art, Film, music

Art and Pain

Painting By Francis Bacon

Painting By Francis Bacon

I am a fan of N.W.A., and I am looking forward to seeing the bio pic about their career “Straight Outta Compton”. I think their music & poetry is some of the most revolutionary & genius of the past 50 years. I also think that Dr. Dre is a woman-beating piece of shit. Believe it or not, it is possible to appreciate the art of someone who is a more often than not a terrible person. We do it every day when we listen to a Phil Spector produced Beatles track or read a Norman Mailer manuscript (the former was convicted of murder and the later stabbed his 2nd wife). There is nothing hypocritical about that…what IS hypocritical, though, is pretending that the artists who produce the works we so enjoy and love are flawless, paragons of virtue. They are not. The never have been and they never will be. This is not a problem with rappers, or rock gods or misanthropic writers…this is a human problem. When we choose to go underneath the surface of the art that inspires us, we must be prepared to confront that sometimes distasteful, sometimes downright horrid behaviors, ideas, and fantasies of the people who create it. Great art can and does come from great pain, both experienced and inflicted. We owe it to ourselves and to those who were victimized by the gross human nature of our heroes to not sweep the facts under the rug. In that spirit I am posting a link to this excellent, heartbreaking, and very revealing interview with music journalist Dee Barnes, who was brutally beaten by Dr. Dre at a party after an interview she conducted with former N.W.A member Ice Cube. We can love the art, but hate and condemn what the artist has done to others. Again, this does not make us hypocrites, it in fact makes us human

http://gawker.com/heres-whats-missing-from-straight-outta-compton-me-and-1724735910

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essay, racism

3/4 White OR How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Hate My Privilege

Polished Shoes

Polished Shoes

My Grandmother, the one I actually adore and like, is from Ecuador originally. She is a gorgeous woman, the sort of woman who at 80 still has men flirt with her & try to get her attention. She enjoys it now, I think, but she did not enjoy that attention back when she was a recent immigrant to the United States from Quito, Ecuador, in the early 60s. She fled a terrible relationship and went to the United States so that her children could have a better future away from the alcoholic, abusive male chauvinists who ran her family and her country. She struggled being a young hispanic woman in the early 60’s era Chicago Suburbs. She had to leave most of her children, my aunts and uncles, behind out of necessity, leaving them back in the country she loved but also had to flee. She worked any job she could so she could save up enough money to bring her kids over. All the while she had to fight off, literally, the lecherous advances of everyone from her managers, her co-workers, her neighbors and even her landlord. A story she frequently told us as (probably far too young) children was about whenever the rent came due her fat ugly white landlord would come and try and break down her door so that he could rape her. She laughed about it as though if it were a plot from a favorite movie, but I am sure that laughter was covering up a lot of pain and rage. She never showed that side of herself to me or my siblings or cousins though: she was always a happy, smiling, generous, boisterous and proud Latino woman who loved her grandchildren and obviously loved the life she had created for herself and her family.

She married my Grandfather, the son of a German speaking Polish immigrant, and had two more children, my father and my (full) uncle (I consider all my Ecuadorian born relations fully my relatives as well, even though technically they are “half” uncles, aunts, and cousins). My Dad was a small fellow growing up, someone who today would be the sort of adorable mixed race child who would grace a Cheerio’s commercial or star in a PBS children’s shows, but back in late 60’s-early 70’s DuPage County, looking like he did didn’t do him any favors. My Grandmother would dress my dad in small business type suits and sent him off to school with a briefcase and polished shoes. My grandmother meant well, she really did, but a little brown boy in tiny business attire made a great target for the richer, bigger, and meaner white bullies who would torment him, beat him, and steal his money every day on his way to school. My dad laughs about it now, but I am sure that experience was something akin to a living Hell. As he grew older, he began to look less “brown” and he grew into himself more, becoming a high school wrestler, started to write, and generally began embracing his strengths. Today you would have a hard time guess he was Hispanic at all, except for his ease at attaining a tan, and I know that has probably helped him in the intense and superficial sales world he has made his living in throughout his life. He can now “pass” and is more or less fully embraced by the white society that used to shun, humiliate, and torture him for the audacity of his brownness. My dad is a very open-minded fellow, very kind and also probably the least prejudiced person I have ever met. He is patient and kind with everyone, though he has told me that some of his white co-workers over the years have tried to bring him into their little “white man” club, mistaking him for someone who wants to listen to their disgusting bigoted opinions about their black or Mexican co-workers. Appearing white and being male seems to be a green light for bigots to try and rope you into their foul prejudiced worldview.

When I was born I was clearly different. I didn’t really like being around people that much, outside of my family, and I did not like to go outside of my house or yard to do things with other kids. I was quiet in public and polite to point of being strange. I liked nothing more than being in my room, reading my books, playing with my sisters with their barbies and my action figures and G.I Joe’s, coming up with ever more elaborate stories that made no sense to anyone but me. It is clear now that I was an autistic child, and now I am an autistic adult (I was not diagnosed until I was 21…mainly because I was homeschooled but also because my mom is autistic as well and we really thought I just took after her!). At the same time, I am a white, cisgender male born into the middle of the middle class. Privilege was something I was born with and that benefits me in ways small and large that I will never completely understand. I look totally white. You would never guess I have a grandmother whose first language was Spanish and who looks like Inca royalty. With my red beard, dark blond hair, green eyes and printer paper pale skin you would guess I was full blooded Nordic (I am 1/8th Swedish by the way). The worst teasing I ever got was having some brats throw pebbles at me at the play ground one time because I was a “nerd” who actually liked playing with my sisters in public. Not really a story of hardship and adversity, was my childhood.

That being said, I grew up thinking that EVERYONE had a grandmother who was brown and spoke Spanish fluently. I thought EVERYONE had Uncles and Aunties with olive skin and thick black hair. It was quite a shock to me to realize that this was not at all the case, especially not for little boys and eventually young men who looked like me. As soon as I grew old enough to have a desire to go out and do somethings in the public world, I began to realize how much a privilege my looks really were. Nothing was ever really hard for me, not getting part time jobs (even though I was and still am a terrible employee) nor getting into the school I wanted to get into. I have never been pulled over, I have never been stopped by a cop, I have never been condescended to because of my appearance, I have never been profiled in a bookstore or a shopping mall because I look like “the sort” who would shoplift. In other words, I am as much a part of the status quo as the brick post office or the VFW building: I am “normal”, I am what an American is “supposed” to look like. Being Autistic it took me longer than would otherwise be the case to realize that I was in fact “normal”: In my own mind I am such a strange, esoteric, out of place person who does not understand people. The idea that I did NOT stand out was alien to me, but I started to realize this fact as I got out into the wider social universe. White people, men especially, would assume I was “one of them” and would crack their cruel jokes about “those people” and women. Not having any sort of social filter, my discomfort and displeasure would be apparent on my face and would usually be enough to drive these sorts of people away. I am the sort of person who will tell a stranger or someone I barely know that they are “wrong” to their face. This tends to upset, or at least unnerve, a lot of people, white men especially.

I always fit in better with people who did not look like me: the Pakistani-American kids I worked with at the college library embraced me because I didn’t crack cheap terrorist jokes or make distasteful comments about Muslim women. The foreign born and foreign exchange students liked me because I listened instead of talking, and I was genuinely interested in how they viewed the world (I love geography, and I love cultural history of all sorts). I made friend with women easily because I didn’t try to get in their pants and I didn’t condescend to them. I grew up with 3 strong and independent sisters and a very feminist mother, so even IF I had had a misogynist inclination, it would have been figuratively “beaten” out of me at a young age. As it was, I never saw women as the different species that most men seem to see them as. I think my autism has something to do with my lack of prejudice: I tend to see everyone as a sort of blank face that I slowly fill in as I get to know their patterns and their quirks.

That is not to say I am some sort of perfect liberal paragon. The insidious part of privilege is that you are not SUPPOSED to be aware of it when you have it, and combined with my autistic inability to read social situations well I have certainly made some faux pas and hurt feelings in ways I will never be aware of. That knowledge depresses me (I have clinical depression so this is not altogether strange for me) and it worries me constantly; it is one of the reasons I avoid contact with many people. I hate the idea that I could inadvertently hurt or marginalize another person. I hate my privilege even while I benefit from it every day. My lizard brain, the part that seeks to avoid stress and pain, of course enjoys the fact that I can go through life as an unmolested, benignly invisible person if I so choose, but the moral me, the human me, despises that privilege and wishes that it would be wiped from the face of the Earth forever.

Today I am a Anarcho-Socialist writer/artist/editor in the working class who is generally happy and comfortable who does everything he can to make sure he does not make others feel like my dad and my grandmother felt in their respective youths. I write and I create, but what I try to do most of all is to make sure that I leave people feeling better for having met me. There is no greater gift you can give to the world than to make sure that you do not make life more difficult for others. I suppose there is more I could do, more I could say, but I am still only 28 and I have a long way to go before I fully understand myself, my world, and the privilege I inherited, like a stolen heirloom, and still use, whether I like it or not.

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Activism, Feminism

My Little Brother, The Gamer

Not My Little Brother haha

Not My Little Brother haha

My little brother loves video games. He loves them A LOT. He has a gamecube, both Wii’s, pretty much every gameboy you can think of and plays some games online. He is a voracious reader, online video watcher, and reader. He knows more about the inner workings and corporate politics of the Nintendo company then most industry journalists do. He grew up with four siblings and a mom who loved video games, played them often and as a family. He is very good at them. VERY. All in all he is a remarkable little guy. My brother always tells me what he learns about the history of gaming, especially from videos he watches on youtube. It seems like every time I visit him he has something new to tell me about a game I grew up with! Mind you, this kid is barely older than the Obama administration and he lectures me, brilliantly, on the history of game companies going back to Atari. He’s a video game savant! He is also a genuinely kind and friendly kid. He makes friends with the kids in his class who are made fun of or marginalized, not out of pity but because he genuinely connects and loves them. He is create and he tries to understand the “adult” world of ideas and history and politics. He told me once how he didn’t understand why so many of the boys in his class considered being gay or being feminine or a girl was a bad thing. He was utterly baffled by this and it was so refreshing to see such lack of prejudice and cruelty in his eyes. This is because he is a good guy, but also because he has three very accomplished older sisters and a mom, all of whom are strongly feminist and constantly teach him to respect all people and to understand the privilege his skin color and his gender give him. He understands this and he does not take it like so many “adults” do, as an indictment of all men or a condemnation of the male gender itself. He always asks me questions about the world and why people think the way they do and why so many treat people so badly. Sometimes I have answers with him. Other times I can only wonder with him why so many people, men especially, seem to think that the entire world revolves around their prejudices and needs. It is amazing how much more mature and intelligent my little brother is than the so called “men” who claim the gaming culture as their own and who try so hard to make women, LGBTQ people, and feminist men feel unwelcome. My little brother likes to play video games. He doesn’t care if he plays with a boy, a girl or anyone else. He just likes to play. He doesn’t care if games become more friendly to the concerns of women and minorities, and by that I mean it makes no difference to him because a game is just a game. Whatever makes people feel happy and safe and is fun is all that matters to him. He does notice when women are treated badly in games and you can tell that he is not a big fan of the super violent games. I think this is a part of his kind personality and also how he was raised. He tends to like puzzle games, building games, racing games, and turn based games and RPGs. The exception is Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo. He sure does like to beat my butt at that game. My brother does not whine about games other people want to create or play that might “not be fun” or are “too artistic” or “weird”. He is content to play the games he likes and to let people enjoy the games that engage them. He does not judge a person based on the games they play. He is probably the most tolerant and open-minded person I know and he is only getting more so as he gets older and wiser. He is going to make someone a very happy wife or husband or boyfriend someday and that makes me very happy. Most important of all he does not let games define who he is or how he feel about the world. He does not care if someone tells him his favorite game is “stupid” or “bad”. He just likes to play games. That is enough for him. You’d think that would be enough for the supposed men out there who rage against women, journalists, and feminists for “destroying their culture”. My brother knows that games are not his to own and control. They are just games. He likes to play games. That is enough for him. My little brother, and thousands and thousands of little guys and gals like him, are the reasons why the gaming world is only going to get better, and the gamer gate embarrassment will someday be forgotten. They just want to play games.

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Atheism, Religion

Why Richard Dawkins & the New Atheists Do No Speak For Me

dawkins1

There is no “Atheist Movement”, there are only people who lives without the need for, or a belief in, a deity or “supernatural power” and who seek reason and peace. Movement “A”theists (and they desperately want that capital A) only seek to empower themselves and to find a place in the existing power structure. They want the same influence that Christians have had in the halls of power, the Universities and the boardrooms for generations and they are willing to cater to the worst impulses of their followers to achieve this.

Case in point, Richard Dawkins. Richard Dawkins, PhD, the biologist and scientific educator, has played his part in making atheists respectful and taken seriously by the establishment in Western cultural and governmental institutions. His scientific theories are interesting and have added much to the popular understanding of science. Richard Dawkins the man however, the leader of an atheist “movement”, is another matter entirely. He is just another in a long line of powerful, elite, rich white men who have decided that the gravitas granted them by their standing and education gives them the the right to pontificate on everything from torture to date rape. Richard Dawkins twitter (@RichardDawkins) is filled with “logic” based analyses of pretty much anything and everything that pops into his head.

Oddly enough this has recently been rape. He goes on about how terrible it is that men who rape women when they are drunk and cannot remember the whole incident have their “lives ruined”. He goes on about how date rape is not as serious as violent stranger rape and is generally an ass to anyone who would try to get him to see how his “logic” is anything but when applied to such a complex and painful topic as sexual assault. It is not so much the content of what he says, which is bad enough, but the fact that he feels that his position in popular culture and the New Atheist movement gives him the right to act as a moral arbiter of issues that will never affect him as a powerful rich white heterosexual man. It is the sort of privilege that he does not recognize he possesses and in fact does not even recognize as privilege. This is no different than the mindset of many men in various other movements, be they Christian, Jewish, Islamic or any number of secular fields.

Dawkins has made Ayaan Hirsi Ali in particular, and anti-Islamism in general, one of his pet causes. He has tended to attack and shame any atheists or secular group that has any problem with Mrs. Hirsi Ali’s anti-Muslim and Western Imperial apologist tendencies. This recent tweet shows how he takes his position of authority rather too seriously, to the point of almost seeming to “excommunicate” secular groups that do not toe the Anti-Islamic line:

“Inviting a speaker [like Ayaan Hirsi Ali] is not “disrespecting” anybody. I, however, hereby disrespect Yale Atheists, Humanists & Agnostics” (https://twitter.com/RichardDawkins/status/511279615844048896

Dawkins seems to have little time for feminists unless they are explicitly anti-religious or anti-Islamic. The fact that Mrs. Ali is the partner of fellow white pro-Western Imperialism master of the Universe Niall Ferguson may have something to do with his affinity for her cause.

Dawkins has also defended and played apologist for philosopher and New Atheist fixture Sam Harris. Harris has some interesting things to say in the fields of philosophy and neuro-biology but his views on Muslims and civil rights are troubling to say the least. Mr. Harris has stated that

“torture may be an ethical necessity in our war on terror”, (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-harris/in-defense-of-torture_b_8993.html

Mr. Harris has also posed extensive thought experiments about the nature of torture in a crisis that have more in common with a plot from the show 24 then anything approaching reality or scientific understanding of torture. Mr. Dawkins has not been shy in his defense of Mr. Harris, a man who believes as he does that Islam in general is a threat to the “West” and secular society. This sort of support for the apologists for big government programs that violate civil liberties is troubling and betrays a sense of moral superiority that is troubling and odd in someone who wishes to reject the power and influence of religion in public life. The New Atheists, including the late Christopher Hitchens and his defense of the brutal US/UK invasion of Iraq, seem to have an affinity for Neo-Liberal and Neo-Conservative policies, especially regarding the so called “war on terrorism”. It leads me to wonder if they realize that they are defending the institutions that are most infiltrated and influenced by the same messianic and power-based religious ideology they attack in other forums? Writer and moral philosopher Chris Hedges had this to say about the New Atheists

“I was stunned at how the very chauvinism and bigotry and intolerance that they condemn in the Christian Right they embrace under the guise of atheism […] they also create a binary worldview of us and them.” [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMcd_yWL2DM]

When reason and logic are used in furtherance of the same goals that are espoused by the religious, cultural and governmental powers that be then it may be time to question if what these men are trying to popularize is in fact free-thought at all, or merely another way for the powerful to couch their ideology, misogyny and power aims in a new and more up-to-date form of moral apologia. People who seek out an alternative to the dogmatic, chauvinistic, misogynist and violent religious sects that dominate the world do not need more heavy-handed and morally superior musings from men who benefit, knowingly or not, from the privilege they make their bones attacking. Why do atheists need leaders at all? Why can’t we have a community of freethinking, privilege defying, open-hearted people who do not wish to impose a secular religion of unquestionable “logic”? Why must the same rich white faces keep on telling us what is in our own interest? These are questions we must all struggle with and find our own answers to.

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Atheism, Feminism

Towards A Feminist Atheism

femfem

I will start this post with a few simple statements of fact: society is and has long been misogynistic and many people within that society are personally misogynistic to one degree or another, knowingly or not. Atheists are part of that society, and the Atheist movement is a part of society…therefore some elements of the Atheist movement, and some individual atheists, will be misogynistic. It is not an condemnation of a movement of which I am a proud part to point out this fact.

I was not always as aware of misogyny and feminism as I am not, and I am nowhere near close to the end of my education on the topic. I can say that growing up with three incredibly intelligent and independent minded sisters and a very feminist father and an incredibly supportive and liberal mother really shaped my views of women, men, and society. I grew up without knowledge of patriarchal religion and I was never taught that being gay or trans* was in anyway different from my own sexuality. I was unschooled (i.e. I directed my own education at home with the help and support of my parents) until I started attending community college classes at the age of 16 so it was not until then that I even realized that people had a PROBLEM with other people’s sexuality. It had just never been something that seemed to me as a “difference”. People love. That is what I was taught. I know now how lucky I was to be raised this way, that most people do not get to go their entire childhood without encountering damaging hate of differences in people. I also know now how very naive I was. I think m autism had part in this…I tend to see people as uniform unless I really get to know them. It is literally almost impossible FOR me to see difference sometimes! That is one thing about my autism that I do like

I am now married to a wonderful, intelligent, gorgeous feminist atheist woman. She has also opened my eyes as to how women are viewed, and abused, in society. She is a pin-up model so I have seen firsthand how people, especially men who claim to be “open-minded” try to shame her for daring to be proud of her body and to take control of her sexuality. Her strength in the face of this sort of judgement, even at times from her own very conservative Catholic family, is inspiring to me and has moved me to look into more about feminism and issues of justice for women and for the rest of society.

I am a feminist not just because of the women in my life but because of myself, my own feelings, and the men in the world who are degraded and poisoned by patriarchal views. We raise boys to be rough and stupid and dense and to ignore their feelings and the feelings of others. We assume that any man who can express his emotions, admits when he is in pain, or stands up for women is a “pussy”. We also tell our young boys and men that gay, bi, and trans* men cannot, by definition, be masculine or strong and that masculinity is the ability to dominate and control others through physical power and manipulation. Women are the focus and the chief targets of the controlling grip of patriarchal mechanisms but both women AND men are the walking wounded; many men do not even understand how much their own minds and emotions have been hampered, even crippled by the social disease that is misogyny.

A case in point: the backlash against atheist blogger and activist Rebecca Watson when she dared to tell her story about being sexually harassed by a man (an atheist man) at a conference. Many male atheists, including one of the self-important “patron saints” of the “New” Atheism, Dr. Richard Dawkins, attacked her as essentially a whiner and  other claimed she was undermining the Atheist cause (whatever that may be) by DARING to suggest that any freethinker could be a misogynist. Dawkins even suggested it was NATURAL that women will be constantly harassed, propositioned and given unwanted physical attention in public, even at a place where the participants declare their moral superiority to Religious misogynists. Skepchick blogger Sarah Moglia even reported that Dawkins threw a temper tantrum and blacked-balled Watson from speaking at the popular Atheist conference The Reason Rally! ( http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2013/09/05/richard-dawkins-blackballed-rebecca-watson%EF%BB%BF-from-speaking-at-the-reason-rally/)

Needless to say Rebecca Watson (and many others who do not have her fame or name recognition) fought back and stood her ground and in her case she become a leading voice in the Atheist community. This was after hundreds of rape threats, death threats, and insults online and in person. The idea that Atheism somehow inoculates men against being misogynistic is absurd and dangerous: it causes freethinkers to believe in a sense of moral superiority that is unearned and also causes the real issues facing women in the Atheist community to be ignored, laughed at or dismissed. We claim to be better than the senseless, reason-free hate and prejudice of the religious world. That claim is made laughable and impotent if we continue to ignore the problem of patriarchal ideas and misogynistic tendencies within the Atheist movement.

In my own personal experience, mostly in the Atheist groups I am part of online, I am constantly seeing some men, not all by any means, attack and belittle women who dare raise issues about patriarchy or who even use the word feminism. It is as though some atheist men think of themselves as beyond such petty concerns. I believe the truth is that when a woman brings up issues of misogyny and feminism it scares some men and forces them to confront the prejudices within themselves that they want to, need to, believe they do hold. Atheism is not served by believing that atheist are a priori morally superior in all issues or beyond the prejudices that infest and poison society as a whole. One of the major Atheist groups I was once a part of on Facebook, AANR (Atheists, Agnostics, & Non-Religious) is positively FILLED with people who harass women, degrade them, demand nude photos and even actively proposition them through messages and in person. Women were often ridiculed or appreciated only for the physical attributes that these men found desirable. There was even a supposedly “tongue and cheek” meme on the site where if someone brought up an issue, especially women, they would be confronted with this not too subtle misogynistic threat: TOGTFO. What does that mean? “[show us your] Tits Or Get The Fuck Out”. This misogyny was one of the reasons I left what was once the largest atheist related group online. This sort of vile misogyny is not limited to AANR buy any means; all around the internet and in groups in the real world, women are gaslighted, harassed, sexually objectified and taken less seriously just because of their gender. This has got to stop.

I am writing this not because I think I am immune to misogyny or patriarchal thinking. I am not. I am sure I have abused my privilege in the past and I probably will in the future. But at least I am aware of my own failings and want to overcome them. I want all atheists, men and women, to overcome this issue too. We are a remarkable community of intelligent, activist, largely kind and empathetic people who can have an enormous influence on society for the better if we choose to. Far too many atheist men have bought into the easy moral capitulation that is the MRA movement. NO MORE. Let’s decide that we are NOT yet past the demons that haunt the rest of society. Let us instead aim to lead by example and try and take on misogyny and patriarchy as a unified and progressive movement. We can create a better future for all of us. Feminist Atheism should not be a bad word.

NO MORE shaming women

NO MORE using slurs against women

NO MORE dismissing the concerns of women because they are women

NO MORE assuming that we are morally superior by virtue of our atheism

NO MORE using atheist groups, meetups, and conferences as a way to try and get sex from women

NO MORE supporting atheist luminaries like Richard Dawkins who refuse to confront their own prejudice

NO MORE treating feminism, patriarchy, and misogyny like they are four letter words

No. More.

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Feminism

MRAs: Weak People Who Hate

The MRA Delusion Personified

The MRA Delusion Personified

I was making my rounds of the internet cesspool tonight (I like to keep abreast of what is going on in the camps of my ideological enemies) and came across a few posts on a Men’s Rights Movement site that I will not name but that shares a name with a famous Fantasy Film (Peter Jackson should sue them for defaming the name of his magnificent creation) that made me stop in my tracks and literally laugh out loud.

First though, a quick aside. What is the “Men’s Rights Movement”? I’m glad you asked. The Men’s Rights Movement is the latest permutation of the ever present “community” (for lack of a better term) of men who enjoy to whine to each other about their lack of getting sex, their acumen at writing wikipedia sourced nonsense whose hilarious premises were articulated much more creatively by Rush Limbaugh 15 years ago, and their general fear of anything that would expose them as the scared, spineless insecure-in-their-own-skin-and-masculinity schlubs that they really are. Or in other words they are Tim Allen’s character on Home Improvement only better at Call of Duty and with more ‘roid rage (at least the ones who do not weigh 345 lbs after taking a dump).

But back to the point

I found two articles on the MRA website that caught my attention, much in the same way a freshly laid turd on a marble floor will catch your attention, and I was moved to respond on here because I love intelligently trolling fools. The first article was written by someone who calls himself “Roosh” whose Napoleon complex has reached the stage where he is growing epaulettes out of his shoulders. This piece of work has convinced himself he is the leader of a movement of abused and misunderstood men who are only trying to reclaim the “inherent” rights as men. Here is an actual quote that was not, I swear to Jebus, was not written by the Onion

“This is not the time to make a stand. Conditions are not ripe for an open-air battle. Instead we must continue finding men who already lean red pill instead of trying to convert blue pillers [sic]. There are many men in gaming and bodybuilding spheres that would be open to our message”

Another brief aside: the “red pill/blue pill” dichotomy on display here is a blatant rip off (and simplification to the point of inanity) of the plot device used in The Matrix films to visualize a choice between self-delusion and “the Real” (if you want to get all Lacan about it…and I love to). Roosh has turned this concept into a “with or against us” black and white moral choice that marks the distinction between “real men” (i.e. men who agree with his arguments) and “betas”, or, anyone who respects women as equals or do not see getting sex through manipulation as a goal worth striving for. Suffice it to say he has a good time tenderizing that particular deceased equine. “Roosh” is a decent writer, by the often sketchy standards of internet blogging, and he at least tries to remain consistent with his own ideological rhetoric, and he seems to see himself as the leader of a “movement”, a government under siege that may one day strike out against the boogieman he has created i.e. the rest of secular civil society.

I think you can see where this is going…this group is pretty much a space for men to engage in philosophical and political mutual masturbation. Nothing can prove their arguments wrong because their ideas are priori correct and confirmed by their own particular biases that they carry from hating and fearing a world that is slowly becoming less hostile to the interests of women. It is the same sort of mentality displayed by modern day Randian Libertarians and Austrian School economic cultists: if I cannot do exactly what I want, when I want to, how I want to and without any consideration for the needs and concerns of other individuals and the rest of society then I am being “repressed” and “persecuted”. There is nothing new here besides the novel popular culture inspired ideological language and internet savvy. Evidence against their points of view is discounted as “feminist propaganda” because it is evidence against them, and the less an argument is taken seriously by the rest of society is confirmation of its truth. This is pretty much the conspiracy theory mindset…which brings us to the second article in question.

In the wake of Elliot Rodger’s entitlement and misogyny fueled shooting spree in California the media, twitter, and the blogosphere took a second look (or even a first look in the case of the mainstream media) at the MRA world and how it fuels the resentment and pathetic desires of men who feel they have lost their privileged place as masters of the universe. Scores of essays, posts, and interview segments were devoted to tearing apart the arguments of the MRAs, with a special emphasis on “Roosh” and his toadies. The MRA responded predictably to being called out on their bullshit by closing ranks and setting up a wall of cognitive dissonance that would keep their opinions safe from the facts and from better constructed arguments. Self-delusion only survives in a vacuum; as soon as it is exposed to outside opinions self-doubt rushes to fill the void and the illusion of power and potency collapses. This why people with strange or wild opinions often speak only to each other and dismiss on its face all attempts by opposing forces to engage and debate. Call it the Faux News Paradox: the more convinced you are of your own rightness the less you are able to deal with other opinions that contradict your point of view and the more you retreat into your own delusion.

This process is on display in the second article, a conspiracy theory piece, written by someone who goes by “Samson Lamont” that tries to “disprove” the objective reality of the shootings in California. If reality does not fit the delusion, reject reality. The article itself is badly written and a retread of the sort of Alex Jones-esque “false flag” circular reasoning that can be easily debunked by Occam’s Razor and 5 minutes of research on somewhere other than chat rooms.  I mention the article at all because of this unblemished Freudian gem, which I will now quote in full (you have been warned)

“Anyone who’s watched Elliot Rodger’s pathetic videos and read his manifesto can see that he’s playing a character to some extent.  I’m not saying that he doesn’t have issues, but his delusions of grandeur are so over the top that it just rings false.  It’s like watching a bad audition for a D-list movie serial killer from someone who can’t act for shit.  You get the feeling that some Hollywood scriptwriter just created a character based on the “loser” template that feminists apply to all the members of our little community.  Socially impotent, whiny loser that’s addicted to World of Warcraft and can’t get pussy blames all of his problems on women and wants to kill them all due to his own inadequacies.”

There is more projection in that paragraph then there was at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival. Just let that soak in for a moment…If I TRIED I could I could not come up with a better example of psychological projection. Clearly these “men” are riddled with self-doubt and fear and it is tempting to ignore them completely as just another bunch of fools being “wrong on the internet”. Remember though that Elliot Rodgers bought into this sort of bilge and acted on it and that small, insular, self-deluded movements have been and continue to pose dangers to society and individuals. Let’s laugh at them but also keep an eye on them…a self-deluding idiot with a gun can still do a lot of damage. Just ask the families of the 6 victims of Elliot Rodger’s fragile ego.

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2nd Amendment, Guns

Gun Culture Is an Outgrowth of Misogyny

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Another privileged, spoiled, foolish, idiotic, entitled and misogynistic young white man has gone on a rampage with a gun, this time his wrath was directed at women (because they “rejected” him…what bullshit projection). 7 people, including the gunman, are now dead. I have now seen this story so many times in the US that I am no longer surprised and shocked by it…and that in itself shocks me on an entirely deeper level.

What is the American obsession with the gun? I have some theories, theories I will seriously be working on in the coming days. For now I will leave you with these thoughts…

Gun culture as an outgrowth of patriarchally maintained misogyny i.e. men see an assault on “manhood” and see violence through the gun as a way to “regain” this status within the system. Also, guns are seen as a way to bypass equal rights or a discussion of privilege and rape culture; men do not need to change their ways or help reform society to prevent sexual violence, women just need to arm themselves! Violence thus begets violence and turns everyone into a victim in their own minds, a sentiment that justifies the worst sort of redemptive violence and hate. The gun is the redemptive phallus, the tool that makes a “man” (read violent, entitled, fearful, purposefully ignorant and crude) out of any person, the gun is seen as the key to a sort of libertarian freedom that is neither possible nor wholly understood even by its proponents. The idea that violence is the only thing keeping “society” together, that the underlying condition of the Social Contract is constant and universal armed vigilance, is both ahistorical and absurdly dangerous. 

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I feel for the families involved in this tragedy, and I heap scorn on those who insist this had nothing to do with rape culture, misogyny, and gun hysteria. Fuck the NRA. Fuck Patriarchy. Fuck the Gun.

Here is one of the fathers of the victims speaking out bravely against the NRA and its enablers in government. This is one of the most powerful videos I have ever seen…ignore the last 30 seconds of CNN blather

“Why did Chris die?”

 

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