As many of you no doubt know, the BBC’s Reggie Yates recently did an hour-long documentary about the “manosphere,” paying particular attention to the rapey, repellent pickup guru Roosh Valizadeh. I’ve pasted the video below.
I have, well, lots of thoughts about it. It’s really pretty compelling, particularly the segments involving Roosh, which essentially offer him a nice sturdy — albeit figurative — rope with which to hang himself. Which he of course does. More on that, and Roosh’s response, below.
The non-Roosh segments are a mixed bag. Yates’ not terribly enlightening discussions with proudly reactionary GamerGate panderer and ostensible journalist Milo Yiannopoulos are pretty skippable.
More compelling is Yates’ interview with an infamous online bully who actually served a brief stint in jail for the threats he’d Tweeted to two prominent women, one of them a Member of Parliament. Their crime, in his eyes? They wanted to put Jane Austen’s face on the ten pound note. There’s something a bit chilling in the blase way the troll, a shaven-headed sad sack by the name of John Nimmo, recounts his vicious harassment campaign.
But most chilling of all were the segments with Roosh, which take up a hefty chunk of the program. Yates attended one of the little speeches Roosh gave on his “word tour” last summer, interviewing him afterwards; several months later he traveled to Poland for a followup.
Yates memorably introduces Roosh with a snippet from one of his videos in which he complains about how much effort it can take “to access [women’s] warm, moist cavity holes.”
Such a romantic!
We then get to see some snippets of Roosh’s mysterious speech, ostensibly on “The State of Man” in the world today. Nothing he says will be particularly surprising to anyone who’s familiar with his odious writings.
Still, seeing him present his ridiculous “philosophy” live highlights not just how noxious his ideas but also how incredibly, well, dumb they are. Roosh clearly wants to upgrade his status from that of a burned-out, rape-apologizing pickup artist to that of a great thinker. The only problem is that thinking isn’t something he does particularly well.
But it’s Yates’ interview with Roosh in Poland that really stands out.
In his hotel room before the interview, Yates reads out some of the more repellent and rapey things that Roosh has written.
“This isn’t about confidence,” he says, holding aloft one of Roosh’s slender volumes of dubious pickup wisdom. “30 Bangs isn’t about making young men feel as though they have value. This is about making young women feel as though they have none.”
Later, in Roosh’s apartment, Roosh waxes indignant about the public reaction to his infamous proposal to fight rape by making it legal. Roosh insists it was satire, but, as Yates tells him, it’s “quite hard to find the satirical angle to it.” (A point I and many others made at the time.)
And then, just moments after telling Yates that “I advocate for consensual sex,” he presents his own version of “no means no” in which no actually means pause for a moment before returning to doing whatever she said no to.
Yates asks him about a story in one of his books in which Roosh writes about penetrating a woman who is half asleep.
“Haven’t you done that?” he asks Yates. “When a girl is half asleep, when you’ve already had sex with her?”
Yates tells him that no, of course, he hasn’t. Roosh keeps digging his hole deeper, seeming genuinely puzzled that Yates isn’t nodding in agreement.
“So if you want to examine every instance, every thrust, maybe you can find something,” Roosh tells him. “But this can happen to every man.”
By “something,” Roosh seems to mean “an instance in which you put your penis in a woman without permission.”
In Roosh’s mind, evidently, rape (that’s really not rape), is something that happens to the rapist, not the woman he rapes; it’s the rapist who’s sort of the real victim.
On his blog, Roosh has denounced the documentary as a “hit piece,” suggesting that Yates — whom he describes as a “BBC host of questionable sexuality” — simply wasn’t man enough to really understand him or his comrades in the manosphere. (Yates isn’t actually gay, not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
By “hir[ing] a non-masculine man to report on masculinity,” Roosh argues, the BBC is doing the equivalent of
hir[ing] a carpenter to review an Italian opera. Besides a handful of exaggerated facial expressions made for the camera, the carpenter will not be able to analyze the opera on a level above that of even a grade-school trumpet player.
That’s a new one, I guess.
Roosh then goes on to declare that this “hit piece on the manosphere” is actually a giant victory for him, because
it gets my ideas across to those who have yet to see it. Even if 0.1% of people who watched the BBC documentary become readers of mine, it’s still a huge win, since doing it only cost me a couple hours of time. …
The BBC program tried to paint me as a criminal, but instead I gained more fans and sold more books. As long as my name exits the mouth of my enemies, I win, and I will continue to win.
Didn’t Charlie Sheen once say something similar?
I hate to have to tell you this, Roosh, but no, you’re really not winning at all. Repulsing the general public with your repugnant ideas is not a victory. Every thought of yours that you put on the internet makes ever clearer what a huge loser you are.
Here’s the documentary. For anyone who doesn’t have time to watch the whole thing, I’ve attached a second video below that features nothing but the segments featuring Roosh.