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漫画 女郎蜘蛛其の一

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Happy Christmas! I should've made a Jo-rô-gumo with a Christmas theme.


漫画 Swords Gesture


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模倣子 Again with the Patriarchy

 Here's the original article on Medium 

Here's the original post I was replying too...

Really good stuff. Yes, men are really treated horribly in USA society. But it's ironic we are so at odds with the arabic world, since we treat women comparatively badly.
For example, circumcision in the USA--how can we expect men to be sympathetic to women's genital and sexual self-determination when it's denied men so brutally and right at birth?
"A Man's Gotta Do What A Man's Gotta Do" says the most sexist official sign in the US -- the draft registration sign at the Post Office. Men have to die, by law, not get onto the lifeboats, by law, men get punished far more harshly, everywhere, and so on and so. This is all true.
The thing is that women's oppression could mostly be turned off overnight with the stroke of a pen, in many cases. Free day care, free menstruation holidays (like in Japan), but not so easy for men. Men's suffering really may be necessary for society to function.
Labeling things "patriarchy" and then drawing conclusions from that, as opposed to the reverse, may be a bad way of going about it.
As soon as you start saying that "women suffer more" or "no, men suffer more" your activism grinds to a halt. Men do suffer horribly, aren't allow to cross the border into Poland with their children but are instead handed a gun (if they're lucky) and turned back to be slaughtered with a cruelty we usually spare even insects.
If your women's liberation agenda is based on "women suffer more than men", you may be right, but it's a pointless argument. Women should not have to suffer at all, certainly not in ways that are easily prevented. With ADA we spent billions for wheelchair ramps and big-door elevators, and yet we spend nothing on the basic needs of women, and I hear little or no discussion of this, and when I bring it up at corporate planning meetings I get ignored or shouted down (often by managerial women). Just forget that. Forget the "framing arguments" to do with "patriarchy" or "systemic misogyny" -- those are descriptions of SYMPTOMS. Maybe useful, but may not serve the cause of activism and progressive change. I don't know if Ghandi said this, but it's sometimes attributed thereto (it might've been Abby Hoffmann):
"The measure of the soul of a society is how it treats its women (and children)"
And another of my favs:
"No people are truly defeated until the faces of its women are on the ground."
-- Apache (Cheyenne) proverb
...so by both of those we're going a pretty piss-poor job in the ol' US of A.
We don't HAVE to play the blame game, and say that "it's a patriarchy" or "we're under alien control" or "it's a communist takeover" (notice how all of these have in common that they're equality plausible, equally impossible to define or verify, and equally distracting from the work of actually doing the work of getting people together and solve the problem?).
A more useful tack might be, instead of HAVING to label everything before proceeding, is to just acknowledge that men suffer horribly in our society, that's it's really unfair, but that we're not going to do anything about it because that suffering might be hard to unravel without destroying the economy and our military preparedness, and that since we CAN make women's lives much better, and that IS a very valuable objective, we should TRY making women's lives better, starting with the things that will be:
a) easiest and quickest to implement
b) the cheapest
c) will have the widest and greatest benefit to the largest number of women
And then we might have to actually have to be honest with ourselves. This is a whole book in itself, but we may have to take an honest look at how we're exact as misogynist and in the same ways as the arab world. If a woman is walking unescorted, especially at night, then she's obviously a prostitute and is fair game for cat-calling and other attention (that's what they do over there). We need to admit we have that attitude and do what we need to to change it, if that's the case. The Sexual Revolution and The Pill may have changed the dynamics such that contraception is now 100% the responsibility of the woman, and maybe we need to confront that. Is it useful to say that "Women in the USA don't get free menstruation holidays like they do in Japan and they should, and the USA is a patriarchy" or do we just need to say the first part? Try this "USA Women should get free day's off for their periods like Japanese women do, and we have to stop those invisible purple elves from stealing our magical pancake syrup." How does the last clause help? How does adding a nonsensical, oxymoronic, unfalsifiable, beggared question to the end make it better?
I guess if something's linguistically problematic then it's just problematic, full stop. Again, I'm not sure we need to say something "is a patriarchy," especially when it invites an avalanche of pushback and counterexamples, and so on. It's enough to say the punch line, which is that women are being mistreated, independent of how horribly men are being treated, and here's a prioritized list of things we can do about it. If once those things start to get fixed, it will cease to be "a patriarchy," then what's the use in putting forward the? patriarchy argument in the first place? Since by your statements, MOST MEN can do nothing about making it a "not patriarchy" and "patriarchy" is merely a catch-all description and does not point to a "solution" (since it's not a statement of a problem, per se) how does attaching this name, and making some kind of a case (which can be strongly argued against) that women suffer more than men, and women are "less valued" than men, it seems you're putting out an argument that may be at least somewhat circular, i..e, "the USA is a patriarchy, therefore women suffer more than men (by definition of a patriarchy, I guess), but hey wait! here's a bunch of cases where men suffer more--oh but that can't be, or we need to sugar coat that somehow, or they brought it on themselves (while of course women did not) because it's a patriarchy, etc., etc., etc."
The way you use patriarchy is a bit like me saying "my new couch is comfortable". It can be subjective, and if I try to lay across the drink island thing, it ceases to be true...."
I don't mean to demean the seriousness of the issue at hand, but at the same time I have to press the issue that "It's A Patriarchy" is a label (and possibly also a name of a game show) and not a "description" that can be extended, like, because Japan has sei-ri-bi (menstruation holidays) and the US does not, does that make Japan less of a patriarchy than the USA? Can you answer that question or any others like it?
Is this car legally licensed to drive on the roads in the USA (of Japan, or Switzerland, of Mexico)? Yes. Great. No, well, what needs to be done to it to make it roadworthy? Nothing--it's a wagon and can never be licensed. It's emissions need to be fixed. It's tires need to be replaced, etc.
Is patriarchy really the problem? Roadworthiness obviously is, but what's the equivalent in what you're talking about? If the USA (or Japan) ceases to be a patriarchy (by your or whoever's definition), then are we done? Will women no longer be suffering? Will women finally be "valued"? Will MEN no longer suffer, commit suicide six times as much, die in wars and work accidents twenty times as much, live longer, whatever? Or can we still be a patriarchy if we fix all that stuff anyway?
Can we decouple this mania to label things patriarchy and still help women, and maybe even ultimately men, lead better lives?
Does everybody know what a "beggared question" is, or "question-begging"? That may be rather salient here...

Original Post

It is widely known that women live longer than men.

It is widely known that men have higher suicide rates than women.

It is widely known that sexual assault is common in men's jails and prisons. Meanwhile, men are incarcerated at a much higher rate than women.

We do almost nothing about any of it.

It is my understanding that in many jurisdictions female-on-male rape is not recognized, let alone criminalized.

Our national pastime in the U.S., the sport of American football, destroys players' brains. Yet we keep on watching the games from high school to the NFL; the bids for the broadcast rights of the games keep getting higher; and all of college sports is being reorganized around that one sport.

I remember reading that upper middle class white men were hit the hardest by the 2008 recession. Such a man was known as a Beached White Male.

Men in general have been hit the hardest by the wage stagnation, automation, and offshoring of jobs that started in the 1970s.

We do almost nothing about any of this.

What is ironic is that many of the manufacturing jobs that men lost have been filled by women in low-income countries. Among other things, it is believed that women are less likely to unionize.

I don't know the data, but I would not be surprised to find that men are victims of police brutality much more often than women.

I personally have felt the unpaid body guard business sting deeply. I heard at a young age that apparently by being male it is my job to shield a woman from bullets, an oncoming vehicle, etc. and lose my life if that is what it takes. It is one thing to be altruistic and make the conscious choice to sacrifice oneself for others. It is another thing to be told that making such sacrifices, especially sacrificing one's life, and especially to save women, comes with being male.

Yet, much of my life I have heard people say that I and other men "enjoy" male privilege. No, I don't enjoy it at all. I am glad that I have been spared much of it. For example, I never played American football.

Yet, in spite of being fully conscious of everything above and having no hesitation in sharing it, I am now being told that I am not conscious of how I am being exploited, abused, etc. Gosh, I am even being told that my perspective is "specious".

I am so used to it that I have become numb to it, to be honest. I have heard all of it repeatedly in my 51 years on this planet. You know, like how I don't like my female bosses as much as my male bosses and because of my male privilege I don't see that the former had to work harder to get to their positions on the corporate ladder. How I won't ask for directions, won't go to the doctor, etc. because of my toxic masculinity, stubborn male pride, or something like that. How even if I do 50℅ of the housework I, because of patriarchy, male privilege, or something like that, don't take it seriously like a woman does. How I am "visual" and sexually objectify women. How I don't speak up about rape culture, sexual harassment, and other things terrorizing and oppressing women.

But the worst part is having been repeatedly told that because I am a man I can't understand what women have gone through.

Well, I have endured my own share of mistreatment from men--and women--due to sexism/misogyny, homophobia, racism, ableism, etc.

So what have I done about it? Perseverance and resilience. For example, I have enjoyed and supported women's basketball for a long time. I have, among other things, been met with "I don't like girls basketball!" when I tried to discuss it with one woman. The funny thing is, women have no problem discussing with me a sport that destroys men's brains (American football). I have, in the middle of trying to enthusiastically follow the women's game, been met with headlines reminding me that, oh, all of the head coaches in the Women's Final Four are men and how sexist we, including me, still are. Just scratching the surface there. Yet, I keep on supporting and enjoying the sport and expanding the number of women's sports that I follow. You should see the reactions when I try to talk about, oh, women's pole vault. It's like nobody else, including women, is aware that such a thing exists or that anybody cares about it.

Gosh, in spite of all of this people feel the need to hold me accountable for, oh, not being aware of women's oppression, its causes, my role in it, and its negative impact on me.

Not only can one not point out simple, indisputable facts like rape in male prisons and our indifference to it, he can't even get women to respect that he is on their side.

But I persevere. Maybe someday I'll break out of this working-two-minimum-wage jobs rut, have a powerful, brilliant female boss, and have the opportunity to tell her how highly I think of her. Or maybe someday I'll have the time and the money to be a women's basketball season ticket holder and someone will publish a story about how I haven't missed a home game in 10 years. Maybe someday the context and the conversation won't be about how me and others like me (men) are oblivious to what women go through and because of our "privilege" and our complicity in women's oppression are completely clueless about the fact that the things that oppress women oppress us as well.




模倣子 Macromemetics and Improv Comedy

Memetic Essays LIST - Manga Index 


I thought I'd just call a pause for a moment and review some memetic concepts, make sure there's not too much jargon muddying the waters. I thought I'd make a direct and consistent appeal to Improv Comedy and link that directly to memetic concepts. The match-up is pretty good.

What is Improv Comedy? 

This is kind of an ambitious question, but a basic concept of improv is to "make an offer" and have others in the group or troupe or whatever "accept the offer." Not accepting the offer is known as "blocking." So that's the dynamic: offer, accept the offer, or block the offer. Obviously, when one comic makes an offier and it's accepted, then both comics get a "bump" (1) or a "payoff". The comic making the offer is taking a "risk." The risk is that their offer will not be accepted, they try to pitch the first half of a joke, making themselves look ridiculous, silly, not funny, for a moment, until somebody else picks up on it and completes the joke.

I'll see if I can think of some examples.

Mapping it onto Memetics 

These concepts: "making an offer," "accepting an offer," "blocking an offer," "taking a (comedic/social) risk," "getting a bump/payoff," or "getting made to look silly" or "getting left holding the bag" are all concepts that relate directly to macromemetics.

Making an offer is deploying a meme, and accepting that offer, or helping that offer to work, is resonating with the meme, or deploying alliance memes to support that meme. Agents are the comics, the ones deploying the memes. Blocking an offer is deploying an immunomeme.

A comic putting a bit out there, making an offer, is hoping to move the act to a new and better state. This means that all the other comics, or actors, will have more chance to throw out, make offers, of funnier and more high-stakes bits, that will give everyone more places to go, which makes it more exciting for everyone, including the audience.

By the same token, a memetic agent is putting memes out there, and if they are accepted, if they resonate with the rest of the cohort (the audience and the other actors/comics), that is, the others reply with "favorable" memes, the system moves to states that give the originator, and his/her allies, more chances to deploy more and more powerful memes.

If a meme or bit is blocked, however, then the system moves to a different place, one where fewer people have the chance to do anything, or where the original comic/agent does not get to move things in the direction they wanted.

The risk that an agent takes is called "memetic debt" and the hope is that this will be "paid back" when his/her meme "lands" or "resonates" with the "audience" and the "other actors" which we just call the memetic cohort. One of the things agents most fear and try to avoid is "residual memetic debt," which is where you take the risk and it doesn't get paid back, so you are left with part or all of what you risked.

Residual memetic debt is kind of like loss of face, or lost of reputation, or even just "accumulated pain" associated with this rejection, like when a comic is trying to be funny, trying to put some energy out there, and others do not extend the joke, do not capitalize on the offer, and instead shut the original comic down and go in a totally different direction. When an offer is paid back, it feels good, partly because there is no residual memetic debt, and partly because the system, the act, has moved to a place that makes it easier for the comic to put more offers out there, and hopefully more impactful ones.

Summary & Conclusions 

I should probably wrap it up here, keep it short and sweet. Concepts such as "offers" and "accepting" or "blocking" from improv comedy translate pretty directly onto "memetic deployment" and "resonance/alliance" and "immunomemes".

There's the idea of "residual memetic debt" which is related to the comic whose offer gets blocked and is left holding the bag and looking stupid. One takes a risk, or incurs memetic debt, in the hope that it will be paid back by others' reactions.

Finally, a big deal is that the object of improv is to put offers out there, get them accepted, and this moves the act to more and more sophisticated states, where there are more and more offers that more and more actors can make. A memetic agent also wants to move the system forward, into memetic states where he/she and his/her allies have more and more opportunities to make high-stakes high-impact memetic deployments.

A bad improv show is one where the actors are not resonating, not clicking, or are working against each other, some pulling one way and others another. Memetic systems, full of agents and memes, moving from state to state, looks quite the same. Factions, or powerful individuals, may pull the system in one direction, which others pull it away from there, and there may be many agents who simply feel powerless. Powerlessness leads to violence (or apathy) just as how in improv people not cooperating leads to frustration and a bored (or angry) audience.

That's where macromemetic engineering comes in...

(1) "bump" is kind of my term, I think. I'm not sure if this is actually used in the field of improv.


模倣子 Helping Emotional Vampires

Memetic Essays LIST - Manga Index 


I had a chat with a friend and he recognized the "attention vampire" concept and said it is also known as the "emotional vampire" and at least one other term.

We got into the idea that another friend pitched, i.e., that vampires might be acting out of residual memetic debt. This works rather better than my go-to idea that attention vampires are just sucking as reliable and minimal attention out of an environment, kind of starvation level. It's under-motivated.

With a residual memetic debt model of attention vampirism, the motivation is strong, and the willingness to deploy immunomemes in defense of one's position becomes clearer. It might actually give us a clearer idea of how residual memetic debt is "laid in," e.g., by the deployment of immunomemes against the RMD sufferer (obviously) and then the RMD sufferer might then be motivated to deploy the same or similar immunomemes in order to defend their vampires position.

Related Essays 

模倣子 What Makes for Good Conversations and Meetings?

模倣子 The Memetics of Intergenerational Abuse and Genocide

Residual Memetic Debt 

The idea is that making a social overture, in other words, putting a meme out there for everybody else to see, or "deploying a meme" (3) incurs a risk, which I call memetic debt. I model it as a "loop" that is opened by the initiator, the deployer, in the hope that it will be "closed" by the response of others. If this offer is blocked, as opposed to accepted, then the initial offerer is left with residual memetic debt. I have come to see residual memetic debt, the avoidance of it, the trying to resolve it somehow (which seems to be non-trivial), as the root of many human woes (5).

One possible way to think of residual memetic debt is that "I should've gotten more," be it more laughs, more attention, more money, more food, whatever. Does residual memetic debt involve "resentment" and be directed towards individuals...or groups? Probably.

Do Attention Vampires Suffer from Residual Memetic Debt? 

This was suggested by my first friend, and I like the idea. It seemed really obvious when he said it, but it might actually require a certain amount of fleshing out.

But this could be fun, since it could give us a practical, measurable example of how residual memetic debt produces long-term dysfunctional behavior (5). This seems to explain a lot, but it's really quite theoretical only at this point.

One strong point is that the vampire is motivated, not only by starvation (which leads to violence, etc.) but also by the desire to enact memes which they were denied during their victimization (where the RMD was laid in). They ALSO would be motivated to enact the same immunomemes which were deployed against them during RMD in-laying. If they were interrupted, ignored, etc., they would tend to turn to these same immunomemets against others in the expression of their residual memetic indebtedness sickness.

The idea is that if we could "cure" the residual memetic debt problem of the attention vampire, they would come right and start acting like functional human beings, no longer obsessed with always being in the spotlight, cruelly shutting down other people to prove that they are the most interesting person, and droning on constantly.

But is there any evidence that this might be the case?

Draining Off Residual Memetic Debt 

How do you get this paid back, if your memetic deployment, your offering, already failed, got rejected, got immunomemetically smacked down? That's what my second friend and I talked about. I really got interested in my first friend's idea that residual memetic debt was what was driving conversation vampirism, because although eking out a meagre dribble of human attention by monologuing and monopolizing a conversation is a way to survive, kind of like a regular vampire locked in jail along with a used Band-Aid (4), i.e., it's really meagre and pathetic and bland, and so unsatisfying, that these kinds of people deliberately setting up and staging often complex situations just so they can slowly drain their hapless victims of their attention over a period of hours while they drone on is just so...well, mosquitos and ticks seem like noble beasts by comparison.

Okay, so can RMD be "paid back" (5) ever? This is a huge question. If you laugh at enough of the AV's jokes and comments, will they finally get it and settle down and stop being such a sociopath, or if you include them in enough exchanges they'll get that participation is more fun than monopolizing everything? Are they acting out of fear? They fear losing the talking stick because they'll never get it back or others will ridicule them?

All good questions.

Summary & Conclusions  

The well-known phenomenon of the attention vampire (6) may stem from residual memetic debt. An individual who has been ignored or cut dead or cut off too many times, and never really had the chance to be listened to may have a lot of memetic loops (7) left open, and residual memetic debt accrued, such that they are continually trying to "work the other side" of the memetic loop and be the one that gets to do all the talking and have everybody else pay attention.

This idea works in terms of the theory as I understand it. Residual memetic debt causes one to try to enact complementary memes to the ones that one could not "close" (8) during the period the RMD was laid in.

Open questions include whether residual memetic debt is behind attention vampiric behavior (and other dysfunctional behaviors), what laying in of residual memetic debt actually looks like (9), and whether and how it's possible to "pay back" or "cure" residual memetic debt toxicosis. I have theories to work out (what residual memetic debt and memetic loops look like), and also experiments to design (treating attention vampires and other sociopaths with meme therapy, which also needs theory-building).


(1) There is "deploying a meme" which is putting it out there where everybody can see and evaluate it, as opposed to "enacting a meme" which may involve only rehearsing a speech, a trick, testing out a move, or trying out part of a move (meaningless by itself (2)). The difference between actually "deploying" and only "enacting" or "practicing" may be that one is risking memetic debt in one and not in the other (3).

(2) Much like Shoe & Shoelace for you Family Guy fans out there.

(3) Deploying versus only enacting might represent a symmetry which is broken by memetic debt, i.e., one risks memetic debt in the former but not the latter. It is a similar symmetry breaking that I am positing to distinguish between alliance memes and immunomemes, i.e., in the former case the deploying agent, the person taking the action, making the offer, is paid back, gets their memetic resonance, gets their reward, has their offer accepted, while in the latter case they are not paid back, they are spanked, their offer is blocked or rejected, and they are saddled with (residual) memetic debt.

(4) Sorry for the gross reference but attention vampires really piss me off and I think they are really pathetic and there's no point trying to "put a Band-Aid" on their behavior.

(5) I've been working on the idea that residual memetic debt (RMD) is the cause of intergenerational abuse and also intergenerational genocide and such. If so, then we have to understand whether RMD can be "paid back" or if there is some other avenue which must be pursued in order to drain it off. I don't really have a verb picked out for "draining" RMD, like "to resolve" or "to drain" or "to pay back" and since I can't claim to know whether this is even really possible (in theory yes, but I have not conducted a lot of experiments on this yet) choosing a name for the phenomenon might be putting Descartes before the horse. This may point to a treatment of (some forms of) PTSD.

(6) Also "emotional vampire" and others.

(7) A memetic loop is opened when one deploys a meme, and memetic debt is incurred. If the meme resolves successfully, resulting in the system transitioning to a state favorable to the deployer (and their allies) then this memetic debt is "paid back" and the deployer enjoys memetic resonance, memetic reward. If the loop is NOT closed, the deployer is the victim of an immunomeme, and the system is diverted to a disfavorable state, then the deployer is stuck with residual memetic debt.

(8) More needs to be written on this, and examples and notation explored. Intergenerational abuse in the form of "mommy hits me but I can't hit mommy, so I have to wait until I'm big and have my own kids, then I can do the hitting and somebody else can experience being hit (by me)." I need to expand this with more and better examples and a more rigorous definitions. There may be concepts as a "looped pair" of memes or something. This probably relates closely to what resonance looks like. Obviously it has to do with transition to a favorable memetic state, but I need to drag in more factors, independent of the topology of the memetic matrix, that identify an unclosed loop, or a blocked memetic deployment.

(9) Residual memetic debt in terms of the laws of macromemetics and immunomemetics, and notation and matrix transitions. And also examples. I may need to do a third installment of the Dining Philosophers.


模倣子 Attention Vampire Behaviors

 Memetic Essays LIST - Manga Index 


Previously I wrote about the idea of an attention vampire.

This is somebody who does all they can to just keep talking and keeping other people listening to them. This requires a certain amount of status in the group, or the ability to manipulate the social conventions that prevent others from interrupting them, changing the subject, etc.

There appear to be a lot of behaviors that typify attention vampires, some of which I'll try to list here. They tend to be good examples of immunomemes (blocking memes).

It's Not About "Meanness" 

One overarching theme in the behavior of the attention vampire is self-justification.

This is a deeply memetic concept, but it boils down to the idea that the attention vampire "feels" (1) they have the right to hold the floor and have everybody else shut up and listen to them. They feel that they have the right to hold forth and that anybody else speaking is an unwelcome, irrelevant, and inappropriate interruption. This is a self-reënforcing proposition in that the more the vampire feels secure, indeed, is secure, in deploying memes which support their holding the floor against all comers, the more they do it and that in turn supports, de facto, that they are doing the right thing, i.e., that they "deserve" to always be the one speaking.

So even though it seem that the vampire is being brutal and meager and treating everyone else shabbily, they probably do not themselves "believe" it to be so. Even when they brutally shut down other people who try to contribute to the conversation, they are paradoxically "grateful" to those people since they provide the vampire with opportunities to assert their own omnipotence by the very act of shutting them down. If they did not do this periodically, then, as we like to say in memetics, those memes would atrophy, everybody would forget they exist and perhaps be emboldened to try to unseat the vampire.

The make-up and dynamics of the memetic environment clearly tell the vampire that they are doing the right thing, that they in fact have the right to hold forth indefinitely and nobody else has the right to contribute. It is in fact a true and accurate description of the conversational environment. They keep talking, anybody who tries to contribute is seen as an annoyance, the vampire shuts them down (or somebody else does), and the vampire carries on.

It is a steady state, supported by all the actions of all of the participants. I'd like to try to list some of the behaviors.

List of Behaviors 

Here are things that attention vampires do to keep the spotlight on themselves. One overarching theme is that of self-justification. The conversational environment contains memes, of which I hope to list and describe some below (2), that make up this environment, mostly deployed by the vampire, but also by the other members of the group, that keep the vampire sucking away at the whole group's attention.

These are pretty much all descriptions of "blocking memes" (immunomemes (3,4)) which allow the vampire (sometimes with the active help of other members of the group) to keep their fangs firmly attached to the collective neck of the group.

Just Letting it Happen:
Not saying anything when the vampire (or another group member) brutally shuts down someone trying to contribute, often by "Standing on Ceremony" for other group members.

Standing on Ceremony:
Members of the group attacking other members when they try to engage the vampire is a big way to get the talking stick back into the vampire's clawed hands. Capitalizing on bullying opportunities such as "don't interrupt" or "let them finish" or "I want to hear what they have to say" are facile ways for members to get their licks in, but also help the vampire. Those who help the vampire garner resonance through immunomemetic deployment, that is, tossing out blocking memes, even when it helps the vampire, since gives a (little) reward to the blocker, in the form of putting out a (blocking) meme which succeeds (by blocking and returning control to the vampire).

Ad Hominem Comments:
From the Latin, "To the person," an attention vampire will often use comments about a person, rather than comments about facts or logic or what has been said, to shut down an opponent. This is related to Personal Attacks, Name-Calling, Appeal to Authority, Virtue Signaling, Ankle-Biting, Posturing/Flexing, and even Coöption/Appropriation.

Personal Attacks:
"You think you're so smart!" or any of a myriad of comments designed to shame the interrupter. Can also be "Tautologies" or "Ad Hominem Comments" or "Focus on Beliefs" or such. Even such things, which can be Tautologies, as "You're always eating apples" which seem to ridicule the person, or make some significant point, but really say nothing and only serve to make the audience pause on the opponent for a moment, and thereby attach some king of vague sense of something being not quite right. Obviously, Name-Calling is a notable form of Personal Attack.

This one is pretty obvious, but flies by unchallenged a lot nevertheless. Obviously it's related to Ad Hominem, Personal Attacks, Focus on Beliefs/Opinions, Ankle-Biting, Constructed Reality, and Question-Begging.

These are statements that are always true, but sound like the speaker is saying something, or making a real judgement. "You're always eating apples!" to belittle or shame somebody sounds like a criticism but it's really a statement like "two plus two equals four" (which also sounds like it might carry some secret hidden subtextual meaning). Tautologies can be used to look like a Personal Attack or an Ad Hominem Comment, and also just to "Run the Clock Out."

Appeal to Authority:
Saying that they themselves have some qualification or experience that makes them always right and any opponent always wrong, or some other entity (of which the vampire may have special knowledge) whose authority supports the vampire's right to talk or undermines other members' position.

Related to "Focus on Beliefs/Opinions" as well as "Appeal to Authority" and "Résumé-Reciting". "Always Having to be Right" can be a kind of virtue signaling. The vampire purports to hold a position which is superior, politically, morally, etc., to anybody else, which gives them the high ground from which to attack any other position, even those which only seem to oppose the vampire's position of virtue (which can be used to turn the discussion into whether the other member's position agrees with the vampire's or not).

Running through one's own resume and list of accomplishments is a red flag that one is a vampire and trying to bolster Appeal to Authority, Virtue-Signaling, Focus on Beliefs/Opinions, and even Running-Out-The-Clock attacks.

Focus on "Beliefs"/"Opinions" (1):
Kind of a hard one to explain, perhaps, and related to "Question Begging" in some cases. The vampire makes comments about how they or others "think" or "believe" or hold the "opinion" of such and so other thing. This moves the discussion one step further away from the facts or logic, or the ongoing narrative of the conversation, which gives them more power. Any statement may be contradicted or supported, based on what serves the vampire, depending on whether it goes against or supports the "belief" or "opinion." "Beliefs" and "Opinions," except when used as shorthands, are conversation blockers.

A vampire may say things like "Well, I lived in San Francisco for ten years," or "I worked in the Film Industry for five years" or "I have a close friend / know lots of people who..." or "I graduated from Awesome Nuclear Quantum Tech University..." before or after they make assertions and use this to dismiss or attack others' statements or attempts to contribute. The Posturing/Flexing may be based on reality, that is, the vampire may actually have specific qualifications, but overstating them is a red flag, and may be related to Appeal to Authority or Ad Hominem, etc.

A vampire may assert that they are a member of a group, say, an oppressed group, to both bolster their own claims to have a right to talk about a certain subject, or to undercut and take over somebody else's trying to speak from that position. To take some jokingly-phrased examples, "As someone who pretends to be a Native American..." or "I'm not a nuclear engineer, but I play one on TV...". This is similar to Posturing/Flexing, Resume-Reciting, Virtue-Signaling, and Appeal to Authority, as well as Ad Hominem.

"Why do you think that Idaho Falls is a Pacific Northwestern city?" when the member said no such thing is an example. Any form of question that puts the opponent in a position of having to walk back or backpedal (or be perceived as doing so) is a way of gaining power, and also seeming to hand the talking stick to somebody else, only to see them founder with it and then yank it back, seemingly with full justification.

Empty Questions:
Leading questions, or questions that are weakly rhetorical. These put the other member on the defensive, force them to give an answer that would seem weak or overly lengthy, undermining their position. "Why didn't you just say that?" for example.

Outrageous "Facts":
Pseudo facts like "Thomas Edison invented the nuclear reactor in 1840" or "Japanese Ninjas used cocaine" or all kinds of conspiracy theorist ideas such as "we got Teflon from the extraterrestrials at Area 51" and so on. People who take the bait and try to oppose such facts set themselves up for a lengthy explanation that makes them look bad, weak, and they legitimize the fact in the process.

Constructed Reality:
Similar to and/or related to "Outrageous 'Facts'". Conspiracy theory or fringe religious types of discussions can be in this vein. Can be related to "Question-Begging" in that the vampire makes up a Reality purported to be "correct" and any opponents must first try to counter that Reality. Another Constructed Reality tactic is to build a reality that the opponent supposedly believes in. For example, "You feminists think that all men are sitting around on their couches, watching sports, scratching themselves, belching and farting, while gaggles of half-naked women hang around, bringing them beers and sam'mitches, at least when they're not leaving the man-cave to work three jobs at 70% the pay they deserve to support this man and his lifestyle." Wow. It's a compelling image, and it gives the group a lot of stuff to agree with and talk about. But anybody who describes themself as a "feminist" is automatically handed "Okay, so you agree with all that?" "No." "Oh, do you agree with the sam'mitches bit?" "No." "So you agree with all the rest as being pretty much what you believe?" "No, not as such." "Okay, you're just being difficult! I'm trying to meet you halfway! I'm trying to listen to you, but your position still just doesn't make any sense."

"Well, I guess we're all just doomed then!" could be a response to another member's input, or "Oh, well, I guess we'll just never know the answer." Similar function to "Exaggeration." 

In addition to Hyperbole, the opponent is put in the position of having to make awkward qualifications that bring their own point back into relevancy.

This can be related to "Running the Clock Out," by the way. The vampire simply has to repeat the same points over and over again. Also an effective arguing/debating technique, since it gives the audience that the vampire's point is somehow correct or more important than the opponent's because more time was spent on it, and they heard it more.

A.k.a. "Knee-Biting." Jumping on petty mistakes and missteps (even those which didn't actually take place but may be convincingly made to seem to have taken place). These serve to derail the other members, make them seem unreliable, hold them up to ridicule and mockery, and ultimately give the vampire more power and opportunity to talk while bolstering their "authority" (see Virtue-Signaling).

In a sense everything the vampire does centers around self-justification. "I'm just trying to be fair," or Standing on Ceremony, that is, rigidly enforcing social norms when it serves them, but skirting them when they can get away with it and they are hard to enforce by others (like letting everybody talk). They have more authority to speak than others, because their résumé or educational background or experience is stronger, which may be stated explicitly, or upheld tacitly by how they speak confidently, or confidently shut down others with impunity, and seem to get away with it.

Running the Clock Out:
"Over-Emphasis" and "Tautologies" can be used to support a Running Out The Clock strategy. This is also a shallow technique for "winning" a debate or argument. The vampire hangs onto the talking stick and just keeps repeating their own talking points, even with little variation, until the time runs out and the audience is left with the impression that the vampire was "right" since their points were repeated more, and little else was said.

Summary & Conclusions 

Attention vampires probably employ a set of tactics which take the form of "blocking memes" (immunomemes). Identifying these can help identify attention vampires, which can lead to helping the vampire to recover through targeted therapy (attention therapy and meme replacement therapy) or just be an indication that one needs to distance oneself if there is no willingness to find a cure.

Given the symmetry-breaking relationship between immunomemes and alliance memes, one might be able to see the vampire memes/tactics as one side of a coin, the other side of which might be a functional conversational strategy. This in and of itself might point the way to fixing bad conversations. Maybe these vampire memes can be somehow "flipped" to make them work in non-destructive ways.


(1) Ideas like "feelings," "beliefs," "opinions," and so forth don't really have weight or meaning in macromemetics, except as shorthands. To say that "so-and-so believes such-and-such" is just a quick way of saying that so-and-so consistently puts out memes that defend and support such-and-such. Also, to say that so-and-so is inconsistent in his believe in such-and-such or "hypocritical" in his belief is also alien to macromemetics

(2) Some of the traits in this list of toxic behaviors are shared by attention vampires.

(3) Immunomemes are so called because they immunize the system against attempts to change it's state, that is, to move it into states where different members (agents) have new opportunities to participate in the activities of the system. So immunomemes, which we could also call "blocking memes," keep things as they are, or bring things back to where they were before somebody tried to shake things up. They resist change, resist new memes coming in.

(4) Interestingly enough, many if not all of the memes I describe as being characteristic of an attention vampire could also be employed to support a conversation, that is, to make a conversation more dynamic and non-attention-vampirey. This may be an example of symmetry-breaking (5) between immunomemes and alliance memes (support or acceptance memes (6)).

(5) I explain elsewhere how in my representational systems, immunomemes and alliance memes, or blocking versus support/acceptance memes, "look like each other." This is a rather strange result. Another important concept, Residual Memetic Debt, which are touched on in the following essays: The Candy ConspiracyLibidinal Bribes and Memetic DebtMemetic Loops and Residual Memetic DebtGarnering Allies, The Grief of Loss, and Contact Memes and the Corporation among others, may shed some light on this difference. Probably some more research required here. Immunomemes leave the deployer saddled with residual memetic debt (this is bad) while alliance memes allow for resonance (this is good) and no memetic debt left over.

(6) Alliance memes, or memes that support or accept what one member has done, leading to its success where without the help it would end in failure, are like the opposite of blocking memes or immunomemes.