A few days ago, Roosh V wrote an ostensibly serious piece, "The Internet Is Doing You More Harm Than Good" in which he points out that "The internet has solved the cost barrier to idea distribution... [but]... This ability, upon closer inspection, is actually causing us harm. We would all better off limiting our internet usage than expanding it further."
He goes on to say, "There used to be a dearth of reading material for humans but now
there is too much, and we are wasting time on content that we shouldn’t
just to be entertained, just to feel a little emotional rush that we
may not be getting through our normal lives. Consider that people now purposefully read content they hate just to stir their emotions. They do this as part of their daily routine."
This is an excellent point, one which even I have addressed. We won't point out the irony that Roosh has made his living by publishing provocative material on his blogs, has crowed with delight when a particularly vile post goes "viral", and retweets every tweet that references himself (positively or negatively). Let's not look at the way his example has inspired hundreds of men to beg for donations on their own little blogs. Perhaps what he is really saying is "Quit talking and listen to me."
I will also refrain from pointing out that long before the days of "yellow journalism," much less the internet, the public managed to waste a lot of time on idle entertainments that included dog fighting, gambling, public executions, and mystery plays.
A couple of days later, Matt Forney announced he was "unfollowing" people on Twitter in preparation for a social media blackout. The "addiction" was too much and was interfering with his "productivity." I think this is a good step for Forney. Like Roosh, he wants more than anything to be taken seriously as a writer and an intellectual, an aim that is incompatible with "click-baiting."
It occurs to me that, besides being hypocritical to the nth degree, Roosh misunderstands the nature of the manosphere. It is not a place to exchange ideas, obtain information, or engage in serious debate. It is a place where disaffected men go to experience a sense of community and belonging. The element they have in common is their hatred & desire for women; bashing "feminism" is just a pretext for bonding with one another.
And to be honest, the same could be said for the "anti-anti-feminist" bloggers like myself. It's a place where we go to be reassured that we are not alone; we have "friends" out there in cyberspace. Of course these are not "friends" in a conventional sense. We might find, as Eseld Bosustow has mused, that we actually have little in common besides a shared disdain for misogyny, bigotry, and ignorance. And yet that is not an insignificant basis for friendship either, as it suggests a number of shared core values, a certain sympathy of perspective.
I have experienced and observed real acts of support -- the sort of reaching out I associate with friendship -- amongst complete strangers on the internet. The fact that, as of today, Karen Stollznow's legal fund has surpassed its goal by over $10,000 is an example. (I'll bet she's feeling the love right now!) The fact that a very busy man like P.Z. Myers agreed to help "rescue" my name is another example: I can never not consider him a good friend although we will always remain "strangers." And because he inspired others to champion me, I now feel much less alone. There are a handful of readers here that, should the opportunity ever present itself, I would be delighted to meet in "real life." Maybe we would find out we didn't really care for one another -- but somehow I doubt that.
Meanwhile, there is no question that when the internet starts interfering with the opportunity to mix and mingle with flesh-and-blood people, it's high time to step away from the keyboard and (in my case) toddle down to the Eagles for a round of bingo.