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The jig is up. I and my collaborators have kept it secret for a long time now, but for reasons I will explain in a moment, I feel I need to come clean about this now, before it is too late:
I created Paul Elam.
That is: “Paul Elam” is a character created and developed by me and my friend Paul Henderson, an amazing improvisatory actor who has taken on the task of playing “Elam” in YouTube Videos, radio shows, and on a few occasions in the real world as well.
I first came up with the character of “Paul Elam” — “Elam” is just “male” spelled backwards — some seven years ago after reading Warren Farrell’s Myth of Male Power and wondering what an updated version of Farrell would look like today as a YouTube ranter. I brought the idea to my friend Paul Henderson, a feminist comedian who was already doing an “angry white man” character in his comedy act.
After a bit of workshopping, we created “Paul Elam” and his “Happy Misogynist” YouTube channel. I wrote the scripts, and Henderson read them out. As time went on and as Henderson got more into his new alter ego, he began adding bits of dialogue of his own. Sometimes when he got too deep into his character of “Paul Elam” he started to scare me a little.
After some success on YouTube and at Men’s News Daily, we decided to set up A Voice for Men. Shortly afterwards I set up Man Boobz, mainly as a way to promote AVFM and generate traffic for “Elam’s” site.
Since then, things have just snowballed. Henderson put me in touch with an amazing group of Canadian improv comedians called the Pouteenagers and the characters of Girl Writes What, John The Other, Typhon Blue, and DannyBoy were born.
Not all of those at AVFM are in on the gag. Dean Esmay for example, is completely sincere, as are most of the recent additions to the AVFM roster.
Up until about a month ago, the whole “Paul Elam”/A Voice for Men project seemed to be going swimmingly, generating buzz — and even a good deal of cash, much of which we have been donating to an assortment of feminist charities.
We kept piling absurdity on absurdity — like adding “human” to “men’s rights activist” to become “men’s human rights activist” — but no one ever guessed that it was all an elaborate prank! We were prepared to let the whole thing run for at least another year, getting sillier and sillier, before fessing up in a joint press conference with me and “Elam.”
But something terrible seems to have happened to my old friend Paul Henderson. After 7 years of playing “Paul Elam,” he seems to have become lost in the character he and I have created. Paul Henderson, in other words, has become Paul Elam.
He used to joke with April Fulieu, our makeup wiz, about how horrified he was each time he looked in the mirror and saw “Elam” staring back at him. But after we shot the last video with him he refused to let April take the makeup off, and when she went to tell me about this he fled out the back door of the studio.
We haven’t heard from him since. At least not as Paul Henderson.
I’m not sure what to do. He’s changed all the passwords on the AVFM server, so I can’t shut it down from my end, and I haven’t been able to contact any of the Pouteenagers either. I worry they too may have gone over to the dark side as well.
I can only hope that by posting this I can give him the wake-up call he needs – or at least arouse enough suspicion that the “sincere” AVFMers will confront him and possibly jar him back to reality.
He’ll deny it all, of course.
But at some point his fake beard will fall off.
That’s what I’m counting on, really.
In an apparent attempt to prove that they’re not misogynists, the folks at A Voice for Men have decided to take a temporary break from their practice of vilifying individual female activists to vilify a male activist – University of Toronto Student Union VP for University Affairs Munib Sajjad.
As far as I can tell, the folks at A Voice for Men decided to target Sajjad, perversely, because he told Toronto’s CityNews that he was afraid he was “going to be targeted” after announcing publicly that he thought a campus Men’s Rights group should be banned. The A Voice for Men post about Sajjad is a typically long-winded, and largely content-free, rant from the excitable John Hembling (“John The Other”).
But what’s more disturbing than Hembling’s empty bloviating on Sajjad is the way A Voice for Men has framed the attack. “Munib Sajjad, it’s your turn in the barrel,” the headline declares, and Hembling repeats the phrase “your turn in the barrel” in the post itself.
I wasn’t familiar with this phrase, so I looked it up, and found that it derives from a rape joke. Here’s the definition of the term, from Urban Dictionary:
To say someone is “in the barrel” or “taking a turn in the barrel” means it’s their turn to do an unpleasant task or to suffer an unpleasant experience.
Click on the “definition” link above to see the gang rape joke it’s derived from.
Rape jokes aimed at men — even men you don’t like — are certainly a, well, counterintuitive way of showing “compassion for boys and men,” as the A Voice for Men slogan has it.
EDITED TO ADD: Looking again at Hembling’s piece, I realize I hadn’t noticed his, er, argument that the term “mansplaining” — which I find useful from time to time — is somehow equivalent to the incredibly offensive term “[racial slur redacted]splaining,” which Hembling has just made up. (The slur in question starts with an “n.” You can figure it out.) This is ridiculous on its face, not to mention that it’s frankly racist not only to compare the alleged oppressions of men — who are not systematically oppressed — with those of black people — who are — but also to use a racial slur in doing so. Of course this isn’t the first time that A Voice for Men has used the n-word in an attempt to suggest that men, collectively, have it as bad as a historically disadvantaged and still systematically oppressed group.
Rape jokes and racial slurs: A Voice for Men has it all!
For MRAs, Valentine’s Day is “a socially coerced day of hyper-entitlement for a generation of princess leeches.”
Happy Valentine’s Day Boycott Day! Every year on Valentine’s Day, MRAs around the world unite in a sacred ritual: the annual Valentine’s Day Blaming of the Ladies parade.
For, you see, Valentine’s Day is little more than a plot by the ladies to extract fancy chocolate and diamonds and other pricey romantic goods from the world’s men. That’s why, for the past I’m-not-going-to-look-up-the-number of years, the lady hating radio personality Marc Rudov has been trying to get other men to boycott the holiday to show the ladies of the world what’s what.
Uh oh! Do I sense a manosphere civil war coming on? Over on MGTOWforums, some of the regulars are spitting mad at A Voice for Men. In a thread with the lovely title “So it begins: AVfM diluted by cuntspeak,” the MGTOWer calling himself fairi5fair takes aim at a recent post by – get this! – a woman on AVFM.
Paul Elam on “stupid lying whores,” Rebecca Watson, and how he never claims to be a victim even though he totally is one.
In the fast-paced, perpetually busy world of today, we don’t all have time to read every post on A Voice for Men. So here is an edited version of Paul Elam’s latest post, on Rebecca Watson of Skepchick. And whores. And how he personally doesn’t spend all his time claiming to be a victim, even though he totally is one, in case you forgot since the last time he reminded you of that.
Whores … typical whore … Main Street walking, garden variety anybody’s whore … honest whore. … corporate whore … corporate whores … whorish sexual symmetry … stupid whore … stupid whore … whore … lying whore … whore … lying whore … whore … lying whore … corporate whore … a lying whore can also be a corporate whore … whoring for the cause … whore … PZ Myers … stupid, lying whore … not just a lying whore who also happens to be a stupid whore … a different subspecies of whore altogether … stupid, lying whore … whore that rigorously abandons intellect, rationale, evidence, decency and compassion, and also fosters much deserved hostility toward themselves … stupid, lying whore … stupid, lying whore … .
Paul Elam, meet Tom Martin.
No, women aren’t better than men. But the guys at A Voice for Men are doing their best to make it seem that way.
Roger Ebert recently wrote a well-intentioned but misguided faux-feminist blog post setting forth the thesis that “Women are better than men.” Here’s the gist of it, from his opening paragraph:
Women are nicer than men. There are exceptions. Most people of both sexes are probably fairly nice, given the nature of their upbringing and opportunities. But in terms of their lifelong natures, women are kinder, more empathetic, more generous. And the sooner more of them take positions of power, the better our chances as a species.
Here’s how to respond appropriately to this sort of argument, courtesy of Jill at Feministe:
I love me some Roger Ebert, but this is a big piece of crap. His point basically comes down to, “Women are nurturing and wonderful and non-violent, men are competitive and want to see boobs, because Evolution.” … Most people are capable of great kindness; most people are capable of being total assholes. The degree to which any of us displays any of these traits depends largely on circumstance and partly on individual personality and temperament. Those things are certainly influenced by gender, but our gender does not in fact hard-wire us to be nice or awful.
Here’s how to respond inappropriately to this sort of argument, courtesy of John the Other at A Voice for Men:
[Y]es, it’s another one of those articles. Men are bad, women are good, men are worse, women are better, men are the worst thing ever, and women are just the best, squee!!! …
Ebert, in his attempt to ingratiate himself to a mostly female audience has done what countless other approval seeking men have done. Simply, to metaphorically prostrate himself – declaring – look, I’m a good man, not like those other bad men, you see how I heap scorn on them and flatter you? Approve of me!…
Ebert’s male-abasing and false esteem is a tired and monotonous repetition of standard gender ideology.
Sing along with me, you all know the words!
Women are better then men!
Boom boom boom!
They do everything better than them!
Boom boom boom!
Ladies are generally nicer!
Quack quack quack!
Their thoughts and feelings are higher!
Quack quack quack!
Girls and women are smarter!
Bing! Bang! Smash!
To keep up, men must try harder!
Clang! Bang! Bash!
Well, there’s a thoughtful argument.
Naturally, the commenters at AVfM are happy to join in the fun.
Shrek6 trots out the old “we hunted the mammoth” argument:
[E]verything on this earth from the knickers these women wear on their fat buts, all the way through to just about every single thing they touch in their day, up to and including homes, buildings, cars, trains, rockets, and the food they stuff down their throats, has all been either invented or produced by those useless ‘less than’ human, men. What a waste of space those men are!
Yep, I can feel a man strike coming on.
If all the men and boys in this world pulled the pin and sat on their buts for a month, the world would come to a grinding halt and anarchy would reign. All the women would be seen crying, screeching at men with gnashing teeth. Then they would eventually come begging.
Yep, that day is coming to these over indulged women. That day is coming!
Andybob, meanwhile, offers this analysis of what he sees as the gender enemy:
There are four main categories of women:
1) Women who care about the men in their lives, but never make the connection that their naked misandry contributes to the misery of these men. Most of those women who whooped and cackled when RegisterHer lifer, Sharon Osborne, expressed delight when an innocent man was genitally mutilated belong in this category. They would not have cackled quite so much if someone had brutalised their sons. Other women’s sons? No problem. It has ever been thus: white feather campaign in WWI.
2) Women who may pay lip service to caring about the men in their lives, but in reality, see them in the same way they see all other men – as utility objects to be manipulated and exploited. Such women don’t think of the men in their lives at all, except when they want something from them.
3) Feminists. These range from the mild (man-hating bigots), to the radical (man-hating bigots who advocate genocide and eugenics).
4) Women MRAs. These are rare women (I’ve never seen one, even in captivity), who regard men as actual people with collective and innate value. I can count them on two hands with fingers to spare.
Men have been struggling for many decades now with nary a peep from women. There is a reason for this.
They don’t care.
Feminism has provided today’s pampered princesses with the privilege-stuffed, consequence-free Nirvana that they believe they’re entitled to. Do you really think they can be swayed with reason and logic? Have you ever tried to discuss men’s rights with women? They will show concern for some imaginary, hypothetical female from some Third World country before they give two shits about the son, brother or friend standing in front of them. …
We are in a battle against a powerful, well-financed and establishment-supported entity which has succeeded in stealing our rights in every sphere. This has been done with the silent collusion of vast numbers of women. As such, a few “derogatory remarks” are the least they deserve.
Guys, I hate to have to tell you this, but you’re sort of making it look like Ebert might have a point.
Happily, I know that you all are statistical outliers, and that your raving misogyny (while it may reflect views common amongst AVFM readers, as evidenced by the upvotes those comments got) doesn’t reflect the views of most men. Heck, even some Men’s Rights Redditors are getting sick of your bullshit.
The SPLC responds to MRAs critical of its report on the Men’s Rights movement [UPDATED w/ NEW LINKS]
Arthur Goldwag, the author of the SPLC’s recent report on hatred in the Men’s Rights movement, has now responded to some of the hysteria his article provoked amongst MRAs. As Goldwag notes, contrary to what most MRAs seemed to conclude from the report,
the SPLC did not label MRAs as members of a hate movement; nor did our article claim that the grievances they air on their websites – false rape accusations, ruinous divorce settlements and the like – are all without merit. But we didcall out specific examples of misogyny and the threat, overt or implicit, of violence.
Thomas James Ball, for example, who was hailed as a martyr on so many men’s rights forums, called for arson attacks on courthouses and police stations. The Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik wrote extensively about the evils of feminism. We included as much as we did about Register-Her.com because it is so intimidating to its targets, not all of whom are criminals. When Elam accused Vliet Tiptree, a pseudonymous contributor to RadFem Hub, of “calling for extermination of half the human race; the male half, that is,” he offered a cash reward for her real identity. The names and locations of several candidates were publically aired.
Goldwag also takes a look at some of the radical feminists that have become boogeywomen for so many MRAs, and deals with other MRA complaints.
If you’re a regular reader of Man Boobz you’ll want to read the whole thing.
The Men’s Rights subreddit has already linked to Goldwag’s article, which has provoked not only the predictable SPLC-bashing but also some criticism of A Voice for Men and Paul Elam.
Obviously Elam and other MRAs will respond to Goldwag’s latest as well. Post links in the comments below as you find them, and I’ll add them to this post.
EDITED TO ADD: And, right on schedule, AVfM responds to Goldwag’s response. It’s a John the Other post, so be prepared to read a lot of words saying not very much.
On his own blog, Goldwag responds to Mr. The Other.
Goldwag’s piece also got some criticism from the STFUfauxminists Tumblr blog for quoting a RadFem known for her transphobia.
I’ll add more links as I find them.
ETA 2: MORE LINKS