Manosphere Remembrance Day

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The history of the Manosphere is nebulous.

…Like an echo, a shadow, a vague thought that has reverberated louder and louder with time. You can trace its DNA through the works of ancient poets and philosophers– great men throughout history who identified truths of human nature– through to the modern era. For millennia, these truths were regarded as common sense, and they were integrated functionally into the way society was organized, and the social standards of each population. But with the cultural revolution beginning in the 1960s and reaching a tipping point in the 1990s, a need arose for men to more explicitly teach each other these lost truths. The Manosphere might have begun with Tony’s Lay Guide, The Mystery Method, or other forums hidden in the dark crevices of the nascent internet of the 1990s (such as alt.seduction). It might have begun with The Futurist’s essay “The Misandry Bubble.” It might have begun with Roosh (f/k/a DC Bachelor), Matt Forney (f/k/a Ferdinand Bardamu), and Heartiste (f/k/a Roissy) coalescing around a shared worldview at the crossroads of sex, politics, and a restless sense of lost masculinity, awaiting a revolution.

As more voices began to join the swelling chorus of disenfranchised, horny, clueless men looking to reclaim their balls and dignity, the “Manosphere” as we currently know it was born. It became not just a few disparate blogs with similar content, but an overlapping ecosystem with evolving conversations and interactions. Men would comment on others’ blogs, post their own thoughts, and have long discussions on select forums. Eventually, there was a natural progression to using Twitter as a major uniting force for the culture of the Manosphere. There, men could share observations, thoughts, and links in real time for maximum interconnectivity. It was more immediate and conversational, and allowed the Manosphere to come to life in a new way.

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But along the way, some important, influential writers have come and gone. These were men who helped forge the Manosphere by sharing their most honest thoughts and experiences– the good times and (especially useful) the bad. Men shared the stories they couldn’t share in “real life”– with friends and family who seemed to just not understand– and in doing so, we all found a deeper, common truth.

These men were also highly intelligent, expert thinkers and men of great action. They began to share their success stories, analysis, and experimentation within the “Game.” Eventually, the term Game would come to encompass all the positive changes we were making in our actions for attracting women and bettering our lives, both nuanced and strikingly bold.

For certain reasons, some of these writers in the Manosphere have had to shutter their blogs over the years. Perhaps some said all they had to say and moved on, but certainly others were “outed” and had to delete their blogs in hopes of preserving their privacy and maybe keeping their job/relationship/reputation. When these influential writers have had to delete their blogs, we lose their archives and are robbed of learning from them and re-reading them in the future.

It is due to the Manosphere’s unique and inherently revolutionary nature that its writers incur these risks. I, and many of my colleagues, live in a somewhat constant state of low-grade fear of being exposed. For many of us, this paranoia is probably overblown, and yet there is no doubt there would be repercussions if our real names became linked to our blogging identities.

Sometimes I ask myself what I would do if I was exposed. Would I cut the cord and wipe out my entire digital trail? Or have I built something bigger, and more important, than my tiny little life? Maybe I should make the sacrifice, take the hit, and believe that by leaving my works online for others to discover, I am doing more good for this world than the ill effects I would incur.

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I won’t truly know my decision until that fateful day comes. But I cannot fault those who came before me and decided they had to protect their identities, and the lives they had built. Allowing yourself to be publicly linked to the Manosphere, to being a “Pick-Up Artist,” to being anti-Feminist… these things are a scarlet mark on us that anyone can use to manipulate, extort, or otherwise ostracize us from society in America today.

But as some have fallen and others picked up the torch, I would like to take today to look back and remember some of the names of writers who have come and gone. Men who influenced me, opened my eyes with wonder, and made me smile and shake my head, realizing all I had done wrong, and how incredibly simple it could be to change for the better.

Men like Paul The King, one of the first no-holds-barred, unapologetic guys who wrote about women’s true promiscuous nature, the indifferent attitude a man should exhibit toward his girls, and some practical knowledge of juggling multiple girls at once, all with a hilarious style that made you want to share a beer with him.

Men like Willy Wonka (the only other person to ever write a guest post here at The Quest For 50), who let us see his journey of improvement warts and all. We could relate to guys like this, because he was an everyman who didn’t just rely on his natural abilities or looks. He earned it every step of the way, and we could only hope to emulate his success as he met and slept with great new girls, improved his fitness, and eventually moved abroad to pursue happiness.

Men like Culdcept of Sector Las Vegas, who was one of the first guys to write extensive field reports and cite specific venues for picking up girls. His scope was limited to Vegas, but he had a good voice and contributed a lot of comments to other blogs, furthering the conversation in the Manosphere.

There have been a few other seminal figures that have come and gone. Some have gone and then risen from the ashes again, like a phoenix. Assanova disappeared and then came back in a different incarnation, only to leave again. Nate of NexxtLevelUp and Rivelino have both gone through at least 4 blog incarnations over the years. As noted earlier, even RooshRoissy, and Matt Forney have shuttered or changed blogs over the years. For them, it was for stylistic choices. But to many others, such as Gmac and The Rookie, it is a matter of constantly having to protect one’s own privacy.

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Because we in the Manosphere don’t observe Valentine’s Day, it seemed appropriate that we should re-purpose February 14th, just as Christians took the pagan holiday of the winter solstice and started calling it Jesus’ Birthday.

I now invite all of you to take this opportunity to share the names and memories of some of the writers who first introduced you to the Manosphere. Comment here, tweet (#manosphereremembrance), or write a post of your own. If we can take one day a year to remember some of our brothers who contributed to building this community, it will help us to be reminded of their writing and keep their memories and spirit alive.

And I hope you do it for me, long after I’m gone…

–Dagonet

Posted in Backstory, Philosophy, The Quest For 50 News | 19 Comments

Hollywood Link Roundup (FRIDAY 12/13)

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I’m going to start posting up some links each day from the entertainment business that I think will be of interest to my readers. Check out today’s roundup below.

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1968′s “How To Pick Up Girls!” being adapted into a feature film.

Interesting that this was written when the birth control pill was just starting to have an influence on female promiscuity. I haven’t read it but I imagine some aspects are still applicable today, and some are utterly laughable. It’s unclear whether this will be a satirical, period-appropriate adaptation of the original, or just a modern-set adaptation using the title and some loose inspiration from the book.

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Geena Davis has suggestions on how to increase women’s presence in movies.

The advice involves arbitrarily changing male characters to female characters (since gender is obviously a social construct and the actions of a male character would make perfect sense if the gender was switched). Also, specify that the extras in the background should be 50% female. Womyn’s Empowerment!

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Saturday Night Live will be adding a black female cast member by January.

Bowing to pressure from liberals and minorities, SNL will be adding a female black cast member, whether she’s good enough to be on the show or not. This post includes most of the rumored women in consideration.

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The car preferences of female celebrities in Hollywood.

My favorite line: “Unlike men, who tend to be slavishly brand-loyal, women often are willing to switch.” I guess female hypergamy applies to cars too.

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Fox News anchor blasted for claiming Santa and Jesus are white.

Talk about digging yourself a hole.

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Fox News sued for trying to get younger.

The Baby Boomers try taking legal action to prevent their obsolescence. Fox News was losing young viewers, and it’s their job to make changes to keep a more profitable audience. Time for the old folks to move, bitch, get out the way.

Posted in Hollywood | 1 Comment

The Sacred Contract

The Baby Boomers (a.k.a. the most self-absorbed generation anywhere in all of history) started a disheartening trend that has been catching on with my generation too.

Through their selfishness, they engineered the concept that every person should think long and hard about whether he or she wants to have children, and that often it’s right to selfishly pursue your own hedonism and “goals” instead of ever having kids.

This mostly just applies to white people, and it’s a big reason behind why demographics are shifting so rapidly, and Latinos, Blacks, and Asians are eclipsing Caucasians in the U.S. and Europe. I’ll leave the Human Biodiversity debates to Heartiste, but I do think that a race that built up its own corner of the world should not willfully let itself go extinct because of guilt and ennui.

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Regardless of the color of their skin, there are plenty of American men and women purposely foregoing having children for a variety of reasons. Almost all of them can be boiled down to basic selfishness or other misguided thought processes caused by our warped culture.

Many guys in the Manosphere say they don’t want to get married or have kids, citing the “risks” involved. These risks certainly exist, but there have always been downsides to child-rearing, I’m sure dating back to caveman times when a crying baby could blow up your spot and let a prowling tiger find and eat your whole family.

It’s sad that our society has come to this point and disincentivized having kids to this degree, but just as the post-Wall woman is kept up at night by the ghostly screams of her expired womb, so too will men regret not leaving a living legacy behind. It is coded in our DNA, and it is the very thing that makes us human. Without children, there will always be a void.

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When you turn your back on your basic duty as a living being– keeping the earth populated and habitable– you violate a sacred contract that carries the weight of millions of years and a billion generations. You owe your existence to all those who came before you, and whether you think so or not, it is your purpose to make sure that tradition continues. We are stewards of this world, and the pride of raising sons and daughters you believe will make the world a better place is an unparalleled form of fulfillment.

Not everyone can or will have children. That’s a basic, unchangeable fact. But to refuse to have children in order to pursue “hedonism” (a.k.a. ejaculating in a plastic bag or on a girl’s body until you’re dead) is to deny the most fundamental, transcendent aspect of our humanity, our planet, and our Universe.

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UPDATE — For further reading on the subject, check out Frost’s excellent post “Two Games”: 

Two Games (Part I)

Two Games (Part II)

Posted in Biology, Philosophy | 14 Comments

My Girlfriend’s Opinion On Marriage

I told her to read “Men on Strike,” and here are her thoughts so far (via one long text message):

I don’t know about Men on Strike, Dagonet. It talks about the “punishment of marriage” which the author makes it seem like men are slaves in a marriage. Maybe it’s because I’m from a farm, but the majority of people I know got married because they wanted to have a family with the person they were in love with. Marriage is a huge sacrifice on both parties. Someone has to provide for the kids, right? And a ton of men are staying home now to do the care taking instead of the other way around. The portrait of marriage she paints is completely foreign to me. My parents worked their asses off and I saw how tough marriage was on them. My mom was constantly tired from taking care of us and cooking and cleaning. My dad worked around the clock and after dinner he’d just fall asleep in front of the couch every night. But they knew what they were in for. People who aren’t up for that sacrifice should never ever get married. I want to because I know that I’m always going to put my husband and kids before myself. It sounds to me like the problem lies with couples not communicating their roles in marriage and women being selfish bitches. At least from the first 22 pages.

Posted in Philosophy | 7 Comments

Offense & Defense

I was just paging through Pure Manhood, a modern Catholic work on chastity and chivalry by Jason Evert. I came across it randomly and was intrigued to check out a different perspective on being a man.

The book starts off pretty good, with a passage that could almost be mistaken for a Manosphere blog post. It talks about how lost our culture is, with men and women using each other for sex, when they really both desire deeper love and connection.

Fair enough.

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The book then takes a hard left and veers wildly off course, as Jason Evert (whose picture you should Google immediately) decides to give us his advice about the proper way to treat a lady.

It’s too long to quote directly, but I’ll paraphrase the important points he lists:

– Realize that the number one thing a woman wants in a man is honesty, so always tell her your feelings and never hide anything from her.

– Always become friends with a girl and meet her family before beginning to consider any romantic feelings or acts toward her.

– When you want to ask a girl out, do it clearly and directly. “This honors the girl, because it takes the burden of rejection off her and places it on you. If she’s not worth the pain of rejection, then you don’t desire her enough.”

– Open doors for her, give her the better seat at the restaurant (a cardinal sin of Game, in my opinion), never look at other women, let her order first, keep the conversation “pure” and avoid gossip, pay for the meal.

“If you’re getting the feeling that you’re becoming a servant, you’re getting the right idea.” Yes, he actually says this.

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Anyway, what I really want to talk about was inspired by the section “How Far Is Too Far?”

In it, Evert asks how far you would want to go with a girl you brought home to your couch.

Then he throws a curveball and asks how far you would want it to go if your sister was in this position with a different guy.

This got me thinking, and I quickly realized why his argument holds no water.

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Offense & Defense

Just as a sports team must play both offense and defense– often two completely different skill sets that are both required to reach the unified goal of winning– so too do we pursue reproductive strategies of both offense and defense.

Offense is a strategy mainly pursued by men, and involves seeking out as many sexual partners as possible, in order to spread their seed far and wide. Women can, at times, play offense as well; their version consists of sleeping with multiple men to incite a “sperm war” and gain greater biological fitness from the strongest man winning.

A significant part of a man’s offensive strategy will be to push for sex whenever possible. His part of the act is low-investment, so it’s a smart genetic strategy to fuck early and fuck often.

Overall, reproductive offense comes down to fulfilling your biological imperative through primarily sexual, rather than social, mechanisms. And mens’ biological imperative is to reproduce quickly, efficiently, and as much as possible. Jason Evert says “God made man to love one woman.” I respectfully disagree.

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Reproductive defense is a fairly obvious concept where women are concerned. They must guard their eggs and be as selective as possible in choosing a man, because they will be investing enormous time, resources, and risk in a pregnancy.

Male defense revolves around protecting our sisters and daughters– carriers of our precious genetic code– from inadequate males who don’t come close enough to optimal fitness. They might have genetic shortcomings, or give off signs of minimal willingness to commit.

A man who won’t commit risks leaving your sister or daughter in a vulnerable situation as a single mother, which in turn might force you to devote resources to this child, rather than more of your own. Plus it risks the well-being of the child (by being raised without a father), another important carrier of your DNA.

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So although Jason Evert (and countless others) try to draw false parallels and guilt men into chastity, we can see that this is a fallacy. In fact, both men and women rationally pursue their reproductive goals with varying strategies depending on the situation.

When a man attempts to get a girl to go “all the way,” he is testing his own sexual value and fitness, in order to maximize it. This is not only his right, but his biologically-imbued duty. Survival of the fittest demands this behavior, and it is written into his genetic programming.

When that same man acts protectively toward his sister or daughter, he is not a hypocrite, but a biological being, rationally attempting to maximize his genetic fitness.

There is no paradox here, and nothing for men to apologize for. The way each of us balances offense and defense can fluctuate based on some other cultural and genetic factors, but in its simplest form, this is honest, explainable, and rational male behavior.

Posted in Biology | 9 Comments

Eating Salad Makes You Fat – #FatShamingWeek

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I’m a little late to the #FatShamingWeek party, though I did discuss it briefly in my last podcast. So here’s my contribution.

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One thing that I’ve overheard repeatedly from girls who are “watching their weight”– including friends, strangers, and even members of my own family, is this refrain:

“Ugh… But I eat salad!”  

… As if salad is a magical diet pill that, when consumed once a day, will make them lose weight through karma alone.

Part of this is just their fundamental misunderstanding of nutrition, stemming from an incomplete or inaccurate education. But this phenomenon is also exacerbated by the purposeful ignorance of basic facts that is perpetuated by feminists, liberals, and everyone else who is part of the politically-correct echo chamber, conspiring to keep the sheeple down. This latter aspect of America’s obesity problem has already been well-covered at Return of Kings.

But back to salad.

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The concept of a “salad” has been deified by the modern American womanocracy to the point where it is supercharged with meaning. A salad is holy– a beacon of health– and a signal that the person eating it, obviously taking special care and undergoing a great sacrifice, is putting forth commendable effort toward her own betterment.

I’m actually surprised women don’t give each other medals whenever they eat a salad.

The Rise of Salad has included a “foodie” movement that celebrates special, craft salads. It’s no good just to be a plain salad. A salad is only worth mentioning if it’s a Chipotle Southwestern Salad, or a Chinese Chicken Salad. Why would you Instagram a picture of your salad if it just contains basic vegetables, and no bright colors and flashy dressings?

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But when I look at the people in my life who are most healthy and in shape, whether they are co-workers, lovers, friends, or those I know only through their internet presence, I don’t see much emphasis on “salad,” and I certainly don’t see them congratulating themselves for eating one.

What I see are people that look at the big picture of what they’re putting in their bodies. The total amount of calories, the types of foods, the times they eat, and where that food came from. They study ingredients and nutrition facts. They read blogs each day about the newest research and studies on what constitutes optimal health. And then they seek out further opinions that contradict the others, so they can weigh the credibility of sources against each other and determine the most objective truth.

I see people who have taken the time to make sure they’re taking care of themselves, because they know that investing in their own health should be a top priority. And yes, they know that they get more out of life by being attractive. That fact is obvious to anyone with eyes, and its denial is the screaming rationalization of a dying spirit. Arguing against it is like trying to defy gravity, something that most obese Americans are failing even more spectacularly at.

The healthy people I see around me know that being healthy is a lifestyle, not just a small change you make once a day. It should color every part of the structure of your life.

But a little more on salads.

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So far I’ve discussed how salads are a trojan horse which fatties hide inside, a white flag they can wave that shows how they are, indeed, putting in effort. This gives them a convenient excuse not to confront the concepts of exercising, educating themselves, looking honestly in the mirror, or seriously changing the amount of calories they consume each day. It also helps them rationalize away all the other unhealthy things they put in their bodies. “This extra pint of ice cream is okay. I deserve the reward for eating that salad at lunch!”

But I haven’t even gotten to the dirty little secret of salads, which is that the vast majority of the ones these unconscious life-sucks are vacuuming into their pie holes are just as– if not more– unhealthy than the shit they were eating already.

Most of America was raised and conditioned to eat fast food, processed food, stuff that comes from Monsanto crops and through one of six conglomerate corporations. They only have that framework to base things off of. As Rivelino recently said, there is a “red pill” for eating and nutrition as well, that people need to swallow to gain true clarity.

So they switch to the pre-approved, mass-produced salads from big chain restaurants, and they feel that they’ve put in enough effort toward their own appearance and health. Even though this “sacrifice” doesn’t even diminish the chemical reward they get from their brain, and they are just as full and satisfied by these meals due to the astronomical amount of calories they contain. So in truth, they are not sacrificing anything at all. They can continue to avoid confronting the real issues and looking for concrete results.

But even Yahoo, as bland of a mainstream, inoffensive source as you’ll find, has published articles like this one: 6 Salads Worse Than A Whopper! At this point, it’s common knowledge what constitutes good nutrition and healthy eating, and the internet has put all of this information at our fingertips. Even our pudgy, fat little fingertips, ahem.

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Ultimately, fat girls know they’re fat. They know they’re killing themselves with food, but they just don’t care. They get a thrill from eating, they get a soul-suicidal thrill from pissing off men and defying their basic biological needs, and they get a thrill from all the other idiots cheering them on.

Fat acceptance, and the equalism/acceptance movement in general, has no concrete underlying truth that it bases itself on. These people deny the most basic rules of our Universe and of nature. They live in a mental vacuum, and it’s no wonder that they constantly find themselves at odds with reality, and need to complete a series of mental and emotional gymnastics to stay above water.

Now if only they used a fraction of that time for real gymnastics…

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In the end, fat girls need to stop eating “salads” as they currently know them. They need to eat a piece of lean chicken breast and raw kale for lunch. They need to use juicing as a meal replacement. They should skip meals and try intermittent fasting to reduce cravings.

The bottom line is, they need to radically alter their understanding of food, their relationship with it, and what sustenance they should and shouldn’t be getting from it. Particularly, they should focus less on the cheap chemical reward they get from bingeing on sugar and carbs, and more on the deep satisfaction that comes from a nutritious, moderate-calorie, protein and vegetable-heavy meal.

Eating bullshit American “salads” is a waste of time, a rationalization, and an excuse, plain and simple. If you’re going to eat a salad, make sure it’s a real salad. Don’t put crispy wonton noodles on top of it, and if it comes with a sugar-loaded, high-calorie dressing (which is most of them), use as little of it as humanly possible. Or just have an actual low-calorie dressing. Or no dressing. Whatever. You get the point.

Until that time, I’m going to continue shaking my head and laughing whenever I hear a girl complaining about the salad she ate, and how it must just be her “genes” that cause her to put on weight.

Posted in Challenges, Philosophy | 6 Comments

My Fat-Shaming Comment Was Censored

Yesterday, Danger & Play tweeted a link to this article, which criticized Fat Shaming Week:

http://adiposeactivist.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/fatshamingweek/

I left a comment on the post, but it seems it has not made it through moderation. So here it is, for your reading pleasure:

On behalf of the Manosphere/Fat Shaming Week, I’d just like to point out that we do care a great deal about the health of obese people and their negative effect on our economy and society. It’s our belief that the VAST majority of fat people get that way by being careless with the way they eat, and their exercise regiment. A good bit of negative feedback instead of the constant “everyone is beautiful” drivel that society fills their heads with, might inspire them to actually be conscious of what they put in their bodies each day, and the fact that eating better is a worthy challenge to undertake.

We don’t just talk about “picking up” women in the Manosphere, but we share knowledge on how to exercise and eat better for optimal health. Juicing fruits and vegetables is extremely popular among our group. If you choose to tell us to “fuck off” so you can keep eating fast food 2-3 times a week and sneaking candy while you’re at work, that’s your decision. But you should know that you will be a societal pariah, as you should be.

Posted in Philosophy | 6 Comments

Breaking Bad, Misogyny, and Anna Gunn’s Bully Pulpit

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Piggybacking on the popularity of Breaking Bad’s final season, and jumping at a chance to propagate their lefty agenda, the New York Times recently published an editorial by Anna Gunn entitled I Have A Character Issue.

Gunn, who plays Skyler White on the show– the wife and foil to Bryan Cranston’s meth-cooking Walter– is a talented actress, to be sure. However, as she has come to realize, her character is universally despised.

The vitriolic hatred of her character prompted Gunn to write the editorial defending Skyler, and trying to identify the “real causes” of people’s anger toward her. Gunn’s conclusion is as solipsistic and agenda-driven as you’d expect:

My character, to judge from the popularity of Web sites and Facebook pages devoted to hating her, has become a flash point for many people’s feelings about strong, nonsubmissive, ill-treated women.

I’m concerned that so many people react to Skyler with such venom. Could it be that they can’t stand a woman who won’t suffer silently or “stand by her man”? That they despise her because she won’t back down or give up? Or because she is, in fact, Walter’s equal?

But I finally realized that most people’s hatred of Skyler had little to do with me and a lot to do with their own perception of women and wives. Because Skyler didn’t conform to a comfortable ideal of the archetypical female, she had become a kind of Rorschach test for society, a measure of our attitudes toward gender.

In fact, people’s hatred of Skyler isn’t caused by her breaking out of an expected mold, but because she’s all too familiar. What Gunn fails to acknowledge is that this is how the writers of the show always wanted us to feel about Skyler.

It was written into Breaking Bad’s DNA from the very first episode. In the pilot, we are introduced to the pathetic Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher and niceguy, and his lantern-jawed, Amazonian wife Skyler, who chastises him for using the wrong credit card for a $12 purchase, forces him to eat veggie bacon (“We’re watching our cholesterol”), and gives him a half-hearted handjob for his birthday*.

The character of Skyler was conceived as an antagonist of sorts from the beginning, someone who made us sympathize immediately with Walt’s situation. As befits the dramatic architecture of such a brilliantly complex show, this obstacle to Walt’s plans and desires is also someone he loves, and needs to be in harmony with in order to achieve his main goal, providing for his children’s future after he eventually dies of cancer.

Interestingly, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan has backed off this obvious characterization of Skyler in recent interviews. This can be chalked up to his wanting to avoid controversy and backlash, a concession to mainstream political correctness in order to not alienate any viewers or critics. It seems abundantly clear that Gilligan’s true intentions with Skyler are to serve as both a shrewish impediment to Walt, and also at times the glue that holds the family together. He succeeds, but that doesn’t mean we (and him too, maybe) are not constantly annoyed by her. The proof is in the pudding.

In her editorial, Gunn conveniently omits all the subtleties that make her character a fully fleshed-out human. Instead, she cherrypicks aspects of the character and cites them out of context in order to make her fit the same old, tired Feminist narrative we’ve heard a million times before.

When Skyler discovers what Walter has been up to, she tries to stop him, to no avail. She is outraged by the violence and destruction of the drug world, fearful for her children’s safety, disgusted by the money Walter brings in and undone by the lies and manipulation to which he subjects her.

Hmm… sounds like her character is just a helpless, special snowflake…

Oh, wait.

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Ah, that’s right.

Skyler does a ton of deplorable things on the show. She even becomes a conspirator in Walt’s drug business, and justifies it with the same reasons he does (family).

I point this out because it underscores the disingenuous tone Gunn uses in her editorial (though she does mention once that Skyler is “morally ambiguous”). I might describe the character as “a horrible person on every conceivable metric,” but let’s not mince words, right?

But this still doesn’t completely answer the question of why Skyler White is so despised that Facebook groups such as “Fuck Skyler White” have soared in popularity. And the last piece of the puzzle is the one that Gunn has the biggest blind spot for.

Skyler is disliked because of Anna Gunn herself.

Though Gunn is an excellent actress, she’s not a particularly likeable one. Her line delivery, her somewhat masculine look, and her very presence do not garner the type of pathos that is generated every time a Bryan Cranston or an Aaron Paul is on screen.

This is partially exacerbated by the writing and role Gunn is fulfilling, but that just underscores how intentionally she was cast and molded to make us dislike Skyler.

The writers of Breaking Bad are geniuses. If they wanted us to truly like Skyler, they could have done it. But that was not the story they are telling. In a sense, it’s highly disrespectful for Gunn to skew and politically color the morally ambiguous world her bosses created.

Anna Gunn took an easy opportunity to get her name published for jumping on the Feminist bandwagon and repeating their talking points, but anyone who has watched Breaking Bad will see how hollow her outrage echoes.

The full editorial can be found here.

*This scene was later pulled from the pilot episode as it is now presented on Netflix and reruns. Perhaps this was done to soften Skyler’s unsympathetic qualities, a surprising move for a show that has always been uncompromising in its stark portrayal of human flaws. But this seems congruent with Gilligan’s other recent revisionist statements where the character of Skyler is concerned.

Posted in Philosophy | 6 Comments

Foreskin Deep

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Today I was doing a quick perusal through my Feedly (a worthy replacement to Google Reader), and I took a glance at this post from L. Byron at Trigger Alert:

Top 10 Issues Facing UK Men & Boys

It made me start thinking about circumcision, and I realized that I still, at this age and after blogging about sex for years, know basically nothing about what a foreskin is.

I’ve heard that it has many sensitive nerve endings that increase pleasure. But why do we have them in the first place? Obviously many guys get by just fine without them.

Since I believe in evolution, I was confident that I would discover the foreskin was a biologically advantageous part of the male physiology. That hypothesis was soon proven correct.

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First I found this interesting “Wiki Answers” link, which, although it frames the discussion in terms of “Why the foreskin benefits women,” is pretty clear on why it benefits men as well.

Then I found this much more clinical, thorough analysis of what a foreskin is, how the intact penis develops, and all the architecture involved. WARNING: LOTS OF PICTURES OF PENISES* – LINK HERE.

*Never thought I’d have to write this on my blog.

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Just as in the past when I’ve stopped to consider this issue, thinking about circumcision made me angry. Sad to say, I’ve definitely had some painful experiences due to my lack of a foreskin– tears and even a bit of bleeding around the head of my penis. And I definitely find it painful and difficult to get myself into a girl, no matter how wet she is, without using a condom or external lubrication.

These experiences are very frustrating, and I can’t help but feel I am being denied a primal, raw, natural experience that my entire body was designed for.

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I come from a secular Jewish background, so questioning circumcision is completely blasphemous around my extended family and other Jewish friends.

In my completely un-researched opinion, my sense is that Jewish doctors had a lot of influence in bringing circumcision to the mainstream in the U.S. through the 1900s. Now, it seems that Jews are weary of people who are against circumcision, suspecting they are anti-Semitic in their intentions.

Opposition of circumcision probably has very little to do with hating Jews, though if Jews continue to be the most ardent proponents of the procedure, certainly there will be some conflation of the Jewish people with the issue itself, which could bleed through at times if things get politically antagonistic.

Ironically, most of my relatives are proud of how little regard they have for the written laws of the Bible– they are smart, modern Jews after all– believing that religion is “made-up,” as if that proves how intelligent they are. They eat pork, mix meat and dairy, drive cars on Saturday.

But when it comes to the forced removal of part of a baby boy’s penis… well, that is sacrosanct.

Nevermind the fact that as many as 117 babies die each year from medical circumcisions performed by a doctor.

Or from Herpes after an Orthodox rabbi sucks blood from the penis with his mouth after removing the foreskin. And those rabbis are sucking blood out of baby-penises every fucking day. We only hear about it when the kids die.

That should really tell you all you need to know about the issue right there.

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But this really is a problem that goes much beyond Jewish people. If we remove this from the equation, we still see a great cultural trend toward circumcision in the U.S., which has become synonymous with racial and class divides. It is much more common for white people to be circumcised than blacks or latinos.

An intact penis is thought of as “weird,” “alien,” “strange.” People think of it as “foreign-looking.” I’m not citing any research– these are things I’ve actually overheard. Keep in mind that this is the way the penis is naturally formed, the way that men are biologically meant to be. This is the penis that is coded in your DNA. But now it’s “weird.”

Men who are circumcised are falling victim to a mere fad. It’s “out of style” to have a foreskin now, so despite the fact that an intact penis is more pleasurable, functions more properly, and there are no significant health risks to having one, we are all deprived of experiencing sex as nature intended– for our entire life on this planet– because it’s simply what people do right now.

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When you ask people why babies should be circumcised, they will give you reasons such as “It’s healthier,” and “Foreskins are gross… they are too hard to take care of, they smell bad…” etc. (I would reply that taking care of an intact penis is the original “It’s so easy, a caveman can do it!”). I’m going to estimate that 0% of their opinion is formed by thorough research into the matter.

In doing some research myself, I did find quite an interesting set of stats from THE CDC:

Basically– and I can’t believe I’m reading this correctly– If a man has vaginal sex with 10,000 HIV-positive women, he would contract the disease around 5 times. In other words, it’s a 1-in-2,000 chance.

Apparently if you throw your semen at someone, neither you nor they are at risk, luckily.

But studies have shown circumcision might reduce a male’s risk of contracting HIV during vaginal sex in the neighborhood of 50%. Which means that if you’re circumcised, you’ve gone from a 0.05% chance of contracting HIV, to a 0.025% chance.

If you’re a white male using a condom, your chances of contracting HIV are basically 0% either way. But 50% means very little when you’re dealing with such small numbers. And that’s if those studies are even true, which is still very much in doubt.

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I was so dismayed thinking about circumcision today that I posted something about it on my personal Facebook page. Essentially I said that if you call yourself pro-choice, and you don’t oppose circumcision, you’re a hypocrite. A couple of girls quickly liked my post, and others left neutral or slightly-negative comments, kind of disagreeing but acting befuddled.

It might be a personal risk to draw attention to my beliefs in this arena, especially tying it to the abortion issue– but my post was deliberately provocative, because I wanted to surprise people and make them react. Who knows, maybe there was one future father in my list of friends who read that post, and might have possibly been led toward not circumcising his son in the future. If that is the case, I just want to say to that son and his intact foreskin: you’re welcome.

I deliberately called out liberals/feminists, because their hypocrisy is frustrating to me. Their battle cry is “My body. My choice.” But I guess they don’t believe that applies if you’re male. Being pro-choice (in theory) is about holding the belief that, despite the deep tragedy that is snuffing out a fetus’ future, we must uphold individuals’ agency over their own bodies first.

How then is it logical to permanently remove a vital part of a boy’s reproductive organ, when he is too young to protest?

We could eradicate breast cancer today if we instituted double-mastectomies for all baby girls. Does that mean we should? I’m pretty sure breasts exist for a reason. I guess it’s lucky that an ancient tribal religion in the desert didn’t decide breasts were unsanitary as well.

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I spoke to my dad briefly on the phone tonight and told him what I wrote. He laughed and said he understood. He told me that he and my mom almost didn’t circumcise me. He had brought up the fact that it was merely a religious tradition. Their Jewish doctor believed that Jewish babies should be circumcised by rabbis, so he was reluctant to perform the procedure. But eventually they decided that it was just the right thing to do, so they advised him to circumcise me.

I appreciated my dad’s honesty, and his understanding of my concerns. He apologized that he had made that decision for me, and I told him, truthfully, that I harbor no anger toward him for it. Why would they be the ones to go against tradition, when 99% of their family and Jewish friends would not even question it?

But I’m different, I suppose, and I plan on ending this line of abuse that has been passed on  and on to each generation.

I believe in evolution, and I believe in the foreskin.

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I recently recorded my first podcast, in which I talked a little bit more about my views on circumcision, and why I wrote the post (and some other fun topics!). 

Check it out here: http://thequestfor50.com/the-podcast-for-50-episode-1/

Posted in Philosophy | 15 Comments

Keep The Ship Sailing

Rough Waters

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We’re all addicts, of one sort or another.

I used to talk to a life coach who told me that his entire childhood, he had been convinced by his father that they were poor, and would always need to worry about money. His father used it as the impetus to inflict all sorts of abuse on the family.

It had been ingrained in him from such a young age that it had become his own central preoccupation. The life coach told me that if he ever made a billion dollars, he’d be a poor guy with a billion dollars. It was a self-conception that went so deep, reality could never touch it. Even now, as a 50-year-old man, with his father dead.

Being poor was his addiction. And like any addiction, it was all about the emotional jolts he could give himself, getting high on the chemicals released by his brain when he dwelled upon his money problems and made himself miserable.

At times, when a little bit of money did trickle in, he would feel high with the hope that maybe– just maybe– he was on his way out of poverty. But these high and low swings would always match each other in intensity, keeping him spiraling on the emotional roller coaster.

Now, being a life coach, he eventually made sense of this addiction, identified it and came to terms with, and was able to minimize it. As he told me (and as he learned in AA), an addict is an addict for life. You’re never “cured” of alcoholism. You just become a sober alcoholic.

He’s got a wife and two kids, and his wife manages most of their finances. That’s because he still, deep down, holds the belief that they are going to end up on the street eating out of dumpsters, no matter how financially secure they are. He laughs about it, and knows it’s completely irrational, but he recognizes his addiction.

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If I ever sleep with a thousand girls, I’ll be the guy who is a loser with women, who slept with a thousand girls.

Deep down, on some primordial level, that’s who I’ll be. I can never escape that, I can only acknowledge it. My formative years– the first 22– solidified my confusion, fear, isolation and rejection when dealing with girls. It got wired into my basic circuitry as I grew.

When my parents got divorced, I was 8, and I wasn’t equipped to understand what was happening. Certainly no one explained it to me very well.

I was imprinted with the image of my seemingly-pathetic dad, who we drove away from on a cold Manhattan night, leaving him in the middle of a big, terrifying city by himself, because my mom didn’t want him around anymore.

My subconscious, my addiction, is always looking for reasons to prove that I’ve become that twisted version of my father. I’m always secretly waiting for a girl to hurt me. Even if I own her soul and body for months and push her away on purpose, if I can’t get her back, it’s the exact same feeling of deep, soul-crushing rejection trying to surface.

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My addiction shows itself in the times when I am lonely, or tired– when my willpower is lowest, and my most basic emotional needs cry out like a baby wanting its pacifier.

At these times, it is tempting for me to “get high” by sending provocative texts to girls who have hurt me, or looking at Twitter and Instagram feeds, torturing myself thinking about the new guy she’s having these experiences with (who, my subconscious tells me, is cooler, stronger and sexier than I could ever be).

But if I give in to these temptations, it throws my entire paradigm off-kilter. As the alcoholic would tell you from AA, “The first sip gets you drunk.” It’s the decision to give in to your addiction that gets you high, not the actual consumption of your vice.

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When I, or any other addict (which probably includes all of you), go through long periods of stability, I don’t have the high highs and low lows that one has in the thrall of addiction. Life is steady, stable, sure-handed and building momentum. It is a ship that is sailing forcefully– confidently– and heading toward virgin waters which hold treasures yet unknown.

In this sense, it’s an almost laughably-bad decision to give in to your baser urges, once you have your ship sailing steady. Being a better man, standing at the helm of your life’s ship, is worth more than can be measured. It’s an immensely valuable commodity.

But if you let go of the controls, the ground wobbles. You can quickly grab the wheel and right the ship again. But if the wobbling gives way to tilting, and you don’t take quick action to remedy it, eventually the whole thing can go sideways. Or capsize.

Once you have momentum in your life, it’s easier to keep it that way. It’s a state you should savor, for it demonstrates that you have transcended your base addictions, your animal nature, your self-destructive impulses, and found peace and purpose in life.

Those are the times you’re ready to let the small things– the things that make you a small person– float by.

And you sail on, ever forward, blazing a path toward the horizon that is just out of reach.

Posted in Challenges, Philosophy | 14 Comments