#118 – The War Of Art, Steven Pressfield BOOK REVIEW

December 8, 2018
krauserpua

The War Of Art

“Nick, you should write an inner game textbook!” are words I’ve heard many a daygame savant speak to me. Now, I dare say I’ve been tempted. Tony Robbins proved a long time ago that “mindset” books are a license to print money. It’s simple, really. Just tell everyone what they want to hear, and wrap it up in language that seems to elevate the reader. They’ll sit on their fat ass, lap it up, and then recommend it to all their friends.

Mark Manson recently proved this with his execrable The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F**K. His singular contribution to the advancement of mindset literature was to uses asterisks [1] in the place of swear words on the front cover, thus guaranteeing every mid-wit passing through the airport bookstore would pick up a copy. Smart move, Mark. That he’s a snake-oil seller with nothing to say doesn’t matter. It didn’t for Tony Robbins.

Something I realised years ago is you can either be good, or you can be successful. You can’t be both. To hit mainstream acceptance, you must be shit. The lowest common denominator in our retard culture demands it. There are very, very rare cases – The Godfather, Dark Souls – where an authentic vision can achieve financial success but even then they are drowned out by the likes of Avatar and Fortnite. Within the Game world, the key point is this: does your book make people feel guilty for not approaching? If it does, you’ve just limited yourself to a tiny audience. You should’ve gone the Models route, of bromides and platitudes that never require the reader to get off his arse but he still feels like his Game has improved.

Tony Robbins Visits "Extra"

I’d be laughing my ass off too if I’d monetised his scam

The reason no-one wants to read books that force you to work hard [2] is that forces the reader to confront Resistance. In daygame we call them Weasels, but in Pressfield’s The War Of Art he calls it Resistance and it’s the foundation of his book. That, dear reader, is my segue into the review.

The War Of Art is an inner game book for creatives which can easily be re-written into a daygame inner game textbook [3]. It concerns three main ideas, each the subject of a separate ‘book’ within the same volume. These are:

1. Resistance
2. Turning Pro
3. Muse

Pressfield’s larger point goes as follows. We are all built for a purpose, for a higher calling that requires we express ourselves creatively, be it writing, painting, businessing, or charitying. It is the pursuit of our purpose that brings us happiness and contentment. The problem is that any time we attempt to rise to the higher plane, Resistance prevents us. It is our death wish, our shadow self, seeking to sabotage our greatness. Pressfield’s solution is to Turn Pro, meaning you approach your calling like a professional approaches his profession and a craftsman approaches his trade. Sit down, focus on technique, and grind it out. That sets up the conditions for the crucial third phase: your Muse arrives and brings with her divine inspiration.

Pressfield sees artists as vessels through which divine inspiration flows. Their works are not from or of the artist, but rather flow through the artist from the eternal to the flesh-and-blood real world. The artist’s job is to knuckle down, get cracking, and prepare themselves to receive the inspiration. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. To give you a flavour of it I shall now quote Pressfield at length, using word substitution to turn it into a daygame inner game screed.

Everything that follows below is from his book, adapted slightly by me, dipping in across many chapters.

I get up, take a shower, have breakfast. I read the paper, brush my teeth. If I have phone calls to make, I make them. I’ve got my coffee now. I put on my lucky work boots and stitch up the lucky laces. It’s about ten-thirty now. I step onto the streets and plunge into my first set. When I start making mistakes, I know I’m getting tired. That’s four hours or so. I’ve hit the point of diminishing returns. I wrap for the day. How many sets did I do? I don’t care. Are they any good? I don’t even think about it. All that matters is I’ve put in my time and hit it with all I’ve got. All that counts is that, for this day, for this session, I have overcome Resistance.

Cezannes-The-Kiss-of-the-Muse

The kiss of the Muse

Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.

Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet [4]. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease, and erectile dysfunction. To yield to Resistance deforms out spirit. Every sun casts a shadow, and genius’s shadow is Resistance. I looked everywhere for the enemy and failed to see it right in front of my face. How many of us have become drunks and drug addicts, developed tumours and neuroses, succumbed to painkillers, gossip, and compulsive cell phone use, simply because we don’t do that thing that our hearts, our inner genius, is calling us to?

Resistance attacks when we take any principled stand in the face of adversity. When we want to chase the woman of our dreams [5]. Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled. But it can be felt. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. It’s aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our sets. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated. Resistance is the enemy within. It will assume any form, if that’s what it takes to deceive you. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit. It cannot be reasoned with. It understands nothing but power. It is an engine of destruction, programmed from the factory with one object only: to prevent us from doing our sets.

Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.

Resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it possesses comes from us. We feed it with power by our fear of it. Master that fear and we conquer Resistance. So if you’re paralysed with fear, it’s a good sign. It shows you what you have to do.

Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalise. We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to talk to girls.” Instead we say, “I am going to talk to girls; I’m just going to start tomorrow.”

serb slag

Frankly, I’d rather have this bird kiss me

Grandiose fantasies are a symptom of Resistance. They’re the sign of an amateur. The professional has learned that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of work. The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like. Aspiring daygamers defeated by Resistance share one trait. They all think like amateurs. They have not yet turned pro.

The amateur plays for fun. The professional plays for keeps. The amateur plays part-time, the professional full-time. The amateur is a weekend warrior. The professional is there seven days a week. In my view, the amateur does not love the game enough. If he did, he would not pursue it as a side-line, distinct from his “real” vocation. The professional loves it so much he dedicates his life to it. He commits full-time. That’s what I mean when I say turning pro. Resistance hates it when we turn pro.

Someone once asked Somerset Maugham if he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration. “I write only when inspiration strikes,” he replied. “Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.” That’s a pro. Maugham reckoned another, deeper truth; that by sitting down and starting work, he set in motion a mysterious but infallible sequence of events that would produce inspiration.

The daygamer must be like a Marine. He has to know how to be miserable. He has to love being miserable. He has to take pride in being more miserable than any soldier or swabbie or jet jockey. The daygamer committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt and humiliation.

What exactly are the qualities that define us as professionals?

We show up every day. We show up no matter what. We stay on the job all day. We are committed over the long haul. The stakes for us are high and real. We do not over-identify with our daygame. We master the technique of our daygame. We have a sense of humour about our daygame. We receive acceptance or rejection in the real world.

Rejection is the price for being in the arena and not on the sidelines. Stop complaining and be grateful. That was when I realised I had become a pro. I had not yet had a success. But I had had a real failure.

The professional respects his craft. He does not consider himself superior to it. He recognises the contributions of those who have gone before him. He apprentices himself to them. The professional dedicates himself to mastering technique not because he believes technique is a substitute for inspiration but because he wants to be in possession of the full arsenal of skills when inspiration does come. The professional is sly. He knows that by toiling beside the front door of technique, he leaves room for genius to enter by the back [6].

There is no mystery to turning pro. It’s a decision brought about by an act of will. We make up our minds to view ourselves as pros and we do it. Simple as that.

If you’d like to see this attitude directly translated into daygame in textbook form, I think you’re gonna want Daygame Mastery and Daygame Infinite, available on Amazon. For a closer look at them go to my product explanation page here.

Sigma Wolf store

[1] Or whatever the plural of asterisk is.
[2] As opposed to paying lip service to it that the reader nods his head along to.
[3] Should I write one, I expect to reference it liberally.
[4] After Leftism.
[5] Or of the Euro Jaunt.
[6] OO-ER Missus!

#117 – The Ravagers, Donald Hamilton BOOK REVIEW

December 7, 2018
krauserpua

Matt Helm The Ravagers

I wonder how hard-boiled and ruthless a protagonist can be before he ceases to become the hero, or even anti-hero, of a novel. There comes a point where the reader can think, “hang on, it isn’t just the baddies, but everybody in this is a cunt!” I found that while watching the first three seasons of House Of Cards. Absolutely every character is a soulless, nihilistic rat. Even when one of them is initially set up as honourable, something will happen to reveal their true snake-like heart.

For example, the Secret Service bodyguard to Hillary Hatchet-Faced Man-Jaw Cuntlady takes sick leave and as he’s dying of cancer he admits he was a creepy gamma obsessed with her. His replacement appears to be a by-the-book man of honour until suddenly he’s revealed as a degenerate faggot, actually kissing Kevin Spacey’s character [1]. The female journalist crusader turns out to be just another greasy-pole climber, not unlike the New York Times slag caught sleeping with the Head of Security for Senate Intelligence Committee in exchange for the un-redacted 82-page Carter Page FISA application [2].

Anyway, House Of Cards is total shit. The Trump era has aged it badly. Now it’s just a load of wrinkly old faggots bumming each other [3]. The point is that everyone in it is a cunt. How can you possibly watch drama when there’s no goodie to support? I think perhaps this whole meta-trend started with the flawed-good guy trope that was big in 1990s action movies onward, such as Bruce Willis in Die Hard (mildly flawed) on through Arnie beginning some movies as a suicidal drunk. It seems many movies and TV shows dispense with the “good” in good guy altogether.

Goodies

Goody, goody yum yum. Yesterday.

Everything is relative. Who is to say what is good and what is bad? Don’t be so judgemental!

Anway, it makes me sick talking about millennials and their bankrupt nihilistic culture so lets get back to Matt Helm in The Ravagers. He’s a hard, hard man but he’s also a patriot and willing to sacrifice for his country. Consider the famous George Orwell quote:

“We sleep soundly in our beds, because rough men stand ready in the night to do violence on those who would harm us”

By the way, that’s the entire lesson of The Lord Of The Rings. The only reason the Hobbits in The Shire can fuss about who has the best marrows at the village fete is because the men of Gondor are keeping the Turks Orcs at bay on the frontier. TLOTR is a warning to the English not to take their ideal society for granted [4]. Matt Helm is one of those rough men. That’s what’s good about the stories: he’s a ruthless killer, but he’s our killer.

God, I wish we still had plenty of these men in the West. They could assassinate all the top brass of the world’s NGOs in a single evening. Imagine a world free of Medicin San Frontiers, Oxfam, Barnardos, UNICEF, and Greenpeace. Wouldn’t that be amazing!

Open Arms

Lock everyone in the hold, then sink it

Anyway, I bring this up because of the brutal ending to The Ravagers. The plot concerns the wife of a scientist who has run off with his briefcase full of military secrets, attempting to make a rendezvous on the East coast of Canada [5]. It’s the usual spy-vs-spy tale of Team Helm trying to outfox Team Corbyn Russia with brutal professionals engaging in deceit and counter-deceit. It all ends in an abandoned mine near the rendezvous. The female commie aims an acid pistol at the aforementioned wife and Helm is able to get a shot off first, shattering the pistol, spraying acid all over the commie’s face [6]. She screams and stumbles off into the mine, clawing at her disintegrating formerly-pretty face.

Helm escorts the wife out of the mine, makes a phone call, and only then returns to find the enemy agent. Here’s how the scene plays out, as he tries to get her to divulge a last snip of information.

“Dave?” [Helm’s cover identity]
The voice was strange and kind of thick. It seemed to come from deep down and far away. I said, “That’s who.”
“Kill me, ” the voice said.
I said, “Sure. Just hang on while I find a suitable rock. Do you prefer having your brains bashed out from front or rear?”
“I mean it. You did this to me. Well, finish it. Kill me.”
“Take it easy, doll.”
She clung on to my hand. “Don’t let them save me! Don’t let them take me to a hospital and … and wash me off and transfuse me and… I saw what it did to Mike Green. I don’t want to live like that. I’d be a freak, a blind, faceless freak with a claw for a hand. Kill me!”
“Sure,” I said. “Sure doll. But it will cost you.”

That’s cold-hearted stuff. I have rather too much empathy to imagine myself in that position [7]. I mean, I tear up when watching videos like this.

Helm continues to stand firm in order to get the info.

She gripped my hand tightly. “I love you, Clevenger [Helm]. You’re almost as mean as I am.”
“Meaner,” I said. “I’ll come visit you in the hospital. See how you’re coming with your left-handed Braille.”
I heard Jenny stir behind me. I guess she thought I was terrible, even though it was her child I was fighting for. She didn’t count here. She didn’t know how it was. She wasn’t a pro, like the two of us.
Naomi laughed harshly. “You’re a darling,” she gasped. “You’re a wonderful, coldblooded beast. There isn’t a drop of sympathy in you, is there?”
“Not a drop.”

Aside from it being a tight, symmetrical conclusion to a good little chase story, that’s a harsh scene. I can’t imagine being so utterly cold to someone in trouble [8]. It’s refreshing to read this stuff in a spy thriller though. Donald Hamilton gets the right balance. If he’d made Helm sadistic, he’d be impossible to support even if on the right side. Too weak, and I’d be shouting at the pages, “why is this soft bag of shit a spy, he’s as delicate as a soyboy.” One thing you’ll never ever hear Helm say sincerely is “Okay, I’ll drop the gun, just let the girl go!” [9]. Thank fuck for that

No girls were sprayed in the face or abandoned in mine shafts during the period covered by my excellent memoirs available here.

Sigma Wolf store

[1] At least he’s over the age of consent, which must be a novelty to Spacey.
[2] Expect to hear a lot more about this in the coming months. General Flynn’s leak-hunter team set up Wolfe and caught him red-handed in treason. The NYT has had the un-redacted FISA application for a year. There’s a reason they don’t reveal it publicly: it completely exonerates Trump of Russian Collusion. The NYT isn’t just Fake News. It’s fully-blooded Enemy Of The People.
[3] Presumably. I stopped watching it during the Pussy Riot / Russian angle.
[4] Little did he know that Sauron would win the rematch by setting up NGOs to resettle Orc refugees throughout the Shire.
[5] Or wherever Nova Scotia is. I’m not checking a map because literally nobody gives a fuck about Canada, not even Canadians.
[6] YES!!!!
[7] She was hot, 22-year-old, and the mine is black dark. The acid only went onto her face and one hand. As far as I’m concerned, there’s still a rape-notch up for grabs.
[8] Subject to their skin colour, of course.
[9] Whereas it seems to be standing orders in Department Z that every agent must drop the gun, no matter at what cost to the mission, if any woman at all is even slightly threatened. That’s what happens when men in their twenties try to write spy fiction.

#116 – Gardens Of Fear, Robert E. Howard BOOK REVIEW

December 6, 2018
krauserpua

Gardens of Fear

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what compelled me to spend most of my adult life criss-crossing the globe, exploring strange lands. Why is it that my brother has lived his entire life in Newcastle whereas I, who share many of the same interests, left home at 18 for university in another city and then never really came back? [1] My nine-year experiment with Game and Euro Jaunts wasn’t an aberration, but rather just a different expression of the same thrill-seeking and wanderlust. Where did I get that from?

Conan. That’s where.

Read this from Queen Of The Black Coast, the first short story in the Gardens Of Fear anthology. A pirate ship led by Belit has attacked the trader Conan had passage on so he jumped onto Belit’s ship and hacked his way past half her African crew. Conan finally held at bay, Belit steps in to offer him a place by her side. Sword in hand, dripping blood, he thinks it over:

His eyes swept the bloodstained ranks, seeking expressions of wrath or jealousy. He saw none. The fury was gone from the ebon faces. He realised that to these men Belit was more than a woman: a goddess whose will was unquestioned. He glanced at the Argus, wallowing in the crimson sea-wash, heeling far over, her decks awash, held up by the grappling irons. He glanced at the blue-fringed shore, at the far green hazes of the ocean, at the vibrant figure which stood before him; and his barbaric soul stirred within him. To quest these shining blue realms with that white-skinned young tiger-cat – to love, laugh, wander and pillage-
“I’ll sail with you,” he grunted, shaking the red drops from his blade.

I first read this story in 2006, when I lived in Tokyo. It spoke to me: the thirst for travel and adventure, to range the wide world and see what’s out there. I wanted to live. I felt that Newcastle was too small and parochial to hold me, and even London was too similar, too close [2]. Robert E Howard wrote his Conan stories from the small Texas town of Cross Plains, which he rarely left. He travelled vicariously, through his voracious reading of history in the local library and the adventure in the pulps. His stories yearn with wanderlust. Conan stories speak to every man who wants to pick up his metaphorical sword [3] and set out on an adventure with only his wits to protect him. I loved it.

6ae55bb344e2bd8f92573fbb659bdd52--arte-geek-conan-barbarian

Me on a date outside The Four Seasons hotel in Moscow

A rolling stone gathers no moss. Such a transient exploratory lifestyle can only be maintained if you have a philosophy that supports it. What does Conan say about his own?

“I have known many gods. He who denies them is as blind as he who trusts them too deeply. I seek not beyond death. It may be the blackness averred by the Nemedian sceptics, or Crom’s realm of ice and cloud, or the snowy plains and vaulted halls of the Nordheimer’s Valhalla. I know not, nor do I care. Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and priests and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.”

This is a rationale couched in the bombast of heroic fantasy that equally applies to the more down-to-earth daygamer chasing skirt across several continents. I suspect most of you can relate to it. Let other people talk of mortgages, professional advancement, and IKEA furniture. Let me book a budget flight, share an Airbnb with my mates, and then chase skirt. Let me have afternoon beers on the sunny sidewalk cafes of Kiev, a big fat burger from Submarine on Knez Mihailova, and then check out the dancing skirt in Icon and Gipsy in Moscow. Lads, laughs, booze, and skirt. I am content.

Until 2017, in my case.

Conan has no children. The stories don’t mention them. At no time does he seek to put down roots. He often schemes to take over a country and install himself as king, but even when he temporarily achieves it, the wanderlust gets him and the stone begins rolling again. By the time Conan reaches middle age, REH has stopped writing about him. What happened in the end? Did he settle down with a wench and raise a brood of sturdy barbarian boys? Or did he slip down the ranks of sell-swords, fighting on auto-pilot through a series of pointless wars at the ends of the earth until one day he couldn’t quite slip the sweep of a broadsword and his adventuring ended in an unmarked grave?

Ruminations aside, this is an excellent collection. It’s volume six in the ten-volume special edition The Weird Works Of Robert E Howard, of which I own nine [4]. They present REH’s stories in order of publication and in the original texts, without the various politically-correct edits made when Conan was re-popularised with the 1970 TOR Books paperbacks. REH invented the heroic fantasy genre that J.R.R. Tolkien would go on to perfect. I’ve always preferred the REH originals. They are more hard-boiled and don’t have any stupid fucking elves and dwarves.

There’s nothing lustier and more red-blooded than an REH Conan story. I absolutely recommend them. This particular volume is an expensive way to read Conan. You can usually pick up the entire REH oeuvre for a couple of quid on Kindle.

If you like lads, laughs, booze and skirt you’ll very much like my memoir series available here. If not, you’re a bit of a faggot so you might as well fuck off and start bumming Turks [5]

Sigma Wolf store

[1] “Who gives a fuck, tell me if this Conan book is any good?” you might reasonably reply.
[2] I no longer feel that way, suggesting I’m coming full circle.
[3] Or laptop and rucksack.
[4] The missing volume, The Black Hounds Of Death, is outrageously expensive.
[5] If you don’t already.

Daygame: Pick Up Girls Everywhere

December 5, 2018
krauserpua

Long-time readers will remember the book I co-wrote back in 2015 [1], Beginner Daygame, which has since been withdrawn from sale. That’s kind of a shame because it was a good introductory book but, well, my mate from Wales wanted to distance himself from me in 2016 so I complied with his request to withdraw it. Since then, my next-most suitable book for beginners has been the older and ever-reliable Daygame Nitro.

But what about a specific beginner-focused introduction to the London Daygame Model? Are there any of those?

No, I don’t mean a beginner’s book from one of the shitty know-nothing “daygamer” buffoons like RSD or Natural Lifestyles, or Johnny Fucking Cassell. I mean a daygame book from someone who (i) understands the game (ii) has a track record of success shagging nice birds (iii) is capable of teaching it in a systematic fashion. Teaching the actual LDM, that is.

Daygame Pick Up Girls Everywhere

My friend and sometime-wing TDdaygame has just released his first book so I’m announcing it here to give it a little boost. You can find his sales page here including a link to buy the PDF. I may review it in the future, but for now it’s just an announcement. Those of you who buy it, feel free to leave your feedback in the comments here.

[1] My part of the “co-” being about 90% of it.

#115 – The Bridge On The Drina, Ivo Andric BOOK REVIEW

December 5, 2018
krauserpua

the-bridge-on-the-drina-ivo-andric_473875

Generally speaking I avoid any book that wins a literary prize, as it’s a cast-iron guarantee that it’ll be a load of shit. I can’t speak much for the Nobel prizes for science but the fringe Nobels for Peace, Economics, and Literature are all a joke. Just look at the Peace prize roster, for instance.

Al Gore won it in 2007. What did he actually achieve in the way of peace? Nothing. But he did further the communist scam of Global Warming while making a billionaire of himself in the process scamming the taxpayer. The same year, the International Panel On Climate Change won it with him, completing a commie liar clean sweep. Obama famously won it in 2009 for doing literally nothing. He’d only just been inaugurated, and of course it’s comical now considering how many wars he started, how many kids he droned, and his active deliberate role in giving Iran nuclear weapons, shoving the Near East and North Africa into civil war, and his recent attempts to turn the USA into a totalitarian state. All the winners since him are the usual non-entity diversity candidates, the most ridiculous being the Paki bitch Malala Yousafzai whose dad was a CIA agent.

Trump ending the Korean War, crushing ISIS, taking on human trafficking, and preventing Hillary starting World War 3 against Russia….. nah, that’s not Peace Prize worthy. I needn’t go into the Economics Nobel, that’s even more of a joke. Paul Krugman won it, for fuck’s sake, a wormtongue lying Jew if ever there was one.

Muslim Cunt

He awarded himself the Distinguished Service medal too

So, I tend to avoid Nobels. I broke from that lifelong pattern to read Ivo Andric’s The Bridge On The Drina after a Serb friend recommended it. It was the 1961 winner, a chronicle of Bosnian life under mostly Ottoman rule, centred around the bridge of the title in a small border town. I’ll say this: it’s well written. However, it took me two months to finish.

It’s a bit boring and aimless. Literature is always dull.

The reason The Bridge On The Drina took me so long to read was not its 473 pages. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame is longer and I smashed that in a few days. Nope, it’s because TBOTD is not actually a novel. It’s a chronicle, as Andric himself explained. What’s the difference? A novel has a plot and recurring characters within, with a protagonist and at least one antagonist. There will be intention plus obstacle. The Bridge On The Drina has none of that. Its centrepiece is the bridge itself, a long low white brick structure constructed by the Ottomans, and almost a thousand years of history washes over the bridge until the book ends with the outbreak of World War I in 1914. The Balkan Wars were in 1912 so the last quarter of the book is mostly on a war footing.

There is no central human character here. Every chapter will focus on a couple of locals and tell anecdotes from their life, all related to the bridge and each chosen to illustrate the flow of life and march of history. The main character in one chapter might appear as a minor character a couple of chapters later, and then drop out entirely. For example, a Jewish hotelier named Lotte is the centre of one chapter in 1900, describing in detail her hotel by the bridge as the lively nightlife centrepiece and her own skills in managing the ribaldry of the guests while running a clandestine support network to provide advice and support to her Jewish extended family back in her home village. A couple chapters later she reappears almost twenty years older, a tired wreck having a nervous breakdown under Serb shelling of the town after Franz Ferdinand is assassinated in Sarajevo.

Newcastle

I’ll see your bridge and raise you one, pal

Lacking a central plot driving things forward, it’s easy to put this book down. Most chapters are self-contained and tie up nicely with a ribbon. There are no cliff-hangers. I thoroughly enjoyed most chapters and Andric writes beautifully but there’s very little dragging the reader forwards.

Thematically, the writing matches the central metaphor based on the river washing through the immovable immutable bridge. The fortunes of individuals, families, and the town rise and fall across centuries as the river continues to flow and the bridge always stands. Andric presents most townsfolk as dumb animals, intimately concerned with their own parochial affairs but uncomprehending of the tides of history that buffet them around. They are always subject to forces beyond control. This expresses itself in how major actions are initiated:

  • The Ottomans are repulsed by a Serb uprising that barely impacts the town. An armistice is signed somewhere, and one day Serbs show up to relive the Ottoman guard of the town in a small ceremony.
  • The Austro-Hungarian army shows up as Bosnia is annexed. One day the locals are sitting on the bridge smoking tobacco and singing songs. The next day foreign soldiers are bivouacked on the slopes outside and buying food in the shops.

Andric never uses characters who are movers of history. In a normal novel, the bridge-building may focus on the engineer tasked with designing it: an Ottoman Howard Roarke, if you will. In an army it may have scenes involving generals or planners. In The Bridge On The Drina it’s the stonemasons, carpenters, militia-men, and sentries. They are all bewildered, not privy to the great plans. Everyone is passive, the river of history washing them away.

Andric is a perceptive writer on human psychology and PUA-inclined readers will no doubt recognise this character portrait from chapter 19. It’s just prior to the Balkan War of 1912 and several students are back in town after completing their studies in the major cities of Vienna and Sarajevo. They are all big-mouthed socialists of one type or the other. Two former friends are walking late one evening across the bridge. One, Stikovic, is a classic gamma who managed to bullshit a local young school mistress, Zorka, into shagging him, and now she’s fallen for him. His companion is Glasicanin who had already been friend-zoned by her and is still pining. We take up the scene towards the end, after Stikovic has been running his mouth with grand plans of revolution and Serbian sovereignty.

“Is this an allusion to Zorka?” Stikovic suddenly asked.
“Yes, if you like, let us talk of that too. Yes, because of Zorka also. You do not care a jot for her. It is only your inability to stop and restrain yourself before anything which momentarily and by chance is offered to you and which flatters your vanity. Yes, that is so. You seduce a poor, muddled and inexperienced schoolmistress just as you write articles and poems, deliver speeches and lectures. And even before you have completely conquered them you are already tired of them, for your vanity becomes bored and looks for something beyond. But that is your own curse too, that you can stop nowhere, that you can never be sated and satisfied. You submit everything to your vanity but you are yourself the first of its slaves and its greatest martyr. It may well be that you will have still greater glory and success, a greater success than the weakness of some love-crazed girl, but you will find no satisfaction in any one thing, for your vanity will whip you onwards, for it swallows everything, even the greatest successes and then forgets them immediately [1], but the slightest failure or insult it will remember forever [2]. And when everything is withered, broken, soiled, humiliated, disintegrated and destroyed about you, then you will remain alone in the wilderness you have yourself created, face to face with your vanity and you will have nothing to offer it. Then you will devour yourself, but that will not help you, for your vanity accustomed to richer food [3] will despise and reject you. That is what you are, though you may seem different in the eyes of most men [4] and though you think differently of yourself. But I know.”

That’s a remarkably insightful takedown of a PUA player by a friend-zoned chode. Here’s where Andric is particularly clever, in how Stikovic, a narcissist, reacts to it. He responds exactly as modern writers on narcissism (e.g. How To Deal With Narcissists, or Richard Grannon‘s YouTube channel) would predict: he finds the critique itself as a source of narcissistic supply:

[Stikovic] felt every harsh comment but he no longer found in all that this scarcely visible friend beside him had said any insult or any danger. On the other hand, it seemed to him that with every word of Glasicanin he grew, and that he flew on invisible wings, swift and unheard, exulting and daring, high above all men on this earth and their ties, laws and feelings, alone, proud and great, and happy or with some feeling akin to happiness. He flew above everything. That voice, those words of his rival, were only the sound of the waters and the roar of an invisible, lesser world far below him.

That’s grandiosity. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Andric can’t have been a dummy because as a writer he could’ve easily written it to be nice-guy Glasicanin who banged Zorka, but he chose Stikovic. The girl was taken in by the grandiose big-mouth [5] and no amount of reasoned argument made good the chode’s loss.

That’s just a section of one chapter. The Bridge On The Drina is absolutely chock-full of such interesting anecdotes and insights into human nature. I greatly enjoyed it, but it was a book I nibbled away at a chapter at a time, not a headlong rush to reach the climax.

If the idea of big-mouthed narcissists cucking chodes in Bosnia with nubile Balkan ladies appeals to you, you’ll very much like my memoir series. See the product page here.

Sigma Wolf store

[1] Unless he was to write a memoir about it.
[2] Gamma males are terrified of being wrong and it shames them forever, thus they hold grudges forever towards anyone who publicly embarrasses them.
[3] Twenty YHT notches per year, that is.
[4] On YouTube and RVF.
[5] Well, it was always the secret to my game too.

#114 – Mr Majestyk, Elmore Leonard BOOK REVIEW

December 2, 2018
krauserpua

Mr Majestyk

Elmore Leonard began as a writer of westerns – pretty hard-boiled ones – and went on to become famous for his sassy crime thrillers, many of which became big budget Hollywood movies. If you’ve seen George Clooney in Out Of Sight, John Travolta in Get Shorty, or Robert De Niro in Jackie Brown, then you know Elmore Leonard. Each is based on a book of his.

I always liked Leonard for his crisp dialogue and the economical thinking and acting of his characters. It’s the very opposite of the flights of fancy in Gothic stories such as The Hunchback Of Notre Dame or Wuthering Heights. There is none of the grandiosity of cathedrals, windswept moors, or soldiers battling and besieged castles. Leonard’s adventures happen at street level with only a handful of hard-bitten characters attempting to outwit each other. Even when set during momentous events, such as his Cuba Libre in the Spanish-American war, the book concerns only a few people as they weave an individual path through the chaos.

Because at heart, Leonard’s books are still westerns.

Have you seen Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly? If you haven’t, stop reading now and watch it. It’s possibly the greatest movie of all-time [1]. That story is set during the American Civil War, about three bandits hunting the same treasure, each of them attempting to side-step the momentous tides of history eddying around them in order to thread a narrow path to the loot. That’s how Cuba Libre is. In Leone’s movie there’s a scene where the three bandits must each cross a heavily contested bridge, the Blues and Greys on opposite banks. It’s a good scene in how three individualists both leverage and avoid the pitched battle going on around them in order to cross the river and make haste towards a cemetery over the hill.

Mr Majestyk is a western dressed up as a modern crime thriller. It begins with Mr Vincent Majestyk, a demobbed veteran of the recent Indochina war, who is in his second year as a melon grower by the Mexican border of the USA. As he’s attempting to pick his crop a local hustler tries to shake him down. One thing leads to another and suddenly he’s on the wrong end of a high-priced hit man’s, Frank Renka, vendetta. Majestyk attempts to hold the line, harvest the melons, while avoiding a showdown with Renka.

It’s a classic western plot: a reformed but deadly man seeking the quiet life (replace rancher for melon farmer to make it western), an ineffective sheriff and the protagonist’s grim reliance on doing it all himself. There’s the corrupt local bandit, the ruthless hired gun, and the inevitable showdown. This book is a Clint Eastwood western transplanted into 1974. All the themes and the tone ring clearly as western.

Movie Poster

It had to be Bronson

Mr Majestyk is a short book with a tightly focused plot. There’s nothing extraneous. No sub-plots, no social commentary, no attempt to contextualise within the grand sweep of history. There’s just a rugged individualist trying to live his life and then a few bad apples who try to ruin him. He must turn the tables and seek revenge. The real standout of the book is the crispness with which Leonard handles the prose and dialogue. These are people of few words and few actions, but every single movement has significance. His later crime books tended to take on the ‘caper’ style, of a rag-tag bunch of chancers each double-crossing the others to get his mitts on the treasure for himself. Get Shorty and its sequel Get Cool are exactly that. Mr Majestyk is more of a sigma book. One man, independent, who had better not be fucked with.

If you’d like to read more from a deadly, ruthless sigma male who plots a path of violent revenge against fearsome adversaries then you’ll like be disappointed by my memoir series. However, if drinking whiskey and shagging loads of birds would satisfy you, then go check them out on my product page here.

Triple X 7

I’ve banged lookalikes of every girl in this one

[1] Not including Private’s Triple X Video Magazine 7.

#113 – The Alarming Clock, Michael Avallone BOOK REVIEW

December 1, 2018
krauserpua

Alarming Clock

I suppose he had to fire a dud eventually, and novel five in the Ed Noon series is when Michael Avallone has finally written a pedestrian hard-boiled story. The Alarming Clock is entirely based around a single plotline: a Russian spy at the Department Of Defense has obtained secret codes to the US nuclear arsenal and engraved them onto the serial number inside a cheap clock. A group of former-SS freelancers are waiting to receive it when the seller gets cold feet and leaves the clock in Ed Noon’s office. Noon was shopping for groceries at the time.

So, Noon gets back to the office, finds the package, and wonders what the hell is going on. There’s a letter for him.

Mr Noon,
Imperative you hold this for me until I can contact you later. You may open package to inspect it but do not by any means let the enclosed leave your hands. Many people would kill you for this item but it can also make you a millionaire. A mutual friend sent me to you.
Will call soon
Roland Ritz

At first he mistakes the ticking for a bomb so he drowns the package in his sink, to ruin the explosives. Then he opens it and is puzzled that it’s just a normal clock. The plot becomes a clock-hunt as Noon’s instinct has him immediately hide the clock and replace it with his normal desktop clock. The Germans burst in, at gunpoint, and kidnap Noon together with the (wrong) clock. Everything that follows is Noon stalling them as he attempts to piece together why the clock is so goddamned important as the Germans and a team of fake FBI agents squabble and attempt to reclaim it.

The plot conceit is fine, it all proceeds logically, and it’s not a bad book at all. However, it’s missing the Noon flavour. Yeah he’s held up at gunpoint, slugged on the head, and bangs a dame. Yeah, he cracks wise and pisses off the cops. But some vital ingredient is missing. This plays like a thriller rather than a hard-boiled detective story.

FInland

Russian spies are a cheerful bunch

Noon’s neighbour, a clock repairman called Alec St Peter, gets it worst [1]. He’s a WW2 vet whose hands were blown off while testing explosives. At first, Noon thinks the clock was meant for him.

I got organised. I turned the lights out in Alec St. Peter’s office and went back to my own workshop. I tool Alec’s metal hands with me. As I carried them into the mouse auditorium, I suddenly wondered what it must be like to have hooks instead of flesh and blood fists. Alec never talked much about them even if he seemed to be completely un-self-conscious about them. You can never really tell about cripples.

This is the kind of tone I like about Ed Noon books. You can’t imagine Perry Mason thinking that way. The things which come to Noon’s mind are always slightly off-kilter. The Huns had kidnapped Alec and beat the shit out of him. It’s his imperilment that motivates Noon to give Jerry a bloody nose. His old ex-escort girlfriend makes an appearance too, and is soon kidnapped and almost raped by the Huns.

I dunno, I just can’t get inspired to talk about this book. It was alright. I read it cover to cover during a 9-hour bus ride down to Macedonia and it kept me diverted for much of that time. It did the job, nothing more. There weren’t any themes or moments that jumped out at me as talking points. About the only thing worth mentioning is I don’t like books that cast Nazis as automatic bad guys. But then again, Avallone always makes the Commies worse, so it balances out in the end.

If you join my special VIP Inner Circle Gold Program for the small price of just $149 [2] you will receive a complimentary limited edition Krauser Clock that will give off a magical LMR-busting aura in your bedroom. Failing that, check out my products on this page.

A Nonce

Unrelated WTF? Who takes life advice from THIS THING?

[1] Well, of the proper characters. Roland Ritz is shot dead in Noon’s office and the Germans are gunned down in a shootout with cops at the end.
[2] Per month