“They say we’re animals, uh-uh, I don’t agree with them,
I’ll prove em wrong, but right is what you’re provin’ em…”
-Heavy D, “Self-Destruction”
I have a very close childhood friend I’ll call “Kyle”. Kyle and I were inseperable coming up – sleepovers at each other’s house, playing Godzilla and the Hulk together, you name it. As we got older the games we’d play with each other and other boys in the ‘hood changed, but we remained thick as thieves.
Then, as we got into our adult years, things changed, in a very big way; you see, Kyle got involved in the drugs trade. Like many young Black Men, the siren call of the streets and the promise of the lifestyle the drugs trade made, he was caught up in it all, and on some levels, quite a few in fact, it was understandable – Black Men continue to be “last hired, first fired”. Still, I understood the all too real downsides and tradeoffs of such a profession. Drugs has destroyed what was left of once proud, respectable working class and in some cases, even middle class precincts of Black Philly, where now, even today, long blocks of boarded up homes now stand.
I understood my friend’s situation, but I couldn’t abide by it; and so, after a long night of reflection, I decided to have a sitdown with him, and tell him, that so long as he was in the drugs game, we could no longer be friends. I let him know that I respected his decision to live his life as he sees fit, that I loved him like a brother, but I just didn’t get down like that.
We didn’t speak for more than a decade. During which time, I felt horrible. Doing the right thing rarely feels good.
Among the many lessons I learned from that time, is that people can and will make judgments about you, based on the company that you keep – and they’re not going to be inclined to parse out all the nuances of your associations with certain others. It’s a lesson that has come roaring back at me over the past five years of being a Manosphere, Men’s Issues blogger: people can and will make judgments about your blog based on the nature, tenor and tone of the comments it attracts and generates. Indeed, I’ve found over the years, that it really doesn’t matter what you actually write; what matters is what kind of commenters you get.
I’ll be completely, 100% honest with you. I really, truly, do not like that fact. But a fact of life it is, nevertheless.
The events of roughly the past month or two here at J4G has been one that has made me think long and hard, the same way I did that night before I had that sitdown with Kyle. There are commenters here who I’ve known for years; others, who are more relative newcomers, nevertheless have contributed to making this place an environment that generates a hella more heat than light. It’s gotten to a point where I’m getting emails from folks who have told me, that they’re essentially living a double-life – they read this blog but they dare not tell anyone in their real life about it, not because of the actual content of the blog itself, but because of the people who populate the blog’s comments – who give one on the outside looking in the very real impression that this is a motley crew of malcontents, misanthropes, emotional and social retards, nihlists, and yea, I’ll say it, misogynists. And that’s just for starters. It deeply hurt me to read private, off the record emails from people, who like what I and other writers here at J4G are trying to do, but simply cannot bring themselves to comment here, for all the nuttery that’s been going on. There are Black people who know of J4G and actually like much of what I and other writers have to say, but can’t bring themselves to come here and participate for the racist nutters in the crowd spouting their drivel. There are Women who read J4G religiously but won’t comment for the stompdown and virulent mean-spiritedness toward Women as a whole on the part of a not insignificant number of commenters here. And there are even Men who know of J4G and want to give their two cents but are strongly dissuaded from doing so, because they don’t want to be associated with antisocial types that always seem to have a voice in the ‘sphere in general. It all adds up to a relatively small number of people hogging the public square and holding everyone else hostage, and that isn’t just fundamentally unfair, it’s also fundamentally un-American, too.
Whether the Manosphere writ large is full of such people is a matter of some debate; after all, no census has been conducted along these lines as far as I’m aware. But what can be said, fairly strongly, is this: that those who are among its loudest “voices” are those who just so happen to fit the descriptors I’ve noted above; and they are doing the Manosphere a grave disservice. In fact, the Great Tragedy of the Manosphere, is that for all the talk about the Feminine Imperative, Gynocracy, White Knights and Manginas and so forth – all of which are legitimate concerns, mind you – the single biggest impediment, enemy I would dare say, to the Manosphere, is it’s own tendency and penchant for getting in its own way. Any legitimate points or arguments they make, are lost in the shuffle of the “noise” that this relatively small band of nutters consistently churns out – and that, is truly sad.
What has been going on here, in this forum, isn’t what I envisioned for J4G more than a year ago. What I envisioned was a space for Men from all walks of life in general, and Common Guys like me in particular, to be heard in their own voices on the following question:
What does it mean to be a Man, in early 21st century American life? Now What?
The “Now What?” part of the question is hugely important, because it properly frames the discussion on what I think is a huge problem in our time – the conversation in the public square, has largely been dominated by extremists, on ALL sides. And what’s worse, these extremists, again on ALL sides, are actually small numbers of very vocal people, who just happen to have enough time, energy, resources and know-how, to make everyone else’s life utterly miserable. Civil, reasoned discourse has been replaced with hyperbole, rhetoric in extremis, and namecalling all designed to destroy the other side, not merely prove how and why they’re wrong. What’s even worse is that the “conversation”, if one can call it that, centers on old hat stuff that has been long decided – there’s no imagination, no creative or innovative “takes” on the issues…it’s just one long, insufferable, repeating loop of long-ago addressed “grievances”. Meanwhile, the world has moved on and there are very real, and urgent, challenges to face in our time. And neither side seems able or interested, in grappling with that.
Add to that the somewhat unique feature of the vocal contingent of the Manosphere commentariat, who seems intent on, to borrow a phrase from The Dark Knight, just wanting to see the world burn. Not only do they offer anything in the way of solutions, but they seem intent on making sure that no one else tries to seek out any either; that their “solution” is to Burn The Mutha Down.
I can understand their position. I can even respect it.
But I will no longer abide by tacitly cosigning it here.
Because, make no mistake about it, that is precisely what I and the rest of the team here at J4G are in fact doing, when we allow such commentary to run untrammeled in this space. We are cosigning, by allowing its existence, such comments, and others, whom I honestly think are indeed the Silent Majority, take note and vote with their feet. I may not be able to save the Manosphere at large from its own self-destructive tendencies, but I CAN save J4G. Because the J4G that I’ve worked so hard to put together and keep together, is something that’s worth saving. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let it be taken over by people who just want to see the world burn.
So, effective immediately, here’s how it’s going to go down:
All are welcome to participate in the forum, on the proviso that they actually bring at least as much light as they do heat. You got a criticism, you better make sure you bring a solution, too. I want to see more Men actually talking about the things they’re doing in their own lives and the lives of their fellow Men, to make this world a better place. I want to see Men talk about improving themselves, yes for their own benefit, but also for the benefit of Women who would like to partner with Men worth the trouble. I would like to see more talk from the Men here about their own hopes, fears and challenges – not as a pity session, but to encourage other Men, that they’re not in this alone. I want more Men in this space to talk honestly about themselves, about their lives, because that’s something worth talking about, and that the world needs to hear more of.
I want to see our commenters refine their thoughts into civil, reasoned, thoughtful arguments, be they pro or con in relation to the topics that are discussed here – and I want to see more focus and emphasis on the actual topics being discussed, rather than “idle chit-chat” about someone else’s comment(s). I find that the latter tends to cause the discussion to “drift” away from the actual topic itself, and pretty soon we’re on some other stuff altogether – which, as we’ve previously seen, isn’t always by accident on the part of some here.
If you look at my own writings closely, this is what I do – I bring often very pointed critiques of things and people, but I always offer solutions as well. To be sure, one doesn’t have to buy into either – but you can’t say that I don’t do what I just laid out above. To my friends, let this serve as a template for you to follow.
Now – if you are inclined to attempt to “debate” me about this, don’t. We’ve heard all the arguments – in my case in particular, for five years at this point. In fact, there are guys who regularly comment here that I know who have been saying the exact same thing, for five years(!). And from what I can tell, they haven’t improved or grown personally at all over that course of time; an argument could be made that they’ve made themselves worse. I don’t want to use the Button, but you all know by now that I can and will wield it like a scalpel, so please, do not force my hand. This isn’t up for discussion here – this is a “sh*t or get off the pot” moment for you here. You are either going to clean up your act, or you are going to find it increasingly difficult to exist in this space.
I’m doing this, because as I said, I think the J4G Project, is a worthy and noble one; one that is worth getting the world’s attention to sit up and take notice of. The lives of Men, being told in their own voices, is something that is sorely needed in our time right now. And because, at bottom, I want to make people THINK. Not “convert” them over to my or the team’s point of view; simply to THINK. And I’m doing this because I want to continue to partner and work with highly talented and thoughtful, reasoned people like Dr. Jeremy, and Dr. Edward Rhymes, and my team mates here at J4G, like Ciaran and Ted D and Morpheus and Han Solo and Sir Nemesis and Deti, and I want really thoughtful commenters like Novaseeker and Bastiat and Ms. Liz and Ms. LynM not to feel that their throwing pearls before swine and wasting their time. They all have something very important to share and to say, and the “noise” has been crowding out their “signal” for far too long here. That’s not fair, and, since I have taken it upon myself to be the “default setting” of J4G, it happened on my watch, and I am taking full and complete responsibility for that and will take steps to fix it.
This is not a free-fire zone, fellas. J4G is bigger, and better than that – and so are you.
A Final Word To The Critics
Today is a day for the record books, for you will be able to claim a real victory – enjoy it, because it will not last long. Now that this little corner of the Manosphere is cleaning house, you will no longer have as much running room as you did before. See, the people I’ve addressed aren’t the only ones who just want to see the world burn - so do you. That’s because, you never were really interested in engaging, honestly, the issues raised here at J4G. That explains how and why you never bothered to deal with them in the first place. Sure, you’ll be able to argue that it was the nutters who kept you from doing so, or what you perceive to be the wrongheaded thinking on the part of myself or the other writers here – but, so long as said nutters had the full run of the house, I for one will fully concede that you had a point.
But now that I have fully owned the problem that has cropped up in my midst and set out to fix it, the focus shifts back to you. I for one actually hope that you have legitimate critiques of what we write here at J4G – civil, reasoned, thoughtful counter-arguments, worthy of the time and consideration of our readers to be bothered with. Something tells me that you’re not up to the job – that, in truth, the ONLY reason you bothered to be so vocal about your “critique” of the “loud voices” in the Manosphere, is because, like them, you too have little to offer the world, at the end of the day. As I’ve said before, Game recognize Game, and Like, truly does attract Like, hmm?
I say, that as soon as the problem being addressed today is solved, we’ll be seeing a lot less of you, because your reason for being here in the first place will no longer exist.
Perhaps you will prove me wrong?
So, to recap:
If all you have to offer any given discussion is
“(ALL) Women ain’t sh*t”
“It’ll never work”
“You’ll never make it”
“The world is coming to an end”
If someone else attempts to offer something constructive and your first impulse is to rhetorically take a stinky, runny dump all over it
Then you really have nothing to offer the J4G audience, and you’d be better served heading somewhere else in the Manosphere where you can do you in peace.
IF on the other hand, you offer a civil, reasoned, thoughtful critique of a problem you see existing out in the world, you have an obligation to at least try to come up with some kind of solution. It doesn’t even have to be all the way worked out – take a shot in the dark! It’s much better than being the proverbial nattering nabob of negativity, Man. I’m just being real.
OK, that’s it.
Constructive thoughts in the comments, please. I won’t ask twice.
Now adjourn your arses…