It is with a heavy heart that I pen this. Most of the readers know first- or second-hand that Ferdinand Bardamu has decided to take down his online shingle and shut down his blog In Mala Fide (subtitled “the blog that shouted Love at the heart of the world.”) If mine is the only blog in this scene that you read, now you know.
I can’t tell you exactly what’s happened to me, beyond saying that I’ve been given an incredible opportunity that most people would kill to have. It’s an opportunity I’ve dreamed of for the better part of twenty years, but I never thought I’d actually get there. I’ve spent the past month unbelievably busy as a result, reflected in the infrequency of my posts, and I’ll be leaving the U.S. in a few weeks to seal the deal. Simply put, I don’t have the time to run this blog anymore.
But it’s more than that. Frankly, I’m worn out.
My problem is that In Mala Fide no longer reflects who I am. I’m no longer subject to the conditions that led me to start blogging to begin with. I’m not in the same state of mind, and I’m tired of keeping up the charade. I’m tired of logging in twice a week and punching up articles in a voice that is no longer mine. I’m tired of the negativity and the bleakness of it all. Writing under a pen name was once liberating and freeing — now it feels confining, a straitjacket asphyxiating me and preventing me from spreading my wings.
To put it simply, I no longer want to be “Ferdinand Bardamu.”
I can empathize; more on that below.
INSIDE THE MADNESS
Ferd’s explosive entry in 2009 onto the nascent scene of men writing on male issues, and his ability to touch many other extant blogs with his material, quickly established In Mala Fide as a sort of younger, more fiery counterpart to Welmer Price’s MRA ezine The Spearhead. He had something to say and the talent to say it well, which brought readers and contributors to the flame.
The man himself was a journalistic tour de force, an erudite, well-read, pissed-off rebel a la Christopher Hitchens or Mark Steyn – mixing passionate anger with contemptuous black humor. Ferd consistently produced a tenuous but successful balance between current events commentary, cultural and sociosexual theory, and personal stories giving perspective and depth to his persona. While he alluded to game frequently, he almost never wrote on game techniques or field reports, which gave his ouevre a meta quality to it that lifted him above the practical to the status of an oracle of the issues.
I tip my hat to him, because Ferd lived the dream:
When I first started blogging on that blisteringly hot July day, I was an underworked cubicle drone with nothing to look forward to but high blood pressure and pawing at drunken co-eds on the weekend. I had escaped the hell of post-college underemployment, a familiar hell to white guys in their twenties, into a new hell of ennui and listlessness. I was miserable and cranky, which was reflected both in the name of the blog and my pseudonym. I imagined myself a daring anti-hero, a ruthless teller of uncomfortable truths, a rebel sniggering at the status quo.
His best-known feature was the Sunday “Linkage Is Good For You” series, which cemented IMF’s status as the Manosphere water cooler. A nice touch was his heading every Sunday links post with a different old-school pinup or erotic photo.
The yeoman’s work of compiling a weekly digest of writing exposed me to untold wonders around the blogosphere – some of the people I wouldn’t have met without LIGFY include Susan Walsh, Aoefe, Frost, Sofia, Bronan the Barbarian and MikeCF. There were scores more who either hung it up abruptly or just posted less until their blog was cobwebbed, or who I never had much ideological nexus with.
However, Linkage was remarkable for the spread of ideas it logged. If you wanted straight game advice and field reports, it was there. Theoretical riffs on evopsych, macroeconomics and intercultural warfare, you could get it. Hard-boiled psychological and social analysis was in there too. My Sundays were feasts of new ideas.
Ferd also started a news aggregation site fittingly dubbed In Bona Fide (where he linked among other things my post about the Irish breakfast) and marketed two provocative Kindle pamphlets, “The Age of Onanism” and “How To Stop Masturbating.”
The fact he was able to run all of that stuff while playing music, having a sex life and holding down an ostensibly full-time job blew my mind. There’s a tremendous amount of discipline involved in pumping out posts and managing content (comments, email, cross-linking, guest posts), and Ferdinand Bardamu really made it go.
Ferd’s expansion into a magazine format with other writers illustrated the extreme difficulty in marshaling a consistent variety of viewpoints under the blog publication style. He assembled somewhere between 15 and 30 adjunct writers on his masthead; within a few months, the number of regular weekly contributors had dwindled to a handful. Part of the freedom of blogging is the freedom to post when you want on what you want, including not posting at all when the muse doesn’t strike or when you burn out – something Ferd eventually found out for himself.
MY MANOSPHERE JOURNEY
I was aware of IMF pretty much from the beginning. I had been gradually absorbing the red-pill mindset over the course of a few years when I stumbled upon Dr. Helen and Roissy, the first two sources I read who were really looking out for the interests of males consistently and as a rule.
From there I voraciously consumed the growing spread of writers jumping into the breach as the Roissysphere became the Manosphere. I came into the game scene in mid-2009, which put me completely outside the pro-con debates regarding the monetized “Seduction Community” profiled in Neil Strauss’ book The Game, and fully into the post-Strauss community of freestyle bloggers mixing seduction and game with economics, politics and policy, feminism, biology, popular culture, history and literature.
I was in a relationship at the time, so I could only put this game knowledge into practice in indirect ways (this was before Athol Kay and the maturation of Relationship Game) but IMF, as I said before, provided a generous spread of the issues to chomp on.
I could tell it was only a matter of time before I decided to join the chorus, and I was welcomed to the fold with open arms from many of the bloggers I looked up to. It always tickled me to get a pingback or two on Sunday mornings showing that I had made the IMF Linkage post. It was a real honor to become a weekly entry pretty much as soon as I started blogging, and on weeks when that didn’t happen I questioned myself like a child whose father had ignored his finger painting hung on the refrigerator. Did he not see my posts, or did he see them and judge them not good enough to publicize? Was he playing a mind game or did he just forget me in favor of other posts? Since I considered (and still do) the rest of the linkage recipients my unqualified peers, not getting a seat at the table was a real blow. I learned to roll with it, but mostly it drove me to put out more and better stuff.
CHANGE IS PART OF LIFE
Ferd cannot be replaced, but nonetheless, the community we’ve built will go on.
My mother’s father worked on a bomber crew in World War II, and she told me a story he told her. “We’d be playing cards in the mess hall, and a guy would stand up and walk out of the door to go on a mission, and he’d never come back – you would never see him again. Just like that. Such was life.”
Such is life in the blogging world for sure. Some of the more memorable disappearances in my time around these parts include:
- The two-man show Seasons of Tumult and Discord shutting it down without notice (although Alkibiades is back baby)
- The Man Who Is Thursday getting discovered by a member of his church group
- The incomparable Roissy getting hounded in a story I don’t want to go into which either coincided or presaged major changes in his blog
- Solomon II getting hacked on the eve of his final (never-published) post
- The great female advisor grerp getting a bit skittish and removing most of her cultural commentaries (keeping the numbered advice pieces)
- Johnny Milfquest (nee Workshy Joe) vanishing without a trace
Lots of other people have trickled out of the scene as well; some lose interest and fade away, many just say what they need to say and go on to other pursuits.
I recall very fondly those salad days, when there wasn’t any central repository for all of these writers and we island-hopped from link to link. That was before game got a writeup in the Weekly Standard, before Roissy/Citizen Renegade/Heartiste had become a team blog under a composite personality. This was when society’s (and thus most men’s) base impression of sexually successful young men was either the overgrown frat guy of Tucker Max or the uber-emo shtick of Mystery.
Last summer there was a torrid sequence of events that involved Rivelino cloaking himself, dannyfrom504 starting his blog (happy bloggiversary amigo), and the highly respected personality known as “Brendan” or “Novaseeker” retire himself from this corner of the Internet. The latter still makes the occasional appearance in comments, but has shuttered his blogs and their archival brilliance.
I am going to be honest, I thought seriously about hanging it up. I hadn’t been blogging that long, and wondered if I had what it took to generate my own energy instead of relying on the community to boost me.
Ultimately (obviously) I decided to stay in the game. I had more to say, more that I wanted to say. And still do. But blogging well is a major effort, and there comes a watershed moment for every writer when it’s just not the best use of your time. Ferd says he’s overdue to act on that feeling, and I respect his decision without prejudice. Life’s too short to do something you don’t want to do.
So Ferd, here’s to you for a great three years – all the best.
I’ll miss you.