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Confused losers at A Voice for Men congratulate themselves on their COLOSSAL SUCCESS in Toronto

Derek Zoolander: Also a little delusional sometimes
Derek Zoolander: Also a little delusional sometimes

So over on A Voice for Men, the regulars are all congratulating one another for their grand victory in Toronto. In AVFM’s official post on Saturday’s tiny “rally,” incongruously titled “Historic MHRA rally in Toronto huge success,” Elam — who in photographs of the events looked rather befuddled by it all — declared that the day had been magical for him:

“This was one of the greatest things I have ever done in my life,” said Elam. “Meeting all of these people and talking to a crowd that was five times bigger than the opposition was a remarkable event.”

Given that most of the opposition made a clear decision to ignore the AVFM/CAFE rally and lecture — much to the obvious disappointment of many MRAs who were there in Toronto or watching on the sidelines on the Internet — this was not much of an accomplishment.

Other commenters on AVFM were equally effusive.

“It’s an amazing day!” declared Tara J. Palmatier, the Men’s Rights therapist. “What a fantastic turnout, congrats to all the people who took part in this momentous rally,” wrote the easily impressed Onca747. “This truly is a historic moment,” agreed Unregistard. “OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” added JJ.

Not to be outdone, Attila L. Vinczer of Canada Courtwatch, one of the speakers at the “rally,” declared it to have been both a “COLOSSAL” and a “complete success,” adding that

Saturday, September 28, 2013 will be remembered in history as one of the most important turning points for Men and Boys in Crisis.

The obvious question is: Do they know?

Do they know what a miserable failure their little rally was?

This was to be the great shining moment for the burgeoning Mens (Human) Rights Movement. It was trumpeted in no less than 17 posts on AVFM itself and in numerous other posts on affiliated and sympathetic sites elsewhere. Numerous MRAs flew in to be there. And the event drew … a tiny handful of rank-and-file MRAs and other onlookers. I’ve seen bigger crowds waiting for a bus. (See the pictures here to see how tiny this “historic” rally really was; see here for people making fun of those pictures.)

A Voice for Men has a long-established habit of promising big and delivering tiny, or not at all.

Oftentimes, the site simply moves on, and hopes no one remembers the promises and/or predictions.

In this case, they seem to be trying to cover up a giant failure through the sheet power of their own bluster.

Or do they really believe their own nonsense?

Recently, I read the classic sociological study When Prophecy Fails, by  Leon Festinger, Henry Riecken, and Stanley Schachter. It’s a study of a small UFO cult led by a woman named Dorothy Martin who claimed to have received messages from planet Clarion predicting an imminent apocalypse in the early morning of December 21, 1954. The researchers — in a move that would now be considered completely unethical — managed to infiltrate the group, and so had a cult-members-eye-view to watch what happened when this prophecy (SPOILER ALERT) didn’t come true.

There are a couple of aspects of Ms. Martin’s story that I think are relevant here. Prior to her big failed prediction — and the collapse of her little cult — Martin made a number of smaller failed predictions, claiming that the aliens had told her when and where they would be landing their ships. Each time, she and some of her followers went to their alien appointments and waited, only to be stood up. And each time, Martin’s imaginary alien friends came up with an excuse for their absence which somehow mollified her followers.

When the apocalypse itself failed to appear, to the great consternation of her followers, Martin again turned to her alien friends for an explanation, and told her followers that their efforts had so pleased the aliens that they had decided to not destroy the world after all.

Instead of rejecting this as obvious nonsense, her most fervent followers grabbed onto this explanation excitedly. After days of dodging the press — which had been writing jokey stories about the group as they prepared for the end — the group members eagerly started calling every reporter they could think of to share the good news about the earth’s reprieve.

In other words, the failed prophecy, in the short term, actually served to invigorate the group and strengthen the beliefs of its truest true believers — as they tried to combat their unconscious sense of disappointment with ever-more-frantic activity.

But only for the most fervent followers. Those who weren’t in direct contact with Martin faded away from the group.

The sociologists didn’t really get a chance to see what would have happened with the true believers because the real world intruded on the cult in other ways: Police threatened to arrest Martin for contributing to the delinquency of minors (by scaring them with her UFO stories) and suggested that she might be sent to a mental hospital. She went into hiding, and her group dissolved. Two years later Festinger’s book was published.

But Martin hadn’t vanished forever. Several years later she emerged again as a proto-new age guru, and she continued channeling her same alien friends for many decades until her death in 1992.

So on the one hand, she managed to keep peddling her bullshit for as long as she lived even after being proved catastrophically wrong again and again.

On the other hand, she never became the great prophet she imagined herself to be, and has gone down in history as little more than a footnote in the history of People Who Were Completely Wrong About Everything.

There may be a lesson or two here.

For more about Martin and her group, see here. If you’ve got a Kindle, you can get an ebook version of When Prophecy Fails cheap on Amazon.

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Good
Good
8 years ago

The contraction is two words smushed together, short for ‘you are.’

http://t.qkme.me/3ule7y.jpg

Howard Bannister
8 years ago

@Good

Are you hitting on me?

Sorry, I don’t swing that way.

Well, I do swing that way. Just not for tendentious assholes like you.

Howard Bannister
8 years ago

Also, urban dictionary? Smush is not and never will be slang for having sex. That’s just silly.

cloudiah
8 years ago

Now LesserGood is dropping completely irrelevant links. They used to at least hint at a connection to the topic of discussion.

It’s sad, watcing him come apart like this.

Seranvali
Seranvali
8 years ago

Baileyrenee:

Thing is…there was a men’s shelter run by a guy called Earl Silverman from his own home but he didn’t manage to get funding for it from the Canadian government so it failed and most unfortunately Silverman killed himself the day after his house was sold. It was all terribly, terribly sad. Apparently he’d tried several times to get funding but had been knocked backed each time. I’m not sure why but I’m more inclined to think it was due to some bureaucratic weirdness than that a feminist conspiracy had scuttled it, which, of course, was what the MRA and Silverman himself thought. It can be done. Silverman’s problem was simply lack of funds but that can be solved with help. I mean, isn’t that what the MRA is supposed to be all about? Men helping other men?

They complain a lot that there are far more services out there for women than there are for men and it’s true, there are but we got a forty year head start on them and they’ve only discovered that that they needed them. While some services can be shared (with sufficient increases in funding) such as domestic violence and rape crisis hotlines, there is no room for negotiation on shelters. If men are around a great many women won’t use them. Separate shelters are a great idea but they need to be run by and for men with thier own budget. Rather than do that they want to take the services away from us.

They remind me oft he kid who gets so envious at their siblings birthday party that they throw a tantrum and make Mummy promise to take their siblings presents untill they are given exactly the same thing. *eyeroll*

Chie Satonaka
Chie Satonaka
8 years ago

Who cares if it is? It was in the context of two words contracted together…..who cares if words are fucking?

Chie Satonaka
Chie Satonaka
8 years ago

They complain a lot that there are far more services out there for women than there are for men and it’s true, there are but we got a forty year head start on them and they’ve only discovered that that they needed them.

This is it in a nutshell. Women activists have been organizing for shelters, charities, research and other outreach for decades. MRAs don’t want to do that kind of grunt work — they just want the women to have to give up what they’ve spent forty years working for.

Squirtlekin
8 years ago

So you’re criticizing the meeting for being small. What sophisticated commentary.

You know, not everyone has the funds to fly in to attend a rally, and one in another country, at that. I think 150 isn’t a surprising turnout for a controversial movement in one city. It’s “historic” because it’s the first one, as they said.

But I understand you don’t have much to work with here. What was your last big blow against MRAs, something about a Google search screenshot? Devastating.

AK
AK
8 years ago

Man, that MGTOW song had me in tears. Largely because they mentioned their refusal to hold open doors in the first verse. I think that perfectly sums up their attitude. Seriously, guys, it’s just a door and most people don’t expect men to hold them open for women anymore anyway. Get over it.

Squirtlekin
8 years ago

“This is it in a nutshell. Women activists have been organizing for shelters, charities, research and other outreach for decades. MRAs don’t want to do that kind of grunt work — they just want the women to have to give up what they’ve spent forty years working for.”

Or, nobody is willing to fund these projects for men. Men don’t get help, they help.

How is one man, or a small group of men, who can’t provide these things for themselves supposed to put together a massive organization to provide them for others? I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but all those shelters and charities weren’t created out of womanly struggle, but through funding by the government and other sources.

Howard Bannister
8 years ago

@Chie

Sometimes it was just so lonely, being the word ‘are.’ Personal pronouns would get close, but never too close. He could see other words pairing off, finding true love, but he knew it would never happen to him.

Then came the wonderful day… the day the word ‘you’ approached him in a bar. Big, tall, masculine.

“Hey, cutie. Wanna form a contraction?”

They smooshed like nothing and nobody could ever stop them.

Seranvali
Seranvali
8 years ago

Chie:

Also, they really have no idea of the amount of work involved. You have to be doing these kinds of projects heart and soul, as a volunteer, sometimes for years. The stories I was told about the setting up of the early shelters are staggering with women, children and often workers living in squats with no electricity or hot water, no means of looking but little gas stoves, sleeping in sleeping bags, overcrowding, adults going hungry so children could eat because money was so tight they couldn’t afford groceries. Until you get some kind of public recognition and funding life can be really difficult and it’s no picknick when you have. It’s a sad, stressful environment that even with funding, runs on a shoestring. You just keep at it because you know that it can change the lives of your clients for the better. I hate that they think this somehow just ‘happened’ without really hard work and a great deal of sacrifice. Most of all, once they’ve publicly raised the issue in a reasonable way it will be easier for them because we’ve already done the trailblazing and have the system in place.

pecunium
8 years ago

jonamta: Slow or not the continuing success

Success? AVfM claims to be raking in $100K, US; annually. Do you know what I could do with that sort of budget? That would pay for an office, and a couple of part-time staffers. It would allow for significant outreach. With that I could probably bootstrap some donations in kind, matching grants and charitable grants.

My father is doing a lot more with a lot less (he’s getting about $25,000 in grants this year) doing Mediations. He’s specialising Family Law cases. Why? Because he and his ex-wife had a terrible divorce. He was starting to be sucked into the whole MRM shit (that led to some interesting converstations. Some asshole was going on about, “alienation of affection”.

So about four years ago he took a mediation certification course. One, he saw that he’d not been as good in the divorce as he thought (a certain lack of flexibility, as well as being a little insensitive to the mental problems my step-mother was having). Two, he saw there was a serious need for Mediation in Tenn/Kentucky.

So he hustled. He did lots of pro-bono mediation; to get judges to know his name. He worked to get 1: the best interests of the child, and 2: a happy medium for the parents (insofar as that was in keeping with the best interests of the child). Then, when he had references, he started shopping for grant money. Established a non-profit. Did the leg-work, and keeps the paperwork, and still does a lot of pro-bono cases.

And he’s working his ass off, to 1: actually see to it that people getting divorced get fair shakes. 2: see to it the kids are cared for. 3: keep the grants coming (so he can do that) and (When possible) take cases that aren’t being paid for out of the grant money.

That’s what how you do activism (and my dad’s work counts. He’s raisinf the awareness mediation as a way to acheive more equitable divorces; for the kids, and the parents, in Eastern Tenn. and Kentucky).

Because he can’t just keep the “donations” the way Elam does (and I’ll bet Elam doesn’t have a non-profit set up, and is treating the donations as, “gifts” for taxable purposes, so he’s not paying any taxes on his $100K, instead leaching off the taxpayers).

So if that rally is how you measure, “success” with a budget 4 times the size of my fathers, and (to hear people like you tell it) a rising groundswell of support, you’re even more pathetic then we’ve been saying.

This fiasco… people flying in from all over Canada, to mumble at random passers-by; which you are touting as a massive win, was a circle-jerk in public.

saintnick86
8 years ago

@Seranvali:

I’m not sure why but I’m more inclined to think it was due to some bureaucratic weirdness than that a feminist conspiracy had scuttled it, which, of course, was what the MRA and Silverman himself thought. It can be done. Silverman’s problem was simply lack of funds but that can be solved with help. I mean, isn’t that what the MRA is supposed to be all about? Men helping other men?

It’s rather typical of those who believe in conspiracy theories, that nothing can be coincidental or accidental – it must be some sort of nefarious scheme to silence them. It gives them something to blame instead of dealing with the reality of the situation.

MRAs, for all their talk of helping boys and men, are incredibly lazy about it but still delusional enough to deny such an observation. I’d believe their claim more if their entire modus operandi didn’t seem to just involve harassing those who’ve somehow (often easily) offended their sensibilities when not petulantly whining somewhere on the internet, usually to self-victimize (even as they mock actual victims). These are the same people who put Katherine Heigel was advocating castration in a comedic video about getting your pets fixed, and put her on a fake sex offender registry.

If they actually cared about helping boys and men, as they claim, they wouldn’t spend so much energy doing things like that.

Man, that MGTOW song had me in tears. Largely because they mentioned their refusal to hold open doors in the first verse. I think that perfectly sums up their attitude. Seriously, guys, it’s just a door and most people don’t expect men to hold them open for women anymore anyway. Get over it.

The fact they consider that a point of contention is rather pathetic.

I’m sorry but…isn’t holding the door open for another person behind you common courtesy? I do so since it’s rude to just let a door slam in someone’s face. It doesn’t take much effort and it’s simply considerate of others. If MGTOW think occasionally being nice is some form of oppression – they obviously have no idea what actual oppression is like. It’s pretty fucking narcissistic, too.

saintnick86
8 years ago

Gah!

I meant “these are the same people who THOUGHT Katherine Heigel was advocating castration in a comedic video”…

cloudiah
8 years ago

They smooshed like nothing and nobody could ever stop them.

Your short story made me laugh SO HARD, and for this I thank you, Howard.

And pecunium, the work your dad is doing sounds awesome.

saintnick86
8 years ago

But in India no one does that. If you do people will be a bit confused and ignore you.

Huh, interesting…

Why is that?

SittieKitty
8 years ago

Just hearing go your own way reminds me of this song:

Which is infinitely better, imo.

Also, I’ve had more people than that over for Christmas/Thanksgiving/Easter dinners… So that’s kinda sad, given that’s mostly family (Two 40lb turkeys + smaller ones for leftovers ftw). It’s also a hell of a lot more fun, interesting, and prolly has more impact on social change.

Nitram
Nitram
8 years ago

Auggziliary,

“I think the door thing depends on where you live. In the US it’s polite and expected to not slam the door in someone’s face. But in India no one does that. If you do people will be a bit confused and ignore you.”

That explains it! I’m a big door opener/holder (and I’m a woman btw). I loooove holding doors open for men, women, children and letting everyone go before me with a smile! I just like to be kind, no inferiority complex or anything. Anyway, I used to work at a big company where the majority of the IT call center people were outsourced from a company in India. I was always struck by how often these people wouldn’t hold doors open. Thought they were rude or thought I was inferior or something. Woops!

saintnick86
8 years ago

“The Sound of the Life of the Mind” was a damn fine album…

dustydeste
dustydeste
8 years ago

So I was thinking… anyone want to help put together a collection of photos of non-formally-organized public groups (people at bus stops, lines at food trucks, etc.) that’re larger than the MOMENTOUSLY HUGELY SUCCESSFUL MRA gathering? Because I could see that being pretty amusing. We could have, like, a tumblr or something.

SittieKitty
8 years ago

dustydeste, I win!

dustydeste
dustydeste
8 years ago

Heheheh, okay, gonna make this happen. *Pets imaginary fluffy white cat, evilly*

SittieKitty
8 years ago

Hehe, Speaking of.

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