Putting the bias up front we know Mike so naturally have a positive bias towards the movie (you can watch it here). The interesting thing here is we didn’t really realize how bad things had gotten in terms of tensions between the left and right with significant violence. Unlike many who believe we’re right wingers (we don’t care about politics at all), once you make money off someone (our trump wager) you are associated by default. Naturally, this was 1,000x worse for Mike and he got a front row seat to the impending culture war. The first section is the review part and the second section has a few of our long-term thoughts which may or may not occur.
Overview / Review Chronological
Embracing the Heel Role: While mentioned only briefly, Mike talks about embracing the role if you’re labeled. This is similar to the age old “agree and amplify” advice practically everyone knows. It’s interesting since most people would cave under this type of social pressure but when you have F-you money, the media is forced to fight you versus pressure you. Never looks pretty. The main idea here is similar to our own advice “never try to change someone’s opinion of you”. If you’re labeled negatively or someone thinks they are better than you (despite having already seen their side before), just amp it up and create a show. This only attracts more attention which essentially was the goal.
Strike First: Another part of the movie suggests that the first person to create a sticky image wins. This is incredibly true. If you were a “frat guy” in college who used to party hard, become a multi-millionaire and are later seen drinking champagne in a limo… People will think you’re being fake. The reality is that you changed.
Prior to Mike’s election stuff and higher level of fame, he used to post on various topics from drugs to weight lifting to whatever it may be. Unsurprisingly, when he re-branded and moved in this direction many of his “old friends” dropped off or started hating on him publicly/privately. Can’t imagine how many friends he lost by being a public Trump figure. This is tied into the same concept of first impressions and striking first. When you’re going to make a mark or move to another “brand/image” you will absolutely get killed in terms of criticism. While we haven’t had the chance to meet Mike in a couple years or so, we’d wager the text messages and DMs being exchanged have drastically changed. After all, if you want to move up in life you can’t believe that your friends and contacts will remain the same.
If you think someone is on your side you believe something different: This is another fun concept and works both ways. Lets use a basic example. If you tell someone “Nice shirt it looks good”… If the person *dislikes* you… They will automatically think you’re being a condescending sarcastic douche. If the person likes you, he will think “Oh thanks man, what a nice guy he noticed my new shirt”.
While this is a simple example, just scale it up and you’ll see the ramifications portrayed in the film. By “showing the other side” Cassie Jaye was immediately rebranded due to her involvement in a Red Pill movie. Since you cannot be on both sides you have to be on one versus the other. People are herd/tribe creatures and “bridging the gap” is going to be seen as a bad thing. Nobody wants to give a platform to someone looking to bridge the current “battle of the sexes” in the United States. This would be a disaster for consumption in the United States. So if you’re going to be a media/public figure get used to this branding issue and be certain of which image you want to dangle out there.
Picking and choosing the words: This one we knew pretty well, anyone who has seen the news knows that the whole goal is to get a “sound-bite”. No one actually cares about context or reading. If people cared about the real story, context or details they would actually read books (hint, people don’t read books). Instead if you’re in a position where you’re being recorded, make sure you 1) have your own personal recording to defend yourself against clipped footage and 2) be smart about the sound-bite. It’s a delicate balance in the “war for attention” as a sound-bite needs to be good enough to get a lot of views but not audacious/awful enough that you’re quickly branded in the wrong direction. Ideally, you have a specific image you want to portray and can some up with an insanely viral sound-bite that tattoos an image into the brains of each individual who hears it.
Kuwait: We admit it. We don’t know jack about the majority of history. Being practical and future oriented, our knowledge of history is weak. Had no clue that the Kuwait clip in the movie was fabricated. We knew that the “weapons of mass destruction” idea was a bunch of baloney but the Kuwait item was new. Trying to be vague here to not ruin part of the movie.
Journalists Fed Headlines: Another part we’re keeping vague is an excerpt of a Journalist talking about how his headlines were written for him. Another one that’s not really surprising. At the end of the day, news organizations nowadays are not profitable and are used as propaganda machines. We’ll leave it there and emphasize that this is why we don’t own a television.
“It’s a business”: Age old wisdom: follow the money. When looking at any opinion from anyone, ask how they make money first. Would you take “car cost as a percent of net worth” advice from a car dealer trying to sell you a new Mercedes? Of course not. His finance advice would lead to a much higher car buying number. Applying this to life in general is always a good rule of thumb: make sure incentives are aligned.
Media and Wars: We’re on the fence on this point. Yes Media makes a lot more money when there is a war. That’s true. Our counterpoint to Mike (we know he’s reading this) is that Trump is a headline making machine. If Clinton won the election the news cycle would likely be less profitable unless we entered into a serious war. So this one was a tough sell for us. The media (in our opinion) actually benefitted by having Trump win (near-term). They have tons of stuff to talk about from taxes to north korea to China to his businesses etc. Just walk around, we see more people than usual glued to the TV wondering “what in the world did Trump do this time!”. It’s almost a 24/7 news cycle and we have no doubt the media in general is getting a tailwind here.
What you remember is what you saw: This is another great point, your visuals are the most memorable (dress sharp!). Instead of focusing on the negatives of this (how the media tried to warp your brain with images) we’re going to focus on the positive. Think about who you want to be in 5-10 years and imagine what that guy looks like. Picture it. Think about this a lot. In 5-10 years you better not be visualizing a guy doing the same thing he’s doing today because that is not realistic. If you’re currently hooking up in clubs and dive bars, what do you want to be when you’re 40? 50? What would that guy be doing today to set himself up for success? Would he really be buying the same stuff, going to the same places, hanging out with the same crowd… the same people. Absolutely not. Since your mind remembers visuals the most, you have to visualize what you will be doing in 5-10 years. Try to make it as detailed as possible.
What you aren’t seeing: One of the most interesting parts of the Election was when Mike filmed the Bernie Sanders supporters protesting the DNC. He physically flew to both the RNC and the DNC and no one cared about the DNC protest. Even to us this was surprising given the sheer number of people on the camera. Mike’s way better at this than anyone we know, where he’ll ask “what aren’t you seeing”. There was no coverage of the DNC so he took it as a hint that maybe something was happening there and was right. Another strategy appears to be “lack of video”. Other events only had still photos of what was happening and he’d go to those locations and find out the media was just surrounding one “photo op” of the same old thing and not showing the whole picture. For better or worse we don’t use this approach enough and stick with the classic “how are these guys benefitting” before deciding if it’s a legitimate source or not. (Hint another reason we’ve essentially deleted all people from our phone who are not rich, this is because rich people are *less* likely to screw you despite common mis-conceptions).
Republican killed and a Car Death: Apparently, an actual republican congress person (something like that) was killed by some radical leftist. Also. Some lunatic white supremacist hit someone with a car. Call us ignorant (it’s true) we had no clue either of these crazy events happened. We always knew that people who had hardcore political/group affiliations were losers and this just confirms it. It also confirms how little we know about “society” as we legitimately don’t remember any of this.
Naturally, our basic view here remains the same, just ignore people who really dislike you as being killed/hit by a car is definitely not worth it. Always avoid people looking to antagonize you unless you can somehow benefit from it (99.9999% of the time it’s a no as antagonizer are usually poor with nothing to lose). Conflict is only worth it when the risk outweighs the reward and if people really care about this whole politics stuff that much we’d recommend avoiding the entire disaster. It seems like this is actually getting worse (although we’re biased since we just saw the movie) and politics is becoming more violent and extreme. Knowing that there is this level of emotion also explains the rise of socialism and other extreme beliefs. Crazy stuff, but after seeing the movie it makes a ton more sense.
What is Real? One of the questions posed is “what is real”. We did come to our own conclusion here which is “real” is defined by your life experiences. This is also why we ignore all people explaining how “life is” when they’ve never made it. You wouldn’t ask a homeless person what life is like as a rich man and you should never ask a socially inept dork what clubs and spring break are like. They are different worlds entirely and if you’ve never seen it you won’t believe it.
Believing in fake versus real is also damaging. If someone believes all rich people are “losers” they’ve mentally screwed themselves as they are fighting off the belief that rich people are losers while simultaneously trying to get money. Also. If a “nice guy” thinks buying chocolates and roses will get him laid, he’ll ignore all the stories of guys hooking up with married women and girls with boyfriends within a few short hours. The best way to view reality is there there is always a “new dimension”. Sure there is an awful dimensions where you’re poor broke and ugly. There is also a dimension where you’re rich, happy and athletic. There are also middle dimensions where you’re poor but happy and good looking or rich and unhappy but good looking. So on and so forth. Each “movie” is real it’s just a personal decision on which movie you want to be playing in the future. The movie everyone wants is the rich, good looking and happy one. This one gets the most hate as it’s the top 0.1% (only 10% of guys have good social skills and only 1% of guys are multi-millionaires early enough to enjoy it).
Every Group Has a Rational Person: People in general are not bad. So in every single group be it a socialist group, republican group, a feminist group or a “mens rights” group… There is at least one guy/girl who is willing to see the other movie. Unfortunately, as you can see from the film there is a VERY SMALL number of these people. Unless you’re making a film or trying to create something artistic, we’d recommended avoiding the hassle of finding these people. Yes we know, this is “negative”. It’s just running the numbers. Sure you could spend your time trying to find the handful of people who will change their views on an emotionally charged topic, or you could spend that time trying to help yourself, your family or your close friends. To us the decision is clear, stick with “smile, nod and agree”.
Things are Getting More Radical: Towards the end one of the beliefs is that all of this chaos is making more radical differences. People are able to block each other and create tribes/herds. This is actually a good thing for a few years. Why? Well it makes the audience easier to sell to (you guys HAD to know that was coming). If everyone believes the same thing all you have to do is convince the tribe leader to buy and you have a recurring niche revenue model!
Jokes aside (well not really a joke since we were serious), it doesn’t seem like the polarization is going to get better any time soon. We’ll go ahead and predict increasing popularity of socialism on one side and more extreme capitalism on the other side. Not sure how this shakes out in the end. The good news is that it shouldn’t really matter if you’re interested in being successful over the next ~5 years or so. We’re in the *platinum* age of opportunity.
Long Term Thoughts
All Media is Biased: This is essentially a fact now. Opinions are now dominating the news so just assume that everything you hear is biased. Both from the mainstream media and your local celebrities. Everyone is trying to convince you of something so go ahead and learn to come to your own conclusions. Be careful here though. Your conclusions are going to be based on life experiences which is a slippery slope. Just because something appears true to you will appear false for someone else.
What a Disaster it is Out There: Can’t say it enough, politics is a complete jungle of nonsense. Piles and piles of nonsense and angling. There is no real way to solve this massive issue any time soon so we’re going to stick with avoidance. Just not worth it. Mike’s a public figure at this point despite what his haters my say and we don’t even want to know what his day to day life is like in terms of crazy messages, phone calls and in person annoyances.
Be Careful With Association: Luckily we’re already past this part and no longer have any serious interest in meeting new people (unless higher on the totem pole). For anyone else looking to climb or improve their life, take a serious look at who you’re hanging out with since that “brand/image” is going to impact your life meaningfully. People think about their diet and workout routine more than they think about their cell phone and that’s the wrong approach on numerous levels. When you go into one group, recognize that the success of that constant contact list is going to be your success. Life isn’t a zero sum game, it is a positive sum game. If you’re associating with the wrong group, your beliefs are going to morph in the wrong direction. This applies to both the extreme right and the extreme left as depicted in the movie. Honestly, wouldn’t want to hang out with either of these groups for any amount of time.
Don’t Get Emotional: An anonymous person made a salient point, you can only really be honest when you have “F-you money”. We agree with this. Unless you have F-you money just stay far far far away from politics and other such nonsense. It just isn’t worth it. Get rich first. After you get rich and have F-you money, then you can go ahead and decide if you actually care about this stuff. Mike actually cares about free speech and getting a specific message (as evidenced by the amount of work he put into this movie + his constant work online). We don’t care at all about this stuff. Nothing really good or bad here, just emphasizing that getting your life in order is first priority. Let the two extreme political views battle it out and ignore it all.
A Ton Can Change in a Couple Years: If you’ve followed Mike for more than 5 years or so you’ve seen him move through numerous different endeavors. In 2012 if you told him he’d be all over the news due to politics we bet he would have laughed at you himself. Now he’s considering running for congress or something like that. Life is funny that way. The good news is that even if you disagree or dislike the movie just think about how much his life changed in just a few years and the excuses start to melt away. While we’re more concerned with the future of the US from a political view, we’re more convinced than ever that we’re in the *platinum* age for turning your life into whatever you like. Unless you’re just lazy.