The Not So Beautiful Game Step 6: In Which an Opportunity for Research and Plot Development is Lost

I am so sorry, darlings.  I have not posted in quite a while about this book, and one might think, given the developments at the end of the last section, that something of breathtaking interestingness would be happening soon.  One would, however, be wrong.  In Step 6 (Create an Emotional Connection) our narrator brags about the women he has seduced, talks about the emotional problems of his guru Mystery, and discusses the internal politics of the community of internet libertines.  Apparently, all that happened in Step 5 has been forgotten, as all the people who were leaving the community in droves are either back or have been replaced, and Mystery is out of the hospital no changed for the experience.

We do, however, get to touch on intellectual property rights, when our Narrator Style and his guru notice that a bunch of new people in the community without any qualifications (because the old school libertines are so verifiably accredited?) have discovered that anyone with advertising skills can give workshops in exchange for money.  That there is such a large pool of men who are vulnerable to such cons is a little disturbing.  Are there really that many people in this world that feel so entitled to attention (from women) that if they aren’t getting it always and all the time they think something is wrong with them and will pay shady people from the internet lots of money to correct their wrongness?  Indications would suggest yes, unfortunately.  Style’s own experiences starting out as such a person with no confidence in himself that he believes can be fixed with attention from women does not lead him to understanding, but rather to a fear of getting scooped. So he plops himself down and gets himself a byline in the New York Times by publishing an article about the online community of people who describe themselves as artists of pick up.

Maybe if he had provided more background about himself rather than just bragging, this would make a little more sense.  As it is, I am not sure who he is that he can afford to do nothing in the way of gainful employment for at least a year, meanwhile spending money on con artists, nightclubs, and an internet connection.  Not to mention occasional trips to little known communist countries of Eastern Europe.  After being, to all indications, unemployed for, again, at least a year, and adding nothing to his portfolio in this time, he can just at the drop of a hat get an article published in a fairly momentous periodical.  Did I miss something about the economics and process of being a writer?  I know he claimed at the beginning that his editor wanted him to do research on this, which by itself I am skeptical about, but does any editor ever really pay a living wage with no definite contract for book already set?  I’m really asking darlings, for all I know this is perfectly normal to anyone who knows the journalism business.

The other thing I think is really weird here is that he (and all his friends the libertines of the internet) and apparently the editors and readers of the New York Times think that stories of seduction are new and different.  In a way, Style has already been scooped by several hundred years, at least, and he’s not exactly bringing anything new to the party.  All his talk of seducing women with practiced words can be replaced, and that more tunefully, with the Catalog Aria from Mozart’s Don Giovanni.  Or just any of the versions of the Don Juan story, really.  For seduction with magic mind control, there’s Dracula.  For negging, or acquiring a woman’s interest by mocking her or being mean to her, we have Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.  Or Much Ado About Nothing, but that one’s a little less misogynistic, so it’s less likely to be interesting to Style.  When it comes to wearing down a woman’s resistance, parts of The Tale of Genji and at least half of Boccaccio’s Decameron are about how women yield to sheer importunity.   The Game isn’t really telling me anything more than existing literature and opera do when it comes to sweeping generalizations with rigid gender roles about what women are like and what men can do to achieve interest and/or sex from them.  If Style is such a good writer as his bragging might indicate, wouldn’t he start by doing some reading on the already existing literature in his area?

Oh, new to this section is Style’s recounting of how he regards virgin women (a term I really hate) as being somehow special and inviolate except by someone really special.  Magicness of not having sex and categorizing people (almost always women) by whether or not they have had sex (for certain values of sex) is not only not new, it’s still so completely current it’s almost more boring than it is depressing.  Rather like The Game, in fact.

We’re over half of the way through.   Maybe something new and different will happen soon.

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Elizabeth is a professional belly dancer, a flaky computer scientist, and a returned Peace Corps volunteer. She lives in Georgia (the state of the U.S., not the country) but is nonetheless somehow not a combination of stereotypes from Gone with the Wind and Deliverance. Her personal blog is Coffeefied. Operafied. Fluffified. Beglittered.

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