I can’t really recommend this long article about MRAs. It’s not awful, but it seems determined to demonstrate something no one had questioned: “golly, not all MRAs are neckbearded trolls. They’re humans too!” OK, I know and agree; there are circumstances in which anyone could have a civilized conversation with them…which the author proceeds to do, talking to a random MRA named Max in Chicago, and also calling up Paul Elam and Roosh, and in every case doing his very best to put them in a good light, while not easing up on their awful opinions.
Which is fine. I don’t think we should ignore the ordinariness of the men’s rights weirdos. But I think a more honest approach would involve also confronting them with their more odious positions, not just their day-to-day commonplace conversations, and that’s missing. I was left wondering what the point of the whole thing was.
And while it’s also good to subvert wrong-headed stereotypes about MRAs, why did he have to reinforce this one?
There are some other things that Max is proud to be. He is an outspoken atheist and an active Libertarian. The contours are the same: a proactive anticlericalism and a distaste for regulatory apparatus couched in a vague sense that this distaste constitutes a moral stance.
Aargh. #NOTALLATHEISTS. Although sometimes it seems like it.
Here’s an article I do recommend reading: it’s all about Paul Elam’s history as a deadbeat dad, drug addict, and parasite on women. Instead of just calling up an MRA, letting them put on their most congenial voice, and emphasizing their ordinariness, this article digs deeper into Elam’s history by contact his ex-wives (I lost track of how many he had) and his daughter. His daughter is not happy with Elam.
It makes her angry that Elam has made himself into a martyr when his history speaks to the contrary. “Here you have men asking him for advice on how to get kids back, and he doesn’t say, ‘I was a really shit dad and a drug addict and I hate women and I’m not going to talk about my estranged kids or spanking my daughter’s son for opening up a fridge.’ He says women are awful, but I’m a woman. I raised two boys. I’ve been a victim of abuse but I didn’t let it affect me. He says women are needy, but I reached out to him in his time of need. The list goes on.”
One of his ex-wives:
“He sits there taking all these people’s money and all he’s doing is sucking them dry,” said Susan. “That’s what he’s done all his life — to say it’s the woman’s fault, and not make men look at their own mistakes.”
Yeah, that makes him pretty ordinary, I guess.