Category Archives: GirlWritesWhat
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.
So FeMRA videoblogger Karen “GirlWritesWhat” Straughan flapped her gums for nearly two hours the other night and sounds came out. This time she wasn’t sitting at her kitchen table blabbing to a webcam about female “hypoagency” and regurgitating misremembered factoids about bonobos but was speaking to an audience of mostly white dudes at Ryerson University in Toronto Canada.
I don’t know how I missed it, but a couple of weeks back Vice posted a short video about that EARTH-SHATTERINGLY HISTORIC Men’s Rights rally in Toronto that captured the attention of
the world a tiny fraction of a percentage of people in the world (including the people at it and readers of this blog) a little over a month ago.
Alas, WordPress won’t let me embed the video here, but you all need to go look at it. Not only does it capture pretty well what a dinky event it was, but it also contains a bunch of mini-interviews with some A Voice for Men folks that are rather revealing.
The most revealing one of the bunch starts about 2:40 into the video, when AVFM’s Suzanne McCarley explains that
Nick Reading of Men’s Rights Edmonton: “If they didn’t scream [no], how else would I get an erection?”
So a helpful Twitterer told me that I was a frequent topic of conversation on A Voice for Men’s Honey Badger “radio” show last night — that’s the one hosted by Karen Straughan (Girl Writes What) and Alison Tieman (Typhon Blue) and a newer addition to AVFM’s FeMRA stable named Della Burton. Bored, I went over to take a listen to the archived show. Well, bits and pieces of it, anyway. Life is short, and every minute of this show felt about an hour long.
Anyway, I missed most of whatever it was they said about me, but I did manage to force myself to sit through a good chunk of the segment featuring none other than Nick Reading, the guy who’s running a joke campaign for city council of Edmonton Alberta as the “Patriarchy Party” candidate. You know, the dude we talked about just yesterday.
The gals did their best to play along with his over-the-top patriarchal schtick, proclaiming themselves submissive inferior females unworthy of his manly phallus, and so on. It was as gratingly unfunny as you might imagine, and it went on and on. Even the Honey Badgers, perhaps wondering if this whole segment wasn’t a rather apt metaphor for their own role within A Voice for Men and the Men’s Rights movement at large, couldn’t quite bring themselves to laugh at any of Nick’s, er, humor.
At least not until, about 49 minutes into the show, he brought out the rape jokes.
Take a listen:
Paul “The Thought of Fucking Your Shit Up Gives Me an Erection” Elam, meet Nick “If They Didn’t Scream No, How Else Would I Get an Erection” Reading.
In case you weren’t able to make all that out, due to the clear-as-mud sound engineering job of AVFM’s James Huff — you may remember him as the guy responsible for this amazing rant — I have transcribed the exchange below as best I could, cutting out a few repeated phrases and ignoring some remarks that got buried under other remarks.
Nick Reading: No never means no. It only means yes. That’s an understanding that we have within the patriarchy.
Karen Straughan: It is.
Alison Tieman: That’s true. Actually “no” should be stricken from the English language because it simply makes no sense. How could any woman ever say no to the holy phallus unless she was criminally insane?
Nick: Criminally insane, yes.
Della Burton [?]: Criminally, yes.
Karen: But, but we shouldn’t strike “no” from all the dictionaries and the lexicons of language simply because there are numerous times in the course of a day when a man loves to say “no” to a woman.
Nick: I would almost insist on striking it from the non-male vernacular but if they didn’t scream it, how else would I get an erection?
Della [?]: Oh my goodness.
Karen: Right, you’re right.
Della: I hadn’t even thought of that.
Karen: So no is still in.
A Voice for Men: Promoting Human Rights, One Rape Joke at a Time
EDITED TO ADD: Below, a video on YouTube about this episode of Honey Badger radio, which not only looks at the show itself but at what was going on in the official chatroom for the show at the time, which turns out to be even creepier than the stuff said by Nick Reading on the show itself.
Along with the standard MRA misogyny from some of AVFM’s regulars, there were bizarre sexualized comments directed at the so-called Honey Badgers themselves: one commenter went on at length about how he wanted to use Karen Straughan’s breast milk in his coffee (and spike her coffee with his semen). Palani provides screenshots and everything. Some of her commentary is a bit problematic — she refers to them as “retards” at one point — but if you’ve got 15 minutes it’s worth a watch.
[VIDEO REMOVED BY REQUEST OF VIDEOMAKER]
GirlWritesWhat’s delusional defenses of MGTOW misogyny. Also: Mary Daly, and why the moon is not a potato.
So yesterday I had a strange conversation, of sorts, with blabby FeMRA videoblogger Karen Straughan, aka GirlWritesWhat, via private message on Reddit.
Given that, in the recent WoolyBumblebee controversy, she put herself in the position of defending Men Going Their Own Way against WBB’s mostly accurate attacks on them, I found myself wondering what she might think of my post yesterday on the MGTOWers who felt it was appropriate to let a four-year-old-girl drown because she might grow up to be the next Betty Friedan or even the next — gasp! — Amanda Marcotte.
I was especially interested in what she might have to say about MGTOW elder Zed, the friend and mentor of her A Voice for Men boss, Paul Elam; in the MGTOWforums discussion, you may recall, he was firmly in the “don’t rescue little girls” camp.
Sometimes the subtext is much more interesting than the text. On the surface, blabby FeMRA videoblogger Girl Writes What’s recent 3,635 word blog post on the l’affaire TheWoolyBumblebee is a nasty, brutish, but not-at-all-short attack on her former FeMRA comrade at men’s rights hate site A Voice for Men, recently kicked out of the clubhouse for telling off libertarians and Men Going Their Own Way. (See here and here for more details on it all.)
But if you read a little more carefully you can see signs that Girl Writes What’s anger and frustration may really be directed at AVFM’s founder and grand pooh-bah Paul Elam.