David Futrelle does some high spot notification on Jeff Sharlet’s report on the Voice for Men conference last year. I find this useful because I find Sharlet’s piece tough going – too much story-telling detail cluttering up and obscuring the interesting substantive parts. I have the same problem with his book The Family. Both are too much like fiction – presented too much as stories, with the usual familiar atmospheric detail of most contemporary literary fiction, which I tend to get very impatient with.
My favorite part is Futrelle’s intro –
A few days before alleged “men’s human rights” website A Voice for Men held its first convention last summer, the site’s founder and head boy Paul Elam put up a post imploring the alleged human rights activists planning to attend the event not to go around calling women bitches and whores and cunts, because the news media would be there, and this might make his little human rights movement look bad.
I’m paraphrasing here; Elam was a teensy bit more euphemistic, telling his followers that anyone caught “trash-talking women, men, making violent statements … anything that can be used against us” would get a very stern talking-to and, if they persisted, would be asked to leave.
Elam’s warning didn’t stick. Indeed, the woman in charge of publicity for the event – you may know her as JudgyBitch or Janet Bloomfield, neither of which is her real name – went on a bit of a Twitter rampage, happily denouncing critics of the group as, yep, “whores.”
Now that’s what I call scene-setting.
Here’s the first highlight, which I think is the best:
1) The Men’s Rights Activist who boasted that he would have disowned his daughter if she had pressed charges against the man she said raped her.
At a convention afterparty, the man in question told this little story to Sharlet, Elam, and a few others:
When one of his daughters came home one night and said she’d been raped, he said, “Are you fucking kidding me?” Sitting with us, he hikes his voice up to a falsetto in imitation: ” ‘Oh, I just got raped.’ ” He laughs. There’s a moment of silence. A bridge too far? “I told her if she pressed charges, I’d disown her.”
Elam, whose attention has drifted, grins through his beard. “That’s good fathering,” he says.
I wonder if someone could get him interested in life in the caliphate.