Monday, August 20, 2012

Gammas resist Game

Unsurprisingly, John Scalzi, a quintessential gamma male, finds the idea of the socio-sexual hierarchy to be distasteful:
Hey, dudes: If you spend any real time thinking about who's an "Alpha Male" and who is not, YOU ARE NOT ONE. #FYI
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 17, 2012

Mind you, for many of the people for whom the Greek Alphabet gradation of social hierarchy appears important, the working definition of “Alpha Male” seems to work out to “sociopathic assbag.” So maybe you don’t want to be one of those, either.
No, you shouldn't be an alpha male. Or even think about trying to become one. Instead, you should strive to be a soft, pudgy, snarky high nerdling who writes novels inspired by Star Trek. Like John.

This is a good example of the snippy, passive-aggressive behavior of the gamma, who resents the hierarchy because he resents his place in it. There are two primary types of gammas, the first is the sort who is bitter about women, while the second is the sort who imitates women and is bitter about men who outrank him. Scalzi is an excellent example of the latter, right down to his habitual snark, his strong inclination for the verbal over the physical, his feminine solipsism, and his preference for female forms of communication. To give one of many examples of the latter, if you ever hear a man use the word "squee" and he is not quoting a woman, you can be certain that you are dealing with a gamma of the second persuasion. Even if he claims to be using it in irony.

The first part of what Scalzi is saying here is partially true. The natural has no need to think about what he does, because socio-sexually dominant behavior comes to him naturally. However, the assertion is also partially false. Because human beings are very successful mimics and are capable of intelligently modifying their behavior, the synthetic alpha male is not only possible, but his very existence is based upon his having spent a good deal of time and effort thinking about how to go from his original delta or beta status to alpha rank.

Just to kick himself while he's down, @scalzi writes: "I'm not going to lie to you. If I was ever going to write a movie, I'd write a romantic comedy."

Ye cats.... If you want an example of how to lower your socio-sexual rank and underkick your coverage, it would be hard to do better than to follow Scalzi's advice concerning women. As his "creeper" posts show, he simply doesn't understand that being made to feel unsafe and uncomfortable is a primary sexual attractant for women. At least five of Roissy's 16 commandments touch on this in some regard. But perhaps we shouldn't judge him too harshly here, as the reason for his poor grasp of intersexual relations and his observable preference for the feminine over the masculine is not exactly hard to locate.

"Creepiness" is simply a lower rank male instilling sexual discomfort in a woman who considers him beneath her range of acceptable sexual market values. Her negative reaction to his creepiness is primarily an expression of her horror that such a man apparently considers her rank so low as to be potentially within his reach.

62 comments:

Heh said...

Both as a writer and as a man, Scalzi is like 7Up - "Never had it, never will".

pdwalker said...

Ok, you're writing made me laugh.

Houston said...

Vox writes: "There are two primary types of gammas, the first is the sort who is bitter about women, while the second is the sort who imitates women and is bitter about men who outrank him. Scalzi is an excellent example of the latter, right down to his habitual snark, his strong inclination for the verbal over the physical, his feminine solipsism, and his preference for female forms of communication."

At my SMV nadir (teens and most of my twenties) I was the second type, though I sometimes blundered into delta territory to get the occasional girlfriend. Game has enabled me to detect and unlearn these traits. BTW, an unexpected benefit is the ability, acquired at age 47, to engage easily in banter with both men and women. Conversation is no longer a minefield.

Houston said...

That should be SMP, not SMV.

VD said...

No, one has a Sexual Market Value in the Sexual Market Place. Either would have been acceptable, but SMV is correct there.

The higher your rank, the fewer concerns you need have about your conversation or your behavior. At the highest rank, even the worst behavior is readily excused and quite often it is even considered charming.

Houston said...

Vox, I would like to thank you personally for providing me with a map that matches the socio-sexual terrain. It changed my life.

Vox said...

You're quite welcome, and I'm glad to hear it's helped. But be aware that all I've done is to extend Roissy's basic concepts. He merits the larger credit.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

That was awesome, VD. But, I'm not even going to pretend to know who this chap is.

LP 999/Eliza said...

Wow, I cannot believe Scalzi said that.

Mr Green Man said...

Ignore all the politics and just look at the life trajectory for a guy about Scalzi's age who also had a very similar formative story: Scott Brown.

We know by the nonchalance of the GQ/Cosmo photos and the petty criminal record that the single-mom upbringing is not a guarantee of Gamadom. However, Star Trek probably is.

Daniel said...

The nice thing about Scalzi is that he's a good writer - it amplifies both his sense and his nonsense to dramatic proportion. His version of "clueless smug" is my favorite, especially since he's not in on the joke.

Upshot: any advice he has regarding girls - do the opposite. I believe he's gotten them confused with Care Bears.

Daniel said...

I can - by his own definition, he's not alpha. After all, he obviously thought about who was Alpha and who wasn't in order to determine who couldn't possibly be one. Since the defining characteristic of a non-alpha (for Scalzi) is a dude who has thought about who is and is not alpha, he therefore self-identifies as a BETA-type, which would include gamma.

Heh said...

He's a mediocre hack.

Lucas said...

A blog which deals with kittens, human eyes and summer houses sure sounds masculine to me.

DW said...

He keeps saying assbag. Does he not understand how much of a fag that makes him look like?

Tschafer said...

With all due respect, what the Hell does "squee" mean? I honestly don't know.

VD said...

Here are two examples of its usage, from the source:

We Pause This Blog For a Moment of Unmanly Squee

ZOMFG you guys it is so totally excellent.

No. Seriously. No. I’m so not just saying that.

You have to imagine my hands waving excitedly here. Like fluttery birds.

All right. Manning up again.


Or for a second example:

(Checks the “How to Be Mature” manual)

Right!

So, tomorrow then? Sound good? Yes?

Squeeeeeeeeeee!


Any questions?

Josh said...

So its usage is a covert way to advertise one's attraction to having sex with other men?

DW said...

I take my last comment back. Assbag is totally eclipsed by this.

Josh said...

Urban Dictionary:

Squee
A noise primarily made by an over-excited fangirl, however it has spread rapidly and is now widely spread among the web community.

Omg!! New Harry Potter book out!! Omg Squee squee! omg!!!

Daniel said...

He's a hack all right, and that's a good thing. I hate writers who "struggle" to write one book every five years. Scalzi hacks away, and that's in his favor. His style is good, his ideas are thin (at best), but his humor (on the blog, when he actually wrote things) was good, even when he was dead wrong and unaware. I've only read three books of his, and only liked one. I was referring to his blog, mostly - the old one, where he wrote original content. He is at his funniest when he constructs a strawman and savages it like a dog, whether or not he is self-aware (which he is not about 50% of the time.)

I find him entertaining in that capacity, at least. He and Jon Stewart are in the same boat: funny when they are funny, and funny when they are wrong, which is much of the time. Both are hacks - again a good thing: they keep flailing, no matter how firmly your palm is planted on their forehead.

Josh said...

I really like the female comments on his blog wherein they vigorously deny their attraction to alpha males in favor of sensitive confident gamma males.

Daniel said...

Not only that, but not even pretty girls type "squee." Only the less attractive ones do, considering that it is the sound a piglet makes as it is being castrated.

To use it as an expression of delight is certainly unintentionally off-putting for a a pale porcine "geek" woman to do, but it is down right emasculated behavior on the part of any man.

When you write 'squee' I read "I am so girlishly giddy that I have become a piglet in the process of castration."

Check the urban dictionary: overt references to fangirls.

Joe Blow said...

He's a just okay sci fi writer. Typically has one or two interesting ideas, then plays them out space opera style. Harder sci fi with some interesting physics - like Haldeman, Vernor Vinge or Charles Stross, are more my speed. Scalzi hasn't really had any good ideas in the last few years.

And Scalzi's political commentary is insipid at best, like a third grade version of Markos Moulitsas' 8th grade caliber cool kid politics.

DW said...

The hamster is strong with them.

Daniel said...

Totally agree, Joe. Space operas, and outside of Old Man's War, not very interesting ones, but I don't think he would improve by "slowing down" and being more deliberate about it. I respect that he puts out a product consistently instead of worrying about whether or not his customers are expecting too much of him. I wish there were more good writers who were hacks, but Terry Pratchett (and his time has obviously passed, as evidenced by his last book) is a rare bird, so I'll settle on acknowledging the work of any hack, even if, like Scalzi, his books aren't to my taste, outside of OMW.

Roundtine said...

I had no idea what squee was. I thought it was maybe a high pitched queef, a fart, or a lesbian squaw.

Daniel said...

Yep - that's it: exactly how it sounds.

Or grates, as your ear may dictate.

Orville said...

For someone who was supposedly trying to channel Heinlein a few years back, he is decidedly unmanly. You can't say that about Heinlein's writings, and from what little I know of the man, he didn't come across as a soft girly-man. Maybe I'm an unwashed heathen, but my God, if I were marketing my writings, I'd certainly be more circumspect about airing my personal ideologies and quirks, particularly when they don't match the demographics of my customers (unless he's going to start writing about vampire wereseals from space).

willneverpostagain said...

Any woman who grew up with heterosexual brothers would automatically be repulsed by Scalzi. What a queen.

Orkin Man said...

Hey leave this Scalzi alone.

We make a decent living off guys like him.

Anonymous said...

is it that much more manly to vent about about another man on a blog?

VD said...

Than remain silent and conspicuously avoid rising to the challenge he has posed with his passive-aggressive actions and remarks? Yes.

Now, is it as manly as beheading him, raping his wife and daughter, then burning down his house in response to the disrespect shown? Probably not. But in my humble and perhaps excessively civilized opinion, that would be a little excessive.

No doubt Genghis Khan and LaDaShawn Washington would disagree.

Rollo Tomassi said...

I was going to post a few of these individually, until I realized that they all apply to Scalzi:

http://heartiste.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/the-unbearable-triteness-of-hating/

Daniel said...

He overtly channels Heinlein, H. Beam Piper, Dick and Roddenberry in a sort of soft subversion that comes off as homage. I honestly don't think his readers and his blog readers intersect that much. I don't know how his Android (whatever they are called: the ones that ping off of Philip K. Dick) books sell, but I don't know a single reader of the originals who are interested in Scalzi's take on fan-fic.

Here's where I think his long-term appeal lies: in making sci-fi pastiches that mimic and gloss without asking the reader to think anywhere near as deeply as the originals did. Nobody cares what his politics are, because he's neither serious nor anchored about them.

His first novel was a satire of the Hollywood agent system, for pity's sake. He's much more interested in the depth of moving pictures, not words - this much is obvious, otherwise he wouldn't be so liberal with the avoidance of dissent.

Daniel said...

He proposed to his wife via newspaper column.

They originally met because she asked him to dance, after which, he gave her his business card because he was afraid she think he was an ax murderer if he deigned to ask her for a phone number.

a) I can think of no fewer than four things wrong/gamma about such an arrangement and b) the guy is nonetheless funny about it. If he wasn't he'd be pathetic, but I remember a fair number of his posts, humor columns and self-revelations because he's naturally a funny guy. Gamma, yes, but funny.

Even his latest queening about the special specialness of our equals with girl-parts has cracked me up. It's not like he's intending to be funny in this case: he's just naturally so.

If you can't see Scalzi casting himself as the timid twerp at DEFCON who wins hearts and bodies by sucking at code and never ever making eye contact, you've missed all the relevant and entertaining subtext.

Anonymous said...

Tyrannical is not synonymous with manly.

VD said...

Tyrannical? Genghis wasn't usually butchering his subjects, but rather those who refused to submit to him. Regardless, given his socio-sexual dominance, his massive number of female conquests, his 2,000-strong harem, and the vast number of his descendants, he has a strong case for being the most manly man of all.

Tschafer said...


VD,
Thanks, I had never heard this before. Good Lord, and the guy who typed that stuff you cited has the balls to lecture guys on how not to be creepy? That's like Stalin lecturing people on "how not to be paranoid".

Trust said...

Gammas definitely are a lot like women. I was raised (and even medicated) to be a gamma by parents and teachers alike. Not to mention constantly coached by female (just a-) friends just to be a nice sweet ass kissing gentleman. I wised up at 22 and have been successful with women since by doing the opposite of what they usually say.

No doubt I resented more successful men who would pump and dump a woman who rejected me and my flowers. Wasn't fair, they should want flowers from nice men and reject assholes I bitterly proclaimed, it wasn't me it was them. I was lucky, I got it through my thick overmedicated skull that me and my feelings weren't king and I didn't get to decide who or what women liked.

I've been called a misogynist for advocating game and asked "would you teach men to treat your daughter's like that?" My answer is I won't even attempt the impossible task of teaching millions of men how to treat my two daughters. My daughters will be the ones who do that, and any 'be nice to her" shit will just lead the poor sap to rejection if she prefers what.most women prefer. I'll just focus on raising my daughters right rather than teaching the world how to spoil her like the world taught me.

Ian Ironwood said...

Scalzi is clearly a Gamma who is dominated by his wife, and his fiction is . . . mediocre at best. 'Redshirts' was abysmal parody with a hackneyed plot, something that would have been critically brilliant...in 1987. Now it just looks like he ran out of any real ideas, so picked up what some drunk at a con said and ran with it. Hell, Heinlein and Piper would both have been disgusted with what the man has done "in homage" to their work. And had they met the man in person, no doubt they would have formed their own opinions about his manliness. Somehow I doubt they would be favorable.

There is a growing discontent with Scalzi in the SFWA, and these anti-male, misandrous blog postings are a big part of that. While there has been a continuing push within the organization to make it more "women friendly", the fact is that the vast majority of sf readers who actually buy books are MALE, not female. Calling the majority of your reading audience "assbags" and "creeps" isn't exactly Good Marketing Practice, and he's starting to get some blowback.

Ouch said...

I don't know what's more pathetic - the story about how he met and proposed to his wife, or the fact that he's not afraid to let the story be known...

OGRE said...

Everytime he says "assbag" I feel an overwhelming urge to give him a much deserved atomic wedgie. I can hear him lisping the word out of his little girly mouth even through the written word, and it sends me into a nerd-smashing rage...

Pip said...

What's the difference between a gamma and an omega? Cockjaws sounds like an omega. Is a gamma just a snarky omega that fusses endlessly about women (unlike an omega, who from my experience don't seem to care about women, and vice versa)?

realmatt said...

Omegas are included simply to point out that there are people who barely register on the radar. They're a small blip that you see when there's no other noise in the room. You hardly, if ever, think poorly of them because they don't matter enough to be thought of. They aren't athletic and can't get you laid so no one notices if they're not around. If you happen to be sitting on a park bench with one, he may or may not actually be intelligent and funny but it doesn't matter because you'll just forget the conversation ever took place.

Omega's don't care about women because there is very little hope that one would ever speak to him.

Anonymous said...

Who is LaDaShawn Washington?

R. Bradley Andrews said...

Squee? I still don't quite follow what it means.

Spacebunny said...

A blog which deals with kittens, human eyes and summer houses sure sounds masculine to me.

Having just been over there perusing a couple of linked posts - 600+ comment threads where everyone is talking about their feelings pretty much negates anyone mistaking John for a man.

Stickwick said...

The comments are painful to read. The men over there are self-deprecating nerds, while the women write stuff like this:

Whever I think “alpha male”… my daydream quickly becomes a Sweeney Todd nightmare in which I’m serving the remains to my dinner guests, disguised as some sort of heavy-seasoned stew beneath puff pastry, because I wound up killing said Alpha Male in sheer exasperation before sundown and need to get rid of the body….

Now, you men had better take extra care not to seem creepy to this charming lass, lest her delicate sensibilities be offended.

rycamor said...

Totally non-creapy SWFA member: "HAHAHA... Sweeney Todd!! Wow you totally GET IT. I haven't met a girl this smart and funny in a long time! Oops! I didn't mean that the way it sounded. Is it OK if I sit here? Yeah so anyway... I would love to show you this manuscript I'm working on--"

"Oh... was I coming on too strong? Because I could... you know... tone it down--... I mean I didn't want you to get the wrong idea... uh, well OK, I'll just watch you from over there. I mean I'll just be over there IN CASE you want to get to know someone here a little better. Really, we're not all assbags. I don't even like hanging around with guys that much. I have lots of girl friends. You heard that right: 'girl FRIENDS', not girlfriends. OK bye."

rycamor said...

Hey, dudes: If you spend any real time thinking about who's an "Alpha Male" and who is not, YOU ARE NOT ONE. #FYI
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 17, 2012


Ah, the old "if you think it you're not it". It's just like the typical American middle-class fantasy that the upper classes don't give their position in society a moment's thought ("We're all just regular people inside"). In reality, the upper classes are extremely conscious of class and the cultural subtleties thereof, and are thus constantly changing the cues so the hoi-polloi can't enter that easily.

Houston said...

"Squee? I still don't quite follow what it means." An effeminate cheer synonymous with "Hurray!"

jonw said...

Everytime he is spanked by his dominatrix , he yells,squee!

Daniel said...

A correction: Gammas do not resist Game, they fully implement it, more consistently than any of the other classes. Alphas and Betas can slum, Deltas can make confusing choices up or down, Omegas can stumble into success, but Gammas vigilantly defend their herd of grade D and C prospects, becoming emotionally distraught over the loss of just one woman from the pack, while doing everything to remain in orbit around the friend zone lower Bs.

One of the components of Gamma Game is lip service against Game while implementing its less desirable but highly reliable results at the lower eschelons. It is hamster food.

Gammas want to be a part of the Dear Woman Joy Luck Travelling Pants. They know that by successfully emulating girl behavior, pedestalizing, etc. that they will maintain a broad friend zone with a small "potential" stable of functional uglies.

It is a low bar, but one that every Gamma acknowledges, even if they use different words to describe it. This also explains why Gammadom seems to be the most hermetically sealed of the social stations: omegas don't try to simulate their behavior to move up, and gammas are acquiring enough low-hanging fruit to sustain themselves.

Same reason why scavengers never think to plant a garden, but anyone who is not scavenging doesn't aspire to do it. Naturally, they are separate worlds.

King A (Matthew King) said...

Scalzi was exposed for the catamite he is when he masturbated all over his blog about the wonder and joy of NY state law abetting the fantasy of men being able to "marry" each other. And then he proceeded to proudly, openly censor all dissent.

I enjoyed his writing talent, but all virtue is eventually corrupted when put in the service of a lie. I cannot stand to look at his smug beta mug now, knowing what soft-skulled flabbery lies undulating just beneath the skin.

Though, a man with his talent should be able to make the best possible case for the great lie of feminism. I would welcome it. Then again, if the above twitter twaddle above is any indication of his rhetorical skill with regard to this subject, I have either overestimated his talent or underestimated the abject weakness of the argument for feminism. Likely both.

Men who note what constitutes manliness are exhibiting proof of their unmanliness? Then two plus two equals five, and who has time to teach remedial arithmetic to boys made delirious and retarded by happily bouncing their heads off cuntcrete for a lifetime?

Matt

T14 said...

"If I was ever going to write a movie, I'd write a romantic comedy."

If he WAS??? I know he is a sci-fi writeer but still. The subjunctive mood is going the way of the dodo.

"In reality, the upper classes are extremely conscious of class and the cultural subtleties thereof"

You are thinking of the upper-middle class, e.g., lawyers doctors actors. There is an entire book dedicated to this and I can't remember the name.

And yeah, I

King A (Matthew King) said...

Posted the following a minute ago at Scalzi's forum of selective self-congratulation he calls a blog. Let's see how long it takes for the scrubber to engage:

--------------------
"This is the place where you leave the things you think" [The slogan above his comment box]

Unless they deviate from the host's position by a single degree.

Consider that you spend more time deleting dissension than you do composing the post or engaging your opponents. What does that say about your posturing? It screams that your thinking is ill-conceived, your rhetoric careless, and your position insecure.

You have lost the legitimacy to comment on "alpha males" by entertaining nothing but the cheesiest, cringing sycophancy in your comboxes. If you don't want pushback, don't post provocative items about subjects you haven't put to the test. Editing for vulgarity and disrespect is one thing. Editing to create a false sense of legitimacy is quite another. No one is fooled by debate tactics with the integrity of a Stalinist "election."

Sure, it is upsetting to be challenged to defend one's positions, particularly when one's prejudices are thought unassailable by virtue of their dependence on unexamined principles. But since when is being upset or challenged an excuse for pouting in a grown man?

Matt

rycamor said...

Upper middle and upper. And upper middle is more than just doctor or lawyer.

Point is, those who've got it are very conscious of having it.

R. Bradley Andrews said...

I suppose my revulsion for the whole quote hindered my understanding. I have read plenty I don't like, but that was horrid. Is blech a bad word?

Anonymous said...

If you're really so unconfident in your sexuality that you have to establish a hierarchy that includes people you don't even know, maybe they're not the ones causing you all this butthurt.

Also, you look incredibly stupid when you wax eloquent about "alpha" vs. "gamma" males and base your conclusions on somebody's offhand comments (made in jest, but you don't strike me as the type to know what that is.)

Anonymous said...

Wow what a ridiculous circle-jerk of narcissism this is. Holy crap if you think making women uncomfortable makes them turned on...you are probably a rapist. Women who are turned on are in fact exceedingly comfortable. You are merely attempting to justify your rapist behavior the same way they do in countries like India, where they say "but women actually like being raped." Hopefully none you are breeding, you would probably raise your sons to be rapists and rape your own daughters. Sickening.

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