|Not an uncommon sight where I work.|
Public Domain Image c/o Wiki Commons
Until my dear sweet significant other got a dog, I had no idea why people brought these puppies into the building. But Misha explained to me that dogs have to be "socialized" to be able to function in situations where people and other dogs are present. This is only possible during a very short "window of opportunity" when they are quite young. If it doesn't happen, the dogs will never be comfortable around other dogs or people, and this will manifest itself either in extreme fear or aggression. Just by way of an example, her best friend---who is a professional dog trainer---has a German Shepherd ("Karbon") that was never socialized around other dogs and will basically kill any other dog on sight. (It's a wonderful dog---but in some ways it is sorta like a pygmy tyrannosaur.) As I see it, being properly socialized as a puppy is an intrinsic element in the "fate" of a dog. If it is raised like Karbon, it will never be able to interact with other canines.
What has this got to do with people? Well, I have a intuition that humans also have a limited opportunity to "socialize" when they are young. If a child doesn't get a chance to learn how to interact with others, it will struggle with those relationships for the rest of his life. Please note, I wrote "struggle with", not "will be incapable of ever". Human beings are not dogs. We have higher level reasoning than dogs, which means that we are capable of learning very complex social behaviours in later stages of life. Moreover, we have access to a very rich cultural inheritance, which allows us to learn from the experiences of others through art, literature, philosophy, social science, therapy, and, dialogue with other people.
What got me thinking about all of this was the recent sad incident where a young man was so angry about his frustration with women that he drove a rented van down a busy street in Toronto---killing and injuring 26 people, mostly women. After the event, people mentioned that he had made the following statement on social media before heading out for the attack:
Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!Reading this short statement it's important to understand that the guy, is using a very rich set of coded language, which includes the following terms:
- Supreme Gentleman
- Elliot Rodger
|Not really all that awful an image, eh?|
And, as you might imagine---teenage boys et al---there are also naked pictures of women too. Most of this seems pretty harmless, but there is one "board" that is a little different: "Politically Incorrect". I pulled it up and in a very short time saw the words "kike", "faggot", and, "nigga" being thrown around. There's also an shout out for Siege magazine---proclaimed as being "proudly Judenfrei since 1933".
Yup, "politically incorrect" is right.
This doesn't really surprise me all that much. Young, very intelligent young men who feel somewhat alienated from society get enjoyment from shocking other people. I know that I did at one time. I still do once in a great while. This isn't just something that men do---women too. I know my significant other sometimes gets so angry about the way the world treats her (Dao knows she has a right to be pissed), that she goes on long rants about "the penis". I try to just listen patiently. She directs all this at me, which I've learned doesn't mean that she is angry with me---just that she feels safe and comfortable enough to say it in my presence. And I've repeatedly told her to vent away---that's part of being in a relationship.
In fact, I recently watched a really intense comedy show on Netflix by Ali Wong that bases a lot of its jokes on shocking audiences (using very crude language) about how awful it is to be a woman in a sexist world. (The trailer is quite mellow compared to most of the show.)
So it is possible to dismiss all this idiotic racist and misogynistic talk as just being "humour".
And indeed, a great deal of the time people dismiss this as not being much more than ironic. Indeed, when I was young I can remember reading National Lampoon---which was filled with what would today be considered incredibly sexist
|This is far from the most offense thing|
that I saw in National Lampoon, but
you get the idea. Fair use.
The problem with this, among other things, is that it creates camouflage for real racists and sexists. The thing about symbols and language is that the same image, word, or, story can mean very different things to different people. In the example of the old cartoon I described above there can be three different reactions.
First, it is going to act as a "barrier" towards the entry of people who would be critical of the culture that is on display in social media groups like 4Chan "politically incorrect". Anyone who has direct experience of racism and how awful it is in people's lives is not going to want to spend any time there. Nor are any people who have absorbed a superficial antagonism towards it through some sort of ideological standpoint (these are the SJW types that sometimes really do deserve ridicule for wearing their "grooviness" like a badge---which is known as "virtue signalling".) By using racist language and posting overtly racist images (or sexist, homophobic, etc), the site keeps out enough people who might find all this stuff juvenile and offensive that it creates a "safe space" where people can indulge in this talk without being reprimanded.
Secondly, it can serve as a way of "desensitizing" or "coarsening" people's reaction to racist images and ideas. This is probably the core reason why a whole type of humour that was very common in my childhood has disappeared. There were lots and lots of jokes about Poles, Jews, Newfies, etc, when I was young. Indeed, broadly drawn racial caricatures were part of some very famous, serious movies. Take a look at this clip from the otherwise excellent movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's".
Just as the kids of the 60s shocked their parents with promiscuity, long hair and rock’n’roll, so too do the alt-right’s young meme brigades shock older generations with outrageous caricatures, from the Jewish “Shlomo Shekelburg” to “Remove Kebab,” an internet in-joke about the Bosnian genocide. These caricatures are often spliced together with Millennial pop culture references, from old 4chan memes like pepe the frog, to anime and My Little Pony references.
Are they actually bigots? No more than death metal devotees in the 80s were actually Satanists. For them, it’s simply a means to fluster their grandparents. Currently, the Grandfather-in-Chief is Republican consultant Rick Wilson, who attracted the attention of this group on Twitter after attacking them as “childless single men who jerk off to anime.”
The way they describe becoming aware of this "fact" is by "choosing the 'black pill'". The image comes from the movie "The Matrix" where the hero has to choose between two metaphors: a "red pill" that means he understands that the world around him is a comfortable illusion masking a dark truth; or; the "blue pill" that would allow him to give in to the illusion and forget that the possibility that it could all be an illusion. For incels, the black pill is the personal realization that they are failures who have totally lost the genetic arms race for sex.
There is data out there that suggests that 80% of the women on Tinder are only interested in 20% of the men. This attraction is based on physical appearance---which is to be expected when all they have to go on is a photo on a cell phone app. The black pill argument then goes on to say that this means that sexual inequality is actually worse in modern American than economic inequality.
|This image originally came off a Web page called|
"Tinder Experiments II", used under fair use provision.
These successful men who have lots "hits" on Tinder (and presumably lots of sex too) are known as "Chads". The incels find themselves in the situation where the overwhelming majority of women that they might have sex with are chasing the 20% of the population that are Chads---which freezes them out of the market.
(Of course this is analysis is insane because it is based on the data that comes from a particularly skewed sample---people who date based exclusively on the basis of looks. In effect, this is how the very limited pool of very shallow, looks-obsessed people select a mate. It really says nothing at all about how the vast majority of couples end up together. I wouldn't be surprised if not a single person who reads this blog has ever used Tinder---and I suspect that lots haven't even heard of it.)
We are not isolated, atomic individuals who get to pick and choose what ideas we live our lives around. To a very large extent we are instead created by the ideas we are exposed to. That's because we are eusocial animals---like termites, bees, and, ants. Only instead of being controlled by chemical signals that send us off in search of food for the colony, we exchange memes (self-replicating fragments of culture) that influence our behaviour. The fellow who drove the rented van down the sidewalk in Toronto wasn't some crazed Richard the Third character who "choose to make good his evil, and evil his good", instead he was an individual with "issues" who was influenced by a dysfunctional minority culture to the point of committing mass murder. In this, he was not any different from the guy who walked into a Quebec mosque with a gun and shot a bunch of people, or, the fellows who hi-jacked airplanes and flew them into the World Trade Centre. All of these people immersed themselves in a weird subculture that created a new way of looking at the world that convinced them that killing a lot of people "just made sense" and was actually "heroic".
This is the point that needs to be emphasized. Our society labours under an idiotic macro-culture that says that each of us is an individual, atomic, Cartesian individual who has the ability to consciously and rationally choose their actions according to our "free will". I understand why it has yet to give up this absurd fantasy: our criminal justice and dominant religious culture is built on this assumption. But if we really want to understand why crazy shit like this keeps happening, we need to give up this childish idea and start understanding the ancient idea of "fate". People are controlled by the experiences that mold and shape the way their minds operate---including the strange subcultures that are emerging from the Internet. And, if we want to really curb this sort of nutty behaviour, we need to encourage social science to look at these subcultures and develop mechanisms to vaccinate people against these crazy ideas. One suggestion I that comes to my mind would be to teach children critical thinking skills from an early age instead of teaching them to "shut up and do what they are told"---which was certainly the subtext of everything I learned in primary school, and, church. Another one would be to encourage our leaders to stop babbling on about "evil" whenever some outrage occurs, and instead encourage debate about how these things really do come about.
Lest people think I'm reading too much into all of this. Consider the following quotes. There is this guy named Jordan Peterson, who is one of the highest paid YouTube personalities on the Web. He also has a best-selling book titled 12 Rules for Life: an Antidote to Chaos. He was recently profiled by the New York Times, where he explained the problem that led to the recent mass killing in Toronto:
Peterson has taken some criticism for this statement, which he explains by saying that he isn't talking about laws, "just" social pressure. You know, like employers refusing to hire women, doctors refusing to give women access to birth control, schools refusing to allow girls to take "men's courses"---stuff like that. The sort of things that people did when I was young, and which the nasty state has outlawed because of politically correct types having too much influence on society.“He was angry at God because women were rejecting him,” Mr. Peterson says of the Toronto killer. “The cure for that is enforced monogamy. That’s actually why monogamy emerges.”Mr. Peterson does not pause when he says this. Enforced monogamy is, to him, simply a rational solution. Otherwise women will all only go for the most high-status men, he explains, and that couldn’t make either gender happy in the end.“Half the men fail,” he says, meaning that they don’t procreate. “And no one cares about the men who fail.”I laugh, because it is absurd.“You’re laughing about them,” he says, giving me a disappointed look. “That’s because you’re female.”
|Jordan Peterson wants you ladies to marry someone---or else!|
photo by Adam Jacobs, c/o Wiki Commons