That’s completely different

The Washington Post has some information on yesterday’s installment of the required daily mass shooting that has become such a hallmark of the US summer as well as autumn and spring.

The shooters who killed a pair of police officers and a bystander who tried to stop them on Sunday in Las Vegas had expressed anti-government views, according to police, who are working to officially determine a motive in the violent episode.

“There is no doubt that the suspects have an ideology that’s along the lines of militia and white supremacists,” said Kevin C. McMahill, assistant sheriff of Clark County, during a news conference Monday.


“How dare you besmirch the good name of misogyny?!”

Amanda Marcotte takes a jaundiced look at the contorted defenses of misogyny people are being driven to by the inconvenient actions of Elliot Rodger.

I call it the “How dare you besmirch the good name of misogyny?!” gambit. The idea is to deny and deny and deny that Rodger was motivated by misogyny. Which is weird. Since 95-99% of misogynists deny they are misogynists, what’s it to them to admit that he was motivated by misogyny? The only reason I can think to deny he’s a misogynist is that you secretly know damn well you are a misogynist, and you want to deny that your misogynist ideology played any role in the killings.

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She talks sense faster than most of us can think, says Dawkins

Oy, not another one.

Someone called Jaclyn Glenn, who I’m told is hugely popular among Teh Atheists, did a manic YouTube video echoing the much-echoed complaint about those filthy feminists exploiting that nice Elliot Rodger tragedy for their own filthy selfish self-centered how dare they ends. I could watch only a short bit of it because she’s so annoying. By way of refreshment I found her on Twitter, and lo, only five or six tweets down, who should appear but –

daw [Read more…]

Guest post by Maureen on the comic book definition of madness

Originally a comment on Venn explains.

We may be edging towards something useful here.

We have already dismissed those who just want to say that Rodger was mentally ill therefore we need think about it no more.

What we need to do – and it is going to be difficult with the subject of the discussion dead – is pick apart the important question of whether Elliot Rodger was both mentally ill and also mentally ill in a way which rendered him insane and thus not in control of his actions or with any insight into their effect. This, I understand, is what M’naghten was about but I don’t know enough to say more than that.

There are vast numbers of people who have made the odd visit with a psychiatrist, who have had the odd couple of weeks on diazepam and could sometimes have used the support of a mental health worker – who are more often social workers than medical people. We are the people all around you who have manageable levels of SAD or bi-polar, who have the odd panic attack , who don’t and never will present a threat. [Read more…]

The exercise in narcissism

At The Federalist Society, Mollie Hemingway lets us know how much she hates #YesAllWomen. It’s the Federalist Society, so you know what to expect.

Elliot Rodger did what he did.

Social media responded by accepting the murderer’s hate-filled screed as a legitimate point of discourse and the starting point for a massive act of hashtag activism: #YesAllWomen. Traditional media followed suit: the narrative was found. Eleventy billion tweets describing how all women were victims of men spread throughout the U.S. and Europe and the media breathlessly covered the exercise in narcissism. They all agreed it was “powerful.”

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Behold the false dichotomy

JT Eberhard sees a mistake and comes to the rescue:

Elliot Rodger was mentally ill. That conversation needs to take place.

Huh. One, how does JT know that? Two, that conversation already is taking place, to put it mildly.

Ok so let’s read beyond the title.

There is a debate going on as to whether or not Elliot Rodger, the man who recently went on a killing spree in California, was mentally ill or if he was sane and driven by sexism.

No. That’s not the debate that’s going on. Hardly anyone is framing it as “either mentally ill or misogynist.” Also, the issue is not “driven by sexism” but “driven by misogyny” – intense, enraged hatred of women. What we see in Elliot Rodger along with far too many other men is beyond mere everyday sexism, which seems almost cozy in comparison, but inflamed rabid loathing of women as women.

When this all went down, it struck me that Elliot Rodger was probably suffering from some form of mental illness.

Whoa, how shrewd and percipient! Except that it struck everyone else in the population too, including people who know better than to take such snap judgments seriously. It’s not really worth mentioning that one’s first thought on hearing the news was “wo that dude was cray.” It’s certainly not worth treating it as a wise insight that should be followed up on.

Then JT tells us of his good fortune in having a friend who has a friend who wrote an article in Time minimizing the role of misogyny. Yes indeed, what a piece of luck. This two-degrees-of-separation friend is one Chris Ferguson – probably no relation to my friend Craig Ferguson, who is my friend because I watch his Late Late Show occasionally. Chris Ferguson hits the right patronizingly dismissive note:

Misogyny, in all forms, remains a significant problem for society. Women still don’t enjoy pay equity with men, and are underrepresented in core positions of power in business and politics. Violence toward women has thankfully dropped over the previous two decades, but remains intolerably high. The last election cycle brought us odd comments about “legitimate rape” and fights over women’s rights to contraception medical coverage. It’s not difficult to understand why women would perceive the deck being culturally stacked against them. That misogyny can, and certain does, spill over into violence in the case of (one hopes) a small percentage of men whose anger toward women is beyond control.

Linking cultural misogyny to a specific mass shooting is more difficult, however.

And so on. Take-away: don’t worry about it, laydeez. JT echoes the take-away.

Like Jaclyn said, this does not mean that sexism is not bad and that it should not be discussed.  Anybody saying that is wrong.  But by treating Rodger as sane so we can attribute the fullness of his rampage to our ideological enemies, we are missing the chance to get at the root cause of the mass murder (according to the psychological experts on mass murder).

Ahh yes, “our ideological enemies”; that’s what this is about. It’s about the same old shit – stop “dividing” the atheist “movement” laydeez, with your complaints about misogyny and harassment. Think of The Cause and shut up about it. We are all in this together and your concerns about misogyny and harassment don’t matter.


Guest post by Rob Tarzwell: #YesYouBuddy – Hopeful Confessions of a Recovering Misogynist

Rob posted this on Facebook, following up on a comment he made on a Facebook thread of mine about Elliot Rodger and misogyny (one of many this past week). I and others suggested he expand on the comment and this is that expansion. He gave me permission to publish it.

On 6 December 1989, a 25 year old failing Engineering student in Montreal roamed the corridors of the Ecole Polytechnique.  He separated the male from the female students, screamed “I hate feminists!” and in 20 minutes, 27 women were shot or stabbed.  14 died.  He then killed himself.  His suicide note revealed he blamed women for his failures.  He had also intended to target a Quebec female union leader, firefighter, and police captain.

I don’t remember how I got that news.  As it spread, deathly silence was everywhere on my undergrad campus.  What few conversations occurred were whispered.  The atmosphere around the campus Women’s Centre was thick and tense. [Read more…]

Movies powerfully condition what we desire and feel we deserve

Ann Hornaday responded to the Rogen-Apatow outrage, again at the Washington Post blog.

I was surprised Monday morning to discover that an essay I’d written over the weekend – about the YouTube video posted by Elliot Rodger, who took six lives and his own in Isla Vista, Calif., on Friday – had earned the wrath of filmmaker Judd Apatow and his frequent collaborator, actor Seth Rogen. (Rogen turned down a request from The Post to film a video segment in response to the original column.)

As un-fun as it is to be slammed by famous people, I could understand Apatow and Rogen’s dismay. Why would a movie reviewer even weigh in on the Isla Vista tragedy in the first place? It happened that Rodger taped a somewhat rambling, 6-minute rant, during which he explained that a combination of social and sexual rejection, loneliness and chronic feelings of unfairness contributed to the murders he was about to commit.

The video was startlingly well-produced – featuring rich lighting, careful staging and a classic California backdrop of palm trees. That, combined with the fact that Rodger himself grew up surrounded by the film industry, led me to write about how Hollywood movies – specifically wish-fulfillment fantasies and revenge-driven vigilante thrillers – might have informed an unstable young man’s ideas about what his college years and life in general were supposed to look like. Movies aren’t accurate reflections of real life, as I wrote in the essay. But there’s no doubt they powerfully condition what we desire and feel we deserve from it.

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Not all directors of frat-boy movies

Among the NotAllMen crowd are those persecuted neglected deprived dudes Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow, who are furious that a movie critic – a woman – suggested that frat boy movies might have effects on some boys’ ideation about women. By a funny and startling coincidence, Rogen and Apatow specialize in frat-boy movies.

Actor Seth Rogen has taken issue with a suggestion, published in The Washington Post, that his films — most recently the frat-boy comedy “Neighbors” — contributed to Elliott Rodger’s bloody rampage in Isla Vista, Calif., on Friday.

Rogen was responding to film critic Ann Hornaday’s column, in which she wrote:

as important as it is to understand Rodger’s actions within the context of the mental illness he clearly suffered, it’s just as clear that his delusions were inflated, if not created, by the entertainment industry he grew up in.

“How dare you imply that me getting girls in movies caused a lunatic to go on a rampage,” Rogen tweeted to Hornaday. He added: “I find your article horribly insulting and misinformed.”

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