12 votes

On the infestation of small-souled bugmen

33 comments

  1. [3]
    tempestoftruth
    Link
    Not a fan of the gendered language in this piece. It's important to ask why this language was included and what sort of work the author is intending it to do, especially because the overall gist...
    • Exemplary

    Not a fan of the gendered language in this piece. It's important to ask why this language was included and what sort of work the author is intending it to do, especially because the overall gist of the article - that there is a class of people carrying out the work keeping the corporate structure functioning, that has also been tricked into believing the lives they lead are good, important, enviable - is, to some extent, true. Some people are unaware of the meaningful role they play in perpetuating our rotten system. But why is it necessary to couch this observation and criticism in gendered language? The author begins by suggesting these people are being taken advantage of, then calls them emasculated, because apparently getting taken advantage of means you aren't a man, or you're less of one. How do femininity and resistance to the imposition of binary gender fit into this person's framework, if at all? How can the author square their criticism of the power structure with the way they themselves uphold traditional ideas of gender and patriarchy that play a role in maintaining the same structure they seem to be critiquing? This isn't a critique of the structure - it's a critique of who's where in the structure, which is far less powerful.

    20 votes
    1. no_exit
      Link Parent
      Great post. The article is pretty much just a shitty right-wing rehash of Marx's theory of alienation, which is actually a very powerful and relevant concept when it isn't reduced in such a way.

      Great post. The article is pretty much just a shitty right-wing rehash of Marx's theory of alienation, which is actually a very powerful and relevant concept when it isn't reduced in such a way.

      17 votes
    2. papasquat
      Link Parent
      Gendered language is one of the least shitty problems with the link. I don't think most people realize that the entire post is pretty much lifted verbatim from 4chan's /pol/, and even the phrase...

      Gendered language is one of the least shitty problems with the link.

      I don't think most people realize that the entire post is pretty much lifted verbatim from 4chan's /pol/, and even the phrase "small souled bugman" is something that likely originated on and is frequently repeated on that place. It's shorthand for a caracature of the people they perceive as their biggest enemy: moderate white liberals. These are the same people they're talking about when they call someone a cuck or a soyboy, an imagined weak, nerdish, effeminate 20 to 30 something male who professes to care about social justice.

      Some of the points are valid, but overall the chacterization is just a familiar alt-right boogeyman.

      16 votes
  2. [3]
    jzimbel
    Link
    This is a brilliant textbook example of alt-right indoctrination/red-pilling. Post something largely relatable, making sweeping generalizations that otherize and reduce to less-than-human a...

    This is a brilliant textbook example of alt-right indoctrination/red-pilling. Post something largely relatable, making sweeping generalizations that otherize and reduce to less-than-human a segment of the population, in a familiar place where vulnerable members of that segment spend time with their guard down and are likely to see it. It belongs in a hermetically sealed museum display.

    I’m not saying I disagree with all of the points made—I’m sure a lot of people would categorize me as a “bugman”, and I know a few people who fit the description to a T. It’s a societal problem worth working on. But this little essay about it is chock-full of subtly persuasive prose and alt-right dogwhistle terms, and it targets a lot of very lonely, impressionable people.

    The fact that OP didn’t realize what it is shows just how dangerous and compelling it is.

    26 votes
    1. [2]
      elcuello
      Link Parent
      Ok...the arrogance in this thread is kind of disappointing. It is actually doable to read this and get something out of it without becoming closer to the alt-right. I read it as a kick in the butt...

      Ok...the arrogance in this thread is kind of disappointing. It is actually doable to read this and get something out of it without becoming closer to the alt-right. I read it as a kick in the butt I needed and that's it. I enjoyed it but it didn't push me anywhere.

      The fact that OP didn’t realize what it is shows just how dangerous and compelling it is.

      How about cut people here some slack and trust in that they can judge by themselves and see through it? I realize after reading the comments that this author might have some sad tendencies and I'm taking them in too now. But how are we ever going to talk about these things if every time something a little different come up we're going to nitpick at tear the whole thing down because they're not like me! . It's exhausting.

      6 votes
      1. userexec
        Link Parent
        No. These techniques work because a good percentage of people can't see through it. Not everyone can be expected to break down the subtle goals of the piece and know when the author is addressing...

        No. These techniques work because a good percentage of people can't see through it. Not everyone can be expected to break down the subtle goals of the piece and know when the author is addressing real problems and offering insights versus trying to sneak a redpill down the reader's throat. Nobody's nitpicking this down because the author isn't "like them." They're picking it down because the author is intentionally trying to slip social and political ideological concepts past readers' defenses so that later on when they see these concepts presented more clearly, they feel familiar and like the reader has already thought that unprompted. We're nitpicking the rhetorical techniques, and you're right, it is exhausting.

        The article's a pretty good curry that a bird shit in while no one was looking. I'm very familiar with curries. I'm pointing out, "Hey, there's bits of shit in that curry" before people dig in. If, aware of that, they want to work around them and eat the good parts, that's fine I guess. I'd just go get a new, similar curry without shit in it, though. Maybe that makes me arrogant. I don't care anymore.

        23 votes
  3. [9]
    Deimos
    (edited )
    Link
    From a quick skim through a few of the recent posts on this article's author's blog, he's writing about things like the pandemic being a hoax ("millions are getting paid to skip work by pretending...

    From a quick skim through a few of the recent posts on this article's author's blog, he's writing about things like the pandemic being a hoax ("millions are getting paid to skip work by pretending to be scared of the flu"), the whole concept of "experts who understand science" being a lie, and so on, with repeated references to online alt-right garbage like "clown world". All indications point to this being a person with far more issues than insight.

    I didn't read it in-depth, but the submitted article doesn't seem much better. What did you find compelling about it, and how did you come across it almost 3 years after it was written?

    (@userexec: it's definitely a duck)

    22 votes
    1. moose
      Link Parent
      Reading through the whole article, you're about right, it's just a other thinly veiled rehash of clown world talking points. The way this is written, and the topics they miss out on, point to a...

      Reading through the whole article, you're about right, it's just a other thinly veiled rehash of clown world talking points. The way this is written, and the topics they miss out on, point to a type of person who if you actually talked to them 10 minutes in they'll be referencing QAnon. I think you're right with them having more issues than insight, as some of these points seem like someone projecting...

      6 votes
    2. [7]
      Turtle
      Link Parent
      I guess it just jives with my notions of why life seems somewhat empty to me? plus I found the writing compelling. As for how I found it: I stumbled across this post (I think I was researching...

      I guess it just jives with my notions of why life seems somewhat empty to me? plus I found the writing compelling. As for how I found it:
      I stumbled across this post (I think I was researching something along the lines of "rationality of being invested in politics" based on this thread). Then I found this post titled "Bugmen: What are they?" on the same blog. And then I found this article searching for related content.

      I wouldn't have posted this if I knew the author had such tendencies. My apologies! I still think it's a decent article though.

      3 votes
      1. hhh
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        For what it's worth the only place I've seen the word bugman used other than this article is on 4chan referring to "soy-boys" who drank (of course it's anti-semetic) "the Jews' kool-aid"...

        For what it's worth the only place I've seen the word bugman used other than this article is on 4chan referring to "soy-boys" who drank (of course it's anti-semetic) "the Jews' kool-aid" basically. I don't know I think I agree with most of the other comments — it brings up real problems but like with most alt-righty things pins it on "globalism," "liberalism" and "general cuckery."

        Also fits in with the trend I've seen of the right denouncing consumerism, except not really and just using to it to act superior to the prototypical like "funko-pop buying marvel enthusiast" without actually critiquing the consumerism or the forces behind it. (Sorta the same idea with eco fascism).

        12 votes
      2. PendingKetchup
        Link Parent
        You can see the implied solutions the article is pushing pretty clearly here: If cities are unnatural and miserable, and suburbs are unnatural and miserable, clearly we have to go back to living...

        You can see the implied solutions the article is pushing pretty clearly here:

        The bugman now occupies one of two living situations. One, the city bugman lives atop, beneath and besides his fellow bugs in what is an actual human-scale bug colony, hence the name. Two, the suburban bugman living just as unnaturally and miserably, lined up in careful symmetry among neighbours he will never know and trees that will never grow, house by house, street by street, as far as the eye can see.

        If cities are unnatural and miserable, and suburbs are unnatural and miserable, clearly we have to go back to living on farms, right? I'm sure the author could have written up just as compelling an indictment of the farming bugman enthralled to global agricapital with its nonsaveable seeds and John Deere with its disposable tractors. But the soul-shrinking potential of rural life remains ~mysteriously~ unexplored.

        Also, that quip about food being unable to be improved by technology: what does our author think he is eating, exactly? Is it wild plants unimproved by thousands of years of selective breeding, not fertilized by nitrogen cracked from the air through the Haber-Bosch process, not sown and harvested by machine, not irrigated, and not rotated between fields?

        The article has points, because it draws on Marx and Huxley and other people with points, but it's arguing that we try to retreat to a romanticized past, while we blame a bunch of other people for the state of our own souls.

        10 votes
      3. [3]
        NaraVara
        Link Parent
        The writing is compelling and entertaining in the way that brutal, viciously harsh criticism often can be. This is one of the reasons battle rap, roasts, and insult comedy can be fun. But it's not...

        I guess it just jives with my notions of why life seems somewhat empty to me? plus I found the writing compelling. As for how I found it:

        The writing is compelling and entertaining in the way that brutal, viciously harsh criticism often can be. This is one of the reasons battle rap, roasts, and insult comedy can be fun.

        But it's not necessarily insightful or anything, and it's generally best to avoid doing it when the other person isn't able to just laugh it off in good humor. Then it just gets mean.

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          onyxleopard
          Link Parent
          I disagree. Those media aren’t characterized by real hatred—they are ultimately forms of comedy. This piece was just flat-out bilious hate with no underlying comedy or satire.

          The writing is compelling and entertaining in the way that brutal, viciously harsh criticism often can be. This is one of the reasons battle rap, roasts, and insult comedy can be fun.

          I disagree. Those media aren’t characterized by real hatred—they are ultimately forms of comedy. This piece was just flat-out bilious hate with no underlying comedy or satire.

          7 votes
          1. NaraVara
            Link Parent
            Pretty sure Pete Wells really hated Guy Fieri's restaurant.

            Those media aren’t characterized by real hatred—they are ultimately forms of comedy.

            Pretty sure Pete Wells really hated Guy Fieri's restaurant.

            1 vote
  4. [5]
    userexec
    Link
    It lost me when it unraveled into a rambling t_d post about the UN, PC culture, virtue signalling, and crying about hate speech. The author had a thread going, but his personal bugbears diluted...

    It lost me when it unraveled into a rambling t_d post about the UN, PC culture, virtue signalling, and crying about hate speech. The author had a thread going, but his personal bugbears diluted the vision of the bugman. Also more than a little funny that he knocks straw man arguments while weaving a straw man.

    12 votes
    1. [4]
      Turtle
      Link Parent
      It barely mentioned any of those things, and I think being critical of them is hardly comparable to the bigotry displayed by the average t_d user. Can we not instantly dismiss any slightly right...

      It barely mentioned any of those things, and I think being critical of them is hardly comparable to the bigotry displayed by the average t_d user. Can we not instantly dismiss any slightly right coded language as basically fascism? As for your other point, I don't think the bugman is being portrayed as literally representative of any group, so I disagree that it is a strawman. I would look at it as more of a type specimen embodying the worst aspects of modern culture which we all express to some degree.

      5 votes
      1. kfwyre
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Double posting instead of editing my previous response because I don't want this to get lost: You're probably feeling a bit "piled on" due to this topic, and my last response was pretty curt and...
        • Exemplary

        Double posting instead of editing my previous response because I don't want this to get lost:

        You're probably feeling a bit "piled on" due to this topic, and my last response was pretty curt and unhelpful. I'm sorry about that. The last thing I want you to feel is beaten down for posting this here, especially because I believe you shared it in good faith because you found it resonant and interesting.

        I totally get why this piece can come across as insightful. The author paints with some broad brush strokes, in forms that we find very easy to recognize. Many of us can easily see ourselves or someone we know in some of his characterizations, and it gives his work a feeling of trenchant insight.

        I encourage you to see it as more akin to the cold reading of a "psychic" or a vaguely worded horoscope. It uses some general, broad identifiers aimed at anxieties and insecurities to draw you in with your guard down. And, with those activated, he then presents his unwavering confidence as truth. Please don't mistake the two. He wants you to.

        Those feelings we all have: a sort of modern malaise and meaninglessness, a creeping nihilism, the sense that we're not agents of our own selves, those are all real things that we all experience, but the solution he sells here isn't a solution at all. It's a poison pill. He encourages us to look down at others as a method of feeling higher up in the world. If we turn our critical eyes outward, at them and away from ourselves, then of course we'll feel better, but only by proxy. It's an illusion.

        There is some truth to the problems that he identifies, but his solution requires us to buy in to the idea that there is an underclass of humans undeserving of empathy and worthy of total, unbridled contempt. This is the foundation of supremacy, and it only yields destruction. This is why people are responding so negatively to this, a sentiment which I think has been made clear across many messages in this thread and which has probably felt a bit like a slap in the face to you. What we didn't make clear is that you aren't bad for feeling what you felt when you read this and finding some level of significance in its words. That's why it's there -- to nudge you towards a truly terrible perspective on the world.

        Even if what you think I'm saying is horseshit, I encourage you to consider the author. Does he genuinely seem fulfilled? Does he seem joyful? Vibrant? Happy, calm, or content? He's acting like he has the answers from his enlightened perch when all he really has is disdain. It hasn't brought him any higher in this world -- it has simply allowed him to see others as lower than him.

        20 votes
      2. userexec
        Link Parent
        I wouldn't call the whole final third of the piece "barely mentioned." This reads like classic alt-right initiation material. Relatable, reasonable takes on real problems and then they start...

        I wouldn't call the whole final third of the piece "barely mentioned." This reads like classic alt-right initiation material. Relatable, reasonable takes on real problems and then they start shifting into points about the globalists or the feminists or whatever that tract calls for.

        The piece dedicated six paragraphs to insinuating that things like the "mainstream media," "bureaucrats," "feel-good nonsense," "globalist think tanks," "virtue signalling," "PC culture," and "wrongthink" were these nebulous things sucking at the bugman's soul. I particularly liked the part about his lack of "historical, rational and spiritual context" and how he could only distantly recall the awe of "reflecting on his ancestry, [and the] history and traditions of mankind." It's cute because the author never comes out and says "The West," but slips it just under the surface there.

        Maybe that wasn't the author's intention. Cool. Years ago if a duck quacked I'd have questioned my hearing or given it the benefit of the doubt. I'm too exhausted to tiptoe anymore. It sounds like a duck. I'm commenting that it's probably a duck.

        21 votes
      3. kfwyre
        Link Parent
        Even if we take out the stuff at the end that others have addressed, this piece still approaches "basically fascism" because its entire thesis is predicated on the author's belief that there is a...

        Can we not instantly dismiss any slightly right coded language as basically fascism?

        Even if we take out the stuff at the end that others have addressed, this piece still approaches "basically fascism" because its entire thesis is predicated on the author's belief that there is a class of subhumans that he considers himself holistically superior to. His worldview is transparently hierarchical and denigrating.

        15 votes
  5. monado
    Link
    This sounds like something i'd find on /pol/, just written on a Medium article, I recognize that language. I think categorizing entire people under behaviors like these is quite dangerous, and I...

    This sounds like something i'd find on /pol/, just written on a Medium article, I recognize that language. I think categorizing entire people under behaviors like these is quite dangerous, and I feel like this article will try to make readers just give names to people they don't agree with, rather than looking at a solution to the problem. Typical shitpost.

    I guess it just jives with my notions of why life seems somewhat empty to me?

    I'll try to offer my solution to that, because I've felt that way before. Quite frankly, real life social interaction is the way forward. Sure, making real life friends you can trust can be hard, but so far it's worked out pretty well for me. You have the whole internet at your disposal, which means you could pursue many different hobbies that might fulfill you. Just my 2 cents.

    12 votes
  6. Litmus2336
    Link
    To pile on the hate train, I hate when taking antidepressants is viewed as escapism akin to just plugging into virtual reality, and not as a valid medical treatment. That makes me really angry,...

    To pile on the hate train, I hate when taking antidepressants is viewed as escapism akin to just plugging into virtual reality, and not as a valid medical treatment. That makes me really angry, especially having friends who refuse treatment because they think it will indoctrinate them into complacency.

    11 votes
  7. onyxleopard
    Link
    Beyond the unnecessary gendering of the bugman that @tempestoftruth pointed out, I felt like this whole piece was misdirected. If you have such an enormous beef with the system, maybe write a...

    Beyond the unnecessary gendering of the bugman that @tempestoftruth pointed out, I felt like this whole piece was misdirected. If you have such an enormous beef with the system, maybe write a piece being critical of the institutions that it comprises, rather than painting individuals as unknowing victims with your contempt brush. Also, maybe publish such a piece on a personal blog, rather than completely destroy your own premise by publishing it on a site that shoves an ad for flatfile.io1 in header?

    1. flatfile.io is "trusted by HubSpot, Toast, Blackbaud, ClickUp, CoinTracker, and Housecall Pro"—veritable antitheses of "today’s neoliberalist techno-corporate hive mind", undoubtedly.
    7 votes
  8. Turtle
    Link
    From the article:

    From the article:

    Not to be confused with the gigantic insect — the alienated man — of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, the small-souled bugman is very much a ‘well-adjusted’, fully integrated neuron in today’s neoliberalist techno-corporate hive mind.

    A consequence of a perilously overpopulated, brutally capitalistic, shamelessly hedonistic, morally decaying society, the humble bugman has come to define an age of technological dystopia in which everyone has everything — their gadgets, their fast foods, their fashion accessories — but somehow everyone also has nothing — no community, no natural spirit, no substance of mind. He is a zombified consumer, an emasculated wage slave, a vessel emptied of meaning and refilled with plastic, pixels and silicone.

    5 votes
  9. teaearlgraycold
    Link
    I want to know what idealized man this author hopes bugmen would rather be. There’s a lot here tearing down a large portion of the population. But nothing saying instead “here’s what you should...

    I want to know what idealized man this author hopes bugmen would rather be. There’s a lot here tearing down a large portion of the population. But nothing saying instead “here’s what you should do, who you should be”. What section of which society do they want us to emulate?

    5 votes
  10. [8]
    ShroudedMouse
    (edited )
    Link
    My best friend is a bug-man. Well, he was my best friend. The bug-man killed him. I saw it develop over several years but had no idea how to stop it. Every discussion turned into an argument where...

    My best friend is a bug-man. Well, he was my best friend. The bug-man killed him.

    I saw it develop over several years but had no idea how to stop it. Every discussion turned into an argument where one party had to be right/wrong. Every creative choice was delegated to tech. In the end, there was nothing left but the grind and an adulation of progress (as determined by whoever was paying him or those he wished were paying him, like Musk etc).

    Yes, it's a systemic issue as @onyxleopard points out. It's still fucking tragic to witness at the individual level so I can overlook the articles mis-steps because I can imagine myself writing something similar in frustration. One of the first things to go for the bug-man however, is nuance in language. Metaphor, song, emotion all seem to be lost on the bug-man. Too fuzzy. Just tell him the correct answer exactly so that he can keep turning the wheel. For that reason, I expect this article will not crack any bug-men shells.

    sigh I'm still hurt by the loss of my friend.

    "The religion of Moloch – as such creeds may be generically called – is in essence the cringing submission of the slave, who dare not, even in his heart, allow the thought that his master deserves no adulation. Since the independence of ideals is not yet acknowledged, Power may be freely worshipped, and receive an unlimited respect, despite its wanton infliction of pain.” - Bertrand Russell

    4 votes
    1. [5]
      onyxleopard
      Link Parent
      I think the piece would have been much more compelling if it actually made the effort to focus on an individual or two. As is, it is just denigrating enormous sections of the population. I don’t...

      It's still fucking tragic to witness at the individual level

      I think the piece would have been much more compelling if it actually made the effort to focus on an individual or two. As is, it is just denigrating enormous sections of the population. I don’t think I’ll ever understand the motivation for people to bother to write out their contemptuous opinions like this without any sort of constructive message. Is there some sort of anger-porn thing that just doesn’t appeal to me?

      5 votes
      1. wervenyt
        Link Parent
        Hatred and feeling superior is many peoples' drug of choice, and this article was the clearest example of that I've forced myself to confront in a while. Almost no substance despite identifying a...

        Hatred and feeling superior is many peoples' drug of choice, and this article was the clearest example of that I've forced myself to confront in a while. Almost no substance despite identifying a real trend, no discussion of other potential causes beyond their assumptions, just a rant detailing their distaste for the other.

        5 votes
      2. ShroudedMouse
        Link Parent
        Can't speak for the author but it starts with frustration. For some that leads to anger, others to sadness. I'd like to be constructive and suggest we all think/act local with compassion. Love...

        Can't speak for the author but it starts with frustration. For some that leads to anger, others to sadness. I'd like to be constructive and suggest we all think/act local with compassion. Love your neighbour. I can't fully commit to it though because I tried that with my mate and still feel like I failed him. Hence, the othering via bug-men.

        2 votes
      3. [2]
        Turtle
        Link Parent
        I don't think it's denigrating anyone. Like I said it seems like it's more of a cultural critique?

        I don't think it's denigrating anyone. Like I said it seems like it's more of a cultural critique?

        1. onyxleopard
          Link Parent
          You don’t think the bugman was denigrated? The critique is weak if there at all and so emotionally charged with contempt that it’s hard to engage with it.

          I don't think it's denigrating anyone.

          You don’t think the bugman was denigrated?

          Like I said it seems like it's more of a cultural critique?

          The critique is weak if there at all and so emotionally charged with contempt that it’s hard to engage with it.

          6 votes
    2. [2]
      moose
      Link Parent
      You said your friend was killed by the bugman, and you saw it happening, but maybe you and the op of the article should not be stewing over the existence of the bugmen. If all you do is point out...

      You said your friend was killed by the bugman, and you saw it happening, but maybe you and the op of the article should not be stewing over the existence of the bugmen. If all you do is point out there flaws, and feel bad for them, aren't you just a more quiet, alt bugman? Maybe the path to cracking their shells isn't writing a list of where they've gone wrong, as really that's just something a bugman themself does. Maybe the real way of stopping them from transforming into bugmen is simply showing them alternatives, being polite and showing them that no, they don't have to work as a cog in the machine but really there's other options. Saying it to their face won't ever get through to them, but just bringing them along for the ride and being nice to them while you do whatever you consider to be "non bugman" activities and thoughts and conversations is enough

      1. ShroudedMouse
        Link Parent
        I stew over their existence (and one in particular) because he wasn't always like that. I knew him before when he still had passions and I miss that person. I was very bug-like in the past so,...

        I stew over their existence (and one in particular) because he wasn't always like that. I knew him before when he still had passions and I miss that person.

        I was very bug-like in the past so, yes, initially I was quite confrontational. I softened my approach with him over the years but it didn't seem to help. There's a catch-22 in your suggested approach though. I could drag him along to whatever cultural enriching activity but I can't force anyone to find meaning in it - to be moved by it. To force my opinion of what he should be doing would be exactly the sort of behavior I argued against. I wanted him to decide something, anything, without the aid of tech but he would see that as inferior to accepting the decisions of the borg and increasingly avoid it.

        Basically, it seemed like he needed a master and I just wanted a mate. C'est la vie.

        2 votes