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“I don’t do this, I don’t teach it,” he told Chris Cuomo.He said as much last year, before the activists and media had descended: “If you look at my Twitter, it’s really fucked,” he told one group of students.Canadian-born Erik James Horvat-Markovic (handle: “Mystery”) was the soul-patched, fuzzy-hatted hero of the reality series and Strauss’ book, which brought negging (as well as peacocking, HBs, sarging, and countless other pickup terms) into the zeitgeist.Mystery’s method was formulaic: Love was a game; follow a series of steps and any woman could be yours. RSD’s origin story, at least as Strauss tells it, can be found in The Game.
Not too long ago, Blanc and his employer, a Los Angeles-based company called Real Social Dynamics—which claims to be “the world’s largest dating coaching company, teaching roughly 1,000 programs a year to men in 70 different countries”—had been fairly unknown outside of the semi-underground subculture of PUA (“pickup artists”), men who obsessively study and practice techniques to convince women to sleep with them.Even considering the original introduction, which notes that some women are so beautiful, they make normal men “consider rape for an instant,” the book’s suggestions are downright quaint compared to the ones taught by Weber’s successors.(The rape line was removed in later printings.) In it, Weber suggested approaching a woman with lines like: “Excuse me, but you look beautiful.”“The social convention of not talking to a stranger was fairly rigid at the time,” Weber told me.“I know that since I wrote the book, there’s been ‘game theory,’ a desire to exploit a female’s natural sense of masochism. One of these guys recommended that you walk up to a girl in a bar and say, ‘That dress looks awful on you.’ I hate that,” Weber said.Anyone who has read Neil Strauss’ bestselling 2005 exposé on the seduction community, The Game, or tuned into VH1’s 2007 reality game show “The Pickup Artist,” will recognize this technique as ‘negging,’ the most famous PUA tactic for piquing a woman’s interest, whereby a man turns his “target’s” supposed feelings of inadequacy into desire for acceptance and attention.
Then DC activist Jennifer Li stumbled across one of Blanc’s teaching videos and started tweeting out the most offensive ones with the hashtag #Take Down Julien Blanc.