Today, the first in what will be an occasional series of posts on the Twitter activity — sorry, “activism” — of Men’s Rights Activists and other misbegotten misogynistic miscreants.
Sorry about the cheap alliteration at the end of the sentence there, but I’ve spent the last few hours reading Tweets from Attila Vinczer (@Alvhun) and I guess his penchant for tacky rhetorical special effects has rubbed off on me a little.
Attila, the “Activism Director” for Men’s Rights hate site A Voice for Men, is an energetic Twitter “activist.” While not quite as hateful or vicious as his colleagues Dean Esmay or the now-banned Judgy Bitch (aka Janet Bloomfield), Attila has developed a Twitter style all his own, spewing forth minor masterpieces of overwrought incoherence that are the unintentional result of his attempts to pull off complicated literary maneuvers without a mastery of the basics. There is a kind of poetry to them.
The long wait is over! #GamerGate Bingo is here! Well, here, actually. Go there for your very own randomly generated bingo card, and get playing!
Also, I can edit the list of phrases that’s being used to make the cards, so if you have ideas for new phrases, or you want to improve the wording of one that’s already there, or you think one of them should be removed for being redundant or too obscure or too obvious or whatever, let me know in the comments!
Let me take a moment to ignore my regular readers and speak directly to the Men’s Rights Activists who might be reading this blog. I suspect there are a few.
What I would like to talk to you about it ironic humor. Because, here’s the thing, sometimes people say things they don’t actually believe in order to make a little fun at the way other people see them.
A Voice for Men’s “social media director” Janet Bloomfield is proving to be quite the innovator in the world of public relations. You may recall her cheeky approach to publicizing the recent AVFM conference, which involved awarding herself “whore points” for calling critics of AVFM “whores.”
Now she’s moved on to straight-up libel, making up fake quotes in order to make feminist writer Jessica Valenti look bad, and then bragging about it on her blog.
The AVFM social media attack squad seized on this at once, with Bloomfield telling her followers, wrongly, that the picture had been posted in response to a question about male suicide. When Valenti corrected her on this point, Bloomfield offered a half-assed apology (“My bad”).
Then Bloomfield, demonstrating just how insincere her apology had been, decided to up the ante, concocting four “quotes” from thin air and attributing them to Valenti.
[EDIT: JB’s Twitter account was suspended, so here’s a screenshot of the tweets; I’ll keep the original links up in case she’s ever unsuspended, though that seems unlikely.]
Now, these fake quotes may have been “utterly plausible” only to those who are ignorant of Valenti’s work, but in the hothouse world of the Men’s Rights movement there are people who would probably believe that Valenti eats babies. As I noted, JB’s followers had no trouble believing them.
Later in the post Bloomfield added, with more than a hint of maliciousness:
It’s not clear how having made-up quotes attributed to you counts as “owning your shit,” but I guess I just don’t understand Bloomfield’s higher morality.
Needless to say, in the real world, deliberately publishing false information about someone in order to harm their reputation is libel.
When confronted with this on Twitter, Bloomfield offered some inventive excuses:
@JudgyBitch1@JessicaValenti JB, "I didn't like her shirt so I lied about her maliciously to harm her" isn't an acceptable defense for libel
Let’s say that you’re the “Managing Editor” of a website known far and wide for calling women “whores,” as well as an assortment of other 4- and 5-letter words generally considered crude sexist slurs. Let’s just say that you had a convention, and that during this convention your official spokeswoman went on a bit of a name calling rampage on Twitter, repeatedly attacking a woman who had tried to report on said convention as an “attention whore,” a “fame whore,” and a “little whore,” and offering similar “whore”-based assessments to other critics of the site.
And let’s just say that despite all this you also had a desire to convince the world that your site was not actually the misogynistic cesspit that it so obviously is. Would you:
1) Apologize for using the words “whore” and “bitch” and “c*nt” and other similar sexist epithets against women.
2) In your capacity as editor, quietly remove the word “whore” (and “bitch” and “c*nt”) from future postings on the site, and tell your PR maven to maybe come up with a less misogynistic insult of choice.
3) Start calling men whores so that no one can accuse you of hating women because, see we use “whore” to refer to men too!
The answer, of course, is 3 — at least if you’re Dean Esmay, “Managing Editor” of A Voice for Men. In a recent comment thread on AVFM, he declared:
CONFIDENTIAL TO D— E—-: No one is buying your bullshit. Also, if you want to try to convince the world that you’re a Friend of Sex Workers, you should probably stop using the word “whore” as an insult for women or men.
If anyone feels compelled to discuss the AVFM conference, do it here.
I’ll post links to any articles and blog posts and interesting tweets and pretty much anything of note I see about it; if you run across any, feel free to post them in the comments and I can add them to the post.
Here’s the live audio stream for the conference, which is off the air. And the video stream, which isn’t working at the moment. Apparently they’ve packed up for the day. (Friday, that is.)
Warren Farrell, the intellectual grandfather of the Men’s Rights movement, is doing an AMA on Reddit today at 1 PM Eastern time. UPDATE: It’s started, and it’s here.
AMA, in Reddit-speak, stands for Ask Me Anything. So I would encourage you to ask Mr. Farrell questions about anything he has said or written in the past that you find troubling, or even just confusing.
Here are some suggestions. Seriously, ask him any of these, as I’m not sure I’ll be able to be online when the whole thing goes down.
1) Mr Farrell, in your book The Myth of Male Power, you wrote that:
It is important that a woman’s “noes” be respected and that her “yeses” be respected. And it is also important when nonverbal “yeses” (tongues still touching) conflict with those verbal “noes” that the man not be put in jail for choosing the “yes” over the “no.” He might just be trying to become her fantasy.
Are you suggesting that if a woman clearly says no to sex, but does not stop kissing a man, that he is entitled to have sex with her anyway because she has given him a non-verbal “yes?” If not, what specifically do you mean? What sort of non-verbal “yes” would outweigh a clear verbal “no?” Why doesn’t her verbal no mean no?
Source: Myth of Male Power, page 315.
Screencap here: http://i.imgur.com/cwSoc.png
2) Mr. Farrell, regarding your research on incest in the 1970s, you told Penthouse magazine that:
“When I get my most glowing positive cases, 6 out of 200,” says Farrell, “the incest is part of the family’s open, sensual style of life, wherein sex is an outgrowth of warmth and affection. It is more likely that the father has good sex with his wife, and his wife is likely to know and approve — and in one or two cases to join in.”
Were you actually suggesting that there are “glowing, positive cases” of parent-child incest – that is, child sexual abuse? How can child sexual abuse be “glowing” or “positive” for the child?
If this is not what you meant, what did you mean?
Penthouse also quotes you as saying that you were doing your research
“because millions of people who are now refraining from touching, holding, and genitally caressing their children, when that is really a part of a caring, loving expression, are repressing the sexuality of a lot of children and themselves. Maybe this needs repressing, and maybe it doesn’t.”
As I understand it, you’ve said you were misquoted and that you did not say “genitally,” and that what you actually said was “generally” or “gently.” But even with the word replaced, you are suggesting that parents are repressing their sexuality and their children’s sexuality if they don’t “caress” their children. What did you mean by this?
Transcript of Penthouse article: http://nafcj.net/taboo1977farrell.htm
Scanned pages of original article from Penthouse: http://www.thelizlibrary.org/site-index/site-index-frame.html#soulhttp://www.thelizlibrary.org/fathers/farrell2.htm
3) Mr. Farrell, why did you choose a photograph of a nude woman’s ass for the cover of the new edition of The Myth of Male Power? Do you really think that male power is somehow negated by female sexuality?
4) Mr. Farrell, why have you chosen to associate yourself with the website A Voice for Men, a site that frequently refers to women as “cunts,” “bitches,” and “whores?” If you are not aware of this, would you disassociate yourself from the site if given clear proof of the site’s frequent misogynistic attacks on women?
You may remember the embarrassing spectacle a couple of months back when Warren Farrell asked the readers of A Voice for Men to help him pick out a cover picture for a new ebook version of The Myth of Male Power, the 21-year-old crackpot bestseller that more or less provided the, er, intellectual foundation for today’s Men’s Rights movement.
It wasn’t just embarrassing because AVFM is a noxious hate site that regularly calls women c*nts and whores and helps to organize informal campaigns of harassment directed at individual women. It was also embarrassing because all three of the pictures were sexualized images focusing on specific female body parts. You can guess which three, and you’d be right: tits, ass, and vagina (the latter tastefully covered in a merkin made of moss).
The implicit message of the cover couldn’t be clearer: men may seem to run the world, but women can control and exploit them through the power of their sexuality. Male power is undercut by … butt power.
Am I reading too much into a cover image? Farrell doesn’t really believe this nonsense, does he?
Well, in the introduction to the ebook, Farrell writes:
In case you’re wondering, “genetic celebrity” is Farrell’s term of art for any attractive woman.
But golly, you say, the fact that a dude feels “powerless” because he can’t have sex with every woman with a nice butt that happens to wander across his field of vision doesn’t actually mean that men are powerless or that male power is a myth. Well, Farrell has an answer to this as well. And by “answer” I mean, well, whatever this is:
Got that? I’m not sure there’s anything there to get; it’s nothing more than hand-waving to distract attention from the nonsensical nature of his previous statements. In case any Men’s Rights activist ever brings Warren Farrell up as an example of a respectable, “academic” MRA, you may wish to point out that almost nothing Farrell writes ever actually makes any fucking sense.
In the book itself, Farrell repeatedly suggested that male power can be undone almost completely by the sexual power of women. In one oft-quoted passage, he wrote about the effect that a “secretary’s miniskirt power, cleavage power and flirtation power” allegedly has on their male bosses. (Myth of Male Power, p. 21)
While that statement has earned a certain notoriety for its sheer ridiculousness, Farrell went further elsewhere in the book, essentially arguing that men are as addicted to female “beauty” as drug addicts are to the drug of their choice — and as helpless.
“Sexually, of course, the sexes aren’t equal,” Farrell wrote. “[M]any men feel ‘under the influence the moment they see a beautiful woman.” (p. 320, emphasis in original.)
This sort of temporary “intoxication,” Farrell argued, leads men into shackling themselves to these temporarily sexy tyrants for the rest of their lives — thus agreeing to support them (he suggested implicitly) even after they get old and ugly. (p. 85.)
In Farrell’s original book, this “argument,” such as it is, was merely one of many that he thought undercut the alleged “myth of male power.” Now, with the butt on the cover, he’s put it front and center. Or, more precisely, rear and center.
Warren Farrell, you’re an ass, man.
Oh, awkward segue here, I just wanted to show off the cover to the new edition of my classic book, The Myth of Human Power.
It will soon be available for one million dollars in cash in unmarked bills, upon delivery of which I will sit down and write it for you. It will probably be pretty short and not very convincing.
A bit of drama in the land of misogyny: The guy behind MGTOWforums.com, the leading site devoted to so-called Men Going Their Own Way and one of the most reliable purveyors of highly mockable misogyny, has decided to, well, go his own way. (Sorry, I had to.)
Last night, MGTOWforums founder “Nacho Vidal” (not the real porn star) took the forums down, replacing them with a rather embittered farewell letter. But as of a few minutes ago, the forums were BACK UP again, albeit with no explanation and no new posts since last night. (Perhaps the site is just going to remain up as an archive?)
More on this as it develops, but in the meantime, let’s take a look at Nacho Vidal’s long goodbye: