I have semi-regular contact with the mainstream media these days. Most recently I was interviewed by Erika Jarvis for the Toronto Standard. Ostensibly the article was about AVfM’s activism in the aftermath of violent protest against Warren Farrell, who spoke at the University of Toronto about the issues facing men and boys.
I am pleased to report that the article was something less than a total disaster. In fact, in issuing a grade to Ms. Javis, I am compelled to give her a B+. Keep in mind that this is the mainstream so there is a curve.
Let me explain how she arrived at that grade.
First, calling me “notorious” in the headline was just a smidgen biased, though I admit getting a slightly egocentric chuckle when I saw it. No loss of points, though, as it is often the caprice of editors that determine headlines.
Then there are the real problems with the article. The first point, and a minor one compared to the rest, is that calling our anti-violence policy “ostentatious” demonstrates a lack of understanding of things I already know Ms. Jarvis understands. We have to make a show of anti-violence, because until Ms. Jarvis’s article, every mainstream hack who ever penned a word about us either implied or directly charged us with promoting violence. That includes some who have fallaciously linked us to people like Anders Breivik and Marc Lépine.
Four points deducted.
Jarvis loses another four points for perspective. She characterizes a violent protest, in which young men were harassed and bullied, enduring epithets, jeering and public humiliation, for simply trying to attend a lecture about boys, as “impassioned,” and the behavior of the protesters as, “not beyond reproach.”
As thick as she laid it on my actions at times, she made the bias pretty clear.
Jarvis also compared me to Fidel Castro, “before he came to power: relegated to the political fringes, passionate, and ideologically driven.”
What ideology? Deduct four points for baseless conjecture. I don’t subscribe to an ideology.
I also need to point to an issue of intellectual consistency. Throughout Jarvis’s piece, there is an air of judgment about the tactics I employ, a sort of “Eww, thaths naaasthy!” reaction to it all. It’s as though somewhere in her mind a better way to get things done is perched there, waiting to be discovered. Surely someone would listen without all this brazenness and lack of sophistication.
She seems not to notice her own dismissal of that, as she writes:
It’s true I wouldn’t be talking to him today if he’d written some aggrieved, politically sanitary letter to the U of T protesters outlining his complaints.
No, Erika, you would not have. Neither would anyone else. It is the one and only reason we do things here the way we do them. It is not my fault, or the fault of men and boys, that we live in such a misandric culture. When the day comes that the media will contact me because a desperate man self-immolates in front of a family court instead of making every effort to ignore it, then I, as well as many who follow this site, will be happy employ activism more fit for mainstream sensibilities.
When universities start disciplining students for hateful conduct, instead of indoctrinating them into it, the same applies.
Until then, they get FTSU.
Being shocked and judgmental about that is like White America’s clueless outrage over Watts in 1965.
Perhaps on some level Jarvis gets that she doesn’t fully get it. I don’t know, but I am not taking off points on this one. I’ll call it an AA curve for the MSM since I am so slap-happy about acronyms.
That leaves us with the now standard reference to the SPLC. It was complete with misquotes from our mission statement and accusations from which the SPLC has long since backpedaled. That one seems to come with each round of media coverage, which is what the SPLC wanted when they created all those lies in the first place.
Thing is, whoever put it there was speaking for the publication as a whole. I can’t prove it is the doing of Jarvis, or if some editor at The Standard, paranoid that the article was not negative enough, wanted it tossed in.
It doesn’t affect the grade, except to say that if it was from an editor, they get a big fat stinky F for being lazy and dishonest.
That being said, I have to credit Jarvis for her positives. There were a number of them.
One, in her critique of my “Bash a Violent Bitch Month,” article, she actually linked to the Jezebel.com com piece and acknowledged they were “swapping stories” (that is feminist friendly mainstream talk for bragging) about being physically abusive to the men in their lives. She also linked readers to the U of T video so they could see the actions of the protesters themselves.
She did make an effort to characterize our conversation, and me, honestly. While I disagree with some of her conclusions, she was open with me about her thoughts, and we talked at some length. I read nothing in her article that surprised me.
I know there will be some here that think I am giving her too much of a pass. I will go ahead and disagree in advance. Instead of the standard spiel about the MRM being a bunch of angry white guys, she acknowledged and discussed the many women who support the cause. And she acknowledged some of the issues we address. Overall, she did well enough to piss off a few feminists, who quickly Tweeted their discontent. I hope it does not cost her too much. We all know how they can get when you actually listen to an MRA.
I told her during our talks that a hit piece is what I expected from everyone in the mainstream. She answered me by saying that, “This story is too complicated for a hit piece.”
Even with the mistakes, I think she held true to that, or as true as she knew how for today.