Some more random thoughts and musings

This week has been pretty hectic, so I’ll just throw out some random stuff. We’re celebrating my dad’s birthday almost all this week, since he’s actually managed to take some time off of work. Hence, things have been pretty slow and plodding.

  • I just got back from seeing Kingsmen. Excellent movie, amazing choreography in the action sequences. It deals heavily with class in England, but in a way that reminds me of Justine Tunney’s plans for Occupy: The elite are detached and awful, and must be replaced with a new elite. It’s unapologetic with its chauvinism and political incorrectness, something that’s also quite refreshing. It’s already on its way out of theaters, but I highly advise you see it if you get the chance. Tomorrow we go and see the new Fast and Furious, and I’m a little less than excited for it.
  • I’ve been considering switching from Gratipay to Patreon- it seems that Patreon gives you a much wider audience and more potential to make some money. Bryce has been doing fairly well for himself, making a few hundred a month. Obviously, I don’t intend to ever get that degree of cash. I want my crowdfunding to be a bit more like a public tip jar, where people who like my work can consider donating to me. Maybe it’s my chronic humility, but I don’t see the idea of making a living off of the donations of random strangers to be that feasible or secure. Even though right now I’m shit broke, I still intend to start working again, since to me crowdfunding has always been supplementary in nature.
  • I recently got mentioned in TRS’s Daily Shoah, and my heart literally skipped a beat. Getting praise from guys like them, Nick B. Steves, Common Filth, and even Nick Land¬† is worth more than any donations. I know I sound like a huge kiss-ass, but I put all of these guys on a pedestal, and knowing that they like my work really speaks volumes.
  • InternetAristocrat is back, now calling himself Mister Metokur. I’d love to chat with him for TheRightDrama (and I’d love for him to go on Between Two Lampshades for TRS) but honestly, what do I have to offer him? Still, best I can do is add him onto my Beginner’s Guide to the Alt-right. I recall him answering a question of mine months ago about him being into strict Constitutionalism, and I’d love to follow up on that. IA/MM/Jim seems to be a really smart guy, and I’m really interested to see what he’ll be doing next.
  • Speaking of which, it looks like the guide itself is getting some traffic, which makes me happy. My greatest fear though, is still that I’m enabling entryists. I want to make it clear that my guide, a work in progress, isn’t necessarily for neoreaction. As Dampier reminds us, Neoreaction is not a populist movement. Our strength is in our content, not our numbers. Our goal is not to change the world, but to instead help create the people who will change the world. It’s actually better that TRV, rather than help introduce people to neoreaction, instead diverts and directs them elsewhere.
  • I’ve unfortunately relapsed and started playing Minecraft again. Despite the hilariously awful community that the game spawned, I still think Minecraft is genuinely good. It’s extremely satisfying to build yourself a humble little cabin by the river, then expand that cabin into a farm, then slowly improve your farm with brick roads, a dock, and other features. Of course, it’s best when played singleplayer- just one man on his own, braving the elements and even thriving. That in itself is amazingly reactionary: Man makes mother nature his bitch. There’s also another important aspect: you have to work for everything. It’s not like Garry’s Mod where you can just spawn in stuff to play with: everything in Minecraft has to be either built or harvested. It actually builds a really healthy attitude where you learn to work for results.
  • I’ve also been playing the shit out of Medieval II: Total War. So far, my Spanish empire has removed kebab from the Iberian peninsula in a glorious Reconquista before also annexing Portugal. Meanwhile, the Knights of Santiago embarked on a successful crusade, seizing Antioch and the surrounding areas of Aleppo and Adana as well as claiming the Holy Lance of Longinus. I had also discovered the Ark of the Covenant in Cairo, but the brave soul who did it tragically perished on the voyage home. At the present, greedy Frenchmen are trying to snatch up Pamplona from me, but the joke’s on them-¬† We’ve sailed the Mediterranean to take Toulouse right from the little bastards!
  • In wrestling news, this happened. It might just be my favorite Wrestlemania moment yet if not just because of how fucking dumb it is. While Triple H’s overgrown ego will hurt the company in the long run, his stupid, overdone Wrestlemania entrances will always be lovable. Seriously, go check this shit out.
  • I’ve started reading Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations. While I really like them, it feels like a rehash of the stuff I read in the Analects of Confucius. And while I know I’m gonna piss off a LOT of people by saying this, I prefer Confucius at this point. Aurelius focuses heavily on theory, while Confucius tends to take a more practical approach to his version of stoicism and traditionalism. I’ve always preferred to read about practice more than theory, and part of what I intend to do with TRV is to help translate theory into practice.
  • Speaking of practice, the tragic passing of Lee Kuan Yew has me considering buying his autobiography. Admittedly, my reading list is quite out of whack- I need to finish Aurelius before jury duty on Monday so I can start reading Evola (Yes, I intend to read Julius Evola while on jury duty). At some point in all of this I need to get back to Moldbug, but I also want to read Spengler too, even though I don’t own anything by him yet. And somehow in the middle of all of this I need to fit Plato in!

So yeah, expect things to be fairly silent for the next few days- tomorrow I spend more family time, then Sunday is Easter and all the festivities that entails, and then after that it’s two days in the county court hoping I get to sit in on something interesting. I’ll plug my gratipay again as well as my paypal– donations will go towards me going somewhere nice to lunch and finally buying myself a new pipe!

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Surprising Real Talk at GDC

So, it seems that the first round of industry conferences and conventions is upon us, this week being the ongoing Game Developer’s Conference of 2015. While I couldn’t go (nor was I especially interested in going) I did happen to hear about this talk given by Ralph Koster, Richard Vogel, and Gordon Walton on handling internet drama as a community manager. I was dreading another typical prog screed about how you need to purge your community of evil undesirables, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there was actually some real talk coming from Koster and friends, perhaps more real talk than they’re aware of. You can read a summary of it by gameindustry.biz here.

First, let me get to what I had mentioned on twitter, the points that the presenters seemed to miss or gloss over. I think Vogel is wrong to blame anonymity as a major problem for online communities. Personally, I’m of the belief that anonymity helps produce a more stable community. By removing the importance of reputation, you remove the status jockeying that goes on in your average online community. The reason sites like NeoGAF are rapidly declining in popularity is precisely because of the constant signaling and forced consensus. Meanwhile, communities like 4chan’s /v/ tend to be some of the biggest movers and shakers in games culture precisely because the anonymity allows original content to prosper without the pesky matter of status jockeying. If you want innovation, originality, and a fun time, you want to allow as much anonymity as possible. Reputation creates a stale, boring environment where fresh ideas are not able to rise to the top.

Another interesting point I think Vogel misses in his critique of anonymity is that his solution involves building a collective identity that encourages the group to co-exist with each other. To that, I’ll respond by using /v/ as an example. Certainly, to an outsider, /v/ looks like a disaster, with so many different users butting heads on nearly every conceivable topic. However, the best way to find a consensus? Mention Reddit or NeoGAF or, god help you, tumblr. Suddenly, the group identity is obvious. Users will put aside most petty conflicts and bond over a mutual disdain for outsiders. Thus, you create a healthy, stable sense of community without ever needing to abandon anonymity.

But that leads me to my much larger point, the part of their talk that absolutely floored me. Ralph Koster actually said that Switzerland’s low crime rate is due to its homogenous population. Combined with his earlier statement that most crime in Switzerland is in areas where different groups live, I’m amazed that a horde of rainbow-haired she-twinks with their goony man-beard escorts didn’t storm the stage and tar and feather the man for being racist. Indeed, his entire lecture touched on one of the points that the right has been yelling about for ages: diversity brings conflict. Of course, any criminologist will tell you that a homogenous community is less likely to have crime than a diverse one (barring other factors like poverty and single-parent households and other statistics).

Koster initially seems to complain about people forming tribes and those tribes coming into conflict with each other. Indeed, he draws parallels to segregation when discussing Switzerland’s tribal conflicts. Of course, Vogel and Watson proceeded to drop an uncomfortable truth-bomb on the conference: that segregation was part of human nature. I can just imagine that when he said this, Arthur Chu stopped masturbating to his own reflection and gasped in horror. People naturally choosing to associate with people similar to them is the perennial fact that proponents of multiculturalism are obsessed with trying to deny, or in Chu’s case, undo.

Walton also pointed out that it’s much harder to be a criminal in a town of only sixty or so people instead of being in a large, massive city. First they acknowledge basic human tribalism, then they point out why urbanization is bad? Oh the humanity! Someone stop these evil creatures! Even more heinous is that all the developers agreed that the solution to the problem of online nastiness lied in the same key idea: promoting a shared identity. Not only do they acknowledge that tribalism is a very natural behavior, but they even understand it to be the solution to their ills. They want to create a tribe out of their community, a group with a clear, guiding identity beyond basic consumerism. Back up now buddy, this isn’t Stormfront!

I’m being a little facetious here, as you can tell. I don’t think any of the three men in the panel genuinely got what they were hinting at. If they actually understood the dangerous nature of the ideas they were playing with, they’d probably never have given the talk, lest it undermine the greater good of ideological purity. Yet I suppose a man can dream that there are still nerds who value functionality over petty ideology. Maybe next year we’ll see developers talking about human biodiversity affecting games? You never know…

The Donovan Test: DoomGuy

Last Wednesday I introduced the Donovan Test, and it’s already making quite a splash. That Donovan himself praised it has me totally awestruck. I knew I was on to something big, but I wasn’t expecting it to get this big this quick. To all of you who shared this, especially Donovan, thank you so very, very much. I want this to seriously go places. Of course as they say, a journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step. Today is the first step, as I intend to do a sort of “alpha run” with the Donovan Test. The question is, where do we start? There’s certainly a vast number of male protagonists in the media, especially if I narrow it down to just video games. However, I think I’ll start with the first example, the face that launched a million “manly” games: The Doom Guy. Continue reading

Introducing the Donovan Test!

So for a while, I’ve been toying with the idea of how video games handle manhood and masculinity. It was a theme I was interested in tackling back when I started TRV. When I began reading Jack Donovan’s The Way of Men, the pieces began to fall into place. As I read Donovan’s work, I began to start thinking about the various protagonists of video games and how they compare to the masculine ideals that Donovan writes about. I began to design what I now call the “Donovan Test”. When Anita Sarkeesian announced that she wanted to do a series exploring masculinity in video games, I decided, after a thorough round of gagging, that I should go ahead with the Donovan Test and beat her to the punch. In tradition with Moldbug’s “antiversity” which Bryce Laliberte seems to be gleefully pursuing, I thought I’d try and help get some existing material out there for analyzing masculinity in video games. I certainly don’t have any academic credit to my name, but I think that’s actually good: it lets me look at things critically without the lenses of critical theory obscuring my view. The Donovan Test is certainly effective for more than just video games. I want it to be a sort of benchmark for looking at masculinity in all sorts of mediums. I think over the next few months I’m going to be applying my test to various characters in fiction to see how they stack up.

The goal of the Donovan test is not “is this character a good man?” but rather “is this character good at being a man?”. While morality certainly plays a role in manhood, morality itself is a fairly abstract concept. Contrary to the more religious neoreactionaries, I do not believe that there is an objective good and an objective evil. Instead, I view things from what I call a “radical functionalist” perspective, (or “RadFunk” for short) looking at what is good for society and what is detrimental to it. The Way of Men seems to share this perspective, as it examines masculine virtues outside of subjective morality and in a more natural, animalistic sense. Thus, the Donovan test looks at manhood not through the lens of “good vs. evil” but rather “strong vs. weak”.

The Donovan Test is also not a simple scorecard, either. It’s not some arbitrary checklist where you can lazily decide if a male character is a good one or not. It’s a model to analyze a character in depth. While the questions that make up the test seem like simple yes-or-no ones, the idea is that you should be able to elaborate on that answer with specific examples and explanations. If your answer is just one word, then maybe your character isn’t that deep.

So onto the test itself. The Donovan Test is based on Jack Donovan’s four cardinal virtues of masculinity: Strength, Courage, Mastery and Honor. Each of those key virtues can be divided into multiple separate questions based on the aspects of those virtues and how they’re shown in the medium. The test itself is a series of questions pertaining to each of those virtues. Let’s go through the questions, categorized by virtue.


Continue reading

It’s Cool To Hate

Hatred, a game announced by the Polish developer Destructive Creations, is in my opinion the apex of art. The game is simple: it revolves around the player character slaughtering as many people as humanly possible. There is nothing light-hearted or ironic about Hatred: the violence is all sickeningly realistic, as is your victim’s pleas for mercy as you heartlessly execute them. The game makes no attempt at hiding the fact that you are not gunning down cartoonish caricatures, but rather real people with real lives. Everything is seen through a dismal, depressing grayscale, with only explosions, sirens, and muzzle flashes sticking out. Everything is rendered in the generic ugliness that only the Unreal Engine can provide. I’m actually very proud to say that the gameplay trailer made me genuinely uncomfortable. This is a game with no redeeming qualities.

One of the things that stood out to me is that one of the developers in the Destructive Creations photo is wearing a Black Witchery T-shirt. From what I’ve gathered, Black Witchery is a black metal band from Florida. Black metal as a genre has always been interesting to me. There’s a great documentary called Until the Light Takes Us which covers the origins of the genre and its eventual development. Most people will agree that the second wave of black metal began with the Norwegian band Mayhem. Mayhem was, from 1989 to 1995, the apex of cool in the same way I see Hatred as being. It was the brainchild of guitarist Euronymous, who, much like Destructive Creations is doing, set out to create a band with no redeeming qualities. He had been disgusted with how death metal had developed a sort of ironic acceptance and was no longer considered truly dangerous. Under Euronymous’s direction, Mayhem strove to reject all that was good and acceptable in the world. He deliberately strove for horrible, low-fi recording, poorly tuned instruments, and painfully harsh vocals.

Mayhem’s stage act was beyond unacceptable, thanks to the work of mentally deranged frontmen who would perform grotesque acts of ritual self-mutilation. People were used to seeing this from punk stars like Iggy Pop and GG Allin, but those had become acceptable under the guise of random chaos. The self-harm that Maniac and his more famous successor Dead brought to the table were deliberate and thus far more messy. To add onto the mix, they would surround the stage in barbed wire to prevent fan interaction and mount severed animal heads fresh from the slaughterhouse onto the mic stands. It was a grotesque, repulsive display. And yet, unlike the punks of England and America, Mayhem was entirely sincere in their transgressions. Indeed, Euronymous reveled in the blatant immorality of Mayhem. He celebrated the burning of churches, and when Dead fatally shot himself, Euronymous took pictures and sent pieces of his skull and brains to other bands he deemed worthy. Before Euronymous’s murder in 1993, Mayhem was easily the most evil band in the world, considered so foul that no media outlet would reach out to them.

This made Mayhem cool. It was cutting-edge, LITERALLY. There was nothing like it at the time. It was the most extreme, most insane band in existence. If you wanted to be the most hardcore metalhead, you listened to Mayhem. It didn’t even matter if you liked the music, liking the spectacle was enough. It was aggressive and transgressive, and it showed that you were willing to put up with what others couldn’t.

I see the same thing in Hatred. It’s a vile, disgusting game that does nothing but celebrate the very real murder of innocents. The developers even outright say that Hatred is a rebuttal to the modern, safe, consumer-friendly indie games. It’s a direct assault on the intelligentsia as much as it is an assault on consumerism. And that’s what makes it genuinely cool. To endorse Hatred with sincerity is to brand yourself a supporter of sincere violence, especially violence against women and minorities. It’s a rejection of all that is good in our culture.

Certainly to the average reactionary, Hatred would seem to be a degenerate sort of game that contributes nothing to a healthy society. And yet, that is why it should be endorsed. See, in Until the Light Takes Us, Varg Vikernes says that his peers were less excited about death and destruction that would come with a possible third world war and more about what would come afterwards: the rebuilding of Nordic society this time based on the old, pre-Christian Nordic ways. However, that meant celebrating the collapse of civilization and the sort of destruction that came with it. In that sense, I would argue that Vikernes is right on the money for neoreaction. Our goal, as Moldbug even reminds us in his Gentle Introduction, is to let things take their course and then step in when democracy, Americanism and the modern world ultimately fails. Thus, much like Mayhem was before us, Hatred is the next step towards the inevitable collapse of the modern world. It is intensely nihlist, rejecting all the modern world has to offer. Indeed, the growing popularity of it despite it being public enemy number one for sites like Polygon, is a sign of growing disenfranchisement with the modern world. At present, the game has already been greenlit by Steam users, and will likely be a best-seller (by indie standards).

And certainly, raising dissent is a noble goal- this piece from Henry Dampier on Socialmatter regarding the recent “Black Brunch” protests summarizes what I’m trying to say. The more people are upset, hurt, and miserable, the more that they will begin to feel disenfranchised and frustrated with the modern world. And of course, as I’ve said before, this will push them into the “despair” phase of rampancy. The worse the world gets, the more and more people will realize that progressivism does not work. Even if they endorse classical liberalism or some other alternative to neoreaction, it still undermines the overall social control of the cathedral. The Chinese mandate of heaven makes it very clear that the consent of the people is derived from their happiness. When we take away that happiness, the consent of the people and thus the legitimacy of their ruler vanishes. Certainly, real-world violence is unacceptable. Yet despair? Outrage? Frustration? Those are all important to spread.

Therefore, we can do nothing but praise Hatred, for further rejecting the modern world. While the game most definitely rejects us, what difference does it make? It is only another step to oblivion for our broken, miserable society. It’s certainly a step in the right direction.