The Heart of Darkness

It shouldn’t surprise you that the “manosphere” is blaming the Isla Vista shootings on feminism and western anti-male culture generally. Here is an actual blog post from just two days ago:

Rodger should have checked his male privilege at the door and atoned for the sins of thousands of years of “male patriarchy.” He was likely exposed to infantile “trigger warnings” during the course of his education. He received direct propaganda that insinuates all men are potential rapists. American universities are becoming firmly anti-male with their extreme left ideology and policies. Just recently, the Justice Department has ushered in directives that attempt to restrict the definition of consensual sex, making any attempt by Rodger to fornicate with a female at a college party a potential rape encounter that would have gotten him kicked out of school without a trial. Pro-female policies now dominate most American universities. Rodger would definitely not have received a sympathetic ear to his plight. . . .

. . . Seven people are dead because society has decided that shy and awkward men like Elliot Rodger do not deserve a girlfriend and that there is absolutely no way to improve his loneliness and loserdom through learning game or any other social behavior. At the same time men like him are ostracized, there is no legal means for him to solicit prostitution (in California) to release his biological and very pressing urge for fornication. Current cultural dogma wants to sweep the millions of lonely men like Rodger under the rug while instead focusing on gay marriage, “street harassment,” lack of empowered girls in video games, “rape culture,” and the horrors of letting young girls wear pink and play with dolls.

The new “let them eat cake” is “let these socially awkward privileged losers have xbox and pornhub.” Yet we still feign outrage and surprise when every so often one of them picks up a gun and starts shooting. The same people who attack game refuse to give men like Rodger a way to achieve sexual happiness, and for that they are indirectly responsible for these deaths, which could have been avoided if Rodger was steered into game and not shamed for it.

More people will die unless you give men sexual options

Until you give men like Rodger a way to have sex, either by encouraging them to learn game, seek out a Thai wife, or engage in legalized prostitution—three things that the American media and cultural elite venomously attack, it’s inevitable for another massacre to occur.

The author of the post also expressed outrage that anyone would find his site offensive or the “manosphere” misogynistic.

The thing is, this guy is no lone outlier. He represents multitudes of men. There are vast swarms of these guys online. Since I don’t tend to blog about feminist issues except for reproductive rights, which doesn’t seem to interest the “men’s rights” crew (except for their belief that they should have a “choice” to not pay child support if they don’t want to), they don’t often show up here. But I’ve bumped into them in countless discussion threads on other sites. There are certain topics that will draw them like ants to a picnic, and when that happens they will completely dominate the thread and make rational discussion impossible. They are quite certain the world (which, apparently, is run by women) is discriminating against them, and they are seething with hostility about it.

Beside the “men’s choice” argument, they are particularly obsessed with the belief that civil courts and the justice system discriminate against men, as well as the educational establishment and the health care system (breast cancer research gets more money than prostate cancer research). There’s also a subset of them who are convinced their lives and manhood were ruined because they were circumcised as infants, without their consent, and routine male circumcision is just as bad — maybe worse — than female genital mutilation. But only women get sympathy for their “circumcisions” because women are privileged. Check out the discussion thread on this Salon article for examples. (Don’t assume you understand their arguments until you read them. There probably is a rational argument that routine circumcision is unnecessary, but that’s not the argument the MRAs are making.)

What usually happens on these threads is that maybe one or two emotionally healthy men will comment to gently suggest that the haters are off base, and then they disappear, and the only male voices on the thread will be MRAs venting their pathological hatred of women. I’ve seen this happen countless times. And what do you want to bet there is considerable overlap between the MRAs and gun rights crowd?

Last January Jill Filipovic and Amanda Hess wrote widely read articles on women being threatened and harassed online. These articles drew much sympathy but not much action or follow up.

For more on the MRA phenomenon do check out this anti-MRA website (run by a man, bless him) and its glossary, which is as good a primer on the MRA subculture as I’ve seen anywhere.

The anti-MRA blogger linked to a paper on “aggrieved entitlement” as a factor in violence, mass shootings in particular. This is close to a point I wrote about quite a bit in My Book, which says a combination of holy cause/fanatical grievance is a common feature of violent mass movements, whether religious or political or something else. In some cases, the sense of entitlement stands in as the holy cause.

Although I doubt those who are deep into MRA/PUA culture are likely to change I do think it’s important that more emotionally healthy men get involved in standing up to the MRAs. I suspect the widespread disapproval of other men could prevent more younger men from getting sucked into MRA-ism. This is not a fight women can wage alone.

28 thoughts on “The Heart of Darkness

  1. “He represents multitudes of men”

    I’m not sure what that means? I know plenty of right leaning gun nut men but none of them have this bizarre “manosphere” way of thinking. I’m sure there are a few thousand of these kooks out there and a few of them have a blog, but multitudes of men? This tragedy is just more proof that the way you stop a bad guy with a gun is to prevent him from acquiring the thing in the first place. Not sure it is some latent “man” disease, some people are just fucked up in the head and they should not have access to guns!

    • I’m not sure what that means?

      As in “a lot.”As in “there are vast swarms of these bozos online; I have seen them.” This is not just a few thousand kooks, but a subculture, and it’s entirely possible they don’t exhibit this behavior in the “real” world but only online, where they can be anonymous.

  2. At the same time men like him are ostracized, there is no legal means for him to solicit prostitution (in California) to release his biological and very pressing urge for fornication.

    What? Beating his meat was always an option. The Lord, in his infinite wisdom, provided us with an imagination and a pair of hands which when used in conjunction serves very well as a natural relief valve. There’s no need to blame Rodger’s shortcoming on legislators.

  3. “More people will die unless you give men sexual options.”

    ‘I Have No Arms, And I Must MASTURBATE!’

  4. Although I doubt those who are deep into MRA/PUA culture are likely to change I do think it’s important that more emotionally healthy men get involved in standing up to the MRAs.

    You’ve done a great service merely by publicizing that guy’s anti-MRA site, and especially his glossary. It quickly brought me up to speed on some terms that I’d never heard before (“game”).

    This whole discussion connects a few datapoints that I personally experienced over the last decade or so, but – probably because I’m several decades removed from being a young guy – didn’t put together until now.

    The best thing that can come from the tragedy in Santa Barbara is the surfacing of this whole ugly misogynist subculture.

    @uncledad – I believe there are indeed multitudes of men like this. Not old guys like us, but young’uns who don’t know any better.

  5. uncledad,
    I suspect it’s mostly younger men who are the MRA’s and PUA’s.

    In a down economy (and thanks to the Republicans, we’re still in one – BIG TIME!), people look for someone or something to take their anger, frustrations, and hostilities out on – especially younger ones, who don’t see the future getting any brighter anytime soon.

    And these younger guys see women becoming more and more of a majority in this country, and going to college more, and getting decent positions in the workforce, and feel that they need to take all of their anger, frustrations, and hostility, out on them.

    These guys “objectify women, and only consider them to be sexual objects to be pursued, and after a “conquest,” dumped – unless the women are submissive enough to satisfy their ego’s. And even then…

    What this guy did in CA was as much of a “Hate Crime” as if he had killed Jews, or Blacks, or Hispanics, or Muslims.

    I’m really afraid that we’re only one major terrorist attack, or economic downturn, from Christo-Fascists like Ted Cruz, or someone of that ilk, winning the Presidency – and FSM help us, if that Christo-Fascist has a Congress full of like-minded loons.

  6. “uncledad, I suspect it’s mostly younger men who are the MRA’s and PUA’s”

    Gulag are you suggesting that I’m an old fart? 🙂

    Your probably right, I know some pretty radical right wingers, they are completely fucked up on just about every aspect of life, but I do not perceive them to be angry or hateful towards women, gays most definitely but not women? Maybe it is just well hidden, not sure?

  7. Articles like those you’ve written and the one at “Echidne of the Snakes” have really cut to the heart of this tragic event and made very sound cases regarding the causes. I consider my self a man that is supportive of women’s rights and feminism, and I feel a little ashamed to admit that I wouldn’t have “gotten it” on my own. Part of that might be my personal limitations, but a lot of it is that I haven’t experienced the bitterness of misogyny because I haven’t had to live with it in the way women do. As it is, because of some well written insights, I find this event compelling in a different way than I would have without a woman’s perspective.

    I have to admit I didn’t follow the link to read the full article, the excerpts you posted were enough, and I trust that they are representative. I didn’t want to increase the MRA site’s traffic and I didn’t want to lose my lunch. I can’t imagine what Echidne went through slogging through 140 pages, she’s a lot tougher than I am.

    This also touches on my interest in stochastic terrorism. When people drum up hate in relentless and vicious ways, no matter how obviously twisted or ridiculous their “message” is, eventually it will find someone who is susceptible to it, and eventually it can help to cause horrible acts of violence.

    Way back in the early seventies a man left a pamphlet on my car window. It was about feminism. But, probably not in the way you think. He was quite an old man who had been an IWW organizer in the Pacific Northwest. A close female friend of mine, who was a feminist, looked him up from personal information on the pamphlet and we spent a few hours talking with him. It was really quite an experience. I don’t remember a lot of the pamphlet. His style was simple and homespun as he was himself. But, I do remember how he started out. He said that “you should treat every woman the way you would treat your mother, sister or daughter. You should care about them, respect them and listen to them. You must let them be who they are and pursue what they want to be.”

    His simple approach comes back to me when I think about this, although my memory certainly loses much of his art. I am getting kind of old and simple myself.

  8. OT, glad to hear Thom Hartman back in is midday spot and back on satellite radio. Finally the failed right wing talker turned progressive imposter Ed Shultz has been relegated to podcast jones! Hopefully msnbc will wise up and give his 1 hour slot to someone who will actually produce a well-reasoned and researched show!

  9. Boy, I thought I was pathetic! But when you’re crying on the internet about not being able to get laid or of being one of the fortunate ones who does get some action but it results in having to accept financial responsibility for a child that came of that irresponsibility.
    I’m at a loss to understand how they consider themselves men. To my mind, when they banter a term like “sexual happiness” it makes me wonder at what level of maturity they are operating at. At a minimum it describes an intense selfishness…And they wonder why they aren’t getting laid?

  10. I feel a little ashamed to admit that I wouldn’t have “gotten it” on my own.

    When I think back to how I was around age 20, I’m pretty sure I would not have vented my frustrations on women the way Rodgers did (I would’ve turned that rage against myself instead), but I could easily have falling prey to the PUA message. Scoring a lot of chicks (what a phrase) is just part of the drive to be the alpha male, which is hugely what adolescence is about for guys – the sorting out of the pecking order. It’s so interesting that this understanding, and its terminology of alpha, beta males and so on – is explicitly talked about among MRAs.

    Wisdom along the lines of what you quoted: “you should treat every woman the way you would treat your mother, sister or daughter. You should care about them, respect them and listen to them. You must let them be who they are and pursue what they want to be.”

    …kept coming back to me as I read about Rodgers and his misogyny. But this is so completely lost in the ways adolescent males typically mature (or don’t) in this culture. The only difference with Rodgers is that he not only didn’t get this message (few guys at that age do), but he directed his frustrations outward.

  11. Boy howdy, Swami. It really is time for them to put aside childish things.
    One of the joys of getting older is that making love becomes a whole lot less about what someone looks like and a whole lot more about who they are. (I better stop right there.)
    It reminds me of a description of love that Joe Campbell gave in a lecture on India. He said that love enters through your eyes, you are drawn by the beauty of your mate. But, you go on to discover more and more about them, their inner beauty is revealed and you come to know them to a depth that makes you wonder why the physical attraction ever mattered at all. Obviously, some people are entirely incapable of anything beyond a childish, self centered desire. The kind of desire where the object is only a reflecting pool for some twisted Narcissus.

    I don’t think I have the stomach to learn more about what they call “game.” But, ironically, if a person is looking for a relationship, the single most attractive thing they can do is learn to listen, honestly, sincerely and carefully. Most men are rubbish at listening, but for some of the men ate the MRA/PUA sites listening with anything but malicious intent is impossible.

  12. You know what really would help guys like Elliot Rodger get laid? Feminism! It starts with the recognition that women, as human beings, have sexual desires of their own, so there’s no need to trick or coerce them into it. Next, seeing women as individuals makes it a lot easier to sort out which of them might conceivably want to have sex with you, and which ones don’t. That way you can avoid wasting time and being creepy by pursuing women who clearly aren’t interested.

    And then, finally, if you actually respect women, your expectations become a lot more realistic. Rather than “scoring lots of chicks,” you discover that you can have a very satisfying sexual relationship with just one person, and you might even be willing to settle for someone who has never appeared in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

  13. I ran into the attitude last month over a Facebook post. a commenter was very sympathetic to accused college rapists whose academic futures are being ruined by the accusation of rape. He supported downgrading the term ‘rape’ to con-consentual relations’ and downgrading the consequences. My comment to him was that I hoped he could maintain his attitude if his wife or daughter is the victim of ‘non-consentual relations’ but I suspected if it happened in his family it would be a crime and an outrage, but if it involves a woman he doesn’t know, his sympathies are with the guy – automatically.

    I have no idea what the demographics of this culture is. My guess is that the active commentators are young guys, but the underlying attitude, like passive racism, doesn’t go away easily. I don’t think the guy I confronted on FB was young. The young guys in the culture who finally get into a relationship and get married don’t mellow out. Less vocal perhaps, but just as poisonous.At least, that’s my guess.

    In the movie ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ the main character is an attorney, Atticus Finch, defending a black man accused of rape. The story is set in a southern town during the Great Depression. Gregory Peck played the lead role (brilliantly) – he knew his client was innocent, he proved he was innocent to an all-male, all-white jury, and he knew it was a lost cause because the accuser was a white man and a drunk who beat his daughter into making the accusation. Atticus knew that the word of a drunk, a white drunk, would be held in higher regard than the truth when the accusation was against a black man. The jury could find no way to vote ‘not guilty’ without elevating a black man over a white man. This was incomprehensible and the jury came back with a guilty verdict.

    If you understand that social norm, then watch for it’s counterpart regarding the crime of rape, particularly on campus when both parties are young and white. Rape may be epidemic on campus but conservatives will rail against the possible injustice to the male who is accused and denies the act was forced – or was against her will. The expectation, right below the surface, in a he-said, she said argument without corroborating evidence is that HIS word is superior to HER word.

    The other unspoken but implied – listen for it – is that guys accused of rape suffer real damage in their lives. That’s the spoken – the unspoken is clear as a bell – if she wasn’t killed or roughed up too bad, she suffered no real harm!

    The mind-numbing hypocrisy is that forcible sexual relations against that guys mother, wife or daughter is a killing offense, even if they aren’t roughed up too bad. But if the victim is any other female outside of their clan, the crime is at most a misdemeanor and the perp must be protected.

  14. If you want a good laugh check out Roosh. He is so bizarre that it’s difficult to know if it was written to be intentionally funny by mocking inept male sexuality or if such an emotionally atropied state of mind can really exist within a human being.

    This nutbag Roosh has devised a mathematical formula for success in getting laid.. A simple formula…Divide the amount of personal questions a girl asks you on a first encounter (pick up attempt) by the amount of time you are engaged in conversation( expressed in minutes). He wasn’t too explicit on how he computed the result of that formula, but if the result exceeded 10% on whatever scale he used for computation you’re well on your way to seeing some serious rack time.
    Gee, some guys just know how to bag the ladies. It just comes natural for them.

  15. The thing that kept coming to mind for me was that the surest way for young Eliot NOT to get laid was to spend his time in an internet spot whining about not getting laid. Just from pure results analysis, it should be possible to see that nobody there is ever getting laid. Therefore, ceasing to do that could only increase the chances of getting laid. This may seem overly obvious, but anyone doing that much whining among other whiners (and that much losing among other losers) should be figuring out that it is his issue, not the ladies’ issue. When one turns you down, it is probably just her choice. When 100 turn you down, it is your issue. Did nobody ever give him that much of a heads-up?

  16. Bill, from those who have read the 140 page manifesto, there’s not much evidence he was getting turned down – or asking. These guys expect women to seek them out and fight each other for the privilege!

  17. Doug,
    And I suppose they’re shocked when chicks don’t flock to pale white wankers like them, who have Cheetos crumbs on the MRA t-shit, Mountain Dew breathe, and spend their waking hours complaining in their Mom’s basement about how the sluts are missing out on great guys like themselves, so it’s the fault of the Femi-Nazi’s?

    Boys, boys, boys – the women who want nothing to do with losers like you aren’t sluts, THEY’RE SMART!

    Remember boys, ‘The fault lies not in the sluts, but in yourselves.’

  18. More people will die unless you give “men” sexual options.

    (Quote marks for obvious reasons.)

    Here ya go:

    1) Chemical castration.

    2) Prison wifehood.

    You’re welcome.

  19. I loved the first paragraph in the posting. Tons of assertions completely evidence free. Typical llie stuff.

    And society has decided Rodger did not deserve a girlfriend? And that there was absolutely no way to improve his loneliness and loserdom? Bad society, bad.

  20. tomshefchik,
    I lost my English-Gibberish/Gibberish-Englis dictionary when I lent it to someone who wanted to see if they could make any sense of what Sarah Palin was talking the hell about. I told them it wouldn’t help, but I lent it anyway – and, I never got it back.

    Can I borrow yours?
    Maybe despite the translation flaws in the copy you have, I can better understand what you’re jabbering on about.

  21. gulag.. I can apologize for you if you’d like.. Swamis are good like that. Humility is one of our characteristic strong points 🙂

  22. Whoooops!

    @tomshefchik, My apologies!!!
    I thought you were referring to what maha wrote, and not the linked piece.

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