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Apr 29 2013

“But I’m a nice guy!”

Okay, if you haven’t already seen this video that’s been floating about recently, you probably should. I see this absurdism, and reductio ad absurdum of the entire Men’s Rights Movement, as a defense mechanism against the completely counter-intuitive pushback against feminism. I mean, how else do you deal with ideas that are so patently absurd as that women are somehow oppressing men by trying to get the same rights as them?

But I’m A Nice Guy from Scott Benson on Vimeo.


Before you say it, I’m well aware that patriarchy hurts men too. I further recognize that you MRMers and sociology denialists don’t believe in patriarchy, and therefore don’t believe in the structure that’s caused your pain. And I’m well aware you’ve displaced the blame for that pain onto women because you’re wounded and lashing out at the first “other” you see. However, don’t imagine we feminists don’t see the disadvantages of being a man. We simply recognize that women aren’t even a tangential cause — the systemic disadvantaging of women, however, is the significantly more proximate cause.

Meanwhile, so many of you are, like in this video, screaming misandry, and joking about raping and beating women, and still have the temerity to call yourselves nice guys and lament that girls won’t fuck you.

If I’ve just described you, and you’re past puberty, grow the fuck up and stop attacking the people trying to attack the cause of your pain. And if you’re prepubescent, stop listening to your primary influences wax poetic over their personal arrested developments. Those views are every bit as absurd as this video. Including the bit about The Matrix being a good movie.

(Well, okay. It wasn’t a horrible movie. It’s just a damn shame they never made any sequels to resolve the hanging plot threads in a sensible manner.)

Hat tip to countryman Glendon Mellow, the Flying Trilobite.

14 comments

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  1. 1
    Stacy

    I had not seen that! Very cool.

  2. 2
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    So that’s what it is, huh? FtB is a feminazi plot to steal all ice cream! I’m on to you, misandrists!!!!!

  3. 3
    CaitieCat, in no way a robot nosireebot

    Crap! They know about the ice cream!

    To the Secret Agendification Centre! Xanthe Justice away!

  4. 4
    Marcus Ranum

    It wasn’t a horrible movie.

    Yes, it was. It was a horrible movie with innovative special effects. Like Star Wars, it’s in the pantheon of bad movies that were significant for reasons other than plot and acting. In fact they are significant in spite of their plot and acting.

  5. 5
    stever

    The Matrix could have been a lot better without spending any more. What lost me was the thermodynamic absurdity of using human bodies as energy sources. Using captive human brains as computational resources would have worked, but they never did explain how the bottled people reproduced. The Star Wars series at least produced one really memorable line that landed a little too close to home:

    “So this is how liberty dies, to thunderous applause.”

  6. 6
    Jason Thibeault

    YES. Let’s use lots of resources to grow nutrients and can up people and put them in a fake world so that we can power our machines using their electrical fields. Forget, say, BUILDING A FUCKING NUCLEAR REACTOR. Which wouldn’t hurt you. Because MACHINE.

    *sigh*

  7. 7
    gilgamesh

    I had one of those weird fan moments where you suddenly realize the movies make a certain twisted sense if you change your perspective on the motivations of the “bad guys”. Neo is an artificial human the machines build and send into the Matrix to run the Messiah program that essentially resets the whole thing and starts it over again. It’s happened several (I think six) times by the events of the movie. Why? Why do they bother? As Jason pointed out, why all this elaborate nonsense when they could have just used nuclear or geothermal energy or grew towers up above the sky scorch? It makes a lot more sense if the machine’s goal is to keep humans alive on a planet that they (the humans) have completely ruined. The problem is that the life support system keeps collapsing and people keep dying in vast numbers. So the machines figured out a solution (The Architect tells Neo this. Every so often they have to run the Neo “patch” because it’s all falling apart again).
    Yeah, the sequels were awful, but it would have been better if they’d had the courage to make it clear what they seemed to be skirting around and what I thought the clear implications of the world were: You can’t wake people up from the Matrix and free them, there’s nothing for them to freaking eat, and nowhere for them to live. They live in the best place they can be until the planet recovers. The machines are (for the most part) benevolent and trying to keep humanity alive even after humanity tried to wipe them out. Zion deals with the overflow, the people who aren’t compatible with the system, and keeps them more or less harmlessly occupied until they need to reboot the Matrix again.

  8. 8
    CaitieCat, in no way a robot nosireebot

    I annoyed the hell out of my Matrix-loving friends some years back, when watching it for the first and only time, by my insistent noting of its being a fine demo reel for a special-effects house, but a shit movie.

    Of course, the annoyance might have been when I discovered the (to-me) hilariousness of saying “young Jedi” after everything Lawrence Fishburne says.

  9. 9
    John Horstman

    @5, 6: And FTL travel is impossible, so let’s throw out most of the science fiction canon. Magic and gods and demons aren’t real, so out with the entire fantasy genre. At some point, if you’re not willing to suspend disbelief for the sake of the narrative (and the story doesn’t violate its own reality-defying conceits), you’re simply not a fan of storytelling (at least not fantastical storytelling). :-)

    That said, they really could have come up with something better. The problems with their human-farming-for-energy scheme don’t stop with the fact that the energy ROI is negligible, possibly negative. Why not simply render all the farm-humans brain-dead, or at least far too brain-damaged to escape? Why have a Matrix at all? Then they could not worry about their computational-error-rounding-lots-of-fake-jargon-that-is-not-how-windmills-work problem that The One and Zion are supposed to mitigate. But again, no story if the Machines had any sense.

    I actually thought they were going to reveal that it was a cover story, and the Machines were simply farming humans and orchestrating the Zion/The One cycle to study us because we’re super interesting. We don’t teach chimps sign language just to better understand ourselves, we do it to understand chimps and cognition and language in general as well. And, as the Machines were originally built by humans, studying humans would help the machines understand themselves, their origins. Plus, that lends itself to a deep critique of humans’ impact on our environments, our general disregard of the well-being of other species, and a Not So Different Aesop. If they ever make a sequel, maybe I can be part of the writing team and suggest resolutions to the apparent problems in the original.

  10. 10
    John Horstman

    Oh, back on topic, that video is awesome.

  11. 11
    John Horstman

    Ooh, gilgamesh is on a similar page to mine, and I like hir take on the story even more.

  12. 12
    robb

    this post reminded me of this song, “I’m an alright guy”

  13. 13
    doublereed

    The Matrix could have been a lot better without spending any more. What lost me was the thermodynamic absurdity of using human bodies as energy sources.

    There actually is an explanation for this. From one of the side chapters of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality:

    MORPHEUS: Where did you hear about the laws of thermodynamics, Neo?

    NEO: Anyone who’s made it past one science class in high school ought to know about the laws of thermodynamics!

    MORPHEUS: Where did you go to high school, Neo?

    (Pause.)

    NEO: …in the Matrix.

  14. 14
    daniellavine

    Sorry to be off-topic but in defense of the Matrix: the first movie was dumbed down into a Hollywood-accessible action movie and the second and third weren’t, hence the apparent disconnect. Using human beings as energy sources isn’t a thermodynamic absurdity — the reasoning here is explained in two episodes of The Animatrix. The humans are being used as batteries, not as power plants — they even explicitly say in the movie they’re being used as batteries. After the humans nixed solar energy for the machines they just started gathering up the still-living human beings injured from fighting the machines and incorporated them into their power sources. They’re using the human race as a giant thermal mass that is running down on energy very slowly because of how efficient the machines have made the entire system.

    The lack of nuclear reactors does seem to be a plot hole, although given the fact that the action of the film takes place hundreds or even thousands of years after now it’s conceivable that they’ve simply run out of fissionable material. This would be a fair criticism except that the symbiotic relationship between humans and machines is really important thematically to the movies.

    The second and third are better than the first but you have to try to peer down into the allegory to catch it. They’re rather confusing because they’re very layered and almost everything is a symbol for something else or an allusion.

    It’s completely possible to sit around and pick apart what’s wrong with the Matrix films but when you do that you miss the altogether larger pile of stuff that is absolutely incredible about them.

    Incidentally, I also thought the first was mediocre and the second and third nonsensical until fairly recently. Then I started to see the Matrix as an allegory for stuff like patriarchy and other aspects of socially-constructed reality, started to catch on to the symbolism, and looked up a few other interpretations online. And then I started to see how deep the movies actually are. The Matrix isn’t about Cartesian skepticism, it’s about Derridian deconstruction.

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