Being a sucker

Tuesday, 14 February, Year 9 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Below you'll find the official sanctioned English version of the original A fi fraier Trilema articlei, prepared by myself under my own aegis and bearing my own imprimatur! It is a scarce attempt to render a thing, which was Romanian Trilema -- a vibrant and complex community that thrived prior to my abandonment of contemporary Romanians as, in one word, unworthy of anyone's time.ii

I wrote an article unseriously. As a joke, you understand. But not a little, a tad, a shade. Outright and entirely, malice coming off it like skins off a leper.iii The thesis was that I had supposedly bought the entire population of bloggers and were ordering them about.

Entirely as a shock and unexpectedly from my point of view, a fellow took it straight and interacted with the text rationally, which is to say within its limits (the text's). I honestly declare I was expecting no such wonder, and kept thinking within my own thoughts (which is where I find myself when I think) : how could such be possible ?! Shortly thereafter we find that the fellow lives in Norway for some time. Well then, yes, that explains it, I tell myself.

Why was I shocked and why does that explain it ? Let's see.

A society, understood as a group of people, can be organised (historia docet) either as a world of law or else as a world of honor. Generally the environment has a greater impact on this choice than the individuals in the group : if resources are limited, being cheaper to steal than to produceiv, the survival of individuals will require virulent reactions to protect property. As such, an honor code will emerge spontaneously, and will prescribe permissible and impermissible acts. The meaning of "impermissible" here is that such acts carry the obligation of further acts -- for instance theft brings the obligation incumbent upon the victim to seek out the thief and beat him senseless ; rape brings the obligation upon the victim's family of killing the parties and so forth.

On the other hand, if resources are abundant, being therefore cheaper to produce than to steal, organizing around law is more effectual than the alternative. It will be cheaper for the producer to reproduce than to pursue the thief. Such societies generally develop a collective system of protection against unwanted acts which functions marginally : exactly enough to bring the cost of theft and other undesired behaviour a shade above the cost of production, and often not even that much.

In lawful societies there doesn't exist the chain of obligatory acts that is present in honorable societies. This lack is compensated through an institution of the declarative obligation, commonly called "the contract". It is generally deemed that the contract stands at the basis of a lawful society, but this affirmation is somewhat imprecise : the contract is moreover a sign of the situation, much like crutches aren't the basis of the lame, except for a very particular and limited sense of the term, but not ontologically.

The transition from scarcity to abundance, the sure sign of civilised society organised by white people in the modern times also manifests itself through a transition from social order based on honor to social order based on law. This transition is of course only partially complete in Romania, for the past two centuries the country oscillating between the abyss and the water's edge, not managing so far to break through the superficial tension and come to air. As such, the Romanian citizenry displays some socialisation specific to the marchesv.

They don't partake in an honor society in the proper sense, but in a derived, indirect manner, pre-urban but post-rural. They can't afford "to be suckers" for the exact same (interiorized) reasons and in the exact manners primitive men can't afford to be dishonored. If you're a sucker, the neighbours won't respond to your hail, you won't get no respect at the marketvi, the policemen won't listen to you and so forth. The conflict is more acute in the subconscious and social processes of men, the woman being anyway dishonored and so therefore a sucker in principle, Eastern style.

This need to avoid the state of being a sucker is present and announces itself in many numerous cases, being in any plain reading the chief mechanism of social interaction and internal life of a majority of the populace. For instance, every merchant has to recoup investment. Nobody can ever dream of selling anything for less than what they paid, because such would mean they're suckers. As proof of the interiorisation of the normative, it doesn't matter if anyone but the subject is privy to the fact.

As such, for two years running we're regaled with explanatory stories as to why "real estate prices can't fall". Why can't they ? Because under X price developer Y would have to book a loss, which would mean he's a sucker, which is something he can't swallow anymore than he could swallow his own head. Because were he to swallow such, he would no longer be human, nor apt to live in society, at least not in a certain society as he represents it in his own mind.

All the ubiquitous complaints about institutions, in the vein of "and the asshole then told me" come exactly from the sucker's problem : the individual perceives a minimal standard of behaviour with which the public servant meets real people, and takes as an insult any factually encountered behaviour which does not satisfy that standard. Because it is, practically, a declaration from the bureaucrat in question : you, Johnny, are a sucker. A declaration which he can not let pass - it has no power on its own, but if he acquiesces it becomes law. For him.

This problem is neither apanage or exclusivity of the poorly educated. It being a matter of socialization, education has little impact except for the case it's outright education in the very field, which in no case happens at all in Romania (whatever they use those words for around here is linguistic abuse), and so education through immersion has a greater effect on those who are somehow fortunate to receive specialist education than the respective education itself! With examples :

Two jailbirds, Blondu and Silviu, face each other. Blondu bitchslaps Silviu, and then spits in his face. Silviu does nothing. Blondu leaves, saying to all those present : this is my slave, spit on him if you will. This is what Mr. Geoana received from Mr. Vanghelie yesterday, notwithstanding he's not blondvii and the scene is from a story of men.

Cristian Tudor Popescu, Gandul, 17 februarie 2010

Romanians can't be suckers. Sometimes, this inability flows to their disadvantage.


kokofifi Saturday, 17 April 2010

this mass behaviour has a lot to do with the Transitionviii, but also with the mentality of a nation. not being a sucker has its own dynamics, it's folklore become reality, and includes everything that animates romanians, as you well point out.

F Sunday, 18 April 2010

i believe we'll be all back to honor soon enough.

Cristi Ariton Sunday, 18 April 2010

Mircea Popescu has a great talent or defect: he speaks ambiguously. From this article one could infer at least the following:
- the Norwegian fellow has no idea about Romanian blogs and believed the aforenamed "bought all the blogs" which "amazed him exceedingly".
- they who read the first few paragraphs and then close the page because they're not interested may conclude that "being a sucker" is to comment on an article written ironically.
- the sucker is the fellow in question who took it seriously.
- others could read and re-read the dense article trying to see it as a lesson in sociology (common sense, civics, etc).
And others like Petrovv could blather a "bullshit" because the matter is above them anyway...
What do you think ?

Dr.A Sunday, 18 April 2010

@Cristi Ariton
I'm neither certified sociologist nor certified psychologist but a poor soul who belaboured years on various lands in 2-3 corners of Terraix I can tell you in short and without much pretense to exhaustion as to the matters you bring that you're wrong. The reasoning would be :

1. What some fellow in Norway did interests not at all (with the exception of the fellow himself who will regard the matter in a very personal angle). It's just a pretext and inconsequential anecdote.
2. They who read the first few paragraphs and close the page do not interest us or the author. In fact they interest no one, they being useless for the interaction for which we've gathered here.
3. It's unclear if it's a good thing or a bad thing to treat the text as a lesson in sociology. I suspect that to the degree Mircea says things that are new for someone, the article could constitute a lesson for that person. In principle his articles are essays, very heavy on the opinion side and therfore not recommended for educational purposes, lacking objectivity as a matter of principle.
4. I suspect that if you were to produce Hamlet you'd cut out about three quarters of the cast on the grounds that the matter is above them. :D

Where you do have a point regards incoherence. It may be due to hyper-activity that Mircea's articles often suffer from impredictable changes of direction. It has also some advantages : these lengthy articles become gatherings of shorter articles which the autistic readers that we are more easily digest :D This mutuality between the author's autism and the readers' autism is the basis of the community formed around Trilema.

Mircea Popescu Sunday, 18 April 2010

@kokofifi Ha! I see I've lost you. Try swallowing the harder ones with water :D

@F It is interesting and complex. I am a lot more worried for the fate of others (such as the US people) who have barely a fraction of experience in what Cristi Parvan would call failure. Inexperienced and having had just enough to forget the few early experiences (did you know that the first attempt at Boston was eaten by wolves, by the way ?) they will probably go into the field. Romanians on the other hand are very adept at handling falls, chiefly because that's all they've been doing the past 10-12 generations. Altogether I'd say in times of crisis Romania has a (maybe its only) comparative advantage.

@Cristi Ariton I agree, it's a quality or a defect.

But on point, the first interpretation goes against the grammar of the text (which says I was amazed, not him) and also against its meaning. Since it's said "interacted rationally" then it can't be cluelessly. The second interpretation fails to interest, what people who don't read think is strictly their own problem, incommunicable. The third interpretation flows from the first and is discussed there. A sociology lesson it may be, or maybe not ; an interest in studying sociology it may spark, or perhaps not.

But I say well :)

@Dr.A Ahahahaha yo take your diagnostics wherever you know, listen to him autism. Ehehehe.

PS. At least if they eliminate Goldstein it'd still be a gain for humanity.

Cristi Ariton Sunday, 18 April 2010

@Dr. A The first point of your argument anulls all opinion and personal articles on Trilema, and condemns them to be read just by their authorx, as the sole party for whom they may be relevant given the subjectivism and anecdotal you place them in.
This follows from your "right to be interesting" as you stated it.
I've a vague impression that you've not read the exchange in Forbidden topics and don't know (not that it wouldn't interest you) that I'm the "fellow from Norway".

@Dr. A If I'm not right, I'm still coming out ahead because of it.

@Mircea Popescu "the aforementioned M P was amazed" is what I was going for, but I fucked it up. The rest is clear.

Mircea Popescu Sunday, 18 April 2010

That "coming ahead" bit is epic.xi

F Sunday, 18 April 2010

Interesting to hear about Boston's origins. I didn't know but I'm treating it hereby. Otherwise I fully agree, in the great global fail upcoming we'll have a certain advantage.

kokofifi Sunday, 18 April 2010

@ Trilemoi: won't you go... :D

MILF Sunday, 18 April 2010

Someone said Milf?

Mircea Popescu Sunday, 18 April 2010

@MILF No, sleep without carexii :D

Dr.A Sunday, 18 April 2010

I see you like to jump to conclusions. I could suspect your profession has to do somehow with evaluating people at a glance. In contrast to that suspicion about you my occupation consists in exercising patience towards various unrandom random occurences, I'll avoid basing my arguments on this empiric observation and limiting myself to the premise that you're the fellow mentioned in the opener I guess you still feel somewhat attacked in context and there's need for further discussion of my previous and summary exposition.

1. It's very much the house style for the first paragraph/s to not havem uch to do with the main rant (or at least about as much as it / they have with female psychology or physiology).
2. I suspect you're talking about point 3 ?
3. The very personal take of the author is muchly enjoyed by the audience and I can't imagine what I could say to "annul" it in any way. Should you care to explain in detail...

MILF Sunday, 18 April 2010

@Dr. A, and why do you critique the man for firing most of the Hamlet crew ? He's right, what do those in Denmark know of the problems in Norway :D

Dr.A Sunday, 18 April 2010

@milf These ill mannered Englishers have the bad habit of writing about the stick in the eye of others (see Shakespeare - Denmark, Verona ; Abraham Stoker - Transylvania) rather than discuss the fog in their own capitol.

Mircea Popescu Sunday, 18 April 2010

@MILF Wait, there's problems in Norway ? I knew there's oil.

@Dr.A Can you, a doctor on one hand, and a man of good faith on the other, deny the numerous and abundant, visible link they have to feminine pisicologyxiii ? Hm ?

Dr.A Sunday, 18 April 2010

@mircea I can but I've not the time, for I am busy answering comments on my own blog :D

kokofifi Sunday, 18 April 2010

dottore tradattore :D

Mircea Popescu Sunday, 18 April 2010

@Dr.A What, you've a blog ?!

@kokofifi Tradittore, you.

kokofifi Sunday, 18 April 2010

How do you know what I meant to say ?

Mircea Popescu Sunday, 18 April 2010

That's exactly the problem, that reading what you said one doesn't know what you meant to say.

kokofifi Sunday, 18 April 2010

I was talking to the doctor and here you come and take my puls :D

lexy229 Sunday, 18 April 2010


MILF Sunday, 18 April 2010

lexy, looooooooooooooooooooooooooooool

Mircea Popescu Sunday, 18 April 2010

Oh my, what's coming here. All we need now are some early Christians, young lionesses we have.

kokofifi Monday, 19 April 2010

My bad, lexy, the pulsE, of course! You're rooting for the wolf!xiv

Trilemoi, do lionesses neigh ? (neigheigh, or how do you say it?)

Mircea Popescu Monday, 19 April 2010

@kokofifi Let us make an experiment. Young lioness, neigh... myeah, I see they neigh. To be remembered.

Doar zic.

  1. It includes the comments, because as the saying went at the time, on this sheet of poor mores the articles are made underneath. []
  2. The path that lead to the divorce is lengthy and complex, but let us pick one momentuous cherry on top of the shitpie : many years before a thing such as Brexit was even conceived, many years before that fateful correspondents dinner where a monkey felt funny for no apparent reason, I correctly predicted the coming of Steve Bannon, and consequently spent money to pick some kids out of the gutter. I got them a nice housy, because they were too poor to do it themselves ; I wrote them a new programme, because they were too stupid to do it themselves. To quote one of Dorel Visan's best roles, "nu prea e el gospodar asa... deh, copil sarac, fara parinti... da' se-nvata el".

    Much like the worthless groom in the movie, the poor stupid kids of Timisoara turned out to be poor and stupid on their own merit, rather than by happenstance. Were they finer stuff, purer piss and vinegar their party would be a regular parliamentary majority today, exactly like the PNL was for as long as I was a member there. C'est la vie.

    But let it be clearly stated : the stupid poor do not get free reign to ignore the opportunities they have and then pretend the opportunities never existed simply because they were too lazy and too entrenched in their swineherd ways to even consider. On the contrary, the fact that I was there and they failed to take advantage of this once-in-a-thousand-lifetimes golden ticket is going to press down on them until the day they die, and on their children and on their parents and on their children's children and on their parents' parents. Such is the risk one runs from the illusory safety of dumb and deaf ignorance. []

  3. The reference here leads to a story by Ion Creanga, preminent writer in the Romanian junior high cannon. []
  4. Do not kneejerk. Read the classics, the Latins who invented law and the Greeks who invented everything else, including fucking women standing and poetry : it is unworthy for a real man to dedicate himself to industry when there's all the spoils just waiting to be spoiled and all the virgin cunt just waiting to be ravished everywhere. They said this. They weren't kidding. []
  5. You know, doubtful lands administered by a marquis, a marcher lord. []
  6. В булочной, где Калугин всегда покупал пшеничный хлеб, его не узнали и подсунули ему полуржаной. []
  7. Guy was the principal US asset in Romania for a few years. About as deeply inept and fundamentally ridiculous as John Kerry. Affectionately known as "the dumbass" among Romanian elite circles. []
  8. This is a thing in Romanian, like the Gilded Age. []
  9. He studied in France and married in Japan. []
  10. Incidentally, I do a lot of this. Trilema is a fine exercise in personal identity through the avenue of an objective retelling of history. Proust cries himself to night every sleep. []
  11. "Epocala" ie, "of the epoch" is way the hell cooler in Romanian, not least because "Epoca de Aur". []
  12. This is just too hard to even try and explicit the references. Sorry. []
  13. Pisi is how you say kitten in Romanian. []
  14. It's a joke, something like
    What if the bear comes ?
    I'll run!

    It runs faster than you.
    I'll jump in water.

    Bears swim quite well.
    I'll climb a tree.

    Bears love to climb trees.
    Just whose side are you on ?

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6 Responses

  1. I do not want kids. I don't want to fuck. I do not want much except for food, water, clothes, shelter, and other basics. I don't believe that I'm asking for too much, and it is being provided. I don't believe I'm lazy or stupid. If I am, not much more than average. If euthanasia were offered, I would take it, sooner or later. I don't see how I'm wrong. I may pursue education but I may well fail to get a job despite it. If you want to kill me, I don't consider you my enemy. If you want to watch me bleed out slowly for years, I don't think you'll get that pleasure. Thanks for reading

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Wednesday, 15 February 2017

    You're welcome.

  3. Apparently gray doesn't know what a drone even is.

  4. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Wednesday, 15 February 2017


    Cinci ani, tu! Ce trece vrenea,

  5. Maybe a common thread here is that your visitors are those who want to kill the worst in themselves, or maybe you force that out of them and only those who understand that on some level stay, and for those in which the worst is the major part of them that would mean killing themselves, physically. Lol. Better than droning on I guess. But there is always DOTA 2, they seem to forget.

  1. [...] no fucking idea. Don't worry about it though, what you don't know can't hurt you, and the fact that I've already seen the history you discover as "impredictable" and "novel" couldn't possibly put me in any sort of an advantaged [...]

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