In “Chateau Bullshit” Paul Elam of A Voice for Men jams a crowbar into the fault line that has always existed between MRAs and practitioners of Game – aiming his quiver at the centerpiece of the Game-MRA nexus.
There are many things wrong with Elam’s article. It tilts at windmills, it mischaracterizes, it generalizes, it oversimplifies, it shames, and it preaches. By gunning for Roissy, it unqualifiedly lumps those who discuss Game into the corny PUA camp. It creates a “with me or against me” dichotomy, and above all, it is defeatist – embracing a cop-out MGTOW tail-tuck strategy that deals with women by not dealing with them at all.
Boiled down, Elam’s argument is that Gamers wrongly assess their own value through women’s reactions to them. But Elam’s only concrete criticism is leveled through the weight of his own voice. He never shows us why a man gaining value through varied means is necessarily a bad thing. Mens’ value-assessments are gleaned through all sorts of filters. Women, jobs, wealth, peer-esteem – men value themselves through status hierarchies. Elam’s criticism focuses on women and becomes “Because I said so” – an argument that has never held water in any forum. And he levels this criticism all while trying to come off as a proponent for men’s “self-improvement”. But in my time reading AVfM or any other MRA outpost, I can’t say that “self-improvement” has been a focal point. Moreso anti-feminism and other forms of activism. So it strikes me as odd that Elam would now venture to discuss the proper allocation of value-adding endeavors.
What Elam misunderstands about Game is that it is a process of growth which lays the groundwork for further development and helps a man transition from overvaluing one single woman. Game leverages “other fish in the sea” in order teach men greater perspective. Essential to humankind, men and women will interact – men might as well learn how to gain better terms. In this sense, Game is the only game in town. MRA has nothing at all to teach men about performing essential endeavor. The movement accepts the terms and instead of trying to improve them, throws up their collective hands and runs from the problem.
Most men don’t forego pursuing women on the off chance that they’ll get screwed over just as people don’t forgo driving on the highway on the off chance that a semi runs them off the road. Men learn how to interact with women, and folks learn to use their side mirrors.
MRAs/MGTOWs, in order to steel their nerves against wanting to stick their toe back in the water, have to develop all sorts of rationalizations – a sort of protective armor – for why interacting with women is detrimental to the soul.
Elam starts with a parody of Game wisdom:
O.K., so you want to get laid? Here’s how you do it. Smell clean, get in the proximity of women, and then ignore them. When they come to fuck you, and they will, shut up and let it happen.
Being a hobby of varied focus, we can compare Elam’s characterization of Game to golf. Would Elam suggest that being good at golf only requires “washing your balls, getting near a golf course, and then swinging various types of golf clubs”? Not bloody likely.
Elam begins by characterizing Game a certain way in order to do heavy work on an emaciated sparring partner. He assumes that picking up women is an inherently easy endeavor which allows him to question why anyone would need to discuss something that is so simple. The discussion of this simple task shows the monomania behind it. All of which, sorry to say, begs the question. What does the track record for MRAs look like in this regard?
Elam tries to detract from larger questions that should have been asked up front. How do we determine ends versus means? Debate rages over which category women and sex fall into. At what point is the pursuit of a certain end too much? When is a person misguided in seeking value through certain means? At what point would a guy like Paul Elam write an article suggesting that too much time is spent at a career or on fantasy football or on writing a blog? Imagine AVfM’s response to a man-shaming polemic of unknown color-code from Jessica Valenti taking men to task for their various pursuits. Any feminist-scrawled porn critique rallies MRAs from all corners. Why the double-standard? These boundaries need to be defined before a meaningful discussion can take place. To continue without terms is to traverse through a mine field.
At the heart of this, Elam disdains Game because it requires women. With that attitude he paints himself as the male analogue to those women who argue about men and fish and bicycles. Elam thinks that men are misguided in gaining any sort of value through women, but if he grants men who gain value or satisfaction through other means or focus on other ends, he can in no way single out value-bestowing vaginas.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against the high profile PUA’s and Gamers. I also have a healthy respect for people who can sell designer lint removers when a patch of masking tape and some common sense will work just as well. But it has to be said, must be said, that both of these kinds of sales people are targeting a similar demographic; ignorant, gullible customers. And I have to admit, making a living at that could be called an art, and probably should.
This is what Elam’s article gets down to: the products that some men choose are not the products that he himself would choose. He is basically writing a Consumer Reports article about Game. But Elam’s silly analogy does require a silly response. First, I own a furry cat; I’ll take a high-fallutin’ lint remover over a role of tape any day. Second, Elam sets up a false dichotomy. Being an anti-feminist himself, Elam should recognize that many men aren’t even equipped with that primitive roll of tape that he posits. The concept of a fancy lint remover doesn’t even enter the picture. This is China. If tape is involved, it has been used to tie men’s hands behind their back – forcing them to de-lint some other way.
Enter Game. Game provides men the tools to participate in this endeavor that men are programmed to want to succeed at. This is even more essential to us than a low golf handicap. Game is an open-source codified system of seduction – a guideline to improve men’s social lives, something that Gamesters have used their big boy brains to decide to pursue.
Then Elam’s elitism:
Not much to work with, is it? And I am not really suggesting that anyone try. The men that end up here after being introduced to the Manosphere via PUA and Game sites don’t need to be fished out of the cesspool. They tend to walk out of it on their own, as would anyone who would not be Gamed by Gamers forever.
For me, there is nothing more elitist and grating than older men arguing that younger men should hold the same set of values and goals as older men. Younger men have different life circumstances, experiences, and prospects. We have a different balance of hormones running through our bodies. How ridiculous it is for an older man – Elam is in his mid 50s – to preach to men younger than himself about what they should or shouldn’t do with their time and their bodies. But the pursuit of women often does lose its luster. At such a point – which can hardly be foisted on someone – men will develop other interests. But such a migration has nothing to do with Game being a swamp and MRA being noble. These particular men make these particular journeys at particular points in their lives. Best to let them find their own path.
The Value of MRA
I’ve often asked myself, which has been a more valuable to me, MRA or Game?
MRA has opened my eyes to certain political realities that I’d never considered. It has taught me to keep a skeptical eye on the legal and penal system which undervalues men vis a vis women. It has taught me that gross injustice will go unaddressed as long as the victims are men. But while MRA has heightened my awareness of processes and pitfalls, it hasn’t improved me as a person.
On the other hand, Game has had a more personal and profound impact on my life. Game – developing a better internal valuation system and learning about what causes women to act and merely knowing that there is a proper way to handle this very important aspect of life – has freed up a vast reservoir of psychical energy for me. MRA is more of an academic endeavor, but Game is real. By my guess, more men are better-served by Game in facing the treacherous journey that many are ill-equipped to make on their own.