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I created Paul Elam, and now I need your help to rein him in

PaulVsPaul

The jig is up. I and my collaborators have kept it secret for a long time now, but for reasons I will explain in a moment, I feel I need to come clean about this now, before it is too late:

I created Paul Elam.

That is: “Paul Elam” is a character created and developed by me and my friend Paul Henderson, an amazing improvisatory actor who has taken on the task of playing “Elam” in YouTube Videos, radio shows, and on a few occasions in the real world as well.

I first came up with the character of “Paul Elam” — “Elam” is just “male” spelled backwards — some seven years ago after reading Warren Farrell’s Myth of Male Power and wondering what an updated version of Farrell would look like today as a YouTube ranter. I brought the idea to my friend Paul Henderson, a feminist comedian who was already doing an “angry white man” character in his comedy act.

After a bit of workshopping, we created “Paul Elam” and his “Happy Misogynist” YouTube channel. I wrote the scripts, and Henderson read them out. As time went on and as Henderson got more into his new alter ego, he began adding bits of dialogue of his own. Sometimes when he got too deep into his character of “Paul Elam” he started to scare me a little.

After some success on YouTube and at Men’s News Daily, we decided to set up A Voice for Men. Shortly afterwards I set up Man Boobz, mainly as a way to promote AVFM and generate traffic for “Elam’s” site.

Since then, things have just snowballed. Henderson put me in touch with an amazing group of Canadian improv comedians called the Pouteenagers and the characters of Girl Writes What, John The Other, Typhon Blue, and DannyBoy were born.

Not all of those at AVFM are in on the gag. Dean Esmay for example, is completely sincere, as are most of the recent additions to the AVFM roster.

Up until about a month ago, the whole “Paul Elam”/A Voice for Men project seemed to be going swimmingly, generating buzz — and even a good deal of cash, much of which we have been donating to an assortment of feminist charities.

We kept piling absurdity on absurdity — like adding “human” to “men’s rights activist” to become “men’s human rights activist” — but no one ever guessed that it was all an elaborate prank! We were prepared to let the whole thing run for at least another year, getting sillier and sillier, before fessing up in a joint press conference with me and “Elam.”

But something terrible seems to have happened to my old friend Paul Henderson. After 7 years of playing “Paul Elam,” he seems to have become lost in the character he and I have created. Paul Henderson, in other words, has become Paul Elam.

He used to joke with April Fulieu, our makeup wiz, about how horrified he was each time he looked in the mirror and saw “Elam” staring back at him. But after we shot the last video with him he refused to let April take the makeup off, and when she went to tell me about this he fled out the back door of the studio.

We haven’t heard from him since. At least not as Paul Henderson.

I’m not sure what to do. He’s changed all the passwords on the AVFM server, so I can’t shut it down from my end, and I haven’t been able to contact any of the Pouteenagers either. I worry they too may have gone over to the dark side as well.

I can only hope that by posting this I can give him the wake-up call he needs – or at least arouse enough suspicion that the “sincere” AVFMers will confront him and possibly jar him back to reality.

He’ll deny it all, of course.

But at some point his fake beard will fall off.

That’s what I’m counting on, really.

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Posted on April 1, 2014, in a voice for men, GirlWritesWhat, johntheother, paul elam, TyphonBlue. Bookmark the permalink. 136 Comments.

  1. laudanum, puhlease. David has spent years exposing and mocking Elam and all the other scumbags of the scrotosphere. Did you not read the blog header – “Misogyny. I mock it.” at all? Or read the responses of other women here?

    The idea that Elam is so out there with his misogyny makes the idea that he’s just performance art a plausible joke, not to mention “if only”. I didn’t see this as David exercising blinkered male privilege at all, let alone being an arsehole.

    Nor is this remotely like a rape joke. It’s mocking and scorning Elam.

  2. If we’re living in a Futrellian society, does this mean there’ll soon be a book called 2014 featuring posters like this?

  3. Non-April Fools variety silliness: how dogs react when a magician makes their treats disappear:

    (I have it on good authority that the biscuits later magically reappeared, and that much petting was involved.)

  4. @kittehserf

    Don’t be ridiculous, the gynocracy would never let a male kitten rule over humanity. It’ll have to be Big Sister demanding treats and offerings of string from the nations of the world.

  5. @Tesformes

    I’m not sure who you think you’re replying to, but there is nothing about me that would be classified in “privilege” status at all.

    However, assuming someone is referring to you when they aren’t, or assuming that because you don’t do something that no one else does, could be.

    In view of the fact that many, if not most of those in the manosphere “think” they are a victim and constantly perceive offense, and that there are other people with different issues who do the same thing, to deny such a thing exists is naive, at best.

  6. Thanks for the support! I think a lot of you explained Man Boobz better than I did.

    Also, that video with the dogs is amazing. It reminds me of this one.

    Dogs can do this too.

  7. Cloudiah: A couple of those dogs give him such reproachful looks.

  8. Don’t be ridiculous, the gynocracy would never let a male kitten rule over humanity. It’ll have to be Big Sister demanding treats and offerings of string from the nations of the world.

    True! If I ever did my own version of that poster, I’d make it Big Kitty.

  9. There’s a part 1:

    Dogs are adorable.

  10. opium4themasses

    Laudanum sounds like an MRA trying to troll by pretending to be an offended feminist. I am especially skeptical of such things today of all the days of the year.

  11. Nah, too literate to be an MRA. Plus, no weird ellipses.

  12. Best April fool’s day joke I’ve heard bi years? Well done, David!

  13. Futrellian is such a nice sounding word. It needs a proper definition. A hundred years from now when someone wants to describe a comedy style that involves sarcastically mocking the willfully ignorant with their own quotes, they’ll say “His act was positively futrellian.”

  14. Laudanum does raise a point in that jokes, even when funny, are not above criticism. But, I agree with the others that that particular criticism was unfounded. (And I appreciate David’s respectful response.)

    I wonder what April Fools stuff the MRAs are doing? Are those kinds of people even able to make any lighthearted jokes, rather than venomous? Even after Paul Elam has been unmasked and put on the run to Canada? :P

  15. cassandrakitty

    Well apparently one of them said he was going to kill himself, because that’s super funny, right?

  16. How does Elam think he doesn’t look like a ‘wise-pedo’ in his avatar? Has anyone ever looked at it and told him he should change it? Well it wouldn’t be Dean Esmay for one thing. Cause it’s the same there.

  17. cassandrakitty

    I still think he looks like Evil Colonel Sanders.

  18. opium4themasses

    MRAs, the Officer Farva of comedy since John Denver won the Country Music Award for best album.

  19. Has anyone else noticed how all their pranks involve trying to make fools of anyone who cares about their well-being?

  20. katz – yes, and on the other hand, can you imagine Forney’s reaction if someone had said “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out?” in response to his “joke”?

  21. cassandrakitty

    Self-loathing, what’s that?

  22. Laudanum, do you read this blog regularly or have you just followed a link from somewhere else?

    This is how David approaches MRA issues. He mocks and makes them the butt of jokes. He trawls the manosphere finding things that are ridiculous, then comes back here and publicly ridicules them for our amusement. I find it an excellent strategy for both keeping us informed without having to wade through all of that shit ourselves and giving us a means of dealing with it. In my experience very little diffuses hatred the way laughter does.

    “Worse than a rape joke”? How is ridiculing rapists and rape apologists the equivalent of telling rape jokes? Sorry, just not getting the equivalency here. Perhaps you’d be good enough to explain.

  23. But Elam isn’t only a monster; he’s a fool, and deserves to be called out for that as well

    And that’s the real Achille’s heel of someone like Elam. Like a lot of bigots, he’s a narcissist who really wants to be taken seriously. To be a name. To feel special and important. He wants people to Respect his Authoriteh.

    Pointing and laughing–not the random kind, the smart kind that really sees its target–exposes the fragile Emperor in all his nudity.

  24. This, this is best post I’ve read anywhere online today. Kudos David.

  25. @ opium4themasses

    You win the internet for today for the Super Troopers reference ;D

    We need an MRA parody with this reference. STAT.

  26. Or, perhaps a way to rephrase my previous post: Could you see AVFM doing an April Fools story along the lines of “I created David Futrelle, and now I need your help to rein him in”? Done with the same joking / poking-fun type of humor, rather than using it as an excuse to attack him (and women)?

  27. Now, to wait and see how many MRAs actually start believing this, conspiracy-theory prone as they are…

    I’m waiting to see how many of them think David actually wants us to believe this.

    To jokingly throw about that he’s a fake personality with all the bile and hatred spewing from his mouth, is akin to a rape joke.

    In what way?

    Were I a woman writing this blog, it would be more difficult to deal with a lot of the misogynistic shit I wade through to write this blog because it would be so much more personal;

    Which is why I’m happy to let you handle it, and take the edges off by making it funny for us. Someone needs to keep an eye on these guys, and taking the hit so the targeted group doesn’t have to is part of what allies are supposed to do.

  28. Why do these fuckwits have to invade my country. Canada is such a nice place.

  29. strawberryfieldsforever

    If only, guys. If only this were true, I could relax knowing that humanity isn’t lost.

  30. I am going to second, thirdsy what David has said about the humour being necessary to us. My writing style is a bit more serious than David’s and that’s why I appreciate reading his material. It’s like a cleansing experience for me because it does get difficult reading misogyny day in and day out.

    This isn’t like a rape joke. David is not pulling his privielge card. He’s a known feminist ally.

    I hope you reconsider your stance.

  31. I loved the Pouteenagers. I bet if the AVFMers read this, they’ll be most outraged over donating the proceeds to feminist causes. That’s a real kick in the Timbits! (Those are Tim Horton’s small, round doughnuts for those not familiar with the franchise.)

    I’m so grateful for what you do here, David. You’ve created a great repository of the manosphere goings-on that I search often for arguments to counter the BS claims of MRAs. The debunking of their CDC claims about female-on-male rape is worth its weight in gold; I link to it often.

    Your sense of humour is a great antidote for the horrible things they do and say. It can’t be easy wading through some of the crap they write and the personal attacks must sting sometimes so thank you very much.

  32. Kicking the Timbits?

    MISDOUGHNUTRY

  33. LOL

  34. @MxLaudanum: @tushy_galore I actually saw manboobz april fools prank today and went nuts because it was really not funny.

    Laudanum’s a legit commenter who’s followed by several of my Twitter followers, and judging by their timeline they might have gotten here by way of the men’s right reddit, whom they were arguing with via the r/mr twitter account. I think their reaction was entirely out of proportion, by making the false equivalence of this mockery being ‘akin to a rape joke’ – but then I would also say that I didn’t actually find the idea of today’s post was that funny either. When everyone and their dog puts out an April 1st prank these days, to cut through the general silliness the joke has to really stand out, and I don’t think this achieved that. De gustibus, et cetera…

    Given Twitter has had the unabashed racism, sexism and transphobia of the whole #CancelColbert thing going on over the last few days, I also suspect a lot of people’s appreciation for satire is at rather a low point at present.

  35. @emilygoddess

    Isn’t that the truth? Sometimes I follow the links, end up at aVfM or RoK, and after 2 minutes of reading, slam the computer shut, check the door lock, hug a pillow, and hope my boyfriend doesn’t come home in the next half hour because I do not want to deal with any men after reading the bile written by PUAs and MRAs. This would severely hinder any ability to blog on what the manosphere writes with humour. Or at all.

    Odd, when you think about it. Feminism never made me hate or fear men, not once. The manosphere, on the other hand, gives me a very real urge to throw up and hide under the bed, it’s just so awful.

  36. @Xanthë

    Given Twitter has had the unabashed racism, sexism and transphobia of the whole #CancelColbert thing going on over the last few days, I also suspect a lot of people’s appreciation for satire is at rather a low point at present.

    I’m not in tune to social media blogs anymore and don’t know much about the #CancelColbert phenomenon. I only read this* link and thought any sort of activism that could create (apparent — I didn’t follow it mind you) chaos in this fashion among “pseudo-enlightened progressives that think they are the arbiters of what is morally acceptable because they watch the Daily Show” was a respectable effort, but where is the sexism and transphobia angle?

    * http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2014/03/twitter-campaign-to-cancel-colbert-report.html

  37. Just when I think these assholes can’t sink any lower, they target Rehtaeh Parson’s dad.

    http://thechronicleherald.ca/metro/1197352-glen-canning-talking-about-rehtaeh-helps-me-realize-the-impact-she-had-on-others

    So much for “compassion for men.”

  38. Odd, when you think about it. Feminism never made me hate or fear men, not once. The manosphere, on the other hand, gives me a very real urge to throw up and hide under the bed, it’s just so awful.

    zippydoo,

    Just want to say that I completely relate. When I first discovered the manosphere I became suspicious of men. And I started with the worst sites for misogyny…only recently did some of these fools realize that overt misogyny would get them side-eyed in the mainstream, but it still seeps in.

    Anyway, I started wondering if all men felt this way towards women, especially regard dating and relationships. I started looking for signs of MRA and PUA behavior and attitudes in men I met or already know. If they exhibit it i distance myself or remove them from my life. To some extent I still do keep an eye for these things and I hate to say it but we probably all should because these idiots have gone mainstream. What helped me is knowing men like David exist, and the good men in my life. Also there are a good number of feMRAs too and other special snowflakes who aren’t like “those icky feminist bitches” so desparate for male approval which is pretty gross and pathetic. So initially discovering this part of the net will kinda be a shock, and it really is ironic that they will breed distrust and anger towards men in some women, especially if some of those women have had many bad experiences with men offline too. I’m not saying it’s right, but personally speaking, the manosphere has caused distrust and fear of men for me in the past, not feminism. And it’s because manosphere men are actually men speaking to men and for men about their beliefs and thoughts on women, unlike feminism which is speaking about social structures, gender roles, etc.

    Stepping back and realizing that generalizing is wrong and that tons of men are NOT manosphere dwellers is what helped me deal and not feel as suspucious.

  39. Well, the worst examples of abuse aimed at Suey Park (who started the hashtag) not only consisted of racist obscenities but extreme levels of misogyny as well. As for transphobia, Colbert himself regularly uses transphobic slurs as part of his persona’s schtick, so it too has been highlighted on the hashtag as a highly problematic example of failworthy satire that ‘punches down’ and does not help to make things any better for the severely marginalised. The hatred toward transgender people is so largely normalised in society that it is quite likely a significant part of Colbert’s audience simply fails to recognise his transphobic comments as explicit bigotry — in which case, how is it not contributing to the net bigotry of society?

    All of the tropes about ‘you’re social justice warriors’, ‘you’ve got no sense of humour’, ‘it’s only satire’, ‘you’ve missed the context’, ‘you only want to be offended’, ‘you erased the criticism of the racism against Native Americans’, and so on and so on enough to fill several bingo cards misses the point that no one should be above criticism, humourists included, and when a response consists of attacking the person who criticises rather than addressing their criticism, that is a fallacious response. Colbert himself didn’t respond that way; the same cannot be said for the many Colbert supporters who attacked Park on Twitter. There might have been a larger conversation to be had about the rights or wrongs of using one form of racism to counter another form of racism but it was derailed by people incapable of engaging in any civilised form of discussion. The joke is supposed to be that Colbert points up the absurdity of the bigots; that gets lost when a sizeable number of his followers seem to like him because of the bigotry that he can ‘get away with’.

  40. Odd, when you think about it. Feminism never made me hate or fear men, not once. The manosphere, on the other hand, gives me a very real urge to throw up and hide under the bed, it’s just so awful.

    Ugh. I’ve been like that for a few days, thanks to the recent poll on rape in my country, that estimates that as much as 65% of people here believe women who wear short clothes deserve to be raped.

    I’m a man, and this fills me with abject horror. I think of my cousin. She’s a pretty girl; the results of that poll mean that two in every three people she meets thinks she deserves to be raped by the crime of existing. And if, perish the thought, something happens to her, my own mother would be the first to heap condemnation.

  41. Colbert himself regularly uses transphobic slurs as part of his persona’s schtick, so it too has been highlighted on the hashtag as a highly problematic example of failworthy satire that ‘punches down’ and does not help to make things any better for the severely marginalised.

    It’s Poe’s Law in action; there is no satire of bigots, however exaggerated, that cannot be mistaken for the real thing.

  42. @zippydoo @quackers

    Yup. Same here … although for me it was that certain members of my family have issues with women and if I tried to stand up for myself I got shamed for not accepting “perfectly reasonable” behavior (and got told everywhere was the same or worse). Feminism was the thing that made me realize that not everyone behaves like this, and that everyone is an individual. For me it wasn’t e.g. RoK websites that were the main problem, it was other websites where I looked at the comments, although I stumbled over RoK-type websites too. A lot of the comments that upset me were MRA-type comments. I know the adage that I shouldn’t look at comments, but for one search I was looking for insomnia cures, and the comments are what you want!

    For me, feminism isn’t about guy-hating (I don’t know why people think this). Feminism is the thing that allows me to see other people as individuals and lets me open up to them.

  43. Xanthe,
    I’ve got to disagree with the Colbert thing. He doesn’t punch down, he punches up. He’s mocking bigots, big corporations and selfish rich people. to the extreme. I find his claims that he doesn’t see skin color and doesn’t know what race anyone is to be an especially brilliant take on the people who say “I’m not racist! I don’t care if you’re black, white or purple!” and then proceed to say something racist or deny that racism is a problem. Those are the kind of people that never get called because so many people think of racism as the KKK and close their eyes to the more subtle and covert undercurrent of racism. The Colbert Report is maybe the only mainstream show that effectively criticizes and highlights that type of racism.

    As for the joke that started the shitstorm, on the show the joke was very clearly directed at Dan Snyder. It skewered him brilliantly. Instead of talking about the racism of Snyder and his boneheaded attempts at fixing his PR problems, instead of talking about the racism in still having a NFL team called the Redskins, instead of talking about Native issues, we’re debating whether or not satire is an acceptable form of humor and turning the circular firing squads on an ally. It doesn’t make sense to me and doesn’t accomplish anything IMO.

    Humor is a time honored way of dealing with difficult and painful subjects. It’s obviously not the way everyone prefers to deal with things, and that’s OK. That doesn’t mean it’s invalid for others though. When I look at the way humans treat other sometimes, it’s awful and the options are laugh or cry. If I didn’t have the laugh option and didn’t have comedy available to me I probably would never get out bed.

    I do think some people are confused about Colbert does. Maybe because he stays in character for most interviews and appearances. It doesn’t surprise me that some of his audiences thinks he’s being semi-serious and the persona is a clever way to make offensive jokes acceptable. I remember reading a study about it once. Many conservatives surveyed thought Colbert was an actual right wing pundit. To Colbert’s credit, on Monday’s show he asked his fans not to send abusive tweets to Suey Park and said she has the right to her opinion.
    This whole controversy has left me a bit annoyed to be honest. It reaffirms all the worst stereotypes about progressives. I also can’t say I appreciate the insinuation some people have made that Colbert fans are secret racists who pretend to be allies but are underneath it all dying to hear racist jokes. That sure as hell doesn’t describe me or any of the Colbert fan I know.

    Normally I’m not one to bring out the “you’re too sensitive” argument because that’s all too often used to gaslight. This is one of the few times when it actually applies though.

  44. I started looking for signs of MRA and PUA behavior and attitudes in men I met or already know.

    I started thinking of men I didn’t know as potential MRAs; in other words, Schrodinger’s MRA.

    With so much MRA activism going on in Canada right now, it’s a little scary. Barbara Kay, who writes for the National Post (paper with a large right-wing audience), writes weekly screeds denouncing rape culture, sneering at feminists, and sticking up for the poor menz. She hasn’t a freaking clue what rape culture is but the misters love her, naturally.

  45. wierwoodtreehugger: I think there’s three layers to the whole #Cancelcolbert thing.

    The first was the activist who originally called him out. It’s possible she misunderstood the context, especially since the tweet didn’t reference the Washington Racistname football team. It’s also possible that even knowing it was satire, it was still a painful reminder of racism she had experienced. The problem with ironic bigotry is that it’s still bigotry; it’s just in a context that shows we understand it’s not acceptable. If a viewer misses the context, it’s still hurtful. Colbert DOES have conservative fans who don’t realize it’s satire, just as Dave Chappelle had a lot of racist fans. So I have sympathy for anyone who was hurt by it originally. Intent isn’t magic, after all.

    The second layer was the conservatives. If they knew it was satire, they didn’t care. The opportunity to attack an affective opponent, and claim the left were the real racists was too good to pass up, whether they believed it or not. The height of that hypocrisy was Michelle fucking Malkin, upset about “Asian” stereotypes after writing a book justifying the Internment of Japanese Americans.

    The third layer was the media, who jumped on the story and magnified it, conflating those two groups sloppily, and giving the conservatives more legitimacy.

  46. “affective”. wow. that’s a new way to screw up the whole “effect” vs. “affect” grammar issue.

  47. opium4themasses

    http://blackpeopleloveus.com

    On the Colbert thing, I feel torn because I liked the goal of the original home but not the execution. So I think the show should do a better job focusing their attack but don’t want to see it canceled. Also, Michelle fucking Malkin complaining about anti-asian sentiment is just her offering tips for those who wish to better express that sentiment.

  48. It doesn’t help that there are people who really are bigoted who say or do racist things (such as wearing a blackface Halloween costume or taking slanty eyed pictures) and then call it satire after the fact when they get called out for it. It makes it more difficult for actual good satire to thrive.

  49. I’m not sure it’s accurate to call what Colbert — a very wealthy white man — does “punching up.” It’s more like punching sideways. And, in my opinion, while his intentions are good, his aim can be a little off sometimes.

  50. I think the Colbert joke was a failure, not because it failed at satire, but because it relied on the idea that the ‘real’ audience of the show is made up of white liberals. Assuming the viewers are all white is pretty damned privileged.

  51. Oh, and I forgot to add, any parody joke that makes the far right laugh as much as the left (if for different reasons) is a failure.

  52. @Auntie Alias

    Someone I know mentioned they liked Barbara Kay. Another guy I know as well regurgitated MRA talking points once too. It was so obviously parrotted and that he had no idea what he was even talking about.

    These aren’t people I’m close to, but I just can’t see how anyone who actually likes women can sympathize with MRAs. There are ways to talk about men’s issues too without being an MRA or blaming everything on feminism, but since MRAs are the loudest it probably makes people think they are the only ones who take on those issues.

  53. I started thinking of men I didn’t know as potential MRAs; in other words, Schrodinger’s MRA.

    I hate to admit it, but I feel the same way about guys I don’t know. I’ve run into so many guys who turn out to be anti-feminists. Just recently one of my sister’s distant friends on Facebook started posting articles from Return of Kings. I unfriended him after that. It also turns out that the same guys who sexually harass me and make rape jokes against me tend to be PUA sympathizers.

  54. The fourth level of the Colbert thing is that it wasn’t his Twitter at all…

  55. Quackers, I found an article validating rape culture recently in an online university site that quoted Barbara Kay and was surprised to see her appear in the comments section to rebut it. I was like, whoa. That’s dedication.

    Why someone like her would side with MRAs is beyond me but considering the ideological bent of the NP, it’s no surprise, I guess. It tends to infuriate me far more when women stick up for MRAs.

    Side note: I just discovered one of the people I was arguing extensively with a week ago is none other than typhonblue. I wish I’d known that when she claimed to have no affiliation with MRAs. I’m still learning the identities of the AVFM crew.

    trans_commie, ew, that must have been unsettling. It’s one thing to have it filtered through David but quite another to have it invade your personal space.

  56. grumpycatisagirl

    Side note: I just discovered one of the people I was arguing extensively with a week ago is none other than typhonblue. I wish I’d known that when she claimed to have no affiliation with MRAs

    Uh, really? That’s about as blatant as lying gets. What were you arguing about?

  57. grumpycatisagirl, I can’t swear I said MRAs but it was that, MRM, or AVFM. Either way, she lied. I think it was about the Queen’s University feminist who was threatened and assaulted.

  58. Barbara Kay is a Christina Hoff Sommers wannabe.

  59. Oh, Ally, that is just sad. To be a wannabe is bad enough, but for that to be your ambition?

  60. I feel kinda lucky. Though I definitely have had dealings with assholes like these, I feel like I’m barricaded by enough awesome men in my life to feel pretty well insulated. Between hubby, Falcon, and roomie, that alone has me pretty well secure. (And back in Boston, add a good three or four more who I socialized with on a regular basis.)

    ‘you’re social justice warriors’,

    I’ve never gotten the use of ‘social justice warrior’ as a bad thing. It’s like, “You’re fighting for something you believe in and feel is important to humanity! YOU’RE TERRIBLE!” Come on, I get irritated by tumblr users who read one thing on privilege theory and decided they were enlightened too, but not because they’re social justice warriors. It’s because they’re STUPID.

  61. weirwoodtreehugger | April 2, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Normally I’m not one to bring out the “you’re too sensitive” argument because that’s all too often used to gaslight. This is one of the few times when it actually applies though.

    It’s funny you should end by saying that, because from my perspective much of your post seemed to read like an exercise in gaslighting, in the way you ignored largely talked past the actual points I was making. For example, I pointed to one very specific part of Colbert’s act which looks very much like ‘punching down’ – his frequent use of slurs like ‘tr***y’ to use trans women as a living punch-line to any old joke on other unrelated topics. Please feel free to take a look at what results you find if you google stephen colbert transphobia and then come back and justify your blunt assertion that “He doesn’t punch down, he punches up.” As Viscaria pointed out this is simply not always true; in the current instance, he used a punch down on one racial group to counterpunch upwards for another.

    This isn’t to say bigotry is a zero-sum-game – but as several others have pointed out there are multiple layers or aspects to Colbert’s satire that do not prevent it from being problematic and above criticism. I find it telling that much more energy is being devoted to defending Colbert than admitting that his approach involves problems of appropriation and misrepresentation. For a fifth layer of irony, some of the people who have counter-attacked on the “you’ve got to look at the joke in context!” aspect are unaware that the joke was represented devoid of context by The Comedy Central twitter account, which turned it into the most basic form of context-free racism.

    Anyway, if you “do think some people are confused about Colbert does”, please do not include me amongst their number. I’m well aware of what he does, but it would be mistaken to think that if I’m not a fan then it must be because I don’t understand what he’s doing.

  62. But Elam isn’t only a monster; he’s a fool, and deserves to be called out for that as well.

    *standing ovation*

  63. Elam is male backwards.
    ELAM IS MALE BACKWARDS.

    Oh god I’m an idiot.

  64. It’s funny you should end by saying that, because from my perspective much of your post seemed to read like an exercise in gaslighting, in the way you ignored largely talked past the actual points I was making.

    I thought gaslighting was making someone uncertain of their own perceptions, not disagreeing with them, which was what the majority of her post was about. However, using the ‘too sensitive’ at the end isn’t a simple disagreement; it – by itself – is gaslighting (note for future self: if it seems like it might sound like gaslighting or a slur, it probably is – avoid it).

  65. Paul has a brilliant yang sanpaku going on there, just like he does in many of his pictures. The Chinese say that having white above the pupil of the eye (yang sanpaku) is a sign of mental imbalance and that a person is prone to fits of rage and wants control and power over people. Charles Manson had a yang sanpaku, so does that very menacing British chat show host Jeremy Kyle. I think there is some truth in the theory. Great April fools Dave.

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