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Dizzy With Success: Paul Elam announces triumphant move of AVFM conference to less convenient venue

Quick, look over there!
Quick, look over there!

So A Voice for Men, having lost or abandoned the original venue for their “Men’s Issues” conference in Detroit, has announced its new location: A VFW post some 18 miles away from the original hotel where, presumably, most of the conference’s attendees will be staying.

According to Paul Elam, they made the move in large part to spare conference-goers the terrible inconvenience of having to watch the no-doubt riveting presentations from an “overflow room.”

No, really.

In a post last night, Elam declared that all the media attention given to the conference

has produced is a hell of a lot more interest in the conference, and more ticket sales. So much so, as a matter of fact, that we have opted to move to a venue that will seat more people and provide more security than was available previously.

While we apologize for any inconvenience that the move is going to cause, it is nonetheless a positive move for the conference. Because seating capacity was misrepresented to us at the previous venue, we were forced to plan for an overflow room where we would pipe in live events to a monitor at reduced ticket prices.

With the change of venue we will be able to accommodate all attendees in the same space at the same time.

Naturally, the first thing some critics of Elam did when they saw this announcement was to look up the seating capacity of the largest rooms at both venues. The largest room at the Doubletree Fort Shelby, where the conference was originally scheduled to take place, seats 300, with a maximum capacity of 310. The largest room at the VFW post … also seats 300. Or maybe 350. The VFW website isn’t clear.

In other words, Elam expects us to believe that in order to avoid the inconvenience of having to resort to “overflow rooms,” AVFM moved its convention to a venue 18 miles away from the original hotel that might not even offer rooms any bigger than the original venue.

Meanwhile, in the comments to Elam’s post, one would-be conference attendee reports that the Doubletree has canceled his reservation. If Doubletree has decided to wash its hands of the conference attendees now that they are no longer hosting the conference, and Elam is telling the truth about the number of people planning to attend, this could mean hundreds of people scrambling for hotel rooms.

Still, Elam and his troops are eager to present this as a great victory.

It’s weird. You might think that this sort of reality distortion would be impossible in a democratic country in the internet age. Sure, back in Stalin’s day, the Soviet Union’s propaganda machine could present massive failure as success and get away with it – at least to some degree, at least within their own country.

In the wake of a disastrous program of “forced collectivization” of rural agriculture in 1929-30, which left many peasants dead or imprisoned and paved the way for future famines, Stalin famously announced in an article in Pravda that the program had been so amazingly successful that he needed to call a temporary halt so that everyone could catch their breath. The title of his article: “Dizzy With Success.”

The only way you can get away with bullshit this brazen is if you’re a dictator or the leader of a cult – something that A Voice for Men has increasingly come to resemble. AVFMers are expected not only to accept Elam’s leadership; they’re expected to accept his distinctly non-consensus reality – a world turned upside down in which men are the real victims of domestic violence and rape and pretty much everything else, a world in which the Southern Poverty Law Center is a collection of evil bigots and his motley collection of misogynists is the true human rights movement of the twenty-first century.

Like a lot of cult leaders, Elam keeps his troops too busy to think straight in a continual frenzy of pseudo-activism. AVFMers are forever brigading comment sections of newspaper articles and YouTube videos in little squads (AVFMers almost always travel in packs), all reciting the same few talking points.

Weirdly, the dynamics of internet discussions can actually reinforce this kind of intellectual conformity, much as Stalin’s control of the media did in his day. No, AVFMers can’t avoid being exposed to facts that contradict the shared (un)reality of their ideological bubble.

But in internet discussions you don’t have to be right in order to convince yourself you’ve won an argument. You just have to be loud and persistent and unwilling to ever give in. You don’t have to convince anyone else of your arguments so long as you convince yourself. MRAs don’t win many arguments on their merits, but they manage to convince themselves they win every one.

The trouble is that when they step outside of their regular stomping grounds on the internet, this strategy – so effective in generating ideological conformity amongst cult members – falls completely apart.

We’ve seen several spectacular examples in the past couple of weeks. First, we watched a concert organized by Canadian Men’s Rights group CAFE implode after musicians and sponsors realized what they’d been roped into; the pathetically unconvincing attempts by the group to explain away this failure were amazing to behold.

Then we saw AVFM’s Dean Esmay reduce himself to a caricature on Fox (local) news as he rapidly regurgitated standard AVFM talking points like some sort of fanatical ideological auctioneer, apparently unaware that to everyone outside of the Men’s Rights bubble everything he was saying was obviously utter nonsense.

And now we have Paul Elam trying to convince the world that AVFM changed its venue for its conference because, hey, we needed more room!

The trouble with having your head up your ass most of the time is that when you take it out, people tend to notice the smell.

But, hey, as long as the AVFMers are happy with their new venue, I’m happy for them. Janet Bloomfield, the official “social media director” for the conference, posted this triumphant tweet lat night:

https://twitter.com/JudgyBitch1/status/476822883881459712

She has assured me that this is an actual quote. The “Wayne State cunts” remark is apparently a reference to the Wayne State sociology professor who, er, debated AVFM’s Dean Esmay on the local Fox affiliate the other day. Esmay has also posted a slightly shorter version of the same quote in the AVFM comments section.

So, yes, both the official PR representative for the conference and AVFM’s “managing editor” both apparently think it’s a great idea to refer to women who disagree with them as “cunts.”

Oh, and Bloomfield also thinks it’s hilarious to joke about Elam scamming his supporters of the $29,000 raised for additional security:

https://twitter.com/BhasChat/status/476907717194702848

You can’t buy this kind of publicity, largely because as far as I know there are no PR firms that offer organizations help in destroying the last tiny shreds of their credibility.

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titianblue
titianblue
6 years ago

Paul would never do that.

This too is speculation. But keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better.

GrumpyOldMan
GrumpyOldMan
6 years ago

I remember when Oral Roberts told his followers that if they didn’t send him money God would “call him home”. Too bad all Paul Elam can think up is a moldy old shtick about threats from man-eating feminazis.

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

What wouldn’t Paul do? He’s got no integrity. He’ll do pretty much anything.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

Speculation titianblue? I think you might be forgetting that moment when Paul admitted to pocketing all the momey given to the site. Give me a second to find the link.

Either that or I can’t judge sarcasm currently!

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

To anyone who thinks Elam is above pocketing donations, and to everyone who forgot/missed that he admitted to it once already — https://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2014/01/06/a-voice-for-mens-paul-elam-finally-admits-that-hes-been-pocketing-an-unspecified-chunk-of-site-donations/

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Woody seems to have missed all the comments from people who have gone to cons that provided far more for lower ticket prices.

freemage
freemage
6 years ago

Just for the record, Woody’s defense amounts to, “Paul Elam’s not a crook! He’s just incompetent and inept!”

titianblue
titianblue
6 years ago

@argenti, I’m just not that good at sarcasm 🙁

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

Quoting Elam quoted by Auntie Alias re the Muckraker comments section:

Delete this post if you want. I really don’t give a damn. You don’t serve yourself at all by acting like an irate librarian, instructing people what to say and how to say it in the same breath in which you are droning on about “debate.”

Because, of course, AVfM never censors posts on their website.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

Titianblue — split some “whoops, my language failure” Oreos with me? (Yes, the rest of you non-trolls can have some too!)

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

That was terrifying, why did you post that?!

titianblue
titianblue
6 years ago

I’ve got milk to go with those cookies, Argenti. Want to share?

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

@Argenti, if that question was directed at me, to prove how there is such as thing as bad PR. 🙂

And this got pointed out on The Frisky, linking to original site: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rossalynwarren/mens-rights-activists-are-leaving-anti-women-notes

Way to go MRAs!

titianblue
titianblue
6 years ago

Please let Fred and Sharon be producing the video of the Mens’ Rights conference …

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

Titianblue — you’re welcome to the cookies, but your milk would make my stomach sad. More for you then, right? 🙂

Pallygirl — yes, yes that was directed at you. That wasn’t bad PR, that was whole new levels of creepy.

LBT (with writeathon poll!)

RE: David

Well, I don’t know if Woody’s a sock (the IP/location doesn’t suggest any old trolls) but, seriously, Woody can’t be real.

I honestly just figured he was Mike Buchanan. You know, since Woody has said absolutely nothing except to kiss him or Paul Elam’s ass.

pecunium
6 years ago

Woody: @pecunium, your comment is all speculation. None of us know exactly what happened at this point. It’s possible Paul and his administration did make some logistical errors. This doesn’t mean he is a scammer. Paul would never do that.

Nope. My comment is expert opinion. At the worst it is educated guesswork, based on close to 40 years in (and around) the running of conventions: The good, the bad and the ugly (say, John and BJoTrimble’s “Equicons”, the short-lived Galacticons- [three of them, from decent to wretched, as the founder went from 16-18, and got a bunch of fawning hangers on who thoght cons were a gravy-train], and Doug Wright’s Science Fiction Horror and Fantasy Cons [where I did my first volunteering, stuffing envelopes, before Doug came down with some serious megalomania and started blacklisting people).

I’ve worked in pretty much every capacity short of chair (not interested, or I’d probably have given it a go). I’ve been gopher, worked Registration, Art-show, security, con-suite, Green Room, publications. I’ve run con-suite, and been head of security for a regional con (of about 1,200 attendees) and assistant head for a NasFic (attendance of about 3,500: the venue space was 2 blocks from the hotel space, so we were a bit spread out). I do supplies for Arisia (four days, 3,700 people).

I’ve had more con-com meetings in my house than I can think of (there was one just this week for an area filk-convention). I’ve spent a lot of time in the past 40 years doing this.

I’m helping promote a WorldCon bid right now (Helsinki in 2017), so I’m going to other conventions and talking it up. We throw room parties to show we can manage at least that level of logistics.

I’ve also done related work for events the Army needed to do.

So if you want to call it speculation, go ahead. It’s speculation the way Vegas speculates odds: If you bet against the house, you lose, because like Vegas, I know how the game is played.

If you have a compenent con-com, this sort of thing doesn’t happen.

You look at your up front needs: how many attendees? How much programming? How much function space will that require? How much does the hotel want for that much space? How much will they mark it down if we promise them 50 room-nights? What sort or rate will they give our members? What if we actually book 75 room nights? Will they give us a break if we have a banquet (which they cater)?

Will they give us coffee service? What about late night coffee service for the all-night function spaces?

All that gets ironed out (in rough) before the first notice goes out that there will be a con. Then you set a rate. If you are smart there is a reduced price for buying memberships early (for LonCon, the at the door is $205. I paid $60, because we pre-supported and they converted that to an attending because I voted. If I’d not voted (or not pre-supported) it would have been $80), because cash in hand is really fucking useful. It lets you know how much you can actually spend before you are digging into your own pockets.

So, Elam did that, or he didn’t. If he did that; this wouldn’t have happened. Since it did happen, we can be certain he either failed to do the above, or he chose not to.

If the former, he’s incompetent. If the latter he’s scamming you.

It’s possible he’s doing both. Based on his past behavior I can’t rule that out.

strivingally
6 years ago

Fuck, I don’t even organise a dinner party without at least getting a rough estimate of numbers and how much it’s going to cost to feed everyone. Are you telling me that Dear Leader Elam can’t even handle that level of logistical complexity?

Also, I’m having trouble keeping up – is the venue changed because of Overwhelming Demand, Ebil Femnest Threats, Ebil Femnest Protestors, or Fuck Those Guys We’ll Take Our Business Elsewhere? And have I missed the rationalisation du jour?

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
6 years ago

You look at your up front needs: how many attendees?

I suspect it was a fail at this stage. Based on past history, AVFM has great expectations of attendance that fizzle, like that time in Toronto. If you start out with grandiose, unrealistic estimates, your shindig is doomed.

I really think the chaos was manufactured to cover up Elam’s incompetence and then it spun out of control. Trying to pin it on feminists was just a bonus.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Also, I’m having trouble keeping up – is the venue changed because of Overwhelming Demand, Ebil Femnest Threats, Ebil Femnest Protestors, or Fuck Those Guys We’ll Take Our Business Elsewhere? And have I missed the rationalisation du jour?

All of the above?

pecunium
6 years ago

I suspect it was a fail at this stage.

Me too. I find,based on past performance, the idea they could get more than 50 people to attend, to be a stretch. I’m also guessing they chose Detroit because it’s close to Canada, and that seems (for some reason) to be the place they get the most active supporters.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
6 years ago

pecunium, exactly. Southern Ontario is infested with them and at least two of the speakers (Barbara Kay and Sen. Anne Cools) are from there.

If there was any doubt Paul Elam promotes fear and hatred, get a load of this announcement:

As unthinkable as it may be, we have been forced to locate conference speakers and AVFM staff at various locations that will not be announced to the public. We do not want establishments we do business with to be subjected to the kind of harassment and intimidation now normalized and condoned in feminist culture — and ignored by mainstream press. We want everyone, even our opponents, to feel as safe and secure as possible during this event.

For those of you attending the conference we recommend that you find lodging in or near St. Clair Shores, MI, and that you do not reveal to anyone you do not personally know where you will be located.

The man-babies in the comments lapped it up. They await the flood of feminists tweets saying the surplus funds will be spent on hookers and coke. Um, guys? That was one of your own.

They’re too dumb to realize that no one gives a shit what hotels people are staying at. Pauly plays them like a fiddle.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Wow. Paranoia much? Yet they think it’s misandry when we side eye a strange trying to talk to us on the bus.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

I don’t think it’s paranoia, I think it’s a deliberate attempt to mislead the general public into thinking that feminists do the kind of things that MRAs do.

Michael McG
Michael McG
6 years ago

If that band name is taken, I will also accept Gamboling Guerilla Girly-Men or Militant Manginas Of Madagascar.

“Insufferable Mansplaining Rage-Babies” still hasn’t formed yet.

Michael McG
Michael McG
6 years ago

If that band name is taken, I will also accept Gamboling Guerilla Girly-Men or Militant Manginas Of Madagascar.

“Insufferable Mansplaining Rage-Babies” still hasn’t formed yet.

LBT (with writeathon poll!)

RE: Cassandrakitty

I don’t think it’s paranoia, I think it’s a deliberate attempt to mislead the general public into thinking that feminists do the kind of things that MRAs do.

See, I’m even MORE cynical. I think that Paul’s deliberately trying to mislead HIS SUPPORTERS to put them in a state of continued dread and fear that only he can save them from. Nothing cements a group together like outside persecution, right? And if there isn’t any, really, well then, they can make their own!

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

@ LBT

That too. It’s a scam built on a pile of bullshit, basically.

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

They don’t need to take a red pill if they already drank the Kool-Aid.*

* Yes I know the drink wasns’t actually that, but this way everyone gets the reference.

LBT (with writeathon poll!)

You know what, since AVFM has been going on about death threats and harassment, I think I’d like to link this. It’s from a speaker at the recent WisCon, a convention devoted to diversity in speculative fiction.

GUESS HOW WELL BIGOTS ARE TAKING IT.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
6 years ago

That’s so sad, LBT.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
6 years ago

I think that Paul’s deliberately trying to mislead HIS SUPPORTERS to put them in a state of continued dread and fear that only he can save them from. Nothing cements a group together like outside persecution, right?

Yup. It’s exactly how Fox News ans InfoWars work: “Everyone else is lying to you, and anyone whose facts contradict ours is part of the conspiracy.”

kittehserf
6 years ago

LBT, that’s awful.

Nezumi
Nezumi
6 years ago

@LBT: I’m late to this, but what you discussed about Multi Moon Lady reminds me of a fun experience I had with someone who once identified as trans, but stopped once they felt comfortable expressing their assigned gender as they chose, regardless of social gender roles… and thus decided trans people didn’t really exist and it was all just being uncomfortable with your assigned gender role and not knowing you can express your gender however you like.

Uhm… no. When I thought I was male, I expressed my maleness exactly how I wanted — hell, I’m autistic, so it would have been more difficult for me to try to conform to socialized gender roles than to express it how I wanted. It still wasn’t me, and realizing that being trans was a real thing that I could potentially be still felt revelatory and like it explained everything about who I was and why I felt the way I did.

scott1139
scott1139
6 years ago

Relating to the link LBT posted:

Is anyone here familiar with the tumblr user cerberusia or the tumblr blog godihatethisfreakingcat? They’re both accusing the author of “On Telling the Truth” of lying about her heritage. As a heads-up, I’m almost certain the owner of the hatecat blog is a TERF.

MR DAD
6 years ago

Why do you disapprove of people having a conference on mens issues? Why do you disapprove that mens isssues need to be addressed? Please explain your thinking?

Nezumi
Nezumi
6 years ago
Reply to  MR DAD

MR DAD: Wow, that’s pathetic. We don’t disapprove of a conference on men’s issues, or disapprove of men’s issues not being addressed. We disapprove of the fact that AVfM is using the thinnest pretense of doing this to run a conference about hating women, and to spew toxic misogyny so forcefully you can see the plume from space.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Awww, MR DAD thinks MRAs actually give a shit about real men’s issues.

Protip, sonny: they don’t.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Why do you disapprove that mens isssues need to be addressed? Please explain your thinking?

Please diagram your sentence.

Isabelle
Isabelle
6 years ago

@MR DAD

“Why do you disapprove of people having a conference on mens issues? Why do you disapprove that mens isssues need to be addressed? Please explain your thinking?’

What conference are we talking about here? Because If we are on the topic of addressing, maybe you can explain if calling people whore is part of the normal protocol to “address” people on an official conference twitter?

“AVfM Conference 2014 ‏@icmi14 Jun 27

@jaclynf Also, you’re an attention whore, too. Whore score me: 3!”

Having volunteered in my younger days for Amnesty International, I don’t recall it as standard practice for a human right organization which wants to be taken seriously to throw insults, even at a corrupt government. I remember clearly writing on the behalf of political prisoners and somehow, I manage to not start with:

You F$#@ Whore,

Please release X ….

I don’t know about you, but I definitely have expectations about people speaking on my behalf, being my lawyer or my union rep. If I were you, I would not want an organization behaving like a troop of drunk baboons throwing feces at passerby to represent me. That would be my immediate concern.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

“Why do you disapprove of these people having a conference on mens issues?”

FTFY, and the answer is because they’re hateful bigots, with a con man ring leader.

“Why do you disapprove that mens isssues need to be addressed? Please explain your thinking?”

I…yeah, please diagram your sentence is the only conceivable answer to this. If you were aiming for “don’t you agree men’s issues need to be addressed” then yes, we do, but Elam et al won’t (and didn’t) do that.

So either you know fuck all about Elam and MRAs, or you’ve bought his shit. I hope it’s the former, but I’m not holding my breath.

Ally S
6 years ago

Why do you disapprove of people having a conference on mens issues? Why do you disapprove that mens issues need to be addressed?

Because those “men’s issues” are nothing but thinly veiled reactionary bullshit. They don’t really care about helping men at all.

kittehserf
6 years ago

So let’s see, an actual men’s issue that got mentioned – prison rape.

The audience response? Laughing when a guy mentioned fearing his son would be raped in gaol.

cloudiah
6 years ago

Do you think he actually makes his kids call him Mr. Dad?

sparky
sparky
6 years ago

MR DAD:

Please explain your thinking?

We think women are human beings and the folks at AVFM don’t.

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