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Avicenna Destroys Beta Male Bullshit

If you want to see a textbook example of how to take down a ridiculous misogynist with eloquence, intelligence and humanity, take a look at this post by Avicenna. He responds to an anonymous bit of hate (and stupidity) mail he received recently and this is a cerebral ass kicking of epic proportions. His correspondent begins by insulting him:

You call yourself a feminist but what you are is a beta male. You have to kiss up to women to make yourself seem better. You are short, weak and ugly.

Avicenna’s pitch-perfect response:

Let’s start with me. Your statement is categorically incorrect. I am a shade under 5 ft 11 (177 cm) and while overweight I am trying to diet. In fact I was planning to make a statement of intent online when I read your charming e-mail. As for weak? I don’t work out. And work kind of gives me repetitive strain injury and carpal tunnel. However, we don’t live in a world where strength is determined by muscles or by how much grain I can lift and how hard I can drive a spear in order to turn a deer into a kebab. I think strength is doing what you believe in and what’s right. To make the difficult and necessary choices and stand by it…

And if all I am to you is short, weak and ugly then let that be the case. That would be like describing Stephen Hawkings as disabled, weird and weak. If all that matters to you is physical appearance rather than what people are capable of doing then you will never value anything about a person that makes them human. You value humans like you value dolls. Unmoving creatures to fit into boxes.

Indeed. The anonymous asshole then moves on to Avi’s girlfriend and feminists in general:

Good looking, physically fit man with a high power job and large income who treats women like candy and walks around high on his own sense of entitlement? Feminists swoon over him, but never attack. I bet your girlfriend keeps you around just to show you off. I bet the only reason you dated her was that you had to cock block some better man.

Notice how incoherent this is. On the one hand, women just swoon over (imagined) high-status males so they can show them off, but Avi’s girlfriend Tiga wants to show him off even though he’s “short, weak and ugly.” Avi’s response:

So what if I am scarred, bald, tubby and currently lacking a job? I will be a doctor. I can lose weight. I think the scars remind of things I have done. Things I am proud of doing. I was willing to risk my life to get some of them and some of them are the price I paid that I would happily pay again to help someone.

Because I am more than scarred or bald or fat.

Damn straight she shows me off. The more I don’t buy into the fact that I am useless, the more I realise that I am awesome. I am smart, funny, caring and empathic. I don’t need to pretend to be a badass.

I am one. I am the real deal. I run towards natural disasters, I bet you run away from them. I have ploughed through Indian traffic to save lives and I have constructed spinal braces from my white coat. I have done medicine with nothing but knowledge.

Nothing can or will stop me from being a doctor.

Maybe I cockblocked someone better than me. But that’s your definition of better. You see your “man” is only better in your eyes because you think he gets a lot of women. But then you have to think this through. Firstly? What sort of person would be attracted to that? And secondly? What sort of woman would stay attracted to that?

It just goes on and on like this, one moronic statement after another and Avi patiently eviscerating his pathetic critic. Please do read the whole thing. It makes me very proud to have him as a blogger here and as a friend.

Comments

  1. jamessweet says

    Blah. While I think the whole “alpha/beta male” thing is occasionally a useful metaphor for how people respond to certain archetypes in our culture, there is absolutely no scientific basis for applying that paradigm to humans. At all. It doesn’t work that way in human societies, not the way it does in species who have actual alpha males. It sometimes works sorta kinda like that, and I don’t object to each and every use of the metaphor — but to categorize someone as a “beta male” in such a direct way betrays that this MRA has no fucking idea what he is talking about. :D

  2. says

    Eloquent and “pitch perfect,” maybe — but a complete waste of time and effort. Assholes of this caliber don’t deserve one tenth of the time Avicenna gave this one. And they sure as Hell don’t deserve to have their targets describe their personal circumstances in any detail in response to such childish insults. I have a lot of respect for Avicenna, but I think he made a mistake in this instance; IMHO he should have just said he’s an adult and he only does adult conversations with adults, not overgrown potty-mouthed children. Then he should have just banhammered the jerk and moved on to something else.

  3. says

    I have to respectfully disagree Raging Bee, that post is packed with concepts and tag lines we can use to rebut the asinine. It also helps to highlight the fact that people on this side of the deep rifts ™ walk the talk and have the battle scars to prove it.

  4. badgersdaughter says

    It’s also full of encouragement for tired women who are struggling to see themselves as more than “fuckable”. Thanks, Avicenna, for reminding us why character and intelligence and integrity are lovely.

  5. says

    I like how a doctor can be a beta male when you want to take shots at someone. They aren’t even using the stereotypes their theory is built on correctly.

  6. Loqi says

    @Raging Bee
    Perhaps the writer didn’t deserve the response, but current and future readers of Avicenna’s blog might. I think that’s why he wrote a blog post rather than responding via email.

  7. eric says

    @1 and @5 – yeah, the incoherence is strong with this one.
    Reading it, the insults and beta stuff sounded (to me) analogous to conservatives calling anyone they don’t like a muslim atheis. In both cases, the actual words seem have been decoupled from their original reference. Now they’re just extra syllables used to emphasize how much the person doesn’t like you/doesn’t consider you part of the correct tribe. It’s “muslim” and “beta” used as expletive rather than real description.

  8. Don Williams says

    Sigh.

    Men and Women who serve in the military know what REAL combat is. They know what REAL
    “eviscerating ” looks like. They know life is precious and they would never waste it in this kind
    of petty bickering.

    In my opinion, it is ridiculous to apply combat metaphors to mere blogging. It’s growing use
    reflect liberals’ haunting fear that their biceps are too flabby and their dicks are too small.
    Of course, they have reasonable cause for anxiety if you look at their accomplishments over the
    past decade.

    If we are so smart, how did the moron George W Bush manage to bitchslap us for 8 years? How
    did Wall Street manage to steal $Trillions from the US Treasury while Obama debates how much
    to cut Social Security? Why is Hillary the Democratic frontrunner for 2016 after voting for the
    unnecessary invasion of Iraq.

    Before we use combat hyperbole, we should look at these Americans:

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-11/14/xinsrc_59211041109316252712817.JPG

  9. Don Williams says

    America’s exaggerated respect for mere professional athletes is also unjustified.

  10. Don Williams says

    And if you look at how the percentage of unmarried women –including single moms with children — has soared in the past two decades, it is clear that what ever “cockblocking” is occurring only applies to a small percentage of women.

    Look at that poor Jennifer Anniston, for example.

  11. slc1 says

    Re Don Williams @ #8

    As my sister put it Dubya was elected by a couple of thousand alte Yids in Palm Beach Co., Florida who, confused by the butterfly ballot there, voted for both Gore and Buchanan which led to their ballots being disqualified. This was aided by voters in Florida and New Hampshire who voted for Nader, thus being responsible for the presence of Roberts and Alito on the Supreme Court. In addition to the Iraq fiasco, Dubya and Rumsfeld ignored the warnings of Richard Clarke who warned them that an attack by Al Qaeda was coming.

    Re Don Williams @ #10

    Especially the athletes who play for Don’s fuckken Beagles.

    Re Don Williams @ #11

    “Poor” Jennifer Anniston? She’s crying all the way to the bank.

  12. leni says

    @ Raging Bee- He can say that to all the future emails like this he will surely get. Now all he needs is a link.

    It’s growing use
    reflect liberals’ haunting fear that their biceps are too flabby and their dicks are too small.

    Yes. I know these things haunt me. I lie awake at night for for hours wondering why my “penis” is so small. It’s like it grew inward or something D=

  13. slc1 says

    Re Don Williams @ #11

    I’ll say this about Anniston, she’s hotter then Angelina Jolie, IMHO.

  14. laurentweppe says

    I like how a doctor can be a beta male when you want to take shots at someone. They aren’t even using the stereotypes their theory is built on correctly.

    Come one: their theory is little more than a schoolyard bully’s self-justification: if you’re stronger and/or above them in the social food chain, but refrain from using your excess of physical strenght/money/clout/etc… to browbeat them into craven submission, then you’re a “beta” male.

    ***

    Also, Don Williams demonstrates once again the validity of Christianity by performing the miraculous transubstantation of SLC into a voice of reason.

  15. says

    @SLC:

    “I’ll say this about Anniston, she’s hotter then Angelina Jolie, IMHO.”

    You are so totally wrong, at least if we’re talking about pre-cosmetic surgeries. Your preference proves that you’re a beta male, SLC ;)

  16. Don Williams says

    laurentweppe at 15: “if you’re stronger and/or above them in the social food chain, but refrain from using your excess of physical strenght/money/clout/etc”

    1) Avicenna’s attacker had his nation attacked on Sept 11, 2001 — and chose to let 1st Lieutenant
    Melissa Stockwell lose her leg protecting him. Like the high income assholes on Wall Street.
    How can he claim to be an “alpha male”?

    http://espn.go.com/espnw/athletes-life/article/9022199/melissa-stockwell-sets-sights-ironman-representing-us-beijing-paralympics-winning-three-straight-paratriathlon-world-titles

    2) Money? Blue collar males earn their living do productive work. But high income men usually make their money stabbing their colleagues in the back and kissing their bosses butts with fervor –knowing that everything they have can disappear in an instant due to that “employment at will” law. Can such pathetic desperate beggers ever be an “alpha male”?

    3) 40 percent of the women in this country with children are without husbands –up from 5% in the 1960s. Is abandoning your child the sign of an alpha male?

  17. slc1 says

    Re Dr. X @ #16

    I have never seen Anniston in a flic but I did download an watch Joli in Changeling. I was greatly underwhelmed, although, as an actor, she did a pretty good job.

    Re laurentweppe @ #15

    Actually, aside from Israel, I’m pretty reasonable.

  18. slc1 says

    Re Don Williams @ #17

    Blue collar males earn their living do productive work. But high income men usually make their money stabbing their colleagues in the back and kissing their bosses butts with fervor –knowing that everything they have can disappear in an instant due to that “employment at will” law

    I was under the impression that ole Don, after he got out of the coal mines and got his degree at Utterly Vacuous Assholes got a white collar job working for one of the Beltway Bandits.

  19. says

    SLC1,

    Angelina had me when she gave her brother that Arkansas-sibling kiss at the Oscars.

    Regarding Don Williams. The man obviously has a huge chip on each shoulder, so he’s arguably a well balanced person.

  20. says

    Don Williams @ 8:
    Were you referring to Avicenna’s scars as blogging metaphors? Did you miss the line about turning his coat into spinal braces? Or his mention of PTSD from the land mine explosions he has experienced? You know who has a darker war experience than a soldier? A refugee.

  21. Don Williams says

    Re SLC at 20:
    1) What about that 200+ lbs of Highly Enriched Uranium that went missing from NUMEC up in
    Pittsburgh?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NUMEC

    2) And what about those declassified FBI files over at Counterpunch that say Bibi Netanyahu smuggled
    800 kryptons (atomic bomb triggers) out of the USA in the 1980s (HELI Trading Co.) ?

    http://www.irmep.org/ila/krytons/06272012_milco_mdr.pdf (scroll down to pages 10 and 11 )

    Kinda adds a certain …er…irony to Bibi’s repeated calls for the USA to halt the Iranian fuel program.

  22. dingojack says

    Donnikens (#8) – so only tough-guys who served in the military know what ‘eviscerate‘ means?
    Not doctors, pathologists (more specifically), morgue workers (more generally) farmers, abattoir workers, vets, ambulance officers, cops, accident investigators and those with a passing knowledge of English.
    Yep – it’s one of those military words that only internet tough-guys like Donnikens are allowed to use.
    You heard it here first, folks!
    @@
    Dingo

  23. Suido says

    So much in this thread that makes me blechh. I’m going to choose to focus on one:

    3) 40 percent of the women in this country with children are without husbands –up from 5% in the 1960s. Is abandoning your child the sign of an alpha male?

    Single mother does not equal father abandoned the children.

    How many of those mothers are in a committed relationship to the father, without being married?
    How many of those mothers share custody with their ex-partner?
    How many of those mothers are widows?

    Conversely, how many mothers stay in bad marriages ‘for the children’? This, I think, is a worse family setting than a single mother who has been abandoned by the father of her children.

    Marriage does not cause great parenting, and I wish people would stop pretending that it does.

    As for the second sentence, it boggles my brain that you could respond to this blog post with a comment that implies that alpha male as a label is a useful and/or positive way to influence or regulate behaviour.

  24. dingojack says

    Donnikens (#23) – and what about the Internet meme that Glenn Bek killed then raped an unspecified number of unsecifiied sexed preteens in the 1980’s? !1eleventy-one!!
    @@
    Dingo

  25. slc1 says

    Re Donnikens @ #23

    According to the article cited by ole Don, Seymour Hersh, not noted for being a Zionist tool, says that his investigation indicates that the missing uranium didn’t end up in Israel. Nice try but no cigar. Yet another Donnikens link that doesn’t say what he claims it says.

    In his 1991 book, The Samson Option, Seymour Hersh concluded that Shapiro did not divert any uranium; rather “it ended up in the air and water of the city of Apollo as well as in the ducts, tubes, and floors of the NUMEC plant.”[5] He also wrote that Shapiro’s meetings with senior Israeli officials in his home were related to protecting the water supply in Israel rather than any diversion of nuclear material or information.[

  26. DaveL says

    While I think the whole “alpha/beta male” thing is occasionally a useful metaphor for how people respond to certain archetypes in our culture, there is absolutely no scientific basis for applying that paradigm to humans. At all.

    Hell, it barely applies in some of the animal societies for which it was originally developed, at least not in the way it’s popularly used. The “Alpha” pair in wolves, for instance, become “Alphas” by having a litter of puppies which becomes their pack, not by beating or intimidating other adults into submission.

  27. slc1 says

    Re Donnikens

    I suspect that a goodly number of the 1.7 million refugees from the Syrian civil war know all about what eviscerate means.

  28. madgastronomer says

    The entire alpha/beta concept in wolves was disproven and the guy who came up with the idea retracted his original paper. Decades ago, now.

  29. Michael Heath says

    Re the claim(s?) in this thread that alpha/beta attributes in wolf packs has been disproven:

    Here in northern Michigan, a hot and controversial topic is Republicans seeking to re-start hunting wolves for sport; where they’re opposed by environmentalists. This fight also extends well beyond Michigan.

    One of the primary premises environmentalists leverage in their argument is that while the total population of wolves might be capable of sustaining a limited hunt, we don’t know if hunters killing alphas will cause horrendous implications to those populations. I.e., the environmentalist arguments presume the existence of alphas within wolf packs and their existence is disproportionately important in regards to how wolves flourish or suffer. Though the degree of the alphas’ importance isn’t sufficiently understood.

    I present this information to insure people realize that the information they spread has ramifications. So to those of you who claim there is no alpha/beta categorizing within wolf packs, with the attendant behavior one would expect, I hope this isn’t a casual belief but rather a conclusion you can back-up with cites which are confidently held by the relevant group of scientific experts. Because if you’re wrong, you’re polluting the water in a controversy which is having real-world implications to wolf populations through-out the U.S.

  30. dingojack says

    When I was in Primary School (yes, yes back in the Paleolithic era) we had a unit called MACOS (Man a course of study) which introduced the idea of animal behaviour/human behaviour (at a 12 year old level).
    One of the things we studied was baboon troops.
    In the centre were females, juveniles and babies. Ranged around this core group were the males, alpha front and centre with lesser ranks spread along the perimeter to protect the females and young from hyenas, jackals. lions and the like. However in the centre were also low ranked males who acted as teachers, childminders and playmates to the young ones. While the alphas and betas risked death, injury or disfigurement guarding the troop to impress the lady baboons, the low ranked males quite often snuck in and mated with the adult females..
    Thus nature breeds for strength and cunning.
    Even at 12 I figured it was much better to be a monkey’s uncle and get a sneaky leg-over than a dumb (and potentially dead) alpha.
    Dingo

  31. says

    Michael Heath @ 30: I present this information to insure people realize that the information they spread has ramifications. So to those of you who claim there is no alpha/beta categorizing within wolf packs, with the attendant behavior one would expect, I hope this isn’t a casual belief but rather a conclusion you can back-up with cites which are confidently held by the relevant group of scientific experts. Because if you’re wrong, you’re polluting the water in a controversy which is having real-world implications to wolf populations through-out the U.S.

    Let’s presume, for a moment, that the “there’s no such thing as alpha male pack hierarchy” argument is true (which considering that the guy who proposed it has retracted it…well, I’d say he’s the expert). That leaves two primary possibilities to answer for the debate that you bring up:

    1. The people having the debate don’t know that the debate they’re having is pointless. In that case the environmentalists are operating under the same penumbra of incomplete knowledge that the MRAs use. I’d say this is possible, if not likely.

    2. There are actual alphas, but, as articulated by DaveL @28, those alphas are the parents. I’d say we can all agree that within mammalian reproduction, especially for wild animals, the family unit is extremely important for protection and training of the young. At that point the argument shouldn’t be “should we or should we not shoot the alpha wolves because then no one will be in charge,” but, “should we or should we not shoot the parent wolves until the young are capable of fending for themselves.” This is, functionally, the same exact argument as the one articulated in your post @30, but it’s actually based on a sensible and measurable interpretation of real world wolf habits.

    Interestingly enough, 1 and 2 aren’t mutually exclusive possibilities. It’s entirely possible that the argument is valid and it will reach a valid conclusion that’s the exact same as the question I propose in point 2. It will just reach that point through the wrong path.

  32. Michael Heath says

    Geds writes:

    Let’s presume, for a moment, that the “there’s no such thing as alpha male pack hierarchy” argument is true (which considering that the guy who proposed it has retracted it…well, I’d say he’s the expert).

    I have no idea whether one guy proposed such a theory and has since retracted it. Do you? Suppose the expert who supposedly proposed it and supposedly retracted it is now in a small minority where most experts have developed an understanding well beyond the supposed originator. Again, we need cites.

    Geds continues:

    That leaves two primary possibilities to answer for the debate that you bring up:

    Well no it doesn’t necessarily mean we have two primary possibilities, since there is no presentation of the status of this theory in this thread.

    I suggest not making any presumptions until we have an understanding of what the experts understand and debate while noting the corresponding degrees of confidence and consensus.

  33. DaveL says

    I might recommend: Mech, L. David. 1999. Alpha status, dominance, and division of labor in wolf packs. Canadian Journal of Zoology 77:1196-1203. Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/mammals/alstat/index.htm (Version 16MAY2000).

    In particular:

    Labeling a high-ranking wolf alpha emphasizes its rank in a dominance hierarchy. However, in natural wolf packs, the alpha male or female are merely the breeding animals, the parents of the pack, and dominance contests with other wolves are rare, if they exist at all. During my 13 summers observing the Ellesmere Island pack, I saw none.

    Thus, calling a wolf an alpha is usually no more appropriate than referring to a human parent or a doe deer as an alpha. Any parent is dominant to its young offspring, so “alpha” adds no information. Why not refer to an alpha female as the female parent, the breeding female, the matriarch, or simply the mother? Such a designation emphasizes not the animal’s dominant status, which is trivial information, but its role as pack progenitor, which is critical information.

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