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Category Archives: terrorism

The threats that shut down Anita Sarkeesian’s talk come from someone who seems to be deeply steeped in the misogynstic Men’s Rights subculture

The threats directed at Anita Sarkeesian are intended to silence women's voices

The threats directed at Anita Sarkeesian are intended to silence women’s voices

Reading through the luridly threatening email that forced Anita Sarkeesian to cancel her talk at Utah State University, originally scheduled for today, I found myself wondering, a bit dumbfounded: just where does this kind of hate come from?

It’s a question I’ve been asking myself again and again in recent days as I contemplate the ongoing fiasco that is GamerGate. How on earth have all these people gotten so angry, so worked up, so willing to dox and harass and threaten women (and some of their male allies) over video games?

How exactly does someone reach a point where it makes sense to them to threaten – and perhaps even to seriously plan – a “Montreal-style Massacre” because they don’t like a few videos pointing out sexism in video games?

Even after years spent tracking and trying to understand the misogynistic online culture that’s given birth to GamerGate, I don’t have an answer. And I’m not sure where to get one.

And so, as a kind of preliminary step towards finding an answer to this question, I thought I would ask a simpler and more empirical question: where does the language of hatred found in the threatening email sent to Utah State officials come from?

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Anita Sarkeesian Cancels Talk at Utah State After Receiving Threat of Another “Montreal Massacre.” [UPDATED with more info from Sarkeesian]

sarkscreenshot

Utah State University has just announced that Anita Sarkeesian has canceled a talk she was scheduled to give at the school tomorrow after receiving a threat of a “Montreal Massacre-style attack” by someone promising ““the deadliest school shooting in American history” if the cultural critic was allowed to speak.

Here’s the official announcement:

Anita Sarkeesian has canceled her scheduled speech for tomorrow following a discussion with Utah State University police regarding an email threat that was sent to Utah State University. During the discussion, Sarkeesian asked if weapons will be permitted at the speaking venue. Sarkeesian was informed that, in accordance with the State of Utah law regarding the carrying of firearms, if a person has a valid concealed firearm permit and is carrying a weapon, they are permitted to have it at the venue.

Emphasis added. That’s right: the school received threats from someone promising to shoot people at a public event, but because of Utah’s gun laws, authorities would not be able to prohibit audience members from BRINGING GUNS to the talk.

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Let’s play Richard Dawkins Twitter Meltdown Bingo!

dawkinsbingowithheads

With Richard Dawkins rapidly accelerating his schedule of Twitter meltdowns recently, it’s clearly time for some RICHARD DAWKINS TWITTER MELTDOWN BINGO!

The rules are simple:

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Nuh-uh, YOU Are: Men’s Rights Activists respond to petition calling on the president to classify them as terrorists

Feminists: Always up to something

Feminists: Always up to something

So about a week ago, someone put a petition up on Whitehouse.gov asking the president to classify the Men’s Rights Movement as a terrorist group. The petition, posted in the immediate aftermath of Elliot Rodger ‘s killing spree, seems to be sincerely motivated. But it was a bad idea. The Men’s Rights movement is full of assholes, some of them potentially quite dangerous.  Still, not every MRA is an Elliot Rodger in the making, and this kind of hyperbole doesn’t help those who are trying to expose the true terribleness of the Men’s Rights movement.

After their initial outrage wore off, MRAs decided to treat the petition as a golden opportunity for self-martyrdom. Dean Esmay of A Voice for Men urged fellow MRAs – sorry, MHumanRAs – to sign it themselves, perhaps not realizing that it might prove difficult to convince the world they’re being oppressed by a petition if they’re the ones most actively collecting signatures for it. (Esmay also took a moment to compare me to Bull Connor, which seems a tad odd, to say the least.)

Well, now the MRAs are trying a new tack. Perhaps taking a tip from old school rap feuds and all the “answer records” they generated, or possibly just the childish retort, “nuh-uh, YOU are,” one AVFM commenter named Janet Wilkinson struck back against the evil feminists with a Change.org petition announcing to “The Government” that it was “Time To Class Feminism As a Terrorist Group.”

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A Voice for Men’s Threatener-in-Chief Paul Elam demands that feminists pay security costs for his group’s conference

Paul Elam, Man of Peace

Paul Elam, Man of Peace

Well, you have to admit, he’s got chutzpah.

You may have heard that A Voice for Men is sponsoring what it calls the First International Conference on Men’s Issues later this month in Detroit, featuring such notable celebrity speakers as “internationally recognized writer, lecturer and videographer” Karen “Girl Writes What” Straughan, “former mental health professional” Paul “Boy Yells A Lot” Elam, Warren “Boys Aren’t Hurt By Incest a Lot” Farrell, and, well, a collection of other equally exciting names.

But there have been some doubts about it happening from the start. It took some time for the AVFMers to sell enough tickets to enable them to cover the costs of the event.

And now it the costs of the event are going up further: according to a letter that Elam has posted to his site, the hotel that will be hosting the conference has gotten “numerous calls and threats” of a violent nature because of the conference, and is demanding that AVFM cover the costs of additional security at the event.

So Elam has decided that feminists should pay some of these costs, in order to prove they’re “not like that.”

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Why Elliot Rodger’s misogyny matters

A chart posted by Elliot Rodger, giving his chilling spin on a manosphere meme depicting supposed female "hypergamy"

A chart posted by Elliot Rodger, giving his chilling spin on a manosphere meme depicting supposed female “hypergamy”

When a white supremacist murders blacks or Jews, no one doubts that his murders are driven by his hateful, bigoted ideology. When homophobes attack a gay youth, we rightly label this a hate crime.

But when a man filled to overflowing with hatred of women acts upon this hatred and launches a killing spree targeting women, many people find it hard to accept that his violence has anything to do with his misogyny. They’re quick to blame it on practically anything else they can think of – guns, video games, mental illness – though none of these things in themselves would explain why a killer would target women.

In the case of Elliot Rodger, who set out on Friday night aiming, as he put it in a chilling video, to “slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blonde slut” in a popular sorority house at the University of California, Santa Barbara, some Men’s Rights activists and other manospherians are doing their best to convince the world that misogyny had nothing to do with it.

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Paul Elam of A Voice for Men: In His Own Words

Paul Elam on 20/20

Paul Elam in a web-only clip from the 20/20 segment that never ran on television.

Paul Elam, the founder and primary animating force behind the website A Voice for Men, is probably, for better or worse, the most influential figure in the Men’s Rights movement (or, as he prefers to call it, the Men’s Human Rights Movement).

Elam is also a fierce misogynist with a penchant for angry, violent rhetoric full of only-slightly veiled threats. But don’t take my word for it. Perhaps the best way to get to know Mr. Elam is through his own words.

So here are some of Elam’s thoughts on a variety of issues, taken from postings on his own website.  I have linked each quote back to its source on A Voice for Men.

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TyphonBlue: “Aside from the minor … physical effects of abortion surgery, how is forced abortion different for men or women?”

Men suffer from all those stupid lady afflictions too.

Men suffer from all those stupid lady afflictions too.

You may recall that post a couple of days back in which I talked about Dean Esmay of A Voice for Men — the alleged “Men’s Human Rights” site that hosts an open call to firebomb courthouses and police stations in its “activism” section — suggesting that unnamed Man Boobz “minions” might stoop to impersonating female MRAs in an attempt to make the Men’s Rights movement look bad.

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How bad ideas get started: The “Apex Fallacy,” the “Frontman Fallacy,” and the murderer Marc Lepine

Would blabla

Would MRAs still be into the Apex Fallacy if boards of directors looked like this?

So some Men’s Rightsers are up in arms because the powers that be at Wikipedia just deleted a page devoted to a phony “logical fallacy” invented by a friend of Paul Elam. According to the now-deleted Wikipedia page, “the apex fallacy refers to judging groups primarily by the success or failure at those at the top rungs (the apex, such as the 1%) of society, rather than collective success of a group.”

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A 12-Step program to help A Voice for Men cure its addiction to hate

I'm pretty sure these guys thought they were a human rights movement too.

I’m pretty sure these guys thought they were some sort of  human rights movement too.

Asha James – otherwise known as TyphonBlue – has taken issue with something I wrote about A Voice for Men, the hate site she has chosen to affiliate herself with. In my post detailing the hundreds of horrendous and disgusting threats and abusive comments one Canadian feminist has received after she appeared in a YouTube video that was heavily promoted on A Voice for Men and other Men’s Rights sites, I wrote that AVFM had only distanced itself in a “superficial way from some of the harassment it has played a central role in unleashing.”

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