Elliot Rodger killed six people. Already, there are articles citing his “disturbing internet footprint”. Elliot Rodger killed six people, and his internet habits are not unique in the least. In fact, a cursory glance at any comments board on any page on the internet, will show you the disturbing internet footprint of countless young men. Elliot Rodger is not an anomaly, Elliot Rodger is the inevitable conclusion of believing you are owed the world, owed affection, and that you own women. Violence is always the inevitable conclusion of believing a man is above women and simultaneously threatened by women.
It is the paradox of male identity crystallized in the pick up artist community, but is a concept that is at the heart of sexist traditional masculinity. Rape threats are met with shrugs. Men use rape as the only tool of complete psychological impotence. Whether as a threat of violence or as actual physical violence, it is the only act that can not be checked by calm, rational discussion. No debate can stop violence, call-out culture can’t stop violence. Asking your brother, friend, acquaintance to not make rape threats, won’t stop violence. And so all our discussions about violence face the same dilemma – powerlessness. There are wolves in society, and lambs look no less appetizing after a lecture on rape-culture.
Rape is used in the animal kingdom by males who are unable to compete effectively to spread their genes. But in modern society, where procreation must be sublimated to distorted hyper-sexuality, the most base impulses still remain. When men are faced with their own obsolescence they react in the same way as out-competed males in the animal kingdom. What is more useless than an animal who’s genes won’t thrive? What is more useless than a man who’s believes he alone will inherit the earth, and that he earned it, when he finds out it’s all bullshit?
Many will call him a misogynist, but misogyny isn’t like a dude who converted to Islam. He is as much of a misogynist, as he is also an American. These colors don’t run, because these colors run the world. We are all misogynist, because to function in a broken system, one must bend to the system. The nails that stick out, get hammered down. The narrative of success is the story of the White Man, and sure, you can have your own success stories, but best believe when they make your “Based on a True Story” film, it’ll be directed by a white man, written by a white man, and possibly your part will be played by a white man. We must all break ourselves, break our identities, to succeed in America.
I wrote before how I need feminism to try my best to not be as much of misogynist. In fact, not too long after I wrote that piece, I had someone write me to tell me that everything I wrote was bullshit, cause they knew for sure multiple instances where I was a sexist pig. But that’s exactly the point, there’s no one out there who’s gonna win the gold star for Best Feminist. And if you’re a dude, you most certainly don’t deserve any accolades for trying your best to not be your worst. It is precisely the worst of us, who will do the most harm. It is the worst of me, who I’ll have to apologize for. It is the worst of all men, that we have to be forced to choose between believing the masculine worst of ourselves, or the feminine weakness of ourselves. The dichotomy of masculinity MAN UP or PUSSY OUT. When you’ve chosen from this rigged system, you find that you’ve been ripped off.
But this is part of the public conversation of “What/Who’s a feminist?” On the outside, the public perception is completely wrong, Feminism equals Misandry. On the inside, Feminism is constantly policed from within on a checklist of “Are you or have you ever been, a member of the Misogynist party?” If you don’t got your papers in order, your feminism is revoked. All we are left with is Feminism as another meme. A meme that does nothing more but propagate itself like a virus. When years and years of academic discussions of racism/sexism/any-ism gets condensed to soundbites, 140 character tweets, and tumblr reblogs, we are no longer effecting change. We are now the problem. Feminism has failed every single time a guy decides to say “I prefer to call myself a Humanist,” when that dude is more likely to call himself a WWF fan on a job resume. The conversation is not reaching the population. In fact, I believe the conversation is becoming more and more insular.
Feminism has failed when half the discussion during any news bit with a feminist, is spent discussing “Why the word feminist?” To me, it’s the equivalent of asking a trans person about their genitals, every. fucking. time. there’s any news about a trans person that isn’t their murder or humiliation.
The meme-ification of -Isms, means there’s no actual analysis of our own positions. We are right, they are wrong. There’s also never any exposure of our vulnerabilities. There’s no examination of the enemy, and let me be bold, but a man killed six women because he was lonely yesterday. The enemy is real, and we’re losing. Many people slam the Pick Up Artist community, myself included. But I don’t know how many conversations I’ve had with people who have never read one pick-up artist book, or hung out with a pick up artist, or had any kind of conversation with one that didn’t start out with the premise that they were gross and sexist. The most famous book, “The Pick Up Artist — the New and Improved Art of Seduction,” is at its core a sales marketing manual repackaged with sexist terminology. It is genius marketing in itself, because sex doesn’t sell (the porn industry is bleeding since porn went free) sexism sells. Get rid of the sexist coat of paint, and you have the concept of negging, and girls be like “DOES THAT EVER WORK ON ANYONE?” The answer is yes and no. When you’ve got a product to sell, even if it’s the same old shit as last year, you tell them that their dishes aren’t clean enough, their linens aren’t white enough, their skin isn’t young enough, their waist isn’t thin enough. Every single ad directed at women is a form of negging. And the advertisers have proven that yes, it does work on enough people to make a profit.
Elliot Rodger is the death of the salesman. But rather than running out and killing himself to exercise some degree of control over his life, the new Willy Loman goes out and blasts some people before leaving the stage. Willy Loman in Boston, Willy Loman in Sandy Hook, Willy Loman in Virginia Tech, Willy Loman in Aurora, Willy Loman in Columbine. A society-wide delusion, that all men are created equal, that all men have earned their position, that all men are glorious. Every time it happens, we have a discussion on gun laws. Pointless — a man will find a way to kill six people because he is lonely, with or without a gun. We have a discussion about misogyny. Pointless – we are all misogynists and the individual agents are as obsolete as paper-encyclopedias. We’ll focus on the lone gunman. We have a discussion about feminism. Pointless — a lone gunman isn’t listening. He has tuned out from any conversation, years ago.We get so stuck on having a conversation about the conversation, that dudes go their whole lives without ever considering “Do you want all mothers to be treated how you love your mother? Do you want all sisters to be treated how you love your sister?” I am careful to say, not how they treat their mothers or treat their sisters, but how they love them. We never have the conversation about how we fail ourselves and others, because the way we treat people is different than how we love them. If you’re a dude that calls himself a humanist, then you have to start treating women as human. Humanism should be enough, but it isn’t. “All men are created equal” still found plenty of room to not include most men, women, and children.
Elliot Rodger made a series of videos, put them on the internet, so that someone would listen. He was lost in the background noise of all the other men who are just as vile as he. He was lost in the static between radio stations. We are out there, as lonely as a Numbers Station, rattling off a series of cryptic messages that only the recipients can understand. To an outsider, the Numbers Station is eerie and disturbing. We are paranoid about its function, suspicious that it must be sinister. Many Numbers Stations use the voice of a woman or a child, which makes it even more unsettling. A man makes a youtube video, “Why do girls hate me so much?” and many will try to reply and answer, and now seek to explain why he answered himself with a gun, after killing six others.He didn’t just kill six people. He killed 4 men, 2 women. Misogyny doesn’t mean he just hated women, he hated other men just as much. He called them losers. In the cruel arithmetic of his mind, the women were simply objects. “Why did these objects hate me?” not “I hate these objects.” He still coveted them. The men, they didn’t have his looks, his $300 shades, his BMW, his clothes. All objects. He killed the owners of objects, then killed himself, because he owned the one thing every man has to get rid of — virginity. It all adds up, not just to him, but for so many men, that we aren’t worth anything at all. But if we’re supposed to be at the top, you lose faith in everything else. Nothing is worth anything if i’m worthless. A voice that is not worth listening to, “mansplaining.” But until feminism finds a way to reach the most vile, we remain sheeps to the slaughter.How do we try to elevate ourselves from the position of livestock? How do we lower ourselves to speak in the language of a savage? This is what is missing from any discussion, from every conversation where we end up speaking past each other. For me, I drop the academic parlance. I’m not a women’s studies major, I’m not even a college graduate. I drop the moral high ground. I’m not good at “examining my own privilege” cause that’s the goddamn privilege of privilege.
I drop the language-policing. I don’t care if you say racist or sexist shit around me if we’re homies, being offensive is often a bonding experience for any groups of people, and context can’t be forgotten every time I hear a word I don’t like. It’s not up to me to tell you how to act, it’s only up to me to show you how I act. We’d like to believe that if we simply took out all the offensive words from our language, we’d suddenly be a nicer group of people. That’s fucking idiotic. The offensive word treadmill will always continue. No one cares that I just used the word “idiot,” because we found a newer word to be offended about. It’s why I don’t use the term “People of Color” because i’m not an alien from another planet. I’m a very light brown, I’m not some color chart you buy at the paint store. And when a grandma says “colored person” to describe a black person, I don’t have very good logic to explain why “Colored Person” and “Person of Color” exist as polar opposites on the acceptable terminology scale. All I have is the history, and the knowledge that in 50 years, we might be saying “Melanin-deficient” to describe a Caucasian.
I drop out of calling people out. Even when I’ve done it, I know that it’s 100% about me and never about who I’m calling out. When Brendan McCarthy (a comics dude) said some racist shit, yeah, I “called him out,” but not because I particularly cared that he said some racist shit, but because he was drawing the covers to the comic I was working on. Cash rules everything around me, CREAM, Get the dummy, don’t bother my dollar bills y’all. I won’t ever pretend that I want to change his mind, that I will change his mind, or that I’ve helped make the world a better place. I’ll call someone out if it affects my day-to-day life, because being offended is not about making change. Being offended is about me. Its not enough to just be offended. Congratulations on doing nothing. Being offended doesn’t mean you care. Actions are the only things that create change, and no, twitter doesn’t count. I’m only as much of an “activist” as “How can I draw this comic differently according to my beliefs?” Thats as much as I care about any issue. I’ve got no authority on this subject.
I drop the qualification selection, I’m not gonna ask you to explain to me why you won’t call yourself a feminist, even though when asked “Should women have equal rights as men?” your answer is “Yes.” The answer is all that fucking matters. I once was hanging out with three dudes. Two guys my age, one guy was in his forties/fifties. One guy from the east coast, the other two from the midwest. We were all out drinking beers, at a bar with a racist name, all talking about the shared experiences of different types of violence. Getting in a fight, having a fight for fun, getting hit by our fathers, and then, tragically, the oldest man spoke about getting beat and humiliated by his father and mother. It was disturbing to hear, but it was a necessary experience to learn for the rest of us, just kinda casually discussing some minor scuffles in our young lives. It was some real talk, and then the oldest man started dropping the N-bomb. I respected the guy, and he respected me, and so as a joke, I said how I voted for Obama because he was black (That’s actually true, but it was still phrased as a joke at the time). He went crazy! He asked me “I know you’re a smart guy, talking to you, I know you got your head on straight. But you must be lying. I know you’re not a liberal!” On and on. And so I asked him “Is it possible that talking to me is better proof of what a liberal is, than what you’ve decided in your head?” I’m a Cuban American from NJ, my mom is blacker than me, my dad is more spanish than me, i’m also mostly liberal, mostly straight, and if I spent the whole time explaining exactly what those all meant to me, he never would’ve been vulnerable to admit that the violence in his life should have never happened to anyone.What haven’t we learned, every time we tune out, turn off, drop the convo? For men, there’s a war going on inside, no one is safe from. Silence is a loaded gun.