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Who Goes Red Pill? A sequel to Dorothy Thompson’s Nazi-guessing parlor game

Take the fucking blue pill

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By David Futrelle

In 1941, writer Dorothy Thompson invented what she described as “an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game” called “Who Goes Nazi?” The idea was simple: the next time you’re at a party, or some other social gathering, take a look at those around you and try to guess which ones would, “in a showdown … go Nazi.”

You don’t do this out loud, of course, unless you really want to be punched.

The game feels as relevant at this point in history as it was when Thompson wrote her classic Harper’s essay explaining the rules of the game and offering a series of descriptions of the assorted social types she thought would (or most definitely would not) turn into literal Nazis when the chips were down — from the bank vice president who “has risen beyond his real abilities by virtue of health, good looks, and being a good mixer” (definitely a Nazi in embryo) to the downwardly mobile editor who manages to be intellectual without being a snob about it, about whom Thompson remarks that she “will put my hand in the fire that nothing on earth could ever make him a Nazi.”

Thompson’s portraits of these assorted social types, and her theories about who would and wouldn’t go Nazi, are a little too pat for my tastes; she basically thinks that nice people are immune to Nazism while mean and bitter types are drawn to it like moths to a lamp.

“Kind, good, happy, gentlemanly, secure people never go Nazi,” she wrote.

They may be the gentle philosopher whose name is in the Blue Book, or Bill from City College to whom democracy gave a chance to design airplanes—you’ll never make Nazis out of them. But the frustrated and humiliated intellectual, the rich and scared speculator, the spoiled son, the labor tyrant, the fellow who has achieved success by smelling out the wind of success—they would all go Nazi in a crisis.

Not far from the truth, I think, just a little oversimplified.

Still, the game itself is genius.

Over the last couple of years, for obvious reasons, Thompson’s article has been resurrected and passed around on social media, and several writers have proposed modern updates of her famous game, from the “office edition” to one focused on media figures. The only trouble with playing the game now is that so many of those who would have gone gone Nazi in Thompson’s day already have, in ours.

While the original game is still worth playing, let me propose an alternate version that might be even more entertaining for readers of this blog: Who Goes Red Pill?

Think of the various people you’ve recently met — in real life or online — and try to figure out who among them is most likely to embrace the toxic misogynistic ideology that unites the otherwise disparate groups that make up the manosphere, from MRAs to MGTOWS to incels to PUAs. What personality traits do they exhibit? What behaviors are obvious (or not-so-obvious) tells?

Are they NiceGuys (TM) stewing in aggrieved entitlement? Do they like South Park maybe a little bit too much? Do they get suspiciously angry about female superheroes? Are they fans of Pewdiepie, or Joe Rogan, or Jordan Peterson? Do they complain that women are sexually harassing them by wearing yoga pants? Do they know more than Chris Hansen does about age-of-consent laws? Do they describe themselves as “equity feminists” or “egalitarians?”

The game is a little trickier than it might at first appear. Some of these Jordan-Peterson-loving NiceGuys have already swallowed the Red Pill (and sometimes have even embraced the even more nilhilistic Black Pill), thus disqualifying them as candidates for the game.

Others may exhibit several seemingly obvious tells — but their flirtation with the Red Pill may end up being little more than a passing phase. I’m not sure I quite understand just what makes one person a Red-Pill-swallower and another a Red-Pill-spitter-outer. But maybe you do.

Share your own thoughts below as to what personality types you think are most drawn to the Red Pill (or to Nazism, if you’d prefer to play the original version). Let the games begin!

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Naglfar
Naglfar
9 months ago

@Anonymous

If you want to learn, it’s best to stay quiet and observe before running your mouth. To follow Catalpa’s comparison, the teacher doesn’t like it when you claim to know more than they do or insist that the curriculum is wrong.

In my 7th grade ancient civilizations test there was a unit about ancient Israel and the teacher had a rather inaccurate description of Judaism (he also pronounced it wrong). As the only Jewish student, I tried to correct him but like you said he got very mad, even though I was right he felt he had to mansplain it all to us.

Naglfar
Naglfar
9 months ago

@StaceySmartyPantsTwiceRemoved
If you do make that blog, give me a link. I’d be interested to read it. A BDSM blog example to take inspiration from could be The Pervocracy, created by Cliff Pervocracy, who used to comment here. Sadly, it’s no longer updated, but the archives can give you some idea of how to blog about BDSM.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
9 months ago

@ naglfar

created by Cliff Pervocracy,

Is that just a wonderful example of nominative determinism?

@ stacey

I’d be interested if you blog. Just to follow your adventures with your plinth!

Naglfar
Naglfar
9 months ago

@Alan Robertshaw
His real last name is Jerrison (I think), so sadly no, it’s not nominative determinism. It would be great if his last name was Pervocracy.

IronCthulhu
IronCthulhu
9 months ago

@Stacey

You are still a jerk and I’m not apologizing to you.

So? Did I make you think I was extending an olive branch to you or something?

@Rhuu
@Catalpa
@Anonymous

Are you being intentionally dense? I said I came to learn about feminists not feminism. There’s plenty of source material about feminism already. I even bought a new book about it recently.

I came to see how much that I hear about actual feminists is caricature from the manosphere & how much is real. I can get a sense of that just by taking part in conversations, which it is perfectly possible to do without trolling. My answer to the question of this post was my real answer. It doesn’t matter if you think the reasons are stupid/wrong/badly thought out. They’re the reasons. The reasons were what was being asked for. I gave them.

Naglfar
Naglfar
9 months ago

@TinCanCthulhu

I even bought a new book about it recently.

So even you admit you were never here in good faith. Though I must say, I don’t think anyone thought you were in the first place.

I can get a sense of that just by taking part in conversations, which it is perfectly possible to do without trolling.

Then stop trolling and either take part in conversations in good faith (if you’re capable) or fuck off.

Catalpa
Catalpa
9 months ago

@Iron Cthulhu

Yeah, I’m not buying it, man. There is literally a decade worth of feminist conversation recorded on this blog. You could easily observe without getting involved, something that would take a lot less effort on your part and include a lot less bias.

If you’re trying to learn about the natural behavior of something, then it’s better to observe without interfering. Do you even science, bro?

If you were curious about a particular view or mindset we held, you could have just asked us. But no, you came in here to share your unsolicited opinions instead. You didn’t come here to learn, you came here to stir shit.

IronCthulhu
IronCthulhu
9 months ago

@Catalpa

Pretty sure the opinion was solicited actually, unless what you mean is you wanted your own opinions reflected back to you and that I broke your sacred unspoken rule.

Plus it’s more interesting to interact. Sometimes that means asking direct explicit questions to people, and at other times it means reading between the lines.

Do you even science, bro?

What, you thinking I’m writing a dissertation on feminists or something? You think I’m sitting here in a lab coat and I’m “sciencing”? I’m here for my own informal curiosity.

Catalpa
Catalpa
9 months ago

Pretty sure the opinion was solicited actually

If we want to go the “well, acshually” route, then I can be pedantic too. David requested hypotheses on what kind of personality type would go Red Pill. You included a hypothesis about what kind of experiences men might go through (such as “divorce rape”) that would cause them to go Red Pill, which was not the question at all.

Ergo, your opinion was unsolicited.

You think I’m sitting here in a lab coat and I’m “sciencing”?

No, as I said before, I think you’re one of those dudes who thinks that “learning” means pontificating about their opinions and not listening to what anyone else might have to say that differs from that.

And none of your behavior has done anything to disabuse me of that notion.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

In the early days of the blog there was a troll that claimed to have secretly been a sociology class observing feminists. So this trolling method has been done before, and done much better.

IronCthulhu
IronCthulhu
9 months ago

@weirwoodtreehugger

I don’t science very gud.

@Catalpa

Ergo, your opinion was unsolicited.

Kind of a hair-split but whatever. I’m lurking until there’s another thread I care to respond to. Have yourselves a drink. I know I am.

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
9 months ago

@IronCthulhu –

Are you being intentionally dense? I said I came to learn about feminists not feminism.

Okay, let’s go back to what you said.

I actually came here because I’m tired of hearing about you feminists/leftists second-hand from screenshots on tumblr & whatnot.

Okay, so TECHNICALLY you said you wanted to learn about feminists, but this is like if you were to go to a blog about about Star Trek, to learn about trekkies.

How do you expect to understand what people are talking about, the in-group jargon, the shared ideas, without actually engaging with the overall source material?

Like, you’ll understand that there is a group of people who wear uniforms, and that red is sometimes (but not always) a bad colour to be wearing. You’ll learn that something called a ‘holodeck’ likes to try to kill people.

Maybe you’ll learn that Patrick Stewart (not sure how you’ll understand who he is or his relation to Star Trek, without knowing anything about Star Trek) couldn’t play the flute, so for some of those scenes it’s SOMEONE ELSE’S HANDS??? XD XD XD

https://twitter.com/Foone/status/1095186939437699072

But it’s like when you’re in a room where everyone does a specific type of work, and they’re all talking about it. How do you make any sense of what their saying? Do you understand who they’re talking about? Can you contribute to the conversation, when your understanding is basic, at best?

TL;DR – If you’re wanting to learn what drew people to this particular thing, why are you not actually learning about the thing?

Re – the book you linked. I’m pretty sure you are just trolling at this point, honestly. Why else would you link to a book that is “WHY THIS IS BAD AND HAS WRECKED SOCIETY, THE BOOK”? Did you think you’d earn brownie points for linking to a book about a skewed interpretation of feminism?

You think I’m sitting here in a lab coat and I’m “sciencing”?

HMM, let’s again go back to what you wrote…

I want to study you up close.

HMMM WHO STUDIES THINGS? Hmmmm why would they study things? HMM HMMM HMMMMMMMM!
comment image

Maybe you honestly don’t realise how transparent your biases are, but lemme just break this shit right down for you. If you keep going like this, we’ll get tired of you, and you’ll get banned. Then you’ll interact with whatever MRA/alt-right/redpill/whatever people you interact with, crowing that you TRIED to talk to the feminists, you really did, but then they banned you because they can’t handle your Truth Bombs, or something.

And they will clap, and you will go “what were they expecting? Driving me away!” and you’ll go on thinking that half of the population on the planet is worth less than you are.

It’s a tired old tale, honestly.

Maybe something will click, and you’ll learn something, but people typically don’t work like that.

Prove me wrong, I guess.

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
9 months ago

On the topic of pills (though they’re not red), I have a cautiously optimistic update on my medication situation.

I looked for whether there was any OTC medication out there that was chemically highly similar to Zantac (ranitidine), and decided to test Pepcid AC (famotidine) for a while. And … it seems to share the former’s side effect of preventing those terrible cramps, at least so far. I’m somewhat surprised, especially since the therapeutic dosage for heartburn is wildly different (only 10 mg vs. 150). Since completely “random” side effects (from different bits of the molecule) would not be expected to follow the same pattern (if the bit that’s an H2 blocker and the bit that prevents the cramps were different, why would a medication where the first bit is 15 times more potent, gram for gram, happen to have the other bit also be about the same amount more potent?) then there seems to be circumstantial evidence that blocking H2 itself is what blocks the cramps, which has two major implications: that the cramps are somehow being caused by an H2 mediated pathway and that any heartburn med that works by blocking H2 might be a viable substitute. (The only alternative seems improbable, which would be that the molecular weight of ranitidine is 15x that of famotidine, so the 15-fold drop in gram dosage is just shedding molecular deadweight rather than anything to do with the active part binding more strongly or anything. Unlikely because these are all typically smallish molecules in a similar overall size range.)

I’ll be sticking with Pepcid for now, as it’s inexpensive and seems effective. But I do of course expect something to happen soon to try to obstruct me from obtaining it, since I expect the near future to resemble the near past. With any luck I can stay a step ahead for a year or two by jumping to other OTC H2 inhibitors, if my hypothesis is correct, and if whatever force is opposed to my avoiding those cramps has any limitations at all maybe they’ll be reached before it can simultaneously keep every H2 inhibitor off the market. (And if not, it doing something of that magnitude should Summon Bigger Fish, as an entire category-by-function of meds disappearing would surely be so unusual as to draw attention from the press and various governments.)

More interestingly, since I initially was prescribed ranitidine for heartburn now a year and a half or so ago, my free-running sleep disorder seems to have been less severe, with me able to stay in approximate sync with the society around me for significantly longer stretches, interspersed with shorter periods out-of-sync. I suspect another beneficial side effect of the medication — and this one also seems to be shared with famotidine, pointing to H2 having a role in my circadian disruptions as well, somehow. This makes me wonder if I have some sort of H2 overactivity problem rather than the presumed garden-variety hiatal hernia common among middle-aged men.

Pointing away from this explanation is that the problems developed at separate times. The sleep disorder was first (and may in fact have been lifelong as I was never easy to rouse in the morning as a child), though it has changed shape over time (in my 20s it manifested as essentially demiphasic sleep: 12-14 hours asleep in one block in a 48-hour-long cycle, but shifted to a rolling “broken v-hold on an old TV” lack of synchronization in my 30s, with my clock advancing by about two hours a day (apparently close to the average for the people, most of them blind, with free-running syndrome). It could just be further mutating with age, but two of the recent “roll and wrap around” events coincided with disruptions to my medication where I had to ration the dosage due to this whole on-going access-obstruction saga. The cramps started in my late 30s, and the heartburn only the summer before last.

Frankly, I don’t really know what the heck is going on with this stuff. It’d sure be nice if I still had a doctor I could go to and ask about it, but Doug Ford had other plans.

Speaking of whom, I am increasingly certain he’s to blame for my ongoing hydro woes. In 2019 there have been four major (multi-hour) blackouts here, as many in that year as in the preceding ten, and the number of cumulative hours without power here in 2019 significantly exceeds the total number in the preceding decade. Clearly there has been a huge drop-off in QA somewhere, and the local distribution monopoly has blamed the provincial provider, Hydro One, for all four of the major incidents. I’m inclined to believe them, because of the timing. The sharp drop in quality coincides almost precisely with Ford cheating his way into Queen’s Park. The first of the recent four blackouts, and the worst, occurred three months after the election, but there were warning signs earlier. We get fairly common brief outages (seconds long) during the summers here — some of them attributable to weather (lightning storms, especially ones with also some high winds) but some of them in clear calm weather. Both weather-induced and idiopathic brief outages normally drop off to almost none in around October-November, with the few that do occur usually attributable to winds and freezing rain sufficient to bring down tree branches. In November 2018, however, the brief outages retained their summer frequency, and did all through the following winter. What was different? Hydro One was (at least indirectly) being run by Ford instead of Wynne. Nothing else, such as the severity of weather, seemed different. And now there have been four major outages, of which one just a week or so ago (the worst weather occurring at the time being about 2cm of snowfall and moderate winds, maybe 30 kph peak gusts — very common winter weather, and the power has always stayed rock-steady through comparable snowfalls and wind gusts before, so the weather cannot be to blame for this one). The obvious conclusion is that Ford has had Hydro One cutting corners in some manner — with the consequences that twice last summer I was forced to go hungry until late by blackouts that started before dinnertime and continued well into the evening, and two other times I nearly froze to death.

Is there any way to get rid of Ford early, or else force him to restore Hydro One and then keep his greedy paws the fuck off of it, and off of Ontatio’s healthcare system, for the rest of his term? I don’t particularly enjoy the prospect of either freezing or starving, TYVM, and I would love to have a doctor again, too.

Catalpa
Catalpa
9 months ago

@Iron Cthulhu

Kind of a hair-split but whatever.

It really, really isn’t. “What kind of personality traits lead to someone being susceptible to the Red Pill” and “what kind of experiences cause someone to take the Red Pill” are only similar in the most superficial of ways, in that they’re both arguably related to the reason why there are so many misogynists running around.

However, your answer to “what kind of experiences cause someone to take the Red Pill” presupposes that ALL men are just one bad experience (and it’s always a bad experience caused by a woman, funny how that works) from deciding to hate an entire half of the population, and it’s just a matter that some men haven’t had those experiences inflicted on them (yet) by terrible, nasty women.

You seem to believe yourself to be a smart guy, I wonder if you can work out why feminists might not take kindly to this hypothesis.

Viscaria
Viscaria
9 months ago

A li’l collection of IronCthulhu quotes:

Besides the point for the purposes of this post. It’s one of the things that causes men to take the redpill. That was the question I was answering.

Again, I was answering a question about who it is that goes redpill. It doesn’t matter if you think the reasons are justified ones. Irrelevant.

Irrelevant. I was answering the question of who goes redpill, not making a pitch for it.

It doesn’t matter if you think the reasons are stupid/wrong/badly thought out. They’re the reasons. The reasons were what was being asked for.

It seems as if you don’t understand the difference between “this is irrelevant” and “I don’t personally want to talk about this.”

It does matter if the reasons you gave were good or not. It’s relevant to the larger discussion of how misogynists think. It goes to the question of whether you’re here in good faith.

It also matters that you’re pushing a false narrative of how divorce affects men financially and that you’re doing so using language that is deliberately intended to trivialize rape. It just doesn’t matter to you.

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