I hope none of you are tired of messy breakup stories, because the one I’m about to tell is one of the messiest yet. It involves the all-female (except for some dudes) gang of irritating antifeminists who call themselves the Honey Badger Brigade.
In telling it, I will do my best to avoid using the phrase “the fur is flying,” because that would be trite and obvious. Here we go:
The fur is flying as ex-Honey Badger Rac … damn it. I’ll start again.
Flying fur was seen in the vicinity of … aw hell.
Through the air the fur … crap.
Some totally non-fur-related metaphor of some sort was involved earlier this week when former Honey Badger Rachel Edwards launched an attack on her ex-comrades for, she said, wasting the hard-earned money given to them by their patrons on self-aggrandizing pseudo-activism and a terrible daily “radio show” that grows more unlistenable by the day.
Karen “GirlWritesWhat” Straughan, the best known of the Badgers, has responded to this critique by calling Edwards a four-letter word that starts with a “c” and rhymes with, well, you know what it rhymes with.
The two have not exactly been the badgerest of friends for some time. Edwards, once one of the Honey Badgers who was neither Karen Straughan nor HBB founder Alison Tieman, left the self-styled “Brigade” quietly last November. Several weeks ago she started sniping at some of the HBB members in posts on Tumblr.
Then, earlier this week, she unleashed a long tirade accusing the group of
profiting off of the ambiguity of [its] mission … making something in the realm of 5,000 dollars a month and not paying the people who put in hours of time a week so that Alison Tieman can get paid to manage money poorly and fail utterly to understand even the most basic business ethics, or even how economics work.
HBB founder Tieman, Edwards complains, is
at best … an ignorant cry bully and at worst a textbook covert narcissist. …
[A]ll of her actions, are not the actions of someone who wants to help men. They are the actions of someone with delusions of grandeur, but who can not make peace with that attention seeking part of herself, and so she’s got to say it’s about men.
Edwards claims that the success, such as it is, of the Honey Badger Radio show is largely the result of what she calls the “natural gynocentrism … in the men’s rights movement.” As Edwards is hardly the first to point out, male MRAs love to hear women recite their own talking points back at them. As Edwards sees it, the Honey Badgers “are saying precisely what MRAs have been saying for years but in a womanly voice.”
As for the Honey Badgers’ most famous accomplishment — getting themselves thrown out of the Calgary Expo, apparently for aligning themselves with the internet harassment squad that calls itself Gamergate — Edwards basically agrees with the HBB’s critics.
Calgary? That was Alison having an excuse to finally have that installation piece she wanted, and to sell her comics. …
I don’t really buy the whole, “Oh my gosh! I didn’t know we’d get kicked out, thing. From Alison.” Because her actions are conflicting here. She set up the comic booth, that says she wants to sell her comics. She sets up the Honey Badger stuff, that says she’s there to protest and be provocative while riding on the coattails of Karen Straughan. The Gamergate Banner, says that she wants to sh*t stir. I on the otherhand was not there to sh*t stir. I was there to help Alison sell t-shirts cause I was under the delusion that she was a nice person.
Edwards complains that the other Honey Badgers never appreciated the hard work she put into the HBB shows. While she diligently did her homework to prepare for the shows, she says, the others more or less just showed up, with Tieman even admitting to her “that she and the others were half-assing their work.”
It took about two years for me to realize just how tragically bad these people were at doing what they do. They are a group of broken people who can barely take care of their own problems let alone those of men. …
[T]his is what happens when you take people who are only good at sh*t stirring, and have them try to manage things like money, the business end of things, and anything particularly detail orientated. …
[I]t’s all bullsh*t, and it’s a sinking ship. Several people have confided in me privately that they are no longer watching the show anymore. Long time listeners are tuning out and everything is hanging by a thread.
Meanwhile, she says,
Milo Yiannopoulos with only his charisma and unapologetic narcissism is doing a better job at this than anyone in the men’s movement.
The Honey Badger who is Karen Straughan has responded to these accusations with a furious rant of her own, declaring Edwards a liar, a bully, a “c**t,” and an “ungrateful bitch” who has only “a handful of followers” for her Tumblr blog.
Straughan has evidently been furious at Edwards for some time; her current rant incorporates two angry notes she wrote to Edwards earlier, but held off from sending at the request of the other Badgers — the first written shortly before Edwards left the Honey Badgers, the second after she started complaining about them on her blog.
Straughan is especially irate about Edwards’ accusation that the Honey Badgers — or at least Tieman — are profiting from donations while other Badgers are working for free.
Straughan’s response boils down to: Yeah, well you live with your mom!
As Straughan sees it,
Alison couldn’t run HBR if she wasn’t taking a wage from it, because she doesn’t have her mom there able and willing to put a roof over her head. I couldn’t do what I do without accepting money for it because otherwise I’d be back working 52 hours a week waiting tables.
But I don’t know if you even understand what it’s like to have to support yourself, because you never have.
Straughan returns to this last point again and again, going so far as to attack Edwards for setting up a fundraiser a month ago to help her mother pay her rent.
Meanwhile, Straughan says, the ungrateful Edwards can’t even admit that she herself benefitted from her association with the HBB,
[H]ere you are, having ridden our coattails to some small degree of notoriety, sh*tting on the very people who consistently promoted your work. And gave you free trips to places you would otherwise never have been able to visit, to meet people you would otherwise never be able to meet.
After once again excoriating Edwards at length for her alleged inability to earn a living, Straughan declares herself
disgusted that Alison worked 60 hour weeks to help make it possible for you to sit next to me in a lawn chair on a patio in Victoria and talk about how you don’t want to go back home, and how you hope we can do this again, because all you were going to do with that experience that cost you nothing was wipe your ass with it and wave it in our faces as if somehow we are stealing other people’s money while you were forcefed all that cash.
You ungrateful bitch.
And then it’s back to an even longer rant that mostly centers around Edwards’ alleged living arrangements, which in Straughan’s mind somehow make her ineligible to criticize those who, like Tieman and Straughan, “have bills to pay.” Straughan follows this with:
You f**king c**t. How DARE you? How f**king dare you?
I don’t recall Straughan ever offering similar critiques of Men’s Rights activists like Andrea “JudgyBitch” Hardie, who lives off the income of her husband, or AVFM’s Paul Elam, who has, according to Buzzfeed, relied in the past on a generous girlfriend to pay his bills.
Straughan is an odious person with many terrible beliefs, and I can’t say I have much sympathy for her “argument” here, nor the plainly abusive manner in which she makes it.
I haven’t looked up the numbers for Canada, but here in the US roughly 15% of 25 to 34 year olds live with their parents; it doesn’t invalidate their beliefs — though I suppose it might be mildly risible if, say, one of these mom’s-basement-dwellers were a self-proclaimed alpha male pickup artist and wannabe patriarch who has been known to post photos to Instagram of himself holding a giant wad of cash in and in front of a flashy car.
In any case, the source of someone’s income has very little bearing on whether their ideas are smart or stupid, good or bad. Long-time fans of The Clash may recall several pertinent verses from their rap-inspired song “The Magnificent Seven.”
Karlo Marx and Friedrich Engels
Came to the checkout at the 7-11.
Marx was skint – but he had sense
Engels lent him the necessary pence
This fanciful scene is based on the well-known historical fact that Karl Marx was indeed “skint” — flat broke — for much of his adult life, financing his writing (and barely paying his family’s bills) with considerable help from his decidedly non-skint collaborator Friedrich Engels.
Yep, the prophet of the proletariat paid his rent with regular cash infusions from the son of a wealthy industrialist. Straughan may be better at paying her own bills than Marx was, but somehow I doubt anyone will be discussing her ideas, such as they are, a century (or even ten years) from now.
That said, I’m not sure I agree with the main thrust of Edwards’ critique either. Oh, I don’t doubt that the Honey Badgers are bunch of incompetent narcissistic bullies who accomplish absolutely nothing good for the men they claim to be trying to help.
And, aside from terrorists or perhaps the assorted Republican presidential candidates, there really aren’t a lot of people out there that I think are less deserving of financial support than the Honey Badgers.
But if people with more money than sense want to send some of this money to the Badgers, that’s their right, even if it’s earmarked for a ridiculous court battle that may never happen, so long as the Badgers aren’t lying to them about where the money goes. I think their patrons would get better value for their money by lighting it on fire, or using it as toilet paper (preferably not at the same time), but, hey, it’s their money. (Oh, and it could even be more than Edwards’ estimate of $5000 a month.)
And as for the volunteer labor Tieman is supposedly exploiting? Well, no one is forcing anyone to volunteer. I mean, sure, if I had a “brigade” of other bloggers providing most of the content of this blog, I would feel pretty skeezy if I took all the donations and ad money for myself, but if Alison Tieman can live with herself, I guess it’s not really any of my business.
In the Honey Badger’s recently updated Mission Statement, they make the point again and again that they are “not a charity,” that the money given to them won’t be used to finance anything like a domestic violence shelter for men. Instead, they declare, “our mission is to create content … .”
And this, for better or worse, they do — shoveling out vast heaps of content in the form of daily (except Saturday) “radio” shows of an hour or two in length, in which they apparently discuss a variety of enlightening topics. I say “apparently” because I actually have very little idea what goes on during these shows. For all I know they could be hours-long recordings of people farting in public bathrooms.
Actually, that would be a considerable improvement over the few snippets of the shows I have on occasion forced myself to listen to. Several months ago I tried to listen to one of their “mailbag” episodes; much to my surprise one of the emails they answered had something to do with, well, me, and the assembled Honey Badgers spent several minutes discussing my sex life, or at least what they imagined my sex life to be. Is this a regular feature of their shows? I’m not sure I want to know.
Regardless, I found the Honey Badger discussion edifying — not so much the actual discussion itself, just the fact that there had been a discussion. Up until that point I had never even suspected there was a market out there for weird and completely off-base speculations about my sex life. Maybe I should make an effort to monetize this particular niche myself.
I guess I’ll look into that after this Honey Badger battle with their paddles in a puddle on a noodle-eating poodle is done.
In the meantime, the Honey Badgers’ fans are indulging their own sexual fantasies in public. In the Men’s Rights subreddit, one fan offers this peculiar appreciation of Straughan’s attack on Edwards.
I guess this is how the Honey Badger Brigade pays its bills.