Some thoughts, occasioned by this.

If you don’t feel like clicking through right now, the upshot is that people tend to rent cathartic experiences, but own addictive ones. The examples the author uses are movies vs. music. The primary form of movie consumption, he argues, is the rental, but people tend to purchase music (these days, generally individual songs).

One-off freakazoid exceptions like “a new Star Wars movie on opening night” aside, nobody watches movies back to back. Even if you loved it,  you generally wait at least a year or so before you watch it again. It’s the narrative structure that does this, he argues. A movie takes you through the whole arc; it’s a big jolt of catharsis when it’s over, and you need time to recharge your emotional batteries. Honestly, how often do you re-watch the movies in your collection (if you even have one)? For most people, me included, it’s really more of a collection — I have a nice DVD box set of the Godfather films, but that’s because I was, at one point, the kind of guy who liked to think of himself as the kind of guy who owned a nice DVD box set of the Godfather films. I still like the movies, but I haven’t watched them in years. If I’m in the mood for a gangster flick, I’m much likelier to rent one I haven’t seen yet off Amazon than re-watch the ones I already own.

Songs, on the other hand, get replayed a lot. For instance, I know I’m getting a good workout in when the songs on my lifting playlist start repeating. It would be simple to have a constant stream of new music; Spotify etc. have “stations” devoted entirely to exercise, narrowed down by type of workout (stationary bike, weightlifting, etc.). But I’ve never heard of anyone actually using them for that purpose. Everyone I know has their playlist, and though they might tinker with it at the edges, it’s always the same songs, over and over. It’s like a whole series of little dopamine hits. If I get to “Ride the Lighting” the third time, I know I’m killing it… and hearing the song helps get me through that last set.

It’s an interesting theory that makes a lot of intuitive sense. I think it applies to other stuff as well, and is testable against the current unpleasantness.

The Establishment Left, I argue, sees street violence like a movie, in two different senses. The first, less important one is via narcissism. They’re narcissists, which means they see life as movie in which they’re the main character. Street violence, then, is just an action scene against which the hero — them — does heroic things. It’s the second, much more prosaic, sense that’s important here:

The Establishment Left seem to equate “participating in a riot” with “renting a movie.” You and your friends get together, pop some popcorn, drink some brews, topple some statues, hurl some bricks, wow, that was fun… and then back to Redbox it goes, to sit unremarked until it’s swapped out for something else. Rioting is cathartic for orcs of all races, lets ’em blow off a little steam every few years. It’s useful for cowing the Normals, and it’ll never get anywhere near my house, so why not rent one whenever the mood strikes? Lately they’ve grown tired of renting cut-rate “political thrillers” — Russiagate was just All the President’s Men with an all-retard cast — so why not rent Harold and Kumar Burn Down White Castle for a change of pace?

For the actual participants, though, rioting is getting to be a lot like listening to your favorite tunes when you’re working out — not only do you not get tired of it, the replays actually start to jazz you up after a while. It’s not catharsis, it’s addiction — and you own the addiction. The orcs, having gotten so many dopamine hits from being the center of attention, have to keep upping the ante. It’s not Social Justice: The Movie, it’s Social Justice Warrior: The Identity. Big difference, yuuuuuge.

Note that this is true no matter who wins this November. In a way, it’ll actually be worse for the Left if Biden wins. As we’ve remarked, the Establishment is desperate to stay in charge, to remain the star of the movie. If Biden wins, the orcs will be out for blood for real. The Left has to get them back on the leash… and they won’t have the Bad Orange Fascist to do it for them, or to take the blame. It’ll be interesting, to say the least.

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14 thoughts on “Rent-a-Mob

  1. Pickle Rick

    These riots feel a lot more like the Boston riots from 1765 to 1774, rather than your standard Dindu riots.

  2. Codex

    Children. Children want the narrative over and over and over again. It’s why you still know that Oscar’s only ostrich piled an orange owl today… 15 years later.

    The need to repeat the narrative experience, the catharsis, seems to slow down the older they get. I wonder where the tipping point is, and what causes it?

  3. Brit in London

    Ride the Lightning. Good choice.

    I’ve noticed that vastly more people in our thing are into metal versus the general population. At least here in the UK metal fans seem to be roughly 5-10% of the overall population whilst in our thing it seems more like 50%. No idea why this is the case (or even if it holds with you Americans).

    1. Pickle Rick

      Because metal appeals to our general demographic, as older Gen X. There’s a study out somewhere that your musical tastes for life are set almost in stone by age 15. Hence my love for late 80s early 90s metal. Although I’m sort of a middle Xer so 90s alt rock was my college years soundtrack. Oasis, Social Distortion, Rancid…

      1. Severian Post author

        Metal is prevalent in Our Thing for the same reason folks in Our Thing come up with the funniest memes: We’re profoundly alienated from the dominant culture…

        …hey, that gives me a column idea. Stay tuned!

      2. Frip

        One of the main reasons metal fans are so white is metal is about as funky as Al Gore. (“Nu-Metal” changed this in the early 90’s). Traditional metal and thrash drive straight forward with cold heart. Browns and blacks actually can’t process it. Forget about dancing to it, you can’t even tap your foot to it. POC like to smile. They’re warmer than us and like their music warm too. Metal scowels.

        Nu-Metal pioneers Korn gave it some bounce. Some funk. And fragile emotionalism. I partied with those guys once.

        For a good example of trad metals no-nonsence, linear, puppeling forward approach, check out the track “We Rock” by Dio.

        To hear how Nu-Metal lent it some much needed negro bounce, check out Korn’s “Freak on a Leash”

  4. Southern Belle

    In case you haven’t heard of them, check out the Holy Dragons from Kazakhstan…not bad.

  5. james wilson

    Trump raised my middle finger to the deep state, and I was satified with that. Yet by this time he is but an unaware or dimly aware tool for my enemies. Back in that day I knew I was insulting myself by casting my ballot for McCain in order to keep out the Manchurian Candidate. McCain was worse still than I knew. Trump is not McCain, but his pandering and ineptitude over the last year is toxic. Is it not better for the Executive to be in state of outright dementia and the deep state running the deep state without pretentions? Apparently millions of Trump voters agree.

  6. Maus

    OT: 1) I have decided that it no longer makes sense to refer to July 4th as Independence Day. I have reframed it as Sic Semper Tyrannis Day; and the only flag I’ll fly is the Gadsen flag. So, to Sev and the Twenty Readers, I wish you hearty felicitations today as we commemorate 244 years of giving mad George III the fig.
    2) Sev, I see that the website exploring the Meditations has been deleted. This doesn’t come as a surprise. My own suspicion is that few of its intended audience (young men) found the pearls of wisdom. Feel free to ignore my curiosity or tell me to MYOB, but what provoked the actual death blow? Here, you have resumed the commentary, sparkling with wit and insight, that so delights the Twenty Readers. I agree with your white pill, i.e. the Left is devouring itself in a maelstrom of insanity utterly divorced from reality. But I have yet to see an antidote to your previous black pill, which is the reticence of Our Thing to take our righteous anger from cyberspace to meatspace. Indeed, I refrained from appending the salutation “Death to tyrannts!” to my item #1 above precisely to avoid the charge of hypocrisy. As much as I’d love to water the tree of liberty with some sanguinary refreshment, reality intrudes. That task is simply beyond my capacities as a fat, old, sedentary pedant. I am a clerk and not a warrior. My greatest fear is that the season wherein my skills were needed is long past, and the coming winter will outlast me.
    I guess this is a back-handed plea for you to keep faith with those of my ilk. I do not think I am alone in my appreciation for your particular blend of insight and advice. Help us find a way to remain useful despite our limitations. Be well.

  7. MBlanc46

    Tee-Vee Party. Good one. There was a video of a bunch of the fellas distributing large televisions from a container that they’d broken into at one the Chicago railroad yards.

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