How The Room Predicted Trump

I may be one of the few people who actually thinks that The Room is purpose built. To make a movie that has not a single well-made scene in terms of acting, composition and writing takes more than luck. It takes skill. Despite being deemed an atrocity, it is expertly crafted.

The thing that really tipped me off is the ending. Very few movies have actually left me with my jaw open. It was a distinct feeling watching Johnny blow his brains out. It felt like euphoria. A perfect ending makes sense and yet you never see it coming. An ending like that isn’t arrived at by luck. I walked out of the cinema stunned.

Another element of the ending leads me to believe that The Room is intentionally bad. If you recall earlier in the film Johnny wrestles a pistol off the drug dealer that he and Mark catch on the rooftop. This is, presumably, the same gun with which Johnny kills himself. However, in the book The Disaster Artist, a chronicle of the making of the film, Greg Sestero explicitly says that he didn’t understand where Johnny was meant to have got the gun from in the final scene. (I believe I sold the book to a secondhand store, so can’t verify his exact words at the moment.) Hmm. If anything is illogical here it’s Greg’s assessment of the scene.

But the biggest clues are all outside the film itself. For one thing, why would actors and technical folks – even those desperate for-fame-or-money – subject themselves to the awfulness of making this movie? Sure, at one point the crew do walk out and replacements must be found, but I’m not convinced. You wouldn’t need everyone on board with the scam, and certainly such drama adds to the hype. In The Disaster Artist Greg makes it appear that he is the only one holding it together, and if he is in on the gag that’s all Tommy Wiseau would require. At the very least the decisions that Tommy was making point towards mental health issues. If his actions are so bizarre and outside the realms of normalcy why did no one think to commit him, or send in a psychologist? Whether from self-preservation or empathy, Tommy should have been stopped.

So already the setup is dodgy. But it doesn’t end there. Tommy talked himself up constantly, was going to submit the film to the Academy Awards and bought a single, fuck-off big billboard to promote the film. Was it merely delusions of grandeur or was it building the apparatus with which to launch a career? What Tommy was aiming for was the biggest untapped market in film history.

This is what I propose was Tommy Wiseau’s master plan. He was never, ever going to make it big in Hollywood if he wanted to beat the competition. Not a chance. So he went in the other direction, where this is no competition. Shoot down, aim for the lowest common denominator. Horseshoe theory works outside politics; fandoms are spawned from both good and bad movies. Create a legion of followers. Create a cult, a mysticism. Create something so bad they can’t ignore you. And it worked. The movie has turned a profit and Tommy Wiseau is (relatively) famous, with more projects on the way. Everything since has flowed from the insane work he put into making The Room perfectly bad. It’s so obvious in hindsight.

This was Trump’s strategy. No matter how Left you are, you will never convince many people that Donald Trump is a moron. The media said the same thing about Bush. It’s both an act and self-perpetuating myth. Just like Tommy Wiseau. In reality they are crafty players. Trump seeded the idea of running for President years in advance. When he ran he ran on simple, lowest common denominator policies. He played his part and gained a cult following, who in turn spun his narrative, both good and bad elements.  This is not a case of so-bad-it’s-good. This is a case of smoke and mirrors, meticulous organization and pure determination. It’s just a wonder that the media and the Left fail to see that Trump outplayed them.

There’s another similarity at play here. Effectively, The Room is a Christ story. Johnny is betrayed like Jesus was, and then sacrifices himself for the sins of others. Is this Trump’s tale? Is he the messiah and has he come to Capitol Hill to sacrifice himself for the greater good? Only time will tell.

I’d be very interested to hear other’s thoughts on this. For example, any conclusive counter evidence to my theory. I also think it would be worth investigating any connections between Tommy, Greg and people who initially promoted the film.

The Ascendancy of the Troll Generation

This is a tale of the trolls and the triggered. The ghostly hint of a troll pervades everything we see and hear. Is it real, is it fake? No wonder trigger warnings and safe spaces are commonplace. They are preemptive strikes against the nature of trolling. People can avoid anything that might trigger them and anyone that might be a troll: Insta-blocks on social media, websites close down comments or require Facebook linking, and echo-chamber algorithms. But trolling has gone mainstream.

For one, Donald Trump may be the first troll President. I personally think it is far more likely that he really did want to become President, despite the rumour that he did it on a lark and suddenly found himself there. That’s a happy fabrication for people who still need to laugh at Trump. After-the-fact truth telling. He didn’t become President to troll; he became President by trolling. You can’t tell me these aren’t trolls, attempts for the lulz:

The sign of a true troll is when people take you on face value and work themselves into a froth over it. It’s a form of cognitive dissonance, where a new reality strikes against what a person holds in their head. Naturally, this can cause people to react, either with anger, confusion or some other fever. Trump has done this his whole life, and went into overdrive for the election.

But it isn’t just Trump. Trolling is a well-acknowledged activity online, and its tendrils seek out ever more mainstream targets. Of course given the state of modern media, they take it hook, line and sinker.

Taking the Cult of Kek seriously is some serious troll bait.

Back in 2009 4chan trolled the Time’s Person of the Year poll.

Here’s a guy ranting and trolling a bunch of anti-Trumpers:

As Whitney Phillips says in her book This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture: “Trolls believe that nothing should be taken seriously, and therefore regard public displays of sentimentality, political conviction, and/or ideological rigidity as a call to trolling arms. In this way, lulz functions as a pushback against any and all forms of attachment.”

Trump is anti-establishment, and those that revel in his trolling are also mostly against political correctness and the hand-wringing we see in society at large. In order to break apart the political hegemony and the ideological underpinnings of modern liberalism one must troll, and troll hard. Everyone takes themselves far too seriously and so the time has come to teach them lessons, mostly with humour at their expense.

While Whitney is a typical SJW, her book does offer some insights, namely the nature of trolling and how in fact trolling is a reflection of real life behaviour. She posits that trolling activities have always been a part of life (though of course she means in terms of people always being bigoted) and so the line between online and real life blurs. Trolling involves masking our identity, but at the same time removes the masks that we wear in day to day life. This is a confusing game-within-a-game. Are we true to ourselves when we are at work, amongst friends or talking to family? Or are we only ‘real’ when we put on the mask and are able to be rid of societal norms?

This is a very real feeling for many internet natives. Anonymity allows us to break from conformity and to truly converse on an intellectual level. Perhaps, then, this is why the liberal echo chamber is so intellectually backwards: everyone knows each other, has their life’s resume under their Twitter profile, and so conformity is the only option. As Howard Rheingold says in The Virtual Community: “In some ways, the medium will, by its nature, be forever biased toward certain kinds of obfuscation. It will also be a place that people often end up revealing themselves far more intimately than they would be inclined to do without the intermediation of screens and pseudonyms.” Anonymity is good for the discourse of ideas.
Those who studied the early web, like Rheingold and Sherry Turkle, would visit obscure online realms such as MUDS and Usenet groups. From these experiences they drew psychological responses from people on the web. Trolls have been prevalent since the birth of the internet, and now we are witnessing their influence on the world.

https://twitter.com/ChateauEmissary/status/799705698246402048

If you do study these antiquated online historians, there is some you will learn, a lot you will familiar with, and plenty that is laughably wrong. For example, this paper by Licklider and Taylor: ‘Life will be happier for the on-line individual because the people with whom one interacts most strongly will be selected more by commonality of interests and goals than by accidents of proximity.’ True in some regards, but far too idealistic. The reality is that this ‘commonality of interests and goals’ has led to  ideological warfare and hyper-atomization, a side effect of which is the complete breakdown of the media and political landscapes. Some us, however, do enjoy this chaos.

A Personal Story

I am personally fascinated by online communities, and this is partly from my own web-upbringing. The first forum I ever frequented was the myg0t forums, a cesspit of flame wars and gore images. This was trial by fire in the home of the trolls. The entire modus operandi of myg0t was to troll, whether that was team killing Counter-strike players, IRC spam, or fooling idiots into baking cakes. This was the place where I flamed other members, posted ‘rage’ videos and collages (either recording angry people in-game or posting a multitude of screenshots of their rage), and watched the founder of myg0t snort OxyContin on webcam. They trolled Christian forums and gave away false hacks. From that moment I have trolled.

You can’t find myg0t anymore. The website is permanently down, but you can still reach out to former members on reddit. The thing is, myg0t is only one of the troll groups from the early days. The troll mentality was strong at 4chan and elsewhere, though many communities have been completely subverted by SJWs, Something Awful being a prominent one. When a community begins to change and its older members feel like the spirit is being extinguished, there are two options. The first, like in America, is to shutdown dangerous change with a firm hand. The second, which happens online, is simply to create a splinter group. The path of least resistance.

There were two big gaming forums in Australia, both tied to magazines: PC Powerplay and Hyper. Both saw totalitarian administration that shut down dialogue and both underwent many changes, including attempts to artificially boost the community. Both forums splintered.

PCPP split into one forum that was little better in terms of the ‘clean’ image, only allowing slightly more free speech. This free speech meant that a core of members were able to voice their discontent before splintering again. A very similar process occurred at Hyper. That said, both these Stage 2 forums are very different from one another. The former is a postmodern island that has locked out all newcomers. You cannot even browse the forums as a Guest. They will die off from heat-death, a lack of invigorating energy. The latter forum is far more open, without any rules. It has high energy and a large output of ideas and discourse. Between the two there is a lot of psychology at work, and a lot to learn when it comes to how communities form.

What’s the point of this story? To show how real life can be reflected online, how the digital trajectories are still shaped by very real people even though they hide behind a veneer of anonymity. Trolling has been a big part of this story. One of the main reasons for these splinter forums is that people felt triggered by uncouth behaviour and wanted to feel safe. All this did was create a vacuum and a lack of energy, which inevitably leads to decay from within. Human beings need conflict in order to function.

On a bigger scale this is a call for nationalism. The USA was heading towards atomization, and now, through the art of the troll, it is potentially going to be unified. Trump can’t just create a splinter country (sorry Calexit hopefuls). Nationalism pits country against country, and this is the competition we need in order to accelerate. The homogenisation that comes with globalisation is the heat-death humanity will suffer. Until we discover an alien civilization to compete against, we need sovereign nations to compete against each other. This is what we have to learn from the trolls.

So don’t conform, tell the truth. Sometimes trolling is indistinguishable from truth-telling. Other times it is just another way of getting people to come to the truth. Don’t let society’s fear of feeding the trolls stop the truth from coming out. There is far more at stake than hurt feelings and the need to fit in.

 

 

Now Is the Time

I need to get a lot off my chest. I might be Australian, but the US election affects us, and Australian interest has been high. The thing is though, I work in a white female dominated industry, one that is also historically ‘progressive’ in its views. My family is progressive; my friends are progressive. No one I know even understands what alt-right or Neoreaction means. Heck, they still think conservatives and progressives are fundamentally different. So the day of the US election 2016 felt a literal surreal.

I’ve had money on Trump winning since Brexit. Once he won the primary and the Brexit vote came in, my confidence in a Trump victory went up to about 80%. That’s good enough for a bet. Everything I saw since then gave more and more support to this theory. And now that it actually fucking happened, that proves my stance retrospectively. It proves the liberal establishment is so far its own arse, it can see daylight again, and mistakes it for salvation. It proves that politcal correctness is despised, especially poignant given the furor around Jordan Peterson. It proves we prefer a real person over a fake politician (sorry, oxymoron, just politician). It also proves that the time is ripe for a true reactionary movement.

Of course, how this would come about is difficult to determine. Do we actually try and push for the removal of democracy, replacing it with a cryptomonarchy, possibly King Trump given the line of succession is clear? Do we just try and make small changes from within now that the Republicans hold all the power? This will probably involve a big push with the Sailer Strategy. What about in Australia, where do we go now? Who will be our King? There’s a lot to discuss.

I’m not completely positive. Yes, it looks like Russian and Asian tensions may have been eased already, at least from the early congratulations their leaders have expressed. But overall I think it is much more likely that Trump will just be an average President and not much will get done. Of course, anything positive he does do will make him an excellent President, in the same way that the hope around Obama’s election resulted in…well, the Obama Presidency. The more likely event is that some bad stuff happens, and Trump gets the blame. He might only be a one-termer (but let’s not forget that he hasn’t been stumped yet). Now the American Republicans actually have a mandate, they better fucking do something with it. I do think there is a high chance the conservatives will squander it, unless Trump (very possible) acts like a King and just gets shit done. His 100 day plan is clear and succinct, perhaps a little ambitious. But he needs strong help. Peter Thiel and Elon Musk must be brought in. Scott Adams wouldn’t hurt to have around either.

But enough about what should or could happen, I want to talk about the progressive response.

What a Time to Be Alive

I started the day in Australia waking up to the usual tirade of establishment media basically handing Clinton the presidency. It was a done deal. Over before it had begun. I have to admit, I felt a weight in my stomach.

Months ago I had actually made a $150 bet with a woman in my office that Trump would win. The day started with everyone laughing at me, asking if I was worried. I stayed silent, shrugged. ‘We’ll see,’ I said.

Then the counting started.

We had a business lunch with two American clients (female). There was about 5 staff members including me (the rest all female). The Americans were busily checking updates (they come from New York/Maine) and receiving text messages from their friends and family (one of the women received a text from her son: ‘WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?’). Of course conversation turned to politics. And it was not pleasant.

First, as the only white male at the table, the amount of times the ongoing result was blamed on ‘white males’ was quite shocking. Imagine blaming crime on black people with a black person at the dinner table. My God. Maybe they just gave me a pass because I’m young, so surely I’m progressive. And that was another theme, the fact that we were now, at that very moment, regressing (hate to break it to you but…). ‘All this progress we have made will disappear.’ What fucking progress? More racial division under Obama? A flimsily lowered unemployment rate? Growing inequality? What FUCKING progress? All these comments flying across the table, and all I could do was nod as a very strange feeling of euphoria grew in my stomach as the result cemented itself in the history books.

The second unpleasant topic was dichotomically, of course, women. I mean that these women around me all but admitted that the only reason to vote for Hillary was because she had a vagina. And rather than admit to their own bias, they used this ‘fact’ to put the blame on misogyny. To my face patriarchy and ingrained misogyny were given as the only reasons people (sorry, white males, not people) voted for Trump. When people talk about projecting, this is what they mean. Here you have liberal white females who appear to only be voting for Hillary because she would be the first female President (and they’ve seen her face before) putting all the ‘blame’ of Trump’s victory on misogyny. Sweet mother of God, I could not believe I was witnessing this.

And the day after the victory the tirade continues. Most shocking of all, as I Left for work this morning, I passed a school child, a white male aged around 10 or so. I heard the words ‘uneducated white male’. In that moment I knew that this level of depraved thinking is deeply embedded in the education system. People have been shamed into hating themselves. Progressiveness runs deep.

Now, remember that woman at work I made a bet with? So I walk into the weekly sales meeting, grinning as I walk up to her. No jovial remarks like yesterday. No gentle prodding. She was enraged. She called me an ‘evil man’. See, apparently she managed to conflate my bet with support (I wouldn’t say I support Trump because of his policies, but preference is support). Apparently I’d said some remarks while making the bet as we had been a little tipsy. She said, verbatim, ‘You called her “A something something something woman.”‘ Now, I don’t recall saying anything in particular (and clearly she couldn’t bring specifics to her argument either) but criticizing Hillary is clearly blasphemy. She threatened – literally threatened – to expose my blasphemy to the room. I was shaken, shocked at her vitriol. Thankfully I managed to deny it and was backed up by some other women who were present. Wearing a mask can be hard.

And that’s just it, the responses have been superb. Students rioting, crying on social media, celebrities flipping out. I walked into the office and everyone was discussing it, saying how they just couldn’t believe it and no one had seen it coming. I raised my hand and demurred. ‘Some people did.’ I have never seen such mass delusion and willful ignorance combined with, somehow, a sense of smugness.

Another Brick in the Road

Neoreaction is a journey for me. I am getting there. Slowly my eyes are opening. The absolute, complete disdain these people have against Trump supporters can not be classified as anything other than insane, or perhaps delusional. Delusions of grandeur. Delusions of self-righteousness. It was all there for me to see. It was there for the world to see as the pollsters and media shills suddenly had all their projections reversed when faced with reality. I am currently reading all of Moldbug, and this is exactly what he talks about. It is absolutely mesmerising to read something from 2008 while the ‘projections’ roll-out before my very eyes. It is, quite simply, like witnessing a miracle. And that’s not even considering the will of Kek.

What needs to happen now is a serious movement. In the UK, the US and Australia (and where all free thinking people reside). Embrace the swell and ride the wave to the shore of glory. If you live in Sydney and are reactionary in thought, I would love to meet and discuss where we can go from here.

I’m sure there will be much more dissection of the results to come. All I can say to any progressives reading this: too late, mother fuckers.

You Know It When You See It

Or perhaps more pertinently, feel it.

I’ve described myself as a neoreactionary without fully appreciating what neoreaction precisely is. But as I continue to read about Reaction (see The Shipwrecked Mind) it makes more and more sense. And it becomes obvious that this where my own mind is at.

Of course we have Nick Land as a figurehead, with his always interesting posts, to help point the way. There are plenty of great introductions out there. But the movement is clearly gaining mainstream prominence, with Tyler Cowen commenting on it recently. The world is getting progressively weirder, and the Cathedral have begun to notice in the year of our Lord, 2016.

For me personally the following summations have really struck home that, yes, I am a neoreactionary:
Ross Douthat:

But while reactionary thought is prone to real wickedness, it also contains real insights. (As, for the record, does Slavoj Zizek — I think.) Reactionary assumptions about human nature — the intractability of tribe and culture, the fragility of order, the evils that come in with capital-P Progress, the inevitable return of hierarchy, the ease of intellectual and aesthetic decline, the poverty of modern substitutes for family and patria and religion — are not always vindicated. But sometimes? Yes, sometimes. Often? Maybe even often.

Bloody Shovel:

Why are we reactionaries? Because modernity sucks. In what way? Well, let’s count the ways:

1. Women are unpleasant, men are unmanly

2. Foreigners everywhere

3. Dysgenics

4. Corruption

5. Aesthetic taste has collapsed

But if Reactionary thought is tied to the past, that we’ve all made a great mistake, how does that connect with futurism? Simply because it must. You cannot ignore scientific and technological progress, and you must bend it to what is traditionally human. We are all no more than interacting parts, ones and zeroes. Everything is reducible to this, but we can build on what we have to begin with.

Of the various branches that neoreaction contains, I am not of the religious persuasion, only partially of nationalistic thinking and uncomfortable with embracing the capitalist argument.

Essentially, we need revised versions of democracy and capitalism, not the degenerate forms they’ve undertaken in the name of plutocracy.

It seems to me, and many of us, that the plutocrats aren’t fighting to expand human wealth. They are fighting to become an endogamic caste lording over the mongrel masses.

In this sense Left-inclined people actually align with neoreactionary thought. You can be anti-globalist for other reasons than being ‘racist’ and ‘anti-immigrant’. Globalism is pushed by the elites – with the facade of tolerance – in order to gain ever more wealth and power. We all want to live.

If anything, neoreaction is the habit of being wary. And you can’t fault that.

Maelstrom

Morality was a chemical.

I believe it is the prescience of a work of science fiction that makes it a classic. The only way for this to happen is not by correctly predicting the future technology (though that can help), but by interweaving a strong philosophical core into the usual elements of plot, character and setting. I can think of no modern writer who does this better than Peter Watts (and perhaps Cixin Liu), who is quite simply an under-appreciated genius.

Maelstrom is the sequel to Starfish, and while it does continue the story and themes, it brings a lot more to the table. In some cases this harasses the main story, where too many characters are introduced, and too much is going on. But as a whole it still provides a nihilistic look at the world, this time without constraints. Because while Starfish was contained on the bottom of the ocean, Maelstrom takes the chaos to the surface.

Spoiler alert: Behemoth, the ancient microbe that gobbles sulphur like there’s no tomorrow (which, there won’t be) is loose and being spread by Lenie Clarke, our genetically modified and physiologically fucked-up protagonist. It’s a grim story where really grim things happen. Refugees, food shortages, technological breakdown, you name it, it’s happening. And then the apocalypse walks out of the ocean.

Even just as a science fiction story it’s a fatalistic romp, but it’s more than that. It describes the situation we find ourselves in now.

Watts discusses memes before they became cool, and indeed we can look at the memes in the book as a reflection of the memes that lead to the rise of Donald Trump. Whoa, where did that come from? It’s quite clear.

There were exceptions, of course. Every now and then a single thread persisted, grew thick and gnarled and unkillable: conspiracy theories and urban legends, the hooks embedded in popular songs, the comforting Easter-bunny lies of religious doctrine. These were the memes: viral concepts, infections of conscious thought. Some flared and died like mayflies. Others lasted a thousand years or more, tricked billions into the endless propagation of parasitic half-truths.”

Memes play an important role. Not only is there the biological agency of memes, such as in Behemoth or general evolution, but there are the sociological memes we are so used to today. Lenie Clarke is essentially hi-jacked by a computer program that vomits out memes until one sticks: that of doombringer. Isn’t that EXACTLY what has happened with Trump? Isn’t that a huge part of his popularity? When everything is fucked up, we want it to end. Another quote describing the end:

 

“What happens is, the dog’s a social animal, and it gets so lonely it actually looks forward to the shit-kicking. It asks to be kicked. It begs.”

“What are you saying?”

“Maybe everyone’s just so used to being kicked around they’ll help out anyone they think has a big enough boot.”

“Or maybe,” Perreault said, “we’re so fucking tired of being kicked that we’re finally lining up with anyone who kicks back.”

“Yeah? At what cost?”

“What do we have to lose?”

“You have no idea.”

This idea is reflected both by the general populace’s embrace of doom, but also in Lenie Clarke’s embrace of sadism. She looks to be raped, she looks to be harmed, but only to further her own end, a weird perversion of schadenfreude. She doesn’t give a fuck about a world that treated her so badly, so she’s going to return the favour. That idea of embracing the end because what do we have to lose? Well, with Trump we have no idea. (As an aside, with Hilary we have a pretty good picture.)

To further hone in on what is happening, let me take a recent quote from Ran Prieur, renowned doomer:

When people lack that skill, when they know how to focus down into “us-vs-them” but not focus back out, then there’s a ratcheting effect where former allies fight each other about ever smaller disagreements. This is socially unstable, like a black hole collapsing in on itself, or maybe like a forest fire. If you see this happening, the first move is to put the fire out, to make peace; if that fails, the second move is to isolate it and let it burn itself out, to let the enemies fight in a way that doesn’t harm the world around them; and the emergency third move is to run away.

Us vs Them is what the current American (global?) situation represents. This is very much what is happening in Maelstrom, though it is simply Order vs Chaos. Indeed, a large part of the book involves putting out fires, and when it inevitably fails as Lenie marches onward, we move towards isolation (as happens in all outbreak stories). Then, right at the end, the forces of order literally run away (in the most ironic fashion possible). Maelstrom is a book written 15 years ago that represents the very problems we face right now. That is what I call a science fiction classic.

Some more choice quotes:

“Perhaps they’d been conditioned by all the quarantines and blackouts, all the invisible boundaries CSIRA erected on a moment’s notice. The rules changed from one second to the next, the rug could get pulled out just because the wind blew some exotic weed outside its acceptable home range. You couldn’t fight something like that, you couldn’t fight the wind. All you could do was adapt. People were evolving into herd animals.

Or maybe just accepting that that’s what they’d always been.”

“It’s the pattern that matters, you see. Not the choice of building materials. Life is information, shaped by natural selection. Carbon’s just fashion, nucleic acids mere optional accessories. Electrons can do all that stuff, if they’re coded the right way. It’s all just pattern.”

 

“Sometimes she really pissed him off. ‘There’s a war going on,’ he wanted to shout. ‘And it’s not against corpses or bureaucrats or your imaginary Evil Empires; we’re fighting against a whole indifferent universe that’s coming down around our ears and you’re shitting on me because sometimes we have to accept casualties?’

Oh, and it’s depiction of a future internet is just fucking perfect.