Pickup Artist ‘Heartiste’ Backs Discredited Pseudoscience of Physiognomy

Grades of Intelligence

Pickup artist James Weidmann — who goes by the pseudonym “Heartiste” — has long been a champion of white supremacist ideas. It’s unsurprising, then, that in a June 19, 2016 blog post at Chateau Heartiste, Weidmann endorsed the quack science of physiognomy. Popular in the 19th century, proponents of physiognomy believed that certain physical traits were linked with a number of personality traits. In other words, one’s eyes, nose, or lips could indicate that a person is trustworthy, energetic, or even predisposed toward criminality.

Of course that isn’t to say human beings don’t make judgment calls based upon a person’s physical appearance, associating physical traits with personality traits and the like. And it’s certainly true that in some cases this can become a self-fulfilling prophecy — if, for example, people treated someone who “looks” untrustworthy as untrustworthy, that person may eventually conform to that assumption. Take this real life example, which found that certain faces are viewed as more “trustworthy” than others, which could lead those people to get away with mistakes or negative behavior.

People being superficial and making assumptions about a person’s character based on their facial features is a far cry from facial features being predictive of character, however. It’s that latter view that Heartiste took in his post, titled “Physiognomy Is Real.”

Physiognomy
From Louis Allen Vaught’s Practical Character Reader (1902)

As Heartiste wrote, there is “evidence (re)emerging from the labcoats’ mental masturbatoriums that a person’s looks do say something about his politics, smarts, personality, and even his propensity to crime,” adding that stereotypes “don’t materialize out of thin air.” He even asserted that “ugly” people are “more crime-prone” — whatever “ugly” means in this context.

“Physiognomy is real. It needs to come back as a legitimate field of scientific inquiry, and the snarling equalists who lied and slandered good men to suppress the investigation of physiognomy should have their faces rubbed in the realtalk,” declared Heartiste. Perhaps he’ll endorse phrenology and drapetomania next.

There’s evidence (re)emerging from the labcoats’ mental masturbatoriums that a person’s looks do say something about his politics, smarts, personality, and even his propensity to crime. Stereotypes don’t materialize out of thin air, and the historical wisdom that one can divine the measure of a man (or a woman) by the cut of his face has empirical support.

For instance, facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) is a reliable cue to dominant social behavior in men. Another study found that wide-faced men are untrustworthy. You CAN judge a book by its cover: ugly people are more crime-prone.

. . .

Physiognomy is real. It needs to come back as a legitimate field of scientific inquiry, and the snarling equalists who lied and slandered good men to suppress the investigation of physiognomy should have their faces rubbed in the realtalk. Physiognomy isn’t just an illusion of confirmation bias, or of backwards rationalization of evoked emotions. The connection between facial appearance and character is observable and measurable, not a figment of cognitive self-bias. There are exceptions, of course, but the existence of exceptions should not be used as an excuse to sweep the reality of the rule under the rug.

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