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Saturday, March 16, 2013

A slip of the mask

I have to admit that I was impressed with this woman's review of A Throne of Bones, less because she was willing to recognize its strengths while correctly identifying some of its flaws than by her ability to observe what so many other critics simply do not see:
"I hadn’t yet found Mr. Day’s talents to be equal to his claims of superior intelligence. Do pay attention to my verb tenses, please. I had always found his nonfiction articles to lack nuance, but later discovered that this lack of nuance left him open to attacks on his logic, which then created situations of counterattack wherein Day revealed how very coldly logical he was, and in a way that most people couldn’t follow. This led me to believe that Vox Day is a master manipulator, who directs the dichotomous thinking of others [most people, I've found, are black and white thinkers, even if they boast high intelligence. And that personality trait is exploitable]"
I think this description is probably a bit too colorful; after all, what sort of master manipulator never attempts to manipulate anyone into doing anything?  I may have some of the abilities and perhaps even the right psychological makeup(1) to be such a creature, but the only thing for which I habitually use my Machiavellian tendencies is to encourage my critics-to-be to expose themselves to an inevitable counterattack.  If you think about it, it's really nothing more than setting up a defensive position with kill zones, then guiding the enemy's approach into those zones with the use of misdirection.

However, she is absolutely correct concerning the exploitable nature of the binary thinker.  Regardless of how smart he may be, all one has to do to fatally trap any such thinker is to encourage him to lunge at the lure. Convince him to think that white is black, he will immediately begin to argue in favor of white in reaction, at which point one has no more to do than remove the illusion and he is yours.

Many, if not most, of the questions I initially ask people are simply intended to sound them out.  It's much more important to know how someone thinks than what they think.  If you know what someone thinks on a certain matter, it may offer a clue as to what they think on another one.  If you know how someone thinks, you can fairly accurately anticipate what they are going to conclude about practically anything, assuming you're both privy to the same information.

Anyhow, I was particularly pleased to read Mrs. Domschot's generally positive conclusions about the book because she clearly views the author in a skeptical light.  But one always has to respect those critics who genuinely attempt judge a work on its own merits, regardless of what they think of the author and no matter what their ultimate conclusions happen to be.  Of course, given that she describes herself as a "a non-compliant, anti-authoritarian misanthrope who writes speculative fiction", it may be that we have more in common than she would like to believe.


(1)After a round of personality tests in high school, the psychologist administering them commented that my profile was an uncommon one as I was unusually high in two areas generally observed to be contradictory.  Apparently it showed that I was an honest and straightforward Machiavellian.

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55 Comments:

Anonymous fish March 16, 2013 2:51 PM  

Apparently it showed that I was an honest and straightforward Machiavellian.

I'm surprised you were never recruited into some less than ethical organization where these talents are prized.

Maybe it's the honesty.

Anonymous Gx1080 March 16, 2013 2:54 PM  

Uh, no offense, but your "master manipulation" can be put on 3 easy steps:

*Write "inflammatory" (aka anti-Leftoid groupthink) statements.
*Wait for Leftoid butthurt.
*When Leftoid butthurt happens, troll the shit out of them.

It sounds impressive, but Leftoids are simply too easily trollable. Specially on the (few) places on the Internet when they can't just delete any statement that disagrees with their worldview (or annoy moderators until they do).

In short, exalting intellectual victory over such weak-minded people seems empty posturing.

Blogger Nate March 16, 2013 2:59 PM  

"*Write "inflammatory" (aka anti-Leftoid groupthink) statements.
*Wait for Leftoid butthurt.
*When Leftoid butthurt happens, troll the shit out of them."

this isn't accurate. its more like this.

1) Say inflammatory thing X which appears superficially to be totally unsupportable.
2) Prey wanders along... assumes X is unsupportable... attempts to mock it.
3) Smash prey with extensively researched and logically sound support for inflammatory thing X.

The truth is... this works against the right and the left.

Anonymous VD March 16, 2013 3:01 PM  

In short, exalting intellectual victory over such weak-minded people seems empty posturing.

Who is exalting it except you? I've always stated that it's a piece of cake and refer to most of my critics as "anklebiters". And I further note that every time anyone has been suggested as a serious challenge, I've proceeded to kick them around without breaking a sweat. I can't help it that so many who disagree with me are afraid to risk being exposed in public.

But if you've got a substantive challenge, by all means, bring it.

Anonymous Gx1080 March 16, 2013 3:01 PM  

@Nate

You assume that Leftoids have a higher train of thought than "He goes against the groupthink! CRUSH HIM!".

I'm just not convinced of it.

Blogger tz March 16, 2013 3:14 PM  

The first step is to see if they think or with sufficent provocation are capable of thought. As I write this the screen has the box next to McRapey.

Anonymous Gx1080 March 16, 2013 3:21 PM  

"But if you've got a substantive challenge, by all means, bring it."

Can try, but I really don't expect much from those that deny the simple reality of tribalism or that believe the Marxist nonsense.

Anonymous VD March 16, 2013 3:25 PM  

Can try, but I really don't expect much from those that deny the simple reality of tribalism or that believe the Marxist nonsense.

I don't either. And yet, I'm confident you don't agree with me on everything. There is no shortage of grounds on which one can readily find disagreement with another individual.

Anonymous James May March 16, 2013 3:29 PM  

And then there is the purposeful perceptual trap. This is where art is created aimed at supposedly complex or iconoclastic thinkers who love the concept of challenge who in fact have none of these qualities.

You submit work to appeal to the biases they insist they don't have, they stumble in by profiling the work and the door shuts on them.

What is usually revealed are conformist middle class people who fear being mistaken for conformist middle class people. There is nothing wrong with being conformist or middle class - there is something wrong with adopting lying as a profession. Such people usually get a tattoo and declare themselves iconoclasts and rebels. It's an industry in both higher and lower expressions of art.

Good stuff is where you find it, not where you want it to be. That is a thing far easier to read than to live by in terms of perception.

In SF, a novel written by a liberal "Gay Minority Female" will have a far different sheen to a Leftist idiot than the exact same novel written by a conservative straight white man, though not one word is changed. Liberals specialize in creating mirages to dazzle themselves with, while claiming to do the exact opposite. It is an intellectual train wreck of staggering proportions.

It's like reading about "doublethink," declaring it an evil and then copying it in minute detail in one's own life. Simple common sense to a liberal is a Rubik's Cube.

Anonymous GreyS March 16, 2013 3:56 PM  

I assume by "non-fiction articles" she means the blog posts. Seems to me that most of the time, VD writes things he just plain finds interest in and most of the time has something insightful to add. There's nowhere near some daily manipulative impulse. But it depends on the subject and what's going on at the time-- if there is current controversy and he's having fun, his detractors would be wise to take long pauses before responding. I've seen him plenty times write things which are complete and utter carrots embedded into what is seemingly a "normal" blog (or comment) post. The carrots surely glow bright orange for those who can't resist the trap. Oftentimes, the reason for the carrot goes back fairly far-- think of a computer game on pause-- and the current quarry doesn't realize he's also still being hunted in a past dimension-- which suddenly becomes current again. Pretty fun to watch if you can spot them.

The important thing to remember is -- Who gets this treatment? It's the ones who can't stand in one place and discuss this or that issue. The ones who bark bark bark while dodging questions put to them.

Anonymous dh March 16, 2013 4:00 PM  

I sympathize with your high-school testing. This stuff is pretty much all garbage.

The only position I ever really pursued that I didn't get involved heavy industrial / personality testing. In the end the person who was sort of a sponsor for the position revealed that I had 8 out of 10 traits associated with psychopathy.

Blogger Duke of Earl March 16, 2013 4:09 PM  

OT: AiG recognizes some of the harmful effects of feminism.

Not exactly mainstream, but the fact that someone recognizes it is a start.

Anonymous realmatt March 16, 2013 4:29 PM  

What kind of high school gives personality tests?

Blogger Nate March 16, 2013 4:29 PM  


"You assume that Leftoids have a higher train of thought than "He goes against the groupthink! CRUSH HIM!"."

No.

I assume that everyone has their sacred cows... and thus virtually everyone is open to this kind of ambush.

Blogger Nate March 16, 2013 4:32 PM  

"What kind of high school gives personality tests?"

All of them.

Blogger KC9ZNR March 16, 2013 4:32 PM  

There is no shortage of grounds on which one can readily find disagreement with another individual.

Like this blog's color scheme? Actually I don't have anything against it, but it made me wonder if there should be a distinction between disagreements of a subjective or objective nature.

Anonymous James May March 16, 2013 4:48 PM  

Every culture and sub-sets of culture have their own sacred cows. That's not at all the point. The point is to what extent different groups have access to tools of self-criticism and to what extent they are able to take hard looks at themselves based on consistent concepts of principle and fair play rather than giving lip service to the idea.

Considering the amount of what would be considered unflinching racism were white people to do what the HuffPo, SFWA, The Atlantic and Tor.com, just to name a few of hundreds of institutions indulge in, I'd say liberalism is retarded doublethink.

How obvious is the word "obvious" today in America? Why would an adult American need to point at the reception "White Voices" at the HuffPo would get, or "100 White Men of America," or the "Association of White Journalists?"

Face it, liberals can't make even the simplest comparisons. Goose/gander is a Gordian Knot to sit and go "Hmmmm" over. Liberalism's default setting is a lie wrapped in bald-faced hypocrisy.

Anonymous Jill March 16, 2013 4:58 PM  

"If you think about it, it's really nothing more than setting up a defensive position with kill zones, then guiding the enemy's approach into those zones with the use of misdirection." This may explain why you write battle scenes well. "If you think about it"...nope, I don't. I don't think in tactical terms at all. I'm glad you appreciated my review.

Anonymous James May March 16, 2013 5:30 PM  

How much misdirection do you need to employ with morons? This is really simple, even to a 5 yr. old. Liberals would be correct if whites or Conservatives had mainstream entities like White Entertainment Television, white culture websites, white Congressional Caucuses, etc. They don't.

Arguing that white majority constitutes a purposeful huddling by race is moronic. A Chinese website in China about Chinese is not being done on purpose nor comparing itself racially to anything. Suggesting SF literature or CNN constitute a de facto racial organization like the NAACP and so blacks need a Black Assoc. of Journalists is crazy. Liberals are crazy, and stupid too.

They are also the last vestige of mainstream institutionalized racism in America.

Anonymous Daniel March 16, 2013 5:35 PM  

What kind of high school gives personality tests?

Westerberg High made it an art form, but Grosse Pointe South High raised the stakes. It would not surprise me to find that our host was a dual graduate.

Anonymous VD March 16, 2013 5:40 PM  

"If you think about it"...nope, I don't. I don't think in tactical terms at all. I'm glad you appreciated my review.

Well, there is always strategy. I did appreciate it, especially the identification of the weak points. I just ran out of time on Severa, who was harder for me than some of the other characters. I hope to do a better job on her development in Book Two.

Blogger Nate March 16, 2013 6:00 PM  

i confess Severa was the only perspective character who's chapters I was sorely tempted to skip.

Anonymous realmatt March 16, 2013 6:05 PM  

My high school didn't even have lockers. Just a lot of blacks and hispanics.

I did a lot of sleeping.

Anonymous T14 March 16, 2013 6:25 PM  

My high school never did any of that testing. Maybe like...scoliosis testing. But that rarely tells you much about yourself.

Anonymous jm March 16, 2013 6:33 PM  

I never could buy into the whole "uploaded Internet superintelligence" thing. How can such an entity play soccer? You're clearly a mentat.

Anonymous OneWithChaos March 16, 2013 7:09 PM  

Go Vox! Praise from your enemy is indeed the highest form of praise there is.

Anonymous scoobius dubious March 16, 2013 8:00 PM  

"What kind of high school gives personality tests?"

I was under the impression that all of high school WAS just one giant personality test.

Anonymous Idle Spectator March 16, 2013 8:06 PM  

Interesting timing with this post on a "mask slipping" and manipulation.

Once you go past Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is pathological self-absorbtion, you head over to the supreme danger area: Malignant Narcissism. I bumped into one of those "creatures" a long while ago.

People with NPD are mainly just annoying and can be avoided if you know what to look out for. Malignant Narcissists, on the other hand, can be extremely dangerous if you are unprepared. They can be as bad as sociopaths and the general public is not well educated on them and their nature. When is the last time you saw one in a movie for instance? I see plenty of sociopaths and psychopaths shown though. They're like vampires that prey on people. I would not be surprised if encounters with MNs is where the ancient vampire stories came from.


But just like vampires, they also have weaknesses. MNs also wear as mask when out in public. Sunlight exposes them and their manipulations and machinations. And you have to invite them in first before they can do damage. There's probably a genetic component to it, as they tend to cluster in families. For people with MNs in their family tree, you have my profound sympathy.


AnonymousConservative just put up a post about severely damaged psychologies showing up on the face. The Malignant Narcissist I met had the exact same face: that profoundly damaged look with the eyes. I knew well enough to keep a healthy distance.

God that website is brilliant. I hope he keeps updating it until he is so old he can't see his own hands anymore.

Anonymous zen0 March 16, 2013 9:04 PM  

dh explains:

In the end the person who was sort of a sponsor for the position revealed that I had 8 out of 10 traits associated with psychopathy.

I know you are begging for it so its up to me. Those tests seem to be remarkably reliable.

Anonymous zen0 March 16, 2013 9:07 PM  

Idle Spectator warns:
People with NPD are mainly just annoying and can be avoided if you know what to look out for.

Unless you elect them as POTUS. Now there is a difficulty.

Anonymous jack March 16, 2013 9:21 PM  

Nate March 16, 2013 6:00 PM

i confess Severa was the only perspective character who's chapters I was sorely tempted to skip.

I will admit that I would, out of just plain apprehension, not ever skip a chapter in a Vox book. Fiction or non fiction. No matter the temptation.

Anonymous realmatt March 16, 2013 9:26 PM  

I would do Jill.

Anonymous Idle Spectator March 16, 2013 9:29 PM  

Unless you elect them as POTUS. Now there is a difficulty.

Tru dat. But then again, I don't need to socialize with Obama.


I think I actually would prefer being around a sociopath to a malignant narcissist. And that's saying a lot. MNs truly are some of the world's worst creatures.

Anonymous Jill March 16, 2013 9:54 PM  

"Praise from your enemy is indeed the highest form of praise there is." It's too bad, then, that I'm not the enemy.

Anonymous zen0 March 16, 2013 9:59 PM  

Idle Spectator naively opines:

Tru dat. But then again, I don't need to socialize with Obama.

But he be wantin to socialize with you. His friends be friended you soon enough. You feel me, dog?

Blogger Nate March 16, 2013 10:16 PM  

" It's too bad, then, that I'm not the enemy."

The ilk are prone to jumping to conclusions darlin'. Don't judge them to harshly for it.

Anonymous zen0 March 16, 2013 10:37 PM  

OT like 911.

Eurocrats and IMF taxing savings in Cyprus. Stop
Russian black money affected. Stop
Euro bank runs coming immediately. Stop
Money to flow to American dollar like tsunami. Stop
Gold to stratosphere, Dow 30,000. Stop

All by Monday. Have a good weekend. Stop

Anonymous Ferd March 16, 2013 10:42 PM  

This all sounds great. However, how well do you play poker Mr. Day?

Anonymous dh March 16, 2013 10:53 PM  

or Conservatives had mainstream entities like White Entertainment Television,

It's called FOX NEWS.

Anonymous zen0 March 16, 2013 11:06 PM  

This all sounds great. However, how well do you play poker Mr. Day?

I can never be completely sure, but Mr. Day is probably indisposed at this time.

Who's dealing, Ferd? Any wild cards?

What paricular part of the sounding great do you find sounding greater?

You packin, or just talkin.?

Anonymous zen0 March 16, 2013 11:14 PM  

dh thinks:

It's called FOX NEWS.

The Saudi network?

Next you will say Al Jazeera is Libertarian.

Anonymous James May March 16, 2013 11:19 PM  

Fox News?

Blogger Desert Cat March 16, 2013 11:39 PM  

Based on her "about" profile, I wouldn't call her enemy at all. It seems she'd probably fit in with us if she chose to or decided to.

Jill, when you find that reading here is like finding a pool of sanity in a world gone higgledy-piggledy, then you know that you have become Ilk.

Welcome home.

Blogger Kentucky Packrat March 17, 2013 12:07 AM  

dh: The only position I ever really pursued that I didn't get involved heavy industrial / personality testing. In the end the person who was sort of a sponsor for the position revealed that I had 8 out of 10 traits associated with psychopathy.

Sociopathy, psychopathy, and autism spectrum disorders have similar items on their big list of check marks, so it's not hard for a "blunt force" test to pick up on psychpathy or sociopathy when you're really closer to the autism spectrum.

Jill: This led me to believe that Vox Day is a master manipulator, who directs the dichotomous thinking of others [most people, I've found, are black and white thinkers, even if they boast high intelligence. And that personality trait is exploitable]

Glad to see you here Jill. Always nice to see a different perspective around.

Thoreau went to Walden Pond, to try to get a new and different perspective on life. After a few days, he discovered that he was already wearing a path to the pond, just trading one path for another.

Most people (including myself, sadly) are creatures of intellectual habit. We wear our patterns down deeply, and rarely even look down to see them. Vox is simply smart enough to know where other people's ruts are, and anticipate where they're headed before they get there. Knowing how a feminist is going to react to an anti-feminist argument is like knowing that a two-year-old will scream when touching a burner: it's not hard.

The pleasant surprise is when the occasional person breaks out of the rut and pushes back in more unique ways. That's how most of the ilk got here in the first place.

Anonymous Unending Improvement March 17, 2013 1:29 AM  

"I was under the impression that all of high school WAS just one giant personality test."

Yes, and like every other low delta, I failed the personality test.

Anonymous Unending Improvement March 17, 2013 1:31 AM  

"AnonymousConservative just put up a post about severely damaged psychologies showing up on the face. The Malignant Narcissist I met had the exact same face: that profoundly damaged look with the eyes. I knew well enough to keep a healthy distance."

You know, I definitely need to check that site out more.

Anonymous Idle Spectator March 17, 2013 4:41 AM  

But he be wantin to socialize with you. His friends be friended you soon enough. You feel me, dog?

Imma gunna slam my jimmy through the mouth roof.

You know, I definitely need to check that site out more.

Those MN eyes. Like shark's eyes. Or doll's eyes. Or predatory eyes. Or vampire eyes. Or anguised black holes sucking you in. Dead inside.


If you look at the dark triad, there's psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism. The first two components are well understood, but the last is not. They spin it as being "self-centered" (being an asshole) or something else when it is actually much worse than that.

An asshole will date you then forget your name. Someone with NPD will forget to tell their children's names apart because they are so focused on themselves all the time. An MN will prey on their own children because they have easy access since they are considered "the parent" out in public. See the difference?

You can have psychopathic traits without actually being a psychopath, and you can have narcissistic traits without having NPD. They're just dark triad traits, not pathology. Malignant Narcissism is the most dangerous subset of NPD.

Blogger Dukemandarin March 17, 2013 5:22 AM  

>Malignant Narcissism is the most dangerous subset of NPD.

I know a woman who I am sure has NPD and she is a piece of work. Lies to everyone but doesn't seem to get that people compare notes. It's like everyone is an actor in her personal movie.

Anonymous Idle Spectator March 17, 2013 6:41 AM  

I know a woman who I am sure has NPD and she is a piece of work. Lies to everyone but doesn't seem to get that people compare notes. It's like everyone is an actor in her personal movie.

She probably thinks you are just too stupid to catch on.

Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevarde is a good example of "normal" NPD. Totally clueless, even at the end. She lives on Fantastic Island. "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."

You're lucky it is just a normal NPD and not a MN. Else right now I'd be advising you to run and not look back, before the inevitable vampirism starts.

Blogger Dukemandarin March 17, 2013 4:31 PM  

>You're lucky it is just a normal NPD and not a MN. Else right now I'd be advising you to run and not look back, before the inevitable vampirism starts.

Sound advice. She's a work colleague not a romantic interest but I'm still keeping her at arm's length.

Blogger Duke of Earl March 17, 2013 6:42 PM  

Sociopathy, psychopathy, and autism spectrum disorders have similar items on their big list of check marks, so it's not hard for a "blunt force" test to pick up on psychpathy or sociopathy when you're really closer to the autism spectrum.

The biggest difference is that the sociopath simply doesn't care, the person on the spectrum is merely oblivious. When called on their undesirable social interaction (USI) the SP goes on their own merry way, the AS feels bad about it, tries to change, but continues to stuff it up.

Caring people with poor social skills are a very bad combination.

Blogger Justthisguy March 17, 2013 7:05 PM  

There used to be a book, which I bet has been out of print for years, called "How to Beat the Personality Tests." I read a lot of it while standing up in the Ga. Tech bookstore back in 1968. I wish I'd bought it, because I haven't seen a copy since. The cover art was hilarious. It showed a herd of sheep, except that one of the sheep was a wolf wearing a sheep suit.

Oh, and some of you guys? The ones picking on the Aspies? Please stop that. We have feeewings, too! Hell, some of us are even traditional Anglicans. (though I'm getting more and more tempted to go Greek, these days)

Blogger Justthisguy March 17, 2013 8:33 PM  

P.s. Heck, as I've admitted here and elsewhere, I seem to be way out on the strange axis, as human bell curves go. Hell, I've exchanged blog comments with Faye Kane, and consider her a kindred soul. Fortunately, I was raised Southern and my Dear Dead Mom managed to teach me some manners. Well, a few.

What is it with the leftards, and their yelling and screaming? Where I come from, if you act like you're trying to pick a fight, you may well get one.

Anonymous Idle Spectator March 17, 2013 9:07 PM  

Sound advice. She's a work colleague not a romantic interest but I'm still keeping her at arm's length.

If it was an malignant narcissist, I would say change offices or buildings immediately before your career is destroyed from the MN's vampiric envy. Like the Evil Queen trying to destroy Snow White.

The biggest difference is that the sociopath simply doesn't care, the person on the spectrum is merely oblivious

That's why a sociopath is still better than a malignant narcissist. The sociopath can still form attachments to the family and ruthlessly protect them. The MN will feed on anything, even the offspring or siblings.

MNs are closer to psychopaths. Both can't be treated. At all. And both need to be either shot with a gun or put in quarantine like radioactive Plutonium before the radiation diseases others.

Believe me, you will know if you bump into a MN. You will not need a personality test. It will stand out like running into a giant panda bear.

Anonymous Anonymous March 17, 2013 10:49 PM  

Well after all isn't a book review a form of manipulation? I'm curious if the book states that the author is a self defined super intelligence; maybe on the back cover? If not and I'm assuming it doesn't then is that pertinent to the review? Should every book review make it known if the author is an adulterer, or a smoker, a junkie, or obese or neglects his childen...where is the line?

One wonders the effect on reviews of Vox's books if he were to use a pseudonym.

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