Reader Request Week 2018 #1: Incels and Other Misogynists

Let’s start off the 2018 Reader Request Week with a topic that several of you were interested in because of recent news, although I’m using Laura’s question to get us started:

What are your thoughts on Incels? While I think the type of guy has been around for always, their organizing and magnifying seems different and concerning.

For those of you not up on the recent news on these folks, “incel” is a term that means “involuntary celebate” and is used as a self-identifier by a certain subset of whiny misogynist man-child who believes he is owed sex by “hot” women, pretty much because he is a man and wants sex with a hot woman. When the sex with a hot woman is somehow not in the offing, he gets pissy about it.

And, unfortunately, sometimes murderous about it too — the recent surfacing of the term in the public consciousness occurred when one of these self-identified incels drove a van into a bunch of pedestrians in Toronto, killing several. This action, along with this fellow’s self-association with “incels,” prompted several deeply regrettable hand-wringing articles from conservative commentators, more or less along the line of “well, shouldn’t we be redistributing sex, or at least sex robots, to these angry, congested men?” This prompted some well-deserved dragging of said commentators on social media and elsewhere, which in turn prompted some of them to attempt to qualify their previous statements, which in turn led them to digging their own holes deeper. At this point, for example, someone should gently lead the New York Times’ Ross Douthat away from his keyboard and the internet, set him in a dandelion patch and leave him there until just about forever.

As you might be able to surmise from the previous two paragraphs, I’m not notably sympathetic either to the “incels” or to the gormlessly dim sort of straight white male commentator who rends his garments wondering how to get them sex while their victims are still fresh in their graves. As many, many, many people have already noted, no one has a “right” to sex, the way these fellows think about sex reduces women to objects at best and objects of contempt at worst, and all the bloviating about the abstract concept of “redistributing sex” that these oh-so-serious commentators engage in is once more objectifying women as sex-gratifying objects, just one rhetorical step removed (and as for “sex robots”: dudes, if “incels” already don’t want to fuck women they don’t consider “9s” at the minimum, the idea they’re going to be satisfied with an oversized silicone sleeve for their johnson is optimistic at best. They might consider women to be objects, but it’s important to the incels that their objects are, in fact, women).

I don’t tend to think of incels as a group in isolation. Rather they lay on the general misogynist scatter plot, along with “men’s rights” activists, pick up artists, “men going their own away” and the sort of person who just simply believes women are inferior to men and uses their own personal set of scripture (whether based on religion or politics or “science” or some combination thereof) to justify their sexism. Gross, unapologetic misogyny has been having a moment thanks to a president who has delighted in treating women the way incels wish they could treat women, if only they had millions of dollars to get into the room with them in the first place, and then a lawyer to make them go away when they were done. It’s also been helped by a shift in the sexism Overton window that, for example, allows a man who was for women being hanged for having abortions to get a plum job in a mainstream media publication until the convenient fig leaf of him lying to his editor about how serious he was in that opinion got him fired (yes, I’m aware Mr. Williamson has attempted, wailing of the chilling unfairness of it all the while, to qualify his position after the fact. Set him in the same dandelion patch as Mr. Douthat, please). So it’s not exactly surprising that in this particular environment, the incels may feel their moment has come around at last, if not to get laid, then at least to be taken seriously.

I’d take incels seriously as a threat to women in particular and to people in general (the victims in Toronto were not just women), and it’s important to know their pathology in order to deal with them when they’re inspired to criminality. I don’t in the least take them seriously as a social movement. For one thing, it’s incorrectly labeled. There’s very little involuntary about their celibacy; they’re making the affirmative choice to be so by being childish misogynist assbags. Strange how women don’t want to have anything to do with jerks who see them solely as a warm hole to stick their dicks into! Who could have foreseen this might be the case! Surely it’s a mystery of the ages that such a thing would come to pass. And these fellows are only making their situation worse by loitering around online with others who validate their anti-social women-hating bullshit by suggesting its neither right nor fair that they, as men, should not be able to have sex on demand from hot women. Are we not Nice Men? they cry, if not in unison, then in threaded harmony.

Well, no. You’re not nice men. Nice men recognize the fundamental humanity and agency of women. Nice men work on themselves to become better people. Nice men understand they’re not owed sex by anyone. Nice men learn to recognize that grading people on a scale based on appearance is childish and reductive and will keep you from discovering the amazingness of people as they are. Nice men are nice not as a way to get sex, but because they recognize the value of being nice in itself, for themselves. Nice men realize that “nice” means nothing if it’s not attached to an actual core of kindness and decency and principle — and that kindness and decency and principle are virtues, not weaknesses. Nice men don’t tally up every action they make as if they’re accruing points redeemable for sticking their penis into a moist orifice. Nice men don’t go whining about it when their “orifice” scheme doesn’t work out as they wanted it to, and they don’t blame others who neither consented to the scheme nor go along with it when it’s sprung on them. Nice guys don’t think consent is an impediment. Nice guys don’t have to declare themselves to be “nice guys.” But nice guys don’t mind noting there are always ways for them to keep improving themselves and being better to and for other people.

(Mind you, I don’t expect anyone who identifies as an “incel” to be swayed by anything here — it’s much easier to believe the problem lies with the “Chads” and “Stacies” and “Beckys” of the world, and that I’m a beta cuck in any event, then it is to undertake a critical examination of self and work to improve one’s self as a human being, and as a result perhaps be seen as someone whom someone else might wish to spend time with and affection on, and be a better person in any event. C’est la vie. This is, of course, their own karma.)

What should anyone else do with regard to incels? Remember they are actually “volcels” — voluntarily celibate, because they’ve chosen to be crap human beings no sensible woman (or anyone else) would want to spend time with — and then leave them to their own chosen lifestyle, because apparently they would rather do that than put in the work to be attractive, engaging people. If they really do want to have sex with other people, they should make the effort and then take their chances like the rest of us, and it should be noted that a lot of the rest of us, having made the effort, have seen it pay off, in ways both obvious (Yay! Sex! Possibly!) and less obvious (being content with ourselves and our lives, even if and when no sex partner is in the offing).

And if they don’t want to do that, well. I guess then they can just go fuck themselves.

(There is still time to ask a question for Reader Request Week! Go here for all the details, and to ask your question.)

143 Comments on “Reader Request Week 2018 #1: Incels and Other Misogynists”

  1. Notes:

    1. This is likely to be a contentious topic, so the Mallet is in the warming chamber. Please remember the site commenting rules and remember to be polite with each other. I’m likely to have a hair trigger on the Mallet.

    2. One thing I didn’t address in the piece and which is likely to come up in the comments here is the issue of sex workers and incels. Leaving aside the issue that (in the US at least) the wide legalization of sex work seems unlikely, particularly with the current administration, it is to be remembered (and again, as many others have said) that sex workers:
    a) Should have the choice to accept/reject potential customers, just like anyone else in business;
    b) Are likely to be in danger from someone who has a dehumanizing, misogynist philosophy, as incels do.
    Therefore please be aware that “just let them pay for sex!” is not likely to be the winning argument you think it is.

    3. Also, I suspect some of you will wish to go on a side quest regarding Mr. Williamson and his dumbass statements re: abortion, so I’m going to let you know that this comment thread is not going to be for a general discussion of abortion, or Mr. Williamson’s dumbass statements regarding it in particular. Please keep the discussion generally on the discussion of incels. Thank you.

    4. (updated at 6:30pm) Inasmuch as I’ve just noticed the incel subreddit has linked to this piece, a friendly note that I will be delighted to Mallet any incel apologia/nonsense I see attempted here. You got your whole subreddit to whine about this piece, children. Do it there.

  2. Huh. Learn something new every day. In my youth, we referred to this sort of individual as someone who used their personality for birth control. It’s nice that they’ve got an official name and can feel put upon.

    Suggestions for these poor put-upon souls: Learn a bit of hygiene, treat women like people, and quit whining. Doing those three things will increase your success rate with the ladies.

  3. Generally I thank people for updating me on modern vernacular, but I can’t bring myself to do that for “incel.” That’s a word that I would only handle dangling on a hook from a very long pole, preferably over a pit of acid.

  4. If you want more horrifying details on Incels, the expert on them is David Futrelle at We Hunted The Mammoth who has been watching and reporting on them (as well as their ideological brothers in the PUA and MGTOW movements and, surprising no one, Teddy Beale) for a long team. Two years ago he started pushing out the warning that the movement was deeply radicalizing and violence was only a matter of time. He’s worth following.

  5. [S]omeone should gently lead the New York Times’ Ross Douthat away from his keyboard and the internet, set him in a dandelion patch and leave him there until just about forever.

    And now I have this image of Douthat frolicking in the dandelions with Opus and… GAK! That’s just wrong. Thanks for the sour persimmons, cousin.

  6. My take on Douthat’s article was a little different, pretty similar to what the author says here: Douthat, a conservative Catholic, wasn’t arguing for the “redistribution of sex” so much as a return to the mythical “good ol’ days” when people didn’t have, or expect to have, sex outside of marriage. He certainly still belongs in the dandelion patch, but his commentary on the “right to sex” seemed, to me, actually a “told you so” kind of piece where, in addition to the misplaced nostalgia, he mocks what he sees as the expansion of rights in the modern era–surely, Douthat expounds, if there is a right to not starve, and to a living wage, the right to sex must be next? Even if he isn’t an incel sympathizer, I think it’s quite troubling that he would squeeze this horrifying incident through a myopic lens to justify his own worldview.

    As for the “volcels” (an apt name), I think I must respectfully disagree with you about what to do with them. Yes, it’s perfectly morally acceptable to shun people like that, but it seems to me that this virulent misogyny must be faced somehow before it claims more innocent lives, though I honestly have no idea how. Certainly Douthat’s ideas, serious or not, are nonstarters. Maybe we need a “don’t be a dick” movement, though that seems to be a lost cause.

  7. You last sentence says it all about incels. Because, when it gets right down to it, that is truly the only person they want to fuck in the first place.

  8. Note that one of the problems with defining “success” as “had sex” is that it still makes sex a purely transactional activity. While there are certainly cases it could be (aforementioned sex workers) one of the problems “volcels” (like this term, going to use it now) encounter is that unpaid for sex is still “bought” by somehow choosing the right options in the dating app they think life is.

    I can’t imagine “having sex” as a primary life goal is a healthy way to live. Enjoy sex when you engage in it. Engage in it often if that is your wish and there are others willing to do so with you. But if it’s your primary means of fulfillment, I suspect you’ll find a lot of dissatisfaction in the long run.

  9. Kevin W Grierson:

    “it seems to me that this virulent misogyny must be faced somehow before it claims more innocent lives, though I honestly have no idea how.”

    I should clarify that I think that for most people, they’re best left alone individually and as a group, if in fact you can avoid them. If they want to stew, let them stew, far away from you. Obviously the advice will change if you are a target of them.

    But as regards the wave of misogyny in general, hell yeah, fight it. My suggestion is to support organizations that fight against it (and against bigotry in general, but certainly sexism and sexual violence in particular), and to make sure you both register and get out to vote. I’ll be doing my part tomorrow with regard to the latter — it’s primary day in Ohio.

  10. Incels are proof that humankind is still evolving and changing. As we all know, evolution occurs when positive traits are propagated and negative traits are excluded from the gene pool. These assholes are all whiny about not getting laid because they are lazy unpleasant assholes, but really all we are doing is making being a decent person a positive evolutionary trait. Were slowly (very slowly) but surely breeding “asshole” out of the species and evolving to a better non-asshole species. All these incels whining is a good thing, a positive thing, it means that it is easier than ever to identify the males with the non-asshole gene and have families with them.

  11. I disagree with you that everyone does not have a right to sex. With limited exceptions, everyone has the right to sex.

    What everyone does NOT have is a right to sex with other people.

  12. I see that this time it is a “conservative commenter,” rather than a white middle class liberal one, who is being overly soft and charitable towards a group.

    Part of my frustrated contempt towards these young males is that not only do they not consort with women for non-sexual purposes, but also, I’m sure, they don’t consort with ordinary common-sense males either. Too bad, because “you become who you associate with” and “birds of a feather, etc.” and a bit of contagious common sense would be a good thing.

  13. I agree entirely on the general douchebaggery of the “incels.” The thing I would like to add is that the recent horrific event in Toronto serves as (yet another) wake-up call that Internet radicalization is A Thing and that it’s by no means limited to the various fringe Islamist groups that the right keeps screaming about. We need a comprehensive program to detect and intervene in these situations *before* they become violent (something the Obama DoJ had started, and that the Trump administration discontinued so that they could “refocus” on Islam and not on domestic white guys). We also need better controls on access to firearms, because no deradicalization program is perfect.

  14. I told my friend (a genuinely nice, decent guy) about incels a few months ago and he didn’t believe me– I mean, he was sure it was a Poe’s Law thing, not that I was lying. He was shocked, and then speechless when he realized that, no, they are serious, and furthermore they’re violent.

    I’ve met people who are truly lonelyhearts and have random bad luck with romance– people of all genders who just can’t seem to catch a break, who are widely considered unattractive because society’s standards of beauty are crap, who find themselves stuck in a small place where everybody’s already paired up, or who have such extreme anxiety that they become increasingly homebound. I feel for them. In some countries, like India and China, in smaller towns men outnumber women five to one, and the men have no opportunities to leave and go elsewhere.

    The thing is, none of the people in this category I’ve ever heard call themselves “incels” or feel outraged that they’ve been denied something that they’re owed. Mainly, they feel lonely; sometimes they feel ashamed. But, not outraged. Not entitled. Not willing to hurt someone to get what they “need,” as if sex were actually food. I think that’s the mind boggling part about all this, the thing my friend found inconceivable: who gets to that point and gets mad? How has the internet allowed all these men’s anger to feed off of each other? That’s the dangerous part.

  15. Ken:

    “What everyone does NOT have is a right to sex with other people.”

    I will note I make a qualitative difference between sex and masturbation, both for the purposes of this article and elsewhere, although I recognize others might disagree with my assessment.

    (Also, I’m all for masturbation in a general sense. It’s fun and, unless one makes a real effort otherwise, safe.)

  16. Terrific article. Well said. Also, I’m stealing “Dandelion patch.” (Unrelated: your watermarked face in teh background had me cleaning my screen for a solid minute, wondering just what the hell I’d managed to get on it. I imagine this was the intent. Sneaky.)

  17. Currently I only wonder if those “Incels” are “Absolute Beginners” that got fed up with their brethren for being too “liberal” or if they are the same group only under a different label – reading one of their forum threads makes me assume the former, though, as I’ve not seen this open, vile hatred in such an extreme on the one AB forum thread I encountered.

    What scares me about this whole “Redistribution of Sex” talk, these people toss around an idea for something that would be nothing but sanctioned rape as if it was a sensible solution “for the greater good”, and I fear that by God they really mean it.

  18. It’s important to keep in mind, I think, that the goal of these slime molds is NOT just “to have sex with a woman”, but to have the sex they are owed, by their status as Fully Human, with “hot” women. Robots and ordinary-looking women with kind enough hearts to consider a pityfuck will not assuage their raging need to demonstrate their status among the Fully Human.

    And by “Fully Human”, of course, they mean “possessed of a Y chromosome.” If you don’t have one of those, you’re essentially livestock- either decorative or functional.

    This matters, because the pathetic void in the core of their being where the rest of us keep our awareness of our own humanity can only be filled by a visible demonstration that they, too, are as Importantly and Fully Human as the other Fully Human Ones who strut around with highly decorative livestock on their arms and are presumably Getting It On Their Own Manly Terms.

  19. Don’t remember who said this, and I’m currently too lazy to look it up, but here goes anyway.

    A man holds the door for a woman. She says, “It’s nice when there are gentlemen who know how to treat a lady.”

    He replies, “Madam, a gentleman is always a gentleman, whether or not he is in the presence of a lady.”

    Or something like that. A rather dignified motto.

  20. John, do you view incels, at their cores, as mostly self-loathers or self-idolizers?

  21. Will there be space for religion in future society?
    You normally never include any reference to religious beliefs of characters in your books

  22. Learn something new every day. Never heard of an Incel before. What jerks. The only way to get those girls to consider having sex with you would be to not be that way. Self-fulfilling prophecy. I’ll have to read the Douthat article. How can anyone with a brain (or even just a brain stem) consider not getting to have sex an actual social or psychological issue?

  23. I agree with Kevin Grierson’s comment that ignoring a radicalizing movement may not be the best course of action, but am likewise at a loss to provide an intelligent alternative. The historical solution – recruiting the angry young men to be cannon fodder in the army and commit war atrocities NIMBY – hardly seems like a palatable alternative, just shifting the burden elsewhere.

  24. Thanks for this John. I really enjoyed the “Nice Men” section especially, and would enjoy seeing that reworked into a poster. I’d like to see Gallant get some good press without a sneering Goofus in the background. Being on the west coast, this topic reminded me of the 2014 Isla Vista attack. Elliot Rodger was surely an incel by your definition. [Off topic: Head Shot exceeded the high bar you set with Locked In, kudos!]

  25. The thing I’m bugged by most is the creation of an acronym for these people, as if they were a real movement instead of a few evil geeks on reddit. I’d prefer “unfuckable hate nerds” as popularized by Marc Maron, or uhn for short. Let’s see if the commentariat can sex that up.

  26. A friend of mine refers to these yahoos as CBPDs — Celibate By Popular Demand.

  27. Obviously there have been “incels” as long as there have been men, and equally obviously, it didn’t become a movement until there was a medium for that movement. There are times when I think the Internet was a colossally stupid idea. Grumble.

  28. Anyone talking about how other people should be ‘redistributing’ sex to these knuckledraggers, sounds entirely like the armchair generals who want other people to go to war, but are not willing to make the sacrifice themselves.

  29. This crazy willing-to-kill-women-I-don’t-know because I don’t get the respect women OWE me movement has been on my radar since the guy in Pittsburgh shot and killed three women at a gym in 2009. Years now. And it happens lots and lots of places.

    And at the risk of provoking more disgust and rage, but this seems to be a crowd of readers who want to be aware of what this movement is … in addition to Ross Douthat, if you read past his op ed into the interviews with the economist Robin Hanson, you will see a really creepy and offensive argument from another white guy of the type who deeply and frequently considers what “men” (=he just means white men) are entitled to from all other people, but not so much about whether all the other people are actually human people. I put a link at the bottom, but if it doesn’t come through it’s a Slate Magazine piece on Robin Hanson. It’s pretty awful.

    Hanson has thought for years, with lots of big words and ideas but with little depth, about men who did not get enough sex and men’s “rights.” He admits that he doesn’t think he should be required to think about whether doing things to assuage “incels” might be stepping on the humanity of other groups of people, however — that’s too complicated. He fully admits that next level of analysis doesn’t interest him. Here’s a few gems from the Slate piece, in case you don’t want to wade through the whole thing:

    “In 2007, [Hanson] decided it was worth contemplating why people feel sympathy for men who steal because they’re hungry, but not for men who rape women because they can’t find a willing partner. In a 2009 post about men’s rights activism, he wrote that “beta male complains [sic] about sex-starvation, and many other male complaints all seem to me legitimate candidates for group complaints.””

    [ME: Isn’t the answer to the first a bit obvious? One is a property crime. The other hurts a real person’s bodily autonomy. One is taking a thing. The other is violating a person’s SELF. Duh. Do you have to even actually consider women as full humans to understand that one?]

    Or this one:
    “In a 2009 post arguing that all children should be subject to a paternity test, he compared female infidelity to sexual assault, writing that, “Biologically, cuckoldry is a bigger reproductive harm than rape, so we should expect a similar intensity of inherited emotions about it.” ”

    The fact that people like this guy are being taken seriously as talking about the problem of misogyny and how to fight it, rather than be lumped into the problem itself, and given a platform in major publications rather than forced back under their rocks, is shocking. Can you frankly imagine a woman writing about castration of men the same way Hanson writes about rape, and getting a platform in major national press?

    Here’s my brief take: a certain type of privileged white man, Ross Douthat or this Professor Robin Hanson, while they would never BE an “incel” (maybe), is willing to consider those other white men’s concerns about their lack of hot sex seriously enough to write about them in publications like the NY Times and Washington Post as if they were legitimately worth addressing as a NEED, rather than just brushing them off with “get the F over it.” And yet when women, people of color, or people who are not heterosexual, raise a concern about basic needs like bodily safety, freedom from violence, equal pay, equal access to education, or issues that are statistically provable (discrimination in mortgage loans, incarceration rates for similar crimes, death penalty application, etc) — then those same exact commentators say things like “wait your turn” or “work harder” or “if you people improved your own life/had two parent families/worked harder/ did things like we do, well then you would succeed. It’s not our job to fix you — fix yourself.”

    Seriously – these are white men who will actually consider the incel movement as a thing, but tell MEN OF COLOR that they just need to behave better and listen to police so they don’t get shot. If you’re not a white guy, everything that happens is your own fault, but if you are a white guy, even just not getting hot sex is something society must wring its hands over and address pronto because otherwise it might just be legit for those guys to turn to violence.

    I am a human. I am not a commodity. Any discussion about “redistribution of sex” that doesn’t start and end with “hey, lack of a partner, that’s on you, no one can force women to give anyone sex” is nauseating.

  30. You mentioned the group “men going their own away” and while I suspect that’s a typo (that flavor of dipwad actually calls themselves “their own WAY”) I suppose it could well be wishful thinking.

  31. Apparently the “incel” term was coined by a woman who was trying to support her lonely peers (there was a mailing list and a website). People who were mostly disappointed and a little melancholy, not at all murderous and entitled.

    WRT your point #2 at the start, isn’t paying for sex a far lesser crime than mass murder?

  32. @Nortally:

    he 2014 Isla Vista attack. Elliot Rodger was surely an incel by your definition.

    ER is an incel by THEIR definition and is considered a “hero of the movement” for his shooting. His “honorific” is “Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger” (from his own manifesto) and going off and killing a bunch of “normies” is also referred to as “Going ER” or “Going Elliot” by people in the group.

    I think what bothers me most about the responses to this situation (not just here but elsewhere) is the tendency to dismiss these folks as “a bunch of guys who need to take a shower and get out of mom’s basement”. These are not just unwashed, acne riddled teens who don’t have social skills, who need to get over it. Some of these men are clean cut, well dressed, even professionally successful to one degree or another. But there is something about them that gives off a “creeper” vibe – I mean clearly, these are men who don’t see women as fully human and who think they are “owed” sex by women who only rate as a 9 or above on their personal numbering scale. And that if they don’t get what they’re owed, people should die for it.

    These men are just as much terrorists, and their movement is just as much a radical terrorist movement as any person who claims to take lives “in the name of Allah and the Jihad”. Blowing them off as a bunch of dissatisfied, oily-haired teens is wrong.

    I don’t know what the answer is between “don’t give them legitimacy”, which I think is a valid point of view, and “don’t pretend they’re not as organized and radical and dangerous as they are”. But I think as far as a terrorist group, they need to be taken seriously.

  33. Dear John,

    A dandelion patch? Really… A dandelion patch?!

    What did you do, pave the cornfield and put up a parking lot?

    But… That’s a good thing you did, John. It’s GOOD you made a dandelion patch. A real good thi

  34. It turns out, I am an innobil: Involuntarily Not a Billionaire. I am angry, just angry, that I sit around all day and nobody just hands me a billion dollars. I need to start a movement.

  35. Oh boy, incels. First heard about these clowns while browsing reddit six months ago or so. This was back before their sub was permanently banned for being proponents of disgusting, violent behavior toward women. Would love to say it was a handful of people, but the sub had thousands of subscribers. And every one of them considered themselves a victimized “nice guy.” Ugh. Pathetic. And, as you said, dangerous.

  36. I feel like, when it comes to incels, the misogynistic description understates things, and I find it curious that this is the label that seems to be sticking. From what I’ve read, these guys certainly have the “I’m entitled to rape” attitude, but also seem to fervently hate males who are getting sex, railing against the “Chads”. Elliot Rodger—as far as I know the first incel mass murderer—killed four men and two women. So, I think these guys are misanthropists, not just misogynists.

    Second, I think we’re essentially dealing with lonely people with poor social skills who have literally lost hope of having romantic relationships. Being in a relationship is about more than just sex. It’s about being valued as a person. If someone is without hope and feeling persecuted by society, I think it’s quite easy for them to become radicalized. After all, what do they have to lose?

    Thus, while I think insulting these people and generally acting superior feels really satisfying, I think it’s likely to exacerbate the problem by generally increasing incels’ estrangement from the mainstream. Sure, these guys have reached the point where they are the source of their own problems, but it’s likely that they’re in that toxic place because they have a really poor understanding of how people interact which has led to of years of poor social attachments and loneliness.

    The solution, therefore, must revolve around love and understanding, bringing them into society, and valuing them for who they are. Forcing women to have sex with incels—or even associate with incels—isn’t at all what I mean, but rather society treating potential incels with understanding, therapy, and alternatives instead of mockery. Ideally, this would happen long before they adopt the incel label.

    That said, I doubt society will go that way. Mockery is fun—it makes one feel powerful and superior. There’s much more appeal in righteously punishing criminals than preventing people from becoming criminals in the first place. So, the most likely outcome is a feedback loop leading to more of these attacks.

  37. These guys won’t want sex robots until robots can feel humiliated, then they’ll be the cause of the robot uprising.

  38. Someone! Please, wave a magic wand and make this whole topic and the existence of Incels on the internet, talking to one another, disappear into some parallel universe and leave ours free of all such. Sometimes, reading/watching the news is so [expletive deleted] depressing. Sigh…

  39. Dear rbgibbons,

    Two things always worth remembering in discussing people’s’s psychologies:

    ~ An explanation is not an excuse

    ~ Empathy and sympathy are not the same things.

    I can call up a certain amount of empathy in that I can imagine (well, I think I can) how sex-deprived men might feel. I have zero sympathy for how they have dealt with those feelings.

    Most “lonely people with poor social skills” don’t go sociopathologically toxic.

    By the time they do, to the point where they identify as incels (god, it makes me queasy just writing that word), it is NOT my responsibility to treat them with love and understanding. That’s the job of a professional therapist. I am not one, I’m merely a member of (hopefully) civilized society. And as such, I think it is my responsibility to ostracize them and mock them and shoot them down as hard as possible. To make it entirely clear that in no way is their attitude nor behavior allowable among decent people.

    If I ever have the misfortune of running into one in real life, I will not give them validation by being supportive and nice. I will let them know exactly how despicable I find them. Anything less gives them cover and gives the impression that society considers their attitudes and behavior to be within the bounds of acceptability.

    It is not.

    And I most emphatically reject the implication that it is somehow a moral failing of society, as a whole, to fail to treat them with loving kindness.

    It’s like the neocons and the alt-right saying that we must be polite and engage in respectful conversation with neo-Nazis and other blatant bigots, because otherwise it says we are just as bad as they are.

    News alert: No. We are not. In the great marketplace of ideas, there are some that are shit and should be called out as shit. Being respectful of them tells others that we think they are worthy of respect, rather than being consigned to the dung heap.

    They are not.

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. 
    — Digital Restorations. 

  40. @cc
    The thing about the just legalize sex work argument is that these guys feel that women are tainted by having sex with more than one man. They only want virgins, and the younger the better. Sex workers are the lowest women on the ladder for them. Apparently many sex workers have started refusing to deal with clients who say they are incel, because these men treat sex workers so horribly. There’s a great tweet from Rachel Fagen that’s been making the rounds where she says “Sex worker women are not a separate class of women who exist to absorb the rage, anxiety, and sexualized violence of men so that other women are ‘safe’. They are also human women with the right to safety from violent men.” That’s the problem with this argument that we just need to paid sex more available and that will solve their problem. It may give men like incels access to sex, but it doesn’t do a thing regarding their misogyny and violent treatment of women and ultimately will only serve to make sex workers more unsafe than they already are.

  41. Here’s all I want to say about Incels and “redistribution of sex.”

    Westworld and The Handmaid’s Tale are horrifying dystopian fiction not a utopian vision to be aspired to.

  42. John, great article. I had never heard of “incels” as a group until recently. As an older person, I was aware of jerks in my younger days, but nobody had much sympathy for them. In fact, they made life harder for the rest of the guys, by hitting on good looking women to the point where they got the default impression that all men are jerks.

    Since I liked women for their intellect and personality more than their looks, to me a 7 could be a 10. I have sympathy for people who are generally considered less attractive. Finding a good partner can be difficult. But usually nice people find a way. But as for incels, they are their own worst problem.

    Our culture is also to blame. We are constantly bombarded with images of extremely beautiful women (or men), who have just gone through 2 hours of makeup and hair styling plus photoshop. Call them an 11, 12 or 13 because even a 10 doesn’t look than good. So if that is the the kind of person you are looking for, unless you are a billionaire, you are not going to find them.

    Some women have an analogous problem. They are looking to find a man who will support them in the manner to which they would like to become accustomed. Plus the guy needs to be really good looking if the gal is good looking. I read an interesting article on this, which pointed out that the women were more selective about the relative beauty of the men than the other way around. So, if some unattractive jerk is hitting on beautiful women, he is pretty much SOL.

  43. I don’t think the issue is as cut-and-dried as it first appears. See, for example, Scott Aaronson’s post “The Zeroth Commandment” at his Shtetl-Optimized blog. Certainly the hateful and misogynist self-described incels don’t merit any consideration, but for each of those, there are likely dozens of people (women as well as men) who are not hateful or misogynist, but who are incapable of getting what they long for, because their psychological state is such that they cannot even bring themselves to ask, or their lack of conventional attractiveness turns off potential partners. (And it’s not helpful to tell such people to “just do…,” any more than it is to tell someone with clinical depression to “just snap out of it” or someone who is obese to “just eat less.”)

    Certainly everyone must be allowed to make their own choice of partner, but it may also be the case that people should be prevailed upon to consider whether their personal choices are causing harm. There is a good deal of discussion about this as sexual racism, especially on gay dating sites. When your profile says “no blacks” or “no Asians,” sure, that’s your preference, but it’s not an innocent and harmless choice. Or consider shows like the Big Bang Theory, seemingly dedicated to telling people who are already stereotyped that they are unlovely and unlovable, and telling everyone else that this is right and proper.

    A good deal of our social progress is dedicated to taking people who are traditionally outsiders and bringing them in to the community. We have done that for racial minorities and the disabled when it comes to work and school, including by using the force of the law. We can’t do that in any reasonable fashion for choosing sexual partners, obviously, but it’s plausible to at least ask people to consider looking beyond surface factors when making such choices.

  44. Someone on Twitter pointed out that we don’t respond to terrorism (give me what I want or I’ll harm/kill people) by giving them what they want.

    This is certainly terrorism in the sense that these guys use hate speech and violence to attempt to scare and control women and influence society. (See it for yourself, if you can stomach places like incel dot me.)

    We don’t respond by placating them. We don’t say, “Well but just send them to a prostitute.” Prostitutes are human beings too and we’re not going to throw the moral dregs of manhood at them. As another person crudely put it, you can’t suck misogyny out of someone’s dick. It doesn’t work that way.

    Therapy, hell yes. Serious, long-term therapy. Clearly, some of these people are a direct threat to society.

  45. rbgibbons:

    Thank-you. Without at all liking them, I have been struck by the feeling that the rage in these men is primarily rooted in feeling that they are Total Losers because they don’t have sex, and so I’ve been irritated that much of the reaction to them had consisted largely in ‘They don’ t have sex—what Total Losers!’. (…and, as others have stated, this is why sex with a sleeve or an hand or an affordable sex-robot or prostitute would not be what they need, as such confer and mark no higher status, in fact admitting to masturbation _lowers_ it.)

    (…for I, too, am a sinner; at a time when I went from the top of my mediocre high school’s graduating class to near the bottom of my arduous college’s freshman class, my ability to help create and continue a relationship with a woman cushioned the blow considerably.)

    I have just enough sympathy with them to note that in treating partner sex as reward and validator (and lack of it as punishment and negative judgement) they’re entirely in line with much drama and all comedy, especially advertisement. This no way excuses their being arseholes, much less assaulters and murderers, but I think it an important part of the explanation. (Even Tolkien, who tended to avoid this, couldn’t avoid rewarding Aragorn with a beautiful, high-born, nearly agency-free, beautiful, woman.) (I’ve imagined alien scholars analysing nearly all modern entertainment and marketing as ‘the Eugenics Dramas of Sol 3’.)

    The ‘redistribution of sex’ writers seem to be at least consciously assuming that such were held monstrous and intending to ‘demonstrate’ thereby that redistribution of wealth were equally so—their extreme creepiness thereby is in the equivalency, but given their general Free Market bent is it any wonder that they should treat all desires as morally equivalent and their fulfilments as morally equivalent ‘goods’?

  46. @hyrosen Yes, you should be aware what your dating preferences say about you in terms of race or social class and many other things. Butttt, whether or not people date these particular men is not the same thing. The issue isn’t that these guys are so ugly, nerdy or whatever that they can’t get dates. It’s that they 1. have ideas and beliefs about the value of women that are ugly and hurtful and 2. don’t just think they deserve relationships and sex (deserve being problematic, too) but they deserve relationships and sex with beautiful virgin women who will subsume their own personalities in deference to a man.

  47. Hey Ctein,

    Sure, ostracizing, mocking, and shooting down people as hard as possible is certainly one way to approach things. If your goal is to make yourself feel good, show that you’re a superior human being, vociferously proclaim that society will not accept incels, and make them feel like they’re lower than the dirt on the bottom of your shoe, then you will have achieved your goal.

    That said, I’m not actually arguing that the attitudes incels have adopted aren’t horrible, but rather that your goal isn’t a very good one. I believe that ostracizing people doesn’t make them think, “You know, that person who called me a worthless scumbag is completely right. I’ll have to change my attitude immediately.” Rather, I think it’s more likely for them to go to their incel friends, talk about how poorly they have been treated, and adopt more radical behaviors.

    Thus, I think the actual goal should be to eliminate incels as a thing, that we should pursue the most effective strategy to achieve that. that. Based on my experiences, I think the best strategy is through attachment and understanding, bringing pre-incels back into normal human relationships. Other the other hand, if you truly believe that stigmatization is the most effective strategy to stop incels from maintaining those horrible attitudes, then you should certainly pursue that avenue.

    This is something that does matter, because, as technology progresses, it becomes easier and easier for a single person to kill a large number of people. Feeling superior and righteous kind of works when only ten people are killed, and you don’t actually know any of them. But when the technology exists that enables some disgruntled scientist to kill millions using something he created in his garage, then there’s value in moving beyond righteous fury to actually finding solutions.

  48. Hyrosen:

    Your argument is wandering afield from the discussion at hand.

    With that said, in a general sense, it is not the responsibility of laypersons to do the work of making another person sexually acceptable, either to themselves or to others. People should have a reasonable expectation that others interested in intimacy have done the necessary work, even if doing so requires effort. That’s not a matter of “just do…” since I would agree it may take time and effort, but it is a matter of “do,” up to and including psychological therapy.

    People may choose to meet someone halfway, if that’s their desire, but asking them to meet them all the way across is not something anyone should have to do (or that others should expect). Certainly the incels in this discussion do not generally seem interested in meeting anyone a single step off their own determined mark.

  49. Was going to make the robot revolution observation, but Cynthia got there first. She is 100% accurate.

    And also support the sex worker observation too – what did they do to deserve these guys?

    Oddly enough, I had much more success in relationships when I realized that women were (fully functional, complex, 3d) people, too. Who knew? Took me longer than it should have, but I got there in the end.

  50. “I …am likewise at a loss to provide an intelligent alternative.”

    The thing I found frustrating about the responses of folks like Ross Douthat is that they *could* be putting forth alternatives to the more conservative folks who might be attracted to the message of “incel” entitlement. Namely, if you’re a man starting from an outlook that sex is best reserved for marriage, then why not reaffirm that, and what it implies– that you need to work on being a better man, who can love and be loved by someone enough that you both decide to commit to each other, before you can expect sex to come into the picture? (And from there you can go on to points like how love requires respect for people as people and not as objects for other people’s wishes. Or that if you’re feeling starved for love yourself, then seeking and showing it in various non-sexual ways, and with people *besides* those you’re wanting to have sex with, isn’t a bad place to start.)

    I’m still not entirely sure what point Douthat was trying to make in his columns and tweets, but it doesn’t seem to have been any of the above. In the first bit of his I saw, he did raise the issue briefly of encouraging more conservative behavior, but then quickly undermined it himself with what amounted to a “boys will be boys” shrug. Maybe he’s gotten his act together more since the bit I read, but it seems to me like he threw away what could have been an opening for attracting folks to his side of the cultural-mores discussion in favor of ineptly trying to score points off the other side.

  51. Dear rbgibbons,

    No, none of those are my goals. My goals are to keep the rest of society safe from them and to let them know that their attitudes and conduct are unacceptable and intolerable to society.

    I do not feel “superior and righteous” and throwing such crap at me suggests that you think this is a luxury, protecting ourselves from such as incels. And what that speaks to me of is unrecognized and unseemly privilege.

    (hint: you do not want to continue down a path anywhere near the ad hominem. As you may be able to see, it will not go well)

    pax / Ctein

  52. Reminder to everyone to be as polite and respectful to each other as possible, please. Since I see temperatures beginning to inch up.

  53. My first note is that the way incels feel picked upon is not unique – lots of other people are saying they are picked upon because they are white, or because they call themselves Christian or whatever…

    My second note is a question about what you said later on – what criteria can a prostitute use to turn down a customer? Compare this to other businesses such as bakers or gun salesmen.

  54. > they can just go fuck themselves

    If they do that, are they still celibate?

  55. Dear Hyrosen,

    Quoting from Aaronson…

    ” there are “incel extremists,”… But they’re outnumbered by tens of millions of decent, peaceful people who could reasonably be called “incels””


    “I think the answer is simply that no one ever hears from “moderate incels.””

    Except… They don’t. Those millions of decent people haven’t identified themselves as “incels.” No more than the overwhelming majority of Christians or Muslims, even the most fervent ones, call themselves “jihadists” or “crusaders.” Which is why we consider it blatant religious bigotry to equate Christians or Muslims en masse with terrorists.

    And by the same token, one may not by any reasonable stretch equate “…lonely people with poor social skills…” (as rbgibbons phrased it) with incels. Incels are a minuscule subset of that larger population. The discussion is not about that larger population any more than a discussion of terrorists is one about Muslims.

    Assuming there are such people as “moderate incels,” which I suppose there might well be, since everything exists on the political spectrum, they don’t dominate the politics or control nor suppress the “extremists.” Either they’re an insignificant faction or they are unwilling to clean house. That’s on them. They’re choosing to identify with a group of sociopaths, or at the very least accept them as fellow travelers.

    This is no more acceptable than neocons who are willing to accept neo-Nazis.

    If there is this significant mass of people who are being inappropriately tarred, of which I have yet to see evidence, then they need to stop being a silent faction.

    Until then, “not all Scotsmen” cannot not fly. Because we are not even talking about the Scotsmen.


    Dear John Mark,

    A profound flaw (among many) in Douthat’s arguments is that he creates out of his imagination a past Golden Age when men did NOT think that they were entitled to sex. That is a revisionist view of history that borders on the ridiculous. No, I correct myself — it steps well over the border.

    Except in his imagination, there is not much evidence that men of the past thought they were less entitled to sex than today. Considerable evidence to the contrary. Ignoring that is a textbook case of willful blindness to the past.

    As just one small and objective measure of this, we’ve seen a steady expansion of the definitions of non-legal, nonconsensual sex through the 20th century and into the present. Almost all those laws have been directed at giving women more autonomy and almost all of them were written and passed by men. Powerful men. The kind of men who think that they are entitled to… well, pretty much anything they want.

    Too many of whom came from a position of “do what I say, not what I do,” but there’s still nothing in that legislative history that would lead one to possibly imagine that men in the past felt LESS sexual entitlement.

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. 
    — Digital Restorations. 

  56. “incel” used to mean something quite different from “angry misogynist”, and there is good evidence it was coined by a woman to describe her own situation (link from my name).

    As Scott Aaronson says,
    In the long run, though, there’s no salvaging this word. It will never again just mean “involuntary celibate,” any more than “Adolf” is just a name.
    His weblog essay on this is worth reading.

    I just read Trevor Noah’s autobiography (so far) Born A Crime. He had a good friend named Adolf, who was the best dancer in the township. They went to perform at a Jewish school and Trevor’s team was chanting in praise of Adolf. It didn’t end well.
    The book is highly recommended, funny and enlightening.
    One of the most striking points – Trevor observes that crime has after-school programs and paid internships, unlike capitalism.

  57. I used to spar with Incels back on my old blog. At first they tried to recruit me because, in a very, very technical sense (minus all the nasty misogynistic and misanthropic baggage that comes with it), I am one. But when they realized that I simply don’t care that much, and don’t blame women for my own social anxieties and insecurities, they stopped trying to recruit me and started trying to insult me with… you know… the “beta cuck” crap.

    That’s the thing… “incel” itself is one thing. You aren’t having sex… either you’ve never had sex, or you’ve hit a dry spell. That’s a thing… but it also applies to nearly everyone alive. Everyone’s been a “virgin” (I put that in quotes because that whole concept is patently absurd) at some point in their lives, and everyone hits a dry-spell every once in a while. What separates incels from The Incels (TM) is that the latter blame women (and men who aren’t incels); a few have even mused on the idea of legalizing rape (see: Roosh V.), because they apparently think The Handmaid’s Tale was utopian fiction, as opposed to dystopian fiction.

    He was already recommended once above, but I want to add my own recommendation for Dave Futrelle at We Hunted the Mammoth. If you ever want to know anything about any of these inter-related groups, it’s best to get your information through a humorous (but still honest and factual) filter, and We Hunted the Mammoth is the best place for that.

  58. Howardbrazee – sex workers can refuse to accept a client because that person is belligerent, or disrespectful, or unclean (as in – literally not clean – stinky, dirty, etc. not “unclean” I’m the religious sense.). Same as a cake baker. They cannot refuse solely because someone is black, or Muslim, or Christian, etc.

  59. I’m going to stand with Gerald Fnord and rgibbons. Yes, these people are being assholes, and deserve to be smacked down for their assholish behavior (and locked up in a small room when it starts to become violent). But the assumptions of “because they’re not having sex they’re losers and bad people”…

    I’m a 59 year old virgin. Lots of reasons behind it which I choose not to go into publicly. I don’t expect that to change. It causes me some regret, and I’ve wondered what kind of a father I would be. I won’t be joining the assholes in their assholery, I don’t blame others nor do I think I am “owed” sex. But it bothers me when the response to their assholery is “if they weren’t assholes they would have sex”.

  60. Hi Ctein,

    Ok, so we agree 100% that keeping society safe should be a goal.

    I disagree with your second goal of letting them know that their attitudes and conduct are unacceptable and intolerable to society, not because I think their attitudes are acceptable, but rather because doing so is pointless and hurts our ability to achieve what I believe should be the primary goal (safety).

    Like, is there anyone in North America who believes that society considers rape to be acceptable? Anyone who believes that society considers murder to be acceptable? I think the answer is approximately “No”. Thus, I don’t think incels need to be told that society considers their views and attitudes reprehensible—I’m pretty sure that they know it already.

    That’s why I was talking about righteous fury. I didn’t intend to be insulting. Rather that was the only way I could understand you saying that people need to be ostracized and told something they already know when it seems likely that taking those actions would make society less safe.

    Like, I understand people making destructive, counter-productive decisions because they’re angry (heck, I believe that’s the whole deal with incels). Since my perspective is that your strategy is counter-productive, leading to nothing but negatives, I assumed you were angry. Sorry about that.

    So, I can understand your point of view, if it isn’t righteous fury that makes you want to tell incels that their attitudes aren’t beloved by society, what is the reason? What do you hope to achieve?

    Is it that you think they’re so far gone that they don’t even recognize that society doesn’t like their attitudes, and you telling them that will make them change their minds? Or is it more of a deterrence thing, like, if you tell an incel they are abhorrent, it will make the pre-incel watching from the wings decide it’s dangerous adopting the incel mindset? Something else? Is it actually contributing to the “make a safe society” goal in some way that I don’t see?


  61. Sorry, but mockery & ostracizing are *absolutely* the right things to do in this case.

    Not for any sense of “superiority or righteousness” (WTF?) but because some things just don’t get to be part of the marketplace of ideas. Period. A depressingly large segment of the population appears to have forgotten that — some things deserve to be put down, not debated. (See also: Fascism.)

    Bring back shame. It’s needed.

  62. Sigh. Could we expect the age 50+ crowd of Liberals to please enact some little amount of maturity, please? Could we expect that what Americans pretend is Feminism could actually look beyond the narrow glass boundaries of anything?

    I mean, Plath and Woofle killed themselves: America just ejected its first feminist radicals[0].

    Ok, let’s do this thing:

    1) “Incels” are largely harmless (c.f. 引き籠り – it’s the people running the Pony Shows that weaponize them

    2) The People weaponizing them (c.f. /pol/ , chans) are the evil bastards

    3) The People weaponizing them in certain cases are Women and/or non “Incels”.

    4) Turning Human Beings into Weaponized Ideological instances of “AMOK”[1] is really a thing.

    No, really. If you want to run Psychosis Games against fragile Male Minds, you employ Women.

    Grow the fuck up.

    So, it’d be really nice if y’all skipped the bullshit and took a LONG HARD LOOK at the conditionals for the “why” Incels and White Power can exist in your system, that’d be great.

    It feature highlights such as “Mormon Religion is based on a lie” and “Sexual Psychosis is fostered by lies and misinformation”.


    Time is not on your side. You need to ramp the truth up, ignore the trolls and start the fight. ‘Cause the nasties are moooooving on up.

    [0] No, really. Emma got deported. Many more were “Un-Citizened” and a huge swathe just got dumped into Mental Asylums.

    [1] Yeah, this is actually a thing that exists. And a lot of people know how to make it happen.

  63. We can fix this with technology. All that’s needed is a Tinder-style application where the poor, long-suffering Volcels can connect with other Volcels for the sex they crave.

    It’s a win-win situation. They get the nookie, we get left alone, nobody gets killed.

  64. Oh, and the above isn’t just SlashFic, it’s Canon backed up by Empirical Studies. We can provide them.

    If you’re serious about fighting it, you don’t target the victims, you target the Organizers and $$$ behind it. Who, largely, aren’t the incels / basement dwellers.

    So, Host, and other American Liberals: what do you want to do? Have some more Twitter Fights where you ’empower’ yourselves by blocklists, or, you know, actually address those who create these issues?

    That would require challenging some Powerful People thoughand changing your system, yes?


    Athena (not your version, the original when I knew her) was reaaaaal fucking savage about her responses to this question.

    Achilles[1]. Orion. etc[2]

    [1] Look: we don’t care if you “fake it until you make it”. Athena / OWL / Minerva gets reaaaal fucking angsty when you Americans disrespect her though.

    [2] Dude. We can quote original texts without hesitation. Please sort your shit out right now.

    No, really.

    *Nose Wiggle*

    Νέμεσις, We’re Back.

  65. Cthulhu, your occasional reminder not to get so wrapped up in your persona that your posts become unintelligible. Try to stay on target, please.

  66. My usual note on this, as it has come up way too much: it is significant that the majority of “incels” and certainly the homicidal ones to date have been straight white cisdudes, in their twenties/thirties, without visible disabilities. Which isn’t to say that women, LGBTA folks, people of color, and people with visible disabilities can’t or don’t often have awesome fulfilling sex/love lives, *but* that those folks have much narrower dating pools than straight white able-bodied cisdudes, often for reasons that are actually societal and unfair.*

    And yet people in those demographics usually don’t define their identity by not getting laid, or form communities to piss and moan about it**, or use it as an excuse for mass murder.

    So I have zero sympathy. And yes, I think sex work should be legalized, and that we should stop using masturbation/not being in a relationship/etc as a sign of being a loser, but…for entirely other reasons. Like, I thought so before, but now that the puling manbaby crowd has shown up, I kind of want to legalize sex work but make it illegal for *them* to buy anyone’s services, and double down on the mockery, because if those motherfuckers want to cry, we can give them something to cry about. But that would hurt other people. Sigh.

    I am also in the “yes, shame the fuck out of them” camp. I don’t think there’s any redemption possible; the only thing left is to make participation in the, whatever, “manosphere” so abhorrent to normal society that people will reflexively flinch away from anything related. Yes, we’ll have to deal with the current radicalized shitstains for a while, but we’ll have to do that anyhow.

    *I recall OKC doing an analysis of who got more hits/responses by gender and race. People did not come out looking good–and again, you can’t control what turns you on, but how much of it is legit what turns you on and how much is what your parents/buddies will approve of, with that sort of thing?
    ** There was a point in the late nineties/early 2000s where it was common for women to be performatively bitter about being single and talk about how there were “no good men out there” and blah blah blah, and I found that profoundly tiresome and pathetic, but the discourse didn’t come near the level of venom I’ve seen from the incel folks, and nobody got killed, FFS.

  67. Cthulhu, your occasional reminder not to get so wrapped up in your persona that your posts become unintelligible. Try to stay on target, please.

    For Sure, My Captain, My Captain.

    But the people here weaponizing Incels / Reddit / Chans / MRA / Blergh all this detrius.

    Really are not people who believe in it.


    Want a real .doc from Koch Brothers **and** .RU sources showing $$ spend on weaponizing these poor little chimney-sweeps?

    ‘Cause I can get that for you 3>

  68. @gadgetdon:

    This is the most blatantly false misrepresentation of anything I’ve ever read here (and I’ve read a few doozies): “But the assumptions of “because they’re not having sex they’re losers and bad people”…”

    I mean that’s so badly misrepresentative that I can’t even begin to understand where it comes from. Plenty of people don’t have sex and aren’t bad people. That has nothing to do with it.

    The reason they are “bad people” is that:
    – They feel they are OWED sex.
    – They feel they are owed sex by only the best looking women (whatever they deem that).
    – They see women as sex objects that belong to them, not as people.
    – They see women as inferior, and specifically inferior to them.
    – They see the women who don’t meet their standards as disposable.
    – They want to commit violence towards “normies” (i.e. people not like them).
    – They revere people who have committed violence towards “normies”.
    – They advocate raping women who won’t “submit” to them.

    This list could continue, but I am kind of making myself sick here.

    Seriously, if all you’re getting out of any of this is “you’re calling them losers because they don’t have sex” then you need to go back to the beginning of the post and start over.

  69. One of the saddest/funniest things about incels is the massive self-own of constantly rating potential dates. They get rejected by the women they assign arbitrary number values to, making them (in their mind and by their parlance) the loser who couldn’t land a Becky, much less a Stacey.

    1) They evaluate a woman as, say, a solid 6, and therefore well in their league and, frankly, someone who should be tearily grateful for male attention.
    2) They ooze over to her and lay on the, er, charm, giving out the kind of vibe that makes anyone want to back hastily out of the room while maintaining eye contact.
    3) They are rejected. Because ewwww.

    So the incel has now been rejected by someone they’ve already judged as inferior (we know that in their own mind, they are all 10s, the Nicest of Guys). The judgement they made about the woman is now about someone who rejected them and is in all likelihood laughing at their presumptuousness; what does that make them, in their own estimation? No wonder they are such miserable sods.

  70. 1. John, is there a reason this Cthulhu person still has commenting privileges?

    2. People defending incels: you can’t do that and be honest about what they’re actually saying about themselves and the rest of the world. See We Hunted The Mammoth for ongoing, curated looks, with links so you can check original sources yourself. Incels believe that as men, they are entitled to the sexual submission of the finest women on display. They regard men more successful than themselves as cultivating good relationships as monsters worthy of death. They cheer on mass murderers like the ones in Isla Vista and Toronto. They believe that the work it’s appropriate to require of them for any sex they wish is showing up, and hate as gender traitors men who talk about the work involved in being a man worth loving.

    They hate and/or fear literally everyone but themselves: women they desire, women they don’t desire, men who are more successful in love-seeking than they are, men who are as unsuccessful than them but refuse to join the hate brigade, everyone of every sex and gender who has advice on how to improve themselves in ways that would make them more interesting appealing to others.

    It happens that I am myself 52, overweight to obese my whole life since developing a rare autoimmune disorder at 15, nerdy and awkward. And yet I have had relationships to cherish and people to have love. I put the effort into learning some about what clothes fit well on bodies like mine, what a good grooming routine is like, how to speak comfortably in public and how to listen well, and so on. At no point did I assume that anyone owed me anything. But in the end, it wasn’t really any more work overall than I was already spending, just distributed differently.

    (And it bears noting that I’ve always been the one approached. I’m still pretty clueless about relationship signals. It’s a good thing I worked at making myself be and appear to be someone people I liked and loved would want to approach.)

    I can match just about any incel when it comes to hardship stories about being cut off from the social world, and then some. And it is because of that that I can say with considerable confidence that they have an obligation to work at being better than they are right now.

  71. Are we all sure that the joke is not on us and that these guys aren’t,t actually batshit Libertarians protesting entitlement culture and government handouts in misguided attempt at ironic hyperbole?

    Are they for real at face value?

  72. I know that the “Walk Up, Not Out” thing was well-meant, but it gave me the creeps. Conversations about it made it plain that people assumed it was cool, pretty girls who were supposed to distribute their attention to male loners and outsiders to keep them from becoming disaffected school shooters. No, just NO.

  73. Bruce:

    I know that just happened, but I still think they are trolling. Their proposition is just too stupid to take at face value. If you feel like a bullied ugly outsider who is unnoticed and undervalued, yet still thinks he is better than everybody else, than taking some ridiculous smug over the top position to bring attention to your pain is attractive. Doubly so, if you deliberately obfuscate what you really mean so people don’t get it. That lets you look down on them

  74. In 2007, [Hanson] decided it was worth contemplating why people feel sympathy for men who steal because they’re hungry, but not for men who rape women because they can’t find a willing partner.
    That one’s easy. If you don’t eat, you die. If you don’t fuck… you don’t die. Stealing food when you’re hungry is a survival issue. Rape is not.

    @ Ctein: Well said. I heard a good metaphor recently: Think of the “marketplace of ideas” as a potluck dinner party. If someone brings a plate full of shit, we are not obligated to put it out on the table, discuss whether or not it’s appropriate, or try it before rejecting it. We put it straight into the trash, and if we’re smart we eject the person who brought it from the party. Incels, Nazis, etc. are bringing a plate full of shit to the potluck.

    @ rbgibbons: The idea that we should be nice to incels because… they deserve it? They won’t change if we aren’t? We’re better than that? Basically, it’s the same as the right-wing argument that progressives should be nice to racists for Reasons. And I reject it utterly. IT IS NOT MY JOB to be “nice” to some random yahoo that wants to rape or kill me. You’re arguing from a position of unexamined privilege; you will never be in danger from these creeps. And whether we’re talking about misogyny, gay-bashing, racism, or any other toxic attitude, I still say it’s spinach, and I still say the hell with it. They need to be made aware that what they’re selling isn’t welcome in a civilized society.

    Also, nobody I’ve seen has been claiming that incels are losers because they don’t have sex (well, except some of the incels themselves; simultaneous inferiority and superiority complexes seem to be A Thing in that culture). What I am seeing is people saying that they don’t get sex because they’re jerks, and if they were getting sex they’d STILL be jerks. That while it’s possible to not be a jerk and still not be able to develop a relationship, by being the kind of jerks they’re being they are slamming the door on that possibility ever happening.

  75. Frederick, we live in a world with trepanning. Nothing is too innately stupid. I mean, millions of people died because some others were afraid of Jews, and millions more because others were afraid of teachers and intellectuals. Also, when it comes to murder, I think it no longer matters whether the murderers think they’re being ironic or something.

    Lee: Right! I don’t hate or mock people who aren’t having any success at love. I’d have to mock and myself many years, if I did that. It’s precisely the vicious sense of entitlement that needs criticism and scorn. I’ve got plenty of time (and some solid advice) for any of them who decides that they are, after all, willing to work on improving themselves.

  76. That whole “Walk UP etc. tee hee (P.S. OBEY US, ADOLESCENTS)” thing is so absurd, lol. I had myself a miserable time at the hands of some truly sadistic bullies as a kid and as a teen, and yet…somehow it never occurred to me to go commit mass murder. (I fantasized about my assailants being vapourized by tyrannosaurs in F-14s with lasers on them, but that’s about it.)

    This idea that hyperviolent asses were driven to their acts by the cruelty of “their peers” (read: some woman) is 100% toilet, to be quite honest. Incels are not laid low by the matriarchy; they bought the snake oil peddled by disingenuous jerks and decided that they should blame women for the fact that it was snake oil because something something Eve and the serpent right? …I wouldn’t be surprised of that was their logic; I wouldn’t be surprised if they blame the fucking fairy frog princess for it all, somehow…

    Anyway. In closing, if they’re ~*trollan*~, it’s indistinguishable from the sincerely-espoused views of some of their peers. See also: “ironic” racism.

  77. I have seen the term “Incel” used prior to now and honestly had no idea what it meant (I live under a rock most days). I have to say that I think I preferred not knowing.

    As I read the original post and the comments, I kept wondering if these individuals mistook “The Handmaid’s Tale” for current events rather than fiction. I see a couple of other folks have made the same connection.

  78. Bruce:

    Your point about underestimating stupidity is well taken. Clearly you are correct and there is some percentage of incels that are absolutely 100% serious about it. I’ve been looking at some of the reddit boards, and I think it’s clear that some of what is going on is just trolling in its purest form. I think another percentage are pulling a stunt to raise awareness of their pain and garner attention because they are being ignored. In one thread that I just looked at but won’t link to (because it’s icky and vile and you can find plenty of examples on your own, should you choose to do so,) the OP quickly stopped talking about his original outlandish position and transitioned into how it is the natural position of someone who is short, fat, ugly, and socially inept who has suffered at the hands of bullies all his life, who is an outcast, etc etc, to feel this way. I see elements of crying for attention, elements of trying to raise awareness in a manner so I’ll-advised it would make PETA cringe, I see some revenge thinking (“I have been derided and made fun of for the pleasure of the pretty people, I will suggest that it is only just that they become my pleasure tools, and their recoiling in horror will give them some measure of what I h@ve felt at their hands.)

    I saw an example where one said that black people want reparations for slavery which they didn’t even live through so he should get reparations the treatment he received at the hands of others, and those reparations should be in the form of what he was excluded from. I thought that I detected an element of slyness in that post where he was trying to make an argument against entitlements.

    I think a good percentage of this perhaps even the majority is not to be taken at face value (which is not to say that it isn’t misguided, disturbed, ugly or contemptible.j

  79. Kara Hudson – no, the “no sex means something is wrong with you” is not the only thing I got from it. Thus why I draw the distinction about assholery behavior. But still, as I read things, I’m hearing a lot of “if you’re not having sex that means something is wrong with you” and a fair amount of mocking of the idea of men not having sex. And, well – yes it feels like it’s also commenting on those who aren’t being assholes.

  80. @vian: “we know that in their own mind, they are all 10s” gets at another thing about these guys that I…just cannot.

    None of them, or at least none that I’ve seen/heard from, is the Elephant Man or the Phantom of the Opera. If I can turn off the “this is a horrible waste of carbon” part of my brain and view their pictures as random photos of people I see…they fall into the same range as plenty of people I see getting dates. If we’re just talking physical, a lot of them could improve their odds by, say, going to the gym a couple times a week, wearing more stylish clothing, getting a decent haircut…and if they don’t want to do that, they could *still* likely get dates, but it would likely be with women who also don’t want to put in that much effort.

    But they think they’re owed women who do the work (surprisingly, none of us wakes up with perfect hair and makeup, and maintaining a conventionally-attractive figure requires some attention and effort for most people, especially after eighteen or so) without having to do any of it themselves.

    @Frederick: End of the day, though, does it matter?

    Option 1: they actually believe what they say.
    Option 2: they actually believe that the ZOMG PAAAAAIN of not getting their dicks wet justifies pretending to believe what they say.

    Either way, they’re scum.

  81. Frederick: There’s a thing in net discourse that’s old enough for Eric Raymond to have noted it in the New Hacker’s Dictionary, what he called “HHOS”, or Ha Ha Only Serious. The development of the “alt right” neo-Nazis demonstrates it, too. It’s entirely possible to be saying things as trolling that, you find when push comes to shove, you also actually believe. Common, in fact.

    I went through a really heavy-irony, heavy-sarcasm phase myself in Usenet days. Eventually I decided I didn’t like the toll it was taking on my ability to be honest and direct about some things that mattered to me, but it took years of effort to get out of the rut, and required some changes in who I spent time with as well as what I did myself. I recognize the general problem as a victim and perpetrator, that is to say.

    In an online community where there’s a lot addled, self-deceiving hatred in the air, “trolling” and “meaning it” aren’t exclusive categories.

  82. @BruceRedux: I agree that “trolling” and “meaning” are often done simultaneously. I find it’s not even restricted to online communities, but also to offline communication. When I notice somebody tells misogynistic jokes often, says they’re trolling, but never really say things opposed to the jokes, I have decided that it doesn’t really matter if they’re trolling or not. The things got said anyway.

    I have also dialed back the irony and sarcasm in my communication, especially in online communities which are not composed of only good friends. Usenet may have been involved earlier in my life.

  83. Ctein writes:

    “A profound flaw (among many) in Douthat’s arguments is that he creates out of his imagination a past Golden Age when men did NOT think that they were entitled to sex.”

    Yes, and he doesn’t actually need to fabricate a Golden Age to make the argument I’m describing. All he has to do is to note that, while many men feel they’re entitled to sex, many of his fans (including conservative Catholics, as Kevin Grierson notes, and people of similar outlook) also pledge allegiance to a moral code that says that you’re *not* entitled to sex whenever you want it, *whatever* gender you are, because, among other things, it’s limited to marriage.

    So he could have rolled with that– said, basically, “You, yes you, personally, can live up to that ethical standard you aspire to, regardless of what anyone else does, or conflicting feelings you might have. And I will support you in that.” And that could potentially draw some of his readers away from the pull of the radical “incel” ideology.

    I’m not imagining this would solve the whole problem– that will also require other things, most importantly supporting the people *targeted* by radicalized incels. (The problem of “entitlement” in marriage would also need to be addressed at some point.) But someone like Douthat is in a position to at least curb *recruitment* to radical incel ideology, especially for folks who would be more likely to listen to him than to the discussion in this thread. I wish he had taken that opportunity.

  84. Isabel:

    It only matters in terms of how I make sense of it. When I hear an opinion that I oppose, or find repugnant, I try to remember that nobody thinks they are the villain in their own head. I try to empathize and understand why they think the way they do. This is my self-check to make sure I am not dismissing or ignoring things that I should be paying attention to. Sometimes this can lead to amicable resolution of differences in real life. Then again, I am also a big believer in the school of thought, that in order to defeat your enemy you must study them, love them, understand them, and sympathize with them. That will give you the tools you need to destroy them.

    I only heard about these people yesterday, but I think I have an idea of where at least some of them are coming from, and what they want.

  85. I can look back at twenty year old me and see that person would have been sympathetic to the arguments of the incel community. The trash misogynistic stuff I read, the frustrated ‘good guy’ attitude, and the realization that I could have been (and still be) one of these trash people. A few different experiences and turns and there I would be.

    I am deeply ashamed and embarrassed of that person I was. I felt a need to blame everyone else for my problems because introspection can be hard. I was always looking for some easy trick or solution, and resented people for whom it seemed so easy.

    Thank god that the internet these garbage Reddit community, with their organization and indoctrination methods, were at best in their early stages.

    That doesn’t mean I have any sympathy for that trash. Anymore than I have sympathy for the 20-something racists (granted, there is A LOT of overlap in the Venn Diagram between racists and incel / militant misogynistic scumbags).

    So when you look at these people, don’t feel sympathy. They make a choice to take the easy way out, they volunteer to be miserable instead of trying to better themselves. And they engage in a self-perpetuating mindset that they can walk away from at any time.

    All they need to do is treat women like human beings instead of objects.

    As an aside, one thing that’s not often mentioned is that it’s not JUST women incels see as less than human. In general, most of them consider everyone inferior to them – men, women, basically everyone. The only reason they are part of the incel community is because it’s full of people who promote them and make them feel good – not because they believe other people are good and have value, but because they affirm the feelings they have as an individual.

  86. I had never heard of the term incel until that guy ran over people in Canada. I think this just proves that anyone can be radicalized. They get on a forum and just feed off one another whether it be these guys or racists etc.

  87. @rbgibbons:
    Like, is there anyone in North America who believes that society considers rape to be acceptable? Anyone who believes that society considers murder to be acceptable? I think the answer is approximately “No”.

    Actually, yes. And yes. Unfortunately, lots of men seem to find rape acceptable if you describe it without calling it rape based on survey results. Look at the infamous father of the Stanford rapist who called his son’s rape of an unconscious woman “20 minutes of action.” And MRAs like Roosh V who want to legalize raping woman on private property. Look at the prevalence of date rape drugs at party scenes. A male friend of mine has been accidentally doped with date rape drugs more than once when sharing drinks with female friends in such environments. Not to mention the men who feel that marital rape statutes are a bridge too far. Is this the attitude of the majority of men? Probably not, but definitely enough of a minority of men to make the world a dangerous place in everyday life.

    Murder? Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine laws. The news stories every week of a white person (whether police or private citizen) shooting (and often killing) a black person. Every week. And those are just the stories that get signal-boosted.

    How many of these incidents result in charges, much less trials, much less convictions? So yes, plenty of people in our society consider rape and murder acceptable in practice.

    These incels with their violent ideology are not just trolling or blowing off steam. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether the tone is sincere or sarcastic or ironic–it’s still violent misogyny being shared and reinforced in a crucible of hate.

    When a toddler is throwing a tantrum and demanding attention while screaming, we don’t coddle them and extend all the sympathy and give them 100% attention with all gentleness and rewards. We wait for them to exhaust themselves and stop being terrible before we reward them with positive attention. The goal is to reinforce the positive behavior, not the terrible behavior.

    Incels want validation from other men. Other men are the ones who can reach out and try to retrain them. Not women and other targets of their hate. Their not going to change their beliefs when approached sympathetically by their desired trophy objects. If individual men want to take on this project, great! But don’t demand that the attention of collective society be focused on these toddlers having a screaming tantrum and violent outbreaks. The rest of us have a right to distance ourselves and take safety precautions.

  88. rbgibbbons: “The solution, therefore, must”

    Must? Hahahahaha….

    Tell you what. You open a rehab house for incels and come up with a treatment program that consistently converts these sociopaths to human beings with empathy, and we’ll talk. Until then, what you assert we MUST do has all the evidentiary basis as wishing Tinkerbell back to life.

    From this “must” unfounded premise, you then use spectral evidence to divine that people can only possibly be responding to incels the way they are (the way you disagree with) because it makes them feel ‘superior’ and because its “fun” to “mock” them. You’re one step from accusing them of witchcraft, where only you can divine a witch.

    Fifteen points from Hufflepuff.

    Whatever the origin of the term, “incel” is forever associated with men who think sexy women owe them sex and are willing to kill/rape if they dont get it. If someone still identifies with the incel group at this point, they are supporting rape and murder. Its like some guy who is a member of the KKK, maybe he never lynched anyone, but if he puts on that white sheet, he’s embracing the people who do.

    And if someone embraces a group who advocates rape and murder, and then argues he must continue embracing that group because outsiders “mocked” him and acted “superior” to him for belonging to a group that embraces rape and murder, well, sorry, thats on him.

  89. “I only heard about these people yesterday, but I think I have an idea of where at least some of them are coming from, and what they want.”

    Hooboy. And that’s why you’re here to tell us all about them.

    “there is A LOT of overlap in the Venn Diagram between racists and incel / militant misogynistic scumbags”

    Not just the Venn diagram; it’s baked into the incel community’s personal vocabulary. Their universe is centred on a core of pure fermenting hatred (yes, it truly is, and if you think it isn’t you haven’t paid enough attention). Like most small groups with a core interest, they have developed a vocabulary to parse their interests in fine detail. There’s Chad, the guy who gets sex when the incel doesn’t, and Stacy, the hot woman who has sex with Chad and not with the incel, and Becky, the unworthy not-hot woman who isn’t good enough to have sex and yet STILL says no how dare she, and the “roasties”, women who are sexually active — and there’s also Tyrone, Chadpreet, and Chang, and guess what’s up with them? There are baldcels and heightcels and blackpilling, and normies and lifefuel and “Tinder sluts” and “post-wall” women. There’s Saint Rodger the Supreme Gentleman (guess who that is), and “going ER” (the glorious act of commiting mass murder for the cause).

    I have been keeping an eye on this clusterfuck of budding white domestic terrorists for considerably longer than a day, and have taken the time to read up on them at length. Here are a couple of very good places to start:

  90. @Frederick: Ah. I…wildly disagree with half your second school of thought, and don’t think that it really matters (except in a tracking-serial-killers kind of sense) whether anyone’s the villain in their own head or not. This isn’t Valdemar; I don’t care about anyone’s heart or soul; and as one of the people these assholes are targeting, I am super uninterested in an amicable resolution with any of them.

    Also what Greg says, in general.

    And for what it’s worth: yes, I am superior to incels. So is everyone here. So is everyone who doesn’t think that not having exactly the SO they want justifies ragewhining. And since they apparently keep intruding into the public discourse, then yes, it is fun to mock them, because you might as well get what joy you can out of the situation. Lemons, lemonade, etc.

  91. There are so many possible reasons for the creation of incels. Yes, they were created. I think it has something to do with never learning the lessons of healthy competition. They got the same participation trophies as those who worked hard to work with the team.

    Then they found out that the real world does not hand out participation trophies and tried to find someone to blame. Maybe it is too late to point them in the direction of the path to humanity. It would a tough thing to pull off because they are already so low.

    We might be able to learn a lesson from them and teach future children a little more of what humanity is. That too might be hard because of the breakdown of traditional role models. People saying things like I am saying will be called scions of the alt-right. That isn’t true but it is how the dialogue works in our current society.

  92. I’m just baffled that anyone thinks the problem here is that these men aren’t getting laid. The problem is that they’re misogynists. If they all magically managed to get into relationships with hot women who cook and clean and do every last sex act their little hearts desire, they’d still be misogynists, and they’d still mistreat their girlfriends, because the problem is not that they’re lonely and sexually frustrated, it’s that they think we are objects for their own gratification, and there’s no amount of being nice to them that’s going to change that. Getting them laid or giving them attention and sympathy will not make them better people. Plenty of people are lonely and sexually frustrated. The vast majority of those people do not go out advocating rape and mass murder–or committing it.

    The problem is that they’re misogynists. And yeah, we do combat that by making misogyny unacceptable in society, not by showering them in sympathy for not being able to stick their dicks in any woman they happen to find attractive.

    And, look, telling women to ‘just be a little more open-minded’, to ‘give awkward guys a chance’, to ‘really, really examine what you’re attracted to and why’, is not new. And it’s significant that this advice only ever seems to apply to women. Because men might be entitled to only approach or date or sleep with women they actually find attractive, but god forbid a woman try to exercise the same discrimination, right?

  93. Oh the heck with that noise about “no participation trophies”. Societies give participation trophies all the time. As Lyndon Johnson put it: “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” That’s nothing but a participation trophy, and it’s been fundamental to American life from the beginning. Furthermore, the reason we need, and finally have, a #metoo movement is that from time immemorial, the right to use and abuse women (and lower-status men) has been a participation trophy for white men, and some men of color.

    Others have commented above about ways in which large swathes of our society feel entitled to both rape and murder. What are those but participation trophies for being the right race and sex?

  94. Also, as a footnote…I’m in my 50s, and got plenty of things that can be called participation awards. Lil’ ribbons for being part of an event. Con badges. Commemorative ribbons for the years I took part in Rose Parade float decorating. Lots of stuff like that. Are there really a lot of people of my cohort who grew up in communities with the resources to afford them who didn’t take part in a bunch of events, school years, etc., and didn’t get these?

    The more I see rants about the evils of them for younger adults, the more I’m getting an “every accusation a confession” vibe about it all.

  95. “Bryan Gardner says:
    MAY 7, 2018 AT 2:33 PM
    Learn something new every day. Never heard of an Incel before. What jerks. The only way to get those girls to consider having sex with you would be to not be that way.”

    Um. They’re not pedophiles as well, are they? It’s sex with women, and not children, they feel they deserve, right?

    Please use the appropriate words. Referring to adult female humans as girls is part of why we’re where we’re at. When people think of us as children, we are treated as less than fully capable of decision making for ourselves.

    There’s more than that, but my thinky wordy bits sometimes don’t work too well – due to age, not gender.

    tl;dr please don’t patronize/infantilize. It makes the objectification problem worse.

  96. Beth:

    “I have been keeping an eye on this clusterfuck of budding white domestic terrorists for considerably longer than a day….”

    This is a white thing? I hadn’t thought so. Minassian is described as mixed race.


    “ as one of the people these assholes are targeting, I am super uninterested in an amicable resolution with any of them.”

    Nor should you be. First, they are the ones with the problems, not you. They are the ones who should address it, or suffer the consequences.

    But, I think we may largely agree. You seem to have researched and understood nd thought about these people enough to evaluate them, as have I. Which, really, is all that I am saying

    My conclusions after having dipped my brain into their philosophies are:

    1. My brain needs a shower.
    2. There is no amicable resolution to their stated beliefs
    3. Taken at face value, this is a Sexual predator support group.

    Thank you everybody for the discussion.

  97. Greg:

    Sure, “must” is the wrong term—I’m actually open to other solutions, if there’s some good evidence that they work. I used “must” because it’s the only solution that I think actually has some real-world evidence of achieving the goal.

    That said, I can understand if you have different goals than reducing radicalization and protecting society. It’s human to revile the abhorrent, to ignore consequences in favor of expressing one’s strong beliefs.

    What’s more in a way, ostracizing is a win-win. You get to feel good about expressing your opinion, and the incel gets validated. By reviling their attitudes—which by this point incels have internalized as being their personal identity—you are validating that their world view is accurate. It probably makes them feel pretty good about their understanding of their situation and justified in their beliefs.

    (Don’t read more into that argument than is there. Though you’ll be increasing the radicalization of an incel, I think the odds that you’re the actual straw that moves them from wailing and gnashing on a message board to renting a van is low.)

    Since you mention the abhorrent KKK, I think there’s something to be learned from the approaches that have actually worked there.

    Heck, you can even look at that science around torture, where “the interrogators reported that rapport and relationship-building techniques were the most effective regardless of the interrogation goal. Confrontation techniques were the least effective”:

    So, society has a choice between using a strategy that has worked in similar situations, or one that appears likely to increase incels’ radicalization. It doesn’t surprise me that most people will choose the latter, but I’m going to continue espousing the strategy that seems to actually work.

  98. @rgibbons: Frankly, I’m not convinced that “reducing radicalization” is the same thing as “protecting society” in this case. If a guy is convinced that not getting his ashes hauled justifies…this…then he can stay out there, thinking that. We keep an eye on them, keep them from getting weapons etc, punish harassment/rape/etc severely, and otherwise ignore/mock/shame so that decent people won’t want to get mixed up with them. (Which is what’s worked to shrink KKK numbers as a whole, from what I’ve read–if you care about redeeming individual members, that might be different, but I don’t.)

    The odds of this generation passing their outlook along are low. And they themselves can, as the kids today say, die mad about it.

  99. @ Formerly Just Craig: On the Internet, nobody can tell you’re a dog.

    Which is to say, if you don’t want to be identified with the alt-right, then don’t use alt-right terminology and arguments. cf. also the similarity to saying, “I’m not a racist, but…”

  100. @FormerlyJustCraig. I strongly suspect that incels are the people whose parents kept them away from events where participation prizes were given out and ranted about how unless you were winning you didn’t deserve anything. Not only would they have picked up that awful only winners win and devil take the hindmost mindset, but they’d also be too poorly socialised to understand how being part of a team and part of a community actually works.

    tl;dr? More participation prizes, and more effort to include as many people as possible.

  101. Dear rbgibbons,

    I do not feel obligated to provide you with further elaboration on my personal motivations in the unlikely hope that you would find them acceptable. I feel you’ve been sufficiently answered by Gareth and Isobel. (Plus 1’s to them!) We’ve said what motivates us. That’s the end of it.


    Dear Gadgetdon,

    Kara gave you the bestest of possible answers. Nobody here is saying incels are losers because they can’t get sex (thank you, Kara!). They’re losers because they’re turning sociopathic about it.

    Also, you’ve engaged a logical fallacy, a false reversal. “If they weren’t assholes they would have sex” does NOT imply “If they don’t have sex, they must be assholes.” A->B does not equate to B->A.

    Now, it might happen to be true that in some (many?) of their cases even A->B isn’t true. But if they weren’t hateful little monsters, it would sure improve their chances.

    Still wouldn’t imply B ->A, and nobody’s saying otherwise, here.


    Dear Lee,

    I think Hanson’s fail goes much deeper, and is much more disturbing. It’s attempting to place sex on the level of an ordinary commodity (whether or not it’s a vital one), which demotes women to the level of a resource. It is profoundly anti-woman as well as antifeminist.

    Not that many societies don’t do just that. But it’s not something to be encouraged nor honored.

    Without that equivalency, there is no argument whatsoever.

    Regarding the marketplace of ideas, I elaborated upon that at one point:

    “I’m entirely fine with being intolerant of bigotry. I don’t feel obligated to listen to the prejudiced rant about their prejudices, and I don’t feel obligated to give them a soapbox. The free marketplace of ideas does not value all ideas equally, and even if this were free market place (which it is not) I do not have to put up with the fellow who wants to open up a stall next to mine offering up fresh human feces for sale.

    Or, if it really is a FREE AND OPEN market, I’m entirely free to organize my fellow stall-owners to run him out of town on a rail and burn down his tent (pweeuuuuuu). If I’m not, well, then guess what? It’s regulated!”

    Feel free to steal this unregulated idea. [g]

    pax / Ctein
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery
    — Digital Restorations

  102. rbgibbons: “That said, I can understand if you have different goals than reducing radicalization and protecting society. ”

    I’m sorry. Was that YOUR goal? Have you personally reduced a single radicalized incel in the world? How do you justify carrying that mantel and condemning all you disagree with if you havent actuall done a single active action in that direction? If you havent converted a single incel?

    I want you to listen to this real careful: you chastize everyone here for not being nice nice to the poor incels, but you are doing it in a way that makes you come across as righteous and indignant to –>US<–. Do you see a problem there? Your assertion is that honey attracts more flies than vinegar, and you are using vinegar to try and convince everyone ELSE but yourself to use honey.

    I suggest you reconsider your worldview so that it allows everyone to be human, not just incels, and not just kkk, and not just whatever aborent people that need converting. You go to war with the people/army you have, not the one you want. And the "good guys" arent going to be perfectly understanding of every wrong done by some nutjob. Just like you arent understanding of the people here who condemn incels.

    "you are validating that their world view is accurate."

    Yeah, no. You are holding everyone 100% accountable for the outcome except the incel. Sorry. No pass. I am not "validating their worldview" by calling them sexist pigs who identify with murderers and rapists. They are sexist pigs who identify with rapists and murderers and they are taking ZERO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR WORLDVIEW.

    not only that, but you are enabling them to avoid responsibility for their worldview. You are blaming everyone BUT THEM for their worldview. According to you, we "validate" their worldview by not kissing their ass and making sure to protect their fragile little egos.

    It reminds me of the states rights argument about the civil war and desgregation. Southerner says, "maybe slavery or segregation is wrong, but the bigger sin committed here is the federal government POINTING IT OUT. The only moral way to end slavery/segregation is for each lerson to come to the realization at their own speed."
    Yeah, no. Fuck that.

    "Though you’ll be increasing the radicalization of an incel, I think the odds that you’re the actual straw that moves them from wailing and gnashing on a message board to renting a van is low.)"

    That is the biggest pile of apologistic horseshit i have read in a while. Calling a sexist pig "sexist pig" does not, in any fucking way, have any causation to moving the sexist pig closer to driving a van into a crowd. Once again, you are removing from the sexist pig ALL RESPONSIBILITY for their own actions and choices.

    "there’s something to be learned from the approaches that have actually worked there."

    Do you know how those conversions end? With the sexist pig, the racist, the bigot, realizing what a shitty human being he has been and TAKING RESPONSIBILITY for his behavior rather than blaming women fir not sleeping with him, rather tgan blaming blacks for not being subservient to him, rather than blaming the Jews for his troubles.

    My first priorty is calling a bigot "bigot" so they get the impact of their behavior and maybe take responsibility for their actions. And uf they wont take responsibility, then at least they are held accountable on some level for what they did and what kind of person thst makes them.

    Your first priority appears to be making sure no one hurts the incels fee fees and call them on their behavior, and at no point is anyone to hold them accountible for anything until they are willing to be personally responsible themselves. And until they own up, no one can say anything.

    If incels wont convert until every single person never says a bad thing about incels, then thats STILL on incels. Condemnation isnt putting a gun to their head. It isnt putting them under duress. It isnt removing their CHOICE. it isnt removing their RESPONIBILITY.

    The primary reason people cling to being incels is it gives them soneone else to blame, it allows them to abdicate responsibility for their actions. The only way to convert as n incel is to get them to be responsible. Youre not doing that. Youre blaming us for incels not converting. Which is the same problem that created incels in the first place.

  103. One of the many things pissing me off about these entitled sore losers is they have poisoned the public sphere enough that conversations about the real and serious issues of involuntary abstinence in the disabled communities is tainted and no one in their right minds wants to get lumped in with these repulsive blights on humanity.

  104. rbgibbons: “By reviling their attitudes…. you’ll be increasing the radicalization of an incel, ”

    Far as I can tell your statement above is within spitting distance of saying a woman wearing a sexy dress is increasing the radicalization of a rapist.

    You want to be careful to not help bad people abdicate responsibility for their actions.

  105. While I’m here: also, as a shallow girl, I’d say there’s nothing wrong with rating potential romantic partners, even on the strictly physical, as long as you keep three things in mind:

    1) Ratings are often subjective. Yes, there’s a certain basic “okay, this person is probably cute or not” level for the majority of people (although see below), but there’s a lot of variation. *As* a shallow girl who frequently objectifies potential partners with friends, I know that types of facial hair or accents, for instance, that deduct like ten points for me are major bonuses for other people. (The Sideburn Controversy from college will live in history.)

    This is also true in terms of personality, BTW: part of the Nice Guy issue is that when they say “women only date jerks,” what they consider “jerk” behavior isn’t what all women do. Theoretical Jerk isn’t much for monogamy or celebrating Valentine’s Day? Well, neither am I! Bonus!

    2) You, person doing the rating, are not an automatic ten. You’re not even an automatic seven. See my post above re: effort.

    3) You’re assigning ratings for physical desirability *for you*, not worth as a human being–unless you’re talking about someone who wears those Godawful toe-delineating running shoes in non-running situations, in which case, yes, they’re a bad person and possibly a serial killer. (Kidding.) (Maybe.)

  106. Also, just as a general observation: Nobody but me gets the right to decide when, how, and/or for what causes I am obligated to risk my safety, my health (physical and mental), or my life. NOBODY.

  107. In the 1920s and 1930s, Hitler and the Nazi Party had some legitimate grievances with the then-current order of things. However, their horrible, bad and no-good response to those grievances mean that, almost 80 years after the start of WWII, just saying “the Nazis had legitimate grievances” is mildly controversial.

    Thus unto the incels. It’s no accident that the people who adopt that label are the same demographic that brought you 99 of the past 100 mass shootings. These white males have chosen to wrap their grievances in the same Cloak of Entitlement that Joe Mass Shooter uses for his. Their theory is “I am owed this by society and if they don’t give it to me I will punish society.” The difference between Joe Mass Shooter and Joe Incel is that the later has a specific want, namely hot and cold running sex on demand, while the former’s wants are more vague.

    It’s no accident that one of the first things to happen in an AA meeting is everybody individually saying “I’m an alcoholic.” That’s the first step in addressing the problem – recognizing it as a problem with yourself. Until that happens, little can be done to help the sufferer. Until somebody founds “Incels Anonymous” and people start joining, all society can do is penalize bad behavior when we see it.

    What Ross Douthat missed was that society has always had incels. What’s changed is the criterion for becoming one. In societies where women were the property of men, a man of sufficient stature would be provided a woman. I (unfortunately) mean “provided” in the most literal sense, in that some family would decide that offering their daughter in marriage made sense, regardless of the daughter’s opinion in the matter. Men who were not of sufficient stature were left out in the cold.

    In short, then, the incel movement will get no help because they have become so toxic as to be unapproachable.

  108. Greg:

    From my perspective, I’m being pretty understanding of the people who condemn incels. A large chunk of this thread is saying that it’s a good idea to ostracize and dehumanizing people, which I think is one of the worst things you can do to a person. (Plus, I think everyone on this thread agrees that one of the incels’ worst sins is that they’re dehumanizing people.) The reason I’m not being harsh about that attitude is that I get it—almost all the emotions most people have about this topic are channeled in the same direction, toward hate and revenge. Almost everyone loves seeing justice served.

    I think your meta comment on our discussion is bang-on. You and I are disagreeing, and you feel the tiniest bit of condemnation for your beliefs. As a result, you’re becoming more entrenched and vociferous in your belief. I think this is a completely fair point and very reasonable. The only unreasonable part is that you seem to believe that, if you take the same approach with incels, they will react completely differently than you, suddenly taking responsibility for their beliefs.

    My perspective is that if you want people to see the errors of their beliefs, you need to reattach them to society, not yell at them that their beliefs are wrong. You’re right that I’m not doing that well here. But I think it’s very hard to do that over an internet connection. I feel like I have done that in real life by trying to befriend outsiders, but I think it’s hard to judge outcomes there.

    FWIW, I had the same initial reaction as you to the van attack. But I was reading a thread on reddit last week about it and one person was suggesting that love was the way to solve the issue. They gained no traction, but, based on my understanding of attachment theory, their argument was actually valid. Plus, I decided that I didn’t want to be an angry, hateful person, even if the anger and hate was righteous according to my moral code. (I’m not trying to imply anything about you—I don’t even know you—but I believe it was true of me.)

    That said, I think you’re 100% correct that the end we’re hoping for is for the incel to take responsibility for their behavior. But I think your approach of going to war is doomed to failure.

    Since you, and others, seem a bit confused by my priorities, I’ll say explicitly that my goal isn’t to coddle incels, but rather to chose a path that seems to work. If I thought going to war would work, I’d chose that path. The reason I think it isn’t a good path is because I think it will do the opposite of persuading incels and because we live in a time where a single person can potentially kill millions. So saying “hey, let’s go a war because I’d rather kill than make friends” seems like a poor strategy.

    I think forming healthy community attachments is more likely to work, though it means that the justice-boner aspect is delayed until the incels actually see the error in their thinking and feel terrible about how they used to be.

  109. Frederick von Streugerflugen said:

    “This is a white thing? I hadn’t thought so. Minassian is described as mixed race.”

    It’s not exclusively white, but unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of overlap in the Venn diagram between “people who blame women for their problems in life” and “people who blame minorities for their problems in life”. There are, as you’ve pointed out, some minorities in the group, but they tend to be Ben Carson/Dinesh D’Souza types, very quick to confirm the general stereotypes of their ethnic group so that they can present themselves as the exceptional exceptions and be hated slightly less than the others. It’s still a very white, white crowd.

    (For that matter, there are women who are MRAs. The allure of being on the inside pissing out is incredibly strong in some.)

  110. I have been imagining a movement of women who inveighed against the cruelty of the world because they weren’t getting laid, because they only wanted the 10s (or maybe the 9s), and the world was mean to them and judged them solely on their looks and… the George Clooneys or Idris Elbas of the world should be required to show them a little love.

    Because you know there are girls (I was one as an unlovely teenager) who occasionally have a thought like that. In most cases the thought is immediately followed by, “Yeah, right. Go do something useful with your life.” You cannot tell me that society does not judge un-partnered women, or non-traditionally lovely women, harshly. So what (aside from the fact that they’re women and therefore not privileged to throw hissy fits) is the difference between the two groups?

    Asking for a friend.

  111. Isabelcooper:
    I like your analysis and the concise way you have stated your point of view. I think, if we aren’t going to take the “eliminate incels through attachment” approach—which is certainly unpalatable to the vast majority—your strategy is probably the next best alternative.

    To the thread:
    I think at this point, I’m not adding anything to the thread but rather retreading old ground. So I’ll read your refutations of my point of view and remain interested in your arguments, but probably won’t reply unless I actually have something new to say.

  112. rbgibbons: “A large chunk of this thread is saying that it’s a good idea to ostracize and dehumanizing people”

    I just have to ask… have you ever had to deal with someone violent? Because incels are a high possibility of becoming violent. Not violent like shoving you in line at a movie, but raging on you including removing options for you to get away from them?

    Thats the potential for an incel. Thats the sort of people you ostracize for your own protection. Ostracizing is a good idea. If you havent had to face that sort of rage, you might not understand. Its not like the movies or stories where the good guys always win. And sometimes it makes perfect sense to ostracize those who have a high potential to become violent because their worldview sees people as nothing more than meat.

    As for dehumanizing. Seriously? You have from the beginning been playing fast and loose with your strawman versions of whats going on here. I pointed out your attempt to accuse everyone here of relating to incels only to make themselves feel superior, only because it is “fun” to “mock” them. And now you say we’re dehimanizing them???

    Listen. Did it ever occur to you that maybe someone is putting down these asshole men who treat women as meat because they have personally had to deal with asshole men that treat women like meat? Did it ever occur to you that people might be putting down folks who belong to a group that idolizes violent i dividuals because those people have had to deal with violent individuals?

    Seriously dude. Over and over you beg us to have some compassion for the poor put upon incel, but not once have you shown the least bit compassion for their victims, not once have you shown the least bit of interest in seeing things from the point of view of others. Instead you demonize people here. You resort to mind reading that everyone here is doing what they do for nothing but evil intent. Because we want to feel superior. Because we want to have fun dehumanizing random people.

    You want us to have empathy and understanding for incels, but not once have you been willing to have empathy for those who have had to suffer incels or suffer being treated like meat or suffer violence.

    Nobody here is “dehumanizing” incels. You want to see dehumanizing, go see how an incel relates to women.

    You preach empathy and understanding toward incels, but you are righteous and judgemental and demonizing people who want incels to stay the fuck away from them. You mind read false intentions. You mind read the worst intentions. You say people only talk badly about incels to feel better / superior about themselves.

    You ask for empathy and fairness and give neither to anyone here. Theres a word for that sort of behavior, but i will guess that telling you that word will only mean you will mind read more ill intentions on my part rather than looking at how you are giving deference to incels and give room for them to be human, but expecting everyone else to be perfect, and mind reading the worst intentions of they dont meet your measure.

    Spend 5 minutee thinking about everyone you’ve condemned here, and then imagine if you gave those people the same level of empathy and understanding you want us to give incels. See if maybe you would write something different.

  113. rbgibbons said:
    “A large chunk of this thread is saying that it’s a good idea to ostracize and dehumanizing people, which I think is one of the worst things you can do to a person.”

    Hello, Geek Social Fallacy #1!

    “Geek Social Fallacy 1: Ostracizers Are Evil: The idea here is that those who exclude others are evil. Given that many geeks and nerds were the unpopular kids in grade school, this mentality is understandable: those who excluded us, hurt us, and so exclusion is evil. This isn’t entirely bad; taking an inclusive approach to people and groups can be helpful to everyone. The danger comes from when you are so inclusive that you are unwilling to exclude those who hurt the group. There’s always that jerk or creeper friend that you have who you like to hang out with on occasion but don’t want them around all the time. GSF1 prevents you from actively preventing them from being around, so you start planning events in secret, hoping they won’t notice, or your events just get awkward real fast. Or you just stop doing things altogether.”

    The fact of the matter is, you cannot “fix” incels without getting them to recognize that the problem is with themselves, and they’re not willing to do that. All the compassion and care and love in the world will not fix someone who refuses to believe that they’re broken. All you can do is mitigate the damage they do. And yes, in this case, that means keeping them away from others who they might hurt.

  114. @rgibbons: Thank you. Further notes:

    1) Yep, I am totally okay with ostracizing and dehumanizing incels, Nazis, serial killers, and other people who’ve chosen to behave in manners completely harmful to society and human beings. They were human once; their actions have led to them relinquishing the label; I’m disinclined to feel guilty about acknowledging that, or to wring my hands over it much. (And John Seavey bringing up GSF1 is right on the money.)

    “(Plus, I think everyone on this thread agrees that one of the incels’ worst sins is that they’re dehumanizing people.)”

    Ugh. The “you’re intolerant of my intolerance/it doesn’t matter who hit who first/etc” argument is old, tired, and invalid. Dehumanizing someone for aggressively hostile acts toward others is qualitatively different from dehumanizing someone for not sleeping with the “right” people.

    2) It’s likely worth considering that there’s a difference between tactics that *can* work in one-on-one situations with specific people who have been trained to do that, with specific aims in the case of getting information, and approaches that society in general should take to a whole group of people who’ve deliberately subscribed to vile ideologies.

    By which I mean to say: if you want to try and personally redeem assholes…well, there are likely worse windmills to tilt at. But don’t passive-aggressively handwring at others for not doing so.

  115. I would bet good money that if we were to read a verifiable account of someone successfully weaning some incels away from their murderous, stupid, self-immiserating worldview, not one of us would condemn it. We’d want to know what worked for those people, and what the rest of us could do to support them. But not many of us would feel any particular call to take up the work, and those of us who are sorts of people they target or closely connected to their targets are still going to focus on keeping them confined and ourselves and the people we care about safe.

    @John Seavey: Right on. I’ve seen far, far too many groups destroyed by excessive efforts to placate one or a handful of dedicated egoistic wreckers. For most of us, most of the time, our priority should be supporting those who are there to participate constructively. (And that can include those who are willing to say “I want to help and take part but I have no clues; please help me”, as long as they are working to learn and improve. I’ve got lots of time for that.) Abusers always want us to see them as the victims and rush to enable them. But they don’t deserve it, until the moment they start making some good-faith effort to _stop abusing already_.

  116. I’ve said this before, will say it again.

    I understand the frustration and yes, even some anger these men may feel because of loneliness and celibacy. Remember, they were children and teens before they were adult misogynists. I’m a woman who didn’t have a boyfriend until I was in my twenties, and I was still a virgin. I was a chubby teen, but I lost weight when I started college and was neither ugly nor an asshole. I had loads of friends, many male – just not romantically interested. It’s inevitable that you will, alone in the darkness, ask yourself “what’s wrong with ME? why not me? what am I missing?” and then feel at least a frisson of frustration and anger. Oh, and I had a great time in college. Best time in my life despite no dates or SO.

    And then a decent human being sighs and goes to sleep. I didn’t hate men; didn’t hate women. Never entertained hurting anyone.

    I have no tolerance for their bullshit. Women are people. Men are people. I did find someone. I’m still with him 28 years later.

    My best friend in college was a gay man who is to this day drop dead gorgeous. I had a crush on him, at first, but we did develop a deep and abiding friendship that lasts to this day. I still remember one of his housemates in college, a woman, telling me I didn’t belong in his social circle (this is post-weight-loss) because I wasn’t one of the “pretty people” like she was – and yes, she was beautiful, on the outside.

    I doubt she’s killed anyone, either, but assholes come in all varieties. Just something to keep in mind. As someone who was bullied mercilessly in my younger years — and again, NOT DEFENDING THESE GUYS, just wondering how to keep their recruiting down — teach your kids to be kind and not bully. I am willing to bet that most, if not all, of these jerks were treated like shit as schoolkids. I’ve never gone to a high school reunion and never will, but nor did I ever entertain hurting my nasty classmates. I don’t want anything to do with them, though.

  117. It is not often I find myself disagreeing with a John Scalzi post, but this is one of those occasions. By way of background, I’ll quote from a recent explainer by Vox’s Zach Beachamp on incels:

    “Beyond their shared frustration with not having sex, the incel community is not monolithic. Many of them are simply sad and lonely men, suffering from extreme social anxiety or deep depression. Some of these moderate incels actively police the extremists in their midst;”

    “It’s this embrace of helplessness, of their certainty of their own sexual doom, that makes the more extreme incel communities so dangerous. Instead of trying to support each other and work through their issues as a group, the incels in certain communities allow their resentments to curdle. They see the world through the lens of entitlement: They are owed sex but cannot have it because women are shallow. This manifests in a deep and profound hatred for women as a group, which shows up on a very brief scan of some of the more extreme incel communities.”

    On the whole, I think that in this post J.S. blurs the line between the group as a whole (“people who identify as incels”) and the extremists within the group. I’m hard-pressed to think of any context, aside from this one, in which J.S. would bash any group of “simply sad and lonely people [men or otherwise] suffering from extreme social anxiety or deep depression”. To be clear, those men don’t “deserve” sex, robotic or otherwise, and the proposed “solutions” suggesting things like that are ridiculous. But I think calling all incels misogynist is over the top. There are plenty of other out groups from whom extremists are know to emerge, and I am hard-pressed to think of another one that where he would target the group rather than the extrimsts and/or misogynists within it. (One thing the “misogynist scatter plot” itself reveals is that the amount of sex a man has doesn’t predict whether he’s a misogynist).

  118. Michael: As usual, Beale is lying for his own advantage. Here’s a simple challenge: show us the guys who identify as incel, who are accepted as incel by the rest of their scene, who unequivocally the Isla Vista and Toronto murderers as murderers without any sort of sufficient justification. Then show us the ones who condemn the language of Beckys and Stacys and the misogyny it represents, who denounce all fantasies of rape, acid attack, etc, as misogynistic, who acknowledge that successful relationships cannot involve coercion and always require some work on the man’s part too.

    Neither you, Beale, nor anyone else can do so, and for this simple reason: such men don’t exist. VIOLENT MISOGYNY (plus racism and more) IS WHAT DEFINES INCELS. A man who is not in favor of murder, rape, and domination can’t be an incel. He can only be, like a number of folks posting here, someone who gets few or no sexual opportunities because of factors both in and out of his control. To be an incel is, like to be Beale, to reject the very foundations and a vast fraction of the details of what the rest of us think of as civilization.

  119. Dear Michael,

    It is very clear that you did not read any of the comments before you posted, because this very diversion was addressed, dissected, repeatedly and specifically found wanting, and thoroughly buried.

    You are old news. And fake news, at that.

    Do not waste any more our time … or yours.

    pax / Ctein

  120. I’m late to this conversation, but not to following “incel” rhetoric and behavior. It’s been on my radar for a while. These misogynist terrorists and terrorist sympathizers predate the term and their appropriation of the term to name themselves. Their rhetoric predates the internet. There is a direct connection between the rhetoric or self-styled “incel” murderers and that of Marc Lépine. George Hennard. Dylan Klebold. George Sodini, Elliot Roger. John “Rusty” Hauser. Seung-Hui Cho stalked women at Virginia Tech before going on his shooting spree. Adam Lanza had a “why females are inherently selfish” document on his computer.

    If there’s an upside to this, it’s that these social media groups specifically self-naming themselves and blatantly idolizing previous misogynist mass murderers makes the virulent misogynist ideology just a little bit harder to ignore, though we’ve been spending decades strenuously ignoring it every time it crops up in mass murders and other violence.

    Aside from extreme misogyny constantly cropping up in mass murderers, there are the countless murders of women by “rejected”. This is an ideology with a long history, and unsurprisingly it cropped up in GamerGate attacks on women (for instance Anita Sarkeesian).

    As to rbgibbons’ argument, making it clear that hate ideology is not socially acceptable is not the same thing as “ostracizing and dehumanizing people”; it is making it clear that behavior that dehumanizes other people will not be accepted.

  121. John, is there a reason this Cthulhu person still has commenting privileges?

    No idea.

    *Points to NYT running multiple defenses of Incel culture / Dark Enlightenment types via Koch Funded University Mouthpieces in the last two weeks*.

    *Looks closer*

    *Actually today*

    No idea. At all. Must be cray-cray.


    Don’t look too hard @ the fact that the NYT printed that after the warning. It’s one of those Athena / Minvera type privileges.

  122. Incels are just one of the many declinations of the effort to scapegoat some group. For some it’s the Jews, for some it’s the gays, for some it’s the international conspiracy behind the chemtrails, for some is the women. Sex is completely peripheral to their dynamic; it’s just that this particular set of batshit insane has coagulated around misogyny. It could have been the reds or the contamination of our precious bodily fluids.

    Of course they are dangerous, individually, on a criminal level, and socially, because the popularity of the Blaming The Scapegoat gambit ensures that all sort of nasty people can gain traction for their political pet project, see Brexit (blame the immigrants) or Trump, simply by piggibacking on it.

    Being nice to them, be it incels, Nazis, KKK, or just your garden variety fascist, is humane, but won’t solve the problem: they need and want to feel aggrieved and angry. It’s what allows them to justify their fear, their bewilderment, their unwillingness to face the unfamiliar.

  123. @Bruce Baugh:

    I’m not particularly interested in defending the incels, and I will say that I think it’s disingenuous to act like “incel” is some kind of expansive descriptor like “lonely virgin.” It’s not a generic noun after all; it’s a neologism that carries some specific connotations. If you adopt the label, you will – not unreasonably – yourself then be associated with those connotations.

    That being said, there are in fact some “moderate” self-styled incels who do condemn the violence (and even the violent rhetoric) of their more extreme brethren. The main hub of Reddit’s incels (r/braincels) has a sticked post that explicitly condemns the Toronto attack, and if you parse their forum you’ll occasionally see denunciations of the shittier corners of the incel community. The sub is still pretty obnoxious and misogynistic, but – well, you didn’t ask for awesome people. You asked for incels who will denounce violence. They do exist.

  124. Eliot Rodgers, who murdered 6 people before killing himself, incel manifesto excerpts:

    ““My two housemates were nice, but they kept inviting over this friend of theirs named Chance. He was black boy who came over all the time, and I hated his cocksure attitude….This black boy named Chance said that he lost his virginity when he was only thirteen! In addition, he said that the girl he lost his virginity to was a blonde white girl! I was so enraged that I almost splashed him with my orange juice. I indignantly told him that I did not believe him, and then I went to my room to cry. I cried and cried and cried, and then I called my mother and cried to her on the phone.

    “How could an inferior, ugly black boy be able to get a white girl and not me? I am beautiful, and I am half white myself. I am descended from British aristocracy. He is descended from slaves. I deserve it more.… If this is actually true, if this ugly black filth was able to have sex with a blonde white girl at the age of thirteen while I’ve had to suffer virginity all my life, then this just proves how ridiculous the female gender is. They would give themselves to this filthy scum, but they reject ME? The injustice!”

    ““I saw a young couple sitting a few tables down the row. The sight of them enraged me to no end, especially because it was a dark-skinned Mexican guy dating a hot blonde white girl. I regarded it as a great insult to my dignity. How could an inferior Mexican guy be able to date a white blonde girl, while I was still suffering as a lonely virgin? I was ashamed to be in such an inferior position in front my father. When I saw the two of them kissing, I could barely contain my rage. I stood up in anger, and I was about to walk up to them and pour my glass of soda all over their heads”

    Someone starts talking like this, you get the hell away and call the cops.

    You want to be a suicidal moron and practiced unlicenced criminal psychotherapy, thats on you. But aint no one got to follow you down that suicidal path.

    Rodgers first victims? 2 roommates and a friend.
    Then he went to a sorority house and knocked. No one answered so he started shooting at another sorority house, killing 2, then he just started driving around, shooting random men and women, hitting random people with his car, before the police started closing in on him and he shot himself in the head.

    I am not feeling sorry for this asshole. I am not sympathizing with this shithead. I am not going to spend one second trying to “understand” this fucknut’s circumstances because those circumstances did not drive him to murder. His parents were affluent. Its not like he saw his parents gunned down as a child outside the theater. He wrote that he spent a chunk of his time asking his divorced mom to marry someone rich so he could be richer, with the implication that would get him laid. He wasnt orphaned and then went from foster home to foster home, each abusing him worse than the one before. He went to private schools growing up. He didnt watch his parents hauled off to the gas chambers by nazis activating his mutant powers for evil.

    There is nothing to understand here other than this guy is a whiney, murderous, entitled, punk, filled with undeserved rage. You run into anyone like this fucker, you have every right to RUN away from this psychopathic little shit. Ostracize? Fuck that. Bolt the doors.

    And I am not saying this to feel superior or because i have fun mocking this guy. I am saying this because people like this, people who talk like this asshole talks, people who have a not-shitty life that they have a shitty life and its all someone elses fault? Those people are deadly. Anyone asking others to buddy up and try to understand psychopaths like this is either a psychopath themselves, or living an amazingly insular, privileged life and maybe they should consider shutting the fuck up about stuff they dont know shit about.

    You see someone like this Rodgers nut, if someone gives you anything remotely resembling this sort of vibe, you get the fuck away from them as fast as you can.

  125. The basic point that there are no non-misogynistic, non-violent, non-etc incels stands

    With respect to Host, we’re kept on a very short chain, so you won’t get what we actually think (“Sorry you were offended” types really annoy our kind, and you’re entering our “Red Danger Zone” for Concern Trolling not to mention what Host asks so we don’t immediately trawl your last 10 years and we’re pure defense).

    But this is 100% incorrect.

    Search terms: TRAP KAWAII etc

    These are lonely souls being weaponized. It’s a process. Like all good indoctrination, it has stages, it has psychological mapping and it has Power-Players pushing the buttons.

    Stuff you should know about before entering these realms:

    Oh, and:

    Pro-tip: Rather Nasty People are running advanced psychological mimetic Warfare Nodes on your teenagers.

    “Nike: JUST DO IT”

  126. Comments off for the evening. Sleep well, folks!

    Update: Comments back on, BUT will be turned off for good around noon, so probably now’s the time for closing statements.

    Update: Uuuuuuhhhh, apparently I didn’t turn these back on. Okay. Open until about 2pm EST.

    Update: Okay, now closing up for good —

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