Tuesday 15 February 2011

Men aren't violent and I'll kill you if you disagree

Dubuque, Iowa, population 57,000 is located along the Mississippi River in the Tri-State area, the junction of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. Located in the city is The Riverview Center, a non-profit advocacy group for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. The center provides both crisis assistance and community educational programs. Josh Jasper, the president and chief executive officer of Riverview Center is a former U.S. Marine who was a crisis counsellor for the Los Angeles police department.

About a year ago, in early 2010, Mr. Jasper created a television commercial which contrasts a smiling baby with the following script: "He’s tough. He’s strong. He’s aggressive. He’s powerful. And he raped his girlfriend. But he wasn’t always this way. What are you teaching your son? Redefine what it means to be a man because ending sexual violence begins with him." Mr. Jasper was reported as saying that the ad was intended to make a point that people are not born violent, but are conditioned to be that way. He added that donations paid for the commercial, which has aired for nearly a year without incident in northeast Iowa and parts of Illinois and Wisconsin.

YouTube: Riverview TV 1 - June 28, 2010

As previously stated, the ad ran without incident for almost a year. Then, according to the DesMoines Register, the Riverview Center decided to run a newspaper ad for the Superbowl. According to the Examiner:

That ad shows a bingo card with spaces such as “Woman Portrayed as Stupid,” “Man Abusing Woman,” and “Woman as Sex Object.”

The accompanying text asked viewers to be mindful of the messages communicated by 2011 Super Bowl commercials and told them to mark the appropriate spots on the bingo card for each instance of that behavior they saw in a Super Bowl ad.

They could send the completed cards into the Riverview Center for a chance to win Target gift cards.

“We created (the ad) just to start a conversation,” Jasper said. “That’s what really set this off in the last few days.”

The print ad got picked up by bloggers and led them to the Riverview Center website, where they saw the year-old TV commercial. The commercial went viral, and the venom began pouring in, Jasper said.

Riverview Center Superbowl Bingo (big picture of ad)

Does Super Bowl blitz 'ad' to violence?
Riverview Center official touts a bingo-type board to track the portrayals of women in commercials.
By Eric Mandel - Feb 5/2011

The Spearhead
A men's blog called The Spearhead published a posting called "Abuse Charlatan Gears up for Super Bowl with Abuse Bingo, Rapist Babies Ad" by W.F. Price on February 6, 2011 analysing Mr. Jasper, his Superbowl Bingo card and his baby commercial. Mr. Price did not like Mr. Jasper's message and gave him and the baby commercial thumbs down. This seems to be where the flood gates opened. Here are a few of the comments:

Eric J Schlegel - February 6, 2011 at 11:17
I teach my son whenever I can: NEVER protect a woman.

duke - February 6, 2011 at 12:32
Mangina creeps like Josh Jasper should suffer the same fate as Nazi sympathizers after WWII-taken out and shot after a five minute trial. That ad is nothing but child pornography.

Doug1 - February 6, 2011 at 14:34
Also the idea that there’s some American epidemic of boyfriends raping their girlfriends in complete bs. It’s based, if upon anything, feminist seriously cooked statistics, where any sex the woman say she later regretted to any degree is counted as rape.

note about "magina"
1. when a guy pulls his penis and testicles back between his legs and then puts his legs together to simulate the look of a vagina
2. a man controlled by a woman, a weak willed man

Other MRAs
However, from there the blogshere lit up as other MRA's (Men's Rights Activists) joined the fray against one Josh Jasper. The Detroit Free Press reported on Feb 9/2011 that Mr. Jasper has now received death threats. The Press went on to explain:

The responses exemplify the way anonymous online forums can bring out the worst in people, said Michael Lashbrook, president of the Iowa Police Chiefs Association.

"If people are provided with the forum in which they can post or make comments that are anonymous without any real fear or concern about reprisal, they're going to be far more outspoken and emboldened in some cases to make those types of comments," he said.

Cyberspace, however, doesn't make death threats any less serious, Lashbrook added.

Mr. Jasper said that he doesn't target men. "I probably do focus my attention on redefining masculinity rather than femininity because the vast majority of violence perpetrated in society is done by men. But an important distinction is that a vast majority of men aren't violent.

Men’s Anti-Violence Council
The Men’s Anti-Violence Council (MAC), a volunteer group at the University of Iowa came out in support of Riverview and the controversial ads. In their article, they wrote:

The Iowa Men’s Action Network (Iowa MAN) fully supports the prevention and victim service programming offered through the Riverview Center and its CEO, Josh Jasper, in Dubuque, Iowa.  Recently, a commercial video and print ad on the importance of preventing rape and sexual abuse prompted some men and women across the country and internationally to become outraged.   The video in question may have been taken the wrong way by some, but this should not detract from the fact that rape is far too common in our communities and that the mission and purpose here is to eliminate it.

However, will it end there?

Paul Elam and A Voice For Men
Mr. Elam is a Men's Rights Activist and a very busy one. As well as running his own web site, A Voice For Men, he is editor of Men's News Daily. According to Wikipedia:

Men's News Daily (MND) began in 2001 as a news and commentary site meant to address "Misandry in Popular Culture". The website has a consistent special focus in its original articles on criticism of feminism and federal reform of family law as well as regular political, social and cultural commentary. ...
As the name of the site suggests, commentary and news pieces favor the interests of male human beings, particularly in support of fathers' rights. Feminist commentary, when it does appear, tends to be equally critical of the anti-male sentiment in the feminist movement, in government policy, in political debate, and in news reporting. 

In August 2009, writer and videographer Paul Elam became MND's Editor-in-Chief.

On his own web site A Voice For Men in the posting of Feb 9/2011  entitled "Josh Jasper's hate campaign and what to do about it", Mr. Elam writes:

The progress of the MM [Men's Movement] has not only been one of attracting more numbers to our ranks, but also a refinement of our understanding of the issues we face and the sources of our problems. As time passes there is more and more a recognition of the difficulties we face with other men, as opposed to just women and feminists.

Nowhere in recent times is this more evident than with Josh Jasper's recent “anti-rape” video that has been making the rounds. With this one release Josh has scaled the scumbag ladder and is vying for top position.

My view puts him two rungs ahead of Michael Kimmel, licking the heels of Joe Biden’s Ferragamo’s.

I won’t bother with a detailed analysis of the video. If the concept of res ipsa loquitor ever sufficed, this is it.

Note about Michael Kimmel
Dr. Michael Scott Kimmel (born 1951) is an American sociologist, specializing in gender studies. He teaches at the State University of New York at Stony Brook in New York and is the editor of Men and Masculinities. Kimmel is a spokesperson of NOMAS (The National Organization For Men Against Sexism).

Note about res ipsa loquitor
Latin for "the thing speaks for itself." This term is used in law whereby an injured party do not necessarily have to prove their case against the defendant because negligence is obvious.

Mr. Elam shows the Josh Jasper baby video then retorts with an alternate video in which a cute baby girl has this voice over with a soft, soothing muzak background music, "She's nice. She's sweet. She's precious. She's delicate. And she falsely accused her boyfriend of raping her." The music turns serious and foreboding. "But she wasn't always this way. What are you teaching your daughter. Redefine what it means to be a woman because ending false rape accusations ends with her."

TheHappyMisogynist - Feb 8/2011
(This is the YouTube channel for A Voice For Men by Paul Elam)
YouTube: How to End False Rape Claims (response to Josh Jasper)

Mr. Elam goes on: I want more. This man deserves consequences for his actions.

After some negative commentary, Mr. Elam asks his readers in the Los Angeles area to dig up any "dirt" on Josh Jasper and adds:

What you come up with needs to be verifiable. I don’t want to commit a civil offense against him, no matter how deserving he is. But I pledge now to use every resource at my disposal to take any embarrassing, disgraceful detail of this misandric lowlifes life, and use it to cripple his ability to continue with this kind of evil.

Fannie's Room
In the posting "Some Men Say Men Aren't Violent, Make Threats To Make Point" dated February 15, 2011, talks about this entire incident, analysing the original video, giving a bit of a critique and looking at the reaction from the Spearhead.

Undoubtedly, the commenters at that "men's blog" (and at Jasper's own blog) are upset because they view the commercial as framing All Men As Inherently Violent. Which, I don't think is true. Not at all. The phrase "what are you teaching your son" implies that violence and aggression is something boys and men learn through parenting and conditioning.

Yet, naturally, some see that as proof of "man-hating," which of course these reactionary types always use to justify further male violence and aggression. If people hate men, or are perceived as hating men, it's then okay to threaten their lives and compare them to Nazis.

These fellows don't seem to realize that it hurts their PR Man Campaign For Men when they try to prove men aren't violent by being violent themselves.

Or, you know, they exemplify exactly what the commercial was talking about. Part of being a man in our society means being justified in making death threats whenever men's social entitlement to violence is challenged.

Manz Boobs
A curious web site which describes itself in its About: "Ah, misogyny! I track down some of the most egregious and/or entertaining examples of man-boobery online (and sometimes off). I find a lot of it on Men's Rights and Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) sites. Sometimes I mock."

In the posting "Rapist babies and internet threats" of Feb 9/2011, the author David Futrelle writes:

The manosphere is in an uproar about a public service TV ad from an anti-violence group
The point of the ad is that parents can have an effect on how their kids turn out; if you raise your son to be a violent, misogynist asshole, he may well end up a rapist.
I'm not going to defend the ad. It's terrible. Generally, I'm not a fan of using babies to make political points -- it's trite and manipulative.
the flaws of the "rapist baby" ad in no way excuse the response it's gotten from some of the more hotheaded in the Men's Rights Movement and the manosphere in general.
Unfortunately, the MRA reaction has gone well beyond simple rhetorical overkill. A number of comments on The Spearhead, many of them with dozens of upvotes, are essentially threats -- some vague, some not-so-vague -- against Jasper himself.
[various examples of those threatening comments]
And on Men-Factor, antifeminist blogger ScareCrow (who used to regularly post comments here) posts the email addresses of The Riverview Center's mostly female board of directors, urging readers to "vent your anger" on this "bitch-hive," adding "I aim to destroy it."

I don't have the patience or the stomach to sort through the comments on the YouTube page for the ad to see what other vile shit has been posted there.

I can only hope that most of this violent language is just standard internet tough guy  talk, and won't result in real violence in the real world. Even if you believe that Jasper's ad commits a sort of rhetorical violence against male babies -- which I think is a ridiculous reading of the admittedly idiotic ad --  it does not justify actual violence against anybody.

Other Responses

White Bees

Route 1 (see Feb 11/2011)

Josh Jasper's Blog

Coney Media
This posting shows the baby video and 2 other video commercial from Riverview.

Final Word
Is there a final word to be had concerning all this? I don't consider myself a MRA (Men's Rights Activist) as I didn't think my rights were being violated and needed fighting for. I guess to some, that makes me blind and I'm sure to some, that makes me a mangina. There may be a conspiracy but somehow I think the facts as presented above may mean the conspiracy is not quite what some think. If you're sitting in a pile of dung, you may think everyone is sitting in a pile of dung. Then again, you may only think you're sitting in a pile of dung.


Riverview Center

Wikipedia: Men's Rights

Men's News Daily

Wikipedia: Men's News Daily

A Voice For Men by Paul Elam

TV ad sparks death threats for Dubuque man
by Staci Hupp - Feb 8, 2011

Anti-rape TV commercial leads to death threats - Feb 9/2011

squirescribblers - Feb 8/2011
(Iowa's News Channel Seven's Lauren Squires)
YouTube: Why Josh Jasper has a passion for Riverview Center
After some two of The Riverview Center commercials went viral, I interviewed Josh Jasper about the commercials, their intent and what he hopes comes of it. I asked him the question a lot of people want to know: Why did he get into this field. Here is your answer.

YouTube: Riverview TV 2 - June 28, 2010
This is 2nd video somewhat like the first baby video

YouTube: Riverview ad: Don't Help - Dec 10/2008
This is one of the first ads produced by Riverview.


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