The real danger to pseudonymous bloggers

I’m sorry to learn that Sunshine Mary is going to stop blogging, since it means the loss of one of the few anti-feminist blogs worth reading.

Apparently she and her family have been the victim of a cyberstalking and defamation campaign by a group of people within the manosphere.  (Even if the accusations against her are true–which seems unlikely, but I don’t actually know any of the parties involved and so I cannot make a well-informed judgement–then such a campaign still existed, but with reversed roles of perpetrator and victim.)  I seem to remember something like this (but less severe) happened to Alte some years back as well, once again with manosphere critics tracking down information about her and Traditional Christianity being shut down for a while thereafter to beef up privacy.  Of course, every large community has its crazies, and one can’t really draw any conclusions without doing a real statistical study with many cases and comparing many online communities, but I can’t help noticing that I only hear about this sort of thing happening in the manosphere–never the Orthosphere, the HBD-sphere, the neo-reactionaries, etc.  Even outright liberals and feminists don’t go after us this way.  Even apart from what’s happened to SSM, which of course was only the work of a few (but prominent) manosphere bloggers , the manosphere is an unhealthily emotive subculture, as one sees from the hysteria that ensues when they are subject to any criticism.  This I suspect was SSM’s and Alte’s offense; they were insufficiently deferential to the male victimology cult.

Most pseudonymous Rightist bloggers could easily be tracked down and bullied by any group of people who cared to do it.  Most of us had assumed that the main danger of this would come from the Left.  For example, if some feminist doesn’t like what I write, she can figure out my identity, inform my employer about my un-PC activities, and get me fired.  While I don’t put any trust at all in liberalism’s putative commitment to a “free exchange of ideas”, I calculate that, from the perspective of feminism (which rules the Western world), I’m really just not important enough to be worth bothering about in this way.  So far, it seems that the liberals have been behaving as I would have expected with my evil-but-rational model.  I’ve had liberal commenters here, and they are usually polite and often even interesting.  None of them have threatened to call HR on me.  Once, a commenter said something to the effect that it would be good if my children (I only had one at the time, but I would sometimes nevertheless speak abstractly about “my children”) were taken away from me so they could have free spiritual development; that commenter got banned, and life went on.  Most of the liberals visiting here would have been disgusted by his comment.  The most online hostility I’ve ever had directed at me came from the time I condemned The Spearhead.  There’s that pattern again.

So anyway, if you’re writing an anti-feminist blog, your main danger of being outed or make the target of hostile internet campaigns comes from the lunatic wing of the manosphere, not from actual feminists.

38 Responses

  1. The parties involved in this don’t represent the whole of the manosphere, though. I’ve received a huge number of very supportive emails from people in both the mano- and trad-spheres expressing disgust for the behavior of Matt Forney/Lena S./Will S./ Infowarrior1/Laura Grace Robins. Very, very few people actually approved of their behavior.

    I was actually doxxed on a parody blog called Sunshine Gary last year already. At the time, I thought that blog was written by feminists, but I just learned that another female blogger who portrays herself as a traditional Christian had something to do with it, by her own admission. I should probably write a brief post on it somewhere in order to warn people, since she is active in the tradsphere now and then. I would hate for her to do this to someone else.

  2. I read only part of SSM’s explanation as to why she was closing her blog, but from that surmised that her antagonists were accusing her of hypocrisy. She was, they seemed to say, a libertine feminist in disguise. This would be plausible if it were shown that SSM had been using the avatar of a “red pill woman” to insidiously spread disinformation, doubts, and disunion; but I did not see that this was shown. I know SSM only as an occasional commenter at the Orthosphere, but my impression based on that is that she is frank, forthright, and cheerful. Sunshine Mary seemed a particularly appropriate moniker.

    The episode looked to me like a case of phariseeism turbocharged with a little bit of crazy. Judging from internet behavior, both pharaseeism and crazy are a serious cause of weakness on the Right. Leftists may have to toe the party line, but the Right is full of cranks denouncing everyone who does not toe their line. This is sadly ironic given the importance the critique of Puritanism has in the worldview of so many on the Right.

    My knowledge of the manosphere is limited, but it does seem to have more than its share of embittered men. They may have very good reasons for their bitterness, but twelve divorced cuckolds lamenting the perfidy of women does not make for a feast of reason. Especially if you throw in a few forty-year-old virgins whose appreciation of the female sex is arrested at the level of eighth-grade boys on a campout.

    I wouldn’t expect a liberal to expend much effort trying to unmask you because, like everyone else, a liberal will only undertake to slay the dragon of reaction when other liberals are watching. They are not really interested in slaying the dragon of reaction, they are interested in the cheers and admiration of sympathetic onlookers as they slash and stab its scaly head.

  3. Sure they’re not the whole of the manosphere, but this kind of bullying is obviously more common and more accepted in the manosphere. My recommendation to new bloggers would be to ignore them, never to comment on their blogs, and never to link to their blogs (either of which bring you to the attention of their pet lunatics).

  4. On a related note, I do miss Alte. She was smart and witty and, more importantly, when she was around everyone harassed her instead of me. 🙂

    Re: the manosphere…I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s okay for me to read Dalrock’s essays and on sites like Donal Graeme’s, Cane Caldo’s, and the other Christian sites, but I shouldn’t participate in the conversations. Women really have no good reason why they have to participate in the manosphere, so it’s my fault for joining in the conversation where I shouldn’t have. Lesson learned. But I still don’t blame the whole sphere for the actions of a crazy few.

  5. One detail. I would describe much of the manosphere as liberal or leftist. It is, as you say, a victim cult. The fact that, for example, many of them don’t particularly want abortion outlawed but instead want abortion for men should tell you a lot.

  6. Having sampled it more than a few times, I don’t read anything at all in the manosphere – not even the ‘Christians’ (who are playing with fire, at best).

    This seems like a no-brainer to me – or rather, not so much ‘brain’ but I feel such an immediate and strong revulsion evoked by these blogs that it would be foolish for me to ignore it.

    There is not much (or any) love- and a lot of hatred – a lot of seeking for excuses for exploitation and selfishness.

    A little bit of truth wrapped around with a lot of pride and loathing; a little bit of helpful advice but a lot of manipulation.

    Altogether a very insidious, spiritually-dangerous combination.

  7. “On a related note, I do miss Alte. She was smart and witty and, more importantly, when she was around everyone harassed her instead of me. 🙂 ”

    Lol. Sunshine.

    In Australia we call it the “Tall Poppy Syndrome” 😉

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tall_poppy_syndrome

  8. Oh, I haven’t died or anything. I still read around here a bit, but mostly RSS, to keep down my urge to comment.

    I’m much more active in local politics now. Less interest in writing, especially as the German men so completely dominate the online reactionary scene that I’m content to just sit on the sidelines, cheering and clapping, and occasionally shouting out, “Yeah, what he said!”

    Men dominate everything here. It’s a bit scary, but very pleasant. And I finally get to dress up like Snow White without anyone thinking I’m off my rocker. In short, I’m quite happy now and the men are taking care of things, and that’s taken away my most of my literary fire. Mostly, I think about church functions, community parties, dieting and recipes, school, and frilly dresses with pretty aprons.

    It’s gotten so bad that I’ve taken up embroidery.

  9. That such a thing as the “manosphere” exists (I’ve never read or visited anything in it to my knowledge) is puzzling. If there is one set of behaviors that is easily distinguished as unmanly, it is huddling together online to whine and yak about things.

    I’m not saying that real men can never convene to articulate their complaints about society/etc., even on the internet, but to do so under the express label of masculinity is at best a contradiction.

  10. Nice to hear from you, Alte! Sounds like you’re in your Happy Place.

  11. PS. SSM, I share Bonald’s thoughts on the loss of your blog. It was a daily reader for me during the short time that I knew about it.

  12. NZ @ Perhaps we should think of the manosphere as something like a shower. Everyone ought to take one, but there is something suspicious about men who refuse to come out. I’d guess that some of the manosphere sites are beneficial, insofar as they deprogram men who were raised to believe claptrap about the sexes, who are frustrated by the failures that result from applying this delusive theories in the real world, and who profit from the re-education. Once they have learned the basic lessons, these men move on with their lives, this time equipped with actual knowledge. It is detrimental to those men who make a means into an end and take up residence in it.

    Perhaps we could think of this deprograming as somewhat analogous to repentance. Once you’ve gone through with it, your done. Time to move on.

  13. @ JMsmith, I think it’s a great analogy.

    Still, while manosphere content may be useful for “deprogramming”, I don’t immediately see why it’s better for this purpose than anything Bonald or even Sunshine Mary writes. Maybe it’s more accessible to its target audience or something?

    (In which case, I must simply not have been part of its target audience, since I never swallowed feminist propaganda whole and thus I never suffered surprise “frustrations” generally resulting from applied feminism. But then, how many men actually have?)

  14. NZ:
    I think the appeal of the manosphere is that it helps some feminized men “deprogram” (in the sense of replacing an existing set of errors about women with a new set, the new set being less of an impediment to getting female sexual attention) without actually challenging them in any way that implicates moral duties or a truly fundamental change of world view.

    (They use the metaphor “red pill” in reference to the movie The Matrix to suggest that what is on offer is a basic change of world view; but the very reason the manosphere is more appealing than Throne and Altar is precisely because it offers sexual success without a basic change of world view).

    Dalrock’s blog is its own sort of thing. I find his social commentary often witty and on point, especially when he avoids the subject of “Game”.

  15. @Zippy:

    That makes sense, and helps explain why manosphere types consistently lead the pack in the “online terrorism” (my term) that Bonald, SSM, and apparently Alte have suffered.

    I.e. as with huddling together to gripe about feelings, there’s also something inherently unmanly about outing and defaming people as a way to shut them up.

  16. This sort of thing happens in all spheres. The Internet is like high school, and it occasionally gets all Revenge of the Nerds.

    People in real life have done some crazy stuff to me, too. So I’m always schocked, but never surprised.

  17. If you mean that it happens with comparable frequency in all spheres, that does not match my experience at all. I’d bet anything that none of my commenters has ever harassed either one of you. The internet is only like high school if you’re hanging out with high-school mentality people.

    Actually, that last bit came off wrong. I don’t want to use “high school” in a purely pejorative way. Many high-school aged boys and girls are fun to hang out with and can have interesting things to say. Some of these neoreactionaries kind of do give off a nerd vibe, but I like that about them, because there’s still a nerd streak in me.

  18. I’ve been a pretty vocal critic of “Game” and nobody has tried to doxx me yet. Perhaps there is a “here there be dragons” effect at work though (and not without warrant), whereas women make easy and safe targets. The actions in this hubbub certainly do reflect on the character of those who carried them out.

  19. @Bonald:

    “If you mean that it happens with comparable frequency in all spheres, that does not match my experience at all.”

    Indeed, as I have been saying for a long time (and finally wrote on my blog), nothing in the universe is distributed evenly, or evenly randomly.

    (Though, this is the first time I’ve knowingly recited this principle to someone with enough knowledge of the cosmos to correct me. Cosmic background radiation…maybe that’s evenly distributed?)

  20. I will miss you too, SSM. As I said at my blog, you and Alte were the best of the female bloggers.

    Alte, I assume you are now in Germany.

    I learned a lot from both you women.

    Thanks.

  21. You know, Bonald, I’ve been thinking over what you wrote here, and I realized that you really do have a point. I think out of my deep respect for Dalrock’s writing, I’ve been a bit blind, but the truth is, you are mostly right.

    Matt Forney wrote despicable and untrue things about me, and publicly linked to my children’s social media accounts and wrote out my husband’s full name and employer; in the same post, he did something similar to another male blogger who blogs openly. His stated goal was to “expose” us as “frauds”. But that other man and I both blog openly, running minor, free blogs where we try to draw conclusions from our own experiences and from what we observe around us. Neither of us was selling anything (unlike many manosphere sites) nor promised that any advice we gave was necessarily useful.

    The reason one might licitly expose someone as a “fraud” is if they are trying to dupe people into sending them money or selling fraudulent products or gathering personal information on readers or something like that. So there was no reason for Matt Forney to do this. Now, he’s obviously not the most mentally stable tool in the shed, but consider the wider manosphere, where people are generally not mentally ill. Not one single blogger in the manosphere publicly said that Matt’s behavior transgressed community standards for the sphere.

    A thought experiment: imagine if you had a quarrel with Zippy and he went to Proph and said, “I hate this Bonald guy. Expose him at the Orthosphere as a ‘fraud'” and then Proph wrote an essay in which he listed your full name, address, telephone number, your wife’s full name and employer, and your children’s google plus account links. What response would he get from the rest of the traditional Christian sphere? I suspect there would immediately be posts up all over the trad/orthosphere decrying that behavior as unacceptable and despicable and publicly disassociating themselves from Proph and Zippy.

    Not one manosphere blogger has done this.

    Perhaps some of them dislike me personally, but nevertheless, even if they dislike me, do they still approve of Matt’s conduct? Is this what the manosphere approves of, doxxing the spouses and children of people whom they decide they don’t like for some reason? What they must not understand is that the community standards you live by are the same ones you die by, and that what Matt did to me and this other male blogger he is also capable of doing (and obviously willing to do) to any other manosphere blogger he decides he doesn’t like.

    A sphere blogger who doesn’t like me could still have said, “I don’t like Sunshine Mary, and I don’t know if she did something rotten or not, but what Forney did here was a major violation of the standards of decency of the manosphere.” Since no one did that publicly, I can only assume that, despite the consoling emails many of them sent me, they obviously must not have any moral problem with what Matt did.

    Either that or they are all a bunch of cowards.

  22. You’re right; I can’t imagine this sort of thing flying in any other discussion group I’ve followed. I expect many of them, seeing Matt’s behavior, said to themselves “I’m better than that”, but none of them said “we’re better than that”. The manosphere itself has no moral ethos. How could it, given that many of its loudest voices think that honor and responsibility are traps to manipulate men?

    Like you and Zippy said, Dalrock has a very different character, and traditionalists are right to admire him. But he’s not setting the tone for the group as a whole.

  23. Yeah, traddies don’t do this petty vigilante stuff because they’re not anarchic and dishonorable enough to stoop to it. Their traddy social status directly depends upon being above that sort of thing.

    MF has done this before (Assange’s Swedish groupies) and the chicks are the type to seriously hold a grudge, but fascinating how they decided to combine their vices this way. In the end, everyone involved comes out dirty, which is the way of things when mud gets flung around. I wish the topic would just die, and the gossipping and counter-gossiping would revert to more elevated discussions of how hot and brilliant I am and how much everyone is pining away for me.

  24. Hello everyone, from sunny Germany!

    I still follow Welmer on my reader. He’s entirely sane and genuinely interesting. Also, an excellent writer with clear and insightful prose.

  25. Does anyone remember the TTH chainsaw massacre?

  26. “Some of these neoreactionaries kind of do give off a nerd vibe, but I like that about them, because there’s still a nerd streak in me.”

    Same here. But do you use your Nerdiness Powers for good or evil?

    The problem, Bonald, is that these aren’t the nerds we’re looking for.

  27. As proof of my powers of social akwardness, I’m going to leave five comments in a row.

  28. I wish the topic would just die, and the gossipping and counter-gossiping would revert to more elevated discussions of how hot and brilliant I am and how much everyone is pining away for me.

    Boanld’s is way to dignified for the likes of me, but Alte has drawn me out of lurking.

    If you hadn’t noticed, the pining for you has commenced dear sister. I keep telling you that you’ve left an impression that won’t soon be erased.

    Now I’ll stay out of the way and let the smarter people talk. Back to the kids’ table I go.

  29. Yes, I remember the dust-up over Laura Wood vs. the manosphere from way back. It was one of those things that drove home the “these are really not our friends” realization for me.

  30. Hi Alte,

    Well, I at least am very glad that you’ve started your German blog. The Orthosphere has its nerd princess back.

    What’s it like being near the epicenter of Catholic heresy, by the way?

  31. I’m not really feeling the heresy around here, as I live in the most traditionalist area of the most traditionalist state. This is the sort of place where altar girls are controversial.

    The exciting heretics are further east, in their Vienna clubhouse. I suspect the Wieners have been compromised by all of the Muslims in that fine city, although they’ve never been particularly reverent. They’ve had churches trashed lately, and no one cares because they don’t go to church anyway. In my town, there’d be riots, but we’re a bunch of backwoods farmers in lederhosen and not cool and sophisticated like them, and the social life here revolves around the church.

  32. Watch what Bavaria does in the upcoming EU elections. CSU is scrambling to protect their right flank against the seperatist/reactionary impulse.

  33. Bruce Charleton’s comment above, en toto, on this subject is so spot-on that I can only second it heartily.

  34. Googling my blog’s title will get you to my real name within the first three or four pages. I use a pseudonym more out of long habit than a pressing need to keep my crimethink under wraps (and my job is such that trying to get me fired would cost my accusers a lot more than it would me.)

    I was sorry to hear of your predicament SSM. For what it’s worth, you have my sympathy and prayers.

  35. Feminists absolutely turn on each other in the same way. There is an article on “Feminism’s toxic twitter war” that resembles this kind of behavior. Various other radical and niche communities such as nazis, communists, and neopagans, also show similar behavior of attacking those in or close to them movement over minor differences. A milder form even exists between “traditional Catholics” and the slightly more radical sedevacantists.

  36. I’m late to this party, but in case anyone is still hanging around in the front yard…

    “I can’t help noticing that I only hear about this sort of thing happening in the manosphere–never the Orthosphere, the HBD-sphere, the neo-reactionaries, etc. Even outright liberals and feminists don’t go after us this way.”

    I’ve discussed this a bit in other places, but to sum up –

    Feminists and lefties tend to have fairly okay lives. They yell and scream when they feel “offended” or “victimized,” get a treat and a pat on the head, and go about their way, but generally their lives go reasonably well enough. Whatever psychological issues they have usually aren’t aggravated by day to day existence in the current leftie feminist culture.

    Manosphere people, however, tend to be the kicked dogs of society. Already a little different to start with, the culture actively kicks them in the teeth almost every time they turn around. And as often as not, they also tend to have Aspie tendencies to varying degrees (consider how many manosphere PUA gurus have developed Game with a relentless, Sheldon Cooper-esque mathematical precision), which makes it even harder for them to adapt to everyday culture.

    Add to this the fact that a lot of these guys have been raised by women (or “beta schlub” dads indoctrinated/bullied into feminism), they’ve been deprived of cultivating a proper masculinity which would help them. Instead, they’ve been brought up as testosterone and Aspie-fueled extreme versions of the emotional female firebombs that raised them.

    I’ve known quite a number of guys like this, and have some small measures of all of the above in my own background, and I notice almost the same patterns and results just about every time.v that said, if I’m missing something, feel free to add thoughts.

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