Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Duff McDuffee - The Simulacrum of Self in the Quest for Authenticity

Excellent post from Duff at Beyond Growth.

The Simulacrum of Self in the Quest for Authenticity

written by Duff McDuffee on August 24th, 2009


When I was looking up clips of Fight Club for my first blog post, I found an interesting related video on YouTube. In the clip below, the pick-up artist and personal development guru “Tyler Durden” is giving a speech about the importance of having an authentic identity.

“Tyler” starts off by talking about the liberation he has experienced ever since he decided to entirely stop caring about other human beings and unleash his inner asshole (he doesn’t put it in quite those terms, of course). He implies how this was a wonderful step forward towards becoming more authentic, and now teaches men to be authentic assholes just like him, for the purpose of having meaningless sexual conquests with HB’s (pickup lingo for “hot babes”). You too can become an authentic asshole by attending one of his “bootcamps”…yours now for only $2000!

The ironies run many, many layers deep.

This very confused man has given himself the name of the fictional character Tyler Durden from the movie/book Fight Club. Certainly assuming another person’s name and identity is not authentic (e.g. an Elvis impersonator). To assume the name and basic identity of a fictional character as “Tyler” has done is to copy something that was never real in the first place (e.g. trekkies dressed up as Klingons). This man’s “authentic identity” is a copy with no original, a simulacrum.

Tyler Durden is not only a fictional character, but a fictional character who himself is a fake-authentic projected identity of another fictional character, who–even more ironically–is unnamed and unidentified (without an identity), and is searching for an authentic identity (just like the unnamed pick-up artist in the video) while also inauthentically attending self-help meetings he has no business attending. Yes, my head is also spinning.

It gets worse. This “Tyler” is teaching men how to have an authentic identity in order to pick up women. In other words, his “authentic” image is a ploy to get something from others, the very opposite of what is meant by authenticity.

Clearly the unnamed man in the video above is deeply, horribly confused about what it means to have an authentic identity. This would be a hilarious joke if he wasn’t obviously very serious, and if he didn’t make big bucks as a well-known teacher of “inner game”–i.e. how to deeply transform yourself into an “authentic” pick-up artist just like him, so that you can deeply and authentically manipulate women into sleeping with you. Chicks dig “authenticity,” or so I hear.

“Tyler” is clearly not living his own authentic life but a well-crafted illusion based on Chuck Palahniuk’s imagination and the culturally constructed notions of a badboy player. The tears at and nervous laughter starting around 7:55, and the big, phony smile at 8:24 betray the cool, uncaring identity he has adopted for himself as his “authentic” self.

The Price of Authenticity: Now for Only $997!

Like it or not, “Tyler” is a personal development guru who teaches “authenticity.” While he is focused on “authenticity” in order to pick-up women, other personal development gurus focus on “authenticity” in order to become financially successful, to sell people things, to create fame, etc. Consider this testimonial from Laura Roeder’s “Creating Fame” sales letter:

Laura reframes personal branding in a way that was exactly what I needed to hear at the time, and gave me permission to market myself in an authentic, non-salesy, fun way.

Roeder’s personal branding course costs $997. All this authenticity is getting expensive! After I get back from the $2000 bootcamp where I learn to authentically trick ladies into having intercourse with me, I’ll be sure to fork over another thousand to learn to authentically name drop and starfuck my way to social media fame. Only $3000 more for Frank Kern’s course on pretending to give things away for free in order to create cognitive dissonance in customers and I’ve got lust, pride, and greed covered for only $6000.

Read the whole post.

1 comment:

self development courses said...

"authentic identity in order to pick up women" ? That's ridiculous. I hope the character will not influence people today. People need to take self development courses in order to digest this kind of inputs from movies/tv. We can entertain this kind of media but we need to make sure that we do not allow ourselves to get influenced.

Thanks for posting William. YOu've got a very nice blog in here.