Under the Crazy Rug

We’re now well into the “whose fault is it, anyway” phase of our standard post-shooting process, including our usual do-si-do over gun control versus gun rights. You know how that one goes.

A wrinkle in the Isla Vista shootings is that the alleged perp, Elliot Rodger, appears to have been deeply into the online “Men’s Rights” culture, which I think of as the He-Man Women Hater’s Club. Women are “targets” or “game” to this crew, although it would be wrong to say that they speak of women the same way a duck hunter speaks of mallards. Duck hunters are not seething with resentment of mallards. Duck hunters do not imagine that mallards are ruining their lives or plotting against them out of sheer inbred evil.

So on the one hand there are articles by Katie McDonough blaming “toxic male entitlement” and one by Amanda Hess calling out online “pick up” culture.

The counter-argument is expressed in a comment to McDonough’s article:

So if society were more respectful of women this would not have happened?

Misogyny played no role in this, mental illness did. Instead of addressing that issue, that is so clear you can see it from space. You turn it into a soap box for your favourite agenda.

Basically you are saying, misogyny turned this perfectly normal kid into a killer.

Wrong, mental illness did.

The problem with the “mental illness” theory is that there’s no indication the shooter was psychotic. Maladjusted, yes. A walking catalog of personality disorders, no doubt. Badly socialized, certainly. But he was not “insane.” He didn’t believe he was being controlled by Alpha Waves from Mars. He was capable of knowing right from wrong. Had he lived, he would have been fit to stand trial.

So, to all those who would sweep any motivation for the shootings under the crazy rug — I don’t think so.

The “Men’s Rights” culture really is a toxic soup of misogyny, and as with many online cultures there’s a tendency for participants to push each other into becoming more and more extreme. If Rodger was “mentally ill” so are a lot of the other jerks who write stuff like this:

I’m trying to think of ways our enemies will come after us because of this, but if anything, we’re the solution to this sort of murder rampage. This is the society that progressives wanted, where women are fully able to choose the top 10% of alpha males while shaming masculinity, leaving beta males with modest resources in the dust. Of course they will simply push a ban on guns, but this wholly neglects the cause. Seven people died because this guy couldn’t get laid, at the same time the Federal government is pursuing kangaroo courts to kick men out of college for “rape” that doesn’t need to be proved in a court of law. How can they not see this connection?

Society gave beta males a bargain—they work hard with the expectation of a wife and family. That bargain no longer exists so we can’t be surprised when one loses his mind and starts shooting. At the very least, prostitution should be legalized as a release valve. If the killer had access to some high quality hookers for $150 a pop, it would have given him some meaning.

This is an in-group culture that encourages the sexual objectification of women while also nurturing a fanatical grievance against them. In my book I argue that the combination of “holy cause” and “fanatical grievance” is at the root of most mass violence in the world. I’m not sure about the holy cause part, but these guys have got the fanatical grievance in spades.

This is a culture that not only winks at misogyny; it’s also one that makes oppressing women seem heroic. A guy who can somehow demean women is scoring one for the team. Of course, other men, the ones who get along with women, are resented as well.

If you combine that toxic culture with someone with a personality or socialization disorder, anything is possible. And I suspect most of these guys have personality or socialization disorders, or they wouldn’t be drawn to the culture. And their online interaction sets up a feedback loop that makes them all worse. I don’t think most of them will become mass murderers, but that’s only because most of them aren’t suicidal. If they weren’t concerned about repercussions they would be very dangerous, indeed.

See also Steve M.

Update: See also Strangely Blogged.

16 thoughts on “Under the Crazy Rug

  1. “I’m not sure about the holy cause part, but these guys have got the fanatical grievance in spades.”

    The “holy cause” is to satisfy their libido’s and private parts.
    In their “crusades,” the woman is merely the target for conquest, and not seen as a living, thinking, or feeling, human being. And that’s why these morons can’t distinguish rape and date rape, from a consensual sexual encounter.
    All that matters, is the conquest!

    The “Alpha’s” here clearly think that they’re the superior sexual 1% wannabe’s/think-I-am’s, and the “Beta’s” are the losers, moochers, takers, parasites, and “sloppy-second” takers.

    What a bunch of (very!) potentially dangerous sociopathic losers!
    Misogyny kills. And this kid is an example of it – fed by the misogynistic spewing’s from his fellow morons at “Pick-up Artists” – PUA’s.

    Sex without love is merely a biological function. So is masturbation.
    Sex with love, is amazing, and oh-so human.

    I guess these potentially dangerous sociopathic losers took one of Woody Allen’s lines seriously – “Sex without love is an empty experience. But, as far as empty experiences go – it’s one of the best!”
    Either that, or they took the early episodes of “Mad Men” too seriously.

    Thankfully, more and more men are better than these sociopathic losers.
    I am ready for our first woman President, more than ever!
    Though I’m pretty sure THAT’LL work out about as well as having our first Black President.
    These sociopathic male losers will be having a field day – spouting misogynistic BS from their “Alpha” “leaders.”
    FSM, what a pack of hate-and fear-filled morons!
    Dude’s! – the women around you are far, far superior to YOU assclowns.
    Maybe that why that kid, and you, can’t get dates!

  2. I didn’t know this type of misogyny existed outside primitive cultures or backwoods rustics.I usually hang with the women in the kitchen while the other guys watch sports on the tee vee.

  3. Wow, I just read Steve M’s link. It exposed me to some things I never knew existed. Makes me glad my daughter made an excellent choice with her boyfriend my wife and I were concerned she would fall for some self absorbed jock type

  4. I have to agree with erinyes that this degree of male self-absorption is beyond my experience. Which is not to suggest I am a saint – certainly not when I was the shooter’s age in the US Navy with plenty of opportunities which I availed myself of – with patriotic enthusiasm. But here’s where I never walked the same ground as this guy.

    When I have been seeking or in a committed relationship, it was about the two of us as people, with sex as a major plus. When I have been on the prowl for a physical relationship it was never about conquest or competition. It’s been years since I was in a strip club (how many women will frown at ‘strip club’?) but when I attended I tipped as well as I could afford, treated the girls as people, and their occupation as a job. They work on ‘commission’ or tips and I didn’t try to keep them at my table with false promises, but I would invite them to ‘work the room’ and if there was nothing more promising, come back and talk. Many did. (And not because of my Alpha looks.)

    This ‘confession’ can’t play well on a liberal web site run by a woman with feminist tendencies. But I am trying to make a point. Not all men or women can or will be ruled by noble motives. Is anyone always above the sexual drives that – drive us? Not me, that’s for sure. But in my worst moments, I don’t and even in my teens didn’t treat women as objects of conquest and other males as competition to rate and defeat.

    Sometimes in our society, there is not a lot of room in the middle of expected or allowed behaviors whether the left or the right are setting the rules. The ‘feminazis’ and the fundamentalist crackpots share a loathing for Hooters which disregards the right that women should have to cash in on their looks if they so desire, and the right of patrons who wish to objectify women for a short time. (An alliance of polar opposites should cause both sides to reexamine their positions.)

    Entertainment at a Hooters or a strip club or a brothel is not deviate behavior IMO and employees and patrons are entitled to a level of hedonism in a free society if it exclusively includes consenting adults. A woman with great looks may have a heart bigger than her boobs (and work at Hooters) and a guy who indulges his base instincts can be a perfect gentleman as long as he observes the boundaries. Extremism of either kind, be it repressing sexuality or on the other extreme, objectifying women (or men, but that’s never been a problem I experienced) to the point of dehumanizing them are two sides of the same coin.

    Emotional health for the individual or society as a whole will be found in the middle ground.

    • I have to agree with erinyes that this degree of male self-absorption is beyond my experience.

      Unfortunately they are not beyond mine. Also unfortunately, these whackjobs have formed tribes on the Web and have created a subculture in which their ideas are “normalized” and their twisted grievances against women are amplified.

  5. Fish gotta swim.

    Birds gotta fly.

    And haters will find people and things to hate.

    To some people, somewhere in their teens and twenties, it’s hard to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around you and your wishes.

    Most folks accept that and move on.

    Thankfully, not too many people don’t, and look to blame others because they’re not getting what they want.
    This kid was one of those who couldn’t accept that he wasn’t superior at all. Not to say that he was inferior, but he wasn’t the “Alpha” he thought he was, and wanted to be. And I think when the Alpha’s he admired rejected him, and put him in his place as a Beta, he snapped.
    I’m so old and out of touch, that I never even heard of PUA’s. And I couldn’t imagine wanting to join a bunch of misogynistic @$$holes like that.
    But, that’s me…
    I’m not a hater.

    Life is a series of joys and disappointments.
    Some people decide to shoot at innocent’s, as revenge for their disappointments.
    Thankfully, most people are too well balanced mentally – or can pretend – to start shooting people as revenge for their disappointments.

    The problem remains, though, that easy access to guns, allows bitter and hate-filled losers to kill people quickly and easily.
    And too often, they kill themselves so that we can’t lock them up for life to study them, and help prevent future killers.
    The problem remains, though, that easy access to guns, allows bitter and hate-filled losers to kill people quickly and easily.

    Yeah, I know I just repeated myself.
    But some things bear repeating.

  6. Alpha’s, Beta’s, what the??? oh, I have just about made it to Delta…been married for 37 years..so, the closest I get to having sex with her now, I use the same bath towel after she does…

  7. I realize that I am just picking up on some of your points, but, somehow I have to post something. So, I’ll try to be brief.


I think this post gets everything just right. We live in a deeply sexist culture and sexism and misogyny have real consequences in the real world. Even those consequences that don’t rise to this level of tragedy are tragic enough in terms of preventing women from living freer lives in a less threatening, less exploitive culture.

    I watched the video linked in the comments here, but none of the others. I suspect that they would be extremely offensive. In the video I did see, it’s pretty obvious that the young man was a very disturbed individual. You can see that the pieces of his psyche are about to come apart. Maybe in a better world we might have avoided this atrocity. But, we don’t live in a better world. A better world wouldn’t have bands of misogynist freaks validating twisted views of women or at least they would be more widely exposed for what they are.

    As a man, I have the luxury of not being the target of sexism and I can avoid the jerks. Women are quite that fortunate. From time to time I need to be reminded of that.

  8. goatherd,
    “But, we don’t live in a better world. A better world wouldn’t have bands of misogynist freaks validating twisted views of women or at least they would be more widely exposed for what they are.”

    Never mind a better world, in a better country, some misogynistic loon wouldn’t have easy access to guns, to live out his snuff-film fantasies.

  9. Apparently all the men commenting here are alphas, or else we’d all be seething with resentment too.

    Or, yes, maybe it’s just that we see women as female human beings. Another index of the misogyny here is that the women these guys don’t consider sexually desirable are completely ignored. And of course this notion of “high quality” hookers shows you what their expectations are. But if 90% of men are betas, it stands to reason that 90% of women are betas too. So it’s not that these guys couldn’t get laid, they’re just mad because they don’t get to have sex with Victoria’s Secret models.

  10. “Never mind a better world, in a better country, some misogynistic loon wouldn’t have easy access to guns, to live out his snuff-film fantasies.”

    Okay, I’ll go along with that.

    We’re currently considering retirement in another country. For the most part, we just want one last adventure, but the gun culture here is also a factor. It would be great to leave behind us. Unfortunately, there aren’t (m)any choices if you want to leave sexism behind. The Scandinavian countries seem to have done the job, but, I haven’t been to any of them, so maybe, I am just being hopeful and naive. Besides, I’ll need a warmer climate!

  11. Oh, and my impression was that the guy was pretty loony, but it’s not like it’s either/or. There’s the mental illness, and there’s how it gets shaped and channeled. Mental illness + rabid misogyny + gun culture is a particularly bad combination.

  12. “Apparently all the men commenting here are alphas, or else we’d all be seething with resentment too.”

    It became obvious that I wasn’t an “alpha” way back in junior high school. But, the good news is that I learned to live with it. Life is a lot easier as a “delta” as Bob wrote above.

    By the way Stephen, I always enjoy your comments, you have good insights and a good sense of humor.

  13. Thanks, goatherd. I’d say you’re too hard on yourself. You might want to do something about the green flesh and the snaggletooth, but the monocle is very dapper.

    This is something I’ve often wondered about, though–what makes some men not sexist? We all have plenty of encouragement.

  14. My first girlfriend (end of my senior year in h.s.) dumped me for being “too nice”. I think she wanted a dangerous bad boy type. I met my wife a month later, so I was done a huge favor by being dumped.
    Goatherd, I’d like to bail too, but the finances don’t allow. I thought about loretto and mulege in Mexico’s baha, and also new Zealand. We visited Dominica several years ago with thoughts of immigration in the back of my mind. Dominica or Bali would work for me, but my wife would have a hard time. Iceland looks good, but the short winter days and frigid weather would suck, don’t know if they’d have me anyway. Here in the Orlando area, there is nearly one death from guns every day, its getting nutty.

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