This guest post is part one of a two part series. See part two.
The recent Dalrock/Warhorn debacle has brought the manosphere’s interaction with the media into the forefront. Given a media opportunity, Dalrock sought fame and influence. This was never going to happen. Dalrock’s entitlement complex and media whoring blinded him. He was unable or unwilling to distinguish between an interview and a debate. In not handling himself before the media properly, he embarrassed the manosphere itself.
This isn’t the first time a media interview has gone wrong for manosphere. Consider Big John on CNN. That interview did little to nothing to aid the fight against feminism. It was never going to either.
Take a time machine back to late 2002. Newly educated and married—but unemployed and bored—I focused my attention on Wikipedia. I parsed census records and other related public records, processed the data, and created ~33,000 new city and county articles. Over a week, these articles increased the number of Wikipedia articles by ~60%. To make a long story short, this created a firestorm of controversy and marked my place in the history of the largest free repository of human knowledge. I had become instantly famous within the bubble of Wikipedia as part of its history.
It was not until 2005 when I was approached by Wired Magazine for my first media interview. As a software engineer, Wired Magazine was one of the few magazines that I would ever subscribe to. I was discussed specifically and they even included my picture. It was quite an ego trip seeing my name and photo in a nationally published printed magazine.
The attention did not end. My work has been discussed in academic papers, web articles, and at least four published books (including a whole chapter just for myself). My most recent media interview was in 2018.
Eventually I stopped writing Wikipedia articles and turned to photography. I’ve uploaded a couple thousand photos, many acquiring coveted featured picture status. I began to sell licensing rights to my work. My work can be found on thousands of websites and many publications.
As everyone who has interacted with me knows, I’m no stranger to controversy and attention. I’m not one for anonymity or sliding by unnoticed. The Wikipedia stage of my life went by, replaced by another. My wife, who is amazing, wanted to adopt a child with special needs. We eventually adopted three. The print media covered that too.
I moved along to the manosphere and eventually created my own blog. I kept the name “Ram-Man” alongside my real name. It is my “brand”, so why abandon it? My Google PageRank for my name or handle has always been high. Many times over the years they were the number one search result. I have a number of two and three keyword search terms for my blogs that result in first page results. My bilateral tibial hemimelia guide even shows up on page 4 after many links to various legitimate medical resources. My daughter is the first “Images” photo shown for the condition.
Yet for all that, who knows who I am? Who really cares? I’m a nobody.
Consider some of the most common ways available to acquire fame:
- You become infamous.
- Someone promotes you.
- You whore yourself out for attention.
Do you really want to be infamous for something? This is how many people become famous, but it’s normally not positive coverage. I had my defenders on Wikipedia, but the criticism was hot and heavy.
If you have someone who has the resources and ability to promote you, then you can gain importance and influence. Most of us do not and never will have that. Boxer promotes me, but such promotion only expands your influence within the existing echo chamber of the manosphere.
You could become a media whore. You’ll become opportunistic, grabbing attention for impressions and clicks. This leads to entitlement and pride. You’ll inevitably sacrifice your standards and your intellectual freedom. And for what? It does nothing to guarantee that you will change the world for good.
The allure of media coverage is compelling. It is hard to resist. You want a platform for your views to help save the world. This is naive. The original WIRED article? It contained many errors. The Parent Trip interview discussing my family and no one else? Many errors as well. They always get things wrong even when they like you. Imagine how your views will be distorted in a hostile interview situation. It is out of your control. Dalrock learned this the hard way.
It is important not to confuse fame and attention with importance and influence. While the former are relatively easy to achieve, the latter are quite difficult.
Did you see that photo at the top? That’s my most successful stock photo. You could say it is my most famous photo. Except, I didn’t take it, my wife did. Do you know who cares about that? Nobody.
There are many great men—real and imagined—portrayed in the great works of literature. Among these is Solomon, a king of legendary proportions. He had everything a man could want: power, fame, wealth, sex, companionship, comfort, wisdom, and a legacy. Having experienced it all, he wrote the following:
“I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” [Ecclesiastes 1:14 NIV]
After examining it all, he concluded that there was only one meaningful thing:
“Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.” [Ecclesiastes 12:13 NIV]
Whether or not you believe in God, there is great wisdom behind this. The pursuit of self is ultimately meaningless and unfulfilling. Don’t search for fame, importance, or influence. Don’t be a media whore. Instead, focus your attention outward towards others—to God, mankind, perhaps even country. Don’t set out to try to be famous and change the world. Be humble. Get your hands dirty, like Brother Jason. Go do something useful with your life.
In part two, I’ll discuss why seeking attention from outside your bubble provides only a false hope.