If you’ve read Jeff Sharlet’s magnificent GQ account of his lost weekend amongst the “Men’s Human Rights Activists” at A Voice for Men’s conference last summer (or my take on it here), you know that some of the creepiest moments his account involved his friend Blair, a twentysomething writer who came along for the ride and ended up, by her account, being groped and propositioned by AVFM’s “director of collegiate activism” Sage Gerard.
Sharlet never mentions Blair’s last name, but Elam outs her in a AVFM post with the lovely title “GQ’s Jeff Sharlet pimps out Blair Braverman for clickbait.”
Braverman, like her friend Sharlet, is a writer. As in, a real writer, someone who’s won awards, whose work has been included in a number of anthologies, and who has a book coming out soon from Ecco/HarperCollins.
Elam must be aware of this – he links to her website, where all of this information is easily found – but for some reason doesn’t mention it. Perhaps because Braverman, less than half his age, is being published by, you know, an actual big-name publishing house, while Elam will never be published by anything more prestigious than Paul Elam Press? (Sorry, Zeta Press. Because Paul is a Zeta male, a term he made up to describe the best kind of male.)
Whatever the reason, Elam is content to portray “pretty young Blair,” whom he refers to repeatedly as a “girl,” as little more than a sort of journalistic honey trap brought to the conference in order to lure the men there into, I guess, acting like the predatory creeps they are?
He also writes that Blair, who trains and races sled dogs, “is into dogs, but I want to make it perfectly clear that I don’t mean that in a sexual way.”
Brilliant, Paul. You’re attempting to rebut a GQ piece that reveals you and your male followers to be a bunch of misogynistic assholes who are constantly saying inappropriately sexual things about (and to) every woman they find attractive … by being a misogynistic asshole saying inappropriately sexual things about a woman you find attractive.
Unexpectedly, Elam’s comrades at AVFM, in their comments on his article, eschew crude sexual comments and focus on substantive points.
Just kidding! They’re worse. Including the women.
Tara Palmatier, a clinical psychologist who has affixed herself firmly to AVFM and who co-hosts a regular Youtube show with Elam, writes of Braverman in something other than clinical terms, describing her as “a disingenuous doe-eyed (one eye slightly smaller than the other and just a smidge crossed) wannabe double agent,” adding:
Yo, MSM, next time you want to employ a “honey trap” to infiltrate the MHRM conference, spring a few more bucks for a more tempting and believable honey trap. Think Julian Assange grade.
AVFM’s “activism director” Attila Vinczer – we’ve met him before – pipes up with a weird and exceedingly creepy, er, appreciation of Braverman that may well make your skin crawl:
I sure recall Blair Braverman joining us in the lobby sporting her dark short shorts, shifting legs crossing one over the other and back again, rosy cheeks, blushing. Flirtatious? Hmmm. What other behaviour should she have had, being warned she would be raped?
One must wonder, just what exactly was their collective intention? Well, judging by the pathetic Jeff Sharlet hack article, it is clear, they were looking for that sizzle. What better plan than bring a young woman, dressed and behaving seductively provocative, to lure some unsuspecting guy like a pretty nerium oleander. We recognized the poison this pretty flower had in store and sent her packing.
Apparently all young women wearing shorts in June, and having legs that occasionally move, are trying to seduce creepy misogynistic assholes twice their age.
Dean Esmay, AVFM’s “managing editor” and “chief operations officer,” adds his two cents:
I remember noticing Blair and thinking she was an eye candy distraction whose job was to flirt with guys, and then thinking “nah don’t be sexist, she’s just nice.”
My bad. She was there specifically to be a distraction
A young woman being a young woman in the presence of Men’s Rights Activists – a clear case of entrapment!
Longtime AVFM regular “Andybob” had some questions.
I wonder how Sharlet prepped Blair Braverman for her role – apart from brushing the dog hairs off her person and instructing her to lose the goats. Did he coach her on how to drop a variety of rape jokes and references into conversations, or did she come up with it all on her own?
I’ve seen no indication that Braverman was prepped, or made any rape jokes, or attended the conference as anything other than a curious (and ultimately quite horrified) visitor. (The bit about goats is a reference to one of the photos AVFM filched from Braverman’s Facebook page and used to illustrate the article.)
GQ’s Sharlet – you know, the actual author of the piece that has the AVFMers so enraged – got some criticism as well. AVFM regular ManWithPlan referred snidely to Sharlet’s alleged “fat rolls.” Palmatier, a bit more creative, wrote that
Sharlet-tan gave me the heebie jeebies from his first cold, slimy amphibian-like approach. (Are slugs amphibians? That’s what he reminded me of.)
Oddly, none of the AVFMers accused Sharlet of trying to seduce them by crossing and uncrossing his legs.
NOTE: Yeah, I used that cartoon once before. But. come on, it’s awesome.
So that was the second half of my comment… The first half was about how great Psychonauts was.
Love that this guy had to ascertain that no, he wasn’t trying to say she fucks dogs just because he mentioned she had dogs. If you have to resort to those kinds of disclaimers based off that context, what the fuck is wrong with the people you’re talking to?