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Scott Adams responds to men’s rights post

Dilbert creator Scott Adams posted yesterday a response to an earlier blog post he wrote about men’s rights. The post inflamed feminists and spread virally through Twitter and blogs. The post was removed. Scott explains why he took it down and the reaction it caused for men and women’s groups.

The short answer is that I write material for a specific sort of audience. And when the piece on Men’s Rights drew too much attention from outside my normal reading circle, it changed the meaning. Communication becomes distorted when you take it out of context, even if you don’t change a word of the text. I image that you are dubious about this. It’s hard to believe this sort of thing if you don’t write for a living and see how often it happens. I’ll explain.

Regular readers of my blog know that the goal of my writing is to be interesting and nothing else. I’m not trying to change anyone’s opinion, largely because I don’t believe humans can be influenced by exposure to better arguments, even if I had some. But I do think people benefit by exposure to ideas that are different from whatever they are hearing, even when the ideas are worse. That’s my niche: something different. That approach springs from my observation that brains are like investment portfolios, where diversification is generally a good strategy. I’m not trying to move you to my point of view; I’m trying to add diversity to your portfolio of thoughts. In the short term, I hope it’s stimulating enough to be entertaining. Long term, the best ideas probably come from people who have the broadest exposure to different views.

Contrast my style of blogging to the most common styles, which include advocacy for some interest group or another, punditry, advice, and information. Now imagine moving my writing from the context of this blog to the context of an advocacy blog. You can see the problem. Men thought I was attacking men, and women thought I was attacking women. The message changed when the context changed. I saw that developing, so I took down the post.

Go read the full post. He does apologize to women, but not to men. He maintains they’re still “a big bunch of pussies.”

Community Comments

#1 Anne Hambrock
March/29/2011
@ 10:31 am

Wait – is he saying “I thought I was only talking to my peeps – I didn’t know others would be listening” about something he put on the INTERNET?

Give me a break. Scott knows the reach of the internet better than anyone.

#2 Robert George
March/29/2011
@ 11:24 am

I think Scott Adams point, Anne, is that he says stupid and offensive things regularly on his blog. Generally, because the majority of people reading his blog are fans or accept the fact he will regularly be stupid or offensive, nothing happens. He expected again that would be the case. Generally speaking, though, being sexist online, vs. being racist, classist, rude, uncaring towards children or any other kind of offensive gets a lot attention because there are a large number of high profile, popular feminist blogs and bloggers, and slightly more than half of people are women.

Scott expected a couple angry emails and letters, like normal. Instead he got the whole internet.

#3 Pete Tarkulich
March/29/2011
@ 11:28 am

The internet – blowing things out of proportion since 1991 and still going strong.

#4 Mike Lester
March/29/2011
@ 11:53 am

He should have referenced Sarah Palin and this wouldn’t have registered:

(Do not read if you’re offended by the “c” word)

http://www.dallasvoice.com/maher-your-beautiful-theater-gonna-long-1070487.html

#5 Frank Mariani
March/29/2011
@ 12:25 pm

There are countless direct and indirect ways to stay front and center — this is just another manifestation. I see his blog as just an extension of his strip – it’s a hoot.

#6 Anne Hambrock
March/29/2011
@ 7:51 pm

@Robert
Are you implying that women as a group are more easily offended than folks who have their race or class assaulted? I’ve seen plenty of thin skin to go around.

I stand by my assertion that no one who writes a blog can plead ignorance of the far reaching consequences. It is a public space and you can never assume that only your nearest and dearest or folks who “get you” are the only ones listening.

#7 Dave Stephens
March/30/2011
@ 1:58 am

Sooooo…. Women aren’t more “sensitive” than men? They were the last time I checked and I’m pretty sure they will continue to be… Men have thin skin too, that is correct, but women have thinner skin, which makes them better in many situations, worse in others. YMMV

#8 Anne Hambrock
March/30/2011
@ 6:45 am

I don’t know Dave – I’ve seen some pretty “sensitive” or shall we say “over sensitive” posting by men on this forum over the last five years :-)

Robert has made a claim that Scott’s post stirred up more trouble by being sexist than it would have by being racist. I have a hard time believing that.

Shall we pick a race to stereotype here today and see what happens?

#9 Robert George
March/30/2011
@ 12:29 pm

Anne:

Are you implying that women as a group are more easily offended than folks who have their race or class assaulted? I?ve seen plenty of thin skin to go around.”
I am definitely not argue women are more easily offended than other’s. What I am arguing is online feminists are more numerous and more organized. That’s what makes you loud online. Other groups lack the organization, the high profile bloggers, unified ideological structure, that allow feminism to have a lot more power online, and in online conversations, than it doesn’t in modern America’s broader culture. I don’t think you can deny that reality.

“I stand by my assertion that no one who writes a blog can plead ignorance of the far reaching consequences. It is a public space and you can never assume that only your nearest and dearest or folks who ?get you? are the only ones listening.” I agree you shouldn’t, but you definitely can, and its easy to see how it happened in this case.

#10 Robert George
March/30/2011
@ 12:36 pm

“Shall we pick a race to stereotype here today and see what happens?”

I direct you to Steve Sailer http://isteve.blogspot.com/. Steve is a virulently racist blogger who still manages to get favorable attention for his work and blog from the right wing press and contrarians at slate or even occasionally the Atlantic to this day.

This produces 157,000 google search results.

Penny Arcade sexist, referencing of course the d*ckwolves controversy of late, 379,000 google search results. I think that is a compelling argument in favor of the importance of organization.

#11 Roz Warren
March/31/2011
@ 7:42 pm

Scott Adams is one of the smartest people around and his blog is always worth reading. Even if you don’t agree with him.

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