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Killed by Chivalry: Everything wrong with the Men’s Rights Movement in one Tweet

The Portland heroes: Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, Ricky John Best and Micah Fletcher

In the wake of the Portland train stabbings that left two men dead and one seriously wounded after they tried to stop a white supremacist from harassing several women, Paul Elam — still probably the best-known Men’s Rights Activist online — posted a tweet that spoke volumes — not about the incident itself, but about the utter moral bankruptcy of the Men’s Rights movement.

When other Tweeters objected, Elam doubled down and began spewing insults — aimed not just at his critics but at the murdered men themselves.

In one tweet, he suggested that the victims themselves were the cause of the violence that left them dead.

In his capacity as a leader of what is essentially a hate movement, Elam has said many terrible things over the years — from his post suggesting that women who go home with men without wanting to have sex with them are “damn near demanding” to be raped” to a short story offering an apologia for — indeed, a glorification of — domestic abuse. These tweets, I think, rank up there with his most reprehensible writings, for two main reasons.

First, as many observers have noted, it was not “chivalry” that killed these men. It was an angry and hateful man with a knife who was harassing women on a train.

Elam thinks it unfair that the tenets of chivalry call upon men to protect women — why should men have to serve as unpaid bodyguards for women, he has often asked? What he doesn’t like to talk about is that these volunteer bodyguards aren’t protecting women from bears — there aren’t a lot of those in my neighborhood — but in the overwhelming majority of cases from other men.

There are a lot of problematic things about “white knights,” as Elam insists upon calling them, but the plain fact is that the “good men” that Elam castigates as terminally stupid would be out of a job if there weren’t so many bad men around harassing and abusing women.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, Elam is essentially declaring war on the very thing that sets us apart from brute nature — our ability to feel empathy for others, including people unlike ourselves. A man standing up for a woman who’s being harassed may or may not be engaging in an act of chivalry but it is certainly an act of altruism and basic human solidarity. It’s driven by the same empathetic and altruistic impulse that led so many non-Muslims here in the US to rush to their nearest airports to protest Trump’s Muslim ban.

This sort of cross-cultural solidarity is pretty much the only thing that can save our country from the hatred and meanness that is Trumpism. We need more empathy, not less.

Elam would rather we raise our sons not to feel this sort of empathy towards women. That’s bad enough. But he’s not the only MRA with an empathy problem. And it isn’t confined to his feelings about women.

It’s not just that MRAs are indifferent towards, if not actively hostile, towards women; they lack empathy towards boys and men as well. Indeed, in one notorious post (archived here; I wrote about it here), Elam literally told the “troubled men” who have turned to A Voice For Men for help to ““go fucking bother someone else with your problems” if they weren’t donating money to his site, which is to say him, as he keeps the donations for himself.

Even though he seems to have taken in literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations over the years, he’s never bothered to even try to set up, say, a hotline for men. Instead, he’s set himself up as a sort of ersatz internet therapist for men — he has no actual training as a therapist — literally charging the “troubled men” he claims to be an advocate for $90 an hour to talk to him on Skype.

But he’s not the only MRA who combines a hatred for women with an utter lack of interest in doing anything altruistic for their fellow men.

In the first few years of second wave feminism in the late 60s and early 70s, feminist activists set up shelters and women’s centers and countless other entities designed to benefit women in desperate need of help. In the seven years I’ve been covering the Men;s Rights movement, MRAs haven’t even set up a single hotline, much less a functional men’s shelter. The only notable MRA, er, victory? Being so obnoxious they’ve convinced numerous media sites to shut down their formerly MRA-infested comments sections.

It’s no wonder MRAs feel such hostility towards real heroes. They’re only heroes in their own minds.

741 replies on “Killed by Chivalry: Everything wrong with the Men’s Rights Movement in one Tweet”

Oh, MRAs. Fighting for men’s rights by taking stuff away from women. They can’t be bother to open a men’s shelter or anything like that. But they can bother to sue a theater for doing a women’s event.

Truly the most important human rights movement of our time.

Trollman, you still here? Fuck off.

And I’m not watching ANY menzer videos you post. NOT EVEN ONCE.

And you can spare me the “censorship” and “white knighting” drivel altogether. I’m not censoring you, I’m calling you out, and I’m telling you to FUCK. THE HELL. OFF.


I hope they are ordered to pay the theater’s legal costs for wasting the court’s time.

Re: Chessman
… again … You still don’t get it. A video from a “Men’s Rights” youtuber doesn’t make your point any better than your text posts. Even if they used “fighting words” (according to witnesses, NO they didn’t), the fact that 2 DEATHS resulted from 1 asshole with a knife shows cowardice on the asshole’s part. No good person accidentally kills 2 unarmed people while defending themselves. Also, “fighting words” is, maybe, an excuse to make an assault “mutual combat”, not to excuse killing someone less well armed (or skilled).

If the previously posted arrest warrant is true (and it seems likely to be), then he started with one arrest-able offence when he started carrying the large knife around as a previously convicted felon. This man was not a nice man. Stop defending him.

Re: Suing over Wonder Woman “Women’s only” screenings

Good luck! (hahahaha)

I can think of one trivially simple defense that is very likely to work, but the margins of this comment are too small to contain it. Alamo Drafthouse is much smarter than the average MRA, so I’m sure they’ve thought about it.

Also, you did NOT read about any real theater lawsuit today. Many things MRAs post are made up, false, or impossible to prove.

@Collateral Thought,

I’d forgotten all about Noodle Crab! Of course – now I look at it, I can see where you’re coming from. Shiro now has a middle name, thanks to you 😀

Mention of Noodle Crab also got me and the kid playing one of our favourite stupid games: insert the word ‘noodle’ into any movie/song title, or band name. For instance:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Noodle
Noodle Hard / Noodle Harder / Noodle Hard with a Vengeance

Nick Cave and the Bad Noodles
They Might be Noodles

And this morning’s best: Smells Like Teen Noodle.

In short, you have brought much happiness and I am grateful!


I just died of adorability. She is exquisite. And her face is the same shape as Mei-Mei’s!


Mei’s a blue tortoiseshell, apparently. My floofs are all rescue babies so their lineage is not documented 🙂
btw, thanks for your contributions to this mega-thread – they have been seriously appreciated xx

Ah, reading Paul Elam tweeting something horrible is like greeting an old friend. It almost feels quaint now.

@NickNameNick I’m with Mish, your feline master is stunning!

Chiming in to praise your totes adorbs feline companion.

Thanks everyone! She’s a bundle of fun, what with how much she loves belly-rubs.


And her face is the same shape as Mei-Mei’s!


Mei’s a blue tortoiseshell, apparently. My floofs are all rescue babies so their lineage is not documented

Same here, though I assume she is a Norwegian Forest cat mix given she has many of their traits (triangular skull shape, a leonine mane, big tufts of fur between her toes, and having a really wooly coat). Used to think she may’ve been a Maine Coon but she’s nowhere near as big as one of them.

Hi everyone, I haven’t gotten fully caught up on the thread here yet, but wanted to say hello. I’m actually a previous poster now returning under a different name. So I’m new but not really.


Thanks for the link to Das Omen–I’d totally forgotten I used to listen to E Nomine for a while. >_<


No problem.

The guy who used to sing for them now dresses up as a lady and sings heavy metal.

I know, I was surprised too.


Your lovely girl does look like she’s got some Forest Cat, yes. A breeder told me that Shiro aka Noodle Crab does, too – he’s got the right head shape, the big wide “arms”, and can climb anything just by shimmying. He’s also got a slightly oily covering on his fur.

@Everyone, I’ll stop posting cat pics now, promise XD


I was enjoying it, it’s good eye bleach and mind bleach from all the terrible things in the news today.


The guy who used to sing for them now dresses up as a lady and sings heavy metal.

As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone and makes him happy. ^_^

I listened to them about 3 to 5 years ago, when I was kinda obsessed with the Hellsing: Ultimate anime. Anyone here watched it?


those are some adorable cats ^_^


Yes! I have all the physical copies of the manga, too.

Also, I realized my post sounds gross, so let me clarify: the singer identifies as a man and still has a beard and whatnot when he is dressed as a lady. I’m not implying he’s transgender and that I’m intolerantly negating his gender.

Nooooo…don’t stop posting pictures of your beautiful cats, folks!!! I love love love cats, but can’t own any, as the hubs and kiddo #2 are so severly allergic, their throats swell shut…

So, please, post them! I need my kitty fixes.


I was kinda obsessed with the Hellsing: Ultimate anime. Anyone here watched it?

I knew Fran would have 😛
My son and I watched the first few eps but for some reason it left us kind of … meh. Could be because we’d recently watched Monster and Steins;Gate *waves to dslucia*

We’re certainly not anime snobs, I hasten to add – Bleach is an early favourite, of which I will not be ashamed! I just found the Hellsing ones kind of overblown.
Fran will probs strip me of all my titles now …

@Grand High Adjutant Mish, Hand of the Empress

Not at all. Hellsing is kinda silly. It revels in its silliness. As a teenager I thought it was the coolest thing ever, but as an adult, I now realize how over-the-top wacky it is.


Think Hellsing was silly? Check out Drifters, by the same author.

Oda Nobunaga, who is a character in that manga, calls this elf girl “Olmibreasts”, “Olminipples”, “Olmitits”, “Olmiboobs”, and so on.

I actually found a picture of him doing it, oh my Goddess.


I found a picture of her recolored to look like a black girl.

She is basically me in real life, right down to the wearing glasses and having a nervous expression.

Can’t have too many kitty pix.

Paul’s rate has gone up? Maybe that girlfriend he lives with is putting even more pressure on him to make a living, damnit! (This is purely a guess on my part.)


Oh, I didn’t think you were. Though now I can see what I said sorta implies I thought you were. Damn. I’m not always the best with words. >_<


It's certainly incredibly violent and graphic. It was the first anime I've ever watched, so I probably didn't look at it with much of a critical eye…

Seras Victoria was my favorite character, by far. Since I'd never watched any other anime, she was the only character showing that one can be both powerful AND compassionate. I also happen to like stupidly oversized swords and guns. 😛

@Fran, oh, thank you, gracious one. You are too kind and forgiving. Also, on a less elevated note – that last pic looks like you, huh? ‘Scuse me while I go buy a plane ticket <3


One's first anime always holds a special place in the heart, no matter what 🙂
I still don't know why Hellsing left me cold. I like silly, over the top stuff, and violence doesn't bother me for the most part (I'll admit Elfen Lied pushed my tolerance levels).
I think it was just the Wrong Time For Hellsing.

@Grand High Adjutant Mish

Oda-san is not just misogynistic in Drifters, but he also uses the f-word slur for gay people the way old telegrams use the word ‘stop’ when addressing a certain gay man.

Honestly, Kouta Hirano (the guy who made Hellsing and Drifters) just has this penchant for being as ridiculous as possible, so I really understand entirely when you say he lost you. 😀

Also, to revisit the Old Dance Music convo for a sec:

OT (and different f-word than the one referenced), but just to share,

he also uses the f-word slur for gay people the way old telegrams use the word ‘stop’.

I’ll tell ya, in New York City, where I’ve lived far too long, ‘fuck’ isn’t even a word, it’s a comma.

– Lewis Black

@ Fran

Nice! I still listen to Europop every once in a while.

Used to wonder as a kid why the radio only ever played the second-worst song from the album (I thought it was okay, leagues ahead of “Living in a Bubble,” but nowhere near as good as the slower tracks). In retrospect, it’s got an actual story, a good music video, is one of the better dance songs on the album, and isn’t quite as repetitive as most of the other tracks. So it grew on me.

Never made me spontaneously dance like “Move Your Body” did, though. ^_^

(I know it’s been mentioned before, probably in this very thread, so I’m kind of embarrassed to ask, but… how do you embed videos? v_v)

@Mish Never apologise for cat pics. (Hello smoky and tortie gorgeouses!)

@Kat Also looked at the bookings page and while there are many days with several bookings/unavailabilities, no day is fully booked. Fair enough if it’s not his only gig but maybe he finds it necessary/possible to squeeze the bookings he has. There is a “grandfathered” rate of 90 for clients who’d already signed up though. I wonder whether he’s actually getting more demand or if the ship is slowly sinking.

‘I can think of one trivially simple defense that is very likely to work, but the margins of this comment are too small to contain it.’

Funny–I should use that line more often….

I really wish Bugs Bunny was real. He’d sort Elam out within ten minutes, falling anvil and pianos all through his house.

Wow, did I miss a helluva bunch of stuff. I’ve been reading the comments over the past few days! Sorry I missed the archery discussion! Various posters made some good points in there.

I know we’re long past that…how many pages of comments back was it?….but if one puts the use of the bow as a military weapon in the broadest context in terms of the history of warfare then some of its most successful users over time were various Central Asian and/or Inner Asian polities. I suppose in those cases it’s more accurate though to think about the compound bow + horse + trained horse archer as *weapon system* rather than just bow as weapon. One long-standing problem historiographically though is that so much about them is known chiefly from sources originated from (and colored by the perspective of) the settled agrarian societies on either end of the Eurasian landmass. That’s not entirely true of course; there’s plenty of Oriat literature and literary tradition, etc. I think both Western and Chinese writers since the Middle Ages though tend to concentrate on what they say themselves about Inner Asian societies and their conflicts with them.

If you look at most university-level world history textbooks used here in the U.S. you see hardly anything about Central Asia / Inner Asia in a military context (or at all) after the Mongols. But, heck, Qing China was still fighting the Zhunghar Khanate into the 1750s. Not sure how much Zhunghars were using horse archers then though.

Now, I realize it’s not the same thing but I *think* those 2000-some Kalmyk light cavalry that the Russians had with them in Poland and Brandenburg during the Seven Years War were armed with bows.

I thought of that because the transition to firearms for most European infantry forces….outside the Ottoman domain….is largely completed by the eighteenth century, a change arrived at by a centuries long transition generated in part by things like what Dalailama (sorry if I got the nym wrong slightly!) pointed out regarding training.

Anyway hope everyone is doing well!
Have fun troll-dismantling! Trolls never go after me…why? Oh, the fun I could have bending their minds.

I see Fran is creative as ever… Fran, I hope you do write up some of that stuff….your character ideas are amazing in terms of creativity.

The Springfield rifle is usually accredited as the first firearm that could match a longbow in terms of accuracy, firing rate and lethality; but of course firearms became popular well before that. As well as the reasons already mentioned, one theory is that the noise and smoke was just more psychologically terrifying. And as the general aim in battles was to make one side break and run away (in the pre industrial age something like 90% of casualties were inflicted on retreating armies) this was a major factor.


Wow, I hadn’t heard that about the M1903A3 Springfield (that’s the one right?)….but…the shape of the trajectory of the projectile in either case is pretty different…isn’t it? I tried to look that up but couldn’t find anything authoritative quickly.

I’m not as easily convinced that any 1890s-1900s bolt-action, magazine-fed metal cartridge rifle is significantly enough “better” (by whatever standard…range, rate of fire, etc.) to make a huge difference tactically.

But hell now probably somebody will go cite some example of some Russo-Japanese War or Balkan War or WWI battle of something were some rifle definitely better than the other made all the difference! 🙂

@ pavlov’s house

That’s the one. The other innovation it gave us is what Henry Ford called ‘armoury practice’. That is, mass production using interchangeable parts. It’s more in the realm of aimed fire that it matched the longbow. It obviously wasn’t used for that ‘howitzer’ trajectory mass casualty stuff. But of course for that, a solution was provided by this chap…

Pavlovs House – when I was a history major at university decades ago, I became fascinated by the inner Asian nomad cultures. When I studied early European and Chinese history, accounts were regularly punctuated by ‘and then hordes of barbarian horsemen showed up and wrecked everyone’s shit’.

So I learned about the barbarian horsemen and all the amazing things they did.


The Springfield 03A3 was the *first* with mass produced interchangable parts? Given that pretty much every great power army and many second-rate powers had by 1900 adopted bolt-action magazine fed rifles with metal cartidges and smokeless powder that’s hard to believe. I mean look how robust the M1891 Mosin Nagant is! (OK yeah I’ll fess up…with a nick like mine maaaybe I’m a lot biased towards the Russian exemplar of the species 😉

But seriously I have in my own collection a German Gew98 with interchanged parts; the receiver and bolt assembly have different serial numbers…never been to the range with it and it’s still in cosmoline but I mean the parts clearly work together. And that was clearly a mass produced weapon. (I actually bought the specimen I have because it still had an Ottoman stamp on the receiver….what a piece of history!)

Maybe the thing about the Springfield part interchangability is something beyond just bolt and receiver?

@Robert Walker-Smith

Yeah, the way you phrased it does kind of sum up a lot of Chinese and European historiography on Inner Asian peoples. As you know the reality is way more complicated! But, yes, absolutely it’s a fascinating and important area of history.

@ pavlov’s house

Maybe the thing about the Springfield part interchangability is something beyond just bolt and receiver?

Yeah. Everything was built to the same tolerances. So for example the screw holes on every part lined up. Not only was that a more efficient method of assembly (you could just have one person with a bucket of triggers passing the gun onto the next person with a bucket of trigger guards), it obviously made for easier maintenance in the field. “Hey quartermaster, pass me a spare firing pin” rather than having to get someone to manufacture the spare on site.


Sure….and that’s a huge innovation….but were *none* of the many other 1890s bolt-action rifles also like that? I mean some of those like the Enfield and Mosin-Nagant were in active use longer than the Springfield. If so…hard to believe, but…wow. That’s huge. I had always thought everybody had pretty much gotten there. Sure that Lebel got some complaints as well as a few others, but still I didn’t realize there was that big a difference. Still fun to compare them though, I’ll admit that.

@ pavlov’s house

but were *none* of the many other 1890s bolt-action rifles also like that?

Apparently not. There were obviously attempts at standardisation. But that still involved individual artisans making the bits, albeit supposedly to the same measurements, so there was inevitable variation. Springfield Armory was the first to use standard jigs and templates. They were actually a federal government concern of course and they made tens of thousands of them, so it was economically viable to set up the initial infrastructure whereas it wasn’t as much so for the private companies (who couldn’t rely on government guaranteed orders for a particular model).

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