Bad Boys Make Bad Men

At PJ Media, I ponder the idiotic human attraction to “bad boys” and their rebellious behavior:

But why is this destructive and often sociopathic behavior so appealing to so many people? I learned yesterday, for instance, that Charles Manson, the 80-year-old psychotic who has been in prison for decades with a swastika etched into his own forehead, is to marry a not-unattractive 26-year-old frequent visitor of his. I really do give up. Like much about human psychology, the what is very easy to ascertain, but the why eludes us. We all know that many people find rebelliousness, and even criminality, attractive. And we all know that the standard reason given is that it’s sexy to break the rules. So we are stuck in a circular argument that tells us that it’s sexy to be rebellious because rebelliousness is sexy. We are still not any closer to understanding why certain criminals are more sexually marketable than the quiet solid-state physicist or the hard-working janitor.

Read the whole thing here.

I can already see some discontent brewing in the comments section. I dared to utter a criticism of the United States, namely that we produce a lot of horrendous celebrities and pop-culture output that other countries dislike intensely. These kinds of observations are unacceptable to some people. Any level of self-reflection or self-criticism is treason, you know, because, uh, Vladimir Putin.

I hereby propose Wargas’s First Law of Political Commentary: Critics always zoom in on the least important line of any given article.

5 comments

  1. Women, like the one that married Manson, who flock to these bad men are usually incomplete. The either projecting some sick daddy issues onto him in hope of redemption or trying to gain control in one area of their lives where they’ve lost it in others. Either way , we must remember it’s human nature to flock to the safest easiest means of survival. That’s why we don’t try dangerous looking berries tho they might seem harmless and why we flock to nurturing safe havens to build families and homes. We don’t take the risk , or in some cases , certainty of death, hurt, strife..not easily anyway. So for her to flock to him so quickly BREAKS basic human rules of survival. Manson can not nurture her, protect , or provide. What kind of “love partner” Is that ? There’s more here and I’m sure it’s sicker than just “girls love bad boys”

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    1. Thanks for the comment, but I’m not sure I buy the whole “daddy issues” explanation. I’ve heard this phrase used lots over the years and it is usually accompanied by precisely no evidence. It is also usually used even when the person uttering it has no knowledge, direct or otherwise, of the other person’s life or past. All sorts of women flock to all sorts of rebellious, destructive, and psychopathic men. Manson is an extreme example I used for effect. In any case, speculative psychological explanations like “daddy issues” are unfalsifiable. *And*: men follow other destructive and charismatic men.

      Thanks for reading.

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      1. I wasn’t using it as an excuse or explanation I was using it as an example. The “daddy issues” reply doesn’t simply mean you flock to someone to replace your dad. As women man of the ways in which we first relate to men we date is through the example lead my our fathers. the basis of our self worth , esteem , and POV on relationships relationships and dating come from him. If daddy says we’re worth less , we believe it bc it must be true coming from the man that made us, the person we hold most high, it has to be right ? Souly bc daddy said it. It leaves a mark. So trying to combat this , you tend to flock to men who reaffirm that negative bias in your head. But again , I wasn’t using is as an excuse. I don’t know what’s in her head so all i can do is make suumptions and shallow guesses. But I honestly don’t think she or anyone else who flocks to those type of men are mentally healthy, That’s all.

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      2. Don’t worry, I know you weren’t using it as an excuse. My criticism was that it lacked merit as an argument because it’s unfalsifiable and too speculative. Of course it *might* be true of *some* people, but as a general explanation these kinds of long-distance diagnoses aren’t so helpful to me. They’re also kind of trendy.

        “But I honestly don’t think she or anyone else who flocks to those type of men are mentally healthy.”

        Perhaps, but then we’re stuck in another circular argument: They do crazy things because they’re crazy, and they’re crazy because they do crazy things. Psychology can quickly degenerate to this kind of thing. Very hard to write about it because of it.

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      3. Oh OK I See & yes I wasn’t saying it applied to all people and was being only speculative. Thank you for bring that circular argument up, I didn’t even think of that but thank you for enlightening me !

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