Assorted links

by on July 25, 2009 at 12:54 pm in Web/Tech | Permalink

1. Critique of "the neg" — a long post.  Does it really make the woman feel bad?  (She might feel she is receiving attention from a high-status man.)  Still, I believe it is a suboptimal path to a happy marriage.

2. Via Chris Masse, open source won't do it, so abolish academic copyright.

3. Scott Sumner and John Cochrane, discussing monetary policy, self-recommending and indeed recommended (highly).

4. Via JM, Miss Teen South Carolina, on economics (SFW).

5. Via Jeff Sommer, review of the new Thomas Pynchon.

1 danske July 25, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Regarding number 1 above, Tyler, I love you’re work and am a huge fan.

But I gotta say, you’re a social retard. So you don’t really know what you’re talking about. Stick to econ.

2 Nancy Lebovitz July 25, 2009 at 1:43 pm

See this— even someone who’s recommending the strategy says it’s got a noticeable chance of leaving the woman feeling bad.

3 MrTuttle July 25, 2009 at 2:05 pm

The entire “pick up artist” lexicon came into being solely to help coach men whom are inept with beautiful women. People who can’t loosen up and enjoy themselves because they’re so focused on getting everything right. Pick up artists, rightly, inform these men that they shouldn’t try to give all the right answers to everything a girl says, or every situation a girl presents, but rather should turn the tables every now and then, throw her for a little loop.

To the rest of the world, this is known as “teasing,” “being playful,” “having fun.” To pick up artists, it’s “the neg.”

Teasing is important to the health of any relationship, long term and short term and all others. The fact that this joker over at the Atlantic considers “the neg” to be a bad thing; it’s sad.

4 Dave July 25, 2009 at 2:33 pm

I like how out of five links, only one is getting any comments – give them what they want, Tyler!

I think the ultimate beneficiaries of the whole “pickup artist movement” will be women. It takes a bunch of socially awkward men, gives them confidence to actually approach females, and generally increases the pool from which women have to choose. They’re not going to go home with you if there’s no benefit for them, after all. And seriously, this entire idea that girls can’t take teasing or have fragile egos that have to be constantly soothed…isn’t that mindset inherently patronizing and condescending?

5 JSK July 25, 2009 at 3:17 pm

I think the ultimate beneficiaries of the whole “pickup artist movement” will be women.

I think its the guys who make millions writing books and making instructional videos on picking up women.

6 Sebastian Flyte July 25, 2009 at 3:25 pm

It’s just being edgy. Which is important. Watch couples interact, they constantly tease.

7 Rob July 25, 2009 at 4:01 pm

I had never heard of the game or negs before reading that post, but coincidentally a female friend of mine recently told me she liked to pick up guys by being rude to them. So it seems both sexes are using this “technology”. I think the main value is that you are instantly signaling that you are only interested in casual sex, so everything that follows is framed differently than if that were not clear.

I think making analogues of its use/misuse in a relationship misses the point.

8 Mike July 25, 2009 at 5:33 pm

While Tyler might have linked to a “long post,” there was no reason to read past this line: “‘the neg,’ a technique whereby men strategically criticize women they’re attempting to pickup.”

A neg is not critical. As some in the MR comments thread have noted, it’s more like teasing. Though even “tease” isn’t the right word.

In any event, if you can’t distintinguish between teasing and criticizing, you lack the artistry to even begin understanding game.

9 Mike July 25, 2009 at 5:41 pm

It’s only done by low status people to other low status people, since it’s what low status people think high status people actually do.

This is stupid. A neg is only done on a woman who is at least a 7 or 8. A woman who is 7 or 8 is is high status. A woman who is a 10 occupies the highest status in the dating market.

Real high status people are friendly– they can afford to be, as their status is inherently intimidating and attractive to the person of low status.

More stupidity. Anyone who has actually been in high society knows that high status people are often bitches and sons of bitches. Go to Score’s with some hedge fund people; or go with their wives to a charity gala or the New York Library. LOL. They are not good people.

If you can’t see that, it’s because you’re low status and thus enamored with the rich and celebrity classes. You’re someone who sees a movie star at the 3rd Street Promenade and gawks: “OMG! That was Fergie!”

Does anyone Barack Obama ever did a ‘neg?’

Yes. You should watch some videos of him and Mrs. Obama together. Despite media portrayals of BHO as post-feminist sissy boy: It’s pretty clear that Barack is running that relationship.

10 Sean July 25, 2009 at 6:33 pm

I only got as far in the last post as “The crops need a perfect pesticide that’s good for people.” Brilliant!

11 mw July 25, 2009 at 7:16 pm

I don’t think women necessarily like assholes, but they do like confidence. And assholes can be extremely confident. Remember men how men go for stuck-up bitches all the time because of looks. It works the same way with women, but confidence instead of looks.

The problem with “nice guys” is that they’re typically only nice to hot women, and even then only until they get what they want. If a guy is generally nice, but also comfortable in his own skin and fun to be around, then he should still be successful with women.

12 Barbar July 25, 2009 at 9:03 pm

“Game” is about giving men a (mostly illusory) feeling of control over their lives.

Game is based on an analogy. Interacting with a woman is like playing a video game. It’s a bit disingenuous to say that people only get upset by analogies when they are too accurate.

13 Liz July 25, 2009 at 9:12 pm

As a “weird girl,” I have engaged in espionage and read some of those pick-up books, and had many a guy approach me with downright “textbook” plays.

I wonder if “the neg” has a net detrimental effect. Granted, I’m not the target audience; I’m not looking for a one night stand nor do I have any strong feelings about leaving the bar with someone for anything else. That said, I can say that after becoming familiar with this sort of gameplay, I find myself suspicious of virtually all approaches. That is, even gentleman who are courteous and polite are treated with more skepticism than they would otherwise be. Hey, I’m 22 and odds are the people trying to “alpha up” are the guys approaching me; better safe than sorry.

14 anonymous July 25, 2009 at 9:52 pm

For some people (most of whom are women) relationships occupy the central place in their lives, just like jobs and careers occupy the central place in the lives of some other people (most men and some women).

Now, if you just have a “day job” in order to pay the rent, you want it to be as easy and simple as possible, because your real focus is elsewhere (hobbies, extreme sports on the weekend, playing in a band, etc). But if your life is centered around your career, then you want your job to be challenging. If it’s not challenging enough, you get bored quickly and start looking for a better offer.

If dating and relationships is your “career”, you want each “job” to be challenging, or it won’t hold your interest. These “negs” introduce artificial difficulty and challenge into a relationship by creating random small problems to worry about, solve and overcome. For some people, this is exactly what they want and need.

15 Paulie July 25, 2009 at 10:23 pm

Here’s the thing: Conor Friedersdorf said it himself at the end of his fisrt post (linked in the article). The neg “changes you” and is therefore “irrevocably flawed”. I grant that this is true for both the neg, and of the entire “game”.

But what Conor doesn’t mention is that women’s “game” for attracting males also changes them. It’s not uncommon for women to spend an hour transforming themselves before a social event. What is the size of the cosmetic industry? How many hours do you think a, say, 30-year old woman has spent reading, buying, applying cosmetics? What of mother/daughter bonding through teaching? Is all this too “irrevocably flawed”?

The point is women spend far more time “changing themselves” to be attractive for men. If men are spending a fraction of this time learning how to be attractive to women, how is this immoral or flawed? Would a feminist not call this an equalizing of the sexes? When both men and women must devote roughly equal resources to attracting and retaining a member of the opposite sex?

16 Dave July 26, 2009 at 12:36 am

@Liz, I don’t think you’re particularly weird for reading up on the topic; I’m sure a lot of guys would snap up the female equivalent if it existed.

Anyone know if there’s a chapter on this topic in Superfreakonomics? I’d think it’d be a goldmine.

17 Liz July 26, 2009 at 3:23 am

I missed some of these comments, whoops.

I don’t think women necessarily like assholes, but they do like confidence. And assholes can be extremely confident.

While I agree that confidence is probably the REAL allure, there’s also the fact that, a good chunk of the time, the individual labeling someone as an “asshole” is the guy interested in that same girl, but not actually with her. Go figure.

The point is women spend far more time “changing themselves” to be attractive for men.

Everything I’ve learned about using makeup revolves around optimizing the physical characteristics you already have. I guess what I’m wondering is, does “the neg” qualify as a change or optimization?

Regarding Feynman, it was apparently not so much that he said negative things to a woman, it was more that he was very crudely blunt, basically going up to a woman and saying, “do you want to f**k?” This is not the same as putting the woman down, even if it is very crude. He reported that it was very effective, and I have heard from people who knew him personally that indeed he had the rep of being very successful as a “ladies’ man.”

It really does not shock me that this is successful. As useful as having a strong game can potentially be, it also makes signaling difficult. “Want to f___?” requires no interpretation. It’s probably more inefficient as well; no need to spend money on drinks or time rehearsing your conversation!

18 Doc Merlin July 26, 2009 at 4:17 am

The “rules” are a way to help people who this sort of thing doesn’t come naturally to.

When I was young and clueless I used to put women on a pedestal which made it impossible to approach them effectively.

An older gentleman told me, “Think of them as cheeseburgers not princesses.” This is much like the “Imagine everyone in their underwear” cure for stage-fright. Some time later my mother told me, “Women will try to make you weaker and pull you down as a way of testing you. If you let them, they will lose respect for you.”


19 josh July 26, 2009 at 9:08 am

Anybody else notice that Tyler’s comments seem worst on things they know a lot about?

20 Cliff July 26, 2009 at 9:30 am

Whenever I hear about this pickup-artist crap, it’s always people coming out of the woodwork and talking about “running game” and “alphas” and “betas”. Have I ever known any cool guy who talked like that? I don’t think so. Have I ever met 15-year-old, starcraft playing, 120-pound Asian dudes that talk like that? Uh, yeah, probably hundreds. It seems like by even bringing it up you are exposing yourself as someone who is socially clueless.

21 david July 26, 2009 at 9:14 pm

A neg is not an insult. Only those who think that men should be profusely complimenting women would think that. One part of the problem with discussing negs is that it is one thing to see one delivered in action, and another to see it written on a page. If you say, “Wow, that’s a huge bag. What do you have a gun in there?” picturing a grim and angry man would lead one to interpret it as an insult. But if it’s delivered
with a grin and a sly look, it’s a whole different ballgame.

One reason to think this can be damaging to women is that we mistakenly continue to believe that
women are inherently fragile. But the truth is that an
ordinary attractive woman would laugh at such a comment, if well delivered, and take it in stride. And men would be apt to be more hurt by such a comment. Let’s not let our sexist biases cloud the issue.

So it’s better to think of a neg as a challenge to women, something real living women actually crave in a romantic partner. Many men obviously would prefer to
simply follow the ordinary social rules of our society
and cater to women in the hopes of ‘getting lucky’.

Some people speak of the function of negs as being used to bring women down a notch or two. It may do that. But I think it’s more accurate to say that the function of a neg is to signal to the woman that you are not there to join the line of men with flowers and chocolates, and that she will have to work to win your affections too. Perhaps many will think that this would be taking equality too far.

That it is a technique that people have identified makes it seem manipulating. But of course showering a woman with compliments, gifts, and dinners is not considered to be using manipulative techniques.

This being said, many excellent PUAs would say not to use negs at all.

22 JSK July 27, 2009 at 4:00 am

@Ricardo: Wow such an insulting joke. Please, have you no sense of humor.

Anyway, what i think is meant with high status is not occupational status but dating/mating market status (value). The biggest players I know are genuinely nice guys.

23 mulp July 28, 2009 at 1:06 am

If academic copyright is suboptimal, why should it be abolished rather than letting authors choose between giving copyright to the journal or paying a fee to waive copyright. It also seems to me that government-funded research should be exempt from copyright (academic publications by government employees are already exempt).

Well, at least one other MR reader cares about reading academic papers…

The issue as I understand it is that the one needs to publish in refereed publications to be “officially” recognized in academia, but what were once publications owned and paid for by universities and professional societies got sold to various for-profit publishers who jacked up the charges for the journals and exert copyright forever, so that that rare paper you need to read 40 years ago requires that you pay $10 just to see it if you aren’t part of a university that is paying the for-profit publisher tens or hundreds of thousands a year.

This seems to be worst for economics papers, but that might be because I’m not at a university with access to these data bases of published papers and I’m interested in economics.

Clearly the academics writing these refereed papers don’t need copyright to create the incentive, and generally the referees aren’t paid for their work (that would put in question their objectivity and biases in regard to their area of expertise) so the justification for the copyright is to produce a profit for the publisher who devotes most to collecting money and taking a profit.

So, copyright seems to be used today to limit access to ideas while generating profits for third parties who create nothing academically. I don’t think anyone can argue this is anything close to constitutional “original intent.”

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