GQ and their comical hit piece on the MRM

24 Feb


The pictures kill me. Like seriously?!?!  Hey, let’s supersaturate the color and make them look really, really, super scary evil and terrifying and oh my god these guys are mass killer rapist woman beaters waiting to happen! Run, everybody! Ruuuuuuuuuuuun! Kudos to the photographer. He made Sage look badass. Lol. For those of us who actually know Sage, this is hysterical. No offense whatsoever to Sage, but he is a nerdy science geek who looks more likely to bust out a Scrabble board than a cheesy pick-up line and an attempted rape. Don’t get me wrong, Scrabble boards make me swoony, but Sage is pretty much the last guy to aggressively and forcefully hit on a woman he has just met.

Jeff interviewed me for this story, and I recall discussing Laura Mulvey’s theories of representation and the male gaze, and then economist David Graeber and how his concept of “bullshit jobs” is directly tied to women entering colleges and the labor market en masse.

Guess I should have grabbed his dick at some point during our interview so he would have something to write about?

My bad.

Paul’s take on the article is below.



Originally appeared at A Voice for Men

OK, so GQ has released its contribution to the recent parade of hack journalism about the Men’s Human Rights Movement. This particular balloon float of pristine yellow was inflated with hot air from writer Jeff Sharlet. I am afraid it won’t stay afloat long, at least to anyone capable of critical thought. Floats don’t do well when they are full of holes.

Jeff’s antics are plentiful in this unnecessarily long and wandering piece, dedicated to shaming men who see something rotten with modern feminism and painting them as the tried and true sexual threats in waiting that feminists are always wailing about. It will be best to make a few good articles in response; mercifully shorter and a good bit more honest.

Right now I want to address Sharlet’s anti-climactic attempt at playing the master “gotcha” when he shows up at my hotel room with Blair Braverman. Blair’s the girl that narrowly escaped the clutches of the sinister Sage Gerard earlier in the day when he almost raped her at the conference in front of (or maybe with the help of!) the Honey Badgers. Alas, another piece, another day.

Blair Braverman. When she is not the sidekick of a yellow journalist, she is marsupial

Sharlet shows up at my room late. He is sans the bottle of Maker’s 46 he has promised but he has Braverman in tow. Jeff, being the astute, journalisticky guy he is sets the tone by saying, “Elam is pleased by the entrance of another female.”

Oh really? Mr. Sharlet is in my head now? I suppose he is gifted or something. Clairvoyant maybe? Anyway, I say that just to make a point. Setting the scene of your story with the writer mindreading doesn’t work unless you are Stephen King. One pass through Sharlet’s article will confirm that is not the case. Jeff continues:

“He fixes her with a gaze that says, “I really want to listen to you.””

Well, at least he hinted at some reason to suppose what was in my mind, but it hardly seems remarkable. I seldom ask questions when I am not interested in the answer. That comes with warm and gushy “I really want to listen to you,” kind of vibe. But I have to pass on the gaze thing. Too many rounds of “evil male gaze” propaganda of late.

Jeff, courtesy of his mind and eye reading, has set up his scene now. He is going for the coup d’état, the inappropriate rape conversation….with a woman!

I’m curious,” Elam says. “What did your friends think when you told them you were coming here?”

“To be honest?” Blair asks. Elam nods. She says, “I had friends who said I’d get raped.”

Blink. You can almost see the struggle in Elam’s bones: Play the nice guy? Or the perv? No question. “All right!” he booms, swinging his arms together. “Let’s get started!”

Jazz winces.

“Get the video camera!” Factory yells at his girlfriend, who giggles weakly.

I should be very clear here: At no point does it seem like Elam or Factory is actually going to rape Blair. We know they’re joking. Just a couple of middle-aged guys joking around about rape with a young woman they’ve never met before in a hotel room at one in the morning.”

Yes Jeff, there we were, a couple of middle-aged guys, joking about rape at one in the morning with the girl (much more on her later), who you brought to our hotel room — who had also just walked in with you after friends told her she was going to get raped. The same girl you had already sent after Sage Gerard earlier.

Pretty freaking funny if you ask me. Sharlet actually missed some of our best lines that night.

And I need to come back to something else you said, Jeff, if you don’t mind us speaking so intimately here in front of the world. This:

I should be very clear here: At no point does it seem like Elam or Factory is actually going to rape Blair. We know they’re joking.”

I am so thankful at your concern to be so clear with your readers, but I don’t really think they are that stupid.

Let’s see, a girl enters a room with a journalist. The room is occupied by two or three men, including the girl’s boyfriend, a clinical psychologist and another woman. The girl informs the group she has been told she will be raped if she comes there, and we all laugh it up.

If your readers at GQ need it so “clearly” pointed out that this is not a serious rape threat to pretty young Blair, then I would suggest submitting your work here. We don’t pay, but at least you won’t be writing for impressionable morons who would need that explained.

By the way, Blair is into dogs, but I want to make it perfectly clear that I don’t mean that in a sexual way.

Clearly Jeff examined what he had written at this point, and in a fit of hopelessness blathered away his account of the rest of the evening on a diatribe of “These guys actually think men have problems, hardy har har harr.”

It is good fodder, I suppose, when you don’t respect your audience enough to be honest with them. Concerns about false rape accusations are easy to paint as paranoid, even when it has happened to the men you are mischaracterizing. Easier still to attribute even more paranoia about the mainstream media, even when you are the mainstream media, and you have shown up there with a plant to help you create the story you want to write. And when you are busy cherry picking quotes, making fun of us for taking issue with cherry picking quotes.

There was a time when places like GQ and, duh, Rolling Stone, would take serious issue with a “journalist” manufacturing a story. But we all know those days are gone, don’t we Jeffy? It’s all about the clicks and the bucks.

It’s all Buzzfeed now, ain’t it?

The Fitness Test – Chapter Eight

20 Feb



The test has begun. It’s time to adapt or die.

What do David Futrelle and the Gay Cannibal Killer have in common? More than you think….

19 Feb



We don’t produce a whole lot of murderers up here in Canada, but when we do, we go all out. I really think Luka Magnotta takes the gold star, though. Magnotta has been in the news all across Canada, and even caught the interest of international media. For those who have never heard of Luka Magnotta or the Gay Cannibal Killer, the tl;dr is that a handsome young gay porn actor lured a Chinese student into his home where he stabbed him to death, removed his limbs, sodomized the corpse and then attempted to eat it. Magnotta filmed the entire attack, then sent body parts through the mail to various members of parliament and to elementary schools.

Seriously, seriously twisted. A rare moment when I support the death penalty. He filmed himself doing it. There is zero probability of executing the wrong man.

Anyways, there has been endless pages of coverage of this case, including the latest development today, in which Magnotta withdrew his appeal of his conviction. The fact he was even permitted to waste our time and money filing an appeal is beyond outrageous!

I’m not so much interested in the gory parts of the Magnotta story as I am in the many psychological profiles that attempt to explain him. What drives a person to do this? The quick answer is – he’s a psychopath, with most people concentrating on the psycho part and ignoring the path. There is a path from birth to cannibalism. What is it? What does it look like?

Luka Magnotta left behind a blog that contains a page that is simultaneously captivating and horrifying. It’s called Media Propaganda, and although it was written long before he met his victim Jun Lin, it’s a premonition of his own media coverage and a strategy to defend himself from the indefensible. What is even more interesting is how completely Magnotta’s strategy mirrors the techniques of someone we know rather well around these parts: David Futrelle. It’s an almost play by play analysis of how Futrelle “covers” his subjects, always led by an instinct to preserve his ideology at all costs.

  • Guilt by association – Elliot Rodger was an MRA (he wasn’t)
  • Backstroke – systematically belittling the goals of the subject
  • Misinformation – reporting information in such a way that the final message of the story is not true
  • Over humanization – making anyone who has a valid disagreement look evil due to all the human suffering talked about in the story
  • Name-calling – neckbeard, virgin, misogynist, fedora-wearer, blah blah blah
  • He Said, She Said – repeating something endlessly in the hopes people will think it’s true
  • Unproven “facts” – rape stats, domestic violence, false allegations, wage gap
  • Lying – just making stuff up and refusing all evidence to the contrary
  • Telling the truth, for a while – acknowledging some issues are valid and then engaging with the lies and half-truths and obfuscations again
  • Not talking at all about something – women lie about rape is completely verboten
  • Subtle inaccuracies/Dismissive tone – misstating a topic, often a serious one, and pretending any objecting or concerned view is silly, unrealistic, or just not necessary
  • One one punch – pretending to represent both sides, but only supporting one side
  • Volume – the same story over and over and over again
  • Coordination – parroting what other journalists have said on the same topic
  • Fogging an issue/total nonsense – Write a catchy headline and following it with a word salad that makes no sense whatsoever
  • 2,3,4 – mentioning only one side of an issue 2, 3 or 4 times in the same article while pretending to be balanced
  • Preemptive strike – opening an article with a forceful statement about what the “correct” view is
  • Framing the debate – Creating two alternatives rather than discussing what the actual alternatives are
  • Token equal time – adding a single phrase or sentence to an article acknowledging a different point of view
  • Interpreting – twisting words and sentences to fit an ideology rather than what was actually intended
  • Withholding information – a lie by omission
  • Distracting/absurd metrics – deflecting the debate onto minutiae or trivia rather than discussing the actual issue

It’s like a play by play of every article Futrelle has ever written, no? Perhaps there are some similarities of mind between Magnotta, who knew he would eventually have to defend the indefensible and studied how to do that, and Futrelle who is similarly engaged in defending what is becoming more and more indefensible by the day?

There are a few other curious connections between the two men, as well. Magnotta was gay, which in my opinion only influenced the victim he chose. David’s enthusiastic defense of the film Salo or 120 days of Sodom that contains graphic scenes of children being raped, tortured, forced to eat excrement, mutilated, and then murdered makes me think he might have a similar sexual orientation, and perhaps an inclination to express that violently? We know he has friends who engage in violent fantasies of stabbing, shooting and killing men, then skinning them and boiling the remains for glue.

Magnotta had a weird obsession with cats and enjoyed killing them in horrific ways. To my knowledge, Futrelle harbors no animosity towards cats, but he is certainly obsessed with them. And then there is the fact that they could be brothers.

Magnotta Futrelle

How weird is that? The resemblance is uncanny.

Are you laughing yet? I hope you are. Cherry picking can be such good fun! Propaganda works both ways, no? And surely we can agree that turnabout is fair play?

Lots of love,



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