Subcontracting Your Identity—The Autophobic Response
Man-groups, militias, boogaloo, proud boys, Qanon. There's always an option to outsource our identity to some "Mantifa". Truck w. a Harley sticker. Guy with Viking braids and Thor jewelry. Asher Black asks if we're just scared to be originals.
Welcome to another episode of Manhearted. The show about being a man I'm Asher Black, your host powered by spunk. And once again, we'll aim to get to the heart of it. Manhood.
This episode is about subcontracting, your identity, which is an interesting phrase. I've taken from Douglas Copeland, who has written about generation X and he's known for his novel micro serfs and other books and articles, etc, a controversial figure. But one of the things that I really dig about what he said using that phrase is he's describing a concept called auto phobia and auto phobia. He defines his fear of being an individual and he might think, well, you know, isn't individualism built into the heart of what it means to be an American and a, and to be a man. The rugged individualist, that's our icon, right? The Marlboro man, rugged individualist, the Levi's wearing Ford truck driving, Budweiser drinking individual. It's funny because I just named three corporate brands whose logos appear all over these rugged individuals, lifestyles, and, and you know, luggage and so on.
And, and it's funny that people use that concept of a rugged individualist and then go ahead and brand themselves with sort of these clone brands that look like everyone else. So the point that he makes is, and this is quoting him being an individual is hard work, no wonder. It's just easier to subcontract your identity to Q Anon or Antifa. I may have said this before. I'm one of those people that doesn't believe Antifa exists, even for those people that call themselves members. I think it's a construct that lives in their head. It's like if I said I was a member of the Jedi order that doesn't mean there's this thing called the Jedi order that I can, that one can go and find, right? It's more like a Dungeons and dragons fantasy than it is an actual thing. But Q Anon is also an open a morphous movement, but it's got self-identified members who you know, showed up and trashed the Capitol building in a failed attempt to invade it and take over our government.
So that's a little bit more sort of visceral and tangible, but that aside the point being, you know, he makes this excellent observation that it's just easier to be a member of something to assign yourself an identity that is essentially fealty to a group. So let's talk about that a little bit. So going back to the logos for a minute, you know, this is a thing I, I lived in the south for a certain portion of my life, and I, I remember seeing all these trucks driving around with Harley emblems on the window of the truck, on the back window. And you know, we'd look at each other and say, if you got a Harley logo, just drive a Harley, you know, what are you doing in a truck? You know, half of those guys don't even own Harleys, right? And you see all these people and it'll say, you know, Smith and Wesson, Colt 45.
You know, I always think, I don't want another man's name on my clothes. I'm not going to be a walking billboard for somebody else's brand, you know, Louisville. Instead, I'm going to put my name on my clothes. I'm freaking Asher. I want, I want clothes brand or nothing. I don't, I don't need some other guy's name too, to make it right. But you know, it's just part of that whole gun culture. You're just mentioning Smith and Wesson, you know, you'd go out and buy your store bought, man. You know, I've got my two friends, Smith and Weston. It's like, well, you couldn't do it yourself. You had to go get help. Something you picked up at a Walmart, you know, like wants to be a tough guy by leaning on some other brand right there. But this Harley thing, you know, it's not, you know, that's a cliche, but look around you.
How many people this week have you seen wearing Carhartt? I'm serious. The working guy, half of them don't have a working class job have never welded, don't know anything about pouring concrete. You know, I've never done construction and there's all these guys. First, it became hip and hipster to get a work coat, you know, by which we mean what used to be called a barn coat, because you wore it when you were out in the barn shoveling and you know, it's cold out there and you know, but now it's the sock hat with the word Carhartt and the, you know, the coveralls with the word Carhartt, for people that, you know, just hanging out in the coffee shop and they have a job at the mall or, you know, they're working online. Yeah. Et cetera. It's all this attempt to supplement or replace one's own identity by appropriating it from a group.
Right. And this is different than when I was growing up in the seventies. He used to have these t-shirts, you know, back in the eighties became the hippest thing. But you know, it was 1970s. You'd have this one with the giant lips and tongue on it, you know, or a thumbs up. And it would say dynamite, right. And then let the force be with you. And it was keep on trucking. There are all these sort of sayings. And the difference between those and what I'm talking about is that, you know, if you got a picture of the Fonzie with a stomach going a what you're doing, you're not saying I'm a member of that group. I don't have an identity by own. You're saying, you know, [inaudible] associate with their channel, right? So you get lyrics from the grateful, dead on your sheriff. You get a quote from JJ of good times, that's right.
Dynamite comes from, or you get the laid back, you know, hippie on the road type, you know, sitting outside a trailer in a lawn chair in his shirt, says, keep on truck. And he made it sort of like saying, you know, tomorrow's another day. A lot of that stuff came from, you know, the 12 step program, you know, whatever, wherever you go there, it was also kind of a, a commentary on t-shirts and, and little Zen koans like that. You know how to say something without, so that's a little bit different than putting, you know, que on your t-shirt or Trump, you know, you're, you're out there with a Trump hat. You wear a Trump everywhere you go. And it's all about how you are part of someone else's coattails. And that stuff I got to say is distinctively unmanly. What, you know, one could say that built to the concept and definition of a man is being self defined.
And you see this, not just with logos and labels and people willing to bow down and, you know, do whatever Trump wants them to do. I call them chuggers. But you know anything for our God, you know, like just as really, how can you be a man and bow down to another man like that? And just, yes, I give away my will, my intellect, anything I shall do as my master bids, gosh, they're just slaves waiting to happen. It's funny watching the evangelicals do it because they have such a strong belief in the coming anti-Christ and yet they create their own antichrist just by shoving some guy up on the throne, you know, Israel called for a king and the Lord warned them. You don't want that. And they're like, no, no, give us a king. And so they gave him, saw worst king in history.
So in any case, back to the main point, it doesn't just happen with men's names or with logos, which mostly are men's names, but which also represent kind of a collectivist brand. I love all these right-wing guys that, you know, have these, have this collectivist motif, you know, Ford, Chevy Budweiser. And it's like, so you're a, you're a member of a large impersonal group. You know, it, you might as well go back to the USSR, right? Cause that's, that's your dream, right? I want to be part of a collective Budweiser seriously. But beyond that, look at the icons, the physical, tangible icons, I would call them avatars, avatars of identity. So for some people it's their truck. Billy and I drive a truck and you see this in neighborhoods where the competition is to get the bigger truck one, guy's got a Ford F-150.
He sells it a year later after he buys it because it's not big enough. Cause his neighbor got an F two 50 and then another neighbor got an F three 50 and then he buys an F three 50 that's right. Jacked up. And then the other neighbor buys an F three 50 Dooley and jacks that, and it goes on and on. And you see these little man in these giant trucks that need a ladder to get down from it. And they, they don't need a truck. They're not hauling anything important. They haven't the office job. They work in an air conditioned environment. They wear, you know, shirts that get pressed and laundered for them. And they drive this giant truck. You could pull a horse trailer with, Hey, they haven't been on a horse since they were kids and, and paid a quarter to ride the pony. Right. But the truck is an average or you see the same thing with guns. All these guys posing with pictures of guns. Remember the guy and his wife, the lawyers that pointed, they won the, when the whistle warred. Recently you hear on this show, they're pointing these guns. The guy's wearing a pair of pleaded khaki slacks and a pink shirt. And he's out there posing almost prancing with a fully automatic weapon. And it just looked, he belonged in a Broadway musical. You know, here
We are. We have these automatic weapons where, oh, where can I use them now?
You know, it's just, it's, it's so unmanly. Sorry, you get posers. And I, and it includes the guys with all the cammo stuff and the body armor and the ones that, oh, you got balls. He went and shot up a nightclub. It doesn't take blows. It's not manhood to go up and shoot up a place full of unarmed, innocent people who can't fight back. And you got the drop on them. That's like saying, it's manly. If I sucker punch you. You know, I think everybody that thinks that audit just gets sucker, punched every hour for the rest of their lives until they wise up having a gun. Doesn't make you more of a man. It makes you less of a man. Sorry to say, because most of the time a man doesn't have to resort to a gun to get a job done. And he doesn't have to resort to it every time somebody disagrees with them or marches through his neighborhood.
And he has to prance out on his neatly manicured lawn that he didn't mow himself. He had landscaped by a crew of actual working men who do wear Carhartts because they need them, except that it's too freaking hot when you're mowing the lawn. So of course they know this, this whole fakery, this whole business of posed manhood on the basis of these avatars trucks, guns, you know, it me off in the, in the guitar area. So fender has this guitar series called the road at Warren guitar series, right? So if you buy a Telecaster or a Stratocaster, you can get a road worn version. It's $200 more. It's the exact same guitar, except they've smashed it around a little bit, knocked some chips out of the paint. You know, it looks like it's dragged behind a truck. And it's meant to give you that look like you've been on the road, putting in the hours doing gigs.
So anybody can look like they were the Beatles after 10 years, because they can just buy a guitar off the rack that looks like that it's such a poser move. And what I'm saying is all of this subcontracting, your identity, whether you're a Trump supporter or a Q Anon supporter, are you a member of this thing? And it's the left too. It's just that the left is frankly less obvious and obnoxious about it. They're not waving it around on some flag based. So together out of a mix of Confederate and us flag and blue line crap, you know? Yes, the thin blue line, I support our police I'm law and order. So again, you've just joined another collective and your identity is swallowed up in that. I think that what we have to look at is there's your identity. And then there's your assigned identity, your membership in a group.
And if you confuse the two, if you decide that what you really are and who you really are, is your club card. Then you know, different than some Lily livered golf club, toting country club member who bought his way in to access to his friends and his identity. He simply, he's like a frat boy who paid the freight. And now he's king of the hill. You bought it, you bought off the rack. It's not a legitimate, authentic identity. It's not a man's identity that he built himself. You know what man heartedness is, whether you're a man, a woman or a toad man, heartedness is about building who you are not about buying it off the rack or getting assigned to you. Your jeans have holes in them the day you buy them. That's an assigned identity. Your jeans have holes in them because you've been on your knees doing actual work.
That's part of your actual identity. There's a difference. And you can tell the difference. It's not hard. Okay. So I also want to mention that people sort of have a default identity, right? If you don't choose, it's chosen for you and people don't think that's true. Like I'm neutral. I'm like Switzerland, look, if you're Switzerland in the middle of the Holocaust, you're not neutral. Well, I'm not going to do anything while the Nazis Roundup or the, you know, come on. So let's talk about being, for instance, a Trump supporter in the deep south or not being a Trump supporter, but being among Trump supporters and having a serious qualms with what Trump does morally what he says, how he acts, et cetera. And even these so-called palsy while I support his policies. But I I disagree with his behavior. There were no policies. It's just a bunch of egotism, half the stuff he promised didn't even do.
Where's the wall, where is it? You know, I work in man would have built it already because that's a project, right? I say, I'm going to build a half wall in my dining room so that we can, we can hand food over it. Why do you want that as something to trip over? But if I wouldn't say I'm going to build a half wall in the dining room, or you either build it or you don't. You know? So, but aside from this, a lot of those people said that basically, and continue to say they didn't support Trump, but they didn't speak up because they lived in a community where they wouldn't have fit in. If they'd have called out his sins, their grievances with him, the problems they had, if they'd have said, Hey, this is getting a little freaking crazy, then everybody would ostracize them.
So what that means is besides that he didn't have the balls to be yourself in the midst of other people, that you have a default identity and identity that's chosen for you. You're part of the block part of the collective because you let yourself blend in rather than speak up. And if you don't think that's true, you need to learn about the concept of integrity from a psychological standpoint. So we all think integrity means ethics, et cetera. Actually, what integrity means, the psychological concept in psychology, integrity or being integral means the ability to hold together, your own sense of self. In other words, your identity in the face of opposition or in the face of the overwhelming presence of others who don't share that identity. If you can't do that, if your identity begins to fall apart in the face of that and you yield and you essentially blend in and go along and you do things that aren't in, they aren't in concert with who you are.
We call that cognitive dissonance. It's one step away from mental illness. It's perhaps a form of mental illness, but if you do that stuff, we refer to personality as essentially lacking integrity, not in the ethical sense, but meaning it is coming apart. It is fragmenting. It is separating when something is integral, it holds together. It's built well. But when things begin to fall apart, when your, your truck is going down the road and you're dragging a muffler, and on top of that, your, your engine is rattling. That's probably not the main problem. But aside from that, and you know, a bunch of other things are happening that the truck is coming apart. Essentially. It means that it hasn't had the nurture and care that makes it what it is. My truck runs because you know, it's got integrity. It's held together. A personality is just like that.
It's like a machine it's either holding them together in the face of outside forces, a wear and tear. If you will, by engaging other people in a social environment or it's falling apart, meaning it blends in and looks just like everybody else. There's a philosopher called Epictetus. And Epictetus said that, you know, most people are like the white threads in a Toga. So in a Toga, all the white threads pretty much become the, you can't tell one from another, they all blend together. There's a similarity. They become seamless, but he says, I don't want to be like this. I want to be like the purple threads in the Toga that give it its regality it's royalty. The purple thread stands out. It's different. It doesn't fit in. It takes crap for being different. Look you're yourself or you, one of the white threads that just fit into a group of whiteness.
And that has a lot of meanings you should think about maybe. I do. So moving on you remember when we were in school and yeah, I heard this in the breakfast club in any John Hughes movie. We'll do remember when we were at school and there were the hoods, the jocks, the preppies, the grunge people, if you were in the nineties, I wasn't, it was too late for me, all the puka, Lloyds and other people. We tend to align ourselves easily with a group in a compressed prison like environment because we can't escape because we're under constant threat that we'll be judged or cast out or be the recipient of violence or something like that. And so we associate essentially for protection, it's like gangs in, you know, west side story or in the warriors, whoa, every year is come out to play.
Yay. But the point is that we're not in that environment as much as it may seem like, oh gee, our world is being taken over by liberals or conservatives. People are out to get us and they're going to, they're going to take over and make things bad. All of that is part of this same mythos that drove the destruction of the native Americans that drove the destruction of the people in Laos and Vietnam at the behest of the United States in the Vietnam war and, and continues and continued to, to drive the oppression of minorities. Since we've been here essentially. So to apply that to ourselves and to say constantly that we're under fire, we're surrounded, devastate siege mentality is a manipulative tool set designed by the bullies at the head of each of these little clique's the head hood, the head jock, the head preppy.
And I gotta be honest, that guy, that guy. You don't have to listen to that siege mentality and that stuff that person has say. And of course it's parroted by all the little wannabes that have such a deficiency of personality, such a lack of personal integrity, meaning their ability to find and build and maintain an identity in the face of other people that they also are cheering it on. Yes, yes. We're surrounded. We have to do this. You know, listen to Bobby, Bobby knows, Bobby said the blacks are going to get us or whatever it is that guy that guy too. In the end, you're either one of those people, you either have chosen to appropriate an identity to subcontract your identity to a group, or you're a manhearted person with your own identity. Now I want to pivot just a little bit as we finish up this topic and just mentioned a lot of people immediately from here go, well, this is about my beliefs.
So I really believe what the evangelicals are saying or the Q Anon people, or I believe that belief is not a factor, right? Belief is actually not the basis of identity. It's secondary to...