My Evil Paleo Plot Comes to Full Fruition

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I lied.

See, back last week when I posted about my most recent podcast interview (My Podcast Interview at Paleo Weekly: My Evil Plot, Revealed), I didn’t really reveal the whole Evil Plot in that podcast. That was just to make you think I did so you’d consider listening.

Sure, I spent a lot of time explaining the evils of letting comments post unmoderated and why I’d do such a thing, when so many out there do moderate comments before they post. I spoke of my debauchery and laziness in letting bullshit, stupidity and false information remain in the comments for all to see, including newbies. Like a cheap whore, I reveled in the self-depricating glory of receiving comments critical of me and my style. And like some sociopath, I patted myself on the back for treating some select commenters like shit, for all to see: my wild-eyed immaturity.

But I stopped short of fully laying out why, exactly, I go to such lengths to make myself look bad, out of control, a loose cannon and, as some claim, to make the paleo / primal community look bad by extension, given the high popularity of my blog.

So, now, finally I shall reveal the end game of what it’s all about. Perhaps the best way to explain it is via one of the many emails I get each week. This one, from Teresa:

Dear Mr. Nikoley,

After reading your latest and very inspiring blog post about your MovNat  experience, I had to write to thank you for all the good you have done for me  and my family. I am a 33 year old mother of two young sons, and I found your  site some time last year when I was doing a search for Soft Star Shoes for my then 4 year old. It was serendipity, a chance hit on Google after you reviewed the Soft Star RunAmocs. But what else I read on your site intrigued me. Over the  next several months, I came back a few times, confounded by the eating and exercise routine that seemed so darn sensible, so intuitive and natural that I couldn’t accept it outright at first. (I’m not suspicious by nature, but I guess  lifelong habits sometimes hold fast, even in the face of good sense that says otherwise. But finally, there was no arguing with your results.)

In January, I made it my goal to learn how to cook meat. When the last of the flours in the house were used up, I didn’t replace them. Same with the beans and rice. I’ve had a few stutter steps, but I’m confident now in my Paleo meal planning, and I’ve read a few books to get really solid on the whys. It’s amazing. The immediate perceptible benefits have been listed all over the web, so I won’t repeat them, but suffice to say that I can live the rest of my life like this and be really, really satisfied with it.

I’m so grateful that you put so much good information out there for others to stumble upon. I look at my 5 year old and my 2 year old, and I’m glad that their bodies will be growing to their full human potential. I’m grateful for the humility and humor that makes your site so accessible, and for the depth of thought and research that makes your posts such treasures.

I didn’t intend to gush, but I did intend to thank you profusely.

So again, thanks.


So there you have it. Pretty sad, isn’t it? Now I suppose I could have written posts about the 7, 8, 9, or 10 Things You Can Do For X, and she’d have probably blown right on by. Instead of the anarchist disaster area that are many of my posts and comment threads, I could have posted uplifting drivel and shut down comments altogether — or moderated with a heavy hand — so that I and all my readers could attend The Church of Paleo with each post; cloistered, reveling in ignorant bliss — with never a discouraging or challenging word.

And I certainly wouldn’t write posts about Paleo Pussies or Panties in a Bunch Paleos.

Of course, by consequential extension, I would never, ever get a comment like this:

The Primal Professor Speaks

…Or one like this from the same "Primal Professor," in reference to a live debate with a vegan.

More Primal Professor

But not getting comments like that would be far too big of a price to pay. And if you want to know what I think of comments like that, beyond my pure and primal love of getting them, It’s that I wonder who this anonymous "Professor" is, and what he or she is doing that might result in him or her getting such a letter from someone, anyone, ever in his or her life? Or does his or her eminent, ivrory-towerness have any Real Results of others to show?

…One writer, columnist and blogger I follow on Twtitter — and who follows me as well — is Amy Alkon, Advice Goddess. She had a post up this morning that while from a political angle, has broader implications.

I often suspect that the people who complain the most bitterly about [cuts in social services] do only that — do nothing to try to help people themselves.

I added those brackets and you can pretty much insert anything you want. See? Broader implications.

It reminded me of back when I used to debate on the old USENET in the mid-90s, often about politics, culture, social policy and whatnot. One day, some guy blew through there and dropped a question I have never forgotten:

Is your desire to help people so great as to actually help them, or only so great as to force others to do so?

But what do I know? He’s the "Paleo Professor."

Tired of do-nothing Paleo Complainers? Then shout it out to your friends and followers. Buttons up top.

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  1. Heh, if it comes to self-censorship, you might consider screening the ads a bit. Or, actually, don’t, because then I’d miss out on the hilarious irony of a post ripping vegans right next to an ad for “Veggie protein! 100% vegan!” with some hot chick sitting in the grass. I dunno what adservice you’re using, but their algorithm for deciding what ad to show has a hell of sense of humor.

    • Heh, yea, I debate about what to do about that. I see the irony as well, think it’s funny and so am loath to do anything about it. It’s Google’s ad engine, AdSense, I think they call it. I do have the ability to ban certain ads. I might, but it doesn’t really seem to be an issue.

  2. I just want to be really pet-peevish for a moment and say that I’ve noticed “lose” and “loose” used oppositely on your blog. Lose cannon should’ve been loose whereas other posts use loose when they should be lose (e.g. lose control, not loose control).

    Otherwise your blog is top 5 in my book. If not, top 3.

    End of bitch rant.


  3. What’s that old line? “love me, hate me, just don’t ignore me.”

    Now get back to work on that book so I can buy a copy!

  4. Richard – love your site and usually lurk here, but since you were kind enough to include me in one of your always-smart posts, I’ll leave a comment. My favorite (in the all-talk vein) was when a bunch of anonymous commenters were attacking my site because they find me racist (I criticized a woman who had six different children by five different drug dealers by the age of 24, and she happened to be black). Actually, I think children need daddies — whether they’re black or white — but if you criticize a black person you must hate black people, according to certain “progressives.”

    While they were attacking my site, where was I? Speaking to kids at an inner-city high school to demystify “making it”! (It’s a program I created — WIT: What It Takes — to bring in speakers who are self-made to tell kids their story.) Some people talk about giving poor people a better shot, and expect government to do it, and some people just figure out what’s needed and get in there and try to provide it.

  5. Mike OD says:

    “Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing” ~ Aristotle

    “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

    The great thing about the internet…is we can read what we like, don’t have to agree with everything a person says all the time and can still come out with our own conclusions. In the words of Bruce Lee: “Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”

    If you are not telling it your way just to play it safe and hope to please everyone, you are just being dishonest to your readers and yourself. Be who you are…never apologize for it nor seek the approval of others. We all play our own role in the big picture of human consciousness (wow…deep stuff! ha). Keep up the great work!

  6. Actually, considering the popularity of the blog and your style of writing, and the fact that you don’t screen comments, I’m surprised at how few trolls and haters you actually have. There are always gonna be folks like mr PP around, but they are actually pretty few and far between here.

  7. The thing about the Internet, is that it exposes you to mountains of criticism like nothing else can. Especially in the paleo community, where many people have a pretty fair grasp of the science and theories involved. Caveat blogger.

  8. I like your style. Your anarchist tendencies makes it easy to introduce the world of paleo to libertarian leaning people.

    • Is that a difficult thing to do? lol

      I was blown away by the amount of my fellow libertarian/anarchists there are in the paleo world. :)

      • Let’s blow up a whale and eat the bits!

      • I think actually blowing a whale to bits would require explosives that are illegal to purchase without a Federal permit, even if it is only a Narwhal or other small species. You are not going to blow up any marine mammal with a power head.

        In any case exploding it would destroy a great deal or all of the carcass which would defeat the purpose of killing it to eat it … we don’t explode cows or pigs … I am against blowing up any living creature, period, other than insects.


        Blow up a whale?

      • Yea, that’s the classic video.

      • I think the whole embodiment of paleo/primal is closely related to libertarian thinking than anything else

  9. “Is your desire to help people so great as to actually help them, or only so great as to force others to do so?”

    I’m going to sit on the roof and ponder that tonight, thx

  10. I never did understand people who leave comments just to argue. Constructive dialog is one thing, but a lot of people act like trolls when responding to things they don’t agree with… and when I say “agree with”, I mean, agree with 105%. Because any less is just not acceptable.

    The internet is a huge place, if you don’t agree with what you’re reading, I’m sure that someone out there has written something you do agree with, so why waste your time arguing? That’s my two cents anyway.

    This is a cute comic, says it all:

    • Johnnyv says:

      tracker this comic explains the internet trolling phenomenon quite succinctly.

    • I don’t think there’s anything wrong with arguing. Sometimes there’s a fine line between constructive dialog and heated argument, and if it gets a little overheated sometimes, that’s better than some sort of monoculture. That said, going over to a vegan site just to pick a fight, or vice versa is pretty silly.

  11. I like your MO, Richard. Sit back and let the idiots refute themselves.

  12. Jorge from Venezuela says:

    Richard I like your honesty and writing style

    If you are been supported and critizised or loved and hated, then you are doing a great work!

    Your plot, is seriously giving results, keep it up!

  13. LOL. Yea, that’s what got me hooked here as well. That darn review of those soft stars!
    (I still wanna try a pair of those someday.)

    …that and your magnetic uninhibited personality. Keep it coming!

  14. It’s funny, I became paleo and THEN realized I was a libertarian. Mainly, I realized I didn’t like being told what to do and don’t particularly care what others do so long as their actions don’t impact me :) It wasn’t until I stopped eating wheat and dairy that people felt compelled to inform me of the “error” of my ways–and I realized fat, unhealthy people ought to keep their opinions of proper eating to themselves.

    • Rachel, this is sooooooooo funny.

      “It wasn’t until I stopped eating wheat and dairy that people felt compelled to inform me of the “error” of my ways–and I realized fat, unhealthy people ought to keep their opinions of proper eating to themselves.”

      I just have to put it up on my own blog, permission pleeeeeeeeeeeease…………


  15. “I often suspect that the people who complain the most bitterly about [cuts in social services] do only that — do nothing to try to help people themselves.”

    Certain types of people are made uncomfortable by other people actively pursuing the quality of life they so desire, regardless of their starting point. Instead, they undermine the very people who make things happen. Sucks to be them.

  16. No idea who the paleo professor is its sounds almost as legitimate as a “Fruitionist” though.

  17. I turned off moderated comments at very quickly after launching the site, for several reasons:

    – People want immediate feedback and they want to join a discussion. When you post something and see the blurb “This post is being held for moderation”, a discussion is guaranteed not to happen.

    – If you start getting trolls, that means you’re getting enough readers and commenters for trollers to decide it’s worth trolling. YOU WIN!

    – Most importantly, I trust my readers. If someone posts a stupid comment, often my regulars will jump on it before I do!

  18. George Phillips says:

    Braised ox-tail tonight.

  19. PrimalProfessor says:

    I thought you were far more thick skinned than this, but to then see you start a post with such inspiration only to reveal the true intent of what you’re saying – that you’ve spent far too much time worrying about me – is kind of flattering!

    Keep it up! You’re dogmatic but you’re still teaching out and helping people, noone can criticise you for that.

    On second thoughts though, aren’t the vegans helping people too?…

    • Dimitris says:

      “On second thoughts though, aren’t the vegans helping people too?…”

      There is a Greek word that’s very fitting for you: Μαλάκα (malaka)

    • damaged justice says:

      You probably mistake “laughing at” with “worrying about”. And a “professor” ought to be aware of the original (non-religious) meaning of dogma.

      To the extent that vegans get people to avoid the neolithic agents of disease, they’re helping people. To the extent that they teach people to be afraid of and disgusted by the very food that made us human, they not only harm people, but demonstrate their ignorance and hatred of humanity, including their own.

      • PrimalProfessor says:

        Vegans are advising people on what they think is true, the same way us Primals are. The outcome for the respective followers is the same regardless: they get lean/strong/healthy/fat i.e. they reach their goals.

        There is plenty be said for adherence to a lifestyle and regimen having a profound affect irrespective of the science behind it, and it’s this very notion that we coexist and succeed whilst following contradicting paths.

        Belief, therefore, is the magic pill!

      • I haven’t seen very strong vegans. Very hard to gain muscle as a vegan without supplements.

      • LCforevah says:

        Please, please, tell me you are joking. “Belief is the magic pill?” Belief isn’t going to help that 12 year-old girl in Scotland with the spine of an eighty-year-old.

        There is no science behind vegetarian/veganism. It is pink unicorn wishful thinking, and hugely irresponsible to try to make others believe that it is beneficial.

      • PrimalProfessor says:

        Agreed, but whatever happened to people being responsible for themselves?

      • LCforevah says:

        So now you backtrack from your false equivalencies–it is not the same to promote a baseless fantasy such as veganism, as it is to promote a paleo lifestyle which gathers more and more evidence behind it.

        When you look into the eyes of a person who trusts you and you earnestly promote veganism, that person is accepting that you would not mislead him. Yes, he should check on you, but that’s not usually the way relationships work. You are deliberately taking advantage of the fact that your friend will take you at your word.

        Life experience has taught me always to check the information no matter how much I love or trust the person giving it to me. Not everyone has learned this, and when a vegan takes advantage of this, he/she is a fucking, lying, scheming shithead.

      • PrimalProfessor says:

        My God, I’ve not once promoted Veganism! I think they’re fucking batshit insane. That 30bananasaday guy is a fucking idiot! His cherry-pick video about how Paleo/Primal is frustrating to watch to say the least!

        What I’m trying to get across at here is that dogmatic approach to “what’s the right diet” is not only arrogant, but it’s misguided. *Everyone* here spouts the same shit at people who even so as blink in the wrong way – someone who might not quite believe the Primal/Paleo stuff: “4 million years of evolution dude”, “grans are bad, m’kay”, yet if you went across to the Vegan world, you’d have exactly the same scenario: people spouting what they believe to be true, and denouncing anything that contradicts that world view.

        Can’t you see this? Can’t you understand that really we need to be a bit more skeptical; to perhaps be more measured in our beliefs?

        I’m amazed at what’s in a name – I picked PrimalProfessor because it was remotely primal/paleo related; yet you’ve all jumped on it like it’s a murder scene; “Ahah! Gotcha! There ya go, found out something wrong in your theory”. Almost weird!

      • “*Everyone* here spouts the same shit at people who even so as blink in the wrong way – someone who might not quite believe the Primal/Paleo stuff: “4 million years of evolution dude”, “grans are bad, m’kay”, yet if you went across to the Vegan world, you’d have exactly the same scenario: people spouting what they believe to be true, and denouncing anything that contradicts that world view.”

        That is such gross equivocation.

        While I certainly concede there is a lot of dogmatism in the Paleo community, and even some of my posts from the early days in 2007 and 2008 were a bit bright eyed and exuberant, that has not been the case here for a long time.

        I would venture to bet that my blog ranks among the top if not the top in combating a dogmatic, catechismic approach to Paleo.

        Read what I quoted. Read the links I posted. And those are just a couple of samples. Hell, I’m the guy that originally smashed the dogmatism of not eating white russet potatoes. Now even the science guys like Don Matesz and Stephan Guyenet have taken that up and lots of people are eating them, free of the guilt of not being paleo.

        In the end this is about figuring what is the most appropriate human diet in the general and then in the specific through self experimentation.

        Shit, I don’t even have much of a problem with the grain soaking & sprouting WAPF folks. Don’t know why they want to go to the trouble, but to each his own.

      • LCforevah says:

        No, you did not promote veganism, you promoted a false equivalence.

      • “Vegans are advising people on what they think is true, the same way us Primals are. The outcome for the respective followers is the same regardless: they get lean/strong/healthy/fat i.e. they reach their goals.”

        This is such a gross morass of equivocation and conflation I wouldn’t know where to begin.

        Plaeo-ish is simply closest to the natural human diet and as I always say (for years — look it up — ’cause I’m so “dogma) that “Paleo is from Kitavan to Inuit and everything in between. You have to find what works for you. Begin by guessing or estimating your genetic lineage and begin there.”

        Veganism, particularly raw and/or fuitarian, is a 4 million year regression to a point before which we had large brains. Accordingly, one is true-er and one is false-er.

      • PrimalProfessor says:

        I hate Veganism. I think it’s fucking insane.

        I also hate how dogmatic and aggressive people like yourself happen to end up getting an ounce of popularity in a community about, what I believe, to be a worthy and decent nutritional lifestyle.

        I personally just feel you’re doing yourself a disservice from all of this. You act the same way the zealous vegans do when they’re attacked – you act defenseless when you should be confident in what you believe; this just screams insecurity to me. I think *that’s* what could be most damaging to newcomers.

      • That’s what you think, professor.

    • “I thought you were far more thick skinned than this”

      Translation: I was just taking the piss, ’cause I’m a cunt who thinks he’s not a cunt ’cause he’s just taking the piss.

    • “…only to reveal the true intent of what you’re saying – that you’ve spent far too much time worrying about me – is kind of flattering!”

      “Professor,”by your very own self-description you flatter yourself. It’s your MO. I’m laughing at you and making a laughing stock of you, as another commenter has accurately pointed out.

      Nobody I would ever respect in any context would ever refer to themselves as “professor.” Nobody I would ever respect in any context would want to call themselves by a term designed to cast them as an automatic “authority.”

      And in the widest sense, “PrimalProfessor” is a contradiction in terms.

      And by the way, those above two links also expose the fact that you’re either ignorant, or a liar, with respect to that “dogmatic” bullshit.

      BTW, I note you’re still coming in anonymous from all the way out there in Bradford, England or thereabouts.

      • PrimalProfessor says:

        “I’m laughing at you and making a laughing stock of you, as another commenter has accurately pointed out.”

        I came on here as a Primal fan to provoke you, and it’s worked.

      • House flies provoke me…them I swat them.

      • PrimalProfessor says:

        If you’d rather I didn’t post – fine, I’ll stop, just say so – but don’t be so defensive!

        Embrace challenges just like the iron; tame it and understand it, then either concede because it’s true, or dismiss because you can defeat it.

      • “Don’t be so defensive ”

        Translation: stop challenging me, pointing out my general impotence in actually doing something to advance the paleo community or help people and for god’s sake, stop making me look like such an ass.

      • Why In the world would I want you to stop posting?

        You may be wrong, your point may be ignorant and uninformed, particularly in reference to this blog, but it’s not a troll and you are not being egregiously rude to anyone, especially other commenters.

        Post away, any time you like.

        Hell, if I can tolerate “Mango” I think I can handle you, sir.

      • Oh, and el-bo. Don’t want to leave anyone out.

  20. While it is weird the way that Richard allows himself to get worked up by the internet.

    lol, probably not primal to be that stressed.

    it’s even weirder for one blog to spoil any sort of community. As far as I know Richard isn’t a douche on other websites. It’s strange that people would demand that someone run their own website a certain way.

    • Only pussies who spend way to much time obsessing about a diet would think Richard is somehow ruining a community.

    • “probably not primal to be that stressed.”

      Sure it is, just not chronically. Acute stress is great for us. I wouldn’t call anything I do chronically stressful, or even close. It’s simple rage, I deal with it in a fun way then I enjoy on the blog, toss back a scotch and eat a steak.

      • It’s far less stressful to vent on idiots than it is to ignore them or be polite to them.

        Recall that all our social impulses assume that everyone we interact with is part of a small tribe we live with continually and depend on for survival. Tolerating idiocy was not a Paleolithic survival trait.

      • Well said, sir, well said.

      • Or just vent at anything that pisses you off. When Beatrice first asked why I cuss so much I told her, simply, it’s therapeutic.

        Some people pay shrinks. I just turn the air blue and then go on about things.

        Another aspect is that we live in a world where so much is totally out of our control or influence but that nonetheless impacts us, and the list is a mile long.. This can be stressful, so I say: let ‘er rip and get it out of your system.

        One thing I have never understood is “road rage.” Isn’t it enough simply to yell about what a “fuckin’ idiot” that other driver is, flip a bird if it seems appropriate at the time, and go on about your merry way?

      • That actually makes a bunch of sense. I always had the impression that you would sit behind the computer all angry at shit all the time. I suppose that the best way to deal with shit is different for everyone.

      • Yep, Michael. Everyone who knows me in real life will tell you that I’m not at all a moody person, and I very much dislike being around moody people.

        I’m pretty much the same all the time, and that’s generally happy go lucky. I get pissed off, but that never makes me unhappy, just pissed off, and I vent and it’s over.

  21. “The only problem Ive ever had is the hypocrisy of acting aggressively over the internet. Hypocrisy because, as you have already shown by how you will conduct your upcoming radio debate, you dont act like that in the “real world”, because you like your teeth as they are.”

    Context, Kevin.

    Do you always act the exact same way to everyone, regardless of whether they are strangers, friends, family, co-workers, subordinates, bosses?

    I seriously doubt it, you hypocrite! 😉

    And how is this not inconsistent reasoning? …”the hypocrisy of acting aggressively over the internet” … “how you will conduct your upcoming radio debate” …Uh, it’s a live debate over…drum rolll… THE INTERNET.

    At any rate, do you think George Carlin treated people in person the way he talked about them in general or specifically in his routines? Did you see Ricky Gervais’ digs on the celebs during the Oscars? Think the “hypocrite” talks to them that way in person?

    Incidentally, I explained al this in my recent podcast. FTA is a performance. It’s a stage. I’m a character, as are all the commenters. We’re putting on a show for, literally, the other 99% of the readers. My job is to hopefully make it good, different, funny, queer or quirky enough for people to stick around enough to find out what it’s about, just like Teresa did.

    Any idea how many hundreds of millions of websites there are in the world? Well, mine is number 86,000 and change, and 34,000 in the US. You don’t do that by being just like everyone else.

  22. PresidentOfPaleo says:

    I decided to one-up the professor of paleo and came up with a new name, henceforth I would like to be addressed as “Mr. President” please.

  23. I hate you a little less every day.

  24. I have a real dislike for Richard, since we got into it over a misunderstanding from a comment I made. And yet, I still come to this site almost daily. I would recommend it easily to anyone interested in paleo eating and fitness.

  25. I love the way a post about the joy of unmoderated comments has blown into a flame war and duly allowed everyone to see the protaganists personalities in the raw as it were. Richard, you are an animal – and I mean that in a nice way.

  26. You said vegan, which made me go to 30bad forums again out of habit. The thread posted by a young woman asking about acne advice is a doozy, for anyone that wants to get their stomach in a knot over a young woman’s health issues. I have a vegan niece about her age, which really is adding to my anxiety over watching these vegan newcomers get indoctrinated in a militantly censored forum.

    I’m sure vegans feel the same way when they see a young person being told to eat meat as a health cure, but at least they can comment here, if they are willing to get slapped around a little.

  27. Why are libertarians always grouped with anarchists? They are not the same thing.


  1. […] Turns out his evil plots were to inspire vigorous discussion in his comment section and improve the health of young children. […]

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