Glenngarry responded to the post on how being persuasive can be a superpower with a comment about the Frank character from Shameless that I used as an example
OK, so Frank then, who annoys me. He’s a literary creation, of course, and so can get away with some things. In the real world, he’d ultimately be reduced to preying on his family, because his glaring weakness makes him so easy to take down for someone who gets fed up. If real-life alkie Frank ever gave me any serious trouble, I could destroy him for a couple of hundred bucks: just send him a case of cheap whiskey and watch him self destruct. Repeat until you’re satisfied.
Glengarry may not have been implying any diminishment of Franks persuasion skills, however his comment inspired me to riff. My conclusion is not sarcastic.
Seems like a good take down plan. But as far as I know most alcoholics have unlimited access to booze. Alcohol is cheap.
When I was a teenager I used to steal sugar from the donut shop dispensers to use to ferment into wine. My friends were aghast that I’d reach for the sugar, and instead of pouring a little into my coffee unscrewed the lid and emptied the jar into a plastic bag. Then sat at another table and repeated. I had no job and next to no allowance, and had to hide my fermenting vats in the closet, under the bed, in an abandoned warehouse and in bushes, but I still managed to have all the alcohol I needed, with enough left over to share to crowds.
At one point in the fictional narrative Frank winds up “waking up” from a black out drunk binge drinking episode that lasted over six months. We assume he arrived to Mexico with little money.
And in the story his liver does finally give out. It took a long time, as it often does.
And at one point he is near death “living” in a heroin house. No stranger to self destruction.
Yes, he’s written as a despicable, self destructive character. He’s written to be unredeemable. He’s also written to have some innate and developed talents, and those were what I wanted to point out. No matter how despicable and destructable he is, he’s persuasive.
But I suppose this is a failure of persuasion on my part. Most people do not like to mix good and bad, even if the good and the bad are in different categories. Either a person is good, or a person is bad. People don’t like think of Batman as being bad at anything, or the Ridler as being good at anything.
When is the last time you heard of Hitler being used as an example for something that Hitler did very well? Even his incredible persuasive charisma is uncomfortable to tie to him, because, well, Hitler was bad, therefore everything about him must be bad too. He can’t be incredibly good at something also.
And after all, Hitler got crushed in the end and everything fell apart, therefore he wasn’t actually incredibly and outstandingly great at some things at all, right?
If I want to be more persuasive, I’m going to have to be more cartoonish and up the contrast to 11 and learn to think in black and white terms.
Nothing short of that could ever be popular.
Good goes with good, and bad goes with bad. Alpha traits are “good” (not merely useful) and therefore must also be admirable. Persuasion is “good” (not merely useful), and therefore only mastered by good people.
But I was the first person to ever point out that alpha does not equal admirable, in the comments section on the Roissy blog back before there was a manosphere. I argued and argued again and again with countless people about it. I met with HUGE resistance, again and again all over the place about it. I pointed out the category error that people were making.
After a while Roissy started to repeat my idea as if it was his own. After more arguments elsewhere on the manosphere, and making posts on my own low traffic blog that is read by some other influential bloggers, slowly it came to pass that nowadays it’s just taken as common knowledge. Alpha isn’t equal to admirable.
I had to fight very hard for that.
Y’all are welcome.
I can’t overemphasize the resistance people have to mixing categories of good and bad. If a person has bad friends he’s a bad person by association. If a person is a racist all of his philosophy is suspect. I’ve heard someone argue exactly this explicity, when the evidence of racism was slight to none. I could not argue him out of his position.
As soon as something is bad, everything around it is supposed to also be bad. As soon as something is good, everything around it is also supposed to be good.
This is a very true and real principle, and is ACTUALLY how real people in real life think.
As much as I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE it, I’m going to actually have to act like a fucking idiot in order to persuade people.