Monday, July 7, 2014

Sign the gamma up for girly

The power of the Gamma Delusion is such that the gamma will attempt to redefine any criticism, however objectively accurate, into a self-styled triumph for himself. We've seen John Scalzi attempt to do this with "rabbit", with "insect", and even with the term "gamma male" itself. Now, however, he has gone so far as to attempt to redefine "girly" and "lesser":
Now, no doubt the status-anxious dudebros will delight in my shocking admissions here, because they are silly little boys who apparently think that a man who can happily live with, and help raise, women who are better at various things than he is (including things they entirely erroneously suppose to be inherently masculine) must be therefore weak and inferior and girly. Two points here.

One, there’s the obvious point that in the Scalzi household “girly” means strong and smart and capable and better than decent with ranged weapons. All of which I would happily be. So yes sign me up for girly please.

Two, and to repeat, these sad, frantic lumps of manflesh are proclaiming that a man who is pleased to share his life with women who are strong and smart and capable, and who has no problem acknowledging when their skills are superior to his, is somehow actually lesser for it. This should tell you all you need to know about the intelligence and sensibleness of such a world view.
The Gamma's Gamma, John Scalzi, is attempting here to defend his public announcement that his own high school daughter is stronger than he is, for which he was much mocked by many men and women alike. And indeed, it tells you a great deal about the intelligence and sensibleness and even sanity of Scalzi's worldview that he would publicly insist that something LITERALLY lesser is not lesser at all.

There is no shame in women being strong or lifting weights. I have trained many women in how to lift; my wife has been lifting weights regularly as long as I have known her and she's more hardcore about it than I am.

Scalzi tries a little pivot when he insinuates that he is only being criticized because his critics have an intrinsic problem acknowledging when women's skills are superior. That isn't the case at all. No one would laugh at Scalzi if he admitted that his wife was better at knitting, or darts, or shooting, or accounting, and I, for one, have absolutely no problem believing that his daughter might be a better writer than he is. The bar is not exactly what one would call high.

What Scalzi is being derided for is being a weak, soft, and physically pathetic figure. And he is also being correctly scorned for his deluded gamma insistence that his embrace of his own effeminate weakness is not only a strength, but a strength that demonstrates his superiority to higher-status, more masculine men. Being insecure, the gamma male does not understand that for most men, status consciousness is not synonymous with status anxiety. His various accusations are not only false, they are observably ridiculous.

In a gym in which I worked out for many years, there was a sign in the weight room that many found inspirational.

This room is for the weak, that they may become strong.
This room is for the strong, that they may learn humility.

This message resounded with the strong and the weak alike because it is natural for the strong to take pride in their strength and to harbor contempt for the weak. The iron teaches that every man has his limits, and that there is always someone else who is stronger. It is natural for the weak to seek to become strong. The iron helps them do that. What is twisted, unnatural, and contemptible is for the weak to take pride in their lack of strength, to celebrate their weakness, and insist that the strong should, rather than despising their weakness, aspire to it. The iron can do nothing for such creatures.

Now, I love the iron. I have a long and enduring personal relationship with it. The iron transformed a 135-pound spaghetti-armed weakling into a 180-pound full-contact fighter with 17-inch guns. I love the iron even when it turns on me and I can't lift heavy while my various middle-aged training injuries are slowly healing. I think everyone of every age, male and female alike, would benefit greatly from lifting free weights on a regular basis. And, having lifted weights with hundreds of men and women on three continents over the years, I can say with authority that you will find nothing in any gym, male or female, more contemptible than a girly gamma male who is proud to proclaim that he cannot lift as much as a teenage girl.

One can't honestly call John Scalzi a lesser man for his admissions and pretensions, because that would be to give him too much credit. He is no man at all, he is a revolting low-status parody of one. Sign him up for "girly" indeed.

58 comments:

pdwalker said...

Mr Scalzi has an epic level female hamster running his brain. I cannot imagine any man giving a response like that.

Duke of Earl said...

Yes, this.

If a man was enfeebled for reasons beyond his control, by illness or genetics, then he might be pitied but not despised. If a man was simply weak through lack of training or honest toil then he might be laughed at occasionally but again, he would not generally be held in contempt.

It is when he holds up his weakness as something to be boasted of that he will be ridiculed by those stronger than he, or even those weaker but more realistic. I don't include St Paul in this, his "boasting in his weakness" was a rhetorical point illustrating the glorious strength of Christ, Scalzi doesn't have that excuse.

NMA said...

Scalzi is going for a major reframe here. Behind all of the arguments about raising powerful women he's claiming that the core issue is that his daughter is stronger than him because she's really strong. Actually, she's stronger than him because he's really weak.

If she was putting up a 1000lb total then yes, maybe we could congratulate him as having raised a really strong daughter despite not having much interest in training himself. She's actually totalling 200lb though, so not only is he weak, he's also praising her for a strength that she doesn't really have, even compared to a lot of girls her own age and size who train hard.

Bogey said...

The insults betray the facade, he may not care that his daughter is stronger, but he does care what we think of him for it. A man who was willing to put his name in for best "fan writer" in spite of being a professional writer for many years, shows a status hungry man needing confirmation.

Al Keannkath said...

There's a clear difference between a man being weaker than a professionally powerlifting wife and a man being weaker than an amateur powerlifting teenager. I doubt the girl's deadlifting much over 100kg, at that age and with that level of training.

cailcorishev said...

Reading his attempted re-frame (and really, if his prose is always this tortured, I can't imagine reading a whole book of it), my first thought was that there's something aggressive (or passive-aggressive, I guess) about a man who insists that the women in his family be the tough ones. I feel sorry for a woman or girl who can't relax and be her female self because she always has to be strong for her "girly" husband or father.

Women are naturally flighty, frivolous, and fearful; girls even more so. To require them to live in constant denial of their own natures because their men want to be girly is simply cruel.

Cataline Sergius said...

One can't honestly call John Scalzi a lesser man for his admissions and pretensions, because that would be to give him too much credit. He is no man at all, he is a revolting low-status parody of one.

One who constantly claims that he reads these blogs infrequently at best. And that he only does so for a laugh at the Homo-Neanderthalensi that shamble about here and there grunting rude remarks about his highly evolved self.

His claims of nonchalance would carry more weight, if he never mentioned us.

" frantic lumps of manflesh". Eeesh.

John are you absolutely certain, you are not a little bit confused? It's okay if you are. We understand. We always kind of suspected that you were.

glavinwife said...

"Now, no doubt the status-anxious dudebros will delight in my shocking admissions here, because they are silly little boys who apparently think that a man who can happily live with, and help raise, women who are better at various things than he is (including things they entirely erroneously suppose to be inherently masculine) must be therefore weak and inferior and girly."

And what about us women who are laughing along with the dudebros? I feel oppressed, marginalized, discriminated against, and sidelined by John Scalzi for being left out of the group that finds him ridiculously weak and pathetic.

RambleAround said...

I never cease to be amazed...Im just going to post this pic of Scalzi here again: http://www.sff.net/people/jchines/Pics/Scalzi%20Night.jpg

Random said...

2 Corinthians 12:9, "And he said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee; for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. [10] For which cause I please myself in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ. For when I am weak, then am I powerful."

Accepting weakness isn't always a bad thing.

Joe A. said...

The scalzified lobotomy is real...

de ti said...

This man is deluded beyond help. No man should listen to anything Scalzi says about anything.

ar10308 said...

I dated a girl who could Deadlift 100kg. She was a 6' college Rower. She weighed around 200lbs mostly from fit strength. She was strong. For a girl. She knew she was a girl, so she made no pretentions about being strong. She only shared that info with me because she knew I was far stronger. And could prove it where it counted.

There's no way Scalzi's daughter is Dead lifting 100kg. I doubt she can even hit a 100 lbs deadlift. Her breakdown is probably a 75 lbs DL, 50lbs Squat, 45lbs Bench and 30lbs Overhead.

@Ramble: That photo made me ill.

Vox said...

Sign the gamma up for girly
Don't you dare give him a swirly
Cause he'll only say he had to wash his hair

You can observe that he's a coward
An effeminate deflowered
He'll just say it proves he's brave beyond compare

Because nothing is more manly
Than to dress up like a tranny
And to read the current-month Vanity Fair

vashine said...

They're just jeeeeeeeeealous of me.

Vox said...

"They're only being mean to you because they're jealous of you." He appears to have really internalized that bit of Mommy's advice.

Brad Andrews said...

Who uses the term "dudebro" anyway? Is this a regional slang I have missed?

Ian Ironwood said...

With two strong, smart, capable women around like that . . . kinda makes you wonder just what they need HIM around for. Seriously, what can he bring to the table that they don't already possess?

JCclimber said...

I can't stand that passive-aggressive voice anymore. I've even been modifying my occasional sarcasm because it sometimes seems a little passive-aggressive to be sarcastic rather than up front in criticism, just because I've become so disgusted with even a hint of that gamma literary voice.

The only time I don't despise weakness is in newborns and the sick and aged.

This mock embrace of weakness is disgusting.

b1bae96e-6447-11e3-b6bb-000f20980440 said...

She's actually totalling 200lb though

That number was reported in a local paper 6 months ago. My wife started stronglifts 3 months ago and her powerlift total while not officially tested would have been around 200. Today her power lift total would clear 350 if she tried, and she is a little bitty 110 lbs and hasn't been aggressively training. Scalzi's daughter at 145 pounds could easily be over 400 today if she trained the whole 6 months.

Which is probably right around where most white collar men who don't exert themselves would be.

NMA said...

That number was reported in a local paper 6 months ago. My wife started stronglifts 3 months ago and her powerlift total while not officially tested would have been around 200. Today her power lift total would clear 350 if she tried, and she is a little bitty 110 lbs and hasn't been aggressively training. Scalzi's daughter at 145 pounds could easily be over 400 today if she trained the whole 6 months.

According to Scalzi she's been on the powerlifting team for three years, so she hit 200lb after at least 2.5 years of training. I suppose at her age she could still be increasing fast but I wouldn't bet on it. He's clearly been reading the comments here and we haven't seen a "some dudebros think my daughter is half as strong as she is" post on his blog yet.

vartank said...

There's a 14 year old Russian girl who bench presses 245lbs alone, that's girly strength worth respecting. I know there's a woman in the 130 class who deadlifts over 550, which would be Elite level for a guy 30lbs heavier. This though, a 200lb *total*, is just sad for a grown man not to be able to hit without even training.

ajw308 said...

There is something very intimidating one faces going to the weight room for the first time. But you go because you'll be playing football next year and lifting goes hand in hand with football (it might even have been 'suggested', but I don't recall for sure). Were there months where, almost weekly, my bench went up 5 lbs/week? I think so. I also recall getting advice on grip and form from guys who I was in awe of and little bit afraid of. It all helped in so many ways. Then there were the days we'd go for max weight. We'd add weight till we failed, but the failure didn't matter, it was what we achieved (prior to the failure) that mattered.

It hadn't dawned on me till now, but I think the weight room's lesson of 'push till failure' will lead to tomorrows gains was neither insignificant nor limited to sports.

I just don't think Scalzi has what it takes to walk into a weightroom, deal with the intimidation (most of which is from yourself) and better himself. He'd probably write an article about how he's so strong, he doesn't need to lift.

vartank said...

The self intimidation is a BIG thing, people often tell me they would be scared to workout at my gym because it' a giant warehouse filled with 220-275lb powerlifters who call warm up with 2-3 plates on every lift. But they're the nicest and friendliest guys in the world, and being the weakest guy there only motivates me and never makes me feel bad. People are usually their own worst enemy, and that's the truest sign of a weak character: inability to overcome your own inner voice.

Vox said...

The self intimidation is a BIG thing, people often tell me they would be scared to workout at my gym because it' a giant warehouse filled with 220-275lb powerlifters who call warm up with 2-3 plates on every lift.

I always find it fascinating to see who is accepted immediately and who is not. I joined a new gym three years ago, and while I'm no behemoth, I'm big enough and old enough that it's obvious I've been lifting for decades. So, I get the nods from the old school lifters right away and the young skinny guys clear out of my way with a bit more alacrity than is necessary. A bit more time passes, and guys start introducing themselves. The giant with the tattooed head comes over and spots for me, unasked, when I'm repping at 250 and makes me do SIX extra reps.

Now I have to be careful not to get sucked into an espresso-and-social-hour chat before getting a workout in.

vartank said...

I've found that these guys pretty much accept anyone, even though I'm in the 145 class and am basically a midget, we started bullshitting about technique and programming immediately, mocking anyone who is ever seen doing cardio, etc etc. And the scarier the guys look, usually the nicer and nerdier they are. This is also why I hate when skinny guys or fat girls tell me they're "intimidated" by the gym, when I basically spend 15 hours a day surrounded by giants.

Guys like Scalzi would probably be too intimidated to drop off their daughters, much less come in and take a tour.

Retrenched said...

@ Brad Andrews

'Dudebro' roughly translates to 'a man with a working pair of testicles'. It's used as a pejorative by people who think that 'real men' are guys like John Scalzi or David Futrelle.

Bob said...

Strong, smart, capable, superior, better than a man...

Blergh, such shite makes me vomit. It's just the typical feminist buzzwords being spouted forward. It's no wonder women go through life reeling those words through their heads, convincing their fragile self esteems that no matter what happens, they're doing great! They're better than men in every way and don't need to ever improve!

Trust said...

That's part of the reason women project so many of their bad qualities onto men... they've been marinated in the belief that they are superior in every way, so any poor qualities they have *must* be worse in men.

Beefy Levinson said...

Ye cats, as Vox likes to say.

Res Ipsa said...

I started back to the gym this year after taking 20 years off. Things progressed pretty well until I hit a plateau that I couldn't break. I talked to one of the most fit/intimidating guys in the place about what was going on. He was totally helpful. There are people fatter and fitter than me, none of them are bad folks. Like most things in life people psyche themselves out of succeeding or even trying.

I know there's a woman in the 130 class who deadlifts over 550, which would be Elite level for a guy 30lbs heavier. This though, a 200lb *total*, is just sad for a grown man not to be able to hit without even training.

I've honestly got no idea what "good" lifting is for females. I do know that guys don't lift well if weak and/or injured. A bad shoulder or a tweaked elbow will keep a man from lifting his best.

Scalzi's wrist seems to be a little limper than average. That's probably all that's holding him back.

Markku said...

'push till failure'

Now, I only just started lifting a few weeks ago. At home, so I don't know how much I could bench, as I don't have a bench yet. Probably pathetically little.

However, I did some initial research first. I know this issue is a conversational grenade, but I'm just going to throw it because I don't really have a strong opinion in one way or the other.

So, here we go: I was somewhat convinced by the argument that you should most of the time only lift to about 80%, because you'll recover much faster between the sets than the actual good from the final 20% (to absolute failure, not technical) and so, you'll get more reps done in your allocated time span.

Opinions?

NATHANIEL MANELLA said...

Markku- def with bench. You want to work on keeping good form even if it means lifting lower weights to avoid shoulder and other injury as you go heavier.

JCclimber said...

My personal lifting philosophy is to save the push until failure for those times when you hit a plateau. As you noted, it can really affect your recovery time as you tear more muscle mass.

This has become more of a concern of mine after getting past my 30th birthday, when the recovery times get longer and longer. Used to do the push until failure every other workout.

JCclimber said...

I also have had to deal with tendon issues if I push too hard the last 10 years or so. Depressing sometimes.

Markku said...

In that context it meant, for any given weight, doing 80% of the number of reps where 100% would represent absolute failure.

It didn't refer to reducing the weight.

Markku said...

This has become more of a concern of mine after getting past my 30th birthday,

Yeah, to clarify, I'm 35.

Res Ipsa said...

Yeah, to clarify, I'm 35.

Damn kids on the internet again.

Vox said...

Opinions?

You can lift to failure once per week at your age. You shouldn't be doing a body part more than twice per week.

rycamor said...

Yes, more or less what Vox says. I'm 48 and I push fairly hard when I lift, but I don't push to "failure and beyond" on every set. I might choose the last rep of the last set to push to failure and then bring that negative down as sloooowly as possible.

80% is probably a good place to start, but you want to ramp up. Most of the time I push to 95% and then once a week (or two) I will really shock one body part with every set to failure and hold the neg. Then I take at least 72 hours to recover...

If I start feeling worn down, I back down to 80% and start ramping up again. The hardest thing for me has been to humble myself on the front squats... possibly the best exercise to fix your posture. After more a decade and a half of sitting on my arse at work, I have had to limit the front squats to 110lbs and very slowly start ramping it up or my form goes completely haywire. Trying to rebuild posterior chain at this age... sucks.

Brad Andrews said...

I'm 52 and have considered pushing myself into lifting. I dabbled with it in high school, but not much since, though I have the physique to probably do quite well. Any suggestions on looking for a good gym? What is the best kind? Finding a time I can plan for is probably the biggest issue, but I may need to work around that.

====

Anyone know if it is Scalzi's wife and daughter in the picture on his blog post noted here? He really is a wimp if the smaller one is his daughter and she can lift more than he can.

Brad Andrews said...

Markku, I think Vox mentioned it before, but you want to make sure you have a spotter if you are bench pressing free weights. Though maybe I read that someplace else. The idea is you don't want to get stuck alone with a weight you just can't handle pinning you down.

Markku said...

As I said, I don't have a bench yet. I have a set of weights (bar and two hand), originally bought when the soviet union collapsed and you could get stuff crazy cheap from Russia. They haven't seen any use in the last decade or so, until very recently.

However, is there any good reason not to bench with HAND weights? I mean, that would seem like the blatantly obvious option. As you can just drop them if you fail.

Or does that offend the god of weightlifting?

Markku said...

Bonus question: If I put a backpack on and put those weights in there, and do pushups, isn't it essentially same as the bench press?

ajw308 said...

Markku, I've had shoulder surgery and can't bench much on a bar. I've recently found out that benching with dumbbells lets my arms rotate and significantly reduces the stress on my shoulder. I just came from the gym and on the bench next to me was BIG old Samoan doing the same thing as me with dumbbells, his simply were bigger.

The bar is set, get to it. I'll spot you.

rycamor said...

+1 on dumbbells/hand weights. Probably the safest way to start. You can do fine with nothing but that for the rest of your life. That's 90% of my workout. I only use the bar for front and hack squats (won't do back squats without a spotter), and deadlifts.

But there are limitiations. You will never equal with dumbbells what you can do with barbells and a spotter. If you want to turn into a true monster, there's no substitute for a real gym.

Natalie said...

For any girls reading this, I love her stuff on weight training. It's very common sense and encouraging. http://www.niashanks.com/

rycamor said...

Pushups with weights in a backpack are OK for beginner stuff, but if you get into serious weights, it will be a problem. Imagine if 70kg starts shifting around in a backpack while you are pushing up. That can mess you up badly.

Matt said...

"there’s the obvious point that in the Scalzi household “girly” means strong and smart and capable and better than decent with ranged weapons"

Good grief. 'Girly' means 'pertaining to girls'. There are certainly many women out there who're smart or crack shots or whatever, but those are just not gendered quantities. In fact, what Scalzi is doing, though he doesn't recognize it, is to assert that femininity is bad and to thus redefine the word as referring to neutral or outright masculine virtues.

Michael Maier said...

Just curious: Are there any negatives to using dumbbells one-armed vs an Olympic bar with two arms?

rycamor said...

Good grief. 'Girly' means 'pertaining to girls'.

What's funny is Scalzi's assumption that the testicularly-hefted dudebro just wants to keep his women weak and incapable in order to feel like a man. Not realizing that the reason he is being ridiculed has absolutely nothing to do with women but rather his own attitudes.

Let's just take, for example a regular guy's guy, who has fallen victim to laziness and junk food, and who has spent the past 20 years working a desk job. He finally decides to get into the gym, and finds that indeed his teenage daughter can bench press more than he can. His response to this fact tells us everything we need to know. If he confides "this is embarassing and I'm going to fix it", there's no shame beyond the simple fact of a man letting himself go and failing at self-discipline. His buddies might rib him about it, but they will respect his determination to fix himself. However, if he

a) lies in order to save face, and pretends it isn't true, or
b) proclaims he is absolutely happy being a weakling and why should anyone think otherwise, or
c) tries to turn it into a triumph by showing his feminist deference and his willingness to "defy gender stereotypes"

We're dealing with a gamma. It's the old Pee-wee Herman "I meant to do that" gambit.

Markku said...

Michael: Hey, I know this one! Dumbbell, being the lighter object, moves faster in the air when thrown, due to smaller inertia. Harder to get under it for certain lifts, where the weight is too heavy to just plain move it to the starting position.

Jack Amok said...

FWIW, my experience is I have to mix it up once in a while. If I stick with the same routine, I burn out/plateau. And just plain get bored.

But the routine that seems to get the best results for me is lifting whatever weight I can do 3 sets of 4 to 8 reps at before failure. Twice per week each body part.

Markku said...

Also, the spotting mandated by the bar at the bench is a bonding experience between the brofessor and his brotégé. Important for all dudebros.

SarahsDaughter said...

In fact, what Scalzi is doing, though he doesn't recognize it, is to assert that femininity is bad and to thus redefine the word as referring to neutral or outright masculine virtues

Exactly.

Like when he dresses as a woman - he makes a mockery of the trannies he likely claims tolerance and support of. Men who feel they are a woman on the inside dress like women. Not something a straight man should do if he doesn't intend to mock trannies.

When daddy is proud that his daughter is physically stronger than he is, it leaves her (and his wife) with the realization that what their biology has told them should be so - their father/husband is their strong protector - isn't. How very sad.



JCclimber said...

Markku,
the weight training experts say that the weights on the bars beat the machines by Far. One I was recently reading (the whole book was on squats, deadlifts, and bench), said that the dumbells are even better in many ways because you are forced to use more of the other muscles to hold the weight steady, so it recruits more of the other muscles to act in concert. Therefore it has a more natural form.

That said, form matters a lot in both dumbells and barbells. The thing I like about benching with dumbells is I don't have to wait on a spotter, and with my shoulders, I can modify the grip and rotation a little to get past the shoulder pain. Safer, too. Arnold was a fan of the dumbells, too.

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