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I Hope They Serve Beer in the Abortion Clinic: Tucker Max vs. Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood's newest supporter

I feel bad for Planned Parenthood. Not only have they been facing attacks from conservative politicians and cancer charities, defunding threats, and–I kid you not–firebombs, but now they have to deal with the odious filth that is Tucker Max and his publicity machine.

First, an aside–I’m not going to waste space here discussing who Tucker Max is and why he’s one of my least favorite people in the world, though I may do so in a future post. For now, Google is your friend. I will, however, say this–if you think Tucker is funny, please just take five minutes and ask yourself why. Why does he make you laugh?

Anyway, our favorite misogynist (and racist, etc.) Tucker Max has a little problem. An image problem. Thing is, people seem to think that poor Tucker is a Bad Guy. But he’s not, I swear! He’s actually a Nice Guy. He just needs to find a way to show it.

Tucker also has another problem: he makes so much money from his narcissistic writings that he has to pay really high taxes. There must be a way around this!

Luckily, Tucker happens to have an excellent media consultant, Ryan Holiday, to whom he wrote the following email:

Ryan, I have a huge tax burden this year. I can reduce it with a large donation to charity, but I want to promote my new book at the same time. Can you come up with something cool that does both?

To this, Holiday responded with a Brilliant Idea:

What if you gave a bunch of money to Planned Parenthood and they named a clinic after you? They need donors, it’d be awesome and you’d get a ton of positive press out of it for a change.

Tucker agreed and offered $500,000 to Planned Parenthood of Texas, which soon declined the donation. In a stunning demonstration of his and Tucker’s selfless altruism, Holiday immediately wrote a diatribe in Forbes about how this is “one of the stupidest and most depressing things” he’s ever seen, and how PP has “acted like a fool.”

(As another aside, I’m really starting to hate Forbes magazine.)

At first glance, rejecting a $500,000 donation may indeed seem pretty stupid. But here are some things Holiday declined to mention in his whiny rant:

1. This isn’t the first time Tucker has attempted to donate to PP. Three other affiliates have already turned down his money, not merely because he’s a sexist douchebag, but because his demands in exchange for the donation–such as building naming rights–violate PP’s gifts policy. I respect an organization that has the integrity to turn down money that would violate its own policies.

2. We all know how Tucker really feels about PP, thanks to his Twitter account. In a miraculous burst of intelligence, he removed this tweet when Holiday’s Forbes piece went up, but the internet is forever:

You’ll notice that this is from just a few weeks ago–presumably long after Tucker had already began his campaign to rehabilitate his image using Planned Parenthood.

3. Despite Holiday’s claim that this was a poor business decision for PP, it actually wasn’t–if you look at the big picture. While it’d be great to have $500,000 right now, yoking one’s public image to that of Tucker Max would be a terrible business decision. What will PP’s other donors think when it names a clinic after a notorious sexist who belittles and shames women of different shapes, sizes, and colors? How many press releases will PP have to issue every time Tucker winds up in the news for being an awful person? How would PP answer the (accurate) claims that it has violated its own gifts policy just to get some more cash?

4. Finally, the unavoidable point–the respective missions of Tucker Max and Planned Parenthood are not only disparate; they are mutually exclusive. Tucker Max’s mission is to attain fame and money by treating women like dirt and writing about it in a way that some consider funny. Planned Parenthood’s mission is to help women of all kinds stay healthy, happy, and safe. A partnership between these two entities simply doesn’t make sense. “Tucker Max Women’s Clinic” has the same ironic ring to it as, say, Santorum University or Romney Animal Shelter.

Incidentally, although Holiday tries to make the point in his piece that Tucker is really such an avid supporter of Planned Parenthood and has been pro-choice his whole life, a comment on the Jezebel piece clarifies this:

Well, he is all for women’s rights to choose… upon knocking up a girlfriend of mine, the chivalrous Master of Equality himself instructed her to “take care of it”, but made it clear he would not help support her financially or emotionally through the ordeal.

Granted, there’s no proof, so take this with a grain of salt. But judging by Tucker’s attitude towards women, I’d believe it.

Could PP have used Tucker’s money? Of course it could’ve. What it couldn’t have used is a business deal with someone who maintains a persona that is simply antithetical to PP’s mission.

For what it’s worth, knowing that Planned Parenthood is willing to take a financial fall in order to stay true to both its mission and its actual policies makes me only more likely to support it in the future. I hope other PP donors feel the same way.

To close, I’ll leave you with some of Tucker Max’s quotes about women.

Your gender is hardwired for whoredom.

Fat girls aren’t real people.

Cum dumpsters.

I’m going to be real clear about this, ladies, so pay attention: Prince Charming doesn’t come to rescue cunty lunatics.

Look, I know everything is shitty right now, but if you don’t stop acting like such a bitch, someone’s gonna fuck that pussy on your face.

She may be a vacuous slut with no taste, but at least she’s not a stripper.

Except for one thing…she was not attractive. On a scale of 1 to 10, she should have hung herself. The pear-shape of her body was so pronounced she looked like a nesting doll made of owl pellets.

Even though I’d slept with one, part of me still believed that midgets were mythical creatures, like unicorns and educated guidos.

You show me a truly funny girl who doesn’t have emotional issues, and I’ll introduce you to my stable of unicorn thoroughbreds ridden by leprechaun jockeys.

Look, I’m not trying to judge you about it. I’m slutty sometimes too. And personally, I like sluts; they’re the most fun. But if you act like a slut, you should be ready for some guys to call you a slut.

I know this really sexy move you can do with your mouth. It’s called ‘shutting the fuck up.’

You know that saying, ‘no matter how hot she is, someone somewhere is sick of her shit?’ This was the type of girl that had a lot of someones in a lot of somewheres.

Your back fat could have its own bra! Look at yourself—you look like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup!

Contrary to what some assholes think, Fat Tuesday is NOT Adele’s birthday. Shame on all of us who thought that.

Any hot black girls free today? Looking to knock out Valentines Day and Black History Month all at once.

There is a girl lying next to me on the bed, shaking me, saying something. She is not happy. She is also not skinny. Or attractive. She may not even be human.

Not even human.

Edit 4/6/12: I cannot bring myself to link to Tucker Max’s blog from my own, but here is a brilliant analysis of his blog post about the issue, over at Feministe.

Comments

  1. beverlydiehl says

    Thank you for writing this. Some money is so smeared with dung that there’s no washing the filth off.

    Although, btw, I had never heard of this guy until this link as posted on FB. Guess he’s not as funny or well-known as he imagines he is.

    • says

      I like your metaphor. :)

      Unfortunately, his books are New York Times bestsellers. So while plenty of reasonable people probably haven’t heard of and don’t care for him, many more have, and do.

  2. says

    Nicely done. Having recently blogged on the problem that is Limbaugh (who should thank God for Tucker Max, in the same way we in Cleveland thank God for Detroit), I respect your ability to make your case without sinking to the sort of invective you’ve criticized. I will be back to read you again. Good luck.

    Ray Vasvari, from “Somewhere Becoming Rain” on WordPress

  3. Lauren says

    Well-written article, and I would certainly agree — were Tucker Max serious about bashing women. Has no one considered that the sexist douchebag is a character that he plays and exaggerates in his books? He writes offensively, to be sure — but something tells me that his whole act, however shocking it may be, serves to imitate and mock the sexist douchebag crowd rather than to encourage them.

    • says

      You may have a point. However, there’s a quote by one of my favorite writers, Kurt Vonnegut, that sums up my views on this: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.”

      It’s entirely possible that deep down, Tucker is actually a wonderful person and everything in his books has been fabricated. But sticking to the subject of this post, it is very, very clear from those published communications that he has attempted to use a serious, important organization in order to make himself look good and decrease his tax burden.

      I also don’t really like the whole “oh I’m just doing it IRONICALLY” excuse…it seems rather weak to me.

      Thanks for reading/responding.

      • says

        Nice article. One quick thing, though – where did you find the information that implied he was doing it for tax breaks?
        I have read pieces of his books, and there were moments when I was amused. But the quotes from his blog post explaining them sound quite sincere – not only is he actually offended, but he doesn’t seem to realize that the reasons he gives for donating – “a way to get a different type of press,” “i really just wanted my name on a building or a room or something big,” “i was laughing about all of these idiots trying to explain this away,”) are transparently selfish. If he was actually a wonderful human being deep down, he’d have to be wonderfully skilled at creating and committing to that character. But if he were actually a great human being, wouldn’t he feel guilty about being a douchewhistling Motherfucker in the real live world? You simply can’t rationalize his actions from the perspective of someone who wants to live their life well.
        Hey, how about we name an STD after him?

        • says

          The fact that he’s doing it for the tax break (and for the good publicity) comes straight from that Forbes article that Ryan Holiday wrote, which I linked to and quoted from. Apparently Max specifically wrote to him and asked for a suggestion on how to reduce his tax burden while promoting his book.

          And I like the STD idea. :)

  4. Sarcastic says

    Don’t look a gifted horse in the mouth, Planned Parenthood is struggling, they need money to stay afloat and promote programs for women. You seem to be quick to judge Tucker Max, certainly the women he has been with should shoulder some of the blame. However none of that is relevant when there is a 16 year old who has no where to turn to because some PP executive felt that naming a building was below their organization’s “moral” standard.

  5. says

    Right. So I was catching up on some reading and came across a couple things I thought it would be worthwhile for you to see. Going through the Tucker Max books to discuss why he’s not anti-woman would do nothing for you, since you probably don’t care about having that (seemingly) set-in-stone image challenged. However, I do have several comments to add:

    1. Did you ever actually check his side of the story? As in actually reading with an open mind? As a former Medillian, even you know that it’s useful to check for the other side’s story (even if you think it’s bullshit/won’t link to it from here for your own perceived sensitivity).

    http://tuckermax.me/the-exhausting-process-of-trying-to-give-money-to-planned-parenthood/
    http://tuckermax.me/peta-wants-me-to-fix-some-bitches-and-i-think-thats-a-great-idea/#more-252

    2. I was also curious if you had double-checked your source on Forbes, which offered a peculiar update:
    “UPDATE: In response, some commenters and bloggers have asked why Tucker didn’t make an anonymous donation. The answer is that Planned Parenthood wasn’t interested in that either. On the call with Planned Parenthood when they rejected the donation no suggestions or offers for alternative donations were made by Planned Parenthood or its representatives. Why? Like I said, for them this was about judgement not what was best for women. Ultimately donations were made to a handful of other charities instead.”

    Why didn’t PP allow for an anonymous donor? It’s an option that has been available to donors beforehand, so why not now?
    http://www.plannedparenthood.org/ppahc/files/Hidalgo-County/2011_General_Donation_Form.pdf

    If your automatic rebuttal is to go back to my first link and say “but he wouldn’t have done that!” I will happily reply, “Since when is Planned Parenthood telepathic?” They sincerely screwed themselves by not even making that an option, because they wouldn’t have been able to know he’d reject that idea until they tried (which they didn’t).

    3. If you’re able to take a step back and look at the basic idea (Charity needs money, author offers money, Charity says no = ?), this makes a lot less sense. I’ll be frank: if it wasn’t already obvious, I personally enjoy Tucker Max’s books. They’ve made me laugh and wonder about the fact that people like him exist. However, I’m not holding this guy to an image that existed when he was younger for the same reason people didn’t hold Robert Byrd in long-lasting contempt for being in the KKK: people typically grow and mature with age.
    http://popsych.blogspot.com/2012/04/tucker-max-v-planned-parenthood.html

    4. I don’t think it’s your place (nor is it the place of anyone else) to question the motives behind charitable donations, whether it be true altruism or for writing them off as tax-exempt. The fact that the money is being donated and will be used for good reasons is all that matters.

    I’m actually rather appalled by the idea that you reject the money based on the (past) actions of a (surprisingly? not surprisingly? overrated?) writer because he writes about things that make you unhappy. The money would have done a lot for Planned Parenthood, an organization that I have always supported (and clearly needs funds).

    http://www.lifenews.com/2012/01/04/planned-parenthood-closes-abortion-center-in-waco-texas/
    http://www.lifenews.com/2011/12/26/planned-parenthood-closing-michigan-abortion-referral-center/
    http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/statewide/archive/2011/07/planned-parenthood-closures-present-new-challenges.shtml
    http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/bay-area/2011/03/peninsula-residents-left-lurch-planned-parenthood-clinic-s-closure
    http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2012/01/13/state_college_planned_parenthood_closed_due_to_economic_troubles.aspx
    http://www.jillstanek.com/2011/12/planned-parenthood-closes-clinic-in-town-where-twilight-book-and-movie-series-set/

    Your wishy-washy morality to reject the funds because you find the person behind the donation appalling is truly not appealing, since your decision could only aid in cutting off access to useful and necessary health services for women.

    • says

      Honestly, had you refrained from making ad hominem attacks and assuming that I wouldn’t be willing to consider your point of view, I’d respond to this. But I’m not going to have a conversation with someone who seems intent on attacking me for no particular reason.

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