Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fat Shaming?

Roosh (via Heartiste) has declared that a story about a graduate student who was temporarily suspended represents a "truly scary" violation of freedom of speech.  And just because the student made a fat joke!

OK, that's not exactly how it went down.

The graduate student, Joseph Aziz, had gotten into a kerfuffle with some other students whilst defending a Republican speaker on campus.  His online comment that one of the other students had legs like "bleached hams" appears to have been an ad hominem attack in the wake of what started as a heated ideological conflict.  In other words, his decision to publicly deride a classmate's physical appearance was not a conscious act of "fat shaming," but a lazy, juvenile attempt to undercut her political position.

Meh, it happens.

Aziz was first disciplined by the university, who "acted in accordance with its Student Code of Conduct which complies with the New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, and other applicable federal and state regulations.’ 

The reprimand included an order that Aziz have no further contact with the other parties involved, either in person or online.  It was Aziz' violation of the no-contact rule that got him suspended.  He just couldn't seem to restrain himself from hopping back into the fray with another online reference to his victim's meaty calves.

"Aziz, a molecular biology student, said that he was shocked that a careless comment about a stranger’s appearance made online may have put his educational career in jeopardy."

I don't know about Montclair State, but every college I have attended or taught at issues Student Handbooks, in which expectations of student conduct are clearly delineated.  Part of those expectations are that students will help maintain a mutually respectful, collegial environment.  Granted, few students read these handbooks, but ignorance of the law is no defense, etc.

College admin and faculty are well aware that many of their students have not achieved full cognitive development; physiologically, the frontal lobe of the adolescent cerebral cortex is still maturing.  This is why Montclair State's initial discipline was mild.  Students are routinely given second chances for non-criminal misbehavior.  On the other hand, once warned, students are expected to comply or face possible expulsion.  The fact that Aziz has only been suspended for one term suggests the college emphatically does NOT want to "put his educational career in jeopardy." Aziz is disingenuous when he claims that it was a "careless comment" (that he later "regretted") that got him in hot water; on the contrary, it was his very deliberate choice to disobey a "cease and desist" order that forced the college admin's hand.

Five years up the road, if Aziz behaves in this manner with a co-worker, he will not get a pass from his employers.  Guys like Aziz' spell l-i-a-b-i-l-i-t-y to HR these days.  He will be out of a job, and he won't even qualify for unemployment.  (Hopefully, like Roosh, he can sleep in his dad's basement.)

Like businesses with employees, colleges are institutions that have the right to demand students and faculty comply with their policies on campus.  Are social media sites like Facebook or Youtube "off" campus?  It looks like the courts may determine this;  they may rule in Mr. Aziz' favor on this one.

Regardless, Mr. Aziz's reputation has been permanently tarnished, and it is likely to haunt him both professionally and socially for the rest of his life.  And it won't be because he doesn't like fat girls.  It will because of his demonstrated lack of judgment and self-restraint.

I've been warning my students for years that what they do online has consequences to their futures, and this is just another story to add to the canon... 

UPDATE:  Several days ago, Joseph Aziz' suspension was lifted.  
He's back in school.  It doesn't make anything I've written above less relevant, however, or his behavior less reprehensible.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Roosh Is Sad

I'm not alone in recognizing the black thread of melancholy that runs through Roosh's writing, that "tugs at [one's] heartstrings."

(One of his followers, Delicious Tacos, is sad too; however, his superior writing skill, sense of irony, and higher degree of self-awareness actually gives his blogging some pretension to literary merit.) 

How can I feel sorry for someone whose views I find so thoroughly repellant and even downright evil?  Well, what can I say?  I cheered the mob on during the Iranian Revolution of '77.  I rejoiced at the downfall of the corrupt Pahlavi Dynasty.  Yet I still wept for the Shahbanou as her husband died in lonely exile of cancer, and she lost two children to suicide. I even find pathos in reading about the last hours of Hitler and Goebbels.

I'm sorry that some people were ever born, yet their suffering and demise bring me no satisfaction: only further sorrow. See, I am sad, too, and in that respect have everything in common with every human on the planet.

In his video posts Roosh wears a plaintive expression and projects a low affect.  He occasionally clutches his head or his hands and looks down before locking his eyes on the camera.  He seems to emit a faint sigh as he launches into the sermon du jour.  The burden of his vocation weighs heavily upon his narrow shoulders.  Posts are often prefaced with mild physical complaints about his surroundings or health (and his travel guides demonstrate an uncommon obsession with the state of his bowels or the cleanliness of local toilets). I don't think I've seen him ever laugh, or even smile, in these posts.  His body language suggests that addressing his minions is rather a trial, more obligation than opportunity.  The backgrounds (often kitchenettes) suggest cold, stark, clean but inexpensive accommodations, empty as the life that inhabits them.  One commenter has observed that Roosh would look utterly at home posing for Unhappy Hipsters.

A lot of readers, including his own fan base, speculate what will happen to Roosh in the next decade.  I don't think anyone foresees a happy ending to this story.  Once he was a young guy who probably seemed, on the face of it, to hold a lot of promise, at least to his parents.  But the chances of picking up his pre-Roosh identity are dim.  Because of his notoriety, no U.S. company can ever hire him.  It is likely he would even have trouble trying to legally change his name.

Will he finally cross the line and be convicted of rape?  Will he be murdered by one of his victims, her friends or family members, or a vigilante group?

Perhaps he will emigrate to another country, but once his true identity is revealed in the process (and because he has relatively few assets), most countries will consider him undesirable.  Even if another country accepts him, he is unlikely to enjoy the lifestyle of a permanent expatriate, for as much as he complains about the "corruption" of American culture, he writes with even more contempt of, and less insight into, others.

In my girlfriend's parlance, He's really screwed the pooch, and I don't see any way out.  In the immediate future, he'll continue to milk his current roles as PUA guru and feminist provocateur even though he is only marginally successful at the former pursuit and widely mocked at the latter.  At any rate, time is running out, which is what most of us begin to understand in our thirties.  While a 33 year old hitting on club girls is pushing the socially-sanctioned limits of adolescence, a 40 year old doing the same thing is a universal object of ridicule.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mommy Issues?

What's wrong with guys like Roosh?

More than one woman has posited "mommy issues" to explain his extreme loathing of women. 

Well, I hate to blame mothers.  They get blamed for everything that goes wrong with their kids, from autism to allergies.

There may be something to this, though:  a woman who knew Roosh in college claims that he was "suffocated" by his mother.

His mother, like many immigrant mothers (think "Tiger Moms") no doubt pushed her eldest son to perform well academically.  She wanted him to be a doctor.  Roosh had the requisite number of brain cells and the financial support to get a B.S. in microbiology from an accredited state school.  Admission to medical school proved to be a much greater challenge.  (And we can all thank the powers to be, given Roosh's demonstrated personality disorder.)

But I think the problem of Roosh, and of many of his acolytes, speaks more about Daddy issues, myself.  

In his blog, he describes a boyhood punctuated by ferocious rows between his mother and father, during which his mother would hysterically insist on being let out of the family car immediately.  It had to be traumatic for little Roosh, and humiliating too, his parents screaming in public in Farsi.  Roosh's parents divorced when he was young.  He spent little time with his father until he was an adult.  If he blames his mother for chasing his father away, he would not be the first child of divorce to do so... 

Although he seems to have carte blanche to sleep in his dad's basement nowadays (in between his EE sojourns), he cannot share his "achievements" with him, which must be frustrating on some level, because Roosh's primary motivation is his desperate need for male approval.  And that is pretty much what his unfortunate career choice is all about.

The fact is, Roosh doesn't really enjoy sex.  At the tender age of 33 he is already reporting trouble maintaining an erection or achieving climax.  He can't fuck with condoms.  He can't fuck girls who are not "white."  He complains that the vaginas of "sluts" are too loose, and that the vaginas of "good girls" are too tight.  (He's like the Goldlilocks of pussies!)  He admits that the best sex he has ever had was with women he "hated"; presumably, he didn't have to worry about impressing them.  His ignorance and disdain of female anatomy has been the topic of much hilarity on various sites.  Sex is, for Roosh, a means to achieve status among his peers.  The value of women?  Ditto.

Every night he has to prowl the bars and clubs of second tier EE cities in search of... well, something to blog about.  He appears to have no real friends or to be able to relate to either men or women in anything beyond the role of "guru" or "seducer."  He cannot function socially unless he is in control.  When not sacking out in his father's basement, he lives in cheap rented rooms, and spends almost all of his time either alone or amongst strangers.

Of course, his new blog, "Return of Kings" is for "masculine men" only.  Only a man who feels deeply insecure about his gender identity needs to describe himself as "masculine."  It's no surprise that the worst insult these guys can sling at other men is to disparage their masculinity ("beta male," "mangina," etc.).

It's probably impossible for him to conceive that most adult men aren't particularly anxious about their "masculinity."  Or that most "feminists" don't care whether he finds them physically appealing or not.

All in all, it sounds like a pretty miserable and tedious existence, a real hamster wheel, but he is prodded on by his acolytes, who believe (or would like to believe) that Roosh is The Man.  Note how quickly his followers leap to his defense or take the offense on his behalf!  Their admiration and fealty, especially in the absence of any other rewards in his life, are really all that he has got.  No wonder he courts the ire of "feminists."  Any attention from women is better than none.  And if he weren't such a hateful person, he would be an absolutely tragic figure.