Never Argue With an Idiot. They Drag You Down to Their Level.

So as you may or may not know, Scott Adams, the creator of “Dilbert,” has a blog.

This likely doesn’t surprise you. After all, anybody who’s anybody — and most anybody who isn’t — has a blog these days. And if it is a surprise, it likely doesn’t interest you. And yet perhaps it should, because Adams has written something worth reading, if only because it says so very much about Adams himself.

Oh, don’t go looking for it on his blog — he pulled it down, and rather quickly. Which is, I must say, the first think that merits opprobrium. I’ve written all sorts of things I’ve later regretted. I’ve clarified and apologized and moved on, but I’ve never disappeared a post, because once you publish a post, it’s not yours anymore; it belongs to the world.

But I can’t blame Adams for wanting to disappear this one; it’s perhaps the most spectacularly awful argument in favor of women being treated unfairly that I’ve ever read.

No, you didn’t misread that sentence.

Adams, apparently responding to MRA-types who wanted him to write about Men’s Rights, starts off badly.

The topic my readers most want me to address is something calledmen’s rights. (See previous post.) This is a surprisingly good topic. It’s dangerous. It’s relevant. It isn’t overdone. And apparently you care.

It isn’t a good topic. It isn’t dangerous, unless by “dangerous” one means “dangerous to logic.” It isn’t relevant. It’s totally overdone. And nobody cares outside of a fringe group of guys looking for excuses to hate women.

But please, go on.

Let’s start with the laundry list.

According to my readers, examples of unfair treatment of men include many elements of the legal system, the military draft in some cases, the lower life expectancies of men, the higher suicide rates for men, circumcision, and the growing number of government agencies that are primarily for women.

Wow. That’s a really, really painfully weak list of complaints. Men get drafted? Well, not in my lifetime. And the reason men get drafted and women don’t is that women aren’t allowed to serve in combat roles — a decision that is not one supported by women. Men have lower life expectancies? A big part of that is due to male-on-male violence, and I don’t know any women who argue that it’s great that their husbands, brothers, fathers and sons die off early. Higher male suicide rate? I agree, it’s a problem — but what’s standing in the way of men getting psychological help? I mean other than the faux macho, suck-it-up-sissy, men-don’t-cry school of manliness?

As for the only complaint that might hold a thimbleful of water — the legal system — I’ll grant you that the system could be improved with regard to child custody. But the underlying reason for that is the old, ingrained, patriarchal ideal that women are primary child-rearers, and men are not. Don’t like that women get custody more often? Work to build a system where men are valued equally as parents — just as women worked to build a system where women were equally valued as workers.

As for “the growing number of government agencies that are primarily for women” — name one. Because I can’t. If this list is so long and expansive, then I, as part of the evil feminist conspiracy, should have heard of at least one program from the nefarious Ministry of Misandry.

Adams, perhaps recognizing that this is hardly the stuff of revolution, expands.

You might add to this list the entire area of manners. We take for granted that men should hold doors for women, and women should be served first in restaurants. Can you even imagine that situation in reverse?

What do you mean “we,” Kemosabe? I don’t take it for granted that I’m supposed to hold doors for women — and the women I know don’t take it for granted that I’ll hold doors for them. I will, if I’m going through first — just as I will for my male friends — and my female friends will as well.

As for getting served first in a restaurant — I didn’t even know that was a thing. And if it is a thing, it’s a dumb thing. But I think most women would gladly get served second in exchange for, say, the right to walk down the street without being harassed. Just sayin.’

Generally speaking, society discourages male behavior whereas female behavior is celebrated. Exceptions are the fields of sports, humor, and war. Men are allowed to do what they want in those areas.

Add to our list of inequities the fact that women have overtaken men in college attendance. If the situation were reversed it would be considered a national emergency.

What is “male behavior,” and when has it been discouraged? Is it getting drunk and hitting on women whether they want you to or not? Because that seems to be still going on. Being slovenly? That’s not a uniquely male behavior, nor is it a universally male behavior. Is it riding the rails like an itinerant hobo? Because that is discouraged, and kind of stupid.

So what are we talking about? Is it grilling out? Playing video games? Watching porn? What the hell are you talking about?

How about the higher rates for car insurance that young men pay compared to young women? Statistics support this inequity, but I don’t think anyone believes the situation would be legal if women were charged more for car insurance, no matter what the statistics said.

Well, women have been paying more for health insurance, thanks to their costy uteruses. They also pay more for all sorts of common items, frommortgages to hair cuts to moisturizer. Funny, this probably adds up to be far more of a penalty than car insurance, but I don’t hear women complaining. Probably because they’re too busy trying to defend their reproductive rights.

As for college — yes, men have fallen behind women in college enrollment, driven primarily by large gaps in the African American and Hispanic communities. And I’m not sanguine about that. But I don’t particularly blame women for it. Indeed, the problem has not been that men have been enrolling in college less, but that women’s enrollment has skyrocketed. I’m not going to blame women for going out and getting an education.

Anyhow, I’ve learned that if I’m a man, I don’t have much to complain about. But surely Scott Adams is not so blinkered as to have ignored the fact that, you know, women had to create an entire movement in order to secure basic rights, one that continues to work to secure them today? Well, sure, he’s noticed them, but their complaints are like the buzzing of flies.

Women will counter with their own list of wrongs, starting with the well-known statistic that women earn only 80 cents on the dollar, on average, compared to what men earn for the same jobs. My readers will argue that if any two groups of people act differently, on average, one group is likely to get better results. On average, men negotiate pay differently and approach risk differently than women.

How it’s different I’m not going to tell you.

Women will point out that few females are in top management jobs. Men will argue that if you ask a sample group of young men and young women if they would be willing to take the personal sacrifices needed to someday achieve such power, men are far more likely to say yes. In my personal non-scientific polling, men are about ten times more likely than women to trade family time for the highest level of career success.

Well! It’s his personal, non-scientific polling! Case closed, ladies!

What we know is that “the highest level of career success” carries with it a series of demands that are specifically designed to force one to trade family time for said success. Why could that be? I’m sure it wouldn’t be because that structure makes it easier for men — who society expects will work and provide — to get the jobs, and that it makes it harder for women — who society expects will parent and nurture — to get and keep them. And I’m sure that no woman who’s happy to make that tradeoff ever finds herself unable to take advantage of it, because her supervisor “just knows” she’ll end up quitting to have a baby. And I’m sure all the men who are “willing” to make that tradeoff are as willing as the women who stayed home in the 1950s, because it’s what you’re “supposed to do.” Clearly, this is all just in the imaginations of women.

At any rate, all this has shown me is that MRAs are, as per usual, whining about nothing, and that they should get over it. I hope that’s what Adams tells them.

Now I would like to speak directly to my male readers who feel unjustly treated by the widespread suppression of men’s rights:

Get over it, you bunch of pussies.

Well! Okay! Maybe I was wrong. Oh, sure, “pussies” is offensive, but maybe Adams, halfway through his post, realized that the women’s issues he raised (and the ones he didn’t, like sexual assault and reproductive freedom) pretty much trump those issues brought up by his MRA followers. Maybe he’s going to tell them that they don’t know what bad is. Maybe he’s going to tell them to stop whining, straighten up, and recognize that men still aren’t anywhere near second-class citizens in our society.

The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone.


You don’t argue with a four-year old about why he shouldn’t eat candy for dinner. You don’t punch a mentally handicapped guy even if he punches you first. And you don’t argue when a women tells you she’s only making 80 cents to your dollar. It’s the path of least resistance. You save your energy for more important battles.

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

How many times do we men suppress our natural instincts for sex and aggression just to get something better in the long run? It’s called a strategy. Sometimes you sacrifice a pawn to nail the queen. If you’re still crying about your pawn when you’re having your way with the queen, there’s something wrong with you and it isn’t men’s rights.

Okay, seriously, this is the point at which I grow stabby. Because this rambling, incoherent mess of an argument is unbelievably offensive to any sentient being.

First off, it’s obviously about as misogynistic an argument as one can muster for…well, anything. Women should be treated like children, or like the mentally handicapped. Because they’re not rational beings. And if you just humor them when they complain about their silly little “wage gap” or “rape” or “inability to secure safe and legal health care,” well, then you might get laid! (I know, his metaphor is pretty obscure, but that’s what it meant, if you couldn’t figure it out with your childish lady brains.)

But as deeply offensive and awful as the argument is toward women, it is nearly as evil toward men. I don’t like the MRAs, and I think they’re wrong about just about everything. But telling them, “Hey, shut up and you can bang chicks” is patently offensive. Believe it or not, men have more interests than sex. Really! It’s true! And saying that all male concerns should vanish in service to the larger focus of gettin’ some — well, as usual, nobody hates men as much as an anti-feminist.

Fairness is an illusion. It’s unobtainable in the real world. I’m happy that I can open jars with my bare hands. I like being able to lift heavy objects. And I don’t mind that women get served first in restaurants because I don’t like staring at food that I can’t yet eat.

See? Women are much more likely to get raped by men, but men have towait for our food! Everybody’s got issues! Stop complaining!

If you’re feeling unfairly treated because women outlive men, try visiting an Assisted Living facility and see how delighted the old ladies are about the extra ten years of pushing the walker around. It makes dying look like a bargain.

Unless your alternative is being dead. I don’t want to suffer in my old age, but neither do I want to give up on life while I can still enjoy some of it; frankly, if I’m pushing a walker around, surfing the internet, and watching old “Battlestar Galactica” reruns on the Old Folks channel, and if my daughter brings herself and her partner and any kids they might have around to visit once in a while — well, I’m not going to be in any hurry to leave, no matter how often I have to pee at night.

Oh, and the gender gap isn’t ten years — it’s five. That’s down from a high of 7.8 years. Clearly, that decline is proof of something. Just not that there’s a conspiracy to keep women alive at the expense of men.

I don’t like the fact that the legal system treats men more harshly than women. But part of being male is the automatic feeling of team. If someone on the team screws up, we all take the hit. Don’t kid yourself that men haven’t earned some harsh treatment from the legal system. On the plus side, if I’m trapped in a burning car someday, a man will be the one pulling me out. That’s the team I want to be on.

Seriously, I don’t even know what he’s talking about here. I thought the evo-psych just-so story was that men were more competitive and less collaborative?

And why would it be a man pulling you out of a burning car? I ain’t pulling nobody out of a burning car. And yet many female firefighters and police officers will do so happily.

This isn’t argument-by-analogy. It’s argument-by-stupidity.

Anyhow, we’re mercifully to the closing paragraph. And it’s here that Scott Adams suddenly achieves self-awareness.

I realize I might take some heat for lumping women, children and the mentally handicapped in the same group.

Oh, I don’t know who would do that.

So I want to be perfectly clear. I’m not saying women are similar to either group.

No! Of course not!

I’m saying that a man’s best strategy for dealing with each group is disturbingly similar.

Right! He’s not saying that women are children, or mentally disabled. He’s just saying that if you’re a man, you should treat women like they’re children, or like they’re mentally disabled. See? I don’t know why anyone would be offended by that.

If he’s smart, he takes the path of least resistance most of the time, which involves considering the emotional realities of other people. A man only digs in for a good fight on the few issues that matter to him, and for which he has some chance of winning. This is a strategy that men are uniquely suited for because, on average, we genuinely don’t care about 90% of what is happening around us.

So sure, women get all upset about “not getting fair pay” and “being expected to stay home with the kids” and “being raped” and stupid stuff like that. Women! Amirite? Always with the drama! Not like men — we don’t sweat the small stuff, like women’s rights.

Now, you might think that this is the most asinine thing you ever read, and that Adams himself clearly felt so, since he pulled the post. Maybe you’re even hoping that this is some kind of scam, that Adams didn’t write this at all. Well, to the second point, sorry — there are screen shots.

But you’re right, maybe Adams feels bad about it. Maybe he went to sleep, and woke up, and thought, “Boy, that was stupid.”

Or maybe Adams decided to take to Feministe to defend himself.

Is this an entire website dedicated to poor reading comprehension? I don’t think one of you understood the writing. You’re all hopping mad about your own misinterpretations.

That’s the reason the original blog was pulled down. All writing is designed for specific readers. This piece was designed for regular readers of The Scott Adams blog. That group has an unusually high reading comprehension level.

Yes, clearly your highfalutin’ speechifyin’ was the problem here. It couldn’t possibly be that people read your post and comprehended that it was a mélange of misogyny with a soupçon of stupidity. It must be we stupids out here in the netherworld.

Oh, and incidentally — you can write for whomever you think you’re writing for, but once it’s written, anyone can read it. Even stupid feminists and our stupid girly emotions.

In this case, the content of the piece inspires so much emotion in some readers that they literally can’t understand it. The same would be true if the topic were about gun ownership or a dozen other topics. As emotion increases, reading comprehension decreases. This would be true of anyone, but regular readers of the Dilbert blog are pretty far along the bell curve toward rational thought, and relatively immune to emotional distortion.

Which is why so many MRAs read it. Gotcha.

Seriously, Scott? You wrote a post in which you said women should be treated like children, and you want to hang your defense on the fact that you used a simile, and people are treating you like you used a metaphor? Come on. That’s pathetic.

Nobody’s misunderstanding what you wrote. We may think it was written poorly, but you weren’t deliberately obtuse. You pretty much wrote a series of easily comprehensible sentences that people easily comprehended. You’re just mad that some of the people who understood it were people outside your little in-group — and that some of them, like the women (and men) you insulted, dared to get angry at being insulted. Well, tough. You wrote it. Own it.

I’ve written on the topic how you can’t mix incendiary images in the same piece without the readers’ brains treating the images as though they were connected, no matter how clearly you explain that they are not. My regular readers understand that I do that intentionally as part of the fun. When quoted out of context, the piece becomes dangerous.

Which is why I’ve repeated every line in your post, Scott. Every. Single. Line. Because I’m not taking it out of context. Indeed, it’s the totality of your post that’s the problem, not any particular line.

You can see that the comments about the piece were little more than name-calling. When confronted with that sort of reaction, would it be wiser to treat the name-callers as you might treat respected professors with opinions worthy of consideration, or should you treat the name-callers as you would angry children, by not debating and not taking it personally?

See, ladies and gents? If you’d just discuss Adams’ assertion — that women should be treated like children so that men can have more sex — in a rational, calm way, he’d be happy to discuss things with you. But you insist on getting angry. Thus proving that you’re just like children! Check, mate, Scott gets to nail the queen.

You’re angry, but I’ll bet every one of you agrees with me.

I don’t agree with you, Scott. I don’t agree that men have it worse than women. I don’t agree that men have nothing to complain about.

But more than anything, I don’t agree that anyone, women or men, should simply accept “the world isn’t fair” as an endpoint. Flying Spaghetti Monster, do you know how awful our society would be if we accepted that? We are the society we are because women, African Americans, Jews, Protestants, serfs, slaves, homosexuals, and yes, men — all of them stood up at times to say, simply, “The world isn’t fair — and that is unacceptable.” And you know what happened?

The world changed.

Serfs and slaves were freed. People could speak their minds. They could worship how they wanted. They could vote. They could work. They could live the lives they desired.

Oh, we’re not there yet. The world still isn’t fair, and perhaps it never will be, not totally. But it’s a lot more fair than it was long before our time, Scott, and it’s getting more fair every day. And I’ll be damned if you tell us that unfairness is something we should accept. Scott, it’s the one thing we shouldn’t.

This entry posted in Anti-feminists and their pals, Cartooning & comics, Feminism, sexism, etc, Men and masculinity, The Wage Gap Series. Bookmark the permalink. 

44 Responses to Never Argue With an Idiot. They Drag You Down to Their Level.

  1. 1
    Bonnie says:

    Truly, this is a thing of beauty.

  2. 2
    Ledasmom says:

    I love that he even brings up women being served first in restaurants, since he goes on to admit that, under that particular code of manners, nobody eats until everybody’s served. But, hey, women get to survey their pommes dauphinoise for longer and, presumably, formulate a more-efficient plan of attack upon them, leaving men to trail behind in the getting-food-to-their-mouths competition and therefore die five years earlier. Something like that.
    Scott Adams appears not to realize that, if you have shown up in the comments to a post that has criticized you in order to whine and carry on about how you’ve been dreadfully misunderstood, you’ve pretty much lost that argument. That’s some lost dignity you’re never getting back. He assumes that his post deserves rational argument rather than vicious mockery.

  3. 3
    Heidi says:

    Long time reader, First time caller (er, typer).

    Let me first say that out of the 3~4 times I’ve read the dissection(s) about what happened with the Scott Adams / MRA debaucale so far in the blogosphere, this was hands-down my favorite write-up. Perhaps even more-so because it was a guy writing about it — its pretty easy to see why Women (or even Children and the Handicapped, for that matter) would be just the slightest bit mad about the screed he wrote, but as a woman it means a lot to me to have a man look at it and say “Wow. Just- …wow.” You receive +1 terrorist fistbump.

    I must admit, my favorite part of Adams’ whole rant is his defensive retort on feministe, specifically the line, “This would be true of anyone, but regular readers of the Dilbert blog are pretty far along the bell curve toward rational thought, and relatively immune to emotional distortion.” So, you’re such a talented and intelligent writer that naturally, almost everyone in your fanbase is emotionally and mentally advanced enough to not be offended by even highly offensive garbage that comes out of your mouth because, hey!, you just attract like-minded geniuses, right? I mean, not a single fan you don’t get behind because they’re all such lucid, shining examples of humanity, yeah? I think that sentence alone shows the public just exactly what sort of dodging, escapist viewpoint Adams is currently operating under — “Of course I’m not a bad guy! I’m just the victim of mass-stupidity and the online literatti!”

    I work in a used bookstore, and we see dilbert sold to us on a regular basis. I’ve never associated Adams with any level of offensive rhetoric, but I guarantee after this shit, Imma’ see a lot more people getting rid of his books. And when it comes time to recycle what we can’t sell, I’ll be happily ripping them up, page by page.

  4. 4
    SeanH says:

    I love how long-time fans of the man who gave us the Pointy-Haired Boss – perhaps the greatest character in Western literature since Leopold Bloom – are the only people with a sufficiently advanced cognitive capacity to really understand sexism.

  5. 5
    Ruchama says:

    Women being served first at a restaurant is definitely a thing. When I go out to a nice restaurant with my family, the server takes the order first from my mother, then my sister and me, then my dad. (My sister and I are in our thirties, our parents in their sixties.) If my male cousin (close to my age) is with us, then he gets served after my father, I think, but I could be wrong about that one. I don’t expect it in the sense of getting upset if it doesn’t happen, but I do get a little flustered when the server asks what we want in some other order, just because I wasn’t expecting it.

  6. I’m used to waitstaff looking to the man to order first.

  7. 7
    Mokele says:

    I hate to say it, but I’m not even slightly surprised. Adams has previously defended Intelligent Desgin, and once a moron, always a moron. He displayed many of the same behaviors in that debacle, including dismissing critics as lacking reading comprehension and poorly-formed circular reasoning.

  8. 8
    Sage says:

    I find waitstaff typically go to the person on their left, then around the circle clockwise. But anyway, the line that gets to me most is the “I bet you all agree.” Although I often read here to find the types of people who don’t agree, it really is a common belief. It’s unnerving and depressing. I’m still looking for people in real life who aren’t such numbskulls.

  9. 9
    Jadey says:

    There was a lot of ableism in Adams’ original post.

    There was a lot of ableism in David Futrelle’s guest post on Feministe (which he has subsequently apologized for), and in the comments there.

    There’s also a hell of a lot of the exact same ableism going on here, in the post and in the comments.

    “Idiot”, “moron”, “numbskull” – really?

  10. 10
    Simple Truth says:

    I’m glad someone wrote this up on here – I pointed it out on the open thread precisely because I hoped one of the contributors to this blog would dissect it. I was more sympathetic to him as just being unclear until he defended it on Feministe by calling everyone who didn’t agree with him inferior. Ugh.
    Google has a neat feature where if you type in a topic that’s trending on Twitter, it will show Twitter results as well. From what I could tell on Friday, the backlash is pretty huge.

  11. 11
    Amelia says:

    This is a great dissection of Scott Adam’s article (albeit with some ableism I guess, which I, able-bodied, wasn’t aware of until I read the comments beneath… I would like to hear more on this from someone with less able-bodied privilege than myself).

    As for me, I find waitstaff typically say to the general group “Are you ready to order?” and then gaze around at the whole group waiting for someone to take the lead. My Dad will then take charge. He will get the person to his left to order first & so on clockwise around the table. It makes sense to go clockwise when you have a large family like my one! I’ve never noticed women being served first.

    The vast majority of men in my experience (95%) don’t hold back & let me or other women go through the door first, the ones who continue to do this are a small group of men (and as a woman, I always feel pretty awkward about accepting their offer to go in front of them).

    In a large group (eg. students exiting from a lecture theatre) I haven’t found a gender difference in which people hold the doors open, but in smaller social groups there is often a bit of a gender difference. For instance, in my experience men are more likely than women to hold the door open for the entire group or family to enter or exit a restaurant.

    The only really consistent act of ‘chivalry’ in my life is the idea that women serve food for themselves first at social gatherings. That seems a bit strange to me, but at the same time it’s a very small thing for men to complain about. The British/American custom of women serving themselves first may have originated as a “respect for the cook” type thing rather than as a ‘chivalrous’ act… it makes sense some of the time in that women often do the most work towards the meal (they are more likely to be preparing the food & doing the dishes afterwards). The one exception I can think of is a BBQ meal, where work division is more equal (with men cooking the meat on the BBQ outside & women preparing the potatoes & salads inside).

  12. 12
    E. Dominick says:

    I don’t like the fact that the legal system treats men more harshly than women. But part of being male is the automatic feeling of team. If someone on the team screws up, we all take the hit. Don’t kid yourself that men haven’t earned some harsh treatment from the legal system.

    So I’m wondering…does me not feeling like I’m part of the male team (despite, I shall reveal, having been born as and consider myself as male) does that mean I’m not really male? Or does that mean I get nicer treatment in legal matters because I’m a Male Free Agent? While we’re on the subject, isn’t the racism in our legal system kind of implying that the male “team” is…well…not quite as much a team as the meaning of the word usually implies? Or am I being too emotional about this?

  13. 13
    Maureen O'Danu says:

    Thank you for this, Jeff. I wandered away from Alas years ago after some spat or another, but this has brought me firmly back into the “must add Alas back on to my RSS feed” camp again.

    I think the most amazing part of Scott Adams’ post is how he equated a plateful of ad-hominem attacks on women, and even on men to “high level reasoning”. Once upon a time, I used to eat logical fallacies like that for lunch. Now I mostly don’t bother. But I truly enjoyed your own take down. Much appreciated, both for content and for artistry.

  14. 14
    marmelade says:

    I don’t like the fact that the legal system treats men more harshly than women. But part of being male is the automatic feeling of team. If someone on the team screws up, we all take the hit. Don’t kid yourself that men haven’t earned some harsh treatment from the legal system. On the plus side, if I’m trapped in a burning car someday, a man will be the one pulling me out. That’s the team I want to be on.

    Men are on the team (automatically). Women like me are not. I get it . . . now everything is so clear to me!

    A number of years ago I took a 60-hour Emergency Responder class in order to volunteer with the local emergency corps (to, you know, pull people out of cars and such). After the class the organizer of the volunteer team came around my office (small town) to tell me that I had been the best student in the class and had made a really good impression on the instructors. I said Great, so when can I start volunteering? He told me that my services were not really needed, I wasn’t the right type for his team.

    Finally, after all these years I understand – I was never going to be considered for that (all male) team, anyway, anyhow. It’s an automatic kind of thing.

    And that’s the team Adams is proud to be on, because, um, it’s automatic and it excludes women and, um, see, THAT’s what there is to be proud of and why men have to defend men’s privilege. Men pull people out of burning cars and all, women don’t. Got it.

  15. 15
    Nikki says:

    De-lurking to thank you for this. I haven’t been able to articulate the absurdity of this controversy myself (what with my emotional women-bits, y’know).

    I’ve never understood men who treat women as things to have sex with or ignore. Even from a selfish perspective, it seems like you’re denying yourself so much pleasure by choosing to shut out all but one tiny part of interacting with half the population (not to mention that listening to a woman talk about what she likes and what she’s enthusiastic about doing can only make sex more pleasurable). At best, you’ve chosen to deny yourself a lot of interesting experiences and points of view, at worst, you’re actively oppressing people.

    When Adams says that when a woman complains you should ignore them because they’re like mentally handicapped babies (which, seriously, wtf) he’s basically asking women not to challenge his privilege and tenuous perception of intellectual superiority with different perspectives or (gasp) facts.

    Once this whole thing dies down he’ll go back to preaching to the choir, and everyone not in the choir will go on not reading what he draws or writes. Seems like a fair trade.

  16. 16
    Sam L. says:

    “Idiot”, “moron”, “numbskull” – really?


  17. 17
    Skyborne says:

    @marmelade: Your story reminds me of Susan Faludi’s “The Terror Dream.” There’s a lot of discussion in that book about the positioning of men as rescuers and women as victims, and the circular way in which this was deployed after 9/11. First, men who performed heroic acts were valorized to an exaggerated extent, while women who died rescuing people, Flight 93 flight attendants who plotted to pour hot coffee on the hijackers, etc. were ignored. (Conversely, 9/11 widows were all over the media, but 9/11 widowers, who are plentiful, were ignored.) “Therefore,” the same media outlets argued, firefighters and police officers shouldn’t be women, because women don’t rescue people. Fire departments and police stations subsequently took advantage of this media narrative to stop hiring women in many places, increasing the male bias of their tests, etc. which the men running those places had presumably wanted to do all along.

  18. 18
    Silenced_is_foo says:

    This one hurt to read, as I’ve always been a fan of Adams’ writing, even in cases where he outright admits that he believes in magic. He’s a little crazy, but entertaining as hell and usually has some fantastic insights.

    I was hoping he was going down a better track when he pointed out how we, as a society, treat women like children or disabled people. I think this is a big part of The Patriarchy, and will likely be the hardest facet to escape because thinking that way works just fine for a lot of folks (including a lot of women who enjoy that kind of treatment).

    That would nicely tie into the first half – women get light sentences because they’re too dumb to properly understand what they’re doing. Women arent’ really fit to go to war, their guns would be too heavy and they’d cry. And so on, and so forth.

    For one brief moment I was rationalizing some of his more confused comments away and nodding in agreement.

    And then he goes full… well, y’know.

  19. 19
    Mythago says:

    You mean, it was all good until he stopped just insulting women and started in on MRAs?

  20. 20
    Silenced_is_foo says:


    He was simply rattling off the list of MRA grievances at first – I wasn’t sure if he was agreeing that they were real problems or simply listing them for background. After all, he started with “According to my readers”. I was patiently waiting for him to get to his point during that part, and ended up skimming it since it was so long-winded.

    Then he hit the big. “The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently.”

    Then I thought his point was “these things you hate happen because we treat women like incompetent children” when he dropped the , which I was ready to agree with…

    Then I realized that he meant “these things happen because women are incompetent children and that’s the best way to handle them”. And I went back and read the whole thing over and realized that he’s turning into Dave Sim.

  21. 21
    Doug S. says:

    For what it’s worth, Scott Adams has also been known to show the same kind of condescension to just about everyone.

    I don’t know if that’s better or worse.

  22. 22
    Brandon Berg says:

    On the plus side, if I’m trapped in a burning car someday, a man will be the one pulling me out. That’s the team I want to be on.

    Someone didn’t read the fine print on his man-club membership card. Granted that the vast majority of people doing the pulling are going to be men, but traditionally the convention has been to save women and children first. I don’t know whether that is how it currently works in practice, but I doubt very much that they’ve switched to preferentially rescuing men first.

  23. 23
    mythago says:

    Silenced_is_foo @20: Not so! Dave Sim can actually draw.

  24. 24
    Hershele Ostropoler says:

    (not to mention that listening to a woman talk about what she likes and what she’s enthusiastic about doing can only make sex more pleasurable)

    For her, sure.

    (I consider that a feature, not a bug, though.)

  25. 25
    Jeff Fecke says:

    Incidentally, Adams has continued his argument, only with more racism and fat-shaming!

    And yes, Dave Sim has more depth of talent than Adams, and more depth of misogyny. Sim’s creator breakdown was tragic, in that he took vast talent and used it in pursuit of evil. It’s lamentable. Adams, contrawise, is a guy who tells jokes about office work and draws at the level of my eight-year-old daughter. (Okay, that’s not fair to my daughter.) There’s little talent there to lament.

  26. 26
    Jadey says:

    Seriously, is the word “idiot” getting a pass here? I know there are some Alas mods/contributors who are not on with that kind of language and I thought that was the general sentiment of the blog. I’m trying to figure out if it’s even worth the bother on this site.

  27. 27
    Jeff Fecke says:

    Jadey, I’m aware of the etymology of idiot. The title is a quote from “Dilbert.” I chose it deliberately, for a variety of reasons, including to demonstrate that Adams doesn’t have a deep history of sensitivity. I apologize if it was too esoteric.

  28. 28
    Jadey says:

    Jeff, thank you for the response and clarification, though I wish I had not had to repeat myself. Although I was an avid reader of Dilbert and probably have read the referenced comic in question, I did not parse the subject heading as a quote (and still see no clear indications as such, without having intimate familiarity with the subject matter). Given that the original Adams post was ableist as well as sexist, and the context of the on-going problems at Feministe with guest blogger David Futrelle, who has been covering the Adams debacle there, over ableist language, you might want to add a clarification note to the post itself.

  29. 29
    Mandolin says:

    Jadey, I think Jeff Fecke has established that he doesn’t see the need to avoid words like “crazy,” etc. (Please correct me if I’m wrong, Jeff.) If you feel that means you need to leave the site, then we’ll miss you but understand.

    I disagree with how he moderates on this issue, and attempt to moderate my threads and posts for ableist language and ideas. I should be better about it and I will try to be in the future. I think this is a mod-by-mod decision here, and I can understand why that would upset you–I’m still pretty annoyed that feministe hasn’t come out with a policy on fat hatred.

    I’ll start an email conversation with the mods about whether we want to make it a blog-wide policy and see what happens. I’ll contact you if something results. No worries if that’s not enough and you want to leave.

  30. 30
    Jeff Fecke says:

    To be accurate, I try to avoid words like “crazy” unless I feel there’s no better word to use. (As someone who’s struggled with mental illness myself, I feel I have some ownership of it.) “Idiot” and “moron” are different — their history isn’t good, and while I do occassionaly choose to insult the intelligence of my ideological foes (which may be ableist, I’ll admit), I’m trying to purge words that are insulting to groups of people who’ve been traditionally disenfranchised.

    Be all that as it may, I’m trying to find other words to use that connote a disconnect with the realities of the world that do not trace their roots back to pejorative terms for either mental illness or cognitive impairment; I’ve come to like “berserk” (ety. Norse, “berserkr,” a Norse warrior who [it is said] would drive themself into a frenzy before battle), as I think it connotes what I usually was trying to say with “crazy,” which is to say, “These people have willingly chosen to divorce themselves from reality.”

    All of this is a long way of saying that I’m trying, and that I’m doing my best to examine my privilege on issues such as this, and that I would have no objection to expanding moderation to include ableist comments and words. I could learn from it, I think.

  31. 31
    Mandolin says:

    I agree you have some ownership of it. Someone pointed out to me, though, that generally the word crazy as an attack is used to dehumanize people who’ve had psychotic breaks, particularly schizophrenic people. I don’t recall you mentioning that you’d suffered from either, though of course I could be ignorant, and it would be uncool of me to demand you identify online with potentially stigmatizing disabilities.

  32. 32
    Mandolin says:

    FWIW, amp is out of town until monday so I’m waiting for him to get back.

  33. 33
    Schala says:

    “Then I realized that he meant “these things happen because women are incompetent children and that’s the best way to handle them”. And I went back and read the whole thing over and realized that he’s turning into Dave Sim.”

    Seriously, given his reaction to being badly commented about – I think that’s exactly what he meant (ie, women are treated like that, and here’s why bad stuff happens), and made it ultra cynical to fit with his humor style, and apparently, attract controversy. Which worked, btw.

    I don’t think he *really* thinks dealing with women is best by treating them like children, and that his blog readers knew that outright (and that’s why they’re “his audience”, they know he’s joking).

    That kind of humor style reminds me of the book John Dies At The End – full of cynical dark jaded humor. Funny precisely because it’s highly exaggerated. But it’s probably not for everyone.

  34. 34
    Toitle says:

    I’ve not read John Dies at the End, but I’ve read the author’s posts on, and if Scott Adams was going for a Cracked style ridiculously exaggeration in his blog post he was doing it very, very badly. But I don’t think he was, because when he started flailing about to defend himself, he never mentioned that-he only said that everyone who disagreed with him wasn’t intelligent enough to understand his point-apparently the hallmark of good writing is being bad at communicating your point-and that it was all part of his master plan.

  35. 35
    Schala says:

    He’s doing Cracked’s style for “sophisticated” people. Like a snob’s take at stand-up comic humor.

  36. 36
    Toitle says:

    If he is then he is horrendously incompetent at it, and should probably avoid writing in the future. But we all know he wasn’t trying to write like that, and claims to the contrary are just desperate, pathetic attempts to save face.

  37. 37
    Slothy says:

    “I don’t like the fact that the legal system treats men more harshly than women. But part of being male is the automatic feeling of team. If someone on the team screws up, we all take the hit. Don’t kid yourself that men haven’t earned some harsh treatment from the legal system.”

    So I take it you must agree with racist groups that blacks have earned their status as ‘potential criminals’ and should be treated harshly by the courts.

    Courts go by individuals as they should.

    And all these blanket statements of ‘MRAs are all women haters’ are really stupid. They are on par with the old feminists are men haters.

  38. 38
    Jake Squid says:

    Holy crap. Could he be dumber? Probably. Could he be a worse person? Hell, yeah! Has he loudly announced himself as somebody to be completely avoided? Shunned, even? I’d have to say so.

  39. 39
    Slothy says:

    I’d like to know why Jeff thinks circumcision isn’t a valid issue. It’s male genital mutilation without the kid’s consent.

  40. 40
    Ampersand says:

    My guess is that Jeff didn’t spot it on the list of complaints? It’s the only complaint he didn’t specifically address in the following paragraphs.

  41. 41
    Mandolin says:

    *does the “inappropriate appropriation has happened here” dance*

    *it is a sad dance*

  42. 42
    maw says:

    This has made me so angry I don’t know what to do with myself right now, so to possibly help this feeling I have shared this blog around in the hope that more people will see what a shitty person mr adams is.

  43. 43
    Elusis says:

    Hahahahaha, Scott Adams sure told those darn Internet people!

    Let’s see…

    1) Continuing to beat the drum long past the time he and his sockpuppets should have slunk off into a crack to hide. (Yes, I’m sure he submitted this a few weeks ago… how long ago depends whether he’s guilty of “not knowing when yon equine has departed this planet and continuing his attempts to make it rise” or “erupting while only partially prepared for firing,” so to speak.)

    2) Racism = sexism guys, amirite?

    3) Hard to tell from the crap construction of the comic, but if we’re meant to understand that Dilbert DID in fact compare outsourcing to (the presumably unfortunate state of their) restrooms, there are several ways in which that analogy could totally have racist overtones.

    4) When arguing on the Internet these days, the word “racist” is, more often than not, deployed as a pre-emptive attempt to defensively shut down discussion by the people who are exhibiting behavior on which they are being called, see also “are you calling me a RACIST?”


  44. 44
    Stefan says:

    Scott Adams says stupid things again :

    Now consider human males. No doubt you have noticed an alarming trend in the news. Powerful men have been behaving badly, e.g. tweeting, raping, cheating, and being offensive to just about everyone in the entire world. 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. I think we all agree on that point. Blame and shame are society’s tools for keeping things under control.
    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. In other words, men are born as round pegs in a society full of square holes. 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”?

    Here’s a nice review of Adams’ stupid rant by P.Z. Meyers :

    And what’s with this “natural” nonsense anyway? It’s meaningless. What he’s really doing is trying to justify bad behavior with the “well, everyone else is doing it” excuse. It’s a logical fallacy. It doesn’t work. It especially doesn’t work when everyone else isn’t doing it.