O, wasted youth!

Friday, 22 February, Year 5 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

It is rare for a millionaire to spend their time interacting directly with "common people", whatever that may mean. To quote,

Diablo-D3 people who are that rich dont hang out on IRC

He has a point, most people worth more than the US Presidenti that I know more or less fit this expectation. The most common excuse offered, of course, is that they don't have the time, with the implication that they have so many better things to do. This is pretty transparent to everyone involved, or to quote Jerry Seinfeld, "how much flan can a person eat!". If you've never been on a yacht you may think it's a pleasant way to spend your remaining days, stuck in fifty cubic feet with two or three women, adrift in the sun and salty breeze of the ocean. Then again if you've never fucked random girls in public places you probably imagine you could trade your right arm for the "magical" ability to fuck random girls you pass by in the street right then and there, and it'd be a great deal. I can tell youii from the vantage of experience both that life on a yacht is for the birds and that new birdy is best enjoyed in the comfort of her own bedroom. Banal, I know. There's a reason the banal gets to be banal.iii

The excuse hidden inside the excuse, as a sort of core destined be misconstrued as "kernel of truth", is of course "efficiency". There's some truth to this : the more you own the higher watchtowers you need and the further you need to peer into the darkness in order to maintain your jools and stand a chance at increasing them. This is why absolutely anyone worth money maintains excellent information infrastructure. It starts by reading a book - that's what that is, information. It continues by going to college, learning things : more information. It never stops there, not for the truly rich at any rate. In junior high I knew more intimate and embarrasing details of each and every last one of my teachers than they knew themselves. Part A large part of dominating your environment is maintaining the informational upper hand, and people without the propensiety and ability to do this never amount to anything. And so yes, rich people find it inefficient to interact with one or ten or a hundred of the commoners at a time. They need statistics and generally speaking much more dakka to stand a chanceiv.

Even with all the foregoing the excuse is still broken. While it's true that you can't dispense with the statistical approach in any casev, it's not true that you can limit yourself to it. If you employ good heuristics it is trivial to obtain a lot of value from well picked case studies to nicely complement, enrich and enhance the results of the statistical approach. I will give just one example to illustrate this point, because it works very well for a number of reasons : someone mentioned the string "hxh" in IRC the other day. I have been conscientiously looking up any strings I come upon that I do not understand since the age of about eightvi. I had the vague idea it probably has something to do with "straightedge", which is this gangland atempt at urban monasticism, but no. It does not. It is in fact extremely and entirely different. Prepare to be deluged with notable quotes from the Manga Encyclopediavii :

Hunter × Hunter (ハンター×ハンター Hantā Hantā), is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi. The story focuses on a young boy named Gon, who discovers that his father, whom he was told was dead, is actually alive and well. He learns that his father, Ging, is a world-renowned Hunter: a licensed profession for those who specialize in fantastic pursuits such as locating rare or unidentified animal species, treasure hunting, surveying unexplored enclaves, or hunting down lawless individuals. Despite Ging having left his son with his relatives in order to pursue his own dreams, Gon departs upon a journey to follow in his father's footsteps, pass the rigorous Hunter Examination, and eventually find his father. Along the way, Gon meets various other kinds of Hunters and also encounters the paranormal. The original inspiration for the manga came from Togashi's own collecting hobby.

Some otakuviii is dreaming dreams of manliness, manhood and menschkeit, watching the dazzling lights of his collecting lamp in the dark, quiet den. Ah, being a man. A real one. Surveying the unexplored, hunting down the prey, treasure hunting, all that good stuff. Raping and pillaging, and I do mean that quite literally : forcing the various items of interest in this world (anything shiny, anything with tits) to conform to your will. The one true calling of all men, the one truly expensive endeavour in the world. The one thing we can't all be doing.

Hunter × Hunter has been a huge financial success and has become one of Shueisha's best-selling manga series, with it having sold over 60.5 million copies in Japan alone as of February 2012. Popularity and viewer recognition of the anime series have proven much more modest.

The most amusing joke of the current times (you know reality exists pretty much in the shape on an ellaborate joke, right ?) is this confusion between success and popularity. Obviously all endeavours are to be judged by how much money they make, and by how much money they make only. Obviously most popular anythings, be they people or movies or bagels, never make much money if at all. Obviously "the people" have no notion of the difference. I am chucking as I write this, it's hysterical (though perhaps it's not for you).

But it continues!

The next story arc reunites the main characters for the world's largest auction in the sprawling metropolis of Yorknew City. Gon, Killua, and Leorio try different methods to make enough money to buy Greed Island, an extremely rare and expensive video game with Nen-like properties that may help Gon locate his father.

Seriously! The magical game of magic! The one true hope of all wasted youth at all times and in all places : that one might somehow find an elixir of transmutation, allowing to convert all the numerous steps taken down the wrong path into steps taken down the right path! Ah if only...

In the final days of the auction, Gon and Killua are hired by a multi-billionaire to play Greed Island, a billion-dollar video game created by Ging Freecss that takes place somewhere in the real world. The game, created with Nen, rewards one by allowing them the choice of taking three magical items from the game into the real world.

Isn't this delicious ? This is what fantasy billionaires exist for : to hire shut-ins. Seriously, rich people do this all the time, it is true. Pretty much any cruel lord of a keep anywhere, whether his steel glove is enmeshed in velvet or not at all, keeps a gremlin or five in a basement somewhere to make him Greek fire and play video games all day. It's the statistical part above.

They don't get to keep the items tho. Especially not the magical ones. In point of fact they very rarely even get to see the magical items at all.

So there you have it. Had I not been hanging out on IRC I would have conceivably lived the rest of my days without ever having heard of hxh, ie hanta-hantaix. My life'd have been less for it, and while it's unlikely I'd have ever lived to regret it, nevertheless I would have never had the ready "O, are you a hanta???" interrogation at my fingertips just in case I'm ever stuck interacting with one.

There's a reason it's impossible to argue with me and win. That reason probably has a lot to do with the fact that I'm closing in on thirty years' worth of both having the curiosity to pursue strands and the resources to implement my desires into concreteness.

The question of wasted youth remains, of course, an open one.

  1. You may think this example is neither here nor there, but it is in fact an exquisite choice. Have you any idea how much - both as an absolute value but even more interestingly as a percentage - the mulatto in chief has enriched himself (personally, but also interesting if you count the entire extended clan) since 2008 ? I would bet you have no idea, but do look it up if you're the thinking type. And it's only been five years! Think how much more could be accomplished in another five... []
  2. Obviously with the full knowledge that 1. you won't believe it and 2. you'll get angry and become beligerent over it. I happen to not care as it is. []
  3. If you read Romanian there's a decent article discussing this problem from a different angle, and which ties nicely into our entire topic here : Nefericirea lui Superman. []
  4. On this point to paraphrase a friend, "If you don't watch TV you can't possibly understand the people. Have your secretary make a summary at least." []
  5. And yes, I do have people whose job it is to read stuff for me and summarize, as shocking that may be to the SomethingBashful crowd. []
  6. My mother gets the credit for coming up with that idea, and guess what : if one starts early and sticks to it dilligently one might make the pleasant discovery that they never end up in that unfortunate position where the flood of unknowns is so heavy they simply don't have the time to start investigating anymore - too much stuff to look up now. This is also my mother's idea, she pointed out when I was about seven and starting school that the only thing I really need to do is keep up, make sure I never fall behind. That way it will stay easy forever - and guess what ? It has. If you happen to speak Romanian there's a little more on that topic over at Importanta parintilor pentru copiii lor. []
  7. This is seriously the only utility of wikipedia - keeping track of the stupid shit a la manga, action movies, all that junk made to keep the herd pacified. []
  8. Really nothing but a fancy word for "industrial strenght shut-in". []
  9. It's a fever. []
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2 Responses

  1. Ce nu pricep e cum dracu retii toate cacaturile astea. Noa, am citit la tine despre Hantā deci stiu ce-i aia, da' n-o sa retin chestia pentru totdeauna amu.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Friday, 22 February 2013

    Te-ar surprinde, da' nu le retin. Decit atita ca-n context imi vin, da-n rest absolut habar nu am.

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