July 1, 2011

Jezebel Proves Scott Adams Is Right

dilbert vs jezebel.jpg

(note to lawyers: I made this, not Scott Adams, and falls under parody, so bite me.)

Scott Adams, Dilbert creator, sparked a feminist controversy of sorts, and then he asked for feedback from:


Psychologist (professional)

Logic Professor


etc, by which he meant: men.

And he got a lot of feedback

If you already know the controversy, skip right to III.


Now consider human males... Powerful men have been behaving badly, e.g. tweeting, raping, cheating... The current view of such things is that the men are to blame for their own bad behavior. That seems right. Obviously we shouldn't blame the victims....

The part that interests me is that society is organized in such a way that the natural instincts of men are shameful and criminal while the natural instincts of women are mostly legal and acceptable...  Whose fault is that? Do you blame the baby who didn't ask to be born male? Or do you blame the society that brought him into the world, all round-pegged and turgid, and said, "Here's your square hole"?

That's Scott Adams, writing the not original "men are oppressed in a female controlled society" argument.  Men would naturally be raping and pillaging and wearing horn helmets, but the world's not set up that way anymore, and its not set up that way by women.  They have all the power, and they have restricted men from acting on their penile instincts.

Here's is the prototypical "feminist" response/censorship petition, from Change.org:

Scott Adams, has written a blog insinuating that the act of a man raping a woman is a natural instinct and that society is to blame for these things, not the man who committed the rape.

Which isn't what he said, but, whatever.


Let's start with Jezebel, who, despite having the moral high ground and being staffed by people who are paid to practice writing about this sort of thing, completely botch it.  If you want to increase understanding or bring people together, do not do anything close to what Jezebel does here. 

Jezebel's response is typical of the way Americans argue politics and social theory: straw man and appeal to authority.   It's obvious the writer finds Adams's blog offensive, and I will accept that she wants the world to be a better place, but no where does she make even an attempt to  articulate why she finds it offensive.  After she quotes Adams, she writes:  

Wow. Trying to make it sound like your argument falls under the category of "gender theory" while saying that "boys" are pretty much designed to be rapists and we'd better get used to it is...I don't even know what it is anymore.

And nothing else.  There are other words, sure, but just like the above none of them refute his point, they're just ad hominem padding, "he's a jerk for thinking it."   I'm sure your regular readers agree, but for the dummies among us, can you perhaps explain why?

Which leads me to suspect that she doesn't actually know why it's wrong, only that it is wrong.  And to escape detection, she offers deliberate misreadings like "he's justifying rape" so that she can follow it with "'Nuff said."

Here's the very practical problem: Adams is not alone in thinking that women are running the culture and men are being emasculated.  If Jezebel's goal is simply to insult him, fine, but tremendously boring.  But if their goal was also to promote a vision of social equality, they've done the opposite.  All they did was bully and insult him.  "You're a jerk, accept it!  I said accept it!"  But that power is precisely what he's complaining about.  So not only does it not convince Adams (or anyone else) what he's saying is wrong, it confirms for him he is right about them.


Salon pretended to offer a reasoned response.  Three paragraphs of fluff, then in the fourth paragraph she begins:

There are two important rebuttals to be made here.
Ok, finally, please proceed:

First and foremost: thanks for all the gags about casual Friday, but Scott Adams sounds like he's lost his freaking marbles.

Hmm, interesting and unexpected point.  And second?

Second, as a colleague pointed out recently, remember the old sexist argument that women weren't qualified for positions of power because their lady hormones would make them act all crazy and emotional?...You don't hear that one so much anymore, do you?

Adams, in contrast, represents a different extreme -- and extremely lunkheaded -- version of an alternate line of sexist thought. And in his own clumsy way, he articulates something many of us have heard repeatedly over the course of our lives, an argument that boils down to boys being boys. Left to their own devices, men apparently would just go about raping and pillaging all the livelong day, with occasional breaks for grilling and watching ESPN. They're just being men, and doggone it if this pesky thing called civilization keeps getting in the way.

That's not a rebuttal, that's unfunny sophistry.  She's basically saying, "not all men are rapists."  Again, no one disagrees with that; but the more nuanced reworking of Adams's arguments is whether civilization is the only factor that prevents humans from falling into violent anarchy.  After the fallout settles, should we should expect more rapes and murders, or the same number?  That's a very interesting question, one that goes to the heart of the justice system vs. poverty.

But rather than have that discussion, Salon merely states, as self-evident, that Adams is a lunatic.

That, in a backwards and poorly articulated way, is Adams's point.  Why is he required to justify and clarify and hedge and explain, yet Jezebel and Salon can make it axiomatic that he's wrong?  Because they control society?

JEZEBEL VS DILBERT.jpg( made by me, not Scott Adams)

Jezebel and Salon have utterly failed to convince anyone who was not already convinced that Adams is wrong; and have reinforced to Adams, et al, that women are running the culture. If you want to swing back at me that it's not Jezebel and Salon's job to change people's thinking, fine, but then what the hell are people doing reading Jezebel and Salon?

It's probably unnecessary but still completely worth pointing out that the only reason anyone is offended by Scott Adams is that he is Scott Adams the famous cartoonist, and not Scott Adams the retail manager at Best Buy.


So what is wrong with what Adams said?  What argument might convince him that he is wrong, or at least help him release some of that anger?

Adams seems to be believe that men are naturally sexually aggressive, and women/society put limits on their natural impulses.  This is what Jezebel got wrong: he doesn't believe this.  He wishes this.

And when he says society is a "prison" for men's natural urges to penetrate random women like in caveman days, he is not really complaining about this prison.  That's what he wants.  He wants it to be true that society is cockblocking him.

Because if that is true, then it isn't his own inability to score chicks that's limiting him.  "I'd love to just walk up to some hot chick in a bar and just take her home and bang her," he might think, "but society doesn't let me."  Really?  Dude, you need to switch bars.

Not being able to easily and fluidly pick up women is maddeningly destructive to many men,  not tempered by other successes in their lives.  We hear the refrain that media images create unrealistic expectations of women to be hot, etc, but the flip side is that some men can't understand why everyone else seems to be able to hook up easily, freely, fun-ly, while they're in the corner all boiling rage.  Confronted with this, they have two choices: I'm inadequate, or the Matrix is against me.  Men who don't want to kill themselves choose b.

Notice carefully and repeatedly that I didn't say "have sex with."  The point isn't the having of sex, the point is the convincing of someone to have sex with you.  That, and not the sex itself, is a measure of your value as a man.  The value has to be determined by someone else.  If she thinks you're worth it and she doesn't know you, then you must be.  The sex part is fun and best done standing up, but irrelevant.

There are men who sleep with three dozen women and still think they can't pick up girls, because they have an explanation for why each one didn't count: she was drunk, she was on the rebound, she was slumming it, she was trying to make her boyfriend jealous... 

Note that Adams is a world famous cartoonist... and it is still not enough.  Neither is the fact that he's convinced at least one woman (wife) to sleep with him ("that doesn't count, she loves me.")  Why?  Because he hasn't allowed those legitimate successes to define him ("that's not who I am"-- which is also why he is reinventing himself as a blogger), and so he's trapped in the mind of a pre-cartoonist nerd, finding a scale for his self-worth in people who don't know him's eyes.

What Adams doesn't realize is that this world controlled by women, who prevent his fulfillment and happiness, does not exist; and that he thinks it does drives women, and at least a few men, bananas.  But it is absolutely necessary to his survival that he believes it exists, or else all is lost.

I'll bet he has little cartoons taped to his office wall.  He should replace one of those cartoons with a little yellow post-it note upon which he should write, with a Sharpie, seven words: you are being lied to, by yourself.


Why is Tracy Morgan in trouble a second time?  It isn't what he said.