Certainly we do witness the madness of this split and the resulting ‘spiritless unity of abstract being’ in their behaviour.In fact this ‘spiritless unity of abstract being’ unlocks the unity of capitalist subjectivity as empty abstraction. These are ‘visceral abstractions’, and visceral in the sense particularly of the assault on the victim.Negging is the obscene underside, to use Žižek’s phrase, of the ‘affirmative’ culture of neoliberal capitalism. Although ‘public’ it is the work of those in the know, the non-duped, who claim to know how the world ‘really works’.It is the officially licensed domain of obscene enjoyment that confirms the official ‘affirmative’ culture and supplements it with a neg-ativity that expresses its ‘truth’. Like Uncle Charlie in Hitchcock’s (1943), these men know what others, prototypically women, don’t: Do you know the world is a foul sty?
To achieve this hostile takeover the voice of the negger is the pseudo-objective voice of social value and the sexual marketplace. The central character is the Dostoyevskian Remo Erdosian, who has been systematically pilfering from his employer.Jesse Charger, in a defence of negging, argues that it is a strategy only to be used to bring down those women who ‘overrate’ themselves: ‘So if you’re a normal-looking girl with a normal attitude, you probably will NEVER BE NEGGED in your life. Erdosian is wracked by sexual anxiety, alternating between a naïve purity, he wears trousers to bed on his wedding night, and an obsessional sexual fantasy life, ‘gratuitously offending and fouling his soul’. After his wife leaves him Erdosian has a breakdown in which he enters the figurative ‘black house’ of compulsive fantasy and masturbation – the black house that is ‘deep inside himself’. Throwing himself ‘into the delicious terror of masturbation’, Erdosian enters ‘a universe of gelatinous ideas’. This universe is ‘an ever-changing world of females that no-one could ever cast him from’, a kaleidoscopic fantasy world of revenge and satisfaction: Like someone pulling banknotes earned in many different ways from the same wallet, from the recesses of the dark house Erdosian plucked a fragmented but whole woman, made up from a hundred such creatures split by the same desire repeated a hundred times, always blooming anew in their presence. In this financial metaphor, Erdosian composes ‘this fantasy woman, made up from the bits and pieces of all the ones he had been unable to possess’. Arlt’s madmen – with their fantasies of sexual control, spiritual purity, amateur inventions, get-rich-quick schemes, desires for authoritarian revolution (Lenin or Mussolini), and dreams of destruction by plague and bombs – are hauntingly familiar types.So for crying-out-loud, don’t worry about it.’ ‘Negging’ is presented as an equalizing strategy, a perverse inscription of the perfect marker in true equilibrium, in which every woman is available. The Red Pill Right, Bitcoin enthusiasts, gamers, PUA’s, right-wing accelerationists, tech-fetishists, paleo-dieters, and all the bestiary of the internet offer an uncanny mirror to Arlt’s ‘madmen’.Under neoliberalism our amorous encounters become negotiations between corporations. Also, of course, the audience in the film give-up control to the PUA artist, who ‘embeds’ the thought, the mantra ‘Respect the cock! Of course this effect of passivity is then, in real life, quickly displaced onto the activity of serial seduction and vengeance for all past rejections.If we aim at a long-lasting or stable relationship then we think in terms of a corporate merger. The PUA is the guru or mentor for those who claim to be ‘dispossessed’, while engaged in systematic acts of dispossession.