Tuesday 11 June 2019

If everyone but you is wrong then you are wrong.

Here's my statement;

If everyone but you is wrong then you are wrong.

With these caveats; 

(and people who somehow don't read or process these but who still insist on leaving a comment, enjoy my utterly silent passive-aggressive rage in response).

If we are talking about an industrial art, something like cinema or mass publishing where it only really works if a very huge number of people are willing to buy it.

More simply, if we are talking about fiction and products of the imagination. (Not, primarily moral or political matters, like if everyone is into rape or slavery except for you then you still get to be right.) and it’s for a mass audience, in that case, if the vast majority of people who are into it are making a category error, that is, they are viewing it in a way you regard as incorrect, then in-effect, you are making the category error.

Because - the only thing that allows this thing to exist is the mass audience that funds and sustains it. And since its not deeply attached to real life, however they see it is a more true expression of how it is than whatever the cultural minority say about it.

So, in those conditions_, if everyone but you is wrong, then you are wrong.

Usually this is an irony thing and usually it’s the smug intellectual bourgeoisie lecturing the great mass of meatheads on how a thing they like is actually an ironic refutation of exactly that thing they like duuuuuh.

I don't think I've ever really bought that argument, for a variety of reasons

One - I'm usually less pissed off or alienated by this thing than other balloon-headed milk-weeping choleric intelligentsia.

Two - I hate irony itself more and more each day.

Three - As a distaff member of the bourgeois-hating bourgeoise, as you are driven by a desperate need to locate yourself as separate from and slightly better than the great mass of ambulant spam cans who drive and fuel our great society, so I, a superior intellectual, am driven by an equally strong need to show myself as seperate from, and slightly better than, You.

So as you are driven by genetically-deep drive to constantly explain their sadly mistaken cultural takes to the lumpen kulturpfutz, so I must equally chide and educate you.

Four - But, even so, if this thing, this movie, this set of toys, this musical thing, is driven almost entirely by people who take the message at something closer to face value than you, if them buying it allows it to exist, and if it’s an imaginary thing which by bullshit postmodern rules only really fully exists when and while being regarded and thought about, which requires a human mind to interpret it, then doesn't them having more minds, and also literally paying for its existence mean their brain-votes outvote your brain-votes?


I've completely run out of ideas for this blog so looks like we are doing culture war now baby. The years of content are over, Pundit here I come.

And this recent interview on the 40k company podcast has Tim Molloy making the very-often-repeated by anxious lefties argument that Warhammer 40k is not a desired end-state and we shouldn't identify with it like that.

Which annoys me for two reasons I think.

One - I think very few people do actually identify with it like that, at least without realising what they are doing and being able to stop.

Two - If a twelve year old (probably boy) didn't look at a Space Marine and go 'pew pew! Space Marine! Gonna fight the baddies!', then Games Workshop, and all of the jobs of the people in Games Workshop, probably wouldn't exist.

More precisely, some degree of heroic identification with the setting is absolutely necessary to the company’s survival and has been a fully integrated thread in its makeup from day one.

So I got kind of ratty as what I perceive as liberal chiding and left-wing self-flagellation by groups and individuals who's jobs depend on people not really listening to that chiding and moralising, and who are doing almost exactly the same thing just at a slightly different level.

Because absolutely no-one is playing in or imagining the Imperium of Man as North Korea in space, which is what it would be like, because it would be made out of starvation, boredom, ethnic hatred and rape. And I don't remember seeing much of those in any Blanchitsu articles.

"Ahhhh, you, a child, probably bought and painted that Space Marine thinking you were playing with a hero.

Whereas I, an *intellectual*, agonisingly converted my Inquisitor model and speckled them with a heartbreakingly accurate depiction of situation ally correct industrial decay and in-world derived skin problems, in full understanding of the innate tragedy of the setting.

Yes I do indeed go 'pew pew' with my models, and yes I did glob together a bunch of plastic to represent a person who, if they were real, their main job would be torturing and murdering people.

But, when I go 'pew pew', I do it in a morally and politically sophisticated way, you fucking twelve year old casual.

Also, please buy our all-new Boxed-Set I just opened a mortgage on a house."


  1. "But, when I go 'pew pew', I do it in a morally and politically sophisticated way, you fucking twelve year old casual."
    That made me smile a big broad smile. That is the kind of line that if found in a book would probably be quoted because it's just delicious and also manages to take the piss out of anyone that read that far and was ready to fire off a furious comment. Bravo. Blogger needs a like button.

    1. Blogger does need a like button! I like to refrain from arguments of this nature and just get on with what I enjoy. People like what they like and that's cool, because it's what they like.

  2. mommy I'm scared can't we just go back to the elfgames

  3. Perhaps a multi-million dollar business is large enough that, like some kind of symbolic globe-spanning capitalist octopus right out of a pamphlet, it can be different things to different people, and be that way on purpose? On one hand, it is a sweet toy for Little Timmy (who will come to no harm playing with his Vernichtungskampfbrigaden); on the other hand, it is knowing satire for Edgy Tim (who knows The Whole World is Made of Lies). On the seventh hand (remember, octopi!), it could theoretically be heroic inspiration for Stormtrooper Timothy, but Timothy could find the same inspiration in Harry Potter or Game of Thrones, so in the end, maybe a game about the Shoulderplate GrimWar Apocalypse cannot really be blamed for society's ills, except reckless consumerism and the corporate manipulation thereof - which, surely, are bad enough.

    1. This strikes me as the conspicuously excluded middle in the above analysis. Is Starship Troopers or Robocop or any of a number of other Verhoeven films an action movie or a satire? It's both. Trauffaut said there is no such thing as an anti-war film, and perhaps he's right; there's a scene in the book Jarhead where the marines are hooting and hollering with glee while watching the village-bombardment scene from Apocalypse Now; does that mean that Coppola's film is a celebration of war? Is The Merchant of Venice an anti-semitic passion play, or a satire about antisemitism? Is The Taming of the Shrew a misogynistic shrew-taming play, or a satire of that genre?

      So it goes with RPGs. The popularity of the term "murderhobo" within the online OSR scene tells us that the core gameplay loop of D&D is viewed ironically by many of its core adherents. So is D&D a satire about the absurdity of murderhoboism, or is it an earnest celebration of "heroism" (i.e. killing dudez and taking their stuff)?

      The answer to all of these questions is: yes.

    2. Well okay. You can't honestly think there are no real distinctions between genres or modes? Some things are satire and some aren't. We may be able to debate it and people can have different views, but some folks don't believe in electricity either.

    3. I would actually say that Robocop is much more an action film than a satire since the emotional througline of the story only really works if you invest in these people as this world as-real and only really pays off at the end if you allow yourself to momentarily buy into the stories valourisation of its characters and their world view. If it was a satire, those emotions would skate across the surface of the film like flies across water and it wouldn't be very good.

      Which is why I think Starship Troopers is mainly a satire, because its not deeply invested enough or deeply felt enough to be a real story, so all you can do is watch.

    4. I haven't gone very far out of my way to look for concurrence, but you're the only other person I've ever heard aside from myself who also thinks that Starship Troopers was satire.

  4. I mean there are definitely certain heroic elements of the 40k Universe. Humanity's endless defense against creatures that wants to destroy and enslave them is noble. It is horrific, but it is still an effort that we easily identify with. The certainty and faith of the Imperium is easy to look at and feel empowered by. It is the high of absolute certainty and sense of purpose. In our day and age, we lack purpose and universally accepted noble causes. Everything is gray. In 40K, there is humanity and its survival and the things that oppose us. There is a nice amount of black and white that we find desirable in a lot of ways. These aren't necessary good things to feel, but it is indicative of the real spiritual needs of people and what can step into that void if more healthy and sane belief systems don't take that place.

  5. The main thrust of the post is agreeable and probably basically correct in my eyes, though i disagree with the title. Take that as you will, but thanks for the thoughtfood, its certainly an interesting (important?) topic.

  6. Games Workshop has always utterly ignored any and all social fashions not directly related to selling, painting or playing with its toys.

    This I suspect is because as a business it realises that good product and good service produce profit and anything that distracts from that benefits no one

    Anyone who remembers how D&D suffered from TSR conceding to the anxious and the outraged in the 80s should realise that giving any time to the concerns of people who will never be your customers never ends well.

    1. That isn't really true any more. AoS has waaay more female figures than Warhammer Fantasy spread throughout more of the factions, there is greater inter-ethnic diversity etc.

      In 40k the Black Library have introduced way more female characters and a handful of writers (Aaron Dembski Bowden) have a vague SocJus sheen. Also they took off the demon nipples and seem ashamed of the Repentia (;_;).

      They do change a bit, and more quickly of late.

  7. I never thought I’d see the day when you would put a pin in a puffed-up lefty. Bravo and you can take shelter in my basement

  8. this is where i think it's helpful to distinguish between leftists and liberals

    basically everyone i know is a communist of some kind but i never hear about any of this violence in video games culture war stuff any more because all the marxists recognised it as a bourgeois indulgence and agreed to leave it behind in 2016. which was a huge relief

    but woke liberal capitalists still talk about it from time to time, because the pretence that you're going to save the world by putting more women of colour in marvel movies lets you avoid talking about the right to unionise and the redistribution of wealth

    the online right is also still obsessed with the identity politics culture war boogeyman, which is weird to me because it's not even really related to my actual beliefs or actions as a leftist. but it's annoying enough that it makes a convenient punching bag

  9. If there are no ideas at this moment, I wonder if a translation might be helpful. I am curious, for example, if it is possible to read the original 'The Canterbury Tales', or is it too old of the language.

    1. Are you talking about a translation of this post or are you a lơst robot?

    2. Kyana is not a bot, lost or otherwise, and she is suggesting that False Machine do another translation like he did for Gawain and the Green Knight if he can't find any other ideas.

    3. Joey, Semiurge gave a correct reply. I am of opinion that translation of something might help when there is a lack of ideas otherwise.
      I might have suggested 'The Canterbury Tales' in a past, as this piece of literature keeps on being interesting to me but I cannot read the original language of the tales.

    4. Canterbury Tales is on my list K but I don't know exactly where the language is as relates to a translation. I think it may not be old enough to warrant it and modernisations are pretty common.

    5. I am not insisting, of course, it was just a thought.

  10. How do you factor in the effect of Time and its bastard child, Ever Changing Public Opinion?

    1. I don't know Ian. Intuitively I feel that it has less effect than we might think?

  11. People are way to hung up on the belief that THINGS are possessed of indelible characteristics, and can't be 10, 100 things at once - depending on the depth of the electrical charge the thing generates through its symmetry and invention and play off its antecedents.

    Joseph Manola's article on Mutant Chronicles:


    was precisely about this : MC was a riff on a riff. Fine enough - but it doesn't have multitudes underneath. It's just kind of what it is.

    (I'd say that's why sarcasm is a crock, too. It flattens out a statement - puts the action in the accent - how you say it, not what you said, and how that reverberates - and it's just another variety of prescriptive bossing people around).

    Except Except Except maybe - if it could go through a wormhole and MF appears BEFORE 40k, all the 2nd rate riffs on 40kisms could stretch out their roots and find nourishing and weird water of its own, instead of stretching out their roots and finding 40k - and trying to access the water that way.

  12. Silent Titans is great by the way, got my copy the other week - I'm mashing it together with Wizard of Oz and greatly enjoying the yellowbrick s**tshow ensuing.

  13. I just miss drugged up penal conscript mohawks and face studs 80's space marine. Though let's be honest the Imperial Guard or maybe Orks have always been the heroes of 40K.

  14. You claim to hate irony, but then you’re using irony as a shield to engage in the exact same kind of reactionary whining that the alt right does. This is only one step away from complaining about soyboys and political correctness. So what’s your point? 40k really is a desired end-state? Is it worth it just to own some libs?
    I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but the fact is postmodern irony has been weaponized by literal nazis. They’re not meatheads. They know exactly what they’re doing when they call Trump god emperor and otherwise use pop culture iconography as a stand-in for fascism. They get to mock their opponents, while being immune to mockery themselves since the joke’s on you for taking it seriously. Kind of like what you did with this post.

  15. "You claim to hate irony, but then you’re using irony as a shield to engage in the exact same kind of reactionary whining that the alt right does."

    That's broadly true. I would say not quite the same as I do recognise the moral existence and validity of the people I disagree with and I don't think I loathe and dehumanise them to the same extent as the 'alt right'.

    "This is only one step away from complaining about soyboys and political correctness."

    Yes, but it is a step away.

    "So what’s your point? 40k really is a desired end-state?"

    No, and I'm not sure how you got that from what I wrote. I thought my point was that it was blindingly obvious that the dark milleneium is not a desired end state and that I am discomforted by people complaining about elements of heroic identification with an imagined setting while firstly, their own livelihoods depend on exactly such heroic identification, secondly, they engage in similar processes just at a different level, and thirdly, I don't think anyone ever got radicalised by Warhammer that wasn't going to get radicalised anyway.

    "I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but the fact is postmodern irony has been weaponized by literal nazis."

    I have been playing quite close attention and I am aware that the modern right goes attended in a halo of semi-ironic joking-but-not-joking bullshit which makes it hard or impossible to work out who really means anything.

    But they did not invent or popularise post-modern bullshit did they? In fact the left did that, and was the main driver in corroding the world into little more than a maze of symbols covered by a sheen of irony, fake gestural thoughts in which everything stands in for something else and in which no-one can be seen to ever truly believe in anything.

    "They get to mock their opponents, while being immune to mockery themselves since the joke’s on you for taking it seriously. Kind of like what you did with this post."

    I am far from immune to mockery, although I see you failed to being any yourself. You are free though to disagree and call me a shithead here or elsewhere and my thoughts statements and ideas are all here, under my actual name, as viewable by anyone.

    "Kind of like what you did with this post."

    You either think I'm a fascist or you don't. Perhaps you just think I'm a conservative (which, on this issue, I feel I probably am), and you regard that as being essentially the same as fascism?

    Whatever the case, once you fully accept your hatred for me and state it directly in clear terms, I think you will find it a lot easier to live with.

  16. I don’t hate you but I did hate this post. I usually enjoy your writing, but on this occasion I think you did a dumb.

    Parsing it through your post, the message from Tim Molloy seems to boil down to ‘fascism is bad,’ and that ought to be an uncontroversial message, however obvious it may be.

    It seems like you haven’t considered that such a message is not about chiding 12 year-olds for playing the game wrong, but about GW distancing themselves from a poisonous ideology that’s ultimately bad for their business.

    And the question isn’t about whether people ‘really believe,’ because cults of heroism are always about make-believe and performing their own mythology. For instance the manifesto of the Christchurch shooter was equal parts ironic memes and genuine appeals to white nationalism.

    I really hope you aren’t a fascist because it makes it harder to support your work. But all the invective for degenerate intellectuals and bemoaning a depraved modern culture doesn’t reflect well.

    As an aside, most of the so-called champions of postmodernism were really just theorists commenting on something they already observed in society, and inasmuch as they celebrated the erosion of grand narratives, it was only because they thought it would make totalitarianism impossible.

    But just ask which side of the political spectrum consistently tries to alter reality according to ‘brainvotes.’