1027: Pickup Artist

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Pickup Artist
Son, don't try to play 'make you feel bad' with the Michael Jordan of making you feel bad.
Title text: Son, don't try to play 'make you feel bad' with the Michael Jordan of making you feel bad.

Explanation

Black Hat and Danish appear to be out on a date! In this comic, a character attempts to use new "Pickup Artist" tactics on a random girl in a bar. His tactic is "negging", which is just as it is explained in the comic. However, as the title text says, he attempts to use this tactic on Danish who is the "Michael Jordan" of making other people feel bad about themselves. His "negging" pales in comparison to hers.

Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player ever to play in the NBA. He played for the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards. His name is often used as a noun to notate that someone is the best in their field.

Also, a thousand times this: "Pickup artists are dehumanizing creeps who see relationships as adversarial and women as sex toys."

And this another thousand times: "Just talk to them like a fucking human being."

Transcript

[Man and Cueball sitting at a table.]
Man: I've been learning tricks from pickup artist forums.
Cueball: Pickup artists are dehumanizing creeps who see relationships as adversarial and women as sex toys.
[Close-up of man's head, with a faint outline of Black hat and Danish sitting at a table in the background.]
Man: No, it's just a bunch of tips! Like negging: you belittle chicks to undermine their self-confidence so they'll be more vulnerable and seek your approval.
[Close-up of Cueball's head.]
Cueball: Just talk to them like a fucking human being.
Man: Nah, that's a sucker's game.
Ok- wish me luck!
Meanwhile
[Black hat and Danish at a table. Black hat is standing up with a bowling ball under his arm.]
Black hat: I'm going to the bathroom to roll a bowling ball under the line of stalls.
Danish: Cool.
[Close up of Cueball's head, with man approaching Danish's table in the background.]
Cueball: Oh no.
[Man and Danish at a table. Man is standing up and leaning on the table.]
Man: You look like you're on a diet. That's great!
How's the fruit plate?
[Close-up of Danish's head]
Danish: Ooh- are we negging?
Let me try!
[Close-up of Danish's head, with her hand raised]
Danish: You look like you're going to spend your life having one epiphany after another, always thinking you've finally figured out what's holding you back, and how you can finally be productive and creative and turn your life around.
But nothing will ever change. That cycle of mediocrity isn't due to some obstacle. It's who you are.
The thing standing in the way of your dreams
Is that the person having them is you.
[Man and Danish at a table. Man is standing up.]
Danish: Ok, your turn! Ooh, try insulting my hair!
Man: I think I need to go home and think about my life.
Danish: It won't help.
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Discussion

Penny Arcade had a fascinating exchange on this subject a while back: http://www.penny-arcade.com/2009/08/10 - start in the last paragraph of the first post, and note that until "Follow up" the argument is mostly feigned. Especially read the two long posts at the end.

The biggest message I got out of it is that "pickup artistry" to many awkward people (aka nerds) is actually "learning how to fit in better socially and get over crippling anxiety when talking to women, or even in social situations generally." Negging, then, is not "lowering women's self-esteem to sleep with them", but is engaging in the gentle teasing and joking around that occurs between friends - the "diet" example Randall proposes is a terrible one. In that way you're acting less like you're treating your social partner as some untouchable object of worship (which most of us would agree is creepy as hell). It's very hard for those without any sort of crippling social anxiety to imagine trying to be socially active under those circumstances. Is it sad that "normal" comfort level and social graces didn't develop naturally, such that some nerds have to "learn" these things? Perhaps. Does that mean we should shame all nerds for trying to fit in, labeling them "dehumanizing creeps"? Yell at anyone with low self-esteem "HAVE MORE CONFIDENCE, LOSER!"? I hope not.

Of course there are jerks who will use this stuff for evil. Maybe more of them than the nerds, I have no idea. It's also possible these anxiety-fighting methods have better alternatives. Just another perspective I didn't know about until reading about it, which made me take Randall's one-sided, there-can-be-no-other-explanation comments on the subject with a grain of salt. But, still a funny strip, so whatevs. - jerodast (talk) 16:17, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

I loved the strip because of throwing a bowling ball under a line of stalls (which isn't creepy nor dehumanizing?) but anyhow... I agree with you. I used to be virtually unable to talk to women, let alone flirt. I used pickup tips to break out of my shell and learn how to be a sociable person. Today, most new people I meet can't believe I used to be that shy, I actually had my best friend talk bad about me to my girlfriend who couldn't believe that at all. Guess what ... she loves me for being a good and honest person. The only thing pickup learned me was to show my honest and good side to other people in a normal, non creepy way.
That being said. It is insulting that an otherwise smart person like Randall couldn't see the different aspects of pickup and rather just go with the popular "creep" definition. Then again, Baret Guy is just a cliche asshole. Maybe that's the lesson, neither pickup artists nor assholes are good choices for women. 62.159.14.62 15:55, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
What do you two think that the phrase pickup artist literally means? If you want to develop into a good and honest person, how could the way be to learn pickup tricks aiming to seduce and fuck women? If you meet someone that wants to learn to be more romantic, suggest them to read Pride and Prejudice, or watch Casablanca. –St.nerol (talk) 20:03, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Trying to be a "Romantic" upon first meeting a girl is going to crash and burn 99/100 HARD. The reason being, romance is wonderful when you are already IN a relationship, but it is a terrible way to start. The hollywood version of "Romance" isn't even anywhere NEAR what a real healthy relationship full of problems and compromises and arguments and give and take is. As one of those "Nerds" with crippling social anxiety I tried that. I watched Casablanca, wonderful film. I grew up treating every girl/woman I met as though they where a princess. I was the most romantic person I could possibly be. It got me nowhere. Actually it got me called a creep on dozens of occasions. The few times a woman would respond favorably she was just using me for whatever petty bs she wanted at the time, rides, drinks, etc.

The real world you have to find the middle way. Neither bag-em-and-tag-em womanizing, nor putting women on an impossible pedestal. Everything I know about "Normal" human interaction I learned from pickup artist books and shows. The whole point was to learn how to be at ease around people and have them at ease around you. Are there goofy tricks sure. Do I personally think negging for the most part is bs, absolutely. It isnt there to be used as a cureall. The purpose of negging is to bring the super full of herself party girl back down to planet earth in a gentle way. To let her not walk all over you. Its not to try and make someone feel bad, but to instead imply that you aren't going to be their whipping boy. Properly used, it just is a way to show you've got balls. 151.213.67.56 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

To the unsigned person who wrote that: Do you realize you're displaying a markedly negative attitude towards women in general? Even the very idea of being "romantic" right off the bat shows a belief that women aren't actual human beings, they only exist to be targets of your sexual aggression. When you don't respect someone as a human being, get to know them, etc., you set yourself up for disappointment. It *is* creepy, exactly the same as PoA techniques. The goal isn't to get to know someone to see if you're compatible; it's to manipulate them and coerce them into "feeling at ease" or into a semblance of a relationship. And if you despise a woman enough to describe her as a "super full of herself party girl", why in the world would you want a relationship with her? You yourself state that you don't, you just want to cut her down and prove your own power. Your techniques have nothing to do with establishing a communication between equals and everything to do with establishing yourself as dominant and powerful and women as powerless. 75.103.23.206 21:45, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
From my limited perspective, a "pickup artist " is a person, usually male, who tries to coerce or "pick up" others, usually female, for a night out, usually for intercourse. However the technique used can be employed in a variety of ways or for a variety of purposes. Apparently, it is an effective way to start a conversation with someone you are romantically interested in. That is,if you are intending to go into that direction. I'm not sure if a pickup artist actually studies the so called art, or if they just employ their skills as often as possible. I can see why some can be considered "dehumanizing creeps" but the art itself is not necessarily dehumanizing.
On a less serious note, what Danish is doing is technically not negging. In the comic, negging is described as a way to get someone to seek your approval, where Danish only seems to want to make the guy feel bad. ~Alithia 108.162.241.117 03:05, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

My perfect woman, right there! - E-inspired (talk) 22:29, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

The last picture reminds me of a szene in Star Wars Episode II, when Obi-Wan executes the Jedi Mind Trick on Elan Sleazebaggano. See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0121765/quotes for details. --Kigana (talk) 15:59, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
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