In early 2016, Return of Kings began taking steps to organize groups of men in 165 cities to go to happy hour, have a few beers, and talk politics, business, and girls.
The international men’s happy hour was set to take place on Saturday, February 6th, 2016 at 8:20PM local time.
Early in the week, local Australian media outlets began putting out stories that a “Legalize Rape” group had planned meet ups across the globe. The story went viral.
I’ve never seen anything like it.
They took a controversial article from Roosh V’s blog, the premises of which was basically:
Hey – since most rape allegations arise from situations that started with consensual fooling around, if rape were actually legal on private property, do you think women would take more precaution with who they go home with, practice more discretion, etc.? And could that lead to a decline in actual rapes?
Let’s be honest – while the intent of the article was only to promote critical thinking, it was not a good idea to publish it. Obviously, the idea of legal rape in any form is outrageous and it elicits an extreme emotional reaction from readers. Roosh knows this and has called the legalization idea “absurd” and has repeatedly said the article was satire.
However, the end result of the article is that it has been used as ammunition to paint anyone who reads Roosh’s material as a rapist. Something that is just as ridiculous as the idea of legalizing rape.
Guys read his material because he gives examples of how to become more successful with women through playful teasing and flirtatious banter. He also has a funny sarcastic way of taking jabs at society and the impact feminism has had on Western culture. The writing has become a little more heavy in recent years and has focused on the more negative aspects of society, but his blog has indicated that some “lighter fare” in the future wouldn’t hurt.
Anyway, the point I’m making is that his life’s work cannot be reduced to one satirical article. People read his stuff for the dry sarcastic wit and the thoughtful observations on dating culture.
It’s not right to assume 100% of his readership liked that one controversial article he wrote. It’s certainly not right to spread the lie that the article is a serious proposal to legalize rape. And it’s a libelous crime to say that his readers want to make rape legal. I’ve been reading Roosh for years. And if there were actually a movement to legalize rape, I would be protesting it.
After the false claims went viral, the public meetup was officially cancelled due to the intense heat from media, government officials, and even the Anonymous hacker collective (Whom I tried to chastise for their actions but they weren’t really having it)
— Brock Robinson (@TheCityBachelor) February 5, 2016
After watching the events unfold over the past week. I learned a few things.
1. The media has relieved itself of all trustworthiness – Especially local media
It started with Australia. Six different Australian publications posted similar articles alerting the masses that a “Legal rape” group would be having their first meeting soon. These weren’t national news sources that penned the articles. They were news outlets focused on reporting in their own respective cities. And they all posted online articles within an hour of each other. Curious.
This is a reminder that media is owned by only a few corporations. They create the facade that the media is grass roots and all kinds of different stories and ideas come from a great number of organizations from the ground up. The reality is that the propaganda is coming from the top-down. Only an elite few get to decide our news.
When the first stories published they went viral within a day. Hundreds of journalistic organizations lazily re-posted the story that originated in Australia.
A few variations and new falsehoods would occasionally pop up. I saw actual “professional” media organizations implying to their readers that a group of men were going to meet up in the city park and hold a rally to legalize rape. People actually thought that there were going to be guys marching around chanting and picketing. You can’t make this shit up.
When this story went viral, the media participated in the children’s game of telephone where someone whispers a story to the person next to them, and by the time the story goes around the room it is completely different than the original.
The problem with
internet quotesthe media is that you can’t always depend on their accuracy – Abraham Lincoln
2. Most people are surface-level thinkers
On the days leading up to the event, I heavily monitored the Facebook and Twitter chatter going on in my city. It was as simple as typing “Roosh Atlanta” into a Facebook search.
I found hundreds and hundreds of comments that rightfully condemned what they thought was going on. They trusted the news stories that were being fed to them and responded with outrage. When a normal person hears that a rape rally is coming to town, the reasonable response is of course shock and anger. Unfortunately, most people didn’t feel the need to fact check what they read before sharing it.
It was disappointing to see so many people read a story and take it without any skepticism at all. When I was younger, I used to be optimistic about the general population’s ability to be informed and make good decisions for the public. Life experience has taught me otherwise. I was one of those people that believed if you just give Americans the facts, then they are capable of making the right decisions.
That may still possibly be true, but we live in an age where the facts will never just be given out and made easily accessible. Every story has an agenda. The media does not exist to report facts, but to sway the public to believe a certain way or take a certain action. Most people take what they read at surface value. They will not make the effort to dig deeper. This forces me to question democracy.
The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of us all – JFK
3. Truth can be found but you must search very hard for it
I have to give props to Snopes. I’ve been a fan of them for a long time and in an hour where the world had gone mad, Snopes kept it real. Their article was far from an endorsement but they at least debunked the hysteria. Unfortunately, Snopes articles don’t get near as much traffic as the false viral stories they disprove.
You will not find truth easily in this world. In the age of information, truth is a needle in the haystack.
You won’t find it on cable news. You won’t find it by reading journalistic articles or magazines. You must have the intellectual curiosity to read books and you must also be driven to take your search online (ironically the most difficult place to find truth). Most importantly, you must develop a rock solid sense of skepticism.
Start with appreciating science. The great communicators of science, while they are human and have their own respective political ideas, will teach you how to think skeptically and prepare you to live in a world that is full of so much opinion and so little truth.
Skepticism is the chastity of intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness. – George Santayana
The Bottom Line
Even after someone realizes the legalizing rape thing is one big lie, it’s likely their mentality will still be “Well they’re all a bunch of misogynists so I hate them.”
To which I would say: We are not. I know I’m not. Misogyny is the hatred of women. I have never seen anyone advocating actual hate on those sites. Sometimes their critiques can be distasteful, but that doesn’t mean they’re evil. Sometimes what they say is offensive. Does that mean they are bad people? There is a difference between misogyny and criticizing the behavior that a growing number of women engage in.
It is only my own perpetually offended millennial generation that could mistake criticism as hate.
An anti-feminist is not a woman hater.
Personally, I love women. I love good girls and I even love easy girls. I just criticize promiscuous and scandalous behavior when I see it.
On the surface, feminism advocates equal opportunity and equal rights. Who could argue that, right? To attack feminism is to attack equality, right?
That may be the appearance of feminism, but on a deeper level, it is an ideology that is ruining relationships and destroying families. Is it a coincidence that skyrocketing divorce rates coincide with the rise of third-wave feminism? Traditional gender roles worked. We shouldn’t be so quick to discard them.
A comprehensive critique of feminism is beyond the scope of this post but remember:
There is a difference between a critic and a hater.