Monday, November 12, 2018

On the Tallahassee Killings

The murders of two women, Nancy van Vessem and Maura Binkley,  and the wounding of five other individuals at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida, was hardly a blip in the news cycle, buried in the larger numbers of hate crimes during the week preceding the midterm elections.

But this hate crime also deserves closer scrutiny.  The killer chose a yoga studio, because yoga practitioners are more likely to be female than male, and he was looking for women to kill.  The police is still searching for some other connection between the butcher and that yoga studio, but I doubt such a connection exists.  The place was picked because it offered accessible prey for a misogynistic hunter.

And a misogynist the killer was.  He had posted YouTube videos about his grudge against women in general and against certain women in particular:

Beierle’s YouTube and SoundCloud history is rife with violent sexism. In one video, he says of a woman who canceled dates with him, “I could have ripped her head off,” according to BuzzFeed. In a song called “Locked in My Basement,” he describes holding a woman prisoner and raping her.

He mentions Rodger in a video called “Plight of the Adolescent Male,” saying, “I’d like to send a message now to the adolescent males ... that are in the position, the situation, the disposition of Elliot Rodger, of not getting any, no love, no nothing. This endless wasteland that breeds this longing and this frustration. That was me, certainly, as an adolescent.”

Beierle had also been arrested in 2012 and 2016 for grabbing women’s buttocks without their consent, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
The Vox article which gave me that quote asks us to take online hate seriously.

Thinking about that made me search for any evidence that the Tallahassee butcher might have frequented manosphere sites such as the incel sites, where the hatred of women, as a class,  is validated and strengthened (1), but if the police have any evidence against or for that possibility they have not yet shared it.

Thinking about those hatred-of-women-is-the-correct-response sites, in turn,  made me think of something else, and that else is the way the misogynistic sites create an alternative world theory (2) for some men in great pain:

That "theory" explains that women, indeed, are all callow, shallow gold-diggers and lookists who will voluntarily only fuck a small number of rich and handsome alpha males on top of social hierarchies and who won't even consider any other man until Father Time gives the women themselves wrinkles and layers of belly fat.

Then those poor beta men will be accepted, but only as hard-working slaves to be exploited while the perfidious women scheme and plot to take their devout beta husbands to the cleaners in some future divorce.  Should any richer and more handsome man come along, that is.

If that (slightly exaggerated) summary sounds familiar to you, well, it might be because you have read my criticisms of some of the wackier evolutionary psychology musings, the kinds which initially argued that women mate for money and power, men for youth and beauty, and all that is hardwired in human beings.

That, my friends, is where the pseudo-scientific underpinnings of the incel Theory Of The World can be found: in the cocktail-party type musings about genetic determinism.

And that, my friends, is, perhaps,  the real reason why I have written so many criticisms of those weird evo-psycho musings. (3)  Just look at the kinds of places where essentialist theories about men and women and about sex are eagerly adopted and adapted, and you see the damage they cause.

Once I focused on that particular connection, I began seeing it in many anti-woman places.  Jordan Peterson, for one example,  mines evolutionary psychology for his arguments that it's natural for mostly men to be found on top of social hierarchies and so on.

Whether the Tallahassee killer visited misogyny sites or not, he certainly thought that his anger deserved a public hearing on YouTube, and  at least some on one incel site regarded his "solution" to his dilemma as not an invalid one: 

One commentator on a new incel site argues that

" you will NEVER EVER stop sexually frustrated men from seeing blackpill content online, learning the truth about human sexuality and life, and, finally (for some of them) getting pushed over the edge and going ER." (4)

Note that this commentator (why not commenter?) believes he knows the truth about human sexuality and life, on the basis of reading online and, in particular, on the incel sites.  This "truth" is what I mean by the world theory incel sites offer their readers.  And that theory is a toxic one.


(1)  As I have written before, those sites remind me of the anorexia sites I once visited where the anorexics support and congratulate each other for not eating.  They are not sites which make the visitors well.

(2) This is in a manner similar to the theory anti-Semitists have about Jews as running the whole world and also similar to the way the nutty race science is used to support racism.  People visiting the misogyny sites are given a seemingly science-smelling explanation for why women are awful:  They are "hard-wired" that way by evolution, and cannot change themselves.

That "explanation" is derived from the earliest and crudest versions of the worst kinds of speculations in evolutionary psychology, and the specific form of it varies between, say, pickup artist and incel sites.  But once it's accepted as a worldview, any real-world solutions to, say,  the problems of loneliness and the desire to find a female mate on the incel sites are excluded by the warped essentialist logic.

(3)  There are even articles which propose that increasing the odds of getting raped might be an evolutionary adaptation in women who are not deemed sufficiently attractive otherwise.  After all, they can get progeny by having someone rape them, so the adaptation is to act in ways which would increase the probability of rape.  Just imagine what some of the incel sites could make out of that!

(4) The black pill refers to the argument that hopelessness is the correct emotion to feel if you are a man who cannot have the heterosexual sex he wants, because the fault lies in his genes and women's hardwired shallowness.  Going ER means mass murdering people along the lines of Elliot Rodger