So that jackass in Norway, yeah? Hate that guy.
(I realize I sound flippant. I don't really know how to give that tragedy the weight it deserves. Calling Anders Behring Breivik a jackass doesn't seem to quite do it, but I don't have mad skills with heavy words, you know?)
Anyway, the jackass had all sorts of really really shitty reasons for doing what he did. Conveniently, he put them in a manifesto for everyone to peruse at their leisure. (I hate it when terrorists force me to acknowledge their ideology on their timetable.)
From Time Magazine: The document, 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, is something of a template for right-wing terrorism, a rambling manifesto that at times rails at "cultural Marxists" and "multiculturalism" and blames them for the destruction of Western culture. Elsewhere he offers detailed instructions on Web-based self-publishing, comments on his TV habits and provides tips for building a successful terrorist cell. With the exception of some highly personal descriptions of growing up and his pain over the divorce of his parents, the document is eerily reminiscent of the jihadist instruction manuals that have been widely distributed over the Internet since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
He posted it on Facebook right before he unleashed his crazy. Along with his complaints about those of different races, he also had some super things to say about ladies. Specifically, feminists. Apparently, in the jackass's mind, we're also to blame for the whole downward spiral of his dear dear culture.
So I was reading about this whole thing, and I stumbled across a mention of this super neat internet prank that someone on reddit pulled.
If you're not familiar with reddit, it's basically one big message board with groups that spring off for a whole variety of topics. People post jokes and picture, questions, look for advice, do all kinds of stuff. I really enjoy a lot about reddit - I think that some parts of it are among the best of what the internet has to offer.
There's also the reddit Men's Rights Forum.
I do not find that among the best the internet has to offer.
The Men's Rights Forum is one place among many that (apparently) exist in the 'manosphere'. The 'manosphere' is a bunch of blogs and boards and youtube channels that exist to complain about how feminists are tramping all over men's rights with their big unsexy shoes. It's full of mysognists who think they're realists. As of right now, the front page of r/mensrights includes a diatribe on the 'diamond ring scam', a request for people to go comment on some article at Salon that is about women who lie about being raped, and a long string about women only gyms being perfect justification for men to keep women out of wherever they want.
So, this little internet prank. Someone posted excerpts from the jackass's manifesto on reddit as if they were his own thoughts. He claimed to be using a throwaway account because his girlfriend was also a redditor, and he didn't want her to see what he was saying.
The copied gems include:
If all oppression comes from Western men, it becomes logical to try weakening them as much as possible. If you do, a paradise of peace and equality awaits us at the other side of the rainbow. Well congratulations to Western women. You’ve succeeded in harassing and ridiculing your own sons into suppressing many of their masculine instincts. To your surprise, you didn’t enter a feminist Nirvana, but paved the way for an unfolding hell....
Feminists claim that women have been victims of men, that men have oppressed women for centuries and that the sexes are equal. Denying this will result in the smears “misogynist” and “male chauvinist pig”. But equalising the sexes has led to a crippling feminisation [sic] of Western society … portraying women as oppressed victims and the equals of males is one example of how the pursuit of equality is being used to destroy our society and undermine – and therefore be in conflict with – Mother nature.
The poster got a lot of positive feedback - 'great points, man' - and upvotes before someone figured out that they were reading the manifesto of someone who had just killed 93 people.
To be completely clear: reddit is full of regular folks who really like the internet. They have inside jokes and stuff, but in general they aren't, say, killers and terrorists.
When a particular group of them was faced with the rants of a murderous psychopath, they failed to recognize it as such and instead cheered along.
I'm heartbroken. It is so unbelievably sad that such vitriol finds a place in the real world - not just among those who have lost their minds, but among those who have women in their lives in the form of family, lovers, and coworkers.
Like everyone else, I wish that someone had identified the danger that the jackass posed before he did his thing. The problem is that the warning signs are apparently not unique.