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One Last Damn AVFM Conference Update: Man With a Camera Edition

It wasn't this guy.
It wasn’t this guy.

One last AVFM Conference update, with links to two more stories about that historic event.

The first, a gently skeptical Washington Post story by Monica Hesse titled, with a certain irony, “Men’s rights activists, gathering to discuss all the ways society has done them wrong.”

The whole thing is worth reading. My favorite bit:

One presenter, a military veteran speaking on the treatment of veterans returning from war, put up a PowerPoint slide alleging that 70 percent of men returning from war get divorced, and 90 percent do so within five years. When asked about the source of this statistic, he said, “That particular statistic is from my personal observations. I’m just speaking here as a dude.”

Ah, the prestigious Journal of Statistical Dudeness!

The second, well, it’s a bit more disturbing. DarkHorseSwore – a regular in the AgainstMensRights subreddit who raised money to go to Detroit to cover the convention only to be turned away at the door – managed to finally get an audience with some of the conference attendees and organizers – after the convention, as they celebrated at a bar and then in a hotel lobby. She got this access because none of them knew who she was. (Eventually Dean Esmay showed up and had her escorted off the premises.)

Now DarkHorseSwore has set up a website – DarkHorseSwore.com – and has started posting about the strange 5 ½ hours she spent amongst the AVFMers. She tells the tale of a strange encounter with one of the Honey Badgers and then an even stranger tale of an even stranger encounter with an old man and his camera. You’ll have to go read it. Be warned: It’s creepy as hell.

Oh, and she picked up some amazing conference swag as well. And by “amazing” I mean “possibly the worst conference swag I’ve ever seen, I mean, what the hell, and also why are they all beige?”

A wooden necklace thing, symbolizing who the hell knows what!
A wooden necklace thingy, symbolizing who the hell knows what!
A "What Would Honey Badgers Do?" button!
A “What Would Honey Badgers Do?” button!
And last but not least, a Shrink for Men chapstick! It's minty!
And last but not least, a Shrink 4 Men chapstick! It’s minty!

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cloudiah
6 years ago

Oops, hit post too soon. And here’s the title:
Gone to war: have deployments increased divorces?
By Negrusa, Negrusa, and Hosek.
In the Journal of Population Economics, 2013

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

What do you mean, the people who compile statistics have access to data that I didn’t pull out of my ass, and that makes their stats better than the ones I just made up?

#idon’tneedfeminismbecausemyassisalwaysright

emilygoddess - MOD
emilygoddess - MOD
6 years ago

He came here. He came here and he’s doubling down.

I’m so glad there’s wifi where I’m staying!

cloudiah
6 years ago

redonkulas, You seem to be impervious to facts. That robertson-law-firm.com link you posted doesn’t provide any support for your numbers. Saying that divorce rates are higher for some segments of the armed forces than others (which is actually the same thing the Rand study goes into a bit, but with CITATIONS) does not equal “70 percent of men returning from war get divorced, and 90 percent do so within five years.”

And in any case, you can’t really use a commercial enterprise that profits off of military divorces as a serious citation, just like you can’t use “me and a bunch of guys I know” as a citation.

Your allegations that this is some vast conspiracy by the Pentagon to cover this up are silly. Not because the military and the government never lie to us, but because they don’t really have an incentive to cover this up. They actually have an incentive to fix this problem, which involves first understanding its scope and causes. The military and the US government provide a not insignificant amount of funding to the Rand Corp, which means they helped fund the very study that shows that the divorce rate for deployed soldiers, especially for long deployments, is significantly higher than average. (It’s just not as high as you’re saying.)

Literally no one is denying that this is a problem. There is no evidence of any cover up happening. There is no reason for a cover up, when everyone acknowledges there’s a problem.

Now, no one is going to force you to stop pulling statistics out of your own ass, but you can’t expect anyone to take you seriously as long as you keep doing it.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

I’m going to soothe my “surely nobody can be this dumb” feels with the thought that given that he chose the nym “redonkulous” either he’s lulz trolling or even he knows he’s being, well, look at the nym again.

contrapangloss
6 years ago

Thanks, Cloudiah!

I think springer is one of the databases I can get in to! Bookmarking the link and copying the citation for trying when I pass through campus.

Redonkulus: Are you seriously trying to use a lawfirm’s blog (which doesn’t even say what you imply it says!) as a source for your assfax? Conflict of interest, much?

contrapangloss
6 years ago

Redonkulus should be short for “Reductionist donkeys doing calculus”

Redonkulus would be more interesting, then.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

I suspect that the only way for Redonkulus to become interesting would be if some genius invents personality transplants.

Flying Mouse
Flying Mouse
6 years ago

That robertson-law-firm.com link is actually lists a divorce rate – 25% higher than in the civillian sector – that’s within spitting distance of the 28% higher stated by the Rand report (link leads to a press release about the finished study). The difference can probably be explained by the date of the firm’s post (2012) and the date of the study (2013), since the divorce rate increased in the interim. So I don’t think that post is quite the “gotcha” that redonkulas thinks.

The law firm post does cite a USAToday piece that’s interesting: a profile of a Special Forces officer and his wife, who’re going around the country to talk to others about the strains that training can take on family life. It’s not too long and it’s a good read.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Redonkulus,

Q: What are anecdotes not?

A: Data!

Here endeth the statistics for dummies lesson.

Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

LBT — you want me to try summoning pecunium?

katz
6 years ago

Also, everyone knows it’s spelled “redonkulous.”

kittehserf
6 years ago

I suspect that the only way for Redonkulus to become interesting would be if some genius invents personality transplants.

Or implants, since it’d be very unfair to ask a donor to swap.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Maybe it could be a medical device, like a pacemaker, that provides the recipient with a personality that doesn’t send everyone they meet running screaming in the opposite direction.

(You’re right, it would be terribly unfair to impose some sort of Face Off-like situation and leave some blameless person with the personality of a troll.)

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

From the USA Today piece at http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/military/story/2012-04-24/military-marriages-special-forces-war-strain/54513768/1

Last year, Special Operations Command conducted a broad internal study of stress on its force. Hundreds of focus groups drew 7,000 troops and a thousand spouses at military locations around the world, and the findings were sobering: Many marriages had become lifeless unions in which couples stay together only because military spouses are too busy in combat zones to file for divorce.

Note the method is focus groups. This shows the research is qualitative, not quantitative. They won’t have collected counts, no one does standardised count-based research using focus groups. The facilitator interactions with participants and even the questions asked in each group won’t be exactly the same.

Quantitative statistics, how do they get collected again?

LBT
LBT
6 years ago

RE: Argenti

I’m not sure this chowderhead is worth pecunium’s time!

kittehserf
6 years ago

Chowderhead: the military movie not starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

@ pallygirl

I think you may need to start by explaining quantitative vs qualitative and why they’re not the same thing to our new friend here.

(I’m not even a math person, really, and whenever they try to talk stats it send me into “what is this shit?” mode, so I can’t even imagine how frustrating it must be for people who deal with stats for a living.)

kittehserf
6 years ago

Quantity vs quality: lots of MRAs, zero quality among the lot of ’em.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

I’m sure that women who’re better at math than most men existing is misandry, somehow.

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

@cassandra: someone who can’t tell qualitative from quantitative research – and how to deal with the results – shouldn’t be running their mouth off about how their own “research” is so much better. 🙂

Re stats. My perspective on this is that, in quantitative research, statistics provide the ending to the story. There should always be a descriptive narrative around them. If a person cannot provide the descriptive narrative, in plain English, they don’t understand the statistics they are using. That does not, of course, prevent people like ridiculousness here having a clear narrative and fudging numbers to match it. The name for that is scientific fraud.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Also, the answer to the question “ok, can you explain what these stats mean?” is not “they mean that I’m right and you’re wrong, so fuck feminism!”.

katz
6 years ago

I need feminism and I don’t need feminism

#SchrodingersCat

Thread winner!

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

@cassandra, truth, as that would be like having Hansel and Gretel as the narrative up to the ending, and then the story finishes as Orwell’s 1984. 🙂

@katz yay, I win a thread. 🙂

Jens Knudsen (Sili)
Jens Knudsen (Sili)
6 years ago

a regular in the AgainstMensRights subreddit who raised money to go to Detroit to cover the convention only to be turned away at the door – managed to finally get an audience with some of the conference attendees and organizers

‘s only fair.

After all we did drive out Vacula from the Dublin Empowering Women Through Skepticism conference with torches and pitchforks.

(Comment may contain lies and misinformation.)

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