The Pirate, The Princess, and The Farmboy

My son had never seen Star Wars.

Oh, he’d seen cartoon spinoffs from the second trilogy, and played with the Lego sets. Those never really impressed him. And is it any wonder? The movies most are familiar with today, which all that spun off from, are utterly forgettable.

I’m referring to the first one—Episode IV: A New Hope. The movie that pimp-slapped all the arrogant marketing “experts” who thought they knew what would and wouldn’t sell. They all thought it would be a laughable flop. Everyone just knew that even straight science fiction didn’t sell anymore by 1977. But moviegoing audiences didn’t realize they weren’t supposed to like it, and went back to see it multiple times, keeping it held over in theaters for umpteen weeks in a row. In constant dollars there’s probably never been a movie that’s done as well at the box office. And on the clout of that one movie, George Lucas can get away with foisting all kinds of lackluster cinematic drivel on us for the rest of his life.darthben

As I suspected he would, my son loved it. His favorite character? R2D2.

What I couldn’t help noticing this time (my first viewing of it probably since the revamped Greedo-shoots-first version in the 1990s, but perhaps my 15th viewing overall) is what a solid bit of acting the principals put in.

There are some exceptions (“You know of the rebellion against the Empire?????”), but overall it’s rather impressive. Why? Well, for one thing, they had to sell some dialog that’s rather difficult to make sound natural.  And secondly…

Star Wars: A New HopeWell, by today’s standards the special effects are dated and hokey (at least on the small screen), saved only by some rather desperate editing. But the actors didn’t even have that. Now granted, a regular person doing what actors normally have to do would feel stupid doing it. Multiply that  a few times over for these guys who had to perform scenes almost in a vacuum, sure that whatever effects were put in afterwards would be of the cheesey Roger Korman variety.

In interviews later, the actors admitted they feared exactly what the studio execs did: that this would be a colossal joke, sharing the infamy of Plan Nine From Outer Space and other such dreck. But they put their hearts into it anyway and it couldn’t have succeeded without them.


Please spread the word if you know other visitors to Virtual Pulp: They’ll probably need to delete cookies to get rid of that error page when they come here.

Ugh. Had some issues with plugins starting last weekend and we were unprotected from spam for a few days. It’s resolved now and shouldn’t happen again but what a drag it’s been. We were flooded with nearly 4,000 spam messages and about a thousand were on one post alone. A vengeful screed against parasitic losers and their spambots is way overdue–stay tuned.

IPage cut off my access so I couldn’t go in to assess and deal with the problem. Then they ignored my inquiries for over a day.

I’ll never use Hostgator again after my experience with them. IPage had better not ever do something like this to me again or they’ll join the list.

Anyway, I apologize for those who got the error page and especially anybody who was spammed from this site. I hope you’ll forgive us.

Should have regular content resuming shortly.

Mangina Melodies: “Bend Me, Shape Me” by American Breed

Might as well stay in the Swingin’ ’60s this week. And what a contrast to this week’s Alpha Anthem, not just in the color of the pills, but the talent of the bands.

I find it deeply embarrassing that this band went by the name of “American Breed.” I hope they flew Old Glory at half-mast the day this song hit the charts. The gist of the lyrics is some thirsty beta orbiter is whining to the girl on his pedestal: “I’m so pussywhupped already–aren’t you impressed? Won’t you have sex with me now?”

This kind of desperation would be revolting to even the blue pill crowd…if it weren’t put to music. But music can sell the most ridiculous ideas (and dialog) like no other medium. Which is saying a lot, because TV and movies have sold our culture a whole bill of goods.

The lyrics speak for themselves. Here they are:

You are all the woman I need, and baby you know it,
You can make this beggar a king, a clown or a poet.
I’ll give you all that I own.
You got me standing in line
Out in the cold,
pay me some mind.
Bend me, shape me
Anyway you want me,
Long as you love me, it’s all right
Bend me, shape me
Anyway you want me,
You got the power to turn on the light.
Everybody tells me I’m wrong to want you so badly,
But there’s a force driving me on, I follow it gladly.
So let them laugh I don’t care,
Cause I got nothing to hide,
All that I want is you by my side.
Bend me, shape me
Anyway you want me,
Long as you love me, it’s all right
Bend me, shape me
Anyway you want me,
You got the power to turn on the light.
Bend me shape me anyway you want me…

Alpha Anthems: “Under My Thumb” by the Rolling Stones

The Stones were not only slopping over with talent, they were also quite prolific.  It’s hard to think of another band (as opposed to a single artist) who can compare when it comes to volume of quality work. The Beatles and Led Zeppelin come to mind–both groups were also uber-talented and versatile; but neither were cranking out music for as many years.

As noted in Fast Cars and Rock & Roll, most bands remembered as great recorded at least two-to-three killer tunes. Few of them did better than that. But the Stones cranked out albumfulls of songs which stand the test of time, with very few turkeys in between. Their work in the 1960s, in particular, was phenomenal. Their golden years, I would call it.

You wouldn’t expect guys who look like they did to come up with an alpha anthem. In fact, somebody in the manosphere should post about the evolving standards of sexual marketplace value (SMV) some time. It’s puzzling to look at the appearance of hippie rockers (and the hair bands they inspired) and imagine that females of the time perceived them as masculine. But apparently they did. Or they were just tripping too far out on acid to notice who they were giving out all that free love to.

This particular song is one I never used to think about much, but it has fresh relevance now. The lyrics tell of the triumphant transition of a young man from blue pill to red pill.

The former supplicating beta’s girlfriend once had him down; pushed him around. But he’s turned her into “the sweetest pet in the world.” She’s changed her ways and now “does just what she’s told.” She’s dressing differently (more feminine, I’d guess) and now “talks when she’s spoken to.”

Any wonder why the bra-burning feminists hated this song?

Take it easy, babe. The change has come.

Volunteering For 1984

George Orwell’s dystopian novel is still frequently referenced today by those opposed to privacy infringements and the other lifestyle features that accompany a socialist police state. But the “It Can’t Happen Here” crowd in the USA has long ASSumed that those who want such a system would try to force the population at large to accept their telescreens in each room of our houses.

They never considered the possibility that the population at large would ask to be put under surveillance, and in some cases pay for the privilege.

For the oxymorons who want to keep their privacy and other rights, yet vote and support the very socialist transformation which will obliterate those rights, you’d think the last entity they would trust to make it happen would be a capitalist market research corporation exploiting consumerism to multiply their own power while subjugating the proletariat. But that’s exactly what they do.

In the early years of the Internet, I used Netscape Navigator’s built-in search engine when I needed to find something online. But I kept hearing about “Google” increasingly, until it had become a common verb in our lexicon, and was the default search engine on every browser. Google not only tracks everything you search for from their home page, but every single site you visit when you have their search bar in your browser. They compile and keep this information, and charge advertisers for the benefit of their spying on you. And nobody seems to mind, because you get to use their search engine for free.

Then Google got into the email business. Why? Because they also want to snoop through all your written communication. (Read the fine print when you sign up for G-Mail.) Up until G-Mail, you normally had to pay for an email service. But after G-Mail launched, everybody got in the free webmail business, monitoring all your communication in order to build a profile for you which third parties are interested in knowing.

Those third parties aren’t just businesses that want to sell you stuff. In the United States of America Google (and Facebook) are selling all your private communications and web travels to federal agencies which evidently consider American citizens a much greater threat than the terrorists, drug dealers, child molestors, Ebola victims and God knows who else swarming across our borders. Some police organizations appear to be preparing for a war against the citizens they are paid to protect.

And now Google’s in your smartphone, too. At least one judge has ruled that spying on you via your cellphone conversations is not a violation of your privacy because you volunteered to carry around a device with a microphone and GPS tracker in it. Cellphones can be turned into listening devices without you knowing it, because you think they’re turned off.

Without any warrant or probable cause, the NSA and other gestapo wannabes can read all your email, listen to everything you say, watch you through your webcam, track all your online activity…oh, and thanks to Google Earth they’ve got both satellite and street-level imagery of your home, too.

Those of us who are aware of this don’t want to do anything to change it, because it all makes life so doggone convenient for us.

But what if you leave your cellphone in the car, or the batteries are completely dead, or you’re not where you can be seen via your webcam? How can Big Brother hear what you’re saying and see what you’re doing inside your house, then? Google’s got a solution.

Now you can PAY a monthly service fee to have cameras/microphones installed inside your house, and the footage from them uploaded to the Cloud. Ain’t that dandy? And yes, some people are paying for this “service.” One day it might be free. One day it will probably be mandatory.

Big Brother is more slick than Orwell ever gave him credit for.

Triumph of the Alpha…er, Sun

I suspect Wilbur Smith is a closet anthropologist…not just because of the attention he gives animals in some of his novels, but because of the human actions and interactions he depicts–usually according to type.  In this novel especially, Smith writes like somebody who is a manosphere junkie…except he doesn’t use the lingo.

There is a beta protagonist (Ryder Courtney); an alpha hero (Penrod Ballentyne), some nubile Victorian-era babes rife with symptoms of hypergamy/AFBB…and a whole lot of blood and thunder.

All these characters, and more, intersect at the siege of Khartoum. They are all depicted masterfully by the writer, who gets you to care about them before shoving them to the brink of death repeatedly. At any point in this book there’s a lot at stake and the suspense is high.

Like most true alpha dogs, Ballentyne is willing to take bigger risks than the average Joe. While this elevates his status in the eyes of women from both cultures (Muslim and Western), it also tends to put him in the most hopeless situations. His life dangles by a precarious thread for most of the second act, though he earns the respect of his bloodthirsty captors just being himself (a theme I’ve noticed in other Smith novels). And also like most true alpha dogs, Ballentyne is willing to dish out harsh preemptive justice, retaliation, and revenge, with little to no remorse. And he’s certainly not above using people to get what he wants.

Courtney is a good man who is moral to a fault. He’s sympathetic, smart, and certainly not lacking in courage, but destined to be a beta provider for a headstrong woman (of which the Victorian era had a few). There’s one scene in particular where he really needs a big dose of alpha ruthlessness, but his untimely mercy puts everyone at risk and causes unnecessary suffering and death.

This novel accelerates to a quick start and romps like a steamroller right to the end.

This is high adventure worth reading for a number of reasons.

A Lesson on Hypergamy From the Big Screen

An action comedy from the 1980s features one of the last thoroughly masculine heroes in pop culture. By the time Crocodile Dundee hit theaters, male role models were already being relegated to one of the following sterotypes:

  1. The incompetent boob. You can find this guy on any sitcom at any time on any channel. (He also populates plenty of big-screen comedies.) He needs the obligatory strong, take-charge independent woman to rein in his hare-brained schemes (I Love Lucy in reverse). Of course she doesn’t need him…but they’re together anyway because patriarchy.
  2. The funny homosexual. Also found in pretty much every comedy.
  3. The metrosexual. This occurs more in the music industry than movies, but millions of young men get the idea that this is the way to be.
  4. The sympathetic wimp/Average Frustrated Chump. Found everywhere, especially romantic comedies.
  5. The dangerous violent sociopath/rapist/cheater/con man/serial killer/racist/wife-beater. This is the entertainment box into which Hollywood locks masculine men.

It’s a minor miracle Crocodile Dundee ever got made. But audiences loved it.

During an interview, actor/screenwriter Paul Hogan provided a keen insight about the Mick Dundee character. In a nutshell, what’s different about Dundee is he doesn’t change. What makes for interesting stories is to drop him into strange environments and watch how he deals with the dangers of them.

This pioneer-type hunter from the Outback is taken from his stomping grounds and transplanted in New York City. But his personality is so strong that (within the context of the film) he changes civilization…because civilization sure can’t change him.

In red pill parlance, this means Mick Dundee is a natural at maintaining frame. Not just with women, but in all situations.

If you’re not familiar with the movie, here’s the gist of it: Sue, a reporter from New York, hears about a man who survived a crocodile attack. She hunts him down. He lives up to the legend, and saves her life as well as performing other impressive feats. Sue talks him into visiting New York with her. He does, continuing to rescue her and perform impressive feats. A woman with milder-than-normal feminista conditioning, Sue is offended by his “chauvenism,” yet falls in love with him anyway.

There are a couple scenes worth highlighting.

When we first meet Dundee, it’s in a pub. He is obviously the alpha dog in this pack. All the other men look up to him and if there were many “Sheilas” around, they’d be throwing themselves at him, too.

Mick Dundee is the real deal, but even so, shortly after Sue arrives in the Outback, he resorts to some dramatics to accentuate his he-man image–like pretending to tell the time down to the minute by the position of the sun, and to dry-shave with his Bowie Knife. Although his overt attitude toward her is one of amused indifference, he’s obviously laying the machismo on thick in the hopes of impressing Sue.

And who could blame him after seeing her hidden charms in a scene like this?

Sue is involved with another media bigwig back in NYC, but alone with Mick on his turf, his natural he-man game is too much for her. She makes it clear she’s his for the taking while they’re there. Alpha Fux; Beta Bux.

In New York, Mick tags along with Sue and her beta provider boyfriend to a hoity-toity restaurant. The beta is under the assumption that on his civilized turf money and prestige equal alpha power, and “Tarzan” (as he calls Mick) is lowest on the totem pole. He flaunts this alleged power in front of Sue by challenging Mick to read the foreign language menu, and snidely slipping in some other veiled insults. Mick may be out of his element, but he recognizes the boyfriend is trying to humiliate him. He distracts Sue, reaches across the table and tags Beta Boy on the chin.

Sue is pissed at Mick on the one hand, but obviously lusting after him, too. Alpha Fux; Beta Bux.

Mick is invited to a fancy dinner at Sue’s parents, where Beta Boy pops the question to Sue. Mick is naturally the life of the party, and continues playing that role even though it’s obvious he wants Sue for himself. But he doesn’t throw a fit, make a scene, or even question her. You can almost hear him thinking: “What a waste. Oh well. Next.”

Crocodile Dundee is textbook red pill, and it’s got some funny parts, too.

The Right Stuff: Enormous Egos and Wristwatches to Match

Tom Wolfe’s 1979 novel about the Space Race (late ’50s-early ’60s) is a portrait of the test pilots who became the first astronauts. The film based on the book is an artistic rendering of history as myth.

Wolfe compares the Space Race to single combat in ancient warfare: rather than armies clashing in the field, a champion was chosen to represent each side. Whichever champion prevailed sealed a victory for his city or nation. (Think Achilles or Goliath). This was what the Americans and Soviets were doing with their astronauts, according to Wolfe.

Once the Americans got rolling, they were unstoppable. The first to reach the moon, they could have gone well beyond if the ambition of the space program wasn’t seriously scaled back. But in those early days the soviets had a head start.

Americans relied on bombers to deliver bombs, should a nuclear war become reality; but the Russians concentrated on cheaper unmanned missiles to compensate for their inferior aircraft technology/industry, and used their captured Nazi rocket scientists to get the jump on the Yanks. The US Air Force was already working on an aircraft that could break out of our atmosphere, but when Sputnik shot into orbit, all effort was redirected at catching up to the USSR’s capsule-launching method.

Wolfe’s character portraits of the first American “star voyagers” was both fascinating and hilarious. I’ve never forgotten his colorful expose` on the collective subconscious of the test pilots/astronauts, in particular. Like the ziggurat metaphor used to describe the egocentric construct of the unspoken hierarchy according to how much of the Right Stuff each individual thought he and his peers possessed.

The Mercury astronauts were alpha males to an almost comical degree. It’s rare in this world to get so many of them crowded together in one place. You’ll usually only find such groupings in elite military units or perhaps professional sports teams. The egos are huge, but also fragile. Deep down, each of these men feared getting left behind (not making the cut) at every stage of their climb up the ziggurat.

Except, probably, Chuck Yeager. This penultimate test pilot was never invited into the space program–possibly because he’d never been to college. (Sad to think of how many potential Yeagers who will never even get a chance to fly because of this snobbery.) But in both the book and the movie you get the impression that despite all the hype about “Spam in a can” (astronauts in capsules), he remains alone and unchallenged at the top of the ziggurat, with that heavenly light shining on his aloof indifference.

I wish the clip above included just a few seconds prior, when Yeager asks his buddy about the latest high altitude record. Nobody cares about that, his buddy informs him; it’s all about capsules and astronauts these days. After a pause, the undaunted Yeager looks at the test prototype jet and opines that it just might be capable of breaking the record. Next thing you know, he’s going through the Beeman’s chewing gum ritual with his comrade, and up he goes.

Anyway, the psychological insights are only dressing for the thorough investigative reporting Wolfe wove into an informative and entertaining inside story of an elite subculture in history.

For those who haven’t both read the book and seen the film, I encourage you to correct that. It’s not a case of one being better than the other; instead they compliment each other.