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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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Isabelle
Isabelle
6 years ago

@Flying Mouse

“That kind of philosophy speaks to the inner adolescent: you’re special and misunderstood, everyone else is a useless waster, you deserve everything you have because of the clarity of your vision and the sweat of your brow. ”

I like your explanation. It works better than mine. I don’t know to what extent it can be generalize to how some of the most extreme ideas got steam when economical conditions impacted the demography of the guys in their 20-30s. It seems to be the case but I don’t have either the scholarship or time to document it better.

Flying Mouse
Flying Mouse
6 years ago

The randroids are against supporting moochers, unless that means they can force a woman to do so? I am shocked, I tell you.

Paul Ryan wrote an essay all about it!

The Cause of Life Can’t be Severed from the Cause of Freedom

The highlight is in the fifth paragraph he compares the rights of his hypothetical car to the rights of a hypothetical widowed woman living next door. Luckily, he magnanimously decides she deserves a few.

kittehserf MOD
kittehserf MOD
6 years ago

I just read a great description here – “I feel that Atlas Shrugged was like Twilight for sociopaths.”

Flying Mouse
Flying Mouse
6 years ago

@Isabelle – I don’t have any educated answers either. But I have some beautiful unsubstantiated theories!!! 🙂

opium4themasses
opium4themasses
6 years ago

@flyng mouse This reminds me of when a catholic randroid, coincidentally Paul Ryan, ran afoul of the Jesuits.
http://www.esquire.com/_mobile/blogs/politics/Paul_Ryan_Meets_The_Jesuits

For all the noise about being a policy wonk, Ryan doesn’t live up to the hype. Joe Biden’s debate with Ryan made me feel sorry for Ryan for half a second before I remembered all the disingenuous bullshit his budget proposal was marketed with.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

Regarding a WP widgets, they’re the thingies in the sidebar/footer/etc — look over to where the latest posts and whatnot are on this site, those things. The meta one includes the link to login to your site, and that really shouldn’t be totally publicly visible. On your WP dashboard (the bit were you write posts), you can go to appearance -> widgets and edit them. Unless you’re sure it needs to be there, the meta one should not be in use.

Flying Mouse
Flying Mouse
6 years ago

For all the noise about being a policy wonk, Ryan doesn’t live up to the hype.

It speaks to the state of the conservative movement in the U.S. when he’s one of the best they’ve got.

Flying Mouse
Flying Mouse
6 years ago

@kittehserf – 😀

I also like this one by John Rogers (everyone else has probably seen it, but it’s obligatory in any Ayn Rand discussion):

“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Ye Gads! Why do people keep giving Paul Ryan credit as the intellectual of the Republican party? I know they’re short on thinkers, but just, no. He just spouts the same old Reaganomics bootstrap crap. It’s nothing interesting. I guess he’s marginally better than Newt “let’s bring back child labor” Gingrich.

Funnily, Ryan has tried to distance himself from his Rand fandom. Is it because her “philosophies” are repugnant? No. Because of her atheism.

kittehserf MOD
kittehserf MOD
6 years ago

Argenti, thanks! I don’t think my log in shows, but I’d have to log out to check. 😛

Flying Mouse, I love that quote!

(Yes, I’m sitting here at 2am because my freaking e-reader froze and I needed to find out how to fix the blasted thing … )

A Wolverine
A Wolverine
6 years ago

Paul Ryan is the intellectual of the GOP just like GWW is the intellectual of the mra

and by that i mean they just pretend to be smart while saying shit that makes absolutely no sense and their followers eat it up.

Austrian school economics actively rejects empirical evidence.

Isabelle
Isabelle
6 years ago

Yikes, I wonder how Ryan thought he could mix free market capitalism with what is in essence Liberation theology. But then I cant explain right wing Christians either. I will fault the left to not have attacked the obvious contradictions in Christian Conservatism. The New Testament describes one of first socialist economic system. No wonder any Jesuit worth its salt can take him on and make a fool of him.

opium4themasses
opium4themasses
6 years ago

@Isabelle Don’t tell that liberation not to the Moral Majority types. They believe Jesus spoke English and loved capitalism and ‘merica. He certainly would have flipped any tables of any money changers.

badgerchild
6 years ago

Folks, I was sure, and I’m still sure, that the wooden necklace thing was a depiction of an explosion, meant to show the (perhaps violent) disassociation of men from women.

Oh, and I regret the necessity to say this, but I’ve been using “badger” in my online persona longer than female misogynists have been using “honey badger”. Not best pleased.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
6 years ago

I’ve been looking forward to Time’s account of the conference. I’m glad the writer added the fact that Paul Elam trashed her online.

Save The Queen
Save The Queen
6 years ago

I thought the Time piece was pretty fair. It acknowledges that men and boys have some legit issues and that particular men have been had a rough go with the family court system. Of course, she also lays down some criticism on the anti-woman tone and the fact that some of the assertions of their speakers just aren’t supported by evidence. These are legitimate and fair-minded critiques (as it’s the over-the-top “evil empire,” “women suck,” “women-will-bring-down-civilization” rhetoric that really takes away from their message and alienates people who aren’t standing at the fringes with them). Her suggestion that its doubtful that the movement as it stands today can really lend support to suffering men is spot on. it’s a pretty balanced article, especially in light of that Elam trashed her. I would have been far more snarky but her tone is fairly professional and detached.

Of course, the pro-misters there are dumping on her, insinuating that she’s a hack and writing in bad faith. Seems to me that what AVfM and their crew define as “journalism” is pure unadulterated cheerleading. Nothing but a pure sycophant is ever going to get acceptance form them. They would feel completely at home within a totalitarian society – if they were allowed to be in charge of it. This isn’t surprising considering that so many of them are incapable of critical thought. Mindlessly accepting statistics without examining the methodology of how they are attained is not thinking critically. Interpretation of evidence is not “fact” that makes certain ideas magically unassailable.

I chortled when one of the mister commenters linked the Reynolds article and declared it good journalism. Obvious conflict of interest is never good journalism.

tealily
tealily
6 years ago

Just to be clear, I didn’t say I thought Elam & Co. couldn’t be dangerous. As a matter of fact, I think many people over there, including him, would do some pretty heinous things if they thought they could get away with it or that nobody would know. But saying that doesn’t require a laundry list of executive skills attributed to Elam in every post, all of which I fail to see that he has, anyway. Jared’s posts just seemed to be trying to whip up a frenzy. And sorry, I agree with those that think he’s a sock.

Just wanted to clarify. I’ll drop it. 🙂

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

@teality
I especially had trouble with his oohing and ahhing over the conference and it’s “scholars”. Yes, there was a Canadian senator, but a good portion of the speakers were actual AVfM staff and hanger-ons. Mike Buchanan was a speaker and that alone is pretty humiliating. Layer on the fact that AVfM pretends to lead a global men’s movement and couldn’t get three hundred attendees to show up to the second real life event they put on in god knows how many years. Some of the sad and broken men that attended may be sympathetic, but the conference was a complete joke.

Maybe he was just quirky rather than a sock, but he really needed to slow his roll.

Howard Bannister
6 years ago

Ye Gads! Why do people keep giving Paul Ryan credit as the intellectual of the Republican party? I know they’re short on thinkers, but just, no.

See, the problem is that people put the quote marks in the wrong places. They’re to busy using them for emphasis on “real” butter, so they don’t have any left to put around Paul Ryan, “intellectual.”

pecunium
6 years ago

The sad thing is… Ryan seems to be what passes for intellectual rigor in the US Republican Party.

The Chartreuse Vegan Capsule
The Chartreuse Vegan Capsule
6 years ago

“The network of groups controlling the money (Haven in Oakland County Michigan being one of them) are very deeply invested in the myth that domestic violence is primarily perpetrated by men (it isn’t) and the myth that sexual assault is primarily male-perpetrated (it isn’t). ”

OK I can logically understand how domestic violence n general may not be primarily perpetrated by men in the United States (other countries are completely different) but sexual assault?!

Where are the stats that show American women are raping people more than American men are?!?!?!

The Chartreuse Vegan Capsule
The Chartreuse Vegan Capsule
6 years ago

“I especially had trouble with his oohing and ahhing over the conference and it’s “scholars”. Yes, there was a Canadian senator, but a good portion of the speakers were actual AVfM staff and hanger-ons. Mike Buchanan was a speaker and that alone is pretty humiliating. Layer on the fact that AVfM pretends to lead a global men’s movement and couldn’t get three hundred attendees to show up to the second real life event they put on in god knows how many years. Some of the sad and broken men that attended may be sympathetic, but the conference was a complete joke.”

Matt Forney was in attendance, seen in the back row of Jessica Roy’s twitter photo posted up by this site here;

https://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2014/06/29/with-a-voice-for-mens-conference-over-paul-elam-has-found-a-new-woman-to-hate

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

The interesting part of that photo is, remember the conversation we had here about what the demographics of the MRM were? Where people thought a high proportion of them were teens and college aged guys? Look at that photo. Not a man under 40 in sight.

This could mean that the young internet MRAs have no intention of ever doing anything except scream at women on the internet, or it could just mean that AVFM has cornered the “bitter angry divorced guy who doesn’t understand why he can’t find a new wife half his age” corner of the MRA market.

Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III
Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III
6 years ago

@ cassandrakitty — perhaps the younger crowd are a little more social media savvy. Might not want photos of themselves at this event turning up, should they ever get an actual girlfriend.

emilygoddess - MOD
emilygoddess - MOD
6 years ago

Or maybe the younger ones couldn’t afford to go.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

In a city the size of Detroit you’d think there would be some local proto-MRAs who’d show up, especially once they started offering to give away tickets for free. But nope, all I see is the older guys.

@Sir Bodsworth

I’ve noticed that most of the younger MRAs who say the really nasty stuff online make some effort to hide their real identity. Could be that they’re more net savvy and aware of how stuff they say online could follow them around, but could also just be that they’re more worried about rejection by their peer group, whereas for some of the older guys who love AVFM I get the impression that they lead very lonely lives and don’t really have a peer group to worry about offending.

(Note that this does not excuse the things they say online – being lonely isn’t justification for being a hateful asshole.)

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

Maybe the younger ones were too busy with their dudebro gamer activism to be able to attend the conference.

Sir Bodsworth Ruggleby III
Sir Bodsworth Ruggleby III
6 years ago

@ emilygoddess – oh yeah, I forgot how overpriced this thing was.

@ Cassandrakitty — also didn’t think of that. There’s a level of everyday misogyny that, sadly, most people don’t balk at, but showing MRA level hatred will lose you friends quickly.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

The Chartreuse Vegan Capsule — the bald guy right in the camera’s focus is Forney? *throws a party* that means it’s not my ex!! You just made my day.

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

Or their parents wouldn’t let them attend a two day conference without a chaperone.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Besides, the younger internet misogynists are probably saving their conference-going money for anime or sci fi conventions. Lots more women to harass at those than were ever going to turn up to an AVFM event.

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

Well, they do need to save their energy for going around harassing female cosplayers as being fake. All that finger pointing must be exhausting.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

I always got the impression that the reddit MRAs were younger and the AVFM MRAs were a little older.

The Chartreuse Vegan Capsule
The Chartreuse Vegan Capsule
6 years ago

“The Chartreuse Vegan Capsule — the bald guy right in the camera’s focus is Forney?”

I’m pretty sure.

*throws a party* that means it’s not my ex!!”

OK!

” You just made my day.”

Glad to be of service.

And yeah, if you peruse the internet blogs and forums it seems MRAs veer older whereas PUAs and MGTOWs veer younger in age.

redonkulas
6 years ago

I am the one who gave that statistic. and I am still in the military and can not speak on behalf of the military. If the usual divorce rate is 50% why is it unbelievable that 70% of comebat troop return to a divorce and 90% are divorced within 5 years? I also run secondclasscitizen.org and have spoken to over 3500 service members since 2007 and that stat rings true . I am the only one tracking this stat. But in the end I am just a dude talking about dude stuff at redonkulas.com

cloudiah
6 years ago

that stat rings true

Um, statistics don’t really work that way, at least not if you want anyone to take you seriously?

Interestingly, it appears that survey data indicate that military divorce rates are getting lower:

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2013/01/23/military-divorce-rate-down-slightly-in-2012.html

But it’s really easy to get access to reputable studies of the military divorce rate, so there’s really no excuse for just pulling numbers out of the air and using them because they “ring true.”

Here’s another study that shows that the divorce rate is higher for female soldiers than it is for male soldiers, and that the divorce rate increases as deployment lengths rise (but is still nowhere near the rate you claim):

http://www.rand.org/news/press/2013/09/03.html

I have found literally no study that bears out your figures, not even close.

redonkulas
6 years ago
Reply to  cloudiah

I have been with 3 units since the war began, in all 7 out of 10 married soldiers returned to divorce and only 6 couples out of the 500 men in 3 units , since are still together? That is way beyond the 90% number? and the pentagon numbers are a joke. this needs to be studied and documented by a social scientist. it is no claim I saw it first hand. I guess you can say I am an actual witness

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

But he talked to some other guys and they confirmed what he said. It’s not like it could possibly be selection bias or anything. MRAs are the most STEM man logicky of all the human beings and their “facts” could never, ever be anything but true!

Ally S
6 years ago

It’s okay, redonkulas. Your supporters will believe you even if you pulled that figure from your ass – you’re a man, after all, and of course the most ardent and unapologetic supporters of male misogynists trust everything that misogynist men say.

LBT
LBT
6 years ago

RE: redonkulas

the pentagon numbers are a joke. this needs to be studied and documented by a social scientist.

“Screw the numbers I HAVE ANECDOTES!”

Seriously, dude, I didn’t expect you to double down on your bullshit TWICE!

cloudiah
6 years ago

Redonkulas, Social scientists are the ones providing these studies that you are rejecting in favor of your own personal experience, which is based on a sample that is not randomized.

Here, by contrast, is the sample that the Rand study (made up largely of social scientists!) was based on just for comparison:

The Defense Manpower Data Center’s Proxy Perstempo (personnel tempo) file is the main source of data. This longitudinal file, updated quarterly, has individual-level records on active-duty service members including information on time deployed, military occupation, education, pay grade, and AFQT score category. Information for both hostile and nonhostile deployments is inferred from administrative pay records. The Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), a database of military service members and their families, has information on the marital status of service members.5 We include all military personnel who entered military service and married in the military between March 1999 and June 2008.6 We observe each individual’s entire history of deployments after their first marriage. The sample includes 462,444 enlisted service members.

cloudiah
6 years ago

More from the Rand study, which sadly seems to be behind a paywall:

Figure 1 also displays the annual divorce rate among enlisted personnel (the number of divorces in a given year relative to the number of intact marriages at the start of the year). This rate decreased from 3.1 in 2000 to 2.7 % in 2001, but then increased to 3.5 % in 2002 as deployments became more frequent and dangerous. The pace of deployments is highest between 2003 and 2007; however, the annual divorce rate is relatively constant over this period. Perhaps this is because couples selecting into marriage after 9/11 form accurate expectations of the high pace of deployment they will face, and because some couples married before 9/11 and surprised by the higher expected pace of deployment have already divorced by 2003 or 2004.

If you’d like to see the study, I might be able to arrange something. I’m not comfortable giving you my email, but you could email David and I could send it to him or something. Let me know.

redonkulas
6 years ago

I lived it, and you believe when you join the army or military during a time of war with the high deployment rate make divorce less then in the real world? OK I also marched down main street with leave it to Beaver? I lived it, I saw it, I recorded it.

cloudiah
6 years ago

Dude, we don’t need to mock you when you’re doing such a good job making a mockery of yourself.

No one here is denying that serving in the military, coupled with long deployments, can put stress on marriages and lead to a greater divorce rate. But your numbers are flat out wrong, and you keep telling us that we should believe them because you really, really believe them yourself.

LBT
LBT
6 years ago

*sigh* Where are our army vets when we need them? I’m sure Hyena Girl or pecunium could take care of this.

redonkulas
6 years ago
Reply to  cloudiah

for high operational soldiers like the 82nd, 101st, special forces, rangers, MARSOC and seals the numbers are correct, I spoke to over 3500 of them over 7 years plus seen it first hand. they are not tracking this statistic. but its cool, believe what you will. I am a military man and say this. “the numbers put out by the pentagon are wrong” it would not be the first time the government has lied to us.

grumpycatisagirl
grumpycatisagirl
6 years ago

You recorded Leave It To Beaver?

contrapangloss
6 years ago

Cloudiah, I’d be interested in that study! But, you might not need to send me anything… I’ve got access to some journals on the far sides of a paywall by virtue of a nearby campus.

Could I get the title of the study? It might be interesting reading…