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John The Other debates John The Other on MRA misogyny, loses

John Hembling: Open mouth, insert foot.
John Hembling: Open mouth, insert foot.

So the other day someone asked the Men’s Rights subreddit “Why do people think you guys hate women?”

There were a lot of ridiculous answers to that question, but one of the most ridiculous (and one of the most highly upvoted) responses came from our old friend John Hembling, the blabby Canadian videoblogger and A Voice for Men “Editor in Chief” also known for some dopey reason as John The Other. He explained:

johntheother [-37] 29 points 3 days ago (36|7)  They dont actually think we hate women. The accusation is a derailing tactic, designed to push the topic towards a defensive posture, and requiring proof from us (MRAs) that "hatred of women" is a false claim.  When used, it takes the discussion away from real issues such as suicide rates, homelessness, infant genital mutilation and so on.  It's very very effective, because it plays on the fact that almost all men, including MRAs are basically decent. And the social stigma of a public perception of hatred of women is painful. To overcome this tactic, it is necessary to discard a self image relying on consensus approval. Tough to do because we are social animals. But to disarm the attack of "you hate women" it's necessary to develop a strong self identity which takes no account of consensus conferral of approval. Be the "bad man", and let only your own internal compas of right and wrong guide you.

Really, John? Because I have something like 1200 posts on this blog here that would seem to suggest that, no, a lot of MRAs (and PUAs and MGOTWers) really, honestly, sincerely, and sometimes even proudly, hate women. (Ok, a certain percentage of my posts are actually about kitties, but still, I invite you to spend a month or so going through the archives, John; you may learn a thing or two.)

But, actually, there’s no need to take my word on the subject. Because if you really want to know why so many people think MRAs hate women, I invite you to take a look at and a listen to this video by a prominent MRA. Seems pretty obvious that this guy hates women, wouldn’t you agree?

Oh, by the way, this guy is you. [TRIGGER WARNING for people who are not John Hembling and who might be disturbed by a smirking asshole literally laughing about rape. Seriously. This is bad even by his standards.]

Oh, another by the way:  Hembling complained about feminists “doxing” him long after he made the video that was excerpted here in which he gave out his name. That’s right, he put his name out in his own video, then complained that feminists were violating his privacy and basically terrorizing him by ever mentioning his name. Until he started going by his real name again.

Before I go, here’s another particularly inane contribution to the Reddit discussion:

AloysiusC 6 points 3 days ago (9|3)  Many of the female feminists have deep inferiority issues about their gender and, instead of addressing those issues, they take the easy path by blaming the world which results in them seeing misogyny literally everywhere. Not just us, but all of society. Basically anything that isn't explicitly celebrating women triggers their misogyny alarm.  There's more to it.  Because they see it as a competition between the sexes (that's what an inferiority complex requires), they cannot handle anything positive being said about men. This too is, to them, misogyny.  Meanwhile many of the male feminists also deep down believe women are inferior but they're motivated by a sense of guilt - and they project their views onto other men. They simply can't imagine a man not seeing women as lesser creatures because that's how THEY feel deep down.  Because of these motivations, there will never be a way to be an MRA without getting misogyny accusations - no matter how much we walk on eggshells.

Huh. MRAs certainly have a most unusual way of “walking on eggshells.” Indeed, to this outside observer it looks a lot less like “walking on eggshells” and more like “angry toddler having an endless stompy tantrum.”

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Ally S
8 years ago

The Law of Attraction is the worst. The Christian version is the prosperity gospel: Believe in Jesus hard enough and good stuff will happen to you. Therefore people who bad things happen to deserve it because they didn’t have enough faith.

It’s a very alluring idea because it appeals to that basic human confusion about why bad things happen, especially to people who don’t deserve it, and it promises a way to keep that bad stuff from happening to you. But it’s still a terrible, terrible idea with terrible, terrible implications.

The same basic doctrine exists in Islam, except it emphasizes doing good deeds and being sincere in addition to having faith.

Personally, when I was a Muslim, I found it to be extremely manipulative and demeaning. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it tore a hole in the little self-esteem I had in the first place. Because, unsurprisingly, it made me feel like everything bad that happened to me was my fault and my fault alone. At my most religious stage, things were the worst; most of the time, when my father emotionally and verbally abused me, I would cry as usual, but for a very different reason. I sincerely believed that I deserved what was coming to me because of being sinful by Islam’s standards. Of course, part of it also came from the fact that he was being abusive, but IIRC I disregarded my feelings.

And one time, when I was 15, I got severe bronchitis. I was coughing up blood at one point, and I had a very bad fever. But the whole time I was sick, I believed that Allah was punishing me because, a few months before that, I got drunk and high for the first time. (Islam, as most people know, forbids all mind-altering drugs.)

Fortunately, my religious phase didn’t last for very long.

Because I see that this basic “law of attraction” doctrine is found in countless religions, I have a general aversion to religion. I believe that it’s possible to be religious without being a victim-blaming asshole, but I’ve never seen any mainstream religion that clearly rejects such a doctrine. I’d love to be proven wrong.

Dvärghundspossen
8 years ago

Ally S, you have the beatitudes in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, blessed are the poor, blessed are the mourning… The idea that those suffering here on Earth will be compensated in Heaven (which implies that they do not suffer because they deserve to do so) has been really widespread in Christianity. And look at all the stories of saints who were prosecuted and tortured and murdered in terrible ways, despite being, well, saints. BUT obviously successful people have always been uncomfortable by the message that you ought to give up everything you own, if you happen to be rich to start with, in order to go to Heaven, and so the idea that riches are given to you as Earthly rewards for being a good person became popularized.

Robert
Robert
8 years ago

Every time I see the OP, I read it as John the Otter. A much more appealing image.

katz
8 years ago

Ally S, you have the beatitudes in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, blessed are the poor, blessed are the mourning…

Also the book of Job. Anyone who hasn’t read the book of Job should. I think the ending rather ruins it, but the dialogues explore all these issues. Also an interesting early version of Satan: Before he was a villain, he was a court prosecutor.

freemage
8 years ago

Dvar: Oh, there’s plenty of passages in most holy texts about how the downtrodden are in some way going to be blessed/raised up/whatever. But the problem isn’t so much the text–it’s the religious organizations that build themselves on whichever chapters appeal most to them.

That said, I’ll give props to some religious groups–I know both the Universalist Unitarians and the Quakers, for instance, have managed to work around that trap for the most part. I don’t know that it’s an actual reason to believe their respective faiths (see earlier discussions about fallacies), but it’s certainly a reason for a cap-A Atheist like me to treat them with respect.

freemage
8 years ago

katz: OTOH, I’ll tell you this–cap-A Atheists? We despise the book of Job. It’s little more than a cop-out trying to explain why God doesn’t do anything when evil strikes, and it fails utterly (unless the thesis it’s supposed to present is that Yaweh is a complete and utter douchebag). (Also, it gets additional down-votes because, you know, family and servants aren’t people, they’re just attributes of the rich man that can be ‘removed’ from him–ie, killed–as part of a celestial bet.)

It’s much easier to be an Atheist, because if I wasn’t, I’d actually have to oppose the vile shitstain that is portrayed as ‘god’ in the book of Job.

Howard Bannister
8 years ago

I think it stems from post-facto rationalization.

Because if bad things that happen to other people are their own damn fault, then _I_ can feel safer, and secure, because that means the universe is rational and I can avoid bad things happening to me.

It’s a safety and security blanket.

That it operates exactly the opposite way to people who are already suffering? Well, the post-facto rationalizer is in this because they’re scared and hurting, and getting them to let go of the comfort of “that can’t happen to me” is going to be a hurdle.

katz
8 years ago

Freemage: Right, that’s why I said the ending ruined it; the good part is all the dialogue between Job and his friends.

katz
8 years ago

Also, dude, you’re an atheist. You don’t have to tell me you don’t like religious texts. Kinda goes without saying.

Howard Bannister
8 years ago

@freemage:

Y’know how katz said she thinks the last chapter undermines the early chapters?

Let me tell you a little about my view of the book of Job.

Early chapters of job are different from the later chapters. The whole book is struggling to get to the bottom of the problem of evil. Chapter by chapter it lays out arguments for why there’s a problem with bad things happening to good people. And after one is raised, then it’s answered. One at a time, every “good reason” that is given falls away.

In the end god shows up and says “you can’t possibly find a good reason. Oh, here, have some good things too.”

When you don’t look at the book as a divine answer, but as a series of questions from mortals, it gets fairly interesting. Most Jewish traditions have a very different takeaway from the book of Job from the one you’ll get from, say, Christians. Especially conservative Christians.

Long story short: I still like the book of job. In fact, maybe better now I don’t have to make the middle chapters reconcile with the last chapter.

katz
8 years ago

Howard, that’s an interesting view of it. There are possible interpretations of God’s speech other than “God shows up, is an enormous dick,” but I tend not to get into discussions of hermeneutics in this sort of setting, because if one already takes a dim view of religion, one is going to prefer the “God is an enormous dick” interpretation and isn’t likely to find the others persuasive. (And I, obviously, am inclined to go the other way.)

Taken as a piece of writing, though, I think God’s speech is at the very least an enormous letdown (“You want an explanation? Psych! No explanation for you!”).

But the bit that really ruins it is the very end, Job 42:10-17, where he gets back everything he lost. It throws everything they’ve been talking about out the window and reduces the whole thing to a simple “it’s OK if things are bad now because they’ll get better later.”

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
8 years ago

That said, I’ll give props to some religious groups–I know both the Universalist Unitarians and the Quakers, for instance, have managed to work around that trap for the most part. I don’t know that it’s an actual reason to believe their respective faiths (see earlier discussions about fallacies), but it’s certainly a reason for a cap-A Atheist like me to treat them with respect.

I’m not saying anyone should believe in Unitarian Universalism, but I want to point out that our “faith”, such as it is, is not incompatible with and does not preclude Atheism per se. I mean, we are, undeniably, a religious organization, and we use a lot of religious language, talk about “spirituality”, and welcome people who do believe in supernatural powers, so we probably don’t have much to offer cap-A Atheists (although I know at least one in my church). IDK, it’s just weird to see people refer to us as a “faith”, because that’s not really how I think of it. OTOH, I kinda skimmed the convo on fallacies, so maybe I’m misunderstanding you here.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
8 years ago

Er, I should point out that by “we are a religious organization” I mean that we do model our gatherings on Protestant church services, and UUs tend to identify UU as their religion, and things like that, but I don’t mean “religious” in the sense that we necessarily believe in supernatural beings (I’ve always found that to be a rather incomplete definition of religion, anyway).

Dvärghundspossen
8 years ago

I just realized that “belief in the Global Standard Deity” (from the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde) ought to have been on the survey… Ah well, too late.

freemage
8 years ago

Also, dude, you’re an atheist. You don’t have to tell me you don’t like religious texts. Kinda goes without saying.

That missed the point completely. I do like some religious texts. They were written by people who were generally trying, like the rest of us, to figure out this world we live in. So many of them hold teachings that are good and sound and reliable. I like much of the Gospels, just as I see wisdom in a good bit of Siddhartha. The Song of Songs is a lovely piece of erotic poetry, at least the KJV translation is.

Others, though, get it horribly, horribly wrong. The advantage of being an Atheist is that I get to decry those bits as horrible.

The Book of Job just tosses out, “God did it, don’t have to say why, suck it up, end of story.”

It is, and always will be, a massive cop-out.

Howard Bannister
8 years ago

@katz: Well, my reading here really doesn’t get to the question ‘but was god right,’ so much as it dwells on ‘why are Job’s friends so motivated to believe it’s all his own fault?’

Which goes right back to the stuff I posted up above about motivated reasoning.

Those early (middle? More middle, I think) chapters just tear the idea to shreds. Bad things don’t happen exclusively to bad people, and you can’t avoid them by relying on karma, and when you start believing stuff like that you’re going to end up treating your friend like crap.

As a takeaway, it’s fairly solid.

Dvärghundspossen
8 years ago

As Howard pointed out, people are really motivated to believe that the world is just, and that good people therefore will have good lives. I can, off the top of my head, think of three ways to explain away apparent cases of good people having crappy lives:
1. Claim that good people will at least have good afterlives, and that’s more important than having a good Earthly life.
2. Claim that virtue is its own reward, since being virtuous gives you a harmonious soul, as Plato argued. (Aristotle argued that virtue only leads to happiness given that you first have okay health, economy and so on… which unfortunately seems a bit more realistic.) So if you see a good person who seems to have a crappy life, zie’s actually much better off than zie seems, due to zir inner harmony.
3. The awful idea that everyone who seems to be a good person with a crappy life actually is a bad person.

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

I was going to reply to Energomash, but I see everyone covered what I want. Most folks here know my history of rape. Also, I’m the only non-normative sexual in my family… unless you count the pedophiles. (Yes. Plural. My family has PROBLEMS.) Guess what gender all of these rapists and molesters were?

But of course, if I generalized those horrible experiences to all men, I WOULD BE AN ASSHOLE. (And this is why people like orion enrage me so, because they’re trying to make me believe that no really, all men ARE like that.)

RE: the Book of Job

I’m an atheist, and I have a really hard time fighting through the Bible–just on a reading level, not ethically. Oddly, I actually LIKE the Book of Job. The idea I got from it is that for all our anthropomorphization, God is NOT at all human in behavior or logic. Bad shit happens because God and people are irrevocably different, and mutual understanding is impossible. Bad shit happens, and sometimes, you really just don’t get an answer. It just IS.

And personally, I find that far more comforting than any explanation.

freemage
8 years ago

LBT: It works for an impersonal universe. Not so much a being I’m being urged to praise and worship.

And yeah, the middle verses have some stronger points, Howard–it’s just that when you take the piece as a whole, those bits become less important, because I can find sources to make the same point without also bringing along all the bad bits.

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

That’s fair. I mean, there’s a reason I prefer to deal spiritually with entities such as Ed Wood. (Patron saint for homeless artists who make goods of arguable quality out of love.)

SittieKitty
8 years ago

I don’t get the book of Job in context of the idea that God is all powerful or all knowing. Why on earth would he need to make a bet with the devil about Job if he was either of those things?

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

Duuuude, SittieKitty, I’m working on bonus sketches right now, and we seem to be on Manboobz at the same time!

SittieKitty
8 years ago

Yes, we do! Um… are there guidelines or something?

katz
8 years ago

Why on earth would he need to make a bet with the devil about Job if he was either of those things?

Why wouldn’t he make a bet if he was those things? XD

The real question is why on earth the devil would take him up on it.

(Real answer: It’s not a “true” story like something that actually happened, but rather a didactic dialogue exploring the nature of suffering. So the characters take on roles and do things for the sake of the narrative, not because that’s really what they would have done in real life.)

SittieKitty
8 years ago

lol katz, stop making sense 😛

In any case, it should have been angels betting, then the question of why people are doing things out of character wouldn’t come up.

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