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Thread: The Empowered Nerd.

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by you View Post
    This article runs very similar to Berardi's book Heroes. Tbh I do not like either's line. I think pointing to alienation, disenfranchisement etc are mis-leading. Most of these (white-men is more affluent countries) people's gripes seems to be that they are not allowed to be automatically dominant, respected and privileged. I think rather than focus on how they are not these things it is better to ask why people still feel they deserve to be these things.
    That strikes me as a little dismissive and incurious.

  2. #32
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    Why do you feel they feel they deserve to be these things?

  3. #33
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    Or let me put it another way. I have a bias towards looking at the phenomenon as a societal symptom first, personal symptom a distant second.
    Last edited by luka; 12-12-2016 at 03:12 PM.

  4. #34

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    Berardi's examination of Breivik's writings mainly. Breivik sees most of the worlds problems as being connected to the demise of the traditional family and the 'feminization of men'. Essentially he wants a older world, I hear.

    I do not know for sure how people feel. Let's get this obvious truism out the way. But, look at the cultural materials these people tend to be smothered by. Hollywood depictions of masculinity, sexist gamer culture and phallonarcissistic heavy rock coupled with the ruse of neo-liberal economics implying to them that they are unique individuals with every right to rise to the top and get the girl if only they try hard and listen to their heart. Much narrative is aimed at framing spree-killers as being somehow 'let down' or being 'alienated' but let down from what? What does this line of narrative assume these people are entitled to?

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  6. #35

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    The personal foci of such narratives can easily lead to assumptions along the lines of seeing them as symptomatic of problems. I'd argue, that if this line has to be pursued then it ought to be regarded as symptomatic of more right-wing and conservative dogmas still existing. Alienated youths are not the casualties of liberalism, they are causalities of toxic social conservatism that still dominates all the softly insidious modes of influence (media yadadada...)

  7. #36

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    But, even with this last option of emphasis, I feel uncomfortable. I dislike the idea of the privileged (in global terms) being our highlights of the fall-out of either liberalism or neo-conservatism. The woes of anti-social white boys should be the last option for our canary in the cage.

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  9. #38
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    My thing with these shooters is that I can relate to them to quite a worrying extent. I was an awkward dorkward dickwad of a teenager myself, and I busied myself drawing muscular men with guns in my exercise books and vaguely admiring the Columbine killers for taking down the jocks. (The popular and long debunked narrative of Columbine.)

    I never actually harboured fantasies of murdering anyone, of course, but I can relate to this idea of fantasising about prepotence when you're impotent. It's surely of note that a lot of geek culture is, in a sense, highly masculine and fixated on war? Warhammer, Call of Duty... Even Star Wars is full of heroic blokes carving each other up with laser swords. Death Metal has always seemed to me a generally benign outlet for frustrated aggression, and all the metal fans I've ever known have been singularly affable and peaceable fellas.

    Not sure what being white and middle class has to do with this, but then I'd have been unaware of what that had to do with my identity generally at that age. Perhaps because it provided me with a different cultural framework for my fantasies?

    Of course, back then the current vogue for alt-right/troll/men's rights stuff didn't exist, or at least I wasn't aware of it. Perhaps I'd have been sucked into that if I'd been more isolated? Instead I had 'rap battles' which were typed out on angelfire forums and video games.

  10. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    U wot mate?
    Oh no I get it. I know this argument. It goes like this
    Why are poor people in England always moaning. They got iPhone, sky TV, lager, skunk, air max. People in Ethiopia only eat one grain of rice a day and look at them, always happy and dancing and making the best of things.

  11. #40
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    Brevik's failed graffiti career as an apposite addendum.

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  13. #41
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    Obviously I can understand not feeling obliged to extend much sympathy towards mass murderers

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    I read the book about Breivik, 'One of Us'. It connected the general social/political conditions of Norway during his life to his actions (e.g. the revolt against feminism and immigration/Islam), but it was also about a man who seemingly never managed to make any really significant friendships or relationships work, who was shunned and ridiculed within the graffiti community, then the online Warcraft community, even within the radical right wing. It is actually a rather sad book (and that includes, of course, the fate of his innocent victims) - perhaps you'd like it luka?

    The point of this was that yes there were social forces at play, including that Breivik probably felt entitled to things as a relatively affluent white man in that society, but also that he was somebody with significant mental health issues and character flaws which went untreated. White supremacy, like World of Warcraft, gave him something to feel superior about.

    ANYWAY, perhaps this has derailed things away from a discussion of the nerd in political form. I can see Shkreli massacring a classroom of colleagues if he'd never made a success of his business ventures.
    Last edited by Corpsey; 12-12-2016 at 04:53 PM.

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  16. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by you View Post
    Alienated youths are not the casualties of liberalism, they are causalities of toxic social conservatism...
    I'm not so sure of this. I think you're not considering the importance that self-hatred surely plays in these kinds of cases.

    Consider: what you might call economic or right-liberalism, or alternatively neoliberalism, insists on the illusion of meritocracy, so that the successful deserve to be successful, and conversely, if you're dissatisfied with your life, you've no-one to blame but yourself. You're either not trying hard enough, or you're just not clever and resourceful enough, or both. Meanwhile social or left-liberalism is forever demanding that white guys check their privilege, and acknowledge that whatever problems they may have, they're nothing compared to racism, misogyny and so on. So now our furious, lonely basement-dweller feels like he's being made to feel bad for feeling bad about himself! And of course, the doctrine of privilege and disprivilege is essentially true: being white, this guy isn't going to get shot dead by a cop for basically no reason; being male, he isn't getting barraged with abuse by strangers if he ever ventures online outside of a secure group of close friends, and he's vastly less at risk of actual sexual assault. He's not going to get spat or yelled at for being visibly non-Christian. He's more likely to get any given job he goes for but it by no means guarantees he has a job, or a worthwhile job. It certainly doesn't guarantee him a hot girlfriend, or any girlfriend, or a solid group of friends or a decent family life. So if he lacks some or all of these things, he feels even more of a failure. Perhaps there's an unwitting confluence of social conservatism here (he feels it's his right to earn loads of money and get hot chicks, because that's just how it ought to be - and perhaps was, for his dad/uncles/grandfathers) and social liberalism (he feels even worse about his lack of achievement because, really, there's less standing in his way than the majority of other people).
    Last edited by Mr. Tea; 12-12-2016 at 05:28 PM.
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  17. #44

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    That's a good point. The word "meritocracy" actually derives from a book called The Rise of the Meritocracy which imagines a future "meritocratic" society where the poor are judged to be without merit, moral failures who deserve their fate as social detritus:

    I have been sadly disappointed by my 1958 book, The Rise of the Meritocracy. I coined a word which has gone into general circulation... The book was a satire meant to be a warning (which needless to say has not been heeded)...

    Underpinning my argument was a non-controversial historical analysis of what had been happening to society for more than a century before 1958, and most emphatically since the 1870s, when schooling was made compulsory and competitive entry to the civil service became the rule.

    Until that time status was generally ascribed by birth. But irrespective of people's birth, status has gradually become more achievable.

    It is good sense to appoint individual people to jobs on their merit. It is the opposite when those who are judged to have merit of a particular kind harden into a new social class without room in it for others.

    Ability of a conventional kind, which used to be distributed between the classes more or less at random, has become much more highly concentrated by the engine of education.

    A social revolution has been accomplished by harnessing schools and universities to the task of sieving people according to education's narrow band of values.

    With an amazing battery of certificates and degrees at its disposal, education has put its seal of approval on a minority, and its seal of disapproval on the many who fail to shine from the time they are relegated to the bottom streams at the age of seven or before.

    The new class has the means at hand, and largely under its control, by which it reproduces itself.

    The more controversial prediction and the warning followed from the historical analysis. I expected that the poor and the disadvantaged would be done down, and in fact they have been. If branded at school they are more vulnerable for later unemployment.

    They can easily become demoralised by being looked down on so woundingly by people who have done well for themselves.

    It is hard indeed in a society that makes so much of merit to be judged as having none. No underclass has ever been left as morally naked as that.

    They have been deprived by educational selection of many of those who would have been their natural leaders, the able spokesmen and spokeswomen from the working class who continued to identify with the class from which they came.

    Their leaders were a standing opposition to the rich and the powerful in the never-ending competition in parliament and industry between the haves and the have-nots.

    With the coming of the meritocracy, the now leaderless masses were partially disfranchised; as time has gone by, more and more of them have been disengaged, and disaffected to the extent of not even bothering to vote. They no longer have their own people to represent them.

  18. #45
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    And his son became that cunt Toby Young.

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