Oh, people. I would really like to take a little vacation from all the A Voice for Men posts, but as it turns out I have found the most A-Voice-for-Menny AVFM thread ever, and I must share it with you.
Ok, so a couple of days ago, AVFM’s Dear Leader Paul Elam posted an uncharacteristically brief video titled “A 41 second lesson for Adam Serwer and the mainstream media.” It consisted of a 41-second snippet of Elam’s phone interview with Buzzfeed’s Adam Serwer, one of the authors of that scathing expose of Elam, in which Elam boasts to Serwer about how much traffic AVFM gets every time there is a news article reporting what an utterly terrible person he is. (I’m loosely paraphrasing here; as far as I can tell, Elam is not actually aware he is a terrible person.)
A few of the AVFM regulars sprinkled some comments below Elam’s offering when he put it up on AVFM, and there are some utter gems amongst them, demonstrating some of the ways that AVFMers try to magically stave off the collective realization that the reason virtually every real journalist who has ever written about them thinks they’re terrible is that they are indeed terrible.
One commenter gamely repeated a familiar truism that is not actually true:
Vinczer was evidently so proud of the phrase “axe-grinding bandwagon” that he decided to paste it, and some further thoughts on the subject, over an old cheesecake picture of a woman grinding an axe. (See above.) Unfortunately, she is not actually seated upon a bandwagon, so I cannot award Mr. Vinczer full credit for his efforts here.
But my favorite comment of the bunch came from AVFM’s “managing editor” and “director of operations” and “possible buyer of fake Twitter followers,” Dean Esmay.
But Esmay, like many in the Men’s Rights community, seems to be fond of an argumentative trope that most of us outgrow in childhood: the old “I know you are but what am I?” ruse.
If you call an MRA a sexist, chances are good that he (or in some cases she) will call YOU a sexist — because, say, your insistence that rapists should be vigorously prosecuted is said to somehow infantalize women.
Or something like that; the details aren’t any more important to the MRAs making these accusations than they were to your jerky sibling when you were both kids. What’s important is that this little rhetorical maneuver puts you on the defensive.
But if AVFMers don’t have any good reason to say that Serwer hates Jews and/or women, they have come up with an excuse: Buzzfeed chose to illustrate Serwer and Katie Baker’s piece on Elam with a caricature of Elam modeled after a famous poster of Rosie the Riveter.
And so, apparently because the caricature of Elam was mildly unflattering and slightly exaggerated the size of his nose, the great minds at AVFM decided that it was equivalent to the viciously anti-Semitic caricatures of Jews featured in Nazi propaganda. And also somehow demeaning to women. It doesn’t make much sense to me.
Here’s how one AVFM fan tried to explain the accusation on Twitter:
Oddly, I don’t recall Esmay, a fervent supporter of #GamerGate, ever taking fellow #GamerGaters to task for literally repurposing neo-Nazi propaganda in their attacks on Anita Sarkeesian.
The “I know you are but what am I” attack can be confusing even to MRAs. Pity poor Suzy McCarley, AVFM’s “assistant managing editor” and head comment moderator, who, in her response to Esmay’s question, tried to attack Serwer as an anti-Semite who’s simultaneously sexist towards both women and men.
So Serwer hates Jews more than women, because half of all Jews are women, whom he hates, and the other half are men, whom he also hates, but possibly more than he hates women.
Driversuz, be careful: you might sprain something.