I feel like the logic of video games and social media are really important to this phenomenon. Young people are filling their young lives with screens, hypermediated experiences that are only nominally social, yet are interpreted as really so. That so many young Americans are delaying or foregoing obtaining a driver's license, dating, after-school jobs, drinking, and smoking (arguably not healthy behaviors, but ones that are historically associated with passage into adulthood) seems to indicate a very different adolescent socialization. For a lot of these young men, I think, they internalize the logic of button-pushing and "poking" and "liking" and "hearting" and "upvoting". The mechanics of Web X.0 are taken as the mechanics of sociability, even though they're clearly pale imitations (if not outright perversions).
Social life becomes inputs and outputs. Want sex? Be nice to that girl you like. She didn't put out? She's a bitch. Cycle through that a few times, then find a community online that tells you women are all opportunists to be bested or soulless honeypots from whom sex must be taken, not through force, but through more button-pushing-like behavior -- NLP, "seduction" techniques. It's all very sad and broken. To me, these are young men who somehow missed that part of youth where you learn to Be a Person and think of others as people, too, not targets for extraction like digital mines in a MMORPG.
What I'm curious about and I don't think comes across strongly in your piece is the clear nexus between the PUA/seduction/incel community and the reactionary/ultranationalist/anime nazi right. I'd love to read more from you around that intersection.
I also wonder about the relationship between placelessness and this particular kind of anomie. The incels I've interacted with tend to be suburban, lower-middle-class types who in many cases grew up in non-descript housing tracts surrounded by freeways and even more non-descript strip malls, what can feel like non-places. I wonder if there is geographic literature on placelessness and anti-sociability of the kind you're interrogating here.
On Sat, May 05, 2018 at 12:42:54PM -0400, Anders Wallace wrote:
> Hi all,
> Apologies in advance for a little shameless self-promotion. If anyone is
> interested to read more on the online subcultures where the Toronto van
> killer from last week got radicalized, consider checking out my recent
> article in *Medium *on the topic:
> [log in to unmask]" target="_blank">https:[log in to unmask]
> Have a great weekend,
> Anders Wallace
> PhD candidate
> Department of Anthropology
> CUNY Graduate Center
> [log in to unmask]