The Game Is Up For Neil Strauss And His Pick-Up Pervs
2005 was a bit of a high water mark for what was known as ‘lad culture’ At the time it was seen as a good natured catch-all term for anything considered stereotypically male: football, fast cars, scantily-clad models, risqué jokes, with an emphasis on the ‘lad’ rather than the ‘culture’. Looking back a mere 14 years later it is hard to believe it was tolerated never mind accepted. Glossy magazines like Loaded, Maxim and FHM were in their pomp, brimming with soft porn images, misogynistic objectification of women and racist jokes - they were the pure distillation of toxic masculinity.
In September of that year Neil Strauss published ‘The Game’, part investigative journal and part how-to manual it went on to the New York Times Bestseller List and sold millions of copies worldwide. In the book Strauss investigated the world of the pick-up artist. This was shown as an almost magical world where average, geeky guys were able to use game theory and a smattering of neurolinguistic programming to seduce beautiful women. In reality it described a group of sociopathic creeps who saw women as playthings, objects to be pestered and practiced on - not complex beings with personalities.
One main tactic of these wannabe lotharios was to try and actively undermine the confidence of their target by ignoring her or paying her a backhanded compliment. In this way the full power of lad culture could be unleashed - one facet fed into the other. FHM told women that unless they looked like the airbrushed models on their front covers they were undesirable, the creeps like Strauss and his pals exploited this insecurity to their benefit. What a disgusting little set-up.
Well thankfully the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have decided it’s time to cancel The Game and are pushing for it to be taken out of publication. Then we just need to hold an amnesty for any of the current owners to surrender their copies and build a nice big bonfire!
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