Game cures cancer!

December 7, 2012 § 23 Comments

I still haven’t gotten around to analyzing particular techniques for acting manly in order to be attractive to women that the manosphere calls “Game”.    I’ll get to it eventually.   But I am struck by the rather cultish devotion of the more vehement adherents of Game.  When genuine questions are raised about the efficacy of the techniques espoused, as for example in the comment thread here, out from the woodwork come angry denunciation and vigorous cries of “straw man!”

Critics of Game are asserting a straw man, it is proposed, because even Game’s most devoted advocates claim that it is a matter of persistent application: that one must persist over and over again in trying Game on different women in order to achieve success.  Success rates in the 10% range are asserted, though of course there is no actual data and much lower numbers are possible.

What is interesting about this is that if we stipulate that Game has a success rate that is roughly – that is, to an order of magnitude – 10% or so, it is probably about as effective as placebo at treating cancer.   Snake oil literally has more health benefits than many or most prescription drugs, even for the supposed target illnesses (which themselves are often marketing constructions not real illness).  As Dr. David Healy has pointed out, for a number of “illnesses” alcohol is both a safer and more effective treatment than prescription drugs.

Welcome to dystopia.

§ 23 Responses to Game cures cancer!

  • angrydrake says:

    Isn’t a success rate increase from 0% (or undefined, in the case of no attempts) to 10% per attempt an improvement? I believe the assertion that making the attempts is critical to achieving any success at all is the basis of Game, right?

  • Zippy says:

    Isn’t a success rate increase from 0% (or undefined, in the case of no attempts) to 10% per attempt an improvement?

    Yes. Placebo is in fact more effective at curing cancer than doing nothing.

  • angrydrake says:

    So… you mean to suggest that Game works because it convinces its adherents that it works?

  • Zippy says:

    There are many theories about why placebos have some effectiveness. I’m not proposing or defending a particular theory of placebo effectiveness here, though that may come up when I get to Game in more specific terms.

    But I will point out that whatever theory is true, placebos do not work because of their actual content: that is what makes them placebos.

    Snake oil and alcohol, by the way, are actually better treatments than placebo for any number of illnesses, because snake oil and alcohol do have useful effects due to their actual contents. Game may be especially similar to (say) alcohol in its overall cluster of effects, good and ill.

  • tz says:

    Snake Oil – made from a particular asian snake – contained things known to heal cartilage, but there were things labeled “snake oil” that contained either no snake products, no oil, or neither.

    “Game” is the set of things in men which women are naturally attracted to. Most are behaviors or things like “status” which can be faked. The complimentary version would be physical attractiveness to men who tend to be visual. Men are attracted to certain characteristics which is why they need to practice “custody of the eyes”.

    But if you are a pagan man looking to score, the easiest way is to tap into the primate hierarchy and become an “alpha” male of the troop.

    Even if you are Christian, it is easier to cooperate with nature than to go against it. A wife will not enjoy a husband that never asserts his headship. A husband will not enjoy a wife that lets herself turn into something visually unattractive.

  • Zippy says:

    If Game means “anything women find attractive in men” then it is ridiculous to use the term “Game”, as if this were something invented yesterday by modern people who have outsmarted everyone who came before. Game becomes a modern day religious outlook associated with pickup artists trolling for sluts, and falls to the criticisms of guys like Cane Caldo. Joining the religion may be as effective at getting the girl as becoming a scientologist, which would make it better than placebo for that particular purpose; but that wouldn’t be a good reason for Christians to endorse it as reflecting the truth. George Costanza faux-converted to Latvian Orthodoxy to get the girl; I don’t recommend this path for any self respecting man.

    If Game is a set of specific amoral tools for men dealing with women, however, it is possible to take it more seriously. I haven’t gotten to the point of looking specifically at Iron Rules and various Commandments yet. But when I do, one of the background questions will be “how effective is this technique compared to placebo, alcohol, etc?”

  • ybm says:

    There is 1 (one) single game-huckster who has made his information available, his name is Paul Janka. He claims he has a 1/11 number-close (as in getting the number and meeting her in person) to sex ratio. He does NOT make available how many women he has to approach to get the number, the amount of time he invests in each, and the relative *attractiveness* of the women he sleeps with in comparison to the women he does not.

    So at best, a PUA can expect a 1/11 number-close to lay ratio.

    Why do I say at best?

    Paul Janka is a male-model and he has a Harvard education.

    I don’t think I could do better than him, apparently the members of the Roissysphere do!

  • Zippy says:

    I’ve been out of the SMP/MMP for a long time, but your data doesn’t surprise me. The unavailable front end ratio is frankly more interesting for Christians looking for a suitable mate: how many approaches result in enough interest on her part to get her number at all?

    In the case of a PUA that approach-to-number step no doubt acts as a chastity filter, for obvious reasons. So PUA-sourced Game may well reduce to a set of techniques that work a tiny percentage of the time on only certain kinds of women. The great majority of men would be literally better off rejecting feminism, yes, because feminism is false; but taking a sugar pill rather than employing Game.

    I don’t want to pre-judge it until I’ve dug a bit deeper though.

  • Proph says:

    Bonald and I have made these criticisms elsewhere, so it’s worth reiterating them. Gamers seem to imagine themselves as gnostic mystics of old, having broken through the walls of illusion into a new reality by virtue of their superior insight, and deigning to share those insights with the rest of us.

    Now some of the insights are quite useful. To the extent they are, essentially, “be confident, charming, and a good conversationalist,” “don’t be needy and overeager,” “take charge,” “stop crying all the time,” etc., they’re even effective. The problem is game has no unique claim to that advice, it being the same stuff grown men handed down to their sons always and everywhere until approximately five minutes ago (incidentally around the time contraception became widely available… hmm).

    Game seems to take this ubiquitous common sense advice, bundle it in with some add-ons (namely a veneer of biodeterminism/evolutionary psych and a kind of grim will-to-power cynicism), and then market it as a new and original thing. The irony is that the add-ons that are unique to game are, by the admission of the game-peddlers, actually not helpful, and you are advised to conceal it in order to avoid appearing like a bitter loser to the very women the bundle is supposed to be helping you pick up.

    So: age old wisdom + a lousy attitude – the appearance of a lousy attitude = success with women + the interior torment of living a double life. Or, conversely, you could just jettison the lousy attitude and be manly without being a dick. I’m reasonably manly and only a little bit of a dick and I do reasonably well with women, so, you know, it works. (Granted, my milieu — very devout Catholic 20-somethings — is one where women outnumber men probably 2 or 3 to 1, so maybe that explains it).

  • ybm says:

    Exactly Proph and that has been our criticism since the beginning: The stuff game teaches you that is good, is better learned elsewhere by people like Dale Carnegie who can present it in a reasonable, relevant, and above all, nonjudgmental way. The stuff that game teaches you that is bad, is so bad that it actually becomes an IMPEDIMENT to success in life and mating, because life isn’t just about dating and mating.

    Re the placebo effect:

    Click to access 79.pdf

    Half of women accepted dates from strangers on the street, and in 1978 6% would accept an invitation to a strange man’s apartment, in 1982 it was 0% but we all know about standard error on both those numbers.

    Unfortunately I can’t find when they did the study again in 1998 and ~10% of women accepted an invitation to come to the man’s apartment. It was in an article from PsychologyToday that unfortunately I can’t find.

  • Kevin B. says:

    George Costanza was the epitome of game when he decided to do the opposite of what his instincts told him: “My name is George. I’m unemployed and I live with my parents.”

    Game strikes me as the rediscovery and codification of what was once common sense: women like strong confident men, and they don’t like whining, cringing sissies. It’s not new, but in an atmosphere of stultifying feminism and equalitarianism, it has the added thrill of being crimethought.

    At the end of the day, the claims that game theoreticians make about human nature are either objectively true or objectively false. I’m of the mindset that game is the set of amoral tools that can be used to either build a house or smash someone’s skull depending on the intent of the user.

  • Scott W. says:

    Game strikes me as the rediscovery and codification of what was once common sense: women like strong confident men, and they don’t like whining, cringing sissies.

    I’d say it is even more basic than that. Women like men who ask for the sale. I was quite the nerdy wimp when was younger with no game at all. Once I observed someone talking with a girl and at the end, he said “We should get together sometime.” and she said yes. So I tried that basic line. Worked every time I tried it. Now, I was just out for dating rather than sexual conquest, so I don’t know if that counts in the game world, but it seems that if one just asks, they should score at least 10% without really trying.

  • Zippy says:

    Precisely, Scott. The thing about taking a placebo is that it is doing something rather than nothing. What the Game proponents are failing to consider is that doing something rather than nothing is beneficial independent of the contents of “something”: even though the contents of a placebo are not helpful themselves, taking action in itself has a mild beneficial effect. The claimed success rates for Game are so low – one must not merely apply the techniques, but must do so persistently in the face of a very low success rate – that it is perfectly reasonable to explore the possibility that it is the persistence rather than the actual content (Game) doing the work.

    Of course then the religious Game acolytes go into equivocation mode, claiming that everything that works in being attractive to women is Game by definition, so the persistence in the face of low success is itself Game (except when it doesn’t work).

    If we are to take Game seriously as specific content though then we have to consider its effectiveness against real alternatives, including placebo, alcohol, sheer persistence and adaptation, etc. If someone who has never heard of negging and doesn’t know what the acronym DHV means has the same success rate as a Game guy simply by persisting and adapting, then clearly learning the specific techniques of Game isn’t what is generating success: if a new drug has the same effectiveness as placebo then the beneficial effect is not from the contents of the drug.

    And then there are the side effects to consider.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    I still haven’t gotten around to analyzing particular techniques for acting manly in order to be attractive to women that the manosphere calls “Game”.

    Game, the bits that are not what Kevin B. describes as “the rediscovery and codification of what was once common sense: women like strong confident men, and they don’t like whining, cringing sissies.”, are actually co-opted feminism and what I think of as the worst bits of feminine behavior: the Dark Triad traits. Much of the Game advice is, in fact, act like a woman. I don’t mean in caring about your dress and hygiene, but in being obsessed with your own ends.

    What makes the efficacy of Game hard to determine is the ludicrous hedonism of our times. It’s absolutely not a chastity filter, because nine out of the ten women who did not respond to Janka’s ministrations at the moment he approached them, will respond to another another man in different circumstances. Janka is simply less discriminate than other men.

    At the end of the day: Game is what men who are tired of being told to man up tell each other instead of “Man up!”

    This strikes me as what should pass for good Game advice.

    Matthew 6:16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    Instead, men are encouraged to become shallow and narcissistic.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go pluck my eyebrows.

  • Mike T says:

    I think you are onto something here, but lets not downplay the placebo effect here. If game deprograms men from feminized wimps into more masculine guys who take initiative then it is worth keeping and refining. The mindset change alone could make for better ltrs and marriages. The common thread among most of the divorced men I’ve known so far is that they let their wives run them and the family. Perhaps many of them would have stayed married if that we’re different.

    Interestingly, roissy emphasizes “state control” which is essentially a stoic outlook toward bad female behavior and inner control in general. I’ve seen this work in my own life when I reach back for a little extra strength when dealing with an angry woman.

    I suppose like all popular things it is equal parts bs and truth…

    (Posted from my iPad so please excuse any terse language)

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    …but lets not downplay the placebo effect here.

    True enough. And as you suggest, it may be more than a placebo effect in the sense of deprogramming wrong ways of thinking and self destructive behaviours.

    A doctor gives you a prescription and tells you to change your diet and exercise. You do these things. Even if the medicine itself makes you less healthy you may well be healthier overall. And there is no question that “Game” understood as a re-orientation away from feminism, as opposed to the adoption of specific techniques of sometimes dubious honesty and morality, fills an almost completely unmet need.

    Dalrock is right that this almost completely unmet need is in part due to the Christian churches, including my own, dropping the pastoral ball. Capitulating to feminism selectively doesn’t work: it turns into the traditional American political “compromise” where the basic values of liberalism are supported by everyone, but conservatives whine about some of liberalism’s natural consequences (e.g. abortion). It can’t work in the long run, and certainly hasn’t in fact worked even if people fantasize otherwise in their imaginations.

    Someone who stays on a prescription that is slowly poisoning him for years though is inviting all sorts of trouble. He may get healthier for a time; but the bomb is ticking. Even getting rid of the prescription may become difficult or impossible, if his body has adapted to its presence. So making the distinction between what is good and what is poison in the overall program is essential to long term health.

  • Mike T says:

    Conservatives also whine when the consequences reinforce themselves over generations. One of my questions to those social conservatives who are so vitriolic toward Game is how can they possibly expect men who have been born to families a few generations removed from authentic masculinity to “man up.” I’ve found that most of them seem to respond as emotionally as though one were to ask Amanda Marcotte “doesn’t a woman who shows up drunk off her ass at a bar in a bad section of town at 2AM without any friends bear some serious personal responsibility for jeopardizing her safety?”

    There seems to be little interest in even picking through Game discussions to see if there is anything useful for answering that question about men manning up. Given that divorce rates in the church are rather close to parity with society at large, it ought to be clear to any thoughtful Christian that the mainstream Christian perspective appears to be no more blessed by God than whatever society at large is doing.

    But then I guess the fact that Boundless has a serious audience ought to speak for itself. Their typical “I am a complete and utter piece of rubbish my wife mercifully scraped off the sidewalk” attitudes are justly offensive in the long run to any self-respecting woman. What woman wants to be with a man who can’t confidently make clear to her that he is and knows he is worthy of her? Anything else is confirming her hamster’s worst fear: sweetheart, you done married a lemon…

  • […] just what Game is supposed to be.   Game partisans themselves, however, seem to believe that it is approximately as effective as a placebo.  If so (and for my own part that remains as of this writing a genuine “if” not a […]

  • […] also noted that even Game’s strongest proponents consider it approximately as effective as placebo: a practitioner of Game is taught to “next” a woman as soon as he runs into trouble, […]

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  • […] More confirmation that according to the “pros” themselves, “Game” is basically a placebo. […]

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  • […] Just another run-of-the-mill example of “Game cures cancer!“ […]

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