Authenticity

Fair warning: These are disjointed thoughts about cultural stuff, written, like all my recent posts, while brutally sleep deprived.  Make of them what you will.

Let’s start with an anti-Trump cheap shot from Stacy McCain’s blog sidekick Smitty:

I sure would like to know how many other core leaders in Trump’s campaign cut their teeth working for the Commies. I don’t know the lady–her support could be sincere. Or not.

Because, you see, adults aren’t allowed to change their minds.  Oh, maybe they can follow fashion, but not on big important stuff.  Ronald Reagan certainly never did.

Behold Authenticity, the signature modern mental pathology.  When, exactly, are we supposed to pick our Forever Selves?  Is it not at least possible that this woman had an epiphany?  Maybe she made a trip to Damascus in the last four years?

The problem is that, back in the Sixties, way too many impressionable young folk read The Catcher in the Rye and decided that “phoniness” is “crumby.”  Then they all went into teaching, and made Catcher assigned reading in their English classes, and before long the mantra of every teenage social reject in America became “Authenticity is Everything.”  I’m not saying Smitty was a teenage social reject; he seems pretty cool to me.  But that’s the point — because those rejects became English teachers themselves, lo, even unto the third generation, “Authenticity” has seeped into the water supply, and lots of people nowadays find it impossible to grok that someone can look one way and actually be another way.

Which, if you think about it, is one of the organizing dogmas of Cultural Marxism.  I’ve written about this before (rather inelegantly) — Leftists long for a legible world.  Which makes sense — in my experience, folks who are further out to the political left tend to be further along on the autism spectrum.  They need nice, bright-line distinctions in order to function.  A woman who is pro-life scrambles their circuits, as does a small-government black, a sedate homosexual, and so forth.

The problem is, though, this is almost exclusively a SWPL preoccupation (has anyone ever met an autistic minority, or even an autistic something-other-than-upper-middle-class?).  Since there are no clear markers with which to differentiate themselves, they have to make up all these bullshit micro-identities, which they then police with an Inquisitorial zeal that would make Torquemada blush….

… and now the Right is doing it, too.  Again, no knock on Smitty specifically (although that was a cheap shot, dude); I’m mainly talking about stuff like this.  And this.  In short, what the “Game” community is devolving into.

All that stuff, Left and Right, is toxic, because it’s a desperate quest for external Authenticity.

It’ll probably help to consider at a relatively benign version first.  So, let’s look at this fucking hipster.  This is nothing but a quest for external validation, since hipsters don’t stand for anything.  Problem is, it’s fairly easy to fake, which is why the people in those photos are forever trying to out-extreme each other — I could grow a tiny mustache, put on a peacoat and a longshoreman’s cap, and achieve exactly the same result vis-a-vis Society as this douchebag:

tumblr_l7tc0zKvbb1qzzhzdo1_540So it goes with the “Right” version, the Pick-Up Artist:

pick-up-artist

They have their party uniform and their specialist lingo.  Just as hipsters can argue over who likes the most obscure band for hours, commenters on “Game” sites can devote thousands of words to the arcana of pickup and “the socio-sexual hierarchy.”  Is Megan Fox an HB10, or just a 9.5?  Was Hamlet a gamma male, or a sigma?

The point, if you’re tempted to miss it (because real PUA’s don’t dress like that anymore, bro), is that the style is the substance, and vice versa.  It’s next to impossible to verify that the PUA really has bagged all those women, just as for all we know, Pizza Tat up there really listens to Taylor Swift (unironically).  With a quick trip to the dime store, a half-hour at a tattoo parlor, and a bit of research, you can convince even members of your chosen subculture that you are what you say you are.  Nothing that flimsy can be satisfying for long.

Which is what happened to Roosh V.  “Game’s” fundamental problem is that once the hedonistic rush of getting laid wears off, it’s self-defeating — it’s not “the real you” getting laid, it’s the Game, and the Game can be taught to anybody.  Roosh realized this, and his “neomasculinity” crusade is an attempt to find a real, enduring identity — internal Authenticity.  You can still dress and act like a PUA if you want to — if you just want the image — but there’s an ideology behind it.

The problem is that the ideology actually isn’t an ideology.  It’s purely negative.  Read Roosh’s neomasculinity manifesto.  There are about three sentences on what a neomasculine man IS, and 10,000 on what he’s not.  Not an SJW.  Not a pussy.  Not deluded by politicized “science.”  He doesn’t fall for “the narrative,” and he doesn’t conform to feminized social norms.  Etc.  This, too, is all external Authenticity.

It’s also quintessentially Fascist.  I’m quite serious.  I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face, and send all four of our readers over to Daily Kos for a breath of fresh air: Fascism is a totality.  State, Economy, Society, and Culture are all one — “all within the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.”  But since we don’t know what Fascism is anymore, we think it’s Jew-hating, or aggressive nationalism, or “intolerance.”

That’s wrong.  It’s culture — the State will reorder Society, via the Economy, for the benefit of a very specific kind of Culture.  You could take a Hitler speech, replace “Jew” with “feminist,” and nobody on the Alt-Right could tell the difference.

Again, the validation is all external.  Fascist Man is defined by his enemies in the same way hipsters and Progressives are.  Fascist Man measures himself in reference to an ideal, and the ideal is always negative — not weak, not decadent, not bamboozled by pretty lies, not gonna take it anymore, and not — NOT — conservative.  It’s an alternate religion based on external Authenticity, just like Progressivism.

Proof?  It’s simple.  Browse through “red pill” writings, and note how much of it still boils down to “do this, and you’ll get hotter girls.”

3 thoughts on “Authenticity

  1. The problem is that, back in the Sixties, way too many impressionable young folk read The Catcher in the Rye and decided that “phoniness” is “crumby.” Then they all went into teaching, and made Catcher assigned reading in their English classes, and before long the mantra of every teenage social reject in America became “Authenticity is Everything.” I’m not saying Smitty was a teenage social reject; he seems pretty cool to me. But that’s the point — because those rejects became English teachers themselves, lo, even unto the third generation, “Authenticity” has seeped into the water supply, and lots of people nowadays find it impossible to grok that someone can look one way and actually be another way.

    Time to quote John Derbyshire! (who starts by quoting Jonathan Steinberg, Professor of Modern European History at the University of Pennsylvania)

    “Here I speak from personal experience. I was an American who lived for nearly forty years in England.

    It may help here if we introduce J. Steinberg’s double equation for explaining Anglo-American misunderstanding. It works like this.

    • In England the best thing you can be is amusing or clever, and the worst is tiresome or a bore.
    • In America the best thing you can be is sincere or genuine; the worst is a phony.

    If you put those values together, what you get is:

    • English amusing or clever equals American phony, and
    • American sincere equals English bore.

    This really works. I’ve tried it for years and I know it works. It’s really been road-tested.”

    I’ve taken it out for a spin myself a few times, and Prof. Steinberg nails it. The Englishman cherished by his friends for charm and wit can come across to Americans as a frivolous phony; the American revered by his friends as a paragon of wisdom and morality strikes Englishmen as a smug bore.

    (probably why there’s no englishmen hanging around here, they find us all smug bores)

    Will comment further on stuff later.

    • Makes sense. Sincerity and authenticity are important in frontier cultures like America. They’re also very hard to fake — if you’re not authentically and sincerely cut out for the frontier, you’ll be scalped and your family will starve to death. England hasn’t been a frontier for a thousand years or so, which favors a whole different style.

      (You can see echoes of this in American literature. Ever have to read one of those tedious rich-people-problem novels in high school? Henry James or A Separate Peace or The Bell Jar or, yes, The Catcher in the Rye? Gee, golly, life sure is tough at posh boarding schools, but don’t worry — you and the other Senators can have a good laugh about it down at the club twenty years from now. There’s a reason the Boston elite were called “Brahmins” and they were all raging Anglophiles — having been frontier-less for 150 years, they had to emphasize wit and charm rather than authenticity and sincerity. Which is why the rest of America hated them, and those novels are so unreadable today].

  2. “Fascist Man measures himself in reference to an ideal, and the ideal is always negative — not weak, not decadent, not bamboozled by pretty lies, not gonna take it anymore, and not — NOT — conservative. It’s an alternate religion based on external Authenticity, just like Progressivism.”

    We’re living in a real Hall of Mirrors these days. Language, or perhaps just understanding, is so corrupt that all important terms need to be defined anew.

    Fascism abhors the individual and his prerogatives . Whether it’s red pill or blue pill Fascism doesn’t matter; a lot of people will be crushed beneath the grindstone when it arrives. People may even switch the color of their pill in order to participate in the purge.

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