Update: Zippy and I have agreed to disagree. Here is my most recent comment to Zippy at his site:
I presume it is mutual that we are past the point where we might have a beer (or a scotch) and put all of this past us.
Not from my POV. I’d buy you a beer tomorrow.
I’ve given this a bit of thought and while we clearly don’t (and won’t) see eye to eye on this issue I’ve given it awful hard to you personally and you are responding here with a great deal of grace. You even offered again after I continued. That can’t have been easy and in my book is a very manly gesture.
If you are still so inclined, I propose we agree to disagree on this issue, raise a virtual glass, and look forward to what we might learn from one another in the new year.
My prayers are for the best for you and yours in 2013, and that God will bless you.
Here is Zippy’s Reply:
May Providence smile upon you, your family, and all of your projects in the new year.
If someone has one handy, please give Cane Caldo a hanky.
———————- Original Post, Comments Now Closed ———————-
Zippy Catholic accuses me and the manosphere of being caught in the grip of a cult in his most recent post Cynicism: the starry-eyed idealism of the nihilist:
Some of the commenters on this thread (either here or in trackback) might consider the extent to which their reactions confirm Lydia’s view. By forming what amounts to a cult around a somewhat useful social analysis akin to the Meyers-Briggs test they convince themselves that they know strangers on the Internet well enough to do personal over-the-wire psychoanalysis.
Note that he passive aggressively makes these claims about me without having the stones to either quote exactly what I’ve written which is wrong or even name me anywhere in the original post. The links in context however are to a recent post of mine and an exchange I had on his blog with a commenter named Lydia (more later), and all of the commenters on the post are clear that he is coyly referring to me. To the extent that they have unanimously misconstrued me as the target of his vague accusations he has not corrected them.
Zippy’s passive aggressiveness makes it difficult to lay out his charges in any logical form, but I’ll do my best. His core argument appears to be that I’m guilty of psychoanalyzing Lydia instead of engaging her in rational debate. My infraction is made especially serious because I am doing this using (and quoting) her own written words on the internet:
I generally consider over-the-wire psychoanalysis of total strangers to be a reductio ad absurdam of the point of view expressed.
Again, he doesn’t actually accuse me of being the person he is talking about, so perhaps instead of an accusation this is an excuse he is making on his and Lydia’s behalf. It could be that he isn’t accusing me of over-the-wire psychoanalysis, but explaining why he is making an exception to his general objection to the practice. At any rate, according to Zippy’s post something I (although not by quote or name) have done has proven Lydia right when she claimed that I was psychologically damaged (emphasis mine):
I think there are some valuable facts and insights in the manosphere. But by demonstrating the kinds of behaviors one expects from people in the grip of an ideology, manosphere commenters unwittingly show that the manosphere fosters precisely what Lydia contends it fosters in at least some men, e.g.:
A habitually cynical outlook. A continual view of sexual life as a matter of full-fledged conflict between the sexes.
But there are always occupational hazards in continually being immersed in certain kinds of evils. In this case, my conclusion is that the occupational hazard of being immersed (maybe perforce, because of one’s job, for example) in the situations in which women have ruined men’s lives is a particular level and type of jadedness and a damaging of that ability to see a woman as a gift.
I can only presume that whatever I did to cause Zippy to diagnose me as psychologically damaged and part of a dangerous cult relates to my written words over the internet, since I don’t know Zippy in person.
Later in the discussion he continues avoiding making an actual claim against me, and for the third time instead mysteriously refers to “some commentators”:
What some folks seem to be missing is that, while I may have disagreed with her about the prudential wisdom of exploring manosphere subjects, Lydia made a perfectly valid point (and indeed some commentators have unwittingly confirmed it): that the manosphere tends to produce an unreal cynicism in many of its participants.
Whoever it is and whatever they actually wrote, they have really stepped in it according to Zippy:
Part of the symptomology here is that folks just don’t seem to have a clue how utterly ludicrous it all is.
I’m starting to get the impression that this “feminine imperative” business is basically a big ad hominem. She’s a woman, she disagrees with Zippy prudentially on the value of engaging with the manosphere, so she’s not only wrong she’s also some kind of biological evo-psych robot spouting untruths (err, even though she has a point) … but of course she just can’t help herself because she is Team Woman.
I’ll stand by while Zippy works up the courage to name this nameless manosphere commenter(s), quote the offending text(s), and lay out a clear rational case against them. In the meantime, I’ll offer some context of the original exchange he is referring to.
Back in August a commenter named Lydia on Zippy’s site objected to my post Losing control of the narrative. However, instead of using facts and logic to refute my points (any of them), she chose to psychoanalyze me and convince Zippy’s readers not to listen to me lest they too become mentally damaged. This kind of psychoanalysis-in-lieu-of-debate is predictable to the point of being tedious, which is the point behind the The Catalogue of Anti-Male Shaming Tactics. I didn’t initially point this out because facts and logic are on my side; my strong initial preference is to engage in an exchange of ideas and not to personally defeat an ideological opponent. Making it personal gives up my main advantage, and also would prevent me from possibly learning something knew. Unfortunately the initial focus of the discussion fell Lydia’s way. Fellow blogger Chris of Dark Brightness called Lydia out for her childish emotionalism and use of petty psychoanalysis to avoid discussion as a preface to making his logical case:
You are offended by Dalrock. Particularly some of the things people say there. Or perhaps CL and SevenMan. Or the fact that I’m a Prot.
Get over it and grow up. Those of us who have sat and listened to people who have lost their family… and heard it so many times that you know what comes next in the script… are not getting good and clear messages from the pulpit.
At the first hint that Lydia would be called on her irrational and emotional tactics, Zippy the white knight galloped in*:
FYI, Lydia is Protestant, and will be treated like the lady she is.
With the imminent threat to Lydia’s delicate sensibilities averted, Zippy then went back to allowing Lydia to derail the discussion until another commenter called Lydia out on what she was doing:
Reading these comments reminds me once again why it is absolutely futile and a complete waste of time to debate serious issues with 99.9% of all women.
We have several men commenting, using logic, references, concrete facts. And then we have Lydia who just rationalizes away emotionally. She doesn’t like the message, in fact she takes umbrage at it. She doesn’t like the criticism of the sisterhood and because of this she villifies the entire manosphere. It’s a classic case of hamsterlympics.
Zippy suited up once again and galloped to Lydia’s rescue:
You haven’t truly tasted irony until you’ve seen someone lecture Lydia McGrew about using facts, logic, and reason.
This was the tone Zippy the moderator set early on, allowing Lydia to derail the discussion and rebuking anyone who would point out her refusal to argue facts, logic, and reason. Since Zippy seemed to be caught between his fear of offending the boss and his obvious interest in having the discussion, I pleaded with the person in charge that we might be permitted to have a rational discussion:
I gather that you don’t like me. While that isn’t my preference I’m ok with that. What I’m more interested in is which of my arguments you disagree with. Do you think men shouldn’t be weary of marrying a woman who has made marriage last on her priority list? You mention young women you know who aren’t like that. Why then would you not want young men to prefer women who make marriage a priority? Why defend the ones acting badly in the name of the ones acting well?
As for my view of marriage, I am a passionate proponent of lifetime marriage. It is because of this I take great issue with those who turn it into a farce.
Lydia responded dismissively and continued her tack of marginalizing me as obsessive and dangerous to women:
I’m not in the slightest defending women who are acting badly.
I’m trying to restore culture. I don’t think that can be well done by undermining chivalry, encouraging base cynicism about women generally, obsessing over wicked women, and permitting and even encouraging coarse and lewd talk about women.
Zippy responded that pointing out the obvious and backing it up with facts and logic is something different than cynicism:
I guess I am having a hard time seeing cynicism in a script of how things actually, a great deal more commonly than hen’s teeth, go. And I expect a young man who knows that that is how things commonly go (and why) to be in a position to make better decisions than a young man who doesn’t know it.
He reiterated this a bit further down:
I am certainly not saying that I see no cynicism, etc in the manosphere! What I am saying is that the “narrative” in the post I linked, while bluntly stated, is a true account of how things actually go a significant amount of the time; and I am further saying that most young people considering marriage, possibly excepting those living in true enclaves like the Amish, are better off knowing these things than not knowing them.
I tried several more times to very gently encourage Lydia to switch from emotionally psychoanalyzing me to discussing the ideas at hand. As I mentioned in a previous post, she flat out refused. While Zippy feared displeasing Lydia, he continued the plea for her to allow an actual discussion:
At some point can we … have a real discussion?
I think it is important. Possibly that is because I have a son. Four or five years ago he and his friends were all effectively in one of those protected enclaves I’ve been talking about. After the financial crisis hit, gradually over time a bunch of his friends drifted out of the enclave: a second parent had to go to work and thus the kids had to go to public school is the most common thread. The dads have absolutely no idea what their kids face, and the kids are often more willing to talk to me than their own dads. I’ve already seen some of the dynamic at work with some older kids who’ve since graduated high school, and it isn’t pretty.
In making his case for talking about the issue and not how evil Dalrock is, Zippy pointed out that he has learned “actual facts” by reading my blog:
Believe it or not, I’ve learned some actual facts by reading Dalrock. If you haven’t, by all means don’t read it.
Despite my persistently responding to her insults with courteous requests to discuss the issue and not me she continued with more of the same:
I’m sure you have. That doesn’t counteract the big picture I’m arguing for. One could probably also learn some actual facts about black crime by reading Chimpout. I believe there’s actually a blog called that. And I would be willing to bet there are rampaging misandrogist feminist sites out there from which one could learn some facts one hadn’t known before about wife abuse. I recommend not doing so, though.
The discussion continued with Lydia calling the shots and Zippy and Chris trying to convince her to have an actual discussion. For some time Lydia accused Zippy of maligning a future daughter in law by noting the prevalence of divorce porn and frivolous divorce:
For example, as I said, you should be able to think about this stuff without maligning a future daughter-in-law. This portrays women as somehow determined by the outside world to behave wickedly and destroy everyone’s life (including, what the manosphere doesn’t seem to realize, her own life in a very real sense) on a whim. Wow, that’s darned insulting. *Not one* of my close female friends is “resisting divorce porn.” The idea is risible.
All of this eventually wore down Zippy’s patience:
Something about this thread has destroyed your ability to read, and therefore your ability to properly attribute ideas.
In the first place, “as I understand it, the claim is …” means that I am describing a series of claims. It doesn’t mean that I am asserting them all as true, and most certainly not in an unqualified way.
In the second place, nobody has ever suggested that any of these claims “implies that all women” anything. Statistical claims like “90% of the women I went to college with were not suitable for marriage” inherently and obviously don’t mean “all”. That’s partly why your personal experience (and mine) is not ultimately relevant here.
I think Dalrock had a point earlier in the thread when he said that you were accusing in vague terms while suggesting that you are immune from the requirement to prove the accusation. Now you are starting to do it to me. Just stop it.
And after she continued Zippy wrote:
Once again I can’t figure out what I’ve actually written that you are disagreeing with. You seem to be taking all sorts of things for granted though, in addition to attributing things to me that I haven’t said.
After even more failed attempts to engage in a discussion with Lydia Zippy wrote:
When it comes to this subject, Lydia, I can only conclude that you don’t want to understand. I’ve seen what it looks like when you do want to understand, and this isn’t what it looks like.
Exasperated, Zippy followed up with:
So that’s it, eh? We aren’t going to actually, you know, engage the subject matter? To even think about the plight of the average twenty something Joe Shmoe who wants marriage and a family, and is uniquely hampered in that pursuit in a way never before seen, and subjected to phenomenal systematic risk, is to make ourselves ritually impure? Really?
Zippy never did get Lydia’s permission to have an actual discussion on the issue (vs how dangerous and damaged I am). He ultimately gave up on the thread and wrote a new post about the experience titled Between Dalrock and a Hard Case:
In the comments of the last post we learned that Dalrock’s influence is so powerful (Update: see here for today’s mind-ray promoting Game) that I’ve lost the capacity to think for myself. But before the lights of reason wink out completely and I sink into the testosterone Hive Mind, I’d like to explore a question raised in the thread.
Without going into excruciating detail on all of these points, suffice to say that I am puzzled by the claim that it is simply ludicrous and absolutely beyond the pale to even consider the possibility that, in the general case, in our present state of culture and law, a young man who makes marriage a priority and makes good choices will have a materially harder time getting married, starting a family, and staying married than a young woman who makes marriage a priority and also makes good choices.
And that was that. The only thing which seems to have prompted Zippy to conclude that Lydia was right about me all along is this recent post of mine.
*After I pointed out how absurd Zippy’s pouncing on Chris was later on in the thread Zippy apologized to Chris.
Edit: I see that while I was writing this post Zippy was writing another post, Cultural Marxism in the manosphere. In this he continues his practice of neither quoting the actual arguments he is ostensibly refuting nor naming whom he is referring to. It ends with:
I’ve got some advice for you, manosphere fellas: if you want to be taken seriously by people who care about the truth try putting some more distance between yourselves and your putative enemies.