11 Comments

Fascinating! Yes, I've long wondered why online rhetoric by people like incels (often designed to troll, provoke, get attention, etc) is taken so *literally*! I think I read an answer here: because those accusing incels of being terrorists (or potential terrorists) are blind to their own hypocrisies when they likewise abuse others. "Death threats for me but not for thee," etc etc.

Furthermore, the assumption that online rhetoric always has real world consequences reminds me that a hundred years ago most people assumed radio had so much power that listeners would blindly obey whatever they heard on it. Granting powerful media effects to a new medium seems to be typical.

Expand full comment

Boy, people really are obsessed with finding these extreme examples of human behavior, choosing a side pro/or con, and then ranting about it ad nauseum on the internet. "They're a victimized group. They need our help!" "No, they're sickos trying to destroy the world!" And then there's the "Bob is a man. Bob hates his mom. Therefore, men hate women" school of logic.

Willy Weirdo posts on 4chan his fantasy of lopping off his girlfriends toes with a floppy disk = 20,000 tweets/retweets.

37 people shot last weekend in Chicago. Crickets.

Logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.

Expand full comment
Oct 20, 2022·edited Oct 20, 2022

"37 people shot in Chicago" is normal (i.e., not all that different from the background default assumption that "Chicago is a violent place, and people get shot there for some reason"), and not at all relevant to the identities of people who drive online discourse. Whereas the defining trait of millenials is that the digital world upended their social lives, and they're unmarried, unsexed, and miserable. Thus, kvetching about the battle of the sexes is *extremely* relevant to them and their identities. People talk about what what's relevant to their sense of themselves and their view of the world.

Expand full comment
Oct 21, 2022Liked by Jesse Singal

Just wanted to affirm Naamas point about a lot of us just wanting to be listened to and heard. Being an awkward low status man can be lonely af. I have often wished I had a therapist I could talk to but thats not an affordable option for me.

I used to read and post on r/incelswithouthate before reddit banned all incel communities. And while it was a depressing and sometimes negative place it was cathartic reading stories I could relate to. I enjoy Naamas podcast (and I am grateful to her) for the same reasons.

Expand full comment

I’m completely on board with the double standard phenomenon.

I loathe nothing more than double standards and my experience of feminism and the women who espouse it is replete with examples of blatant, readily acknowledged double standards.

If it’s “empowering” for women to verbally bash men, the same is true for men verbally bashing women.

Welcome to equality!

Hopefully I’ll have time this weekend to listen.

Expand full comment
Oct 20, 2022·edited Oct 20, 2022

"Now with online culture, that private stuff becomes public, in all its bitterness and ugliness, and people reading things they probably shouldn’t."

This is very important. I can't tell you how many times I read angry online "progressive" rhetoric, assumed it was talking about me, and started having a panic attack. It's all very triggering for me.

Fortunately, I think I've gotten better at avoiding that stuff and trying to just be a kind person and live a normal life. Not everyone is an angry online progressive. Not even close.

Expand full comment

The Washington Post published an article (op-ed) titled “Why Can’t We Hate Men?”. Would they have dared to publish an article (op-ed) titled "Why Can't We Hate Women"? Of course, not. Anti-male bigotry is normal on the left and in the media (but I repeat myself).

Expand full comment

Here's why I don't buy the incel-violence connection. At least 47% of men in prison are fathers. Most men who commit firearm violence have kids, often with multiple women. Incels are lonely, low-status men. Most violent criminals are popular, high-status men, and they are highly sexually active, according to the statistics on birth rates of key demographics.

However, just because most violence isn't committed by so-called incels doesn't make the existence of people like this who might get an AR-15 and shoot up a public place any less terrifying.

Expand full comment

William Costello’s recent interview on Justin Lehmiller’s podcast was eye opening. Lehmiller’s questions are carefully discussed and presented with honest curiosity.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

Agree with all of this. But biology itself is a part of the problem. Much of the current discourse seems to be that females are not bound by their biology whilst men are slaves to theirs.

Expand full comment