We’ve seen a lot of epic flip-floppery from Men’s Rightsers in the last few days on the subject of the Occidental College fiasco — that is, for those who haven’t been following it closely, the organized spamming of Occidental’s anonymous online rape reporting form with false reports by Reddit MRAs and 4channers. Notably, the Men’s Rights subreddit mod known as sillymod went from blaming the false reports on trolls one day to hailing them as necessary activism the next.
But a reader has alerted me to an even more epic flip-flop, this one from Pierce Harlan, a blogger obsessed with what he sees as an epidemic of false rape accusations.
Harlan started out as one of the voices of reason — at least by MRA standards — on the Occidental College spamming. Refraining from the hysteria of his fellow Men’s Rightsers about Occidental College’s anonymous form, he actually pointed out in one post that the form wasn’t being used to punish anyone and that anonymous reporting may be “a necessary evil” in order to get a true picture of the extent of rape.
On Friday, he went further, announcing in a post on his blog The Community of the Wrongly Accused that he was so disgusted with the behavior of his fellow Men’s Rightsers in the Occidental fiasco that he was planning to give up blogging entirely. The phony reports from MRAs, he sadly noted, “did no favors for the wrongly accused,” and this sort of “activism” only served to make MRAs look bad.
[T]he actions of the spammers were misguided at best, puerile and malicious at worst. They’ve given those of us who are trying to raise awareness about these issues in a serious way a black eye. I couldn’t care less how some radical feminist characterizes this incident, my concern is how it plays to middle America — and this can’t be spun in a positive way.
The incident, he wrote, was
the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. We’ve long sought to engage our readers, both here and via Reddit, to take certain actions that we felt could actually make a difference for the wrongly accused. These efforts invariably were met with either a lukewarm response or the sound of crickets chirping. …
Yet, now, someone suggests men’s righters spam a school’s rape reporting site, and for that they come out in droves. Hundreds of false rape reports. …
If we could have had this kind of support for the various initiatives we’ve tried to launch, I think we actually could have made a difference for the wrongly accused. We didn’t.
And so, he concluded in frustration,
the time has come to hand this blog over to others who will continue to raise awareness about the injustices to the wrongly accused. I will continue to follow the issue and offer my two cents on issues I think are important, but I’m not going to run this blog any longer.
Yep. That’s right. MRAs are such shitty “activists” that their most notable and attention-getting work of “activism” since I’ve started this blog drove the MRA most dedicated to that issue to such disgust and despair that he announced he was basically giving up the fight.
But Harlan’s retirement didn’t last long.
Apparently deciding that his camel’s back could handle a bit more straw after all, Harlan quickly took down the post announcing his retirement — though it’s still up, at least for now, in Google cache, and when that goes away, here’s a handy screenshot. (In case you’re not an ant, click to see it full size.)
On Saturday, Harlan came out with a new post suggesting that maybe he’d been wrong to challenge the hysteria of the false-report-submitting MRAs in the first place. Remember that bit from above in which Harlan said that the actions of the false-report spammers “can’t be spun in a positive way[?]” Well, Harlan decided he was going to give it the old college try:
Progressives are having a bona fide conniption over the Reddit Men’s Righters who spammed Occidental College’s anonymous rape reporting system with fake “rape” claims (from what we can tell, they were not really false rape claims, just snarky comments about the injustice of anonymous reporting). The righteous indignation from feminists is deafening. The spam attack, they tell us, is typical men’s rights hysteria, the result of an undeservedly privileged class being stripped of its power.
The men’s righters were out to prove that it’s too easy to abuse the college’s anonymous reporting system. We disagreed with the men’s righters and said we weren’t much concerned about the anonymous reporting system, but the more we read the progressive take on the incident, the more we wonder if we blew the call — maybe we should be concerned..
There was, of course, no reference to his post from the previous day, no acknowledgment that the “activism” he was now defending was the very same “activism” that had led him only one day earlier to decide to quit blogging altogether.
Down the memory hole it went. (But Google cache remembers.)
I guess when you’re a Men’s Rights activist, you have to take what you can get, and incredibly shitty slacktivism is about as good as it gets.