June 08, 2015

The (Fake) Real Thing

This is a parody for the Shawnigan Lake Players, having just put on Tom Stoppard's fine play.  As such, it's pretty much all inside jokes and mocking of characters.

This isn't the best place for formatting a play, so apologies for that!


 The (Fake) Real Thing
A Shawnigan Players Parody

Scene One:

Drawing room of unaccountably successful architect. This will be immediately apparent to the audience because I write for British theatre and we have unlimited stage space for drawing boards and the like. The budgets are pretty good, too.

Max is alone, forever alone. He pervades the stage with existential ennui by building a house of cards. Charlotte comes through the door.

Max: Don't slam – (the door slams gracefully. Max invokes the spirit of Nietzsche on a particularly bleak day) ... the door.

Charlotte: It's me. I have alcohol.
(Max contemplates the eventual heat-death of the universe as embodied in his now collapsed cards. They mock him silently as he drinks, desperately trying to obliterate his conscious mind.)
(Charlotte enters the room, her cheer bringing an oh-so-rare light into this den of misery)

Charlotte: Hello! Let me get a glass.
(She kisses the top of his head and gives him a quick fondle)

Max: (The foolish, suspicious bastard) You've been gone a while. Where?

Charlotte: Switzerland, I think. More booze?

Max: (Poor, miserable Max who should have done more to make Charlotte happy) I'm very clever, you know.

Charlotte: (Gleefully oblivious to their doom) Really, dear? How nice for you. Another drink?

Max: (Who should have just shut the hell up and enjoyed his life) You're sleeping around, aren't you?

Charlotte: (Oh, lovely, sweet Charlotte) Only when I travel, love. More wine?

Max: (Who wouldn't know a good thing if it bit him on the ass, even when it literally did on more than one occasion) Of course not! Get out!

Charlotte: (I'm so, so sorry, Charlotte! I was mad! An idiot!) Oh. Um, okay. I'll leave the bottle, then.

(Charlotte leaves, and Max embraces his joyless future where he realizes his love too late and in his misery he takes up writing for the National Theatre.)

Scene Two

Henry and Charlotte's house. Henry is playing with his records. No, seriously – he has some albums out and he's digging through them. Ask older members of the audience to interpret his actions for the younger ones around them.

Charlotte emerges (perhaps unsurprisingly) hung over and partially dressed.

Henry: Hello.

Charlotte: Gbermeh. (She passes out immediately on the couch)

Henry: Yes, I thought you might feel that way. (Charlotte snores in response) Don't worry, don't worry. The effects wear off in a bit. You were told not to take the brown ones. (The doorbell rings) Whoop! That'll be Max.
(He slings Charlotte over one shoulder and exits. We hear a shower running and a scream: it sounds very cold)
(Henry returns and exits out the other side)
Hello, Max!
(Max and Henry enter)

Max: Uh, hi. Did I just hear a scream?

Henry: Possibly.

Max: Is Charlotte all right?

Henry: I don't think she's terribly happy. Drink?

Max: Maybe not... (he looks around a bit nervously)

Henry: I'll get a bottle. (Exits)

Max: But I... what?
(Charlotte emerges from the next room)

Charlotte: Hello, darling! Don't I get my morning fondle?

Max: Um... Isn't Henry -
(Henry emerges carrying champagne)

Henry: Hello, dear! Given Max his morning fondle yet?

Max: What?

Henry: It's how she greets people. I don't understand it, but actors, you know? Sit! Let's drink! I'm going to be on the radio!
(They sit)

Max: Really?

Henry: Yep! Specifically on a desert island on the radio, so I'm not sure how people will hear me, but there it is. How did the play go?

Charlotte: It sucked.

Max: Honestly, Charlotte!

Henry: Oh?

Charlotte: Fortunately, so does Max, so that made up for it.

Max: Oh now, Charlotte!

Henry: Really?

Charlotte: What else are you going to do for long stretches backstage? Join the crew?

Max: (frantically gesturing) Uh, Charlotte! Hst! Really! Charlotte!

Charlotte: Not that they were bad, or anything. Especially that one guy who kept tearing his shirt off...

Max: Charlotte! Jesus, Charlotte!

Henry: Actors are so strange.
(Doorbell rings, Annie enters)

Max: Oh, thank god! I'll get that!
(Max sprints out the door)

Charlotte: Why on earth did you invite him over?

Henry: I thought you liked him?

Charlotte: Sure, but not when he's talking.
(Annie and Max enter. Henry's eyes bulge comically)

Annie: Hello, everyone!

Charlotte: Lovely of you two to come by!

Max: Great! We're leaving now!
(Henry can't seem to keep his tongue in his mouth for some reason)

Charlotte: Oh, Max; do shut up and sit down. I'll come sit on your lap.

Max: Uh, you guys are married, right?
(Everyone sits but Henry. Steam has started to come out of Henry's ears)

Annie:I brought vegetables.

Charlotte: Any cucumbers?

Annie:Um... will a turnip do?
(Charlotte thinks for a bit)

Charlotte: Possibly... let me get a knife.

Max: Are you making a dip?

Charlotte: ...Sure.

Max: I'll help!

Charlotte: Get in here, then. Oh, listen! They're playing my song!

Song: Tonight you're mine, completely
'Cause I slipped you a mickey
Oh well, the smell
Of ether's in your nose
I've got you 'till tomorrow!
(Max and Charlotte exit to kitchen as song continues)

We'll have fun together
You won't last forever
'less I can tie
A really good bowline
I'll get arrested tomorrow

(Henry and Annie are alone in the living room. Annie plays with her hair and Henry's stands on end. Max gives a yelp of “Charlotte!” from the kitchen, but neither Henry nor Annie notice. Annie smiles at Henry and crosses her legs. We hear AHOOGA AHOOGA noises. If Henry has a bow tie, it spins now)
(Charlotte enters from kitchen with a bowl of dip, wiping some from her lip)

Charlotte: Here we are!
(Max enters from kitchen looking a bit worn and with a slight limp)

Charlotte: It's apparently Hawaiian. Pineapple was involved, anyway.

Max (“singing”): I've lost all my feeling...

Annie:Oh, God, no!

Max (“singing”): I really should be kneeling...
(Charlotte winces in pain)
Max (“singing”): From my waist down all my feeling is gone, gone, gone...
(Now even Henry notices, covering his ears)
Max (“singing”): Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh.
(Charlotte pulls out a gun and shoots Max)
Max: Really, Charlotte! (dies)

Charlotte: What? They shoot horses, don't they?
(The other two seem to agree)

Scene Three

Max and Annie's house. Annie walks in as the radio is playing. She looks slightly distracted, as if she's forgotten something. The music on the radio gives way to Henry being interviewed. Annie eagerly sits down to listen.

Scene Four

Henry and Annie's temporary apartment. Henry is typing as Annie enters. He seems very intent as she walks around in housecoat that barely stays on her, but his attention is immediately drawn to Annie, eyes following her around the room. Annie lounges on the sofa across from him and reads her script. Eventually, she notices he's stopped typing and is just staring at her.

Annie: Carry on as if I'm not here. I won't be any bother, promise!
(As she reads, her housecoat falls off slightly to one side, revealing her legs. There's a muffled 'thump' from under Henry's desk)

Henry: (wincing slightly) Oh, God.

Annie: How are you getting on?

Henry: I'm not.

Annie: What?

Henry: Can't we just have sex now?

Annie: Don't be silly! Not until you're done your play. Have you been working all night? I didn't notice you come to bed.

Henry: Er... Of course.

Annie: I had the strangest dream, though...

Henry: I was right here! Didn't go anywhere near the bedroom!

Annie: Something about vegetables...

Henry: Aaaall night! Working away!

Annie: (goes to typewriter) What have you got so far?

Henry: One hundred and twenty four pages...

Annie: (reads) “All work and no play makes Henry a dull boy.” Not much plot, is there?

Henry: (Crawls from his desk) Can we please have sex now?

Annie: Oh, Hen! Maybe with a second plot line woven in there...

Henry: Agh!

Annie: Well, I'm off to work!
(Exits still dressed in housecoat)

Henry: Agh! Agh!

Scene Five

Henry and Annie's new place, as made obvious by new furniture, different lighting, changed costumes. Did I mention the advantages of writing for the National Theatre? Henry is reading. Annie enters from bedroom and eyes Henry coldly until Henry looks up.

Annie: (With perhaps a slightly Teutonic accent) Vell?

Henry: (Nervously) Uh... Verdi?

Annie: (Stands ramrod straight, eyes widening) Vat?

Henry: Ah... ah... not Verdi?
(Annie turns and strides back into the bedroom)
Uh oh.
(Annie returns with riding crop)

Annie: (Scornfully) Verdi. How can it be Verdi? It is in German!

Henry: Is it? (Annie strides towards him) It is! It is! One of the Germans! (She raises the crop) STRAUSS!

Annie: Gut. Very gut. Continue verking.
(She walks to drinks stand and pours herself some ice wine)

Henry: (Tapping at keyboard) You... you know... (Annie looks at him) I... uh... I can't help feeling. Um.

Annie: You may speak freely here, dahlink.

Henry: That, um, that something's changed about you.

Annie: Nonsense, dahlink. You vill write the Brodie play now in silence. There will then be sex for exactly seventeen minutes. Then ve shall drink vine. Then you vill continue the Brodie play.

Henry: (Muttering) If I still had my cricket bat-

Annie: In! Silence!

Scene Six

Annie, back to being Scene Two Annie, is sitting by the window of a moving train, reading. Billie enters and sneaks up behind her.

Billie: (In a Scottish accent) Excuse me, is this seat taken?

Annie: No.

Billie: You'd think with all these fascists the trains would be on time.
(Annie looks up from her book, otherwise unmoving)

Annie: (coldly) What was that?

Billie: Er, hello.

Annie: Improving efficiency is hardly something to be frowned upon, is it “Billie”?

Billie: What?

Annie: Everything and everyone knowing their place makes a better world for us all, don't you think?

Billie: Uh... I guess?

Annie: And where is your place, Billie? You're not supposed to be in first class, are you Billie? You do not belong with the true elites, Billie.

Billie: What are you going to do? Report me? Jeeze! Okay, okay, I'll go!
(He rises from his seat and turns to the door)

Annie: One moment. (Billie pauses) Remove your shirt.

Billie: What? Why?

Annie: It amuses me... and may let you stay in first class with me. You want to stay with me, don't you Billie? Away from the stinking, crowed masses behind us? With me? (He nods) Remove your shirt. (Billie, weeping silently, starts to remove his shirt) Slower. Slower.

Scene Seven

Henry and Charlotte's former place, now just Charlotte's. A young Pat Benatar (AKA Debbie) is smoking by the door while Charlotte is going through old programmes and past memories. Does she regret? Does her past come to haunt her in her sleep? Are there dreams of former National Theatre writers dancing mockingly through her night, waking her with painful remonstrance? Does she try to drink them away? Perhaps we shall never know; but we can hope. Oh, Charlotte... Charlotte... Could it have ever worked?

Henry: Since when did you smoke?

Debbie: Since “We Live for Love” hit number twenty-seven in the US. My agent advised it: it's an image thing.

Henry: Why did I pay for music school again?

Charlotte: Oh, don't be such a square, daddy-o! It's hip!
(Debbie stares at Charlotte)

Debbie: Promise me you will never, ever try to be cool again.

Charlotte: Yes, dear.

Henry: So smoking's cool now, is it? When did that happen?

Debbie: Since “You Better Run” was broadcast on MTV. (She shrugs) Image thing.

Charlotte: I can't find it anywhere!

Henry: Why would you want to know who played Giovanni opposite you now, of all times?

Charlotte: I'm hoping a number's attached. He did this GREAT thing with his left hand...

Henry: Can we please talk about Debbie? She's the one hitting the streets!

Debbie: It's a world tour, Fa. Have to support the latest album.

Henry: And you're going on tour with these... these... carnies?

Debbie: Roadies, Fa.
(Henry's eyes narrow)

Henry: You're not having... 'relations' with them , are you?

Debbie: I married my guitarist yonks ago, Fa. And it's called sex, not 'relations'.

Henry: Good God! How did you find out about that!

Charlotte: In school. Honestly, Henry; it's almost like you never went to all those PTA meetings!

Debbie: What PTA meetings?


Charlotte: Sex is fun, Henry! Why shouldn't she enjoy some now and again?

Henry: (discretely touching tender spots) Is it?

Debbie: Oh, Fa! In school, everything was sex: French, history, Latin, art, French again, music... Everything but biology.

Henry: Your best subject, I seem to recall.

Debbie: Max helped there.
(They look down at the dried and partially-dissected corpse of Max still on the floor)

Charlotte: I had no idea what a spleen looked like, honest truth.
(Suddenly we hear the chorus to “Hell is for Children”)

Debbie: That's my ride. Don't wait up!
(Charlotte walks her to the door)

Charlotte: (pushes some cards into Debbie's hands) Gift certificates for Adam and Eve mail order. Make sure they go to your home address, or they'll follow behind you from city to city like particularly slow groupies.

Debbie: Thanks, Charlie.

Charlotte: Shh! Your dad doesn't know about my night job.

Henry: What?

Debbie: Bye, Fa! (Exits)

Scene Eight

Annie is seated in the audience, near the back. Her eyes are closed in and she seems restful. Suddenly her mouth drops open and she silently convulses forward, shaking slightly. Then she relaxes again.

Billie: (Unseen, with an oddly muffled voice) Can I come up now?

Annie: That was only three, Billie. If you wish a place in the big show, you will have to work much harder than that.

Billie: Three? No way that was only three!

Annie: (Warningly) Billie...

Billie: (Pleading) It's hot down here.

Annie: (Leaning back and lighting a cigarette) Yes it is, Billie; yes it surely is.

Scene Nine

Henry is waiting at home for an indeterminate amount of time before Annie enters.

Annie: Hello!

Henry: Hello. How did it go?

Annie: We had a great finish. GREAT finish.
(She starts taking off her coat, putting away her suitcase, etc)

Henry: Oh? Good. I thought you-

Annie: Seriously, a great finish!

Henry: I thought you were coming-

Annie: Great, GREAT finish!

Henry: ...coming back on the sleeper.

Annie: I did and he was lovely.

Henry: What?
(She stops at the bedroom door)

Annie: I did and it was lovely. Lunch?

Henry: I called the hotel.

Annie: Did you? Did you make reservations?

Henry: They told me that you – what?

Annie: Reservations. For us? And here I thought you forgot! Oh, Henry! You are so sweet!

Henry: I... Uh, yes?

Annie: (Squeals, embraces Henry) Yay! I just love you to pieces!

Henry: Uh. Yay! But there was something...
(Annie 'embraces' Henry lower down)

Annie: Thank you so much for remembering, sweetie!

Henry: Yay!

Scene Ten

Annie sits on the train, reading as before. Billie enters slightly more timidly than before, with a slightly better Scottish accent.

Billie: Er, excuse me? Is this seat taken?

Annie: No.

Billie: Mind if I sit down? Ma'am?

Annie: It is a free country. (Lower) For now.
(Billie sits with some trepidation)

Billie: D'you reckon? (She ignores him) Going far?

Annie: To London. All... the... way... down.

Billie: (Sweating profusely) My name's Bill. You... you put me in mind of Mussolini.

Annie: (Looks at him with a smile of pure evil) That was wrong.

Billie: What?

Annie: That was the last script, Billie.

Billie: Oh, God!

Annie: (Standing, staring at Billie) We're going to need a half hour break, Roger.

Roger: (Voice over) All right, darling. Remember, nothing on the hands or face this time!

Billie: Oh, no.

Scene Eleven

Henry, looking healthier than last we saw him, is listening to Bach's 'Air on a G String' playing on the radio. The phone rings as Annie walks through the room. Henry answers.

Annie: If that's them tell them I've left.

Henry: Hello? (Sees Annie is looking at him) Annie's left... Oh. (To Annie) It's your... friend.
(Annie takes the phone from Henry)

Annie: Billie? Yes, I'll be there in a bit. Out of curiosity, how did you...? Oh, someone else dialled for you? Was it Roger? I see. No, I will be there soon. Very soon. Discipline is important, Billie.
(She hangs up)

Henry: Is everything going all right, then?

Annie: I may have to drop Billie.

Henry: Ah.

Annie: (Looking Henry over contemplatively) I may be spending more time at home. This might be good for you: I can focus more on my – our – home life. (She leaves)

Henry: (Sits on the couch, having turned a slightly green shade of pale) Please, please, please, don't.

Scene Twelve

In blackout the music gives way to various sounds involving a prison, possibly from the medieval era. Crackling fire, echoing screams, hissing steam, the rattle of chains. Light slowly increases, starting with the glow of a TV screen. Eventually we see Brodie, transfixed by what he sees on the TV screen. Henry enters with a water jug for Brodie's scotch.

Annie: (voice over) Don't you ever, EVER change!

Billie: (voice over) No, ma'am! I won't! I promise!

Annie: (voice over) Never!
(We hear a whip crack and a scream)

Billie: (voice over) I won't! I won't! Thank you ma'am!

(End credits music begins and Brodie turns off the TV)

Brodie: 'Rosie of the Royal Infirmary' changed a bit since I went in, then.

Henry: Ever since cable, really. Lots of pressure to keep up ratings against increased competition sort of thing.

Brodie: The pretty one wasn't supposed to be (swallows) me, was he?

Henry: You'd better hope not.

(Annie enters as Brodie finishes what's left in his glass)

Brodie: Can I have another?

Annie: You could earn it...

Brodie: I think I've got to go, then.

Annie: Come back for some dip another time!
(Brodie pales and runs out the door)

Henry: I know what you did to me; but you scared the hell out of him. (The phone rings and he answers it) Hello? Oh, hello, Max! What? Well that's fantastic! Married, eh? Can't wait to meet her. Who is she? Oh, she's from Canada and I wouldn't know her? Never comes to the country, but is really, really cool. Sure. Oh, and hot too, is she? Sure, Max. Sure she is. Say, aren't you dead?

posted by Erin Butler at 12:04 p.m. 0 comments

June 15, 2014

What's the Big Deal?

I do theatre.

I've been paid to be on stage a couple times, but otherwise it's strictly amateur stuff.  I grew up in a place that had a ridiculous amount of artistic talent floating around - a smallish island with loads of active artists and retired (or semi-retired) performers from every field you could imagine: actors and techies from Hollywood to the London stage; singers of all stripes; writers of scripts or poems or novels; painters, sculptors, designers...

What I'm saying is, it was tough NOT to get infected with an artistic appreciation if you were even the slightest bit conscious.  Which made it a very interesting place to be, even if I did eventually have to leave because we couldn't afford to live there any more.  It took me a while in my new location to see who was around and get back into theatre, because one of the many lovely features working in unskilled labour jobs is that the hours are going to be A) shit and B) random.  If you can't be reliable, there's no point in auditioning.

Fortunately (?) after the usual run of jobs and getting fired from as many as I quit (monkey wages = monkey work, kids!  I don't swallow shit you don't pay me to eat!) I decided to see if the problem was the employers or the employee, so started my own locksmith shop a couple years back.  Meaning I could basically pick my own hours, meaning I could get back into doing a show a year.  In Winter, at least: Summer's when the tourists lock themselves out of their cars or lose their keys in the lake, and at this point money still comes first.

So I've been thinking about why I love to do theatre so much.  I've done a fair amount of technical stuff, but am pretty much on stage exclusively now.  Less time to help in other areas, so I've got to be a bit greedy.  But why  do I have to be 'greedy'?  Why the compulsion to go on stage at all?  I've thought about it for a few years, and this is as clear as my thoughts have gotten (actual clarity of thoughts transmitted to writing not guaranteed):

I owe it.

As pretentious as it sounds, it's also true.  I'm a nerd, have been all my life, and see no real opportunity (or, for that mater, reason) to change in the near future.  What cultural stigma was attached to being a nerd was eased by living in a small town - in a larger population, I may well have found a clique to fall in with; but no matter how odd, vulgar, rich, etc. you were, you were still known as 'you' first and foremost.  Which is pretty damn cool.

That being said, there was simply less  there - and by less I mean less of everything: fewer opportunities to bump your life against people who are radically different; fewer chances to argue with concepts you disagree with; fewer cultures to mock, or admire, or lose yourself in (or all three).  Less to compare and to contrast and to steal from.  Just... less.  Now, add that to the social awkwardness and general inability to make friends that nerds (especially early-teen ones) are prone to and, well, it's an introvert's dream, but perhaps not the healthiest option.

In theatre, I could explore not only different ideas and try to understand other people, but I could explore those parts of myself I might not otherwise have even thought of.  Everyone does this sooner or later, but discovering who you are is when you can start finding out who you can be, and frankly the sooner you can do that the better for everyone around you.

There is very little in life more pathetic (in every sense) than a mid-life crisis.  I mean, it's good that you're examining your life and all, but what the hell took you so long?  I digress.

But here's the other thing about theatre, and it's absolutely vital: there is no room for cowards.

Now, I'm not saying you don't have fear - for some people that kicks in as soon as they hear auditions are happening right up to their entry line.  But that's just fear of failure, perfectly normal stuff which means you're actually doing things with witnesses.  That's something that can (and does) happen everywhere and can be dealt with however you want to.

But what you can't be, is you can't be afraid when you're in front of an audience.  Or you will fail.  And there is exactly one defense against that: be someone else.  The more you are that other person, the more complete the armour is, and the better you will be.  You can't think: "this person would behave this way" when you're on stage, because that means you are on stage trying to pull strings and it shows.  You have to know who the character you are to portray is before you ever get near a performance.  This will force you to think about people who aren't like you, with ideas and lives that aren't yours.  Which means you will find out who you are.

Which is what theatre did, and does, for me.

Labels: ,

posted by Erin Butler at 9:00 p.m. 0 comments

May 29, 2014

Fear and the Single Man

We all know the advertising maxim: Sex Sells.

There's a reason why sex sells, and that's because it has a primal appeal to all of us.  Many other things sell for exactly the same reason: comfort, ownership, and stability are all pieces of the life everyone wants, consciously or otherwise.  Even the most adventurous of us want to have a base level we can return to, though what that level is varies from person to person and experience to experience - I like taking risks (starting my own business, for instance) but could only convince myself to do so because I have a fantastically stable home life and brilliant Partner-in-Crime to take those risks with.  Peer pressure is based on exactly those comforts - having friends who accept you, being part of a community with at least one shared value (Canucks fans HOLLA!) to communicate with, that sort of thing.

Fear also sells very well, but that fear is of one of having your stability taken from you: friends who no longer accept you; your home or comforts taken away; suddenly living among people who don't share your values.  What looks like fear is actually selling stability: essentially blandness, predictability, and normality.

Even hierarchical commercials showing some incredibly conceited asshole at the so-called top of the social food chain isn't selling wealth or attainment so much as selling stability: if you're at the top, you get comfort.  Even if you can't tolerate your family enough to look at them, at least they're there, right?

What many people miss is that the messages are not necessarily aimed at, or received by, who you think.  For instance, do you actually think that anyone who lives in that asshole's house drives a Cadillac?  Or one that can afford to buy their wife a car as a surprise gift would get her a Volkswagen Jetta and expect her to be happy about it?  No, of course not.  The idea is to give people who would drive a Cadillac or Volkswagen the idea that it's what people already at that level of comfort - much higher than the actual target audience - would do.  The message is aspirational: people who have 'succeeded' do this, so if you do this it means you too have succeeded.

Sell the idea first, then your target will want the product.

This is the basis of the NRAs advertising, and has been for years, including this season's spectacularly fearsome and explicit commercial released a month ago.  It's got the usual fearmongering boilerplate that's to be expected ("Bad people are doing bad things!  And NO ONE PAYS!!!") but the more interesting paragraph (to me) is the second:

Where the gates to success swing open for hypocrites. chameleons, bullies, and yes men.

So... how exactly are guns going to help with that?

The aren't, of course, as anyone sane would acknowledge.  But the meaning is implicit: guns could help with that.  Guns can help save you from those evil people who are holding you back.  Your success is being kept from you by a secret - or not-so-secret - cabal of "hypocrites, chameleons, bullies, and yes men".

If you aren't familiar with the term "entitlement", this is it in its purest form.  The idea that you are owed  'success', and if you don't have it then something is wrong with the world around you: someone, somewhere, is keeping you down.  The problem is NOT you, and (more importantly) there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT, so you'd better get a gun.

Where is we find Santa Barbara shooter/stabber/psycho Elliot Rogers and the so-called Pick Up Artist community.

I don't say "psycho" lightly, here: he had serious mental problems, and one of the issues was he was a psychopath: he had a history of anti-social and amoral behaviour as well as acting out violently, combined (as is easily seen in his rambling, poorly-thought-out manifesto) a self-justified hatred of women.  These are not normal or acceptable behaviours, and bending definitions to avoid saying a word isn't doing anyone any favours.  He had been seeing therapists since he was nine years old, and had a visit by police who were sent to him by his mother after she was disturbed by a video he had posted on line only weeks before his rampage.

Rogers was so far up his own ass that he could have given his polyps names.  He fell into one of the most common traps of teenage boys the world over: he thought he was a nice guy, and that combined with his horniness meant he should have had sex with whatever girl he wanted.  He was polite, and kind, and sweet, and all that sort of crap so why didn't girls liiiiiiike him?

Okay, I'm just going to stop there because it's WAY too familiar for so many of us.  What I wrote in 2008 in reply to one commenter still applies today, so if you want to see my own version of "suck it up, buttercup" it's back there.

So if this is standard nerd-fare through adolescence (and has been for... well, ever as far as I can tell), why talk about those oh-so-studly guys in the Pick Up Artist crowd?  He's obviously not one of them, or he'd be way more successful with the ladies, amirite?

Sure, in much the same way owning a gun makes you a superhero.  In exactly the same way, in fact: both groups rely heavily on fear of inadequacy to convince others to pay them.

In the Pick Up Artist World(tm), the guys who actually have women interested in them are horrible: they treat women badly, never care about them, are all fabulously wealthy meatheads who don't actually deserve women.  They insist that these are the only guys women are ever attracted to, and they are the Alpha Males.  Any guy who doesn't get women because they're nice (and yes, it's because  they are 'nice') are Beta Males.

Stop laughing!  They're serious!

In any case, the folks who target young men with these insecurities (insecurities which they fully encourage to foster and grow) then promise a 'cure' by selling them magical rituals to help overcome their own Beta-ness and, more importantly, get revenge on women who turned them down in the first place by having sex with skanks.

Think I'm kidding about that last bit?  I'm paraphrasing slightly, but not by as much as I'd like to: women are regularly referenced as 'targets', 'marks', 'scores'... anything other than actual humans.  Plus, of course, they are all lumped together as a single homogeneous mass: 'typical women' is a very common refrain, though occasionally spiced up with the term 'American' or 'Western' thrown in the middle.  That alone should give you a clue where this inevitably is heading:

Women in nations with strong human rights are far worse than ones in nations that limit those rights.

The lack of self-awareness run spectacularly deep: any woman who has had sex is essentially worthless except as a fuck-toy, while at the same time the objective of these self-same Pick Up Artists and their acolytes is to have sex with as many women as they can.  Highest score wins, boys!  Yes, it's the ages-old Maddona/Whore complex back for the latest generation of men who refuse to read history.  Want an encapsulating quote?  Here you go!

Until you give men like Rodger a way to have sex, either by encouraging him to learn game, seek out a Thai wife, or engage in legalized prostitution—three things that the American media and cultural elite venomously attack, it’s inevitable for another massacre to occur. Even game itself, as useful as it is on a individual level, is a band-aid fix upon a culture which has stopped rewarding nice guys while encouraging female whoring to benefit only the top 10% of alpha males, all in the name of societal progress.

Hope you didn't think I was kidding.  Apparently it's not occurred to this spectacular idiot that there may be something wrong with "Give us sex or we'll kill you" as a working social philosophy.

Rogers references the language of the Pick Up Artist crowd repeatedly in his rants (video and written), and it's clearly something he believed, and those rants are filled with his fear and anger at being considered a lesser person by exactly those people who created the language and social structure he was referencing.  Any guesses who else encourages this style of thinking?  A big ol' hint can be had in his own words:

After I picked up the handgun, I brought it back to my room and felt a new sense of power. I was now armed. Who's the alpha male now, bitches? I thought to myself, regarding all of the girls who've looked down on me in the past.

Yeah.  Any guesses what group has fought hard to avoid or nullify any regulation that would have prevented that gun from getting into Rodger's hands?  Hint: it's the same one who believes "Everyone should have guns" is better than "Some people shouldn't have guns".

No cheating, now!


posted by Erin Butler at 4:47 p.m. 0 comments