If Scalzi wanted to "grow" as a Man and develop out of Gamma - how should he be reacting to this situation instead? What would show you that he is "confronting reality" and thereby earn your respect?Gammas find direct conflict particularly difficult because they don't customarily engage in it. They habitually engage in female-style indirect conflict, where rhetoric is the battlefield and the sly passive-aggressive shot taken with plausible deniability is the weapon of choice. This leaves them confused and bewildered when they run up against higher-ranking men, most of whom are highly competitive, accustomed to both winning and losing in direct conflict, and are uninterested in being seen as "the good guy". This is why gammas tend to fear and hate alphas; they know their indirect weapons are totally ineffectual against them on an individual basis. It is also why they attempt to reframe the conflict into something that it is not and to strike poses that are manifestly absurd.
For example, Scalzi has been claiming that he finds my "mancrush" to be "adorable", claims to find calling me an RSHD "fun", and professes to be enjoying the whole affair. And yet, not only is he failing to convince me or my readers of this, he is completely failing to convince his own readers as well. One of his readers wrote in response to someone who told Scalzi, in his opinion, he was coming off the worse in the various exchanges:
"I realize you think you’re doing JS a “service” by trying to get him to stop calling out RHSD. The problem is that RHSD or his lackeys keep coming here. I’m willing to bet all (checks his pockets real quick…) $22.35 I have in my pocket that JS would like nothing more than for RHSD to stop coming here. If that were to happen, this wouldn’t be happening. When someone keeps coming to your house and crapping on the front porch, just ignoring it doesn’t help."
That isn't true, of course, because I haven't commented there once since August. I'm not encouraging anyone to comment at his site. I'm not commenting there myself. I'm not offended at his existence. I'm not laughing at the comments people post there; I don't read most of the posts, let alone the comments, at Whatever. I didn't backtrack on any claims. Now, why would he like nothing more than for something nonexistent to stop happening, particularly when he claims to be enjoying the shenanigans?
At this point, a pattern should be readily apparent. Very little the gamma says about the conflict is reliable, either about himself or those with whom he is in conflict. And the worst part is that over time, the gamma often manages to convince himself that it is, at least in part, the correct interpretation of events.
This is the gamma reality reconstruction instinct at work. Fighting it and seeing the situation for what it is has to be the first step, everything else depends upon this. If John is genuinely amused by being known as McRapey, that's great. If he isn't, he needs to admit it. If he's only concerned with the purity of his comment threads, that's fine, but if he's actually concerned, as some of the SFWA members are, about the discussions taking place elsewhere, then he shouldn't be pretending that comment trolls are the full extent of his concern.
To the gamma, admitting the truth is seen as a weakness, when actually it is a strength. So, that's the first step, acceptance.
The second step is submission. Alphas fight until someone submits. If someone isn't willing to submit, an alpha will often quite literally kill them rather than stop. This is why you'll hear a man's friends telling the man who is losing a fight to "stay down". Staying down is submitting to the superiority of the other. Breaking eye contact is submitting to the superiority of the other. Tapping out is submitting to the superiority of the other.
The gamma tactic of plausible deniability doesn't work with alphas. He takes his surreptitious shot, pretends not to be involved, and then is genuinely surprised when the first punch is followed by a second and a third. Instead of submitting, he protests his innocence, appeals to the crowd, feigns indifference, scratches, bites, kicks, and basically does everything except the one thing he has to do to make the beating stop.
Scalzi isn't completely stupid. He knows he can't win. I'm more intelligent, better educated, more experienced in both dialectic and rhetoric, and more socio-sexually dominant than he is. But because he has the option of avoiding the direct confrontation involved in a physical fight or a public debate, he thinks he can at least avoid losing. He's basically playing a version of rope-a-dope, hoping that I'll get bored or the onlookers will lose interest, so that he can maintain his reconstructed reality. He's not necessarily wrong, (gambling on my boredom is always a live bet), although given how more and more people are finding it interesting and getting involved, the tactic would appear to have failed him.
But if he wants the beatings to end, he has to submit. What that may involve, I don't know. I haven't given the matter any thought because, contrary to common assumption, gammas tend to be very nearly as proud as alphas, perhaps even more proud in some ways. And anyway, submission can't even begin to take place so long as the gamma remains in his own private reality.
The third step is the symbolic salute. It's the handshake at the end of the game, the hug at the end of the boxing match. Alphas tend to respect those who fight hard, who fight fair, and who fight to win. They don't see any shame in being defeated by a superior, so long as the effort was there. And more than anything, they admire courage. I felt real love for my fellow Dragons, not because I necessarily liked their personalities or had anything in common with some of them, but because I saw the courage in their souls. I saw how they pushed themselves up from the ground every time they were knocked down, I saw how they kept fighting when they were in tears from pain, I saw how they met broken bones and bloody beatings alike with a smile. I wasn't driven to become an excellent fighter because I wanted to be a badass or show off for the girls, I simply wanted to be worthy of being one of them. I was never the best. I was never even one of the ten best. But I earned my place in their number.
There is a moment when a man knows he has earned respect. It is the casual nod, the hand unexpectedly proffered, the look of approval in the narrowed eyes. This experience is foreign to the gamma because he has never tested himself, which is to say that he has never permitted himself to be tested by others. He has to declare himself the winner because no one else will, and he cannot submit because he fears the unknown quantity of honest defeat. He not only lacks the courage to fight, he lacks the courage to risk failure. This, more than anything, is why the alpha finds the gamma contemptible and despises him in a way he does not despise the men who freely submit to him.
The symbolic salute is the third step, but it is far from the final one, because respect ultimately comes from the repetition of these steps, over and over again, until one is deemed to merit it.
I once estimated that I was knocked down approximately 200 times before I managed to knock anyone else down. But after two years of training six days per week at the dojo, the senior sensei bestowed a nickname upon me. Not long after that, the most dangerous fighter, a hard-living 220-pound janitor who had nothing but scorn for the college graduate with the Porsche and barely said a word to me the entire first year, invited me out for a drink with him and his friends. Respect seldom comes quickly. You have to earn it. And often, to earn it, you not only have to get your ass kicked for a long time, you have to accept that in the absence of superlative skill, pain is the price you pay for it.