Ours is an age of banality. Despite all the yammering about diversity and cross-pollination of cultures, we live in a bland, uniform time. You can see this when walking around the common areas of our life. The modern American parking lot, for example, looks like something an East German planner would have imagined. Today, black and silver account for half the car colors, followed by gray and white. Of course, because form follows function in a sterile society, the cars are the same shape
In the 1960’s the most popular car colors were shades of green. One year turquoise was the top color choice for car buyers. In 1972 the most popular color choice for the Corvette was orange. Take a look at color pictures of an American parking lot from that era, and it is not just a circus of colors. It is a circus of shapes and sizes. Car makers were coming up with every shape they could conjure, hoping to appeal to the liveliness and spontaneity of the people. The cars matched the people.
Anyway, that is something to keep in mind while reading this very odd column, by someone calling himself Milo Yiannopoulos. He is what passes for clever and interesting in London apparently. Of course, because America is so bereft of anything interesting or even skeptical, those things are imported from England. American just assume a British accent means smart and clever. Yiannopoulos gets to be a avante garde as a result. Here’s some of the post.
You’ll think this is weird, but for three years now I’ve taken what might be described as a “data-driven” approach to my social life. Specifically, I’ve been maintaining a gigantic spreadsheet of friends and business contacts, updated with columns such as “Hotness Index,” “Income,” and “Strategic Value.” And I spend about four hours a week keeping it up to date.
Why? Well, it’s not because I’m east London’s answer to Patrick Bateman. At least, that’s not the only reason. No, the spreadsheet is simply the best tool I’ve developed so far for managing an ever-increasing contact list of interesting people I am anxious to introduce to one another, or with whom I want to spend more time.
Of course, not everyone makes the cut. As I write this, there are only 746 people in the database out of a possible 4,500 entries in my address book. Included and assessed on a variety of metrics are A-list celebrities, board members of multinational corporations, investors in my previous ventures, and people I went to school with. And, yeah, a few randoms from 2009 I sort of maybe might consider calling at 2am.
Reading his wiki entry, he passes himself off as some sort of taste maker and techno-culturalist. The fact that he wastes four hours per week cataloging his relationships on a spreadsheet certainly makes him uncommonly dull. Interesting people don’t waste valuable time on mundane tasks. They have people for that. For example, in the Imperial Capital, powerful people, the real movers and shakers, don’t carry their own mobile phone. They have people for that.
Present and past relationships appear in the database, as do family members and work colleagues; these days, most of us have heavily overlapping constituencies of work and play.
I won’t pretend I don’t get a frisson of childish amusement from “shorting” the “stock” of people who show up late for an appointment (I’m hoping to commission a mobile app so I can do that on the fly) or even demoting those who have annoyed me in some way.
But the primary objective of maintaining this information is to enable me to quickly and easily filter and rank contacts before I send out invitations for parties and suppers.
The image above gives you an indication of what the spreadsheet looks like. I rank pretty much everyone I meet that I might want to see again in a number of different ways: subjective cultural assessments, estimates of income and intelligence, how much they like to party, how much trouble they like to get into, and obviously, how physically attractive they are.
The scores are normalised across the whole group. This enables me quickly and easily to drill down and generate lists from which I can craft the perfect party. I can even engineer how the photos will look, since I have a column that covers personal style. Politics is covered by a simple “Pass” or “Fail.”
There’s a term for the use and misuse of field-specific words in areas outside the specific field. Today, everyone is trying to pass themselves off as a quant, so they like to borrow language from math and science. Milo has no science or math. He had some training in philosophy, but no math or science. His misuse of the word “normalize” suggests he just thinks it sounds cool. That’s the habit of the modern fake nerd. They pick up the jargon from statistics, mostly, and fertilize their language with it.
I’ve made some interesting discoveries about my social life. For example, people ranked closer to me (with a “Tier” of A or B) are more physically attractive, and have politics that align with mine. But there’s no correlation between a person’s income and how highly I value our relationship, unless there’s been romantic interest.
My close friends (Tier A) tend to have high IQs, but their partying, troublemaking, and strategic values don’t follow any patterns. All of which implies that I am attracted to pretty, smart people with sound politics, but I don’t particularly care whether or not they are wealthy or like to party.
Look, I know all this is a bit odd. And it must sound terribly calculating. I suppose there’s a reason I’m writing a book called The Sociopaths of Silicon Valley. Perhaps it’s what jacket blurbs refer to as “unique insight.” But the truth is, this is simply the best tool I have developed to help me navigate a complex environment.
Actually, it just makes Milo sound like a shallow dullard. Odds are, his “high IQ” friends are just slightly above average people like Milo, who are similarly shallow. Posers like this guy tend to be quite average if you can get past the act. His writing is clever enough, so maybe he is not a dimwit. It’s not always fair to judge the character of someone based on a small sampling of their writing, but he seems to be determined to tick all of the boxes that are ticked by superficial poseurs.
It speaks to the age that a flamboyant homosexual can attract an audience of young males, based on his bitchiness about women. Back when the car lots were full of color and creativity, young males looked up to the rugged tough guy types as the epitome of male coolness. Steve McQueen rather than Milo the Queen. The rise of homosexuals in social status corresponds with the decline in normal male behavior. We live in an age that is not just duller, but gayer. That can only end one way.