Oh, it's been too long since I had a good fisk. And this one's a doozy, coming from the author of "Dilbert" of all people. It's actually two posts--one about why women suck and are beneath him, and one about waaah, people who disagree with him just don't understand his brilliance. He posted the first, deleted it when people called him out on it, and then when people called him out on that, he reposted it prefaced by the "dear negative reader" justifications.
...Does that make any sense? You can see the end result here. I'm going to fisk in chronological order.
The topic my readers most want me to address is something called men’s rights. [...] According to my readers, examples of unfair treatment of men include many elements of the legal system, the military draft in some cases, the lower life expectancies of men, the higher suicide rates for men, circumcision, and the growing number of government agencies that are primarily for women.
I support men's rights. How could I not? But the thing currently called the "Men's Rights Movement" is a huge fucking mess. They have some legitimate grievances that are absolutely buried under a mountain of misogyny and anti-feminism. The movement as it currently stands is so focused on the idea that men's rights are obtained by fighting women's rights, and so crowded with members who haven't even gotten that far but just think of it as a new venue to talk about how bitches suck, that it's hard for me to take them seriously when they do have a point.
You may have noticed that when I talk about why feminism is necessary on this blog, I try very hard to blame "society" and "culture," and do not blame "men." This is because I realize that women are often participants in keeping women down, because I know that simply being born a man doesn't dictate who you'll be and how you'll treat women, and because the cooperation--not capitulation--of men is necessary to advance women's rights. Besides, a lot of the same forces that make life suck for women also make life suck for men, and we both stand to benefit from eliminating gender roles and discrimination. Also some of my best friends are men.
When the men's rights movement gets to this same place, to talking about how men can deal with society instead of how men can deal with women (and also when their commenters aren't 90% plain old-fashioned sexists who've found a home), then I can take them seriously.
Generally speaking, society discourages male behavior whereas female behavior is celebrated. Exceptions are the fields of sports, humor, and war. Men are allowed to do what they want in those areas.
I'm not sure what constitutes "male behavior," but if I turn off my brain and go with "you know, grunting and eating steak and punching things, c'mon you know what I mean," I think the list of exceptions is more like sports, humor, war, government, media, socialization, family, sex, and business.
So actually kind of a lot.
Women will counter with their own list of wrongs, starting with the well-known statistic that women earn only 80 cents on the dollar, on average, compared to what men earn for the same jobs. My readers will argue that if any two groups of people act differently, on average, one group is likely to get better results. On average, men negotiate pay differently and approach risk differently than women.
This is sort of true. Now ask why this is true. It isn't because vaginas make you hate money. It's because women spend their entire lives being trained not to be a mean pushy bitch, and can't just turn that constantly reinforced meekness off at salary negotiation time, and if they do are frequently dismissed as mean pushy bitches. It doesn't help that these salary negotiations are frequently being done with men.
And it doesn't help that salary negotiation is a red herring anyway. The real thing women do that hurts their earnings is care for children. The jobs you can hold and the hours you can work with a one-year-old at home and a partner either absent or very busy with his Important Real Job are why women earn less. We don't need to "approach risk differently," we need to approach family differently.
Women will point out that few females are in top management jobs. Men will argue that if you ask a sample group of young men and young women if they would be willing to take the personal sacrifices needed to someday achieve such power, men are far more likely to say yes. In my personal non-scientific polling, men are about ten times more likely than women to trade family time for the highest level of career success.
That's because the personal sacrifice a man stereotypically makes is "I don't see my children enough, and my wife does almost all the raising." The personal sacrifice a woman's expected to make is "I can't have a family at all."
Also, even if a woman is willing to make the personal sacrifice, she'll have a hell of a time getting the top management headhunters to believe that. She'll also have a hell of a time dealing with the fact that she's less likely to have great business connections on account of how many of those are forged by Man Time Between Men, and the fact that inevitably she either presents as too feminine to get ahead or too manly for people to like.
Now I would like to speak directly to my male readers who feel unjustly treated by the widespread suppression of men’s rights: Get over it, you bunch of pussies.
I know he chose the word "pussy" to mean "weak and pathetic," but the fact that it means "weak and pathetic, like a vagina is, haw haw" kinda jumps out at me here. One of the most common insults on Men's Rights websites for a man who's seen as giving in to feminism is "mangina." The worst thing a man can be is a woman.
No one ever insults me by calling me a cock, a tomboy, or telling me I've got my boxers in a twist. I mean, not that I exactly want them to, but I'm just noticing.
The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone. You don’t argue with a four-year old about why he shouldn’t eat candy for dinner. You don’t punch a mentally handicapped guy even if he punches you first. And you don’t argue when a women tells you she’s only making 80 cents to your dollar. It’s the path of least resistance. You save your energy for more important battles.
I don't need to carefully deconstruct this, do I? It's... it's kinda out there. God damn.
I will say that Scott Adams always likes to fancy himself a master manipulator, someone who totally knows people and always thinks in terms of how people will take what he's saying and how his words are engineered not to express himself but to produce results. In that case, you'd think he'd have picked up that just maybe this wasn't the right metaphor to use.
I don’t like the fact that the legal system treats men more harshly than women. But part of being male is the automatic feeling of team. If someone on the team screws up, we all take the hit. Don’t kid yourself that men haven’t earned some harsh treatment from the legal system. On the plus side, if I’m trapped in a burning car someday, a man will be the one pulling me out. It’s a package deal. I like being on my team.
That "team" stuff is just fluff and bullshit. Tell me about the great "teams" formed between rich white men and poor men of color sometime--because if you're in the former group, very often the legal system is suddenly magically able to overlook your maleness. If you're in the latter group you're a whole lot likelier to take one for the team, rah rah rah. Go team.
Also, he's right about the burning cars, because it's fucking impossible for women--and I'm talking here about women who pass the physical qualifications with no modifications, women who can run and crawl with a charged hose and drag a 150-pound dummy solo--to get hired as firefighters. She just doesn't fit into the station culture, or she looks like she might not be strong enough regardless of her physical results, or she's great but I'm old frat buddies with that other applicant. (It's also yet another job that only lets you have children if you have a very accommodating partner at home.)
I've dragged a whole lot of people out of non-burning but quite smashed cars, though. And when you go from your burning car to the ER and the burn unit it'll be largely female nurses and aides caring for you. I think that gets us a spot on the goddamn team.
I realize I might take some heat for lumping women, children and the mentally handicapped in the same group. So I want to be perfectly clear. I’m not saying women are similar to either group. I’m saying that a man’s best strategy for dealing with each group is disturbingly similar. If he’s smart, he takes the path of least resistance most of the time, which involves considering the emotional realities of other people.
I'm not saying they're similar, just that you should treat them with the same detachment, condescension, and complete disregard of their words and actions. And understand that all their grievances are really just emotional lady things and they really just need a "yes, dear" and a hug! So that's comforting.
Also if you're such an expert at considering emotional realities you might have found an analogy that was a bit less emotionally provoking, eh?
A man only digs in for a good fight on the few issues that matter to him, and for which he has some chance of winning. This is a strategy that men are uniquely suited for because, on average, we genuinely don’t care about 90% of what is happening around us. I just did a little test to see if I knew what pajama bottoms I was wearing without looking. I failed.
I started this fisk by talking about how men and women aren't opposed to each other, but are actually facing some of the same enemies, and what a wonderful example. Women can't be reasoned with so their rights don't matter, but men are oblivious lumps so their rights don't matter. As so often happens, misogyny and misandry aren't opposites, they're friends!
That was the original post. Now the part where he gets, as they say in slightly sexually-troubling Internet parlance, butthurt.
This weekend the top twitter meme in the solar system, at least for a few hours, involved Feminist blogs calling me an ignorant, misogynist asshole. Meanwhile, over on the Men's Rights blogs, I'm being called a wussy, asshole, douche bag.
So he said things dismissive and insulting to both men and women, and both men and women took offense, and poor snookums had to deal with some nasty mean words. No part of this post is an apology, just a "clearly you didn't understand my genius, also you hurt my feewings."
I thought it would be funny to embrace the Men's Rights viewpoint in the beginning of the piece and get those guys all lathered up before dismissing their entire membership as a "bunch of pussies." To be fair, they have some gripes worthy of discussion, especially on legal issues. But I'm been experiencing a wicked case of "whiner fatigue." It feels as if everyone in the world is whining about one damn thing or another. In normal times, I can tune it out. But lately the backdrop has been world class problems on the order of financial meltdowns, tsunamis, nuclear radiation, and bloody revolutions. THOSE are problems. Your thing: Not so much.
Ah, the old "there are children starving in Africa, so who cares if your boss pinches your ass, you're lucky to have a job" argument. Good for shutting down any discussion about anything. Hey Scott Adams, why are you wasting time defending yourself on your blog when there are CHILDREN STARVING IN AFRICA?
Regular readers of my blog know that the goal of my writing is to be interesting and nothing else. I'm not trying to change anyone's opinion, largely because I don't believe humans can be influenced by exposure to better arguments, even if I had some. But I do think people benefit by exposure to ideas that are different from whatever they are hearing, even when the ideas are worse. That's my niche: something different.
Actually, "men should just man up and ignore women's stupid little complaints about their periods or whatever they're complaining about" isn't different at all. It's depressingly similar to shit I hear every day.
And enough with the "no, I wasn't saying the things I was saying, and you're a fool for thinking that." If you're in the habit of just saying words to make word-juice, and aren't actually advocating the things you're openly advocating, you need to hold up a little sign or something.
A few people appreciated the meta-joke of removing the post. If you didn't get it, read the deleted post, consider the feminist backlash, then think about the fact that I took down my post and ran away.
It's not a meta-joke, though. It's a meta-insult. The message of "ugh, women and their woman problems aren't even worth dealing with" is not something that gets better when it gets meta-er.
I also didn't predict that critics would reprint the post one component at a time so they could dissect it, which has the fascinating effect of changing the humorous tone to something hideous. Humor requires flow and timing. A frog isn't much of a frog after you dissect it.
Oh, I see. His brilliance is simply too holistic, too crystalline to be understandable when broken into mere sentences. Fisking isn't a way of addressing individual points in a way that's comprehensible and amusing for readers, it's tampering with his comic art.
I linked to the whole post at the top, though, so you can read it in the perfect intact state its creator intended. Tell me if you think it's funny. Like, even if you turn off the critical-thinking part of your brain and don't analyze it ideologically at all, just as a piece of writing, is it even funny? It really doesn't read as someone being amusing. It could really fool ya for someone saying what he thinks.
Next came the labeling. Once the piece had been reprinted on feminist blogs, the "with us or against us" instinct took over. I clearly wasn't supporting every element of the Feminist movement, and therefore I was presumed an enemy and labeled a misogynist. I was also labeled an asshole, which I have come to understand is a synonym for male.
Oh for fuck's sake. He compared us to children and people with mental retardation, and he thinks our problem with him is "gosh, you just don't like men"?
But perhaps I can summarize my viewpoint so you can understand why I'm such a misogynist asshole douche bag. Here's my view in brief:
You can't expect to have a rational discussion on any topic that has an emotional charge. Emotion pushes out reason. That is true for all humans, including children, men, women, and people in every range of mental ability. The path of least resistance is to walk away from that sort of fight. Men generally prefer the path of least resistance. The exception is when men irrationally debate with other men. That's a type of sport. No one expects opinions to be changed as a result.
Funny thing is, he's kind of got a point here. Changing people's minds on controversial topics is a hell of a thing. It does happen, but slowly, and generally not through direct argument. Debating, and particularly blog-debating, is the fine art of preaching to the choir.
Gosh, somehow I managed to say that without saying that women get less money because they deserve less and men should ignore their childish whining. Guess I'm just pithy.
To the best of my knowledge, no one who understood the original post and its context was offended by it. But to the women who were offended by their own or someone else's interpretation of what I wrote, I apologize.
"In conclusion, if you don't love me, you just don't understand me. But if you got angry because you didn't understand me, I'm very sorry that you got angry."
Scott Adams sure is a master manipulator of the human mind.