Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Omega Man


Time to write about a very uncomfortable subject that is also not anywhere close to my own area of expertise. A lot of people will be inclined to give this post an un-charitable reading, which is inevitable, so before you explode with rage, realize that A) I know I'm not any kind of an expert, and B) I might be saying something more nuanced than you think I'm saying. You'll probably explode in rage anyway, and I preemptively apologize for raising your blood pressure. I also apologize for the blatant heteronormativity of this post.

Anyway.

It seems to me that a big problem in the world consists of angry young men doing aggressive things. One example of this is terrorism. Another is online intimidation and harassment of women, like we've seen with #GamerGate. Another is random outbursts of violent crime. I don't know why young men are so much more prone to aggression than other groups - most people just wave their hands and say "testosterone", while I tend to just shrug and say "whatever". But anyway, it's a fact, and pretty much everyone knows it.

One thing I have sort of noticed, however - and here we leave the realm of well-established fact and enter the realm of Noah Talking Out of His Digestive Tract - is that when young men feel like they can't get sex, they tend to feel angry and resentful toward the world. Actually, I've noticed that women, when they feel like they can't get sex, also seem to feel unhappy and grumpy. But since young men tend to be more aggressive than their female counterparts (see previous paragraph), the frustration that comes from feeling like one isn't able to get sex seems often to translate into aggression in men, but far more rarely in women.

Note that I say "feel like they can't get sex" instead of "can't get sex", because from what I've seen, nearly anyone is able to get sex if they want. They may not be able to easily get sex with a partner whose quality - attractiveness, purity, status, hair color, whatever - they deem acceptable. But pretty much anyone can get sex. (As a half-crazed drug-addled hippie once told me in a Stanford co-op, "There's all this sex out there, and we don't even realize it!")

But basically, there are a whole lot of young guys out there who feel like they just can't get laid. They're wrong - totally, ludicrously wrong. But they really do feel that way. In current internet slang, these people are called "incels", which is short for "involuntary celibates." Whether this is an apt descriptor depends heavily on your definition of "voluntary," since incorrect beliefs still have power.

Why do these young men feel like they're incapable of getting laid? I have a conjecture - and here we wander dangerously into the realm of pseudoscience, but still, I have a conjecture. My guess is that these men feel that they have low social status, and that this makes them either 1) not attractive, or 2) not deserving of sex. In fact, this could be unconscious - some men seem to tacitly think of themselves as low-status men, and this gives them a general pessimism about their ability to succeed in any social interaction, be it friendship, sex, or business. These beliefs might have been solidified by being bullied as kids - I don't know.

Anyway, these men seem to fit into a social niche that is well-observed in some primate societies - the omega male. Of course, this term has already been incorporated into internet slang (sometimes confused with "beta male"), but like any scientific concept, it has been mutated, misapplied, overapplied, etc. Still, I think the concept is a useful one. In a college course (HAHAHAHAHA...OK now that we've got that out of our system), I learned that in some primate societies, gangs of omega males engage in violence toward females, while the big tough alpha males and their beta male lieutenants try to protect the females and chase off the attacking omegas. I don't know about you, but that image sort of reminds me of #GamerGate.

One interesting question is whether the angry young omega-males are angry because they are sexually frustrated, or whether their lack of sex is simply a signal that seems to remind them that they are low-status. I'm not sure about this - probably both.

So to sum up: There seem to be a lot of young men out there who are angry because they think they can't get laid, and who think they can't get laid because they think of themselves as low-status. And because of this, these men sometimes do aggressive things, alone or in groups, toward women.

Next question: What do we, as a society, do about this problem?

One idea I've seen some of these angry young men suggest - including in long, unsolicited emails to Yours Truly - is to turn women back into pieces of property, and then distribute them evenly to men via a restored norm of traditional patriarchy, possibly enforced by church-state cooperation and mass shaming. Needless to say, I think this idea is total and utter shit, and would be total and utter shit even if it had a hope in Hell of working, which incidentally it would not. In fact, when I hear this idea, I sort of have the urge to take whoever suggested it and pitch him off a cliff into a tar pit, but I guess that just shows that I, myself, still have traces of angry-young-man-itude.

A better solution, I think, is the elephant seal solution.

When I discussed the issue of omega males with Brad DeLong on Twitter the other day, he pointed out that "ω-bull elephant seals hang out at edge of beach & try 2 look attractive—don’t hate on elephant seal cows & chase them off". I don't know if elephant seals actually do this, but I also don't care that much, because everything I've seen in life tells me that this is a good solution for human omegas.

In other words, the resentful, angry, frustrated young men simply need to realize that they are plenty attractive, and that getting sex is really not that much of a problem once you actually go out and try to do it.

In theory, this is what PUA culture is supposed to do - turn "incels" into ladies' men. At first blush, this seems like the perfect solution - teach men how to be attractive to women! Just imagine a world in which all the lonely, under-confident dorky guys suddenly become confident, socially adept men who knew how to be the object of women's desires!

Unfortunately, the PUA movement doesn't seem to have accomplished this societal transformation. Why? Well, one reason is that although many PUA movement leaders, like Erik von Markovik, try to spread the (good) message that any man can be attractive if he just tries - an example of what Carol Dweck would call a "growth mindset" - other members of the subculture propagate the idea that only natural "alpha" males can ever succeed at the attraction game. In other words, these people (no, I'm not going to name names) have reinforced the omegas' insecurity about their own social status and sexual prospects, instead of alleviating it.

Other reasons include A) the fact that practicing being attractive goes against many people's religious and/or traditional values, and B) the fact that even well-intentioned PUA gurus like von Markovik are speaking mainly from their own experience, which - though impressive in scope - simply doesn't work for everyone. As a result of all these factors, many of the omegas resent the PUA subculture just as much as they resent women.

So basically, what I think we need is some new way of getting omegas to stop worrying about their supposedly low social status and learn how to go out and attract women instead of harassing and attacking them. We should teach the angry young human males to take a page from the book of the (alleged) sexy young elephant seal males. The goal is not just for them to get laid (though that's an important human activity), but for them to feel more confident, more worthwhile as mates, and less obsessed with social status.

Of course, I don't know how to accomplish that. But I think this is where our society needs to go. Angry young have to learn how to be attractive, but more than that, they have to learn that they're worthy of being attractive - that their low social status is a self-inflicted figment of their imagination.

Because the alternative method of dealing with the angry omegas is to keep having the alphas - i.e., the cops - continue throwing them off cliffs into tar pits when they get too violent. That solution works, but I wish there were a better way.

Anyway, once again, let me remind you that I don't claim to have any sort of expertise or special insight on this matter.

111 comments:

  1. Yeah maybe they need to get laid.

    Maybe they're past saving as Hitchens wrote of "Rage Boy":

    "It's impossible to satisfy "Rage Boy" and his ilk. It's stupid to try."

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2007/06/look_forward_to_anger.html

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  2. One of the biggest problems is men who think they are doing what it takes to be attractive--"I'm always a gentleman" sort of thinking--but women aren't providing them with sex. A lot of the anger seems to be associated with young men thinking the world should work like a video game, where you may have to grind for a while but as long as you do the small, generic list of things that makes you attractive you will "win" sex. In other words, they put on outward trappings to attract women while still viewing them as objects rather than subjects.

    A lot of young men have not adjusted to the fact that part of what makes men attractive to women in the 21st century is men treating women respectfully even when the men get disappointed over and over. It's hard for a lot of men to wrap their minds around desiring sex without treating women as sex objects, and I'm not sure the elephant seals have a solution to it.

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    1. Does it really matter if they see women as objects to be won in this regard? All human (animal, really) behavior, moral or otherwise, is predicated on a relationship between effort and reward. If you work at something for an extended period and are met with nothing but disappointment, frustration and anger is the biologically determined result. Out of dopamine, out of time, and out of ideas.

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    2. Behavioralist social science is a bit too 1960s for my tastes.

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    3. Effort is a non-sequitor here though - Noah's delineation between feeling like you can't get sex vs. can't get sex is probably better expressed as "can't get the sex you feel you deserve" vs. "can't get sex". Treating women as objects is hardwired into the endeavor; this means that getting laid isn't actually a solution.

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    4. I'm on a dating site and if a guy says 'I know how to treat you like a lady', that's a warning sign to me. To me it means that they have a definite idea of what a 'lady' should be and who better act like they think a 'lady' should act. I don't even engage these guys because I want someone who treats me like a person.

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    5. @norman: This isn't fashion or canned food, cognitive neuroscience doesn't have a stale date.

      @mcsokrates: If not effort, then what? I make efforts to get a job, make friends, establish intimacy, etc… Sex, even in its raw form, is not really different on a cognitive level.

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    6. Anonymous5:53 AM

      part of what makes men attractive to women in the 21st century is men treating women respectfully even when the men get disappointed over and over

      Norman, were your gonads removed pre- or post-puberty ?

      It's simply impossible to be a red-blooded male and buy into that bullsh*t.

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    7. Tiercelet2:12 PM

      "A lot of young men have not adjusted to the fact that part of what makes men attractive to women in the 21st century is men treating women respectfully even when the men get disappointed over and over."
      vs.
      "It's simply impossible to be a red-blooded male and buy into that bullsh*t."

      You are both completely wrong.

      Someone who's actually nice treats women respectfully *because it's important to treat other people with respect*, because that's what grown-ups and actual nice people do. Their role as potential sexual partners is irrelevant to this. Whether this makes a man attractive to any particular woman is also irrelevant (not to mention indeterminate, since women are shockingly not all the same).

      I don't go through life being disappointed over and over that every person I treat respectfully doesn't reward me with sex--I mean I treat my dry cleaner with respect...--and I'd have serious concerns about anyone who was. Because basic respect isn't something you should expect to be rewarded for. It's part of your basic obligations as a member of society.

      Any person who fails to see the merit of treating strangers well despite their shocking refusal to immediately provide rewards, sexual or otherwise, is not a "red-blooded male", but an entitled jerkwad.

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  3. You have the causation backwards. The omegas aren't angry because they can't get sex, they can't get sex because they are angry.

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    1. Not so much. It starts with shame at being low status which breeds isolation leading to anger. At that point it becomes a positive feedback loop of celibacy-anger, wash, rinse, repeat. Recall the relationship between height and success - it's height at age 16 that correlates.

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    2. Any evidence to suggest that they have low status and feel shame chronologically before the anger issues? What do you suggest causes the initial low status (or perception thereof)?

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    3. Anonymous6:50 PM

      'The omegas aren't angry because they can't get sex, they can't get sex because they are angry.' How do you know this? Are you sure it isn't just 'just world' bias talking? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-world_hypothesis) What's certainly true is that not all men who are angry about not getting sex express the awful, toxic misogyny of these 'gamer gate' folk, so they don't really have much excuse either way.

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    4. @Norman: Events in the formative years: height, awkwardness, late puberty, the stuff we all experience, inflict, or observe until about age 16.

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    5. You're exactly right a thousand times. Nothing is a bigger turn off to a woman than an angry dude with a chip on his shoulder. (Well one of a few things.) You can be confident and attractive without being a prototypical Alpha/Jock/Bro/Whatever. The fact that everyone is arguing with this only proves they have no clue what they are talking about.

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  4. It is probably naive to think social status is self inflicted though it is possible to step away from the status game. It is probably also naive to think they just need to try harder as their aggressiveness indicates they already try harder. Practices like polygamy worsen this as does increasing equality of women as inequality has made it more necessary to attend to status even as their own increases. Stepping away from the game or playing it better are their own options but don't expect those to satisfy.

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  5. Absalon may be right, but there is only one way to know for sure . Noah, you're a prof, get a grant and hire me as an RA. we can do an RCT with escorts and omega males.

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    1. You'll need to partner with an institution in a legal prostitution jurisdiction to get past IRB.

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  6. Anonymous6:24 PM

    It should be pointed out that a number of women have also supported #gamergate. Where do they fit into your model?

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    1. Since Noah is trying to account for omega male aggression against women in general, rather than gamergate specifically, I'm guessing they don't.

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    2. The "chill girls" aren't threatening to mass murder people who attend feminist critics' speaking engagements, though, you know?

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  7. On the one hand you've kinda-sorta identified a real problem - some men can't get laid, are very angry about it, and may lash out in anger. I'm surprised you didn't mention Elliot Rodgers, the most famous example of an incel in mainstream culture.

    But you're ignorant subcultures that aren't your own. #Gamergate doesn't consist of incels attacking women. It consists of nerds who feel like they're being dissed by the mainstream media. The harassment faced by women like Sarmeesian is unfortunate but not unusual. Everyone who participates in internet discourse - liberal or conservative - receives death threats and rape threats and bomb threats galore. Right-wing anti-video-game activist Jack Thompson got them. Many of the #gamergate people are getting them. You won't hear about this because it doesn't fit the Blue Tribe narrative of mean men attacking helpless women:

    http://techcrunch.com/2014/09/25/gamergate-an-issue-with-2-sides/

    And what part of the PUA subculture says that only 'naturals' can get laid?! The whole point of the subculture is that you can mimic (and eventually adopt) the attitudes and mannerisms of alpha males to attract women. Citation needed.

    Finally, why do you doubt the incels when they say they can't get laid? In every era there exists a significant number of men who will not have sex. By one estimate, for every 100 women who pass on their genes there are only 30 men who do. Sultans have harems; homeless men masturbate in an alley.

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/sep/24/women-men-dna-human-gene-pool

    It's certainly true that if shy men tried hard enough, they'd eventually have sex. And if fat people tried hard enough, they'd lose weight. And if unemployed people tried hard enough, they'd get a job. Sometimes "hard" means "prohibitively hard". You're a relatively thin, able-bodied white male who I presume wasn't overly shy about hitting on women. It's unwarranted for you to dismiss their experiences based on your own.

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    1. I did link to a story about Rodgers, and also to the PUAhate site that he frequented, so his case was definitely on my mind.

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    2. Anonymous6:36 PM

      " It consists of nerds who feel like they're being dissed by the mainstream media attacking women"

      (FTFY)

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    3. D'oh! I missed a paragraph. Consider my objections to your characterisation of the PUA subculture withdrawn. The rest stands.

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  8. Getting laid misses the point. For one, having a lot of sex can reinforce misogyny. More importantly, by making sex the cure to young males' rage, you unintentionally make women a sex object, a trophy to be won, something to exert control over.

    But you're right on how it's about social status. Gamer Gaters want to feel valued. After decades of being marginalized, of bending to society's will, of being boxed in as pimple ridden, greasy haired, basement dwelling losers, who wouldn't want to feel valued? But the gaming industry is huge. Gamers are having their moment. And with that, outsiders like women are going to play more video games. That means they're going to criticize an exclusive boys' club which has been stuck in its ways for decades.

    That's a bucket of cold water for gamers. For decades they've been told they're losers, but now they're finding out there are groups which are marginalized even worse than they are. What's more, women, who were thought to be unattainable, are one of those groups.

    What we're seeing is the equivalent of a teenager who thinks he has the worst life ever finding out that other people have it worse than him. That those who he thought couldn't have a worry in the world are not only are dealing with harder things than not getting laid, but that they're dealing with it better than he is. But rather than empathizing with others, he's standing his ground and being a reckless, violent piece of shit.

    Why would anyone want to give someone like that any sort of social status? You can't form a respectful human relationship when you lack respect for that other person. Zoe Quinn, who Gamer Gaters targeted from the beginning, expressed surprise on Twitter today when she convinced a GG'er to drop his shit. Everyone said hell had froze over. He is ready to become a better person. As unsatisfying as it, everyone else has to work through their shit on their own. Maybe by talking to other people, maybe by seeing a therapist, but not by trying to get laid.

    As a side note, I think you're a bit too kind to PUAs. They definitely fill the much needed market of convincing men that being "good with women" isn't inherent, but they wrap up what's an inherently misogynistic ideology (women are to be gamed) in Tucker Max DudeBro Third Wave Feminism and Eastern Philosophy ("Women say 'no' in front of their friends to not seem like sluts all the time, so you gotta live in the NOW, and ignore that 'no'!").

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    1. Getting laid misses the point. For one, having a lot of sex can reinforce misogyny. More importantly, by making sex the cure to young males' rage, you unintentionally make women a sex object, a trophy to be won, something to exert control over.

      The cure is not just sex - it's the feeling of being attractive, and also the feeling of being cared about and loved (though most young men would not want to put it in those terms).

      Saying that angry young men need sexual relationships is not making women into any kind of object or trophy. Those relationships are a basic human need. Men need to learn how to get those relationships in a positive, healthy way. That's all. No objectification involved.

      As a side note, I think you're a bit too kind to PUAs. They definitely fill the much needed market of convincing men that being "good with women" isn't inherent, but they wrap up what's an inherently misogynistic ideology (women are to be gamed) in Tucker Max DudeBro Third Wave Feminism and Eastern Philosophy ("Women say 'no' in front of their friends to not seem like sluts all the time, so you gotta live in the NOW, and ignore that 'no'!").

      The PUA community is large and diverse, and though I haven't delved deeply into it, I've read the writings of some of the early people (e.g. Erik von Markovik) and of some of the later people, and that's enough for me to realize that there are a lot of different things going on under the same banner. I like the idea of men learning to be attractive. I don't like the idea of men dominating or degrading women. Although some (not all) of the PUA people think you need the latter in order to accomplish the former, others don't seem to think so, and I definitely don't think you do.

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  9. @Anonymous - I think you meant to say "dissed by the mainstream media for attacking women."

    Yes, this is part of it. They're annoyed for the same reason Muslims get annoyed when the media tars them all as terrorists for the actions of a handful of extremists.

    But it precedes that. Sarkeesian should not be facing death or rape threats for her videos. But the mainstream media completely ignores the content of these videos. She keeps putting out stuff that is rubbish. You need to be special kind of incompetent person to do this. After all, games and comics really do have a lot sexism in them. Here's a list of sexist tropes, organised by nerds for nerds:

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DoubleStandard

    But because she's an outsider who does not enjoy games, Sarkeesian keep making embarrassingly bad critiques:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuRSaLZidWI

    This nonsense is nonetheless lapped up by the mainstream media and presented as evidence that games and gamers are misogynists. This annoys them.

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    1. Anonymous7:29 PM

      Nice try, but there are not two sides to "Sarkeesian should not be facing death or rape threats for her videos." So, you might try actually condemning said terrorism rather than justifying it. Just, you know, so you don't "get annoyed" in the future.

      You see, when people make the critique that "there is an ugly undercurrent of misogyny in the #GamerGate movement" and then a) said ugly undercurrent rears its head in the form of death threats and b) useful idiots like yourself downplay the ugly undercurrent, it kind of proves the critics point.

      And while I'm dispensing advice, a pro-tip: "embarrassingly bad critiques" != "things I disagree with". Gamers are in fact probably the least able to judge critiques of gaming as an art form, in the same way that Democrats are the least able to judge critiques of the Democratic Party (ditto for Republicans) - self-criticism about a central part of your identity is hard.

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    2. I'm gonna ignore your condescension, and focus on your substantial claims.

      Firstly, I'm not with gamergate. I don't like them. Their politics annoys and bores me. I *understand* them. That's what I bring to this particular table.

      Secondly, the entire thing is becoming an ugly focus issue. Gamergate wants to focus on the bad critiques. Opponents want to focus on the harassment. They're talking part each other. The idea that presenting the gamergate view is tantamount to condoning threats of violence is some seriously fucked up with-us-or-against-us shit.

      Thirdly, any standard that you can use to say "there's an undercurrent of misogyny in gamergate" can be deployed to claim that "there's an undercurrent of misandry in feminism" or "there's an undercurrent of violence in Islam". It's a stupid statement. Of course there are misogynistic gamergaters, man hating feminists and violent Muslims. But it's ludicrous to extrapolate from extremists to the core.

      Finally, regarding your last point, I'm not a gamer. I've played two video games in five years. My specialty is actually gender and economics. And I've seen a lot of good critiques of sexism in the media. Enough to recognize bad critiques when I see them. And someone who says that a game is compels players to kill scantily clad women even though the game punishes them for the action is an idiot. It's not that I disagree with her; she's objectively bad at something that's hard to be bad at.

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    3. Damien8:02 AM

      "Gamergate wants to focus on the bad critiques. Opponents want to focus on the harassment. "

      But that's because the two are inseparable. GamerGate didn't start out as a polite discussion of journalist ethics and of whether it's appropriate to criticize video games. It all started when some jerk decided to get revenge on his ex by posting slanderous messages on his blog. Then it became a way for frustrated young white men (yeah, #notyourshield, yada yada) to express their frustration at how evil women and "social justice warriors" were ruining videogames by suggesting that, shocker, there may be *sexism* in videogames. Impossible. If male-dominated cultures were prone to sexism, we would have known it be now.

      Seriously. Misogyny is the ONLY thing that the different manifestations of GamerGate have in common. What's the connection between Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian, who have both been targeted by the GamerGate people, except that they're women who are perceived as "ruining video games"?

      "And someone who says that a game is compels players to kill scantily clad women even though the game punishes them for the action is an idiot"

      This tells me that you're just repeating the dishonest criticism of people like thunderf00t. She never claims in her video that people are forced to kill women. In fact, she says the very opposite and that the choice is often left to the player. But, whatever you do, women are still treated as objects and background decoration. The fact that in Hitman you can kill them if you want to and that you're only penalized if you leave the bodies in plain sight is just an added bonus. And she acknowledges that there are penalties, but also that they're trivial. Seriously, that's dishonest criticism at its worst.

      Basically, you've taken a set of 30 minute videos that repeatedly show how AAA video games sexualize and objectivy women, dead or alive, and focused on a 30 second segment to conclude that the person making the videos is an idiot. Because it's much easier than explaining why she's wrong.

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  10. This ignores the explicitly political aspects of this rage. Being enraged about a lack if status and control over women, is a political problem, and the gamergate people are very clear about this, hence the attack on "social justice warriors". Head over to /pol on 8chan, ground zero for gamergate, it is very heavy into far right politics like the dark enlightenment and "the dark enlightenment".

    What's needed to combat this is a political movement, basically a mass feminist movement. Only when feminist values become wide spread will we stop seeing young men who think they are owed sex.

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  11. Wow. This comment is a prime example of how people can force every issue into their framework. Gamergate becomes an incel movement. "We can't have sex with women" becomes "we can't control women". And the solution to the problem is whatever ideology you subscribed to before stumbling onto this issue.

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  12. The cops are not alphas.

    Another Note: Research shows that getting these Low Skilled young men (Omega) to breed at 18-19 increases their earnings over lifetime. Women however do better to wait until 23-24...

    So we probably need to encourage the gals graduating from community college to grab themselves at randy high-school graduate, sex him up, get hitched, and run his life.

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    1. So we probably need to encourage the gals graduating from community college to grab themselves at randy high-school graduate, sex him up, get hitched, and run his life.

      Morgan, welcome back to my comment section.

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  13. Have to start off by saying that (as has been pointed out already) suggesting that we somehow arrange more sex for these young men objectifies women and is thoroughly objectionable. The PUA movement seems to me to be based almost entirely on objectification and manipulation, and seeing that (or something like it) offered as a solution is disappointing.

    However, the general point that repressed young men fuel social unrest is sound, and we do have a responsibility to think about how to tackle that issue. The first and most obvious plank is probably changing the culture surrounding mental health - men, particularly young men, are traditionally incapable of understanding, communicating, or managing their emotions. I think that's basically a cultural phenomenon, and changing it is just about changing how we talk about that kind of thing as a society.

    Talking about it probably isn't the only solution though. I don't have a fully thought-out suggestion to hand, but I'm reminded of Jonathan Chait's article about football last week (http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/10/what-liberals-get-wrong-about-football.html). He makes a very convincing argument for football's ability to offer young men an outlet for their aggression that simultaneously forces them to learn how to manage it, while also providing them with many other positive development opportunities. I'm not entirely sold on the idea that football achieves this (or at least, that it does so without also causing other, worse outcomes), but the principle is worth further thought - and certainly more valuable than suggesting we figure out how to get them all laid..

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    1. I think you're right about men & the communication/management of emotions in our culture. Any group activity (football for example) is helpful. People, but especially men, need practice working together and communicating.

      In the Department of If I Knew Then What I Know Now: If I'd known how to treat females (the ones I was attracted to!) as friends when I was young I would have had much more sex...

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  14. Noah, normally I really appreciate your social insights, but I really can't get behind this in any way.

    I can't accept this Alpha, Beta, Omega social construct you're positing. I can't really see it applying in any meaningful way to my own life.

    In my own social circle, my friends and I are all on relatively even playing field, we never try to jostle or humiliate each other to increase our own social status. Even among my larger social network such as my extended family and school mates, some people may be closer to each other than some, but there's by no means a strict hierarchy. Even in my high school (the most notoriously hierarchical institution), there was hardly what I would call a rigid class structure. People would hang out with the people who they shared common bonds with, church goers with church goers, football player with football players, punks with punks, but it never really felt like one group was assumed to be better than the other. There were no Alphas, there were no Omegas.

    I also feel a bit offended frankly by the assumption that there is some sort of causal relationship with being a young, virgin, man and violent outbursts. I'm a 21 year old man who's never even kissed a girl and who, yes, "feels like he can't get sex". But I'm also a fairly well adjusted, kind, and thoughtful human being. I try to be polite and conscientious with strangers, kind and caring towards my friends and family, and I honestly can't remember the last time I've done something cruel, violent, or even just mean because I was angry. Most of my friends similarly aren't out there getting laid every night, but to my knowledge they're similarly well adjusted.

    I'd also like to note that just because I haven't had sex, doesn't mean I feel as though I have some particularly "low social status". As I've said, I think the entire idea is bullshit. I have family and friends who like me well enough, there's nothing else to care about.

    Maybe I'm biased and maybe my life is aberrant in some way and not representative of most others (kind of doubt it), but ultimately I can't buy into any of this. There might be some kind of exogenous factor encouraging violence in some young men, but I don't think you've managed to isolate it.
    Noah, normally I really appreciate your social insights, but I really can't get behind this in any way.

    I can't accept this Alpha, Beta, Omega social construct you're positing. I can't really see it applying in any meaningful way to my own life.

    In my own social circle, my friends and I are all on relatively even playing field, we never try to jostle or humiliate each other to increase our own social status. Even among my larger social network such as my extended family and school mates, some people may be closer to each other than some, but there's by no means a strict hierarchy. Even in my high school (the most notoriously hierarchical institution), there was hardly what I would call a rigid class structure. People would hang out with the people who they shared common bonds with, church goers with church goers, football player with football players, punks with punks, but it never really felt like one group was assumed to be better than the other. There were no Alphas, there were no Omegas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh, sorry, ignore those last 15 lines. I don't know how I fucked it up.

      Delete
    2. Well, I mean, obviously what I was talking about in the post doesn't apply to everybody. I don't even know what percent of people it applies to.

      Delete
    3. I think you covered your answer with the comment "I feel well adjusted". None of the omega commentary would apply to you on that ground.

      However, the problem is to come up with a framework to help people who don't feel well adjusted (in particular, those who feel unadjusted in their reality vs expectation of sexuality and life goals more generally).

      Having gone through such a phase (not that most people would notice since I'm generally courteous and happy, but the occasional joke would suggest otherwise), I did find that finally getting laid (in my later twenties) did solve a lot of problems. I then found, as noah points out, sex isn't the issue: Being loved is.

      How does one get that? I dunno. I just kind of grew into it. Thank god for online dating to get the social aspects of approaching women out of the way though.

      Delete
    4. Tiercelet10:00 PM

      Sky, congrats on hopefully being the grounded, sane person that you present yourself as here. (I mean that sincerely--what you wrote, if you mean it, reflects a lot of maturity.)

      The "alpha, beta, omega" thing, when applied to humans, is a crock. It originated in a description of wolves. It turns out it's not even a very good description of wolves--it's only a decent description when they're in captivity in unnatural social structures.

      The real deciding factor in all of this is the massive sense of entitlement on the part of the soi-disant "omegas." Who they're sleeping with doesn't matter, what their actual status in society is doesn't matter; what matters is that they think they're entitled to much more than they have and they want the world to give it to them, or alternatively, just pay.

      We have lots of ways to help people who don't feel well adjusted start to get over their exaggerated senses of entitlement--but people mostly have to self-select into therapy, and like everything else nowadays, it's getting pretty crappified.

      It would be really nice if the entitled young men with leisure time on their hands recognized that there's a lot that actually is really massive injustice in our world and decided to help fight it. The problem is that their entitlement keeps them distracted from actually making a better world--in large part because being engaged in that way would challenge their self-narratives of martyrdom and being put-upon, would require acknowledging the level of privilege that comes with being a young man in a society that valorizes youth and masculinity, and the relative luxury of having time on one's hands.

      Honestly, more important than them getting laid would be having a healthier way to experience belonging and earned leadership. Ideally a (non-dehumanizing) job, or progressively responsible membership in a community organization. Unfortunately, jobs and community are not things our society has prioritized providing any more, in large part due to those various massive injustices, but the serpent eats its own tail don't ya know...

      Delete
  15. Bill Ellis10:45 PM

    Noah...How dare you use your own personal blog to shoot from the hip just to explore an idea ? On top of that you invite your readers to join in on the exploration ?
    What kind of monster are you ?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Bill Ellis11:13 PM

    Noah...Make friends with a cross cultural anthropologist.

    It would be interesting to contrast and compare different societies sexual mores and levels of violence in young men. Do nations with more egalitarian booty distribution have less violent young men ?

    Off the top of my head I'm thinking of a Denmark/ USA comparison.

    I have no idea what The Danes sexual mores are like...But I do know that they have one of the best sex ed programs in the world . Besides being super informed about contraception, contraception is super easy to get.

    I don't have to tell you how awful our approach to sex is in general.

    Could a well done sex ed program create more healthy attitude about sex in general making it easier for young men to believe that they can get laid ?

    Politically it would be a hard sell. What America needs is more money for sex ed so more young men can get laid !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's cool. I should ask Guan Yang, he's Danish...

      Delete
    2. Noah

      Have a look at the Spies (big Danish vacation tour company) campaign to encourage vacations: "Do It For Denmark". Watch the video. Read the sub-titles.

      http://www.spies.dk/do-it-for-denmark

      Delete
    3. Anonymous7:14 AM

      Tangentially, RooshV, who is one of the more repugnantly misogynistic PuA types out there and whose comments are a petri dish for all kinds of virulent misogyny including Gamergate, wrote a petulant little tome called "Don't Bang Denmark" detailing how he couldn't get laid there.

      I haven't read it obviously, just laughed really hard at knowing it exists. But the Internet informs me that his complaint was that Danish women were too independent, didn't see themselves as socially inferior to men or dependent on them, so none of his manipulative/coercive bullshit worked.

      I'm sure the percentage of women who could so much as touch RooshV's arm without instinctively wiping their hands on their skirt afterwards is low in any culture, but the fact that it was so low in Denmark he couldn't even lie about getting laid is something different. I do think that's (thin, but amusing) evidence of a different, much healthier sexual culture.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous12:37 PM

      From what I recall, he did get laid, but didn't enjoy it since he couldn't use his normal tricks and had pretend to be somewhat of a decent human being.

      It seems like he enjoys playing mindgames with women more than he enjoys actually having sex.

      Delete
  17. Bill Ellis11:15 PM

    oops left a word out. "I don't have to tell you how awful our approach to ED sex is in general."

    but the first way was not wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  18. edarniw1:23 AM

    Is it really the Omegas that are behind the various acts of aggression and violence toward women? Don't get me wrong, I think there's a lot of pent up anger and resentment there. And it does present itself in certain forms. But are the Omegas the ones behind most of the rape cases, burglaries, and domestic abuse cases?

    I don't think so. I don't think the NFL problems come from Omegas who resent not getting women...

    In fact, I'd venture to guess that most of the violent and serious crimes committed are by young men *that are having sex*. But I could be wrong. It's a hypothesis that would be worth testing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I think there's a lot of that too. I don't mean to say that the omegas are the only group of violent men...

      Delete
  19. Well I preemtively explode in rage at your sexism. Huge abnormally gigantic levels of testosterone cause me to note the cruelty of bringing up the blood pressure problem we type A alpha males often have.

    Also kid, you just gotta understand that the word "young" has a powerful effect the uh differently aged. Young men, who have been young for over half a century, such as myself, will do anything to seem young (well except for tattoos and piercings).

    After my typical, youthful, hotheaded outburst, I will actually read the post.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Noah Smith: "The goal is not just for them to get laid (though that's an important human activity), but for them to feel more confident, more worthwhile as mates, and less obsessed with social status. Of course, I don't know how to accomplish that."

    Next to the cultural changes already mentioned above, large inequality and low social mobility would be obvious reasons to be mentioned at an economics blog. Does your claim not to know how to accomplish that, mean that you do not believe these economic/cultural factors are important (while they surely do not explain everything)?

    ReplyDelete
  21. OK seriously we got a rooster and egg problem here. Does not getting laid drive omega males crazy, or do women notice that they* are crazy and avoid getting in bed with them ? Drug addled hippy beats guy one bad mood away from a homicide.

    * I may be an psi male, but I am Not an omega male.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous12:44 PM

      I'm not sure it's the latter. I've seen many women lust after or date crazy, angry, unbalanced men who happen to be good looking and outwardly confident.

      Delete
  22. Anonymous8:31 AM

    My solution: Virtual Girlfriends!
    Better Virtual Girlfriends could teach young men social skills.
    A bad girlfriend is worse than no girlfriend at all.

    Can we get past the expectation that not all children are cut out to get married and produce grandchildren? We finally are getting around to the idea that homosexuality is mostly biological and it is OK to be gay.
    It is also OK to be not very interested sex with others.
    Maybe teaching young males not ready for more intense social interactions that enjoying themselves is OK would be an even better strategy.

    Random Thoughts
    The News tend to focus on young males behavior badly because they are exceptions not the rule. One berserk will be reported ceaselessly. TV magnifies one incident repeating it hundreds of times. TV tricks the brain into believing incidents are more common than they are. People who watch TV a lot think crime is much worse than actual.

    What is the effect of isolating young males in unwalkable suburban & exurban neighborhoods and controlled by helicopter parents? When do they get rewarded for positive social interactions with females?
    - jonny bakho

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous9:21 AM

    Noah, I do not follow your argument: how is it that you attribute terrorism, mass shootings and gamergate to males not getting sex? I don't think you have explained anywhere why such a connection exists. It seems to me that none of these things are even remotely related to sex.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bill Ellis11:24 AM

      The research on primates backs up Noah's conjecture.
      Primates that have more sex are far less violent and more egalitarian toward each other. The Bonobo/ Chimp comparison is probably the most famous example.

      Delete
  24. What the hell did I just read?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How the heck are we supposed to know? Piketty, maybe?

      Delete
    2. It could have been Schopenhauer by the sound of it.

      Delete
  25. As that master of sexual repression, Senator Lindsey Graham once said: "We're not generating enough angry white guys":
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/02/1125989/--We-re-not-generating-enough-angry-white-guys

    I think you've got it right.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anonymous10:29 AM

    you have enough areas in which you have expertise, so you better stop writing about those were you haven't. it is a long time that i have not read such a bad blog entry.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Not a bad post Noah.

    One small step: why are most (nearly all?) of those in the official MSM relationship advice business women? Time for a masculinist perspective, even if it does make the feminists very upset. Time to break their cartel. But I think this is already beginning to happen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bill Ellis11:13 AM

      I like the Idea of more men giving relationship advice in the media.

      But I doubt that a masculinist perspective that makes "the feminist very upset" will be helpful in getting young men laid.

      Delete
    2. Septeus72:31 AM

      So there is an official feminist viewpoint? I thought feminists were conflicted on sex positive feminism versus all "PIV is rape" rad fems It's so confusing.

      Delete
    3. The feminists are a damn union hellbent on destroying America. Or at least that's what I heard on the Reilly factor last night. Not sure if it's true one way or the other.

      Delete
  28. First of all, just want to echo the point made by many commenters that this is about control more than just sex (and I think that's where the strongest link between the Incel assholes and the GamerGate assholes lies).

    But, to take your idea seriously (and I think it's reasonable to say that *some*, but I suspect far from all, of these Angry Young Men might mellow if they could find sexual partners...for one thing, in a relationship they'd be exposed to a female POV that they seem to be missing). I think the real problem, which is implicit in your discussion, is that many of these young men have unrealistic expectations. They're not content with the available sex, but they expect to have sex with their ideal partner, and the media has shaped that ideal into something completely unrealistic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the phrase "this is about control more than just sex" is a phrase one hears said quite often, but I'm not sure what it means...it reminds me of the similar phrase "guns don't kill people, people kill people"...

      I think the real problem, which is implicit in your discussion, is that many of these young men have unrealistic expectations. They're not content with the available sex, but they expect to have sex with their ideal partner, and the media has shaped that ideal into something completely unrealistic.

      Well how can people know what to wish for, hope for, expect, or demand if they've never really tried out various things and discovered what they like??

      Delete
    2. I don't see the analogy to "people kill people." Reading some of the incel and PUA material in the wake of the Rodgers shooting was a really powerful illustration to me that the assumption of patriarchal control isn't just rhetoric. They seem to really think that they deserve beautiful women - not that they should make themselves attractive to women as you suggest; the assumption of control precludes that fairly simple answer to the problem. The GamerGate madness is less directly about sex, so the case seems even more obvious there. They've threatened violence against women for saying things they don't want to hear.

      As for the second comment, I don't think I follow. My point is that these guys don't want to try various things. They want the hot, super-cool cheerleader with the perfect body. Some of Rodgers writings basically said as much, iirc.

      Delete
    3. Tiercelet10:14 PM

      "Well how can people know what to wish for, hope for, expect, or demand if they've never really tried out various things and discovered what they like??"

      Simple--we spend $467 billion a year to tell them exactly that!

      [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertising

      Delete
  29. Noah, dude, this is impossible. Because it comes down too 'what if all the low-status males were in fact not low-status males?' Wtatus is a relative thing. You can't move omega-males up onto the hierarchy by magic or culture or schooling. It is something that is established naturally between people, and people have a vested interested in not being fooled, not by fancy clothes or by pickup artists or by whatever. That's precisely why it is hierarchy. Best you can do is pick another hierarchy, I guess.

    Frankly omega-males have existed for a long, long time (duh). What #gamergate represents is not some new emergence of omega's, but the new phenomenom of these people being connected and organised. And thus, somewhat dangerous.

    And I think you can entirely skip the 'sex' part of the argument and have it still work.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Anonymous5:51 PM

    Noah, long time reader, frequent (snarky) commentator. I take this as the conscious BS that it is (unlike many of the other commentators, it would seem), but I thought you might like to consider the following as (somewhat related) food for thought:

    http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/peace_among_primates

    Read the "Left Behind" section especially.

    In addition, the idea that violence springs from low self-esteem is intuitive, but completely false. It has been thoroughly debunked by the work of Roy Baumeister. For an intro, you might Google "Relation of Threatened Egotism to Violence and Aggression".

    ReplyDelete
  31. Noah, I think it's excellent that you've decided to write about this topic, which is a real issue and which tends to be completely overlooked.

    Let's be honest, many (if not most) straight guys would like to be rich, and loved/admired/sexed by women.

    Our world's governments, policy makers, other institutions are explicitly devoted to the goal of making us all richer. Even in Communist China to get rich is glorious.

    Whereas to pursue the goal of more sex or more sexual pleasure is seen (for a man) as slightly unworthy (you mean you have to try!). It's meant to be effortless. The PUAs are trying - people aren't praising them as go-getters devoted to achieving something worthy, they are generally stigmatising them.

    It's 100% true that (most straight) young men desire sex and companionship, and if they aren't getting it they are dissatisfied with life.

    So I definitely agree with your diagnosis of the problem. Where I respectfully disagree is your proposed solution. "If only they realised what an attractive man they really were...." is - frankly - poor advice. Imagining themselves attractive does not make them attractive. Learning to be more attractive to women involves (among other things) better grooming, decisiveness, learning how to flirt, and a number of other qualities that women respond to. In fact one of the problems is that the advice for men how to become more attractive is generally so bad ("be yourself" / "tell her how you feel" / "compliment the details" ).
    And as other commenters have alluded to there is the problem (is it fixable? I don't know) of numbers; very attractive men are often happy to sleep with several women. Whereas most women want just one man. So if some men are getting lots of women, but each woman is getting just one man (albeit in some cases a shared man) that implies some men will get no women.

    Also, I do really want to commend you for being brave enough to post on this issue and not being intimidated by the complaints that it's seeing women as an object or a reward. The fact that women are human shouldn't prevent us having this discussion.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Anonymous6:48 PM

    Civilization is built on the pretense that husbands are alpha males so that they don't revolt against those in positions of authority. The 60s exploded that pretense leaving the glass ceiling protecting those positions of authority as the real alpha males surrounding themselves by de facto harems. It has taken decades, but the consequences are now coming home to roost in the form of high fertility rates among patriarchal immigrant cultures. Islam is the the likely beneficiary since it dispenses with the hypocrisy surrounding de facto harems and formally sanctions harem sizes limited to a maximum of 4 females.

    No one wants to even consider what the counterpart to female liberation might be. But consider: A female's godhood is exercised when she chooses which genes will pass through her to the next generation. A male's godhood is exercised when he chooses which other male he will meet in a natural duel to prevent his genes from passing into the next generation -- or die trying.

    If males are liberated, the glass ceiling would be shattered along with all positions of authority.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Anonymous7:11 PM

    The much-lauded liberation of female "choice" -- choice in sexual partners, reproductive choice, career choice, "lifestyle" choice, choice of social support services from the government -- over the last generation is now a fixture of Western civilization.

    The moral force behind this female empowerment is the extent to which it represents returning to individual females their sovereignty.

    What about male individual sovereignty?

    Under natural law the ultimate power -- the power that shapes the future -- of female individual sovereignty is the choice of which genes make it into the next generation and that power is exercised through birth.

    Under natural law the ultimate power of male individual sovereignty is the choice of that which is to be killed in single combat.

    Civilization is founded on a meta-stable "deal" in which females give up their individual sovereignty to their mates and their mates give up their individual sovereignty to the State. If, in this scenario, you liberate only one sex, not only does civilization collapse, but until it does, the circumstances are unbearable to the sex not liberated.

    In Western civilization there is no going back to the age of females giving up their individual sovereignty to their mates, so Western civilization is ending and we are left with two choices:

    Figure out how to legitimize formal individual combat to the death between males, or adopt Islam.

    That's a true dilemma

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anonymous7:31 PM

    Feminism is a civilizing influence as is anything that neutralizes sex. Two males of just about any species in nature will engage in natural duel. This common theme of natural duel is simply not compatible with maintaining a social organism like civilization in which the appeal of last resort in dispute processing is words.

    Once you remove this essential expression of masculinity, as civilizations always tend to do, you have removed the essence of masculinity. Most civilizations think they can get away with compensating for this by similarly "castrating" females through institutions like state or religion sponsored prostitution called "marriage". That "works" for a while -- maybe thousands of years, but eventually females will come to question this arrangement for very natural reasons.

    But by the time that has happened, everyone has forgotten that civilization also suppressed the natural duel! So things go _really_ haywire and uncontrollably so as natural forces disrupt the culture starting in the limbic systems of virtually every citizen. You can only commodify this discontent and sell it back to on DVD in the form of mano-a-mano fights at the climax of the movie so much. Something must give. That something is sex itself. And here we have, just in time, genetic engineering and cloning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MaxUtility4:22 PM

      There's so many things wrong here I'll just pick this to point out...You seem to base a lot of your overarching theory on the idea that males naturally compete to the death to suppress rivals reproducing. In fact, fighting to the death in extremely rare in nature, at least among higher mammals. Status competition between males is highly complex and occurs within the context of the species'/groups' social constructs.

      Delete
  35. Anonymous7:32 PM

    In nature, males and females have two respective powers: To destroy and to preserve. People think that civilization is founded on control of destruction and seem to forget that civilization also depends on controlling female power to preserve. With the return to females of choice, hence their power, something equivalent must be done for males, such as enforcing natural duels to the death (natural meaning just putting the two disputants out in the wilderness with one to return). Of course, no one can face that this is the logical consequence of female liberation, so civilization slowly transforms into something unrecognizable except, perhaps, to the eusocial insects and their negation of sex.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:58 PM

      Congratulations! I read a lot of weird sh*t on the internet, and this is the most fabulously weird stuff I've read in a long time. I'm also amazed at your stamina in posting it over and over.

      Delete
  36. Anonymous9:21 PM

    I am not of Jewish heritage and don't know if I have the facts straight but didn't Jews get the young guys married off early? Seems like a way to nail their feet to the ground and tamp down some of the testosterone poisoning.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Noah,

    May be you can ask your Japanese contacts to hurry up and get the female and male robots in production and find some people in NY to set up the $X a draw booths equipped with enough cleanup stuff both for the consumer and the robot.

    Also, today is only Monday; this is Friday stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Okay, some (slightly tipsy) thoughts:

    1) I suspect that the whole "feel like they can't get sex" rage ties to something deep within out culture. Like, basically from birth men are taught that their greatest joy in life will be to absolutely crush any pursuit they choose and that this will grant them indiscriminate sex with gorgeous women. Obviously this is not the way the world works, but in some men this realization just brings resentment. They see that they're not having this fabulous life and they blame it all on women for being too shallow. The sick thing is that in a way they've actually picked up on something, the fact that our society has this really narrow idea of masculinity, but instead of rejecting that idea they turn all their aggression to women, who in many ways were dealt an even shittier hand.

    2) As a woman the whole PUA thing is a little disturbing. It treats sex as a game (no, literally, it's called "The Game") with winners and losers, with the losers being the women who fall for these skeezy tricks. These guys treat is as a badge of honor to not give a shit about a girl. And their lines are all a front. You know what's REALLY attractive? When a guy has something meaningful going on in his own life. When he has empathy for others. When he has a solid sense of self-worth. If picking up girls by negging is keeping someone from shooting up campus, then fine, but that is fucking depressing as hell. I just wish we could address these issues without having women be the prize.

    3) And, why the hell not, because I am a feminist and this topic is pretty much directly addressed by feminism, I'm going to suggest that feminism is that thing we need.

    4) Lol, jk people would never go for that. So I'll start out a little easier. Arthur Chu had a fucking amazeballs piece about this very topic as it applies to nerd culture. Enjoy! http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/27/your-princess-is-in-another-castle-misogyny-entitlement-and-nerds.html

    ReplyDelete
  39. Also Noah, now I'm worried that the MRAs will swarm your site. THEY'RE EVEN WORSE THAN AUSTRIANS.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Anonymous6:47 AM

    Sex robots will solve the world's problems. Studies, I think, have suggested that widespread access to online pornography may have already reduced the rate of sexual assault. Robots (or maybe high fidelity VR) will take that trend further. Utopia is just around the corner.... Except then maybe no one will want real women who are not competitive with VR or robotic perfection. Maybe the birthrate will plummet and the species will head toward extinction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous6:48 AM

      And, hey, that would solve climate change as well. It all comes down to sex.

      Delete
  41. I think you are engaged in a major misinterpretation of what's happening with Gamergate.

    While undoubtedly low-status men who can't get laid are part of the Gamergate constituency, they are not motivating it. Or at least there's no evidence that they are. And that's not what Gamergate is about. Rather, Gamergate is a reactionary movement against the advancement of the art (such as it is) of video games. The reaction is against three things specifically:
    1) The incorporation of cultural context in the criticism of video games. Note that criticism of every other form of art involves placing that art in its cultural context and criticizing it on those grounds. For whatever reason, the Gamergaters hate this; especially when the cultural context is modern feminism.
    2) The incorporation of modern cultural norms into the development of video games; specifically in terms of the various elements of the narrative (characters, motivations, etc). Again they get especially tetchy when these norms are feminist.
    3) The general internet misogynistic reaction against women voicing opinions.

    While some Gamergaters are undoubtedly channeling rage at their inability to find a sexual partner, the deeper motivation is the conservative impulse as identified by Corey Robin: conservatism as "the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, and trying to win it back." Basically from the dawn of gaming history up until just a few years ago young white men were the center of the video gaming world. With a few exceptions, games made and marketed in the United States were built to cater to the power fantasies of these young white men. That's changing; the young white man is no longer the typical video game player. And he's really fucking pissed off about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Damien2:30 PM

      That's a very good point. It seems to be as much about relative status as about absolute opportunities to pursue your passion.

      It'd be completely unreasonable to complain if you're the kind of person who likes "traditional", "male-centered" video games. You have more of those than ever in the history of the videogames. You have AAA franchises that release a new FPS or third-person adventure game every year. Videogames look better than ever and now cost millions to make. No-one has been taken these away from them.

      What people are upset about is that they're becoming a smaller share of a much, much, larger market. Even though the kind of indie and tablet games that they're angry about are not replacing the so-called real videogames that they like. They're not canceling the next BioShock because of Depression Quest or Kim Kardashian Hollywood.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous5:53 PM

      Have you actually talked to anyone in #GamerGate? It sounds like you're just projecting whatever bullshit you don't like onto the other side, something they like to do as well. In general, #Gamergate despises AAA games and see them as being pushed by the same journalistic clique.

      Delete
  42. It seems to me that imagining PUA culture as a solution to Muslim extremists is a failure of imagination (or perhaps too much imagination). My generalized understanding is the nature of getting a woman in that culture is fundamentally different since it's a culture that almost explicitly treats woman as objects. It's the parents that are most in control of a woman's destiny, and thus which men are given this affirmation of social status.

    Moving past that little mistake though, the discussion of PUA culture here is a little interesting. As many have commented, the phrasing, the terminology is objectifying, especially the thought of it as a game. That isn't an altogether bad thing, it's just a very dangerous thing. In a very charitable light, PUA culture could be looked at as an attempt to objectively understand the emotions that drive some emotion based actions of women. Ignoring those realities, in most cases not going to help. Phrasing these things in objective ways is probably the best way to understand them.

    But there's a fine line between understanding and exploiting. Understanding how to manipulate anyone's emotional state is a dangerous tool. The understanding could be used to help them past some fear, and reach something they really want, which will contribute to real happiness, but it can also be used to maneuver past well placed caution and exploit.

    One thing entirely missing in all of that however, is a thought to the "alpha". The idea that the "omega" is responsible for the majority of misogyny, is just patently false. The majority is carried out by men typically thrown into the "alpha" camp. Half the stuff in the PUA dictionary is about getting past defenses built up in response to that first assault.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous2:56 PM

      Radical islam, the MRA movement, PUA culture and, if it became an organized movement, GamerGate, all have in common the fact that they promise people who don't see themselves as "alpha" the possibility to act like one.

      Why are some young Muslims leaving European countries to fight for ISIS? Because recruiters show them that they're wasting their lives being unemployed and discriminated against in the West. In Europe, they'll never be alphas, they'll always be unemployed, brown losers. In Syria, they'll be awesome Muslim warriors who get respect and women.

      The MRA movement likewise tells people that if they're feeling bad about themselves, it's because women are emasculating them. If we could go back to traditional gender norms, they'd just be alpha and entitled to act like it again. Now they should stop whining and fight for their rights. "Be a man!". They're trying to convince some men that their problems stem for their having internalized male inferiority. But now they can have a cause and an ideal to defend.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
  44. Anonymous6:54 PM

    I was once a camp counselor at this very hippie summer camp. I was at the camp for boys age 9-12, there was a parallel camp for girls, and there was a co-ed teenager camp. One of the events which the camps had was an occasional dance. Very folksy and weird for most of the kids who don't listen to that kind of music, but anyway a dance. Talking with the other counselors about the value of this activity, I pointed out that it was an opportunity for the kids to learn how to flirt.

    As a youth myself, I leaned toward avoiding school dances, and danced very little if I did go, but this kind of traditional activity - with significantly lowered social proscriptions on post-dance activities - can serve a very valuable purpose of acclimating people to flirting and getting people together to get laid. A formalized square dance is intimidating to the self-perceived incels, sure. But how does the intimidation of such an activity compare to that of going to a nightclub by yourself or with a few male buddies and somehow trying to get into the mix?

    How to get from where our culture is now to a culture in which 19-year-olds can reach critical mass at contra dances is beyond me, but if they did, I bet there would be a lot more sex.

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  45. What about you American black males, the misogynist rap lyrics they favor, and the higher than normal incarcerations rates. How on earth could Noah overlook this phenomena in his discussion?

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    1. Anonymous12:43 AM

      "What about you American black males, the misogynist rap lyrics they favor, and the higher than normal incarcerations rates. How on earth could Noah overlook this phenomena in his discussion?"

      because Noah is an omega who doesn't realize he is an omega

      Delete
  46. Anonymous8:51 PM

    Angry young male humans, however they get that way, are I believe a net benefit to the species -- or were millennia past and still are quite often. They are, I guess, one big reason why our toothless, bald, rather slow species was able to beat and eat the megafauna of the planet, and convince lions and tigers and bears that messing with us was a bad idea.

    Of course, the expression of this sort of berserker energy can't be reliably confined to predators and invaders, since by definition it isn't rational (for the individual, anyway.)

    And getting sex on a regular basis might possibly mute this energy in young men, but God knows it can't be depended on for 24/7 domestic peace.

    (Oh, and one postscript: yes, women can get grouchy in the absence of sex, but we get grouchier by far when we've had the sort of sex that only leaves one partner happy. Grrr.)

    Noni Mausa

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    1. Very good points all, as sensible and successfully married men will agree. This is the main reason for my second-most-useful piece of advice to prospective husbands: "Find out what she likes, and do it as much as she can stand." As 'Skyrider' (James Bullock) so memorably puts it "It works for me; you can make it work for you."

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  47. Anonymous12:42 AM

    because Noah is an omega who doesn't realize he is an omega

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  48. Anonymous1:04 AM

    White knights who spend most of their time promoting feminism are people who have had no real relation with women, while misogynists at least had some experience with women.

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  49. Septeus73:53 AM

    Quote from Noah: "It seems to me that a big problem in the world consists of angry young men doing aggressive things. One example of this is terrorism. Another is online intimidation and harassment of women, like we've seen with #GamerGate. Another is random outbursts of violent crime."

    I suggest that is just one side of the story which I have followed from day 1 literally hours after MundaneMatt was illegally DMCAed by Zoe Quinn.

    I suggest this video and this video a representation for the other viewpoint. I.e. SJWs are elitist white women wreckers and professional con artists who who will hijack anything for self-promotion and will attack all critics by damseling internet death threats and rape and other such BS and use the media to this manufactured BS into their own personal social justice "charities".

    P.S. What proof do you have that a "gamergater" was is source of any practicular threat and do you deny that anti-gamergaters have also been linked to threats and harassment?

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    1. Anonymous9:43 PM

      Sounds like someone needs to call the waaahmbulance...

      Delete
    2. Who has time to watch videos when you're getting laid? Probably dudes who don't get laid, that's who.

      Delete
  50. Anonymous1:52 AM

    So it looks like what the loyal readers of the blog can take away from all this is an agreement that Jews are a problem. The mention of the so-called GamerGate and a cursory look around it shows that Jewish males are disproportionately likely to cause these problems in America and there is even a history of past scandals among famous Jews such as Ezra Klein making rape threats over Twitter.

    As Noah mentions much of the overall picture is speculative, though there is potential here to put on your "economist's hat" and think about how to quantify things. You could maybe try to figure out how much misogyny and violence towards women is committed by, say, African American males in comparison to Jewish males, but again, who has special insight or expertise on matters like that?

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    1. Clearly, not only are you entirely correct, but I am confident that the data will show unequivocally that the only group which stands out as exceptionally unlikely to commit misogyny and violence towards women is upper-class white males. Well, I hope that this settles that.

      Delete
  51. Anonymous5:29 PM

    A brief history of GamerGate

    https://encyclopediadramatica.se/Gamergate

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  52. Granted I'm every bit the amateur sociologist you are... a minor in psych, but that falls into my own criticism of Knowledge - Mileage = Bullshit... but I've observed something living in Los Angeles. I think this may apply to larger, more wealth-oriented cities, but:

    I want to believe there's a lot of sex and fun and equal access to really cool shit for everybody, but I don't think that's the case here. Our environment dictates expectations to a certain degree, and maybe online dating skews the view but it really seems an overwhelming number of people are targeting about 1% of the population as their only source of dating material; over 6'0", "successful", and fit. And maybe I'm a suspicious bastard, but I feel that's not "Capable fit" but more "Worked the hell out of the glamour muscles" fit.

    Man, I'm well enough in the head that those people don't count for my own purposes, but around here, from pollable sources, they are overwhelming.

    Here's why I think this is a problem. As a man, a potential omega male, you could take this as a reflective sign of what's wrong with your own expectations (the imperial you, not you in particular). What kind of cheap sediment has formed up in the brains of people promised beautiful people under every rock and pillow by television and film. You could say "Hey, that's the same idiotic tripe I ascribe to when I'm looking for a mate, some balloon-breasted quip machine!" It could be something of a learning experience in the proper context.

    Mostly, if GamerGate and the MRAs are any indication, you just use it as final proof that women are vapid demons hell-bent on draining the bank accounts of the genetically blessed.

    People will intellectualize a trail of logic to the most poisonous beliefs they have, go with media sources that provide their bias with confirmation, and do whatever it takes to stay comfortable in what they know because change is legitimately terrifying to most people. Most people can't embrace how wonderful being wrong is.

    So we shouldn't destroy people or even seek to censor them. We should destroy their expectations, prejudices, and comfort. We should welcome them back to the human race they're shunning large portions of.

    As an end note, Noah; digging the fact that you're humanizing such groups by personality attributes. My big gripe with the anti-GG crowd right now is that they keep repeating the mantra of the GGer as a bunch of white males. It's easier. It also makes me check out instantly when reading.

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  53. A vaguely related note is that I believe gamers have a somewhat legitimate beef with being marginalized right now, though they're using that as an enabler for obscenely uncool and disturbing behavior. In a culture that's co-opted the term "nerd", we still abhor and shun the truly awkward loser types. That doesn't help.

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  54. I get laid about every other day and I'm still angry. Not shitty married sex, but good sex. That sex right before you get married when the relationship is still fun and new. Someday it will go away. Booze helps in the meantime, but the modern world is increasingly annoying the older I get. Just my anecdotal evidence. Take it or leave it.

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  56. Ok, first of all, you are not giving enough credence to basic biology. Humans are predators, we kill and eat other animals, and mostly up until this century we were sending young men to fight and die for territory, resources, or an invisible being. Through history, "aggressive young men" was a feature not a bug.

    Lots of other predators (including dolphins and chimpanzees) engage in random acts of violence. When predatory hardware goes bad, bad shit happens.

    Second, you seem to think this is a new problem ("angry young men doing aggressive things"). Most of history consists of angry young men doing aggressive things. If it seems more common, its because of two things: One, the internet (do you really thingk rape is 3x more common now than in 1968 - which is what FBI stats imply - or do you thing we are just more willing to admit it happened?).

    Second, surplus. In 1800 one was too busy trying to survive and plow the fields to have time to harass people on the internet. Now, we generate such an amazing surplus that we have generations of families raised on welfare. Ever notice that these aggressive young men all have one thing in common: Way too much time on their hands?

    Mostly humans have always been wired this way. It's not a modern problem per se, more like a problem that humans wired this way no longer have an outlet. I am not suggesting we create a war to create an outlet - I am just saying we should stop pretending we can turn alligators into deer.

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