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Mission Accomplished Mk II: Paul Elam retakes his failing site, declares victory again

But will there be punch and pie?

By David Futrelle

A little over a year ago, with traffic at the preeminent Men’s Rights website A Voice for Men plunging as its old-school MRA “activism” was eclipsed by a younger and in many ways nastier breed of antifeminism, AVFM head boy Paul Elam made a dramatic announcement (which I wrote about here): AVFM had won the cultural war, so he was retiring from Men’s Rights activism altogether to take up a new life as a $90 an hour Skype life coach for bitter men.

Now, with the site’s traffic even more anemic, Elam is once again declaring victory, hailing AVFM’s alleged “profound success” in a post yesterday — and announcing that he’s coming back to take over the site he started in 2009. If at first you don’t succeed, simply declare that you have succeeded and quit. Then return a year later when things are even worse to insist again that you’re still the champ you never were.

Here’s a video from Elam explaining the new direction:

Oh, wait, that’s the scene in This is Spinal Tap in which the band, having lost one of its key members, attempts to rebrand itself as a jazz fusion jam band, declaring to a sparse festival crowd that they “are witnesses at the new birth of Spinal Tap Mark II.”

But it seems like that’s pretty much what’s going on at AVFM — right down to the belabored rebirth metaphor. The title of Elam’s announcement post is literally, I kid you not, “Welcome to the rebirth of A Voice for Men.”

Elam is truly a man beyond parody.

Anyhoo, after celebrating AVFM’s supposedly “profound success” in “changing the cultural narrative,” Elam tries his best to portray the site’s increasing irrelevance as evidence that AVFM is TOTALLY WINNING.

AVFM and a small handful of others (mainly the Honey Badger Brigade) have spawned a legion of social commentators … Feminism has rightly become a dirty word. Feminist ideologues are back on their heels trying to defend their hateful ideology to a world that has grown weary of their corrupt message. We have been so successful, in fact, that antifeminism has become a cottage industry, with the new purveyors taking in huge audiences.

He evidently forgot to add “while AVFM chokes on their dust.”

Elam’s new plan for the site? Basically, he’s taking it back for himself, seemingly hoping to use what remains of its popularity to drive traffic to his An Ear for Men ersatz male therapy site. The new tagline for AVFM: “Men’s Health – No Apologies.”

Apparently Elam is convinced that devious feminists are trying to keep him from going to the doctor. (No, dude, that’s the Republicans. And your own stubbornness.)

The unapologetic Elam explains the new direction:

With AVFM’s thousands of internet backlinks in place, assuring a permanent, healthy flow of traffic to the site, we will leverage those assets to further a message addressing men’s overall health, sans the traditional gynocentrism, and sans the unhealthy paradigm of feminist ideologues who see masculinity itself as a problem in need of correction.

He follows this with a lengthy plug for An Ear for Men, where he charges anyone deluded enough to sign up for his coaching $90/hour to talk to him on Skype even though he’s neither a doctor nor a licensed therapist. It’s Men’s Health without Apologies … and without professional training. You will, however, need a credit card.

Oh, and he also boldly declares that from now on no one will be editing the posts that go up on AVFM.

AVFM will return to a very select group of contributors, by invitation only, who will have permissions to enter articles into the WordPress editor, and with solid self-editing as a standard. No more passing articles through a series of people to get them on the site. And no more need to burden editors with the tedious (and quite thankless) job of correcting spelling and grammar. Those who can’t or won’t provide well-edited material simply won’t see their writing on these pages.

Given that the site now seems to struggle to get even poorly-written articles up, I can only assume that Elam’s new insistence on KWALITY posts will mean perhaps one or two new posts per year.

What the new non-editing procedure has to do with men’s health — with or without apology — is anyone’s guess.

Looking forward, Elam offers this bit of inspiration for the troops:

This will be a somewhat challenging phase as we downshift to crest another hill in the journey of A Voice for Men.

I suspect AVFM’s journey going forward will look something like this:

H/T — @TakedownMRAs

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princess sunny burn
princess sunny burn
3 years ago

hey Paul, the (licenced, qualified) therapist I see every two weeks only charges me 25 bucks a pop. you probably think that you deserve an extra 65 bones just because you’re a dude and she’s not, though.

BoinkBoinkBoinkBoinkBoinkBoink
BoinkBoinkBoinkBoinkBoinkBoink
3 years ago

And when THAT marketing strategy fails, he’ll go back to AVFM Classic™!

PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
3 years ago
PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
3 years ago
JS
JS
3 years ago

“You only need to downshift going uphill if your dick (whoops, engine!) is too small.” – other MRA?

Moggie
Moggie
3 years ago

What’s that line from Spinal Tap? The popularity of AVFM is not waning, it’s just that their appeal is becoming more selective.

Tabby Lavalamp
3 years ago

AVFM and a small handful of others (mainly the Honey Badger Brigade) have spawned a legion of social commentators …

So he’s saying that even in cases like this women have to do most of the work?

Katz
3 years ago

I’ve got MRAs all up in my mentions and it’s making me nostalgic for WHTM. Paul Elam’s “deferred success” is chicken soup for the soul.

History Nerd
History Nerd
3 years ago

An Ear for Men is really nothing new. MRA’s have been involved in “alternative” self-help/life advice counseling since the 1980’s. It’s basically a bunch of traditionalist platitudes mixed with anti-feminist and anti-civil rights sentiments.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Feminist is a dirty word now?

comment image

Right.

I keep hearing that, but I’ve noticed that younger celebrities and celebrities that young people look up to call themselves feminists and it’s the older female celebrities that are more likely to be reluctant to identify as feminist. They’re the ones who pull the “I’m for equal rights for women, but I love men too!”

I’m not saying that female celebrities represent feminism perfectly or anything. Beyonce and Taylor Swift also represent capitalism and consumerism which are both pretty kyriarchal.

I’m just saying that pop culture is a pretty good indicator of the national mood. Particularly the mood of younger people. Feminism has Beyonce. Anti-feminism has who? Adam Baldwin? I think he’s had acting jobs since Firefly but that’s been the last thing he’s done that anyone gave a shit about it. There are certainly plenty of young angry men in anti-feminism and the alt-right, but they’re a vocal minority among the 18-35 demographic. I’m not seeing evidence of some big nationwide shift towards anti-feminism. If anything it seems like the stereotype of the man hating feminist is very slowly dying out and more young women are identifying as feminist or are at least friendly towards feminist ideology, even if they don’t think to call themselves that.

Maybe I’m being overly optimistic in the age of Trumpism to still believe in the whole moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice thing. But the huge and diverse resistance towards Trumpism tells me otherwise.

I hope I’m making sense here. Feeling like that might have been a big ramble without much of a point.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Katz is back!?

Hope you’ve been well!

Viscaria the Cheese Hog
Viscaria the Cheese Hog
3 years ago

Mission Accomplished 2: ACCOMPLISHEDER

we will leverage those assets to further a message addressing men’s overall health, sans the traditional gynocentrism,

Haha, you can fuck right off with that Paul. “Gynocentrism” in medicine where women’s self-reported pain is routinely treated as less severe than men’s? Where for years nobody figured out that the supposed signs of a heart attack are actually the typical signs in AMAB folks and AFAB folks tend to have completely different symptoms? Where many drugs were only tested on adult cis men before being approved for use by everyone? Where the medical decisions of pregnant people are under constant attack?

Edit: Katz! Hi! I’m so glad you got nostalgic and decided to stop by!

Austin Loomis
3 years ago

“I do not, for one, think that the problem was that ‘the band was down’. I think that the problem may have been, that there was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being crushed by a dwarf. Alright? That tended to understate the hugeness of the object.”

JS
JS
3 years ago

So, taking a cue from Theodore Beale (Vox NOT Day-o), and our Orangutan-in-Chief… Whatever happens to your plans (success or failure), declare victory after what was clearly a success to anyone really paying attention. Those people who thought it was a failure were wrong, because you were really playing 4-dimensional chess quality politics, and everyone else is playing tic-tac-toe. Because you successfully succeeded in winning exactly what you really intended to win all along, even if that was a loss.

I just want to comment on every post by Vox Day and now Paul Elam, “I see exactly what you did there.”

Paradoxical Intention - Mobile
Paradoxical Intention - Mobile
3 years ago

Hi Katz! Welcome back! (I have also made your chicken recipe a few more times, and it keeps turning out great! Last time I cut chicken breasts into smaller chunks and served it over pasta! :9)

PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
3 years ago

Hey, Katz, it’s been a while!

History Nerd
History Nerd
3 years ago

The people I know who support Trump are not really anti-feminist. They’re against what they erroneously think feminism is and they think all the mainstream Democrats and Republicans are lizard people or something.

It’s confirmation bias at work. The fact that someone dislikes Trump is proof that he or she is either a communist, a globalist shill, or “sheeple.”

Katz
3 years ago

Hi everyone!

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
3 years ago

@Katz is back!?
comment image

Gussie Jives
Gussie Jives
3 years ago

Ooookay, I think Paul’s well past the point where he just says these things to convince himself more than anyone else.

“Feminism is a dirty word. Right? Right? You cool YouTube kids get me, right? … I’m cold and there are wolves after me….”

kupo
kupo
3 years ago

Welcome back, Katz!

Dalillama: Irate Social Engineer

@Katz
Hi again

@History Nerd

The people I know who support Trump are not really anti-feminist

Yes, they really are. The genuinely support rolling back the legal and social achievements of feminism. You can tell by the way they keep voting for, donating to, and otherwise supporting politicians who run on explicitly racist and misogynist platforms.

Fishy Goat
Fishy Goat
3 years ago

@Paul Elam:

Cool story, bro.

Myriad
Myriad
3 years ago

Good to see you again, Katz.

dreemr
dreemr
3 years ago

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say just about everyone is against the straw feminism that the likes of Mr. Elam et al like to prop up as valid. So, uh, bravo?

Also, Honey Badgers are still a thing? I would have thought they were all retired and living it up on the beaches of Bali with that sweet sweet lawsuit money they were getting…

opposablethumbs
opposablethumbs
3 years ago

@WWTH

Maybe I’m being overly optimistic in the age of Trumpism to still believe in the whole moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice thing. But the huge and diverse resistance towards Trumpism tells me otherwise.

I’m trying to dare to hope that maybe, just maybe in the next few years there could be some more “huge and diverse” resistance to the culture Thatcher ushered in, and we get a socialist government in the UK. It’s going to inherit one hell of a fucked-up situation, though. And there will be vested interests ranged against it all the way from the rich to the super-rich, trying to cut their term as short as possible. But it might happen. It would be nice to live that.

Elizabeth Regina
Elizabeth Regina
3 years ago

Paul Elam free association exercise:

Dodgy facial hair

Diarrhoea medicine

Deadbeat Dad

Disseminating violence (and charging by the hour)

Depressingly still around

Desperate for attention

Leftwingfox
Leftwingfox
3 years ago

Those people who thought it was a failure were wrong, because you were really playing 4-dimensional chess quality politics, and everyone else is playing tic-tac-toe.

http://i.giphy.com/EZfbIY63gBZxm.gif

History Nerd
History Nerd
3 years ago

@Dalilama

I agree it’s fair to say someone is racist or sexist based solely on the effects of his or her behavior (they actually use The Daily Stormer and Richard Spencer as foils who they disagree with on race). But I think many people got drawn into pro-Trump propaganda on Breitbart, RT, and Infowars, though of course they’re still responsible for deluding themselves.

I don’t think Trump = Hitler, but he’s in the same tradition as fascists who started organizing in the US in the 1930’s. IIRC, the German-American Bund had a platform that supported ending Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, harsher penalties for race laws (like death for miscegenation), stricter race-based immigration quotas, ending all civil rights policies, restricting “abuses” of the First Amendment by journalists, etc.

Nazis had an impact on the postwar far right and various conspiracy theorists, including anti-communism and UFO research. Jack D. Ripper on Dr. Strangelove was a parody of far right military officers, plus it’s clear that Dr. Strangelove is still a Nazi.

History Nerd
History Nerd
3 years ago

What’s really frustrating is that Trump is a globalist neoliberal kleptocratic authoritarian shill in almost every imaginable way and people don’t want to see what’s right in front of them.

Dalillama: Irate Social Engineer

@History Nerd

But I think many people got drawn into pro-Trump propaganda on Breitbart, RT, and Infowars, though of course they’re still responsible for deluding themselves.

Thing is, pro-Trump propaganda consists entirely of white supremacy, misogyny, queer antagonism, and Islamophobia. In order to be drawn in by it, one has to already be heavily sympathetic to all of those things.

IIRC, the German-American Bund had a platform that supported ending Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, harsher penalties for race laws (like death for miscegenation), stricter race-based immigration quotas, ending all civil rights policies, restricting “abuses” of the First Amendment by journalists, etc.

Um, yes. There’s always been a strong fascist current in U.S. politics because of the whole ‘founded on white supremacy, genocide, and racial chattel slavery’ thing. I have no idea why you think this makes supporters not raging bigots, though.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Most of the Trump supporters I know are racist older men. They are effectively anti-feminist because yeah, they’re voting for a party that makes misogyny part of their platform. But they don’t explicitly identify as anti-feminist and it’s not anti-feminism that drives them as much as it is the racism and Islamophobia. They probably are the types of people who would agree with the notion that feminism has gone “too far” and I’m sure they have all sorts of terrible opinions about consent, but they also almost certainly don’t even know what an MRA or the Red Pill is.

Of course, none of that makes it any better that they voted Trump. Being okay with misogyny is the same as being a misogynist in my eyes. But if the manosphere thinks that Trumpism = MRM is now legitimate, they’re wrong.

Dalillama: Irate Social Engineer

What’s really frustrating is that Trump is a globalist neoliberal kleptocratic authoritarian shill in almost every imaginable way and people don’t want to see what’s right in front of them.

They see perfectly well. An authoritarian kleptocrat is what they want.

History Nerd
History Nerd
3 years ago

I guess I’m acknowledging that there’s a spectrum with a degree of nuance, and that there’s still a glimmer of hope that you can reason with certain people by educating them and being “nice.”

Button
Button
3 years ago

Any bets on how long before Elam gets paranoid that his AVFM inbox is being infiltrated by feminists writing parodies of MRA articles? And then, like Andrew Schlafly before him, starts turning down all of the legitimate contributions until only the Poes are left?

Ooglyboggles
3 years ago

Are you tired of all this W I N N I N G ?

@Katz
Welcome!

History Nerd
History Nerd
3 years ago

@Dalilama

A few studies show lots of people have Dark Triad personality traits, so probably some people want a kleptocratic authoritarian (or feel comfortable with him).

Dalillama: Irate Social Engineer

@History Nerd

I guess I’m acknowledging that there’s a spectrum with a degree of nuance, and that there’s still a glimmer of hope that you can reason with certain people by educating them and being “nice.”

Because it’s worked so fucking well before, right? Please articulate, to yourself at least, why you insist on making excuses for fascists. You might find the answer less than palatable.

so probably some people want a kleptocratic authoritarian (or feel comfortable with him).

And these people include all Trump supporters, including the ones you personally know.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
3 years ago

@Nerd

there’s still a glimmer of hope that you can reason with certain people by educating them and being “nice.”

Incorrect. A fascist can be reasoned with, fascists as a whole simply can’t. They haven’t been, they won’t be. We need to stop with this idea that the answer is winning them over. No, the answer is shunting them off to the asshole of society where they belong. Powerless, voiceless, meaningless. Quicker the better

PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
3 years ago

Yeah, I’m pretty sure my MIL, who voted for Trump, will be dying off pretty soon, because she’s nearly 84.

One less fascist, right?

JS
JS
3 years ago

The whole fascist ideal is that they don’t need to listen to any of these other people. Which is one of the (many) reasons trying to logic with more than one fascist is pointless. They have been trained not to listen to anyone other than whoever is above them. They have been encouraged to use, and agree with, logic that has no place in reality.

It’s like trying to reason with an air force unit that’s bombing you by saying “No, we’re really nice people, please stop bombing!” on the radio to the pilots. Listening to the other side is considered an ideological error of the First Order.

Ooglyboggles
3 years ago

@History Nerd
You know documentaries where a hardcore racist slowly changes to be a decent person and works towards helping others and righting wrongs? A common theme is that it’s an individual case by case basis.

Fascists deserve be stomped back into their holes where they belong.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
3 years ago

@PeeVee
Uhm… Buddy?

PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
3 years ago

@Axe,

Yes?

Z&T
Z&T
3 years ago

History Nerd,

I think I may understand what you’re trying to say. Indeed there are some people who got sucked into these bizarre conspiracy sites and went that way.

But there are other examples of people who are intelligent and are not bad people – and you have to wonder – WTF are they thinking?

I don’t know what to do about it, or what to tell them, either.

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
3 years ago

@BoinkBoinkBoinkBoinkBoink

I has missed you 😀

comment image

Also, it’s Men’s Health Week here. Lots of activities nationwide aimed at raising awareness of the mental and physical health issues that particularly affect men. All done without a hint of anti-feminism or misogyny. I know who I’d prefer to listen to about men’s health, Mr Elam.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
3 years ago

@PeeVee
Ya know? Nevermind, ignore me. Not even sure what I’m thinking. Sorry 🙂

PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
3 years ago

@Axe,

It’s all good, darlin’. 🙃

Tosca, Chaos made Flesh
Tosca, Chaos made Flesh
3 years ago

Mainstream healthcare is gynocentric?

Studies show that married men live longer than single men, and one of the main reasons is that their wives hassle them to go to the doctor when they’re sick.

The Patriarchy says that Real Manly Men don’t need to bother with no doctors. They shrug off pain, and carry on with their jaw set in a Manly way like a Clint Eastwood character with a bullet wound. They are permitted a shot of whisky as their sidekick fishes out the bullet with an unsterile knife, and they are allowed to sew up their own wounds with an ordinary sewing needle and cotton, but that’s the extent of it.

The Patriarchy says eating healthy, moderating alcohol intake and exercising regularly are Bad. Real Manly Men live on meat (especially steak and bacon) and beer, and sneer at vegetables as “food my food eats”. Bourbon and scotch are also acceptable, as long as they’re regularly drunk to excess. The jury is out on martinis.

Hard-core EXXTREME exercise like playing football or power weightlifting is Ok. If you’re not strong, fit or well enough to do such Manly exercises, you can’t settle for something “girly” like Pilates or walking in a swimming pool. Better to become a couch potato and boast about the size of your beer gut.

As for mental health…god help men who listen to The Patriarchy. Men don’t suffer normal human emotions like loneliness or grief. There is no emotional state that cannot be cured with alcohol and sex. Actual psychiatric illnesses, like major depression, don’t exist and you’re a pussy if you claim they do. PTSD or severe psychological disturbance channeled into violence against others is welcome, however – in fact, it’s AWESOME. Look at Batman.

That shit is in no way the fault of the medical system, Paul.

History Nerd
History Nerd
3 years ago

I agree it has only ever worked on an individual basis. This person likes me and has agreed not to use certain types of oppressive language (including “crazy”) around me. In general, I’d recommend denying fascists any legitimacy as a movement and not giving them a “marketplace of ideas” or any sense that people have an obligation to read or “debate” them.