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The greatest incel anthem ever was written and recorded by Chads

In 1967, these men were considered quite dashing

By David Futrelle

“Here Comes My Baby,” is a deceptively cheerful-sounding song of unrequited love, written by Cat Stevens when he was a teenager. And it has the stink of high school heartbreak all over it. It occurs to me that it might be the ultimate incel anthem.

You may be familiar with Cat Stevens’ own version of the song from the soundtrack of Rushmore — a movie also redolent of teen heartbreak. But the first version of the song was recorded and released by a group called The Tremeloes. And it went something like this:

The song hints at the sadness hiding beneath its perky exterior in the very first lines, as a young man, “in the midnight moonlight [walks] a long and lonely mile.” But it’s the chorus that pulls the rug out from under us, sending us spiraling into pure teenage pathos.

Here comes my baby, here she comes now,
And it comes as no surprise to me, with another guy.

WHAT WHAT WHAT!?

Here comes my baby, here she comes now,
Walking with a love, with a love that’s all so fine,
Never could be mine, no matter how I try.

Now we’re firmly entrenched in incel territory; the bitterness is palpable.

You never walk alone, and you’re forever talking on the phone.

Replace “talking” with “texting” — as Stevens, now Yusuf, apparently does in performance these days — and you’ve got one of every internet misogynist’s favorite complaints about women today.

I’ve tried to call you names, but every time it comes out the same.

Take a trip to incels.co for a long list of suggested names to call women.

The original song had something of a hopeful ending — in which the young protagonist tells himself that in some blessed future time “you’ll be mine to hold each day” — but I kind of like the Tremeloes’ version better, in which the third verse is replaced entirely with whistling. Keeps it more pure, I think.

Here’s Stevens’ recording of the song:

You might have noticed something striking in these videos. Despite the incel-ness of the song itself, the singers don’t exactly fit the stereotype of the incel. The Tremeloes were a handsome bunch, at least by the standards of the day, and Stevens was such a beautiful young man he could have been a male model (the highest state of modern man, according to incels).

Basically, they’re all Chads.

Yet there they are singing what seems to be an incel anthem.

And while the tune itself is mighty catchy, the lyrics themselves seem to have connected to more than a few listeners — enough to make the song a Top Ten hit in the UK and Canada, and an almost-Top-Ten-hit in the US, when it was released in 1967. And people are still listening to it today.

Why? Because you don’t have to be an incel to understand this sort of teenage pathos; we’ve all gone through the maddening, saddening experience of unrequited love (and if you say you haven’t, I don’t believe you). The difference is that most of us don’t turn this teenage pathos into a lifestyle; we ultimately gain a little perspective and move on, and it’s that, not “a few millimeters of bone,” that separate incels from non-incels. We can relate to this song (if perhaps not to its more stalker-ish elements); we just don’t want to crawl up inside it and live there.

Send tips to dfutrelle at gmail dot com.

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Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
6 months ago

I really should check this site more often, so that on every incel post, i can pre-emptively post:

HEY, so posters, i know that some of you identify with these men and their loneliness and hard-luck in love. We don’t need to hear about how you

a) sympathise with incels. They harass and literally murder people, you know.

B) would have been one, if the internet had existed when you were a teen. Great! Happy to hear that, in this space. They murder people, you know.

C) want to explain why some people (cis men) would behave that way. We know. We all know why. We’ve heard the songs too. We’ve read the books centering their experiences. We’ve watched the films, we’ve talked to people who believe this, we’ve been the targets of people who are neck deep in this. In short: this is not some mysterious viewpoint that needs explanation.

The concept of “our culture pushes an unreasonable expectation of manhood and masculinity which has personal and social consequences to both believe in and push against” isn’t something new.

We. Know.

It’s toxic masculinity. This is toxic masculinity.

D) Not Just Cis Men experience social isolation, loneliness, and unrequieted interest. But weirdly, it seems to be mainly cis men who create these circle jerk groups, that again, MURDER PEOPLE.

In conclusion: Maaaaaaybe, and i’m just spit balling here, you should think about how your sympathy with LITERAL MURDERERS makes the people who are routinely targeted by LITERAL MURDERERS feel?

If you want to discuss the toxic masculinity that was prevelent in your youth, perhaps come at it from the ‘holy shit this is toxic’ angle.

“Jeez when i was younger, things were so toxic that i can understand where they are coming from. How have things not changed yet? How can i work to unlearn the behaviours i have, that contribute to this? How can i support young men in my life, so they understand that women are more than a two dimensional stereotype, but are real people you can make a connection with?”

I get that having sympathy for incels is having sympathy for a younger, less aware version of yourself.

I’m glad that the people posting here did not fall into that rabbit hole, through sheer chance. I’m sorry that the people featured on this site were exposed to this extreme version if toxic masculinity when they were vulnerable to it.

I just don’t want to hear how every cis man around me apparently was one link-click away from either cheering on, or turning into, a murderer.

That sucks, folx. That really fucking sucks.

Maybe this space isn’t the right space for that conversation, perhaps?

Allandrel
Allandrel
6 months ago

@Weird Eddie

Anita Sarkeesian: The works we love can have problematic elements. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t love them, just that we have to be aware.

Manbabies: ::deluge of rape threats::

Truly, Both Sides are at fault here.

Naglfar
Naglfar
6 months ago

@Rhuu

I just don’t want to hear how every cis man around me apparently was one link-click away from either cheering on, or turning into, a murderer.

Agreed. It makes me very uncomfortable to know that people around me could have been killers, and the fact that they bring it up implies that some aspect of that still exists.

How can i support young men in my life, so they understand that women are more than a two dimensional stereotype, but are real people you can make a connection with?

Out of curiosity, are there any ideas you (or any other commenters) would recommend on how to do this?

Lainy
Lainy
6 months ago

@naglfar

The man in question has to be willing to see it and accept when his view point is challenged. For example one of the Marines in charge of my husband is a man in his 60 married to a 22 year old. My husband was having some harsh opinions of her marrying this man for money and a security. I looked at him and said “and what? You think this guy married a 22 year old because he loves her? Out of the goodness of his heart? Because he wanted an equal life companion to share things and experiences with. You honestly going to tell me you think this guy married the young woman for all the reason you want to marry me? No honey, if that was true he would have married someone his age or at leasg someone when people looked at him they didn’t think “awe looked at that young lady having dinner with her grandpa”” and that changed his opinion a lot. We live in a sexist society. Some times my husband does sexiest things. Like he holds women to a much more higher moral compass then he does men without even realizing it.

Sheila Crosby
6 months ago

OT: I’m in lockdown along with the rest of Spain.

So far it’s actually quite relaxing. I’m a tour guide and I usually work weekends, but all my customers have cancelled anyway. Since I’m self-employed I don’t get paid, but I was expecting a couple of lean months for other reasons and I’ve been saving up.

Everyone I’ve been in contact with has been quite clear that we’re doing this for the vulnerable people, not for ourselves. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the way people are reacting -with a few inevitable exceptions.

It’s been nice to have writing time and just plain time to breathe. Oh and the cat is snjoying haveing extra laps available.But of course it’s only Day 1

Full Metal Ox
6 months ago

Gonna defend “Walk Away Renee” here; it’s certainly a portrayal of teenage pining and heartbreak, but it’s lacking the defining ingredient of an incel anthem: entitlement.

The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same;
You’re not to blame.

The narrator is still following his beloved, but the impression I get is that he’s maintaining a respectful distance and poses no threat.

And here’s another pining/heartbreak anthem from around the same period: “Make It Easy On Yourself” (my favorite rendition is by the Walker Brothers.) Again, there’s no entitlement involved; the narrator Wants Their Beloved To Be Happy, unsarcastically:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DirmGKf8Ndo

(Personal footnote: this wasn’t in my parents’ household playlist, so I didn’t hear it during its heyday; it took me until the late 90’s to encounter the song, on what was then a local Adult Contemporary radio station; one of my first thoughts was that the singer sounded an awful lot like David Bowie in one of his once-in-a-blue-moon sentimental moods. Turns out that there’s an excellent reason: Scott Walker–not to be confused with the former governor of Wisconsin–was one of Bowie’s idols and major formative influences. As evidence: here’s Bowie’s SEMPAI NOTICED ME!!! reaction to a surprise 50th birthday message from Walker:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V01oQ_BsX00 )

CenterFold
CenterFold
6 months ago

Counterpoint: David Fatrelle is an incel.

CenterFold
CenterFold
6 months ago

Let us consider a day in the life of David Fatrelle.

David Fatrelle sits on the floor in his shithole apartment. He wears his underwear, but his fat obscures his underwear so he appears nude. The glow from his computer, which sits on his sofa, is the only source of light in the apartment. Big Mac wrappers lie scattered about the floor.

Time for some personal amusement. Fatrelle calls up a Jezebel tab, and his dick gets hard immediately. David Fatrelle’s hand goes to his dick. He pumps his dick, slowly at first and then with greater speed. A savior to women. He is a savior to women. He imagines himself getting a Mangina Award, bestowed after he crawls up to the podium on all fours. He ejaculates, his arms flailing in extasy. He pulls his underwear up, which previously showed his asscrack. Time to go back to work.

Naglfar
Naglfar
6 months ago

@CenterFold
Even if a word of that was true (and I don’t think a word of it is), it wouldn’t make him an incel. He doesn’t hate women, therefore he is not an incel.

Full Metal Ox
6 months ago

@ CenterFold:

For somebody with a nom de net like that, you’re a terrible porn writer.

TacticalProgressive
TacticalProgressive
6 months ago

@CenterFold

Oh look at all that projection, ad hominem, petty insults and libel of another persons Character that dosn’t actually apply.

You do realize that engaging in all of the above are logical fallacy’s, red herrings, bad faith arguments and above all: the lowest, weakest and most invalid forms of ‘discourse’: right?

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
6 months ago

@CenterFold
What the actual eff is the effin’ matter with you.

Snowberry
Snowberry
6 months ago

Counter-counter-point: Nobody believes that, also he’s well-known in certain circles, reasonably popular within those circles, and has been quoted in news articles. If he’s an incel, he’s an anti-incel.

(Anti-things are very frequently, though not always, fundamentally the same kind of thing they are anti- of. For example, antimatter is a form of matter, and an antihero is still in some senses a hero.)

Yes, he’s fat. He admits it. He also lives with his cats, and also admits it. He thinks it’s amusing that immature trolls would attack him for that, because he’s not ashamed of it and his fans don’t care. Any other immature ad hominems are purely invented, and even if they were coincidentally correct they’re not particularly believable, and in some cases, not even particularly noteworthy in this environment. For example, if he were to masturbate to Jezebel, that’s a little odd, but more power to him, I guess. I’ve masturbated to weirder things.

Masse_Mysteria
Masse_Mysteria
6 months ago

Let us consider a day in the life of CenterMold.

They sit around moping because they feel others do something valuable with their lives. They’d like some of that feeling of achievement, but that would require that they work for it, and working is hard. Instead, they write something they consider slanderous and post it as a comment on a blog written by someone whose contributions are appreciated by others.

They think someone cares. They’re wrong.

Time to go back to work indeed.

occasional reader
occasional reader
6 months ago

Hello.

Still at work, not yet confined (cross fingers).

Hmm, “stalking” and “unrequited love” songs, there are sadly a lot.

For the “stalking” ones, it had been cited in an old post, but the “Every breath she takes” is a big one, if i remember well.
In the older ones, maybe “La Colegiala” is one, i think.

About the “unrequited love” ones, would you put “Self-Esteem” of The Offspring in it ? I am not sure i understand fully the lyrics.
We have some in France too. One of the most famous (at least, for people of my generation or older), i think, is “Les Bonbons”, from Jacques Brel (he was belgian but sang in french). The song in itself is a satire of creepy behavior, unrequited love and hypocrisis. If you do not understand french, here a quick pitch of it : a man, going out with a woman, brings her bonbons. They go out, and we got his (creepy) view about this, and his disparaging commentaries about another woman, until they arrive in a place where happens to be the real partner of the woman. The last strophe of the song is an almost exact reprise of the first, except it is now adressed to the woman he was speaking ill before. Combined with the talent of Brel, which was singing that with an appropriate slimy voice, even as a child i was able to understand how far it was a bad behavior.
And for the incel-type, from the same author, you have “La chanson de Jacky”, which the main refrain meaning is that the guy would like to be, sometimes, for an hour, be handsome and dumb at the same time (with the implied meaning that it would be that that may get him laid, under the presupposition that women would always prefer handsomeness to smartness).

—–

Speaking about confinement, if some of you would prefer playing multiplayer video games rather than watching movies, and if you have a Steam account, maybe we could play ? If you are interested, say it here, we will find a way to exchange pseudos.

Have a nice day.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
6 months ago

If we talk of french song about unrequited love, I feel necessary to evocate “Tu Dance ?” from the Fatal Picard.

The Fatal Picard are a group appreciated about their ability to cross the line twice, and exagerate a situation way, way past the point of satire and into grotesque and absurde territory. “Tu Dance ?” is about the efforts of someone to try to make a women accreditate his existence, but in the most pathetic and futile way possible.

In a less self conscious way, I could also talk about Digital Love from Daft Punk. I love the song itself, but frankly, if anyone say that to a women who isn’t his or her significant other, there’s need for a restraining order.

Battering Lamb
Battering Lamb
6 months ago

Maybe this space isn’t the right space for that conversation, perhaps?

Assuming my post about a character from The Stand is one of the ones you are talking about: I apologise, won’t happen again.

Makroth
Makroth
6 months ago

@CenterFold

Have you improved the workplace safety of any man anywhere?

No?

Yeah. I thought so.

Lainy
Lainy
6 months ago

Well if David does enjoy sitting in his underwear, I don’t blame him at all. I don’t go outside having to wear clothes all day just to come back to my own home and wear more clothes! though I’m also an attractive woman so centerfold here would probably just consider that slutty slut behavior.

ChaosEngineer
ChaosEngineer
6 months ago

Re “It’s My Party”. Leslie Gore also recorded a lesser-known sequel song called “Judy’s Turn To Cry”, that gives a bit more background on the characters.

It’s available on Youtube, but the key lyrics are: (WARNING: SPOILERS!)

One night I saw them kissing at a party
So I kissed some other guy.
Johnny jumped up and he hit him,
‘Cause he still loves me that’s why!

So now it’s Judy’s turn to cry
Judy’s turn to cry, Judy’s turn to cry
‘Cause Johnny’s come back
To me!

I never really thought about it before, but I guess it’s kind of problematic.

Paireon
Paireon
6 months ago

Huh. First time I ever saw “centerfold” as a euphemism for “asscrack”. Weirdly fitting.

Also, I do not sympathise with incels, ever. I’ve been where they’ve been, lonely and pining for female companionship, still am in fact. The one, crucial difference is that I didn’t let that turn me into a bitter, entitled, assmad misogynistic piece of shit who blames everything but his own blighted views, words and actions (especially women) for that state of being.

I was never one click away from being like them. Even if I had been young enough to have internet at twelve (I’m 40 right now) I never would have turned out like that, because even by then I’d learned, sometimes the hard way, that being a colossal asshole no matter the reason is a losing proposition, always; even if you don’t make your own life worse, you definitely make the world worse. This of course won’t stop selfish jerks, but as someone for whom empathy is a learned trait rather than innate, I actually don’t take it for granted and nurture it rather than let it atrophy.

And if feeling empathy for a small group of bitter, entitled malcontents who resent not being the center of the universe means I have to stop feeling it for literally half of humanity, count me out. I’m not in the business of giving compassion to assholes angry at the world just for not getting any nookie.

Lainy
Lainy
6 months ago

@Paireon

Incels used to annoy me because I was someone who constantly got harassed, touched without my permission (especially when I was extremely touched repulse after my assault), had a lot of unwanted advances from a lot of people, catcalled, and sexually assaulted, to have a lot of bitter idiots complain that no one touching them or being interested in them was the worse possible thing in the world would make my blood boil. I would have given anything to just be left alone and they were complaining about that gift. Hell most of the time I would still give a lot to just be left alone.

Now a days they don’t annoy me. They fill me with a lot of rage, and indifferences. I have no sympathy or empathy left for incels. I pray for them some nights and that prayer is simple. I pray that one day god will crack open their narcissistic hearts, take them out of their delusion and make them see themselves as what they are. I pray they feel unbelievable guilt for what they’ve done and I pray that god brings them some true pain in their lives so hopefully it can grow them into better people. I normally wouldn’t wish betterment through actual pain on anyone. But they have had ever opportunity to see the error of their ways and become better. They choose not to so maybe they need to hit a true rock bottom in order to change into something else. I pray that that rock bottom hits them hard and fast, that they lose ever part of themselves and have to grow a new person through the broken shatters of what they once were and that they will finally grow into something that is at least close to a decent human being.

This is my only kindness left to them is this prayer. If any incles come here trying to find sympathy and complain about some pain they are having in their life, all they are going to get is a “good, how about you learn from it” from me.

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

@occasional reader:

Speaking about confinement, if some of you would prefer playing multiplayer video games rather than watching movies, and if you have a Steam account, maybe we could play ? If you are interested, say it here, we will find a way to exchange pseudos.

That depends. Are any good games on there a) multiplayer, b) co-op, and c) free to play (no credit card etc. needed to download and install)?

Fabe
Fabe
6 months ago

Warframe is a fun free to play multiplayer co-op game.

http://www.warframe.com

occasional reader
occasional reader
6 months ago

> Surplus to Requirement
If you like Diablo-like, there is Path of Exile, on steam and other platforms.

Allandrel
Allandrel
6 months ago

A friend pointed something out to me when I once wondered if I had been at risk of becoming an incel: They’ve heard me go on angry rants plenty of times, but every time it was about injustice suffered by other people, not about how hard done by I was because no women wanted to date me. That my anger was inevitably born of compassion for others, not entitlement.

So however despondent and bitter I might have been feeling about my romantic prospects, I would never have signed on with the “my not getting laid is the worst suffering ever” worldview of the incels.

Fabe
Fabe
6 months ago

“treat you better” by Shawn Mendes might also be a good incel theme. it has that whole ‘why are you dating him? I’ll be a much better boyfriend’ thing going.

Naglfar
Naglfar
6 months ago

@Fabe
The delivery in that song sounds incel-ish as well, like he’s whining. And the line “any girl like you deserves a gentleman” reminds me of Elliot Rodger’s declaration of himself as the “supreme gentleman.”

Beyond Ocean
Beyond Ocean
6 months ago

@Naglfar

Yeah, and considering the song was released in 2016, I have a hard time not seeing this line like a disgusting dogwhistle. It would be nice to think I’m just being needlessly paranoid.

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
6 months ago

I can’t immediately think of any incelish tunes off the top of my head, but I can think of a couple that are close. The Plain White T’s Hey there, Delilah was written about long distance runner Delilah DiCrescenzo, whom the group’s frontman, Tom Higgenson, met but never dated. You can probably imagine the mixed feelings that act provoked in her, though she seems to have made her peace with the song by now.

Two others would be Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield, and Centerfold by the J. Geils Band. Even then they’re not exactly good incel anthems. Springfield wouldn’t mind having a different girl altogether if he could just have the kind of relationship that Jessie has. In the J. Geils song, the girl seems aware of the singer’s crush and doesn’t discourage it, though it seems they never got together while they were kids.

Though for a decent anti-incel song, I recommend Billy Joel’s Innocent Man, where it’s clear that he really wants to get together with the woman, but also knows that it won’t happen anytime soon due to a bad break-up on her end. He’s not happy, but he’s willing to give her the time needed to heal because he knows her problems aren’t about him.

At least that’s my interpretation; ymmv on that point.

Naglfar
Naglfar
6 months ago

@Beyond Oceans

considering the song was released in 2016, I have a hard time not seeing this line like a disgusting dogwhistle.

This is just what I think, but I have a hard time seeing it as a deliberate reference to Elliot Rodger. This was 2 years after the killings and I don’t see any reason he’d bring up a mass murderer in a pop song. The song certainly is problematic, but I don’t think that line is a deliberate reference to Rodger, more just a common Nice Guy™ sentiment.

Web_Flotsam
6 months ago

Somebody brought up Self Esteem by the Offspring, but I wouldn’t say that’s an incel anthem at all, although it does cover some toxic attitudes. It’s about a man who won’t leave his emotionally abusive girlfriend because he doesn’t believe he can do better and so it’s just better to shut up and take it.

If somebody hadn’t already, I’d definitely recommend Shawn Mendez’ Treat You Better, which is at the very least the greatest “nice guy” anthem ever recorded. The only reason I hesitate to say it’s an incel song is he genuinely seems to have some interest in her well-being, even if that interest all boils down to “you should date me cause I’m better and you need better”.

Tim Lieder
6 months ago

Did we already cover “Wide World”? Because that is Cat Stevens at his creepiest and most manipulative. It doesn’t help that it’s a very pretty song and eminently singable. But the whole song is about how his now ex-girlfriend is going to get raped and murdered now that he’s not there to protect her.

Oh we know that he thinks of her as a child.

Metro
Metro
6 months ago

we’ve all gone through the maddening, saddening experience of unrequited love (and if you say you haven’t, I don’t believe you).

At the risk of picking some nits, I…. guess we aroaces just plain don’t exist, then? Okay. Ok. Good to know.

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
6 months ago

Apologies for the necro, but I thought of another artist whose songs, if not incel anthems are at least loaded with extra misogyny – 1960’s era Bob Dylan (don’t know if his later stuff eased up on this). ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ (I think that’s the title) is essentially a schadenfreude song, taking glee that the woman who snubbed the singer for the Chinese diplomat with the Siamese cat was abused and drained by said diplomat, leaving her in a situation where she has to trade sex for a bed to sleep on for the night.

From what I recall, a few other of his 1960’s songs had a similar nasty edge to them. One (whose title I forgot) was essentially him being nasty about a woman’s ‘hypocrisy’ in performing social niceties to him when he just knew she really meant to say was ‘go to hell and rot, you piece of s**t!!!’. And wishing that they could switch places just long enough to show her how just seeing her out and about was enough to ruin the rest of his day.

Hopefully he got some help getting that anger out of himself enough to enjoy life again, because D: if he didn’t.