The Delicious Irony of MRAs’ Appropriation of ‘The Matrix’s’ Red Pill

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.”

As ridiculous as it may sound, there are grown men whose entire ideological worldview has been shaped by the above quote from the 1999 film The Matrix. These men are known by many names (“men’s rights activists,” “meninists,” “red-pillers,” “pick-up artists”), and while there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of nominal continuity, their core belief remains constant: men are being oppressed. … Read More

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“Men’s Rights Is Nothing”: How ‘Parks and Recreation’ Missed an Opportunity for Meaningful MRA Satire

It’s no doubt overly optimistic to expect an innocuous middlebrow liberal group hug like Parks and Recreation to provided a serious examination of the crisis of masculinity wrought over several generations by late capitalism and the changing nature of patriarchy. Still, here we are, because one of this week’s episodes, “Pie-mary,” documented how ridiculous life can get for women in politics — the idea that no matter what you do, someone finds a way to condemn you for it. Our own Sarah Seltzer discussed this idea in her recap. But what I want to discuss is something we’ve not seen very much of until now: the portrayal of men’s rights activists on TV. … Read More

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‘Into the Wild’ Author Jon Krakauer to Release Nonfiction Book About Campus Rape

The active negligence and hushing that often meets cases of on-campus sexual assault has been plunged into the spotlight over the last… Read More

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Jonathan Chait and Anita Sarkeesian: What It Really Means to Be Silenced

By now, it’s safe to assume that everyone who cares about “political correctness” — pro, anti, or “it’s complicated” — has not only absorbed Jonathan Chait’s New York magazine cover story on the topic, but read plenty of rebuttals to its arguments. Flavorwire’s Judy Berman took a polite chainsaw to Chait’s piece a couple of days back, and I don’t have a lot to add to what she said. But at this point, it’s worth taking a look at how Chait’s reacted to criticism of his essay: with, for the most part, the perception that people are focusing on him and his identity, rather than his arguments. … Read More

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Jonathan Chait Doesn’t Really Care About Free Speech

“Can a white male liberal critique the country’s current political-correctness craze (which, by the way, hurts liberals most)?” asks the print-edition subtitle of New York Magazine pundit Jonathan Chait’s latest provocation. (For maximum outrage-baiting effect, the version that appears in the magazine is also titled “Trigger Warning,” and the subhead ends with the tease, “We’re sure you’ll let us know.”) A better question would have been, “Can any writer connect the Charlie Hebdo shootings to trigger warnings in college classes, protests against universities hosting bigoted speakers, the term ‘mansplaining,’ and a Facebook group for women writers without sounding hysterical?” The answer, of course, is “nope” — and, furthermore, “grow up.” … Read More

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Benedict Cumberbatch Apologizes for “Being an Idiot” in Using “Colored” in Discussion of Race

The other day, ironically while (seemingly earnestly) describing the injustices of race inequality in the British entertainment industry to PBS’… Read More

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‘American Sniper’ Is Not Your Culture-War Talking Point

Last night, in a typically loathsome and infuriating appearance on The Daily Show, Mike Huckabee laid out, for all us dense coastal elite liberal types, the problem with our worldview. “There’s a real clash of cultures and there’s a disconnect between people who live in the ‘bubbles’ of New York, Washington, and Hollywood, versus the people who live in the land of the ‘Bubbas,’” he explained, which Stewart interpreted as a contention that “people who live on the coasts are not ‘real.’” It was, in a nutshell, Huckabee (and the book he was there to promote) attempting to jump-start that reliably contentious pseudo-political issue, the culture war. And, Huckabee insisted, the fault lies with the people in the “bubbles,” because “those of us who live in ‘Bubba-ville,’ we get the people in the bubbles — because television shows and movies are all about the people in the bubbles.” Yet according to the paper of record, “Bubba-ville” got its very own motion picture this weekend, and a controversy to go with it — all of which would be much more convenient if the film in question actually were the simplistic flag-waver that it’s being labeled as, on both sides of the political/cultural divide. … Read More

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Taylor Swift, John Boehner, and the New Intergenerational Condescension

Millennials, eh? Short attention spans, smartphones, narcissism, et cetera — how are you supposed to get through to them if you’re a good old-fashioned Republican looking to convince the majority of the American electorate to vote directly in contradiction to its own interests? (Again?) They don’t go in for patriotism, they’re skeptical of rhetoric about terrorism, and in general, they’re not big on old white men in suits. Well, unfortunately monikered House Speaker John Boehner reckons he has the answer: Taylor Swift GIFs! … Read More

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A Week On, ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Has Become a Symbol of Everything and Nothing

A week ago, 12 people were murdered in cold blood at the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. In the seven days since, the magazine has become a symbol of… well, of what, exactly? It all depends on how you look at it. If you’re of a liberal persuasion, Charlie Hebdo became a symbol of the liberal values you hold so dear. If you’re on the right, it became a symbol for some self-serving rhetoric about free speech. If you’re far left, it became a symbol of racism and oppression. If you’re Glenn Beck, it became a symbol of how Islam is an inherently violent religion, or some such nonsense. If you’re a hardliner in Pakistan, it’s a symbol of Western contempt for Islam. If you’re Richard Dawkins, it probably became a symbol of the awfulness of religion in general. And so on. … Read More

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