When the infamous Moscow investigative journal and sleazerag The Exile closed its doors nearly five years ago, their farewell issue proudly bore this line on the front page: "In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face."
That line reverberated in my mind as I made my way through my copy of Three Years of Hate: The Very Best of In Mala Fide. Under the aegis of its founder and head ringmaster, "Ferdinand Bardamu," In Mala Fide was lurid, inflammatory, borderline pornographic; and yet it was also insightful, compelling, and inspiring, "the closest thing the alternative blogosphere [had] to a center." Through a mix of rancor, wisdom and regular link roundups (under the title "Linkage is Good for You"), Bardamu was not only one of the founders of the "manosphere," the online collective of men seeking to overthrow feminist dominion and reclaim their masculinity, he brought the alternative right together like no writer before or since.
And now, six months after he rode into the sunset, the best of Bardamu's writings have been collected in book form.
As the name implies, Three Years of Hate is a collection of Bardamu's best articles, edited and organized into a quality product. While none of the book's content is original---unless you count its cryptic dedication---all of its essays have been touched up and polished, and a few have been noticeably expanded beyond their original incarnations. One of those is "The Eternal Solipsism of the Female Mind," easily Bardamu's most influential and important article ("solipsism" is one of the manosphere's most prevalent memes/concepts) and the very first one in the book:
Granted, not all women are equally solipsistic. It’s like breasts. Some women have dainty, delicate A-cups; some very fortunate girls have heaving, delicious double-Ds; still more unlucky gals have barely noticeable bee stings. So it is with self-absorption: some women are more self-centered and clueless than others. A woman’s inherent solipsism is also affected by her surrounding environment. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 represents almost no solipsistic tendencies and 10 represents near-fatal levels of solipsism, American women would clock in at 9. For comparison’s sake, Canadian women would be 8, Brits would be 10, Chinese women would be 5, and Russians would be 3. These are completely unscientific estimates based on a combination of personal experience and crude stereotypes, but I stick by them.
Three Years of Hate is loosely divided into four sections, focusing on sex, politics, life philosophy/practical advice, and humor respectively. In this, the book retains one of the site's greatest strengths: its remarkable breadth of topics. In no other book can you go from a discussion of the economics of Internet porn to a explanation of how monoracial, white societies inevitably gravitate towards socialism to an satirical essay on discrimination against redheads.
Racialists, anti-feminists, and traditionalists will each find something to love about Three Years of Hate.
From a literary standpoint, Three Years of Hate is also worth reading because it allows you to see the evolution of Bardamu's writing style. Like his namesake, Ferdinand's prose lurches and crackles like lightning, grabbing you by the back of your neck and shoving you face-first into the action. No mere poser though, Bardamu is also capable of putting on his thinking cap, as articles like "America's Four Hundred Year War Against the Catholic Church" assume a clinical, almost scientific tone:
One of the Great Lies of our time is that Puritanism and Calvinism were right-wing or conservative in any way, shape or form. It betrays a basic ignorance of American history. The Puritans were the free-love, hippie-dippie pinko commies of their day. The whole reason they settled in America was not because of “religious persecution,” as the revisionists would argue, but because they felt that the Protestant Reformation had not gone far enough in England. The Puritans recognized that Anglicanism was (and is) nothing more than ersatz Catholicism, with the Queen replacing the Pope, and they sought to extirpate all Catholic influences from their lives. Even after formal Puritanism faded away, the attitudes and beliefs it inculcated stayed behind, and define America as we know it. The American Revolution was birthed in Calvinist New England; virtually every progressive social movement in American history, from abolitionism to the temperance movement to the civil rights movement, either began in New England or had significant support there. Which state was the first to legalize gay marriage again? Oh, that’s right, Massachusetts.
The thin red thread connecting all these disparate parts is Ferdinand's iconoclastic philosophy. Never one to be pigeonholed, Bardamu is equal parts Roissy, Mencius Moldbug, Mark Ames and St. Augustine, tearing into the lies of the left and of his ideological allies with equal aplomb. Ferdinand rips into modern women for their slutty behavior and massive entitlement complexes, but also chastises traditionalists like Lawrence Auster and Laura Wood for their inability to comprehend the plight of modern men. He disparages white nationalists as "racial Marxists," but defends Insane Clown Posse as "a voice for America's most ignored and scapegoated social group: the white underclass."
Agree or disagree with him, Ferdinand will always make you think and question your cherished beliefs, a feat that few if any writers can pull off.
My biggest criticism with Three Years of Hate is the way it's organized. With the exception of the first section (which places "Eternal Solipsism" ahead of an article that was published a couple of weeks earlier), the book's essays are organized chronologically. It mostly works, but I can't help but feel that it could have been benefited from a more rigorous layout. This is a pretty minor issue, though.
Bardamu's bombastic approach to blogging won him countless friends and fans---when he closed the site in June of last year, In Mala Fide had around 50,000 visitors a month, making it one of the most trafficked sites in the alt-right blogosphere---but it also made him a large swath of enemies. Beyond the intellectual pygmies he emasculated and skewered on a regular basis, Bardamu became a target of the Powers That Be for his anti-feminist activism. In December 2010, In Mala Fide rocketed to the front page of Reddit after Ferdinand published the home addresses and phone numbers of the women who falsely accused Wikileaks founder Julian Assange of rape, exposing the manosphere to a much wider audience. A year ago, IMF was targeted by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "hate site" alongside Roosh and The Spearhead, a position the SPLC was later forced to backpedal on due to widespread ridicule.
In Mala Fide was also hurt by Bardamu's decision to make it into a multi-author magazine in early 2011. While the site fostered a number of great writers, including Maximus, Frost and Bronan the Barbarian, Bardamu let too many cranks and oddballs take the reigns, muddling the site's mission and driving away many long-time readers. Ferdinand himself seemed to stop caring in the last year; while he did write a number of great articles during this time (a number of which, including "Advice for Young Men" and the aforementioned piece on Puritanism and the left, made it into the book), it was clear that his heart wasn't in it anymore.
It's a testament to Bardamu's tenacity and courage that in the face of all this, he managed to not only stay relevant but expand his influence. Countless writers and thinkers owe their careers to the patronage of this soi-disant "Andy Warhol of the alt-right/manosphere," either through his linkage posts or by publishing their articles on his site. I was one of those "Bardamu Superstars"; I got my first fifteen minutes of fame when an article of mine was linked on IMF's sister site In Bona Fide, and I got the opportunity to publish several guest articles for the site during its waning months. One of those posts, "Planet of the Bitches," was read by AltRight editor Colin Liddell and republished here.
For that initial boost, I am eternally grateful.
While the manosphere and the alternative right have continued to flourish, there's no arguing that the loss of In Mala Fide was a hard blow to both. Beyond the loss of one of the best writers of modern times (and no, that is not hyperbole), we also lost a convenient place to discover up-and-coming writers and incisive articles on everything from politics to sex. While several sites have sprung up attempting to replicate Ferdinand's linkage posts (The Second Estate and Society of Amateur Gentlemen among them), none have managed to capture the audience that In Mala Fide had. The week of tearful eulogies that followed Bardamu's goodbye post is a testament to the sheer amount of influence he wielded.
An influence far greater---and far more of a force for good in the world---than the frauds who attacked him.
Three Years of Hate is an invaluable, priceless book not merely because it's well-written, entertaining and thought-provoking. It's worth reading because it's a piece of history. It's a record of one of the most influential and important thinkers of our times. Decades from now, when the current dystopia is naught but a bad memory, Ferdinand Bardamu will be remembered as one of the architects of its fall.
An act of defiance against evil, no matter how puerile, is still a righteous act.
Buy Three Years of Hate: The Very Best of In Mala Fide by clicking here.