Alas, chivalry is not dead.
This month, A Voice For Men forums was blessed with our own Don Quixote. Tim Tolka gallantly galloped onto the scene having, like his literary counterpart, read so much fiction (feminist rhetoric) that he has become delusional– convinced he is a knight. Riding a horse named Amanda Stevenson, Tim is prepared to slay the giants of the Men’s Human Rights Movement (MHRM). Unlike Quixote, Sir Tim is lacking Sancho, his squire, to tell him when he’s just tilting at windmills.
Tim wants to redefine what makes a man “#badass.” He claims “the time is ripe to rock these social structures to their foundations with violent speech.” Of course, the first thing Sir Tim did on arrival at AVfM Forums was to tell men to stop sounding so angry. Though Tim has “hatred pulsing through [his] veins” and claims “the masculine menace” in his hometown scares him and “makes [him] feel a sense of dread” he criticizes AVfM for what he calls “hatred, insecurity, and angst.” He claims to despise and condemn Paul Elam “above all else.”
Tim Tolka is a male feminist, a fact which he is compelled to remind us in case his actions haven’t made that clear. He is “the primary support provider to a survivor of gang rape.” While that is a title that would look good on a grant application, perhaps the first thing Tim should do is to get an identity of his very own.
This is the part where we start to wonder if Sir Tim is riding his horse or the horse is riding him.
This knight in shining armor, defender of all women, and protector of wives, is on a mission. In the wake of the Steubenville rape case in August, 2012, Tim encouraged his “close friend,” Amanda, to use the available media attention to publicize her own story — now twelve years old. It is a tragic tale of a young teenage girl, drugged and gang raped, abused; seeking desperately to find justice in any way possible except cooperating with a police investigation.
Never fear, Tim is here. He rode in like Roy Rogers and taped off the crime scene of her life in pink ribbons. His “selfless” support even resulted in marriage to the princess damsel. We can watch his transformation from friend, to fiancé, to husband in the few, short months of their media exploitation campaign.
Given that Tim’s choice of social justice cause and his belief in “rape culture” is a deeply entrenched aspect of his marriage, some may think that Tim is too emotionally invested in his point of view to be objective. To those people, Tim has words of warning: “For those who would try to steal that intimacy by force and pervert that adoration into a fetichist delirium which terrorizes, depersonalizes, and silences the victim, I have no sympathy.”
We don’t expect Tim’s sympathy but we would like to offer him some advice.
Don’t claim to be a journalist after writing a couple of blogs. When writing, try to be more careful with your wording. Saying that rape “leaves the victim like a shell-shocked soldier, who must then learn to cope with the loss of an integral part of themselves and a fracturing of their moral conscience” doesn’t make them sound weak and broken — it makes them sound like psychopaths.
A disoriented soldier with no moral conscience would be a danger to public safety and should be properly contained.
Emotional words are the currency of feminist narratives. They are the trump cards. In the social justice warrior world an emotional two-of-hearts beats your logical ace-of-spades every time. You can see this skewed game at work in the threatening, vigilante rhetoric of Tim and his friend/fiance/wife/vaudeville partner Amanda as they take on the evil patriarchy donning straw hats and canes.
The reason Amanda’s rape case has gone twelve years without resolution is not, according to them, because she refused to tell the police the names of her rapists. It’s the fault of patriarchy.
Though she didn’t press charges, the police acted on her behalf with no help from her or her family. She and Tim condemn the Hocking County Ohio Police Department for daring to conduct interviews with the students of her school who may have witnessed the rape because it destroyed her “anonymity” and caused her further distress. Amanda explains that the girls at her school were already calling her a slut and that she lived in a small town which would have known about the investigation no matter where it the interviews were held, but it is her contention that the police are at fault for a brick thrown through the window of a family car.
Of course the interviews could have been more targeted and discreet if Amanda had told them the names of the rapists, but that’s not her fault.
It was only 2001 then and now that it’s 2013 Amanda, with Tim at her hooves, is finally ready. To her disgust, the police had trouble immediately locating Amanda’s unsolved case file twelve years later on the day she chose to show up on their doorstep. It wasn’t because so much time had passed, nor that the police station had moved, been vandalized, and was located in a small, hick town in the first place. All of these factors are mere excuses justifying Tim and Amanda immediately turning to the hacker group Anonymous to bring them the vigilante style justice that captures headlines.
In her letter to Anonymous, Amanda claims to be getting a migraine just by putting her story into writing. We wonder if Amanda actually knows what a migraine is, or if those who have to deal with her are brought to the same condition. Most people would stop writing and wait until their migraine was gone before returning to the keyboard.
Anonymous responded. They took the names Amanda gave them and published them on the internet. This plan did not go so well for her and Tim. Anonymous does not have the discretion of the police and published so much personal information about Amanda that gallant Tim unsuccessfully begged them to take it offline.
The Hocking police explained to Amanda and Tim that the couple had compromised the investigation – but, despite the inadvertent damage that Anonymous did to Amanda’s case, Tim remains a staunch supporter of the group. That Amanda chose to trust a group of vigilantes instead of the people trained in law enforcement is not her fault, it’s a result of rape culture and a migraine.
Amanda Stevenson used to flinch at the word “rape” and now, thanks to Sir Tim and the victim mongering of online feminists, it’s all she wants to talk about. She is training to be a rape crisis counselor, wants to open a non-profit organization to help rape victims and her “ultimate goal” is “to establish a network of attorneys from every state that specialize and will work with such cases-to help these women strategize and grow from victims into plaintiffs against their rapists.”
All, we must assume, without the benefit of police or the criminal justice system because Amanda doesn’t trust cops or cooperate with them. But that is fine. We assume Amanda keeps copious amounts of hay in the barn to fuel her hick sensibilities and keep her strength up.
When she finishes her counsellor training Amanda might decide that the ultimate goal is to help victims of rape move forward without letting their victimhood define them as a person – regardless of whether the criminals are ever caught. One of the things Amanda might teach them, once she’s figured it out, is that co-operating with the police helps them put rapists in jail.
Until then, she is planning on applying to law school to help women use what she thinks is a broken justice system. It would be a lot more cost effective if she just taught them how to write impassioned letters to Anonymous.
Amanda can only accomplish these goals because of the courage she gets from Tim. Tim’s courage comes from Amanda. Tim’s everything comes from Amanda. Indeed, without Amanda, Tim does not seem to exist in any substantive way. It’s a true love story with no financial agenda.
So what can we learn from Tim about how to be a #badass?
Tim, struggling to carry Amanda on his back, trotted in to the forum area of A Voice for Men, where men share their personal stories of pain. He informed these men that women’s pain is more important and more severe than their own. In Tim’s narrative, though men experience trauma they heal faster than women. That the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Tim attributes to female victims of rape is most commonly found in men returning from war unsurprisingly doesn’t get in the way of his claim that women suffer more pain than their male counterparts. Social Justice Warriors rarely have bricks of logic in their arsenal.
Tim claims that women heal slower than men emotionally and instead of helping women heal more quickly real men should sympathize with and cater to the emotional sluggishness of the female. For those women who do say they heal fast, Amanda is busy telling them that they are wrong and should slow down. Silly women, there is no cha-ching in healing!
Healing might not be good for Tim’s marriage either.
Who will Tim be when he’s not the primary supporter of a rape victim? He says he’s a journalist but there is little evidence of that. In reality, he is someone who has enmeshed himself in someone else’s alleged trauma, and wrote a couple of blog posts about it.
To be fair, the mainstream frequently offers less credible examples than Sir Tim, but they do have their jobs, at least, to qualify them.
Tim says he knows what makes a man “badass” and it includes anger and violence yet he is here to fight the imaginary dragons of violence and anger in the MHRM. He also knows better than others what makes them ‘real’ people. Tim believes in equality but, for men, that means supporting women, adoring their frailty, and helping them to blame men for their own lack of participation in solving crimes committed against them.
One thing is certain. As with most dissent we have seen to AVFM, Sir Tim’s critique is a muddled mess of emotion and illogic; attacks, admonishments, threats, and empty rhetoric. Sir Tim is just another wayward fool asking us to prove that the sky is blue and the world is round.
Why Sir Tim ever came riding into AVFM is only one, scantly relevant question. The real question here is whether Tim is just a talking horse with Amanda’s arm shoved up his backside or if he just finds it easier to get attention by using her pain as his vehicle? These are questions that only Amanda and Tim can answer or need to know.
Perhaps Tim’s real work is in keeping her traumatized; mired in her wounds. Heaven knows she would have little use for him if she actually healed, or if she actually needed to. We are betting Tim knows this and it is scarier to him than his so-called “masculine menace.”
In an ironic and comical way, when Sir Tim, after announcing he was writing an article on AVFM, was informed in advance that this article was on the way, he said, “That’s cool, just please don’t mention my wife.”
It’s a little too late for that, Tim.
Tim Tolka should get off his horse (or perhaps quit being one) and find a Sancho; a faithful squire. The Patriarchy and Rape Culture aren’t real. They are just a feminist dream of windmills that look like giants. It’s an illusion that takes form when you are asleep — and it’s time for Tim to wake the fuck up.
When asked what a squire does, Don Quixote’s sidekick Sancho Panza replied “Well, first, I ride behind him. Then he fights. And then I pick him up off the ground.” A Voice for Men and the MHRM is not going to be that sidekick that Tim so desperately needs because we do not share his delusions and are too far ahead to notice if he falls. Besides, while we cast the occasional sympathetic eye at the pack animals that wander in here, we prefer not to keep their company.
So, ride your hobby horse, Sir Tim, even if you don’t hold the reins. Ride it like a #badass.