Don’t mention the manifesto…

supreme gentleman Another young, middle-to-upper class man has allegedly gone out in a blaze of indignation, taking a crowd of innocents along with him. And already, we have the interested parties, sifting through the news, trying to find something that disconfirms their enemies’ claims, or to dismiss, without much in the way of reason, inconvenient facts about politically charged violence.

This, seemingly without regard for either the victims, or future, potential victims of the same phenomena.

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Like other alleged, young, middle-to-upper class killers, Elliot Rodger has left behind a manifesto.

According to reports, Rodger wrote a 137-page tome, presented by email to his own mother. And Rodger was quite clear and candid in expressing his motivations, in the now infamous ‘Elliot Rodger’s Retribution’.

He’s the true “Alpha Male”; it’s women’s fault they didn’t find him attractive; “it’s an injustice [his not getting fucked]”; he’s the “supreme gentleman” (aka Nice Guy); women are things to be possessed… and if we fail to recognise these ideations as truths, Rodger will annihilate us, for we would surely have had more sex than him, or been an unpliable member of the wrong gender…

This is what Rodger flatly and plainly tells us, and it is littered with precisely the kinds of misogynistic ideations we see time and time again, online; the kinds that feminists have been warning us about for years.

And the responses from the usual quarters?

There are other factors the feminists are excluding – This is the stub, the base from which the other deflections grow. Yet you’d be hard pressed to get hold of a representative sample of feminists claiming that misogynistic ideations in isolation are the sole cause of misogynistic violence.

Also, we don’t always disregard manifestos in other instances of violence; are we for example, now to treat Anders Breivik’s manifesto as entirely irrelevant to his terrorism? I’m sure this would suit Pat Condell and Geert Wilders fans just a treat, but what about the rest of us? Are we going to measure the significance of a manifesto, or just ignore it?

What he needed was a therapist – Therapy and mental health care in general, are great things, but supporting them doesn’t oblige you to view all incidents of violence as preventable by therapy. Case in point; Rodger had a therapist.

He was probably just autistic or an Aspie – Autism doesn’t necessarily lead to violence, and often doesn’t even coincide with it. If you’re going to go down this road, then please demonstrate how autism is a reliable predictor of killing sprees, or at least save the speculative pseudo-science for another audience. Aspies and Auties have enough crap to put up with without the generation of even more stereotypes. Also; Rodger wasn’t autistic.

“Mr Astaire said Elliot had not been diagnosed with Asperger’s but the family suspected he was on the spectrum, and had been in therapy for years. He said he knew of no other mental illnesses, but Elliot truly had no friends, as he said in his videos and writings.” – Emphasis added.

(Joe Mozingo, LA Times, 2014)

It’s the general Zeitgeist of the thing… 1984…Orwell! TAKE THE RED PILL!!1! – Please, I’ve had enough.

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I almost forgot that particularly vile meta-criticism: Feminists are only pointing out the misogyny of Rodger’s manifesto to drive page hits! Outrage bloggers!*

Allow me to reply in kind…

Online misogyny is the stuff of loyal readers – provided you keep online misogynists wanting to like you. If you manage this, without giving enough of your contradictions to wedge them, you’ll have a loyal base, albeit an insular one, quite possibly with a limited future.

Every now and then, you’ll have to throw them a bone, and it will help if you accompany this with cries of victimhood when you’re inevitably criticised for it. In the case of Rodgers, the task is to deflect from the content of his manifesto so that MRAs, and associated haters-of-women, don’t have to relate too strongly with his alleged killings. Because let’s face it; politically, the points of the MRAs and of Rodger are very, very similar.

These are people who deny hating women while simultaneously blaming women for being raped, so you can imagine the cognitive dissonance caused when someone who is essentially one of their number allegedly puts political thought into action through murder.

My own turf, for this particular phenomena of apologetics, is among secular/atheist/humanist types, where people are generally happy to ascribe religious-ideological motivations to the 9/11 hijackers. These are also circles where there is a misogyny problem, and an MRA contingent, and a number of self-serving individuals willing to throw bones.

Now, if you’ve ever considered the manifesto of the 9/11 hijackers, or that of (again) Anders Breivik, or Timothy McVeigh, or a Papal encyclical, or any other political document, as being in any way motivating, you’re rather obligating yourself not to dismiss the content of Rodger’s manifesto out-of-hand. This I think is essentially a good way of spotting which ‘side’ is peddling the bullshit in this matter.

If you were to on the one hand, criticise a Papal decree, or a fatwa calling for violence, and yet on the other, dismiss the misogyny of Elliot Roger’s ‘Retribution’ as immaterial, then you’d be outing yourself as a hypocrite. You’d invite queries into your motivations, if not provide evidence for conclusions to be made.

Sure, it’s highly unlikely that any of the manifestos we’re talking about, in isolation, are entirely responsible for the actions of their proponents, but this isn’t what we’re talking about. What we are talking about is the categorical denial of the role of the manifesto, and in select cases (i.e. where politically convenient).

My assertion is that if not out of pure fear of being attacked by misogynists, then people are dismissing the idea of misogyny as being in any way causal, in order to appeal to misogynists, or to undermine the critics of misogynists for other political or personal purposes. While it may be intellectually dishonest, it is, it has to be confessed, probably a good way for crummy public speakers, and writers, to get gigs.

Some people love that shit.

~ Bruce

* As it happens, my blog posts on the topic have almost always been failures if judged in terms of internet traffic. If I’m supposed to get hits from “outrage blogging”, they are yet to manifest.

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