Someone please tell the New York Times that incels are terrorists
May 8, 2018 10:36 AM   Subscribe

The Harpy (Village Voice) columnist Talia Lavin calls out Ross Douthat for his recent NYT column on the April 23rd Toronto van attack that killed 10 people and injured 16 (CW for rape & assault in Lavin's column). Instead of admitting that the perpetrator (a self-defined "incel," "involuntary celibate") belonged to a misogynist terrorist group, "Douthat...posit[ed] that the idea of sex as a redistributable resource is 'entirely responsive to the logic of late-modern sexual life,' and blam[ed] 'sexual liberation' for inceldom and its victims." Lavin also calls out George Mason University economics professor Robin Hanson for his blog post arguing that incels "might have a salient point to contribute to the national discourse."

It appalls but does not surprise me that neither of these august ideologues sought even once to examine a primary source on the issue. That neither of them bothered to emphasize that it is not incidental that incel ideology has led to multiple massacres. It is far easier to write an abstract consideration of the economics of sex and a generalized bemoaning of contemporary mores than to face the glaring and obvious truth: Inceldom is an ideological system premised in its entirety on a poisonous, irrational, and thoroughgoing hatred of women.

CBC:

While police continue to investigate motive in Monday's attack, women's advocates say misogyny is a clue

How the van attack echoes the misogyny in the 1989 Montreal Massacre of 14 women engineering students
posted by hurdy gurdy girl (194 comments total) 78 users marked this as a favorite
 
NYT is really keen on giving paper space to humanizing nazis, terrorists, and white supremacists all in the name of "discourse" lately. So fuck'em; ditch their trash rag and let them know why you're doing it.
posted by Ferreous at 10:39 AM on May 8, 2018 [119 favorites]


They also do some amazing investigative pieces and interactive data visualizations. Calling them a "trash rag" is reductive in the extreme.
posted by Jpfed at 10:43 AM on May 8, 2018 [29 favorites]


and yet they still need to piss over the useful things they do by normalizing scum. Sometimes that well is poisoned beyond use.
posted by Ferreous at 10:48 AM on May 8, 2018 [77 favorites]


Don't wanna be called trash, don't support nazis.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:48 AM on May 8, 2018 [143 favorites]


Date since NYTimes has published an op ed praising nazis as rebellious intellectual heroes: 0

That count never goes up much.
posted by Artw at 10:50 AM on May 8, 2018 [62 favorites]


A birthday cake covered in shit is not edible. That the NYT runs good pieces as well as evil ones does not make them worthy of support. “But the autobahn!”

Anyway, about this case, what especially bugs me, as a Canadian, is that police forces here continue to maintain the position that anything that is not connected to Islamist terrorism is not terrorism at all. It’s ridiculous. This absolutely was terrorism.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:52 AM on May 8, 2018 [49 favorites]


seriously any editor with a shred of ethics should have looked at douhat's column, looked at incel posts celebrating rape, acid attacks and murder and shut it down. Justifying it in the name of "diverse viewpoints" or "challenging their readers" is cowardice and carrying water for misogynistic terrorists.
posted by Ferreous at 10:56 AM on May 8, 2018 [68 favorites]


It ought to fall under the same header as other fact-checking: If you've written an entire column about a group of people but you don't seem to have actually even Googled them first, even if it's "opinion", how does that get published? He seems to have figured out that "incel" meant "involuntarily celibate" and then extrapolated from all of this that they're all starting out as nice but kind of shy guys who would totally have been okay in some other cultural regime and that it's really all about the fact that they haven't had sex. Even if the NYT feels they need to give space to other opinions, they don't need to give space to opinion pieces that have quite plainly not done even basic research on their subject matter. This was so far off as to be on the level of someone publishing a piece about undocumented immigrants that seemed to be under the impression that all the "illegal aliens" were arriving from Mars.
posted by Sequence at 10:57 AM on May 8, 2018 [20 favorites]


This is the same Ross Douthat that only three months ago was waxing on about a full ban on pornography? He's suddenly on Team Sexbots? Does he own Delos stock?
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:57 AM on May 8, 2018 [33 favorites]


They also do some amazing investigative pieces and interactive data visualizations.

"Never mind that this milkshake has poop in it, it's a strawberry milkshake!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:58 AM on May 8, 2018 [37 favorites]


I've mentioned this before, but the George Mason University Economics Department is literally owned and operated by the Koch brothers. Professors there are hired to say wildly provocative ultra-libertarian things in public, rather than write boring papers on macroeconomics and such. Hanson in particular was a huge proponent of DARPA's effort to create prediction markets for predicting terrorism, has written extensively in support of cryogenics, and co-blogs with "we are all going to be revived in an AI hell and tortured" Eliezer Yudkowsky.
posted by miyabo at 10:59 AM on May 8, 2018 [33 favorites]


Wonderful, sex communism but free markets for everything else. You can't have it both ways Randheads.
posted by Damienmce at 10:59 AM on May 8, 2018 [36 favorites]


Wow, haven’t heard of markets for predicting things for a while. I guess a truly stupid idea, once expressed, will never ever go away.
posted by Artw at 11:01 AM on May 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


Where does the New York Times even find people like Ross Douthat?

It's not like he's some elder writer whose politics have failed to account for changing times. He's not a writer who's gotten a bit lazy or bored and is turning out pap like Thomas Friedman. He's not even a writer who sometimes has off-the-wall ideas that cross a line, and other times show a glimmer of genius.

Douthat's columns are consistently bad takes. The New York Times keeps thinking they need to give a voice to "diverse viewpoints," but keeps mistaking their politics for "the most acceptably left" position, rather than "moderate, skewing older and whiter."
posted by explosion at 11:02 AM on May 8, 2018 [13 favorites]


Given their commitment to representing all views I await their opinion section featuring radfem and anarchist writers and a piece telling people that they have greatly underestimated the continuing relevance of the Black Panthers.
posted by jaduncan at 11:12 AM on May 8, 2018 [84 favorites]


Stuff like this make me want to curl up in a corner and cry because I am tired of expending the vast amount of effort it takes to get anyone to care that people like me are in danger. It is tiring being hated violently all the time and even more tiring having to discuss, calmly and patiently, with friends and family and colleagues, that actually women are under violent attack and have been more or less openly for a long time and no we're not making it up and the fact that New York Times columnists write about it this way doesn't mean incels are okay, it means New York Times columnists are not okay. I am scared and I am tired and I am angry but mostly I am very tired.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:12 AM on May 8, 2018 [127 favorites]


Wonderful, sex communism but free markets for everything else. You can't have it both ways Randheads.

Oh but they do, and they always have. Not just for sex but for all "women's work." How else can we describe domestic labor, procreative labor (gestation and breastfeeding), family caregiving, parenting, and so on that (predominantly) women do, (usually) for their families, (almost always) for free?

The intersections of capitalism and patriarchy are fun to ponder: which system bows to the other and when and why.
posted by MiraK at 11:16 AM on May 8, 2018 [66 favorites]


Last week I had to endure hearing my own mother talk about how hard online dating is for men - MEN - because rejection is soooooo haaaarrrrrdddd.

As if I've never been rejected.

As if they were entitled to not be rejected.

As if I'm not quietly terrified of telling every guy "I'm sorry, I don't think we're a match but good luck!" because I know that I'll get some shit thrown my way (or at the very least, an angry dick pic).

As if I don't text my sisters every time I go on a date to say where I'm going and with whom.

I'm so tired of this too.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 11:17 AM on May 8, 2018 [92 favorites]


Where does the New York Times even find people like Ross Douthat?

Same place WaPo found McArdle: The Atlantic.
posted by PMdixon at 11:17 AM on May 8, 2018 [18 favorites]


Oh: and in my entire lifetime of rejections, it has literally never occured to me to respond with anger. Ever.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 11:21 AM on May 8, 2018 [59 favorites]


Incels, MRAs and PUAs are all anti - woman terrorists. The ideology itself is hateful and has been openly violent for some time. NYT should be ashamed.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:22 AM on May 8, 2018 [60 favorites]


It's so lucky for guys like Douthat and Hanson that they can just sort of turn over these ideas in their heads -- you know, as an intellectual exercise in what it might be like if women's bodies were actually, legally commodities for men's use. Yeah, it's not a fucking theory for some of us, Ace.
posted by holborne at 11:25 AM on May 8, 2018 [58 favorites]


They'll bend over backwards though to defend poor Sarah Huckabee Sanders from the unacceptable slings and arrows of Michelle Wolf's cruel anti-woman jokes.
posted by Ferreous at 11:25 AM on May 8, 2018 [40 favorites]


The Atlantic has a habit of publishing soul destroying articles. I remember one article in the 90’s about the women workers in factories in Juarez, Mexico being killed and their bodies being dumped in the desert. They had photographs of these bodies as part of the article. I still have nightmares of the photographs and I don’t consider myself to be a very sensitive person.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:27 AM on May 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


Author's last name should be Lavin, not Levin.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 11:28 AM on May 8, 2018


Maggie Haberman would likely know about "smokey eye" but she sure had a lot of outrage over that. It's almost as if being a mouthpiece for an admitted sexual predator makes you a woman more worthy of defense than a woman who rejects having sex with a misogynist basement dweller.
posted by Ferreous at 11:31 AM on May 8, 2018 [15 favorites]


[Fixed]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:31 AM on May 8, 2018


Wonderful, sex communism but free markets for everything else. You can't have it both ways Randheads.

I suspect Hanson's "redistribution of sex" column was supposed to be a "gotcha" against redistribution of wealth. 'Cause, you know, he's a GMU Libertarian guy. But people just looked at him and assumed he was an "actually it's ephebophilia" type - because, you know, he's a GMU Libertarian guy. I do not apologize for finding this amusing at his expense.
posted by atoxyl at 11:31 AM on May 8, 2018 [30 favorites]


Thank you cichlid ceilidh and LobsterMitten!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:32 AM on May 8, 2018


Wait a minute you're telling me that you're just now figuring out Ross Douthat is a shitheel as well as a poor journalist?

He makes D.J. Tice look like Mark Twain.
posted by Sphinx at 11:33 AM on May 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


I still don't see why incels can't just fuck each other. They have a lot in common, they all want to get laid, the problem really solves itself. Unless "sex" is, like, a euphemism of some sort, and they want redistribution of something else. Hmm.
posted by curiousgene at 11:34 AM on May 8, 2018 [33 favorites]


They don't want sex per se, they want to control and dominate women and show off their domination through sex. Why else would you want to have sex with something you clearly hate so much?
posted by Ferreous at 11:35 AM on May 8, 2018 [68 favorites]


Yep - George Mason has for quite a while now been a front for the Kochs and other far-right donors used to provide themselves with academic legitimacy. I pretty much dismiss sight unseen anything coming out of it, though the current pushback from the faculty suggests there is some hope of that changing.
posted by ryanshepard at 11:36 AM on May 8, 2018 [6 favorites]


It's articles like this that make me so uncomfortable about the left's dismissive attitude about white women. And that's not to say that white women aren't horribly problematic. Myself included.

But I also think about my racist grandmother, and how she was always called a bitch whenever she would try to ask someone else to deal with the minutiae of running the household, or asking for a modicum of self-determination. And how I watched this and taught myself the politics of respectability. That my whiteness granted me the ears of power, and my womanhood required the burden of always trying to prove myself and never quite getting there.

And these articles just give me a pang of sympathy. Of course she struggles with seeing marginalized people as people. She has always been generous and kind, but also overly paternalistic. And that was easy to see. But these articles remind me how much she still struggles to see herself as a person. And without that first step, any attempt at being a good ally is going to fall flat.

Which is also true of myself. But it's easier to see calcified two generations removed.
posted by politikitty at 11:40 AM on May 8, 2018 [15 favorites]


[A few comments deleted; just to head this off: if you're a man and you don't terrorize women, great! But we don't need to hear it here; this isn't about you.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:44 AM on May 8, 2018 [103 favorites]


Incels are not PUAs - they are both manosphere groups, they have similar underpinnings, origins, feelings about women (and generally the supremacy of especially white men), but their aims are different. Incels recoil at the idea of fucking to fuck. Any woman with a "bodycount" (ugh) higher than 3 or 4 is immediately an irredeemable whore. Incels want virgin (they say) 18-22yr olds (they really mean 15 at the lower end) to marry, get them pregnant, and replicate their favorite 1950s cosplay. PUAs just want to fuck as many women as possible as long as the women aren't over 30 and THEN find themselves the mythical virginal 19yr old who is eager to marry them.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 11:46 AM on May 8, 2018 [29 favorites]


Incels don't just want sex, they want a societal structure that forces women to act against their "superficial nature"; since incels see themselves as inherently undesirable, they want societal pressure strong enough to overcome this undesirability to make women have sex with them.

In other words, incels don't want sex. They want rape.
posted by tarshish bound at 11:47 AM on May 8, 2018 [87 favorites]


Oh yeah, lots and lots of incels argue that marital rape shouldn't be illegal and it's only feminism that has made it so. They are absolutely not opposed to rape. PUAs aren't either but they at least pretend to call it something else most of the time.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 11:48 AM on May 8, 2018 [6 favorites]


It's not uncommon for men who fail at being PUAs to become incels. A well-known incel site was once called PUAhate. It's sluthate now.
posted by LindsayIrene at 11:49 AM on May 8, 2018 [18 favorites]


The Nazi subtypes all swim in the same pool of shit and are largely interchangeable, so it’s completely acceptable to not get hung up on minor cosmetic differences between them.
posted by Artw at 11:52 AM on May 8, 2018 [15 favorites]


I still don't see why incels can't just fuck each other. They have a lot in common, they all want to get laid, the problem really solves itself. Unless "sex" is, like, a euphemism of some sort, and they want redistribution of something else. Hmm.

Exactly. As Lavin writes:
Probably the most galling piece of all this is that incels, despite their endless protestations of injustice, are quite picky. In their interminable and inflamed imagination of the buffet of sexuality, they reject most of the dishes on offer. As one of them put it:

“Its [sic] like eating dirt to try to substitute the nutritional value of fruits vegetables and meat. Ugly women are the dirt and hot women are the good food. I will not subject myself to anything lower than what i [sic] deserve which is a hot female. All of you deserve a hot female. Just like all of you deserve good quality nutritional food.”

How much more clearly can it be put — the notion of women as an interchangeable commodity, the irrelevance of female personhood? In the social program they envision, we are flesh, we are earth, we are silent, we are to be taken.
It's quite clear, reading this quote, that either Douthat and Hanson didn't research incels at all, or they are quite comfortable with this horrendously misogynistic belief system. Maybe both. But the NYT doesn't need to provide a platform for them.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:53 AM on May 8, 2018 [55 favorites]


It's not uncommon for men who fail at being PUAs to become incels

Oh of course not, the edges of the manosphere are always moving. Lots of incels discuss being "redpilled" before they're "blackpilled." This same conversation came up with Elliot Rodger - who iirc was linked to PUAhate. But if you look at his ideology it also includes stuff from the absolutely vile hapas groups.

The distinction, to me, is important because i think one reason incels are so dangerous is because sex isn't what they're seeking. Just teaching them how to talk to women isn't going to do it. Getting them laid - like so many suggest - isn't going to do it. They are super extremists among extremists.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 11:54 AM on May 8, 2018 [21 favorites]


I think one distinguishing feature of incels is that they expect to get what they want with no effort. Elliot Rodger left a lot of writing behind that seems to imply that he fully expected women to just offer sex to him without him even making eye contact with them. They put more work into ordering pizza that into 'getting' women.
posted by LindsayIrene at 12:01 PM on May 8, 2018 [24 favorites]


And I mean, sure don't care about the differences. Especially as a man it won't matter as much, I guess. But I do think it's important to know that PUAs will spike your drinks and incels will try to hide as good guys, which is different still from rapey men hiding as feminists. I've dated all three. I've used my body to try to fix all three. It doesn't work, of course. If women want to protect themselves, they need to know how these creeps operate. If men want to help, it's probably useful if they understand the different positions and arguments to shut them down if they see them.

We Hunted The Mammoth is a great resource for keeping up with the latest fuckery.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:02 PM on May 8, 2018 [41 favorites]


Jessica Valente would like to remind us that she also wrote a piece about incels for the NYT, with a much different (and better) take.

I think a lot of mainstream reporting on incels really misses the visceral awfulness of them because they're not doing much quoting from the generic miasma. (For instance, take this bon mot of a quote, demonstrating exactly what I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! and tarshish bound are saying, and it's actually less vile than other examples I've seen.)

This makes sense because A) it's just filthy! decorum! and B) there's an entirely degenerate lingo that makes some of the worst parts of it near impenetrable until you learn them (chads, stacies, betas, roasties) and C) you're always struggling with a sense of disbelief, surely somebody's just trying to troll you for a laugh, that's too horrible for any person to really think right? some of it probably is, but a depressing amount of it isn't and D) quoting it might actually be spreading the seeds to new fertile dungheaps.

However, this lack of communication/study leads to this disconnect of understanding between somebody gazing at a rotten piece of fruit and somebody breaking it open to look at all the maggots squirming inside. It's camouflage by being too horrible to speak of in "polite" company combined with the normal background of societal misogyny covering for it, because people assume "oh people are always saying this misogyny thing is bad and I don't actually think the things they talk about are really that big of a deal, who cares about a bit of catcalling, and I do feel bad for awkward dudes that can't get laid". Like, if I wanted to explain incels and how their philosophy operates to my mother, I wouldn't even know where to begin, and don't know if I'd have the fortitude, either. "You see mom, they think the vulvas of women who have sex with more than one man start looking like a sloppy roast beef sandwich, and they theorize about how long it takes until that state is reached by the majority of girls, no not women, girls--surely no later than sixteen years of age? but another insists 13; you see, they just can't resist having sex with men with large penises, called Chads, and once they do so they are ruined for normal men...."
posted by foxfirefey at 12:04 PM on May 8, 2018 [37 favorites]


Never heard of the guy, but judging by his other op-ed pieces, he might (just might) be a Christian traditionalist, or fundamentalist, if you will. Compare from TA:

There is an alternative, conservative response, of course — namely, that our widespread isolation and unhappiness and sterility might be dealt with by reviving or adapting older ideas about the virtues of monogamy and chastity and permanence and the special respect owed to the celibate.

In this case, he just wants the biblical "traditional" division of tasks between sexes back, and in putting forward that opinion, falls in with the weirdo alt-right group (not that that would be too hard).
posted by Laotic at 12:07 PM on May 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


I still don't see why incels can't just fuck each other.

I mean, probably because they're not gay? Plus, queer dudes (like me) don't want anything to do with them, either, even tangentially.
posted by Automocar at 12:08 PM on May 8, 2018 [29 favorites]


There is an alternative, conservative response, of course — namely, that our widespread isolation and unhappiness and sterility might be dealt with by reviving or adapting older ideas about the virtues of monogamy and chastity and permanence and the special respect owed to the celibate.

He's not accidentally falling into that group, that's what I'm saying, THAT IS WHAT INCELS WANT (by force if necessary). They are arguing the same thing - current culture is too slutty and women aren't protecting their "virtues." They want women as property that is transferred from father to husband. The only difference is they aren't uniquely christian (although some are).
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:13 PM on May 8, 2018 [15 favorites]


Never heard of the guy, but judging by his other op-ed pieces, he might (just might) be a Christian traditionalist, or fundamentalist, if you will

He's an exhausting conservative Catholic whataboutist anti-feminist soft-bigot concern troll who has made an entire career out of being an exhausting conservative Catholic whataboutist anti-feminist soft-bigot concern troll. They're a dime a dozen, but of course the NYT decided they desperately needed one, so they snapped him up way back in 2009 and he's been performing precisely as expected ever since.
posted by halation at 12:14 PM on May 8, 2018 [68 favorites]


"I will not subject myself to anything lower than what i [sic] deserve which is a hot female. All of you deserve a hot female."

I...I just can't.
How does a man come to live in such a fucked-up, self-entitled headspace? I sincerely don't understand it.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:17 PM on May 8, 2018 [10 favorites]


> Oh: and in my entire lifetime of rejections, it has literally never occured to me to respond with anger. Ever.

I can't find it right now, but someone on Twitter recently pointed out that there are plenty of women who would like to have romantic and/or sexual partners but for whatever reason do not, and to date exactly zero of them have gone on killing sprees.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:18 PM on May 8, 2018 [54 favorites]


There seems to be a strong and odd disconnect from (basically everyone I've seen talking about this, going back years) and (some subset of people who seem to be digging in on this), where the former is going "This is a specific term, referring to a specific group" and the latter seems to be expanding it/taking the term at face value and spinning things off into directions unjustifiable to the former. Key example by Scott Aaronson, where he seems to really want to be clear that he's not trying to defend (incels as we know them), and he's very keen on physical/social/sexual autonomy for women, but he's also very stuck on this idea of 'moderate incels'.

The way this appears to me seems to be something of them going "But what about the people who are just interested in nationalistic flavors of socialism, without the implications that one particular group of extremists have given it?", but they seem to see it as a 'motte & bailey' issue, and given that that's something of an accusation of intellectual/social dishonesty I don't know how to bridge that understanding gap of "No, I'm not secretly planning to expand discussion about incels to involve anybody who feels like dating kinda sucks, I'm really trying to stay focused on this one particular group and you keep on wanting to expanding this to cover topics I'm trying to stay well away from intentionally".

Which, not that I'd say everyone or even anyone in particular needs to take this up, but I guess it somewhat catches at the back of my mind since it seems like a space where there's room for legitimate improvement-via-discussion and it's a space I want to try and improve as best I can.
posted by CrystalDave at 12:19 PM on May 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


halation, thanks - I did not give it the extra 10 minutes which would have led me to the same conclusion, but I hypothesized as much.
posted by Laotic at 12:19 PM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


Criminal Minds was way ahead of the game on this one.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:20 PM on May 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


He is all that stuff, but like, if you look at the actual incels, it's laughably apparent that none of them are marriage material. The vast majority them are not actually interested in having a normal dating life, either by modern standards OR by conservative Catholic standards. He seems to have literally, and here I mean literally literally and not figuratively literally, no idea what the actual incel community is doing, so he's writing an opinion piece about how modern values make us lonely, as though loneliness really has anything to do with it. But there were always people who were disgustingly misogynist even by conservative Catholic standards, and now there's an internet where they're getting together and trading notes, and maybe he'd have some kind of ideas about how to fix that if he thought it was a problem?

I'd probably be able to say he was wrong if he was going to put forth those ideas, and say why. But he doesn't even know it's a problem, because he's got no idea what he's talking about.
posted by Sequence at 12:20 PM on May 8, 2018 [27 favorites]


i just really hate ross douthat's 'work' and i have hated it for years and i enjoy any opportunity i can find to point out what a useless dopey hack he is
posted by halation at 12:21 PM on May 8, 2018 [21 favorites]


NYT decided they desperately needed one, so they snapped him up way back in 2009 and he's been performing precisely as expected ever since.

He isn't be groomed to eventually replace David Brooks? They seem cut from the same Dockers khaki cloth.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:21 PM on May 8, 2018 [5 favorites]


Incels believe that women who want to have sex/relationships but can't are nonexistent. They literally believe any woman that isn't getting laid who wants to is just too picky or lying. There are entire memes behind putting up badly photoshopped images on dating sites of women they think are particularly ugly and without value, then they "prove" their point by showing how many hey baby wanna fuck messages the images get - which are obviously and immediately fake. They cling to these memes and get very, very angry if they're pressed on the issue.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:24 PM on May 8, 2018 [16 favorites]


If you've never dipped your toes in before, reddit is housing them at r/braincels these days (not linking on purpose). The front page right now hosts at least one image of domestic violence, so enter at your own risk. They can't be further removed from lonely guys who just want to have sex.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:27 PM on May 8, 2018 [9 favorites]


They aren't "Incels" they aren't 'involuntary celibates.' They're assholes. That's why they're 'celibate.' Stop being assholes.
I hate this whole idea/name/'category'/concept.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:28 PM on May 8, 2018 [28 favorites]


I've mentioned this before, but the George Mason University Economics Department is literally owned and operated by the Koch brothers.

Yeah, this was my first thought when I saw "George Mason University" and something idiotically conservative. Sadly, it's now my first thought when I see anything about GMU, which used to have a good reputation but has essentially sold off a big part of its academics to robber barons who then use it to push terrible policies (this is a great organization working with college students to expose the Koch Brothers' influence on college campuses). Like now apparently sexual slavery and rape.

Robin Hanson is associated with the Mercatus Center, which is essentially a Koch Brothers think tank.
posted by lunasol at 12:30 PM on May 8, 2018 [14 favorites]


I hate reducing every bad thing to "asshole" as if there is no value in defining terrorist groups or as if someone who tips poorly is the same as a serial rapist.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:31 PM on May 8, 2018 [37 favorites]


Here's another good intro to the subject. Before this post I thought "yeah, mostly just creepy guys with the occasional true wacko," but now I'm rethinking that assessment. Thanks for posting.
posted by Melismata at 12:32 PM on May 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


The whole article is so misinformed. Incels don't see women as people, and they don't even see us as poorly functioning sex dispensers. Women are just trophies to signal one guy's worth to another dude in this world view - ideally they'd be beautiful, silent and basically inanimate, except for ego stroking purposes.

Talking about sex workers as a solution is just as poorly thought out as the redistribution of sex (even if that wouldn't expose the sex workers to even greater work related hazards than normal), and suggesting they sleep with each other is downright dismissive of the danger their ideas contain.
posted by peppermind at 12:33 PM on May 8, 2018 [25 favorites]


I live and am raising sons in Toronto and any attempt to address Minassian's actions through supply and demand feels like an act of war on women. "If only you would move the border, then maybe people wouldn't keep invading your country" - really?

I've known about the incel community for some time and while I do have theories about what would help incels, I'm far, far, far more concerned with what would help women defend against them (and defend their sons against their ideas).

One of the realities I have struggled with in my life has been to find the line between what I hope for and believe in ("Free to Be You and Me" basically) and what I find happening around me. After years of self-examination and examination of the legacy of abuse in therapy, being in school during the Montreal Massacre, leading Take Back the Night marches, marrying a wonderful guy, having kids, and having worked in media for 15 years, only to feel less hopeful about the way the world is going. my personal conclusion has been that making nice is not enough.

Which is why I left a corporate job to work for a group of martial arts academies. Where we work really hard to help all people feel empowered and learn discipline and respect...and where we also train women to be strong, and know how to fight.

It burns me, child of the 70s, who was taught at every juncture to turn the other cheek and to seek equity and peace, that what I have ultimately come to is that in order to uphold those values, I need to have the physical tools to step between an oppressor and the oppressed. It's a weird place. But from that vantage point I say to the NYT - go ahead and discuss supply and demand all you want, but I'm going to work as hard as I can to make sure that if you demand sex, you get a fight.
posted by warriorqueen at 12:40 PM on May 8, 2018 [81 favorites]


Scott Aaronson has been in the business of treating women as commodities for a while. He should be afraid of being lumped in with the incel crowd because he's already stated agreement on the major ideological points.
posted by PMdixon at 12:41 PM on May 8, 2018 [9 favorites]


The way this appears to me seems to be something of them going "But what about the people who are just interested in nationalistic flavors of socialism, without the implications that one particular group of extremists have given it?", but they seem to see it as a 'motte & bailey' issue, and given that that's something of an accusation of intellectual/social dishonesty I don't know how to bridge that understanding gap of "No, I'm not secretly planning to expand discussion about incels to involve anybody who feels like dating kinda sucks, I'm really trying to stay focused on this one particular group and you keep on wanting to expanding this to cover topics I'm trying to stay well away from intentionally".

Because it's not an understanding gap, but that the other side is arguing in bad faith. There's nothing to bridge, you're just dealing with someone who isn't playing by the rules and is hoping you won't notice.

Which is why the response needs to be calling out their bullshit for what it is.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:43 PM on May 8, 2018 [8 favorites]


Douthat's columns are consistently bad takes. The New York Times keeps thinking they need to give a voice to "diverse viewpoints," but keeps mistaking their politics for "the most acceptably left" position, rather than "moderate, skewing older and whiter."

I'll believe the NYT is actually committed to "diverse viewpoints" when they hire Ta-Nehisi Coates and an unreconstructed Communist for their op-ed page, and allow their columnists to point out when another is being willfully dishonest.
posted by Gelatin at 12:47 PM on May 8, 2018 [54 favorites]


I suspect Hanson's "redistribution of sex" column was supposed to be a "gotcha" against redistribution of wealth

I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a healthy right-wing economics professor, is, at fifty-nine years old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled...
posted by miyabo at 12:48 PM on May 8, 2018 [15 favorites]


What is it with conservatives perpetually looking to patch over problems rather than finding solutions to these problems? And why must minorities, the poor, and women be ground up to be the mortar to fill the cracks?

Crime and drug use are symptoms of poverty, but they prefer jail to social programs.

Abortions are (largely) due to lack of access to birth control and education, but they prefer eroding the right to abortion than preventing unwanted pregnancies.

Incels (their lack of "access to sex" and their hatred) are symptoms of entitled, poorly raised men. But conservatives seem to think we should serve up women, instead of working to prevent the situation in the first place.

It is so, so much more effective to discover and treat the cause of a disease than to address only the symptoms. I don't understand how this is a difficult concept.
posted by explosion at 12:56 PM on May 8, 2018 [30 favorites]


What is it with conservatives perpetually looking to patch over problems rather than finding solutions to these problems?

Because those solutions would threaten existing power hierarchies. Cf Corey Robin
posted by PMdixon at 1:00 PM on May 8, 2018 [26 favorites]


They hate women, they hate anything that isn't man having power over the home filled with his subjects, they created the systems that made the poverty demographics what they are and then they kept pressing the boot on their heads. They don't look for solutions because they've been majorly in charge of creating the problems which they view as working as planned. Except all those mouthy queer black trans women, etc.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 1:07 PM on May 8, 2018 [12 favorites]


How does a man come to live in such a fucked-up, self-entitled headspace? I sincerely don't understand it.

I can. Because for a while, I did.

I grew up in the late 70s and early 80s, was told that I'd find that girl and get married and all that life-script stuff. I watched the rom-coms where the funny guy turned out to be better for the girl than the big jocky guy, and they lived happily ever after. And I was socially stunted and didn't know much about sex or relationships other than what I saw on TV and movies. (Hell, my parents never told me about sex at all.) So I grew up twisted and screwed up about How Things Should Be.

I ended up, quite literally, homeless and under a bridge due to my pride and beliefs about How Things Should Be, and that got me thinking, and started the untwisting of my brain. A few women who saw some potential in me (and I bless the days I met them and they saw past my unpleasantness) helped to bring me around and show me how wrong I was, to the point that now I look at myself in my 20s and I don't recognize my own mind anymore.

It means I can understand some of what drives the Incels and the MRAs and the PUAs: pure, simple entitlement issues. They think they deserve things, because so many things in the media and their families have been telling them they do deserve it, and they don't need to work for it, it'll just happen to them, and they are frustrated to their cores when everything they were told since they were three years old turns out to be a complete and utter lie. And that frustration curdles to hate for people they think deliberately slighted them from getting what they deserve, and they turn to people who tell them, hey, it really is their fault, you should have it all. That job? That girl (never a woman)? Yeah, it's someone else's fault you don't have it.

The Grasshopper writ large and angry.
posted by mephron at 1:09 PM on May 8, 2018 [60 favorites]


How does Douthat still have a job? Can you imagine a Muslim writer keeping her/his job at a major newspaper after writing an article sympathizing with the perpetrator of a terror attack?
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:26 PM on May 8, 2018 [22 favorites]


Calling incels a terrorist group seems incorrect. The analogous claim would be that, say, Salafi fundamentalism is a terrorist group. It's not accurate: ISIS, Al Qaeda, and friends are the terrorist groups; Salafi fundamentalism is the ideology.

What is scary to me is that incel terrorists like the one in Toronto do not seem to be part of a command structure. No one orders them to go do what they do; they do it of their own accord, inspired by previous examples. I don't buy that the guy in Toronto "belonged to a terrorist group." He frequented some misogynist forums like r/incels, on which some people incite terrorism. But I see no evidence he swore loyalty, or acted on someone else's behalf.

The distinction between "terrorist group" and "violent ideology" matters for tactics. In the former case, I would think, we should identify and prosecute the leaders, cut off their resources, etc. In the latter case, that is unlikely to work. The posters on 4chan.org/r9k are anonymous. I don't see this as a movement that can be decapitated.
posted by andrewpcone at 1:31 PM on May 8, 2018 [11 favorites]


Right, the movements are decentralized. There's no need to gather a group and make them work together to commit an attack anymore. You just hose your marks down with propaganda online and let the violent rhetoric spur them into action. Turnkey terrorism, if you will.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:34 PM on May 8, 2018 [31 favorites]


Disintermediated terrorism - definitely disruptive.
posted by PMdixon at 1:36 PM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


It can be terrorism even if it's decentralized. See all (white, of course) "lone wolf" killers in the US who seem to have a bunch of the same talking points, but oh no! Can't be terrorism! Of course when the cops straight up entrap young (brown) men into planning attacks, that IS terrorism by ISIS, somehow, because the kid thought it was weed, I mean ISIS.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 1:37 PM on May 8, 2018 [26 favorites]


I suspect that some incels likely protest a bit too much on the lacking sex front. "I had sex but my GF was a ..." seems to pop up as an incel narrative. Which is why proposals regarding prostitution or sex robots are missing the point.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 1:39 PM on May 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


The poop milkshake metaphor is pretty inapt for a newspaper. You really can read the articles you find good and useful without without ingesting the vile garbage. I mean, the public library isn't a poop milkshake because it contains yucky books, is it? I guess it is a different question when it comes to paying for a subscription.

I mean, don't get me wrong: it was a recent Ross Douthat column that led me to realize that the Times no longer even has a public editor for me to send my angry complaints to, but they do cover the failures of the bail system, how unscrupulous landlords abuse city funds for halfway housing, abuse in the prison system, etc.

And they cover the latest trends that matter to me, like glamping, netflix and chill, and the perennial favorite, some people are actually moving to Brooklyn, weird, oh wait, they're moving to Queens, wait which is the one with the airports?
posted by nequalsone at 1:41 PM on May 8, 2018 [5 favorites]


I think the Hanson piece was supposed to be a sort of Modest Proposal-esque thing, where surely if you think income redistribution is okay, you won't have any problem with this kind of redistribution, amiright librals? Lolz.

Although it's hard to say for sure, and that's always the risk inherent in that sort of thing—if it's not clear that you're advancing a position as part of reductio ad absurdum by virtue of not taking it all the way into the absurd, but just merely into the offensive, people are just going to think you're quite serious.

The Douthat piece, though... fuck that guy. I don't think at this point he can really even hide behind the "professional shit stirrer" defense, because it's pretty obvious what ideas he's willing to challenge and which he isn't.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:41 PM on May 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


The poop milkshake metaphor is pretty inapt for a newspaper. You really can read the articles you find good and useful without without ingesting the vile garbage. I mean, the public library isn't a poop milkshake because it contains yucky books, is it?

(takes a breath to argue your point)

I guess it is a different question when it comes to paying for a subscription.

(exhales and waits for you to realize you've made my point for me)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:43 PM on May 8, 2018 [25 favorites]


OK, so I just looked at r9k, and Jesus fucking Christ. There are literally multiple posts explicitly threatening mass shootings, with people cheering them on. If 4chan hasn't been served a national security letter for this shit, or if FBI/HSI isn't devoting serious resources to identifying perpetrators, the government is asleep at the wheel. I mean, not that I'm so crazy about surveillance, but as long as we have it, this is somewhere it should be used. The incel threat is as credible as the Salafi threat.

I think it is worth calling members of the House Homeland Security committee to tell them to prioritize this shit. Even the Republican members. I suspect even Peter King, a certified asshole who was himself once involved in a terrorist group, would listen. Republicans may be misogynist in general, but they are not incel terrorist sympathizers.

It can be terrorism even if it's decentralized.

No one (at least no one I care to read) is saying "this isn't terrorism." It clearly is, as the point is to instill broad terror in service to an ideological goal. But not all terrorism has a terrorist group behind it.
posted by andrewpcone at 1:43 PM on May 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


The YouTube/4chan/reddit terrorist set is very much a pack of lone wolves.
posted by Artw at 1:48 PM on May 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


No one (at least no one I care to read) is saying "this isn't terrorism."

Well, nobody called incels a "terrorist group" either in the way that you thought, I believe? More like, belongs to a group of people who are terrorists.

Either way I don't see why this is a point to be disputed. Seems like a derail.
posted by MiraK at 1:50 PM on May 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


Well, nobody called incels a "terrorist group" either.

The text in the FPP does. I was replying to that.
posted by andrewpcone at 1:53 PM on May 8, 2018


@markpopham:
some nazi is going to shoot up the NYTimes and while it’s going on they’re going to put out a piece called like Meet The Well-Armed, Extremely Thorough White Nationalist Taking Our Offices By Storm

this is an incredibly rough chuckle but like. jesus christ. i literally cannot overemphasize how dark and brutal the world these people want is, and how bad it is to give them any sort of a platform whatsoever

THE MEDIA: what do these dangerous free-thinkers want
LITERALLY EVERYONE INCLUDING THE DANGEROUS FREE-THINKERS: genocide
THE MEDIA: hmmmm....but what do they REALLY want

posted by Artw at 1:55 PM on May 8, 2018 [69 favorites]


Remember in Mad Men, when Don pitched the Jaguar, "At Last, Something Beautiful You Can Truly Own" pitch? Incels are exactly the demographic he was aiming for with that, except that they will never own a Jaguar and are poisonously, murderously enraged by that.

And yeah, it wasn't until this weekend when another MeFite who's been studying this group informed me of how many of them have girlfriends, but hate them for not being as "hot" as the incel "deserves."
posted by Navelgazer at 1:55 PM on May 8, 2018 [26 favorites]


The analogous claim would be that, say, Salafi fundamentalism is a terrorist group. It's not accurate: ISIS, Al Qaeda, and friends are the terrorist groups; Salafi fundamentalism is the ideology.

"Incel" isn't an ideology that is held by some people who are doing this and also some other people who might hold extreme opinions but don't approve of terrorizing women. You don't get there without having joined up with specific groups on the internet. Maybe you get recruited by ISIS and then you don't personally bomb anybody, but you're still a part of the terrorist group. This might be less organized, but these guys are still explicitly joining communities that they know are full of people who condone and at least WANT to engage in violence against women.
posted by Sequence at 1:56 PM on May 8, 2018 [13 favorites]


Margaret Wente of the Globe and Mail has been carrying the torch for "but it's not terrorism" up here in Canada.

[sigh]

On the plus side, I finally have a very clear example for my nephew of what's wrong with Milo Yanawhathisname's logic. My peaceable Muslim friends, neighbours and co-workers are on our side. People who want to impose a violent ideology using violence are not, even if they're young, white, sexually frustrated atheists just like us.
posted by clawsoon at 2:01 PM on May 8, 2018 [5 favorites]


I work at a library in Toronto; most of my colleagues are women, and it seems like the majority of them had never heard of incels before the van attack. The impression I get is that on top of being appalled and depressed by the existence of this terroristic philosophy, they're flabbergasted by how men have managed to invent yet another reason to and manner of hating women.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:02 PM on May 8, 2018 [8 favorites]


I would argue that incels are not fundamentally motivated by ideology, even though they express themselves in ideological terms. They are motivated by narcissistic pain (I don't mean they are necessarily narcissists) - the inability to cope with rejection, or with a world that does not follow the rules in their heads.

The scary thing as a woman is that where before men might experience and express this rage regardless in moments of experiencing limits on their (everyone's) personal power, and anger, now there is an easily accessible Internet community where that pain and the rage of the child whose toy is taken from him unfairly (in his mind) becomes a point of community. It is fed and legitimized, and ultimately weaponized.

However, it is still terrorism, because it is designed to establish one's will over others through fear.
posted by warriorqueen at 2:03 PM on May 8, 2018 [20 favorites]


An incel/Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) has heard of Crone Island (cats and cocktails!) but somehow also got confused and added meth into the mix
MGTOWs are not adopting a “cat lady” lifestyle. This is what all single-at-40 women eventually become, but not men. Men are not as prone to mental illness due to loneliness than women are. A man marooned on a desert island will survive (well : may). A woman will die, and fast.

Men can thrive alone. Aging single women… just end up loving cat (and liquors… and meth).

(via We Hunted the Mammoth)
posted by spamandkimchi at 2:06 PM on May 8, 2018 [9 favorites]


I work at a library in Toronto; most of my colleagues are women, and it seems like the majority of them had never heard of incels before the van attack. The impression I get is that on top of being appalled and depressed by the existence of this terroristic philosophy, they're flabbergasted by how men have managed to invent yet another reason to and manner of hating women.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:02 PM on May 8


Along with the note above that 0 women have gone on killing sprees due to not having the sex that they'd like, my mental scorecard of conservative projection gets another tally with the realization that the right wing caricature of feminists as frothing man-haters comes from assuming that their "opposite" number is also their "equal" in this regard.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:07 PM on May 8, 2018 [14 favorites]


I would argue that incels are not fundamentally motivated by ideology, even though they express themselves in ideological terms. They are motivated by narcissistic pain (I don't mean they are necessarily narcissists) - the inability to cope with rejection, or with a world that does not follow the rules in their heads.

I agree with your diagnosis. Violent ideologies often grow out of pain. At some point, they get a life of their own and become the prime mover, maybe because they are a promise to give the pain heroic meaning. I'm sure many ISIS recruits were motivated by the trauma of the US led war and Assad's brutality. But that pain is not itself why they whip people for smoking, throw gay people off roofs, and burn soldiers alive in cages. I do not believe pain alone does that, even narcissistic pain.

The incel forums don't just say "God it sucks for us that we are incels; oh the injustice" They promise an "incel rebellion" and the "overthrow" of "Brad and Trixie," as if there were some evil to be heroically overthrown.
posted by andrewpcone at 2:11 PM on May 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


I say this as gently as possible because I know everyone here is on the same team, but it's interesting to me that this discussion is focusing on the horrible articles that Douthat and Hanson wrote, and the horrible things that incels say online, with hardly any mention of the first article linked in the FPP -- an excellent, well-written, well-argued piece written by a woman pushing back on all of the above, and describing the consequences of being a woman on Twitter who disagrees with misogynist bullshit.

So I'll say it: The Talia Lavin piece is excellent. Thank you for posting it. Now let's go back to giving airtime to wrong-headed men, I guess?

And so, dear reader, for hours and hours, incels tweeted photos of roast beef at me, intending to shame me for my distended pudenda. I was disgusted at first. Then I got angry. Then I wanted Arby’s.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:13 PM on May 8, 2018 [61 favorites]


Oh yeah, looooots of incels are not virgins and a fair number are in active sexual relationships. A woman on reddit recently learned that her husband of 20 years or so, who she had children with, was "pretending" to be an incel. She decided it was harmless trolling but maybe if he could make sure to lock his computer so their son and daughter don't read it and think it's real. And like. She doesn't understand that he's probably having conversations about how she's a roastie who hit the wall.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 2:14 PM on May 8, 2018 [11 favorites]


I do not believe pain alone does that, even narcissistic pain.

Yeah...I do, but I grew up under a narcissistic parent so I have a particular perspective on it. I agree that for most people, it doesn't do it. But for some it does, and if they have a sense of purpose and legitimacy in a group I think that contributes.

It's really complex. And because I have sons I really keep an ear out about it.
posted by warriorqueen at 2:15 PM on May 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


If incels didn't start with an ideology, they're developing one fast.
posted by clawsoon at 2:16 PM on May 8, 2018 [9 favorites]


I think the Hanson piece was supposed to be a sort of Modest Proposal-esque thing, where surely if you think income redistribution is okay, you won't have any problem with this kind of redistribution, amiright librals? Lolz.

This was my first reaction: it's simply trolling.
posted by thelonius at 2:17 PM on May 8, 2018


This was my first reaction: it's simply trolling.

That was my first reaction to all of this. And then people started dying.
posted by clawsoon at 2:20 PM on May 8, 2018 [19 favorites]


I liked the incels better when they were all on /r/nofap and into productivity. This nazi thing is a real unfortunate turn.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:23 PM on May 8, 2018 [7 favorites]


Oh god /nofap. At least they seem to just think they have magic powers if they store all the cum in their balls.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 2:25 PM on May 8, 2018 [7 favorites]


Oh god /nofap. At least they seem to just think they have magic powers if they store all the cum in their balls.

Did they not realize that Kubrick and Sellers were mocking them?
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:28 PM on May 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


well now I know what a roastie is, jesus...
posted by supermedusa at 2:37 PM on May 8, 2018 [5 favorites]


Did they not realize that Kubrick and Sellers were mocking them?

Hitchcock seems more their speed.
posted by codacorolla at 2:38 PM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


That was my first reaction to all of this. And then people started dying

we meant the "redistribution of sex" talking point, but you probably knew that
posted by thelonius at 2:42 PM on May 8, 2018


So you're angry that you can't get laid, and you want the state to provide you with a sexual partner against their will?


Maybe try not being the kind of person who wants the state to provide you with a sexual partner against their will.

I mean, you might still not get laid, but you can at least direct all of that energy you were using to be angry towards a hobby or something, and people won't think of you as complete trash.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:46 PM on May 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


Talia Lavin is probably my #2 most important Twitter follow after Nicole Cliffe.
posted by Kwine at 3:04 PM on May 8, 2018 [6 favorites]


Incels, MRAs and PUAs are all anti - woman terrorists.

There's a whole essay comparing and contrasting this with The Little Rascals' "He-man Woman Hater's Club" and discussing the trend of infantilizing "bad boys'" "horseplay"

Which I do not have time to write.
posted by mikelieman at 3:05 PM on May 8, 2018 [6 favorites]


Douthat's conclusion follows straight from his (unfortunately common) strain of libertarianism: Since all rights are property rights, taxes and forcing people to have sex are exactly the same. Both are forcible violations of property rights.

If you find yourself coming to that conclusion, perhaps it's time to rethink your assumptions.
posted by clawsoon at 3:06 PM on May 8, 2018 [12 favorites]


I'm so purely disgusted by Douthat comparing genocidal rape apologists to people who have an earnest and humble critique of the politics of desirability. That he sees them as even being closely related, under the convenient rubric of right vs. left (and it's so clear where he sees himself, even as he so boldly takes the neutral position), says so much about his character and the way he sees his place in the world. He isn't just equivocating on a hypothetical, which I think many of us would rightly see through; I don't think it's a mischaracterization to say that he offers an implicit -- yet transparent -- endorsement of unadulterated hatred of women.
posted by lilies.lilies at 3:07 PM on May 8, 2018 [13 favorites]


Douthat's conclusion follows straight from his (unfortunately common) strain of libertarianism: Since all rights are property rights, taxes and forcing people to have sex are exactly the same. Both are forcible violations of property rights.

Searching for understanding irrational people, so are the incels pitching "All taxation is theft" while also believing that their sexual pleasure should be provided as a social benefit? That would explain them rationalizing rape-culture. Ugh. I'm ashamed of my gender.
posted by mikelieman at 3:10 PM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


Not to abuse the edit window, but this is evidence for my hypothesis that we have evolved brains too large for our own good.
posted by mikelieman at 3:11 PM on May 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


Libertarians also argue that slavery is logical and moraly acceptable so really nothing from them should be surprising. Also never buy "irony" as an excuse from a nazi.
posted by Artw at 3:16 PM on May 8, 2018 [13 favorites]


Douthat's real offense here seems to be laziness. He's a repeat offender, and he's got a lot of company.

There's a certain brand of opinion writer who follows a certain template: Rather than looking at a current event, they look through it, and somehow, no matter what the current event is, it refracts the light toward the same hobby horses they always write about. So incels, hoverboards, vaping, hashtags, and deconstructed pasta all illustrate the need to return to traditional gender roles (in Douthat's case) or the flatness of the world (in Friedman's case).

This is the most charitable analysis I can offer.
posted by adamrice at 3:57 PM on May 8, 2018 [19 favorites]


Lots of people find relationships difficult to find and frustrating to maintain. It takes a particularly nasty ideological bent to blame that on a conspiracy of all women that needs to be resisted with violence.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 4:09 PM on May 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


I say this as gently as possible because I know everyone here is on the same team, but it's interesting to me that this discussion is focusing on the horrible articles that Douthat and Hanson wrote, and the horrible things that incels say online, with hardly any mention of the first article linked in the FPP -- an excellent, well-written, well-argued piece written by a woman pushing back on all of the above, and describing the consequences of being a woman on Twitter who disagrees with misogynist bullshit.

I mean, I think it's more of a: If you agree with basically everything she wrote, what do you have left to say about it except "and ANOTHER THING..." kind of elaboration on the theme? I don't think it's really ignoring what she wrote, just what is there to say other than "oh my god all these people are terrible".

I guess I can say that her article kind of also made me want Arby's.
posted by Sequence at 4:11 PM on May 8, 2018 [9 favorites]


My favorite tweet about this was from a gay guy who said he looked forward to demanding blow jobs from straight men as part of the sex redistribution.
posted by srboisvert at 4:11 PM on May 8, 2018 [47 favorites]


The equation of money to 'precious bodily fluids' runs very deep on the right -- more than 20 years ago (the last time I listened) Rush Limbaugh was talking about taxation as theft of your "life energy" without a hint of irony.

And in Christian religious terms, a man's precious bodily fluids correspond to the Holy Ghost, which entered into the Virgin Mary and impregnated her with Jesus -- and the Holy Trinity thereby becomes Father, Son, and Holy Ghost instead of Father, Mother, and Child, reducing Mary, and by extension all women, to mere vessels. And vassals.

Which confers on money some of the enormous secular power of sexuality, and spiritual power as the fountainhead of grace.
posted by jamjam at 4:34 PM on May 8, 2018 [11 favorites]


Canada should start defining this stuff as terrorism so that victims can sue for damages.
posted by quaking fajita at 5:09 PM on May 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


InCels are the victims of sexual liberation? What the actual...? I can't even begin to unpack what is wrong with that statement. Wow. Just, wow.
posted by AJScease at 5:33 PM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


What kind of fantastic narcissism leads a person to make his problem everyone's problem. These guys want to go back to some mythological bygone era, I guess, but back in the day, men were expected to be stoic. They weren't supposed to sit around whining that nobody wanted to touch their peenie or write their nutsack a love letter. They were supposed to provide. That may be a narrow, even unfulfilling role, but it's better than lounging around in stained underpants posting to Reddit about how they're gonna get back at all those mean ladies. Get a job, get a life, close the door if you gotta cry, come back with your game face on. Stop playing video games. Burn your anime body pillow. Talk about snowflakes.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:55 PM on May 8, 2018 [6 favorites]


Reading these articles and this thread has eaten the second half of my day. Count me as among those who feel like curling up into the fetal position in despair at incels, and at their creators, enablers, supporters, apologizers, and minimizers: put together these people form a fair chunk of the world - a most powerful one, too.

What are we to do? What is one to do?

The other day I was explaining to a black male date that one difference between being a racial minority (which I also am) or a poor person (which I am not) vs. a woman is that it's quite a bit easier to develop a class identity, consciousness, and solidarity when a separate physical existence from one's oppressor is the norm - or at least a possibility. Women's lives are intertwined so deeply and profoundly with men's that we can't imagine separation outside of the hyperbolic, near-satirical Crone Island.

What do we do?
posted by MiraK at 6:27 PM on May 8, 2018 [22 favorites]


One of the things that really icks me out about the undercurrent of "maybe everyone [well, straight men] deserves sex" and those who promote it is they never have the courage of their vile convictions to actually follow down the rabbit hole of what consequences Their Answers actually hold.

If mass legalization of sex workers is The Answer for angry entitled men, why are we assuming this will solve anything with the same men who talk about how women are "used up" if they have sex with multiple partners will solve anything?

If it's mass distribution of sex robots as The Answer for angry entitled men, why are we assuming this won't lead to some kind of class-based system where Real Men get Real Women and Poor Men Get Fake Women?

But because people like Ross Douthat do not actually consider the consequences of this seriously, we get a lot of handwaving about the erosion of marriage. Which, as Douthat coveniently omits, was also a site of legalized marital rape in many states until very, very recently.
posted by mostly vowels at 7:40 PM on May 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


I think the term for the sort of terrorism of incels is "stochastic terrorism" -- "using language and other forms of communication to incite random acts of violence that are "statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.""

"He's an exhausting conservative Catholic whataboutist anti-feminist soft-bigot concern troll who has made an entire career out of being an exhausting conservative Catholic whataboutist anti-feminist soft-bigot concern troll. They're a dime a dozen"

Yeah, I went to Notre Dame, Douthats emerge from Catholicism by the hundreds and they are all the same and they are all boring and they all pretend to argue from the center while really staning for a very right-wing POV and they all basically took Philosophy 101 and they're like, "HERE'S MY INCREDIBLY WELL-ARGUED HOT TAKE BASED ON ONE SEMESTER OF PHILOSOPHY CLASS, WHAT ABOUT THAT, LIE-BRULS?" and you're like, "Uh, well, if we can get a little 201 here --" "I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT AND AM NOT OBLIGATED TO LEARN ANYTHING NEW BECAUSE TWENTY YEARS AGO I TOOK A PHILOSOPHY 101 COURSE! LALALALALALALALA."

They're pretty pointless to argue with, because they are firm in their belief they're the smartest guy in the room and utterly reject all new information, and intellectually they're a particularly smug species of college freshmen, but they're hella fun to troll (if you're a woman. I don't think this technique works for men). They depend heavily on being thought of as Really Intellectual and Good at Debating, especially by women, so the best thing to do is get them on a roll, and when they stop for you to argue back so they can crush you with their killer freshman skillz, you just look at them with a really gentle pity for their extreme misguidedness and say, very sympathetically, "Oh, honey."

They then get really het up and start arguing what they think is your point, and you just look sadder and more sympathetic and shake your head with pity, and eventually they start arguing with themselves (always! and it's hilarious!), and then you can say something condescending that implies they're like a 2nd grader who's bragging about his art project and you're an indulgent parent ("Well I can tell you worked really hard on that, good for you."), and they either storm off or start sputtering, and if you get them to the sputtering part, there are only two outcomes: They start calling you really misogynistic names (which I suggest you laugh at, as nothing is funnier than Mr. Logic And Philosophy completely losing his shit and resorting to playground taunts) OR they ask you on a date. WITHOUT FAIL. (The latter outcome should also be met with laughter. And they never understand why you think it's hilarious, because they just put on their virtuoso arguing performance for you! You should be swooning!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:52 PM on May 8, 2018 [55 favorites]


I mean, I think it's more of a: If you agree with basically everything she wrote, what do you have left to say about it except "and ANOTHER THING..." kind of elaboration on the theme? I don't think it's really ignoring what she wrote, just what is there to say other than "oh my god all these people are terrible".

I totally get that. But for me, the question is more like: When will the voices of women saying the "right" thing matter more than the voices of men who are saying the "wrong" thing?

I don't know the answer, but I do know that we're not only not there yet -- we're a hell of a long way from it.
posted by mudpuppie at 8:20 PM on May 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


As always, it's about ethics in gaming journalism.

The writing was on the wall for this years ago, but nobody took it seriously. They still don't take it seriously.

But in any case, stop buying this shitty paper.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:35 PM on May 8, 2018 [14 favorites]


Helen Rosner had some excellent things to say about this on Twitter (unrolled here):
You are NOT WRONG that the mainstreaming of sexual imagery has had an effect on America. But let us be clear about what that sexual imagery is: It’s women, presented to men as trophies, rewards, and entitlements. These images intentionally target straight men...

See, the culture is not obsessed with women’s sexual lives. (Well, it is, but in the opposite way.) It’s not obsessed with queer sexual lives. The culture is ONLY obsessed with the sexual lives of straight men who desire conventionally attractive women.

To extend the category of “incel” to include all (partner-)sexless people is to willfully ignore what distinguishes an incel from a generally partner-sexless person, which is, among other things, profoundly irresponsible on your part.

I can assure you that the men who are sharing rape tips and planning war against women and, um, committing literal murder are not terribly concerned with ensuring that a fat 65-year-old woman gets her rocks off with a partner of her choosing.

That woman isn’t caught in a “toxic vise,” though. She may be unhappy with the lack of thick dick in her life but she’s not defining herself by it. She’s not studying ways to forcibly attain it. She’s not constructing elaborate narratives where the government provides her with it...

Incels are a uniquely straight male category...
posted by straight at 8:59 PM on May 8, 2018 [37 favorites]


Yeah, this is gamergate and Trump support all over again. It's not about ethics in journalism. It's not about economic anxiety. It's not about sex. Regularly getting their rocks off with a robot or a sex worker or a child bride wouldn't fix anything. A bunch of men feel "status anxiety," and these particular young men have stumbled upon the right part of the internet to redirect their insecurity into violent misogyny. If they'd gone to a slightly different part of Reddit, they'd have been marching on Charlottesville.

I'm not at all surprised that conservative writers are taking the opportunity to advance bad faith arguments that men are really the victims in all of this. If the conservative movement has ever made an argument in good faith, I am too young to remember it. (My political memory stretches back to the late '90s.)

Talia Levin is really great though, and I second the recommendation to follow her on Twitter.
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:14 PM on May 8, 2018 [6 favorites]


What kind of fantastic narcissism leads a person to make his problem everyone's problem.

This applies to all the fucking mass shooter/murderers too. Like, I have been an extremely undateable and unhappy high school kid as well, but as a woman it never occurred to me to kill anyone but myself.
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:17 PM on May 8, 2018 [11 favorites]


Re Hanson: John Holbo at Crooked Timber tiled his post "Own Troll" which is just perfect. If I go with the similar classic "utilitarians should be willing to harvest homeless people for their organs"* I am trolling utilitarians, not homeless advocates.

Hanson is saying "if you model all things like financial transactions then giving a hungry person food is indistinguishable from rape." Only he didn't make that first assumption explicit because that's his whole professional framework, so he thought he was trolling progressives and not microeconomists.

Thinking about it another way, he invented a hypothetical government sponsored mass rape program and he seems to think the government sponsorship part of the hypothetical matters. He really does have his head up his util.


*In case it's not obvious, the set up is that you could save five other lives by doing this.
posted by mark k at 9:34 PM on May 8, 2018 [4 favorites]




Oh, it's not just about power. It's very specifically about entitlement.

Incels actually make a whole lot of sense in light of, say, Lundy Bancroft's writing about the motivation of domestic violence in partner-abusing men, which is also motivated by entitlement: the abusive men he works with feel entitled to certain things from their partners, such that they feel justified in attacking any woman who fails to provide those things for them until the desired things materialize. They feel specifically entitled to these things from partners, which is why domestic violence might not spill over into other parts of an abuser's life, because the entitlement is specific to the context. And here, too, entitlement is specific to a context, although it's been generalized to all women, so long as the incel finds them fuckable.

A whole lot of misogyny boils down to male entitlement to women's bodies, really. I'd argue that's much more of the root issue here than power: the incels are angry that they don't have power over a deserving woman, because they feel entitled to a particular level of status, as mediated through the "level" of woman you can achieve. If it was purely power they sought, the spite and rage wouldn't be so strong: we don't react nearly as angrily to a soda machine that fails to dispense a drink if we haven't put a dollar in. If we have put in that dollar, we feel rightfully entitled to the soda, and if we don't get it we tend to become much, much more angry. Either way, our power over the situation is identical: the only difference is our expectation and our feelings of entitlement. We don't become as angry over failures of our power to control things to which we do not, on some level, believe we are entitled to possess or use.

Of course, women are not vending machines. And sex is not a soda, and no one is obligated to provide it to you--not even sex workers who have been paid their asking price. (Holy shit, y'all, think about this "legalize sex work!" thing: you're asking sex workers, who are also people and women, to turn their bodies over to these monsters and do it for the same fees as anyone else. My skin crawls even thinking about it, and I have noted a few sex workers saying that they don't want to fuck these creeps either--particularly in light of the truly vicious insults they have for women who pass out of their Madonna category. )

Incels are frustrated entitlement personified, and their intra-community dialogue both increases those expectations and fans their frustration as well as their self-hatred for not achieving the space for which they feel entitled. It is a toxic mix, and if anything I am mostly surprised more of it hasn't spilled over into violence--at least, that we know about. Incel communities are terrifying from that perspective--few other MRA subgroups I can think of serve to focus very specifically on everything that can possibly be used to drive thwarted, entitled rage than incel ideology. I sincerely do believe that understanding the difference between these things is incredibly important so that women can keep themselves safe and so that people who are not dweebs who have chosen to marinate in their own hatred until they become monsters, people who believe in equality and who believe that women are people, can more effectively identify this shit and steer themselves and others clear of it.
posted by sciatrix at 10:02 PM on May 8, 2018 [31 favorites]


My impression is that the NYT opinion section has been hoarding intellectually lazy trolls like Douthat, and doubling down since the Trumpian coup. There may be a variety of reasons but the one I can think of is that they have an instinctual sucking-up to power and it pays. It goes beyond maintain a semblance of the reputation of "balance" (according to their own definition of "balance"). It's a palpable sucking-up-to.
posted by runcifex at 10:12 PM on May 8, 2018 [10 favorites]


I think they're trying to make sure they have something for wherever the country goes.
posted by rhizome at 10:26 PM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


> Oh, it's not just about power. It's very specifically about entitlement.

Yes. Over in this fpp about why so many guns are owned by such a small percent of white men, I quoted Ijeoma Oluo and it seems just as apt here.
Being rejected by girls will be a valid reason as to why a white man drives his car into a group of women. Being laid off will be a valid reason as to why a white man opens fire in an office. Being “frustrated” will be a valid reason as to why a white man leaves bombs on the doorsteps of black families. Being unpopular will be a valid reason as to why a white man shoots up a school.

But living in systemic poverty with no job prospects won’t be a valid reason for why a black man sells loose cigarettes on the street. Being frustrated by constant harassment by police officers won’t be a valid reason for why a black woman refuses to put out her cigarette at a traffic stop. Living in a neighborhood with no jobs, no infrastructure, underfunded schools, and no dependable police presence won’t ever be considered a valid reason for higher crime rates in black and brown neighborhoods.

Because we were never supposed to expect any of those things. We were never supposed to expect jobs or police protection or investment in our communities or quality education. We were never supposed to expect to see ourselves in movies or read about our heroism in novels.
posted by rtha at 10:37 PM on May 8, 2018 [96 favorites]


There may be a variety of reasons but the one I can think of is that they have an instinctual sucking-up to power and it pays .

That was the only comment I wanted to make in this thread, thank you for articulating it.
posted by polymodus at 10:37 PM on May 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


It's given me some odd embarrassed moments seeing the incel stuff burst into flame out in the open air as it has over the last few years, because it's been smoldering away underground like a coal seam fire in the Science Fiction community for decades.

An essay called The Future: Electronic Mating by Hugo Gernsback, published in Modern Mechanix back in 1964 (I believe I found a much earlier first publication date in the 30s or 40s when I saw it linked here, but I can't replicate that right now) argued that women cannot be trusted to choose the right men to mate with for the sake of the future of the human race because they find the wrong men so much more attractive -- or because they're lesbians. And that the only solution to this is national mandatory testing which will match potential mates by criteria like IQ, personality type, and skin color.

In other words, straight up, unapologetic Eugenics.

And that's a major strain among the incels too; even though they know they don't measure up, they think they're smarter and that they should be the ones fathering the next generation.
posted by jamjam at 11:30 PM on May 8, 2018 [14 favorites]


Libertarians also argue that slavery is logical and morally acceptable

It probably goes without saying that their belief in said theory probably lasts only as long as they're not on the "slave" side of said equation...
posted by gtrwolf at 11:44 PM on May 8, 2018 [5 favorites]


the new york times has always been the paper of record and voice for the establishment - when it comes to opinions, they don't lead, they follow

yes, you should be worried
posted by pyramid termite at 3:18 AM on May 9, 2018 [4 favorites]


Thinking about male sexual entitlement, I had a vague memory that marital rape was a point of contention - as in, could it even possibly exist, given that the marriage contract gave permanent consent? - when I was a kid. And, sure enough, it wasn't made illegal in the U.S. and the U.K. until the 1990s.

We're not that far removed from a time when male sexual entitlement was the law of the land under certain very common conditions. Legal rape.
posted by clawsoon at 4:10 AM on May 9, 2018 [5 favorites]


This is one of those situations where I want men to police their own, because the alternative is too disgusting. This isn't something that can be fixed by women - by offering niceness, or sex, or whatever. These are people so profoundly broken that they can't even see women as real human beings, so...what could we possibly do other than wait for the next tragedy?

Well, if we're as smart and articulate as Talia Lavin, we'll write a kick-ass response article that won't get 5% of the traffic as a piece of chin-stroking "now what if they have a point" psuedo-intellectual garbage put out by a man. Because that's the world we live in.

So please, men, do something. Clean up your goddamn mess. At the very least, start using your power to amplify the voices of women who are calling this sort of thing out for what it is - not boys being boys, not internet trolls, not keyboard warriors, not game playing. This is violent terrorism against half the population. Because it's clear no one's listening to us when so many people won't even admit that there's a problem. Agree with women, out loud and often and to each other.
posted by Salieri at 6:03 AM on May 9, 2018 [41 favorites]


An essay called The Future: Electronic Mating by Hugo Gernsback, published in Modern Mechanix back in 1964 (I believe I found a much earlier first publication date in the 30s or 40s when I saw it linked here, but I can't replicate that right now) argued that women cannot be trusted to choose the right men to mate with for the sake of the future of the human race because they find the wrong men so much more attractive -- or because they're lesbians. And that the only solution to this is national mandatory testing which will match potential mates by criteria like IQ, personality type, and skin color.

I would like to imagine that this dystopian nationalized dating eugenics program would also take into account grossness, leaving these creeps just as alone.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:31 AM on May 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


and if you get them to the sputtering part, there are only two outcomes: They start calling you really misogynistic names (which I suggest you laugh at, as nothing is funnier than Mr. Logic And Philosophy completely losing his shit and resorting to playground taunts) OR they ask you on a date. WITHOUT FAIL. (The latter outcome should also be met with laughter. And they never understand why you think it's hilarious, because they just put on their virtuoso arguing performance for you! You should be swooning!)

And then what do you do when they go on their blog and write a whole post about the interaction from their perspective that paints you like someone you're not, and then all of their buddies team up to harass you?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:51 AM on May 9, 2018 [6 favorites]


Write a blog post of your own and name names and post photos. And then the Internet teams up to harass them. Make them into a meme.

The whole basis of their issue is that they’re the unfuckable nerds that the cool kids don’t like and make fun of. The only reason they even have an iota of bravery to express their views is because they have a community. Expose it and drown it in shit.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:34 AM on May 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


All right Chaos Dragon Crone Gang, how do we get Douthat fired?
posted by Kitty Stardust at 8:39 AM on May 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


Write a blog post of your own and name names and post photos. And then the Internet teams up to harass them. Make them into a meme.

I don't know what world you all are living in here, but in my world 8 women and 2 men died when a van ran into them on April 23, right outside a building I used to work in.

If some male allies who believe they would be just fine doing this wanted to take it on and let us know what the results are it might be interesting but telling women to just treat it like an alt.flame.die.die.die war is kind of out of date at this point.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:56 AM on May 9, 2018 [21 favorites]


They drove a van into a crowd of people because they were allowed to radicalize in private and normalize their views sufficiently to make violence seem like a rational action.

Exposing them to the public, to the overwhelming ridicule and ostracism that they should absolutely be experiencing, to normalize the fact that their views are in fact as nutty and awful as they are, is a pretty solid step in destroying the community that enables them.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:11 AM on May 9, 2018


The whole basis of their issue is that they’re the unfuckable nerds that the cool kids don’t like and make fun of. The only reason they even have an iota of bravery to express their views is because they have a community. Expose it and drown it in shit.

Wow, this is a gross misinterpretation. Emphasis on gross. The reality is that there has been two mass killings tied to this movement, so let's not play the usual game of "these people are laughable losers".
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:13 AM on May 9, 2018 [6 favorites]


It’s not a gross misinterpretation. That’s exactly how they perceive themselves. What do you think they’re trying to uprise against, if not that perception?
posted by Autumnheart at 9:15 AM on May 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


Write a blog post of your own and name names and post photos. And then the Internet teams up to harass them. Make them into a meme.

Ask the women who were targeted by Gamergate how well that worked.

I think you're failing to understand the position that women are in when it comes to being believed on the Internet.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:25 AM on May 9, 2018 [31 favorites]


Exposing them to the public, to the overwhelming ridicule and ostracism that they should absolutely be experiencing, to normalize the fact that their views are in fact as nutty and awful as they are, is a pretty solid step in destroying the community that enables them.

But Douthat and others are actually pushing the Overton window toward normalizing their rhetoric.

I mean, a big issue that I see with many of the problems we face right now is that lots of people are failing to realize that these extreme views aren't abberations--they're distillations of prevailing ideology. Douthat's adherence to conservative Catholic patriarchy already contains the seeds of incel misogyny. If you've never really seen women as people equal to men, it's not hard to find yourself in a place in our culture where that thought is refined into the point of a knife. If women's bodies have never really belonged to them--because they belong instead to hypothetical constructs of fetuses, husbands, nations, employers, deities, etc-- then it's easy to view them as utilitarian objects, and then blame them when they refuse to perform whatever function. If you start from the premise that women are inherently sinful, duplicitous, animalistic, chaotic, destructive, and so forth, as so many of the arguments against women's bodily autonomy seem to assume, it's not far to the kind of disgust expressed in these incel spaces.

Incel thought isn't a corruption. It's one end of a spectrum on which lies benevolent sexism as well. It's patriarchal assumptions taken to a cruel and bitter end. That's why patriarchal control must be burnt to cinders.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 9:25 AM on May 9, 2018 [37 favorites]


Exposing them to the public, to the overwhelming ridicule and ostracism that they should absolutely be experiencing, to normalize the fact that their views are in fact as nutty and awful as they are, is a pretty solid step in destroying the community that enables them.

Go. right. ahead.

I generally very much appreciate your comments but I am so angry at this angle right now.

In my life I have definitely fought the good fight. I have put myself forward as the face of the Take Back the Night movement. (I had a bucket of urine dumped under my dorm room door by a group of guys who felt that was a bit too in their faces.) I have suffered abuse, and rape, at the hands of more than one man. I have headed up the online presence for two women's magazines, including becoming aware of these brand of men's movement when a group of men decided to flood one of our blogs with harassment. I have been condescended to in my career, told that I wasn't doing my job because I wasn't wearing nail polish, and had a white male boss that felt it was okay to scream in my face. I've been groped by a celebrity in the name of good fun, onstage. It's been a great ride!

I have come out of that strong, yes. It was about a year or so ago when the boss was screaming at me that I realized, thanks to a kind of lackadaisical decision to take martial arts, I was no longer afraid of him hitting me, because I had a sense of what I could do. That was a moment. But the first rule of defense is don't be where they're hitting.

No, I do not think it is worth the personal cost to me to "expose" this community so that I can get doxxed and my children can be harassed. They're exposed! How much more exposed do you have to be than to be the centre of a terrorist incident where 10 people died and 14 were injured?

Why would you think that humiliating these men will make them back down when every news media outlet ran an article explaining incels and like 30% of the comments were "these are just losers?" Do you think they all ran outside, threw themselves on their knees on the ground, and repented their sins? They do not give a shit what people think of them. That is the point.

The more they are humiliated on the outside, the more their own new black-and-white moral code turns them into martyrs. That's the bubble. We are evil; they are fighting the dragon and claiming the legacy of history. I mean...really, if some men want to try it, I am all for it. But these guys know that women are humiliating them...that is the basis of their crusade, for fuck's sake.
posted by warriorqueen at 9:26 AM on May 9, 2018 [47 favorites]


It may be their image, but it's not what they are. What they are, as has been so amply demonstrated, is a reactionary movement of men who are angered at not being given what they consider "their due". They are not rising up against a perception, they are reacting to society telling them that yes, women are people too.

Stop taking these people lightly. They are causing genuine harm and terror, and should be treated accordingly.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:26 AM on May 9, 2018 [17 favorites]


At the same time we should be mindful of the public value of humiliation, how it works, and whether it has ever worked for a stated purpose.
posted by rhizome at 9:32 AM on May 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


To be clear: To the incel, the humiliation of not having the right woman provide the right attention at the right time, is so dramatically awful that men should have the right to control women's bodies, marital status, and right to exist.

That is why a campaign of humiliation on the part of an individual woman puts her at serious risk.

And indeed, that's just the end game of patriarchy. This is why I am so galvanized, because this is the attempt to step back to the time that women were chattel.
posted by warriorqueen at 9:39 AM on May 9, 2018 [14 favorites]


This is a structural problem, and it requires structural solutions.

Loads of people don't care about others, and don't care who they hurt.

The difference between incels and most of them is that incels are whiny entitled cis het white male manbabies, and that's also who's in charge of policing them. We don't fix this with peer pressure. We don't fix this with shaming. We don't even fix this in my preferred fantasy of [redacted violent ideation].

We fix this by correcting the lack of diversity in the justice system and politics generally - fewer shitty old white men running things, more women and POC so that enough people with direct experience with white male terrorism are in the mix to take this seriously.

Upon preview:
Incel thought isn't a corruption. It's one end of a spectrum on which lies benevolent sexism as well. It's patriarchal assumptions taken to a cruel and bitter end. That's why patriarchal control must be burnt to cinders.

This. So much this. I remember calling this same strain of thought out in a Scott Aaronsen thread literally years ago, as was referenced above. Incel thought is just the reactionary branch of how everything works.

We'll always have fucks like this, the only hope is in shifting the world enough that they aren't free to terrorize and murder with the implicit permission of the state.
posted by mordax at 9:39 AM on May 9, 2018 [26 favorites]


Evergreen headline regarding the entire spectrum of these idiots: I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People
posted by Artw at 9:50 AM on May 9, 2018 [14 favorites]


Why would you think that humiliating these men will make them back down when every news media outlet ran an article explaining incels and like 30% of the comments were "these are just losers?" Do you think they all ran outside, threw themselves on their knees on the ground, and repented their sins? They do not give a shit what people think of them. That is the point.

Uh, wrong, they literally base their entire philosophy around giving a shit what people think of them. The whole premise is based around their status among other men. And YES, I do think that humiliating these men will, if not make them back down, certainly make them shut up. Just like when the dude in the New Hampshire legislature was obligated to resign when people found out he created the Red Pill. It may or may not have changed his mind, but it damn well got his ass out of a position of power, and that is really the more important goal.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:53 AM on May 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


The whole premise is based around their status among other men. And YES, I do think that humiliating these men will, if not make them back down, certainly make them shut up.

I would love to see the men they idolize (whoever those are...Clint Eastwood?) humiliating them to see if it makes them shut up. But you were speaking to women suggesting that they write blog posts, right?
posted by warriorqueen at 9:56 AM on May 9, 2018 [6 favorites]


To be clear: To the incel, the humiliation of not having the right woman provide the right attention at the right time, is so dramatically awful that men should have the right to control women's bodies, marital status, and right to exist.

It strikes me more as stigma, which in my understanding is a self-assigned condition oriented around preventing qualities a person views as negative becoming a part of their social identity. "If people knew, that would be bad," sometimes violently, and after this is when the gender-control stuff comes into play as a fix for this condition.
posted by rhizome at 10:08 AM on May 9, 2018


[Two deleted. Autumnheart, take a step back from this. In your deleted comments you seem to be attributing to other people in this thread views that are totally opposite their actual views, and it's going to confuse the discussion to an impossible degree.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:13 AM on May 9, 2018 [5 favorites]


A thing that isn't being focused on and is a huge part of the incel mindset is tied to eugenics - in that, the reasons they say they are utterly unfuckable (by women they deem worthy) is because of unchangeable things about their bodies - they speak obsessively about height, chin shape, race (it might surprise a lot of people how many incels are not white, or more specifically, are mixed race), hair lines, etc. A big complaint of theirs is that women are able to "lie" about our attractive features (make up, extensions, body shaping wear, etc) which takes women out of their natural league and pushes them higher. It's difficult to really get across how this world view underpins their whole thing and how teaching them that women are people is not going to be as successful as some hope.

Here's an example I read yesterday at reddit (in a post about Chris Brown being allowed to be an abuser because he's a "Chad" even though he doesn't have the qualities they say Chads have, besides money), there was a multiple comment conversation about how Rihanna's true beauty is a 3.5, but with all the accoutrements her top level attractiveness is maybe a 6.5. These same men complain in other threads that them being "forced" to pair up with anyone 3 or under is an insult to their known worth - even though they talk constantly about how worthless they are. They claim to be incels because women juuuuust barely less naturally hot than Rihanna is what they're expected to "settle" for.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 10:24 AM on May 9, 2018 [12 favorites]


And in Christian religious terms, a man's precious bodily fluids correspond to the Holy Ghost, which entered into the Virgin Mary and impregnated her with Jesus

This significantly changes my mental image of the Pentecost.
posted by curiousgene at 10:34 AM on May 9, 2018 [9 favorites]


Exposing them to the public, to the overwhelming ridicule and ostracism that they should absolutely be experiencing, to normalize the fact that their views are in fact as nutty and awful as they are, is a pretty solid step in destroying the community that enables them.

Women are (and have every right to be) scared to do this. Please, take the lead if you feel strongly about it. We. are. scared.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 10:37 AM on May 9, 2018 [10 favorites]


A big complaint of theirs is that women are able to "lie" about our attractive features (make up, extensions, body shaping wear, etc) which takes women out of their natural league and pushes them higher.

Obviously men are just as (physically) capable of utilizing appearance enhancing tactics, so there's something deeper going on here, too. Kevin Kodra took his dissatisfaction with his appearance and channeled it into mad makeup skills. I gather these Incel guys are not doing that.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 10:58 AM on May 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


That's their argument, that the things they think they need to attract higher value women are things out of their reach, like being over 6ft tall, that women have changed the scales leaving them without what they think they deserve. It's a very circular argument based on bs evo psych. There's also this viewpoint of women these days being rewarded for promiscuity instead of reviled for it, so they can use those "tricks" to get "Chads" during their 15-25yr old period, then they trap a "normie/beta cuck" who they then use for procreation and status before divorcing him to extract his material wealth. In their perfect world, we'd be back to stoning women for publicly sleeping with anyone that doesn't own them. They think this will rebalance the scales so they aren't competing in a market of female hypergamy (as they define it).
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 11:29 AM on May 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


The difference between incels and most of them is that incels are whiny entitled cis het white male manbabies, and that's also who's in charge of policing them. We don't fix this with peer pressure.

Respectfully--and mordax, you know I appreciate you--I strongly disagree. It is not within women's power to change this: as folks here have very clearly and correctly stated, nothing that women can do about incels--silent laughing, serious open debate, worry and fear, outright aggression, nothing--will actually defuse them or make them give up their determination to wallow in their own thwarted superiority. They don't see us as people, they see us as status symbols.

The only thing that will fix this is peer pressure from other men. The only thing. Whether that takes the form of men ridiculing incels and their MRA buddies for being whiny babies or men extending compassion to other men doesn't really matter--one will drive some of the men most susceptible to incel logic away from those communities out of shared disgust, and one might save a few of those men themselves, but either way the rhetoric diminishes.

(And honestly, I am perfectly fine with calling them whiny manbabies, albeit dangerous whiny manbabies. They're toddlers with machine guns. They don't deserve respect, and they certainly don't deserve whatever warped echo of status our fear accords them--and that's one of the way that people like this feel big, by the way. They feel good to hear that we fear them, that we think of them as monstrous, because that's how they think of themselves. They don't like to think of themselves as thwarted children who never learned to grow up and share on the kindergarten classroom, but that's what they are.

That does not mean that they are not dangerous. But I have contempt for an awful lot of dangerous people, even as I take care to protect myself from their tantrums.)

That said, women can't do this work. They won't listen to us, by definition. It has to be men. You guys are the only people who can forge enough connection to get other men to listen--either men who are susceptible to this bullshit, or men who think it's not a big deal. What have you guys seen in the way of conversations that works on this front? Do you guys talk about this with each other?

Here's a case of what I mean about positive messaging from men: I listen to a podcast called The Last Podcast On the Left, which is about serial killers, conspiracy theories, and occult bullshit. I enjoy it, but it is cheerfully vaguely douchey in character, and it is absolutely a flawed show. That being said, the all-male hosts have a positive genius for gleefully making fun of killers and murderers at the same time as they treat their pathologies as dangerous, and that's really evident in their coverage of things like Elliot Rodger's manifesto and other incel/MRA-adjacent violent men. They are very blunt and cheerfully snide about mocking the underlying ideology and poking holes in it as well as pointing out that it's boring, dull, and generally... well, mockable. And because they are men, they don't come under nearly as much aggression for it as a female writer would.

I like that. I'm also seeing more of it on places like Cracked. I won't ask dudes again what they're doing to push back against this--I'm tired of awkward silences!--but I'm curious to see if other folks are noticing men calling out this sort of bullshit in unexpected places.
posted by sciatrix at 11:42 AM on May 9, 2018 [26 favorites]


Libertarians also argue that slavery is logical and moraly acceptable so really nothing from them should be surprising. Also never buy "irony" as an excuse from a nazi.

I'd think that position was the antithesis of libertarianism, but I'm sure you've seen weirder cognitive dissonance from that crowd. Did that start from a discussion of indentured servitude or just straight up chattel slavery?
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:49 AM on May 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


The tl,dr version is that Libertarians believe that every right is really a property right deriving from the fact that you own yourself, and have a property right to yourself. Therefore anybody telling you what to do with your body or time or whatever is violating your property right to yourself, which entitles you to have the sole say over how your body is used.

That establishing human beings as a kind of thing that can be owned inherently establishes human beings as a kind of thing that can be sold has not escaped as many Libertarians as you might think...
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:01 PM on May 9, 2018 [10 favorites]


Did that start from a discussion of indentured servitude or just straight up chattel slavery?

The former. "Voluntary" slavery is one of those things where libertarians throw up their hands and say, "Well, logically, yeah, I guess if you sign a contract, then you can be a slave...".
posted by Etrigan at 12:11 PM on May 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


they speak obsessively about height, chin shape, race (it might surprise a lot of people how many incels are not white, or more specifically, are mixed race), hair lines, etc.

It sounds like in some ways they don't even really see themselves as people, let alone women.
posted by FJT at 12:20 PM on May 9, 2018 [6 favorites]


Obviously men are just as (physically) capable of utilizing appearance enhancing tactics, so there's something deeper going on here, too...I gather these Incel guys are not doing that.

I don't know if you're just spit-balling, but of course they're not doing that.

They have a fucking air-tight pathology that states 1) they shouldn't have to do anything to attract women at all but should still get them anyway, and 2) they are ccompletely incapable of attracting women as all women and certain men have locked the doors of the sexual palace against them.

They've woven a completely impenetrable cage of victimhood for themselves in which they bear no responsibility and have no hope.
posted by Squeak Attack at 12:52 PM on May 9, 2018 [22 favorites]


Genetic determinism in service of permanent victimhood.
posted by clawsoon at 1:08 PM on May 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


Nope, not spit-balling. But I think maybe I needed an eyeroll emoji after my last sentence.

I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! described Incels as being obsessed with eugenics and fixed limitations on their physical attractiveness while resenting women's ability to enhance their own physical appearance. But these guys are as capable as women are of enhancing their physical appearance to attract sexual/romantic partners, or of pushing back against negative social values around gender norms and race.

Men can wear makeup and shapewear, and style their hair (or shave it, or wear hair pieces or most drastically get hair plugs). They can groom their facial hair to hide or enhance the shape of their jaw. They can wear heels or lifts. And if some of those things aren't as acceptable for men as they are for women they could push back against that. But they don't want to do that. They'd apparently rather complain and fantasize about controlling women.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 2:06 PM on May 9, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'd think that position was the antithesis of libertarianism

I'd think libertarians would see the justification for slavery the same as the justification for land ownership.

"It's mine because a king seized it a long time ago and gave it to my great-great-grandfather. Or I bought it from that guy."
posted by straight at 4:24 PM on May 9, 2018 [4 favorites]


Although I had caught the attack in Toronto on the news, I had somehow missed the motivation behind it. When my partner brought up the incel thing she had to explain it to me, and I initially took it literally; that it was describing just those who are celibate but don't want to be. It's becoming clear that it's not just about that though, and I feel like this label, incel, is maybe clouding the public forum about the full scope of this problem (not this forum; you guys are doing an awesome job).

There are men who agree with everything that's being trumpeted by these people but, because they might not self identify as an incel, they are under no pressure to address their thought processes?
posted by trif at 4:35 AM on May 10, 2018


Yeah, the media are being really stupid about this. It's like if after 911 people fixated on the name al-Qaeda ("the base") and spent all their time talking about training camps in general. "There are a lot of legitimate reasons to have a training camp, and what are we going to do about all the people who feel like they need training? I suppose people on the Left are going to want the government to sponsor training camps for pretty much any skill someone thinks they need. That's not sustainable."
posted by straight at 6:48 AM on May 10, 2018 [15 favorites]


*ahem* madrassa
posted by tobascodagama at 8:04 AM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


We don't fix this with peer pressure.

This is utterly false. Men who have emerged from these ideologies have admitted that having other men say "dude, that is bonkers, what are you even talking about" is what helped change their minds. Peer pressure absolutely works.

But you know what? In a world where women being pseudo-property of men is all but taken as a fundamental precept of human existence, I have almost NEVER heard men even attempt to "dude not cool" each other over these issues. Not the big ones, not the little ones. Not the "evo-psych means men have to spread their seed to all possible women" dudes, not the "your baby girl is so pretty, daddy better get his shotgun ready!" dudes, not the make me a sandwich jokes, not the "I was angry at my wife because she didn't iron my shirt while our two children had the flu" SERMON I once heard.

I see scoffing laughs and eyerolls, SOMETIMES, but they are usually aimed at other people, not at the man who has said the ugly thing. No "that is bullshit". No "please stop saying that, it is very ugly". No "please leave my house". No actual peer pressure at all. Someone roots for the wrong sports team? Drinks the wrong drink? Enjoys the wrong hobby? Plays the wrong gaming system? Up for decades of intense peer pressure and mockery and propaganda and being introduced according to his "failings". Dude who makes casual misogynistic "jokes"? Sometimes people roll their eyes behind his back.

Something about the #metoo movement came up in family conversation-- I think it was Weinstein, and a family member got really mad about how evil he was. He said "I'd punch him, I'd never let him hurt anyone again".

Family member works in a restaurant, aka an industry rampant with casual sexual harassment. I asked him about one of the line cooks he had mentioned before-- "does he ever talk about the bodies of your female coworkers? Does he ever tell women to suck his dick? Does he ever say women they just need to get fucked and calm down? Does he make fun of women he doesn't think are "hot" enough?" Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. "Have you ever asked him to stop?"

Well. That might make things awkward at work.

Peer pressure DOES work, but a lot of the men who gladly use it for EVERY OTHER WRONG OPINION are suddenly shy and reticent when it comes to using it to fight misogyny in their friend groups, their families, their workplaces, the daily commute. Eyes averted. Hesitant laughter and then changing the subject. "Dude, not cool" doesn't seem like it should be such a mountain to scale, but based on my experience, it really and truly is.

You know what's really awkward? Living as a woman in a world full of men who think just like that line cook, and who are looking for someone to either own or hurt. Watching female friends find out their previously kind husbands have been infected by this ideology and start tearing their lives apart. Hearing all day, every day, like a drumbeat, how worthless and pathetic I (a "low-value" woman) am to huge segments of our population.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:52 AM on May 10, 2018 [55 favorites]


Well. That might make things awkward at work.

You know what's really awkward? Living as a woman in a world full of men who think just like that line cook


That's a really good way of looking at it. "Dude, it's already awkward. The only question is whose awkwardness you give a damn about."
posted by straight at 1:56 PM on May 10, 2018 [12 favorites]


Peer pressure DOES work, but a lot of the men who gladly use it for EVERY OTHER WRONG OPINION are suddenly shy and reticent when it comes to using it to fight misogyny in their friend groups, their families, their workplaces, the daily commute. Eyes averted. Hesitant laughter and then changing the subject. "Dude, not cool" doesn't seem like it should be such a mountain to scale, but based on my experience, it really and truly is.

Flagged as fantastic, the whole thing.
posted by schadenfrau at 3:54 PM on May 10, 2018 [8 favorites]


This is utterly false.

I've tried as much of this as I have the skill or emotional reserves to manage. You would find my efforts laughable and probably yell at me some more, but I've tried. I even reached out to an at-risk youth a couple winters ago. I am not trying to shirk my responsibility, although my ability to engage with this is limited and I'm pretty much made of sharp edges.

I'm not telling you that you're asking for too much, I'm telling you that you're not asking for enough. Right now, a lot of your well being is dependent upon the whims of men. In this world where more men just talk about this stuff better, it still is. The only difference between now and what you're proposing is that we use our exaggerated influence more responsibly.

That won't be enough to protect you from terrorists like these. It sounds nice, but only as an interim step toward a properly better world, one where women have parity in positions of authority. I'm espousing the notion of critical mass.

You know what's really awkward?

I absolutely know what's awkward: the concern that a routine traffic stop could get me murdered is awkward too. I get it. I promise. That's why I spoke out: what you're saying sounds to me like 'maybe white people could just fix racism because by definition white supremacists won't listen to me and I'm tired of them and I'm tired generally and why can't they just step up?'

I get it, and that's exactly why I said what I did. I would never trust a room full of unsupervised white people to make racism better, and I think sexism's both more severe and more entrenched.

Anyway, I'm going to bow out of this discussion now because I don't really feel like this has gone better than talking about this elsewhere, and I would not wish to cause any further dismay.

I just hope what I said and why I said it makes some sense: I think all of us who have a boot on our neck need to aim for more if we really want to be safe.
posted by mordax at 4:49 PM on May 10, 2018 [4 favorites]


Men can wear makeup and shapewear, and style their hair (or shave it, or wear hair pieces or most drastically get hair plugs). They can groom their facial hair to hide or enhance the shape of their jaw. They can wear heels or Thlifts. And if some of those things aren't as acceptable for men as they are for women they could push back against that. But they don't want to do that. They'd apparently rather complain and fantasize about controlling women.
posted by Secret Sparrow


You just described Elon Musk.
posted by lkc at 1:05 AM on May 11, 2018


Missed the edit window, but that was not an endorsement of Musk. Rather, he's a tech hero with a new set of hair and jawline and some on the record bullshit about how he "is the alpha" getting married.

Vanity and Misogyny aren't an "either or".
posted by lkc at 1:20 AM on May 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


You just described Elon Musk.

Not gonna lie, I was picturing Musk (and to a lesser degree Trump) when I wrote the bit about hair plugs.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 5:44 AM on May 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


fwiw, re: libertarians...
-Pretty Loud For Being So Silenced
-"What's up with the surge of people calling themselves classical liberals, heirs of the Enlightenment, & (ahem) free thinkers?"
posted by kliuless at 6:09 AM on May 11, 2018 [7 favorites]


"What's up with the surge of people calling themselves classical liberals, heirs of the Enlightenment, & (ahem) free thinkers?"

It strikes me as the act of a person whose intellectualization is so central to their self-defense that they require others to participate. They forget, in their desire for a high-minded label, that the Enlightenment wasn't just about reason (let alone apriorism); many Enlightenment philosophers spoke of the importance of empiricism and experience.
posted by Jpfed at 10:10 AM on May 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


Wow. Bari Weiss is a full on believer of triggered by the libs so had to become a Nazi nonsense.
posted by Artw at 2:45 PM on May 11, 2018 [5 favorites]


@davidklion:
Saying you'll go Full Nazi if we're not nice to you isn't an argument, it's a threat
posted by Artw at 2:59 PM on May 11, 2018 [15 favorites]


Jia Tolentio on "The Rage of the Incels", "What incels want is extremely limited and specific: they want unattractive, uncouth, and unpleasant misogynists to be able to have sex on demand with young, beautiful women. They believe that this is a natural right."
posted by gladly at 1:10 PM on May 16, 2018 [10 favorites]


from the Jia Tolentio article:

Several distinct cultural changes have created a situation in which many men who hate women do not have the access to women’s bodies that they would have had in an earlier era.

No, just because these assholes live in a demented fantasy, doesn't mean we need to repeat it. There's no reason to believe these guys would've been able to have sex with the women they supposedly covet in the past, either.

The distinct cultural changes have given then the delusion that they should have access now. That's all.
posted by Squeak Attack at 6:16 PM on May 16, 2018 [7 favorites]




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