Blazing Frank and the Policy Wonks - Redux
A certain partisan of the non-feminist sector recently posted a link to this same article on Men's Rights Reddit because, in his opinion, the article was especially relevant at this time. That link fetched a lot of page views for the article. Anyhow, I was inspired to read the article again, and I find it to be topical indeed, in light of recent developments. So with no further ado, here it is, followed by some afterthoughts about Thomas Ball:
From time to time it happens: Blazing Frank comes blazing into town!
Blazing Frank is the avatar of Spectacular Male Pathos who descends to earth in countless physical forms and generates headlines. He will make a terrible scene, often leave a corpse or three, and most times end as a corpse himself. Blazing Frank lives up to his monikker because he is frank and blazingly so, because he commits frankly blazing deeds, and because frankly, most times he goes out in a blaze!
You are doubtless familiar with some of Blazing Frank's incarnations: Marc Lepine, Darren Mack, Nicholas Bartha, Perry Manley, the Virginia Tech guy, the guy in the Amish Schoolhouse, and most recently George Sodini. That covers a few of the famous ones.
The feminists are madly in love with Blazing Frank—they can't get enough of him, they can't stop talking about him, and his periodic reincarnation infuses new vitality and purpose into their world. When Frank flares up, the feminists go into a frenzied huddle of hyperventilated jabber with the same object or range of objects invariably in view. Always, to amalgamate the personal with the political; always, to embed the episode into the body of patriarchy theory; always, to construct a morality tale about men or maleness in the abstract; always, to generate anti-male spin or shore up anti-male bias; always, to build a rationale for anti-male legislation or political initiative in some form; always, to validate the feminist worldview in one way or another.
But that is not the only thing the feminists do. They also swarm through cyberspace like bugs in great thick clouds and settle invisibly upon MRA websites, there to lurk and listen to the MRAs buzzing about Blazing Frank. Then they fly back to their own spaces and report what they have heard.
For you see, on the subject of Blazing Frank, many MRAs (or people taken for such) are pleased to speak their minds not wisely but too well—especially where the case involves women, or ugly divorce scenarios. And the feminists know this because they have seen the pattern replay itself over and over. What the feminists are looking for in their eavesdropping expeditions is "scandal" and "dirt", and far too often those men's rights loudmouths (or feminists posing as such) will indeed deliver the goods. They will say just what the feminists want them to say, just what the feminists need them to say, and this provides the feminist propaganda machine with the spin-fodder it needs for amplification and distortion operations.
But now, if you please, a few words about George Sodini, of late spectacular memory. The deceased Mr. Sodini left behind a considerable body of writing, and based on my examination of this writing, I conclude that he had a sick mind.
As a point of further interest, it appears that George Sodini was a murderer. For I am credibly informed that on 4 August, 2009, Mr. Sodini entered a physical fitness salon in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, and opened fire with a pair of semiautomatic pistols—killing 3 people and injuring 9 others. It would appear that the victims were all female. As a final act, George Sodini took his own life—with the proverbial last bullet, one is tempted to believe!
However, the exact mechanism of his psychopathology holds no overriding personal or political fascination for me. That said, I would politely decline to make this a subject of enquiry. For me, it is enough to know that George Sodini had a sick mind, and thus informed, leave Sodini himself to rot quietly in his grave. Requiescat In Pace!
Until now, I haven't weighed in on the subject of George Sodini. You might expect an opinionated blogger like myself to do that, but no, I confess the subject didn't catch my interest until rather later. I remember first hearing about Sodini and, like a true policy wonk, thinking "ahhh...there goes another one; we may anticipate these episodes from time to time; they are quite predictable!" But otherwise, I didn't give the matter much thought. That is, until more recently.
For it occurs to me that Sodini makes a good poster boy—the only question being, a poster boy for what? And for whom? But that carries me to my next point. Namely, that George Sodini, as a dramatic incarnation of Blazing Frank, set the MRAs abuzz all over cyberspace. This was very much true to form.
And again true to form, the feminists were listening. And on this occasion, they launched a purposeful and coordinated propaganda attack against the men's rights sector—one of their most purposeful to date. For the feminists are well aware of the growing societal disaffection toward feminism. It is worrisome to them, and in the simple-mindedness of their panic they believe that a fuzzy category of people, called MRAs, packs the sum and substance of all that threatens them.
But fuzzy or no, various people of the MRA sort gave the feminists just what they were looking for. Some ill-advised, indiscreet, and in a few cases downright shocking words were posted, and the feminists were there to scoop it up.
The problem is not that I necessarily disagree with everything these opinion warriors are saying—sometimes I disagree, sometimes I agree, and sometimes I agree only up to a point. No, the problem is that they are—please pardon the expression—shooting above the heads of a public which is all too likely to overhear them! And not just overhear them, but either miscomprehend or willfully misconstrue what they are actually saying.
It is not always easy for an outsider to savvy what disaffected, politically-awakened men are thundering about. The outsider's lack of cultural insight, simple want of factual knowledge, and oftentimes an indoctrinated mental preset, all generate a formidable set of filters. Far too much nuance gets lost in translation, an effect that is greatly compounded when the listener is unconsciously or half-consciously "not trying to hear" what is being said.
I am reminded of the episode where John Lennon notoriously remarked, "we're more popular than Jesus Christ." To Americans in the Bible Belt it was inflammatory language susceptible to only one interpretation. Regrettably, those Americans had a tin ear for Lennon's British humour! He was not being arrogantly sacrilegious. To those in the know, John Lennon was simply voicing his bewildered amazement through absurdist exaggeration.
I'll stop here, since I don't want to strain the comparison. But my illustration does underscore the potential for a certain kind of miscommunication whose difficulty is rendered many-fold more dicey when matters of a profound emotional charge are tossed into the mix. It can be dangerous stuff, apt to spit fire at both ends of the tube. Add to this an inherent prejudicial animus against certain people, along with an ideological lens designed to filter out certain holistic realizations, and the translation barriers become virtually insurmountable.
But none of this touches upon the chief point of interest in the present talk—it merely builds in that direction. The chief point of present interest is the question of policy within the field of rhetorical discipline, and within the subaltern field of message discipline.
All feminists are continually on the lookout for impeachable utterances by MRAs or persons alleged to be such. You might ask, "what defines impeachability?", and I would reply that the question is open to discussion. To a feminist, any time a man says something which ignores or disrespects the feminist worldview, it is at least potentially an impeachable utterance. However, most feminists understand that they must appeal to mainstream standards if they wish to gain any political traction; they are aware of an upper limit, in most cases, on how arcane they can sound without boring their broader constituency.
Therefore, the rhetorical court of appeal in most cases is the "common gaze standard", or the Court of Common Gaze if you will. Both MRAs and feminists want to expose each other's impeachable utterances to the common gaze of the average man or woman, as if to say, "look at what THEY said! Does that sound right to YOU?"
And so, when a load of anti-feminists, MRAs, PUAs, and suchlike fauna are seen to post impeachable utterances about Blazing Frank—meaning George Sodini in the present case—the feminists will rummage feverishly through their careless statements in search of anything that might violate the common gaze standard. Naturally, any suitable stuff they uncover becomes ammo in their propaganda war.
But it doesn't stop there. You see, feminists are cultic and parochial—and I guess you could even say ethnocentric. Yes, I consider feminism a quasi-ethnicity! And one of their quaint folkways—in common with the political left overall—is the practice of peer correction, as I will call it. This practice consists generally of "denouncing" or "calling out" words or behaviors deemed unacceptable. In theory this sounds laudable, although in practice it becomes petty and vindictive, even Stalinistic.
So when feminist lurkers are scanning the comment thread at, let us say, the Roissy website, and they find somebody voicing an egregious opinion about the nature of women or the heroic stature of Sodini, they are doing more than just adding that statement to their body of evidence. They are additionally holding the commenters on the thread accountable for not engaging in peer correction. They feel that those anti-feminist conversationalists have a duty to behave like good little lefties on a PC university campus, to rise up and collectively trounce the wrongful speaker the instant his words appear. Such is feminist parochialism.
And such too, briefly summarized, is the propaganda war which the feminists and their political cohorts are waging against people like MRAs. The core of their strategy is guilt by association, and they aim to gather as many of their enemies as possible under the MRA umbrella, in order to taint the entire lot with an imputation of "misogyny", or any other thought-crime which occurs to them.
The feminists are hoping to quell the non-feminist uprising by throwing lightning bolts at a quasi-mythical "MRA movement", in the mistaken belief that MRAs are the main threat—when in fact MRAs are simply one force among many.
I will now address the question of corrective remedies and future strategies.
For heaven's sake, let us not make Blazing Frank a poster boy in any way! Let us not make him politically iconic. And to make him a hero, to lionize him, is the highest pinnacle of stupidity I can imagine. It is a bad idea on its own account, but just as importantly, it is altogether unnecessary; it is psychic energy poorly budgeted. No, let the feminists make Blazing Frank a poster boy if they insist on doing so—and I will take up that theme again further along.
And not only is it a bad idea to make Blazing Frank a poster boy or a hero, it is additionally a waste of time to "analyze" Blazing Frank in hopes to make political hay out of him or his doings—for there are many ways to make political hay, and that is not one of the better ones. It is not cost-effective when you consider that nearly all such efforts will seem to smack of exoneration or be susceptible to such an imputation. Furthermore, such speculations are inherently sterile and productive of political stagnation. They are a mental backwater and, in a larger sense, they miss the point. They do not move the revolution forward either intellectually or propagandistically. Leave it to the PUAs and related specialists to converse privately in this vein—political MRAs and counter-feminists have very different fish to fry, and this does not include politicizing George Sodini's personal issues.
Very well. Bear in mind that counter-feminist theory predicts a statistical rise in dysfunctional male behavior due to feminist innovation. Dysfunctional male behavior includes a lot of things: violence is only the most spectacular, and the most likely to capture public attention, yet other forms of the malady bulk far greater in terms of actual occurrence.
Do not put Blazing Frank under a microscope. Do not try to extract a cause-and-effect analysis or a factor analysis unless you are the greatest wizard in that art who ever lived. And face it, virtually none of you are. As a counter-feminist policy wonk, your chief care is to make note of broad statistical trends. DO NOT CONFLATE THE BROAD STATISTICAL TREND WITH THE INDIVIDUAL CASE. Do not make the latter into a distillation of the former, and above all do not go public with speculations of this kind—for they illuminate very little, and they nearly always give spin-fodder to the enemy.
Remember that we are dealing with a disturbance in the social ecology, and in an ecology of any sort, causation is web-like rather than linear; things come about by an "orchestrated" multiplicity of vectors arriving from all directions. You would need the biggest supercomputer in the universe to track all of those quirky variables and outliers. You are not that computer, and you shouldn't pretend to be.
Luckily, you don't need to be. So make it easy and keep life simple. Why spin tissues of speculation which have dubious political value and possibly make you look like a moonbat, when you can limit yourself to cryptic aphorisms and oracular sayings about "chickens coming home to roost" or the like—and nothing more than that! You should know what to say and what not to say. Likewise, you should know when to speak and when to adopt a discreet and politic silence:
"A wise old owl sat on an oak;Your policy then, is to be silent or nearly so, and listen to the feminists. Gather an ear-full and then comment on what they are saying rather than letting them comment on what WE are saying! They shall be unable to do the latter because (in theory) we shall not have provided them grist enough for their mill: they'll have nothing to comment on! So, let them make Blazing Frank a poster boy for 'male violence' or 'the patriarchy' or some-such, for that is always the first half of their game. But then, deny them the second half. Do not feed the feminists! When they go surfing to MRA websites in quest of impeachable utterance, starve them!
The more he sat, the less he spoke;
The less he spoke, the more he heard;
Wasn't he a wise old bird?"
Furthermore, many of those things that you might be burning to say are not only better left unsaid, but better left unthought or unfelt. What do I mean here? I mean that too many male MRAs wish to voice their disenchantment with women—and in their talk generally, the perennial point of return is "relationships". They are in fact mastered by this feeling; they are driven by it. And in being so mastered and so driven, they are living under the power of women because they are letting women master and drive their emotions—which is not the best idea. So it follows that misogyny—not in the politically obfuscated feminist meaning of the term, but in the honest meaning of a root animus toward women as a group—is similarly not the best idea. An actual misogynist is, after all, emotionally dominated and driven by women in a way that is nothing but ironic if he were to process the implications of it.
Now, it has long been my considered opinion that those who oppose feminism should direct a hard and narrow polemic against it. In this respect, they ought to limit themselves, for it keeps the conversation on point—indeed, forces it to remain so! Thus, a pivot of counter-feminist policy is to eschew any kind of woman-centric discourse. If you build the conversation around "broads", you cannot keep it narrow! It is feminism's task to make the world "all about women"; it is not our task. Our task is merely to inflict damage on feminism in the most efficacious way and, when the injury at last proves mortal, let the chips fall where they will.
That day, when it finally arrives, will be an interesting one. In the meantime, let us reflect further on policy. Often enough, a fellow will arrive on an MRA website to post a comment abounding in woman-centric scurrility—women are all "skanks" or "ho's" or "bitches" or the like—or to sing the praises (even briefly) of George Sodini or any Blazing Frank du jour. On such occasions, we have no objective "duty" to peer-correct this person's opinion or to speak against him in any way. Statistically considered, we know that such feeling among men is on the rise and that in large part feminism made this happen. And to permit such words to stand, counts as a form of glasnost! We render the world a benevolent service by exhibiting the ugly state of things in so uncensured and uncensored a manner; we want the world to see, for its own good, precisely what feminism has wrought! The woman-obsessed chap who either bashes females or extols Blazing Frank, is as much a sign of the times as Blazing Frank himself, and to speak of any objective duty to "discipline" this commenter is a damnable feminist evasion, for it misses the point and continually re-inscribes the feminist narrative. It obscures the truth and fails to hold feminism accountable—and we must above all things hold feminism accountable!
There is the additional possibility—in fact, a considerable one—that this individual is really a feminist in MRA drag, on a trolling mission, in quest of either impeachable utterance or impeachable silence. Certainly, there is no infallible way to spot such a critter, but a one-size-fits-all response would be to non-chalantly—even playfully—intone something like: "You wouldn't happen to be a feminist provocateur . . . would you?" Frequent iteration of such a dialogue would infuse the general mind with the fact that such things as feminist provocateurs do exist, and this realization would throw a permanent shadow across every conversation—a state of affairs that would sap the force of enemy rhetoric.
The other mode of response would be to casually inform the too-frank speaker that his speech is counter-productive, but without communicating to him any tone of personal judgment for talking in such a way. This may at times open the door to a longer conversation of the more political sort, during which you will have occasion to enlighten him on points of critical importance, while at the same time enlightening readers of all persuasions.
Prior to concluding this article, let us give final consideration to the eventual effect upon the feminists of the policy we are advocating. We must, as I have proposed, govern our tongues to the point of silence, or to the point of saying nothing much. At any rate, well short of saying anything impeachable. We are simply to hold our peace, and to listen to the enemy. Let US be the ones who reap the harvest, in noting and archiving the typically bigoted and ideologically-driven things they will be saying. They will reap little from us, but we will gather plenty from them, and by our silence we will drain them of three-quarters or four-fifths of the fuel which they had counted on obtaining, and in the past have seldom failed to obtain in quantity. In the end, it shall leave them bereft and holding an empty bag. As the pattern for a macro-strategy in all realms, this has much to recommend it.
An Afternote in Light of Recent Developments:
The literally blazing case of Thomas James Ball throws an ardent light upon the Blazing Frank phenomenon. Ball was in a class by himself; he did no harm but to himself, and he was no apolitical blob with pathetic personal issues regarding "women". No, he had a burning political focus, and a mission, and despite certain indiscreet statements in his manifesto he thought things through rationally.
No, I cannot endorse Thomas Ball's call to politically-motivated arson. However, let me add that I completely understand, and sympathize with, the feelings that impelled him to say such things. And I am soberly aware that more such rhetoric, eventually culminating in action, is INEVITABLE in the context of current political realities. It is only a matter of time before such episodes, on such a scale, start happening in dead earnest. Certainly, I can raise my voice and urge people not to do such things, but I know that I am merely piling up sandbags against a raging flood that cannot be held back forever. And sandbags, you must understand, have their limits.
My considered opinion is, that we should neither lambaste nor lionize Thomas Ball. We should merely stand back, and permit his life and testimony to speak for themselves. This much is certain: that his case needs to become WIDELY known, and at the same time given the proper narrative framing -- yet neither of these things, to date, are happening. In time, perhaps, they will happen. Some years hence (who knows?) Thomas Ball might become the subject of books and prime-time documentaries that will make his story known to the masses. And even if it doesn't get quite the narrative framing that we'd like, publicity is good. It has only to become well-known, and then we can step in and (gradually) control the frame as we please.
And the message we should impress upon the world is, that Thomas Ball is a sympton of what is occurring in our civilization, that he happened due to an underlying malady in our civilization, and that if this malady goes uncorrected, the symptons will grow worse.
And I scarcely need to remind the onside readers of this blog that more feminism will only spread gasoline and gunpowder further and faster, and feed far worse fires in the future. Words to the wise, to be sure -- but wasted, I fear, upon our unwise enemies. No. . . I am not optimistic about the future, for by creed I am bound to be a realist.
As to the Norway killer: may he rot in peace. I won't say much about him. He was simply a violent criminal who did a monstrous, appalling thing. And whoever would make political spin-fodder by quote-mining his words for analogues to alleged MRA words, is a dirty little maggot crawling in shit.
That's right, David Futrelle. I'm looking at YOU, boy!