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Sizzle & Steak: Hustling the Hustlers

The Rational Man - Sat, 07/03/2021 - 02:37

Hustlers and the Hustled

Today’s Hustle Economy is measured in market shares of ‘influence‘. How many Followers do you have? How many subs (subscribers)? Comments? Likes? Views? What’s your engagement like? In an age when anyone can have a free digital soapbox to prosthelytize from our egos become our brand. So, when you attack an idea you also attack the brand; and when you attack the brand you also attack the ego whose identity is the brand.

Our livelihoods, our wellbeing, are vitally connected to with a Brand of Me which in turn is intimately connected to the self. The separation between man and brand becomes more difficult when his revenue stream(s) is dependent upon man and brand being synonymous. That brand’s value is also quantified and qualified by the platforms (soapbox) it’s based on. Lose followers, lose viewers, lose money and lose self. As a result you get pathological hustlers grifting on other pathological hustlers by selling them access to exposure, influence and and insurance for their very precarious-but-lucrative brand of me. In turn, this “insurance” is a buffer against losing an equally precarious sense of self.

From 2000 to about 2015 organizing live events and conventions was a fairly lucrative proposition in the burgeoning Hustle Economy. Being a speaker at a TED talk held a certain gravitas for the Brand of Me who was invited to relate his very important, self-affirming ideas to a rapt audience. Today, not so much. The TEDx series saw to it that anyone could pay-to-play and thus debased any legitimacy the original TEDs started with. I remember the pay-to-play grift that destroyed the late 80s’ metal scene in Hollywood. Show promoters would buy out a classic venue like Gazzari’s or the Troubadour for a night and then talk “up-and-coming bands” into playing the gigs. All they had to do was sell enough tickets to cover their portion of whatever the promoter had paid to reserve the venue. Whether the bands decided to sell their tickets at a profit or a loss was irrelevant to the promoters – they just had to cover the rent on the club for that night. Most promoters were making their money on marking up that rent, and a percentage of the alcohol sales they’d arrange with club owners. It didn’t matter if the bands were great or they sucked, just that they covered the rent with ticket sales – usually to friends and family to come watch them play on the same stage that Van Halen and Ratt got their start on. The promoters weren’t selling actual talent, they were selling the fantasy of playing on historic stages in L.A. to guys who believed they were good enough to play them. By 1989 pay-to-play was killing what was once a vibrant music scene that naturally culled the talentless bands from the great ones.

Hustle Economy conventions today are following the same pay-to-play graft. It makes little difference what the niché is – masterminds, hotseats, summits, etc. – conventions have become Brand Showcases replete with (gumroad) book signings and the hot girl “Booth Candy” to prove proof-of-concept (i.e. Receipts). Convention promoters care less about the messages of the personalities who speak at their events and more about the gravitas it brings to their event (which is also part of their own Brand of Me). And the loudest most extroverted (pathological) brands of that year always draw attention.

What you get then is a competition of escalation. Punch the biggest guy in the face as soon as you arrive in the prison yard or you’ll end up as his bitch. If you want to make a name for yourself as a niché marketer (especially as a noob in the Manosphere) you have to punch up. Call the biggest name in that sphere a charlatan or a hack and some of his followers might defect to your cult out of spite. Grifters sell other grifters programs and templates to ensure their brand’s value, which increasingly is tied to their own sense of personal worth. Mastermind sessions and “hot seat” workshops become psychotherapy for the Hustle Economy “Guru“.

Insurance of personal brand value will be big business in this decade. It will be sold using the same perception marketing that Instagram influencers use. It will be based on the same insecurities the Hustler sells his products with. Image is all – the Hustler becomes the hustled – but image is fleeting. Even mediocre minds can figure out how to jump on a current trend. Copy & paste a viral tag, aligning with something trending; all that is easy to do, but most niché marketeers lack the talent and insight to understand (much less foresee) a zeitgeist. Good hustlers borrow, great hustlers steal, but the true “ideas guys” are exceptionally rare in the Hustle Economy. Innovators and New Thinkers are the carrion that draws the Brand of Me vultures out in the open.

Ideas Guys

Hustle Economy carpet baggers live a very insecure and unpredictable existence. They are not innovators – they are fast followers. Not only is their sense of self fused to their brand, but their brand’s success is their metric of self-esteem. Their (often tenuous) mental health is measured in Followers, subscribers, views, comments, likes, engagement, analytics and clicks-per-minute (CPM). It’s never quality of ideas that define value; it’s only numbers. Money in the payment processor or number of email addresses on your list. It’s never ultimate causes / effects, it’s only proximate causality. It’s the number of trees over the health of the forest. But the numbers don’t lie, so the new teachers give the Lost Boys cigarettes, candy bars and cheap booze – or their emotionally proximate equivalents (hope). It’s what they really want, it’s what makes you money and it’s what your ego-brand’s long term security needs. Besides, if you don’t give the temporary salve for their miserable lives another Influencer has already copy & pasted your tags to lap you on the Hustle Economy racetrack.

Insecurity in self, brand, livelihood, sustainable ‘lifestyle creep’, even family relations are what define the Hustle Economy today. Most personal brands rarely last more than two years – at least in their initial incarnation. As such, there is a constant need for belief pivots and “brand makeovers” for influencers. Reinventing one’s “self” becomes a vital part of existence for the career grifter. And there’s a lot of money waiting the clever guy who figures out how to cater to this pivoting need. Those unable to adapt, or those who miss the cues of the rapidly changing zeitgeist, will become extinct. Only true innovators – the Ideas Guys – have any kind of real staying power, and that’s if they can roll with the social changes; if they can put off the ennui of seeing their ideas cannibalized and bastardized by the next wave of hustlers who will plagiarize their work with impunity.

Continued in part III next week,…

Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

Sizzle & Steak: Evangelism in the Hustle Economy

The Rational Man - Sat, 06/26/2021 - 01:13

What exactly are we teaching the Lost Boys today?

I came across the term Lost Boys in 2016. It’s attributed to the fan base that Dr. Jordan Peterson was generating around that time, but I had heard similar references to “drop out” young men as early as 2014. The fem-stream media was concerned that these 18-29 year old men were deliberately thwarting women’s mating/life strategies by not preparing themselves for adulthood. Women were concerned that fewer young men were going to be suitably ignorant-yet-dutiful husband material by the time they were 30. Meanwhile, TradCon media (predictably) made this crisis of masculinity all about men “shirking their responsibilities” from a want to “perpetuate their adolescence”. As expected, men assuming more masculine responsibility was the cure to solving this social malaise. Both sides of the ideological spectrum have never had a real interest in discerning the root causes for the now two generations of Lost Boys. To do so would challenge both ideology’s base presumptions about innate sex differences, feminism, gynocentrism and female empowerment stretching back to the sexual revolution. Hannah Rosen called it the End of Men in The Atlantic back in 2012. The Kidults and Peter Pan Men were an easily shamed novelty. Breitbart called them the Drop Out Generation and we’re similarly dismissed as “lazy kids not preparing themselves for being fathers and husbands.” Even I threw my hat in the ring when I penned Are You Experienced.

In 2021 we are now two generations into the Lost Boys. Just like the latter half of the Millennials, now Gen Z young men are becoming the next wave of guys trying to find purpose in a life that has no need of them – or they’re endlessly derided for not living up to an old order standard. As Rian Stone has said, they are sheep in search of a shepherd – students with no teacher – young men who are effectively rudderless in life. This is where the Red Pill, Manosphere, male space or whatever we’re calling it now is stepping in to become the teachers these young men have lacked. But what are we actually teaching the Lost Boys? From what I see today, most coaches” haven’t done much more than profit by them. Today, they are more lost now than when Dr. Peterson identified them. What will be the long-term human, societal, cost of two generations of young men guided, taught and/or hustled into, or out of, embracing conventional masculinity?

The Blind Lead the Blinder

“Who’s the more foolish, the Blue Pill chump or the chumps who follow him?”

If you’ve read my latest book The Rational Male, Religion you’ll already be familiar with the concept of The Brand of Me. Today, everyone is their own brand. From the frustrated soccer mom, to the 12-year-old girl interacting with “friends” she’s never met, to OnlyFans girls, to niche marketing Gurus, everyone you know is actively engaged in some form of personal brand management. Even your grandmother on FaceBook is her own PR agent. Likewise, masculinity/positivity gurus are their own personal brands. I’m emphasizing ‘are’ here because we live our own brand identity as our personal identity in our day to day lives now.

It’s becoming exceedingly difficult to separate the ‘man‘ from his brand today. In the Hustle Economy, managing brand identity, is managing livelihood, is managing personal identity. Everyone is their brand. In the early 2000’s it was the likes of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian who were the pioneers of being famous for being famous. Neither had (has) any real exceptional talent that made them celebrities; they simple were famous. There are other examples, but most of that “fame” was generated via careful personal brand management in a time when social media was nothing like it is today. Then, it took a lot more work and money to curate fame for being famous. Now, in the new order, it’s never been easier to create an easily believable perceptions of fame – even if it’s just a low degree of it.

It’s all sizzle and no steak. E-Celebrity is now reality show entertainment that virtually anyone, any demographic, can create for themselves. In my 2014 essay Hysteria I detailed the social experiment of a guy who created his own instant celebrity:

Basically, the guy had a few friends follow him around the mall, one guy filming him and the other two guys (I can’t tell if any of his hired guns were women) acting as his “groupies” or entourage. He goes around identifying himself as “Thomas Elliot” when people, mostly women, ask him his name. Eventually, he begins to pile up admiring and gawking female attention, which only snowballs into more female attention. Apparently, not one of these starstruck chicks thought to question if Thomas Elliot was a real celebrity. That’s the power of preselection and fame; so powerful, it can disengage a woman’s neural logic circuitry.

Remember, the linked videos were produced in 2012. This experiment required a film team, at least 2-3 collaborators to give the guy some legitimacy. You don’t need this today. In fact you don’t even need great post-production or computer skills now. All that’s required to create a similar video is a smart phone and Instagram. Social proof, preselection, status, clout, prestige, indignation and fame have never been easier to manufacture for average people than in the first 20 years of the 21st century.

Never have more people (and mostly women) been so rewarded for so little real work, talent, virtuoso, education or creativity. And rewarded with money, adulation, admiration, “respectability“, love, attention and importance. Today, anyone can become influential – an influencer. Potentially, anyone can get paid better and enjoy more status than the career they may have went to years of college to get. As a result, the value of a formal real education is debased.

But, who cares about college or education anyway, right? Even STEM fields and the hard sciences have been infiltrated by Wokezis. Academia is rife with socialists and Marxism at every level now. Post-modernism has owned the humanities and the arts since at least the 1960s if not the late 1800s. True education has become a grift too. Most universities are just very expensive diploma mills that supply you with the paperwork necessary to allow you to be considered for an entry-level job – usually determined by an underpaid Karen in the HR department; likely with less “education” than what you paid for just to get an audience with her. Now, is it any wonder that education and “preparing oneself for life and responsibilities” is effectively worthless to the Lost Boys generation?

‘Cause I’m a twenty-first century digital boy
I don’t know how to live but I got a lot of toys
My daddy’s a lazy middle-class intellectual
My mommy’s on Valium, so ineffectual
Ain’t life a mystery, yeah?

Bad Religion, 21st Century Digital Boy, 1990

Damn, that song was prophetic. If an education’s purpose is to allow the graduate access to the job (in the working world) he believes will profit him best, and he’d have better results in the Hustle Economy, why bother with the investment of time and student debt? If a young woman can make a fortune from the minimum investment needed to be an OnlyFans influencer (sex worker) why bother to study nursing? If a guy can make more money and be more attractive as a “life coach” for far less investment than a degree in a suspicious major like psychology what’s the incentive to be educated?

The motive is profit and the process is profit. In the New Order we’ve become hyper-efficient at commodifying both motive and process. This has led to a mistrust, if not disdain, of education, science (as a method), wisdom and genuine creative inspiration.

“If it doesn’t lead to my first million dollars what’s the point of doing it?”
“Fuck it, I’ll just be a stripper OnlyFans girl or entrepreneur.”

As a result the Hustle Economy tends to attract pathological personalities. As most of my readers know, crazy tends to draw more crazy into its orbit. Pathological doesn’t always mean criminally insane. Guys like Steve Jobs or Elon Musk had/have pathological reality distortion fields about them. And while they are what we’d excuse as eccentric, maybe asocial, they weren’t destructive malcontents. Unfortunately, they’re the rarer exceptions. Get rich quick, get fit quick, get clout quick, get love, adoration, props, respectability, attention, concern, empathy/sympathy, and commiseration instantly, with the least amount of money and personal investment is an irresistible pull to pathological personalities. In any other era, these guys would have to be supremely creative and driven to get up and over the loser status barrier to become more than they started as. And only then after a constant learning from defeat and setbacks. For today’s TL;DR generation, if it can’t be delivered instantaneously why else would you bother doing something?

“Only the insane have the strength to prosper. Only those who prosper truly judge what is sane.”

Part II, next week,…

Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

Truth, Awareness and the Post-Gynocentric World

The Rational Man - Fri, 04/16/2021 - 00:03

For the past 12 years I’ve been asked some variation of this question:

Rollo, why should a man bother with women at all today? All women today, yes all women, are vain, self-important, narcissistic, hubristic and entitled. What average man would ever want to have anything to do with the average woman? By the time a girl reaches her late teens she’s already conditioned to expect a High-Value Man is what she’s due in life. By the time she’s in her early 30s she still hasn’t had the delusions of her entitlements dispelled for her – no matter what the realities of her situation might hold up in her face. What’s the average guy supposed to do about the average woman?”

Although I’ve been writing about intersexual dynamics for 20 years now, there’s definitely been a sea change in those dynamics since the rise of social media. While the last two generations of women have been the test experiments, it’s not just a case of “Bro, women’s egos and assessments of their own SMV are blown out of all proportion because of Instagram.” Men’s expectations (really anticipation) of average women’s overblown egos is also part of the experiment. We’ve come to a point where men don’t expect anything else from women than an aggrandized sense of female self. The average guy has little recourse but to accept this ego-appeasement and adapt to a sexual marketplace defined by women’s hubris; or by choice, or necessity, (usually necessity) they simply opt out of that marketplace – or they convince themselves they do. In fact, much of what passes for dating now is really a form of personal brand management that has to contend with the rigors of a global sexual marketplace. No one really “dates” in this market. Without realizing it they simply look for strategic co-branding opportunities that align with the changing perception of sociosexual value in global society.

  • How will the images of me dating this guy increase my brand engagement?
  • How will the pics and video of him appearing in my feed impact my future opportunities to get with a hotter guy?
  • How many Simps (commodified Beta orbiters) funding my lifestyle will abandon my brand as a result?

While these (and more) may not be conscious concerns for women “dating” today, the sociosexual context of this brand management is pervasive. It is the acknowledged environment in which men and women have play the game.

In a Gynocentric global social order the sexual marketplace is by women, for women’s short term and long term mating strategies. Men are simply the replaceable accessories needed to optimize those strategies,…or to be used as convenient foils when the consequences of those strategies become unignorable. So, it’s hardly surprising then that we’re moving into the second generation of Lost Boys. Young men with no real purposeful direction in life, less creative drive and a generation-defining sense of existential ennui.

And what would be their incentive to prompt them to creativity or purpose? Certainly not the long-term reward of an adoring woman or of sexual satisfaction born of her genuine desire. Those rewards are reserved for the High Value Men all women (young and old) believe are their due. Anything less is just brand management now. In an age when girls are raised on the ideal that no woman ought ever to do anything for the express pleasure of a man, doing something pleasurable for one becomes an act of rebellion against the Strong Independent Woman character they’re raised to emulate. Thus, any guy she’s motivated to go against her Fempowerment programming for had better be extraordinarily, confirmedly, high value. To paraphrase Patrice ‘O Neil, women want a man who’s better looking, smarter, stronger, more dominant, educated, taller and richer than they are, yet still wants him to think of her as his equal – or his Queen. He’s the ideal Superman who still defers to her socially-mandated authority (because he respects women) despite being her superior in every way she measures high-value. Oh, and he still has to continually qualify for her intimate approval even if he initially passes the average woman’s filters. Otherwise she might begin to feel as if she settled on him.

One thing that our new order communication society has made unignorable is that the truths we used to build the previous social orders on aren’t exactly what we believed them to be. In some cases those presumptions were useful faiths in truths we expected others to mutually accept; others were pretty-but-useful lies. Regardless, we still cling to romantic ideals that were tenable in previous eras despite the growing (easily accessible) research, data and empirical evidence that puts the lie to that romanticism. What we’re left with is a conflict of old order hope, faith, romance, emotionalism and the lives shaped by these influences versus the often harsh, empirical, objective truths about human nature that are unignorable in this age. Reason itself doesn’t destroy comforting faith, but it does take the magic out of faith by explaining it. Faith confirmed by reason only reinforces faith, but it can never go back to being a faith again once it’s explained. This is a hard pill to swallow for generations that have made a faith in emotionalism the guiding principle that defines their personalities, entitlements and expectations of the opposite sex. And this is to say nothing about the current global social order founded on emotionalism (Feels Before Reals).

Long ago I wrote an essay titled The True Romantics where I asserted that it was men, not women, who are the true romantics – of this age and those past. Men are innate idealists. This idealism prompts us to the performance we use to establish dominance and competence hierarchies amongst ourselves, but it also incentivizes us to the romanticism we hope will solve our reproductive problem. I’ve said in the past that this idealism is both our greatest strength and our most exploitable weakness. For the past two generations this idealism has been a liability for most men. When you make a man necessitous it’s his idealism that makes him hopeful in hopelessness. It’s idealism that makes him a suicidal nihilist or a pollyanna optimist. It’s idealism that keeps him going to work each day in the hopes that his dedication to a proscribed rule-set he believes everyone else is (or should) be playing by will earn him respectability. It’s idealism that makes him a Black Pill Doomer when he can’t reconcile his old Blue Pill conditioned hopes and goals with the Red Pill aware, new order data confirmed for him every day on social media or is just a Google search away. And it’s idealism that makes him hate the women who will never make those pleasant Blue Pill fictions a reality, while he hates the men who brought him to that despondency even more.

Both sexes are gravely, irreversibly, disillusioned today. Both would like to return to some idyllic time where women could swoon for a dashing high-value man who would become a husband they could admire (and be hot for) – and men could find a suitable mate via an understandable and realizable performance, acceptable responsibility, and actionable authority. But an underlying blind faith in the Blank Slate, Social Constructionism, Emotionalism and Subjectivism have made all this impossible. Progressivism, feminism, gynocentrism, (Wokeism) and all of the fallacies that built them, are really old order faiths founded on previously accepted presumptions – presumptions that are destroyed by new, easily accessed, empirical data every day. The more empirical truth (or even the questions that come from it) the more desperate the old social order becomes in maintaining the frameworks its power relies on to sustain it. Red Pill awareness of intersexual dynamics is one such catalyst that is disrupting those old order, Blue Pill, false ideals. It exposes a game we all enjoyed playing up until technology made public what the winners and losers had to do to be so. Women want to play the game, they don’t want to be told they’re playing it is an old maxim I’ve used for over a decade. Now we can apply this to the entirety of our globalized social order; except being told we’re all playing an old game is unavoidable. It makes playing it seem contrived, but it also calls into question why we’d ever build our lives around the contrivance.

Women and men are being dragged from this comfortable game based on emotionalism, false potentials of a Blank Slate and social constructivism. They are being forced to take the Red Pill and cross an abyss very few will have any idea how to deal with. We need new paradigms of thinking, and new ways of inter-relating with each other that align with an empirical understanding of our natures. This will require an acceptance of Red Pill awareness, and innovation and creativity that is sorely lacking in these generations.

Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs
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