I sometimes refer to A Voice for Men, the Men’s Rights hate site that has evolved into something of a hate group, as a cult. Up until now I’ve only done so half-seriously; while there are a lot of things about AVFM that are cultish, from the apocalyptic rhetoric to the constant demands for money to the organized harassment of its critics, it seems to lack some of the central elements of a real cult.
I mean, they’re not holed up in a compound in Idaho; they don’t wear funny uniforms; and they don’t talk, at least not publicly, about their single-minded dedication to serving the group’s leader — one Paul Elam of Houston Texas.
Or at least I thought they didn’t.
One of my readers has pointed out to me an interesting moment in a video posted on Youtube last year by a woman — known by her internet handle SworeByThePrecious — who had been talking to AVFM’s Dean Esmay about getting a press pass for AVFM’s conference last year. The video features the uncut audio from a long and contentious 4 AM phone she and Esmay had to discuss the matter. (Ultimately, she didn’t get the press pass; here’s her account of what happened when she caught up with some of the conferencegoers at a bar afterwards.)
The really interesting bit in the recording — which I somehow missed when I listened to this last year — comes just short of the 23 minute mark, when Esmay pointedly tells Swore that he and other AVFMers are “a group of volunteers dedicated to a cause, and the cause is Paul Elam.” Here’s the audio:
Yep. You heard that correctly. The Number Two dude at AVFM doesn’t say that their cause is Men’s Rights, or fighting the evil “hate group” that is feminism, or any of the other things that Men’s Rights Activists like to say that they’re about. He says, plain as day, that their “cause is Paul Elam.”
If you don’t believe me, you can find the quote in the original video here. (The link should send you directly to that part of the phone call; if not, it’s 22:50 in.)
Now, I’m assuming that this was a Freudian slip on Esmay’s part, but whether it was intentional or not it’s pretty damn revealing, huh?