July 21, 2014

Ernest Hemingway was born today in 1899. Unlike most of his later works, some of his earliest stories, like “Up In Michigan”, written in 1921, have fallen into the public domain, so we’ve shared it below. The story, set in a remote town in northern Michigan, is one of rigid gender roles, unsurprisingly, and is told in Hemingway’s characteristically terse style. But, atypically, it’s told from the point of view of a female character, as we watch a young woman by the name of Liz Coates, who falls for a blacksmith, have her notions of love crushed by the brute indifference of masculinity.

Up In Michigan

Jim Gilmore came to Hortons Bay from Canada. He bought the blacksmith shop from old man Horton. Jim was short and dark with big mustaches and big hands. He was a good horseshoer and did not look much like a blacksmith even with his leather apron on. He lived upstairs above the blacksmith shop and took his meals at A. J. Smith’s.

Liz Coates worked for Smith’s. Mrs. Smith, who was a very large clean woman, said Liz Coates was the neatest girl she’d ever seen. Liz had good legs and always wore clean gingham aprons and Jim noticed that her hair was always neat behind. He liked her face because it was so jolly but he never thought about her.

Liz liked Jim very much. She liked the way he walked over from the shop and often went to the kitchen door to watch for him to start down the road. She liked it about his mustache. She liked it about how white his teeth were when he smiled. She liked it very much that he didn’t look like a blacksmith. She liked it how much A. J. Smith and Mrs. Smith liked Jim. One day she found that she liked it the way the hair was black on his arms and how white they were above the tanned line when he washed up in the washbasin outside the house. Liking that made her feel funny.

Hortons Bay, the town, was only five houses on the main road between Boyne City and Charlevoix. There was the general store and post office with a high false front and maybe a wagon hitched out in front, Smith’s house, Stroud’s house, Fox’s house, Horton’s house and Van Hoosen’s house. The houses were in a big grove of elm trees and the road was very sandy. There was farming country and timber each way up the road. Up the road a ways was the Methodist church and down the road the other direction was the township school. The blacksmith shop was painted red and faced the school.

A steep sandy road ran down the hill to the bay through the timber. From Smith’s back door you could look out across the woods that ran down to the lake and across the bay. It was very beautiful in the spring and summer, the sky blue and bright and usually whitecaps on the lake beyond the point from the breeze blowing in from Charlevoix and Lake Michigan. From Smith’s back door Liz could see ore barges way out in the lake going toward Boyne City. When she looked at them they didn’t seem to be moving at all but if she went in and dried some more dishes and then came out again they would be out of sight beyond the point.

All the time now Liz was thinking about Jim Gilmore. He didn’t seem to notice her very much. He talked about the shop to A.J. Smith and about the Republican Party and about James G. Blaine. In the evenings he read The Toledo Blade and the Grand Rapids paper by the lamp in the front room or went out spearing fish in the bay with a jacklight with A.J. Smith. In the fall he and Smith and Charley Wyman took a wagon and tent, grubs, axes, their rifles and two dogs and went on a trip to the pine plains beyond Vanderbilt deer hunting. Liz and Mrs. Smith were cooking for four days for them before they started. Liz wanted to make something special for Jim to take but she didn’t finally because she was afraid to ask Mrs. Smith for the eggs and flour and afraid if she bought them Mrs. Smith would catch her cooking. It would have been all right with Mrs. Smith but Liz was afraid.

All the time Jim was gone on the deer hunting trip Liz thought about him. It was awful while he was gone. She couldn’t sleep well from thinking about him but she discovered it was fun to think about him too. If she let herself go it was better. The night before they were to come back she didn’t sleep at all because it was all mixed up in a dream about not sleeping and really not sleeping. When she saw the wagon coming down the she felt weak and sick sort of inside. She couldn’t wait till she saw Jim and it seemed as though everything would be all right when he came. The wagon stopped outside under the big elm and Mrs. Smith and Liz went out. All the men had beards and there were three deer in the back of the wagon, their thin legs sticking stiff over the edge of the wagon box. Mrs. Smith kissed Alonzo and he hugged her. Jim said “Hello, Liz,” and grinned. Liz hadn’t known just what would happen when Jim got back but she was sure it would be something. Nothing had happened. The men were just home, that was all. Jim pulled the burlap sacks off the deer and Liz looked at them. One was a big buck. It was stiff and hard to lift out of the wagon.

“Did you shoot it, Jim?” Liz asked.

“Yeah. Ain’t it a beauty?” Jim got it onto his back to carry it to the smokehouse.

That night Charley Wyman stayed to supper at Smith’s. It was too late to get back to Charlevoix. The men washed up and waited in the front room for supper.

“Ain’t there something left in that crock, Jimmy?” A.J. Smith asked, and Jim went out to the wagon in the barn and fetched in the jug of whiskey the men had taken hunting with them. It was a four gallon jug and there was quite a little slopped back and forth in the bottom. Jim took a long pull on his way back to the house. It was hard to lift such a big jug up to drink out of it. Some of the whiskey ran down on his shirt front. The two men smiled when Jim came in with the jug. A.J. Smith sent for glasses and Liz brought them. A.J. poured out three big shots.

“Well, here’s looking at you, A.J.,” said Charley Wyman.

“That damn big buck, Jimmy,” said A.J.

“Here’s all the ones we missed, A.J.,” said Jim, and downed his liquor.

“Tastes good to a man.”

“Nothing like it this time of year for what ails you.”

“How about another, boys?”

“Here’s how, A.J.”

“Down the creek, boys.”

“Here’s to next year.”

Jim began to feel great. He loved the taste and the feel of whiskey. He was glad to be back to a comfortable bed and warm food and the shop. He had another drink. The men came in to supper feeling hilarious but acting very respectable. Liz sat at the table after she put on the food and ate with the family. It was a good dinner. The men ate seriously. After supper they went into the front room again and Liz cleaned up with Mrs. Smith. Then Mrs. Smith went upstairs and pretty soon Smith came out and went upstairs too. Jim and Charley were still in the front room. Liz was sitting in the kitchen next to the stove pretending to read a book and thinking about Jim. She didn’t want to go to bed yet because she knew Jim would be coming out and she wanted to see him as he went out so she could take the way he looked up to bed with her.

She was thinking about him hard and then Jim came out. His eyes were shining and his hair was a little rumpled. Liz looked down at her book. Jim came over back of her chair and stood there and she could feel him breathing and then he put his arms around her. Her breasts felt plump and firm and the nipples were erect under his hands. Liz was terribly frightened, no one had ever touched her, but she thought, “He’s come to me finally. He’s really come.”

She held herself stiff because she was so frightened and did not know anything else to do and then Jim held her tight against the chair and kissed her. It was such a sharp, aching, hurting feeling that she thought she couldn’t stand it. She felt Jim right through the back of the chair and she couldn’t stand it and then something clicked inside of her and the feeling was warmer and softer. Jim held her tight hard against the chair and she wanted it now and Jim whispered, “Come on for a walk.”

Liz took her coat off the peg on the kitchen wall and they went out the door. Jim had his arm around her and every little way they stopped and pressed against each other and Jim kissed her. There was no moon and they walked ankle-deep in the sandy road through the trees down to the dock and the warehouse on the bay. The water was lapping in the piles and the point was dark across the bay. It was cold but Liz was hot all over from being with Jim. They sat down in the shelter of the warehouse and Jim pulled Liz close to him. She was frightened. One of Jim’s hands went inside her dress and stroked over her breast and the other hand was in her lap. She was very frightened and didn’t know how he was going to go about things but she snuggled close to him. Then the hand that felt so big in her lap went away and was on her leg and started to move up it.

“Don’t, Jim,” Liz said. Jim slid the hand further up.

“You musn’t, Jim. You musn’t.” Neither Jim nor Jim’s big hand paid any attention to her.

The boards were hard. Jim had her dress up and was trying to do something to her. She was frightened but she wanted it. She had to have it but it frightened her.

“You musn’t do it, Jim. You musn’t.”

“I got to. I’m going to. You know we got to.”

“No we haven’t, Jim. We ain’t got to. Oh, it isn’t right. Oh, it’s so big and it hurts so. You can’t. Oh, Jim. Jim. Oh.”

The hemlock planks of the dock were hard and splintery and cold and Jim was heavy on her and he had hurt her. Liz pushed him, she was so uncomfortable and cramped. Jim was asleep. He wouldn’t move. She worked out from under him and sat up and straightened her skirt and coat and tried to do something with her hair. Jim was sleeping with his mouth a little open. Liz leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. He was still asleep. She lifted his head a little and shook it. He rolled his head over and swallowed. Liz started to cry. She walked over to the edge of the dock and looked down to the water. There was a mist coming up from the bay. She was cold and miserable and everything felt gone. She walked back to where Jim was lying and shook him once more to make sure. She was crying.

“Jim,” she said. “Jim. Please, Jim.”

Jim stirred and curled a little tighter. Liz took off her coat and leaned over and covered him with it. She tucked it around him neatly and carefully. Then she walked across the dock and up the steep sandy road to go to bed. A cold mist was coming up through the woods from the bay.

Image via Tour Hemingway’s Michigan

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The Bullet Shop
July 17, 2014

BEWARE: the post-punk band of boys called Eagulls aren’t what they seem! Their music is intense, their videos are dark, and their shows are chaotic, but in person they’re sweet and sincere (unless they’re making fun of us and we just can’t catch it through their delightful accents). They glamoured us on the new episode of Everything is Embarrassing, which is more embarrassing than usual, since we got locked out of our own set (the dearly missed BULLETT Shop). We spent several sweaty hours scouting the city for a shady tree to film underneath, until we realized trees don’t have outlets. Luckily, Black Tree NYC does and let us film there instead. (The Black Tree folks are as generous as their sandwiches are delicious).

Anyway, if you’re still reading stop now and start watching. And If you’ve got a dilemma you want addressed on the show, write to advice@bullettmedia.com or tweet at @teahacic.

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The Bullet Shop
July 16, 2014

Four years ago today Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom posted the first picture to the site. Can you guess what it was of?

OK, have you registered your guess? Have you printed out and signed your official guess form, had it notarized and sealed? Are you confident in your guess? There are a few different directions you could’ve gone here. Maybe rethink it? No. It’s too late for that now. You’ve walked down this path and there’s no turning back. It’s a metaphor for life, really. We make choices and we like with them, for good or ill, and we grow and learn. Or, more likely, we do not. We go on making dumb choices until the final choice we’re given in our odd eighty years or so on earth: we choose to stop living. We die.

Anyway, the first Instagram ever? Was it a plate of brunch? Was it hot dog legs on the beach? Was it someone’s dumb-ass face?

It was not.

It was a dog. Also a foot. Thus setting the tone for Instagram for years to come.

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The Bullet Shop
July 15, 2014

Fair warning, just listening to this recording gave me PTSD. In it Ryan Block, a tech reporter for AOL, tries, very calmly, to get a Comcast customer service rep to cancel his service. The lengths the rep goes to to obfuscate, keep him on the line, and passive-aggressively undermine his very clear decision as a consumer are insane. You’ve likely experienced this sort of thing yourself, which helps explain why the audio clip has so many tens of thousands of plays right now. It’s downright Kafkaesque. Block, who has confirmed that the recording is real, and in no way a hoax, (I believe him, unlike in most viral shit like this), explained the scenario on his SoundCloud page:

Please note: this conversation starts about 10 minutes in — by this point my wife and I are both completely flustered by the oppressiveness of the rep. So! Last week my wife called to disconnect our service with Comcast after we switched to another provider (Astound). We were transferred to cancellations (aka “customer retention”). The representative (name redacted) continued aggressively repeating his questions, despite the answers given, to the point where my wife became so visibly upset she handed me the phone. Overhearing the conversation, I knew this would not be very fun. What I did not know is how oppressive this conversation would be. Within just a few minutes the representative had gotten so condescending and unhelpful I felt compelled to record the speakerphone conversation on my other phone. This recording picks up roughly 10 minutes into the call, whereby she and I have already played along and given a myriad of reasons and explanations as to why we are canceling (which is why I simply stopped answering the rep’s repeated question — it was clear the only sufficient answer was “Okay, please don’t disconnect our service after all.”). Please forgive the echoing and ratcheting sound, I was screwing together some speaker wires in an empty living room!

Check it out below, then throw your computer and phone into the wall and run off to live in the forest for the next twenty years.

h/t Mediaite

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The Bullet Shop
July 15, 2014

There’s a good piece from my internet pal Jed Lund on the Guardian today about the ethics of retweets and embedding tweets in blog posts. I humbly suggest you read it. It reminded me of a lot of the points I was trying to make in this piece a couple years ago,  so I’ve reposted it, reblogged it, if you will (can you steal from yourself?) because a lot of it seems truer than ever now. 

I don’t get Tumblr. There are a couple reasons for that. 1) I’m a thousand years old. 2) I’m not a vapid culture vampire incapable of expressing myself in anything other than rudimentary pictogram-like communication, and 3) I’m really old. And yet somehow, without my support, the rapidly growing micro-blogging platform is managing to get by. Around 13 million unique users a month make up about 7 million visits per week across all Tumblrs. To put that in perspective, those numbers place it in the top 10 social media websites in the world. More scientifically speaking, that’s roughly a metric shit-ton of animated black and white tattooed-tits, cunnilingus .gifs and moody, urban sunset landscapes, shared back and forth over and over again.

That micro-blogging modifier is important here to differentiate what Tumblring actually is, mostly because everyone who uses Tumblr has a tiny penis. But also because Tumblring is not blogging. I never thought I’d live to see a type of media that makes the increasingly archaic-seeming act of blogging actually seem high brow, but I suppose I shouldn’t have underestimated the downward spiral of contemporary discourse rotating toilet-like into the cultural shitter.

The distinction is this: While blogs were the old boogey-man of the traditional media, in the way that they allowed millions of hacks like me to quote from other, actual news-gathering outlets’ work, add a wry commentary, ????, then profit, (via the Gawkerization of the internet), the genius of Tumblr is that it streamlines the process, cutting out the actual step where you even need bother trying to add any value of your own. Instead you see something you like, reblog it yourself, then watch as the telephone-game like chain of successive re-blogs steams onward unto infinity. The result is something like this revolutionary contribution to the world of ideas/aesthetics below, to take an example from one Tumblr I recently stumbled on at random:

A fine picture of a wolf, sure. Handsome, majestic even. Who wouldn’t want to host such an elegant piece of lupine photography on their own website? Never mind who took the photo, mind you—that doesn’t really matter in the Tumblr model (which I’ve talked about a lot recently). It’s what follows that is the interesting part.

eee

In three days time that one mostly unremarkable picture received 4,201 “notes.” That means that thousands of other people saw the image posted on another Tumblr and decided, yeah, that’s my shit right there, I need to get in on some of this, then re-posted it to their own specific Tumblr.

This one below got almost twice as many people to shuffle it onwards along the conveyor belt of digital refuse. I’m not even sure it’s from the same Tumblr, after a while they all start to run into one another. That’s exactly the problem.

wewwewe

This sort of thing is par for the course across the hundreds of Tumblrs I’ve looked at over the past couple years. What does any of it mean though? Well, TL;DR: kids are really, really stupid. Not surprisingly, the age of Tumblr users skews pretty young. 50% of them are between the ages of 12-24, a group that makes up only about 23% of overall internet use.

main-qimg-dcd5b92556dfdddc64d229bcf1b4b8e1

Granted, the vast majority of people regardless of age have nothing of value to add to the cultural conversation, but considering the ascendancy of Tumblr culture, it’s hard not to see it as actual, real time data on the further erosion of generational boorishness broadcast and re-broadcast millions of times a week.

It’s the assumed curatorial persona of the typical Tumblr that makes the emptiness of it all the more glaring. What’s the difference between re-blogging a stylized image you deem share-worthy and all the parents in my Facebook feed linking to old YouTube videos of Rolling Stones songs or pretty pictures of horses? Tumblr is simply the elevation of the “like” button to a system of aesthetic aspirations, but it comes with a ready-made set of artistic and design flourishes that render it stylish and artistic, and therefor easy to mistake as symbolically loaded. There’s nothing to say about the photo you re-blogged, because the act of re-blogging says everything that needs to be said. And the message is assumed as understood. Instead of explaining why you like something, the new model is to simply declare it to be liked, the very act of which is a bold declaration of self. I think?

We are, as consumers, after all, simply a collection of preferences, but it seems to me we’re increasingly incapable of explaining what those choices mean, while we lean on them to lend us our online persona, which is increasingly the only persona that matters.

Never mind the crotchety old conservative types criticizing the Occupy movement as evidence of the laziness of the younger generation who expect jobs to be handed to them without actually doing any work. Their argument would be better served on the Tumblr generation, (of which there is a sizable overlap), who expect meaningful artistic expression to be handed to them, without ever having to actually do anything.

Tumblring is the act of doing nothing. There’s zero effort required in maintaining the average Tumblr under the current status quo. As difficult as it may be for young people to understand, “I love lamp” isn’t a philosophy, but that’s essentially what they’re saying every time they re-blog the same limited pool of stylish pictures their friends re-blogged and so on. It’s the culmination of the sampling/information wants to be free culture, and Tumblrs are to blogs as DJs are to musicians — but not even the good kind of DJ, because at least they manipulate the original content in some way.

Your Tumblr then is like a band t-shirt you can wear to class every day, only it has room enough for every band, and every film, and every predictable internet meme you’ve ever heard of all at once. It seems like you’re making a statement about who you are, and what you are, when you curate your tastes online, but ultimately it ends up saying nothing at all besides that you’re tuned into the same channel of static noise as the rest of your peers.

I worry about what that means for our ability to express ourselves in the future, partly because I’m old, and the nature of being old is worrying about things like this, but also because being able to talk about what we like, and why we like things, (and more relevant to my interests, why we dislike things) without simply pushing a button that makes it so is what makes art and media culture so satisfying to enjoy.

Perhaps it’s just a passing phase, something the kids will grow out of, but I’m not so sure. To paraphrase George Orwell (via Miranda July), if you want a vision of the future, picture a blogger posting the same retro film still back and forth. The same poop. Forever. ))<>((

@lukeoneil47

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The Bullet Shop
July 14, 2014

There was never any doubt that the German Men’s National Team’s Sunday night was going to be better than yours, but just how much better you ask? Have a look at the photo below:

That’s Rihanna jamming with ze Germans after their thrilling victory over Argentina in yesterday’s World Cup final. Rihanna, who was a guest of tournament sponsor Budweiser, also got to hang out with world famous boner having goal scorer Mario Götze.

And here she is with all time World Cup leading scorer Miroslav #Klose:

Rihanna was very excited:

Only four more years to see who gets to party with Rihanna next!

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The Bullet Shop
July 11, 2014

Four years ago, LeBron James announced he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers and his home state of Ohio for the blue skies of Miami Beach in the worst way possible. It was called The Decision, and it helped turn a city, a state, and most of a country against him. Now, after two NBA Championships with the star-studded Miami Heat, LeBron James has announced his fairy tale return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the best way possible. It is an as-told-to essay on Sports Illustrated’s website, and even if you’re not a sports fan, it counts as a must-read. It is the rarest thing: a global megastar not yet thirty who somehow manages to remain humble while acknowledging his immense power and responsibility. The essay, which touches on themes forgiveness, family, and hope, is maturity personified. He could go anywhere in the world, and he’s going home to Cleveland. Even if you’re not a sports fan, it’s enough to give you goosebumps. Read his words below.

Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.

Remember when I was sitting up there at the Boys & Girls Club in 2010? I was thinking, This is really tough. I could feel it. I was leaving something I had spent a long time creating. If I had to do it all over again, I’d obviously do things differently, but I’d still have left. Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids. These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Miami as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.

I went to Miami because of D-Wade and CB. We made sacrifices to keep UD. I loved becoming a big bro to Rio. I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And that’s exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys. I’ve talked to some of them and will talk to others. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are brothers for life.  I also want to thank Micky Arison and Pat Riley for giving me an amazing four years.

I’m doing this essay because I want an opportunity to explain myself uninterrupted. I don’t want anyone thinking: He and Erik Spoelstra didn’t get along. … He and Riles didn’t get along. … The Heat couldn’t put the right team together. That’s absolutely not true.

I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work.

When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.

I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when. After the season, free agency wasn’t even a thought. But I have two boys and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown. I looked at other teams, but I wasn’t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.

To make the move I needed the support of my wife and my mom, who can be very tough. The letter from Dan Gilbert, the booing of the Cleveland fans, the jerseys being burned — seeing all that was hard for them. My emotions were more mixed. It was easy to say, “OK, I don’t want to deal with these people ever again.” But then you think about the other side. What if I were a kid who looked up to an athlete, and that athlete made me want to do better in my own life, and then he left? How would I react? I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?

I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010. My patience will get tested. I know that. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. I see myself as a mentor now and I’m excited to lead some of these talented young guys. I think I can help Kyrie Irving become one of the best point guards in our league. I think I can help elevate Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters. And I can’t wait to reunite with Anderson Varejao, one of my favorite teammates.

But this is not about the roster or the organization. I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.

In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.

I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.

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The Bullet Shop
July 10, 2014

Montreal is what New York City used to bea cheap, creative haven for artists, musicians and their lazy friends. No wonder it’s the home of slime-core metal band STEVE JROn our new episode of Everything is Embarrassing the group’s lead, Corbin Ordel, tells us about that time he only dated a girl for her DVDS and that other time he covered himself in dirt.

If you’ve got an embarrassing question for the show, write us at advice@bullettmedia.com or tweet at our host @teahacic !

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The Bullet Shop
July 10, 2014

Ryan Gosling is going to do fatherhood, and like everything else Ryan Gosling does, it’s going to be effortless. To show you just how effortless it will be, we’ve put together a string of photos of Ryan Gosling being perfect with children.

ryan1

Notice the 43 degree angle he’s holding the bottle at. Baby scientists agree this is the best angle.

ryan2

Here he is with the actual mother of his child, Eva Mendes. Notice how everything is perfect.

ryan3

Notice here how Ryan perfectly manages to shield his fake baby’s face from creepy picture takers. He will have to do this a lot IRL.

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Here Ryan perfectly has his arm around his woman while perfectly performing the complicated left armpit baby hold, known as the most challenging of all the baby holds.

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When Ryan’s kid does age, he will become a perfect tube sled thing partner.

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Ryan wears t-shirt perfectly, but his baby hold here is actually putting too much pressure on the lungs, collapsing our entire theory of Ryan Gosling being the perfect dad. Nevermind.

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The Bullet Shop
July 9, 2014

I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but somewhere along the way, I picked up a following among this weird class of neo-conservative man-bloggers, blogging man-ily about important issues facing today’s put-upon manful men. Maybe the poor little fellas followed me home from a certain “hipster racist” site I used to write for? Regardless, I feel like I’ve been walking around with a piece of aggro-toilet paper stuck to my shoe from an innocuous political poop I don’t remember taking.

Being the innocent-until-proven-guilty sort, that means I tend to blindly follow-back the people who follow and re-tweet me and share my links and so forth—it’s just how my grandmother internet-raised me. As a result, I’m continually subjected to posts about the most important issue facing men on the internet today: how to be an alpha male. I had no idea this was such a pressing concern.

It’s hard to say exactly what it is that defines an alpha male, and being someone who couldn’t possibly care less whether or not my masculinity is validated by strangers online (I just want them to think I’m funny and skinny), I haven’t really given the matter much introspection. That’s cute, I’d think, ignoring the progression of post titles in my Twitter feed like Feminism: Contributing Factor to Obesity.

Being something of a masochist, I finally decided to dig into this sub-genre of reasoned cultural commentary to see what lessons, if any, we can discern about the contemporary male. There are so many sites like this, and they’re all interconnected, sharing each other’s bro-talk back and forth, over and over, in a never-ending bro-fisted Ouroboros. And because I want to unload some of the pressure on my brain, I now need to pass the pain of reading them onto you before I die of horror. It’s like that killer video tape from The Ring, but instead of a scared little ghost-girl crawling out of the TV, the villain here is a lonely bro dripping buffalo sauce onto his tits and taking his boner-frustration out on the rest of us.

Here are some key things to keep in mind if you’d like to become an alpha male:

Sluts are slutty

This is a bit confusing, because the primary goal of an alpha male seems to be putting oneself in a position to have sex with as many women as possible. Once sexed-upon, however, these women are no longer viable sex partners. Something called Professor Mentu explains for us on The University Of Man, which doesn’t sound accredited but I’m going to have to check. It’s in Texas, surprisingly.

A man with options would never pay the ultimate price of commit [sic] for a born again virgin fucktoy. A man with options would never let his son’s first home be a womb that has seen more traffic than I-35 during rush hour. A man with options would never allow the first kiss his newborn son receives to come from lips that have hosted lotsa cocka. A man with options would never let his son’s first nourishment come from breasts that can be viewed on any number of cell phone cameras.  A man with options would never let his son’s first throne be the lap of a woman who has been passed around like a blunt at a frat party. A man with options would never be a dickstand for a woman who squandered her youth and beauty on the men who respected her the least. A man with options would never consider being the last man standing at the end of the long line of conquests she racked up while being the Grand Marshal of a rather impressive cock parade.

It seems awfully focused on cock here, but ok, point taken. Alphas want lots of sex, but when it comes time to settle down, they want a virgin. That’s nothing new for men, right? But like everything else in the annals of manliness, it isn’t very well thought out. It reminds me of a scene in some horror movie where the vampires have almost tapped out the supply of human meat in their orgy of feeding, and there’s no one left to prey upon. Should’ve planned ahead better on that one bros, kept a few virgins in the fridge or what have you.

Blowjobs = power
Even more important to an alpha than intercourse is getting a blowjob. Let’s check in with Krauser PUA for some insight on this, in his think piece Don’t trust girls who won’t offer blowjobs.

So long as a girl has one foot outside the relationship, some island of independence and non-submission to your authority, she will remain a flight risk and will be less fun to be with.” Only way to be sure she’s fully on board then is to get her on her knees. “Never trust a girl who wont get on her knees and suck your cock whenever you demand it. Ideally she will proactively offer. Blowjobs, among normal non-slutty chicks, are more submissive and a greater signal of soul-surrender than sexual intercourse. Don’t ever believe a woman who claims she dislikes or is ideologically opposed to putting a man’s cock in her mouth.

Lest you think our man here is some sort of brute, he gives some good advice on how to establish a healthy non-fellatio-based relationship, too.

Girls love to create special secrets that only the two of you share such as pet names, running gags, and predicting each other’s behaviour. She’ll begin pushing a pet name onto you in text messages and beaming with joy when you call her monkeypants or Little Miss Sandwich or a hamster. If she tells you you’re being childish, she’s still got a foot outside.

Woh, what if she comes up with a pet name for your giant dick? That’s like double alpha power right there. Convince your girlfriend to do that, I guess. One way you could achieve that:

Amateur psychology

You’ll probably get sick of her woman-whining before you do her woman-vagining though, am I right guys? That’s why you need a lesson on how to break up with her, like this one from The Alpha Person. The “hope retaining break up,” he says, is a pro-level alpha move.

A hope retaining break up is where you cut things off with a girl in such a way that she still has a reasonable hope that you will return to her so that you are able to continue to sleep with her.  Before you start to get angry and shout about how this is wrong and its manipulating her and stringing her along, let me cut you off and say: This is totally manipulative and it strings her along.  Just know that it wont work forever, and once the jig is up she’ll never speak to you again.

TOO LATE FOR HER THOUGH YOU ALREADY DRANK THAT SHIT DRY.

Violence = dominance = uh, more blow jobs?

Seems like there’s a lot of focus on blow jobs in this boring oeuvre. Here’s Danger and Play on Asserting Ownership.

The question isn’t whether women want to be dominated. The question is whether you are man enough to dominate them. During sex, most men don’t talk. Distracted by feelings of inadequacy, they feel like a new guy at the company: “I’d better not say anything that might fuck this up.” And so the first step towards establishing dominance in your relationship is to talk during sex.

Talking during sex actually isn’t bad advice, to be honest. The rest, though, is, uh…

The easiest way to assert your dominance is to stop asking her what she wants, and start telling her what to do. Issuing commands is a good way to warm her up. Right away you are telling her what to do, criticizing her, and finally praising her. More subtly, you are creating the tone. She exists for your sexual pleasure. She exists to please you. Most women are extremely turned up when a man tells them what to do. In fact, only once has a woman said, “No, I’m not going to change positions.” I stopped, rolled off. “Oh, shit. So you’re into boring sex, huh?” She immediately felt insecure and then did what she was told.

In other words, “this one time I had sex and I told a girl what to do then I wrote about it on the internet.” Cool story.

Irony doesn’t exist

Like I said, I don’t have the entire alpha male thing figured out just yet, but one thing I’m pretty sure we can say right off the bat that is generally pretty damned alpha is having access to $150 bucks. Oddly, most of these guys don’t have—what’s it called?—the barest amount of basic self-awareness, so you can see where a plea like this one above, from Alpha Person, would be a problem.

Dominating men helps you on your path toward dominating women

You will be surprised to know that all of these dudes are MMA fans. Because the only thing more hetero-manly than dominating a woman in the bedroom is dominating another man with your big sweaty muscles. Beating someone up is like a metaphorical blow job another straight dude gives you. There’s nothing more alpha than that.

Time machines would be awesome

Contemporary American women are too entitled, what with their cushy school teacher jobs and disinterest in dancing with this one dude I’m about to tell you about. Real women, women like our grandmothers, they knew how to treat a fella: with deference. Check out this one obvious bitch who didn’t even want to dance with this one guy. He had to retreat into the arms of an 89-year-old woman to find what he needed.

Then I ask a 24 year old if she wants to dance.  She says yes, fights me every inch of the way while I’m trying to lead, and then when I want to move across the floor (2 stepping) she says, “no, I don’t want to go out there!” and she walks off the floor telling me to ask her friend to dance in the middle of the bleeping song.

And would it kill some of these women to dress like, you know womenThis poor fella went to the store one night and the women shopping there somehow forgot that every time they leave the house they’re supposed to be offering themselves up to the discerning eye of the alpha male gaze.

Wandering around the store collecting my items I started counting the number of women wearing a sweatshirt and jeans.  Keeping a tally in my head: sweats and jeans 1, something else 0. As the number wearing sweats and jeans continued to rise and the number of something else stayed at zero, I started to become bemused.  Finally as I walked out the door I saw one little girl, probably about five, wearing a dress.  Just one out of two dozen or more….in our modern feminist utopia and overly casual society, women have lost something important.  Just as the trad-cons are always chirping that men need to man up, it is time to turn that tired meme on its ear and reply that women need to do their part too.  Women need to dress and act more feminine for in that they will realize their true power and happiness….A truly feminine woman in appearance and attitude is so rare these days.  When I do see one it is guaranteed to turn my head.

A real alpha just wants women to be happy, you see. Not comfortable, of course, but happy.

Cry about every fucking thing on your blog

Our man from the store above closes out his post with a little advice for the ladies on how to act. “The rest is personality and attitude,” he says. “Hard, bitchy, competitive, angry, rude, and conniving behavior is extremely unflattering. Acting like the world is out to get you and you’re perpetually a victim doesn’t help either.”

Solid advice, bro. Solid advice indeed.

Tell Luke O’Neil he’s a pussy on Twitter.

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