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MRA Paul Elam: “This world deserves a jerk on the collar and a slap across the face and the flying spittle of rage.”

A Voice for Men's Flying Spittle Production Department
A Voice for Men’s Flying Spittle Production Department

“Compassion for Boys and Men.” This, the slogan of Men’s Rights hate site A Voice for Men, has always struck me as a teensy bit ironic, given that site founder and head angry dude Paul Elam spends much of his time berating other men, and really only seems interested in showing “compassion,” if it can be called that, for those who not only agree with everything he says but also donate money to him.

Recently Mr. Elam ran across a four-year-old video that’s been posted to the Men’s Rights subreddit numerous times in recent days. It shows a young woman assaulting a campus preacher, and knocking him off a platform, after falsely accusing him of groping her. (The woman, a student at Middle Tennessee State University, was arrested and later pled guilty to assault charges, getting a year’s probation, some community service and a fine; the preacher suffered only minor injuries.)

But the fact that a few people in the crowd cheered for the attacker apparently convinced Elam that everyone in the world except him and a few of his pals are worthless pieces of crap.

Look at the crowd cheer this violent lunatic on. It isn’t just her that is the problem. We live in a psychotic world where women can do whatever they want to men, as long as they vomit up a lie, like “get your hand off my breast.” It is a world which praises sickness, as long as the person to suffer for it is male.

Well, actually, it looked like most of the people in the crowd were a bit shocked by her assault and the preacher’s fall, and several people came forward to help him. And I’m not quite sure how Elam managed to miss the fact that the woman in question was led off by police at the end of the video.

In this culture, most every woman is Sharon Osbourne. Most every man is Hugo Schwyzer.

By describing women as a bunch of “Sharon Osbournes,” Elam is not (I don’t think) suggesting that they are savvy, articulate women who’ve been able to not only survive but flourish in male-dominated industries; no, he’s making a reference to the one time that Osbourne made a horrible castration joke on national television, and suggesting that women are a bunch of evil harpies that love to fantasize about cutting men’s dicks off.

By referring to men as “Hugo Schwyzers” — Elam’s post was written before Schwyzer’s recent Twitter meltdown — he’s not (I don’t think) suggesting that men are all a bunch of manipulative predators who glom onto feminism as a way to exploit and manipulate women, but rather suggesting that they’re a bunch of obsequious manginas who let women walk all over them.

I feel confident in attributing these interpretations to Elam’s words because he’s made these arguments many times before. It’s pretty obvious that Elam hates women. It’s only a little less obvious that he hates most men as well.

But I don’t think it’s really this video that’s got Elam angry. It looks to me like he’s still stewing over a recent op-ed by libertarian anti-feminist Cathy Young — a writer in many ways deeply sympathetic to the Men’s Rights ideology — which took a passing shot at A Voice for Men and similar sites whose “steady diet of vulgar woman-bashing … discredits any valid points they may make.”

So far Elam’s site has run at least four other posts — possibly five? I’ve lost count —  responding to the single sentence mentioning AVFM in her column, including one by him and another by a “brigade” of self-described “Honey Badgers” (female MRAs), but Elam can’t resist the opportunity to point out yet again that he’s going to remain as angry as he wants to be:

I do not give a rat’s fucking ass about offending or upsetting any of them.

This world does not deserve MHRAs that are decent or measured or considerate of the mainstreams sensibilities. This world deserves a jerk on the collar and a slap across the face and the flying spittle of rage that it earns with each man and boy that it denigrates and abuses.

“The Flying Spittle of Rage” makes a much better — and more accurate — slogan for AVFM than that boring old “Compassion for Boys and Men.”

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kittehserf
8 years ago

takshak, the faith beliefs M Dubz referred to were things like the rampant misogyny of the so-called sceptics. It’s not so much “atheism is a faith belief” as “atheists have other faith beliefs”. The whole White Dude Superiority (or even “there’s no harassment/rape at atheist conventions!!!1eleventy!!!”) is a faith belief, and one that way too many of these guys will not examine.

Shadow – yeah, sceptic seems to have gone from “open to possibilities but wary and wanting evidence” to “nothing I don’t already believe can possibly be true, and any claim I don’t believe (like a woman saying she was raped) is so unbelievable it needs physical evidence and the testimony of four reliable dudebros before I’ll even consider it.” The Asshole Atheists invading Pharyngula, for example, have made a real stench using that word as they do.

Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III
Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III
8 years ago

Shadow – yeah, sceptic seems to have gone from “open to possibilities but wary and wanting evidence” to “nothing I don’t already believe can possibly be true”

QFT. I like the idea of skepticism, but I have real issues with the skeptical community. Central to idea of skepticism is that anyone can be wrong – me, you, them, anyone – and so a process for examining claims and beliefs is helpful.

When people use skepticism as a means to avoid having to examine their beliefs, something has gone very wrong.

grumpycatisagirl
8 years ago

Allow me raise me hand as someone who is a skeptic but not an atheist. I am very ““open to possibilities but wary and wanting evidence.”

I also pray every day.

Kim
Kim
8 years ago

The whole White Dude Superiority (or even “there’s no harassment/rape at atheist conventions!!!1eleventy!!!”) is a faith belief,

I wouldn’t call the no harrassment bit a faith belief, just a wrong belief. Though I consider a faith belief to be something unfalsifiable, or at the least for us to not be able to get the evidence we need to prove it one way or the other.

For that particular belief, the evidence exists, and most likely it’s also available to them. So either they are right or they are wrong. (I’m going with wrong :))

The superiority bit… well, you can prove empirically that someone is better at something than someone else under particular circumstances, but proving that makes a person superior is impossible because superior is subjective. So yeah, I agree that is a faith belief. As is the belief that being ‘superior’ makes that person more deserving.

BUT to say that an entire group of people is superior because of a shared attribute rather than as individuals with attributes that are objectively better, isn’t faith, because it’s definitely falsifiable.

katz
8 years ago

I think we need a little crowbar separation here between a faith belief and a dogmatic belief, the former relating to things that can’t be proven empirically, the latter being held regardless of what evidence there might be and whether it supports the belief or not.

grumpycatisagirl
8 years ago

“I think we need a little crowbar separation here between a faith belief and a dogmatic belief, the former relating to things that can’t be proven empirically, the latter being held regardless of what evidence there might be and whether it supports the belief or not.”

Can I get an “Amen”? 😉

kittehserf
8 years ago

Kim, I think I’m using ‘faith’ in a broader (maybe too broad) sense. Yes, the beliefs I mentioned are wrong, and definitely falsifiable, but the dudebros – just like MRAs – will not examine them, dismiss out of hand any facts that disprove their notions, and cling to the bitchez-be-lying ideas more determinedly than any creationist hung on to Archbishop Ussher’s dating. It’s a tenet of Dudebro Faith that white dudes are superior to everyone and especially to women, and woe unto them who challenge that.

That, for me, is a faith belief, and it’s one they’ll defend, not with their lives, but with threats of rape and death to anyone who challenges it.

kittehserf
8 years ago

Ninjaed – yeah, I’m prolly using “faith” too broadly in this context.

Dogmatic, definitely.

… What would a catmatic belief be?

grumpycatisagirl
8 years ago

“What would a catmatic belief be?”

Absolutely correct and good, that’s what that would be.

kittehserf
8 years ago

True! 😀

I called Louis a cat this morning (he was deigning – very catlike) and he said cats taught kings their trade. I questioned the idea of cats doing anything resembling work and he said that being superior and having to remind humans of it all the time was terrible hard work.

He’s defintely been brainwashed by the Furrinati.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

Dawkins is my shepherd
I shall not question
Whether he’s being kind of a dick lately
Or whether deliberately antagonizing Muslims is really going to make them stop being Muslims.

cloudiah
8 years ago

“Dawkins is my shepherd” made me LOL. I have one of the Furrinati lounging next to me right how, and she was quite startled.

cloudiah
8 years ago

This also made me LOL.

After one burglary, the thief/thieves return the computers because it was a charity serving people who’d been sexually assaulted. This of course proves that rape culture does not exist.

Also, bonus points for not even trying to understand the Schrödinger’s Rapist concept (flawed as that might be).

On the Cluelessness Scale, I am giving this 11/10.

lightcastle
lightcastle
8 years ago

Drive by comment concerning the atheist/skeptic etc thing. My dad has a saying that tanslates as, “Everything that is rational is not reasonable.” (The nuances are better in French.) It’s something I think of whenever i see TrueAthiests or other types do the “I’m so rational” douchebaggery.

Kim
Kim
8 years ago

Thanks katz, that’s just what I was trying to say.

I quibbled because even though I am not keen on faith beliefs, I think having dogmatic beliefs is worse.

kittehserf
8 years ago

“Dawkins is my shepherd” – seconding the LOL!

Pear_tree
Pear_tree
8 years ago

I always kind of assumed that the reason some atheists were so against sexual harassment policies was that they didn’t want. women in their movement. I always wished they’d just put up a “No girls allowed” sign as it seemed simpler and more to purpose than pretending women are welcome. I’m probably wrong on the idea women are unwanted though, I imagine they do want compliant women, they probably also want to be able to dismiss women for not joining their movement.

mildlymagnificent
8 years ago

When people use skepticism as a means to avoid having to examine their beliefs, something has gone very wrong.

A lot of people use it as a kind of cover for their own suspicious and negative approach to the world. I moderate a science group under another nym and the number of people who seem to believe that the only acceptable — sceptical —- way to take a scientific or any other conclusion on board is to have investigated it for themselves, by themselves and come to the same conclusions. Which is patently ridiculous. There would be no discussion of science or anything on that basis. It wouldn’t even be possible to take prescription medication unless you personally, at home, unaided, managed to get the equivalent of a minor qualification in pharmacy, immunology, allergist, along with rheumatology or endocrinology or obstetrics of whatever the relevant problem is.

Funnily enough, these people are also very reluctant to give to charity (because you can never be sure where the money goes) and completely dismiss all sociological research, but seem to have no problem with their own favoured political and economic approaches and strategies.

As for the hyperskeptics on Pharyngula, the complaints about “lack of evidence” have some similarity to the charity thing. They don’t want to accept anything unless they, personally, individually, have been given some kind of personal tour of the circumstances and they have managed to find “evidence” that satisfies their own arbitrary criteria for saying “Well, that’s OK then”. My view is that the proper skeptical approach is to acknowledge your own limits of knowledge, training and experience and then decide who and what standard of research or expertisde in the relevant field meets the requirements for acceptability.

The biggest obstacle for all of these jerks, mostly men, is that they really don’t adhere to the basic requirement of skepticism – that you will, definitely will, reconsider and change your current view if further evidence indicates that you should. It’s definitely a “faith” position that you can’t tolerate the idea of provisional acceptance.

mildlymagnificent
8 years ago

Hah! Speaking of hyperskeptics, picked up this gem on the “Last word” post over there.

Also, regarding these fucking hyperskeptics, how they get out of bed in a morning without independently verifying that the fucking floor is still there is beyond me.

Karalora
Karalora
8 years ago

Count me in as another generally skeptical non-atheist. Man, it’s tough being both a skeptic and a witch. It’s like trying to be a pharmacist when you secretly worry that everyone in the world is actually just a hypochondriac.

Howard Bannister
8 years ago

Just a word on Pharyngula:

Yes, they classify any religious belief as a delusion. It is a hostile space for believers of any kind.

PZ just posted a study that purports to show that atheists are smarter than believers. He then kicked the crap out of it, pointing out that it’s built on racism and classism from top to bottom. (with a fair dose of ‘IQ tests don’t really measure intelligence, what is this junk’)

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/08/13/yall-can-stop-patting-yourselves-on-the-back-now/

They don’t always succeed in making that crucial distinction between ‘I disagree with you’ and ‘I’m just going to be an asshole towards you,’ but as somebody who comes from a heavily religious background and whose friends are mostly religious, it’s an effort I appreciate.

freemage
freemage
8 years ago

Language quibble: The hyperskeptics aren’t so much “on Pharyngula” as “assailing Pharyngula”. I can get people not liking PZ’s approach to the broader issues of atheism, but it’s hard to deny he’s on the right side of this fight.

Shadow:

One of the things that has seemed to be on the rise with a lot of internet atheists I’ve been encountering lately (both asshole and non), and has been driving me up the wall, is using “skeptic” as interchangeable with “atheist”. While it does seem to be the case that the skeptic movement/community is almost completely comprised of atheists (or maybe all skeptics are atheist? Feel free to correct me cos I don’t have much knowledge of it), this obviously doesn’t translate to all atheists being skeptics.

Okay, this is a bit of a history thing, but I’ll run through it.

Once upon a time, the “Skeptical Movement” was primarily concerned with debunking a few very specific varieties of phenomena. Cryptids (Bigfoot, Nessie, etc); UFOs; Hauntings; Psychics–things like that. Fringe beliefs that generally only affect a handful of ardent believers.

Then they started walking around the edges of religious claims–the big one being faith healers, who were essentially just a branch of psychics. But it still crossed a line that hadn’t been dealt with before–we moved from talking about vaguely paranormal beliefs to a tenet of religious faith.

And some of the folks in the movement began to ask why skepticism didn’t ask about religion/faith as a whole. This was (and actually, among the old-school Bigfoot/UFO skeptics, still is) a fairly controversial suggestion–for decades, skeptics had swung a very wide path around religion, considering it ‘off-limits’. The argument boiled down to two sides:
A: “You can’t actually test the claim that God exists, so religion can’t be subjected to the skeptical method of analysis,”
B: “This may be true, but there’s very few people whose religion amounts to ‘God exists and that’s it’. Most of them also believe in specific, claims about the physical world, and those CAN be tested–and if enough of a given religion’s claims about the world are disproved, we can draw some conclusions about the religion itself.”

The ‘B’ group has, by and large, won the fight. As you note, though, just because a lot of skeptics began applying that method to religion as an argument for atheism, that does NOT mean they did the same thing to other broad and popular beliefs–such as those instilled by the kyriarchy.

Furthermore, you’ve got a large number of people who turn to atheism for reasons other than skepticism-as-such. Much as we hate to admit it, there’s a fair number of “mad at God” and “doing it to piss off their families” atheists, for instance, who are acting solely out of emotion. And there’s still others that are acting on a logical basis (such as having come to the matter of teleology* and decided to be done with it) that isn’t an actual skeptical analysis as such.

But when they start going to atheist forums or meetings, they often get praised for being such good skeptics, by the skeptics who want to believe that only skeptics become atheists. The distortion just gets worse from there.**

*: Teleology: Most of the Christian faiths posit that God is ominiscient, omnibenevolent and omnipotent–all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful. In a world with childhood leukemia and hurricanes, it’s pretty clear that at least one of those things does not apply.

**: Curiously, this is actually a pretty decent proof that atheism is ‘not a religion’. Religions are usually quite careful about making sure that anyone coming into their ranks is doing so for the right reasons–that they actually understand the beliefs they are claiming to hold. Atheism, for both good and ill, has no such gatekeepers. It doesn’t matter WHY you don’t believe in God, just that you don’t.

freemage
freemage
8 years ago

….

A wild Blockquote Monster appears!

You use Wall of Text on the Blockquote Monster. It’s ineffective!

takshak
takshak
8 years ago

[blockquote]“atheists have other faith beliefs”. [/blockquote]

*some* might. I don’t know every other atheist, but I’ve seen atheist ancient aliens wanks, so it wouldn’t surprise me.

[blockquote]“I think we need a little crowbar separation here between a faith belief and a dogmatic belief,[/blockquote]

yep.. we use words like “faith” and “belief” pretty broadly in general conversation, but sometimes we need to get “technical”, because a term that’s too broadly defined is useless.

And yeah, it’s pretty much “no girls allowed in the clubhouse”, & it’s not atheism, it’s the status quo. Losing/not having one non-rational belief doesn’t make you a paragon of rationality. I’d hazard that close to 100% of Christianists** don’t believe in Zeus, but they’re still bugfuck.

** same relationship to Christians as Islamicists have to Muslims.

takshak
takshak
8 years ago

I hate you, blockquote monster.

katz
8 years ago

Wow, it’s out in force today.

Yes, they classify any religious belief as a delusion. It is a hostile space for believers of any kind.

They don’t always succeed in making that crucial distinction between ‘I disagree with you’ and ‘I’m just going to be an asshole towards you,’ but as somebody who comes from a heavily religious background and whose friends are mostly religious, it’s an effort I appreciate.

The whole problem being that, if you start out by saying that everyone who disagrees with you is delusional, there’s pretty much no non-asshole way to go from there.

Howard Bannister
8 years ago

The whole problem being that, if you start out by saying that everyone who disagrees with you is delusional, there’s pretty much no non-asshole way to go from there.

Truth.

entropistanon
8 years ago

@Shadow: This treehouse of yours sounds like the most magical place in the world. I am SO there.

Yeah, I’ve definitely made the mistake of confusing skepticism with atheism. Thanks to Freemage above for giving a good synopsis of the history of the two movements. Matt Dillahunty seems to be a good marriage of the two, especially since he’s stepped out as a feminist and defended people who are victims of harrassment at atheist conventions.

Which means, of course, that he’s been catching flak for not being as skeptical as he should be. *sigh*

Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

takshak — you want these < > not these [ ]

takshak
takshak
8 years ago

Thank you.

old habits die hard.

leftwingfox
8 years ago

kittehserf: Hi, sorry, either WP is being especially brutal today or my link’s in moderation.

I saw the Pharyngula thread, and briefly contributed somewhere around page 6. =P

takshak
takshak
8 years ago

The whole problem being that, if you start out by saying that everyone who disagrees with you is delusional, there’s pretty much no non-asshole way to go from there.

The whole problem being that, if you start out by saying that everyone who disagrees with you is an immoral monster who is going to Hell, there’s pretty much no non-asshole way to go from there.

Even many non-fundy believers are rude to me all the time, and they don’t even realize they’re being rude. Generally I don’t call them on it for the sake of social grease, at least on the lesser offenses, but it is wearing. The general grumpiness of many atheists could be down to this constant irritation.

katz
8 years ago

Takshak, we’ve had this conversation before and it goes nowhere good. Just letting you know.

But thank you for demonstrating the red herring fallacy.

Shaun DarthBatman Day
8 years ago

“I feel confident in attributing these interpretations to Elam’s words because he’s made these arguments many times before. It’s pretty obvious that Elam hates women. It’s only a little less obvious that he hates most men as well.”

I think it’s obvious that Paul Elam hates and fears men far more than he hates and fears women.

Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Cassandra — what did we decide the plural of octopus was? Cuz want to noptopus away from this with me? Or as a noun it’s just noptopus?

Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Noun, verb, coffee, no coffee, it’s all the same really! >.<

Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

But yes, breaking news at 11 — people who say everyone who isn’t like them is Very Very Wrong are assholes!

(Seriously though, wtf is with this topic lately? This is the third time in as many weeks)

Robert
Robert
8 years ago

I read Pharyngula regularly, despite not being either an atheist or a scientist. I just enjoy the writing and the topics. Especially the relentless bashing of anti-feminism – for some reason, that really speaks to me. I realize that if I commented in such a way as to reveal my own theism, the comments would be brutal. But then, it’s not as if there are no safe spaces in this culture/society for theists; expecting Pharyngula to be one strikes me as unreasonable.

There are also safe spaces for rape culture apologists, but fewer than there used to be.

freemage
freemage
8 years ago

takshak:

One atheist to another, I’m gonna lay this one out for you:

This is not a space for talking about the general complaints against religion. There’s plenty of targeted comments you can make, during appropriate conversations, about specific religions supporting specific misogynist attitudes–that IS what this space is for. So if, during a thread, it’s part of the topic to mention misogyny in the Bible, go for it; no one will give you grief for that.

When you feel like blasting religion more broadly though (even in casual asides), head on over to FtB and pick a thread, any thread, on just about any of the blogs (not just PZ’s, either). It’s appropriate there. Here, we focus on misogyny, and mocking it.

Another possibility, if you’re enjoying talking to people here, and want their specific input on something, would be to join the Forums, and start a well-labeled thread on atheism/religion. Folks who’re interested can join in, folks who don’t want to talk about it can ignore it, and all of us guests can still be respectful of each other in Dave’s house, which is the whole point.

freemage
freemage
8 years ago

Argenti: The ‘movement’ has hit a watershed moment, basically. It’s been building since Elevatorgate, with lots of dirty laundry slowly but steadily coming out. And as the pace picks up, the stuff is getting worse–we’ve moved from vague opposition to feminism in general to outright defense of actual rapists. Since all of that is Dave’s purpose, well, it’s gonna come up here a lot.

Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Yeah but can we not do the “you’re immoral” // “you’re deluded” thing? Idk how much of That Problem was public, but if you know much if the details I imagine that you can infer my thoughts on the matter.

takshak
takshak
8 years ago

I may have taken it the wrong way, but there was a comment that implied that atheism is a “faith belief”,

If that wasn’t what was meant, then I apologize.

takshak
takshak
8 years ago

what did we decide the plural of octopus was?

English: “octopuses”
technical: “octopodes”

I also know the correct plural for “virus”. 😉

freemage
freemage
8 years ago

takshak: There was a comment that could be interpreted that way, but which was not meant that way (rather, it was the simple fact that at some point, you have a faith-belief, even if it’s just that your senses aren’t being deluded by some all-powerful demon). You aren’t the only one to have read it that way, but it has been explained.

takshak
takshak
8 years ago

I was very careful to word what I said to not 1) imply that all believers are “like that” and 2) discuss religion *at all* . I do not know why you think I did.

Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Virī. But octopodes is questionable as it went through Latin to get to English (but octopedes is clearly silly [wrong root for -pī, foot is pedes…sorta])

Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

takshak — because the topic of religion has a long history around these parts of devolving into how atheists are oppressed, theists are [insert bigotry of choice, iirc, it was homophobia that caused The Massive Drama]

And thus it makes us jumpy and go all noptopus.

cloudiah
8 years ago

I almost want to add freemage’s comment to the Welcome Package so that atheists with good intentions don’t accidentally step in it.

But it kind of goes against the jolly tone of the Welcome Package…

takshak
takshak
8 years ago

(get thee hence, blockquote monster)

Virī.

plural of “vir”, “viri” = “men”, “virus” is actually a neuter noun. which would normally be pluralized with the “-a” – no classical example of it in plural form is extant, but if it was true to form it would be “vira”.

“octopus” is Greek (“octopous” without a Greek keyboard map), not Latin, so “octopi” is right out, although octopie might be delicious. The correct plural in greek (& therefor the technical plural) is “octopodes”. but “octopuses” is perfecty cromulent in English.

pecunium
8 years ago

Yeah, it’s viruses, and it’s octopi, and octopses, and octopodes (because languages are living things).

And none of those are important; and not why (though you can’t be expected to know the details) it was brought up. But it was pretty obviously an attempt to change the subject, and pulling out your, “I’m really smart, let me show you” card wasn’t the best course of action; given the present tenor of the discussion.