Rightbloggers: Santa Barbara Killer Elliot Rodger's Sexist Rants Have Nothing To Do With Sexism (Or Guns)
This weekend 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed six people and wounded 13 others near the University of California at Santa Barbara in Isla Vista. He left behind a video complaint -- with references to women who wouldn't have sex with him as "blonde slut[s]" and to himself as the "supreme gentleman" and "true alpha male" -- and other ravings that sound like a standard-issue friend-zoned nice-guy routine taken to its logical psychopathic conclusion.
Any reasonable observer would look at this and conclude Rodger had problems with women, at least women who unfairly chose to live their lives as autonomous humans without regard for his needs. Rightbloggers saw it differently. To them, it might have meant any number of things, but what it certainly didn't mean was that sexism exists.
Conservative opposition to feminism is as old as feminism and perhaps time itself, and can be explained as part of the general conservative opposition to any interest group in the modern Democratic coalition and/or by misogyny, depending on how generously you choose to view it.
During the current Democratic Administration, which has made a point of reaching out to women and in consequence been rewarded with enough female and female-friendly votes to stay in office, rightbloggers have grown particularly embittered toward what they perceive as liberals' disingenuous "war on women" rhetoric and the voteresses who are swayed by it (call it friendmandering!), and have lashed out at such gynarchic abominations as expanded birth control coverage by health care plans and Lena Dunham. Not to mention abortion, and please let's not.
For background, let's look at some recent rightblogger complaints about feminism. National Review's Jim Geraghty, leveraging the Jill Abramson controversy at the New York Times, last week told working women to "Cut Themselves Some Slack" -- that is, abandon the nonsensical idea that men might want to exploit them, because "this viewpoint may in fact hold women back," perhaps because male bosses can read their minds, or perhaps because no one likes a whining bitch.
In the same venue, OG rightblogger James Lileks raged against the #NotAllMen meme that, as explained by Vox, makes a joke of the cluelessness of men who barge into women's discussions of their experiences with men to interrupt or undercut them, which joke Lileks considered offensive -- in fact, early in his post Lileks expressed impatience with the task of addressing it: "Most men, at this point, have no interest in being beaten about the head with reminders of their awfulness," he claimed, "and move along to Jalopnik, where like-minded individuals are criticizing cars." Nonetheless Lileks went on for 1,300 more words of mansplanation ("Who says he's 'butting in'? Couldn't this be a response offered calmly after a broad mischaracterization?") and strawmanning ("Okay. A woman says, 'All men at heart are rapists.' A man responds..."), before throwing his hands up and bailing, presumably to look at Jalopnik or something equally butch, leaving the field to "men who want to have tendentious arguments about male perfidy with the sort of person who might want to put a 'trigger warning' on Winnie the Pooh because a reader might have a honey allergy...." We bet the ladies really missed him when he was gone.
Elsewhere one could find easily find rightblog items such as "The Moving Reason Dana Loesch Never Believed in Government-Run Healthcare, Even in Her Days as a Liberal Feminist" and "ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL ACTRESS WHO'S NOT A FEMINIST -- Exclusive: Molotov Mitchell profiles lady celebrities who like men." Yes, believe it or not, this was a thing; at NewsBusters Brent Bozell and Tim Graham claimed that a few actresses disowning feminism had "thrown the country's most uptight feminists into a tizzy," and that "many people don't accept the term 'feminist' because it sounds like a very serious kind of pagan religion... others find feminists to be boors," etc. One could also find articles about how Hillary Clinton might be too brain-damaged to serve as President (written by men who worshiped the dotard Reagan), etc.
On Saturday Rodger rampaged, and it's fair to say his ravings -- suffused as they were with male entitlement and rage at women -- would sound extremely misogynistic to any non-crazy listener. Sample:
I don't know why you girls aren't attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it...You will finally see that I am in truth the superior one. The true alpha male. (laughs) Yes. After I've annihilated every single girl in the sorority house, I will take to the streets of Isla Vista and slay every single person I see there. All those popular kids who live such lives of hedonistic pleasures while I've had to rot in loneliness for all these years. They've all looked down upon me every time I tried to go out and join them, they've all treated me like a mouse. Well now I will be a god compared to you.
We have only read part of Rodger's 140-page "manifesto," available online; the first several thousand words are stupefyingly dull, like a YA novel written by a robot, and chronicle his life from childhood -- when he was proud of climbing a big rock, ashamed at his divorced mother's place in downscale Canoga Park, and "really traumatized" at first seeing porn -- through puberty and the inevitable "volcanic eruption of white sticky fluid"; at that point we skipped ahead to Rodger's closing gurgles, which are pretty much what you'd expect ("a few women would be spared, however, for the sake of reproduction," etc).
Unsurprisingly women, who already have their hands full worrying about being killed by men they already know, were disturbed by this spectacular eruption of random violence by a misogynist asshole, and talked about it online. And what did rightbloggers think? They had a variety of views, but they shared a common theme: The massacre certainly had nothing whatsoever to do with any institutional hatred of women.
Richard Fernandez at PJ Media acknowledged that "Elliot had an enormous sense of entitlement and a paint-by-the-numbers view of the world." And where'd that sense of entitlement come from? "Whether he was born this way or the idea was subtly imprinted in childhood by his upbringing I leave to the pros," shrugged Fernandez. But he seemed open to a social explanation: "...I couldn't hate Elliot Rodger. He was too pathetic to hate, like a ventriloquist's dummy." And who was speaking for the dummy? "...on his last day of rage he was completely consumed by what in former times people called the Devil," wrote Fernandez. "But the Devil doesn't exist you know. Or so we are told. We've purged him from our modern, secular, shrink-ridden world..."
That's sarcasm, in case you didn't notice. "In the entirety of Rodger's account the one word never glimpsed was 'God', or an equivalent concept," preached Fernandez. "He lived in a world without the notation. Perhaps the Great Religions had a function we cynical moderns have long forgotten..." Well, there you go: It's not sexism, it's Satan. Fernandez never mentioned "misogyny" nor "sexism" in his essay -- though he managed to work in Benghazi.
"Colleges and Universities in this country helped cause the mass shooting," asserted Warner Todd Huston at Wizbang. You see, Rodger complained that he couldn't get sex -- and that's because colleges and universities have made students sex-crazy. "Unfortunately, that is what people have come to expect in college," reported Huston. "It is just a place to have sexual romps, not a place to learn. The colleges themselves reinforce this idiocy with foolish, anti-intellectual classes like 'porn studies,' gay 'studies,' and other such non-academic nonsense." In such classes, of course, students don't read or analyze anything, but merely fondle each others' genitals in new and interesting ways. It's an easy A!
"Colleges and universities stopped being places of learning when America's worst generation -- the yippies and other cretins from the 60s generation --successfully destroyed the authority of the college administration," continued Huston. Small wonder Rodger "expected that his every sexual fantasy would be fulfilled there," and that, when he couldn't get laid, he killed several people -- wouldn't you? Huston suggested that American business "eliminate the college education as a prerequisite for every last entry-level job," though he admitted doctors might need some book-learning, but "even that aside, we need to get sex out of education." Somewhere in eternity, Socrates is laughing his ass off.
A poster at Daily Kos, and other online writers, noticed that Rodger had frequented sites related to the pick-up artists (PUA) and men's rights activism (MRA) movements, two creep-clusters that are reliable dispensers of misogynistic crap. See, for reference, "Redditor's PUA Kickstarter Project Recommends Sexual Assault" and the easier-to-take PUA.txt Twitter feed, as well as this hair-raising MRM rant, "18 Things Females Seem To Not Understand (Because, Female Privilege)" ("6. Female privilege is being able to decide not to have a child." In some states, anyway!) and, well, just about anything at men-are-so-oppressed site A Voice for Men.
But Ann Althouse, a professor of law at the University of Wisconsin, cross-examined the Daily Kos article: "Subscribing to channels makes it somewhat likely that Rodger 'watched' and 'listened,' but we don't know that he did," she said. Furthermore, "is 'Men's Rights Movement' the right umbrella term for the 'pickup artist' genre?" she asked. "The goal of lots of sex is different from the goal of getting rights. These men want sex from women -- I take it --- not rights, which are something you get from the government." So PUAs are sort of like a dating advice site, and MRAs are sort of like the ACLU -- clearly they have nothing in common.
And where was this Daily Kos poster getting this misogyny stuff from? Althouse didn't see it. "So in [the poster's] fuzzy head, the pickup artists who want to bed scores of women using some fine 'game' they've worked out are supposed to 'hate' women, and a murderer who's been rejected by women hates women," she said, shaking her head -- imagine, pick-up artists hating women -- why, they're always trying to hug and kiss them! "And I guess men who've been stung by women and want some legal rights 'hate' women," she added. Did we mention Althouse is a professor of law?
Some rightbloggers went even further out.
"Elliot Rodger Wasn't a Misogynist," wrote Donald Douglas at American Power. "He was a misanthropist and narcissistic postmodern leftist." The proof: In his manifesto, before he fantasized about torturing women to death, he said he wanted to "inflict pain on all young couples." Since only men can actually feel pain, Rodger is exempt from misogyny. QED! (Douglas also wrote something called "The So-Called 'Men's Rights Movement' is a Far-Left Progressive Project," which has to be seen to be disbelieved -- well, okay, it doesn't have to be.)
"Curiously, American media outlets like the Chicago Tribune, NPR, CNN, and NBC LA have refused to name the suspect," wrote insurrectionist Bob Owens at Bearing Arms. Owens did not consider that these networks might have been waiting for confirmation before releasing that information; instead he fantasized that the press "seem to have circled the proverbial wagons around this son of Hollywood royalty in a protective measure... the gun control groups and the mainstream media are more interested in protecting the image of their progressive Hollywood allies than they are telling the story of what happened last night." So Hollyweird's to blame! "As George Orwell noted, 'Some animal are better than others,'" intoned Owens. "...You made your monster, Hollywood. No wonder your allies seem invested in covering it up to minimize the damage." Wow, sounds like a feller could get hisself killed in Hollyweird! Wonder why people would want to live there, when they could be bunking up in a nice survivalist compound.
All-caps aficionado Reliapundit of The Astute Bloggers yelled that since in his manifesto Rodger "ASSERTS THAT ALL POST-PUBESCENT 14-22 YEARS OLD SINGLE MALES MUST NOT BE MERE VIRGINS AND SHOULD BE HAVING LOTS OF SEX" and "THAT HUMANITY AS A WHOLE IS BAD AND DESERVES ANNIHILATION" which are "TENETS OF THE POSTMODERN LEFT," Rodger is a "PSYCHO SPEWING POSTMODERNIST CRAP," which exempts him from sexism or anything else of which a conservative might be accused.
"Another far left mass murderer," skreeed Jim Hoft at The Gateway Pundit. How so? "Elliot Rodger was a fan of the far left 'Young Turks' YouTube Channel. The Young Turks was one of his favorited channels. The Young Turk describes itself as 'a young progressive or insurgent member of an institution.' The host of the channel Cenk Uygur is a far left political activist and former MSNBC host." Deny his airtight logic, libs! Hoft didn't mention sexism, perhaps having exhausted his sympathy for females in his earlier post, "#WarOnWomen - Filthy Leftist Threatens to Shoot Dana Loesch in the C*nt #Tolerance."
At the same time, rightbloggers were also insisting that the slaughter, in which Rodger used a combination of guns and knives, had nothing to do with guns. "Desperate to draw a Larger Lesson from the deadly Santa Barbara shootings?" asked Patterico, whose reasoning was typical. "OK; but it should not be about gun control or pick-up artists." Case closed! "And yes, I saw the video footage (repeatedly) of the father of one of the victims blaming the NRA and congress for the death of his son," sighed Jazz Shaw at Hot Air. "...He's struck with grief and lashing out. If he chooses to later allow the Left to make him some sort of poster boy for gun control and puts himself on the playing field, we can revisit the subject." You get a pass for now, libtard victim's father!
17 months after Sandy Hook, we're all used to that "whatever happened, it can't be the guns" routine. That's why this "whatever happened, it can't be the misogyny" response to Rodger sounds familiar. In A Voice For Men's response -- which finds it "sad that feminists will take the dead bodies of innocent young people and parade them as evidence for something that doesn't exist and never has" (and is "Filed under: Gynocentrism") -- we also hear echoes of the NRA's who-us reactions to mass shootings.
It's interesting, though, that we don't hear it applied nearly as often to obvious misogynistic violence as we do to gun violence. Maybe it's because ignoring such violence entirely is the brethren's preferred modus operandi for making it go away. And maybe not just theirs.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.
- Feeling the Yern: Why One Millennial Woman Would Rather Go to Hell Than Vote for Hillary
Thu., Feb. 11, 7:00pm
Fri., Feb. 12, 7:00pm
Fri., Feb. 12, 7:00pm
Sun., Feb. 14, 12:30pm
- Rightbloggers Pivot to Rubio Before New Hampshire Because...It's His Turn?
- Breaking: Crane Collapses in Lower Manhattan, One Reported Dead