Love And Death In The Incel World

When incels started shooting women, it seemed to me that I had read an analysis of something similar. It took me a while, but I recalled Leslie Fiedler’s Love and Death in the American Novel, from the early 1960s. Seems like now might be a good time to look at that book.

In the early 1960s, second-wave feminism was just getting started in the United States. Birth control pills were new. The civil rights movement was ramping up. AIDS and public recognition of gay issues were in the future. I wondered whether Love and Death could still be relevant. I hadn’t read it in a long time and didn’t remember much of it.

I looked it up and bought a copy of the revised edition from 1966. The original was 1960, before Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique, although after Simone de Beauvoir’s Second Sex. I skimmed the sections about earlier literature, but the critique of 19th century literature, particularly James Fenimore Cooper, Herman Melville, Henry James, and Mark Twain was clearly relevant.

My recall of the general themes was correct. Fiedler’s treatment of race and gender issues was careful and, I think, acceptable in today’s environment. A bit heavy on Freudianism, perhaps.

What I recalled was that Fiedler showed that male friendship was at the center of much American literature, often with a man of color as sidekick to the main character. Relationships with women were onerous, but few if any adult sexual relationships with either gender. Fiedler also notes that these novels do not contain well-written female characters. The female characters are a few poorly written stereotypes.

We see the same themes in today’s buddy films. But how do we go from a largely asexual plot line to the sense of injury incels feel at their lack of sexual partners?

Fiedler finds in 19th century literature a simple division of women into two types, as are non-white males: Good and Evil. The Fair Maiden is slender, virginal, very white-skinned (often milk-white!), blonde and blue-eyed. The Dark Lady is a sexy brunette, representating poison and danger, sex and death.

Somewhere between Henry James and F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Fair Maiden and Dark Lady are merged into one character. In Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, the snow maiden becomes the gold-digger. During the 20’s, another shift takes place. The Good Bad Girl is the assertive one who gets ahead; the passive Good Good Girl is likely to be raped.

Fiedler’s analysis of the novels written in the 1950s is, not surprisingly, more limited. We’ve had a little more than 50 years since that revised version of Love and Death. Let me outline how those themes have continued through novels and popular media.

Fiedler barely mentions Norman Mailer, who both wrote and lived these themes, having stabbed his wife and almost killed her. John Updike wrote of the men of suburbia and their appended wives. Johnathan Franzen continues to write of suburban male malaise.

Buddy films are a popular genre, with “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” blending into the western genre in a way that would have made James Fenimore Cooper proud.

Computer games, coming out of a masculine-identified computer culture, perpetuate the negatively dichotomous view of women. Gamergate, in which male gamers vilified and attacked women criticizing and trying to change the game culture, was a direct predecessor to the incel phenomenon.

Incels posit two kinds of woman: Stacy, who is buxom and fertile, and Becky, who is skinny and wears yoga pants. This illustration, including commentary (and spelling errors), seems to come from an incel website, but I let Vox do the looking for me. The commentary seems to see both women as undesirable. Stacy lines up in many ways with Fiedler’s Dark Lady stereotype.

Stacy is unavailable to incels; she prefers the more aggressive and masculine Chad. Evolutionary psychology in the form of sexual just-so stories is part of incel thought. The sexual revolution, which was only beginning in 1966, allowed men to expect unlimited access to women for sex. It is the thwarting of those expectations that the incel shootings act out. Fiedler points out with respect to Hemingway’s Catherine in Farewell to Arms that “Only the dead woman becomes neither a bore nor a mother”.

There’s a book to be written about why these themes are so attractive to Americans. Fiedler didn’t say much about that; it’s sociological rather than literary criticism. But his analysis shows a historical misogyny that long precedes the incel movement.

 

Cross-posted at Nuclear Diner.

254 replies
  1. 1
    Elizabelle says:

    Interesting topic, Cheryl. Maybe bring this up again too, after the midterms?

    I have been thinking a lot about the assumptions built into our heads if we were women born in the 1950s and 60s, even 1970s, vs. those who were born later.

  2. 2

    I wanted to get this out today because I have been working at it for some time, and I knew it would be buried tomorrow for sure. I will return to it later.

  3. 3
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    Thanks for this post.

    Fiedler wrote an essay ‘Come back to the raft ag’in, Huck honey.’ Apparently he claimed there that the male bonds were homoerotic in nature. I remember the literary freak-out when that essay became more widely known.

  4. 4
    mapaghimagsik says:

    Is the categorization just another form of dehumanization? I’m not entirely sure what to make of it, other than it does seem to be a huge part of incel culture, though reducing everyone to labels and one-lines is a very Orangemandias thing to do.

  5. 5
    brantl says:

    What is the definition of “incel”?

  6. 6
    Doug! says:

    I feel like this would make more sense if Becky went by “Becca” and Stacy looked less like Lil’ Kim.

  7. 7
    West of the Rockies says:

    @brantl:

    Involuntarily celibate.

  8. 8
    TenguPhule says:

    What I recalled was that Fiedler showed that male friendship was at the center of much American literature, often with a man of color as sidekick to the main character. Relationships with women were onerous, but few if any adult sexual relationships with either gender. Fiedler also notes that these novels do not contain well-written female characters. The female characters are a few poorly written stereotypes.

    I think that was why I was unable to get through so much classic American literature. It was boring because there weren’t interactions between people who felt real, but one person among a cast of author designated NPCs.

  9. 9
    Betty Cracker says:

    One of the most insidious things about misogynistic themes in literature is that, in the hands of a skilled sexist, the resulting work can be entertaining and even profound. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” for example — 100% of the women in that novel are either the stereotypical “hooker with a heart of gold” or castrating bitches, and yet it’s a moving story about the struggle for human freedom. It just happens to exclude women from the “human” category.

  10. 10
    Doug! says:

    I’m not the biggest Jonathan Franzen fan but the main character in his last book was a young woman living in Berkeley FWIW

  11. 11
    C. Isaac says:

    Incels are a group of males who have decided that they are owed sex, love, and companionship from women and that their existence is torture without it. Instead of improving and bettering themselves, they instead fume and point their ire at those who will won’t dole out what they want. Many are the stereotypical “Nice Guy”, which is someone that puts on a false face of kindness and then becomes anything but when they realize they’re just friends or acquaintances at best.

    Everything they do is about dehumanizing women (and the men they envy that do have relationships), so they can feel better about wishing terrible things upon them. They actively celebrate those who’ve harmed and even killed women such as the Incel mass shooter, because they feel that the victims “had it coming”.

    It’s a truly despicable world view.

  12. 12
    artem1s says:

    “In this dirty-minded world… you are either somebody’s wife or somebody’s whore—or fast on your way to becoming one or the other. If you don’t fit either category, then everyone tries to make you think there is something wrong with you.”

    I remember when John Irving was touted as a feminist writer. But I always found his male gaze of his female characters both spot on. disturbing, and thinly veiled misogyny. Almost all of his male protagonists are proto-incels who can’t develop healthy, equal relationships with women. In Garp, his mother and his wife is a Becky who he can barely relate to. In Owen Meany, John’s mother and cousin are Staceys. He is perpetually buddied up with his dead friend Owen and reviles his peers as Beckys (John’s views on Margaret Atwood are especially telling). Irving’s literary role models are Gunter Grass and Thomas Hardy. Check out The Tin Drum and Tess of the D’Urbavilles for some real messed up male gaze.

  13. 13
    West of the Rockies says:

    As a companion piece, it would be intriguing to review how men (and women) are portrayed by female writers. Does a similar misogyny occur?

    This Incel thing is deeply concerning. I have a lot of questions and no answers. Is this a primarily white thing or is it seen across races and cultures? Is it largely or only partially a product of upbringing in the home or a cultural-messaging phenomenon (film, tv, gaming, music)?

    IIRC, the term was coined by a lesbian writer/blogger.

    I’m curious to see what everybody has to say!

  14. 14

    I remember in grad school being ticked off about the praise male critics piled on DH Lawrence’s women characters.

    Also by a young male professor saying happily that a woman character in some book was a real “man’s woman.”

  15. 15
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    I was shocked by the misogyny that erupted during HRC’s campaign, but probably shouldn’t have been. Your review of Fiedler’s book and current incel culture reminds us that American hatred/suspicion of the woman has always been there at varying levels of intensity and obviousness. I suspect a major contributor is the traditional reading of Genesis among “Christians,” which blames the woman Eve for the Fall (as if Adam had no independent moral agency, natch) and everything bad that followed.

    The current revival of women-hatred among the incels (and others, including the orange squatter in the WH) fits in with what someone (can’t remember who) once said, “Men are afraid women will laugh at them; women are afraid men will kill them.”

  16. 16

    @mapaghimagsik:

    Is the categorization just another form of dehumanization?

    Yes. Honestly, I think of incels as being sufficiently solipsistic that their default position is that nobody the deal with deserves recognition as a full human being.

  17. 17
    James Simonds says:

    C. S. Lewis directly describes the good and bad girl archetypes in ‘The Screwtape Letters’ (1942, England). Written from the pov of a senior christian devil, an underling is advised to use the Dark Girl (described almost precisely as she is here) to tempt men and lead them into sin. The pure Good Girl, a Christian paragon, is to be avoided at all costs.

  18. 18
    C Stars says:

    Great post, thanks for this. I’ll see if I can find the Fielder book at our local library.

    To incels, the great human crime of feminism is that it allows women to select and prioritize their sexual partners and sexual experiences for themselves (as opposed to a male relative/husband/priest/judge doing so for them). The tendency to dehumanize and stereotype women clearly comes from the incels’ own willingness to buy into toxic stereotypes of masculinity and simultaneous tragic sense of failure when it comes to acting out their gender according to those stereotypes. Men no longer have the power to determine female sexuality, and thus these “beta” men have lost whatever administrative/state power they once had to bolster their own sense of selfhood and masculinity.

    Totally coincidentally, on the radio station I’m listening to right now, a 30s/40s song is playing, the chorus of which is “Cleaning my rifle, and thinking of you…” A very weird and probably totally acceptable at the time double entendre.

    ETA: https://www.kalx.berkeley.edu/

  19. 19
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Doug!: True, and arguably the main character of “Freedom” was Patty. I didn’t like “Purity” (the book with the titular character who was a debt-saddled student), but I did think “Freedom” was good.

  20. 20
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Doug!: True, and arguably the main character of “Freedom” was Patty. I didn’t like “Purity” (the book with the titular character who was a debt-saddled student from Berkeley), but I did think “Freedom” was good.

  21. 21
    Barbara says:

    Part of this also resides in what we deem to be great American literature. I never felt like an expert, and I certainly don’t anymore so many years out of college literature classes, but books by and/or about women have been discounted by many. Just to throw one out there, “Boston Adventure” by Jean Stafford is a book almost entirely populated by female characters, good and bad, but not falling within any of the categories highlighted here.

    You might also be detecting a trend in Western literature, which is the subject of the book “Love in the Western World,” (https://press.princeton.edu/titles/426.html) in which, basically, love and passion can’t survive marriage. That’s one reason why the denouement of so many novels ends with women dying in childbirth or wandering away in debauchery (Lady Brett Ashley).

  22. 22
    Amir Khalid says:

    Maybe I’ve led a peculiarly sheltered life, but I simply don’t understand a male mind that thinks like this.

  23. 23
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @West of the Rockies: Robyn Pennachia at Wonkette has written extensively about them, diving deep into the disturbing incel culture. Here’s a search of the “incel” tag on Wonkette if you really feel like a wade through the swamp. Bring more brain bleach than you think you’ll need.

  24. 24
    Elizabelle says:

    That’s actually a terrible illustration. “Stacy” looks like a professional; someone presumably amenable to interacting with “incels.” Kinda does look like something from a video game, or something.

    The incels put that up? LOL.

  25. 25
    West of the Rockies says:

    @C. Isaac:

    Well-said…

    FSM forbid these poor darlings look in the mirror and try to improve themselves.

    Honestly, I will say that as a teen back in the 70s, I was dismayed how often the asshole bad boys drew female attention. Guys who were arrogant bullies (in my rural CA area) never lacked female attention.

    But by 13, I knew I did not want to be one of those guys. I suspected that the girls who liked such guys were immature and/or had low self-esteem (though I probably would not have articulated that thought as clearly).

    So I decided to try to be a gentleman, to treat women (girls) as fellow humans. It’s worked pretty well.

    I shake my head at how often in my university town I see the students out on the weekend: the women are dressed up, made up. The guys? Baggy sports team shorts, a “Bite Me” shirt, and tennis shoes.
    Odd. Way to make an effort, dude.

  26. 26
    EmbraceYourInnerCrone says:

    @O. Felix Culpa – The quote/misquote comes from Margaret Atwood:

    “Why do men feel threatened by women?” I asked a male friend of mine. So this male friend of mine, who does by the way exist, conveniently entered into the following dialogue. “I mean,” I said, “men are bigger, most of the time, they can run faster, strangle better, and they have on the average a lot more money and power.” “They’re afraid women will laugh at them,” he said. “Undercut their world view.” Then I asked some women students in a quickie poetry seminar I was giving, “Why do women feel threatened by men?” “They’re afraid of being killed,” they said.”

  27. 27
    Bostonian says:

    @Amir Khalid: Sheltered, or successful? Honestly, the thing that shocks me the most about the incel creeps is that c’mon guys this isn’t that hard. Some people get so bound up about sex stuff. It’s like being incel is a kind of fetishism in itself.

  28. 28
    TenguPhule says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Maybe I’ve led a peculiarly sheltered life, but I simply don’t understand a male mind that thinks like this.

    “Its not fair!” pretty much sums up the whole thing in a nutshell, emphasis on nuts.

    Our popular culture (looking at you, TV & movies) has set unrealistic expectations of what people “deserve” in life.

    Much like how so many millions of people believe that they to, will win the lottery any day now and therefore must support Republicans to lower the taxes on the rich they will eventually qualify for…someday.

  29. 29
    Dopey-o says:

    @West of the Rockies: “involuntarily celibate” means, in the 21st century, men who project a force-field of hatred so strong that women are repelled.

    It’s not personal, just basic physics. Until science can find a cure, let’s just encourage the incels to self-deport to the island of misfit tools.

  30. 30
    H.E.Wolf says:

    @O. Felix Culpa:

    someone (can’t remember who) once said, “Men are afraid women will laugh at them; women are afraid men will kill them.”

    That’s from the Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale and many other novels. The full quotation, in context, is below. It was from “Writing the Male Character”, a Hagey Lecture at the University of Waterloo (9 February 1982); reprinted in Second Words: Selected Critical Prose (1982).

    ***********
    “Why do men feel threatened by women?” I asked a male friend of mine. (I love that wonderful rhetorical device, “a male friend of mine.” It’s often used by female journalists when they want to say something particularly bitchy but don’t want to be held responsible for it themselves. It also lets people know that you do have male friends, that you aren’t one of those fire-breathing mythical monsters, The Radical Feminists, who walk around with little pairs of scissors and kick men in the shins if they open doors for you. “A male friend of mine” also gives — let us admit it — a certain weight to the opinions expressed.) So this male friend of mine, who does by the way exist, conveniently entered into the following dialogue. “I mean,” I said, “men are bigger, most of the time, they can run faster, strangle better, and they have on the average a lot more money and power.” “They’re afraid women will laugh at them,” he said. “Undercut their world view.” Then I asked some women students in a quickie poetry seminar I was giving, “Why do women feel threatened by men?” “They’re afraid of being killed,” they said.
    *********

  31. 31
    TenguPhule says:

    @Bostonian:

    c’mon guys this isn’t that hard.

    To be fair, actually it is that hard for them. Successful birds in flight don’t notice the ones who crash out of the nest.

  32. 32
    H.E.Wolf says:

    @EmbraceYourInnerCrone:
    Thank you for providing a more concise version!

  33. 33
    Kay says:

    @C. Isaac:

    It’s a truly despicable world view.

    Agree. The sense of entitlement just disgusts me. That they’re entitled to another person. My youngest boy spends time online and that’s the one area that worries me. He has good relationships with girls- both as friends and, here lately, a girlfriend and I don’t want him infected with this poison, where they think they’re due a whole human being and angry when they don’t “get” one. I don’t even know where to start with it.

  34. 34
    dmsilev says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yes. Honestly, I think of incels as being sufficiently solipsistic that their default position is that nobody the deal with deserves recognition as a full human being.

    Apparently one of the currently in-vogue things among the alt-right etc. set is to call people “NPCs”, or “Non-Player Characters”. The idea being that only they truly have agency and act with thought, and everyone else around them are simply following scripts like background characters in some video game.

    This is not remotely funny, since dehumanization of one’s opponents can lead to some pretty dark places pretty quickly.

  35. 35
    Elizabelle says:

    So offtopic, kinda, but the WaPost had a retro look at Folgers Coffee ads from the early 1960s. ‘Husband-pleasing coffee’: The blatantly sexist Folgers ads of the 1960s

    I just don’t think these women are insecure solely about … beverages. (“He’s getting it at the office.”)

    They look like SNL material now. Some commenters say the ads were regarded as tongue in cheek when they appeared.

    The messages we send young women. And men.

  36. 36
    narya says:

    oh, thank you for this! I will add a few random thoughts: One of the interesting things about the Butch & Sundance movie is that Etta Place is a bit more realized than in many similar buddy movies. And I LOATHE John Irving. The misogyny in Garp made me sick. And Owen Wister is in some ways an exception, at least in “The Virginian,” which is essentially a tale of men of the wild west finding wives and foregoing their youthful carousing.

    I could talk about this for way too long . . .

  37. 37
    EmbraceYourInnerCrone says:

    Additionally, many domestic terrorists/mass shooters have histories of domestic violence against the women in their lives which precede their later rampages. Yet these people apparently have no trouble obtaining weapons in most cases:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/08/15/the-persistent-crime-that-connects-mass-shooters-and-terror-suspects-domestic-violence/?utm_term=.0d5ef517267a

  38. 38
    wenchacha says:

    @O. Felix Culpa: That would b Margaret Atwood, of Handmaid’s Tale fame.

  39. 39
    TenguPhule says:

    @dmsilev:

    Apparently one of the currently in-vogue things among the alt-right etc. set is to call people “NPCs”, or “Non-Player Characters”.

    Oh for fucks sake, yet another reason RPGs can’t have nice things. This cultural appropriation of tabletop gaming culture by White males has got to stop.

  40. 40
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    Lots of people are involuntarily celibate. It’s not actually that easy, in my opinion, to find sexual partners before you find a serious relationship.

    But these guys somehow decided that they are OWED sex, that somebody else’s sexual organs should be made available to them as a basic human right, and they don’t care about the person the sexual organs are attached to. They’ve never apparently considered the thought of having a human relationship because that would involve recognizing the other person as human.

  41. 41
    raven says:

    Try “Whistle” James Jones’ last book and the the third in the “From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red line and Whistle trilogy”. It’s about soldiers wounded on Guadalcanal rehabing in a Memphis hospital and the women they meet who are newly liberated by working in the war production industry. They are not going back and it makes for a very interesting mix. Jones died before he finished it :”The final three chapters were completed by Willie Morris based on taped conversations with the author and extensive notes he had already written. Jones expected that his novel would say, “Just about everything I have ever had to say, or will ever have to say, on the human condition of war.””

  42. 42
    TenguPhule says:

    Trump is painting an astonishingly apocalyptic vision of America under Democratic control in the campaign’s final days, unleashing a torrent of falsehoods and portraying his political opponents as desiring crime, squalor and poverty.

    As voters prepare to render their first verdict on him in Tuesday’s midterm elections, Trump is claiming that Democrats want to erase the nation’s borders and provide sanctuary to drug dealers, human traffickers and MS-13 killers. He is warning that they would destroy the economy, obliterate Medicare and unleash a wave of violent crime that endangers families everywhere. And he is alleging that they would transform the United States into Venezuela with socialism run amok.

    Trump has never been hemmed in by fact, fairness or even logic.

    ‘Full Trumpism’

    Oh for the days when Idiocracy was just a comedy instead of a documentary.

  43. 43
    wenchacha says:

    @Ladyraxterinok: My 12th grade English teacher related that story to us when we were discussing Huck Finn, I guess. It was 1975. The teacher was great, as I recall. Also a football coach. Also divorced his wife and married a former student not too long after she graduated.

  44. 44
    David Evans says:

    I have come to understand that I am Involuntarily Poor. This condition is unacceptable to me and I require society to correct it instantly, or I will not be responsible for the consequences.

  45. 45
    C Stars says:

    @TenguPhule: I don’t know, I kind of agree with Bostonian and Amir Khalid. All types of folks get together in all types of ways. But having consumed a lifetime of online porn and videogames, the incels believe they are owed a specific type of woman/sexual experience–that’s where their frustration arises.

  46. 46
    catclub says:

    everything old is new again:
    Marc Lépine was a Canadian mass murderer from Montreal, Quebec, who in 1989 murdered 14 women, and wounded 10 women and four men at the École Polytechnique, an engineering school affiliated with the Université de Montréal, in the École Polytechnique massacre, also known as the “Montreal Massacre”.

  47. 47
    chris says:

    1/2) Celibacy is the result of a decision, a conscious act of abstinence. "Involuntary celibacy" is a contradiction in terms, its sole purpose to cement the idea that sexually frustrated heterosexual men are being victimized by women.— William Gibson (@GreatDismal) 4 November 2018

    followed by:

    2/2) Use of it, or of “Incel(s)”, inadvertently helps keep this ill-formed but nonetheless effective *rhetorical weapon* afloat in contemporary discourse.

    Some good replies, I too am for calling them “unfuckables.”

  48. 48
    TenguPhule says:

    @David Evans:

    I have come to understand that I am Involuntarily Poor. This condition is unacceptable to me and I require society to correct it instantly, or I will not be responsible for the consequences.

    Well played. Also, runner up for thread winner.

  49. 49

    @West of the Rockies: Fiedler looks at some of the earlier woman writers. He doesn’t see much difference. I doubt that men would fare as badly in more recent woman writers’ work. But that’s not the point. The point is that the incel point of view has been around a long, long time in America, slightly modified as culture changes.

  50. 50
    catclub says:

    @C Stars:

    consumed a lifetime of online porn and videogames, the incels believe they are owed a specific type of woman/sexual experience

    These are people who think pro wrestling is a real sporting event.

  51. 51
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    @O. Felix Culpa: Same here. The classic being Chris Matthew’s vulgar mocking of Hilary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, some long before 2016.

  52. 52
    Shakti says:

    @Doug!: I feel like the choice of names betrays the meme creator as someone who was young in the 1970s-1980s. Stacy and Becky were super popular names among my classmates. It’s bewildering when people talk about incels are primarily younger men who can’t get laid.*
    *by their fantasy women 10/10
    @Dorothy A. Winsor: I had to read Women in Love for an undergraduate English class and the pretentious obsession with the male characters’ wangs was so deadly boring that I never finished the book and resorted to Cliff Notes to write my paper. The female characters were paper dolls.

  53. 53
    C. Isaac says:

    To add to what I said earlier:

    One of the worst parts of the Incel community is how it degrades a proper view of loneliness and depression and antisocial personality disorders. These are two very, very serious subjects and oft times the folks who are suffering from them need serious mental health assistance, and it’s very obvious that the Incels see their emotional problems as very real (and some of them do suffer from very real mental health problems and those that do need help). These are also issues that are very common in the Incel community, and very frequently untreated.

    The problem comes from how truly vile the aura of loathing and dehumanization they give off is. They drive away the very folks that would be willing to stand by them and help them through their trouble and the issues that are preventing them from building lasting, permanent relations with other human beings. The internet has allowed a bubble of an echo chamber to form (can’t imagine where else we’ve seen this) that insulates them from having to hear anything other than themselves and has even lead to a huge amount of ‘newspeak’ and jargon that makes it hard for outsiders to even understand what the Incels are saying. This further insulates them and makes it even harder for those that need help to get help, all because society as a whole is blamed for their “predicament” and they refuse to go through traditional help channels.

    I’ve peeked into some of their forums and even as a white guy, I find it horrifying and scary. I’m exactly the demographic they want (a recently single white male), and I couldn’t run away fast enough. They are very, very frightening.

    I almost feel sorry for them when I start reading their stories, but then the hate, bile, and narcissism slip in and I have to turn away.

  54. 54

    FWIW its not just an American problem, more like a global problem. One of the reasons I was turned off by religion as a tween was because it seemed to be a method to keep women in their place and seemed unfair to women in many ways.

  55. 55
    C Stars says:

    @catclub: And think that Dear Tweeter is a real leader.

  56. 56
    Aleta says:

    Interesting, thanks. Great comments. I want to go down all those roads.

  57. 57
    catclub says:

    @EmbraceYourInnerCrone: I did not even see your when I posted number 44.
    Yep.

  58. 58
    TenguPhule says:

    @C Stars:

    But having consumed a lifetime of online porn and videogames, the incels believe they are owed a specific type of woman/sexual experience–that’s where their frustration arises.

    I think its a mistake to blame the pron and games.

    Its a life of watching really shitty guys manage to somehow treat women like “whores” and still have all these women at their beck and call.

    Now, they see Donald Trump. And they think to themselves “If he can do all that and still get all these women anyway, why can’t I?”

    There are consequences to letting bad examples parade free without punishment. All of the darkness under the rocks have been given leave to come out into the open.

    And I fear they’re never going back into hiding. This is their moment and they will fight to the death to stay here.

  59. 59

    @schrodingers_cat:

    FWIW its not just an American problem, more like a global problem.

    I assume something like this is a far worse problem in countries like China and India that have generations with extremely skewed sex ratios. It’s one thing to have a small subculture of men who are angry they can’t get women to like them. It’s completely different to have a large contingent of men who are unlikely ever to be married because there are 10-15% more men than women.

  60. 60

    @schrodingers_cat: Misogyny is a global problem. The particular manifestation that Fiedler describes in enormous detail, and that can be traced to the incels, and its representation in literature, seems to be particularly American.

  61. 61
    TenguPhule says:

    @C. Isaac: Donald Trump has taught them that its not their fault they’re suffering. Its the women who won’t let them grab them by the feline.

  62. 62

    I see several comments from people who couldn’t get into those novels. I couldn’t either, and I’ve pretty much given up trying with modern novels. I think it’s because the worldviews are so different from mine.

  63. 63

    @Cheryl Rofer: But American culture goes everywhere and spawns copy cats. Thanks to Hollywood and intertubez.

  64. 64
    TenguPhule says:

    @Roger Moore:

    It’s completely different to have a large contingent of men who are unlikely ever to be married because there are 10-15% more men than women.

    IIRC the ratios are even worse then that for the under 30 crowd because most of the women are in the older demographics before they started the sex selection insanity.

    Something like 100 men for every women in their 20s.

  65. 65
    C. Isaac says:

    @TenguPhule:

    He’s their idol, tbh. This and other internet sources is where you get the ‘God Emperor Trump’ meme. All the Incels I’ve ever seen have been MAGAts. Especially since feminism (which they loathe with the passion of a thousand suns) is so heavily associated with the left.

  66. 66
    TenguPhule says:

    @C. Isaac:

    This and other internet sources is where you get the ‘God Emperor Trump’ meme.

    Even among RPGers, WH 40K has a crowd of their own. Some of them didn’t get the memo that the whole concept was supposed to be dead baby black comedy, not taken seriously.

  67. 67
  68. 68
    Bostonian says:

    @Kay: Kay, just keep talking to him. He’s already off on a good start if he has friends who are girls. That means he sees girls as people like him and not as alien creatures. It is hard for me to imagine how twisted around the axle you have to get to consider yourself an incel, but if your kid is able to talk about his feelings with you and with his friends, that’s probably enough to prevent it.

  69. 69
    C. Isaac says:

    @TenguPhule:

    I have a bunch of painted space marines in a closet. I’m intimately familiar with the community.

    I wasn’t kidding when I said ‘I’m their target demographic’. It’s what made me sit up and notice them. I weep for the guys like me who chose a different path — instead of trying to figure out what was wrong, they chose instead to revile and hate — because it hits so very close to home.

  70. 70
  71. 71
    Yellowdog says:

    @Betty Cracker: And everyone forgets that the main character was a rapist.

  72. 72
    E. says:

    Leslie Fiedler was an amazing critic but why he left Edith Wharton out of the discussion was something I could never understand. Zora Neal Hurston didn’t get a mention either. WTF?

  73. 73
    TenguPhule says:

    @C. Isaac:

    I have a bunch of painted space marines in a closet.

    Ultramarines or Space Wolves?

  74. 74
    Bostonian says:

    @TenguPhule: You’re right, Tengu. I’m just so suave and also very handsome that I can’t even see those wee, deplumed little partridges plunging like stones.

    That said, my brother is fat as a prize sow, ugly as sin, always broke, and desperately needs a haircut… and he has a girlfriend.

    Seriously, it’s not that hard. These guys are really twisted, is the problem. My brother might be improved by myopia, but he’s kind and loyal.

  75. 75
    TenguPhule says:

    Their Soybeans Piling Up, Farmers Hope Trade War Ends Before Beans Rot
    North Dakota’s soybean crops are flourishing. But China has stopped buying.

    Warning, FTFNYT link.

    Farmers here in Cass County have prospered over the last two decades by growing more soybeans than any other county in the United States, and by shipping most of those beans across the Pacific Ocean to feed Chinese pigs and chickens.

    But this year, the Chinese have all but stopped buying. The largest market for one of America’s largest exports has shut its doors. The Chinese government imposed a tariff on American soybeans in response to the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese goods. The latest federal data, through mid-October, shows American soybean sales to China have declined by 94 percent from last year’s harvest.

    Cue very tiny violins.

    ome farmers in North Dakota say they trust Mr. Trump to negotiate in the nation’s interest. Mr. Karel said many of his customers wear red “Make America Great Again” caps and insist that the pain of lost business and lower profits is worthwhile. They say they’ll suffer now so their children benefit later — echoing the argument Mr. Trump has made.

    Others are less enthused. Greg Gebeke, who farms 5,000 acres outside Arthur with two of his brothers, said he struggled to understand the administration’s goals.

    “I’m trying to follow and figure out who the winners are in this tariff war,” Mr. Gebeke said. “I know who one of the losers are and that’s us. And that’s painful.”

    North Dakota’s soybean industry was created by Chinese demand for the beans, which are crushed to make feed for animals and oil for human consumption.

    Too stupid to live.

  76. 76
    Jay says:

    We Hunted the Mammoth is another website that dives deep into Incel Kulture.

    The key takeaway, is it’s the evil spawn of MRA movements, the mysogengy of Gamergate, and is an online incestuous bubble.

    So a portion of the “incels” are just online trolls there for the LUTZ, a portion of the “incels” are just scammers there for the money, ( books, products, swag, go fund me scams),

    But a portion of the “incels” are “true believers”.

  77. 77
    piratedan says:

    feel like the incel movement is also something that is closely related to the gamergate bullshit, if you note the characterization of the women, it’s like they are depicted as goals to be obtained, not people to know…. as such, everyone of a different gender is not knowable as a human being in and of themselves or having their own hopes, dreams, or goals. In the incel world, they are like they are playing a simulation game called life where they are reduced to levels of how well one has adapted to the “game play” of itself.

    twisted stuff indeed… as such, these people are socially maladapted, that they don’t recognize it and are resentful of the males who have successfully realized the “cheat code” for interaction, not recognizing for a moment that this isn’t a game and that these are real fucking people.

  78. 78
    Feathers says:

    And William Gibson (@greatdismal) tweeted just this morning:

    “Prior to social media, was it ever possible for groups of men to bond over their common inability to get laid? It *so much* wasn’t something one could enjoy admitting to after a few beers with the boys.”

    Lots of thoughts on this, if the thread is still going when I get back to my computer, I’ll have more to say.

  79. 79

    @Cheryl Rofer:That said, I don’t think Americans need to teach Indians about misogyny, we have an ancient tradition of keeping women in their place. Its is in the fabric of the society, its the sanskriti(roughly translated : Culture, way of life). In popular culture (Hindi movies) women are either deified or vilified. They should be seen and not heard, and so on.
    Things are changing but too slowly..

  80. 80
    TenguPhule says:

    @Bostonian:

    That said, my brother is fat as a prize sow, ugly as sin, always broke, and desperately needs a haircut… and he has a girlfriend.

    Seriously, it’s not that hard.

    Personal anecdotes are not representative of the whole population. For others, yes it is that hard.

  81. 81
    Lee says:

    Back in college (early to mid 80s)I knew guys that would today be considered incels.

    The one constant about them was that they had no idea how to interact with women. That women were just the same just a different gender seemed foreign to them. Just talking & listening to women seemed to work wonders.

  82. 82
    TenguPhule says:

    @piratedan:

    twisted stuff indeed… as such, these people are socially maladapted, that they don;t recognize it and are resentful of the males who have successfully realized the “cheat code” for interaction, not recognizing for a moment that this isn’t a game and that these are real fucking people.

    Society is hard. Games are easy.

  83. 83
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’ve mentioned before that I have an interesting pop culture criticism book on my shelf called Evil Sisters in which the author points out that a lot of the themes in Hemingway, Faulkner, etc about dangerous, devouring women was driven by the popular junk science of the late Victorian era. A lot of what we think of as “unconscious” themes in those books were deliberately planted by the authors based on that pop science, but since the science has been discredited, the origins of those themes have vanished and become thought of as “universal” rather than as a product of their times.

    The author’s argument falls apart at the end of the book when he tries to stretch it past gender/sex in literature and into race to explain the Holocaust in gendered terms, but the literary analysis parts are really strong at showing what influenced those authors and how they are very much a product of their times.

  84. 84
    low-tech cyclist says:

    The first thing that occured to me is just how blatantly caricatured both their Beckys and their Stacys are – almost an active refusal to recognize women as distinct individual people.

    “People as things, that’s where it starts.” – Pratchett

  85. 85
    TenguPhule says:

    @Feathers:

    was it ever possible for groups of men to bond over their common inability to get laid?

    I assume this person missed the 1980s.

  86. 86
    TenguPhule says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    “People as things, that’s where it starts.” – Pratchett

    We lost the best of us when he passed.

  87. 87
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @O. Felix Culpa: In the last several decades the Evangelicals/Fundamentalists have had a massively increased emphsis on male headship and female subordination. Woman observers feel that this invigorated move is a fear response to the increasing presence of women in positions of responsibility, power, and authority.

    The desperate anti-homosexuality in this group is seen as part of this. If there are 2 males in a relationship, how can one be subordinate? Or 2 women, how can one be the head?

    The claimed ‘Biblical marriage of one man-one woman’ actually means one leader(male) and one follower (female). A SameSex marriage can’t be put into that framework, therefore it can never be ‘biblical’ and acceptable to card-carrying Christianists.

  88. 88
    Spanky says:

    @Kay:

    He has good relationships with girls- both as friends and, here lately, a girlfriend and I don’t want him infected with this poison

    I don’t think you have anything to worry about. It sounds like it’s too late for him to get infected, he’s figured things out. Especially when he has “just friends” girl friends.

    (I suspect others have gotten there first.)

  89. 89
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    There are two types of conservative men. Those (religious right) who wish they weren’t gay, and those (incel) who wish they were.

  90. 90
    C Stars says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Its a life of watching really shitty guys manage to somehow treat women like “whores” and still have all these women at their beck and call.

    Is this really still the norm in contemporary society? I see your point, in the sense that these guys may have some high school jock/babe trauma inscribed on their brains, but from my perspective (as a person in my early 40s), in the course of my lifetime those kinds of stereotypes in the wider cultural context of Europe/North America have rapidly become obsolete almost everywhere BUT porn and videogames. This is what the gamergate/comicsgate assholes explicitly protest. It points back to Cheryl Rofer’s original post, that the locus of almost all cultural product used to be male desire/sexuality. As that viewpoint is eclipsed by a different conception of human sexuality (or, really, humanity in general), those men who have been lost in their screens/comic books for the last 20 years are unable to conceive of how to change; how to operate sexually when what that entails is giving up their role (or the dumb fantasy role they’ve been sold) as the entitled/dominant party.

  91. 91
    Larch says:

    I’d love to see a corresponding analysis of genre by, especially mysteries, science fiction, and Westerns. The authors Fiedler analyzes would have reflected their culture, but the “incels ” are more likely to have been influence by genre fiction, movies, and TV.

  92. 92
    Barbara says:

    @E.: That’s kind of the point I was trying to make. Fiedler’s analysis works especially well if you keep fiction authored by women or just fiction about women, most of which is authored by women, out of your sample. E.g., no Willa Cather or Edith Wharton. It’s also the kind of analysis that is often willing to ignore examples that are counter to its primary thesis. Which is not to say that it has no validity but that it is not perhaps as universal or pervasive as it first appears to be.

  93. 93
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ladyraxterinok:

    American literature is 100 percent chock-full of male homoeroticism that excludes women as partners, but Huck and Jim? Nah. Jim is very clearly meant to be a kind, loving father figure to replace Huck’s nasty, abusive biological father.

    I was just thinking about that book again last night and I think I want to re-read it. I was thinking that the whole weird sequence where Tom Sawyer talks Huck into keeping Jim imprisoned longer is meant to show that Huck is still too easily influenced by people he thinks are smarter than him, and he needs to let go of his hero-worship of Tom before he can leave civilization behind and go where Jim can be his foster father.

  94. 94
    jl says:

    I agree that US literature (given rich traditions in other Western Hemisphere countries, this is a case where ‘American’ is particularly bad) has a misogyny problem. I think it’s wrapped up in other problems in US culture. The ‘rootless’ US pioneer and entrepreneur who came to the US for the dream, but could never settle the real life that is the fate of humankind is wrapped up in the problem. Early travelers noted it. I think the problem rose up to consciousness Melville and Twain enough for them to even write about it, though they never connected it to what it did to relationships between sexes and family life. I wonder if roots of most US literature developing during a very repressed Victorian era in middle of 19th century had something to do with it.

    But I am just guessing. What I really want to know is who is this Chad dude? How do we get rid of him, for good?

  95. 95
    Spanky says:

    @chris:

    I too am for calling them “unfuckables.”

    I’ve just been going with “losers”, which has the advantage of being rated G.

  96. 96
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @Ladyraxterinok:

    The desperate anti-homosexuality in this group is seen as part of this. If there are 2 males in a relationship, how can one be subordinate? Or 2 women, how can one be the head?

    Too true. My wife’s fundy brother asked her exactly that question before we got married. As if collaboration and mutual decision-making were not an option. It reveals their core authoritarianism: someone MUST be dominant in both personal and social relationships.

  97. 97
    TenguPhule says:

    @C Stars:

    but from my perspective (as a person in my early 40s), in the course of my lifetime those kinds of stereotypes in the wider cultural context of Europe/North America have rapidly become obsolete almost everywhere BUT porn and videogames.

    I’m afraid you’ve been swimming in clearer waters during your life.

    I’ve been in the muck and from there I’ve seen that its still the norm, not the exception.

    As we saw with RapeymcRapeFace, its so part and parcel of Republican/Conservative culture that they considered it as natural as breathing.

  98. 98
    TenguPhule says:

    @jl:

    What I really want to know is who is this Chad dude? How do we get rid of him, for good?

    Hanging.

  99. 99
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    Hey, without derailing anything, I just wanted to apologize about Saturday night and say I’m making some personal changes to ensure it never happens again.

  100. 100
    Jay says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Nope.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/282119/china-sex-ratio-by-age-group/

    At the upper end of the 20-30 age group, for every 100 women, there’s 103.9 men, at the bottom end, for every 100 women, there’s 109.2 men.

    The belief that men outnumber women in China 100:1 however, is commonly held, makes one kinda wonder who pushed that propaganda and why.

  101. 101
  102. 102
    Curtis Adams says:

    @TenguPhule:

    I think its a mistake to blame the pron and games.

    I don’t, for at least partial blame. To start with, the idea that “Becky” is unattractive is totally bizarre. She’s drawn as quite attractive by current standards. That indicates their idea of what a woman is comes from pron – not even from media, because while media in general has very few unattractive young women, there are still a lot that look like “Becky”. Only in pron are good-looking women basically all supposed to be blond and double D. Likewise their concept of relationships is mostly coming from pron – hot women are not particularly likely to be rich because of their generous paramours, etc.

  103. 103
    C Stars says:

    @TenguPhule: Although I will certainly concede that there’s a weird, loud corner of contemporary culture (Kardashians et al) that still operates in the mode of “women are products to be created/consumed” and that still shames men who don’t play the opposite role in that dynamic.

    I just feel like there are enough alternatives out there that lonely or shy guys now have the free agency to succeed in other social spheres and don’t have to bother with that fake sexuality of consumption/commercialism.

  104. 104
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @E.: I think he kept Wharton, Cather, etc. out because the canon of his day viewed them as secondary (i.e. female) authors. The Great American Authors (TM) we read in school – which was during the era Fiedler was writing – featured Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, Fitzgerald, Hemingway. The only nod to women writers was Emily Dickinson. And she was a bit daft, dontcha know. Proving the point about women.

  105. 105
    trollhattan says:

    @O. Felix Culpa:
    Yep. The frequency of some variation on “I’d vote for a woman, just not her raised a basic question: would you really vote for a woman or because it’s Hitlary you have an easy path to rejecting this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Men and women were evenly split in my encounters; I don’t know how representative that is.

  106. 106
    TenguPhule says:

    @Jay:

    The belief that men outnumber women in China 100:1 however, is commonly held, makes one kinda wonder who pushed that propaganda and why.

    Times, Newsweek and Reader’s Digest.

  107. 107
    Jay says:

    BTW, I’m stuck in moderation hell after comment 71.

  108. 108
  109. 109
    jl says:

    @TenguPhule: Hang the hung, that what you’re saying?

    Or, incels could all change their names to Chad and get ‘Chad’ haircuts, and might get lucky amidst all the confusion. If they are a real organized movement, they could pull it off.

  110. 110
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @TenguPhule:
    That answers the who but not the why. Racism? Strong nationalist dislike for the PRC since they’re evil commies?

  111. 111
    jl says:

    Incels aren’t pissed about new European boyfriends? I think few of them named Chad.

    NEWS
    Ex-Girlfriend Don’t Want To Speak To You No More, New European Boyfriend Reports
    The Onion
    6/21/08
    https://local.theonion.com/ex-girlfriend-dont-want-to-speak-to-you-no-more-new-eu-1819569901

  112. 112
    TenguPhule says:

    @jl:

    If they are a real organized movement, they could pull it off.

    This is one of those rate instances where “lone wolves” is actually true.

  113. 113
    Ruckus says:

    @Kay:
    The incel view is that women are’t human. Only masculine males are human. Everyone else is beneath them.
    You want your son to not be that way, treat him as an equal human. Sure he’s young, doesn’t have the total freedom of adulthood (like any of us have total freedom – we don’t of course) but he’s a whole person and so are his girlfriends. Teach him sexual responsibility. That’s one that a lot of parents teach their daughters and never their sons. They may get that in school, we sort of did in my HS. But only sort of. It changes the picture. A 12-13 yr old girl gets the lesson, the boys mostly do not or at least did not.
    Respect is a learned trait, like every other one. We are born without, everything we become is learned. An upbringing with people of other races helps immensely to over come that because one learns that just because someone looks different doesn’t mean they are.

  114. 114
    SuzieC says:

    Here is what one of the incels wrote about the dead 21 year old: “”Dead woman make me happy. That 21 year old was particularly attractive, had a real good life ahead of her. The fact that she’s dead makes it all the more sweet.”

  115. 115
    Jay says:

    @jl:

    It’s an old joke, 2000 election, hanging Chads.

  116. 116
    TenguPhule says:

    @C Stars:

    I just feel like there are enough alternatives out there that lonely or shy guys now have the free agency to succeed in other social spheres and don’t have to bother with that fake sexuality of consumption/commercialism.

    Unfortunately society and popular culture in the USA have not gotten there yet.

  117. 117
    Brachiator says:

    Incels posit two kinds of woman: Stacy, who is buxom and fertile, and Becky, who is skinny and wears yoga pants.

    But incels are just a small, loose collection of nuts, and the only thing they have in common are their fear and self-loathing. The two kinds of women posited here are fantasies, and it is interesting that both of these fantasy objects are seen as ultimately undesirable and unobtainable.

    Apart from the fact that a few of these nuts have turned violent, and so have to be dealt with, there is not much here worth thinking about.

  118. 118
    TenguPhule says:

    @SuzieC:

    Here is what one of the incels wrote about the dead 21 year old: “”Dead woman make me happy. That 21 year old was particularly attractive, had a real good life ahead of her. The fact that she’s dead makes it all the more sweet.”

    Reincarnation is real and Ted Bundy lives among us again.

  119. 119
    PJ says:

    @Mnemosyne: The end part with Tom also shows that Huck has far matured beyond him. Huck has come to see Jim as a fully realized human being, with feelings and desires as important as his own, whereas Tom, who isn’t malicious per se, sees Jim as a kind of plaything, and keeping him in fear for his life is fine as long as it enables Tom’s sense of adventure. Huck has seen enough real adventure, and terror, on their trip on the river to want no part of that kind of “fun” anymore.

  120. 120

    @Jay: Several comments were stuck in moderation. I freed them all. Can’t see why they were.

  121. 121
    Jay says:

    @SuzieC:

    Part of the “rules” on the intertubes cesspools, is to try to have the most vile and disgusting post of the day, week, month, year.

  122. 122
    TenguPhule says:

    @Brachiator:

    But incels are just a small, loose collection of nuts,

    I seem to recall this was the common wisdom about the Trumpsters at the beginning too.

  123. 123
    C Stars says:

    @O. Felix Culpa: Bit of a tangent, but we have some out-of-town guests visiting soon and, casting around for touristy/cultural things to do around here I notice that there’s a preponderance of tributes (commercial and cultural) to Jack London, but very little that honors or remembers Gertrude Stein, who also spent her formative years in Oakland and is probably considered more influential in the literary world than London (I don’t know…maybe they’re equal? London was much-loved but not innovative/revolutionary like Stein).

    Was it Stein’s “Oakland: there’s no there there” quip? Or rank misogyny? We’ll never know….

  124. 124
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Feathers: In grad school in the 60s (sexual revolution heyday) I had a few male friends who would regularly complaim that in the new situation every guy had a girl or 2–but WHERE WAS THEIR’S?! At least one was the etereotypical out-of-it, super-socially inept math grad.

  125. 125
    trollhattan says:

    @SuzieC:
    Well that’s just charming as hell. Ugh.

  126. 126
    joel hanes says:

    @Bostonian:

    Seriously, it’s not that hard.

    This is what Republicans say about those who are not rich — they should just work harder.

    For some men (and women), finding a long-term partner/mate is a task at which they repeatedly and ultimately fail.
    Some of those people do not deserve your contempt.

  127. 127
    Mnemosyne says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    Therapy is good. If I had gotten therapy shortly after college rather than thinking my problems “weren’t so bad” and I could handle them myself, I wouldn’t have ended up with a depression that was “moderate” but so deeply rooted that it took 10 years of medication and therapy to get out of it.

    Learn from my mistakes. Talk to professionals now when it’s relatively cheap for you and work through your issues early on.

  128. 128
    joel hanes says:

    @Feathers:

    Prior to social media, was it ever possible for groups of men to bond over their common inability to get laid?

    Clearly, William Gibson has never been in the Army or the Navy.

  129. 129
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Elizabelle: Except that a Stacy won’t be interested in an incel, prefering a Chad (ANY Chad) to an incel. Stacys are available – to normal attractive guys almost exclusively; incels see themselves as normal, but not attractive for reasons I don’t see them enumerating or addressing in any meaningful or resolvable way. So Stacys steer clear because incels are icky or something – and incels can’t handle that.

    Incels see EVERY woman as unattainable, either because (in a Becky) they need to be in control which voids their gender role modeling, or (in a Stacy) they are attractive enough to non-incel men not to need incels for companionship.

  130. 130
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @TenguPhule:
    It’s amazing what people can accomplish when they are willing to cheat at other people’s expense.

  131. 131
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @Brachiator:

    Apart from the fact that a few of these nuts have turned violent, and so have to be dealt with, there is not much here worth thinking about.

    No, not unless you’re a female who has had to spend a lifetime dealing with misogyny in smaller and larger ways – e.g. how do I avoid pissing off my male colleagues because I have, you know, actual expertise, along with how do I avoid getting raped on my way home in the evening or any other time or place for that matter – or have the unfortunate habit of going to yoga studios or other random places where angry, aggrieved men get to act out their violent fantasies with real guns. Yeah, incels as a group or movement might be insignificant, but the problem of the dangers to women is not.

  132. 132
    jl says:

    @C Stars: I’ve read that Stein quote was about the lack of a sense of history, rather than a comment on Oakland itself. Here is what the wiki entry on Oakland says says:

    Gertrude Stein wrote about Oakland in her 1937 book Everybody’s Autobiography “There is no there there,” upon learning that the neighborhood where she lived as a child had been torn down to make way for an industrial park. The quote is sometimes misconstrued to refer to Oakland as a whole

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oakland,_California#%22There_is_no_there_there%22

  133. 133
    Mnemosyne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    I saw it. I’m going to write up my notes tonight before I go to bed and email them to you. It’s funny that Cheryl is posting this because “Newton” was definitely a movie about men and male roles in a male-dominated society (but I still liked it!)

  134. 134
    joel hanes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The whole weird sequence after Tom shows up and in which Jim is imprisoned was added, IIRC, at the suggestion of Twain’s publisher, who wanted Tom to appear in order to capitalize on the commercial success of Tom Sawyer.

    Tom Sawyer is in many ways a juvenile; but until Tom shows up, Huckleberry Finn is relentlessly adult. Those last chapters are a defacement; I wish Twain had been able to finish and publish the novel without them.

  135. 135
    Brachiator says:

    @TenguPhule:

    What I really want to know is who is this Chad dude? How do we get rid of him, for good?

    Hanging.

    Very droll.

  136. 136
    TenguPhule says:

    @Brachiator: I’m still upset with Florida.

  137. 137
    Jay says:

    @joel hanes:

    It’s not that hard.

    If someone continually fails at it, the obvious cause,” is it’s not you, it’s me”.

    And there is no shortage of resources out there for people to fix what is “broken” with themselves, from how to treat and interact with others, to who they should be trying to interact with.

  138. 138

    @Mnemosyne: But its the woman, Malko who has the keenest grasp of the situation on the ground, because she is local, unlike the two men who are outsiders.

    ETA: I saw it as a wry take on the state of Indian democracy, not everything works as it should but India still muddles through.

  139. 139
    PJ says:

    @joel hanes: I disagree. While Tom’s antics are tedious, they are meant to be, and show to Huck just how much he has changed (and how fucked up he knows American society is), and why he can’t go back to civilization.

  140. 140
    TenguPhule says:

    Iran president warns of ‘war situation’ as U.S. sanctions resume

    ran greeted the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions today with air defense drills and a statement from President Hassan Rouhani that the nation faces a “war situation,” raising Mideast tensions as America’s maximalist approach to the Islamic Republic takes hold.

    The sanctions end all economic benefits America had granted Tehran for its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, though Iran for now continues to abide by the accord that saw it limit its enrichment of uranium. While at the moment not threatening to resume higher enrichment, Iranian officials in recent months have made a point to warn the controversial process could resume at any time, faster than before.

    The new American sanctions particularly hurt Iran’s vital oil industry, a crucial source of hard currency for its anemic economy. Its national currency has plummeted over the last year, sending prices for everything from mobile phones to medicine skyrocketing.

    Things getting worse, day ending in a Y after 1/20/17.

  141. 141
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Mnemosyne: Tom’s working on Huck to keep Jim imprisoned permanently affected my reading of Tom Sawyer. I now see him as the me-me manipulator that he clearly is in the fence-painting rather than the ‘loveable boys will be boys’ prankster that I saw when I was a kid.

  142. 142
    TenguPhule says:

    @Jay:

    It’s not that hard.

    If someone continually fails at it, the obvious cause,” is it’s not you, it’s me”.

    And there is no shortage of resources out there for people to fix what is “broken” with themselves, from how to treat and interact with others, to who they should be trying to interact with.

    Change the genders and apply this to women who find themselves drawn to abusive and dysfunctional men.

    Does it seem a little condescending now?

  143. 143
    Mnemosyne says:

    @PJ:

    Yep. That’s why Huck has no interest in staying and being adopted — he is now a young man and doesn’t need to have an aunt guide him anymore. He has Jim as a role model for how to be a man, which is pretty fucking radical for the 1880s.

    The whole rejection of the mother figure/civilization is probably at least a little misogynistic since “civilization” is shown to be morally corrupt at its core thanks to slavery and women gleefully enforce the status quo, but IMO Twain was far more of a misanthrope than a misogynist — he thought everyone, men and women, were morally corrupt.

  144. 144
    Brachiator says:

    @Barbara:

    That’s kind of the point I was trying to make. Fiedler’s analysis works especially well if you keep fiction authored by women or just fiction about women, most of which is authored by women, out of your sample. E.g., no Willa Cather or Edith Wharton. It’s also the kind of analysis that is often willing to ignore examples that are counter to its primary thesis.

    Yep. Fiedler’s tired thesis only works with a narrow sliver of mainly 19th century novels. Once you bring in drama and poetry, short stories and 20th century fiction, it’s a whole different story. And of course you simply must bring in more women writers and people of color.

    It is a circular argument to say that a small group of white male authors wrote about white male stuff.

  145. 145
    Nicole says:

    @West of the Rockies:

    As a companion piece, it would be intriguing to review how men (and women) are portrayed by female writers. Does a similar misogyny occur?

    You know, I have occasionally stepped into Ayn Rand bashing threads here (mostly to point out one shouldn’t forget that she was a Russian Jew whose family lost everything in the Revolution- I think if one looks at her as a person who likely suffered from PTSD, it’s easier to understand why she believed the things she did), but I think she’s an interesting case regarding this question. Her sex scenes get dismissed as rape, but what never really gets brought up is that, while the heroes of her books are celibate except for their one true soul mate, the soul mates (Dominique in The Fountainhead and Dagny in Atlas Shrugged) are pretty sexually healthy- they have multiple partners, aren’t traumatized by any of them, don’t get pregnant or diseases and end up with the hero. Kind of daring for the 1940s and 1950s. Ayn Rand would likely have thrown her pretentious cigarette holder at anyone who called her feminist, as she repeatedly said a woman should worship a man, but her female characters are actually very self-actualized and active. Dagny is the main character in Atlas Shrugged and I would say Dominique is as much a central character as Howard Roark.

    It’s an aspect of her writing that doesn’t get brought up much, if at all- that the women get more sexual action than the men do. And aren’t punished for it. If anything, they’re rewarded. I’m not defending the rest of her themes, but to contrast a woman writer from the mid-20th century with the men, and how they write women, there’s one. And I sometimes wonder if that factors into the misogyny that gets lobbed at Rand herself.

  146. 146
    Ruckus says:

    @O. Felix Culpa:

    someone MUST be dominant in both personal and social relationships.

    The funny/not funny thing is that these are not males who would be dominant in any relationship. But dominance is the only stance they know. So they attempt to be domineering and of course it doesn’t work at all, in any situation for them. Which leads to issues with the human race, especially the female half. And because they only know one way and are failures at that….

  147. 147
    Mnemosyne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Yes — because she is the opposite of both Newton and Singh in multiple ways, she’s able to be the voice of reason to both of them, but not in a stereotypical way.

    But I’ll send you my notes later today so we don’t spoil the blog post for everyone. 😂

    Did you think the translation of the subtitles was good/accurate? I ended up writing down quite a few lines of dialogue.

  148. 148
    C Stars says:

    @Jay: Of the people I know who have not coupled up and perhaps regret it, many are would be considered quite conventionally attractive. But somehow haven’t been able to connect or compromise enough to get to a place of stable, long-term partnership.
    In any case, it seems we’re talking about two separate issues. Relationships can be hard…LIFE can be hard, but it’s never hard enough to justify succumbing to hate and evil. Maybe the phrasing should be,
    “It’s not so hard that you are ever justified in murdering people out of frustration.”

  149. 149
    TenguPhule says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Twain was far more of a misanthrope than a misogynist — he thought everyone, men and women, were morally corrupt.

    Sadly, he was right.

  150. 150
    artem1s says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Personal anecdotes are not representative of the whole population. For others, yes it is that hard.

    also, they don’t want girlfriends. they want to dominate, sex their way and no other. these are not people who want or crave human interaction. especially with women who they see only as objects to be used. this is part of rape culture. I’m betting most of them aren’t actually celibate. they are only celibate in the sense they aren’t getting the f*ck-hole they want right the moment they want it. they may have a sex partner, but they have to “demean” themselves by negotiating for sex with that partner. they don’t keep sex partners for long because their self hatred is so intense they instantly reject someone who would actually willingly have sex with them. This is more than ‘guys who can’t get laid’. It is creepy beyond belief.

  151. 151
    joel hanes says:

    @Jay:

    It’s not that hard.

    For you.
    Where are you on the autism-Asperger’s spectrum?
    Serious depression ?
    Are you smart ?

    My ex was bipolar. She spent a lifetime courageously trying, got twenty-five years of excellent and expensive psychiatry, took the recommended meds, kept bashing away at it — was never able to stick the landing. She had to run away from me. She had to run away from everything. Eventually she had to run away from life.

    As Democrats, we understand that some people are socio-economically unlucky, and we try to structure society with the understanding that others are wildly successful largely because of luck. But when it comes to relationships, some of us seem to have a very difficult time with the “There but for the grace of God go I” insight, and find it perfectly fine to express contempt for the losers.

    Some of the people you find so pathetic are quietly battling demons you cannot see.

  152. 152
    Mnemosyne says:

    @joel hanes:

    Do you have a link for that? I’d be curious to see it. It does feel a little stuck-on, but it does also show that Huck has grown beyond Tom’s childish antics and understands better than Tom does how serious the situation is.

    Giving up his childish hero-worship of Tom is Huck’s final obstacle to becoming an adult with his own, internal moral sense of right and wrong.

  153. 153

    @Mnemosyne: I actually turned off the subtitles because I found them too distracting, I should watch it once again with the subtitles on.

  154. 154
    Jay says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Nope, I wrote it genderless. I know lots of women who were at one time “drawn” to the “wrong men”, people who were “drawn” to the wrong gender, people who were continually trying to “rescue” others.

    For every human “personality” problem there are fixs.

  155. 155
    Brachiator says:

    @O. Felix Culpa:

    Apart from the fact that a few of these nuts have turned violent, and so have to be dealt with, there is not much here worth thinking about.

    No, not unless you’re a female who has had to spend a lifetime dealing with misogyny in smaller and larger ways

    I don’t see incels as much of a group or movement, and most of them seem to be socially inept. There delusions about women appear to deflect from their larger problem, an inability to form social relationships with anyone.

    Most of these people are pathetic and probably fear women more than they hate them or seek to dominate them.

    But the larger problems of sexism and misogyny are much larger, more real and pervasive. I think that some purported incels (god, what a stupid term) have latched onto white supremacy and misogyny in a weird attempt to amplify their impotence.

    Maybe this also reflects a bias on my part. I hate even writing about these cockroaches. Some of these people are unfortunates with problems that prevent them from forming relationships. But some seem to be just a bunch of assholes who refuse to grow up.

  156. 156
    Jacel says:

    @jl: This very personal “no there there” in Oakland for Gertrude Stein explains why there isn’t a location (such as a childhood home would be) available to commemorate her.

    I recall that a civic pride campaign in Oakland led to a prominent sign saying THERE being put up a few years ago. I’m not finding anything about it right now. Perhaps that THERE isn’t there anymore.

  157. 157
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    That sounds like it was rough. Yeah, I definitely don’t want that to happen to me. I would, in the context of this blog, like to move on and just try to be a better person going forward. And thank you for your kindness.

  158. 158
    The Moar You Know says:

    I’ll never understand the unfuckables.

    I got a bass, learned to play it, got out of high school and went on tour – just a local state-level thing, it’s not like we were a major act or anything – and should probably have brought some shark repellent in addition to my gear. Getting laid is just not that hard, people. It does require two things:

    1. You have something interesting going on in your life
    2. You treat women like any other human being, and yes, that includes being able to talk to them, and take “no” with a laugh and the quip “you’ll always regret the things you didn’t do”, rather than going for your gun or whatever lethally flawed shithead coping mechanism you’ve learned from your online buddies.

    I think, of course, that the unfuckables fail on both counts. I truly do blame the existence of the internet for this.

  159. 159
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @Ruckus:

    The funny/not funny thing is that these are not males who would be dominant in any relationship.

    I don’t know if your observation is universally true, but it applies in my BIL’s case. Despite his intrusive “concern” about our decision-making process in the absence of a right-thinking male, his wife drives all the major decisions in their household.

  160. 160
    TenguPhule says:

    @Jay:

    I know lots of women who were at one time “drawn” to the “wrong men”, people who were “drawn” to the wrong gender, people who were continually trying to “rescue” others.

    Personal anecdotes are not representative of the general population.

    Domestic abuse and spousal rape & murder cases don’t spring out of thin air.

    People are different and many have issues. Not all of them know where to find or are able to get help. And sometimes that help just doesn’t work.

  161. 161
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @TenguPhule:
    It’s terrible because it’s so unnecessary. Republicans don’t care if our national reputation is dragged through the mud or who dies because they believe we can just suspend reality and impose our will on the entire planet. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Soft power is what has helped us run the world, primarily, not this jock bullshit.

  162. 162
    joel hanes says:

    @Brachiator:

    most of them seem to be socially inept. Their delusions about women appear to deflect from their larger problem, an inability to form social relationships with anyone.

    This

  163. 163
    TenguPhule says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    I got a bass, learned to play it, got out of high school and went on tour – just a local state-level thing, it’s not like we were a major act or anything – and should probably have brought some shark repellent in addition to my gear. Getting laid is just not that hard, people. It does require two things:

    1. You have something interesting going on in your life
    2. You treat women like any other human being, and yes, that includes being able to talk to them, and take “no” with a laugh and the quip “you’ll always regret the things you didn’t do”

    A fish swimming in the sea has no concept of a desert.

  164. 164
    Ruckus says:

    @Ladyraxterinok:
    As a kid I read Tom as a me, me, me guy. A manipulator trying to get everyone else to everything for him so he wouldn’t have to lift a finger.
    I have no idea how I got that, maybe it was because the kids in my house were treated equally. Right up until one of my sisters wanted to do “mans” work. Can’t have that! And I think that affected her for most of her life, that not understanding why all of sudden she wasn’t equal anymore. And it was mom who pulled the no man’s work crap on her. She felt betrayed. Went on to prove mom pretty much wrong. And had a running fight with her for the next 40+ yrs.

  165. 165
    Mnemosyne says:

    @artem1s:

    also, they don’t want girlfriends. they want to dominate, sex their way and no other. these are not people who want or crave human interaction. especially with women who they see only as objects to be used.

    This. Their problem isn’t that they’re having a hard time finding a partner. Their problem is that they don’t actually want a partner, they want a fuckhole that will cook and clean for them and never talk back.

    These are the guys that The Stepford Wives was about.

  166. 166
    joel hanes says:

    I’ll never understand the unfuckables.

    Claim your limitation, and it’s yours.

  167. 167
    Barbara says:

    @joel hanes:

    Some of the people you find so pathetic are quietly battling demons you cannot see.

    I agree that it’s important to separate the inadequacy from the means used to address it. Many men who feel that they are unsuccessful at relationships have no intent to lash out at women, let alone act on their fantasies. They might have similar deficiencies in their ability to form relationships, but only some of them are antisocial and violent.

  168. 168
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @Brachiator:

    Some of these people are unfortunates with problems that prevent them from forming relationships. But some seem to be just a bunch of assholes who refuse to grow up.

    QFT. I only know about incels because of the two recent cases where they murdered women. I avoided GamerGate conversations mostly, because it seemed like such a niche issue. But these days, when hatred is being stoked, guns are easily available, and social media provides a platform/incubator for haters (and of course, for excellent people like ourselves), I wonder if it is more dangerous to ignore such groups.

  169. 169
    TenguPhule says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    Republicans don’t care if our national reputation is dragged through the mud or who dies because they believe we can just suspend reality and impose our will on the entire planet. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

    And now you can understand why everyone here got on your case about “Operation Imposing Freedom at the Point of a Bayonet”. A lot of our international problems are the result of doing shit we wouldn’t tolerate within our own borders against us.

  170. 170
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @joel hanes: @Mnemosyne: Now I need to go re-read Huck Finn

  171. 171
    Obvious Russian Troll says:

    @catclub:

    These are people who think pro wrestling is a real sporting event.

    These are people who think porn is real.

  172. 172
    Mnemosyne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    They seemed pretty good — you never want a translation to be literally what each word is in the other language. You want to take the line in Hindi and make it make sense to an English speaker even if a different idiom is used or the words aren’t an exact translation.

  173. 173
    dnfree says:

    @Betty Cracker: I’ve never read another Franzen book after “The Corrections”, which wound up with the kind of loserish main character winding up romantically involved with a woman who was clearly far superior to him. I hadn’t heard of “incel” in those days, but that’s almost what it seemed like to me–that the author had just decided to award this woman to the loser guy as a prize. (Sorry, this is my recollection many years after reading the book and I could be wrong.) It had too much of a feeling of deus ex machina–the author intervening obviously, the plot not seeming like it had naturally evolved.

  174. 174
    TenguPhule says:

    @Obvious Russian Troll:

    These are people who think porn is real.

    Wait, you mean those people are not actually having sex in front of me?

  175. 175
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @TenguPhule:
    That was one of my dumber moments. I didn’t entirely believe it myself. At the time, I was reading about the far-right gaining footholds all over the world and that scared the shit out of me. I guess I was stressed and wanted an easy solution. But there are none. No more inflammatory stuff like that from me from now on.

  176. 176
    scav says:

    I’d think at least some of the motivation to identify as an incel is a terrible need to protect themselves from any whiff of personal failing. They’re not failing at getting laid, it’s those other people — whoops, cheap stereotypes with breasts — being systematically unfair. Even if they’re actually about as muddledly successful or lack of successful as the rest of us, their ego must protect itself. The fox can’t reach the grape, thus all grapes are oppressing him!

  177. 177

    @Mnemosyne: True. I was trying to listen and read at the same time and was not following either, so I turned off the captions.

  178. 178
    TenguPhule says:

    @scav:

    The fox can’t reach the grape, thus all grapes are oppressing him!

    Wine wine wine wine!

  179. 179
    Jay says:

    @joel hanes:

    I’m sorry your ex didn’t make it through her struggles. My sister did. My wife and I, while we have our struggles, do fine 99% of the time. My brother as well, is doing well, despite choosing to have 5 kids, despite the danger. On the other side of the family, our nephew is doing well with Asberger’s, a wife, kids and non-traditional career.

    The hardest thing, is coming to the realization that it’s “you”, not “them”, and working hard to first “fix” you. After my first “big” failure, ( ugly divorce after 10 years of marriage), I took 3 years “off” from dating, to “fix” myself, and that included getting medical treatment to stabilize myself and learn how to properly manage myself, not just courses in active listening, and other relationship skills.

  180. 180
    PJ says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yeah, I don’t think Twain had it in for Aunt Sally, or that she was supposed to represent women generally, just that society at that time meant enforcing slavery and accepting other brutal acts (the lynch mob, etc.)

  181. 181
    dnfree says:

    @dmsilev: That reminds me of one of my daughters, in college in the early 2000s, referring to her roommate as someone who thought of herself as the star of the movie. So that particular phenomenon (you’re the one who counts, the plot revolves around you) is not unique to males.

  182. 182
    Raven says:

    Fox News said Monday it has stopped airing the controversial political ad paid for by President Donald Trump’s campaign, which likens members of the Central American migrant caravan to a man convicted of killing police officers in the U.S.

    The Trump-friendly network’s decision comes after CNN made headlines on Saturday for refusing to air it and after NBC came under fire for running it during prime time on Sunday night.

    “Upon further review, Fox News pulled the ad yesterday and it will not appear on either Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network,” ad sales president Marianne Gambelli said in a statement.

  183. 183
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @dnfree:

    I’ve never read another Franzen book after “The Corrections”, which wound up with the kind of loserish main character winding up romantically involved with a woman who was clearly far superior to him. I hadn’t heard of “incel” in those days, but that’s almost what it seemed like to me–that the author had just decided to award this woman to the loser guy as a prize. (Sorry, this is my recollection many years after reading the book and I could be wrong.) It had too much of a feeling of deus ex machina–the author intervening obviously, the plot not seeming like it had naturally evolved.

    I feel like that can only work if the male main character is able to self-actualize without the female character’s direct intervention, all the while the female character has their own goals/story arcs independent of the male character’s. I think a lot of romance stories or ones with romantic subplots fall into that trap.

  184. 184
    Msb says:

    Incels, MRAs, Gamergaters, Trump, complementarians, etc. share the conviction that women aren’t people, equal human beings. And their rage at women stems from women “daring” to have their own aims and agendas like any other human. Men in these groups see women as sidekicks and prizes for men (the only real people), at best. Hence the rage and violence in language and action, when women pursue their own agendas and assert their own views. The notion that women are the protagonists in their own stories has yet to find wide acceptance.

  185. 185
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Raven:
    Yeah, after the damage has already been done. Good job, Fox.

  186. 186
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Just One More Canuck:

    The book shows that no other American author should ever be allowed to write in dialect. Twain is the only one who knew how to do it right.

    This is right at the end when Huck realizes that he’s matured beyond his hero-worship of Tom:

    And his Aunt Polly she said Tom was right about old Miss Watson setting Jim free in her will; and so, sure enough, Tom Sawyer had gone and took all that trouble and bother to set a free (N) free! and I couldn’t ever understand before, until that minute and that talk, how he could help a body set a (N) free with his bringing-up.

    Huck has realized that the society he lives in is morally corrupt, and he had hoped that the mischievous Tom had realized the same thing, but he has to accept that his friend and hero is only willing to rebel so far.

  187. 187
    dnfree says:

    Speaking of the type of sex and the type of woman that incels feel they are owed, this New Yorker story caused a sensation and a lot of discussion a while back. Some people missed the fact that it was fiction. The description of the sex when it finally occurs is very much how I imagine sex with an incel would go down–strictly about his fantasies, nothing about what the woman might want. And the ending says it all.

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/12/11/cat-person

  188. 188
    The Moar You Know says:

    A fish swimming in the sea has no concept of a desert.

    @TenguPhule: You’re quite correct and that cuts both ways. I think most of these unfuckables wouldn’t understand me at all. I certainly don’t understand them.

  189. 189
    zhena gogolia says:

    @dnfree:

    It’s a great story.

  190. 190
    joel hanes says:

    @Jay:

    I’m glad it worked for you.
    Some people are able to build financial security, too, if they work hard at it.
    Some work equally hard at it and fail.

  191. 191
    ruemara says:

    @Kay: Bluntly. Head on.

  192. 192
    Ruckus says:

    @O. Felix Culpa:
    I’d bet that if he was willing to talk about this, he’d have an excuse that he “gave up” that control willingly. He didn’t, he was incapable of domineering, he doesn’t know how and no one would obey him. It’s the opposite of leadership.
    A lot of people have problems with equality. Our country didn’t have equality as a basis, other than in the documents and even there the documents didn’t intend for the actual definition of equal. Women didn’t have the right to vote, to voice an opinion. Incels are just the social media version of the guys that have never been dominate in anything but in early american culture they were stationed above women. They think they still should be. Just because.

  193. 193
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Bostonian:

    my brother is fat as a prize sow, ugly as sin, always broke, and desperately needs a haircut… and he has a girlfriend.

    It’s not really about sex or affection for these mooks, it’s about status. From what I’ve read, incels despise sex workers, and reject the thought of being with a women who isn’t conventionally attractive, etc when asked about it, an incel replies “why would I want to do that”, Uh cause you’re not Alan Swann. What they demand is to seen with and be known to be shtupping a beautiful widely desirable woman. The whole “I can’t get laid” is a red herring. They demand social status without the effort. Taking showers, grooming, going to the gym, not being an asshole, intentions and plans to be financially successful. They can’t even be bothered to try to fake it.

  194. 194
    TenguPhule says:

    imothy Burke

    @bubbaprog
    Trump on racist ad: “I don’t know about it […] a lot of things are offensive. Your questions are offensive”

    8:30 AM – Nov 5, 2018

    Trump is pretending he never knew about that racist ad. You just can’t make this up.

  195. 195
    Ruckus says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    These are the guys that The Stepford Wives was about.

    Exactly.

  196. 196
    TenguPhule says:

    Brad Parscale

    @parscale
    So, @NBCNews @CNN @facebook have chosen to stand with those ILLEGALLY IN THIS COUNTRY. Instead of standing with LEGAL IMMIGRANTS and those that follow our laws. The #FakeNewsMedia and #PaloAltoMafia are trying to control what you see and how you think. STOP THE CARAVAN!

    7:33 AM – Nov 5, 2018

    Trump’s current unindicted campaign manager.

  197. 197
    TenguPhule says:

    The justice department (DoJ) will send personnel to 35 jurisdictions in 19 states to “monitor compliance with the federal voting rights laws,” it announced Monday.

    “This year we are using every lawful tool that we have, both civil and criminal, to protect the rights of millions of Americans to cast their vote unimpeded at one of more than 170,000 precincts across America,” the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, said. “Likewise, fraud in the voting process will not be tolerated. Fraud also corrupts the integrity of the ballot.”

    The announcement came after Trump vaguely but ominously warned: “Law Enforcement has been strongly notified to watch closely for any ILLEGAL VOTING.”

    The states where DoJ civil rights division personnel will deploy are Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

    Why no, I don’t find this list unsettling at all, why do you ask? //s

  198. 198
  199. 199
    Ruckus says:

    @O. Felix Culpa:

    I wonder if it is more dangerous to ignore such groups.

    It is. All for the reasons you listed. Taking out your anti social issues on innocent people isn’t the way to fix this. A piece of this is our healthcare system and how certain parts of the human condition aren’t considered healthcare. Mental, dental, visual, sound. A lack in any of these areas can really hurt a person in so many ways and should be a paid for part of any healthcare system. But each of these is considered a weakness by many in our culture. Either that one is weak for having issues or one is weak by not being able to pay for the care.

  200. 200
    Raven says:

    @The Pale Scot: Status Back Baby

    I’m losing status at the high school
    I used to think that it was my school
    Wah, wah, wah, wah

  201. 201
    Jay says:

    @TenguPhule:

    A lot of people think that because their situations/problems are common, that makes them normal, and don’t seek change.

    3:4 partner’s who have fled to shelter from domestic violence, return to the relationship.

    I was raised in an abusive home, and am well aware of the large variety of issues regarding abuse and what is required to break the cycle, not just to “get out”, but also not carry it forward.

  202. 202
    TenguPhule says:

    Trump’s supporters say they don’t much care about the falsehood meter. At his rally Wednesday in Estero, Fla., one Trump fan after another explained away his disregard for the truth.

    Hope Heisler, an emergency room doctor: “I’m not a fact-checker. All of the candidates, whether they be Republican or Democrat, don’t say things completely accurately all the time. But I trust in Trump.”

    Linda Sears, a housewife: “Presidents should tell the truth, but sometimes they make mistakes. . . . At least Trump tells it like it is. Trump is a truth teller.”

    Pat Banker, a retired registered nurse: “I don’t think he lies. He gets excited when he’s talking, and he likes to exaggerate a little bit. But that’s just his way.”

    Full Trumpism on display.

  203. 203
    trollhattan says:

    @Raven:
    Now if they could only “un-show” it.

    Too bad the dude was turned loose by Joe Arpaio. Kind of hurts the narrative. We are NOT amused locally, as he murdered our cops and Trump just shit all over their memories with this filth.

  204. 204
    Mary G says:

    Completely OT, but I have never been able to get into “literature” and did the Cliff Notes reading, if that, for most of the few English classes I took, and this thread is depressing, so have some graceful and beautiful writing from one of my favorite authors:

    Moving piece by @newyorker's Roger Angell, 98 years young and legally blind, exhorting people to get out and vote. "What I said I would die for I now want to live for." https://t.co/VDdz1EOt68— Michael Luo (@michaelluo) November 5, 2018

    He and Frank DeFord wrote about sports, and I used to read them even if I didn’t care about the topic, because words.

  205. 205
    TenguPhule says:

    Sign: “Days Trump has not said something profoundly stupid: 0”

    Trump says Yemen bus attack was due to bombers not using weapon properly

    Donald Trump has said the air attack on a school bus in Yemen by Saudi-led Coalition forces using a US bomb in August was the result of the bombers not knowing how to use the weapon properly.

    At least 51 people died in the attack, including 40 children, most of them aged between six and 11.

    The attack highlighted the use of US arms by the Saudi-led coalition in the country, which is fighting the Iran-backed Houthis.

    I just can’t even.

    “That was basically people that didn’t know how to use the weapon, which is horrible,” he said. “I’ll be talking about a lot of things with the Saudis, but certainly I wouldn’t be having people that don’t know how to use the weapons shooting at buses with children.”

  206. 206
    Kay says:

    @Spanky:

    He reads widely on the internet. He has that attitude they get where they think any kind of discernment or “judging” of ideas is somehow an offense against being “open minded”. I want to tell him “bud, you can reject crap- that’s allowed”

    I don’t think he has the confidence or experience to say “this is garbage”. It’s terrifying to watch, really. He’s just a sponge and you’re hoping his good experiences outweigh the barrage of hateful influences. Fingers crossed! :)

  207. 207
    Jay says:

    @joel hanes:

    Well, financial security is one thing I don’t have.

    And I’m not too quick on the uptake. It took 30 years of struggling to figure out that if I wanted sucessful long term relationships, there were a lot of things about myself, I had to “fix” and change.

    It’s also hard to deliberately choose to actively avoid intimate relationships for a long period of time, while working on yourself and skills. It’s counter intuitive. Many think that a relationship is where you “learn”, but it’s not.

  208. 208
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mary G:

    I think the message to take from this thread is that we all need to re-read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, because it’s entertaining AND the all-time greatest American novel because it speaks frankly about our original sin of slavery.

  209. 209
    ruemara says:

    @Brachiator:

    there is not much here worth thinking about.

    Dude. You have to be a guy to think that. I don’t even try to date. I haven’t had a date in almost a decade. I have to deal with being a black woman (inherently undesirable unless close to white western beauty standards) in a largely white area (see prior note) and there’s still the issue of which guy is not even decent, but at least not physically & mentally dangerous. You would not hold this attitude if you had live with the idea that you can’t tell until a man has a sexual interest in you if they could conceivably hurt you if you don’t perform as expected. We had newspapers hosting articles where incel supporters were discussing how the government has an interest in resolving mens’ sexual needs to prevent mass violence. As if it’s just a cool thought experiment. It’s not just worth thinking about and confronting, it’s worth making it explicit the kind of dehumanizing insanity directed at women that’s been spreading due to the internet.

  210. 210

    So, to summarize today's ad action: @CNN, @NBC, @FoxNews and @Facebook have all rejected an ad by the *President of the United States* because they consider it racist. Amazing.— Paul Farhi (@farhip) November 5, 2018

  211. 211
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @dnfree:
    That was actually pretty horrifying at the end. I felt sort of sorry for Robert early on because he seemed genuinely nice, at least at first. However, it became pretty clear he was a lying creep. I mean, Christ, he never asked how old she was until the bar scene or told her how old he was. How old did he think she was? And then he was hanging out at that student bar. Was he waiting for her? He should have just sucked it up and moved on. That’s fucking creepy.

  212. 212
    Ruckus says:

    @Mary G:
    Just read Roger’s piece you linked to and the one about his vote for Hillary. He is good. Doesn’t look like a wasted word in either.
    His description of the old men who look like him is spot on, I see them at the VA every time I go. There are fewer and fewer of them as time passes, but you can see the lives, the spirit.

  213. 213

    @joel hanes: @Mnemosyne: Hemingway (I know, I know) used to recommend that you stop reading Huck Finn after the part where Huck says, “All right, I’ll go to Hell”. This of course was also the spot where Twain laid the book down for several years.

  214. 214
    Doug R says:

    @catclub:

    everything old is new again:
    Marc Lépine was a Canadian mass murderer from Montreal, Quebec, who in 1989 murdered 14 women, and wounded 10 women and four men at the École Polytechnique, an engineering school affiliated with the Université de Montréal, in the École Polytechnique massacre, also known as the “Montreal Massacre”.

    Ecole Polytechnique was a watershed moment-the last pieces of Canada’s gun control came into place after that.

  215. 215
    Brachiator says:

    OT, but a counterpoint to this incel stuff, Ramona Ripston, former head of the Southern California ACLU has passed away

    Ramona Ripston, who built the ACLU of Southern California into a civil liberties, civil rights, and activism powerhouse over a span of four decades, has died. She was 91.

    Ripston had been in failing health for several years. She served as executive director of the ACLU SoCal from 1972 to 2011, except for a period of 18 months beginning in 1986, when she was a vice president in charge of the western region for the advocacy organization People for the American Way.

  216. 216
    JR says:

    @Betty Cracker: Ken Kesey had his moments but he was not a good dude

  217. 217
    Ruckus says:

    @Jay:

    Many think that a relationship is where you “learn”, but it’s not.

    One can learn from a relationship, but there is a lot that one has to know about themselves first to be able to understand the learning. If the knowing about one’s self and arriving at a reasonable settling place is what one has to learn then no, you most likely aren’t going to get there. It is hard to understand how some arrive at that place very young and some never do.

  218. 218
    JR says:

    @C Stars: I mean, Sauk Center got over Sinclair Lewis taking a dump all over it in “Main Street” pretty quickly

  219. 219
    Dopey-o says:

    @TenguPhule: my favorite Twain quote:
    The more i learn about people, the better i like my dog.

  220. 220
    The Moar You Know says:

    Ken Kesey had his moments but he was not a good dude

    @JR: Few of those NorCal sixties scene men were. In fact, I can’t think of one.

  221. 221
    joel hanes says:

    @Barbara:

    Thank you for getting it.
    I have no intent of ever defending MRA chumps, nor the gamergate or online-incel circle jerks.

    But all too often, contempt for their behavior is allowed to broaden into contempt for all the socially-inept or damaged people who are more or less permanently alone, and sad about it.

    Eleanor Rigby

  222. 222
    Millard Filmore says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Wait, you mean those people are not actually having sex in front of me?

    Yeah, they are having sex, but most of the time you can tell its just another work project.

  223. 223
    West of the Cascades says:

    @Mnemosyne: for my money, these are some of the, if not the, greatest paragraphs every written by an American writer:

    So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn’t know what to
    do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I’ll go and write the letter—and
    then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt as light
    as a feather right straight off, and my troubles all gone. So I got a
    piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited, and set down and
    wrote:

    Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile
    below Pikesville, and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up
    for the reward if you send.

    HUCK FINN.

    I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever
    felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn’t do it
    straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking—thinking
    how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to
    being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to
    thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the
    time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes
    storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing.

    But somehow I couldn’t seem to strike no places to harden me
    against him, but only the other kind. I’d see him standing my watch
    on top of his’n, ‘stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and
    see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when
    I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and
    such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do
    everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was;
    and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had
    small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best
    friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the only one he’s got now;
    and then I happened to look around and see that paper.

    It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was atrembling,
    because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and
    I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then
    says to myself:

    “All right, then, I’ll go to hell”—and tore it up.

    It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they was said. And I let
    them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming. I
    shoved the whole thing out of my head, and said I would take up
    wickedness again, which was in my line, being brung up to it, and
    the other warn’t. And for a starter I would go to work and steal Jim
    out of slavery again; and if I could think up anything worse, I would
    do that, too; because as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as
    well go the whole hog.

  224. 224

    @Ladyraxterinok:

    The claimed ‘Biblical marriage of one man-one woman’ actually means one leader(male) and one follower (female). A SameSex marriage can’t be put into that framework, therefore it can never be ‘biblical’ and acceptable to card-carrying Christianists.

    This. And, very importantly, by providing an example a successful marriage based on the equality of the spouses rather than their inequality, it proves that their “biblical” model of marriage is not the only viable option. That’s the last thing Evangelicals want. This is why they claim that same sex marriage threatens their marriages; it proves that theirs isn’t the only, or even the best, way to go.

  225. 225
    Jay says:

    @Ruckus:

    One of the things that I learned, is that a huge amount of what we “learn” about relationships comes from our parental models, because it’s the only one we see play out in real time with almost full intimacy.

    So, we either try to mirror our parents, or if our parents was disfunctional, do the opposite.

    You can see the flaws in either approach, and how your attempted partner has probably a significantly different model.

    It goes back to “common” not being “normal”.

    A friend decided, after getting out of an abusive relationship, to do some family research on it. The women in her family tree had “chosen” abusive partners all the way back to the 1600’s.

    Some people however, have, quite often by “fluke”, sucessful, mutually supporting relationships, and their kids, by having this as an imitative model, a far better chance than the rest of us.

  226. 226
    danielx says:

    @C. Isaac:

    Incels are a group of males who have decided that they are owed sex, love, and companionship from women and that their existence is torture without it.

    “Owed” indeed describes it, and they cannot accept that women owe them precisely nothing. To the point where they don’t even consider the basics – you know, cleanliness, dental work, flossing regularly, not acting like they are owed, being able to discuss topics beyond guns and sports, etc etc…

  227. 227
    Dr. Fungus says:

    @Elizabelle: The coffee comment compels me to plug Ersatz Brothers. Look for the can in the plain brown can!

  228. 228
    trollhattan says:

    @The Moar You Know:
    Gary Snyder? Brautigan?

  229. 229
    Brachiator says:

    @ruemara:

    Dude. You have to be a guy to think that.

    The nonsense spouted by the incels is pathetic. And most of them, again, I note, seem to be incapable of forming any kind of relationship with anyone, men or women.

    What I tried to be clear about is that it is unfortunate that their pathetic delusions and insipid fantasies are seen in any way to affect or be connected to the problems that real women face in the real world. There is nothing, absolutely nothing that I wrote in dismissing the incel bullshit that is meant in any way to minimize what women have to deal with.

  230. 230
    Mnemosyne says:

    @joel hanes:

    Some people are lucky and some are not. My late mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at 30 and dead before she turned 38. My stepbrother died of lung cancer at 51 three years ago.

    On the other side of that spectrum, my mother-in-law has twice been diagnosed with potentially serious cancers that were so early stage that she didn’t need chemo or radiation. Surgical excision did the trick.

    Luck.

  231. 231
    joel hanes says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    I can’t think of one.

    Tom Hayden ?

  232. 232
    joel hanes says:

    @Dr. Fungus:

    Cue the organist.

  233. 233
    trollhattan says:

    @joel hanes:
    Organ Leroy, at his organ again.

  234. 234
    Mnemosyne says:

    @West of the Cascades:

    And those words are exactly why authoritarian parents hate the book and try to have it banned year after year. It’s not because of the N-word. It’s because it tells kids that the adults around them who are teaching them right and wrong may be completely full of shit, so the kids will need to learn to think for themselves.

    And going back to a minor point I made much earlier, it’s very clear that Jim has become a surrogate father for Huck and cares for him far more than Huck’s own father ever did. Looking at the story through adult eyes, Huck is probably a surrogate for the children Jim was forced to leave behind when he decided to run away.

  235. 235
    Brachiator says:

    @Mary G:

    He and Frank DeFord wrote about sports, and I used to read them even if I didn’t care about the topic, because words.

    Good sports writing is literature. From DeFord to Jim Murray of the Los Angeles Times to Ring Lardner and many others.

  236. 236
    joel hanes says:

    @trollhattan:

    Gary Snyder? Brautigan?

    I’d nominate Tom Hayden.
    And Shunryu Suzuki.

  237. 237
    joel hanes says:

    @trollhattan:

    and the St. Louis Aquarium Choir

  238. 238
    Aleta says:

    It is the thwarting of those expectations that the incel shootings act out. There’s a book to be written about why these themes are so attractive to Americans.

    The delusion that a man who’s not having sex with a woman means he’s not a Man feeds so many other dangerous delusions.
    Like:
    ‘If I can’t have sex with a woman, then violence will prove I’m a man.’
    ‘To maintain my masculinity, I need to threaten gays, lesbians, transpeople, children, anyone who doesn’t obey my rules, anyone who might prove I’m inadequate.’

    ‘I have to toughen up my male children so they won’t be de-masculinized.’

    ‘A woman who slept with me and then moved on to someone else has harmed me. She’s made me a target for ridicule and insult from other men; because of her they’ll call me a c*ck .’

    Demeaning men with that slur tells them that being turned down for sex by a woman is a deep insult to your male identity. Some men kill straight, lesbian and trans women to erase that slur. Some also believe in the ugliest, racist meaning of the word: that any white woman they observe with a man of color makes the white male observer a c*ck by definition.

    Similarly any woman they observe who’s chosen another woman affects those men’s belief in their own masculinity. Which has been a delusional excuse in the minds of some to try to murder lesbians.

  239. 239
    Ruckus says:

    @Jay:
    I agree that it starts with parents and parenting.
    I also notice that some who come from horrible upbringings turn out to be very reasonable people. And in multiple children families there are differences between what the kids see/hear and the behavior that follows. I think there is a middle between that the parents teach and what the person sees and hears as well as an interpretation of that. Gender may have something to do with it as well although I’m not so sure. That may be because often different messages are given to males – females, even if they are unintentionally different.
    It’s a complex issue and we should probably be amazed that it works well some of the time.

  240. 240
    tybee says:

    @jl:

    they are a real organized movement, they could pull it off.

    hmmm.

  241. 241
    Jay says:

    @Ruckus:

    While it starts with parents and parenting, ( good, bad, other*),

    For many people that’s also where it stops.

    We spend a lot of time, money and attention on changing ourselves, growing our skills, learning new skills and techniques, for work, for play, for hobbies, for pets, for homes,

    But very little is “spent” on relationship skill sets, and most of that is spent when we are already in one that is broken and failing.

    *a lot of people who come from dysfunctional homes, simply do relationship practices “differently” than their parental model. It’s not always the “right” thing to do and just creates a different form of disfunction.

    “We” want to have lifelong relationships as people, but “we” put very little effort in to learning and practicing what makes life long relationships possible, despite all the information out there.

    Instead of becoming someone capable of building such relationships, “we” as a society rely on “luck” for the most part.

  242. 242
    Dan B says:

    @C Stars: I believe that access to porn is just part of the issue. It seems the issue is popular culture. Porn avvess is easier but there’s a history of “smut” from the 19th century and we can look back to the Romans if we wanna find precedence.

    The aggrieved male seems to be amplified at the moment but it’s been around. It’s also possible that the internet has increased tribal identification.

  243. 243
    ruemara says:

    @Brachiator: Brach. Women have died from them. They do affect our world.

  244. 244
    Dan B says:

    @Ladyraxterinok: Spot on observation about fundamentalist headship.

    In the 60s and 70s lots of lesbian and gay couples had a butch and a femme, copying the straight culture. Us gay libbers were regularly asked who the woman was in relationships. Feminism began to take hold and today I would have a tough time finding anything but egalitarian relationships.

    The incel phenom baffles me at the same time I understand it. In order to “come out” most LGBTQ people question and discard societal and religious norms. Most right wingers view this examination of the social order as opening the door to chaos or satan. Is there a parallel to the Becky / Stacey, good girl / bad girl dualism?

    I’m also reflecting on the gay male sex centric vs. lesbian not sex focused dynamic. It would be difficult for an incel group to get established but I could be wrong.

  245. 245
    Dan B says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist: Dualistic thinking at its finest!

    Don’t tell the Chritianist men or the incels – chaos and hilarity would surely ensue!

  246. 246
    Pogonip says:

    For your, if not Becky’s, reading pleasure.

    https://www.theroot.com/the-five-types-of-becky-1798543210

    The caste divide among whites is even broader than I thought. Don’t know about the Beckys, but the non-rich, non-college among us are uninterested in touching your hair. This article did not explain where Becky’s obsession with hair comes from, unfortunately.

  247. 247
    Dan B says:

    @C Stars: Oakland should visit Fremont, a neighborhood in Seattle. Used to be a working class fisherman boat maintenance community. It branded itself ” The Center of the Universe, got a huge Lenin statue from the soviet collapse, and an annual parade and nude bike ride. Claim your weirdness! Now it’s techie and hipster.

    On second thought, maybe Oakland should continue to ignore Gertrude Stein.

  248. 248
    debbie says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    You’re right about DH Lawrence, but boy, he wrote some beautiful, lyrical sentences.

    Thanks for this post, Cheryl.

  249. 249
    Dan B says:

    @TenguPhule: Be upset with the Brooks Brothers: John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh. Chad never stood a chance.

  250. 250
    debbie says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Those “some commenters” are wrong. Those ads were not tongue in cheek.

  251. 251
    Bonnie says:

    When I was just a kid in grade school, I found that I loved a good mystery. However, while in junior high and high school, I was growing tired that all the detectives were male or old ladies, such as Miss Marple. I always kept wondering why young women couldn’t solve mysteries. So I started searching the bookstores for young women as the protagonist. At that time, women writers and some men were writing about younger women solving mysteries, usually a young wife or divorcee or widow. These are now known as malice domestic mysteries. Still, I have read all the Mickey Spillane, Robert B. Parker, Dashiell Hammett, and other classic mysteries; but, I do love the malice domestics the best. One of the great ones in my book is Donna Andrews. Her mysteries are very good; and, she writes very quirky characters. Thus, at 73 I realized I was a feminist before it was fashionable; and, it has made my life better than it would have been if I had accepted all this male-dominated culture. And, of all the people who turned me into the uppity woman I am, it was my dad.

  252. 252
    Bill says:

    I always think of this song, when someone mentions incels…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bgJWqJwdZ8

  253. 253
  254. 254
    Jack the Cold Warrior says:

    @C Stars: not everything is misogyny. The song was written in late 1943 when several millions of soldiers were overseas fighting Nazis, totalitarian Japanese, fear of death, and homesickness.

    Here’s it’s history. https://www.historyonthenet.com/authentichistory/1939-1945/3-music/11-Separation/19431202_Cleanin_My_Rifle-Lawrence_Welk.html

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

Comments are closed.