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If you missed me on Al Jazeera America, they're rerunning the show today at 12:30 PM ET

Your Martin Luther King impression just isn't cutting it, dude.
Your Martin Luther King impression just isn’t cutting it, dude.

The human rights visionary looked down at what he had just written and smiled. Would these be the words he was remembered for?

Thomas Jefferson had that line about all men being created equal. It was bullshit, of course, but people ate that crap up. Martin Luther King had that thing about his kids not being judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. That was pretty good, he had to admit. People love cute stories about kids.

Gandhi had that thing, how did it go? That thing about everyone laughing at you, and fighting, and then you win something? That wasn’t quite it, but Gandhi was kind of a wuss, anyway. Would people even remember that dopey skinny dude in a diaper in a hundred years?

He chuckled quietly to himself.

They would certainly remember him, he thought. And they would remember the words he had tapped out on his laptop shortly before midnight that fateful summer night, on the eve of the historic conference that would, he knew, change the world forever.

One day, he was sure, these three sentences – well, two sentences and a sentence fragment, to be more precise – would be etched in stone.

He reached down, and clicked “Tweet.”

So anyway, just a reminder:  if you missed me on Al Jazeera America’s The Stream on Tuesday, facing off against AVFM’s Robert O’Hara, they’re rerunning the show today at 12:30 PM ET. 

It’s only on TV, though, not online. Click here to see if you get Al Jazeera America on your TV provider.


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Fox News lends a hand to the White Men’s Rights Movement

Suzanne Venker: White Men's Rights Activist
Suzanne Venker: White Men’s Rights Activist

In a case of spectacularly bad timing, Fox News happened to choose the day before the Zimmerman verdict was handed down to publish an op-ed proclaiming “the White American Male” to be the most oppressed creature on Planet Earth. In a piece entitled “Men — The New Second Class Citizens,” professional antifeminist Suzanne Venker declared that

From boyhood through adulthood, the White American Male must fight his way through a litany of taunts, assumptions and grievances about his very existence. His oppression is unlike anything American women have faced.

What is revealing about this quote, besides its complete disconnection from reality, is that Venker makes no other references to race in the rest of her piece, which runs through a number of tiresome and oh-so-familiar MRA talking points about the alleged oppression of men.

Venker complains about schools being biased towards girls, from grade schools that force students to sit still to colleges with their infernal Title IX. She whines about “sit coms and commercials that portray dad as an idiot.”

Quoting antifeminist psychologist Helen Smith, a friend of and sometime contributor to A Voice for Men, she suggests that women can get their boyfriends or husbands locked up on a whim just by claiming abuse.

I’m surprised she didn’t talk about the evils of “friend zoning.”

But when Venker refers to “men” in all of these complaints, she is evidently thinking only of white men — why else would she switch so seamlessly from talking about the alleged oppression of “men” to proclaiming “the White American Male” the ultimate victim?

There’s really no other word for this than, well, racist.

The day after Fox published Venker’s nonsense, we were of course reminded (as if any of us really needed to be reminded) of the very real oppression faced by “the Black American Male.”

Trayvon Martin didn’t die because he happened to see a show featuring a bumbling sitcom dad. He died because George Zimmerman saw a young black man in a hoodie walking home from the store and assumed, apparently because Martin was young and black and wearing a hoodie, that he was up to something sinister.

Trayvon Martin didn’t die because he was male; he died because he was a black male. His killer walked free not because his victim was male, but because his victim was a black male.

Suzanne Venker did us all a favor by revealing the unconscious racism underlying so many Men’s Rights complaints. The Men’s Rights movement is not only a movement that is overwhelmingly made up of white men; it’s a movement that’s almost exclusively about white men, and their largely imaginary oppressions, as well. We might as well call it the White Men’s Rights Movement.

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Seth MacFarlane was the real boob on Oscar night


I find the Oscars tedious, and only watched a few minutes last night — I bailed shortly after Captain Kirk made his appearance — but apparently I should have stuck around, if only to watch the insufferable Seth MacFarlane’s award-winning performance as Unfunny Misogynist Asshole Host.

What, you say, he didn’t actually win an award for that? Well, yes he did: Having read a number of accounts of the whole sorry spectacle, I’m awarding MacFarlane the non-coveted Man Boobz Boob of the Day Award (Oscar Edition). In the wake of MacFarlane’s performance at the Oscars, in which he devoted a whole song to actresses’ breasts, I should note that I am using the word “boob” to mean “nincompoop.” Which, to be honest, is an undeservedly mild epithet for a guy who punctuated his comments with repeated jokes about rape.

A few of the highlights of MacFarlane’s night:

That song-and-dance number about how great it is to see so many boobs in films  – including, specifically, in The Accused, and Monster, and Boys Don’t Cry. You know, during the rape scenes in those quie serious films.

MacFarlane’s animatronic teddy bear (from his movie Ted) joking about attending an orgy at Jack Nicholson’s house – you know, the place where Roman Polanski raped a 13-year old girl.

Oh, and then there was MacFarlane joking about how 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis would be too old to date George Clooney in about 16 years. (What, is Heartiste writing MacFarlane’s jokes?) And his bizarre domestic violence joke about Chris Brown and Rihanna. And on and on. (See here for many more examples.)

Getting into the spirit of the evening, whoever was doing The Onion’s twitter account decided it would be hilarious to refer to the aforementioned 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis as a “cunt.” The Onion later deleted the tweet and offered an apology for it.

Somehow I doubt we’re going to get an apology from MacFarlane.

Here are a couple more takes on the whole unfortunate evening.

Why Seth MacFarlane’s Misogyny Matters (Vulture)

Seth MacFarlane and the Oscars’ Hostile, Ugly, Sexist Night (The New Yorker)

Oscar Watch: Was That Awful or What? (NY Post)

EDITED TO ADD: Oh, joy! The Men’s Rights subreddit weighs in on the issue, in a thread sort-of-responding to that New Yorker piece.

EDITED TO ADD AGAIN: Actually, r/mensrights has two threads on the subject; here’s the other one.

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On Fox News, the painful realization that white dudes are no longer the center of everything

Up all night. Too tired to scan the manosphere for weird reactions to Obama’s victory.

But here are some scenes from last night as a couple of backwards white dudes attempted to come to terms with the new demographic realities that enabled Obama to win the election despite getting a smaller percentage of the white vote than Michael Dukakis did in 1988.

Karl Rove, on Fox News, responded to the new realities with good old-fashioned denial, arguing with the number-crunchers for Fox after they called Ohio as a win for Obama. Rove must have thought he’d bought the election good and square!

Bill O’Reilly, meanwhile, responded with, well,  there’s really no other word for it than racism:

Also, while we’re talking demographics, here’s a nice pithy breakdown of the gender gap, from ABC news:

Women favored Obama by 11 points while men backed Romney by 7; the gender gap has been bigger just once, in 2000 (when men were +11 Bush and women were +11 Gore). Add in marital status and the gaps become garish: Married men for Romney by 60-38 percent; unmarried women (younger, more Democratic, more aligned with Obama on social and role-of-government issues) backed the incumbent by 67-31 percent.

Grouchy entitled white dudes, get used to it.

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Bill O’Reilly ogles the single woman voter

So the lovely and talented Bill O’Reilly of Fox news has had a bug in his butt about single women voters for a while now — at least since he ran across a Gallup poll a couple months back showing that single women as a group overwhemlingly support Obama.

So last night he sent a “reporter” out to investigate these strange creatures. Or at least those representatives of the single female demographic that happened to be wearing skimpy and/or silly Halloween costumes.

Amanda Marcotte offers a few thoughts about the segment in a post on Slate.

Here’s an equally “fair and balanced” look at the world of single male voters.

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Here’s the video of the Al Jazeera English show featuring Helen Lewis and Rebecca Watson, among others, and me.

It’s  pretty good show. Most of the discussion involves social media researcher and Fordham professor Alice Marwick and Helen Lewis of the New Statesman. Those of us in the Google+ Hangout pop in briefly with comments and questions.

FWIW, I appear only briefly in the show proper, but I have a somewhat longer (and a bit more coherent) comment in the ten minute “online only” portion that immediately follows the show (and which is also on this video).

It was a somewhat strange, if educational, experience, my first appearance on TV. (The next time I get webcammed into a show, I won’t reflexively look down at the laptop while talking.) It all went by really, really quickly. Weirdly frantic behind the scenes as the producer tried to slot us all in.

The comments on the video on YouTube nicely  illustrate the problem we were discussing; that is, they are a rancid pile of misogynistic shitlordery.

My favorite comment is this one from Urhoboman5 about Rebecca Watson:

At 5;30 that chick has a youtube channel. Just type in rebecca feminist and you’ll find it. Interesting how most of her videos are voted down. Sometimes as much as 80% negative because the stuff she says is pure nonsense.

That’s right. He actually thinks that the fact that her videos are targeted by downvote squads proves that she’s wrong to talk about harassment. She’s harassed by dudes who don’t like her talking about harassment so therefore it’s “nonsense” for her to talk about harassment. Brilliant.