Not even a talking kangaroo
March 12, 2009 12:02 PM   Subscribe

"But no people. That’s the dream here. And that’s why nobody faces the pretty durn obvious fact that after the apocalypse, alliances, partnerships, gangs, whatever you want to call them, are going to be tighter, stricter, more important than ever. Because that’s no fun" The Omega Nerd: The War Nerd talks about survival porn, water, Mormons, and Mongols.
posted by The Whelk (25 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I really enjoy the War Nerd, and have learned a lot from his columns. How much I've learned from him that isn't true, I don't know, and I'm never exactly sure how much he's kidding. However, I take his book recommendations very seriously after he turned me on to this corker.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:20 PM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Can someone mirror this article? The War Nerd is blocked at my office as "ADULT SEXUALLY EXPLICIT", somehow.
posted by smitt at 12:34 PM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh boy, survivalists. He forgot to mention primitivists. A couple of months ago, a young man stayed at my co-op for a week after spending time with a primitivist group somewhere in the Canadian shield forests. They'd been at it for about two years, someone had recently had a baby, and many of them were unsure about how long they could continue, not because they were starving, but because it was so grueling and sometimes frightening. I would not want to winter up there in a shelter I built myself. I disagreed with our guest's worldview, but I respected his commitment (an understatement). He could have been telling a fantastic lie, but members of the house who knew him would have had to be in on it.

If you claim to be some sort of survivalist, and you're living in any densely populated region, you're doing it wrong. Stop clinging to the civilization you deny. Move out of your basement fortress in New Jersey and go disappear into the Canadian shield forests.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 12:48 PM on March 12, 2009 [2 favorites]

I absolutely love War Nerd's articles and haven't been able to read them since losing his URL. Thank you so much for posting this.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:53 PM on March 12, 2009

I was very impressed by the commentary on my recent survivalism FPP. Worth a look.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:57 PM on March 12, 2009

He forgot to mention primitivists.

Ooh, don't forget the urban primitivists.
posted by dersins at 1:11 PM on March 12, 2009

It seems people are terrified by this specter of White Guys with Guns. A little bit Ku Klux Klan, a little bit Unabomber, and a dash of Rambo thrown in the mix. It's too bad, because they mostly seem like well-armed back-to-the-land hippies to me. It's a fantastic segment of the population for outreach, but people won't seem to overlook guns. Many survivalists are living (or are developing the capacity to live) rather greenly as compared to people who lay claim to being eco-concerned. Think about it: many have solar power, know how to grow crops (in a non-industrial capacity), they work on water-sanitizing stills. It's not just Rapture-anticipating nutjobs stockpiling canned goods in addition to some rifles.

These are all useful skills to have. I've developed a minor interest in carpentry. Damn, it feels good to build something I can pick up and wave after shuttling electrons around all day. Physical craft and an interest in self-sufficiency shouldn't be disdained. Just practicing lighting a fire (and putting it out) makes me grateful for the warm bed I have.
posted by adipocere at 1:15 PM on March 12, 2009 [5 favorites]

Well, having lived for six months in a tent, right next to a mosquito-infested swamp, eating MREs day in and day out, I can say with some certainty that that kind of life is not something for which one should hope. On the other hand, I don't see anything wrong with being *prepared* to live six months in a tent if that's what was required to survive. I don't even see anything too incredibly bizarre about keeping the necessary stuff around to make that a last-resort aw-crap-we're-down-to-THIS-now possibility.

You miss a lot of stuff when you're reduced to that level of existence. I'm trying to recall some of the many things I missed dearly. Some of them are: toilet paper, electricity, stuff to read, washing machines, cold beverages, music, a source of news, the internet, soap, shampoo, shower/tub, mosquito repellent.

Of all the things I missed, it was toilet paper that I missed the most. Yeah, MREs have that harsh toilet paper, but I guess even if I'm not a sensitive asshole, I *have* one. I remember soldiers getting cookies and candy and stuff from family, and my foster parents sent me nothing but one box of toilet paper. At first I was irked, but then I realized that toilet paper, due to demand and rarity, had become a form of money, and I was able to trade squares of toilet paper for Snickers and oatmeal cookies. I probably ended up with more snacks than anyone, *and* I had plenty of toilet paper. My foster parents were brilliant!

In any case, prepare yourself for an extended interruption in services, but don't hope for it. Primitive life is overly romanticized. Yeah, primitive life can be fun if it's both voluntary and temporary, but you really don't want it to go beyond that if it can be avoided.
posted by jamstigator at 1:23 PM on March 12, 2009 [10 favorites]

I thought "Hamas Ain't No Hezbollah" was a pretty interesting read when someone sent it to me a few months back.
posted by rollbiz at 1:51 PM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

So no one linked to This Comment by Dee Xtrovert yet?
posted by delmoi at 1:59 PM on March 12, 2009

He's great my favorite quote about Gaza: posted by tkchrist at 2:04 PM on March 12, 2009 [4 favorites]

Anarchoprimitivists piss me off. Let's see what they do when they die of something that can be easily treated with the use of current medical technology, but they say OH NOES THAT'S NOT HOW OUR ANCESTORS DID IT !
posted by kldickson at 2:06 PM on March 12, 2009

"So instead of arguing about caliber and range, try finding out where the water comes from in your town."

Around here, it comes from the sky, like mana from heaven!

Incessant mana. Everywhere. Places mana shouldn't be. A glorious bounty that keeps on wrecking everything. More mana than you can shake a stick at. And there is no shortage of sticks to shake, after frozen mana shattered all the trees.

So, that brings us back to guns, right?

Guns won't stop the mana; it's mana from heaven.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:15 PM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

"Once, in prewar days, Gordon had read that there were placed in the country riddled with hideouts like this-- stockpiled by men whose hobby was thinking about the fall of society, and fantasizing what they would do after it happened. There had been classes, workshops, special-interest industry catering to 'needs' which went far beyond those of the average woodsman or camper.
When that time finally arrived, most of the loner 'survivalists' died in their bunkers, quite alone."

-- David Brin, "The Postman."
posted by Ziggy Zaga at 2:59 PM on March 12, 2009 [3 favorites]

Fiction proves nothing. Watch as Pat Frank's Alas Babylon cancels out Brin's novel like Brin had never been born.
posted by adipocere at 3:08 PM on March 12, 2009

The end of the world is what you call it when your tribe loses.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:32 PM on March 12, 2009 [3 favorites]

Also from the War Nerd: "War Nerd Called It: Indians And Pakis Too Faggy For War."

You guys seriously read this shit?
posted by paisley henosis at 7:23 PM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

The end of the world is what you call it when your tribe loses.

I tend to call that a victory, myself.
posted by metagnathous at 8:03 PM on March 12, 2009

Bets on whether this guy read the above article and decided his investment in "survivalism" was in vain?
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:17 PM on March 12, 2009

I intended to apply italics to the quote above, but something didn't quite work out.
posted by metagnathous at 9:57 PM on March 12, 2009

Good article. Always enjoyed the War Nerd. Is he really John Dolan?
posted by jcruelty at 11:18 PM on March 12, 2009

You guys seriously read this shit?

Ooh, he doesn't talk all nice and polite, so nothing he says must be worth hearing!

Thanks for the post; I always enjoy the War Nerd.
posted by languagehat at 6:28 AM on March 13, 2009

You guys seriously read this shit?

You've got to read more of his work to realise who the War Nerd is. On the one hand, it's clearly written by someone with a pretty good grasp of politics, history and warfare. On the other, the 'War Nerd' is a character created (probably by John Dolan, but who knows?) to mock warmongers, middle America and chickenhawks.
The columns are not meant to be read literally, in either content or tone. Half the fun of the old Exile letters page was the letters address to the War Nerd from 'fans' who hadn't realised this.
It can be confusing because the character of the war nerd is a fairly unpleasant one which can turn people off the analysis.
The War Nerd is also, by the way, totally characteristic of The Exile (RIP). When they (Mark Ames anyway) advocated gassing the midwest after the 2004 elections I'm pretty sure they weren't literally serious about that.
posted by atrazine at 12:04 PM on March 13, 2009

Yeah, the War Nerd is not to be read straight.

Like the Holy Fool, he often speaks the truth however.
posted by pharm at 12:39 PM on March 13, 2009

« Older What happens when the stock market goes to zero?   |   Colombia's Agony Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments