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Reed College vs. The Dude Who Wouldn't Shut Up About Rape

Now I know how Joan of Arc felt
Now I know how Joan of Arc felt

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Last week, a news story out of Portland Oregon sent the right-wing “anti-PC” brigade into a state of gleeful fury: A student at Reed College was alleging that he’d been banned from class for challenging some commonly cited rape statistics.

“Dissent forbidden at liberal arts college,” a headline at Truth Revolt declared. “Apparently, feelings are more important than facts,” sniffed the National Review.

The New York Post devoted an entire editorial to this alleged outrage, declaring that the “real mistake” of the student in question, freshman Jeremiah True, “was to think Reed College is dedicated to the search for truth,” adding that

it’s time for Congress to start hearings on withholding federal funds from colleges that deny not just basic free-speech rights, but any semblance of intellectual freedom.

These bold defenders of “intellectual freedom” probably should have looked a little closer at True before hoisting him aloft as a free-speech martyr.

Because what he really seems to be is a troll — a real-world equivalent of the garrulous, irritating MRAs who fill any online discussion forum that will have them with bad-faith questions, personal attacks, and endless cut-and-pasted screeds, all the while doing their best to derail any discussion that doesn’t involve them and their pet issues.

As Mary Emily O’Hara reported yesterday in The Daily Beast,

True said he was booted from class because he questioned the concept of “rape culture” as well as the commonly cited “1 in 5” campus rape statistic. But Professor Pancho Savery, who asked True to leave his class, said that True had been disruptive in several ways that were making it hard for other students to continue their studies.

The disruptive behavior escalated, according to the college administration and reports from fellow students, to include yelling loudly in hallways to draw attention to himself, calling everyone who crossed his path a “n**ger” (True himself is biracial and identifies as black), posting inflammatory comments and name-calling online, and writing that he would “stake my life on this” and “I do not want to be a martyr, but I will do that if that is what is necessary to make a statement.”

Meanwhile, Robby Soave at Reason.com — a libertarian publication that’s generally happy to pass along stories of alleged academic intolerance — also reported that True was a bit, well, off.

He declined to answer any of my questions unless I agreed to write the n-word as the first word in my article about him. (I rejected this demand.)

And in a recent interview, as Soave notes, True confessed that he’s deliberately stirring the shit, admitting that he was

disrupting some events on campus, and just walking through the halls and calling people nigger. Because if they are actually going to accuse me of being sexist and racist, then I might as well act as an actual sexist or racist might. To date, I believe I’ve gotten 22 no-contact orders.

We’ve had plenty of these sorts of trolls here. I used to give them fairly free rein in the comments here, but after 5 years the novelty has worn off just a little bit. These days, I ban them when they start to get even a little bit tiresome. It’s really the only way that the commenters here who aren’t trolls can have any kind of real discussion of anything.

In the age of the internet, it’s basically impossible to shut anyone up. True may be banned from the discussion section in one of his classes, but he’s free to rant all he wants online.

And he does, posting long screeds on his Facebook page and on a Change.org petition calling on Reed College to allow him back into the discussion section he’s been booted from. He argues his case on Change.org with a bizarre and often histrionic 3500-word manifesto in which, among other things, he compares himself to Martin Luther King. Though he claims not to be an MRA, he declares his love for an assortment of antifeminist heroines beloved by MRAs:

I am a Freedom Feminist, and I believe in Dr. Christina Hoff Sommer’s message. I believe Karen Straughan. I believe Janice Fiamengo.

He wraps up his petition on a melodramatic note:

I may be a radical, but I prefer to think that I’m radical in the way that Martin believed Jesus was a radical for love. I believe so strongly in equality that I will put my entire life on the line to stop something that I am convinced endangers that equality.

No matter what happens. I love you, mom. I love you, dad I love you my dear, dear sisters. I love you my dearest friends. I love you all, and I will sacrifice everything for you. … I do not think I will make it out of this unscathed and I am sitting here writing this, sobbing uncontrollably. … I do not want to be a martyr, but I will do that if that is what is necessary to make a statement.

The problem isn’t that True is demanding free speech — he’s got plenty of freedom to say what he wants. It’s that he’s demanding a captive audience for his speech. Discussion sections in college classes are supposed give everyone in them a chance to make themselves heard. That can’t happen when one person in the room takes up all the oxygen.

I’ve been in discussion sections as a student and as a teacher. Part of the job of the instructor is to gently encourage those who are quiet to talk — and, as diplomatically as possible, to get those who talk too much to shut their trap once in a while.

Alas, some students, like True, don’t really respond to diplomacy; their instructors then have to resort to sanctions.

I never had a class with anyone as disruptive as True evidently is. But my time at Cornell University overlapped with that of a certain Ann Coulter — you may have heard of her — and one semester I ended up in an American history discussion section with her. And, as you might imagine, she would not shut up.

The professor, a gentle liberal fellow, was too diplomatic to really rein her in. So we ended up devoting a considerable amount of the semester to listening her drone on about her hobbyhorses — like her belief, which as far as I know she still holds, that Martin Luther King was essentially a Communist puppet.

But if she was blabby she wasn’t completely disruptive, and the experience for me was as amusing as it was irritating. That doesn’t seem to have been the case with True, who evidently went out of his way to antagonize virtually everyone in his class. That’s not free speech. That’s being an asshole.

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proxieme
proxieme
5 years ago

Kirby – I’m not really a regular (of at least don’t interact/respond back and forth in the comments section much) and I think you’re on target.
re: the thread of dooooom: I saw the beginning off it (not the end), but enough to see the flop taken by the new poster. You weren’t a Big Meanie, s/he was looking to be a victim.

lith
lith
5 years ago

In relation to the ableist discussion:

The way I see it, everyone on here has either been at the receiving end of the kind of shit that this site is about (or worse), or is sensitive enough to recognise that others are at the receiving end of it.
So yes, people on here are often very sensitive about a lot of things that other people don’t understand or think anything of, but generally they have good reason for it and it’s not up to anyone else to say if that’s reasonable or not.
And if someone doesn’t want a particular term using and there’s no reason to use it, don’t use it, find some other way to say what you’re trying to say – but if you can’t find a way to say it without triggering then consider that what you’re trying to say might need reevaluating.

It’s true it can occasionally be hard having discussions in what for new commenters can be something of a mine-field, but I’d rather it was this way than people be forced to leave because of a few heavily loaded triggering phrases.

We got a whole multi-culty sjw thing going on here, it would be a shame to lose it.

Lea
Lea
5 years ago

Kirby,
Thank you.

Lea
Lea
5 years ago

Thank you too, David.

sunnysombrera
5 years ago

don’t explain that in your country calling a person a something-or-other is perfectly fine.

I did this once and still feel a bit bad about it. I hope my example didn’t actually inspire this new clause in the comments policy since I haven’t *seen* anyone do it since. In my defence I did precede that “in my country” thing with an apology and followed it with “but if you guys don’t like it I won’t do it again.”

Was that okay?

Viscaria
Viscaria
5 years ago

@sunnysombrera, I think what David is referencing is comment threads that have gotten to hundreds of comments as a result of a single commenter absolutely refusing to back down their defence of terms that do not fly here. I don’t think you have to worry about it at all. 🙂

banned@4chan.org
banned@4chan.org
5 years ago

On another topic, how often does Change.org get used for terrible or useless petitions?

sunnysombrera
5 years ago

@David
Thanks. I thought it might be due to more than just me. Good point in just pre empting based on other sites. I’ve had a counselling session this morning for the first time in seven years and she is goood, so I was more emotional than logical when I wrote that. I have to go to work round about now but fortunately I’m able to close the Vault of Feels almost on a whim and get on with things when I need to. Took me a long while to be able to do that.

Leela
Leela
5 years ago

I’m a tiny bit late (and also a complete lurker) BUT Kirby, you are awesome. And the comments on these stories in general are awesome. I used to be an ableist asshole myself, and this site has done a lot in allowing me to recognize this behavior as well as stop doing it in my personal life.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

“everyone says it” in the UK.

It’s funny, I was just thinking of that when considering the free speech cartoon put up earlier. Obviously I subscribe to the “your gaff, rule rules” viewpoint of moderation and on an international board one has to be aware that words have different connotations in different countries. In the UK that word is used almost in an affectionate way, I can see how it isn’t in the US though! Similarly with the “T” word.

Maybe there’s an underlying issue here that in the US words associated with women are the worst thing to call someone but here in the UK it’s the opposite (”knob’, dick, ‘prick’ etc *are* insults).

Does that mean the US is inherently more misogynist; whereas here we recognise men are the problem? Any sociologists have theories?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

* “your gaff, your rules” *

AltoFronto
AltoFronto
5 years ago

…people defending the use of the c-word because “everyone says it” in the UK.

It’s not a defense. I can assure you that the c-word is extremely offensive in the UK, as well, and would not be considered acceptable in any context in a comment section such as this. (Although we brits sometimes affectionately call our loved ones by these names).

But it’s still the same kind of people who use that word in the US and the UK – people who don’t see anything misogynist in calling people c___s, and don’t care if others don’t like hearing it.

sevenofmine
5 years ago

@ Alan Robertshaw

First, “dick”, “prick” etc. are insults in the US. Secondly, the c-word is used as in insult in the UK. I interact with a lot of UK people online and I’ve seen this first hand. I’ve never actually witnessed someone using it in a way that could be characterized as affectionate. The word is tolerated in the UK in a way that it isn’t in the US. I don’t think it says much of anything about which place is more misogynistic. People are more desensitized to it in the UK, maybe but “less misogynistic” hardly follows from that.

A Mighty Teapot
A Mighty Teapot
5 years ago

I’d like to suggest something more broad than just referencing the UK vs USA c-word debate.* Maybe: “All gender-based insults, including those which refer to genitalia, are unwelcome here, no matter how you tend to use them elsewhere.”

*I’m not trying to start the same inevitably nasty debate here. I’m making this suggestion because I think a focus on one example might spark exactly that. Also “elsewhere” focuses on context rather than national boundaries so is potentially less finger-pointy.

Viscaria
Viscaria
5 years ago

I have to go to work round about now but fortunately I’m able to close the Vault of Feels almost on a whim and get on with things when I need to.

That is a pretty amazing skill! I wish I could do that.

AltoFronto
AltoFronto
5 years ago

Are we all still ok with gender-neutral swearing, though? I f*cking love swearing.

M.
M.
5 years ago

@A Mighty Teapot

Disagree with treating “Dick” etc as if they’re as bad as the c-word. There’s far more to it than them both technically being gendered. It’s like the n-word vs “Cracker”; one group has historically (and currently!) been oppressed and murdered while the other has historically (and currently!) been the oppressors and murderers, so a slur at the former group’s expense has a metric shit-tonne more weight behind it.

(Also, the only men who take gendered offense to “Dickhead” and the only white people who take racial offense to “Cracker” always turn out to be bigots more offended by having the group they hate turn their slurs around on them than by the words themselves anyway.)

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ sevenofmine

” I interact with a lot of UK people online”

I think behaviour online doesn’t correspond to real world behaviour a lot of the time (thank goodness!) and obviously how one interacts with strangers is different to how one speaks with friends.

I think the ‘no gender based insults’ rule is a good one. It’s an inclusive standard. Although maybe we should have a ‘in modern parlance’ element, otherwise we’ll be ruling out all sorts of words, like ‘punk’ or ‘hysterical’ for instance (although not fond of that last one myself)

KSRay
KSRay
5 years ago

Oh, freeze peach. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine this happening one day soon:

Man: “I was kicked out of the pub for talking too loud. What ever happened to free speech?!”

New York Post editorial: “Political Correctness in the Pub”

Pub owner: “He was banging a machete on the bar and yelling ‘I’ll kill the next fucker who walks in!'”

KSRay
KSRay
5 years ago

M.:

(Also, the only men who take gendered offense to “Dickhead” and the only white people who take racial offense to “Cracker” always turn out to be bigots more offended by having the group they hate turn their slurs around on them than by the words themselves anyway.)

Certainly in the U.S. this holds. It’s not even that they are actually offended by “dick” or “cracker” and want those words to be taboo. I betcha they call people dicks all the time. They’re offended that people think they’re assholes for saying the c- and n-words, and they want to be able to say them freely.

branston
5 years ago

I think when I say ‘mental health’, I tend to mean the wellbeing of someones mind in general terms, which I think of separately to specific disorders – Kirbywarp and others, apologies for any hurt/offence caused by my comments. I am happy to respect the rules set out here as with any other public venue (I might swearing is ok, but I still wouldn’t do it on a bus).

branston
5 years ago

*I might think swearing is ok*

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

Look, everybody, the troll has landed!

Seems the world is becoming a feminist dictatorship.

Seems to me you need to get out of your plastic bubble, son.

lith
lith
5 years ago

@Bina:

F minus minus minus – Lacks subtlety and basic logic, would not allow to troll again.
I didn’t even notice this one until you pointed it out.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

@lith:

I didn’t even notice this one until you pointed it out.

Maybe they were more subtle than you thought? 😛

I’m left wondering who the dictator is in this new feminist dictatorship. All the big names that anti-feminists keep bringing up are either not with us anymore, or individuals who only operate in a very limited environment. Nobody really stands out as a “Dear Leader” to me.

Sarah
Sarah
5 years ago

Look, everybody, the troll has landed!

Seems the world is becoming a feminist dictatorship.

Seems to me you need to get out of your plastic bubble, son.

A comment policy on *one* blog out of over 100 million (and software that allows anyone to create their own blog for free or very low cost, which they can then use to say whatever they want), and the world is a feminist dictatorship.

Anyway, if I may make a suggestion for a future blog post, apparently the word is coming out that the recent plane crash in Europe wasn’t an accident, and everyone’s favorite asshole Vox Day has come up with an ingenious way to blame this horrible tragedy on women, and specifically feminists. (Prior to this, he was yammering something about whether the co-pilot might have been Arabic or a Muslim convert, and no I’m not linking that one.)

http://www.donotlink.com/eaka

Quote:

Now, obviously no one else was responsible for Lubritch’s actions if it indeed was Omega rage at work. He alone bears the blame. But it is somewhat haunting to think about how many lives might be saved each year if the sluts of the world were just a little less picky and a little more equitable in their distribution of blowjobs.

As a 28 year-old airline pilot, Lubritch would likely have been married in a more traditionally structured society. It’s not impossible that the Germanwings deaths represent more of the indirect costs of feminism.

estraven
estraven
5 years ago

@Sarah, good fucking grief! Speculation is now that zero blowjobs equals deliberate plane crashes? I went and read that and now I need to go throw up.

Spindrift
Spindrift
5 years ago

@kirbywarp
“I’m left wondering who the dictator is in this new feminist dictatorship. All the big names that anti-feminists keep bringing up are either not with us anymore, or individuals who only operate in a very limited environment. Nobody really stands out as a “Dear Leader” to me.”

Clearly it’s a hivemind of feminist ghosts possessing a cat that telepathicaly controls all feminists. That’s the real reason an all female ghostbusters doesn’t make sense, feminists are the ones working for ghosts!

Viscaria
Viscaria
5 years ago

I suppose if you believe in the feminist/female hivemind, you could believe that a bunch of different people could be a collective dictator. I’m a bit moreperplexed as to how one kid being removed from one discussion group is proof of a tyrannical world government.

AltoFronto
AltoFronto
5 years ago

Only Vox Day would come out with “This terrible tragedy brought about by one person’s violent actions requires more blowjobs”. -_-

And yeah, that one troll attempt is such weak-sauce, it didn’t even register as I was scrolling past.

Who should we allow to rule over us as our Feminist Dictator? I vote for my feminist friend Katie!

Also – it seems really silly to accuse this blog of censorship when it already quotes the opposing side’s most heinous views verbatim. We let the manospherians have their Freezepeach, and then we heap on a barrow-full of our own in response. Perfect equilibrium.

Viscaria
Viscaria
5 years ago

They didn’t have my favourite flavoured coffee brewed at the Second Cup this morning. Seems the world really is turning into an anti-hazelnut dictatorship.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

@Sarah:

Also fun: Vox attempting to read the guy’s mind from a still, fuzzy photo.

http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2015/03-overflow/20150326_lubitz.jpg

You can see Lubritch is a small and prematurely balding young man, possibly somewhat overweight, his occupation indicates that he was more intelligent than the norm, and the uncertain smile he has on his face tends to indicate low socio-sexual rank.

You know, Vox, in his occupation as a writer, should know when he is in fact saying that the blame for this guy’s actions rests on every woman in the world who didn’t give him enough blowjobs. The comments section sure did.

Laguna Beach Fogey said…

If it’s true Andreas committed this act out of rage from having been spurned or neglected, then ultimately it’s a woman (or women and feminism in general) who is behind this.

I can already see the articles being written about his crappy love life: “The Sorrows of Young Andreas”.

This is the perfect time to speculate, point fingers, and make accusations.
March 26, 2015 at 7:36 AM

Then again, ” the gaping mouth gaping loosely open.”

M.
M.
5 years ago

… Yes, Fux Day, because lack of blowjobs is the only reason why anybody would ever choose to end their life. Clinical depression and other mental health issues are a feminist conspiracy and no cis woman or trans man has ever committed suicide before. Totally. Why on Earth do we have psychiatry and psychology when we have you? [/obvious sarcasm]

estraven
estraven
5 years ago

Not blaming YOU, Sarah! In fact thanks for bringing this up.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

*smacks head*

Of course! My feminist friend Katie, she’d be perfect for femunazomarx dictatorship!

Flying Mouse
Flying Mouse
5 years ago

I’m late re-joining the party and catching up, but I want to add another vote to the “please stay, kirbywarp” column. I agree with GrumpyOldMangina that there has been some less-than-gentle correction of newbies in the past, but you’ve always been measured and kind, kirbywarp.

I’ll admit, too, that I sometimes let stuff slide because I know somebody else will call out the the unacceptable (conflict avoidance, I’m guilty of it 🙁 ). That’s really not fair to the three or four people who always end up taking the heat. I’ll try to step my game when I’m here.

Sarah
Sarah
5 years ago

Not blaming YOU, Sarah! In fact thanks for bringing this up.

Oh no, you’re good. 🙂

because reasons
because reasons
5 years ago

Forgive me, I haven’t read all the comments yet, but this:

No matter what happens. I love you, mom. I love you, dad I love you my dear, dear sisters. I love you my dearest friends. I love you all, and I will sacrifice everything for you. … I do not think I will make it out of this unscathed and I am sitting here writing this, sobbing uncontrollably. … I do not want to be a martyr, but I will do that if that is what is necessary to make a statement.

Is terrifying. Could it be a whiny brat, looking for attention? Yes, and let’s hope so. But it sounds very much like the kind of things people say/write before going on a shooting spree. I hope that someone at the college has alerted the local authorities. They should keep a close eye on this guy.
I never understood this brand of person: the intentional shit-stirrer. People that know right from wrong, decent from being abusive, and STILL go out of their way to intentionally hurt or make people uncomfortable. I mean, wtf? Yea, dude. You’re just like MLK, the peaceful, loving, compassionate man who tried to do GOOD for the world. FFS. *shaking head as I walk away*

Buttercup Q. Skullpants

Vox Day can’t even get the pilot’s name right (it’s Lubitz, not Lubritch).

I can’t wait for him to start blaming natural disasters on women, too. “Hurricane Hugo wouldn’t have caused so much destruction if only that slutty ocean water would be a little less frigid!”

Regarding the oh-so-ironically-named Jeremiah True…he seems to be yet another sheltered college kid who’s figured out he can get lots of media attention and right-wing cookies by provoking repeated confrontations with authority, then martyring himself over the resulting sanctions (a la Sage Gerard, James O’Keefe, etc.). His idea of ‘activism’ meshes perfectly with the MRA brand of gadfly prank ‘activism’:

I have sent the faculty and student services scrambling for cover. It’s been an enormous amount of fun. This is the most fun I’ve had all year, and I have not this much fun since I was a kid. It’s so liberating.

If people are pissed off, traumatized, triggered, and afraid for their safety, then you know your ‘activism’ is working! (Apparently he’s made more than just the other students in that humanities class feel unsafe. According to one comment I saw on Salon from a Reed parent, several of the kids in his dorm have moved off campus because of his bizarre rants, yelling in the hallways, and assorted creepy behaviors. He’s been known to barge into girls’ rooms and make aggressive, unwanted comments on their attractiveness, then complain bitterly when he gets rebuffed).

He also has this to say about himself:

I believe that I am an emotionally capable, intellectually gifted, cutting wit, hell of a person. I believe I have experienced more trauma and suffering and pain in my life than many of these, well frankly, middle class white girls at Reed could ever know in their lives.

Yep, a real charmer.

Emmy Rae
Emmy Rae
5 years ago

It was feminism, in the boardroom, with a blowjob (or lack thereof)!

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

Now, obviously no one else was responsible for Lubritch’s actions if it indeed was Omega rage at work. He alone bears the blame. But it is somewhat haunting to think about how many lives might be saved each year if the sluts of the world were just a little less picky and a little more equitable in their distribution of blowjobs.

As a 28 year-old airline pilot, Lubritch would likely have been married in a more traditionally structured society. It’s not impossible that the Germanwings deaths represent more of the indirect costs of feminism.

Uh, this guy knows literally NOTHING about the crash, but he’s already speculating that sluts somehow caused it? With what, their Evil Slut Beacon?

Trust Theodore Fucking Beale to not get anything right, even the oddball co-pilot’s name. What a jackass.

Scildfreja
Scildfreja
5 years ago

This is the first comment thread I’ve been able to read in awhile, I’ve missed a lot! This Thread of Doom stuff makes me sad and I haven’t even read it :c I don’t think I’ll go looking for it.

@kirbywarp, I’ve been in the situation you’ve been in regarding trying to help make a conversation space safe, I totally sympathize. I think you’re doing very well!

Vox Day is skin-crawlingly bad. Seeing his name in something makes me turn the other way pretty quickly. I don’t understand how he, or other MRAs like him, can live in a world so disconnected from reality, and so vicious! Bleh. These people.

Last thing, promise. Anyone else snerk at the fact that this student’s last name is True? ‘Cause I really do think that Jeremiah False would be more appropriate.

Emmy Rae
Emmy Rae
5 years ago

David, thanks for working to maintain this cool community!

Kirbywarp and others who always call out ableism and other forms of nasty, thank you! (I’m thinking of you, Lea!) I try to be ready to step in and do my part but usually someone already has, which is awesome.

dhag85
5 years ago

Umm, I was under the impression that ktrantingredhead was a normal regular here. Where in the flying fuck is this “multi-culty” and “PC” crap coming from? Did her account get hijacked or was she a racist crackpot all along and I just didn’t notice?

dhag85
5 years ago

Fuck. Now I’m getting paranoid that “crackpot” might be considered a slur. I’ll go ahead and apologize just to be sure.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Kirbywrap,
The feminist dictator is Katie, obviously!

Sarah,
Wtf? How does he even know whether or not the pilot has an active sex life? He doesn’t. Picky sluts is also an oxymoron.

On gendered insults; dick and pick are typically used as synonyms for asshole. The type of people who feign offense at those insults are the sort to take pride in being an asshole. On the other hand, female gendered insults tend to denote weakness, cowardice, or worthlessness. Things that are always seen as bad. Being an asshole is actually social acceptable for men anywhere besides social justice oriented places. So, in addition to gendered insults for men not being as bad because it’s describing a privileged group, the insults are less severe.

I would say cock sucker is unacceptable though because it’s homophobic.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/14/Vox_Day_by_Tracy_White_promo_pic.jpg/220px-Vox_Day_by_Tracy_White_promo_pic.jpg

You can see…a small and prematurely balding young man, possibly somewhat overweight, his occupation indicates that he was more intelligent than the norm, and the uncertain smile he has on his face tends to indicate low socio-sexual rank.

…Huh.

Falconer
5 years ago

Please stay, kirby — you’re a lot better at expressing yourself about ableism than I am.

Trust Vox Day to turn tragedy into a beatstick. Jesus wept.