Friday, August 10, 2018

PLEASE STOP SHOOTING LIBERALISM IN THE FOOT

Andrew Sullivan wrote a new article recently, in which a portion was titled "Why Democrats Are Losing Young White Men". It's something that literally every liberal in the country needs to understand right now:
[L]ook at white millennial men. They’ve gone from 48 percent to 37 percent Democratic support. More striking in their case is that they haven’t just moved away from the Democrats, but have now become Republicans. Their support for the GOP in the last two years has gone from 36 percent to 46. Which means that for white men between the ages of 18 and 34, the GOP now has a ten-point lead. It has achieved that swing in the last two years.

We don’t know why this has happened. It may be the economy, lower unemployment, and marginally lower taxes. But that doesn’t explain the yawning and growing gender gap. So here’s a guess: When the Democratic party and its mainstream spokespersons use the term “white male” as an insult, when they describe vast swathes of white men in America as “problematic,” when they call struggling, working-class white men “privileged,” when they ask in their media if it’s okay just to hate men, and white men in particular, maybe white men hear it. Maybe the outright sexism, racism, and misandry that is now regarded as inextricable from progressivism makes the young white men less likely to vote for a party that openly advocates its disdain of them.
A prime example:


I've been trying to sound the alarm bells on this for ages now. The more the SJWs and feminists bury their heads in the sand on this problem, the harder it will be to actually win elections against assholes like Trump.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

If you swap the genders and the result is sexist, then it was sexist before you swapped the genders

A webcomic artist I follow on Facebook recently published the following comic:


Hmm. Let's see how that looks from another perspective, shall we?


MY GOD! HOW OUTRAGEOUS!! This comic promotes violence against women! That mother is raising a misogynist! She should be ashamed of herself! I can't believe she supports men abusing women! Her son should be suspended immediately! This is why men end up so terrible! We need to boycott this comic strip NOW!

You don't get to be indignant when people say that feminism is about hating and bashing men, if you then turn around and cheer wildly every time a woman does something terrible or cruel to a man.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

E3 2018!

MY TOP 10 GAMES OF E3 2018:



(Click to enlarge)

1) Super Smash Bros Ultimate
My three favorite game franchises of all time are Zelda, Halo, and Smash Bros. This Smash Bros game – the 5th mainline game in the series – contains every single character from every other Smash Bros game up through this point. Every. Single. Character. (Including Solid Snake, from the Metal Gear Solid series – one of my all time favorites who was absent from Smash 4.)

GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME





2) Halo: Infinite
This game (otherwise known as Halo 6) was how Microsoft opened its E3 conference. The crowd went nuts, and for good reason – even if this was just a teaser of a demo of a game engine. (In other words, it didn't show much of anything, other that the ultra-high-end graphics that the next Halo will have.)





3) Unravel Two
The first Unravel game was an indie title (albeit one published by EA) that was unbelievably charming and very pretty to look at. But what took me surprise was how much I enjoyed the platforming gameplay, with swinging mechanics that instantly reminded me of playing the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy on the Super Nintendo.

This game was released almost as soon as it was announced, and I loved the first one so much that I bought this one instantly. (And they added co-op, so two players can play at once!)





4) Forza Horizon 4
The Forza Horizon series is one of my favorite franchises in gaming – it combines pure, unadulterated 'car porn' with objective-based open-world gameplay that, the first time I played it, reminded me of the Tony Hawk games I loved so much back in the Gamecube era. Not to mention that they're some of the best looking games ever created. FH4's biggest new addition to the mix is changing seasons – the game world now transitions between summer/fall/winter/spring, one real-world week at a time (and all four seasons still look gorgeous, in the game's trailer). This is another one that I have zero doubts about picking up later this year.





5) Super Mario Party
It's hard to tell much from the trailer (aside from adding a few gimmicks based on the Switch hardware itself), but it looks like this is a "back to the roots" Mario Party game. The series has had the same niggling problems since its inception: computer turns are too slow, and there's way too much random chance involved. Here's hoping Nintendo addresses some of those sorts of issues in this...er..."reboot". If that's the case, count me in. (It sure does look great in high-def, though.)





6) Doom: Eternal
This is the sequel to 2016's hysterically gory heavy-metal-blaring demon-slaying power trip utopia Doom, rebooting the series into something even more gloriously unapologetic than it had been up to that point. IDK WTF this trailer is meant to show off, but as long as there's more demon-slaughtering set to the background of death metal, I'm pretty much already sold.





7) Gears 5

I have some questions. Who the hell thought it would be okay to change the franchise from "Gears of War" to just "Gears"? Why the hell are we playing as Kate and not Marcus Fenix or his son anymore? Why does Marcus not have a beard anymore, but his son does now?

Questions aside, Gears of War 4 is still my favorite out of all the Gears games (though Gears 2 is a close second). So I have faith in its development team, and I will absolutely give this game a chance. Gears is like Halo: even the "bad" games in the series tend to be a lot better than an lot of other games. But I have questions.





8) Ori and the Will of Wisps
I still haven't gotten around to playing the first one yet, and I'm still excited for this one (admittedly, that's largely because the first Ori game was a critically-acclaimed artistic masterpiece).





9) Tunic
I hadn't seen or heard about this game until this trailer was released, but it's clear that this is an Xbox riff on the classic top-down SNES-style Legend of Zelda games. A pretty blatant riff, if we're being honest – but if you're gonna steal, steal from the best (i.e. Zelda). It sure does look charming as heck.





10) Anthem
This was in my "Top E3 Games 2017" list, too. It's slated to come out in February. Admittedly, I still don't have much interest at all in Destiny-style games. But this one had me sold from the minute everyone started saying "It's basically an Iron Man simulator".





HONORABLE MENTIONS:

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit

This is a VERY short (and very FREE) game that was released almost as soon as it was announced. What caught my attention was how much the trailer made it look like an indie film, something that belongs at the Cannes Film Festival, or something like that. And that feeling carries across the rest of the game, as well (which I have already downloaded, played, and beaten twice). I actually love the game quite a bit, even though it's set in the same universe as the Life is Strange games, and I've never played any of those. (A word of warning: this is NOT a kid's game, and if it were a movie, it would almost certainly be rated R.)

Cyberpunk 2077

From the makers of The Witcher 3, this dystopian-near-future game won IGN's Game of the Show. It does look fantastic – my main concern is that I'll end up not playing it for the same reason I never played The Witcher, which is that I have little desire to sink 100+ hours into a game that doesn't have "Zelda" or "Red Dead" in the title anywhere.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

if ( KnotTied(Chris, Steph) ) { Blogging = true; return Blogging; }

Normal blogging will resume soon.

Eventually, I'll write a massive post about the entire wedding, but that probably won't be for awhile as there is a LOT of information and photos to compile and comb through.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wedding

Wedding

Wedding
Wedding
Wedding

WeddingWeddingWeddingWeddingWeddingWeddingWeddingWeddingWedding

Wedding

>_<

Friday, May 18, 2018

Sigh. Can we just fast-forward through it this time?


> I post the same Onion article / Jim Jefferies video as always, debunking all of the dumbass bullshit arguments that gun nuts always make

> I point out that gun nuts are INCREDIBLY fucking stupid, whiny-ass, childish little dipshits

> Gun nuts start running around in circles screaming "2A SEZ I GET TO OWN A TANK 4 SELF DEFENZ !!!!!!! " en masse at the top of their lungs

> "Reasonable centrists" tell me the problem is that I'm just "too mean" to the gun nuts

> Investigation inevitably proves that gun control laws would have prevented or inhibited the shooting in one way or another

> Everyone ignores the issue and does nothing, again, until the next mass shooting a few weeks from now

This will keep happening until our country is, you know, less stupid.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Game Review: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild


This has proven to be one of the harder reviews I've written, because Breath of the Wild is a huge cultural milestone, an epic buffet of the best that video gaming has to offer, and my new all-time favorite game ever. I knew that any review worth writing or reading would have to encompass an awful lot. So here we go.

For starters, Breath of the Wild's mission statement was to rethink most of the standard Zelda conventions, and to bring different elements of the series into a more modern era. Part of the way it does this is by borrowing (arguably shamelessly) quite a few elements from other critically acclaimed games, and tweaking them to dovetail with the already-masterclass Legend of Zelda formula. Some examples:
• First and foremost, the game is now completely open-world. Whereas previous Zeldas gave the illusion of an open world while actually being cordoned off into discrete areas, BOTW takes the concept of "anywhere you can see, you can get to" (which was, arguably, invented by Rockstar with its Grand Theft Auto series) and pushes it considerably farther than most other games have dared. You see a giant mountain in the distance that looks like it might have some secrets hidden at its peak? Go for it. You see some unnamed ruins on your map that look like they might still hold supplies or treasure? Nothing stopping you from checking it out. It's a concept that sounds simple in theory, but this game executes it better than almost all games that have come before it.

• Link now has a "paraglider" item, which lets him glide down from any high point so long as he has the stamina to hold onto it. This mechanic was almost certainly lifted from the Batman: Arkham game series, another open-world game where players can use Batman's cape to glide down from any perch or rooftop. In both games, this is useful both as a method of traveling quickly and as a way to surprise a group of enemies and attack them before they know what hit them.

• In this game, there are 120 "shrines" to find – individual puzzle rooms that both add to your list of fast-travel points, and contain treasure and orbs to increase Link's health or stamina. Each of these individual rooms is comparable to a room in the Portal series, right down to the orange-and-blue aesthetic. And like in Portal, each room is a bite-sized (or larger) puzzle or combat situations that is solved with the tools Link has on hand throughout the game, whether that's creating blocks of ice out of water, bombs to blow up obstacles, the ability to freeze an item in time and impart kinetic energy on it, or the ability to manipulate metal objects via magnetism.

• For the first time in the Zelda series, Link does not collect hearts to restore his life meter. Instead, he has to hunt, harvest, or purchase food items (of which there are countless dozens) that can then be cooked into dishes that restore health or enhance Link in some other way (such as increasing his speed or restoring his stamina). This element of survivalism (especially early in the game when health is low) and foraging for supplies has quite a bit in common with Metal Gear Solid 3, where Snake (that game's protagonist) has to continually hunt for food and supplies to keep his stamina up.

• Finally, some people have compared this games difficulty level (especially in the early stages) to Dark Souls – whereas previous Zelda games have been very generous with the amount of damage Link can take, most attacks in this game take multiple hearts off Link's life meter – at least before he acquires and upgrades different armor sets. This requires you to play the game more thoughtfully early on, relying more on sneak attacks and carefully-timed parries as opposed to simply charging in and slashing at everything in sight. Personally, I find the argument that this game is much more difficult than previous Zeldas to be overblown – it's somewhat true at the very beginning of the game, but as you progress Link quickly becomes considerably more durable (read: badass), to the point where by the end of the game you can crush just about any enemy with relatively little effort. BOTW's progression in this regard feels somewhat more rewarding than in previous games.



Speaking of armor sets, this brings me to another gloriously overhauled element to this Zelda game: customization. Whereas previous Zelda games gave Link a small handful of unchanging armor sets to choose from, BOTW has dozens upon dozens of different armor pieces available, most of which come with unique, specific bonuses and can be upgraded to provide greater protection. Want to boost Link's attack power? Use the Barbarian armor, consisting of bones and war paint. Want to make Link climb more quickly? Use the climbing gear set, consisting of coils of rope and extra carabiners. Want to move quietly and stealthily? Dress like a Sheikah and ninja to your heart's content (for the first time in the series, Link can use a katana!). Or go with my favorite armor set, the Soldier armor – complete with full-on Medieval breastplate and pauldrons, and boasting a higher defensive power than almost any other armor. Not a bad choice for turning Link into a neigh-invulnerable tank after it's fully upgraded.

Not only are there thousands of possible configurations of armor, but most armor sets can also be dyed to just about any color you want. For example, many players will take the hooded Hylian armor set and dye it white, making Link appear like a character from Assassin's Creed. Stephanie's approach was to dye all of Link's armor dark purple. My own personal preference was to go the classic route, and dye everything green:


(God damn do I love that weapon's description.)

And as if that wasn't enough, Link's stable of up to five horses can all be customized in this game, with different saddles, bridles, manes, and names. Here is my one of my first horses:


I named her "Specklebutt" and put flowers in her mane. BECAUSE I CAN.



And the game's story? It's not bad, especially by Legend of Zelda standards. One hundred years before the game begins, Link and Zelda fought against Ganon (the series' main antagonist) in a battle that did not go well – it ended with much of Hyrule destroyed, and Link in a coma and barely clinging to life. He is placed in a "Shrine of Resurrection", while Zelda contains Ganon in a magical stalemate until Link recovers. 100 years later, Link awakens from his coma inside the shrine (looking pretty fit for 18 going on 118), but without any of his memories of who he is or why he's there. Zelda telepathically contacts him to tell him that she will soon be unable to hold Ganon back any longer, and that she will need his help to end him once and for all. Link then sets off to recover his memories and to regain enough strength to beat Ganon in their inevitable rematch.

So the story is pretty good, but I would caution against going in expecting the same level of plot depth and character development of something like Witcher 3 or Red Dead Redemption. The story is not necessarily the game's main strength (although the epic moment where Link finally storms Hyrule Castle was my single favorite gaming moment in all of 2017). But the game's strongest draw and greatest innovation is in its "chemistry engine". This is the term the developers at Nintendo coined to explain how the different systems within the game interact with each other, consistently and predictably like the elements on the Periodic Table.

It's a concept that's difficult to describe, but leads to massive flexibility and creative-thinking options for problem solving. Here's just one hypothetical example: say that there's a puzzle in one of the shrines that requires you to activate a switch with electricity to open a gate, and there's a circuit-like path leading from the source of electricity to the switch. You could do the standard Zelda thing and manipulate metal boxes with your magnetic ability to completely the "circuit" and trigger the switch – OR you could simply drop a metal sword on the open part of the circuit to complete it (because metal conducts electricity!) – OR you could simply pull out your electrically-charged shock arrows and shoot the switch directly – OR you could use completely unrelated items to build a huge fire on the floor of the shrine, and then pull out your paraglider and ride the fire's updrafts like a hot-air balloon to sail right over the gate entirely. Almost every puzzle in the game has several different ways it can be solved, and it can be EXTREMELY satisfying to try to come up with some clever trick that lets you use the consistent internal logic of the game's "chemistry engine" to "cheat" your way to a more expedient solution, instead of the one the developers intended.



Whether intentional on the part of the developers or not, I found that the game raised some interesting philosophical questions as well.

One example that sticks out in my mind is Gerudo Town – this city in the game is run by the Gerudo, an all-female tribe of warriors that does not allow men within the city walls (Link eventually manages to sneak inside, of course). On the surface, the philosophy of the Gerudo tribe is blatantly sexist, and the town is a feminist paradise. But the longer you poke and prod around the city, the more it becomes apparent that this no-men-allowed attitude has caused quite a few problems for the tribe. Many of the town's citizens are both deeply yearning for someone to share affection with, and hopelessly socially awkward around men outside of the village, to the point where they have to take classes taught by an instructor (to humorous effect) to try to learn how to approach and interact with men. One Gerudo ends up so frustrated by these problems that she had sunk into a drunken depression, sobbing in the town's tavern. (Unfortunately, unlike a similar-ish situation in Wolfenstein II, I was not able to help her.)

The town's sexist philosophy and the way Link has to sneak in had me groaning and bearing it, until it became more apparent that not everything was how it appeared on the surface. Learning more about the town's inhabitants and the myriad problems their one-gender policy had caused eventually had me feeling very sympathetic toward the tribe, and that unexpected emotional reversal led to Gerudo Town becoming one of my favorite areas of the game.



Another interesting question: technology. This game appears to take place at a very advanced point in the overall timeline of the world of Hyrule (a timeline which Nintendo keeps very vague intentionally). And as such, some of the world's technology has very clear analogues in the real, modern world. The most specific example of this is Link's "Sheikah Slate", the first item Link picks up after waking from his coma. The slate is, for all intents and purposes, a touch-screen tablet (Gizmodo states it bluntly: "Link Has a Goddamn iPhone"). But this sort of tech in the game is not powered by circuits and electricity, but instead by magical energy.

This is interesting, because the game has its own internal logic here that raises questions about the real world: if the sort of magic that exists in Hyrule existed in the real world as well, how would it have changed the evolution of our technology over the course of history? The inhabitants of Hyrule still fight with swords and ride on horses and light their homes with candles and lanterns, but they've also developed cameras (a function of the Slate), robots (the Guardian enemies), lasers (the weapons used by the Guardians), GPS (communication between the Slate and what are basically cell phone towers), rubber (part of the armor used for defense against electricity), and motorcycles (transportation added to the game via DLC). Obviously the developers added these items to the game because they improve certain aspects of gameplay, much like technology improves certain aspects of our lives in the real world – but intentional or not, it shows how the technology of Hyrule has advanced over the ages along a parallel track with technology in the real world.

This is very different from most other fantasy series, in which technology never seems to advance regardless of how intelligent or inventive or evolved the world's inhabitants are. Jalopnik.com states this in an article titled "The Game of Thrones Car Paradox: How Magic Makes People Stupid". Its thesis is that in series like GoT or Harry Potter, reliance on magic severely inhibits the development of technology:
According to the HBO series and the books, the recorded history of Westeros in Game of Thrones goes back over 12,000 years, which is roughly comparable to recorded post-neolithic history here on our warm, damp Earth. As far as anyone can tell, the inhabitants of the fictitious GoT universe seem to be just like us normal humans, they seem to exhibit the same rough level of intelligence, and thanks to HBO's liberal policy on nudity, they seem to have very much the same biology and anatomy as us. Sure, they have seasons of random length, but they appear to live on a world with similar natural resources and basic laws of nature

And yet after 10,000 years of development, us non-fiction humans have cars and iPads and plastic tampon applicators and ham radios and spaceships and Pop Rocks and giant underground boring machines and radios that play A Prarie Home Companion (a different sort of boring machine) and Makita drills and all sorts of other highly advanced technology.

And what do the people of Westeros have? Windmills, ironwork and other metalwork, wooden carts, stonemasonry structures, woven fabrics, probably waterwheels, dyes, ceramics, glass, and not a whole hell of a lot else. It's essentially where humanity was in the 1300s or so, minus gunpowder.
This is where Hyrule in Breath of the Wild is different, even if it is, like Westeros, well over 10,000 years old. In many ways, it is still a medieval society – but in others, Hyrule is arguably more technologically advanced that we are in the real world.

We think of Hyrule's tech as being powered by "magic", but there's a well-known quote British author Arthur C. Clarke that states "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Certainly some of our modern real-world technology would seem like magic to people in the 1300's, but what if the "magic" that powers all of Hyrule's Sheikah tech is not magic at all, but rather "sufficiently advanced technology" and we simply don't have the language or capacity to understand how it works?

It seems highly unlikely that the developers at Nintendo deliberately intended to raise these sorts of philosophical questions about the evolution of technology in different magical vs non-magical societies. But this could be seen as an example of the interpretation of a work of art being out of the artist's hands.



Philosophical ruminations aside, Breath of the Wild is a tour de force, and one of the finest works of technological art ever crafted. If you think I am overstating my case here, just look at a sampling of its review scores, via Wikipedia:


According to Wikipedia, it holds the largest number of perfect reviews of any game on review aggregator Metacritic. And I have to agree with the consensus here.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is my new all-time favorite video game, ever.

Overall Score:  11 / 10

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Katie Roiphe's essay "The Other Whisper Network" is exactly what liberalism needs to hear right now


The March 2018 issue of Harper's Magazine published an essay by Katie Roiphe titled "The Other Whisper Network". It can be read for free, but the magazine's website limits the reader to only a single article per month before putting up a paywall. That paywall is why I'll only be quoting small portions of the article here.

The article is a counter-narrative to the SJW-strain of radicalized feminism that has taken hold over so much of modern liberalism, and pleads with the reader to begin taking note of the movement's excesses and how easily they could come back to bite us all (liberals) in the ass. Many of Roiphe's points are similar to ones that I have been trying to make for years now, and the same can be said for many of Andrew Sullivan's recent articles, as well.

In fact, this essay (and the vitriolic reaction it inspired) was the catalyst for Andrew Sullivan's January 12th article titled "It's Time to Resist the Excesses of #MeToo", which I found profoundly moving. Both Sullivan and Roiphe herself pointed out that even before Roiphe published her essay, she was already facing a tidal wave of unhinged reprisals from outraged feminists who essentially wanted to censor it out of existence. She references this in the opening of her essay:
Of course, the prepublication frenzy of Twitter fantasy and fury about this essay, which exploded in early January, is Exhibit A for why nobody wants to speak openly. Before the piece was even finished, let alone published, people were calling me “pro-rape,” “human scum,” a “harridan,” a “monster out of Stephen King’s ‘IT,’?” a “ghoul,” a “bitch,” and a “garbage person”—all because of a rumor that I was planning to name the creator of the so-called Shitty Media Men list. The Twitter feminist Jessica Valenti called this prospect “profoundly shitty” and “incredibly dangerous” without having read a single word of my piece. Other tweets were more direct: “man if katie roiphe actually publishes that article she can consider her career over.” “Katie Roiphe can suck my dick.” With this level of thought policing, who in their right mind would try to say anything even mildly provocative or original?
I have received tons of this sort of backlash myself, some of which from people I consider(ed) to be very close friends.

The title "The Other Whisper Network" refers to other women who are beginning to have deep reservations and concerns about the direction that this type of feminism is moving in, but who are too scared by the prospect of retribution (and justifiably so) to speak out in public or on the record about it.

Roiphe quotes several of these conversations – all of which were anonymous by request – in her article. Some examples:
• I think “believe all women” is silly. Women are unreliable narrators also. I understand how hard it is to come forward, but I just don’t buy it. It’s a sentimental view of women....I think there is more regretted consent than anyone is willing to say out loud.

• If someone had sent me the Media Men list ten years ago, when I was twenty-five, I would have called a harmlessly enamored guy a stalker and a sloppy drunken encounter sexual assault. I’d hate myself now for wrecking two lives.

• Why didn’t I get hit on? What’s wrong with me? #WhyNotMeToo

• I think #MeToo is a potentially valuable tool that is degraded when women appropriate it to encompass things like “creepy DMs” or “weird lunch ‘dates.’” And I do not think touching a woman’s back justifies a front page in the New York Times and the total annihilation of someone’s career.
She goes on to give different examples of feminist overzealousness:
In 1996, a six-year-old boy with Coke-bottle glasses, Johnathan Prevette, was suspended from school for sexual harassment after kissing a little girl on the cheek. This was widely interpreted as a sign of excess: as the New York Times put it, a “doctrine meant to protect against sexual harassment might have reached a damaging level of absurdity.” Yet I wonder what would happen today. Wouldn’t feminists be tweeting, “Don’t first grade girls have a right to feel safe?”
And points out that this fundamentally non-liberal zealotry is not limited to a handful of bad actors, but ingrained in SJW feminism as a whole:
It would be one thing if collapsing the continuum of bad behaviors happened only in moments of overshoot recognized by everyone. But I am afraid that this collapse is an explicit part of this new ideology. The need to differentiate between smaller offenses and assault is not interesting to a certain breed of Twitter feminist; it makes them impatient, suspicious. The deeper attitude toward due process is: don’t bother me with trifles! (One of the editors of n+1, Dayna Tortorici, tweets: “I get the queasiness of no due process. But....losing your job isn’t death or prison.”)

[...] Because of the anger animating the movement, incidents that might otherwise seem outrageous become acceptable or normal to us. The Shitty Media Men list, the anonymously crowd-sourced spreadsheet chronicling sexual misconduct in the publishing world, is a good example. If we think of how we would feel about a secretly circulating, anonymously crowd-sourced list of Muslims who might blow up planes, the strangeness of the document snaps into focus.
Roiphe also spends time focusing on the extent to which modern feminism has begun to shamelessly conflate relatively brief moments of awkwardness or irritation ("microaggressions") with full-blown sexual assault:
In one of the sexual harassment stories in New York magazine’s The Cut, Emma Cline describes a drunken evening during which the head of a literary organization sits too close to her in a cab and asks for her number on the way home from a party. (“Why is this a story?” one of the deeply anonymous says.) Granted, we’re now used to the endless mediation of screens in our personal lives. Still, one wonders when someone asking for your phone number became an aggressive and dehumanizing gesture rather than, say, annoying or awkward. In a way, asking someone for her phone number seems like asking for consent—it’s asking, not assuming, it’s reaching out, risking rejection. It begins to feel as if the endgame of this project is not bringing to account powerful sexual bullies but, as a male acquaintance puts it, the “presumptive criminalization of all male sexual initiatives.”
She then transitions into some of what I would consider to be the article's most important points. She points out the extent to which feminism (and, increasingly, liberalism at large, I would argue) is simultaneously oblivious to and comfortable with its own outright maliciousness and vitriolic contempt toward men:
Men are not entirely deluded if they sense that some of the anger is aimed at all men. Barely submerged in this project is the simmering idea that men have committed the dramatic and indefensible crime of being male. This tweet comes from Kaitlin Phillips (Twitter handle: ­@­yoloethics), a spirited young writer about the publishing world: “It’s not a revolution until we get the men to stop pitching ­LMAO.” In The Outline, a new digital publication, Leah Finnegan writes, “Many men wonder what to do with their entitled mouths and brains at moments like this and the answer is: shut up and go away.” She also tweeted, “Small, practical step to limit sex harassment: have obamacare cover castration.” While this is fairly extreme, its tone is not alien to anyone who dips even briefly into Twitter or Facebook. We are alarmed at the rampant and slippery Trumpian tendency to blame “all immigrants” or “all Muslims,” and blaming all men seems to me only a little less ominous. [...]

The rage can at times feel like bloodlust. [...]

While I was writing this essay, one of the anonymous emailed me a piece Donegan wrote in The New Inquiry about the devastating night of Trump’s victory. She had hosted an election gathering, and as the results came in, the men were drinking tequila out of a penis-shaped shot glass, and laughing and making jokes as the women cried and clutched one another. Instead of thinking about choosing new friends, she ends with a blanket indictment of men and a blow for the cause:

Here is what the last few days have reminded me: white men, even those on the left, are so safe, so insulated from the policies of a reactionary presidency, that many of them view politics as entertainment, a distraction without consequences, in which they get to indulge their vanity by fantasizing that they are on the side of good. . . . The morning after the election, I found the penis-shaped shot glass in my kitchen and threw it against the wall. I am not proud of this, but it felt good to destroy something a white man loved.
Can you see why some of us are whispering? It is the sense of viciousness lying in wait, of violent hate just waiting to be unfurled, that leads people to keep their opinions to themselves, or to share them only with close friends.
This type of sober, forthright analysis is admittedly very cathartic to read, as I am often made to feel (by other liberals, mind you) like I am "overreacting" to the feminist movement; I am constantly being told that my concerns and criticisms are overblown, and that these seemingly malicious excesses are nothing more than a justified reaction to omnipresent patriarchal oppression out of a desire for "gender equality". Should I have the audacity to argue otherwise, I am accused of trying to "mansplain" gender issues.

Roiphe understands the role that social media has played in both exacerbating and normalizing this type of vitriolic extremism, and points out the plainly obvious truth: this type of echo chamber is exactly what made the pro-Trump right so radical, as well:
I wouldn’t normally quote so much Twitter, but the extremes of vitriol unloosed in this conversation find their purest expression there. Some of these seemingly fringe figures are actually writers and editors who publish in places like The New Republic and n+1, who are involved in setting the tone of the conversation; one can very easily connect the dots between their views and those of more mainstream feminists. I have a feeling that if one met @yoloethics or the rest of her Twitter cohort in person, they would seem normal, funny, smart, well read. But the vicious energy and ugliness is there beneath the fervor of our new reckoning, adeptly disguised as exhilarating social change. It feels as if the feminist moment is, at times, providing cover for vindictiveness and personal vendettas and office politics and garden-variety disappointment, that what we think of as purely positive social change is also, for some, blood sport. The grammar is better in these feminist tweets, but they are nonetheless recognizably Trumpian.

In some ways, if we take the imaginative leap, the world Twitter feminists are envisioning—scrubbed clean of anyone hitting on anyone, asking for phone numbers, leaning over to kiss someone without seeking verbal permission—seems not that substantively far away from the world of Mike Pence saying he will never eat alone with a woman who is not his wife. This odd convergence reveals something critical about the moment: the complicated ways in which we may be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
In other words, perhaps we should leave the incessant puritanical sex-policing to the religious right.



I have nothing but admiration for Katie Roiphe and the courage it took for her to write this essay. There is much more to it than what I have quoted here, and the entire piece is worth a read. This is the type of thoughtful, self-aware course-correcting that liberalism needs more of if we are to avoid the fate of becoming as malicious, hypocritical, and incoherent as the Trump right.

No wonder so many on the SJW-feminist left felt threatened by it.