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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Men’s Rights Activists: The hate group society allows

Posted by finedaysunday on June 8, 2014

“Won’t someone please think of the white man?”

That doesn’t sound like an actual question that a well-adjusted person living in the 21st century would ask, is it? Even though the world we live in is far from perfect, we can all generally agree that white guys have got it pretty good, right?

Sadly, not all of us can agree on that, as it turns out. There exists a well-organized group of men (and I hesitate to call them that when “boys” would be closer to the truth) so deluded that they have actually convinced themselves that men in our society have been given the short end of the stick in the grand scheme of things. Men’s Rights Activists, or MRAs, as they call themselves, are defined by their fear and dislike of women. They blame women for anything and everything from their crippling personality flaws to their sexual inadequacies, and seek to “take the power back”, as if all the power in the world was ever anywhere but in the hands of men. That question up there that I opened with? That is more or less their mantra. The expanded version reads as follows:

“Won’t someone, please, feel genuine stirring sympathy for the plight of the poor, put-upon white cis-gendered first world man? But not the gay ones.”

Every last one of these people is utterly and staggeringly full of shit.

Quick clarification: Yes, obviously I’m aware that there are identifiable facets of society which are problematic for men. Custody battles come to mind. A more broad and troubling one is the insidious and poisonous macho culture so deeply drilled into our consciousness. “Suck it up!” “Be a man!” “Don’t be a pussy!” “Man up!” “Stop your crying or I’ll come in there and give you something to cry about!” It’s a culture that demands that boys bottle everything up and never show any emotion until they lash out violently against others or themselves. That is a genuine problem affecting men and one that needs to be addressed.

None of that is of any interest to self-proclaimed MRAs. Their list of concerns begins and ends with “Why won’t this bitch sleep with me?” That is why they deserve exactly none of your sympathy.

Idiot

Snapshot_20140609

* * *

A week after Elliot Rodger went on a murderous rampage in Isla Vista, California, taking the lives of six people before finally killing himself, the world is still reeling in the wake of this tragedy. Among the debates about gun control and mental illness (neither of which are the primary focus of this piece but are irrevocably linked to it) is the subject of the killer’s motive. Rodger had been active on social media, posting several videos in which he talks almost exclusively about his sexual frustration and loneliness, claiming that, at the age of 22, he had still never so much as kissed a girl. Before he carried out these murders, he released a typed manifesto to the public, in which he detailed virtually his entire life, with the bulk of it emphasizing his anger and hatred toward women. He describes his adamant belief that he, the “superior gentleman”, had been denied sex all his life, and that women, whose attention and devotion he felt he was entitled to, were to blame for his feelings of rejection. He was furious that “obnoxious brutes” were the ones enjoying the company of women instead of him. He was lonely and isolated. He was filled with violence and hate. He wrote over 100,000 words, every bit of it teeming with misogynistic rage and resentment. For the record, no, I did not read the entire thing. I spent approximately half an hour reading through several chunks of it until I couldn’t stomach any more. I also watched two of his videos, one of which he posted the night before his attacks, in which he explains in great detail exactly what he planned to do the next day.

The revelation of the warped views that drove Rodger to murder sparked a worldwide discussion on the global, cultural, and (most terrifyingly) normalised sexism and misogyny inherent to our society. While some warned of the danger in oversimplifying his motive, to the degree that “you’re taking a tragedy and turning it into a sexism debate” became an actual thing that people said, there is absolutely no getting around the fact that Elliot Rodger hated women to a murderous extent. Over and over he stated, in no uncertain terms, that he was going to take his revenge on all women for rejecting him all his life and giving their attentions to other men instead of him. That is your link. That is the reason we are having this discussion. No one is turning (or, God help me, “derailing”) this into a debate about sexism. It is irrefutably about sexism and violence against women all on its own. Period. Moving on.

Quick aside: Regarding those voices in the above paragraph who want to shout down your desire to discuss issues like this through a certain lens, be on the lookout for their use of the word “agenda.” Any time you speak with conviction on any given topic instead of remaining (barf) neutral, some unimpressive nobody will eventually surface to accuse you of “pushing your agenda.” It’s an ineffective and needless word used like a sledgehammer by people without the courage to take a stand and speak in a meaningful way.

In the aftermath of this senseless horror, it came to light that Rodger was an active member of an online community of Men’s Rights Activists. Its members described themselves as “incel”, shorthand for “involuntarily celibate” which is exactly what it sounds like. It serves as an example of the extremes to which MRAs will go to blame women for their troubles without ever bothering to try to understand that maybe they’re not the victims they claim to be. That maybe the reason they feel so frustrated and rejected isn’t because “all women are bitches.” That maybe their problems are theirs alone. Anything to avoid having to claim even a modicum of responsibility for your failures and shortcomings, right guys?

None of this is to say that MRAs are directly to blame for Rodger’s actions. They were, however, his most prominent social circle (and, if his manifesto is to be believed, probably his only one). Here he found a widespread and welcoming community of like-minded people with a similarly limited view of the world. He probably felt relieved, overjoyed even, to find that other poor souls suffered from the same “affliction” that he did, the same so-called involuntary celibacy. He ate up what they were feeding him and internalised it, reinforcing the beliefs he had already held for years, and later repeated their hateful rhetoric in his videos and his writing.

Those beliefs, incidentally, are all too common. Sure, we’ve all felt lonely or rejected or longing for companionship and intimacy at some point in our lives. It’s a crappy and relatable feeling. But what I’m referring to specifically is the widely held belief that sex is something that a woman gives and a man takes, and that she had better give it willingly because he is entitled to take it. It’s an ugly aspect of our culture, and nowhere is it expressed more clearly or resolutely than in the vile hate speech of the Men’s Rights Movement. These aren’t just the mad keyboard-mashing antics of mindless troglodytes. These people are lucid, focused, organized, and 100% committed to their fabricated cause. That’s what makes them so completely disgusting. This is not just a couple of forum trolls or “boys being boys”, and continuing to casually dismiss them as such is tantamount to endorsing their hateful views and actions. Ignoring a problem and hoping it goes away only makes it worse. So it’s time to start acknowledging them as such.

“But not all men are like that!”

I was just going to address that. See, whenever a woman is harassed or abused at the hands of a man, upon sharing her experience with others, one of the listeners is often suspiciously quick to jump in to say “not all men behave that way”, or something to that effect. Seriously, listen for it the next time you’re in a group setting. “Not all men” is such an automatic response to everyday instances of sexism, largely put forth by men, that what often gets overlooked is that is an entirely meaningless statement. Rather than being willing to listen to a woman’s very valid concerns, a man will pull out the “not all men” reply as a way of distancing himself (as well as the other men in his social circle) from the situation, a defensive response meant to tell the woman not to paint all men with the same brush. And just like that, through some self-professed verbal jiu-jitsu, he gets to assure himself “got nothing to do with me” and absolve himself of involvement instead of making any attempt to be helpful or empathetic.

Now, just to be clear, I’m not saying that everyone who goes straight for the “not all men” response is automatically a misogynist (to put it more confusingly, not all men use “not all men” that way… you follow me?). The sentiment behind it is well-intended. It’s just that “not all men” is such a redundant and unhelpful thing to say to someone, you know? It’s so… empty. It’s what you say when you have nothing to contribute. Of course all men don’t harass women. We know that already. It’s so obvious that no one need ever point it out, especially not in some grand “case closed, let’s stop talking about this now please” attempt at finality.

So, how is this all connected? What specifically do we need to take away from Elliot Rodger’s hate-fueled murder spree and how does it relate to the casual misogyny and normalised violence directed at women going forward?

How about the fact that even now, people are blaming women for what he did?

Fuckwits

How about the fact that people are holding him up as a hero?

Loser

How about the fact that these people are not a few scattered outliers, but in fact represent a large and well-organized hivemind of hate?

Would that strike you as acceptable? Is that something that you just shrug your shoulders at and go “oh well what can you do?” Is that still just a couple of harmless guys having fun on the internet?

These are real human beings. They are not anonymous cyphers oozing out of some Reddit sub-forum. These are the people who hold these beliefs, who always have and always will endorse and encourage violence and intimidation of women for as long as we allow them to do so. And there are far, far too many of them. We can sit here and split hairs all day long about which ones are Men’s Rights Activists and which are Pickup Artists and which are involuntarily celibate and none of it would matter. Misogynists are misogynists. They all share the same DNA: a deep-seated fear, mistrust, and dislike of women, and adherence to a set of principles that dehumanises women, viewing women as obstacles standing between them and sex. Obstacles they want to remove. They are open and boastful about all of this, and we as a society continue to allow them to exist because we ignore them. Because we say “why are we even talking about this?” Because we shake our heads and go “man, what a bunch of losers but oh well what are we gonna do about ’em” and forget about it after a day or two.

Elliot Rodger was narcissistic, spoiled, hateful, entitled, misguided, diseased, violent, malicious, antisocial, and misogynistic. He refused any and all attempts to help him. He was a racist piece of shit. Despite being brought up in such a privileged lifestyle most people can only dream of, despite having every advantage you could ask for, he was consumed by his deluded belief that he deserved more and that he was being denied what he saw as rightfully his. His attitudes toward women were horrible, and yet they are undeniably common, especially in young men and boys who don’t know any better. Would he have eventually grown out of it? We’ll obviously never know. A lot of people are immature as teenagers or young adults, and after they grow up they often look back on their old beliefs and feel more than a little embarrassed, maybe even ashamed. Too many of them don’t, sadly. Too many of them never move past that underdeveloped stage in their lives and go right on through their adult lives hating women and feminism and everything else they want to blame for their own sexual failings. Too many of them willingly and enthusiastically associate themselves with a campaign of terror and hate, with a failed human being who wrote about his desire to put women into concentration camps. Too many of them find the Men’s Rights Activists.

What can we do about it? We can shame people in our own daily lives when we see and hear it happening. We can speak up and call it out instead of being too timid to make a scene. We can listen to the stories women tell us instead of interrupting to accuse her of generalising. We can raise our children to treat women with respect and to understand that nothing worth having in life comes easy, and that the world does not owe them any favours. We can broaden our childrens’ views by showing them how blessed they are to have so many opportunities available to them, and that too many others are never given a chance. We can teach them to treat women with the same courtesy they would show anyone else, and that when you are a kind and compassionate person, you’ll find that good people will want to be around you and share their lives with you. There can’t be any greater feeling than that.

As for you, MRAs:

Haha 2

That is you. That is you at your mildest. You need to stop doing what you’re doing and gain some perspective on life. You need to adapt to the 21st century. You think you feel lonely and isolated now? Just imagine how you’ll feel when those of us in the modern world leave you even further behind than you already are. You fancy yourselves bookish and “enlightened”, yet you honestly think feminism and progressivism and inclusivity are all part of some global conspiracy to eradicate men from the face of the Earth. That really doesn’t say much for your ability to have a rational discussion with me or anyone else. That is why you deserve every bit of scorn and mockery that comes your way. It’s not just because of your fedoras and your unshaven necks (as fun as it is to point them out). I am sick and effing tired of you cowards claiming to be the “true” pinnacle of masculinity, only to shrink away and act like victims when faced with so much as a hint of criticism. It takes away what little legitimacy your non-existent crusade actually has when you don’t even have the courage of your own convictions. I’m both a realist and an optimist, and the fact is there will come a time when it will be appropriate to give you boys a dismissive, half-hearted shrug, and that will be when we look back on stories of you and think, “Man, these guys that used to think they stood for men’s rights… they really used to be a thing, didn’t they?”

Do you want to know the real reason I know we will eventually leave you behind? The real reason I know you will eventually be cast aside like the victims you love to think you are? Because there are these concepts called equality and fairness. To us, that means treating other human beings with respect and decency, regardless of gender, race, or orientation. To you, it means “but what’s Chris Brown’s side of the story?”

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dating Sites: What NOT to Do

Posted by finedaysunday on September 8, 2013

One of the more recent eye-openers I’ve come across on the internet is OK Weirdo, a collection of awful and cringe-inducing screen grabs from major dating sites containing messages (mostly sent from men to women) that range from racist, sexist, and misogynistic to bitter, hateful, pathetic and everything in between. Some of them are downright hilarious. Your basic worst instincts of humanity filtered through through the comforts of internet anonymity, when you get right down to it.

One such example stood out to me among the muck. This person, having finally become fed up with the lack of attention he was getting from the female population of the online dating world, decided to rewrite his own dating profile, repurposing it as a stream-of-consciousness rant targeted at women, framing himself as a victim of circumstance while casting women as the villains. It’s the foremost example I could find on OK Weirdo of hypocrisy, ignorance, and an outright refusal to see one’s self as being so completely in the wrong. I’ve read it several times, and somehow there’s always something new about it that manages to surprise me.

Haha

Aaaand please excuse me while I take a shower just to get that off me.

Yikes. Seriously, this is a real thing that someone wrote. Truly this is a champion of the common man, an exemplar for down-on-his-luck dudes the world over. No, wait. It’s actually a comprehensive case study of how NOT to approach the online dating world, or even social interactions in general. This is someone with a skewed and very unhealthy view of the world around him, and none of the things he says in his hate-filled screed should be a revelation to level-headed people as examples of “what not to do”. Then again, I found this on a virtual goldmine of a site dedicated to collecting stuff just like it, so it seems like these sort of warped views of how men and women interact are more common than you’d hope. With that in mind, I’m going to break down this mess quote-by-quote and, with any luck, dissuade a few people from following his example.

Disclaimer: A lot of what I have to say comes from the perspective of a straight male, so while not all of this advice will be applicable or even useful to women or non-heterosexual individuals, I hope we can all appreciate the overall sentiment of “Don’t be an asshole.”

What does it take to get a girl these days?
See “Don’t be an asshole” above. That’s a rock solid foundation right there.

I send out hundreds of emails per day and no girl ever responds.
Hundreds, eh? My suggestion would be to take a step back, and maybe invest a little more time elsewhere. Concentrate on your job, studies, hobbies, friends, family, whatever. That stuff is good for you. Angry rants like this are not.

And if yall do it is only to say (etc, etc…) and lame bullsh*t excuses like that. Those sound like pretty cordial responses from those women, in my opinion. Most women (and you would know, what with your rate of several hundred messages sent per day) will just simply not respond at all if they’re not interested. Taking the time to reply just strikes me as politeness on their part. Lame bullshit excuses, you say? You are not owed anything by these women, guy. No one is under any sort of obligation to respond in a way you approve of, or even respond at all for that matter. It doesn’t sound like you handle rejection very well at all. Not a good sign.

Are girls like you truly all that calculating, deceptive, shallow, and superficial? Redundancy aside, this is where that misogyny starts to creep in. By framing women in a negative light, he sets himself up as the wronged party. Also? Maybe take a moment to consider that the women not responding to you just plain don’t check the site as frequently as you do. It’s almost like they have other things going on in their lives.

Even a borderline barely good-looking girl like yourself won’t message me back at all!
Here’s where I start to get angry, once I get past the sad trombone sound playing in my head. You wrote this gem immediately after the “shallow and superficial” bit above. As a great man once said, do you actually listen to yourself when you speak, or do you find you drift in and out? I have no further comment here, other than to add that you just flat out get women, don’t you?

What the heck is wrong with this world? I’d say your views on women certainly qualify as one possible answer.

Getting a dream job during the Great Depression in 1930’s would have been more easier than finding some quality p*ssy these days. Well gee, now I can’t even come up with any reason why women won’t talk to you. Setting aside the fact that there are sites out there for sex personals if that’s what you’re looking for, it doesn’t really sound like you’re looking for a woman you’re compatible with. It sounds like you’re looking for validation of your current crummy lot in life instead of trying to grow as a person. Bit of a reach on my part? Maybe, but after reading this far, I’m not exactly inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt here.

The last time I checked, the male to female ratio is 50/50… is it not? It shouldn’t be this hard to get a girl at all.
That’s the approximate ratio, sure. What’s your point?

I send out hundreds of messages and get zero responses. Okay, I know I suggested above that you maybe take a break from dating sites and try doing other things instead, but now something about “hundreds of messages per day” combined with your “50/50” bit is starting to make sense here. You’re trying to “play the odds”, right? You’re thinking if you throw enough shit at the wall, some of it has to stick, right? So, how about this, and pay attention Socrates, because this part matters: Instead of goddamn carpet-bombing hundreds of womens’ profiles in one fell swoop with some generic “Hey, how’s it going?” in the hopes that even one of them will yield a reply, try actually reading a few of their profiles first and see if you have anything in common. Do you share similar interests? Background? Education? Career? Hobbies? Music? Are you even on a dating site for similar reasons in the first place? Do them the courtesy of showing them that you actually read what they have to say. If they respond, cool. If not, you’ve lost nothing. So quit feeling so hard done by, stop with the vague and uninteresting “Sup?” messages, stop doing Google searches for copy-and-paste “ice breakers” like one of those low-rent pickup artist types, and try to actually show interest in a fellow human being.

Then these same girls who don’t respond are the ones complaining about receiving 300 emails in their inbox a day and can’t find the time to reply to any of them. Truth is, women get awful messages from guys on dating sites on such a regular basis (leading to places like OK Weirdo being created just to compile them all) that they probably aren’t inclined to give Random Guy #301 the benefit of the doubt. Instead, it’s probably less of a hassle. Either way, it’s completely their decision whether they respond or not. You are not owed shit.

Why the phu*k are girls so selective, choosy and picky? Redundancy aside yet again, that seems like a vastly preferable approach to sending out hundreds of messages per day with the “any girl will do as long as she doesn’t fall below borderline barely good-looking according to some idiotic and arbitrary designation of my own” mentality you seem to have. Can’t you hear how desperate you sound? We have the right to be as selective as we want to be. Have some self-respect.

The gender ratio is the same, therefore logic dictates that if I create a profile then I should be entitled to receive hundreds of emails in my inbox from hundreds of different girls per day.
Oh man. Logic? Entitled? I can barely process this madness. To you, sir, I present my most bemused head shake followed by a facepalm for the ages.

Are all girls passively sitting back waiting for a magical prince charming, yadda, yadda, yadda. I don’t know. They’re probably looking for a guy with whom they share mutual interests, while you’re busy angrily making excuses for why you’re not finding success. This is much bigger than dating sites at this point. This, to me, points to signs of low self-esteem on your part. All kidding aside, I’d suggest taking a break from trying to meet women and focus on yourself. When you’re a little happier and more confident with your own life (note: different topic for a different day), you’ll notice that other people tend to find you more interesting.

And there it is. There’s plenty of advice out there for how to find success in the dating world, but (and I’m speaking to everyone in general here) you cannot be ready to hear all of those things until you first internalize what NOT to do, and sites like OK Weirdo are full of examples of the sort of horrible stuff that we’ve got to cut out. Once you’ve taken that first step, you’ll be much better off for what comes next. Let’s all try to be better. Sound good?

“Just because you shot Jesse James, don’t make you Jesse James.”

Posted in Life | Leave a Comment »

On sexism, misogyny, and rape culture

Posted by finedaysunday on June 30, 2013

Microsoft’s presentation during this year’s E3 came under heavy fire for a demonstration of Killer Instinct, during which one of the hosts let slip a verbal jab at his female counterpart the likes of which the videogame culture at large has taken for granted for years, and one which carries undertones of rape. Here’s what happened:

Improvised trash talk? Admittedly lame scripted attempt on Microsoft’s part at friendly banter? Either way, we’re living in the Facebook/Twitter era, and within seconds the social media universe erupted with backlash and disbelief at the guy’s poor choice of words. This incident became a lightning rod of criticism that all but eclipsed all of Microsoft’s misguided decisions at E3 (and there were many). Why is that? Well, the sexism and rape culture debates are much bigger and trickier to discuss than simple videogame-based trade shows. Sadly, it’s in that very same insular community where you’re likely to find some of the most offensive instances of misogyny and hatred. Over time, this has become automatic and ingrained into the culture to the point that the word “rape” has become so synonymous with defeating someone in a videogame that the offenders don’t even need to use the word itself anymore, but merely imply it. This unfortunate verbal exchange is the perfect, and most current example of that. “Just trash talk we use all the time”, you say? Yes, yes it is. That doesn’t mean it’s not a problem.

To Microsoft’s credit, they did ultimately issue an apology for this whole mess, but by then several things had happened. Many had no idea what all the fuss was about, and were genuinely surprised that this had caused such a social firestorm at all. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that if you personally didn’t find the guy’s choice of words to be suggestive of rape then that must mean you’re a misogynist and you’re therefore part of the problem. That’s not it at all. This is near-universally accepted trash talk in the realm of competitive videogames. Most likely if you watched this presentation without any idea of the controversy it caused, you might not have even noticed what the big deal was. That’s what’s interesting to me, is the fact that we don’t even flinch at this stuff anymore. I personally thought that his remark was ignorant and poorly timed, and that if it was indeed scripted then it wouldn’t be out of place with Microsoft’s numerous sad and transparent attempts to connect with a “young and hip” audience. Ever see that “youth abstinence school assembly” Family Guy routine? Yeah, same thing.

Again, discussing social issues like this interests me a great deal. But first we have to acknowledge that it’s there, and that it’s worth talking about. Yet there are some people who aren’t interested in having a discussion of any sort. Some people emerged to play the part of the apologist, not to express their confusion about how this became such a heated issue, but to insist that there was no issue at all. Sadly, this was always going to happen the instant any sort of controversy concerning rape culture surfaced, but the fact that it happened under the microscope of the biggest videogame trade show in the world led to some truly unfortunate strains of biology making themselves known. I was subjected to the most egregious example of such a person a few weeks ago, and as a result I decided to put some topics I’d rather be discussing on hold for the time being. E3 may be over at the time of this writing, but people like this may never go away.

Fair warning: This is 20 minutes long and, if you’re at all sensitive to the things discussed above, will more than likely offend you and put you in a shitty mood.

Still with me? Let’s dig in.

Hyperbole aside, this is one of the most shameful and corrosively hateful things I have ever seen on the internet. It is misogynistic to the last degree and no amount of hand-waving or excuse-making will change that. Most importantly, it is precisely the type of thinking that sets us back a long way in terms of having meaningful discussion on the culture surrounding sexism and rape.

Disclaimer: I am going to try my level best here not to put words into this guy’s mouth. However, the sad reality is that many of his views are shared with the cowardly cesspool of humanity known as “Men’s Rights Activists”, so there will no doubt be some overlap. So while I may try not to imply that he said something he did not, it’s probably not that much of a logical leap to conclude that he holds many of the same opinions that they do.

First of all, let’s throw out the idea that one’s hobby of being into videogames has been ruined and co-opted by “outsiders.” Drop the torches and pitchforks. You are not being victimized. If videogames have become such an intricate aspect of your identity that you reject any and all critical voices as hostile aggressors, maybe you’ve got bigger problems to worry about.

As for being robbed of the ability to criticize the Xbox One? Please. Criticism of Microsoft’s new console and awful business practices have been so all-consuming in the past few weeks that Microsoft has actually backed down and resolved to rework the Xbox One for the better. That concern has been addressed, the battle has been won. The sexism debate doesn’t have such an easy answer.

And I’ve grown weary of the perversion of the word “feminist”, this attempt to turn it into some sort of slur. This is by no means limited to videogames in general or this video specifically, and good lord is it ever prevalent among insecure, fearful boys. If you’ve reached the point of desperation that you must use it as an insult, as though the mere use of the word will cause the other person physical pain, that probably says a whole lot more about you than it does them.

Relatedly, feminism discussion is also where you tend to hear the word “agenda” being thrown around by these fine upstanding conspiracy theorists, and yet none of them seem able to articulate exactly what that agenda is. Tell me, what is their goal, exactly? Are they planning to take away your videogames? If so, how? Will they manipulate and blackmail the governments of the world into imposing widespread legislature? Or will one of them personally enter your home and hit your Xbox 360 with a sledgehammer? I was never quite able to understand what the hushed, worried whispers of this “agenda” are supposed to be referring to.

If there is anything even remotely resembling an agenda at play here, I’d say it’s the hope that we may have some meaningful discussions and possibly sway a few minds to be sensitive to equality and the issues that women face in the social and popular culture at large. Would that really be so bad? Would it offend you dearly if people became invested in exercising empathy and accountability through debates that you yourself don’t have to be a part of if you don’t want to?

Because that’s the other thing. For all the tearful diatribes about how Microsoft’s E3 rape joke debacle has ruined this person’s ability to enjoy talking about and reading about videogames, the games are still there. Nothing has been forced down your throat. Videogames aren’t going anywhere. It is remarkably easy to enjoy games without ever having to get involved in the sexism and rape culture debate if you choose not to. You can avoid it effortlessly. More often than not, I see these people who have allegedly had their lives ruined by “the feminist agenda” bringing it up in completely unrelated topics without any provocation. It’s enough to make me wonder if they’re deliberately seeking a reaction.

The point is that these discussions are happening and they can peacefully co-exist with people who’d rather just tune the whole thing out. But some of the louder and more reprehensible members of that latter camp would rather pretend that the former does not exist, and so they make broad, overreaching attempts like this video to silence them and preserve some sort of perceived “purity” in the videogame industry. It’s absurd. What’s more, it’s a straw-man argument if ever there was one. When people like this attempt to paint this spooky picture of “radical feminists” that are co-opting their supposed lifestyle, they are severely limiting any and all opportunities for discussion they could be having instead. That part where he mentions feminists creating a “boogeyman”? He’s doing exactly the same thing.

Oh, and the casual use of “faggot” is a nice touch. Way to lend your argument some real weight.

What makes “Men’s Rights Activists” so difficult to deal with is that any attempt to patiently educate them will only reinforce their beliefs in their made-up cause. I can’t speak to whether this individual can be counted among them, but the things he says in his video certainly represent the views of that particular group.

If I were to address “InternetAristocrat” directly, I suppose I’d ask him: Is this video a truly accurate representation of how you feel? If so, would you show it to any of your female friends or family members? If not, how would you react if they found it on their own and asked you about it?

I struggled for a long time while writing this. I kept asking myself, do I really want to give this person any more attention and exposure than he’s already gotten? Ultimately, I decided that the honest answer was yes. Yes, I want as many people to see this video as possible, so that we can at least have some sort of baseline, some sort of measuring stick for exactly the sort of attitude and viewpoint we don’t want compared to our own. It would be a good start.

Posted in Life, Video Games | Leave a Comment »

Not cool.

Posted by finedaysunday on May 5, 2013

Short entry this week, somewhat related to what I brought up a few weeks ago about Dead Poets Society. Check out this Audi commercial:

On the surface, a very cool and relatable concept. Shy kid on his way to prom, empowered to take progressively bigger risks just by driving his dad’s car. By the time he gets there, he gets that “now or never” butterflies feeling in his gut and decides to just got for it and assault the prom queen. Big dumb jock prom king (because of course he’s a big dumb jock) reacts less than favourably and gives the kid a black eye for his troubles. Kid drives off with a shit-eating grin on his face as if he’s suddenly got a success story he can share with his buddies over the summer. Not exactly progressive stuff we’re dealing with here.

Oh, and we see a reaction shot of the prom queen meant to assure us that no, really guys, she was totally cool with it all along. That actually makes it so much worse.

Cillian

We live in a time when there’s no way for me to say this stuff without someone coming out of the woodwork and accusing me of being some new age lame-ass internet white knight, but you know what? This particular brand of assault under the guise of a grand sweeping romantic gesture wasn’t cool when Emilio Estevez did it in St. Elmo’s Fire almost 30 years ago, either. Take a look at this absurdity if you think you’re ready for it:

Like I said, it’s hardly progressive material for a movie made in 1985, and is even less so today. I also really wish I could say that this is its most outrageous scene. On a lighter note, sweet mother of God, there is not a hint of irony in the use of that music. Then again, I guess that’s part of what dates this movie.

But seriously, though. Tell me those two scenes aren’t almost completely interchangeable. Guy works himself up into taking rash action, girl is into it, guy is framed as the hero. I’m not even taking that latter scene out of context, either. What I see on the screen is what I see on the screen. And what I see on the screen is something that I think needs to stop being encouraged as ideal.

“You’re very persistent, Tron.”
“I’m also better than you.”

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