Damn, it’s already midnight, I thought to myself as I continued reading a stream of insult Tweets being lobbed back-and-forth between influential manosphere figures that had always appeared to be aligned (at least publicly).
It was entertaining but I lost hours of productivity to it.
— B rob (@TheCityBachelor) November 20, 2017
In a nutshell, it looked like #UpstreamTwitter was a group of pretty intelligent and capable guys that just got fed up with the negativity and anger that is commonplace in The Red Pill and The Manosphere.
Sidenote: I don’t normally use subculture labels or lingo on this blog. Since I can’t individually control the content or the perception of a collectively-held label, I choose to avoid them for the most part.
The other problem with the “Manosphere” is that it sounds like a gay nightclub in Amsterdam or Tampa or something. Maybe Scranton.
— Michael Mason (@MichaelPorfirio) December 10, 2014
But I find the recent #Upstream uprising fascinating and felt the urge to comment so I’m going all in with labels on this post.
The Birth Of #UpstreamTwitter
From what I can tell, #UpstreamTwitter was basically saying “The Red Pill has some good stuff, but there is just too much negativity and anger. We’re going to try and transcend it and make something better.”
And the natural rebuttal, “You’re spitting out The Red Pill because it upsets your stomach. You’re cherry-picking only the parts you find palatable while ignoring uncomfortable truths.”
Then I read the post, What Is #Upstream? which I take to be #UpstreamTwitter’s founding document.
There were 5 core tenants.
Ideas Not Gurus
Skin In The Game
Construction > Preservation
Progress Must Integrate Tradition
Bad Energy / Intention Contaminates Content
A lot of what I read in what the movement stands for is objectively good
But the massive problem that will cause Upstream to fail to gain steam and truly affect change is that it begins and ends with the wholly unnecessary, public rejection, and betrayal of Rollo Tomassi.
Literally, the founding document of #UpstreamTwitter starts and finishes with damning condemnations of one of the most influential and important writers of the ‘sphere.
“Ideas Not Gurus” is pretty much read as “Reject Rollo”.
“Despite the self-improvement aspects of the red pill, the community is a toxic, paranoid, victimized one — and it all comes back to the work of The Rational Male.” – What Is #Upstream?
Let’s take a second to understand why this was a flawed approach and tactical mistake
When I discovered The Red Pill, I went through an anger phase.
The author of What Is Upstream? even describes his own anger phase.
“…when I read his first book, The Rational Male. Much of the material was enlightening, but unlike most insightful books there was something else beneath the content that was hard to describe. Although it was pitched as a facts-only book “telling it like it is,” reading it made me angry. It made me look at my wife as if she had some ulterior motive — like I couldn’t trust her.
It was sheer, inexplicable paranoia. It took me a week to process the poison out of my system once I realized what was going on.” – What Is #Upstream?
After immersing myself in Red Pill writing, I too eventually reached a point of “Okay fuck this, I have to start living and thinking more positively.”
My brain started looking for ways to rid myself of the unpleasant emotions. Totally rejecting red pill ideas and red pill bloggers was something that crossed my mind.
These red pill writers. I gotta cut these guys out, man. Fuckin’ Roosh. Fuckin’ Roissy. Fuckin’ Rollo. These guys are ruining my life! I would think to myself.
But eventually, I realized that it wasn’t the writers who were responsible for my negativity. It wasn’t Roosh, or Roissy, or Rollo’s fault that I was angry.
It was my own fault
They didn’t inject me with manipulative poison. They didn’t mind-control me. They just offered up some observations that are too uncomfortable to be reported in mainstream dialogues.
I remembered that I was an adult and I shouldn’t blame someone else for negativity I was harboring because of something that I read.
It was my own responsibility to get myself from the anger phase to the acceptance phase.
My personal route from anger to acceptance was learning to truly let go of my programmed ideal image of what a relationship between a man and a woman should be.
When I learned to just let go of my idealized expectations of relationships, all the animosity and anger I felt towards modern dating simply melted away.
I started enjoying women for their warmth and company and stopped expecting some fairytale marriage from them.
This doesn’t have to be “Enjoy The Decline”, a philosophy which has lingering elements of anger and nihilism.
It’s more like, Accept The Reality – and enjoy it!
How will TradCons adapt when sex robots completely penetrate the sexual marketplace in a decade or two?
How will the traditional marriage be maintained in the coming centuries when AI becomes intertwined with humanity?
How will cultural trends of the last 50 years be reversed when technology so drastically changes the human experience?
There is most definitely anger in the manosphere. And it can be damaging.
But that’s not the fault of anyone other than the angry individual. And it’s their own responsibility to get past it.
You Can’t Blame The Messenger
The suicidal error that #UpstreamTwitter will come to realize is that they probably could have been successful had they not made Reject Rollo part of their foundation.
When Rollo attacked them, they could have just ignored it and continued to take the high road that they were supposed to be about.
Rollo has put out life-changing material.
And yes, some of it has incited negative and harmful emotions in the reader.
But the writer is not responsible for the behavior of the reader.
That should in and of itself be enough to have the sense to not start a counter-movement that is conditional on plunging a dagger into a man who, is not perfect, but has put out enough good work to demand a little more respect than this…
#UpstreamTwitter will do their best to move on from the Reject Rollo pillar of their movement.
They will write very positive and uplifting articles about how to be a better man, totally absent of any Rollo Tomassi condemnations.
But it’s too late now. The damage is done. The stain is not coming out in the wash.
What does surprise me is that so many big name Twitter accounts are staying quiet on this. Probably still smart in the beginning, but I think at this point it’s pretty clear Upstream has sown the seeds of their own destruction.
From a strategic standpoint, they would have been much better off picking a handful of lower-status bloggers to make examples out of (like me if I’m being honest).
But starting a movement predicated on being the Anti-Rollo is not a foundation for success.
At best, it will become a small niche that collectively reaches a couple thousand guys as they constantly fight off stigmas and attacks similar to what reputationally-stained MGTOW has to do.
But most likely, Upstream is just a recipe for a short-term beef that will eventually fizzle out because it will not get the necessary endorsements from other big names who have benefited from Rollo’s work.
#UpstreamTwitter is like a band of passionate but naive soldiers who fully believe they’re doing the right thing by charging onto a stacked battlefield, only to meet an imminent slaughter that they don’t have the foresight to see coming.
In the end, it will simply be a lesson for the rest of us to learn from.