Category Archives: playing the victim

Richard Dawkins opens mouth, inserts foot, mumbles something about “mild pedophilia” again

A young Richard Dawkins contemplates the beauty of the universe.

A young Richard Dawkins contemplates the beauty of the universe.

Apparently Richard Dawkins was worried that people might have forgotten what an asshat he is. So, helpful fellow that he is, he decided to give us all a demonstration of why he’s one of the atheist movement’s biggest liabilities, a “humanist” who has trouble remembering to act human.

Earlier today Dawkins decided, for some reason, that he needed to remind the people of the world of a fairly basic point of logic, and so he took to Twitter and thumbed out this little thought:

 Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins  ·  5h  X is bad. Y is worse. If you think that's an endorsement of X, go away and don't come back until you've learned how to think logically.

However petulantly phrased this is, the basic logic is sound: If I say that Hitler was worse than Stalin, I’m not endorsing either Hitler or Stalin. Unless I add “and Stalin was totally awesome and I endorse him” at the end.

The trouble is that Dawkins didn’t stop with this one tweet. He decided to illustrate his point with some examples. Some really terrible examples.

    Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 5h      Mild pedophilia is bad. Violent pedophilia is worse. If you think that's an endorsement of mild pedophilia, go away and learn how to think.     Details         Reply         189 Retweet         287 Favorite  Richard DawkinsVerified account ‏@RichardDawkins  Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse. If you think that's an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think.Yep, that’s right. He decided to do what comedians call a “callback” to some terrible comments he made last year about what he perversely described as “mild pedophilia.” And then he added asshattery to asshattery by suggesting a similar distinction between “date rape” and “stranger rape.”

Anyone seeing these comments as insensitive twaddle designed to minimize both “mild” pedophilia and date rape has good reason to do so. As you may recall, in the earlier controversy about so-called “mild” pedophilia, Dawkins told an interviewer for the Times magazine that

I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.

He went on to tell the interviewer that when he was a child one of his school masters had “pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts.” But, he added, he didn’t think that this sort of “mild touching up” had done him, or any of the classmates also victimized by the teacher, any “lasting harm.”

Huh. If Dawkins says that a teacher groping him was no big deal, I guess this kind of “mild” abuse shouldn’t be a big deal for anyone else, either, huh?

I’m pretty sure there’s some sort of logical fallacy here.

Given his history of minimizing these “mild” sexual crimes, it’s not a surprise that his crass tweets today inspired a bit of a twitterstorm.

Dawkins has responded with his typical petulance, and has stubbornly defended his comments as an exercise in pure logic that his critics are too irrational to understand.

If you take a few moments to go through his timeline you’ll find many more tweets and retweets reiterating this “argument.” Dawkins is not the sort of person to admit to mistakes. Indeed, he so regularly puts his foot in his mouth it’s hard not to conclude that he must like the taste of shoe leather.

But these recurring controversies can’t be doing much for his reputation. Indeed, they seem to cause more and more people to wonder why anyone takes Dawkins seriously on any subject other than biology. Even his critics on Twitter are growing a bit weary.

Seems like it. I’m beginning to wonder why any atheists — at least those who are not also asshats — continue to think of Dawkins as an ally of any kind.

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Defenders of A Voice for Men tell Time magazine reporter “we have to SCARE you into listening,” you “stinky … human monkey.”

The High Council of Feminism holds a meeting.

The High Council of Feminism holds a meeting.

Jessica Roy, a reporter for Time magazine covering A Voice for Men’s recent :”Men’s Issues” conference in Detroit, found herself the target of a vitriolic tirade from AVFM maximum leader Paul Elam before she even sat down to write her account of her time amongst the MRAs.

Elam, evidently incensed about a handful of sarcastic remarks that Roy tweeted during the conference, denounced her as, among other things, a “hack,” “a liar and bigot” and a practitioner of “journalistic scumtardery,” whatever that is. Commenters on A Voice for Men happily joined in the hate, denouncing her as an “airhead,” a “disgrace and a liar,” “lil’ miss hair-o’or-her-eyes,” and a “little asshole [who] will look like a right nazi in five-to-ten years time.” Amazingly, no one pulled out the c-word. Evidently AVFMers are still on their best behavior.

Roy’s “What I Learned as a Woman at a Men’s Rights Conference” appeared on Time.com on Wednesday. Far from the hack job Elam and pals were predicting, her piece turned out to be a long, thoughtful and nuanced account that, while skeptical of AVFM and its brand of hateful nonsense, displayed considerable sympathy for some of the troubled men she met at the conference, men who could benefit from a movement that truly tried to offer solutions for men in difficulty instead of encouraging them to scapegoat feminists and women.

Reflecting on her discussions with several conference attendees, Roy wrote,

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Misogyny Theater: Sandman in The Friendzone Bullpen

Welcome to the third episode of Misogyny Theater!

Today, we bring to life (sort of) some audio excerpts from a video by Sandman, a prolific videoblogger and self-described Man Going His Own Way. He addresses such topics as the friendzone, Mr. Big from Sex and the City, and the shelf life of the human vergina. Well, that’s how he pronounces it, anyway.

The audio is taken from his video “Friendzone Revenge,” starting about 3:50 in. I edited his remarks for length and to remove repetition.

As someone who watched a bit of Sex and the City back in the day, I feel that I should note that Sandman’s “analysis” of Mr. Big is pretty much total bullshit. I would also like to note that the show would have been ten times better if Patrick Warburton had played Mr. Big. And possibly painted his face once in a while.

The sound clip of birds tweeting came from freeSFX.co.uk.

Spinning out of control: Janet Bloomfield takes A Voice for Men’s reality-distortion field on the road

satirekoolaid

One of the benefits of running a cult – or so I have heard – is the ability to define reality for your cult followers. The principals at the cultish A Voice for Men do this all the time – pretending, for example, that former AVFM Number Two John Hembling had once faced off against a mob of 20-30 angry feminists brandishing boxcutters when his own video of the event showed him conversing with a handful of peaceful activists. And who can forget their attempts to cast their embarrassingly poorly attended rally on Toronto as a “huge success?”

However successful they are at redefining reality for their cult followers, cult leaders encounter problems when they try to do the same thing for those outside of their sphere of influence.

Take AVFM maximum leader Paul Elam’s continual attempts to recast some of the vilest things he’s written as “satire,” an explanation that only seems to fly amongst MRAs with a large capacity for the willing suspension of disbelief.

Well, now AVFM’s comically inept PR maven Janet “JudgyBitch” Bloomfield has taken on the project of trying to retroactively redefine Elam’s most despicable writings as satire.

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Voices of Hatred: A look at the noxious views of six of the speakers at A Voice for Men’s upcoming conference

Curious about the views of the people scheduled to speak at A Voice for Men’s “Men’s Issues” conference next week? Here’s a little video guide. CONTENT WARNING: Domestic violence, rape, incest.

If you’d like to have their quotes in writing for future reference, here’s a transcript of the quotes used in the video. I’ve linked to the source of each quote (or to posts of mine that discuss the quotes in greater detail). Enjoy!

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Feminist-hating lawyer Roy Den Hollander sues “modern-day, book-burning, Bacchae reporters from down-under” on broomsticks for allegedly losing him a teaching gig

Roy Den Hollander: Are we lawyer or are we dancer?

Roy Den Hollander: Are we lawyer or are we dancer?

The other day I suggested that perhaps it was unfair to the Men’s Rights movement to allow them to handle their own public relations, given how terrible they are at it. Today I wonder if the same principle might also apply to MRAs trying to handle their own lawyering.

A case in point: the lawsuit that antifeminist lawyer, “Ladies Night” hater and hip-hop dance enthusiat Roy Den Hollander has just brought against Australian journalist Tory Shepherd, who wrote about the involvement of Den Hollander and others with links to “men’s rights extremists” in a proposed set of “male studies” courses at the University of South Australia.

It’s still not clear to me if these courses had ever been formally approved – the university says they weren’t – but Den Hollander thinks that Shepherd and another Australian reporter got them cancelled by writing about them. And so he figures that they should compensate him for losing him his teaching gig.

You may vaguely remember all of this. A Voice for Men, heavily involved in the courses, famously denounced Shepherd as a “whore” shortly after AVFM’s Paul Elam indignantly called her a liar for suggesting that A Voice for Men regularly calls women whores. (Which of course it does; Elam himself used the word “whore” 28 times in a single post about Skepchick’s Rebecca Watson.)

Anyhoo, so Den Hollander, acting as his own lawyer, has served Shepherd with the lawsuit. And it’s a doozy of a document, at least going by the excerpts Shepherd posted in a column Wednesday.

Somehow we doubt that this lawsuit is going to enhance Den Hollander’s reputation as a fair-minded analyst of gender relations.

Here are some of the best bits, as presented by Shepherd in her column as “some lessons from Mr Den Hollander, who will not be paid to give lessons at UniSA.”

Lesson 1: How to censor a journalist by accusing them of censorship.

“Two modern-day, book-burning, Bacchae reporters from down-under authored and published false and misleading information concerning Plaintiff (Den Hollander) with the intent and result of harming his economic interests and interfering with a prospective economic advantage by causing the University of SA to incinerate the section of a proposed male studies course that Plaintiff would have taught,” he writes. But wait.

Lesson 2: How to personally attack a journalist by accusing them of personal attacks.

“The two reporters, Tory Shepherd, AKA “Tory the Torch” for The Advertiser and Amy McNeilage, AKA “Amy McNeuter” for The Sydney Morning Herald, used their power as reporters to do what weak-minded ideologues have done throughout history — employ personal attacks to prevent the spread of knowledge and ideas that they disagreed with.”

Lesson 3: How to prove you are not an extremist by sounding like an extremist.

“If these two feminist book-burners had not jumped on their broomsticks and scared the bejesus out of the administrators of the University of SA, students there would have had an opportunity to acquire information and consider views not available anywhere else in higher education.”

Yeah, I’m sure that sort of thing is going to go over great in court.

Elsewhere in his lawsuit, Den Hollander denounces “yellow, female-dog-in-heat reporting,” takes a swipe at “girlie-guys,” and offers this intriguing take on Australian military history:

Thank goodness for Australians that Tory was not around for Australia’s battle against the Japanese. Her anti-gun advocacy for men might have even resulted in her and Amy ending up as Japanese “comfort girls.”

The case does at least promise to be highly entertaining, so I guess we have to give Den Hollander credit for that.

Woah, what’s this? Is A Voice for Men engaging in honest self-criticism?

This could come in handy.

This could come in handy.

I was skimming through the A Voice for Men forum the other day and was stunned to find, hidden away amongst the other posts in the “rants” section, an absolutely blistering critique of AVFM itself:

Master bullshit artists, adept at stirring up drama and scapegoating, shifting all blame and accountability onto convenient disliked targets. … Used to getting what they want, having little to no accountability … and covertly aggressively lashing out at those who dare not worship them, being the one to start it, and repeatedly. Using an arsenal of social weapons at their disposal at anyone who gets in their way: accusations of [misandry], ad hominem attacks, constant contempt … public humiliation, playing on prejudices and hatred to turn people against their targets … going on the assault at others’ self-image, reputation and credibility over the pettiest of motives, the most outrageously falsely perceived slights, with calculated Machiavellian cunning towards their pettiest of aims.

Nailed it, huh?

Ok. SPOILER ALERT. I kind of lied. This comment wasn’t aimed at AVFM. It was aimed at “bitches.”

Here’s the opening wall-of-text paragraph that I left out:

I think manipulative, catty, conniving, calculating females are pure evil. Applying indirect, covert aggression as a power play, manipulating men to get in their good graces and climb up the pecking order, before aggressively attacking those who don’t “fit in” for their own sadistic pleasure, to aggrandise their own ego and to raise their own status. Playing the victim to stir white knights to go on the attack at their target, when they are the aggressor. Having utter contempt and disdain for anyone they sleep with. Expecting males to be Teflon and always shifting the blame when anyone else gets hurt – it’s always the other person’s fault for being hurtable, for not being Teflon – they always have zero accountability for any harm caused, deny any role in it, and tell themselves it’s not them to feel good and look good. Deluding people, by putting on a cute demeanour, that “she wouldn’t do that”. Using charm to beguile, while calculatingly lashing out at anyone who dares to reveal their true colours or who even sees through their mask at what they really are. Totally void of empathy or sympathy, while putting it on purely fakely to gain an advantage.

And here’s the bit I quoted at the start, though this time I’ve put all the bits I carefully reworded or ellipsed away the first time through back in again; they’re in bold.

Master bullshit artists, adept at stirring up drama and scapegoating, shifting all blame and accountability onto convenient disliked targets. Seeing their own cuntish wiles as meritous. Used to getting what they want, having little to no accountability, being placed on a pedestal and feeling they belong there, sneering down their noses in contempt at those who respect them (the latter being pawns in their power play), and covertly aggressively lashing out at those who dare not worship them, being the one to start it, and repeatedly. Using an arsenal of social weapons at their disposal at anyone who gets in their way: accusations of misogyny, ad hominem attacks, constant contempt and a complete disregard for other people’s boundaries, malicious back-talk, public humiliation, playing on prejudices and hatred to turn people against their targets, an opportunistic use of political correctness, going on the assault at others’ self-image, reputation and credibility over the pettiest of motives, the most outrageously falsely perceived slights, with calculated Machiavellian cunning towards their pettiest of aims.

Yeah, it sounds a lot more AVFMish that way.

Even after four years of reading this bullshit, I’m a bit amazed at just how much of MRA, er, philosophy seems to be little more than projection.

“Stealing me for daddy’s money hurts me too,” and other nuggets of wisdom from some dude’s MRA memes

Woah, dude, that's like ... incomprehensible.

Woah, dude, that’s like … incomprehensible.

Sometimes I wonder if we’re being unfair to Men’s Rights Activists by allowing them to handle their own publicity. I mean, it’s pretty clear that they’re terrible at it. Worse than terrible, really. Terribler. Possibly the terriblest.

I mean, just this week we saw the official social media director of A Voice for Men’s conference in Detroit announcing the conference’s new venue with this:

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Dean Esmay Vs. the Princess Studies Professor

A Voice for Men’s media blitz continues apace. On Sunday, fresh on the heels of his colleague Robert O’Hara’s often cringeworthy Al Jazeera interview, AVFM “managing editor” Dean Esmay appeared on the unfortunately named “Let it Rip,” a news show on the local Fox affiliate in Detroit, to discuss that upcoming “Men’s Issues” conference we’ve been hearing so much about.

The excitable Esmay, wearing a tie at least a foot longer than necessary and facing off against a far more polished Heather Dillaway, a feminist sociologist from Wayne State University, did not exactly dispel the notion that the Men’s Rights movement isn’t ready for its close up just yet.

Esmay robotically rattled off an assortment of the sort of phony “factoids” that go over well only in the echo chambers of the Men’s Rights movement, and responded to questions not with answers but with rapidly regurgitated talking points — at one point declaring, to the bemusement of Prof. Dillaway and the rest, that

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A Voice for Men’s Robert O’Hara rebuts misogyny charge with revelation that his mother is a woman

Relationships with women: "Complicated and oftentimes dangerous."

Relationships with women: “Complicated and oftentimes dangerous.”

Men’s Rights Activists continue to make strategic use of the media attention they’ve gained as a result of the Elliot Rodger killings. Yesterday, Al Jazeera America ran an interview with A Voice for Men’s “US News Director” Robert O’Hara in which he touched upon numerous important Men’s Rights issues, like the fact that he doesn’t hate women because his mother is one, and how it was totally an amazing publicity coup for AVFM to be singled out as a misogynistic hate site by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Let’s look at some highlights from his Q and A. (The block quotes are direct quotes from the man, the legend, himself.)

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