Category Archives: Book reviews

A Kingdom for the Introvert

Just finished reading John the Peregrine’s A Kingdom for the Introvert. It’s a rather personal book about being introverted. John describes the hardships of growing up an introvert in an extrovert society. Being a staunch introvert myself I figured I’d pick it up.

First, praise. I enjoyed it much more than I expected. Every day I looked forward to reading the book, and I find those kind of books harder and harder to come by as the years pass. You read one NY Times book, you read them all. The Peregrine on the other hand has his own recognizable, easily digestible style, true to his theme of being a societal outcast. His sentences speak to the mind, there is flow in his words. It comes across as genuine, which is something I find disturbingly lacking in every single book in my local bookshop.

Content wise it was a feast of recognition. John pours his heart out over the crushing dominance extroverts exert over introverts. He talks extroverts bullying, harassing, and just not understanding anything different to them (while, and this is still my pet peeve, loudly proclaiming the importance of EMPATHY and CARING). How can I not identify with that? Fucking extroverts. So much noise, just for the sake of noise. And yes, they indeed come down like a ton of bricks on introverts who dare disagree with society’s norms.

I don’t think I had it as rough as John, but I’ve had my share of bullying, of not fitting in, of close family members telling me over and over that something was definitely wrong with me. I empathize with that and I do think introverts have it rough.

But, the way I dealt with my position as an outcast differs from the path the Peregrine takes in the book and it is worth to explore that a bit.

The Peregrine’s path is essentially to break with extrovert society; they don’t understand you, they are too outwardly focused, so fuck em. Perhaps one day introverts may rule society instead of the extroverts, but until that day, disappear and don’t let them get you.

Personally I have found the exact opposite path most effective: I don’t disappear, I loudly signal my presence. Of course not by talking, but in my non-verbal communication. I take up space, I hold my chin up high, my clothes are bright, good-fitting and out of the ordinary. Even though I am a skinny ectomorph I work-out and display my muscles as if I were Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. Ask my friends: I stick out. And consequently I fit in much better than I used to.

The most important lesson I learned as an introvert is this: don’t show weakness. Extroverts, hell, people in general, come down on weakness like a ton of bricks. They sniff out weakness, and introverts in public society all too often display body language revealing that they are uncomfortable, that they want to disappear, that they want to be ignored. They signal weakness. Displays of weakness arouse disgust. I’ll repeat that once again because it is such a crucial point for introverts: displays of weakness arouse disgust. It’s like seeing a cockroach.

So, I stopped showing weakness. In fact I do the exact opposite: I signal that I am a threat, that if you disturb me I will come at you, like those poisonous animals in the jungle with bright colors. Works like a charm.

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A successful introvert, yesterday

The more I go looking for a fight, the less fights I get in.

The thing about introverts is that we have no right of existence just on the basis of being special snowflakes with rich inner worlds. This is Darwin’s world. If you want to survive, need to adapt. I identify with other introverts as much as I identify with whites; we cool and all, but I’m not into any activist group based around our identity. Sounds too leftist for my taste.

The trick is to make your introversion work for you. The Peregrine delves into this; use your focus to master a craft. Be useful. He is correct. I’d add that for me, cooperation with extroverts is a skill that has brought me much joy in life. I find that extroverts have good use for introverts: introverts are just better at thinking things over, especially when group dynamics are concerned. It’s a delicate balance of course; the introvert must not get overly cocky (the King In Your Own World syndrome) but also not show too much weakness. Though, just like with game, it is always better to err on the side of overly cocky than overly friendly.

I do not share the Peregrine’s bitterness towards extroverts or society in general, although I understand the sentiment.

I know a few extroverts who are very well attuned to different people around them. Generally, I think it is a good principle not to exclude people on a specific psychological trait but on their unwillingness to cooperate with you.

Anyway, I hope all that does not come off as being overly critical. I liked the book a lot, specifically because it talks about this subject in an open manner I rarely encounter, and it is a subject I have spent considerable time on. Would recommend.

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Panzram & Hitler’s Table Talk

At the recommendation of Jordan Peterson I read two books: Panzram, A Journal of Murder and Hitler’s Table Talk.

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Hitler’s table talk was interesting, for the first 20 pages or so. After that I got bored and stopped reading. Hitler has excellent cadence and word choice, exactly what you’d expect from a renowned orator, but boy he is repetitious. Typical syndrome of a man in power surrounded by yes-nodders; he does not understand that what he says is exactly what he said the day before, thus less interesting with each consecutive day.

The takeaway is that the reactionary analysis of Hitler as a 50s leftist is accurate. Hitler was into renewable energy, into hydrogen gas, into nature, into turning ze Ukrainian plains into a flourishing farmland for ze German people! He said some interesting things, he said more nonsense. He was pretty obsessed with Russia.

In the end Hitler promised escape from a degenerate Weimar republic, but his escape plans were white socialist figments of his own imagination. Wish I had more to say about him but I really don’t.

On the bright side, with help of the book I have been able to pull off a decent Hitler impression. My girl absolutely loathes loves it.

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Panzram was a good book, because Carl Panzram is an interesting character. As it says on the cover: ‘Panzram is one of those people who doesn’t exist in your mind until you come across him in life or, as here, in a book, and then he never leaves it.’ True.

Carl Panzram, born 1891 in Minnesota, hated everyone and everything. He murdered twenty-something people, sodomized many more, stole everything he could get his hands on and set fire to every church he crossed. He did not care about the consequences of his actions. Every time he was disciplined (which was a lot) he’d react by spitting in the face of those that disciplined him. He spent most of his time in prison, and of that time spent most of his time in solitary confinement. In his thirties he murdered a prison guard and demanded the death penalty for it, because he wanted to die. He eventually received it and was hung in Kansas, 1930. His last infamous words to the hangman: “hurry it up, you Hoosier bastard! I could kill a dozen men while you’re screwing around!”

The book, being a 20th century book, not so subtly puts the blame for Panzram’s hatred on Christianity, since in his early teens he was sent to a Chistian correctional school. ‘If only Panzram weren’t treated so cruelly by fundamentalist Christians, perhaps he’d have grown up with love in his heart!’ Seem like leftist nonsense to me. Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy had relatively tranquil childhoods and murdered a bunch of people anyway. Conversely some people are abused and mistreated when they’re young but turn out fine anyway. Which is not to say abusing young Panzram and apparently also raping him did not leave its marks on him, just that Panzram would have been stealing, lying and killing regardless, was in fact shown to be stealing and lying before he was sent to correctional school (hence, why he was sent to correctional school in the first place).

Some people are born with hatred in their hearts, or hatred in their genes if you prefer scientific over poetic accuracy. That’s just the way it is. Panzram was one of those people.

Question is, how do you deal with a guy like Panzram, a guy who just wants to see the world burn?

Panzram received a lot of corporal punishment. Though I have no problem with a bit of corporal punishment, the amount Panzram received seemed to me needless violence doled out by sadistic men. Counterproductive.

Panzram received re-education. This seems to me a leftist device to decriminalize criminals. Consider Panzram’s re-education: he was rewarded for good behavior, he was allowed to carry the flag for the prison marching  band and in the end, he was allowed some modicum of freedom so as to rebuild his trust with society. So, what happened? Well, Panzram escaped, stole a gun and almost killed someone before he was recaptured. Counterproductive.

The reason leftists obsess with re-education is because criminals make a potentially good ally against law and order. The point of re-education is not to change criminals, the point is to decriminalize criminal behavior: your bike was stolen? How dare you complain, don’t you know the thief had a rough childhood!

The punishment of criminals is the act of being in prison. You can add some amount of corporal punishment, and a very minor amount of re-education, but being confined to prison is the punishment. If a man does not accept punishment and, like Panzram, continues to murder people even in prison, the death penalty seems to me perfectly appropriate. Similarly, if an ex-convict continues to murder people outside prison, the death penalty also seems to me perfectly appropriate. That is how I think you should deal with a guy like Panzram.