Chris from Good-Looking Loser has a post that’s required reading for Red Pill bloggers: Why Your Blog Sucks. In brief: The Red Pill community is beset by copycats and clones of two popular blogs: Danger and Play, and Bold and Determined.
On a superficial level, the result is a slew of ‘inspirational’ blogs with the same WordPress theme, layout, tone, and style – short punchy sentences, plain-spoken language, and liberal use of subheadings and paragraph breaks. But the similarities go beyond morphology. The clones re-package the same Red Pill cliches while offering no new perspective, experience, or original research.
As The Huffington Post might say: Here’s Why That’s A Problem.
Low-concept design hasn’t been catastrophic for Roissy, Delicious Tacos, Vox Day, Steve Sailer, Last Psychiatrist, Slate Star Codex, Mencius Moldbug, and a hundred more. If you write good content, your audience will find you. Similarly, no amount of design can make up for boring and unoriginal writing. If you want your blog to succeed, spend 99 hours writing for every hour you spend making your site look pretty.
That being said, design still matters. Good web design is like a nice suit – it tells the world you expect to be taken seriously, and treated with respect. Bad design is like a ratty pair of jeans and plain white t-shirt. If you come to a black tie party rocking WordPress 2012 or the Blogger default template, you’re going to raise some eyebrows.
The design of your site also communicates your goals and priorities. If three-quarters of your front page is cluttered with opt-ins, affiliate links, and calls for donations, I’m going to assume you’re in it for the money. If you use click-bait-y headlines, I’m going to assume you value page views over truth.
There’s nothing wrong with making money and marketing yourself. But if you’re taking your design cues from outside the Red Pill blogosphere, remember this: We’re not playing the same game as everyone else.
Buzzfeed is trying to maximize and monetize clicks from easily-distracted cretins. Sleazy affiliate marketers are trying to scam gullible idiots. The vast majority of internet culture is a pointless, unproductive circlejerk with zero trust and no end goal beyond the liberation of money from fools. And it’s getting worse.
The Red Pill (or Manosphere, or Neoreaction) must transcend this bullshit. We are targeting the best and brightest, and we have to earn their trust. The rest of the internet is focused on building short-term relationships with midwits, and we need to be differentiated from that. Ultimately, our goal is to create a new counter-culture; a generation of strong and resilient young men, a new aristocracy capable of opposing and replacing our current ruling caste of suicidal and/or parasitic elites.
This project will require a community that exists at a higher level of consciousness than the rest of the internet. The rest of the world can degenerate into snark, memes, gifs, and lists, but we’re better than that. We’re building build a City On A Hill.
So with that frame of mind, let’s review some best practices for the Red Pill community:
1) Don’t Be Danger and Determined
I think a lot of young guys get caught in the trap of imitating DP/BD because their writing styles are more accessible. Mike and Victor write in a clear, concise, straightforward style, but the simplicity is deceptive.
Simple writing can be the product of a simple mind, or it can come from relentlessly stripping away unnecessary verbiage until all that remains is the core message. Inexperienced writers see the tip of the iceberg, but they don’t see the knowledge underneath it. They think they can do a comparable or better job of writing DP/BD because their writing style looks easier than it is.
I don’t think it’s a bad thing that young guys are building Danger and Determined clones. Most writers go through a phase of copying their literary heroes, as a step along the path of developing their own voice and style. Building an unoriginal site (of course: unoriginal =/= outright theft) won’t earn these kids money, fame, or respect. But it’s good practice, as long as you recognize that you have to grow into your own voice eventually.
2) Don’t Be Buzzfeed
Don’t write click bait. Make the reader rise to our level. Let someone else appeal to the lowest common denominator.
Moving GIF images have no place in writing aimed at adult men. Static images should be used sparingly. Headlines should be tantalizing and descriptive, but never bullshit your reader.
As an example of what not to do, consider the following links to Return of Kings articles written by the same author:
The content of both posts is more or less the same, but the author chose to write an inflammatory (and false) headline rather than something tame-but-accurate such as: “Why Many Supplements Are A Waste Of Money.”
Bold titles are often more immediately click-able, but in the long run they erode trust and authority. Good titles communicate the value of the content, but don’t disrespect the reader with lies and false promises.
3) Don’t Be An Internet Marketer
(Or at least, be a better internet marketer.)
Many new Red Pill blogs are incorporating internet marketing best practices – opt-in forms, CTAs, social icons – and covering their front page with them.
This is great if you’re selling herbal weight loss pills to housewives or financial advice to alzheimic seniors, but it’s not how smart and focused adult men communicate with each other. If you design a site that caters to morons with ADHD, you will build an audience of morons with ADHD.
4) Don’t Be A Part Of ‘Internet Culture’
Different cultures and communities develop their own linguistic dialects. If you spend any amount of time in online communities, you’ll pick up on their slang, social norms, and verbal tics.
The Red Pill subculture has developed an extensive new vocabulary, but the foundation of our language is proper English. We write and speak in complete sentences, use proper grammar, and look down on cute-sy internet slang.
In particular, if you post to the r/TheRedPill subreddit, remember this: you are not a part of Reddit. You are a hostile outpost in a foreign land. You are hated by everyone around you, and you will be banned from their site as soon as an excuse can be contrived. Rise above their mannerisms and lame inside jokes; build your own culture and make it superior.
5) Sing in your own voice
Whether you’re the author of a major Red Pill blog, or just a casual commenter on r/TheRedPill or the Roosh V Forum: Tell us your story. Don’t pretend to be someone else. Don’t write for money, don’t write for attention, and don’t write for your ego. Write because the only alternative is the crushing loneliness of knowing that everyone outside of this community would call you insane if you were honest with them about what you believe.
If you’re just now realizing that your blog is unoriginal, don’t stress about it. Throughout my five years in the Red Pill blogosphere, I’ve produced low-rent imitations of at least a dozen authors: Roissy, Danger and Play, Bold and Determined, James Altucher, Roosh, Jack Goes Forth, Tim Ferriss, Matt Forney. Matching specific posts to their source of inspiration is left as an exercise for the reader.
What’s the solution? It’s simple, but not easy: be self-aware enough to recognize what you’re doing, and make a commitment to be better. Take a step back. Re-design your site. Delete your post draft about Five Mistakes In the Gym blah blah. Write something meaningful, something that scares you. Sing in your own voice.
The world has enough click bait and workout advice. But what do we need more of?
Well, doing exactly what I suggest isn’t exactly ‘singing in your own voice.’ But if you’re just now coming to the harsh realization that your blog is a derivative piece of shit, here are my thoughts on some fertile areas for new Red Pill Blogs:
- There’s always more room for honest, self-aware, interesting writing about your own experiences. If you’re under the age of twenty-five, you shouldn’t be writing an “advice” blog. You should be writing a journal. Stop pretending to be Danger and Determined, and start pretending to be 30 Days To X.
- I’d also like to see more good writing that explores specific topics in-depth. Pill Scout is a good example of this. Rogue Health and Fitness is another health/fitness blog that does a hell of a lot more than regurgitate the same bullet points.
- Online dating is a vastly under-explored area. If you think you can bring the same level of rigorous mastery to online/mobile dating, as Krauser has to Day Game, the world will beat a path to your mailing list.
- What would H.L. Mencken make of The Red Pill? Nietzsche? Marcus Aurelius? Buddha? Jesus? I would definitely read a blog that maps the ideological common ground of great historical thinkers and the modern Red Pill.
- And what about the great minds of the less-distant past? Much of the effort spent writing new content would be better allocated to organizing and cataloging the great works of previous authors like Roissy and Solomon II. Yes, their work is available. But it can be more than available. It can be organized, searchable, easy to browse with an attractive UI.
All of this work is more important – and has more long-term financial value – then yet another motivational click-bait Red Pill blog.
The Red Pill blogosphere has been trending in this direction for a while, and I don’t consider Thumotic an exception – as you may have inferred from my cleaner, more content-focused redesign.
Good-Looking Loser deserves a lot of credit for his post. He’s also writing one of the best damned Red Pill blogs out there, and since I wrote this immediately after reflecting on my respect for his writing, you might hear me aping his style *just a little bit* in this post.
(By putting ‘asides’ in brackets with paragraph breaks, for example. Although my font colour palette still has a long way to go.)
This may sound like a negative post, but the existence of unoriginal copycats is actually a very positive sign. ‘Problems’ like this are unavoidable in a rapidly-growing movement and subculture like ours. Smart, ambitious young men are trying to leap headfirst into The Red Pill, even if they’re not always doing the best job of it. These are natural and healthy growing pains.
More importantly: amidst the clone wars, there are dozens of new authors producing high-quality writing in the Red Pill and Reactionary space, while the big guys are upping their game and ushering in a new era of audio and video Red Pill content.
Questions For You:
Want to stay on top of it all? Check out The Red Pill Review for a collection of Red Pill blogs and links, updated in real time.
What do you want to see more of from the Red Pill blogosphere? What do you think is the best way to make this community larger and more powerful?
Finally: Who’s your favourite new Red Pill author? Share a few links to their best stuff in the comments below, and I’ll add them to the Red Pill Review. Self-promotion is highly encouraged.