books I encounter randomly knowing nothing about them but the covers. This is because I accept that it’s impossible to get a true overview of world literature so there’s no opportunity cost in knowledge by reading haphazardly. This too is a pendulum and sometimes I’ll got through a more structured reading list with a specific knowledge / entertainment goal in mind.

Am I boring you?

Shoot

There was a film too, you know

Right then, let’s get on topic. Douglas Fairbairn’s Shoot, written in 1973. I don’t even remember where I got this, I just found it in the bottom of a box when I was emptying out my storage locker in London a few years ago. I was in the mood for a fast haphazard book and this a mere 143 pages, from a writer I know nothing about. Pot luck. Here’s what the back cover said to lure me in:

“The Armalite and the Uzi and the Stoner and the Sten and the Beretta and a Schmeisser and the AR180 and plenty of ammo….

Why should six ordinary guys take that kind of hardware on a weekend hunting trip? When you’ve seen action in Korea or in Vietnam, you can get a thing about guns. For some men the war is never over….”

“That’ll put hairs on my chest” I thought, and settled down to read. I finished it the same day. Good book, very compelling.

The story is that a small group of firm friends and former war buddies are out hunting in the woods when, walking along a wide stream towards their lodge, they come across a similar group of men on the opposite bank. Inexplicably, one of the strangers raises his rifle and shoots. The group returns fire, killing the initial shooter. There’s a quick and fierce shoot out before the group withdraws. Luckily the man who caught the first bullet is not seriously hurt. On the drive home they are utterly confused as to why that other group opened fire.

A great narrative conceit is they never do find out why. This book is all about the reaction.

These guys are war vets and, in 1973, Vietnam was winding down but not yet over. Korea was a recent memory. They are a pack of closely-knit K-selects who are deeply resentful not so much at being shot at but at the insult of being chased out of their regular hunting ground. The narrator is the alpha male of the group and he’s not going to stand for it.

Shoot5

I’d have gone with a camo hat myself

The entire book is about how he plans for the next weekend. He takes it for granted that they must go back and reclaim their territory. Before that he must do some recon on who shot at them and try to second guess what that group is doing. They did, after all, have a man down. It’s hardly likely they’ll let that lie.

As the book progresses we find the narrator, Rex, is actually a bit of a cunt. Although clearly a natural leader he’s also a philanderer and the type of alpha whose ego won’t let him back down from a challenge no matter how stupid. There is some dissension in the group including from Lou.

As far as Lou is concerned, it’s madness to go back. If they stay away, there’s no problem. Going back is just looking for trouble. Who cares? They don’t have any fallen comrades to avenge and they aren’t at war.

Rex paints Lou as a coward and the group expels him, making chicken noises as he begs to stay. Fairbairn subtly lets the reader know this is all headed for disaster. He’s not explicit in outlining Rex’s issues or the folly of seeking trouble. Rather, he uses the unreliable narrator technique giving us windows into Rex’s character based on how he treats people during the week of preparation. Fairbairn gets the socio-sexual hierarchy and how to write groups (and the women on their fringes).

Finally, the weekend arrives and Rex’s team drive out into the woods….. you see, Rex thinks of gun fights the way I think of video games. Once you’ve started one, you have to finish it.

I liked this book. The characters were believable, the story set-up was intriguing, and the plot moves along well. It’s a book that raises some interesting questions about group dynamics, hard choices, and whether bravery and folly are on the same side of the coin (and indeed if wisdom and cowardice on the other). It isn’t written as a gamma male screed of anti-alpha sentiment, rather it’s more like a thought experiment for alphas on questions of leadership and betas on questions of following.

Here’s the full movie.

Speaking of alpha males and leadership, I wrote a book called Daygame Infinite and the pick-up world is in agreement that it’s the bestest thing every and a veritable bargain at the price. Buy it here.

[1] I still stayed home and played Black Flag the next evening, though.
[2] Which mostly consisted of running around Rapture with a wrench seeing what he could smash.
[3] But with slanty eyes

#18 – Handbook For Spies, Alexander Foote BOOK REVIEW

February 10, 2018
krauserpua

My hatred for all things communist is hardly a secret. Communism doesn’t belong in the category of “political theory”. At best it’s an ideology, at worst it’s a personality disorder. I’m inclined towards the Dennis Wheatley view, that it is Satan at work on the earth [1]. I find it absolutely unbelievable that anyone could observe the people who practice communism, read the theory of communism, and observe the results of communism and come away with any conclusion other than it being a pure distillation of evil [2].

Handbook for Spies by Alexander Foote

I’ve been here

What Alexander Foote’s book Handbook For Spies makes quiet clear is one of the central ironies of communism: they are far harsher on their own followers than on their enemies. They are constantly on the edge of betrayal and purging. For a light-hearted introduction, watch this:

At it’s core, communism is a struggle for faked moral purity. This is why it also collapses into every decreasing circles of virtue signalling and sectarianism. People are drawn to communism by a chance to feel morally superior to everyone else, as a justification to lord over them and to steal all their stuff. It’s no surprise that the most enthusiastic followers of the evil ideology are mid-wit university students studying bullshit degrees. Such people have all the necessary qualities to be a communist:

  1. Totally disconnected from reality
  2. Smart enough to feel superior but lacking the wisdom to know they aren’t that smart
  3. Terrified at the thought of having to earn an honest living
  4. Grasping and amoral in personal advancement

In Soviet Russia they join the Party, in modern UK they get public sector sinecures, and hopefully in the near future they get….. executed [3]. Anyway, I digress.

Much of the reason why communists are not hated, reviled, and hunted down for slaughter in the West right now is simply because most people don’t know what they are and how they are trying to shape the world [4]. Handbook For Spies gives a nice little window. It’s not as horrific as The Bolshevik Myth, but only because the author’s gaze is pointed away from the worst atrocities of the Soviet system.

A spy

A commie spy

This book is a memoir from a British man who headed the USSR spy network in Switzerland in the late 1930s and found himself, during WWII, as handler for the Soviet’s best mole in the German High Command. He was thus able to deliver crucial intel that significantly impacted the war, such as several weeks’ advance notice of Operation Barbarossa [5]. He was arrested by the Swiss but inexplicably released and ultimately recalled to Moscow shortly after the end of WWII. He then defected to the UK and wrote this book in 1956.

Although couched as a memoir it really is like a handbook. There are several chapters formally outlining how a clandestine network is set up, how informers are approached, how meetings made, and data transmitted. In this pre-NSA pre-electronic era its fascinating to read about a world that began by attaching tiny microfilms of information to postcards and then evolved into radio transmissions.

My first observation was how the espionage was always run via the local communist party, and Left-leaning politicians and journalists would give them cover so that patriots were unable to arrest them unless catching them red-handed. Foote was recruited in the UK and had his first spy interview in the official Communist Party headquarters in London. Watching how the KGB used UK union leaders and left-wing papers for their espionage in the 1980s, this is no surprise. As it should be no surprise to see how the Democrat Party and MSM is doing the same thing now in the USA [6].

souvenirs

“What fake dog poo?”

My second observation, quite surprisingly, was how unpleasant a Russian agent’s life was. These spies were barely paid, were overworked, and were run ragged by the demands of ‘Central’ (the Moscow spy leadership). Interestingly, Moscow only ever paid in US dollars and spy remuneration actually followed the Marxist doctrine of “from each according to ability to each according to need”. Spies weren’t paid according to their skill, the quality of their information, or even the risks they ran. Payment was entirely according to the costs of maintaining their cover. Thus a brilliant spy who worked as a plumber was paid a fraction of a bumbling fool masquerading as an aristocrat.

Unlike James Bond movies, Foote presents a Soviet spy network constantly on the verge of bankruptcy, frequently hamstrung by Centre’s incompetence or lack of trust, and often broken up due to purges or venal scheming. His primary contacts in France conspire to get him abducted by the German Abwehr, which he only narrowly escapes (and only because he resists Centre’s original advice).

Foote is soon disillusioned by communism in action and it’s only his ideological commitment that keeps him going in a job he knows has a life expectancy of only a few years. Per international law spies can be executed, and often were. He sees how even when exposure threatens, Centre cheerfully tells him to stay at risk and they sacrifice agents willingly. He realises what everyone soon learns about communism: the brotherhood of man rhetoric is just that, rhetoric. These are evil selfish psychopaths who will sell you out in a heartbeat.

The book concludes when he and his handler are summoned to Moscow to explain fuck-ups that led to the collapse of his network. His handler absconds in Egypt and initially Foote’s interviews in Moscow lead him to believe he will be executed. Luckily, his handler is abducted to Mosocw, sweated down, and then executed in his place. Foote remains in good favour but by now he’s been in Russia for almost two years and realises how awful communism actually is. He’s shocked by conditions.

His escape comes when he’s sent back to Germany on a new mission with a cover story as having been captured in the war near Stalingrad. He expresses concern to his Moscow handler that returning legit POWs may expose him.

“The Director told me not to worry about that, as more than ninety per cent of the Stalingrad prisoners had died of typhus in Siberia” [7] p.159

Here’s another nice comment:

“In fact, my first six weeks in Moscow had convinced me that Nazi Germany as I had known it was a paradise of freedom as compared with Soviet Russia. I was determined to get out of it as soon as possible and return to a world where freedom was more than a propaganda phrase. The only way that I could get out alive was to feign enthusiasm for any espionage plan put up, carry on in Moscow as a good Communist till I was posted elsewhere, and then get out of the clutches of the Centre as fast as possible. I had done my best to help the Russians win their war, but after I had seen them and their methods first hand and at home I was determined not to help them win their peace” p.152

The book ends rather abruptly when he arrives in Berlin and walks into the British zone to freedom. It’s a fast read and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in espionage, the Cold War, or communism. The whole time I was reading it I kept thinking of the People’s Front of Judea and how they’d handle espionage.

Have you not bought Daygame Infinite yet? Shame on you comrade. I shall be forced to report you to the Nick Krauser Vangurd of Daygame (NKVD) and you must report for re-education.

[1] Considering I believe in neither God nor Satan, you may wonder why I subscribe to such a view. Keep wondering. It’s to do with r/K and evil/good being symbolic representations of them.
[2] Evil doesn’t approach you with skulls and fangs. It is all smiles and lofty ideals right up until the moment they have you in their power. It’s best to treat their felicitations the same as you would those of a gangster attempting to lure you into an empty warehouse.
[3] I don’t believe in executing everyone who disagrees with me. Just communists and crypto-currency shills.
[4] In this, they have much in common with homosexuals. I doubt it’s a secret that many homos are also commies.
[5] Which Moscow ultimately ignored. Heh heh!
[6] Those of you unaware of The Storm probably just scoffed at that. I won’t try to convince you. Just remember I said it, then you can tell me later that I was right all along. Obama was an enemy agent.
[7] If you think the Nazis were worse than the Soviets, history will give you a very rude wake-up call. It’s hard not to punch everyone you see in a Che t-shirt.

Mastery Update Thoughts

February 10, 2018
krauserpua

I’ve considered numerous plans for my blog and business in 2018. On the one hand I’d like to do the “sell shit to idiots” market because that’s by far the most lucrative and also if I wanted to put out ebooks like what you see on Amazon, I could write one a week with little effort. I could tone that down a little and try the “sell beginners stuff to noobs” market, which is also lucrative. The problem with both markets is they are fundamentally unsatisfying to write for. The former would make me feel like a scammer and the latter like a mediocre mind.

It would be like fucking hookers or fucking Asian 5s, respectively. Not conducive to my peace of mind. Anyway, as an aside here’s the next part of my Infinite talk….

Before I make up my mind on whether to become yet another PUA Whore, I do have a little unfinished business, namely getting my “final” premium product line up completed. These are:

1. The textbooks: Daygame Infinite, Daygame Mastery
2. The video: Daygame Overkill
3. The narrative: The four volumes of memoir.

It is these which I care about above all else because they represent me conveying my knowledge at the limit of my ability to do so. Everything else is in some way a step down. Beginner Daygame was limited by its intended noob audience. Daygame Nitro and Black Book were deliberately simplified for similar reasons, of appealing to intermediates without over-complicating things. Womanizers Bible was openly embracing of mindwank. I think of those four products as diversions rather than as primary material.

The blog is my test bed of ideas, not the final distillation of those ideas. That comes later in the books. I rarely edit blog posts beyond a quick spelling and formatting check, whereas the books get a half dozen rewrites and paid editors.

Why am I rambling on like this? [1]

Because I am currently finalising the new colour edition of Daygame Mastery. My guess is it’s a month, maybe two, from release. The rationale is that I want to bring it up to the quality bar set by Infinite and harmonise the content a little so the two volumes fit more complimentary together. What does it mean for you, the reader? This is how I see the changes to the second edition:

1. Full colour edition with same matt finish cover and interior pages as Infinite.
2. New layout to match the more appealing visual style of Infinite.
3. New commentary and paragraphs added here and there to flesh out existing chapters.
4. One or two entirely new chapters to boost the overall value proposition from 400 pages (as it is now, in Infinite layout style) to nearer Infinite’s 524 pages.

I don’t know yet how well the final edition will meet my objectives but I’ll keep you all updated. For now, here are some screen grabs of how it looks so far. Let me know your thoughts.

Early drafts

[1] Aside from the pleasure to be had in rambling, which is quite considerable.

#17 – Mania, Guy N. Smith BOOK REVIEW

February 9, 2018
krauserpua

Back in the late eighties, as a tweenie [1], I started reading my first adult novels. No, get your mind out of the gutter I don’t been that type of ‘adult’. I mean horror fiction, such as Stephen King, Shaun Hutson, James Herbert and so on. While doing my weekly Saturday afternoon browse in Dillons bookshop in central Newcastle I picked up this book, Mania, and bought it. I never got round to reading it and it had always bugged me a little. Thirty years later, I thought I’d give it a try.

Mania

Any man who has hung around a taxi rank at 3am after leaving a night club will notice the bizarre transformation that affects young women. Much like vampires stepping into sunlight, when a girl totters out of the club and faces the harsh glare of street lights, it’s like she turns into a monster. Gone is the sexy allure, replaced by a stumbling, drunken, mess.

Painted up harlots, really.

Well, I exaggerate. All I wish to draw your attention to is the concept of putting lipstick onto a pig. Good writing will zing along, your attention captured from the first page. Words flow naturally, images form in your mind, and you feel the mood the author wishes to create in you. Good prose is like the lean smooth lines of a jaguar leaping onto the neck of a stag. If your prose is mediocre, you may try to disguise that fact by piling additional literary weight upon it. Like this.

Overload

Is that too obtuse an analogy? OK, try reading this segment. The context is that three guests at a small hotel are attempting to escape the building before an over-heating boiler explodes:

The hallway was deserted when they reached the ground floor, an elongated tomb where their footsteps echoed, the walls a spectral white from the reflection of the snow through the skylight over the front door. A door that seemed to beckon them, taunt them; come on, death by fire within, death from the snowdrifts outside. Take your choice, either way you die.
The boiler was louder now, like some demon in the vaults immediately beneath their feet, a monster that pulsed with demoniac fury, trying to lift up the floor to get them; heaving and pushing, creating its own background symphony with a rattling of crocks and cutlery in the filthy kitchen behind them. [p.208]

That’s rather over-written, wouldn’t you say? I get that he’s trying to imply there’s a demonic presence in the house but….. c’mon….. tomb, spectral, death, demon, monster…. that’s laying it on rather thick. Imagine Guy N. Smith sitting at home with his wife watching TV.

Her: “Will you put the kettle on love? The adverts are on soon and I’d love a cuppa.”
Him: “Can’t you hear it? The deathly rattle of the demonic biscuits in the cupboard. The chocolate digestives leering, waiting to pounce like jackal hell-spawn.”
Her: “Darling, not this again. Turn the light on if you’re scared.”
Him: “A stench of evil emanates from the lair of devil biscuits, a pungent odour of naked concentrated evil spreading it’s black tendrils through the air in the hope of ensnaring a lost soul.
Her: “No, that’s the Asda Value bananas. They’ve gone off. I told you they needed to be eaten by yesterday. I’m going to have to make the cuppa myself, aren’t I?”

I suppose this is a different form of Dread Game. Let me just outline the plot for you, then you tell me if this seems like it can carry the weight of a 234-page horror novel.

There’s a wild snowstorm in Southern England causing the roads to be blocked. A mid-thirties divorced mother gets stranded with her teenage daughter but struggled through the blizzard to a small old hotel which was a former nursing home. Some after, a young man also arrives. They are the protagonists. There are six “patients” in the hotel, a retirement-age old couple running the hotel, and the man’s weirdo brother living in a basement apartment. The owners are mental. Not evil per se, but neglectful and mean. All six patients are mental. This is the “mania” of the title.

Everyone is shut in by the storm for two nights. As time passes it turns out that Satan appeared in bodily form nine months earlier and shagged the dimwit teenage girl patient, getting her pregnant. She is in labour now. The old couple think it’s their young daughter reincarnated (she died of meningitis decades ago) but the hyper-religious patient thinks it’s Christ’s second coming. Another patient is a busybody old maid.

Things go to shit. Satan in spirit form possesses the basement brother, he dies, then his hand comes off (possessed by Satan) and runs around the hotel. It possesses the newborn, turning it into a grotesque little demon, but the baby demon can’t survive. Satan goes back into the hand, then possesses the bible-basher, who falls several stories in a stairwell and breaks his neck. He then possesses the old man who tries to abduct and sacrifice the teenager traveller, then possesses the busybody who cuts the head off the other dimwit girl patient. Then the boiler overheats, explodes, and obliterates everything. The end.

I have several problems with this masterful plotting…….

1. Why did Satan pick a tiny out-of-the-way hotel staffed by nutters? What are the rules that determine taking bodily form (to bang the bird), possessing people, and being only the dismembered hand. It rather seems like Satan’s limits depend entirely upon author expedience.
2. Every single time something really scary or portending of incoming danger happens, the main guy (the “hero”) decides to NOT tell anyone else about it, so as not to worry them. Why?
3. The whole time they are there, the hero does literally ONE thing of use – drag the teenager girl away from the crazy old man who wants to sacrifice her. That’s it. The rest of the book he just mumbles “things will turn out okay”.
4. Multiple times, the hero wishes he had a weapon. At no time does he try to obtain one. The kitchen has knives, the shed has hammers, and there are chair legs and broomsticks that would suffice in a pinch. Instead, he just cowers in his room with the two women, hoping for the best. His strategy is “wait out the night and if the snow clears we’ll leave in the morning”.
5. While hiding out, there is no lock on the inside of the door and they don’t block it either. There is a lock on the outside, which they do no disable. There’s a dramatic scene where the possessed guy is trying to break in (but fails). So then he just slips the bolt and locks them in. They now immediately try to break out…. after having just tried their damnedest to stay in!

old-woman-cane-purse

Owain cowered in fear as Brenda approached menacingly

But I think ultimately what really had me shaking my head is the formidable nature of the threat they face. They are in terror of two frail old pensioners, one of whom who has a kitchen knife. That’s it. If I’d been in this book it would’ve lasted two pages:

Brenda Clements glared at Nick, her eyes flashing with the fire of hell, boring into his skull. What twisted demonic mania gripped this woman? Her eyes darted to the kitchen knife in the rack a few feet from her quivering fingers.
“You vile invader!” she screeched. “I’ll show you. Our daughter will be reborn!”
“Shut your fucking mouth, you crazy witch” said Nick in a firm, low tone. “Turn it in. Either go to bed, or put the telly on and watch Going For Gold. But if you try anything on I’m going to fucking spark you out, you old cow.”
Brenda lunged for the knife. It was a very slow lunge because she was seventy years old.
Smack!
Nick punched her on the chin, knocking her unconscious. He felt a bit bad because she’s so old, but she was intending to stab him. Then he stayed up all night with a chair propped under the door handle. In the morning, he left. The end.

What I will say in this book’s favour is it does actually build the mania of the characters quite well. They are a strange bunch but each has a definable personality disorder and acts convincingly within the context of being in a dumb schlock-horror book. For example the evil old woman running the hotel is a textbook malignant narcissist and the brother in the basement is obviously suffering from severe Aspergers.

The most horrifying thing about the whole book is just how much it reminded me of being at my parent’s house in winter.

Daygame Infinite Daygame Infinite Daygame Infinte!!! Buy it or I’ll sacrifice your daughter and then fuck a retard.

[1] NOT twinkie. A tweenie. They are NOT the same thing!