Friday, 23 October 2015

AUTISTIC NOTCH COUNT



I am unclear whether the young man featured in this video is playing things entirely straight, or perpetrating an ingenious put-on. Is he merely imitating the saddest sort of clueless Youtube commentator, the better to induce a collective cringe among viewers, or is he actually as tragically autistic as he appears? I suspect the former case is true, simply because this fellow's timing is so exquisitely mordant at every crucial moment of his stammering discourse, but please judge for yourself.

Regardless of whether or not the video is "authentic," the humor of the piece is far more cutting than one might suspect upon initial viewing or casual analysis. It would be easy enough to mock this lad, "Le Chateau Autiste"-style, for his spazzy, SPEDdy, spluttering delivery, or for deriving so much satisfaction for getting a "pretty, hot" girl to hug him for two whole seconds (and for not caring at all that she was his cousin). Mocking abundantly pathetic people for their abundant patheticism brings the accompanying benefit of helping ourselves to feel superior to them, but it also confers the detriment of not recognizing the entirety of the picture, i.e., not comprehending that we may have far more in common with them than we would like to admit (which is probably why we feel provoked into mocking them in the first place).

The phenomenon pointed up here with our lad is that of the "notch count." In his case, the notches are for amusingly inconsequential things: hugging his cousin, having an internet "girlfriend" for a week or so, etc. Our lad exults in his "success" with the ladies, when in truth his supposed achievements have been minimal to non-existent.  But to chortle at his embarrassingly unearned exultation misses the broader critique implied here. Even if that which counts for legitimate "notches" in our lad's estimation doesn't amount to much in our perception, his degradation doesn't consist in his absence of "legitimate" action; rather, it lies in the fact that he, like many men, base their feeling of masculine self-worth on the number of "notches" they have obtained.

In the simultaneously sex-obsessed and profoundly misandric mores of contemporary Western culture, a man's sense of worth is now largely saddled to his notion of appeal to the opposite sex. Under this societal dispensation, male virgins are derided as "losers," and men deemed unattractive are commonly stigmatized as "creepy." To put it another way, men are conditioned to seek the status that accompanies being prolific "fuckers," while at all costs avoiding being seen as "wankers." They desperately seek prestige, and thus cede power to our controllers, rather than taking control at the expense of losing all hope of achieving that coveted, and assuredly culturally conferred, sense of status.

The kid in this video beams about the idea of getting a two-second hug from his attractive cousin and crows about "getting luckier and luckier with girls." We debased modern men, similarly, gush and sigh like smitten schoolgirls over the notion of being wanted by women, and winning from them that which for us is the equivalent of the kid's prized "two-second hug." Far more desirable would be to strive for the hearty defiance of "manly flaccidity." Until we manage to declare such independence, we have no cause to laugh at this pitiful boy, because in every crucial way we are in fact exactly like him.


Andy Nowicki, co-editor of Alternative Right, is the author of eight books, including Under the NihilThe Columbine PilgrimConsidering Suicide, and Beauty and the Least. He occasionally updates his blog when the spirit moves him to do so.


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