Elam is hurt and offended

Aw. Paul Elam is shocked and saddened that Richard Dawkins hasn’t heard of his important movement. Futrelle has the story, starting with who Dawkins is and how often he tweets regrettable nonsense.

He puts his foot in his mouth so often on Twitter that it’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between his real account and this absurdist parody.

In a recent interview, he doubled down on some of his most appalling earlier remarks, reaffirming that he believes there is such a thing as “mild pedophilia” and that pregnant women who discover that they are carrying a Down syndrome fetus should probably “abort and try again.” And in that interview he reminded us all again just why so many feminist atheists have turned against him, telling his interlocutor that

I occasionally get a little impatient with American women who complain of being inappropriately touched by the water cooler or invited for coffee or something … .


I occasionally get a little impatient with British men who talk smack about American women who don’t like being assaulted at work.

So, Futrelle goes on, you might think he’d know all about the Men’s Rights Movement, but nope.

At a recent event at Kennesaw State University – yep, the same place where a student organization tied to A Voice for Men held a little conference not long ago – Dawkins offered a surprising, if somewhat limited, defense of feminism. And he reacted with puzzlement when he was asked about the Men’s Rights movement.

“I didn’t, I hardly knew — is there a men’s right movement?” he commented. “If there is discrimination against men, then that’s bad too,” he conceded, only to add that “I haven’t heard of it.”

The audience responded with laughter.

To AVFM head boy Paul Elam, this was the equivalent of shots fired. In a post today, Elam excoriated Dawkins for not having heard of his little movement, and not being aware of the terrible gynocentric injustices being heaped upon the world’s men.

Oh no! Now Dawkins has both sides mad at him.

That’s where expertise on feminism can get you sometimes.



  1. Rob says

    At this point I would like to say something deep and witty. However, all I can do is chuckle and hope that Modus drops by.

  2. PatrickG says

    Perhaps Dawkins will have the anti-feminist Twitter brigade unleashed upon him.

    Though I rather doubt it. They can’t seem to muster as much slavering indignation when their target is male.

  3. says


  4. soogeeoh says

    I skip reading the “Comment on”-prefix in ftb feeds, because it’s always the same.

    “Elam is hurt and offended by MrFancyPants” caught my eye

  5. Al Dente says

    I must admit that if it weren’t for We Hunted the Mammoth and FTB I would have never heard of Elam and his AVfM boondoggle. Since I doubt His Grand Thinkyness The Dawk (the peace of Nugent be upon him) visits either then he’d probably never have heard of Elam.

  6. says

    The average person hasn’t heard of Paul Elam. Given that Richard Dawkins’ opinions are pretty much the norm concerning women, I think he counts as “the average person” in this respect. I’m sure poor Elam is burning his shrine right now, though.

  7. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    Wow, donotlink.com is a great idea. I like to expose myself to a variety of ideas, even when I disagree, but I also don’t want to give traffic to a-holes. I’m gonna use that. If someone turns out to be a non-a-hole, I can visit the regular way.

  8. says

    Al Dente @6

    Since I doubt His Grand Thinkyness The Dawk (the peace of Nugent be upon him) visits either then he’d probably never have heard of Elam.

    Oh, I could almost wish he’d share his Grand High Pomposity with us. I would love to let my modly claws rip into his poor delicate self, just to hear those shrieks of CENSORSHIP!!!eleventy!!1!

    But since that’s not likely, I’m just going to sit back and hope this turns into Battle of the Arseholes.

    ::noms popcorn::

  9. Matthew White says

    Surely Dawkins must have heard of discrimination against men. Perhaps he meant a reiteration of his initial comment, that he hadn’t heard of an organized men’s right movement.

    This is the standard “starving child in Africa” argument (and given Dawkins is apparently worth over $100 million, he could do a lot to help that), and it’s particularly ironic coming from Dawkins. Dawkins, and atheists in general who dismiss the complaints of women, complain about statues of the Ten Commandments and “In God We Trust” written on currency, all relatively trivial compared to, say, people being executed in Saudi Arabia for being atheists.

  10. says

    Oh no! Now Dawkins has both sides mad at him.

    Y’all have one guess as to which side he’ll drift toward. Either he’ll reassure the manboys with his past track record of anti-feminist BS, or the manboys will secure his acquiescence by harping on his previously-expressed sentiments.

    I’d be upset, too, if a water-cooler touched me inappropriately.

    Me too — its hands would probably be cold and clammy.

  11. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    “Elam is hurt and offended by MrFancyPants” caught my eye

    I’m waiting for a post titled “Hallucinatory Drugs” so that when I comment, the “recent comments” section will read “UnknownEric on Hallucinatory Drugs.”

  12. screechymonkey says

    RagingBee @11,

    Actually, my guess is that he’ll exploit the “both sides are mad at me” angle and engage exactly the type of golden mean fallacy that he’s complained about so much over the years. He’ll make some vague noises about not agreeing with the language and tactics of some of the MRAs, without specifically calling anyone out. Just like the joint statement with Ophelia was a nod in the direction of “oh, of course I don’t condone threats, harassment, and bullying,” before he got back to ranking forms or rape and complaining about being muzzled by feminists.

  13. Pierce R. Butler says

    Al Dente @ # 6: … I doubt His Grand Thinkyness The Dawk (the peace of Nugent be upon him) visits [FTB]…

    Well, he useta, anyway – his historic meme-setting “Dear Muslima” comment brought a lot of clicks to Pharyngula, back in the day.

  14. says

    The average person hasn’t heard of Paul Elam. Given that Richard Dawkins’ opinions are pretty much the norm concerning women, I think he counts as “the average person” in this respect.

    Richard Dawkins is not “the average person” concerning women, no. First, he’s a self-described feminist who routinely says anti-feminist things on Twitter and in other places, and he’s aware that this angers feminists. And second, he’s aware of people like Christina Hoff Sommers who also say anti-feminist things on a regular basis, and actively supports these people.

    Now, it seems to me that the difference between anti-feminism and MRA is a very small one, indeed. It’s as if Dawkins found himself a hole in the side of a mountain and moved into it, making friends with the bats and the blind fish and what-not, only to emerge one day and be utterly astonished when somebody asks “So Richard, what’s it like to live in a cave?”

  15. GuineaPigDan . says

    Wow. I find it hilarious that even Dawkins’ nominal praises for feminism is too much for Elam. Question for Ophelia. Did you try to make Dawkins aware of the MRM while the both of you were drafting your joint statement months ago? I first learned about Dawkins expressing his ignorance about the MRM from the True Pooka on Facebook, and he thought that it would have been unlikely though not impossible that the MRM wouldn’t have been brought up between the both of you.

  16. says

    No, I didn’t. I didn’t try to make it a broad general conversation at all. That would have been nice, of course, but I simply assumed it was out of the question. I was always well aware that (to the extent that he has any opinion of me at all) he considers me one of those American women who make him impatient by talking about things he considers trivial.

  17. Philip Rose says

    Quite a few of us were wondering about that. That would mean that if he didn’t hear about it from someone else then the MRM has been incompetent in getting their message out. Or perhaps Richard really is the “grumpy-old somewhat out of touch grandpa” we’ve come to know and love.

    Maybe both. 😀

    The video I did is here. If you’d like I’ll put an annotation on it stating that you didn’t speak to him about it.


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