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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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dustydeste
dustydeste
8 years ago

Alright, it’s up and running!

Ooooh, do you know where those cats are, SittieKitty? I’m trying to put a basic explanation of each picture in, for clarity.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Dustydeste — the theatre crew at my HS (Latin club too, there were 26 of us in the photo) — two favors when you post that, crop it please, and don’t credit me.

That’s 80 something of us, I think more of us were graduating seniors than there were at that MRA rally.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Pecunium — 1) like the hair cut? 2) that’s the ex-FWB ass that my hands are on…we weren’t a thing yet. Like I said, we were DENSE

dlouwe
8 years ago

This isn’t quite as silly, but here’s an example of what happens when you put together a rally that Canadians really care about. (4/20 in Vancouver)

cloudiah
8 years ago

Brilliant idea! I’ve submitted a few.

katz
8 years ago

Is Vancouver jelly looking across the border and seeing our cops passing out Doritos at Hempfest? (Washington is awesome.)

kittehserf
8 years ago

Is that pic meant to be upside down, Argenti? O_O

dustydeste
dustydeste
8 years ago

Haha, as a pseudoVancouverite, I’m jelly, and I’m not even on the 420 boat! (I just want someone to give me Doritos, this is always an acceptable action)

sparky
sparky
8 years ago

Oooh, can I play too?

Attendees at the AQS quilt show in Paducah, KY because someday I shall go!


http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/wkms/files/201304/quilt-week.jpg

And, The Simpsons characters:


http://www.socwall.com/images/wallpapers/6504-2637×1405.jpg

dustydeste
dustydeste
8 years ago

Is this okay, Argenti?

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Perfect! Thanks 🙂

And no kitteh, it shouldn’t be upside down, but if it was, dustydeste fixed it.

sparky
sparky
8 years ago

Sorry, I cannot resist one more:


http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_rNpkFYm7s7E/TT5Mlpbf6BI/AAAAAAAABwg/3n4upi5Vmg0/s1600/fans.jpg

Steeler fans waving the Terrible Towel

dustydeste
dustydeste
8 years ago

Don’t apologize, I’m totally having fun doing this! I’m going to put any further submissions in the queue, though, so that anyone who decides to follow doesn’t just get swamped 🙂

dustydeste
dustydeste
8 years ago

I don’t think I’ll post large gatherings of sports fans, though; it’s kind of not an obscure enough thing to be funny, if that makes sense? Like, of course there’s not a stadium full of MRAs somewhere; most groups don’t have that kind of draw, so it’s a kind of ineffective to compare the two.

sparky
sparky
8 years ago
Reply to  dustydeste

Of course; just felt the need to do a shout-out to a strange little Pittsburgh tradition :).

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

*waves a terrible towel* now! what is remotely strange about towels? Better than wearing cheese on your head!

dustydeste
dustydeste
8 years ago

What?! But cheese is the most fashionable of edible headwear!

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Idk, I think a mango would make a nice hat.

sparky
sparky
8 years ago

*waves a Terrible Towel back*
I am a non-native to the ‘Burgh, so yeah, it seems a little strange to me. Not in a bad way. And since I’ve been living here awhile, I kinda get it now.

dustydeste
dustydeste
8 years ago

Okay, I lied. Clearly THIS is the most fashionable of edible headwear. I mean, I can’t even aspire to such edible elegance.

SittieKitty
8 years ago

dusty http://www.4us2be.com/animal-plant-life/heaven-for-homeless-cats/ the second cat pic came from this, it’s pretty cool.

The first first pic I showed, of a street crossing, is just a street crossing in Tokyo.

And the first cat pic… I’m not sure where it’s from, I just found it on google.

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

😀 No photos, but the con I just tabled at this weekend got 1700 people! AND I MADE MONEY AND IT WAS WONDERFUL. Also entirely volunteer-run, with a bunch of cool people tabling. We got to have some bigger names this year, like Evan Dahm and Jess Fink, and it was just generally fantasmo.

SittieKitty
8 years ago

Heritage Classic 2011.

McMahon Stadium, Calgary.

Fucking winter. Outdoors. Felt like -28C.

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