Category Archives: Literature

Watch “The Velvet Underground – New Age (Full-Length Version)” on YouTube

I had written a blurb about why this song is here, but it must have gotten lost in posting. The Velvets have been a long time favorite; _Loaded_ is my favorite LP of theirs. It may indeed be their best one. As it played over the headphones earlier, I remembered that I’d meant to write something about “New Age” and its lines about the fat actress being “over the hill” and “looking for love” for two reasons:

One, their relevance to the Manosphere. Others have written at length about the 30 and 40-something women who squandered their earlier years on throwaway relationships and decided to “look for the one” after realizing they didn’t want to end up as cat ladies.

Two, the song came out in 1970, making Lou Reed’s lines eerily prescient. As I mentioned on 80 Proof Oinomancy’s most recent post, we in the ‘sphere and elsewhere have much to gain from studying music and literature. The truth is out there. Enjoy the slow burning melodies and the cynical lyrics…


Finished Civilization: The West and the Rest

Quality read. I’d finished this a while ago and hadn’t gotten around to posting about it yet.

Glad I read it in Korea. The six killer apps are indeed insightful for explaining why the West succeeded over the Rest.

One point stuck out: Japan copied everything Western in the 1800s and Korea’s doing much the same thing now. Koreans work like Americans and buy like 3 Americas. They work hard, they drink hard, they build, they build, and build some more.

Stand tall and be her leader

Be certain,” Catelyn told her son, “or go home and take up that wooden sword again. You cannot afford to be indecisive in front of men like Roose Bolton or Rickard Karstark. Make no mistake, Robb–these are your bannermen, not your friends. You named yourself battle commander. Command.”

— Lady Catelyn to her son Robb Stark in A Game of Thrones (531)

…nor can a man afford to be indecisive in front of his girlfriend, his students, or anyone, really. It’s incumbent on him to take the lead and drive things forward, whether it be the relationship, the lesson, the battle, or the Honda Accord. Being able to make a choice and stand by it is what separates the metaphorical men from the boys here. Hemming and hawing does a man no favors.

When I walk into the classroom, I need to know the lesson plan because if I don’t, the students won’t know what to do and they’ll grow wary of my authority. Students have a way of knowing whether someone’s confident or not. Women do too. Dannyfrom504 recently wrote in which he said that although most women want a man to take control, a sharp distinction stands between being dominant and being dictatorial.  In other words, dominant is authoritative and dictator is authoritarian: “Here’s what’s going to happen” vs “My way or the highway, bitch.”

The key idea here’s to make a choice and stand by it. If my girlfriend asks me, “Where do you want to go for dinner?”, she’s asking me to choose for us. A lot of guys make the mistake of thinking that they should choose something she likes*, but as Danny showed, when she asks you, it’s about you and what you’d like. When girlfriend was over last night and asked, “Do you know what you’d like for dinner?” I thought for a second and said, “Fish.” We proceeded to go to the food fish place in town and enjoyed a quality spread. In the past, I would think, “Is this the right choice? Is she going to like it? What if she doesn’t?” Such thoughts are poisonous because they leading down the paralyzing road of self-doubt. Do your best to keep those thoughts out of mind and move forward.

Here’s the Wipers and their anthem “Up Front.” Greg Sage’s line “I can’t stick around while you try to decide” is an all-time favorite.

It’s got to be up front…I can’t stick around while you try to decide

Rock on…

*In other words, you’re not a mind reader. How she’s acting can provide plenty of clues about what’s inside her head, but nobody’s perfect.

** Related songs:

Husker Du’s “Indecision Time”

Go to the left, go to the right
Your mind is going to keep you up all night
You twist in your sleep, grabbing the sheets, sweating to death

Rush’s “Free Will”

If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

Excellent song, not so excellent way to be in a relationship.

Of flatterers and fools (Part 1)

“I am surrounded by flatterers and fools. It can drive a man to madness, Ned. Half of them don’t dare tell me the truth and the other half can’t find it.”
— King Robert Baratheon to Lord Eddard Stark in Game of Thrones. (47)

King Robert was talking about the travails of kinging, but we’d do well to consider its connections to dating and the ‘Sphere.

Men have the flattery of “you’re awesome and you’ll find someone like you if you’d just stop looking” or “You’re such a great guy, but…” and the foolishness of “Be nice, be yourself.”

Women get the flattery of a constant barrage of “Hey girl, you’re beautiful” from the likes of Jezabel and sniveling dudes as well as the foolishness of those same dudes not knowing what to do after she says, “Yes” to being the girlfriend.

This post will look at the women and the flattering and/or foolish men surrounding them. The Erudite Knight recently noted a girl on his work crew getting 50 likes for an Instagram photo and now pointless actions get rewarded:

So think about this for a moment…this girl is fucking REARED on her stupid decisions (like putting your face on the internet) gets her REWARDED with dopamine fixes and tells her mind that at least 50 people (probably 48 of them were guys) ‘like’ her for this dumb shit.

I’m betting that the majority of those “likes” were from guys eager to kiss her ass. If it’s anything like Facebook (and judging from my limited experience with Instagram, it is), it’s one round of “Wow, you’re beautiful” after another. It doesn’t matter whether the girl is beautiful or not–telling her that will not set a man apart. He’ll be just like the rest of the pack. The girl won’t be better off either because she either already knows she’s beautiful or she’ll have already moved on to the next round of attention whoring. Or both.

Let’s put this another way. I recently talked with Adonia about dating, and she related the following from her days on MySpace and from her dating experiences. She lays it down here:

I received tons of messages and friend request from men telling me how gorgeous, hot, beautiful and attractive I was. My self esteem was at low at the time…

I do get uncomfortable when men keep asking me to give them my number so we could go out in a date. Some of these men were very aggressive about it which made me super uncomfortable. They wanted to meet me in person after I return a friendly reply when they messages me first. They also wanted to video chat with me.

If a man compliments me on my hair, smile, hobbies and personality, I enjoy it. You don’t want to say: DAMN GIRL, you’re FINE or HOT or even SEXY as your way to impressed her. Sure I like to be called Sexy once in awhile but when you see how they say that to every ghetto trash there is, it has no meaning.

[The man who became her fiancé] had given me an friendly yet appropriate message that wasn’t about my looks. A month later, we started to date and the story of our relationship continue.

He wasn’t aggressive. What threw me off with a lot of guys and I went to him is, he didn’t constantly ask for my number, he gives me time, he didn’t keep asking me when he’s going to meet me or see me, or do I want him as a boyfriend? I was honest to each and every single guy and [and told them] that I just got off from a serious relationship, and my heart got broken and that I need more time. They say: Oh that’s cool then within a few minutes asked me have I changed my mind and wanted to start dating them? Yeah…they lost big time.

I remember this one guy who lived right by me keeps asking me to meet him at the Park near our way. I told him, I’m not too comfortable and rather be around with a lot more people. He told me he is anti social and being around other people makes him uncomfortable. RED FUCKING FLAG.

I think both men and women (well some from both sexes) do not know how to court or even don’t know what is considered bullshit vs genuine compliments. Girls get their head inflated when guys tell them: DAMN girl you ‘is’ fine/sexy/hot! Those kinds of guys are not even worth my time or day but obviously since they are so desperate, they are willing to get any type of attention from a guy. [Emphasis mine]

Flatterers and fools, people. Flatterers and fools. To summarize:

The flatterers thought an incessant barrage of “You’re sexy” and “You’re awesome” would get them the girl and the fools either pushed too hard or didn’t listen to her. Let’s also note her perceptive point about compliments: They are okay if they are genuine, as in “Wow, you must really know your music because of your large record collection” or “That dress really brings out your eyes.” Compliments like “Wow, you’re sexy,” are more or less meaningless because they aren’t specific enough and can be said to anybody.**

And the fools? Let’s start and end it with the “anti-social” guy. What a great way to shoot to shoot yourself in the foot and label yourself undateable and crazy. Perhaps he meant that he didn’t like crowds, but even so, a man has to make adjustments when he’s dating. I don’t like crowds that much either, but sometimes they’ve got to be braved. So it goes!

The idea of “being surrounded by flatterers and fools” will continue in a future post about how it applies to Korea. I’ve noted many young Korean guys will fall all over themselves in trying to compliment the girl and it makes me cringe every time. Until then, I’ll leave off with this: “Don’t be like other guys.”

*For you teachers out there, this kind of connection is called “Text to world.” There is also “text to self” and “text to text.”

** Carnegie noted as much in How to Win Friends and Influence People. Moreover, what I said about genuine vs. fake compliments/praise comes directly from my teacher ed classes. Praise the action, not the individual. There’s a world of difference between “I like how you phrased that journal entry–good use of the word prominent” vs “Your journal entries are amazing.”


Read and finished Fight Club last week

Excellent read. Coming as it did after The Fountainhead and The Help, Fight Club provided a welcome change of pace. Chuck Palahniuk’s debut novel has the quintessential unreliable narrator and its laconic phrasing packs a punch into virtually every sentence.

Much has been said about Tyler Durden and how he exhorted men to become more than their jobs and their bank accounts, but something else worth considering is that the novel came out around the time when The Joy Luck Cub and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, a fact that Palahniuk notes in his Afterword. He mentions them because he saw Fight Club as a male counterpoint to those two novels about women being together. Indeed, having reread The Joy Luck Club earlier this year, I can see his point. Both were about sharing yourself and learning from your past, but Fight Club happens to hit harder.* This young man relates more to the story of Tyler Durden and its themes of self-destruction and self-improvement.

* This is not meant to take away from The Joy Luck Club‘s good qualities. Amy Tan’s novel has a more sophisticated structure than Palahniuk’s. Tan’s multiple narratives and voices blend together to vividly illustrate how geography, culture, and language shape mothers and daughters. Fight Club, on the other hand, could take place in any US thanks to its Everyman narrator and anonymous buildings.

Fountainhead notes: Cheating

[Spoilers ahead]

Peter Keating’s a beaten man because he never listened to his own voice. He only did what others told him to do.

He approaches Roark and asks him to do the plans for a project. The project is huge. It’s a government job and many architects have tried and failed to get the commission. Keating heard of it through Toohey and instead of trying to do the project himself, he instead goes to Roark to do it. He asks Roark to do it for him because Keating has no ideas of his own. Roark agrees, but lays down exactly why even though he’ll receive none of the credit, Roark will have achieved a greater thing than Keating. Keating will have done nothing more than carry out his plans. People will think Keating did it, but the truth is that he didn’t, and Keating must live with knowing he didn’t do the things people say he did.

The passage illustrates why cheating never gets anyone ahead: It robs someone of accomplishing something on his own. As Roark explains to Keating, “You’ll get everything society can give a man,” but Roark will get something that comes only from within a person in knowing that he did the project. Society has plenty of rewards to confer, but it can never give the feeling of accomplishing something on one’s own. Keating comes to understand and notes that yes, Roark will receive the greater award. Of course Roark will. Roark’s the one who won’t have to lie to himself, for he’ll have been the one who drew the plans and will have ultimately built the project. He wins in the end and Keating knows it.

To recap: Roark and Keating’s exchange shows cheating’s detrimental effects: It allows people to take credit for things they never did and robs them the satisfaction of accomplishment.

Rand’s message of cheating isn’t anything groundbreaking, but she does show in vivid detail exactly how it works and how it only hurts the people doing it. There’s the saying about cheaters never winning, and they usually don’t in the end. To connect The Fountainhead to Korea, the Konglish word for cheating (ie, the word the students know as cheating) is cunning. How this happened, I don’t know, but it’s an interesting change, especially when cheating translates perfectly into the Korean pronunciation: Chi-ting. (치팅) Cheating and school are major issues over here thanks to parents’ crazed ambitions to send little Min-su to Seoul National University. It’s the Harvard of Korea, a venerable institution. Students will go quite far to get there, for entering those universities essentially guarantees employment for life. And if the cheaters succeed in getting there, they’ll only have cheated themselves in the end because they didn’t actually work to get there.

I’ll be posting more about The Fountainhead in the future.

I finished The Fountainhead

[Spoilers ahoy]

…and now know what all the fuss is about. While long, the book justifies its length by offering extensive studies in power and motivation. It’s as much the story of Roark and individualism as it is about Toohey and his power-building. I’ll be posting more notes about the book in the following days. It has given me plenty to think about.

As a prelude to the upcoming posts:

The guys in the old punk group Code of Honor may not have liked Roark, but they certainly identified with his worldview. Witness their song “Code of Honor” and its lyrics about being “your own advisor” and keeping “your own counsel.” Did Roark do both of those things? You bet. Did he maintain that his “self determination and his honor are more important than [his] immediate life”? Considering that he dynamites the building–his building– that Keating and co botched and stands trial for it, yes. He staked his reputation on everything he built and never once tried to justify himself. Him and political punkers have plenty in common. More to come later.