Your All-Purpose White Pill

In the comments to the post below, urbando and I were talking about talent being a necessary(ish)-but-not-sufficient condition for making money off one’s art. Which reminds me of the question mooted sometime way back when, about why Rotten Chestnuts isn’t more popular. (I remember it because it was one of the few pieces that got a comment from an actual big leaguer, the Z Man*). The upshot was, there are two interrelated reasons: Even assuming big-league talent (which I’m not assuming, merely stipulating for argument’s sake), in order to break into the big leagues, one must want to break into the big leagues, which generally requires a shtick of some kind.

The easiest shtick to manage in the blog world is “apostate conservative.” The Powers That Be can’t get enough of those, and while there probably aren’t any open roster spots at, say, The Bulwark or The Dispatch — even the slimy Leftwing tech billionaires who fund such things don’t have that much cash to burn — one can, I’m quite certain, get catapulted far past one’s talents simply by putting on the sackcloth and ashes about President Trump. Anybody with any audience at all on this side of the aisle could, with some shameless self-promotion, get a huge traffic bump by turning into a rabid anti-Trump partisan. It’s true, it’s true, we “dissident right” are all scumbags, let me count the ways…

Which is the white pill. If anyone, anywhere, with any profile at all were abandoning Trump, that apostate would be on the news 24/7. I bet famewhores like that middle-aged bint trying to work the “hot librarian” thing on the shout shows — no, not that one, the other one, or maybe the other other one — are kicking themselves right now. They put out for the Twitter mob the first time around, but it’d be so much more lucrative to do so now.

As with blogs, even more so with voters. Where are the voters who are so disgusted with President Trump that they’re compelled to vote for Joe Biden? Since Trump is, we’re informed daily, the most divisive person in the history of ever, there should be lots of those guys, right? To hear the Media tell it, Trump’s got the personal magnetism of Judas Iscariot and the governing skills of Pontius Pilate, or maybe vice versa, but either way he sucks and everybody knows it. Where are all the more-in-sadness-than-in-anger defectors? Shouldn’t they be a dime a dozen? And if they are, wouldn’t they be all over the news?

It’s all horseshit, kameraden. This is not to say Trump’s guaranteed to win, of course — the Democrats’ obvious massive voter fraud campaign being what it is — but all those polls are even worse Liberal wishcasting than they were in 2016. They’re pure fantasy. For God’s sake go vote, two or three times, and bring your friends and family with you. Definitely keep your powder dry. But above all, don’t believe the hype.



*I’m not the star-struck type, but that’s one of the things I appreciate about the Internet — the ability to interact with folks far above you on the food chain. We’ve also gotten comments here from Stacy McCain and John C. Wright, which is cool.

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30 thoughts on “Your All-Purpose White Pill

  1. Pickle Rick

    I’m kind of cool with your popularity level. I, probably like most of the OG Dirty Dozen, read Z, but his increased popularity also means his commenters have declined in quality as they’ve increased in quantity. Our little club here is more personal, as I know (within the limitations of online discourse) who everyone is, at least in terms of where each of us is coming from, in age, professions, geography. I’d rather hear what you few have to say and your opinions on what I say than a few hundred randos.

    1. Severian Post author

      I’m cool with my level of popularity too. Not false modesty; I really don’t want to be big time, even assuming it’s possible, and for those exact reasons (plus personal security, as the time fast approaches when they’ll go all out to identify anyone with profile, who will probably have to shoot a motherfucker or leave the country to stay safe). That said, I’m quite certain that if I wanted a big league audience, I’d have a good chance of doing so IF (and **only** if) I went full out NeverTrump. The Media really IS an anti American conspiracy.

  2. urbando

    Big-time Internet popularity comes with a price, surely. I started reading here when you used to cite the “five regular readers”; maybe about 2014-15 and shortly after discovering Z Man. I’ve never done any social media, so I have no first-hand knowledge of many people’s neurotic need to be heard or “liked”. I hit the “like” button here because it’s still a novelty for me and I certainly do like the posts.

    I read through the comments on Z Man, where I post as seldom as I do here, and agree with you all that the newer breed is less interesting than the classic commenters. That is the potential downside to Rotten Chestnuts becoming too big, as you obviously realize. Your current Gang of 20 (present company excepted) writes pretty astute and cogent material.

    1. Severian Post author

      I don’t think there’s any worry about Rotten Chestnuts getting too big. I don’t know what the traffic numbers are, but these days there’s no way to break though the noise without major, almost obsessive self-promotion, and I’m not about to do that.

      (There is always the lightning in a bottle possibility of something going viral, I guess,but that’s just the nature of the Internet).

      Becoming “big” also almost invariably leads to becoming one-note. Z Man is a real rarity, in that his stuff is almost always fresh without being an Ace of Spades-type “here’s what’s pissing me off today” group effort. I have no idea what Z does to stay fresh, and I sure as hell don’t have the energy to do the other.

      And then there’s the commenters. Z Man has attracted the Heinrich Himmler fan club, and that shit is BORING. I have no patience for them, or any of the other Keyboard Commandos of the 101st Armored Mom’s Basement division. He apparently does, and I assume that helps pay the bills, and I’ll never begrudge a man making a buck… but I don’t have to put up with it. I’ve only had to ban one handle (The idiot troll collective called “Zachriel,” who followed over here from House of Eratosthenes), but the minute I find myself worrying about banning someone because of the impact on our page views, I’m done.

      1. WOPR

        I much prefer the smaller group with fewer comments. I rarely look at the Z-Man’s comment section. Almost like clockwork, one of the first three comments will be about they who must not be named.

        Meanwhile, Ace’s comment section is the local coffee shop hangout for old guys who like to swear, make crude statements, and ogle the teenage girls. When the group thinks that dropping five f-bombs and a crude statement in a comment is the height of poetry, well, banal is a better description.

        I’ll take a comment section that is more interesting.

      2. Rangifer

        Once your hobby becomes a “job” there’s a point at which it’s not fun anymore. I know this from experience…

  3. Frip

    I think it’s bullshit. Sev should be way bigger. I wouldn’t want to see the comment section go 400+ bonkers everyday like some blogs. Where it’s just a bunch of guys exchanging in-joke one-liners all day. But it’d be cool if there were around 70 comments per post. If I were Sev’s manager I’d make him join popular podcasts and YouTube discussions. He’d have to make a better effort. It’s not about selling out or needing a schtick. Get real. There’s a secret Joe Strummer in Sev who wants to play Shea Stadium, so he did, and there was nothing wrong with it. The Clash’s music stayed true on that stage and so would Sev. If I were his manager I’d be like Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder yelling at that Asian gang. Except I’d be yelling at Severian, “Listen you mopy prick you’ve got RamZPaul at 7AM. You’ve got a group discussion on Morgoth’s Review with Keith Woods at 10. You will show up. You will attain your due exposure. You need it. The D-Right needs it. You WILL blow up. I’m talking scorched earth motherfcker!”

    1. Severian Post author

      All excellent ideas, but I’m way too lazy for all that. And too much of a dilettante.

      I had a chance to write a sports column for a local “underground” student rag back in the days. I thought it would be cool, until I realized I’d have to do it every damn day. There are only so many ways to ask the QB if maybe he shouldn’t have thrown that interception, and while I really liked the idea of interviewing volleyball players, that would mean I’d have to actually study up on volleyball. I’d have been bored stiff.

      Blogging – the kind that pays the bills, anyway – is either entertainment or art. Either way, it seems you have to have a personality that cranks up past 11… and stays there. Constantly. Mine only goes up to about 6, which is why I am, and shall remain, a gentleman hobbyist.

      1. Frip

        Your posts have the energy of a man on fire. But somehow you’re lazy? And the artist vs. entertainer thing has been gone over for 300 years now. No one cares about the distinction anymore. Whatever.

        1. Severian Post author

          I’m like a lion – they sleep 23 hours a day, but go all out to do what they have to. I love my big flat rock in the sun too much to do YouTube and podcasts and all that other bullshit. I write when I feel like it, and that’s the way I like it.

      2. BadThinker

        I have heard that “interviewing” female volleyball players is an excellent pastime. Something about volleyball attracts a good mix of attainable ladies for the average guy. But you’d also have to deal with Softball, Lacrosse, and the travesty of Women’s Soccer.

        1. Severian Post author

          That was definitely a factor. I honestly wouldn’t have minded the softball players. Not all lesbians are freakazoid political junkies. Some of them really just want to be dudes – drink beer, belch, and rustle tail. That sort tends to play softball, and I’ve always gotten on well with them. (I’ll crack a brew with anyone whose first priority is drinking said brew).

          1. Pickle Rick

            My podunk college was a perennial sports punching bag except for women’s water polo and men’s baseball. My one roommate was the sports reporter for the school paper, and my other roommate was a wide receiver (he was White) so we went to the other student sports pretty regularly. The women’s rugby club was terrifying, naturally, and the water polo team had a giantess we called “Goro”- after the Mortal Kombat character.

  4. BadThinker

    As for the topic at hand – there was something on ZeroHedge the other day about one of the quants looking at voter registration numbers in the battleground states and seeing massive shifts toward the Republican party. Which is very good news for trump, and very bad news for the pollsters.

    1. Severian Post author

      As in 2016, I look at behavior. My town was festooned with signs for loony democrats all during primary season… I’ve seen maybe five Biden signs total. Trump draws huge crowds, in person and virtually. There are huge rallies for him that he doesn’t attend. He **and his people** are cool as cucumbers — the latter is especially important, as by now they surely know they’ll be shanked in prison if he loses. If Biden was actually rolling, they’d be preparing to flee the country.

      The Dems, on the other hand, are in full blown freak out mode. Biden is campaigning in states Clinton won handily, I’ve heard. His people look desperate, like Hillary’s did at this point in 2016.

      Voter fraud is what it is, and that’s terrifying, but those polls are pure fantasy.

  5. ganderson

    “Meanwhile, Ace’s comment section is the local coffee shop hangout for old guys who like to swear, make crude statements, and ogle the teenage girls. “

    That’s me, pretty much, although I’ve never commented over there.

    I like the site and the commenters here, and since I am ( was, anyway) connected to secondary ed and tangentially to college, I’m interested in Severian’s takes.

    And female volleyball players are quite attractive- I’d argue that the women’s lax teams are the hottest- at least that’s been my experience.

    1. Severian Post author

      Yeah, Ace definitely has that “Frat boys of Yesteryear” vibe to it. Over here we’re an odd, self selected bunch. The topics pull a certain kind of reader, which builds a certain kind of community. We’re like Spinal Tap – our appeal has gotten more selective.

  6. prm

    Given the recent music discussions, it’s rather like the cool band whose gigs were great in small venues but lost something vital when they went big league. Now I know that sounds like the purest pretentious artwank but having followed a few bands here in that there London that did alright, it really was the case that it wasn’t as much fun when they got bigger. (And I don’t begrudge them, none of that ew-they-sold-out horseshit, and good luck to ’em.)
    There are a few blogs where I read the comments, and look forward to reading them. David Thompson’s blog is one. This is another. Zman was OK but became too (((parenthetic))) amongst other things. And I can read some blogs I like that also do that (((bollocks))) but only if it’s obvious when the (((SECRITRULRS))) cut’n’paste comes out and you can zip past the linkorrhea.

    1. regeddy

      Yes – bands that are just starting out tend to be very good (at least compared to what they are like after they become popular) – they are doing their own style without pandering to the masses (the masses have no taste and only like very bland music) – I know Sev has a low opinion of Prog rock but early efforts by Prog Rock bands is very good (like GENESIS, YES, and ELP) – once a band becomes popular their material is by definition going to go to hell since the masses like only very simplistic music).

      1. Severian Post author

        I say that, but I like the more “mainstream,” Roger Waters-era Pink Floyd. I can appreciate that Rush had their moments, though the singer sounds like a cat getting waterboarded. Both of those acts could entertain when they wanted to, as could Genesis, YES, and the rest of them.

        In general I’m just anti-pretentiousness. If you’re going to do something self-consciously “arty,” you’d better have a damn good reason. I’ll give Erich Maria Remarque a pass for the present tense in All Quiet on the Western Front — he was trying to convey the immediacy of war. But unless you are Erich Maria Remarque, and have the shell shock and trench foot to do prove it, present-tense writing is pretentious bullshit art wank that ruins an otherwise good book (e.g. Don Winslow’s The Force, which would’ve been a neat little cop thriller but for that).

  7. Southern Belle

    I also prefer a small group of interesting people whether it be blog posters, classrooms, or dinner parties. Music is another example as prm points out. Here I did volunteer work with the chamber music society. It was in the beginning an intimate group of amazing musicians and they gave concerts in historic homes where attendees got to know each other. Sometimes they even did free, spontaneous concerts in a church. But no more. People moved to town who thought they could do better. So now they play Carnegie Hall, venues in Europe, and make political statements. They abandoned those who supported them.

    In my white privilege neighborhood the Biden signs are out but not as many as I would have thought. There are no Trump signs. However, large American flags have popped up everywhere. This must be code for Trump.

    1. Severian Post author

      I don’t doubt it. Flags and NRA stickers. I don’t put out my Trump stuff, because I don’t want the inevitable harassment from my kind, tolerant, open-minded neighbors who reject hate and are all about civility, but I take pains to advertise the fact that I’m armed. Flags are a pretty good tell, but if I’m unsure about someone, I ask if they know any good places to buy ammunition, since, you know, it’s hunting season (I am not a hunter).

      1. MBlanc46

        Severian: Whenever I see one of those “Hate Has No Home Here” signs, I know hate has a home there. They hate me.

  8. texinole

    Random zeitgeist posts interspersed with historical analysis, all of which is humorous and interesting? Wish I’d found this place years ago.

    That your references to literature and historical figures reminds me that I’m an uneducated troglodyte is a bonus. Humility is important.

    1. Severian Post author

      Don’t sell yourself short! Remember that I’m a professional, and since I never went up for tenure I tried to actually learn about the eras I studied, so I read some of their books, listened to their music, etc. (as opposed to the tenure track method, which is to “research” all the ways everyone who isn’t 100% in line with this second’s SJW catechism was evil).

    2. The Kaigat Of Wands

      I don’t think a proper education has existed for at least 40 years, on the non-science side anyway. When it did, its greatest value was in teaching people to educate themselves and it sounds as though you know that, so no need to be too humble. I still remember my final exam modern history paper from 1975 – a 3-hour hand-written essay, no books or other assistance, subject “Discuss the French Revolution”. Can you imagine trying that on a modern student today, anywhere?

  9. MBlanc46

    If you wanted to try for the big time, a possible path would be to become a regular commenter at iSteve, with the Website thingy linking to here. I’m pretty sure that would draw some traffic here.

    1. Severian Post author

      I don’t want to, and Sailer annoys me. He’s got lots of interesting stuff, but I hear he’s a Branch Covidian, and I know (((parentheses))) get his knickers in a twist, and words cannot express how much those two things weary me.

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