The Joy of Desolation

A follower on Twitter today expressed disappointment in our recent opioid post here: I was hoping it was going to be a post on finding purpose with life over and above choking on “red pill” outrage porn on a daily basis. My initial response was to advise that the most certain means to avoid such letdowns in others is to articulate your preferred positions yourself. And that made me realize this is probably the very content he wished to see. I’ll return to this in a moment.

But first I wanted to discuss the concept of “outrage porn.” In particular as it is customarily deployed as a pejorative. Of course any piece of writing can be poorly conceived or executed, and most are. But if the term is meant to be descriptive of a genre, its wholesale dismissal is the work of a fool. Outrage porn, or alternatively “mockery lit” has a long and auspicious history of catalyzing necessary social counter-responses. These responses being much more robust than dry dialectic has ever produced, I would argue. That’s not to say dialectic isn’t critical; it’s the concrete foundation of western civilization. But men don’t fight wars with concrete as a weapon.

If we were to objectively evaluate outrage porn through the course of history’s endless tribal conflicts, we would probably find ourselves immensely impressed with its effectiveness. Some of its most frequent users are successful tribes indeed. It’s interesting that you never see jews dismiss even the most lurid rhetoric of their co-ethnics by calling it “porn.” But it shouldn’t be interesting at all. This is a key tool in how they avoid the temptation of complacency while maintaining in-group cohesiveness and out-group antipathy. And whose tactics are winning precisely?

Further, there is a subtle but substantial delta between saying Look how stupid this is, har har! And Look how stupid this is. Here’s the lesson we should take from it. Some people seem to forget that sexuality isn’t synonymous with pornography, particularly when its purpose is to produce a child. In other words, titillation isn’t exclusive to masturbation.

Though returning to the idea of finding purpose in life beyond despair, why ignore the best part? There’s an abundance of purpose in gloom and discomfort. Seeing so many anesthetized positivity-preaching zombies, I sometimes feel a thrill at having desolation’s rich motivational vein seemingly all to myself.

As a mildly successful man, it’s difficult to not give despair its due. I fought through an acute youthful shyness around women out of despair at the prospect of being an incel with crippling monthly Kleenex bills. I labored long hours to advance my earnings power out of despair at the prospect of being an Applebee’s waiter in my 70s. I exercise daily and binge on broccoli instead of bon bons out of despair at the prospect of my gut looking like Michael Moore’s neck. Truly, if I had always thought everything would be copacetic I’d be alone on the back porch of a shack counting the birdies in my backyard. That I am sitting here blogging instead may not actually be the most compelling point in favor of my thesis.

But setting aside the vast motivational efficacy of doom, the advice I would offer those in the clutches of drugs, personal rot, or merely apathy is one perhaps they’ve heard somewhere before: You don’t have to live like this. Contra liberal doctrine, the future isn’t fixed. Yours, like that of the West as a whole, is still to be written. Both have a higher purpose than lying supine on the floor.

Rising to a more regal posture is much easier than most choose to recognize. Whether in a state of fulfillment or decay, our lives are nearly always the fruits of our habits. The human psyche is remarkably prone to inertia. Thus whether self-destructive or beneficial, we tend to keep doing the same things while wondering why nothing ever changes. But the best thing about habits is that bad ones can be broken and better ones formed. Even the thickest dullards can usually ascertain the difference between the two.

For me, good habits have always blossomed from negative concerns. That’s why I keep a stack of outrage porn always close. I have a greater ambition for me, my children, and my civilization than to be someone else’s meal pellets. While working against that bleak possibility isn’t always fun, you do get in excellent shape from the effort. And that’s about the most positive thing I can think to say.

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35 thoughts on “The Joy of Desolation

  1. Porter, once again your sentiments and mine converge. I recently wrote a short piece on, among other things, how I motivate myself to stay in shape by keeping an eye on the slovenly state of most men around me. The disgust I feel seeing their dilapidated condition is positively inspiring. And so it goes for so many other facets of life. Recoiling in horror often propels us toward decency, if not greatness.

    There is also a tremendous gulf between what we feel compelled to write about and how we carry ourselves in our day to day life. I imagine you as a well adjusted, even-keeled, successful chap with a mordant wit, not as a gloomy griper. Finally, people often fail to appreciate gallows humor. Even when things are sick, sad and dark, they can still be funny when cast in the right light.

  2. And the least positive thing you can think to say is better than 99.9% of the brain-numbing, multi-cult shite emanating from people who can’t see that South Africa and Rhodesia were just the starter course.

  3. Bluebirds are busy, and some youngish eagles. Praying mantis found the way in.
    They sighted a moose up north. And wolves to the east.

    Not much grows in this country, but it is a hell of a party.

    Human cognition has jumped some damned shark. Probably an urban thing.

  4. “And whose tactics are winning, precisely?”
    When the left is outraged, a new HR policy is forged, a new mayor’s committee established, a new Soros-funded activism org is chartered. Action results inevitably.

    When the right is outraged, someone tsk-tsks, someone else looks around the room to see if anyone has been made uncomfortable, and someone else reminds us that “that’s not who we are.” We need more outrage, and more consequential outrage, if we are to reverse or alter our disastrous course.

  5. When I think of “outraged”, Karl Denninger’s tirades come to mind with their unintentionally comedic affect. Nevertheless, I often enjoy reading his insights.

    Biting satire also has its uses. Recasting it as “outrage porn” is most certainly a Hasbara tactic. When you start attracting the Twitter trolls, that means you’re doing something right.

      • I have to eat my words though when it comes to Denninger’s latest broadside against the widow of the killed serviceman and the congresswoman who took advantage of the occasion. That was appropriate outrage and I mostly share his feelings (up until a couple comments at the very end).

        But for the most part I can’t allow myself to be outraged, it just messes with the mind too much and the ground is so fertile that it would send me over the edge if I let it. However, in keeping with the new fluidity of the meaning of words and in a spirit of “owning the insult” let me just say, Hell yeah! Outrage Porn! Fuckin A!”

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  8. T’ink God; keep writin as you do; Michael Moore’s fookin neck indeed! Anyone can make light of all this writin, gripin, bitchin, moanin and screamin. But I tell you Porter, it was your’ kind of writin, gripin, bitchin, moanin and screamin that finally woke me up from this Gnostic nightmare in which Western civ. finds itself. I, at any rate, have arisen from slumber, regardless of what any other cucks and “conservatives” may still be doin and changes occur in me life everyday. As each day passes I make the attempt to live my life in accordance with the natural order. Anyone who thinks that’s a joke or funny or invalid in any way need not tell me about it. I have greater things to do than listen to small minds and small mouths. The point is this, if any are so blind they cannot read it; it is people like you who continue to write, day after day and who continue to awaken the sleeper. The awakened are growing every day and in due time will reach that ‘critical mass’ we all long to see. Until then, my dear friend, keep writing.

    • “As each day passes I make the attempt to live my life in accordance with the natural order.”

      What does this entail doing, specifically?

      • What that means is that there is reality. There is not my reality and your reality and perhaps someone else’s reality. This reality which I call the cosmic order operates according to certain laws. These laws govern relationships between men, between men and women and between ethnies. (Is that an English language word)? You know what I mean; between peoples. My goal is to search out these truths and to live in accordance with them. I have first had to recognize and grudgingly admit that most of what I have been taught from childhood is opinion and not truth. Isn’t that what the wise of all the ages have told us; that we are mired in opinion from birth and only with great effort do we escape from the cave and realize that what we have been seeing, what we have been amused by, have only been shadows on the wall. When we emerge into the sun we are blinded and cannot behold its glory and only gradually do our eyes adjust to the light and we see things as they are. All I can testify to is that I have turned my eyes from the shadows that used to amuse me; as a philosophical example, the lies of the Enlightenment; as an example in politics, the exaltation of liberal democracy. My eyes still ache from the light but my goal is to learn to recognize and in some way instantiate the natural order.

  9. ” I have a greater ambition for me, my children, and my civilization than to be someone else’s meal pellets.”

    How non-ally-ish of you! I agree, though, because I don’t think my highest ambition should be as some ally (or, in your example, food) of someone else’s story. Here’s mine, come with me if you like. If not, fine, but if you make things worse for me, I’m going to kill you, if necessary.

  10. To me, Outrage porn is a subset of Doom porn, and I use “porn” in this context in an ironic, rather than pejorative sense. Both serve to remind me that I’m not crazy in my actions that separate me from the herd, and that hope does spring eternal.

    This has personal historic relevance. Back in late 1999 and early 2000 I lost a boatload of money attempting to prove how much smarter I was compared to the bovine masses throwing money at four-letter-stock-symbol “investments.” The NASDAQ 100 chart was all but vertical in ascent, and each time it paused (briefly), I tried to short it. For about 17 months it defied gravity and each attempt to enter the market cost me dearly. My sanity was challenged; either everyone else was crazy, or I had lost my mind. Naturally, I capitulated a week or two before the final NDX high and missed the ensuing 80% collapse that would have paid me handsomely. I didn’t understand my limitations, and it was costly.

    Reading that others see large scale social trends as do I is a literal sanity check, and the vertical ascent of bat-guano crazy on the “top line” (things “everyone” sees and discusses) could result in both despair for my children’s and grandchildren’s futures and a feeling that it’s actually me who has lost his mind. Knowing that thoughtful minds share my sentiments gives me both hope that baleful trends do reverse and the crazy isn’t me, it’s them.

    This is among the most thoughtful, clear-headed of the blogs I visit. It’s proof that not all intelligent people have lost all common sense, and that other people leading successful, happy lives are not so universally besotted with self-satisfaction that they are blind to the obvious.

    The Remnant exists. Porter is proof, even if he’s one of those doing Isaiah’s Job (as described by Nock in 1936, when good sense was still common enough that it could be published in a mainstream magazine. Yes, I share your astonishment at this fact.)

    • That’s why I come here too. It’s nice to find others who share my sense of outrage. If this guy wants something uplifting, he should go to salon or huffpo and read all about the benefits of diversity. Funny thing about leftists, they aren’t very good trolls. They tend to be a humorless lot, and their spittle spraying outrage isn’t very witty either. If they are trying to come after you, let them.

      As far as doom porn goes, I don’t think this qualifies. That’s more jim willie’s thing IMO.

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  12. If this blog is outrage pr0n, then come here to taste some of the most savory sarcasm. Years ago I thought writers like P J O’Rourke delivered some of the tastiest scorn, but no longer, especially now that men like him have aged into withered cultural cuckoldry.

    No… for some truly serpentine iconoclasm, little surpasses Porter’s scimitar of wit. Like Piter de Vries with a typewriter.

  13. Empty S: It is no doubt horrifying for lib drones to imagine how many regular people around them haven’t absorbed the programming.

    Shaun: Speaking of that programming, one of its critical components is to deactivate our capacity for trend recognition and extrapolation. Europe is to become America, which is to become Brazil, which is to become South Africa, which is to become Rhodesia. No one on the left disputes this global transition or the intention behind it. We’re just not supposed to notice until the pots are boiling.

    DNP: I agree. The quality of our outrage is pathetic. And if we ever want to see it improved, we’re going to need control of the media institutions that sustain it.

    Alex: Our nudity is never gratuitous!

    AMM: The thought that I may give someone somewhere pause to consider unapproved ideas is the only reason for this modest website.

    George O: Thanks, I appreciate it.

    DC: I made…and lost…a fortune in the great tumult of the 2000 nasdaq. The market today, and its similarly vertical ascent, is very reminiscent of that chart. But the psychology seems completely different.

    In 1999 there was a giddiness, a sort of “new paradigm” optimism. Stocks moved higher with virile aggression. Society hadn’t yet turned culturally cannibalistic, and market participants generally felt exhilarated about future prospects.

    Today the ambience is completely different. That peaceful easy feeling is in short supply. The political right is broadly disaffected, while the left is livid that white people remain enfranchised…in 2017! There is almost sheer contempt between the country’s load-bearing institutions, and the myriad hostile factions of the population. Few are optimistic about the country’s future, and yet the stock market grimly trudges to new highs every day.

    I’ll put a post together on this if I can reach a satisfactory estimate as to what this portends, though it is the oddest bull market of my life. The creed of which seems to be: Just keep buying; what the fuck else is there to do?
    ——
    As an expansion on the original post, I think people are always spiraling to varying degrees throughout our lives. That spiral may be mild or acute, and up or down. But we’re always being impelled by our own inertia. And that inertia is mostly a function of our habits.

    If I had perfect knowledge of only the daily habits of every reader here, I could estimate with great accuracy their relative wealth, success, and satisfaction throughout the sample size. Do you make time for sufficient sleep? Do you make the effort for regular exercise? Do you eat healthy? Do you avoid drugs and excessive drinking? Do you avoid friction with law enforcement? Do you avoid procrastination? Do you live within your means? Do you actively maintain harmonious relations with your spouse and children? Do you periodically step outside your own concerns to empathize with others? Do you make yourself indispensable at work? Do you pursue opportunities to improve your career credentials and skill sets?

    Note, none of these things require a visionary perspective or high IQ. They are simply habits that act like gravity in attracting a reasonably fulfilling life. Anyone can do them.

    • The attributes you mention are what used to pass for common sense and being a good neighbor and citizen. We all know what happened to the latter two, but I am stumped about what happened to common sense. It’s not an IQ thing, I got into a rhetorical war with people who are all 140 IQ or higher, and notwithstanding the admission by some of them of being on psychoactive medications, their ability to see the absolutely unavoidable consequences of their position was jaw-droppingly absent.

      I remain an adherent of Prechter’s socionomic hypothesis, which means that when I strip away all the layers of crazy and stupid, the only thing left is a pre-conscious belief that resources are unlimited, and that no amount of collective stupid/crazy will become a problem. People support it all because deep down inside they simply don’t think it’s costing, or going to cost, them anything.

      As to your market insight, you nailed it. “Just keep buying, TINA.” But beneath that is, no matter how high prices go, they’ll be higher soon. And if prices fall, just buy more because stocks always come roaring back no matter what. I submit to you an axiom: important lows (bottoms) in markets occur only in an environment of capitulation. There are two take-aways from this today: (1) People are in full capitulation to the upside. No one, not even the most inveterate bear, is screaming “Short! Short!” [That’s not entirely true: Prechter’s Elliott Wave International is hell-bent on getting their “top call” right this time (they did so twice, in 2000 and 2007, two times out of the prior three hundred fifty or so) and they’re beating the drum again…(facepalm.)]
      (2) People have been conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs to salivate at the prospect of lower-priced stocks; they have learned by bitter experience that only fools sell, the market always comes roaring back. For this reason, the single most important ingredient for a market cataclysm is now in place. Should stocks fall 50%, people will mortgage their homes to buy e-mini S&P contracts on maximum margin, so sure are they that it could only be a buying opportunity. I recall 2008 when Fannie Mae was down 94% from its 2001 high, people figured how could it fall further? It fell ANOTHER 94% from there.

      Today’s top-line angst about this or that is meaningless, just as was worry about the size of the national debt. All that mattered were prices, and a bull market for long term debt began in 1981 and didn’t stop until, so far, a year ago. The collective mind (the Borg) didn’t care how many IOU’s were issued. It often didn’t even care about the credit-worthiness of the borrower (example: Puerto Rico’s debt.) The only possible explanation for this (to me) is that people herd, extraordinary popular delusions and madness of crowds still happen, and we’ve just lived through one of the longest imagined. The asset markets are thus Siamese Twins with denial of race differences, celebration of anal intercourse, World War T and the Equalist Cult.

      Kakistocracy Blog is a reminder that some people can see the forest, even when all these batguano-crazy trees get in the way, and that when the forest is bone dry and smoke is wafting on the quickening breeze, it’s not time to pitch tent and fall asleep.

      • If you want to see how far markets can fall, look to Cyprus. Some one, I believe pater tannenbram, wrote an article about that a while ago. People kept trying to call bottoms and kept losing their asses. The idea that something that has just fallen 95% can’t then fall another 95% is a stupid one, but widely held.

      • I have a black suspicion that among big fish it’s, “Buy it all now, so you’ll have staked out your territory in the collapse,” whereas the mid-sizers and little guys are along for the ride. If I’m right, we’re seeing the first rumblings of the slide into full-blown manorialism (but without a corresponding obligation from the lords to the serfs).

  14. It took a well funded, concerted effort to convince white people to aggressively pursue their own demise.
    Convincing them of the folly is an art-form. This blog has all the necessary components–humor, courage, knowledge, intelligence, discipline and benevolence. It’s only missing the reach.
    Thank you for the time : )

    My 2008 stock market story–the man next to me at the gym told me the market was going to crash due to the collapse of the banking system unless Congress passed a law. He was waiting to see if they did. I don’t remember what they had to pass. I looked incredulously at this person who was much smarter than I and asked if he really thought Congress would do the right thing. He said they would because they had to. Ha! I went home and liquidated. I didn’t make or lose anything.
    I always marvel that he knew so much, but didn’t grasp the basic corruption of government. The stock market quit making sense a long time ago. I believe a handful of people know what’s going to happen in advance and make money on the volatility.

    A few years ago it was “The Greece economy is very important to the world market.”
    Merkel is going to bail us out–Market zooms up.
    Merkel said austerity–Market tanks.

    All you had to do was know ahead of time.

    • Hindsight is always 20/20. The PTB don’t need to manipulate markets. They just write themselves checks from the national account. The rounding errors of all this would keep you living the life of a king for several lifetimes, and we know none of these entities can pass an accounting review.

      Think about how much loot some half-baked celebrity can extract from a fan base. That’s a fart in a cat 5 hurricane compared to the loot that is laundered through the US treasury, through the Fed and through the BIS. Heck, simply front-running trades will buy everyone on Wall Street their yachts each year (and it’s an open secret they front run-trades.) No one goes to jail for committing these crimes unless they threaten to whistle-blow or don’t kiss the right rings. The enforcers all quit their government jobs to get 10x more swag working for the people they formerly “regulated.”

      A polity the size of the USA becomes a cesspool of corruption and stays that way for a lifetime before things are eroded enough to matter. It’s unknown where we sit on this timeline, but my guess is that the inflection point was 1964. That means this whole sorry mess is probably counting down to about 2034 because it seems like collective criminality has about a 70 year lifespan. Just a guess, though.

      • All great points. The greed fires on every cylinder. From the 1960s through 2000 or so, it seemed there were some constraints on the pillaging of America, as if the PTB didn’t know what they could get away with. By Dubya’s time it was craven, full-scale destruction.

    • @watership10
      “I don’t remember what they had to pass.”

      You may be talking about this:

      http://www.hussmanfunds.com/wmc/wmc100412.htm

      “A year ago [April 2009], the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) suspended rule 157, which had previously required banks to mark their assets to market value when preparing balance sheet reports. The basic argument was that fair values were not appropriate because there was ‘no market’ for troubled assets. Certainly, the FASB could have implemented something at least modestly reasonable, such as 2-year or 3-year averaging, but instead, they changed the rules to allow ‘significant judgment’ in the valuation of bank assets in their financial reports.

      To a large degree, the idea that there was ‘no market’ for troubled assets was false even at the time…”

      A lot of people have criticized Hussman for being a “perm-bear” (I don’t agree). At any rate, he seems to think this decision was the turning point for the financial crisis.

      • Thank you for the link, Chief. Rule 157–its passage and suspension does seem to be a big factor. Looking back, on 09-29-2008, Congress did not pass a $700 Billion bailout package and that sent the markets reeling. Not that I think a bailout is the right thing to do, but Congress is allowed to benefit from insider information, and a big swing like that creates a lot of opportunity.

        The media helps by bombarding the public with the conclusions. For example, back when debt-ceiling debates threatened government shutdowns, the MSM presented that scenario as the end of days.
        That market crash helped seal Obama’s election ( although between Obama and McCain, what difference does it make?)

        At the time, I thought the real impetus for the dismal economy was the massive borrowing to fund overseas nation building disguised as a war on terror, not an isolated banking crisis. Also weighing in was the heartbreak of 9-11 compounded by the realization that GWB’s response was to increase immigration from terrorist countries.

      • watership, yes I remember asking everybody I knew to write their congress-critter to stop passage of the bailout and at first it looked like there was enough of such grassroots pressure to stop it but then it ultimately did pass from the propaganda sector scare tactics then and later in the debt ceiling debates.

        As far as those two pols you mentioned, what can be said that hasn’t already been said. It does look like they use the same speechwriter, Lucifer.

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