#25 – The Hand Of Fu Manchu, Sax Rohmer BOOK REVIEW

February 23, 2018
krauserpua

Hand of fu manchu

There are even better covers

I was watching the new Netflix sci-fi drama Altered Carbon last night, episode four, and was struck with how utterly degenerate modern culture is. The show is basically Blade Runner 2049: The TV Show. The production values are eye-poppingly slick so that it feels like a Hollywood blockbuster the whole way through. However, two contrary impulses overcame me while watching:

  1. This is so sadistically vicious
  2. This is so mind-numbingly boring

How can both feelings co-exist in a single 55-minute episode? Early on the girl cop – a thoroughly loathsome grrrl – is running her mouth with vulgarities at work and then takes offence at a male prisoner being brought in. He’s got his hands cuffed behind his back and two burly cops escorting him. So this cunt of a woman stuns him with a cattle prod in the nuts. She assaults the bound prisoner right in front of the entire office.

Rather than beat the shit out of her, or bring her up on charges, or even mildly remonstrate with her, her colleagues just continue with work as usual. This scene seemed meant to let you know she’s a tough no-nonsense independent woman. It was simply sadistic.

Ortega

The actress is certainly good at portraying a cunt

Later it gets worse. The main character, a Ryan Gosling-a-like, is captured by a shadowy group and then tortured in virtual reality (the twist being he can be tortured to death and revived ad infinitum). These scenes are outrageously vicious, sadistic to the extreme that I can’t think of a single movie on the notorious 1984 “video nasties” list that comes close.

But this is almost-network TV and…. meh!

The rest of the show has a dream-like ambience to it where nobody seems quite real and everything feels underwater. It was then that I figured out what was striking me so oddly about this TV show….. it was a metaphor for the modern rabbit people [1]

Anonymous Conservative has made much hay from the observation that as rabbits drift further into r-selection their amygdala is so withered that they need ever-increasing stimuli to get the dopamine rush they are addicted to. It’s like a junkie needing ever more dope. We see this in the pick-up community with lost-soul PUAs getting into ever more depraved sexual practices until they are all hanging out in fetish sex clubs with horrendously unattractive women. We see it with jaded bedroom trolls scouring LiveLeak and BestGore for stimulation. And we see it in movies with ever-increasing sadistic violence.

It’s not absolute power that corrupts absolutely. It’s the absolute comfort you can acquire when you have absolute power. Consider this Thomas Wictor thread for a reference on what absolute leaders get up to. See what this blog is saying about the what bored rich people get up to.

When everything is easy, your amygdala withers and you pursue every more degeneracy for stimulation, and every moment between these hits is utter boredom. It’s nihilistic. It’s like watching an episode of Altered Carbon.

Altered carbon

Beautiful and sadistic

Sax Rohmer’s The Hand Of Fu Manchu is almost quaint by comparison. It’s the fifth of his books and if you haven’t heard already, Fu Manchu was the prototype for the James Bond super-villain. Like Altered Carbon it too presents a sonanbulistic dreamy world as unofficial detectives haunt a dystopian metropolis where nothing seems quite real and they are constantly on the fringes of a secret world. Whereas Altered Carbon has mind-hacking as the narrative device to explain all the confusion, Fu Manchu has opium, hashish and bizarre Chinese elixirs (it was written in 1917). Altered Carbon has it’s secret society of hi-tech conspirators whereas Fu Manchu runs the secret Si-Fan group of Chinese and Tibetan spies.

Really, the parallels are quite interesting. Altered Carbon is essentially an old-school hard-boiled detective story pasted into a cyberpunk future [2]. The difference is that Sax Rohmer lived in a K-selected world. In his world all of England is united in defence of it’s culture and territory. The Yellow Peril is an enemy here and little good comes from letting foreigners in, unlike Altered Carbon which wants us to accept a multi-cultural shithole as the norm [3]

Sax Rohmer is also unburdened because he’s not writing for an audience of nihilistic thrill-seekers desperately craving an escape from modern life. Everyone in Rohmer’s books talks politely, they wear suits, they are punctual, and there are none of the pointless exchanges that pepper modern TV dramas:

Him: Fuck you
Her: No, fuck you!
Him, No, FUCK YOU!

That’s not actually a scene from Altered Carbon, by the way.

Comparisons aside, the reason I’ve now read the first five Fu Manchu books is they present a nice alternative to their contemporaneous Sherlock Holmes stories. Both are puzzling mystery stories set in late Victorian London with a detective and his trusty (but dim-witted) sidekick exploring the secret worlds of conspirators. Arthur Conan Doyle was notable for his crisp well-organised and highly logical manner whereas Sax Rohmer plays up the mystical and the confusing. It seems like Dr Petrie (the narrator) is constantly confused and can’t seem to stop putting his foot in it. He’s a bumbling fool, unlike Dr Watson who was oafish but never got in Holmes’ way. Petrie is constantly sabotaging investigations because he’s madly in love with a gook in Fu Manchu’s employ – in this book he has the deadly Chinese doctor held at gunpoint and lets him go in order to get his gook back [4]

These books are crime fiction done the old-fashioned way. Atmosphere, a cat-and-mouse chase, everyone has a Browning pistol in his suit pocket, and most murders are knifings (and don’t happen ‘on camera’). There’s none of the sadism you see in modern TV.

Back in 1917, people had plenty of other things going on to keep their amygdala busy.

If you like the idea of a mastermind who runs an international empire of nefarious actors who spread across European cities to befuddle and dishonour local women, always one step ahead of the police, you could try Daygame Infinite. Your hypnotic induction into my frame begins there.

[1] That’s r-selected idiots, to you
[2] So, yeah, Blade Runner. It even has the Japanese script everywhere and lots of rain
[3] The white male hero lets a Mexican woman tell him what to do in real life, and an African woman tell him what to do in his flashbacks. It’s horribly mis-cast and both are just mouthy cunts.
[4] Should’ve just paid the bar fine, imo

#24 – Son Of Monte Cristo vol.1, Alexandre Dumas BOOK REVIEW

February 22, 2018
krauserpua

Son Of Monte Cristo

Quite a nice reprint edition actually

The French newspapers of the immediate post-Napoleonic era were the Kindle Unlimited of their day. Nowadays, prolific writers churn out episodic content for Amazon’s platform and build up a series-loyal readership. Each yarn unravels over small novellas, each following on from the next, as you are exhorted to save money by purchasing the bundle now. Successful writers can find their brand expands beyond their ability to produce new stories and thus a network of ghost writers, editors, proof-readers and cover designers make a living from the one writer’s brand.

Back in 1850, Alexandre Dumas was up to exactly the same thing. This book is an example because he quite clearly didn’t write it. He’d created the Dumas name-recognition and Count Of Monte Cristo was one of his most popular books. Readers thirsted for more stories within the Marvel Monte Cristo universe so, when Dumas had died without furnishing a sequel, ghost writers obliged on his behalf.

This book is actually written by Jules Lermina, a Frenchman who wrote not only this and another Monte Cristo story, but also stories inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and stories which pre-figured the Tarzan stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs and the yellow peril stories of Edgar Wallace [1]

Three stooges

You don’t know the Three Edgars?

If I didn’t already know this wasn’t Dumas, I’d have guessed it within a handful of pages. Although Lermina does a serviceable job of imitating Dumas’ style, he can’t reproduce the quality. In particular, this book is extremely fast-paced to the extent that Lermina wastes almost no time on scene-setting or character development. This is a book of action. Characters do, they don’t much think.

This is a double-edged sword. I like derring-do as much as the next red-blooded male but to care about events you need to care about the characters experiencing them. Dumas was especially good at drawing scheming avaricious men, vampish women, and deluded pompous oafs. He’d constantly set characters to secretly swindle each other while making grand public gestures of nobility. Many many times upon reading Dumas, a wry smile crept onto my face.

Lermina is too straight-forward for that. In his story the white hats are all good and the black hats are all bad. It’s balls-to-the-wall and the plot hurtles forwards. I do wonder if he took this approach knowing his limitations, figuring that fast-moving action is the best way to prevent the reader lingering long enough to notice cracks in the edifice.

Movie poster

It would work well as a movie

As a simple tale of adventure in the Monte Cristo universe, I enjoyed this. In its 380 pages we have a public trial of Benedetto (a cutthroat whom Dante revenged himself upon near the end of Dumas’ original novel) and wrapping up of loose ends. The main characters are scattered to the winds. Benedetto escapes his sentence as a galley slave and reinvents himself as a pro-Austrian plotter in occupied Italy. Before the story is through, we’ve seen Paris intrigue, Marseille jail breaks, Italian revolution, tussles with desert Arabs in Algeria, and a big pub brawl on the wharf. Heady stuff.

Dumas patiently plotted his stories, switching perspectives from chapter to chapter to set up each plot thread in the first third, so the reader can enjoy all paths crossing in the second third. By the end of the last third, things have resolved in ways that were theoretically predictable from the beginning. Dumas relies a little on providence to supply chance encounters (e.g. the protagonist bumping into the antagonist in the same street in a city as large as Paris) and furnishes multiple rug-pulling surprises but it always feels fair and reasonable. Lermina isn’t as far-seeing so his story is more like a toddler telling a story.

And then this happened… and then that happened… and then this happened….

Still, I started reading this book at midnight, hit the halfway mark at 3am (my bedtime) [2] and then finished it the next morning by my third cup of coffee. I enjoyed it. I dare say it was a page-turner. It’s certainly an easier read than Dumas.

If you liked Count Of Monte Cristo and want more, you could do worse. If you like reading light, slightly-nonsensical fiction and wonder how the equivalent books were in 19th century France, you could do worse. Otherwise…. there are far better books out there, including dozens by the man that Lermina is imitating. That said, I will be reading volume two soon.

If you want to read a large high-quality book which has been shamelessly imitated by lesser writers, you could do worse than Daygame Mastery. If you want a real legitimate sequel, there’s only Daygame Infinite

[1] Evidently, he had a thing for men called Edgar.
[2] I’d had my supper, but thanks for asking

#23 – Light In The East, Time Life BOOK REVIEW

February 21, 2018
krauserpua

My favourite author of all time is Robert E Howard. He’s best known for his Conan saga but he also holds the distinction of inventing the Sword & Sorcery genre with his Solomon Kane character. Not limiting himself to any one genre, he’d write anything that was manly and would earn a writer’s check from the 1920s-30s pulp magazines. Thus he wrote Lovecraft-style horror, wild west tall tales, and my favourite of all, crusader stories.

Gates of empire

The wrong book

A great collection of crusader stories can be found in Gates Of Empire (Wildside Press) [1] featuring stories written from 1931 to 1934. These are lusty, epic yarns of Frankish knights battling marauding Arabs and Turks. Consider this opening to Lord Of Samarcand:

“The roar of battle had died away; the sun hung like a ball of crimson gold on the western hills. Across the trampled field of battle no squadrons thundered, no war-cry reverberated. Only the shrieks of the wounded and the moans of the dying rose to the circling vultures whose black wings swept closer and closer until they brushed the palled faces in their flight.”

Wait a minute, you say. Aren’t you reviewing the wrong book here?

Well, Gates of Empire is all about the Crusades which were a Frankish counter-attack to the Turkish invasion of Constantinople. Howard never left his home town of Cross Plains, Texas but he was a voracious reader of history. It was the spirit and events of these times, around 1000AD to 1200AD that he fictionalised in his best stories. Take, for example, The Lion Of Tiberius:

“The battle in the meadowlands of the Euphrates was over, but not the slaughter. On that bloody field where the Caliph of Bagdad and his Turkish allies had broken the onrushing power of Doubeys ibn Sadaka of Hilla and the desert, the steel-clad bodies lay strewn like the drift of a storm. The great canal men called the Nile, which connected the Euphrates with the distant Tigris, was choked with the bodies of the tribesmen, and survivors were panting in flight toward the white walls of Hilla which shimmered in the distance above the placid waters of the nearest river. Behind them the mailed hawks, the Seljuks, rode down the fleeing, cutting the fugitives from their saddles. The glittering dream of the Arab emir had ended in a storm of blood and steel, and his spurs struck blood as he rode for the distant river.”

None of this made much sense to be, historically, as I first read it ten years ago. I’m aware Howard wasn’t going for strict historical accuracy but these eddies and flows of empire had no meaning to me. I lacked the greater perspective of world history within which to anchor these battles, and to colour them with knowledge of the customs and culture of that era. It is reading these Time Life books that has deepened my enjoyment of Howard’s work.

Light in the east time life

The right book

Right now I’m reading about the Seljuks, who became what we know as Turks. They were a nomadic border tribe of sheep herders related to the Mongols and they too fought on horseback, were expert mounted archers, and fought primarily harrying battles based on mobility. They emerged from around Turkmenistan [2] and swept through Persia, defeating the Byzantine Empire in a decisive battle at Manzikert in 1071.

Reading the Time Life description of the build-up, battle, and aftermath felt ripped straight out of a Howard story. The Seljuk leader Alp Arslan (“Heroic Lion”) pushed out of Persia where he led his Sunni Muslim army under the name of Bagdad’s Sunni caliphate. His goal was an internecine battle with the Shiia anti-caliphate in Egypt and to clear the way he reached a non-aggression treaty with Byzantine emperor Romanus. As Arslan pushed through Syria, Romanus took advantage of his absence to reconquer Christian Armenia from Muslim influence, so Arlsan turned back around and eventually the battle of Manzikert ensued.

His army routed, Romanus was captured but treated well and agreed a new treaty because Arslan was not interested in taking Byzantium. However upon his return to Constantinople, palace plotting by his top general Adronicus had placed a rival on the throne and Romanus was blinded and exiled:

“Carried forth on a cheap beast of burden like a decaying corpse, his eyes gouged out and his face and head swollen and full of worms and stench, he lived on a few days in pain and smelling foully, and finally died” [contemporary historian]

Arlsan himself was killed after returning east to put down a rebellion. Capturing a fort, the commander was presented to him bound up. The commander so infuriated Arslan with his insults that the Seljuk leader had him released so that he could shoot him dead himself, but his arrow flew wide. In the ensuing confusion, the prisoner drew a concealed dagger and sprang at the Sultan, stabbing him before he himself was hacked to pieces. Arslan died four days later, in 1072.

Howard’s stories brim with such events. Lion of Tiberius seems directly inspired by the Seljuk advance on Egypt, and Turkic-Arab fighting. It tells the story of a son of the defeated Arab who is convinced to lay down his arms in defeat upon promise of quarter, and promptly blinded in spite by the victorious general, dying soon afterwards. His man-at-arms, an Englishman John Norwald, is captured and condemned to life as a galley slave. Twenty years later he hunts down the general, infiltrates his camp at night, and stabs him to death with a dagger. I’m sure Howard knew the story of Romanus and Arslan.

Crusaders

“Fucking get stuck in lads!”

I’m quite regretful that it took until my fifth decade in life to make a genuine study of world history. It’s one thing to slot more pieces into my overall Grand Scheme Of Everything mental map – that’s an obvious benefit of this study project. What I didn’t expect is to enjoy my fiction reading a lot more.

If you’d like to learn the Grand Scheme Of Banging Chicks, you can’t do any better than Daygame Infinite. It’s the best book out there and not a word of fiction.

[1] There are far cheaper versions available. I just linked the one I own.

[2] I’d always wondered why that country was named so, despite being rather far from Turkey. Now I know.

Be careful who you take advice from

February 20, 2018
krauserpua

“Try not to pick fights with other lifestyle coaches” I told myself on January 1st. “They aren’t all cunts, and many of them have valuable things to say.”

I’m not sure how well I’ll keep that New Years resolution.

On Sunday, I woke up at 11am with a minging hangover having been out getting smashed with Team Krauser in London. It was a grand old night. I have video of three of us doing a drunken pull-up competition from the pub lighting rig, and a random American was sparked out in another pub right at the end of the festivities [1]

1937, SNOW WHITE & THE SEVEN DWARFS

“This way, lads” said Jimmy, with conviction

So, I have a few cups of coffee and wander into Covent Garden to do a hastily-arranged consultation that Eddie talked me into when I was drunk. So far, so good. However as the session developed my client (not Eddie) happened to be asking a question related to other pick-up/lifestyle coaches. I won’t name names or give details.

“Such and such a coach said…..” our conversation went. “What do you think?”

Now, I happen to have a rather low opinion of this particular coach, but that’s not really the point, nor is the specific content we were discussing. What interests me today is this question: Why do you take his advice?, and this: Be careful who you listen to.

London daygame [2] from the beginning was hyper-documented so it’s relatively easy to review a man’s public record of his bona fides and then decide whether to take him seriously or dismiss him as “just another charlatan PUA”. The euro-jaunt scene is also fairly close knit so it’s also quite easy to ask around to find a few people who’ve hung out with the expert/clown in question.

So, first thing I did in this consultation session to give my thoughts was bring up this PUA’s Instagram and we scrolled through his photos. It was rather underwhelming for someone who claims to know enough that he’s marketing himself as a coach. The Instagram showed a few unattractive women, almost no friends, and lots of DLVing. A few red flags too. So, even if this guy’s advice is effective, he doesn’t seem to be taking it himself [3]

Ok, so now you’re all wondering who I’m talking about. It doesn’t matter. I’m not going to tell you. I’m just suggesting that before elevating someone above “random man on internet” you look critically at his publicly available bona fides [4] and if possible find credible witnesses. Don’t assume someone is an expert just because they have a podcast, or a website, or some big name guy is shilling for his products.

For example, here’s a big-ish name. Have a look at these photos and ask yourself whether he’s an expert or a clown. I won’t give my own opinion. Is he hiding anything in his, ahem, closet?

Very elite

Literally pushing him away

Soyboy

If you’d like to take advice from me, and pay for the privilege, you’ll definitely enjoy Daygame Infinite. It’s widely believed, by me, to be the best game book ever written

[1] He deserved it, I think. It was no reflection on how much we respect his president.
[2] And, increasingly, other schools of pickup
[3] Or he might be the one public PUA in the whole world who respects privacy too much to ever allow a photo of himself with a hot girl become public
[4] Or lack of them, as a dog that didn’t bark. See The Adventure Of Silver Blaze if you don’t know what that means

#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.

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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.

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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.