Douchebag Decree: Scott Adams, Douchetoonist

"ye olde douchebag decree" in blue letters with a light blue hand-drawn douchebag in the background, and "BITCH HEREBY DECLARES THE FOLLOWING PERSON A TOTAL DOUCHEBAG" in small letters in red underneath.

Have you been following the Scott "rape is a natural instinct" Adams story? If not, hold on to your hat barf bag. Adams, creator of the cartoon Dilbert and noted mega-douche wrote on his blog recently that, among other things, men are naturally prone to raping women (and "tweeting their meat," which he lumps into the same sentence as rape) and society is to blame. An excerpt:

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"?

It shouldn't come as a surprise to you that Adams is involved in the Men's Rights Movement, since you've likely seen this kind of hey-don't-blame-men-we're-just-walking-boners argument used to justify sexist remarks and behavior before. Adams, though, is taking his shit to the next level. Not only did he blog about this totally unfair "zero-sum game" where men can't be happy because they're made to conform to the non-rape-y ways of society, he's defending his argument like nobody's business.

Just to give you a bit of douche history, Adams has been taken to task for blogging while sexist a few times before this. He memorably compared women to children and people with disabilities in a post so confusing it's not even really worth summarizing, but here's an excerpt to give you a taste:

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.

He also weirdly defended Gwyneth Paltrow when HuffPo blogger Kelli Goff rightly pointed out that Paltrow benefits from privileges not afforded to most people (WTF, right?). According to Adams, because Goff herself is "smoking hot" (his words) and has a master's degree, she has no right to call out Paltrow.

Scott Adams, a white guy with glasses, looks offscreen. A cutout of his cartoon character Dilbert is in the background--also a white guy with glasses.
Hey, we're all just a bunch of smoking-hot writers here enjoying the finer things in life, amirite?

But enough about Adams' privilege-denying, ableist, women-children-comparing, douche-riddled past, let's focus on his douche-riddled present. After Adams' post about being wrongfully imprisoned in a society which "has evolved to keep males in a state of continuous unfulfilled urges, more commonly known as unhappiness," some people understandably got upset. Bloggers responded around the Internet with a resounding cry of Wait, he said WHAT? and Adams responded back.

Adams' favorite rebuttal to those who find him to be a douchefaced rape apologist appears to be borrowed from my seventh-grade diary: "You guys just don't get it." Repeatedly, he's been telling bloggers/writers/commenters who disagree with him that they're suffering from "low reading comprehension" and even goes so far as to refer to Jezebel, Salon, Mediaite, Huffington Post, and other so-called haters as the LRC (low reading comprehension) Community. Douchesayswhat?

Dilbert cartoon where Dilbert, a white guy with glasses, stands in a cubicle with a brown-haired woman behind him
Yeah, it looks like Alice is fed up with Dilbert's misogyny too.

In his open letter to this LRC Community, Adams offers to grant email interviews to any writers who wish to further their dialogue with him. Behold:

I'd like to offer an opportunity to one of the writers at Salon, Huffington Post, Jezebel, Mediate, or Mediabistro. Allow me to interview you, by email, for this blog, on the topic of why you so vehemently disagree with your hallucination of my opinion. (Fair warning: It won't work out well for you.)

So far, brave souls Irin Carmon of Jezebel and Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon have taken him up on his offer of things not working out well for them, and are in the process of emailing back and forth with Adams about biological determinism, the history of sexism, and other topics that he doesn't seem actually interested in discussing civilly or rationally. (What did we expect from the guy who LOLed at those Obama chimp photos?)

Carmon and Williams are both doing excellent jobs taking Adams to task for his remarks, and he is continuing to make statements with his head firmly up his ass.

On his high opinion of women, to Irin Carmon:

I have a higher opinion of women than you do, in the sense that I think men are genetically more prone to bad behavior. If your point is that women suck just as much as men, I'll take your word for it. But you'll need to explain why our jails have so many more men than women.

On horniness, to Mary Elizabeth Williams:

I will grant you that when rape is used as a weapon of war, horniness is not the inspiration for the act. And I will grant you that if an erect penis is not used in the crime, horniness is probably not involved. And I will grant you that if someone who is seriously insane commits rape, it might not involve any horniness. And I will grant you that there are probably dozens of other twisted motivations that don't start with horniness.

I won't recap all of what's being said in the interviews because this post can only handle so much douche, but I will add that Adams is continuing to throw out "low reading comprehension" insults (example: "That's a simple case of bad reading comprehension, or maybe it is because the post was carved up by bottom-feeding websites until the meaning was distorted to fit an agenda.") and obscure the issues. Ironically, in both interview series, he tells Carmon and Williams that they and their readers can't or won't comprehend his arguments, yet he repeatedly asks them to shorten their responses for his benefit. (This coming from the guy whose main argument is that other people don't have the reading comprehension skills to understand him! An argument he's been making for ages!) A few examples:

  • Adams to Carmon, after she tells him what she found objectionable about his first article: "Phew! Wordy... I don't understand most of what you wrote in response to my question. Can you try it again without the history lessons?"
  • Adams to Williams, asking for a response to his assertion that horniness begets rape: "Can you tell me what view you think I hold that is different from your own? And please put your answer in bullet point form if you can."
  • Adams to Carmon: "I'm still confused why my blog is more offensive than what you just wrote. Can you try again, in simpler terms, and without the history lesson, to explain your objection to my post?"

Newsflash, Adams: You don't really have an LRC leg to stand on when you're asking people to summarize all of their responses to you with bullet points and skip "the history lesson."

These interviews are ongoing, so we'll have to tune in to see what else transpires. Who knows? Maybe Adams will cut out the douche behavior and see that not all men are oppressed by horniness and not all women are out to get him. Given this guy's history though, my money's on him continuing to go douche. At least now he's got this Decree to make it official.

Previous Douchebag Decree Recipients: Forty Beads, The DC Comics "Reboot"

Comments

94 comments have been made. Post a comment.

I love how he keeps asking

I love how he keeps asking for responses without 'the history lesson'. Doucherific!

I feel like I should print

I feel like I should print this out and keep it just to show every person that says to me that there is no need to be a feminist in this day and age so I can say well, here is just one example of the fact that men, and some high profile men, continue to be absolute sexist douchbags!!

How about printing out the

How about printing out the original blog post and realize that this article has nothing to do with it?

How about *you* 'realising'

How about *you* 'realising' that it has EVERYTHING to do with it?

I totally agree...It has

I totally agree...It has nothing to do with it. As a woman of color I am so over the fake outrage of feminist and so is much of the rest of the world.

Poor guy, the world just

Poor guy, the world just doesn't understand him and his perfectly reasonable thoughts on men and women! *eye roll*

My soul just puked all over my keyboard

We all know the type: the white, geeky, straight male who was born with enough privilege and support to teach him early in life to just loudly blab his moronic under-considered musings without considering how he could be misinformed, under-informed, or just plain idiotic. As a feminist organizer on my college campus, I've had to face clueless, yet otherwise intelligent, white male students making the most bizarre and inappropriate observations at the top of their voice as they pass awareness-raising displays for Take Back The Night. "I wonder how many times that says 'rape'!" was a particularly memorable comment yelled out by a bespectacled peer. I was so confused by the stupidity and irrelevance of the kid's comment that I could only think to ask what was wrong with him in response. I should've just given the guy Scott Adams' card and told him to join the club.

Truly Douchey - Again

Adams has been an asshole for ages. While people were holding him up as the voice of disgruntled office workers, he was supporting downsizing. I think his strip's popularity in the 90s signaled the reversal of the era's "market can do no wrong" mantra and thus was an important cultural touchstone, but it was otherwise the commodification of ineffectual symbolic rebellion.

http://www.alternet.org/story/4260/

He showed his true colors when he made employee handbooks for Xerox filled with the same management fad Newspeak and vapid tautologies he lampooned in his strip. I'd say this made him a sell-out if I thought he stood for anything besides himself.

http://zcommunications.org/excerpt-from-the-trouble-with-dilbert-by-norm...

He fell off my radar a while back, so this sexist shit of his is new information for me. Shocking, but not surprising.

Speechless

Every time I read something like this I realize how far society has to go. It saddens me that no women's studies course are required at my college (unlike the intro courses in almost every other field) and that douches like this douche still have a platform of bullshit to stand on. This guy needs to be disenfranchised in some way in order to help him understand what a ridiculous joke he is or at least to shut him up. Honestly, I don't even know what to do when someone like this exists and has a cultural megaphone. Tips on how to wade through the daily patriarchal nonsense and beat (with words of course) these douches down?

Not noteworthy?

You took Adams to task in this article and I appreciate that, but I have to wonder about the consequences of publicizing Adams' opinion on this issue. Don't you think that the more articles posted in response to Adams, the more motivation he will have to promulgate his privilege denying, sexist opinions? Can't we just ignore him and go back to not knowing or caring about him? Other than for the success of his cartoon, Adams is just a run-of-the-mill privilege denying chauvinist, which is sadly so common that it isn't worth discussing; moreover, he lacks the power and influence to meaningfully act on his views.

In my experience, the kinds of discussions that are now being pursued with him over email are the kinds of discussions I've had over and over again, rarely getting even a marginal point about sexism or privilege through any Scott-Adams-equivalent's head. The discussions go around in circles and continually clash over views of very basic premises or ways to see the world. For this reason, if I were to talk to Scott Adams, I would talk to him about very specific policy proposals or about very specific actions, not the "differences" between the sexes, or why there are more men in jail than women. But generally, I just wouldn't talk to Scott Adams.

Futilty

Yeah, it does seem futile. But when this happens, when these douchenozzles are in the spotlight, it's another reminder that sexism is alive and well. You'll see people totally flabbergasted that this is going on, and those people now know. It's. Still. Here.

At some point, it's just feeding the trolls, though, you're right. But his arguments are a pretty good primer in sexist rhetoric (of the LRC variety).

Yes! Don't feed the trolls.

My first thoughts reading through his demands for bullet-point arguments and no "history lessons" were that he's one of the best fed trolls on the internet today. Please, please, can we stop feeding him?! This is straight up inflammatory troll behavior from Adams, it's like some horrible meta-joke that ceased being funny a long time ago.

Well-deserved!

Well-deserved! Adams is possibly having his douchiest year yet.

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Yeah, women have been in

Yeah, women have been in power for centuries, and have created all sorts of laws and social institutions to oppress men. Oh, wait, . . .

I would like to take a moment

I would like to take a moment to ask all the readers of this article to use the internet for a second to look up the meaning of the word "troll", as it applies to activities on the internet, and ask yourselves whether this label can be correctly applied to Scott Adams.

This offensive post was posted on the same blog that claims that a likely theory of the universe is that we're a society programmed by aliens to live out a simulation. Other gems include proposing a political party based entirely on economic choices, and a series of articles about free will being an illusion. (the last supported by science, but still a controversial statement designed to get a reaction) I think you'll be able to discover a pattern with minimal research.

While he may not qualify as a true satirist, much in the style of satirists Scott Adams prefers to say outrageous, controversial things for the sake of discovering how and audience will react, and often for the fun of watching it happen. Taking him seriously on anything he says means you've already lost, because that was the entire game, to see if you'd bite.

I don't make this post to attempt to defend Mr. Adams because it'd be pretty pointless, considering his post was actually offensive and there's no reason for me to say otherwise. I just wanted to put the word out to the collected feminists here, that what's going on right now is why most of the world doesn't take your cause seriously. You bristle too easily, you hurl nasty playground insults at people you think are jerks, and sacrifice all of your dignity doing so. An entire article explaining why someone is a douche, and using that word over a dozen times? It's childish and immature and it does way more damage to your cause than help. You're preaching to the choir, because no one who does not agree with you will sit through it and listen to your article which reads like a playground fight. Show some respectability by not rising to the bait of obvious trolls.

As a guy, I try to do my best to respect women and treat their viewpoints and struggles as weighted equal to my own. But it's so hard for me to continue doing so when I see you so easily baited and enraged. You've lost the support of a man, and we're the real target audience you need to win over to accomplish your goals. As long as you continue to alienate the regular decent guys, it'll be Men vs. Women for the rest of time, and we'll never make any real progress towards equality.

While I agree with you

While I agree with you regarding Scott Adams obviously being a troll here, I think the fact that--as represented by the comments on his blog entries--a lot of people seem to sincerely agree with him sincerely means it's at least a little bit worth it for someone to come forward and explain what's so screwed up about this viewpoint. Unless you think his commenters are all in on the troll.

As for this:

"As a guy, I try to do my best to respect women and treat their viewpoints and struggles as weighted equal to my own."

Woman does not necessarily equal feminist, feminist does not necessarily equal woman.

And:

"But it's so hard for me to continue doing so when I see you so easily baited and enraged. You've lost the support of a man, and we're the real target audience you need to win over to accomplish your goals. As long as you continue to alienate the regular decent guys, it'll be Men vs. Women for the rest of time, and we'll never make any real progress towards equality."

I hate it when people just link to things to illustrate their point along with some incredibly annoying statement like "this. Just this," I feel like what you're saying here is such a huge generalization and almost an example of ridiculous, old-school "women are more emotional, men are more logical" sexism that this is worth linking to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPB_EQly1jI

You made very valid points

You made very valid points and I thank you for your response. I left out a word in my last paragraph on accident that would have made it clearer. I meant to say that the feminist movement is gradually losing my support over sensationalism and catcalling, not women in general as it seemed to say.

I've read Mr. Adams' blog for a couple of years now, off and on. Usually it was with skepticism but I appreciated his unusual view on life and it made me think, if only to think about why he was wrong. The reason his posts are now causing so much controversy is because they're being taken out of context, the context not being in the text, but in the environment. Among his readers he's established a persona of being a controversial eccentric, and so they all know not to take anything he says at face value. For example, he often talks about investing tips or business ideas, and then ends with a disclaimer to never take advice from cartoonists. I don't believe these most recent statements involving a relative amount of sexism do very much damage in their original context because of that environment. You can say rude things with your friends, for example, that were you to say at a formal dinner would be considered outrageous.

That's what's happening now. Mr. Adams was sitting down with some friends in his living room, having a little chat about stereotypes and idly musing on the nature of man and why they sometimes do horrible things, when suddenly the back wall fell down and there was a whole room full of angry feminists on the other side, ready to start a lynch mob. That's why he keeps making comments about low reading comprehension and context and things like that, because his material was written with a specific audience in mind, and it all sounds much worse than it was meant when it came out.

The first time this happened, with the comparing women to the mentally handicapped fiasco, he tried to play it down as much as he could, reminding people that it was written for his audience in the right setting, but it did no good. When I refer to him trolling, I'm talking about his decided reaction this time, where he proposed having a public debate. He figured the damage was going to occur anyways, so he might as well have some fun.

Thanks for the link, I found it rather interesting.

Smells like a sock...

Scott Adams? Is that you?

Confirmed. It was him.

Confirmed. It was him.

!

Do you have a link, Anon?

Check out our Comments Policy!

"a lot of people seem to

"a lot of people seem to sincerely agree with him"

Yes. A LOT of people agree with his stance. Among the "smarter", more well-educated, more refined sexist males of America, the "nicer" sexists, evopsych explanations for male brutality are all the rage. But they, the more cultured, more highly evolved males, have conquered such baser urges, so you should be with them, of course, not with men closer to Our Neanderthal Past. Like men with beards.

"You've lost the support of a man"

OH NO! *hand to forehead* I HAVE LOST THE SUPPORT OF A MAN!

Any man who loses his support for feminist goals that easily never supported them in the first place.

Right? I didn't know it was

Right? I didn't know it was our job as the marginalized party to kiss men's asses so they'll see the merits of our principles. We're not here to earn anything from you, we're just highlighting a particular man who is justifying sexual assault, it's hardly crazy or radical to take issue with a guy like Scott Adams.

I love lists

So, by your logic, women shouldn't express their anger at sexist behavior because that inhibits progress towards sex/gender equality? I'm sorry, but that really doesn't fly. Your last paragraph seems to suggest that to "really" accomplish anything, women should keep their mouths shut in the face of sexism and oppression, and in that way they will "win over" the men, who are the "real target," or, who they really need to implement change. There are a lot of things wrong with this statement, and though it somewhat pains me, I'll spell it out for you:

1) Keeping silent, or "nice," as it's sometimes called, about sexism, oppression based on sex/gender and violence based on sex/gender has been suggested for generations. It hasn't helped. If anything, it's allowed the cycle of oppression to continue because it perpetuates the appearance that no one is hurt by it.

2) Being angry at systems of oppression is not the same as being "baited." Suggesting that a woman's anger is the result of being "baited" is to undermine and invalidate her real feelings as a human, and is a manipulative way of telling her to shut up. Imagine if every time you were reasonably angered by something, someone told you that you were simply being "baited." This is roughly the equivalent of supposing every angry woman is PMSing.

3) Women do not need to "win over" men in order to implement change. This suggests that women inherently need men to do anything, and are incapable of doing anything without men.

4) No one is alienating "regular, decent guys," If you think rapists are "regular, decent guys," something is wrong with you. If you read the article like a regular decent guy, you'd understand why Adams' statements put him quite at odds with the decent guys of our society.

5) You are placing the issue of sexism solely on women. If you cannot handle being called out for having privilege in our society based on your sex/gender, that's no one's shortcoming but your own. You seem to be suggesting that "equality" can be reached if women would just stop being offended by sexism. Newsflash: that's not going to happen. Why? Because sexism is offensive. Transcending sexism does not rely solely on one section of humanity, but on all of us. Pointing and re-pointing the finger of blame does nothing.

Hope this clears things up for you. If you're still confused, I can offer a history lesson that might put things in perspective--if you can handle it.

Lists

1: He wasn't saying keep silent, he was saying don't respond in a hysterical manner, as you have just done. Read, think, then write.

2: Being angry at systems of oppression is fine, responding in a hysterical manner to a post designed to make you respond in a hysterical manner is somewhat counter-productive.

3: Society is made up of approximately 50% men, 50% women. I think that if you want to change the way society operates, you're going to need at least SOME buy in from the half of the population that is male.

4: I'm pretty sure the equating of his comment about the alienation of "regular, decent guys" with rapists happened inside your head, and nowhere else. Read, think, then write.

5: Again, I'm pretty sure that he did nothing to "place the issue of sexism solely on women" - I'm pretty sure that happened somewhere between screen and keyboard at your end. The phrase "you seem to be suggesting" is quite often used to insert the author's agenda into a diatribe in such a way as to make it seem as if the other person said it.
I'd like to take the opportunity to point your comment about "transcending sexism" at your point 3, though.

And as for your last comment... enough said, actually.

1. Deciding that the person

1. Deciding that the person you replied to was at any point "hysterical" is something that happened in your head. Voicing opinions does not imply hysteria.

2. You assume this person did not "read, think, then write"-thank goodness you did not imply that you did! You seem to have skipped logic and assumed that a lot of things were said when they never were.

3. You assume that out of each ~50% that all men or all women agree amongst themselves. LOL, enough said.

4. Your opinion is not correct just because you imply the other person did not read, think, the write or because you imply they are in a fit of hysteria.

You can keep on creating responses that never occurred, but. it does not serve you well and makes your points sound poorly thought out.

1: "Hysterical

1: "Hysterical manner"!=hysterical. Read, think, then write.

2: I'll give you that I did assume that. I considered it more likely than that someone had actually thought hard and then written that response.

3: No, I don't. But I did make the assumption that you'd need a majority to effect a change in society. Making that assumption, then you'd need to persuade at least some men agreeing with you. Read, think, then write.

4: I didn't claim that it did. My points' correctness stand open to debate, if you feel you are able to respond to them.

I notice that you only managed to respond to two of my points, and those were logically poor responses, based on an assumptions of a point that was not made. Please feel free to respond to this (or, better, the main points of my previous post) but I implore you, READ what I wrote, THINK ABOUT IT, and then respond. It might help if any time you make a point, you back it up with a direct reference to what I wrote, as opposed to an assumption about what I wrote.

Although your argument was

Although your argument was not written in bullet-form, I am sure that Adams would really appreciate how you've numerically organized your posts. Good job, Buddy.

Difference between hysteria and non-hysteria

Hysteria (Summarized):
1 You're wrong, you jerk!
2 You're wrong, you jerk!
3 You're wrong, you jerk!
4 You're wrong, you jerk!
5 You're wrong, you jerk!

Non-Hysteria (Summarized):
1 Okay I understand this, but this.
2 No, I didn't say that, I said this.
3 Further explanation of point.

Read this first, then apply it as you will. This writer might have bias, but this post doesn't. If you took this as an insult to you, then I wonder why.

Logic lessons for the hysterical

Well, if we're going to bring logic into it, you've exhibited quite a charming fallacy of your own. Instead of actually responding to what I said, you decided to attack me personally, calling me things like "hysterical" (a word stemming from the belief that women's uteruses floated up into their heads, thus making them irrational. There's your history lesson) and suggesting that I did not think or am incapable of thinking. Therefore, I now not only have to defend my position, but my capabilities as a rational human being.

On the internet, this is known as a "derail," and gets away from the subject at hand, that Scott Adams has majorly disappointed his readers, male and female, with his sexist, regressionist attitudes and rape apologetics. I understand that part of his schtick might be fueled by his desire for publicity and reaction, but there are better, more progressive ways of garnering attention, and certainly there are ones that do not seek to excuse violent crimes.

But...BUT YOU HAVE BOOBS, so

But...BUT YOU HAVE BOOBS, so clearly everything you say that's politically relevant is stemming from hysteria. RIGHT?.....................right?

yeah

Must be that uterus floating around in my head.

Thank you for your response.

Thank you for your response. You bring a lot of interesting points to the table. If you don't mind, I'll use your same list format to provide what I think might be some interesting counter-arguments.

1) I don't believe I intended my original comment to suggest that women should always remain silent on the topic of their rights. If that was what you gained from there, I apologize. My intent was only to say that women have better things to do than respond with so much energy to obvious trolls. No good will or even can come out of this situation, because people who are impartial on the argument will only see an angry backlash to someone who never intended to be taken seriously. It's the same reason protesting stand up comedians is rarely a good use of energy. Were they offensive? Probably. But their entire lifestyle is based on being borderline offensive for the sake of amusement, and often to provide an interesting social commentary.

2) On this one I think I pretty clearly stated that when I was talking about baiting, it was being baited by someone who is earnestly and actively trying to bait. Anger has it's place, and should rightfully be used when real abuses and discriminations occur. Anger is the valuable emotion that drives almost all change. The only reason I spoke up is because I feel like in this case, it was a lot of misdirected anger. No serious violations of women's rights were taking place. It was just an eccentric shooting his mouth off on a strange topic. The point of his post was to suggest medical castration as a likely trend, not to say that women deserve anything that's ever happened to them.

3) Are you really willing to pursue a philosophy that states "Men had better fall in line or get out of our way"? I know that's not what you said, but we make up half of the world's population, and suggesting that you don't need us to change the whole world is a little silly. What exactly are you trying to change? Laws already prohibit discrimination based on gender. (A legal decision, I might add, passed into law by mostly males who had been "won over" by the arguments of feminists) The only thing left to change is how people feel, and how they talk and how they interact with their female friends, neighbors, and co-workers. That's the battlefield now. The ONLY way to really win, to accomplish all your goals where women are no longer sexually harassed, abused, or discriminated against, is to change men. Men are the problem, and I'm sorry but yelling at them a lot and calling them names isn't a great way to do it. In your post alone you talked to me, a male supporter of your cause, in very rude terms, suggesting I had below average intelligence, and that I wouldn't be able to handle listening to history. I'm doing my best to be friendly and civil in response, but it's a little tasking considering how I've been treated since I decided to offer my opinion on this site.

4) This references to my previous point but regular decent guys are turned off by aggressive attacks. We look at a battle for civil rights and on one side we see misogynists, clearly jerks but their spiteful comments not pointed at us, and then feminists, many of whom have a tendency to be quick to anger and a little abrasive. It cheapens your arguments when you boldly attack any minor offender, when there are larger problems to address. The reason champions of human rights like Martin Luther King and Gandhi were able to gather so much public support is because there was no question of who was right or wrong, from the perspective of the neutral parties. There were the offenders, and then the offended, standing with dignity for what they believed but not allowing the barbs of the enemy to control their behavior. Scott Adams right now is controlling feminist responses by using a calculated series of statements that he has practiced as a professional humorist to draw you out to anger. And you're letting him because you're letting your anger control you. That might not be how you feel, but that's what I see, from a relatively neutral perspective. And that's what thousands of others are seeing too, as you make this debate more and more public.

5) I do not believe I placed any of the burden of sexism on women. It's clear to anyone that the vast majority of sexism present in our society is perpetrated by men. The purpose behind my statement, which again I apologize if it was unclear, is that sexism will never be conquered until we are all on the same side. As long as it remains men vs. women, no one wins. We'll push and pull but always be at odds. Men need to change their attitudes and learn some respect. The only blame I place on women is displays like this, douche certificates and what not, that make it difficult to respect feminists when it appears to be an immature display. Fight the issues, not the trolls. Sort of like the various idioms on playing with dogs, or swine. Sink to their level and you get dirty too. Doesn't matter who was right, everyone is rolling around in the mud. You can stand up for yourself without attacking or demeaning anyone else. Stay above the base criticisms. I do not think women becoming desensitized to sexism would solve anything. Merely a more mature and dignified response.

1) By those grounds, Scott

1) By those grounds, Scott Adams has better things to do than be a rape apologist and do men a disservice with the assertion that mens' rights involve being able to justify rape.

2) Claiming that rape is a reasonable response to biological urges is a violation of women's rights - it gives license to other men to rape because the general male consensus is that it's an okay, natural thing to do.

3) Funny how you accuse everyone else of twisting words, and yet you admit that your quote "Men had better fall in line or get out of our way" is not actually a quote said by anyone here. I don't think the feminist credo is that so much as, "Please tell your friends that raping women isn't okay, because it's seriously a bummer, alright?"

4) You'd probably be abrasive too if a celebrity figure of sorts was condoning rape against your gender. I don't think being "abrasive" about the prospect of having your rapist go unpunished is that unreasonable. I'm not sure how writing an article about Scott Adams' lousy arguments is 'letting anger control us'. It seems pretty productive, actually. You seem to project a lot of hysteria onto the feminists participating in this discussion. Seems a little strange.

5) No one's making this about men vs. women. We're talking about Scott Adams ruining for men AND women. Everyone knows that sexism and misogyny hurts men just as much as it hurts women. A good starting place is not calling women "hysterical" every time they call out a misogynist for his bullshit (and the bullshit doesn't get much deeper than when you're a rape apologist) and accepting that the burden is NOT on us to earn your respect. It's not the job of marginalized or less privileged people to educate everyone else about why they shouldn't be treated like crap.

So, Dayin, when someone tries

So, Dayin, when someone tries to bully you, do you just shut up and take it? Because i've been dealing with this kind of crap all my life. I'm 54. In the years I didn't say anything, it didn't stop, and didn't lessen, whether it was people I knew, or strangers.

If I open my mouth and tell people what's wrong about it, at LEAST I have supported myself and let it be known that I don't appreciate it. If I say nothing, I don't support myself and IT STILL CONTINUES.

That is why some of us fight back. Trolls are bullies, and they do harm. Even if we wind up feeding them, at least we show the other bullied people that we don't accept that crap.

Yes, I accept that I won't see an end to this crap in my lifetime, barring some total miracle. People who see a potential loss of privilege just step up the abuse and hope that they'll should us down. I say, f*** that noise. Are you with us, or are you one of the bullies?

Don't get me wrong, I'm all

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for standing up for yourself when someone comes to you and bullies you into their way of thinking. That's never appropriate. But that's not what happened here. Scott Adams did not come into your home, or your work, and attempt to tell you that everyone who ever committed rape was influenced by societal restrictions. If anything, it's the exact opposite. It's his blog, with his own established audience. You came into his home, told him all his opinions are wrong, and tried to tell him how to think. (Not you personally, but the feminist community.)

Again, I'm trying not to defend him, only point out why the response to his arguments was counterproductive by taking an unnecessary juvenile tone through vulgarity and personal attacks. Having been a target of bullying for much of my life, I learned quickly that calling bullies names in response just entertained them, and brought about even more negative attention towards me. If I stayed silent when it was clear they were only looking for entertainment, they would soon get bored and move on. That's childhood psychology 101.

Scott Adams never would have gone into the extended debate if not for the online press circus that erupted after his comments in his first posting. His posts never would have been spread to the far corners of the internet if feminists had just decided he was an idiot not worth humoring. As a direct result of these feminist "reprisals", more than 10 times the original audience of that post has read them. Then they read the debates, where a skilled humorist went toe to toe with journalists who care enough about their topic that they're easy to draw out and mock. Thus, now more people agree with Mr. Adams than ever did before, and it was because someone chose to react, rather than take the comments for the inexpert satire that they were and leave them alone.

Also your statement about being with us or one of the bullies is absurd. I'm sorry but since I'm male I won't be the target of anti-feminine sexism and thus can't actually "be with you". I can support you from the sidelines, or I can decide it's not worth my time because when I try to speak up with a little friendly advice to not take trolls seriously, you yell at me rather rudely. Because that's a great way to win people to your side.

It's really bizarre that you

It's really bizarre that you think this extra attention to Scott's blog post has benefited him or his position. Having read the debates (and then followed his link to this post), I would have to say Scott got the bejeeezus kicked out of him and looks like a... well, a douchebag. His points were torn apart and his best rebuttals were actually just puny troll attempts. In my opinion this is DEFINITELY a case where fighting back against a troll did more good than harm.

I disagree with most of the

I disagree with most of the things you're saying here, Dayin, but what really bothers me, and I think is extremely unfair to say, is that Scott Adams was speaking to "his own established audience," so therefore, we have little or no right to criticize his comments. These comments are offensive no matter where they're made. If you make a racist joke or comment in front of your friends, you're still being racist, and the same goes for sexism. Discriminatory comments made in private (the internet is not private territory anyway) are just as offensive and harmful as comments made in public. You were even the one that made the comment that feminists need only to change personal behavior of non-feminists in order to make a difference (which, by the way, is not true...women are still not totally equal by law--see laws concerning maternity leave, the $0.10 wage gap, anti-abortion laws, attempted restrictions on birth control, just to name a few). Isn't that exactly what we're doing here? Comments like this, whether they're made in someone's living room or on a soap box--perpetuate sexism and sexist ideologies, and should not be tolerated.

By the way, if you were only granting "friendly advice," I don't think you would be receiving this much criticism. You seem like a nice guy, but you were totally using inappropriate language to describe our responses--how can you spot hysteria in text form anyway?

Do you mean "you" as in ALL

Do you mean "you" as in ALL women? Are you speaking to all of us as though we are all, each and every one of us, the same types of thing? Things that "bristle too easily," and are "so easily baited and enraged"? Seems to me that you are the one who is drawing the battle lines then.

You say you "try to do your best to respect women?" Why do you think it is such a struggle for you? Seriously, why is it a struggle? Maybe it's because you start from the premise that all women are the same--they are all just feminists that bristle too easily.

Well, I don't want to seem bristly --cause you seem to get that a lot (it's almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy). But somehow I don't get the sense that women have really "lost the support of a man" here. Looks like we've lost the best efforts of a chauvinist guy who was trying briefly to get over his own issues. But those "women" just kept messing it up for you. Hey, you tried. Don't worry, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try it again. Come on, give "us" another chance to win YOU over!

I agree with you about that.

I agree with you about that. I read the full responses in the 'interview'. Most of the reply restated facts about the past that I didn't see as being under dispute and Ad Hominem.
I have to wonder what his motivations were, trolling is dangerious when you have a syndicated cartoon at risk.

Perhaps you have missed a key

Perhaps you have missed a key point in all the rebuttals to Scott Adams: these women are pointing out (with writerly skill as well as "playground insults") that men, too, are oppressed and debased by this Neanderthal thinking. As mothers, wives, sisters and daughters, we are not merely defending female turf: on the contrary, we have recognized that when women are mocked and relegated to the position of "children and the mentally handicapped," men become the only adults, carrying a ridiculous burden of presenting a monolithic facade of unfailing strength, lack of emotion, financial responsibility for all...oh, I could go on and on. And of course, everyone (even men) recognize that this facade is wholly false; many of the problems between the sexes are generated by the cognitive dissonance that proceeds inevitably from the insane expectations of gender roles.

Furthermore, men are not "the target audience" - else why would I, a woman, and my four daughters be following this discussion? The "target audience" is anyone who is interested in this discussion: women are not all one thing (i.e., feminist), any more than men are.

i think there's a diff

i think there's a diff between jezebel feminists and people who deserve to be heard on these issues, including those from both genders and non-jezebel strands of feminism. Those in the latter category don't respond to shit like scott adam's blog post w/ intellectually weak sophistry to introduce and conclude their otherwise valid points. In sharp contrast, Jezebel feminists harbor no qualms with conflating an opponent's statement w/ what that statement implies.

The Salon journalist in this convo is quick witted and way more informed than I am. But her argument style bares the traping of jezebel feminism. Rather than meticulously knocking down Adam's bluster with a disciplined, edifying response (something I was licking my chops to witness, as This Conversation keeps surfacing on reddit and other web sites, and the non-he-man-woman-hater position needs a more effective representative) she added to it by setting up scare crows.

I can't complain that she didn't persuade or educate me. As Ta Nehisi Coates says, my ignorance is my burden. I do wonder, though, if her primary audience was echochambers like this one, or if instead, she was actually trying to represent her valid views to the wider swath of people who ended up reading through the entire exchange. If the former, I can see from these comments that she succeeded. If the latter though, I'm afraid she squandered an opportunity she was clearly better suited to handle. That's a loss for us all.

Playing devils advocate

As a white male who had a relativity good upbringing, and as a centrist who is able to see both sides of an argument, I thought I would play devil's advocate on this one. Now before I get started, I want to say that I am vehemently against rape in any fashion, whether it is man on woman, woman on man, man on man, or woman on woman, and the current laws pertaining to the subject are still too lenient for such a heinous act. With that though, there is still some, and I repeat, some merit to what Adams is saying. Now it isn't much, and the way he said it was rather clumsy and misogynistic, but the traces of validity are still there. While rape is now considered a very bad thing, which is how it should be, it wasn't always the case. This dates back several thousand years when human beings weren't evolved to the point where reasoning and other higher brain functions hadn't fully developed. Pre-civilized human nature's main goals were to eat, and procreate... that was it. They got food in any way they were able to, and reproduced in the same manner, either by challenging rivals, or by finding a lone member and forcing themselves onto them to ensure that their genetics were passed onto another generation. With higher brain functions, led to the consideration of feelings and other ideas that started to wear down the notion that forcing themselves onto others was okay. First it was incest, then pedophilia, then, sadly it took centuries until rape was finally considered as a horrible thing to do. While these things are now considered bad, and rightly so, they still fall into our baser instincts. The overwhelming majority of the people in the world have evolved beyond those basic instincts but there are a few people who haven't reached that level of rational understanding. What should we do with those people....my first thought is to weed them out of the gene pool to ensure that we only have more evolved people in society and bring humanity to even greater heights, but most people don't like the concept of eugenics, so sadly, we cannot quite do that. Anyways, back to the point at hand, where Adams does say that a males basic instincts are shunned and criminalized, it is technically true as the basic instinct of reproducing to get your genetic material passed onto the next generation by any means necessary, has been limited by society (and rightly so) to ensure that it is only done consentually both parties involved...as it should always be. **I feel kinda dirty defending this, but I had to show the other side of the argument, regardless of how poorly constructed or ill-conceived it may be**

As for Adams comments regarding conversing with women in regards to them only getting paid 80 cents to the dollar compared to men, again he does have some merit to his statement but he did not coherently articulate his argument properly. To begin with, most jobs nowadays don't have that pay differential like they used to due to pay equity laws that have been passed in the 1980's (yes, it is sad that it took that damn long for it to happen) but it does still exist in some areas. With jobs like CEO's and other high ranking business positions, the pay level is purely arbitrary and there really isn't a set standard to base how much a CEO should get paid (but in reality it still is way too much since they do very little to ensure the success of the company, rather it is the workers on the front line that do it) so having a woman get paid less than a man in these positions is difficult to judge as a whole because of the lack of guidelines. When it comes to other jobs, like firefighters, police, or military positions, these have government mandated equal pay, when in reality, they probably shouldn't as there isn't the same level of work capable from the female workers as there is from the male workers. Now before everyone jumps down my throat on this, let me explain a bit. When it comes to those three jobs, there are two different levels of fitness tests to obtain employment, one for men, and one for women. It is designed this way to ensure that more women have a chance to get into these areas that were once dominated by men by giving women easier standards in which to get in. While this is a great way to level the playing field to ensure that we have more women in these positions, it is not a fair method as it does make it an inequal playing field that favors women rather than men, and it is also unfair to some of the people that may potentially need those services. For example, there is a burning car on the road and the driver is unconscious, for a male officer, it would be easier to get the body to safety as he is able to lift the extra weight required to get the person out, however, if it is a female officer, she may not be able to get the person out of the vehicle as she is unable to lift the extra weight. Since we have two beat officers in the same position, but one is clearly able to fulfill the tasks of the job while the other may not be able to, shouldn't there be a differing pay scale based off of ability? Again, this is another rare circumstance but these things do end up going both ways, just very few people fail to recognize it. There is also another industry where women are paid considerably more than men...the adult entertainment industry. I know, odd example, but the pay discrepancy between the men and the women is pretty substantial as women get paid a lot more than men do. I don't want to get into the whole adult entertainment industry argument, I just wanted to point out another way that women get paid more than men. To finalize this point, I will make the comment that both women and men argue, and settle arguments differently as well where a man will end an argument and bury it afterwards, while a woman will bring up the argument multiple times even after it was supposedly settled. Now I know that it does go both ways and some men will keep on throwing an argument back into a woman's face, and some women will just drop the the argument and never bring it up again, but the norm is that women will bring it up multiple times afterwards, regardless of context or whether she was right or not. I have had arguments with multiple women and this was the result, where I have also had multiple arguments with men, and they ended and were never brought up again. So there is merit to what Adams says by not arguing the 80 cents on the dollar pay scale as it will be brought up again multiple times and will get quite exhausting rehashing the same conversation over and over again, and it is better to not begin the trek down that slippery slope.

The final bit of commenting I would like to make is in regards to Adams "low reading comprehension" comment. I will have to agree with you people that he is wrong on this as it really isn't the fault of the readers for not understanding his comments to the level that he is trying to convey, it is his fault for not properly articulating them in the first place. His comments weren't well thought out or expressed, rather more hurriedly typed and posted, then Adams would get annoyed because people cannot read his mind when it comes to what exactly he was trying to express. Does this make him the douchiest douche in the doucheiverse? Probably not, more of a windbag who can not express himself in a manner that is deserving for a subject that can bring up such strong emotions like the ones he tried to bring up... by the way, isn't referring to Adams as a douche a sexist thing on its own?? Just wanted to throw that out there as well.

Anyways, I have to go take multiple showers with bleach to get the dirt off me for typing this, but I felt that it is necessary to play the devils advocate on this and show that there was some merit to Adams postings and that we should always look at both sides of an argument rather than just polarizing ourselves onto one side of it.

Adorable

That's an adorable just-so story regarding the origins of human sexual behavior, but I'm afraid I will have to disagree with... absolutely everything you said.

I'd like to start with your poorly-supported supposition that rape was once considered something that was NOT "horrible thing to do." The nature and function of human genitalia simply doesn't bear this out. Humans, like dolphins, fuck a lot more than they need to in order to produce offspring. Human women are always fertile, unlike most other apes. Human men and women are capable of expending a great deal of energy having sex with multiple partners in rapid succession. And human women are equipped with that marvelous organ, the clitoris, which all research indicates appears to exist for sexual pleasure and nothing else. This is NOT what you would expect to see in a species in which rape was the normal way of procreating.

What would one expect to see in a species that procreated primarily by means of rape? Well, let's examine ducks. The duck phallus is remarkably like a corkscrew. It has been engaged in a millennia-long sexual arms race with the duck vagina, a cavernous organ full of blind corridors. Why? Because female ducks are often caught away from their primary partners by other males and forcibly copulated with. The female duck can steer the corkscrew penis into a vaginal blind alley and prevent unwanted fertilization. You do not see anything even remotely approaching this sort of arrangement in human genitals, which are obviously accustomed to lots and lots of lengthy, stimulating, pleasurable sex, another aspect often lacking in rape.

Also, incest. Did you know that humans who are closely related but not reared together, upon meeting each other as sexually mature adults, sometimes experience intense sexual attraction to one another? It is called "Genetic Sexual Attraction", and it can be extremely distressing to, say, long-lost siblings who were separated at birth. What counteracts this effect in related humans reared together? Another phenomenon, known as the Westermarck effect: humans reared together from young ages tend to hold no sexual interest in each other as adults, regardless of their degree of relatedness. This was discovered partly by observing that children reared in kibbutzim formed almost no marriages between those who had been raised with them, despite the fact that they were not related. The incest taboo, interpreted differently by different societies, appears to be based on this effect.

That's all I have time to rebut just at the moment but please, do yourself a favor and pick up some academic books about human sexual behavior rather than regurgitating some very poorly digested ideas with no basis in fact.

Can't get passed first premise

Kes, you did better than I did. I couldn't passed the idea that someone could offer their status as a well-brought-up white man as evidence of his "centrism." Really? No horse in this race?

Hate and scorn

All the hate and scorn is perhaps motivated and understandable, but will it really help improve anything? Just asking, and I'll be quiet now and just hide in this corner...

Confused

As a man, I'm still confused about what was so wrong about Scott's original blog.

If you read it (as opposed to reading this misrepresentation of it) the central points are as follows:

-Men have to refrain from acting on certain natural urges for society to function properly.

-When they don't, we see events in the news like tweeting your package (Wiener), rape (Strauss-Kahn), etc.

-Modern society has evolved to the point where these behaviours are considered illegal.

-Given that we can't blame the victims and given that society has benefits to all, would it be a good idea to pharmaceutically castrate men if it were medically possible?

Other than that last question being controversial (I get that), what about the content is offensive? I really don't understand.

---------------

As for the quote here that was supposedly so offensive, I don't understand why it is offensive either.

"I have a higher opinion of women than you do, in the sense that I think men are genetically more prone to bad behavior. If your point is that women suck just as much as men, I'll take your word for it. But you'll need to explain why our jails have so many more men than women."

It seems to me to be factual to suggest that men in the US (and Canada since that is where I am from) are statistically more prone to criminal behaviour. We can have the nature/nurture debate, and while both certainly apply, biologists and psychologists are increasingly leaning on "nature" (genetics) to explain the predisposition to most types of behaviour.

Can anyone explain where any of this is offensive?

(If you disagree with my interpretation of Scott's blog, that is a different issue. Although you may be correct, my interest is in finding out if any of what I interpreted above is offensive, since I don't see it and I would like to)

"Men have to refrain from

"Men have to refrain from acting on certain natural urges for society to function properly."

I found the above-statement offensive. Specifically the word "natural". I simply do not and can not believe that a man's natural urge is to rape. Some men? Certainly, for rape exists. But not all men, and not even the majority of men. Do men want to have intercourse with mulitple random strangers? That's what we're told. But desire for intercourse with strangers, however base women may (genearlly) consider such an idea, is not in the least bit equivalent to rape. Or sending dirty photos, etc. etc.

The idea that the solution to all this is to chemically castrate men is ridiculous and offensive once again. It seems to presume that women are not sexual creatures with no desire for intimacy with their spouses.

In your second part, you mention how Scott claims to have a higher opinion of women than (I forget to whom he is speaking here). That's a comment designed to get someone's back up. I don't think men or women are genetically prone to bad behaviour, as genders, merely as individuals. So it's not about men or women "suck"ing as Scott puts it: it's that humans sometimes "suck", regardless of our gender. We often don't "suck" which is also not on account of our gender.

As for the differences in the jail populations, testosterone may play a part (violent crimes), as well as the higher burden generally placed on males as providers - the societal ideal of the man being financially independant (male crimes often involve theft). Drugs continue to be less popular with women than men, I think because we know taht at some point, our bodies may well be home to another life form (baby). Finally, we the prospect of someday carrying a child for nine months tends to give women a longer-view of consequences, which may also be a contributing factor.

I have read and contributed comments to Scott's blog for a number of years and this is my first time on this magazine's site. I often find Scott's points funny or interesting. I was far more offended by his interviews than I was by the blog post. The post was offensive, but I've become accustomed to the way Scott presents his ideas, and take what I like and leave the rest. But the way he conducted himself in the interviews was really terrible.

- Fellow Canadian.
--------------
Finally, on my note, I am sick unto death of the argument that women get hysterical while men stay rational. When debating with a man on almost any topic, I have found that when they don't have a valid point or when their point is refuted, they (a) get personal, (b) change the parameters of the discussion, (c) tell the woman they don't understand without pointing to anything that they have not understood, (d) start asking for proof and then denying that said proof is valid.

Let me explain that last one. There is nothing wrong with wanting someone to back up their points, however, in a general debate, no one is providing tangible proofs. A discussion or debate can go on for 20, 30 minutes with neither side asking for statistics or proofs. So if we've debated for the last half an hour on generally accepted principles and using logic to pick apart each others' points, now suddenly you want statistical proof that brain size does not equal intelligence (for example)? And when you do bring a study or something, they suddenly remember some story somewhere about that source not being entirely factual 100% of the time and therefore your entire point is not valid and the man has won the entire debate. And if you cry foul, you're "hysterical".

To be completely fair, I have known some men to avoid these patterns and debate in a logical and fair manner most of the time. When I found one that did so all the time - I married him.

"Men have to refrain from

"Men have to refrain from acting on certain natural urges for society to function properly." is not specific to rape. It can be a large range of actions from saying the wrong things to staring too longs to harassment to, yes, in some cases, rape.

I will agree with you that if Scott meant that all men have a natural urge to rape, he is both wrong and offensive on the matter. I can't understand how his blog could interpreted that way. Still, if that's the part that has everybody up in arms, then I get it, I just disagree with the reading.

With regards to men and women both behaving badly, I'll grant you that, but as you said, men are more prone to violence. We are also more prone to trying to dominate. These are genetic predispositions, although they are expressed in different ways and to different degrees in different men. Because of that, I don't think that it is a stretch to suggest that men's bad behaviour is more likely to be deemed criminal, even if women behave badly just as often.

As far as men being more rational than women, you need only look at most political debates to see just how rational we men usually are. I'm not sure that either sex has a claim on being particularly rational. We are not a particularly rational species.

Since you asked (kinda)

I think the issue at hand is that the "natural urges" bit seems to suggest that men are naturally inclined towards rape, and that rape is somehow a "natural" part of them. Personally, I see the Strauss-Kahn/Wiener cases to be actions that perpetuate a society that allows rape and predatory (male) sexual behavior, rather than one that shuns it. If these men had simply had affairs, they would have been criticized, but the predatory nature of at least Strauss-Kahn's actions make it illegal as well as oppressive, as he used his privileged status as a man of power to assault a woman of lower social class. I understand that sexuality and sexual desire are natural urges, and I think men should definitely be allowed for acting on those urges--it would be cruel to deny anyone that, but rape is not a natural urge. If I hit someone with a frying pan, it's still illegal no matter how "natural" the urge was--and believe me, I've had that urge. Anyone can rationalize anything as a "natural" urge, and the debate is where we draw the line.

As for the behavior, I think that socialization does play a role. Boys are taught to be active, to fight, and girls are not. We tend to excuse violent behavior in men more than in women because of the "boys will be boys" idea, which I personally think is not an idea that comes from nature, but from nurture. Women are expected to be responsible and docile, and therefore not expected to make rash or violent decisions. Men are only prone to "bad" behavior because they are allowed to be. Holding men to a lower standard (expecting less of them, expecting them to be irresponsible or violent) does not benefit men. To me, that's treating a man like a small child, and I find that insulting to the man, and ultimately maintains the man/woman divide instead of attempting to bridge it. (I feel this way about evolutionary psychology in general--it's rationalization for sexism. Adams is also unsurprisingly silent about trans, intersex and genderqueer people).

I think that the best course of action is preventative. Instead of castrating rapists, we should be teaching kids about equality and respect and that rape is wrong.

And yes, I do think men and women suck equally. Why? Because we're all humans. :)

Sorry, I'm not sure I

Sorry, I'm not sure I understand the difference of opinion here.

'If I hit someone with a frying pan, it's still illegal no matter how "natural" the urge was--and believe me, I've had that urge. Anyone can rationalize anything as a "natural" urge, and the debate is where we draw the line.'

A violent reaction to a number of stimuli (somebody is breaking into your house, somebody is attacking your children, somebody said something you didn't like, etc) is natural. In modern society we deem that urge justifiable and "good" in some cases (like protecting your children) and inexcusably violent in others (somebody is wearing a colour combination that you dislike). The fact that the urge can be just as "natural" in either case is completely independent of it being good or acceptable.

Similalry, when men have sexual urges, it can be expressed in inoffensive ways (a nice smile in your direction) or offensive ways (unwelcome and brash comments). In the most extreme cases, it can be expressed as various kinds of assault. The fact that the urge might be "natural" (both extremes that I described have existed for a long time and exist in many species) does not mean that the action is good.

As far as this comment:

"I understand that sexuality and sexual desire are natural urges, and I think men should definitely be allowed for acting on those urges"

I'm not sure that I agree. If you knew what kinds of thoughts and urges the typical male had every second time he gets on public transport, you would be rather pleased that we sacrifice momentary pleasure for the good of society. I don't think that we should hold men to a lower standard, but I don't think that ignoring that we have sometimes have som pretty messed up urges will help us reach a higher standard.

As far as the best course of action, I will agree with you there. Education is the best tool that we have. Perhaps one day we will have a concrete understanding of the neuro-psychology behind the various motives for rape, but until then, education education education.

Hm, yeah, I think I wasn't

Hm, yeah, I think I wasn't clear. Sorry, I hadn't had coffee yet. I'm saying that society allows for some extra wiggle room when it comes to violence in men, and I don't think that's right. I think that women and men have the same urges, but that their urges are treated differently, with different levels of acceptance in our society, and that double standard is an issue. People should be free to express their sexuality, but with the condition that they do so in a respectful manner. The same, in a way, goes for expressing anger.

One of the bullet points you mentioned was that men are somehow being stunted in our society by being told they shouldn't rape people. I honestly don't get that. I think what happens sometimes is that men are used to having privilege over other people. When equality is gained (or in the process of being gained), some men feel that they are losing rights rather than seeing that other people are gaining them. Some of them act out, and some of them think that by going back to sexual inequality, things will be better. And they would be better--for men. I think sometimes men resent the idea of not having privilege anymore, and it comes out as misogyny, but what they fail to understand that the misogyny was there to begin with. Does that make sense? Also, lashing out at women for perceived loss ties into the "she was asking for it" idea, with the suggestion that an independent woman working outside the home is somehow more susceptible to rape than a woman who stays home "where she belongs."

The flip side of "rape is natural" is "being raped is natural," and suggests that women (and men, too) should expect to be raped, and even maybe like it.

I think maybe the issue is the word "natural" (I'm not trying to say you were wrong for using it; I'm just examining things), and that "natural" is a concrete thing, when it's really a very subjective term. To use an extreme example, some would say that incest is unnatural, but some would say that sexual attraction is natural, no matter whom it's toward, and argue that what we call incest is practiced in other species (a friend of the family has a dog whose parents are siblings, for example). The problem of bringing other species into the argument is that while they can provide insight into some human behavior, their behavior cannot always be compared to humans, particularly when it comes to complex societal constructs like we have. Animal behavior is worth looking at, but I think it's a problem to look at, say, the mating habits of a particular animal and draw direct parallels to human behavior.

You may be right that there is a neurological reason for people being more or less prone to violence, but I believe there are other factors as well. Rape is not always a lone attacker jumping out of an alleyway, and it happens in many different scenarios with many different causes. By saying it's solely caused by one reason or another is dangerous, because it allows people to turn a blind eye to other possible factors. I think we need to explore all our options.

Eh, I hope this clears some things up. If it doesn't, feel free to let me know.

We mostly agree

It seems like we agree on most things, and our differences of opinion are, generally, rather minor. (This is longer than I anticipated, so I'll break it up a little to make it easier to read or respond to, if you want)
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I'm not sure that men and women have exactly the same urges. I've never felt a woman's urges, so I can't know this for sure, but with our different body and brain chemistry, it would strike me as unlikely that out urges were identical even if our brain structure is virtually identical. It is also out of sync with my life experiences. Men don't even have the exact same urges as other men, so when we talk about this kind of stuff, we are always talking in probabilistic terms across large populations.

Nonetheless, when you say that double standards are an issue, I couldn't agree more.

Similarly, I agree whole-heartedly with this statement: "People should be free to express their sexuality, but with the condition that they do so in a respectful manner. The same, in a way, goes for expressing anger."

That doesn't mean that we won't have natural, bad urges, just that we should be responsible for filtering ourselves. There are several studies showing that people who are stronger self-monitors are more successful, get more promotions, and are more pleasant to be around. With that in mind, there is evidence for filtering ones impulses, even when we are not talking about criminal activity.
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I can't find anywhere that I wrote "men are somehow being stunted in our society by being told they shouldn't rape people" or defended that point of view.

The closest that I have said is that sometimes we have to filter out our natural urges for society to work at its best, and some people have had the urge to rape somebody. Not raping somebody will seem like a restriction on them in the moment, but that doesn't imply that society is in the wrong nor does it imply that men are being stunted.

Suggesting as much seems to be like suggesting that anybody who wants to beat somebody up is being stunted if his friends hold him back. Of course he won't be happy about the restriction in the moment, but everybody (including himself, though he may never admit it) is better off in the long run.

------------

I hear what you are saying about the use of the word "natural" in the context of rape. Let me clear up what I mean, since I agree that the word can be used in a lot of ways.

From a very strict standpoint, it's not rape itself that is natural, it is the urge to rape that is natural. there is a lot of fascinating study going on regarding the psychological and the neurological origins of urges and ideas. They seem to come out of nowhere. We can't consciously access the parts of our brains that control our urges. So any urge that pops into your head is, in that sense, natural. It is a biological product over which you had no control. It's as natural as your heart beating or an involuntary response. It is influenced by many factors, including genetics and your upbringing, but it is not something over which you have control.

Whether or not you act on the urge is less natural, although you could make an argument that acting on urges, when nothing is stopping you, is natural. That's a different use of the term "natural" and not the way that I meant it.

In this sense, while it can be natural to have an urge to rape, having the urge to be raped is almost a contradiction in terms. Of course, I have heard of sexual fantasies involving exactly that. Still, we can agree that liking being raped is certainly not the usual or expected response.
--------------

As for violence and rape having other factors and coming in many forms, I agree 100%. I agree that we should look at those other factors, but by the same logic, i don't think that we should ignore the neurological side of it either.

Since urges are a poorly understood phenomena that lay outside the functions of the brain that we can consciously access, I think that recognizing their influence on violence, rape, theft, etc can be quite constructive, so long as we don't use the limits of our understanding as an excuse to do nothing.

Yeah, I think it seems we're

Yeah, I think it seems we're mostly in agreement. I guess I was talking a little more broadly. Internet comments make conversations like this kind of hard to express yourself. And don't worry I never meant to imply that you said "men are somehow being stunted in our society by being told they shouldn't rape people." I think I was referring to a bullet in your original post that had been made by Adams. The neurological idea is pretty nifty in a lot of ways, though, and I would be interested to follow that research.

I find that research

I find that research fascinating too. I have only recently started to follow it after getting introduced to the topic in Sam Harris' book, Moral Landscape. Realizing just how much of our thought process is involuntary and just how much of our behaviour is genetically predisposed was rather shocking to me.

If you've ever done a Myers Briggs personality test at school or at work, there is a fair bit of literature arguing that those traits are 100% genetically defined, which is why you can do the test years apart and get virtually the same result (unless you are currently going through a traumatic event).

Anyway, going off topic here, so I'll leave it at that and thank you for the exchange. It was very pleasant.

Just one point

...and then I'll leave you alone :)

As far as genetics are concerned, I always wonder how much controversy would be generated if something like what the article discusses, or evolutionary psychology in general, was not about men and women but about, say, people of different ethnic groups. Since ethnicity is obviously tied to genetics, I feel that not only sexism but racism could be perpetuated by these things. If, for example, Adams' quip about comparing women to young children and the developmentally disabled had "white people" and "black people" in place of "men" and "women," respectively, do you think this kind of debating would happen, or do you think more people would find it offensive? I mean, not too long ago, pseudo-sciences like phrenology were held as true and allowed racist ideas to be presented as scientific fact.

Also, I tried a Myers Briggs test, and I don't get it. I kept going 'But what is the situation? Can I have more information? I can't make blanket statements like this." I guess that's my personality type?

I never really enjoyed taking

I never really enjoyed taking personality tests for the reason that you described. Still a significant amount of literature is associating the Myers Briggs, the "Big 5", and a few others with our DNA. In particular, our natural tendency to adapt ourselves to an audience appears to be genetic (some people act the same in all groups whereas some people feed off the demeanour of others). This is extremely correlated with career success and happiness in personal relationships as well.

As for Adams' quip with women, children, and the mentally handicapped, it wasn't exactly comparing the groups except to say that men never seem to win an argument with any of those groups, so there's no point in arguing. The tone of that statement would come across as offensive regardless which groups you put in there. That being said, while most people have had the experience of not being able to have a rational discussion with the opposite sex, I'm not sure that the same is true for other ethnic groups, so the statement would have come across as particularly bizarre. Any bizarre statement regarding different groups will be taken badly. Many women found his statement bizarre and were, evidently, not pleased.

As far as different ethnic groups being tied to different social tendencies through the proper study of genetics, psychology, and neurobiology (and hopefully not eugenics), it is something that we, or our descendants may have to deal with. We already know that certain ethnicities are more prone to alcoholism, in probabilistic terms, not deterministic terms, than others. It's not a stretch to imagine that we will begin to discover all kinds of things that are uncomfortable to know. Some ethnicities will be more prone to some diseases and using government funds to research one disease over another may seem racists. Some ethnicities may be more prone to anti-social behaviour or violence.

I have no idea how we will react to that, but there is no doubt that people will read into these valuable insights about our nature and use it as an abhorrant excuse for racism.

Of course, if white males end up being the group most prone to sociopathic behaviour, there will be some very interesting debates at the UN indeed!

I wouldn't have nearly so

I wouldn't have nearly so much a problem with this view if people followed it to the logical conclusion. Dog's aren't at fault if they attack someone, it's a combination of genes and training that's at fault. However, if a dog is considered a danger, he is put down. Now, since men can't stop themselves from raping women, and rape is clearly dangerous to the victim, therefore rapists should be put down.

You might be taking this

You might be taking this analogy passed its logical usefulness. We put dogs down based on the idea that society is safer if dangerous dogs are put down. The same might not hold true for rapists, even if they are incorrigible (which may or may not be true, I have no idea).

There are many varieties of rape, from the "we were both drunk but she was more drunk than me and felt that I took advantage" variety to the most violent and horrifying kinds.

While we can agree that there is no good rape, we can likely agree that there are bad kinds and worse kinds. If we consider those among the worse kinds, they are usually deliberate criminal acts. If the punishment is the death penalty, then all you are doing is encouraging the rapist to kill the victim, since he reduces his risk of getting caught. "Putting down" rapists could actually make being a rape victim more dangerous.

(As a side note, interesting studies on psychopaths show that decisions are not based on "right" and "wrong," they are based on the likelihood of getting punished).

Ok, so there are problems

Ok, so there are problems with implementing it. I was just pointing out that when one takes moral responsibility away from humans you equate them with dogs, and thus one equates violent criminals with dangerous dogs.

Not exactly. Acknowledging

Not exactly. Acknowledging natural urges doesn't take responsibility away from offenders. You probably can't say that you've never been tempted to put a chocolate bar in your pocket without paying for it (or another such inane crime), but that doesn't mean that you did it.

I've been referencing this a lot today, but you might be interested in checking out the second chapter of "Moral Landscape" by Sam Harris (a neuro scientist) to see that (a) the human mind is a natural thing, (b) free will is an illusion, and (c) we are still responsible for our actions.

It's a fascinating read for a variety of reasons, but it also presents in layman's terms where the current science lines up on those issues. Philosophical accounts are easy to come by, but I've rarely seen as good scientific accounts.

It's the "natural urge" part

It's the "natural urge" part that's a problem. Do you believe that men have a natural urge to rape? I, for one, believe that rape happens a result of men having had power, status and privilege over women for centuries. I believe that rape happens because we live in a rape culture that normalizes rape, dominance, and power over women. (For an example of rape culture, think of some of the terms guys use in normal conversation about sex: "I nailed her!" "I banged this chick last night!" "I screwed her." None of those terms indicates the woman's pleasure, or even active participation; they are simply terms to describe how manly and dominant the man was.) Our culture encourages these behaviors.
We are still responsible for our actions, absolutely, no question. But why do we have to assume that these actions are the result of natural urges? We can't ignore the years and years and years of male privilege that play a part in how men think about women and, as a result, treat them.

I said something similar in

I said something similar in response to another post, but it's relevant here (I'll edit and adapt to make it more relevant)
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"Natural" can be used in a lot of different ways, so let me clear up how I mean it.

There is a lot of fascinating study going on regarding the psychological and the neurological origins of urges and ideas. They seem to come out of nowhere. We can't consciously access the parts of our brains that control our urges. So any urge that pops into your head is, in that sense, natural. It is a biological product over which you had no control. It's as natural as your heart beating or an involuntary response. It is influenced by many factors, including genetics and your upbringing, but it is not something over which you have control. Nobody chooses to have an urge.

When you crave (insert your favourite food hear) you never thought "I want to crave this food now, so I will" first. That craving is natural, whether or not it was influence by effective marketing.

In this sense, any man who experiences the urge to rape is experiencing a natural urge, since all urges are natural phenomena over which we have no direct control. This doesn't mean that all men, or even a majority of men will experience the same urge. It also doesn't mean that there is any excuse to act on all the urges that you have.

It also suggests that, since there are genetic and environmental factors that can influence urges, that changes to our culture and our society can, in part, help to reduce these urges. Things like changing the way we talk to each other or changing the number of women on the cover of magazines at the typical news stand have a measurable effect on what we think is acceptable. These environmental changes can also impact the kinds of urges we get, although this link is poorly understood right now.

I think the lines between the

I think the lines between the urge to reproduce and the act of rape are being blurred a bit more than they should be in order to give the idea of rape being natural credence. Just as the desire to reproduce may be natural, we also have a natural aversion to causing harm to other humans. Rape, which I've always understood to be primarily about power, involves a lot more than just an impulse to have sex with someone. I believe you're oversimplifying a very complex issue by simply considering it natural.

There's no doubt that rape is

There's no doubt that rape is about more than just the urge to reproduce. Still, I don't think that it is false to suggest that many men who rape have the urge to rape. That urge is likely coming from a mix of sex, power, and a whole host of other factors.

All I am trying to say is that urges are a poorly understood natural phenomena and that some people occasionally have the urge to rape.

I'm not trying to suggest that natural urges aren't complex nor am I trying to suggest that rape is only about sex. If anything, the fact that some people have a temptation that we don't fully understand makes the entire issue even more complex. I would argue that ignoring the natural urges and only focusing on the societal context is oversimplifying the issue.

Do you feel the same when a

Do you feel the same when a hypothetical rapist is a woman? I'm not trying to be snarky, I'm actually asking what you think about that. The focus in many of these posts has been about men raping, but do you feel the same language and hypotheses can be applied to female sexual assailants?

Of course! I think that the

Of course!

I think that the same language and hypotheses can be used for men, women, and children for a variety of actions, both good and bad, not just rape.

That's why I don't believe that an equivalence between "good" and "natural" can be made nor do I think that we can make excuses bad actions whether or not there was a natural element to the impulse. I do think that the urge should be recognized, however, since I don't think that we will ever solve the problem completely without recognizing the "nature" and "nurture" elements.

That being said, it wouldn't surprise me if excess testosterone were correlated with the type of behaviour (violent/dominant) that is associated with rape. If that were the case, then the urge to rape would likely be in the nature of more men than women. Of course, I don't actually know if that is the case.

I might have not been totally

I might have not been totally clear, my point was that not you were confusing the urge to reproduce and rape as two natural urges. My stance was I would argue that the the desire to reproduce is natural. However, rape, influenced by that desire or not, is unnatural. As you seem to agree, it is much more complicated. You said, "rape is influenced by many factors, including genetics and your upbringing" There's infinite possibilities there; I would say that a many things that happen during one's upbringing are unnatural as well as the unnamed many other factors. How can something with many parts, including as you've also said, outside factors, be natural? It seems like your reasoning would suggest then that everything that happens under the sun is natural. in which case I think natural was a poor choice of a words, or that you're using the word very loosely. "Scientifically explainable", or "with explanations linked in part to natural causes" would seem more appropriate to your argument, or at least less ambiguous than your particular usage of natural.

What I find problematic with choosing to use the word natural is it implies that the act of rape is a built in urge, that is to say something in our nature that occurs without external forces, which you point out DO play a part of rape. By so closely associating the terms rape and natural, it removes a certain amount of guilt from the perpetrator and seems to insinuate that it's just how people are 'supposed to be' since its in their nature, some guys just can't fight it. Perhaps, especially if you're going to take a somewhat scientific stance such as you made in mentioning neurological impulses, you should use more concrete terms and shy away from terms that you will have to "clear up how I mean it."

Definitions

It seems as if we mostly disagree on the word "natural." I don't think it's a particularly ambiguous term, but it is sometimes misused (as are many words, unfortunately).

To me, because the urge to rape is "natural" in some men does not imply that it is simple. What is more complex than the natural world? What has more influences than the natural world? To say that the urge to rape is influenced by things other than genetics does not make it any less natural. Urges are quite clearly a natural phenomena. I don't see how the urge to rape that too many men have can be said to be unnatural unless you also mean that "natural" has an implication of being good or bad.

The word "natural" does not imply that something is good. To say that the word "natural" implies to fit in with our current moral code is to imply either that our current moral code cannot be improved upon (this is patently false) or it is to imply that the definition of "natural" is in constant flux with our moral code (this definition of "natural" is useless).

Implying that "natural" means "good" is also used as an excuse to prop up antiquated, immoral behaviour. How often in history have we heard that whites are naturally more intelligent than blacks or that gay marriage is unnatural? All marriage is unnatural (designed by humans or by God, depending on your beliefs), but that doesn't make it a bad thing, nor does the natural impulse for a man to react violently to an insult automatically become a good thing.

If we want to use the term accurately, to suggest that rape, or more specifically, the urge to rape, is unnatural, is equivalent to suggesting that it is artificial and designed. If that is the case, then it is designed with specific intent by humans. Who designed rape and for what purpose was rape designed? Is rape invented each time that a rape occurs? Clearly deeming the urge to rape as artificial is to ignore the magnitude of the problem. When you ignore any root cause of a problem (given that there is likely more than just one root cause) you drastically diminish the probability of solving the problem.

As for using a word that needs to be cleared up, that doesn't necessarily mean that I used the wrong word. "Natural" is clearly the right word, but like almost all words in the English language, it has more than one definition.

The only definition that contradicts this is using the word natural as "accepted and expected." This is the 8th definition down on the dictionary that I consulted. An example of this is "I love her so naturally I proposed to her," but this is clearly not the way that anybody is using the word "natural" when discussing the subject of rape.

*uneasy smile*

This is a joke, right?

Mostly

I'm just sick of people claiming that people aren't responsible for their actions, especially when it leads to the idea that they should not be punished because "it's not their fault."

And I promised myself...

...I'd never post on a comment thread again.

As a man and a feminist, I hope I can explain something to the guys who've posted and don't seem to understand what there is to find objectionable in Adams' original statement. Forgetting for a moment that Adams' pseudoscientific ramblings about anthropology, psychology, and sociology aren't really rooted in a firm grounding in the subject matter (though goodness knows, HBO and Showtime original series DO back him up...), here's the problem, gents: You're focusing on the minutiae here. Look at the big picture: Adams said something stupid, but he's not the real target. What the writers at Bitch (and many of the commenters here) are peeved about is the fact that he is symptomatic of a larger problem: the moral infantilisation of men, along with its various justifiers and perpetuators.
Adams is making five claims: (1) That men's basest instincts are toward acts like rape. (2) That society has criminalised the acts that these instincts lead to. (3) That this criminalisation is a repression of men's "natural desires." (4) That, according to a standard which Adams himself accepts, this repression is morally good and right, but it creates a tension between nature and society. (5) That the solution to this tension is mass chemical castration.
This isn't a logically cohesive argument. I could walk you through it, but I think that would be beneath both of us. So, again: Adams himself and his argument aren't the focus. The focus is the notion that men are inherently morally inferior, incapable of thinking rationally or ignoring their libido, and thus in need of some special adaptive measure (like drugs, prison, etc.) to bridge the gap.
What separates men and women is not a logical-emotional dichotomy, or a hunter-nurturer dichotomy, or any of the other fictions of pop sociology. It's testosterone. Men are the ones who commit violent crimes more often because they have the physical strength to do so, gained during adolescence. It has nothing to do with biological predispositions toward or away from monogamy, or a solitary existence as wandering, spear-carrying sperm donors, or because of some reptilian-brain-tweak that makes us all want to kill, rape, and hoard.

Thank you

*Applause*

Thank you indeed

Was a pleasure to ready your intelligent summation of his post and response to it. There is plenty to object to in Scott's post as it stands, without reading into it things that just aren't there.

In his defense (If i may dare to do so), he seems to throws out this stuff out facetiously, to provoke thought, comment and controversy without necessarily earnestly advocating or believing what he says. He also seems to deliberately leave himself open to being mis-understood. That's probably a douche-baggy thing to do. At least lets call him a douche-bag for the right reasons though.

Thanks for breaking your promise and commenting. For what its worth, it made my day to read such a well-reasoned post.

PS: I too find many of his assertion's outrageous in his own right - especially that women have some exclusive patent on being illogical and vindictive - there's plenty of that kind of behavior in men too (though a related point is maybe valid - men as a whole probably don't identify themselves - yet - as a common-interest group the way women maybe do).

Adam's claims

I think you're condensing the claims a bit unsuitably.

(1) That men's basest instincts are towards acts like rape.

He's not saying all men's instincts are towards acts like rape, he's saying that male sexuality is almost being treated as criminal. He included, for example "tweeting, cheating and being offensive to just about everyone in the world" as part of this bad behavior that's looked down upon. Also, I don't think you'd disagree that statutory rape is perhaps related to man's basest instincts (as well as women's).

(2) That society has criminalized the acts these instincts lead to

Well, in the case of public nudity, sexual harrassment, AND rape, it has. I think that it's fine to include those fine morally corrupt examples of the masculine kind when considering the instincts driving men. Just don't generalize to all men. And I don't think he did.

(3) That this criminalisation is a repression of men's "natural desires."

In the cases being referred to by Adams, they are.

(4) That, according to a standard which Adams himself accepts, this repression is morally good and right, but it creates a tension between nature and society.

...yeah.

(5) That the solution to this tension is mass chemical castration.

First off, he wasn't stating that chemical castration was a solution to "rape". His "square peg and round hole" thing seems to suggest he thinks that current social structures that allow men to express their sexuality are inadequate. And that inadequacy will lead to men willingly giving up their sexuality on a temporary basis. What's controversial about it is that he predicts this will happen on a massive scale -- leading you to think that he thinks all men have a repressed urge for rape. But what he's saying is that there are other repressed sexual urges *besides* rape that could also stand to be healed -- like the inability to find a suitable lifelong partner, or indecent exposure, or what not. And since there are many men who have such urges (I'm not among them), such a chemical castration could actually be a benefit -- and as the benefit spreads, more men may choose it.

I think it helps to read the article with a cool head, and get over the fact that he makes errors in his "pseudoscientific ramblings about anthropology, psychology, and sociology" (lots of people make such mistakes, including several feminists -- I don't see why you can't just point out what was a mistake and what wasn't, and move on instead of calling it "offensive").

By the way, it seems like my comments have been marked as "spam"... since the last comment I made was a half hour ago it seems possible that either the comment-approval system is over-zealous, or I've been censored, but I sincerely hope it's not the latter. Anyway, in hope that it's the former, I'll hide my IP to fool it for now.

You say that Scott Adams is

You say that Scott Adams is part of the men's right movement. You do realize the link you provide says exactly the opposite of that, right? I mean, not to defend some of the stuff he said, but if you didn't realize that, he might have a point about people having low reading comprehension. Also, you seem to be implying that he only asked people to write more simply/directly in the interviews; he also responded to the things they said on an intellectual level. Not to say he isn't kind of a douche about it, but this article isn't really giving him an accurate representation.

Clarification

Hi Anonymous,

When I said Adams was involved in the men's rights movement I was referring to the incident I linked to where he wrote about men's rights at the request of several activists—readers of his blog who asked him to cover the subject—and insulted women in the process. I don't know if he himself identifies as a men's rights activist, just that he garnered negative attention for writing on the subject (and comparing women to candy-loving four-year-olds in the process). Sorry if that was unclear!

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

In that same blog he made fun

In that same blog he made fun of the men's rights movement and upset people within it.

It was incorrect to claim that Scott Adams is involved in the men's rights movement, and if you want your article to be marginally more factual, you might want to edit that part out.

Exactly!

He says that:

1. Men have a natural urge to behave badly

2. Society (which includes men) evolved laws to deal with these urges. In his interviews (the part's that don't seem to be quoted here), he clarifies that meant that men & wpmen support these laws also (he says something to the effect that a man would rather than his mother/daughter/sister has the right to say no than he have a right to have his way as he wants)

3. Chemical castration would be better than laws at preventing bad behavior - more effective and also keeps men happy by removing the urge rather than suppressing it.

There's plenty to argue about in his post as it is. I expected that people (men and women) would be up in arms at this outlook of male mental make-up or the extremist solution that he recommends. (Especially since occasional readers would not know that his gross over-simplifications and generalizations are not meant to be take seriously.) I really didn't expect it to be seen as supporting rape or being offensive to women. But I guess its just that to someone with a hammer in their hand, everything looks like a nail.

The worst part of it is that I genuinely believe he's wrong when he says (in another, unrelated post) you can't have a logical discussion with women (and to be sure, illogic is not the exclusive domain of women by far. Men are equally prone to debating based on mis-understanding or deliberately misrepresenting the opposite view). But reactions like this tend to give false-credibility to that extreme claim of his.

Oh god! I just (barely) read

Oh god! I just (barely) read his interview. It was so painful I wouldn't know where to start. Does he read anything he's posting?
His views are obviously not felt by me as a man, and I doubt a good chunk of the male population.
His cartoons are also weak and it's a wonder they've made it this far.

"Adams... wrote on his blog

"Adams... wrote on his blog recently that, among other things, men are naturally prone to raping women (and "tweeting their meat," which he lumps into the same sentence as rape) and society is to blame"

Umm... So you're saying that Scott says society is to blame for men being naturally prone to raping? Where in his entire post did he write that?

I grant that he leaves too much room for confusion in his writing style - but no matter how you read it, he never even comes close to saying that society is to blame for men being prone to rape. In fact he CLEARLY blames MEN, when he says that rape is a natural urge for them. (Lots of ppl would disagree with this and that would be fair. But lets not put words in his mouth and then attack him for saying what he didn't.)

Neither does he imply that rape being a natural urge makes it okay. All he says is that to protect itself from men's harmful urges, Society (note that he says "Society" and not "women") evolved laws to suppress those urges. He then question's whether laws are the best method for dealing with rape or would we be better off using chemical castration to deal with the problem. His "logic" for proposing this is that maybe its better to nip the urge in the bud rather than suppress it. (Regular reader's of his blog would recognize this for a "thought experiment" and not a serious / firm recommendation.)

I don't buy into a lot of what Scott says, but I must ask:

How does anyone who: a. Says that men have a natural urge to rape & behave badly and b. Proposes chemical castration of men as a solution for this, end up being labelled a misogynist??

 

No Idea...

I too came on here looking for an explanation about what was so bad about Scott's post and how it was construed as misogynistic. It seems as if I share the beliefs of most people on here about most things, except that Scott's article was interpreted in a vastly different way by me than it was by others.

It might have to do with framing. Since many people on here read this article's account of the post before reading the post itself, they might have been looking at it very differently than I was. That's the only explanation that I can come up with, since, other than our understanding of what Scott meant, I agree with most things that most posters on here have written.

The article itself is shamefully and appallingly misleading, but in general those commenting have been posting good stuff.

JEZ SALON N BITCH

I think the most entertaining and insightful response to his original post is actually posted on his site through his 'interviews' of writers from salon and Jezebel, it just made all the points I wanted to see made and his responses were utter crap.

Did he ask for an interview with someone from Bitch? 'Cause I would love to read that one as well.

So... how many of these

So... how many of these "commenters" here are just sock puppets for Scott Adams?

I always get suspicious whenever I see someone defend Adams for his high reading comprehension. The guy has a real weakness against anyone ever saying otherwise.

On the whole, however, I don't believe Scott Adams is capable of enough self-reflection and humility to ever admit that his thinking is wrong or -horrors!- to ever truly apologize. Therefore, we need to just stop feeding this troll.

For the record, Scott Adams

For the record, Scott Adams is not a member of the Men's Rights Movement. He disgusts most MRAs as much as he disgusts you feminists and he is an equal-opportunity douchebag that practices misandry and misogyny in equal proportions.

We hate him as much as you do...nice to see we can come together on our mutual loathing for a human being, eh?

I just wanted to point out,

I just wanted to point out, for anyone who didn't bother to click the link, that his "involvement" with the Men's Right movement was just blogging on the subject as requested by his readers, not involvement as with the official or unofficial parts of the movement itself. "Involved" seemed like a really misleading way to phrase it.

To understand a topic fully,

To understand a topic fully, you need to look at both sides of the story to maintain a proper grounding. Maybe the person is a douche and is plain wrong or maybe they are right and believe in something that society does not support.

Either way, it is childish to to attack people when they are trying to expand on topics that may or may not necessarily be their own views. Doing so prohibits thinking for ourselves and discussions among friends which, most importantly, allows us to learn and develop a greater understanding. If someone has a problem with that, I would be concerned.

Despite all this...

Despite your comments about his opinions (particularly right after your twenty-third link to an out-of-context article about his women/children/disabilities post), you are still missing several of the main tenets of his point, which remain true.

If you read the emails written by Irin and Mary Elizabeth, his responses are all justified. They both try a similar strategy of including copious volumes of only tenuously relevant material about feminism. His response was a logical one aimed at making the discussion relevant: what do you disagree with and why?

Of course, if you have ever read more than a few posts from his blog directly, you would know what is happening. He writes for a specific audience and writes on interesting issues and ideas, not necessarily always what he believes but interesting nonetheless. By taking every quote from each of the related posts you have in fact proven him right by changing the context of his comments and therefore changing their meanings.

Furthermore, his emphasis on reading comprehension is critical when analysing a piece like this. As he as stated before, it is impossible to maintain a discussion on certain topics and for it also to remain exclusively logical. Reading comprehension is about more than intelligence, it includes understanding, contextual and logical thinking and a series of other skills which not everyone reading the post has necessarily applied.

Even ignoring the content of his original post, your responses are not discussing or analysing what he is talking about. You are simpy drawing broad generalisations and applying them in a context completely different to that of the original post. The "Bitch Magazine" for example, with its liberal use of potentially offensive words, large amounts of personal attacks and advertisements for "Feminist Sex Toy Stores" could be considered by some (myself not among them) as quite offensive. Yet, you would not be happy with someone writing similar things about you because they referenced the fact that you regularly hand out "Douchebag Decrees" or that you are being offensive about someone purely because you disagree with their views.

Adams never even said anything about and "all men are oppressed by horniness and not all women are out to get him" you would do well to earn back some respect by actually discussing intelligently and logically the issues that he is writing about rather than simply reverting to name-calling and regarding the discussion as complete by handing out a "Douchebag Decree".

 

I couldn't agree more. Many

I couldn't agree more. Many or the attacks on Scott seem to come from people with low reading comprehension, as he asserts, and/or people whom I suspect haven't even read the initial post but have jumped on the bandwagon to have a rant. The latter seem to be populated with angry people who see a great opportunity to angrily tell everyone how angry they are. The shrill headlines of "Adams condones rape" just doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

His argument boils down to:

  1. Men have a much higher sex drive than women
  2. Society (rightly) has constructed both laws and societal mores in order to impose impulse control
  3. Impulse control can lead to frustration and potentially dissatisfaction without a suitable outlet
  4. Drugs might be the answer (this one is obviously tongue in cheek). Let's dissect that train of logic.

I’ll ignore point 3 on the basis of obviousness, and point 4 because Adams was clearly just attempting to be humorous and provocative. So...

1. Men have higher sex drive than women. I think this is entirely true as a generalisation. Before I get howled down by the "women like sex too" camp, let me stipulate that there are some women with higher sex drive than most men, and some men with lower sex drive than most women. These outliers do not change the generalisation. But for empirical evidence that the statement is correct let me offer these points:

  • The overwhelming majority of print, video and internet pornography is directed at men. Not because of some patriarchal conspiracy but because porn is a business and it follows the simple rule of supply and demand. Men look at porn not because they enjoy lame plot lines and saxophone music, they use porn as a masturbation aid. And they masturbate A LOT. Now I understand that women masturbate, some probably quite a lot as well, and will concede that they might not rely on traditional porn as much to get off. If the female/male orientated porn market was say 70:30 that argument might hold water. But porn is 99.9% directed at men -- because that's where the onanistic action is.
  • The overwhelming majority of sex crime perpetrators are male. I'm not just talking about violent rape where admittedly sex is not always the primary motivator. Sex crimes such as flashing, date rape, peeping toms, hidden cameras, underwear stealing... these are all about getting off. Yes, certainly in aberrant ways, but again it's all about sexual gratification. And my point: mainly committed by men.
  • The overwhelming prostitution market is for men (gay and straight). Again, there’s no conspiracy here, just a simple economic supply and demand argument. The population is 50/50 men and women, but most financially transacted sex is men buying. Why is that so? The only rational argument is supply and demand – men want much more sex than women do.
  • This is more anecdotal than numerical but teenage boys to young men usually masturbate at least three times a day and often much more (for me it was like 5-6 times a day, seriously). Most older married men would like more sex than they get. Some statistics I've read indicate that on average, between ages 30-50, women with satisfying sex lives are happy with sex 1-2 times per week. Guys of the same age prefer it more often. Personally, my sex life with my wife of 20 years is great, enjoyable for us both, and satisfying a couple of times per week. I still masturbate 1-2 times per day as well.

I think it's a pretty hard argument to dismiss the asymmetry in the male/female sex drive. I will stipulate that the reasons for this asymmetry may be a combination of biology (testosterone) and society, but regardless of the cause the asymmetry is real. Adams describes this as the zero sum game of sexual satisfaction. Some people railed against this but it’s logically correct. If I would prefer sex twice a day, and my wife is happy with sex once per week, someone gets they way (wins) and someone doesn’t (loses). Because having sex is (rightly) a choice, it will always be the one who wants more sex who loses... and that’s usually the man.

2. Society (rightly) has constructed both laws and societal mores in order to impose impulse control. To test this assertion let's consider societies where there are no laws or societal mores over impulse control. Consider, for example, the ancient emperors of Rome, outlaw motorcycle gangs, prehistoric communities, concentration camp wardens, and Colombian drug cartel kingpins.... in all of these situations the strongest (male) members of the community can do whatever they want and do not have to apply any impulse control, even over life and death. These are all well-documented cases where women (and weaker men, and children and animals for that matter) are subjected to whatever sexual decadence is the whim of the alpha males.

Now I will certainly concede that the alpha males involved in these scenarios are for the most part predisposed to low impulse control and so fall into such behaviour easily. But it’s disturbing how seemingly normal people can quickly fall into that pattern when societal barriers are taken away. Think about the “normal” soldiers who became prison guards in concentration camps, think about Lord of the Flies, think about Jane Elliott’s "Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes" exercise.

So does this argument imply that “all men are rapists at heart”? Maybe it does, I’m really not sure. I’d like to think not, but as the "Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes" exercise disproved, people also like to think they are not racists. Perhaps men are driven by sex such that without any societal control they would eventually act like the other primates, where the male of the species demands and gets sex from whatever female he can dominate. Perhaps it’s a testament to the intelligence of our species that men have realised the value in women far, far exceeds their reproductive machinery. For me that more than compensates for the potential sexual frustration (easily relieved :-) ), and that’s where I think Adams got it wrong. Chemical castration is not required, except perhaps in a few cases. Education and enlightenment will do the trick just fine.

Adams spammed these comments

Adams spammed these comments 50 times over. Pathetic, offically decreed douche bag. I am sickened by his misogynist, privileged, ignorant remarks. Truly it is hate speech. This makes me so angry I could write a death metal song about it.
I think I shall... I want to be a feminist metal musician.

Wow, Mr Adams sure comes out

Wow, Mr Adams sure comes out on top here by a country mile!

I love Dilbert...which is why

I love Dilbert...which is why I was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo very disheartened to learn about how much of a douche he actually is. I wanted to know a little more about Adams so I googled him and now I wish I hadn't. I'll never look at Dilbert the same way again.

I love Dilbert...which is why

I love Dilbert...which is why I was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo very disheartened to learn about how much of a douche he actually is. I wanted to know a little more about Adams so I googled him and now I wish I hadn't. I'll never look at Dilbert the same way again.

A slightly different take...

I don't think Scott Adams was justifying rape or claiming that rape is a natural urge in his blog post. My interpretation is that he's claiming that rape is a result of the natural urges of men (round peg) put into the context of our society (square hole).

To use his lion analogy again, lets assume that male lions want to have sex with female lions. And lets also assume that male lions will only have sex with female lions that participate in whatever courting ritual lionfolk do. Ok?

Now lets put some male and female lions together in captivity. And, whenver they mate, we'll spray the female with a firehose afterword. Eventually, of course, the females will probably start avoiding sex, since they're being punished whenever they copulate . The males will probably start exhibiting more agressive sexual tendencies, since they have the same urges, but now those are rarely fulfilled, if at all.

Of course this sounds a bit silly, right? Its not like we punish human women for having too much sex, too many sexual partners, or having sex outside the boundaries of a long-term monogamous relationship. "Slut", "whore", "nympho", "insecure", "promiscuous" aren't weaponized against women who have consentual "causal sex" - nor are they told they "must not respect themselves" or pressured to play games and "make him wait for it" to "make sure it's not all he's after". Oh, wait. That's exactly what we do.

Men want to have sex. I would gladly argue most men want to be polysexual, especially when their testosterone levels are at their highest. Men don't want to rape women, they want to win them over. But men are similarly disallowed from trying to openly and honestly act on these natural urges - tell a woman you're sexually attracted to her but not interested in a relationship? You're a heartless bastard. Admit that you want to have sex with more than one woman? Selfish prick. To want to have sex based on physical attraction, without being ready to settle down and spend your life with a woman means you're "just using" her.

So both men and women are punished for expressing their natural sexuality, and both sexes tend to display pathological expressions of sexuality - some women weaponize sex and use it to control men. Some men harass women, and, in extreme cases, sexually assault them. No, I'm not saying sexual assault, or harassment, are ever justified. To attempt to explain something is NOT an attempt to justify or excuse it.

A sex negative culture distorts everyones sexual expression - I think that's the point Scott Adams was trying to make.

I have to agree with Adam's,

I have to agree with Adam's, the reading comprehension of you people are is almost nil. In-order to have the views you have on just basic conversation, states how retrogressive and narcissistic you are. I don't really agree with a lot of Adam's sentiments, but I do have to agree that the level at which is he is viewing society is a lot higher and detached than yours.

You're seriously way too personally caught up in this to get it. Especially when he makes sarcastic remarks about the communication techniques employed by Camron and Williams, the sentiment obviously just flies over your head.