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June 08, 2016

Why I Attack Everything

Someone objected to my attack on sports and Bill Simmons. Another commenter agreed: "I don't understand why some people want to piss on other people's pleasures."

I get those complaints. I take them seriously.

But here's why I'm doing it anyway.

I want to stress I completely agree with the sentiments expressed. I myself hate what I term "pleasure-shaming" -- a sort of Puritan revulsion at everyone's pleasure-seeking, except, of course, one's own (which is not even pleasure seeking -- it's a Noble Pursuit of an Ancient and Wizened Art).

Three weeks ago someone snapped at me for playing Uncharted 4. First game I'd played in six months! Well, I snapped like hell at him.

So I get it. Pleasure-shaming is bad. And pleasure-shamers are fools and scoundrels who are just angry and jealous at anyone having a good time that isn't the exact type of good time they themselves like.

But I'm doing it anyway.

Here's why: It's political, and it's psyops.

When I quit smoking, I did so by reading The Easy Way to Quit Smoking by Allen Carr.

He had an insight, which, at first, I thought was total and complete bullshit.

He said you can't quit smoking by willpower. Willpower doesn't work. Even the strongest willed among us still have a finite reserve of willpower, and those reserves will be depleted, eventually. It will just take longer for their willpower reserves to run out than it does for the weak-willed.

But run out it will, as it always does. It must.

His insight was then that there was no point attempting to get people to stop doing something they really liked doing -- in this case, smoking.

It wouldn't work. It was doomed to failure. Such "willpower" based programs were cruel jokes played on the target.

He had a better way, he said. And this is the crazy part where I went "What kind of bullshit snake-oil is this charlatan selling me?"

But here's his better way:

The only way to quit doing something is to no longer want to do it.

That's both true and stupid at the same time, isn't it? I mean, duh. And of course it would be easy to quit smoking if I no longer wanted to smoke, wouldn't it? No doy, dipshit! But the point is that I do want to keep smoking, so this is the stupdiest thing I ever heard!"

And then he began talking at me in the book (in a coversational style) and sort of told me, "hey, is it really that much fun to have to run away from a dinner with friends just to suck a cigarette outside in the rain and cold? Do you really like that anxious, panicked, trapped feeling you have when you worry about the next time you can have a cigarette? Do you really need these things, man? Are they improving your life at all?"

Well, that's just a very short digest of his rap. It goes on for like 200 pages. Kind of repetitive, but it does make the point.

And by the end of the book -- actually, about three quarters of the way through -- I decided, "You know what? This is stupid. I actually don't want to smoke."

And never smoked again. Never even tempted -- well, once, for about ten seconds. It passed, and I didn't smoke.

So it was total bullshit -- except it was 100% true.

It has occurred to me for some time that the only way to change politics in this country is to bring the media to its knees. The only way to bring it to its knees is to boycott it -- not even a full boycott. Just a boycott of a high enough level that their profits go down and executives start being fired.

Then they will come begging to have their audience back.

What's the problem with doing that?

Well, obviously: People don't want to stop watching their Media Shows and such, even if they agree with the idea that someone (else) should boycott the media to bring it to heel.

Why do they watch the shows? They're convinced, wrongly, that they need those shows in some way, that these shows make their lives better, provide a richer, more flavorful existence for them.

That these shows make them cooler, give them a connection to other Show Watchers.

There's a Fear of Missing Out, cultivated by carnival-bark commercials and Scenes from Next Week's Show. If you're not watching, you're missing out. You're missing out on one of Life's great joys.

That list of reasons people watch the shows, even though they fully understand the dangerous, hazardous effects of doing so (coarsening our culture, bringing our own political death nearer) looks a lot like a smoker's list of reasons why he should keep smoking.

So, why I am always bad-mouthing TV shows, FaceBook, Twitter, Sports, ESPN, the NFL, Disney, Marvel, etc.?

Well I'm attempting my own little Allen Carr solution: The only way that people will actually stop doing a thing is when they simply do not wish to do it any longer.

Telling people to "boycott" is like asking people to willpower-quit smoking: It won't work. You're telling them there's this awesome, desirable, luscious thing out there waiting to be consumed, and that they nevertheless mustn't consume it.

But what if their minds change? What if they no longer see these things as desirable? What if they don't feel like they're "boycotting" Marvel movies, but instead are simply no longer watching repetitive, flavorless entertainments designed for 12 year old boys?

What if people don't boycott the media -- but instead just walk away, no longer much interested in it?

So that's what I'm doing. I meant to mention this earlier, but as you can see, it's a long explanation, and I'm lazy.

So I know I'm pleasure-shaming people, but that's not really my actual intent. My intent is not to pleasure shame anyone. My intent is to continually question whether or not the offerings of our stupid, viciously hostile media are actually pleasurable in the first place.

Are they?

Does anyone really feel they're living Life to the Full when they're watching a TV show?

Does anyone feel they're living a life of adventure and hot blood when they're tapping stupid singers into Twitter?

Does anyone feel they're really connecting with their Warrior/Hunter Ancestral Impulses when they merely watch sports?

In the latter case... who knows, maybe actually performing a sport on a casual, town-league level might be more satisfying.

Anyway, I don't mean to be a dick to the users of these things.

But I do mean to be a declared enemy of the media itself.

And I will denigrate their brain-numbing, life-wasting, couch-abusing poison any chance I get.

A few weeks ago Jeff B. said I was contradicting myself when I said social media was the worst use of one's time imaginable and should be avoided in order to live a richer and more fulfilling life, and also that their are political reasons for doing so.

These aren't contradictory at all. Both are 100% blazingly true at the same time.

These are all both personal toxins, making people more sedentary, stealing precious hours from them -- will anyone look back on his death bed and say to himself "I really got some Mad Burns off on Twitter?" -- and also this the Matrix that puts people into hypnosis and pushes socialism, collectivism, authoritarianism, and immiseration of all kinds (emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and financial) on us.

So, as with smoking, there are two reasons to quit:

1, It's bad for your health, and

2, It's really not something that's fun to do anyway.

Everyone agrees with point one, just like smokers agree, in the abstract, that they should quit smoking.

But the only way to actually help someone quit is to change someone's mind so he actually believes point 2.

And I'll just keep running my psyops against the media, as best I can, trying to wake people to the idea that voluntarily imprisoning oneself in front of an LED prison isn't the wisest use of one's limited number of hours on earth.

PS: I haven't seen Captain America: Civil War. I have no interest in it. I did ask someone who saw it if Spider-man was good in it. He said he was. Enough for me.

PPS: As I've said, you don't have to quit all the way. Just make a list of shows you genuinely love, those you like, and those you just sort of watch, whether out of habit or whatever.

Stop watching any outside of category one. Find new interests to replace the jettisoned ones. The new interests will be more interesting.

They have to be. There's nothing at all interesting about watching someone else having fun.

Note: I personally would never boycott individual actors, or at least would only do so as a personal thing. I wouldn't organize or promote a boycott.

I believe individuals have the right to expression -- just as I wouldn't want to be boycotted, I wouldn't organize a boycott against Matt Damon.

But the math is different for a corporation, which is by definition a collective actor, inviting a collective response.

Furthermore, Disney has been BOYCOTTING THE HELL OUT OF STATES, so they have entered this war themselves -- they were not dragged into it unwillingly.

They are fucking bad actors and need to be chastened. Furthermore, they then embolden other corporations -- like the NFL -- to follow their lead, thinking there'll be no push-back or consequences.

There must be consequences.

What if Disney's next big Star Wars movie just bombed?

What if it just shit the bed like Lady Ghostbusters is going to shit the bed?

What if they finally got an unmistakable price signal back from the market forewarning them of imminent collapse?

Think about it.

Pour encourager les autres.

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posted by Ace at 05:28 PM

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