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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.

https://twitter.com/anearformen/status/868917239143178240

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

https://twitter.com/anearformen/status/869066210964631552

https://twitter.com/anearformen/status/869068999577006080

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

https://twitter.com/anearformen/status/869064408252772354

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.

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Ray of Rays
Ray of Rays
4 years ago

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)

Boogerghost
Boogerghost
4 years ago

@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.

guest
guest
4 years ago

‘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….

Gijoel
Gijoel
4 years ago

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

dslucia
dslucia
4 years ago

Must… resist… evangelizing… Steins;Gate

Pavlovs House
Pavlovs House
4 years ago

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.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

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.

Pavlovs House
Pavlovs House
4 years ago

@Alan,

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! 🙂

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ 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…

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Shrapnel

Robert Walker-Smith
Robert Walker-Smith
4 years ago

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.

Pavlovs House
Pavlovs House
4 years ago

Alan,

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?

Pavlovs House
Pavlovs House
4 years ago

@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.

Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ 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.

Pavlovs House
Pavlovs House
4 years ago

@Alan

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.

Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ 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).

Dalillama: Irate Social Engineer

There’s going to be a fascist rally in downtown Portland tomorrow. (not half a mile form my places of work and residence.) Counterdemontrators will be put in force. Stay tuned for updates.

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