So let me ask you; we’ve all played the game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. But which one are you? What’s the difference between each of the three narratives? What makes Rocks suck up to Paper? Why are Scissors afraid of Rocks? And why don’t Paper People do well around Scissors?

Our recent cancel culture might help to explain it.

In the previous millennium a standoff came about between blue-collar types, or Rock People, and white-collar types, or Paper People. While their mutual distrust divided them into two parties, they worked together. Paper People needed Rock People to protect them against evil. Rock People needed Paper People to protect them from each other.

But what if someone wears a hoodie? They’re neither white collar nor blue collar. Come to think of it, most Scissors People rarely even wear collars. Believing collars are for dogs or even slaves, they tend to shun them. Craving power, the last thing they’d be seen in is a collar. And when they do it is ironic, such as punkers wearing dog collars.

But with the cancel culture, people wearing hoodies can destroy the reputations of the Paper People trying to earn a living. It is harder to hurt Rock People. Rock People withdraw when not rewarded. Their primal energies are spent on the Four F’s (which would be feeding, fighting, fleeing and …er …let’s call it reproduction). Reputation is a secondary concern among the Rock People. You won’t find Rock People in major universities or board rooms or law firms where the Paper People build their reputations. Rock People live on the frontier: on construction sites, or fire lines, or battlegrounds, or sailing ships, or trucks out on the Interstate. They work where actions matter most. There no one cares if you’re offensive as long as you are carry your fair share. This gives Rock People immunity from Scissors People tactics. You can cancel Rocks all day and they will simply shrug it off. In the narrative of Rock People, actions outweigh words.

On the other hand, the Rock People are being paid by Paper People. Paper People won’t “cancel” Rocks, but often underpay them. This means Rock People are forced to kiss the Paper People’s tusches, while the Paper People suck up to the oft-offended Scissors.

In short, Scissors can cancel Paper People. Paper can defund Rocks. And when annoyed enough, a Rock Person can pulverize some Scissors. Sound familiar? Rock-Paper-Scissors explains more than Red-State-Blue-State.

But every Scissors Person knows if they can just “defund” the Rock People, the Scissors are positioned to accumulate more power. Scissors People love to virtue-signal. Real virtue costs us, but virtue signaling is a cost-free way to cut down one’s opponents. Consider recent moves to “cancel” J. K. Rowling and Margaret Atwood for offending those allied with the far left.

Never mind that Scissors People rarely read entire books. It isn’t about books, it’s about power and control.

Still why read books when someone woker than you cuts you into shreds within five seconds, while it takes almost a week to read a book and a year to write one? And if you do, no one will publish what you’ve written. Why be literate when sound bytes take no effort?

A brief portrait of each narrative is tabulated below. We will drill down in more detail in subsequent installments.

The three market share columns in the table just below have been constructed based on voting in American elections. The point is Scissors People have been growing exponentially, the number of Rocks is slowly shrinking while Paper People are being retired. While their candidate, Joe Biden, self-identifies as paper, he seems to be a paper mask. Kamela Harris is pure scissors, a sort of compromise, placating the left wing of her party while ensuring no Republican will vote to impeach Biden for corruption when Kamela cannot wait to take his place.

So let’s visit each column for a moment.

The “Rockthink Narrative,” a narrative that dates back to the Stone Age, is embodied by the likes of Ronald Reagan. In it the women read the Bible while the fathers quote Ayn Rand and make good money, a prerequisite for being a “good Christian.” Not accepted by academics, Rock People withdraw into their country clubs and churches, places “safe for the whole family.” While portrayed as being vulgar, most are honest and proficient in their trades. They are good citizens, but weary of most liberals who dismiss them. They see no difference between liberals and leftists who raise taxes to pay those too lazy to show “rugged self-reliance.”

Scissors People … don’t make products, they make noise to be the center of attention.

The “Paperthink Narrative” that came out of the European Enlightenment embodies FDR’s New Deal Democrat. They are well read, but don’t remember everything they might have read and can’t quote books the way conservatives can quote the Holy Bible. Until recently, Paper People felt at home in the academy, where they liked to learn and listen to prepare for doing good. But with the rise of Scissors People, Paper People are now threatened. They’re being “cancelled” for infractions they deem relatively minor, while the Rock People outside of the academy don’t trust them. The paper narrative is right now being squeezed out of existence by a media-driven scissors narrative cutting them into shreds.

The “Scissorsthink Narrative” identifies itself as being “progressive.” It differentiates the left from liberals who by default must be “regressive.” The alt-right claim they are “patriots” while conservatives are “pussies” or “cuckservatives.” Scissors People like to cut. They excel at being sarcastic. They don’t make products, they make noise to be the center of attention. Leftists lecture. Liberals listen. This is how you tell the difference. Leftists and “progressives” are decidedly illiberal. On campus, any liberal who dares to raise their voice will be dismissed or even cancelled to a death by a thousand cuts. With so few Rock People in the academy or even in the media, Scissors People have free reign to cut down liberals who offend them. Within the Democratic Party, Scissors People claim to outnumber Paper People but wear a paper mask to cover up their blades lest any Rock People take notice and then smash them. Scissors People don’t like rocks and want to cancel the police. They will join forces with the liberals to cut out the conservatives, then once conservatives withdraw, they cut the liberals out, too.

There are, admittedly, some Scissors People lurking on the right, white supremacists and anarchists whose influence is marginal. But the left is taken seriously by colleges and media. The far right is dismissed as being “nut-jobs.”

In short, our “round earth” post-literate civilization looks like this:

With the development of Scissorsthink, everything is changing. Today liberals (Paper) fear Scissors, but they’re less afraid of Rocks. Scissors People use Paper People to outlaw Rocks from public squares, which then frees Scissors People to cut down any Paper People to size. Today Rock People want nothing more than being left alone and see no difference betweem liberals and leftists.

Unlike the flat-earth red/blue model, the Rock-Paper-and-Scissors model brings things into focus. It shows why some self-effacing Paper People voted for Donald Trump. It shows why Paper politicians stand down while Scissors People burn their cities. It shows why Paper People and Rock People will need to find a way to work together.

Or Scissors People will most certainly destroy us with assistance from our enemies who truly hate our country.


DJ Phinney is novelist who writes what he calls Red Car Noir, suspense novels steeped in history we would often rather forget. Phinney is also a civil and mechanical engineer, a Vietnam-era Air Force veteran, a Catholic by faith, and an historian in his free time. Politically he is a centrist who subscribes to neither party, although he likes Ike, and he really-really likes Harry Truman.

D.J. Phinney is an American writer, passionate about historical fiction and storytelling. Author of “The Red Car Noir” series, now available on Amazon.