Bronze Age Mindfuck
This book is too stupid to actually be so stupid as it seems.
Here’s my guess: whomever Bronze Age Pervert (BAP) is, he put his antennae into the internet vibes and came up with a strategy to game it so he could sell a book and make enough money to buy a car he liked or maybe a house.
First he sat down and started forming an internet following. He crafted something that would provoke lefties, intrigue the alt-right and, of course, he completely hid his own identity. No accountability. No risk.
It’s really smart!
Bronze Age Mindset is not really incoherent. From point to point it all basically makes sense, but it doesn’t really have an overall thread (like: be really aggro, lift weights and shake everything up, I guess). And you feel like if you went back and read it carefully you could find some pretty big inconsistencies.
But it also doesn’t feel important enough to bother with reading a second time or reading closely ever.
And also he can always fall back on his proviso in the prologue: “This is not book of philosophy. It is exhortation.”
(by the way, I didn’t miss the articles in those sentences — he just skips them from time to time, no idea why, some kind of flex)
The crux of the book is, I guess, that greatness is the domain of men. Men in the ‘bronze age’ were a lot more badass than men today. They lived fuller lives. They felt more. Young men are best.
Everyone is stupid and weak now, in BAP’s view.
Look, if you find our current moment of ubiquitous victimization exhausting, it’s one of those books that you’ll find yourself laughing or nodding along to from time to time.
And yet there’s nothing about this book that describes a world I want to live in. Every man he describes as “great” in this book made me think: I’m glad they are dead.
Most of the men he admires are virile assholes. They are beyond assholes. They are murderous monsters. No doubt they lived very full lives but you know what? It would be nice if we could live in a world where there were a lot of ways to live a full life. If you are very happy gardening or reading books or making shoes, it’s nice if people can have those nice, gentle lives and enjoy them.
The trouble with societies that make space for loud, warlike, murderous monsters is that they tend to take up all the space. And they make most people around them miserable. Not miserable because they are so jealous of the loud obnoxious asshole. Miserable because they’d like some peace.
Like BAP, I think of myself as a person who admires greatness. It feels like in the present greatness has become a taboo. It’s okay (sometimes) to admire great people of the past and to call them great. That’s mostly okay (suppressing an aside here).
It is not fine, however, to admit to anyone that you-living-person-today-now aspire to greatness, to imagine that with the right focus you might be able leave a great mark on the planet. This is seen today as quite toxic, maybe even reactionary.
So that undercurrent of this book I liked. The way he defines greatness? Not so much.
Here’s the thing about BAP: He could not have written this book without doing a decent amount of reading. So he’s occupied himself with unmanly, unvigorous scholarship. It’s hard for me to believe that someone who knows a decent amount of history can really say to themselves: Yes civilization can work if it’s run by pirates.
The pirates were the great men!
It’s just too stupid. It’s obviously stupid on its face.
Look, I think this book is a grift and that’s it. The writer was smart enough to figure out a hustle he could sell direct to consumer and keep most of the money as he did and guessed it could be big enough to make a difference in his life.
But maybe the most charitable view of this book (which is clearly dunderheaded on its face) is that it’s not an exhortation. It’s a provocation. Maybe if it’s not a cynical hustle the author wants to jar a certain number of people out of the conformist hypnosis of our age and he saw that sober arguments had been found wanting.
So he wrote this nonsense? (again, this is the charitable take — my best guess is still that it’s a grift) The book goes too far, but maybe it will push some folks just far enough?