A Voice for Men’s embattled Grand Wizard Paul Elam and his followers have responded to Buzzfeed’s devastating profile of him in some predictable ways, and in a few less predictable ones.
If you’re read the Buzzfeed piece – and if you haven’t, you really, really should – you know that it devoted a lot of time to the sad and sordid history of Elam’s three marriages and the even more sad and sordid story of the daughter he abandoned.
In a long and rambling post on Buzzfeed’s piece, Elam – all too predictably – goes after “Susan,” his first wife and the only one of his three ex-wives who was willing to talk on the record, trying his best to destroy her credibility by portraying her, essentially, as a lying slut.
Elam miraculously, and probably with considerable effort, managed to avoid the s-word – a favorite of writers on his site. But his attempts to slut-shame her are as transparent as glass.
Over the course of his post, he describes her as “very enthusiastic about sex,” “indeed very enthusiastic about sex,” and “a promiscuous wife.” He alleges that during their brief marriage “her sexual enthusiasm wasn’t limited to me,” and repeats the accusation that he leveled at her at the time – that she lied about being raped in order to cover up her own infidelity. He declares her to be a “habitual liar,” someone who “cheated and lied constantly.”
Elam also suggests that Buzzfeed paid his ex-wife and daughter to talk trash about him; and he makes several other serious allegations against his ex-wife that I won’t repeat. (EDIT: Buzzfeed’s Editorial Standards and Ethics policy forbids paying sources.]
A decade ago, you may recall from Buzzfeed’s piece, Elam reunited with the daughter he had abandoned as a baby, only to drive her away several years later after, she claims, spanking one of his grandsons for opening the refrigerator.
In his post, while referring to her as his daughter, he resurrects an old accusation, writing that “I need to point out that it has not been established that I actually have a daughter.”
Buzzfeed quotes what it says is an email Elam sent to his daughter in 2005, in which he apologized to her and to his brother. “I owe both of you a tremendous debt,” he wrote. “I just said some unflattering things involving [his ex-wife], but the more important truth here is that I failed both of you.”
In his post, though, Elam declares that “I did not, as alleged, tell Bonnie [his daughter] that I was sorry that I had failed her. I told her that I was sorry such misfortune had been her lot.”
If the email quoted by Buzzfeed is authentic, this is a blatant lie.
While the attacks on his ex (and his halfway renunciation of his daughter) are sadly predictable, Elam also resorts to a desperate if inventive diversionary tactic, suggesting that the art used to illustrate Buzzfeed’s post is somehow … anti-Semitic, reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. Uh, no. I’m pretty sure that one or both of the authors of the Buzzfeed article, Adam Serwer and Katie Baker, would have said something if this were even remotely the case; they’re both Jewish.
Judge for yourself. Here’s the picture AVFM used to illustrate Elam’s post:
In the comments to his post on AVFM, meanwhile, Elam’s supporters circle the wagons and lash out at pretty much anyone they can think of who’s ever said less-than-flattering things about their dear leader. They are considerably less careful with their language than Elam.
In the post’s “Featured Comment,” with close to 70 upvotes at the moment, AVFM contributor “Andybob” lashes out at Elam’s enemies:
A disgruntled ex from decades ago and a brainwashed daughter that probably isn’t his who were doubtlessly given some kind of monetary incentive to say that Paul Elam won’t be getting their votes for Man of the Year any time soon. After months of sleepless nights planning his cunning revenge, the best Serwer could come up with was to drag out this pair of bitter malcontents who were probably chomping on the bit to take a swipe a man who chose not to serve them in the ways to which they obviously feel entitled.
Suzie McCarley, AVFM’s “Assistant Managing Editor,” says of the Buzzfeed article that “it will be quoted by skanks and bitches of both sexes for years to come.” She snidely writes of Serwer that “I hope the blow job his ho Katie B. owes him in exchange for his credibility, is worth it.”
Several others cleverly refer to Serwer as “Sewer.”
Very few of the commenters deal with any of Buzzfeed’s specific allegations. Instead, they resort to evasive euphemism.
AVFM’s social media director, who writes under the name Janet Bloomfield, laments what she calls “the hysterical ad hominem attacks on a man who turns out to be ….SHOCK…. human.” “I’m shocked! Who would think that an ex-wife might have shit to talk about her ex? Amazeballz!” AVFM contributor Jason Gregory writes sarcastically. “Overlord Elam is a human man?” jokes someone called ComradePrescott. “I can’t serve any master that isn’t a reptilian monster!!!!”
Others offer excuses, making clear that they would probably forgive Elam for anything short of mass murder:
In a separate post, AVFM’s Sage Gerard offers an even less coherent “rebuttal” to Buzzfeed’s post, filled with vague accusations against Buzzfeed and weirdly evasive defenses of Elam that if anything make him look worse.
Gerard declares that Buzzfeed’s
“evidence” is opinion carefully framed to manipulate, not persuade. This is David Futrelle’s style of toxic propoganda: Distort context until the target and all supporters appear inhuman.
It’s hard to tell what on earth Gerard even means by any of this, and of course he provides no examples.
He then goes on to offer this oddly backhanded defense of Elam’s terrible behavior:
In terms of his difficult decisions during his youth, Paul had to live with choices that only prove that he is human. Today, Paul faithfully operates within the boundaries of the law as an advocate.
Even more strangely, Gerard praises Elam for … not pocketing money from fundraisers intended for others.
Another money fact that keeps slipping by unreported is that Paul has allowed others to feed off his main revenue stream. Paul hosts fundraisers on this site where AVfM gains no money. I offered Paul a percentage in Zen Men’s last fundraiser, and he refused the money. He also gave Dean Esmay money for private dental work in public view. …
Between Dean and Zen Men, AVfM gave up access to over $10,000, which means Paul gave up more than AVfM itself raised in its last fundraiser. …
Greedy people out to exploit the masses don’t give away money.
Actually, lots of them do. Are you kidding?
If these are the best defenses that Elam and his allies can muster, he’s going to have a hard time rebounding from Buzzfeed’s report.