March 3, 2006

Curiously, Maer is getting the same reaction right now from would-be investors

0060554738.01._AA240_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg If you read Gawker, or just like to mack on the ladies, you probably know that a Village Voice writer is in a heap of trouble for fabricating portions of a story based on The Game, Neil Strauss's actually very funny book about the totally creepy subculture of "pick up artists." Today there's an added wrinkle in the form of a bitter freelancer (and speaking as one, is there any other kind?) who says she pitched a similar story to the Voice first.

But for my money, the best article about The Game — even weirder than the made-up one — remains Lucas Hanft's first-person adventure [jpg] for the September issue of Radar. Coincidentally, this story also originated with a pitch from a different writer, Neal Pollack, whose idea was to test Strauss's contention that the techniques of The Game work for anyone by attempting to digest them in a single sitting (rather than months of training) and then trying them out in his guise as a pathetic middle-aged father (his words, more or less, exaggerated for comic effect, of course). I thought the idea was hilarious, which Neal apparently wasn't expecting since when I got back to him, he said his wife would never let him do it.

Fortunately Neal was nice enough to hand over the idea (I think we even paid him a finder's fee, which is probably why Radar went under) and I gave it to Lucas, who, while neither pathetic nor middle-aged, is, let's say, not exactly Rico Suave. The results were golden. Poor Lucas was shot down, laughed at, and ignored by every hot chick in Manhattan. And shoved by at least one boyfriend. Frankly he showed a kind of courage I never could have. But what makes the piece work (in addition to my masterful editing, natch) is not just Lucas's string of failures but the deadpan way he highlights everything that is most ridiculous about these pick-up techniques. I dare you to come away from reading this [jpg] without wondering how this could work for anybody. Update: Lucas also worked from the PUA's founding document, The Layguide, which is free if you want to get a taste of just how wacky this can get.

Fans of Radariana will please also note that this piece was designed during one of the low points in our art director rollercoaster, and is quite likely the worst illustration ever to appear in the magazine, especially when you think about the possiblities there.

Oh, and Lucas's line on Voice fabulist Nick Sylvester: "I thought Pitchfork writers only made up musical genres."

Posted by Daniel Radosh


I wonder if that stuff works on what Terry Pratchett referred to as (IIRC) the "Jerk Principle." The idea is that, since you're not afraid of rejection, you'll actually approach the intimidatingly beautiful, who are happy that somebody has finally struck up a conversation with them.

Maybe not, but then, I just love saying Rrrrrrrrrrico... Ssssssuaaaaave...

That is a big part of it, the all-important first step, but there's a lot more after that.

Something screwy is up when I try to open the file for the Radar piece. When I open it, I can only see part of the headline and the deck. For some reason I can't scroll down to read the piece. I'm inclined to think this is a result of my technological ineptitude, but just to let you know...

Try it now. You should be able to either click on it and read it in your browser or download it to view in another app.

Your references to Rico Suave weren't meant as some kind of insult? No, of course not, couldn't be.

My brother wrote a similar piece for Nerve, about one PUA's techniques, before Neil's book came out. I'd forgotten about it until I looked at the Radar piece.


According to Strauss, the Ross Jeffries techniques (described in the Nerve piece by Marisa's brother) is held in some contempt by other PUAs. Jeffries does this weird, as Bowe puts it "pseudo scientific" mind control, which many PUAs consider a violation of the Game.

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