You all know that I like rats — a lot. And I’ve certainly told you the story about the study that showed rats exhibiting altruism. In particular, if given a bunch of chocolate chips (which rats love), they will generally save some of them for another rat that is in another cage. But then I found out something unfortunate. All the females rats did this. But only 30% of the male rats did it. The other 70% of the male rats ate all the chocolate chips. I mean, rats don’t have to be altruistic. Having a selfish rat as a pet is perfectly fine because rats are awesome regardless.
But ever since learning that, I think about it every time a man does a horrible thing. It’s really not hard to conclude that 70% of men are selfish jerks. This does go along with my general sampling of male behavior. The one place that it breaks down is in that I also think about 30% of women are jerks. But I should be clear, because I’m implying that there are certain people who are just jerks. Well, sure: some are. But mostly, I think it is that 70% of the time, any given man is a jerk. Certainly I am not perfect. But the point is that because of the mix of chemicals swimming around in our bodies, women really are better then men.
Well, I was over on We Hunted the Mammoth. Why do I do that? It just upsets me. When I say that men tend to be jerks, I’m talking on the small scale. I’m talking about them doing things that I can see myself doing — in many case have done. But it’s nothing too bad. A trip to We Hunted the Mammoth is the gender politics equivalent of putting on NAZI Death concentration camps Germany August 28 1945. It’s really upsetting. But given that Nazis are mostly gone and MRAs are still around, very vocal, and I think, dangerous, it is necessary.
So yesterday, David Futrelle offerred up, Richard Dawkins, Lindy West, and the Cartoon Video of Great Hatefulness. It is about Richard Dawkins, because Dawkins was recently in a fight that is just like so many others that he’s been in. And that means in many ways it hardly is worth writing about. It’s more the backstory that bothers me. But before I get to that, allow me one sort parenthetical paragraph.
(What’s with the MRAs? Do they think people mistake them for “real men” or something? My direct experience with them is that they are a bunch of man-boys who are mostly just upset because they can’t get dates. It really is all about scapegoating women. I suppose for the older ones, it is about all the other things in their lives that suck. But the younger ones clearly need girlfriends — which they won’t get because they are such misogynists. I would be willing to provide training for the young ones, though. I’m no Don Juan, but it really isn’t that hard to get women to like you. Hint: don’t be an MRA.)
There is a woman named Chanty Binx who made the mistake of yelling at some MRAs on video. This went viral, at least through the Mammoth community. Which led to the usual rape and other violence threats. And then came a video that equated fundamentalist Islamists with feminists. The feminist in the video was a caricature of Binx. Richard Dawkins then tweeted out a link to the video saying that he didn’t think all feminists were like this but some where.
Ultimately, Dawkins backed down. But his back-down position I find truly repugnant. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you read Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. What Richard Dawkins is pushing as a good thing in fact destroys lives. So apparently, as a society, we should allow absolutely anything so long as it doesn’t threaten violence. This is beyond absurd. Has Dawkins never heard of bullying? It very often has nothing to do with violence or threats thereof.
But what’s sad is Richard Dawkins is — relative to the MRAs — reasonable. He even calls himself a “feminist,” even though he seems to think that as long as women somewhere are having forced clitorectomies, women elsewhere can’t complain about anything. And this is, remember, one of our greatest scientists. I guess we can just place him next to William Shockley. But it does remind me of all the New Atheist nonsense of, “I only believe things I have evidence for!” I’m sure that Dawkins and Shockley would claim the same thing.
Regardless: rats. Love ’em or hate ’em, they are not very different from us. I’m not against men. My rat was a male and he was wonderful. But we men tend to be worse than women. And at our very worst, we are terrible.