A Little More on Elliot Rodger…….

June 4, 2014

I have been trying to think of something coherent to say about this, but it’s pretty hard. Frankly the whole thing has me pretty depressed. Things in the news like this affect me.

Much has been said about this, a lot of it nonsense, a lot of it insightful. People’s opinions tend to fall into two categories. First, there are people who think Elliot Rodger was just an evil person. The feminists or liberals say he felt “entitled” or was a “misogynist”. The game people say he was a loser who should have learned game, and stopped being such a loser, but since he was too much of a loser to learn game, he was just a big loser. Loser! Loser! Loser! Hateful misogynist!

Second, another group of people say he needed psychological or psychiatric treatment, which he got, but it just wasn’t the right kind or not enough.

We live in a highly individualistic society where we are expected to take care of our own problems, per the first group, or take them to a professional, per the second group. We are certainly not supposed to bother those around us too much, even our parents. Nobody was supposed to be responsible for Elliot Rodger, except Elliot Rodger, and to a limited extent some mental health professional, who on their first meeting would have told him he was primarily responsible for himself.

Before I criticize these attitudes, which are very close, I will say that everyone around him was responsible for Elliot Rodger. The kids at school who messed with him are responsible, the teachers and administrators, and his parents. Monette Moio is responsible for Elliot Rodger. She has had her father deny any responsibility, but she still has it. The funny thing is one of his nerd roommates in Santa Barbara expressed remorse he hadn’t done more for him, when he had actually done all that could be expected and more- he was kind to him and tried to be a friend to him.

Bullying is a bigger deal than is usually supposed. Rodger was said to be very quiet and withdrawn. He was probably that way naturally, but if you are in an environment where drawing attention to yourself can cause humiliation and violence, you will get even more quiet and withdrawn. Being as close to invisible as you can is a survival skill for getting through a day at school, although it becomes a bad habit in a less threatening environment. But to expect a kid to transition every day from a physically dangerous environment and the appropriate coping strategy there to a friendly environment and the appropriate behavior there is too much.

Being in this environment is very stressful, and Rodger found a place to relax with video games. This isn’t a productive way to deal with things, but neither is sugar, fat, alcohol or drugs, and people use them to relieve stress all the time. He tried skateboarding as a way to have some personal accomplishment, but wasn’t good enough to gain prestige by it. He apparently had pretty high status in World of Warcraft, but this doesn’t transfer other places.

It is said Rodger was very passive with people, especially girls, that he expected people to come to him. But if you are very low status and subject to humiliation and violence, you can’t just talk to people, because if they want to they can use it as an opportunity to attack you. Furthermore, they will justify the attack in that your behavior was offensive, and you won’t even have the defense that you were minding your own business, although no one ever cares about that.

The particular thing with girls is black knighting, which I talked about before. A girl can easily summon a large guy to mess with you. I’m guessing Monette Moio did this more than once, which caused Elliot’s special hatred for her. Having established this threat, pretty, popular girls become very dangerous, and even unpopular girls are a threat. The thing about being really low on the totem pole is people only slightly above you can use you to feel better about themselves by harming you.

The advice Rodger received was not just worthless, it was actively harmful. There is no reason to believe Rodger studied “game” much, but the advice he would have received would have been very similar to what he was probably told by his “therapists”- that the key to happiness it to be outgoing, to speak to a lot of people, to have a lot of friends and be popular. Elliot Rodger had no permission to be himself, to be a shy, timid boy who preferred solo pursuits to sports and parties.

Rodger was strongly introverted, and felt very bad talking to people he didn’t know well. To constantly force him to try to change his personality was child abuse and mental health malpractice. He mentions he loved climbing the hills around his home. Better parents would have encouraged his interest in the outdoors, and he could have gone hiking in the mountains or learned rock climbing. He might have made some friends who liked those things, and maybe a girl he met would have put the moves on him. Or his dad might have taught him photography.

Rodger was apparently on Xanax. My feeling about common antidepressants, SSRIs like Prozac or Paxil, is that they probably do more harm than good. His problem was anxiety, for which Xanax would help, and I was thinking before I learned this they should have put him on Ativan, another anxiety drug. But his problem was he was drowning in a sea of anxiety, and no amount of drugs was going to help. He needed to be freed from the expectation that he needed to significantly change his behavior and personality.

The story is fading away, but we will hear a lot more about this in the future. Rodger left a lot of information in his manifesto and made it public. It won’t easily be swept under the rug, and because he saw many therapists, there will be many people to sue. The fact that the police were alerted beforehand, interviewed him and did nothing will also bring a massive lawsuit. It was a juicy story for the press, and it will be a juicy story for a true crime book, probably several. There may be a lot of critical information we don’t know yet.

I don’t know if anything could have been done for Elliot Rodger. His life was the perfect storm of harmful influences on a vulnerable person. He does not come across as a very nice person, in fact he comes across to a great extent as the kind of person those who dismiss his story say he was, and angry, petulant, entitled, spoiled jerk. But if he was shallow and wanted nice things without too much effort, how is he different from the rest of us? His manifesto is the catalog of every bad feeling he ever had, and if any of us wrote all of this, we would come across pretty bad too.

He will get at least a little of what he wanted, some revenge. He named some people who for the rest of their lives will be associated with him. They will cry it’s unfair, but guess what, life is unfair, sometimes even for pretty people trying to make it in Hollywood.

My overall point with this blog is that if you are a person like this- a low status person who because of abuse has trouble with relationships- that certain aspects of “self-improvement” or “game” can help you, but only if used in the right way for the right purpose. The value judgment that humanistic psychology and game both make is that being open, extroverted, having no shame or high self-esteem, are the best things in life. These things are nice, they have hedonic value, but few people can really achieve them. The more important and realistic thing is to have a positive, but realistic view of yourself, accept yourself, and enjoy life on the terms it has presented itself to you.

RIP Elliot Rodger.


Update And Some Initial Comments on Elliot Rodger

May 27, 2014

My second foreign girlfriend came on a fiancée visa in November and we got married in February. It’s been pretty nuts. She has threatened to leave any number of times and I swear every time the next time I will say “Fine, go.” It would have been a little easier before the wedding.

At some point I will tell the full story of my first and second foreign girlfriends. I don’t know why, other than this blog serves as the barely visited memorial to the shipwreck of my life. Maybe no one, or almost no one, will know the story, but it will be told.

Eliot Rodger is the classic omega meltdown. Few understand this story. A lot of bad things happened to Elliot Rodger and eventually he spiraled out of control. I haven’t read the whole autobiography yet so I can’t completely analyze it. The first thing I can say is conventional mental health treatment failed him, because it doesn’t do much, and game failed him, because game doesn’t work for omegas.

Since I write this in the hope someone like Elliot might be helped, and since he represents in some ways, but not all, a worst case scenario, I want to completely analyze his case and explain why the “help” he was given didn’t work and what might have helped.


Black Knighting

August 25, 2013

The concept of white knighting is a well-worn one in game circles. But there is another kind of  “knighting” I have experienced.

When I was in sixth grade, just starting at a new school, we were all going back to class after recess and a couple of girls yelled something at me, I don’t even remember what. I yelled something back, and they didn’t like this so they summoned a boy to run over and hit me.

This can happen a couple different ways. Most likely, a female is offended by a male and summons a male to attack the male who has offended her. A male could witness some dispute between a male and female and volunteer himself as her champion. Or a female could witness a dispute between two males and encourage the stronger one to attack the weaker one, with herself as an admiring damsel. I have seen all three cases.

This only happens if the target is fairly weak. Black knighting is a form of bullying so the black knight will have the profile of a bully. Women who work with black knights are bullies themselves. Black knighting will normally only occur in an environment where bullying is possible and tolerated, although I was seeing it in a completely adult environment just recently.

Black knighting is a real threat and I don’t know why game theorists have never talked about it, although since they never address omega issues that’s probably the reason. The concept of AMOG- “Alpha Male of the Group”- in which the PUA aggressively engages the big man to preemptively prevent an attack, is sort of an attempt to deal with black knighting. However it will only work if the alpha male either can’t bully in that environment, or doesn’t want to. The AMOGing PUA is then at the indulgence of the AMOG and not really dominating him.

For me approaching women has always felt quite dangerous because of this.


Book Review- “Bringing Mulligan Home”

May 11, 2013

I swear I have not abandoned this blog, but I’ve had a lot of other stuff on my mind the last six months. The job has been hell, but I think I’m OK now. Nobody is really safe here, but I think I’m fairly safe and can relax and do my job and they won’t screw with me.

I saw a book, “Bringing Mulligan Home” by Dale Maharidge in airport bookstores a couple times, and it looked very interesting. A reporter tells how his father had a picture of himself and another man, both Marines in Okinawa, in his basement machine shop, and aside from hearing his father sometimes scream “I didn’t kill him! It wasn’t my fault!” the picture was a mystery to him. After his father dies he sets out to learn what really happened to his father in the battle of Okinawa and what really happened to Mulligan.

I have been pretty broke and spending $30 for a hardcover book seemed an extravagance, but I saw it again a couple days ago and just bought it. The book seems to me to about far more than World War II but about what our experiences do to us.

The image of WWII veterans has been mostly that they came home proud heroes and became wise, pipe-smoking suburban fathers. At the time the movie “The Best Years of Our Lives” dealt with the issue of “adjustment” but superficially, and there was an official documentary about soldiers in a psychiatric hospital. I saw another book about returning veterans a couple years ago that talked about PTSD and employment problems in WWII veterans but I didn’t buy it and don’t remember the title.

Maharidge’s father worked as a machinist and also had a shop at home where he did additional work. He was mostly a normal 50′s and 60′s father but had an explosive temper that made life very difficult for his wife and kids. He tracked down other men in his father’s unit and found they had varying degrees of psychological and physical problems. Some were deeply affected, others said they weren’t very bothered by their experiences.

Beyond injuries from bullets and shrapnel, the Marines Maharidge talked to suffered sometimes from PTSD and sometimes from blast concussions. His father developed and explosive temper, which some relatives assured him his father had not had before the war. Another had a happy-go-lucky personality but lost his ability to concentrate, couldn’t finish engineering school and ended up working as a janitor in an auto plant. One had a nervous breakdown for a few months in the 60′s but eventually recovered with help from his wife.

Maharidge blames all his father’s problems on the war, but I think there is more to it. His father came from a poor, difficult background and had suffered a lot of deprivation and stress before he was in the war. I think all these things make it harder to deal with stress later. The number of men he interviews hardly make for a statistical sample, but coming from a comfortable background before the war and having supportive wives and relatives after seem to lead to better outcomes.

He makes on interesting note at the end. His father’s anger made his childhood difficult but he credits his father for trying hard to be a good father and providing him with happy experiences. He shows a manuscript to his younger brother, who tells him that when he was young and exhibiting bad behavior, their father came into his room at night and said “I could kill you.” After that he couldn’t sleep and was terrified their father would kill him, and even as an adult has trouble sleeping. I’m sure his younger brother has a much darker view of their childhood and their father than he does.

We come into the world with certain characteristics, under certain conditions, and then the experiences of life mold us further. Ideally we are supposed to come from a good environment and go from victory to victory. If we don’t we are supposed to overcome our disadvantages and setbacks and be the heroes of our own lives. To say anything else is un-American. I think this attitude shames many people. Bad circumstances and bad experiences are a very difficult thing to overcome.

I don’t discount the amount of malicious intent out there, but I think the typical person is coping with circumstances the best they can. Hold on to your humanity, hold on to the good things in life no matter how small they are.


Penguin Boy

March 16, 2013

Long ago- before the web, I haven’t been able to find any reference to it- “60 Minutes” did a piece on carnival freaks. One person they interviewed was an old man, maybe 60′s or 70′s. He was a midget, which is to say a “little person” as they are now called whose body parts are proportionate. He had hands and feet, but no arms or legs, if you can picture that.

He appeared as “Penguin Boy” and he would come out and light a cigarette and do other stuff. He said “It wasn’t what I wanted for my life but there weren’t other options back then.”

The interviewer- Morley Safer I think- then asked him, in that pseudo-thoughtful and vaguely accusatory tone that marks every “60 Minutes” interview- “Are you a freak?” The man answered indignantly, “I am not a freak. I am a handicapped person.”

I am not a freak. I am a handicapped person.

Roosh had a bit recently on how many notches you need, as he puts it, or just how much experience you need, as you might more euphemistically put it. On one level, meeting to sex is a complete courtship, however brief. But if the woman is inclined to casual sex it may only mean you qualified for that. And you don’t necessarily have to have sex with a woman to learn a lot from her.

All that considered, you need a certain amount of experience with women to understand what’s what. But like with jobs, if you don’t have experience you can’t get a job, and if you can’t get a job you can’t get experience. It is very difficult for men with a certain set of handicaps to get experience, and due to loneliness they tend to want to have relationships rather than experience a number of women, so they tend to settle down with the first non-repulsive woman who will have them. This isn’t necessarily the best thing to do or the best kind of experience, although a lot of learning about women is having relationships.

I am still pretty distraught about my first foreign girlfriend. I really wanted it to work out with her. The story is pretty awful but the short version, the best I can figure it out is she expressed a lot of anger towards me and I just couldn’t deal with it. Maybe someday I will try to write it all down here.

I’m in the process of getting a visa for my second, current foreign girlfriend. We have a certain amount of problems but this is my last chance and all in all she is a good person and I think it can work out. My job situation is pretty grim- I have a job but the conditions are very bad. I’m hoping I can straighten things out in the next month or so.

I have had a certain amount of experience with women, but not enough to be confident wnat’s what. But how the hell was I ever supposed to be normal? I’m better off than my brother and sister, which is not saying much. They have never had sex, and my sister had one boyfriend. My brother, nothing ever as far as I can tell. My parents were pretty messed up people who probably should never have had kids. Maybe one, but my brother as the oldest got a lot of the privileges of an only child and he is possibly the least psychologically normal of the bunch.

I tell myself all the time I am doing the best I can, and have always done the best I could under the circumstances. It’s a pretty cold comfort.


Happiness Throughout Life

February 23, 2013

Here’s an article about a book, the summation of a study of the lives of some male students at Harvard, starting in 1943 and continuing to the ends of their lives.

The book sounds well worth reading. A key idea is that a happy, secure childhood with loving parents is the best assurance of a happy life. But, that is no guarantee, and things can get better over time if you had a bad childhood.

The author didn’t start the study, but picked it up as a psychiatrist in the 60′s. He had been studying recovery from heroin addiction, and was interested in what coping strategies were effective.

The article doesn’t say too much about this, but I think this is the most important thing. OK, so shit happens, but what’s the most effective way to deal with it? It mentions a lot of the guys never learned to deal with anger, and that caused them terrible career trouble. That’s been my problem in a nutshell.


Hearts in Atlantis

February 22, 2013

I like Stephen King, I think he observes people much more keenly and realistically than any “serious” or “literary” author. I saw “Hearts in Atlantis” on TV tonight- I have thought about getting the book, which I can see is different, but it was on so I watched it.

The single mother in all our conventional art and entertainment is always a sainted figure. The only bad mother I can think of was on “The Sopranos”. In “Hearts in Atlantis” though the single mother is a silly, selfish bitch.

I think having a bad mother is a really serious handicap, one of the worst. It plagued Tony Soprano to the end. I suspect David Chase had a mother like that- Mario Puzo said he based the character of the Godfather not on any Mafia guy, but his own mother. I think seriously dysfunctional mothers are a lot more common in Catholic and Jewish culture.


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