The Pot-O-Gold #2 - The Legend of Curly's Gold
Your weekly collection of the most thoughtful writing on the internet & snippets from the fringes of the DISCOURSE.
In the second edition of this burgeoning INSTITUTION of a newsletter, I offer very interesting reading material, again.
I enjoyed this *slightly unhinged* Delicious Tacos-style piece called Dating Advice for the modern Serial Killer by a creature named Randy. Here’s the start of it:
1. How to get a GF that’s 7 years younger than you, who is still young and sexy and not all busted up like women your own age
It’s happened. I’ve become one of those guys. I’m 30 years old and dating a 23 year old. I “met” her on tinder. Not even on “a dating app”, but the worst one. A female acquaintance (28) asked me if “she could see” who I was talking to, and first, I said no. “Why not?” Because you’ll think poorly of me.
Then I caved in, showed her my phone. She swallowed, blood drained from her face. She changed the subject to her own love life and the “personal trainer” she’s fucking, indirectly mentioning how much more built than me he is, to hurt me in the way I had just hurt her. When she saw her picture, and her age, that’s when I knew. I’m going to have to buy a gun. I’m going to have to protect myself.
The story brings up the unfortunate fact that a huge chunk of women are magnetized by serial killers, which is one of those fascinating-horrifying things about female desire that one should not name.
On our coffee date, I had told her about an idea for a novel I’d had. It was sort of a treatment on the idea of the mythological “serial killer”, except, he’s a man who’s grown up in a world of serial killer tv shows and news items and social media and red pill blogs, so he knows that serial killers get fanmail — he knows that being killed is what women WANT. Which renders him neutered, castrated, unable to do it. “Even the worst thing I can think of doing to her, she’d get off on it. No matter what lengths of depravity I could imagine, she’d still be topping from the ultimate bottom”.
I think women are attracted to psychopathic killers because in the olden days these would be your Hannibals & Ghenghis Khans - so socially dominant that no earthly law will tame them, except for the love of that *one* good woman🤞. The eternal fantasy of taming the beast. Check most any Harlequin novel if you think I’m off base here.
Another great read, in Tablet, was The New National American Elite by Michael Lind.
It explores the outlines of the current American ruling class, and especially, what it is *not* - it’s not an ethnic group, it’s not primarily marked by wealth or old-school class markers like polo shirts and golf lessons.
Though Lind doesn’t call it that, it is clear that the ruling class is a memetic tribe above all.
Compared with previous American elites, the emerging American oligarchy is open and meritocratic and free of most glaring forms of racial and ethnic bias. (…) At the moment Wall Street and Silicon Valley are disproportionately white and Asian American, but this reflects the relatively low socioeconomic status of many Black and Hispanic Americans, a status shared by the Scots Irish white poor in greater Appalachia (who are left out of “diversity and inclusion” efforts because of their “white privilege”). Immigrants from Africa and South America (as opposed to Mexico and Central America) tend to be from professional class backgrounds and to be better educated and more affluent than white Americans on average—which explains why Harvard uses rich African immigrants to meet its informal Black quota, although the purpose of affirmative action was supposed to be to help the American descendants of slaves (ADOS). According to Pew, the richest groups in the United States by religion are Episcopalian, Jewish, and Hindu (wealthy “seculars” may be disproportionately East Asian American, though the data on this point is not clear).
Membership in the multiracial, post-ethnic national overclass depends chiefly on graduation with a diploma—preferably a graduate or professional degree—from an Ivy League school or a selective state university, which makes the Ivy League the new social register. But a diploma from the Ivy League or a top-ranked state university by itself is not sufficient for admission to the new national overclass. Like all ruling classes, the new American overclass uses cues like dialect, religion, and values to distinguish insiders from outsiders.
Dialect. You may have been at the top of your class in Harvard business school, but if you pronounce thirty-third “toidy-toid” or have a Southern drawl, you might consider speech therapy.
Religion. You may have edited the Yale Law Review, but if you tell interviewers that you recently accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior, or fondle a rosary during the interview, don’t expect a job at a prestige firm.
Values. This is the trickiest test, because the ruling class is constantly changing its shibboleths—in order to distinguish true members of the inner circle from vulgar impostors who are trying to break into the elite. A decade ago, as a member of the American overclass you could get away with saying, along with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, “I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, but I strongly support civil unions for gay men and lesbians.” In 2020 you are expected to say, “I strongly support trans rights.” You will flunk the interview if you start going on about civil unions.
Another interesting piece I read this week was The Michael Scott Theory of Social Class, by Alex Danco.
It has a bit of a different perspective on social class than the Lind piece, postulating the existence of a third “Elite” ladder composed by Investmentbanker-y, WASPy Uebermenschen / Old Money that exists separately from the “Educated Gentry.” The Educated gentry seems more like the Lind-elite ^ and overlaps with the Scruton/Goodhart category of Anywheres that I’ve written about as well. I’m also more inclined to see these two categories as significantly overlapping than as separate.
The middle ladder works completely differently from the other two. This ladder isn’t about money or power; it’s about being interesting. You climb this ladder by being more educated, and towards the top, by having costly habits and virtues.
At the bottom is also a transitional layer: it’s how you get onto this ladder if you weren’t born there, often via Community or 1st generation College. Above that is the upper-middle class Petite Bourgeoisie. Higher up the ladder are “elite creatives”, people with obscure or virtuous-sounding PhDs, notably interesting lives, or Blue Check Marks on Twitter. (They may well earn less money than those below them on the ladder – this ladder isn’t about income.) At the very top of this ladder is an exclusive group: “Cultural leadership”. The litmus test for attaining this group is, “could you write an opinion piece in the New York Times.”
Generally speaking, the farther you go up this ladder, the more detached from reality you get. Importantly, this isn’t seen as a problem: it’s actually a virtue, so long as you portray it correctly. Sixty years ago, this group sought refuge and status in the suburbs, explicitly detaching themselves from the reality of dirty, dangerous cities. Now, it’s fashionable to move back downtown, detaching ourselves from the reality of gas-guzzling, chain restaurant normie suburbs. The farther you go into expensive, performative habits (Doing triathlons, eating farm-to-table) and coastal echo chambers (“I don’t know a single person who voted for Trump”; “We should ban cars”), the farther you progress up this ladder.
On the way up the ladder, you earn social status by doing things that detach you from normie reality. David Brooks wrote a fabulous book on this phenomenon called Bobos In Paradise, about the peaceful merger between the Bourgeois and Bohemian classes that created this strange but durable social tier. These are people that would be mortified to show off a $10,000 watch, but excitedly tell you about their $100,000 kitchen remodel filled with 100-mile diet cookbooks and single-origin Japanese knives, or their 6-month work sabbatical they spent powerlifting. This is a group of people where a Subaru is a higher-status car than a Cadillac, but the highest status car is none. (Or, now, a Tesla.)
The idea that our best substrate for nuanced social analysis is a TV show doesn’t fill my heart with joy, but at one point we have to accept that these are our mythologies now. On the plus side, it has graphs!
I also enjoyed this piece from @existentialpervert - Loss of a Lifeworld
The word “culture” employs a biological metaphor: fermented foods are made with cultures. Gardens are cultivated. Living things have a continuity and a lineage. They are not assembled from component parts but are raised (and descend) from the generation that preceded them. Culture is not something that is built from an assembly kit of first principles but is something that has learned to survive in the world and transmit itself to the future. In the biological metaphor, the world is full of things with will, desire, ancestry and agency. A lifeworld is better understood through the lens of a biological metaphor. Its parts are not fungible.
The destruction of the lineages and sacred sites of a culture is often done with genocidal intent. This does not always go as intended. A conquered culture that mixes its own culture with that of the conqueror may produce a vigorous hybrid. Examples of this are African diaspora religions which survived (and even flourished) under harsh colonial regimes while adopting a sincere Catholicism.
Modern people are as contemptuous of their own past as colonizers were of their subjects. On Vancouver Island, I recently noticed a house being built over top of a 19th century Methodist graveyard. In 1990 the attempt to build a golf course over Mohawk gravesites precipitated an armed standoff and national crisis. Non-natives in Canada are even more indifferent to the desecration of their own ancestors’ graves than they were to those of the Mohawks. What is obvious to the Mohawks is not at all obvious to most Canadians.
Tourists who look for a spiritual vitality not found in their own culture unwittingly replicate this pattern. They want to participate in the spirituality of a culture with an intact lifeworld, but they also want to break off a piece of it and take it home with them. They collect experiences and techniques to be packaged up and taken back to their own homeland without the supporting social context. Like a flower cut from a plant, it does not survive the journey back. This same mechanistic thinking is what devastated their own culture and spirituality. They will pay thousands of dollars to visit a guru or drink ayahuasca but cannot locate (much less defend) the graves of their ancestors. They are refugees become invaders.
Another excellent thing that came out this week was my interview with Niccolo from Fisted by Foucault, which has been described by an unnamed internet user as “some of the best writing and dialogue anywhere on the web - must read”.
If it’s on the internet, it must be true.
This Week’s DISCOURSE
A few of my favorite things.
This piquant tweet hints at a phenomenon that many have noted before, that therapy is the ouroboros of professions. A navel-gazing so navel-y that it collapses in on itself and gets swallowed by its own concepts, never to see the light of reality again. Reminds me of the story of a young man who couldn’t stop staring at his reflection…
The conversations around this thread were great, so was the whiplash from the sex-positive end of the spectrum. Seems like whorephobia afflicts even the mildest of questioners.
Planning to write something a bit more detailed on the “consent wars,” and why it’s a necessary but not sufficient condition for regulating human sexuality.
Just discovered @conaw and his infectious, militant, vitalist pronatalism. I’m very biased, but I love the guns blazing attitude and the utter lack of the Eternal Hedge: “Oh, I can’t speak for everyone, people should do what they want, for some…etc.”
His sparkling enthusiasm for family in this tweet and his relentless encouragement and no-nonsense berating in the replies were very fun to witness:
@PYeerk, one of my favorite poasters is back from vacation and he’s not having any of this made of starstuff, science rock BS. He is a master of the gentle obliteration, and a great follow.
Daily Express @Daily_ExpressScience has 'ruled out' humans having souls, says Brian Cox https://t.co/Piiz2ibjSI https://t.co/xJNMNdHP8m
A nice summation of our current predicament from recently resurrected Anna K. Reality has been flexed to the breaking point by our betters and I’m hearing it snap, crackle, and pop at the hinges.
Buuut, because mostly delivery men and the last smattering of retail ladies deal with base reality anymore and everyone else is herded into the hyperreality pod, we could be in for another good few years of funhouse mirror existence before the whole thing collapses.
In audio/video news, the newest Subversive Podcast with Geoff Shullenberger is my most popular to date, even as it’s only been out for a few days. The appetite for Geoff, or Geoffpetite, is seemingly immense.
You can also check out the next episode with the inimitable Pascal Emmanuel Gobry, @pegobry on my Patreon. And please consider contributing, it’s all for the noble cause of getting a sound engineer.