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Dr. Helen of PJ Media tries to blame feminists for Elliot Rodger's rampage. So why did she once glorify an MRA much like Rodger?

Memorial in Santa Barbara
Memorial in Santa Barbara

Leave it to Dr. Helen – psychologist, right-wing blogger, friend of A Voice for Men – to come up with what has got to be the most transparent attempt to distract public attention from the obvious parallels between the misogyny of spree killer Elliot Rodgers and the misogyny of the Men’s Rights movement she supports.

In a blog post on PJ Media, she suggests half-seriously that “If Pick-Up Artists Are Guilty,[of inspiring Elliot Rodger] Then So Are the Feminists.”

The good Doctor starts by accusing Slate’s Amanda Hess of blaming pickup artists for Elliot’s rampage. Her proof? Several passages from Hess in which Hess makes very clear that she is not blaming PUAs – or the anti-PUAs at PUAhate — for the deaths in Santa Barbara, or even for Rodger’s misogyny.

Dr. Helen then quotes eminent mental health expert “JudgyBitch,” who wrote of the case:

The fact is that Elliot’s outburst does indeed highlight an issue of central importance to the MHRM – the inadequate, almost non-existent treatment of mental health problems for young men.

Well yes, speaking as someone who’s been dealing with depression most of my life, I agree that mental health services could be improved for young men. And old men. And everyone else.

What difference this would have made in Elliot Rodger’s case, though, is unclear. Though he’s being routinely described in the media and in online discussions of the case as “mentally ill,” “freaking nuts,” a “deranged lunatic,” and numerous other variations on this theme, we don’t actually know much for sure about his brain chemistry; claims that he “suffered from extreme paranoia and heard voices” haven’t been confirmed.

In any case, Rodger himself wasn’t suffering from a lack of mental health support. He had been treated by several therapists, and was seeing a psychiatrist. He chose not to take the meds he was prescribed.

What we do know is that Rodger was a young man driven by intense, murderous misogyny, and by what sociologists Rachel Kalish and Michael Kimmel call “aggrieved entitlement” (pdf here), a personality trait he shares in common with a number of young spree killers in recent years. It’s also pretty much a default personality trait for Men’s Rights activists – but we’ll get to that in a moment.

First, let’s return to Dr. Helen, who’s just getting to the main point of her post: The Blaming of the Feminists.

Perhaps it is the feminists and their supporters who block funding and education going to boys’ and men’s issues that are to blame. Case in point? Warren Farrell tried to give a talk in Toronto about suicide in young men and other topics and was accosted by nasty feminists who did not want him to speak.

Now, I don’t support shutting down lectures of those I disagree with, and I think the protestors who shut down Farrell’s lecture not only acted in an unprincipled way but also, unintentionally, provided the Men’s Rights movement with the greatest recruitment tool it’s ever had.

That said, the protesters didn’t shut down Farrell’s lecture because they opposed mental health funding for men and boys. They shut it down because Farrell has, in the past, offered creepy apologias for date rape and for incest – including the sexual abuse of underage boys and girls by their parents.

Indeed, in a notorious interview he gave about his research exploring the supposed “positive” side of incest in the 1970s, Farrell told Penthouse magazine that most of the boys he studies actually enjoyed being abused by – sorry, participating in incest with – their mothers.

The author summarized Farrell’s claims:

Mother-son incest represents 10 percent of the incidence and is 70 percent positive, 20 percent mixed, and 10 percent negative for the son. For the mother it is mostly positive. Farrell points out the boys don’t seem to suffer, not even from the negative experience.

So, yeah, the man Dr. Smith is holding up as a compassionate hero for boys, the man who essentially invented the Men’s Rights movement we know and don’t love today, has argued publicly that boys not only aren’t harmed by sexual abuse, but that most of them like it.

I’m not sure the men and boys of the world need this brand of “compassion.”

But this is not the only thing about Dr. Helen’s post that is deeply hypocritical.

Rodger’s murders were clearly driven by “aggrieved entitlement.” He believed he deserved a “beautiful blonde girlfriend,” and that the world had wronged him by not giving him one. And so he set out to take his “retribution” upon the girls who had rejected him – as symbolized by the “blonde sluts” of the sorority he targeted – and upon the world at large.

As Kalish and Kimmel write,

What transforms the aggrieved into mass murderers is also a sense of entitlement, a sense of using violence against others, making others hurt as you, yourself, might hurt. aggrieved entitlement inspires revenge against those who have wronged you; it is the compensation for humiliation. Humiliation is emasculation … For many men, humiliation must be avenged, or you cease to be a man.

Like virtually all spree killings by young men driven by “aggrieved entitlement,” Rodger’s rampage was also a suicide; he ended it with a bullet in his own head. Kalish and Kimmel would define this as “suicide by mass murder,” a way for aggrieved young men to use their own suicides to reaffirm their masculinity and take revenge upon their supposed tormenters.

The trouble is, even while Dr. Helen condemns Rodger’s murders, and tries to blame feminists for them, she herself has joined many other Men’s Rights activists in glorifying a man who attempted something very much like a “suicide by mass murder” himself.

I am talking, of course, about Thomas Ball– an angry MRA, estranged father and admitted child abuser – who several years ago set himself aflame on the steps of a New Hampshire courthouse, leaving behind a manifesto urging fellow MRAs inspired by his suicide to start firebombing courthouses and police stations, acts of terrorism which he admitted quite plainly could lead to deaths.

So what did Dr. Helen have to say about this manifesto, which among other things contained helpful tips on how to make effective Molotov cocktails? On her blog, she waxed poetic:

His statement is not the ramblings of a madman, it is the mission of a warrior in some sense.

Mr. Ball’s death should serve as a wake-up call to the men and their supporters in this country to continue to fight for equal rights in the area of marriage and family law.

Like Rodger, Thomas Ball was driven by a sense of aggrieved entitlement. Like Rodger, Thomas Ball hoped for a “Day of Retribution” in which his enemies would die violent deaths.

Unlike Rodger, he did not kill anyone else himself; instead, he hoped that others would do the killing for him. But the impulse behind Rodger’s manifesto was largely the same. He sought to fight what he considered a grave “injustice” through violence.

And Men’s Rights activists turned him into a martyr. A Voice for Men posted his manifesto – complete with its calls to firebomb government buildings – in its “activism” section for several years; it was finally removed only after the Boston Marathon bombings brought media attention back to the issue of domestic terrorism. The theme song for AVFM’s flagship radio show contains an “invocation” celebrating Ball as a fallen hero and declaring that “his death will not go in vain.”

No, the Men’s Rights movement didn’t cause Rodger’s rampage; there’s no evidence that he ever even came into contact with it, though he was clearly steeped in misogynstic online subcultures like those of PUAhate. But there are a frightening number of MRAs who think a lot like Rodger. And that is far more worrying.

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daintydougal
daintydougal
6 years ago

ABUSIVE FATHERS 4 JUSTICE!

Maybe the same way it’s impossible to rape your wife it’s also impossible to abuse your own children?

(and now I feel sick)

Aylin
Aylin
6 years ago

Paraphrasing Brz…

“Some shitstain of a human being who got pissed off that he couldn’t see his kid after abusing one is TOTALLY like fighting an oppressive government or fighting for basic human rights. Fer realsies!”

Please, either grow the fuck up or get the fuck out. There is no “right” to abuse children, no matter how much MRA-types whine about it. Comparing that to any basic human right is absolutely disgusting.

Gen
Gen
6 years ago

The therapist committed malpractice by not having him committed.

What? Based on what? You think he didn’t keep his manifesto secret? He was visited by police at his home to assess whether he should be involuntarily committed and they left thinking he was a nice guy!

titianblue
titianblue
6 years ago

Brz:

A judge prevented the guy from seeing his own kids for ten years because he slapped his daughter once

unless he agreed to attend anger management courses

You always conveniently leave that bit out, don’t you? He hit his daughter (hard enough to draw blood) and the judge refused to let him see his children unless he learnt how to control his temper around them. This is the great injustice you preach about. That a man was asked to learn how not to strike his children in fury before being allowed to be around them. And, for your great martyr, this was too much! He loved his children ao much, he wanted to be with them so much, he wouldn’t even attend an anger management course to achieve that. Such love, such care for his children that he prefered to incite violence rather than learn tools to help him not strike them.

You disgust me with your abuse apologia.

BigMomma
BigMomma
6 years ago

And seconding magnesium and daintydougal…Thomas Ball hit his kid so hard that he drew blood. I’ve never raised a hand to either of my kids, the thought makes me nauseous. It’s abusive and the fact that he never acknowledged this and portrayed himself as a martyr is sickening. No Arab Spring indeed.

BigMomma
BigMomma
6 years ago

Well, truly and comprehensively ninja’d by titianblue

scott1139
scott1139
6 years ago

Both exceptionally dishonest and exceptionally disgusting. You’re quite the charmer, Brz. 😉

cloudiah
6 years ago

I just want to add that people (in my view) ARE entitled to food and shelter. Abusers are NOT entitled to spend time with their children.

Unlike things are not alike, it turns out.

daintydougal
daintydougal
6 years ago

Did our eminent wordsmith deride Foucault ‘(shove any Foucault’s books up your ass)’ then sign off with a fancy non-word coined by Derrida?

It’s almost as if Brz is talking complete bollocks?

Brz
Brz
6 years ago

You conveniently left the part where he was found not guilty of child abuse.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

Both GNL and Brz can fuck off. What the hell is wrong with you people (trolls) that you make every excuse under the sun for misogynistic assholes and deny that their main problem is being a misogynistic asshole? Is it that pretzel logic feels good?

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

Brz: shut the fuck up. You are a disgusting person and a total skidmark on the drawers of humanity.

leftwingfox
6 years ago

You conveniently left the part where he was found not guilty of child abuse.

How does that change “Would rather burn himself alive than attend anger management courses?”

Such Role. Much model. Wow.

Brz
Brz
6 years ago

It’s almost as you’re one of those dim-wits who “educated” themselves on 101 feminist blogs but never actually opened a book. Otherwise, you would have understood why I used this word and that I didn’t deride Foucault.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

Brz, go back to whatever faux French hole you crawled out of.

magnesium
magnesium
6 years ago

I also love Brz’s little speech about revolutionaries and anarchy. He belongs to a group of people who want to uphold one of the most basic power structures/status quos in human society, and he pretends that makes him a revolutionary. Adorable. The middle class white guy victim complex is strong in this one. Tomorrow he can start a rally in favor of large American corporations.

Brz
Brz
6 years ago

He burned himself alive after having lost his job and facing jail sentence because he was unable to pay child support.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

Brz: he ignored the court for years, he could have told the court what was happening and he could have taken the anger management course. Jail is truly a last resort in these cases. You must be one of those dimwits who can’t read.

Brz
Brz
6 years ago

You’re the one who can’t read, he didn’t face jail because he refused to take the anger management course, he faced jailed because he couldn’t pay child support since he had lost his job.

cloudiah
6 years ago

He wasn’t found “not guilty” — a judge said his actions (slapping his toddler three times, hard enough to draw blood) were completely inappropriate but didn’t rise to the level of a criminal action. He was told he needed to attend anger management classes if he wanted to see his kids, and he refused.

It’s like Brz thinks these facts aren’t readily available online, or something.

Ally S
6 years ago

Although, there’s a special place in hell for those feminists who pretend to be anarchists as well where they will be bitch-slapped in a patriarchal way by Bakunin himself for eternity to punish them for being such hypocrite poseurs. I would eat my beloved fedora out of indignation if I ever stumble upon a feminist singing “le temps des cerises” but, fortunately enough, feminists are generally too ignorant to know the history of this song, let alone knowing its existence.

I’m a womanist and an anarchist, and there is literally no contradiction between the two. In fact, opposing patriarchy is a key part of overthrowing other systems of power. Also, not every anarchist cares about Bakunin, you dolt.

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

No, you wonder why Occupy WS didn’t try to set the Goldman Sachs Tower, an enormous metal skyscraper next to the original World Trade Center site, on fire. Nothing quite like the blood and thunder of the internet anarchist. You’re negating the state one message board at a time, no doubt.

cloudiah
6 years ago

I mean, he admitted that he slapped his toddler 3 times, hard enough to draw blood; he just thought he was justified, and this is your hero?

Zolnier
Zolnier
6 years ago

I’m unfamiliar with the term womanist, is that just a synonym for feminist or something a bit different?

cloudiah
6 years ago

And he actually did have visitation rights with his son, just not with the child he had assaulted.

What a hero.

Ally S
6 years ago

it’s no wonder that the movement occupy wall street died in a long litany of social justice buzzwords without having produced anything, like, for example, at least having envisaged the burning of some Goldman Sachs buildings, if it’s filled by people like you.

I’ve heard a lot of absurd theories about the decline of Occupy, but this one takes the fucking cake.

Ally S
6 years ago

@Zolnier

Womanism isn’t synonymous with feminism, although many of its underlying principles are similar. It is best defined as a strain of women’s liberation thought whose main impetus is the criticism of white feminism by women of color wish to articulate their unique intersecting experiences of racism, sexism, colonialism, etc.

Ally S
6 years ago

Oh, and it should be stressed that womanism is a woman-of-color-only ideology. White women can’t call themselves womanists because that’s appropriation.

cloudiah
6 years ago

Brz’s discussion of OWS is reminding me of this discussion.

Brz
Brz
6 years ago

Yep, maybe if someone had told him how full of “aggrieved entitlement” and white hot rage he was he wouldn’t have been that stubborn and accepted to be treated like a criminal because he once slapped his daughter three times. BTW, he didn’t thought he was justified, he said that it was a mistake.

The guy isn’t my hero but I empathize with him.

Ally S
6 years ago

I’m just so amazed at how Brz can completely twist the context of a discussion to fit his own pretentious manarchist theories.

historophilia
historophilia
6 years ago

Someone explain to me why so many men are so desperate to sympathise or identify with brutal misogynist murderers and entitled child abusers.

It’s like they want to put a big flashing sign over their head saying “I am a bad person and a potential violent abuser, stay away from me”.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

The guy isn’t my hero but I empathize with him.

Of course you do.

Zolnier
Zolnier
6 years ago

Comparing revolution to the woes of abusers, classy. If there’s one thing that characterizes revolutionary movements, is that they rarely use child abuse as a rallying symbol. The Sickle and Hammer were not depicted in a kid’s back for instance.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

Someone explain to me why so many men are so desperate to sympathise or identify with brutal misogynist murderers and entitled child abusers.

I think it’s a deflection so that they don’t have to look at any questionable behavior on their parts.

Brz
Brz
6 years ago

“Manarchist”? Lol, you guys are deeply ignorant but you sure have a great creativity for buzzwords.

You’re the ones defending the system as it is, the one who’ll want to bring down this system will fight you but you can pretend that you are overthrowing systems of power by parroting what your professors teach you in your university you pay dozen of thousands of dollars to attend.

dlouwe
dlouwe
6 years ago

@historophilia

Right? Why can’t they empathize with the child that he slapped because she licked his hand? Why is the fact that he one hit her once such a big sticking point – should we give all abusers one freebie or something before we consider them dangerous?

Brz
Brz
6 years ago

Yeah, being calling names by you guys is a good signal that I might be good at being a decent human being. It’s not sufficient though.

Kim
Kim
6 years ago

being calling names by you guys is a good signal that I might be good at being a decent human being

lol! I didn’t know you were a comedian as well

jayemgriffin
6 years ago

It’s not actually that hard to notify the court that you’ve lost your job and are no longer able to pay child support. It’s a hell of a lot easier than setting yourself on fire and writing a manifesto calling for terrorism, Jesus Christ.

scott1139
scott1139
6 years ago

Oh, and it should be stressed that womanism is a woman-of-color-only ideology. White women can’t call themselves womanists because that’s appropriation.

Is it okay for, a white man, to admire certain WoC who are womanists and the ideas they’ve created? I’m thinking yes, but I wanted to be sure.

To give an example: I think the author of *** Lair is an amazing person, and that her ideas are brilliant. I took out the first word because I don’t want to risk sending any more abusive people her way. She gets so much shit already… 🙁

WhatIsThisGravitasOfWhichYouSpeak
WhatIsThisGravitasOfWhichYouSpeak
6 years ago

Personally, I prefer Kropotkin, but anyway.

Now, frankly, I do think the court system is corrupt, largely useless, and more often used maliciously by those with the power to influence it, but consider the specific details of this case – His wife initiated divorce proceedings and he hit his child hard enough to cause bleeding. Bad, stupid, undeniably wrong but apparently out of character, according to his wife’s testimony to the courts. He was found not guilty, granted unsupervised visitation rights for his son and told to go to an anger management course if he wanted the same for his daughters.

And then proceeded to not do that for 10 years, refusing to deal with the courts in any way, shape or form, beyond filing a suit with Monadnock Family Services for what he considered improper conduct on their behalf in telling his wife to call the police or they would (Apparently they get a fee from the courts for each case referred. See; corruption). He never attempted to seek help, never used his situation to call attention to what he perceived as the problem in the media, nothing. He did nothing but insist the courts were wrong, and refused to meet their requirements.

There’s pride, there’s sticking to your principles, and then there’s utterly failing to bow to the practical requirements of the situation. It’s crap and wrong, and I’d like to see the system taken down entirely and replaced, but he didn’t do ANYTHING to help himself, and then set himself on fire, and encouraged others to firebomb court buildings. That is not the action of a hero, or a martyr, it’s the actions of a fucking stubborn fool.

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

I’m not quite getting why he thinks we’re all radical-minded college students currently pursuing a degree in Women Studies at Feminazi U. I’m guessing he’ll keep fucking that chicken Bakunin-style, because “Viva la Commune!”.

cupisnique
6 years ago

I’m not quite getting why he thinks we’re all radical-minded college students currently pursuing a degree in Women Studies at Feminazi U.

Meh, it’s just easier to discredit our words in his mind if we are all brainwashed by the system that apparently was created by feminists to uhh… brainwash women… for the purpose of… taking children away from men? idk I got lost in his labyrinthine argument.

I’m pursuing a degree in Archaeology which has been heavily (and very rightly) influenced by feminist thought, ya know because archaeologists for a long time simply ignored half of the population that existed for centuries and helped create human history. Not that Brz or other MRAs would agree since they apparently single-handedly created “civilization” (not really a word commonly used anymore btw, shows how much they read about history or archaeology and get most of their assfacts from the History Channel).

maistrechat
maistrechat
6 years ago

Brz:

t’encule

That is all

cupisnique
6 years ago

Oh, just to clarify. Archaeologists are trying to do a better job of critiquing the gender binary especially since it’s hard to justify simply projecting our ideas of gender norms into the past or across cultures, but in my opinion it still needs a lot of work.

Nitram
Nitram
6 years ago

I started reading his manifesto and watching the video, but I couldn’t go on. I had this horrible feeling I was giving this dirtbag too much attention and notoriety and contributing to his fame. Whenever these mass shootings happen, everyone remembers the shooter, but the victims’ names fall away. I do NOT want to give him the white hot spot light and read all his narcissistic rantings like I’m sure he wanted. And what was with that creepy evil staged laugh? He was like a bad actor playing the part of an evil douche.

I used to find it hard to believe that someone could actually feel this much rage as to actually want to plot and kill. If anything good can come out of this, it would be that people like me finally believe this is possible, this thinking, straight from the horse’s mouth. No doubt, no “snapping” or other deep mysterious recesses of the psyche. I finally get it. Not sure if I’m being clear, I just finally feel the mystery is gone. No need to decode him. No “why did he do it?!” It’s plain as day.

maistrechat
maistrechat
6 years ago

But seriously, the comment threads on the other articles about this issue are pretty disturbing to me.

First of all, I keep seeing the “access to mental healthcare” canard that really just stigmatizes the mentally ill. If you’ve read Law and the multiverse, there’s an ongoing discussion about the insanity defense (and yes, legal insanity is different than mental illness) and how it generally would not apply to comic book supervillains. This is that same kind of situation – it takes a conscious effort to go out and kill people like this. People who are mentally ill are way more likely to go ahead and harm themselves. Claiming that people go on murderous rampages because of untreated depression or BP-I are playing the same game as the abuse apologetics mentioned in Why does he do that.

Secondly, I keep seeing the claim that psych meds are causing these atrocities, which is frustrating to the extreme. I these are both issues relating to stigmatizing mentally ill people, but this one isn’t just stigmatizing, it’s dangerous to people who rely on those medications.

Nicole
Nicole
6 years ago

This whole thing is pretty terrifying. Terrifying as a reminder that there are men who would want to kill me for rejecting them, and terrifying that most of the main-stream news sources are ignoring the implications behind Elliot believing he “deserved” a blond bombshell….That is so dehumanizing.
The thing that is so ridiculous about this is that believing that men will think they are “owed” sex if I go on a date with them is going to make me MORE likely to reject them!! You want women to stop rejecting men so much? Stop believing you have a right to our bodies, and start making us feel safe when we go on dates.

Nitram
Nitram
6 years ago

“First of all, I keep seeing the “access to mental healthcare” canard that really just stigmatizes the mentally ill. If you’ve read Law and the multiverse, there’s an ongoing discussion about the insanity defense (and yes, legal insanity is different than mental illness) and how it generally would not apply to comic book supervillains. This is that same kind of situation – it takes a conscious effort to go out and kill people like this. People who are mentally ill are way more likely to go ahead and harm themselves. Claiming that people go on murderous rampages because of untreated depression or BP-I are playing the same game as the abuse apologetics mentioned in Why does he do that.

Secondly, I keep seeing the claim that psych meds are causing these atrocities, which is frustrating to the extreme. I these are both issues relating to stigmatizing mentally ill people, but this one isn’t just stigmatizing, it’s dangerous to people who rely on those medications.”

QFT and thank you.