The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

More Thoughts on the ‘Red Pill’

Posted on | May 8, 2019 | No Comments

“When he saw me at the beginning of the day and when he called me on the telephone, his first words were always, ‘Hello, Baby.’ . . . He was my mentor, my teacher and the love of my life.”
Lauren Bacall, on Humphrey Bogart

Until Monday, I never realized that “Rollo Tomassi” (the blogger at Rational Male) was a pseudonym, borrowed from a memorable line in the 1997 neo-noir classic L.A. Confidential.

Ironic. While I was covering the 21 Convention in Orlando, I found myself talking to a guy about how young men don’t have a cultural script that shows them heroic masculinity. Clark Gable as Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind was one obvious example, but after rattling off a list of several other specific examples, I said guys should be watching old film noir in general. Film noir is always about a guy who finds himself caught in a circumstance of moral ambiguity. He has to do the right thing in a situation where it’s not clear what the right thing is. And there is always a dame involved. The Big Sleep, with Bogie and Bacall — that’s it, man.

It is often said that what women find attractive in men is confidence, but in truth it is competence that matters more. Unless your confidence is based in actually being able to get the job done — skill, knowledge, resourcefulness — your pose of confidence will be exposed as a bluff. Actively demonstrating competence is always better than talking a smooth game, but how does a guy do this in a dating scenario? Well, for example, you scout out in advance where you want to take her. You find that excellent little restaurant with good atmosphere, you know the menu, you know how to get there and where to park, so when you pick her up for your date, you’re not using your GPS to navigate.

“Be excellent,” I tell my sons. In a ruthlessly competitive world, being merely good won’t cut it. You have to be excellent to win. There is no substitute for direct experience, learning through trial and error, so to become excellent you cannot be too risk-averse. You have to be willing to roll the dice and take your chances. You win some, you lose some, but you’re always learning, always improving yourself.

When Lauren Bacall first met Humphrey Bogart, she was only 19 and he was 44. All the odds were against him, and Bacall’s family and friends tried to talk her out of getting involved with him:

Bacall’s mother was strongly against her daughter being married to “an elderly alcoholic,” while [director Howard] Hawks energetically warned her about Bogart’s womanizing, promising her she would end up abandoned pretty soon.

Some things are just meant to be, however, and what Bogart had going for him — besides being one of the biggest leading men in Hollywood — was real confidence based in real competence. He had years of experience with women. He was sophisticated. He had savoir-faire.

One of the things feminists want you to believe about “red pill” guys is that they’re bitter, angry, full of “misogynist resentment,” to quote Amanda Marcotte. And you might believe that, if all you know is anonymous creeps talking smack on Reddit or whatever. On the other hand, if you were in Orlando at the 21 Convention, you might have encountered an impeccably groomed gentleman named George Bruno.

 

Known as “The Sultan of Silver,” Mr. Bruno is the exact opposite of what feminists want you to think the manosphere is about. Angry? Bitter? Nah, this guy is a winner, a class act all the way. At the Sunday night reception in Orlando, I heard Mr. Bruno tell the story of how he’d recently been banned from a certain nightclub because whenever he went in, all the women flocked around him to such an extent that the other guys in the club were getting zero action. That’s winning, my friends.

What could explain why a gray-haired old guy attracts more hotties than guys half his age? Well, as I say, he’s impeccably groomed, and he’s also physically fit, well-dressed, and poised. These are just basic areas of life that any guy can work on improving at any age. Even if you could never hope to become as classy as George Bruno, you can get better, and this kind of focus on self-improvement is what the “red pill” community, at its best, is really about. In a recent video, Mr. Bruno says: “Men, you want to be good with women? Be good with people.” This is so true. One of the problems with losers is, they get so hung up on the fact they can’t get laid that they don’t even notice they don’t have friends, either. The same personality traits that make a guy a failure in romantic relationships will also be reflected in his other relationships, or lack thereof. As a natural extrovert, I see this so often in losers of the introverted type (e.g., Elliot Rodger), who are trapped inside their inability to break the ice and make pleasant small talk with women, but in such cases, you almost always find that the loser also has few other social connections. And, like Elliot Rodger, these people often have an interior monologue of superiority, where they rationalize their failure by blaming others for failing to recognize or appreciate their superior qualities.

While it’s easy for me to spot the problems of the introverted “Nice Guy,” it would be foolish for me to deny that extroverts can be losers, too. This brings me back to Rollo Tomassi and something he wrote in his third book: “Never self-deprecate.” Whoa! My entire personality is wrong? Having been the class clown from childhood, I’ve used self-deprecating humor so long I’d hardly know how to live without it. Rollo’s red-pill approach is all about using rational objectivity as a mode of pragmatic analysis and, from my perspective, self-deprecating humor is about acknowledging the obvious fact of my own absurdity. I would seem not only pompous, but lacking in self-awareness, if I couldn’t laugh at my own inherent disadvantages.

I can’t help about the shape I’m in.
I can’t sing, I ain’t pretty and my legs are thin.
But don’t ask me what I think of you,
I might not give the answer that you want me to.

Fleetwood Mac, “Oh Well”

If you’re winning despite all your disadvantages, what harm can there be in laughing at yourself while you do it? But this goes to another point Rollo makes, the solipsism that so defines the emotional reference of the female mind. Rollo notes that, whenever a man tries to express a general rule about human behavior — based upon observation and logic — a woman typically objects by citing some personal anecdote she believes refutes his general rule. This is a tactic of debate I’ve called “Arguing by Exceptions,” or the “What If?” method. Attempting to disprove your assertion of some general principle, the antagonist will cite an exception or hypothetical scenario in which the general principle is invalid. Having encountered this so many times over the years, I’ve learned not to bother arguing with people who employ this tactic. Either (a) they are hopelessly biased on the issue involved, or (b) they simply dislike you, and are arguing against you out of pure personal animosity.

I’ve long since learned to recognize scenario (b). Some people just find me annoying, on a personal level, and are offended by the suggestion that I might actually know what I’m talking about. It’s like the time I was at a party and a guy I barely knew walked up to me and said, “I don’t like your face” — obviously spoiling for a fight — and my response was to say, “Yeah, I don’t like my face, either,” and I just walked away.

You want to engage me in some sort of macho game, like two animals fighting for dominance on the Serengeti plain? No thanks.

If I know I’m telling the truth — if I’m sure of my facts and logic — I’m not going to argue with someone who wants to argue for the sake of proving his personal superiority by “winning” such an argument. Because guess what? An arrogant fool is not my superior, and what he is actually seeking to do with his “argument” is to insult me.

Learn how to walk away. Remember the scene in Gone With the Wind:

Charles Hamilton: “I refuse to listen to any renegade talk!”
Rhett Butler: “Well, I’m sorry if the truth offends you.”
Charles Hamilton: “Apologies aren’t enough sir. I hear you were turned out of West Point, Mr. Rhett Butler. And that you aren’t received in any decent family in Charleston. Not even your own.”
Rhett Butler: “I apologize again for all my shortcomings. Mr. Wilkes, perhaps you won’t mind if I walk about and look over your place. I seem to be spoiling everybody’s brandy and cigars and… dreams of victory.”

And here we return to Rollo’s rule against self-deprecation. My defense of successful rule-breaking does not prove that Rollo is wrong, and I have been contemplating how to break myself of that habit, which I learned at an early age and which seemed to work so well in my own personal circumstances. Having succeeded in life far beyond anyone’s expectations, it probably is counter-productive for me to undermine my credibility by playing the clown. Even in my own case, you see, the red-pill discourse can point the way to self-improvement, and while I don’t plan to stop making jokes — God forbid! — I want to start trying to avoid the kind of outright clowning that, however fun it might be, makes me seem to be someone whose opinions can’t be taken seriously.

Something else Rollo says in his third book is that the reason so many Beta males foolishly pedestalize women — viewing them with idolatrous reverence — is because they have never seen women at their absolute worst. If you grow up in middle-class circumstances, protected from the seamy underside of life, and your knowledge of female behavior is based on viewing them at a distance, rather than in intimate relationships, it’s much easier to imagine that the cute, sweet girl is somehow exempt from Total Depravity (cf., Calvin). But after you’ve been around a while, and if you’ve strayed outside the boundaries of suburban security, you won’t be surprised to learn that the cocaine-addicted stripper (who is still cute and sweet enough) is a former high-school cheerleader from a wholesome small-town family: “A pretty face can hide an evil mind.”

“McCain is more open to the ideas of the red pill than any other mainstream journalist on the planet. The main reason for this is that McCain is an actual journalist, which is something that they haven’t taught in journalism schools for over 30 years. He reports as opposed to emotes.”
Adam Piggott

Grateful for the compliment, I’m mystified while looking at some of the comments on these red-pill blogs. It’s obvious that many in the community have a near-paranoid hostility to any scrutiny from outside the community, even from someone like me, hate-listed by the SPLC and banned by Twitter, which ought to be sufficient certification of my defiance of any kind of blue-pill thinking.

But subcultures gonna subcult, I guess . . .

Rollo Tomassi speaking in 2018.

One reason I’m promoting Rollo, by the way, is because he has recently come under attack by some envious fools on Reddit. Whatever else may have motivated this, the attack proves something I’ve known for a long time: Some people just can’t stand to see a winner win. Success always inspires opposition from people who, rather than praising the winner as an example to emulate, instead view his success as somehow unfair — he cheated, he “sold out,” whatever — because it would be too painful to their own ego to admit that he earned what he’s got.

This is why it’s important to defend anyone in such a circumstance. Ten years ago, in the memorable Little Green Footballs flame-war, I was grateful for those who rallied to my defense, recognizing the true motive behind Charles Johnson’s attack on me. If I hadn’t been succeeding, at the very time when Mad King Charles was destroying his own once-formidable blog through paranoid purges of commenters, I never would have become a target of his envious “Race Detective” attack. Surviving that dishonest smear proved the value of strong allies, and confirmed a lot of what I already understood about the kind of circular firing-squad scenario that so often happens when someone’s success makes them an object of envy, so that they are attacked by supposed “friends” who believe they can obtain some benefit from the target’s destruction.

Hell to the no — not on my watch, buddy. Y’all go follow Rollo Tomassi on Twitter, and please check out his books. Many fathers have bought The Rational Male as a gift for their sons. Even if Rollo has a habit of saying things that offend those who care more for “dreams of victory” than for the brutal truth, he does not deserve to be smeared by his inferiors, which is what his Reddit critics so evidently are.

Keep in mind that I say this as a Christian “tradcon” — a type that Rollo quite directly criticizes. His observations of human behavior, coming from a secular perspective, are valuable enough that I can overlook his disparagement of my own religious perspective. There is so much that is true and useful in his books (and on his blog) that sincere Christians ought to examine Rollo’s criticisms and candidly ask: Is he telling us something important we need to know? In a culture where sexual degeneracy is rapidly becoming the norm, surely the Bible-believer must listen prudently to someone who sees this problem as rooted in an effeminate tendency that has, unfortunately, manifested itself even in Christian churches that claim to serve the King of Kings.

Far be it from me to lead anyone into temptation by introducing them to the “Game” mentality, but red-pill guys like Rollo are telling truths about human nature we cannot afford to ignore. Selah.



 

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