Zen Game, or, you can only frame pictures and pictures aren’t reality
September 3, 2013 § 37 Comments
Part of the jargon of the manosphere is the notion of maintaining “frame”. As with many ideas this one has both a good incarnation and a bad incarnation when it encounters the world of Internet discourse. In its good incarnation maintaing frame on the Internet means that you don’t allow someone else to change the subject out from under you and declare victory. In its bad incarnation maintaining frame means becoming that well known paleolithic Internet creature, the ferrous cranus.
What brought all this to mind was a horrendously long thread at the blog Sunshine Mary. The blog hostess posts in reaction to a guy who claims to be an authority on female psychology – his main credential being that in the past he (by his own account) opportunistically used large numbers of women as a sexual toilet. Mr Tomassi made the (apparently unintentionally) ironic statement that “men love idealistically, whereas women’s love is rooted in opportunism.” This contrast statement is patently false under any reasonable, unequivocal interpretation of the words “love”, “idealistically”, and “opportunism”. Any sane person would simply retract it, and move on to crafting true and valid points. But I won’t rehash all that here — it is in the thread, and masochists are welcome to explore it in all its glory.
What occurred to me in the course of watching some folks defend the statement despite its … well, despite an irony so thick you could cut it with a knife, is that, as with “Game” more generally, there is an aura of acting, of playing pretend in the face of contravening reality, in the notion of “maintaining frame”. I frankly hope to “maintain frame” when I am right, and make course corrections when I am wrong. When it comes to attitude, authority, etc in real life I suppose I do “maintain frame” in a sense – but there really actually will be Hell to pay if I am crossed when I shouldn’t be in a domain where it is important, so there isn’t any play acting involved. Standing your ground is good, when — well, when it is good.
That picture in the frame might look nice, but it is just a picture. If you’ve set your frame up to reveal what is true, to reveal actual reality, the frame falls away. The only true frame is no frame.
But as jargon “frame” is still useful shorthand for “don’t change the subject, wise guy”.