Pathetic Pathos: The Incel Hour

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Tiassa, Apr 25, 2018.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


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    Excerpt of discussion responding to Arshy Mann's tweet thread about incels.

    A Candian terrorist attack—yes, really, it's terrorism—comes down to not enough women wanting to lay some guy, and in the moment, we, south of the border, are verging on another potential American Incel moment.

    Self-described incels congregate mostly online, meeting in forums and message boards like Reddit and 4chan, and its offshoot site 8chan, to discuss their hopelessness with women in posts that are peppered with racist and misogynistic rants. "Chads" are incel-speak for good-looking men, who incels believe can't be one of them. "Stacys" are the women who find "Chads" attractive.

    The Facebook message also refers admiringly to Elliot Rodger, who killed six people in Isla Vista, California in 2014, and left behind a manifesto and videos detailing his sexual frustration as the motivation for his violence.

    Rodger has since emerged as a source of inspiration among the incel community.

    "Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!" Minassian allegedly posted.

    The NBC News↗ headline runs, "After Toronto attack, online misogynists praise suspect as 'new saint'". Earlier today, Associated Press↗ was even more cautious°: "Online post suggests rampage suspect may have resented women". It is almost as if the idea makes people squeamish.

    Journalist Arshy Mann↱ offered up a tweet-thread primer covering basics he picked up while "working on a piece about Toronto's relationship to the alt-right, especially the 'manosphere'", including a nod to David Futrelle [¡content warning!]↱, who managed to capture some of the cultish reaction among online incel communities after a man with an attitude problem about women decided to take out his sexual frustration on the rest of the world:

    Many in the media and in politics are unwilling to label attacks driven by misogynistic ideology as terrorism—often declaring them to be simply the result of "mental illness," as many did in the case of Elliot Rodger's murders (ignoring his hundred page manifesto), and as the authorities are already doing in the Toronto attacks.

    But misogyny is not mental illness; it's hate. And what [Incel BPP] is talking about here is essentially the dictionary definition of terrorism—"[t]he unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims." The tactics he suggests are an explicit attempt to subject "normies" to "constant fear"—that is, terror—in all areas of their lives, in order to advance [Incel BPP's] goal of "black pilling" the world and intimidating those who criticize incels into silence.

    Following his link back to the older thread, one quickly discovers that it is even more disturbing. In it, [Incel BPP] sets out what he sees as the virtues of various terroristic strategies, from acid attacks to mass rape to vehicle attacks like the one we saw yesterday. (If you are feeling at all fragile you may wish to stop reading this post right here.)

    That warning comes after the bit about mass acid attacks, but before the part about mass rapes.

    The continuing romanticization of Elliot Rodger↗ ought to make some point, like declaring a #NewRule that incels need to get personalities worth knowing, and one of the first things about that is to stop using the word "incel", while the next thing on the list is something akin to stop acting like that.


    ° It further seems worth noting that, according to Bitly, the slug for the AP article was, at some point during markup, "Motive elusive after van driver kills 10 on Toronto sidewalk".​

    Collins, Ben and Brandy Zardozny. "After Toronto attack, online misogynists praise suspect as 'new saint'". NBC News. 24 April 2018.

    Futrelle, David. "Incels hail Toronto van driver who killed 10 as a new Elliot Rodger, talk of future acid attacks and mass rapes". We Hunted the Mammoth. 24 April 2018. 24 April 2018.

    Mann, Arshy. "For the past little while, I've been working on a piece about Toronto's relationship to the alt-right, especially the 'manosphere.'" Twitter. 24 April 2018. 24 April 2018.

    Noronha, Charmaine and David Crary. "Online post suggests rampage suspect may have resented women". Associated Press. 24 April 2018. 24 April 2018.
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  3. Musika Registered Senior Member

    What will a goat not eat or a crazy person not say?

    It seems to be more of a problem of the internet democratizing individual madness into groups.
    You could just as easily be discussing the online vitriol of motorists vs cyclists.

    Human nature at the helm of animosity, fear, lust, anger, wrath, etc certainly has a proven track record of being more dexterous than any feat of socially engineered whack-a-mole solutions.
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


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    Click for what they want, what they really, really want.

    The first part has its merit in its context; the second is an example of the problematic limitations of figurative comparisons and juxtapositions. That is, any metaphor has its limits, and in this case they happen to be relevant.

    The "online vitriol of motorists vs cyclists" is a problematic analogy. Even if online vitriol feels existential, it is multiple valences of translation symbolic and even semiotic removed from the brain chemistry of sexual desire and behavior. Masculine heterosexuality is one of those ideas that has extraordinarily few analogs.

    Downplaying the phenomenon can be dangerous. American culture, at least, has a tendency to offer vapid, abject sympathy under certain circumstances; as the one commenter reminds, this behavior is "usually classified as the work of 'trolls' or 'mental illness' = 'nothing to see here, just isolated incidents.'"

    What will a crazy person not say? It is an interesting question, but not quite so far out on the spectrum of celebratory deplorability we find an intersectional phenomenon whereby Vice staff reporter Drew Schwarz↱ brought us conservatives complaining about having a hard time finding dates, while colleague K. T. Nelson↱ considers others who celebrate their isolation such that an obvious question emerges:

    How do you engage with someone who doesn't just not care if their aggressive political stances upset you, but wants you to get upset—someone for whom "this makes people upset" is actually the whole reason to have that stance in the first place?

    Quite honestly, I've wondered that for years. One need not aspire to incel heroism or even maga centipeditude in order to make people wonder about that. Calculated nihilistic poseur cynicism has become a staple of embittered supremacism watching its privilege decline and deciding nothing really matters.

    But as Futrelle noted:

    ... what [Incel BPP] is talking about here is essentially the dictionary definition of terrorism—"the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims." The tactics he suggests are an explicit attempt to subject "normies" to "constant fear"—that is, terror—in all areas of their lives, in order to advance [Incel BPP's] goal of "black pilling" the world and intimidating those who criticize incels into silence.

    In my lifetime, American casual rhetoric has transformed greatly, but one of the most notable things is the way in which we abandoned a certain measure of our tough talk and machismo; we still try to find ways to bluster and menace and all that, but we don't say the same things, anymore.

    When I was younger, say, thigh-high to my nylons, we used all manner of brutal colloquialism: "What? I'm gonna kill him!" Strangely, in my time, it was largely the same people who complained about "PC" that started freaking out about pretty much any animated language and conduct. Point being, poseur terrorism for the lulz isn't a good idea, and if we leave it to a question of what a crazy person will say or not, well, there is another interesting question about politics and history. It has something to do with a prison industry versus the myth of not wanting to punish anyone. If the crazy are dangerously crazy, you still confine them; it's strange how the political rhetoric never really understood that. Then again, I always found it offensive because I thought they were putting on; apparently they really were that stupid.

    But that's the thing: Posturing oneself as dangerous is just one of those things people should not do lightly; this is a time when people are generally willing to believe such pretenses at first sight.

    Glibly downplaying the human nature of masculine sexual belligerence and its proven track record of animosity, fear, lust, anger, wrath, &c., makes its own point.

    These are wannabe terrorists driven by their nutsacks. When one of them finally gets off, he makes a mess of the world. Making the same excuses we always make in order to downplay terrorism among traditional empowerment majorities is nothing more than doing our part to help encourage and empower terrorism.

    And we should probably remember that in order to retain the Incel identity, the Incel must remain incel; that is, at some point the Incel becomes a volunteer. For instannce, if they keep acting like they do, then they should expect to remain celibate.

    Maybe they can ... er ... right, I still can't do the craigslist queers joke↗ quite right.

    Whatshisname, the celibate in Toronto, reminds of mgtow; he needed to be seen doing what he was doing, and even showed his natural desire for dominance when trying to tell the police how to play their parts in his incel martyrdom fantasy.


    Futrelle, David. "Incels hail Toronto van driver who killed 10 as a new Elliot Rodger, talk of future acid attacks and mass rapes". We Hunted the Mammoth. 24 April 2018. 24 April 2018.

    Nelson, K. T. "Trump Fans Are Owning Libs by Losing All Their Friends". Vice. 9 March 2018. 24 April 2018.

    Schwartz, Drew. "Conservatives Are Whining Because No One Wants to Date Them". Vice. 5 March 2018. 24 April 2018.
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  7. Musika Registered Senior Member

    I think you will find that the trouble with being crazy these days is that there is too much competition.
    sculptor likes this.
  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Reading more, I'm beginning to see the point.

    My friend thinks that, just like we have stopped mentioning the names of criminals so they don't get notorious, we should also stop lending credence to their motives. We should concentrate on the victims, not the delusions of a crazy person.

    But I see there's a very good reason for drawing attention to the motive. The last thing we want to do is have it be "merely" one man's delusions.

    Remember when Trump responded to the school shooting with "thoughts and prayers"? It was Trump's way of taking the heat off the need for gun control, by using mental illness as a scapegoat. Relegating these events to mental illness ultimately labels them as isolated incidents, that can't be systemically treated.

    Recognizing this misogynistic movement as hate, - not just individual, but organized hate - means that we can address it as a toxic culture, not as a lone pathology.

    Imagine if we did the same thing for terror attacks organized by ISIS. "The motive here is not relevant. Each of these incidents is the product of a delusional mind, not some larger organized attack on Western culture." No.

    And this attack in Toronto does fit the definition of terrorism: "the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims."
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
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  9. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    new term for me
    Long ago and far away, I showed up at my then current lover's father's house to pick her up. He said that he was really glad to meet me.
    So I asked him "Why" and he replied: "That woman really needs to get laid."
    OK so she was an incel for a couple weeks and already driving those around her nuts.

    (leaving/loosing her is just one of my life regrets)
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


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    Click to rub it in. Or, you know, just r―… #nevermind.

    It's one of those that has been out there, but ... yeah, it's a messy bit that keeps getting buried.

    To wit, circa 2014:

    In a recent post on, a forum for the dateless and sexless, the man wrote, "I am seriously thinking about just getting a gun and shooting everything up," he said. "I fantasize about it everyday … that's how fucked up my mind is." The truly "fucked up" thing is that this isn't another newly discovered online posting from Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old who went on a shooting rampage Friday, killing six people. These are just the words of yet another angry man on the Internet expressing rage at society—especially women—over his own celibacy.

    The poster continued, "I think if I do end up going on a mass shooting spree it will be due to the mental damage/stress from being isolated from meaningful human contact for too long. If/when that ever happens, can I really be blamed for murder if I've lost my mental faculties to judge right from wrong?" He goes on to say of the infamous mass murderers of recent years, "Quite a lot of those shooters weren't crazy."

    To be sure, this poster isn't representative of male virgins, just as Elliot Rodger isn't the spokesperson for all men who identify as "involuntarily celibate" ("incels" for short). But sympathy for Rodger, and strikingly similar ideologies, are disturbingly common in the online communities for "love-shy" and incel men. PUA Hate, the site where Rodger shared his resentment about being a self-described incel has been taken down amid the current media frenzy, but plenty of similar sites remain.

    On the blog That Incel Blogger, the author says of Rodger's massacre:

    What happened is punishment for evil and violence of feminists and liberals. Any of you supporting atrocities like women's suffrage, immodest clothing, child support/alimony, no ban on adultery, ban on prostitution and a lack of female premarital chastity, all the things that drove this young man to be unable to find a girlfriend, are disgusting, horrible people and you created a culture where this is possible.​

    The blame is placed squarely between women's legs. On the site, a poster responds to news of Rodger's killing-spree:

    Society would rather perish than change its ways. … Even without fixing modern women, legalized prostitution could easily prevent at least some of these killing sprees. The people of modern culture are stupid beyond help: they refuse to understand that if you kick a nice dog enough times, it will become a mean dog. No dog is entitled to even one bone, they say.​


    I admit, it can be difficult to regard Incels seriously. I can't get past the dog metaphor, for the moment.

    Still, if we laugh too hard it might actually kill us.


    Clark-Flory, Tracy. "Inside the terrifying, twisted online world of involuntary celibates". Salon. 27 May 2014. 25 April 2018.
  11. Bells Staff Member

    What makes you think they are crazy?
  12. Bells Staff Member


    There was an article in The Guardian, a couple of days ago, that touched on this very subject:

    From the way chatroom moderators respond to threats of violence against women, to the reluctance among authorities to name this as a terrorist threat, I am filled with this unsettling sense that because incels mainly want to kill, maim or assault women, they are simply not taken as seriously as if they wanted to kill pretty much anyone else. Doesn’t everyone want to kill women, sometimes, is the implication? Or at least give them a fright?

    Their behaviour is often ridiculous – someone last week got a tattoo of Jordan Peterson’s face (he is the pop philosopher of meninism) across his entire arm. The incels’ folk hero is the 30-year-old virgin wizard – if you can make it to 30 without having sex, you will be endowed with magical powers. And the threads are so pathetic that it is hard to feel anything but ambient pity (on the site Wiz Chan – subtitle “disregard females, acquire magic” – one thread titled How do I live in my sedan? is like a short story).

    Puzzling in the abstract, weirdly inevitable in the flesh, their stance combines that utterly flaky 90s joking-not-joking (“Hey, I was only joking when I said I wanted to rape you! Unless we’re actually in an alley and there’s no one else around”), raging self-pity, false appropriation and superhero costumes, all delivered with the deafening rage of the reptilian brain. It makes Four Lions look like Wittgenstein.

    But this fails to reflect, or reflect on, what modern terrorism is: the perpetrators don’t have to meet and their balaclavas don’t have to match. All they have to do is establish their hate figures and be consistent

    I don't know if it is because of the ridiculous nature of their online rantings and general behaviour that has resulted in the authorities not branding their actions as terrorism, but we cannot dismiss the fact that these men do pose a direct threat to women and men around them. The running joke is that these guys just couldn't get laid, if only they could have gotten laid. To the one, the onus is placed on women to prevent these men from killing, to the other, the manner in which this movement is approached is with one of incredulity and they are killing to be heard.

    Interestingly enough, people focus on Elliot Rodger as a prime example, but he was not alone, nor was Minassian alone in commit gross acts of violence against women and men, because of their misogynistic beliefs.

    Rodger is not the only "saint" to these people.

    That redemption continues to find a following. Minassian was not the only mass murderer who found inspiration in Rodger. Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in February, reportedly expressed admiration for Rodger. “Elliot rodger will not be forgotten,” he wrote in a comment on a YouTube video about My Twisted World. Though Cruz doesn’t appear to have frequented incel chatrooms, on the website posters have spent a great deal of time deconstructing Cruz, debating whether or not he qualifies as an incel. Maybe he was, maybe he had an “incel-tier” girlfriend, or maybe he was just a “failed normie,” or maybe he was an incel “cucked” by his ex-girlfriend. The semantics are so personal, the language so overtly racist, invisible wounds so nursed, that it’s difficult to draw any insight other than victimhood, engendered solely by women exercising autonomous choices.

    While some are quick to point out that Cruz was no incel saint, and veneration should be reserved for true heroes like Rodger, they are equally quick to point to the real incel saints who remain underappreciated. Killers like “Saint Cho,” a reference to Seung-Hui Cho, who murdered 32 and wounded 17 at Virginia Tech and George Sodini, who, in 2009, murdered three women and injured another nine during a workout class in a Pittsburgh-area LA Fitness.

    If Rodger is the patron saint of incels, Sodini is a minor saint. Hailed as the “OG incel” on Braincel, a Reddit forum for incels rife with racism and sexism, Sodini’s 2008-2009 diary recounted with a bitter tone all of those who wronged him, from family members to the “30 million women rejected me - over an 18 or 25-year period.”

    “Thirty million is my rough guesstimate of how many desirable single women there are,” Sodini wrote. “A man needs a woman for confidence. He gets a boost on the job, career, with other men, and everywhere else when he knows inside he has someone to spend the night with and who is also a friend. This type of life I see is a closed world with me specifically and totally excluded. Every other guy does this successfully to a degree.” He wrote of his loneliness, comparing it to the Holocaust. He sketchily outlined his plan to murder women at the gym. His first attempt unsuccessful (“I chickened out!...brought the loaded guns, everything. Hell!”) he practices, works out the details, to ensure the success of his “one shot.” After the diary ended, Sodini walked into a dance class and opened fire. He killed three women—like Rodger, women he had never met, never spoken to—Heidi Overmier, Elizabeth Gannon, and Jody Billingsley.

    These “saints” are pervading and men like Minassian didn’t have to look hard to find inspiration, heroes, or growing examples of how to carry out deeply gendered violence. Rodger had been transformed into a saint, venerated by a community of men who thrive on misogyny and violence, but even without them to preserve his memory and celebrate his memory, there would still be a Rodger, or a Sodini, or even a Marc Lépine. There will always, too, be men willing to venerate them for murdering women simply because they are women. Rodger wanted to discipline hot sorority girls; Sodini wanted to punish any of the 30 million women who he believed had wronged him, and Lépine, who murdered 14 women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, was “fighting feminism.” While they killed individual women—19 between them—they weren’t interested in the actual women they murdered, but rather the ideas and defiances of traditional gender norms they believed them to represent

    I agree with you. These aren't isolated incidents, nor are the people who commit these crimes insane. These aren't even touching on the other forms of terror these groups are involved in, such as online harassment and threats towards women.

    And until people start taking them seriously, until people stop rolling their eyes at their general behaviour and actually start listening to what these men are saying, more people will die.
  13. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I think the Toronto incident is the beginning of that.

    It has established the precedent, dragging it kicking and screaming out of the shadows, to frame it as terrorism.

    It needs one more ingredient: more exposure. It will have to occur in the US before it will get traction.
  14. river


    These are male " childern " who ARE INSANE .
  15. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


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    Noah Berlatsky↱ explains, along the way to confessing virginity until age twenty-seven:

    The man who murdered ten people in Toronto with a van, like the 2014 Isla Vista killer, considered himself an "incel," or involuntary celibate. Incels are men who blame the world, and especially women, for the fact that they are virgins, or aren't having sex as often as they want. They see women as manipulators who choose powerful but shallow men, and unfairly ignore and even torment good guys like themselves. Resentment becomes an excuse for misogyny, and sometimes, for violence.

    In the aftermath of the Toronto massacre, some people were quick to use the killer's celibacy as an insult. As just one example, a New Statesman piece referred to the killer as "pathetic" and noted that there was an "inclination to dismiss these men as sad losers dwelling in their parents' basements." This fits a common pattern with men like this. Violent incels are portrayed as radicalized sad sacks, or as failures who have weaponized their own inadequacy.

    But there are two problems with portraying incels as outcasts or failures. First, it mirrors their own rhetoric, and their own view of themselves. Secondly, it makes incels appear unusual or special.

    The truth is more unsettling. Incels are, in many respects, fulfilling gender norms. They haven't failed to be men. And when they embrace misogyny and violence, they become exactly what we expect men to be.

    We Americans have a weird standard about crazy.

    When we want to be "tough on crime" we complain about insanity defenses and how some don't want to punish crime; when it comes to members of empowerment majorities committing mass murder, we say, "Well, you'd have to be crazy to do that." The one is a way of denying the realities affecting the development of some crimes, while the other is a way of making excuses for the development of other crimes. And, yes, there are supremacist trends about it.

    Still, what that old complaint would overlook is the fact of danger. The new standard, too, has a complicated relationship with the fact of danger. Such as it is, an individual whose competency might fluctuate, erode, or occasionally fail need not be inherently dangerous; to the other, certes, some of that behavior might be inherently dangerous. But what of noncompetency outbursts about which danger is actually shaped and fashioned?

    Because the crazy, as such, about incel escalation to violence takes time, and is deliberately fed by others.

    Meanwhile, it has not been much of a secret in recent years that misogyny is one of the main inroads to general supremacism, and that point is driven home more recently by the emerging recognition that particular antisocial political identities are actually targeting people they consider of doubtful competency to indoctrinate, and hatred of women is the most consistent vital component of their pillock fantasies.


    Berlatsky, Noah. "Don't let 'incel' misogynists like the Toronto killer tell you they're special—I was a virgin until I was 27". NBC News. 29 April 2018. 29 April 2018.
  16. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    No News, or, What ... Okay, I Can't Do the Dog Joke

    Dov Nelkin↱ noted, earlier this week:

    The Talmud my students are studying addressed this topic of incels and experts demanding redistribution of sex, around 1500 years ago

    The university theologian cited Sanhedrin 75a:2↱:

    Apropos the discussion of the obligation to allow oneself to be killed rather than engage in forbidden sexual intercourse, the Gemara notes that Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: There was an incident involving a certain man who set his eyes upon a certain woman and passion rose in his heart, to the point that he became deathly ill. And they came and asked doctors what was to be done with him. And the doctors said: He will have no cure until she engages in sexual intercourse with him. The Sages said: Let him die, and she may not engage in sexual intercourse with him. The doctors said: She should at least stand naked before him. The Sages said: Let him die, and she may not stand naked before him. The doctors suggested: The woman should at least converse with him behind a fence in a secluded area, so that he should derive a small amount of pleasure from the encounter. The Sages insisted: Let him die, and she may not converse with him behind a fence.

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    There is, of course, a reason Nelkin entertains that godawful phrase about "redistribution", at all; we are reminded it is hardly a new reason, that we have suffered the question all along. Say what we might about the difference between kicking and not touching, but still, as we encountered earlier↑, this really is about entitlement; the modern incel comparing sexual intercourse with a woman to chewing on and occasionally jealously burying a piece of a dead animal in order to dig it up and chew on it again pretty much makes the point: "No dog is entitled to even one bone, they say" (qtd. in Clark-Flory↱). Such as it is, the discourse seems to have gone downhill since the fifth and sixth centuries, which really ought to count as some sort of accomplishment.


    @drnelk. "The Talmud my students are studying addressed this topic of incels and experts demanding redistribution of sex, around 1500 years ago". Twitter. 30 April 2018.

    "Sanhedrin 75a:2". The William Davidson Talmud. Translated by Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz. (n.d.) 2 May 2018.

    Clark-Flory, Tracy. "Inside the terrifying, twisted online world of involuntary celibates". Salon. 27 May 2014. 2 May 2018.
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Last edited: May 4, 2018
  18. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


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    Time out: No, really, I mean, if we're taking the moment for Douthat, best to have a distraction close at hand.

    The Douthat debacle is breathtaking and devastating. Even in the context of just how low the New York Times has run in recent months, this one is something special.

    I can actually think back ten, six, five, and four years ago at Sciforums on a range of these issues, and that skips over any number of episodes along the way, like a long thread eight years ago.

    Between six and four years ago, we ran two disastrous threads covering about fifteen months; something from that period is coming up, now. It's also that weird question I've asked some people these last couple years about human rights.

    In Douthat's world, the humanity of women is as absent today as it was in threads on sexual violence a decade ago, or the human rights of women at any point since.

    As society countenances the idea of loosely-affiliated sex-based terrorism and the apparent potential for concrete identity assertion therein, naturally we will encounter some pretense of pragmatism that proposes the most obvious solution in the world, but the common spirit of Douthat's assessment of inadequacy about the "ideological mainstream" and "nobody can decide whether that means we need purges or pluralism", and ... er ... okay, so he just comes right out and says it:

    Well, actually, first it brings me to the case of Robin Hanson, a George Mason economist, libertarian and noted brilliant weirdo. Commenting on the recent terrorist violence in Toronto, in which a self-identified "incel"—that is, involuntary celibate—man sought retribution against women and society for denying him the fornication he felt that he deserved, Hanson offered this provocation: If we are concerned about the just distribution of property and money, why do we assume that the desire for some sort of sexual redistribution is inherently ridiculous?

    Because instead of money to buy food with, or shelter from the elements, Douthat is talking about people. Nor is this an accident of careless rhetoric; the spirit of this misogyny—because, let's face it, the people Douthat would oblige as a simple question of disparate impact, are women—runs throughout, such as the assessment of inadequacy about the "ideological mainstream", and "but nobody can decide whether that means we need purges or pluralism. And missing from his juxtaposition of "a spirit of curiosity and conversation or a furious war against whichever side you think is evil" is the simple function of basic humanity.

    And there is a part of me that wants to glare imperiously over the room and demand, "Who needs this part explained?"

    Because, yes, yes, between obliging that some woman, somewhere, fulfill some man's sexual fantasy and, oh, how about not obliging her, the whole, "whichever side you think is evil" equivocation pretty much makes the point.

    Toward that end, Douthat is not necessarily completely wrong; after all, he does manage to consider that—

    ... as offensive or utopian the redistribution of sex might sound, the idea is entirely responsive to the logic of late-modern sexual life, and its pursuit would be entirely characteristic of a recurring pattern in liberal societies.

    —and we need not aside the blithe reiteration of the problem—i.e., juxtaposition of "offensive or utopian"—as the subsequent paragraphs repeat the pattern of ignoring, at best, particular humanity. No, really, there are four paragraphs of unrecognizable fantasy including the characterization of the sexual revolution as "neoliberal deregulation" that "created new winners and losers, new hierarchies to replace the old ones, privileging the beautiful and rich and socially adept in new ways and relegating others to new forms of loneliness and frustration", and I shite thee not, he actually wrote that. And there is a paragraph about how "the sexes seem to be struggling generally to relate to one another", such that "sexual activity itself" is declining.

    What follows is a paragraph that would otherwise be Douthat's redemption except for the absence of humanity; lamenting the "culture's dominant message about sex", including "that virginity and celibacy are at best strange and at worst pitiable states", Douthat leads into another paragraph intended to consider a revolution that "will supply if not the promised utopia at least some form of redress for the many people that progress has obviously left behind".

    And throughout this masculine narrative we might take a moment to wonder who the hell these incels are supposed to fuck. Then again, we might suggest that is the point insofar as the endgame for Douthat is to simply wonder at the point at which, "without anyone formally debating the idea of a right to sex, right-thinking people will simply come to agree that some such right exists", and the only real question is whether the hookers and robots are good enough, because it "feels pretty much inevitable" that "they will eventually be asked to do it, in service to a redistributive goal that for now still seems creepy or misogynist or radical".

    Douthat is campaigning for equivocation, normalization, and legitimization of a woman's obligation unto a man. Consider for a moment that human endeavors have neared the threshold that our Y chromosome will become unnecessary. Taking the men out and having them shot is wrong, full stop. If anyone needs that more specifically, no, it will not come about that, without anyone formally debating the idea, right-thinking people will simply come to agree that it feels pretty much inevitable that society will eventually be asked to do it in service to a redistributive goal that for now still seems creepy or misandrist or radical.

    Still, the NYT columnist is not wrong. This pretentious erasure of women is "entirely characteristic of a recurring pattern in liberal societies".

    (It is worth noting that apparently Douthat attempted to tweet his way out of a hole, which, as you might imagine, didn't go well↱.)​


    @studentactivism. "'Gay people have less satisfying sexual and romantic lives than they did before the sexual revolution' is certainly an interesting take". Twitter. 3 May 2018. 3 May 2018.

    Douthat, Ross. "The Redistribution of Sex". The New York Times. 2 May 2018.
  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


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    From a thread by Helen Rosen↱, in response to Ross Douthat:

    To extend the category of "incel" to include all (partner-)sexless people is to willfully ignore what distinguishes an incel from a generally partner-sexless person, which is, among other things, profoundly irresponsible on your part.

    I can assure you that the men who are sharing rape tips and planning war against women and, um, committing literal murder are not terribly concerned with ensuring that a fat 65-year-old woman gets her rocks off with a partner of her choosing.

    That woman isn't caught in a "toxic vise," though. She may be unhappy with the lack of thick dick in her life but she's not defining herself by it. She's not studying ways to forcibly attain it. She's not constructing elaborate narratives where the government provides her with it

    The toxic vise, as it is, seems to almost exclusively be the provenance of straight men. And yet your article and clarification seem committed to rejecting this reality. You do some pretty remarkable acrobatics to explicitly include other groups!

    There was also, Ella Dawson↱:

    Ross Douthat makes a grave mistake taking incels at their word that they can't get laid and conflating them with marginalized groups considered unattractive for bigoted reasons. Incels could get laid if they didn't hate women and feel entitled to *hot* women.

    We could, of course, try blaming women for Ross Douthat, and why not? His appeal to redistribute sexual participation comes only days after the New York Times published author Jessica Valenti↱:

    Here's the term we should all use instead: misogynist terrorism. Until we grapple with the disdain for women that drives these mass murderers, and the way that the killers are increasingly radicalized on the internet, there will be no stopping future tragedies.

    Over the past decade, anti-women communities on the internet—ranging from "men's rights" forums and incels to "pickup artists"—have grown exponentially. While these movements differ in small ways, what they have in common is an organized hatred of women; the animus is so pronounced that the hate-watch group Southern Poverty Law Center tracks their actions.

    The other dangerous idea that connects these men is their shared belief that women—good-looking women, in particular—owe them sexual attention. The incel community that Mr. Minassian paid homage to, for example, was banned from Reddit last year because, among other issues, some adherents advocated rape as a means to end their celibacy.

    Pickup artists, on the other hand, believe they can manipulate women into sex. In the wake of the Toronto attack, a well-known member of the "pickup artist" community, Daryush Valizadeh, tweeted that "sleeping with only two or three Toronto Tinder sluts would have been enough to stop" Mr. Minassian's "urge to kill." Mr. Valizadeh has argued for the legalization of rape.

    We might, then, recall the Twitter commenter, Krista Coughlin, detailed in the topic post↑, who noted, "Women have known about this, and have been talking about it for a long time." Similarly, Valenti explains:

    Feminists have been warning against these online hate groups and their propensity for real-life violence for over a decade. I know because I’m one of the people who has been issuing increasingly dire warnings. After I started a feminist blog in 2004, I became a target of men’s-rights groups who were angry with women about everything from custody battles to the false notion that most women lie about rape. In 2011, I had to flee my house with my young daughter on the advice of law enforcement, because one of these groups put me on a “registry” of women to target.

    I was far from the only one. In 2014, a gaming award ceremony set to honor the feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian received a bomb threat; an anonymous harasser threatened to detonate a device unless her award was rescinded. Before Milo Yiannopoulos was a well-known alt-right figure, feminists knew him as one of the primary architects of Gamergate, a movement of young men who harassed and threatened women in the videogaming industry.

    And we should have known the Douthat atrocity was coming; when Amanda Marcotte↱ gets uppity—

    Part of the problem, no doubt, is that it's so common for men to hurt and kill women to control them or punish them. Nearly three women in America are murdered by partners or former partners every day. Domestic violence has affected one in three women, and one in seven report having been stalked. One out of six women report experiencing rape or attempted rape. We think of "hate crimes" or "terrorism" as spectacular and rare events, not things that happen all the time.

    Another aspect of the problem is that violence against women is generally understood as personal, not political. We think of the wife-beater or the rapist as a man who let his passions get the better of him, not a man motivated by an ideological view of a woman's place and a willingness to use violence to enforce that view.

    But as feminists have long argued, the personal is political. The violence and oppression women often feel in the home is related to larger political trends and ideological conflicts about gender ....

    .... Gendered violence is a form of terrorism, and a highly effective one at that. Many women find their freedom circumscribed, their ambitions curtailed or their lives ended at the hands of a man who sees them as inferior by virtue of their sex. Painful as it is, but we must consider the links between hair-raising acts of public violence, like this week's Toronto killings, and the quieter forms of terrorism women all too often experience in private life. There is no way to end this epidemic of violence against women until we do.

    —it is only a matter of time before some manly man calmly and patiently reminds us what right-thinking people will decide.


    @brosandprose. "Ross Douthat makes a grave mistake taking incels at their word that they can't get laid and conflating them with marginalized groups considered unattractive for bigoted reasons. Incels could get laid if they didn't hate women and feel entitled to *hot* women." Twitter. 2 May 2018. 3 May 2018.

    @hels. "To extend the category of 'incel' to include all (partner-)sexless people is to willfully ignore what distinguishes an incel from a generally partner-sexless person, which is, among other things, profoundly irresponsible on your part." Twitter. 3 May 2018. 3 May 2018.

    Marcotte, Amanda. "The Accused Toronto Killer Has Roots in the Online Misogynist Underworld—But Does That Make Him a Terrorist?" AlterNet. 25 April 2018. 3 May 2018.

    Valenti, Jessica. "When Misogynists Become Terrorists". The New York Times. 26 April 2018. 3 May 2018.
  20. Sylvester Registered Senior Member

    Makes sense if you omit 90% of the other acts of violence
  21. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Yeah. This.

    It pains me every time I use the term Incel, because it is inadvertently legitimizing their beliefs.

    Being united by hate against a group isn't a culture, it's terrorism.

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