Paul has repeatedly put himself at risk to protect me, and the least I can do to express my gratitude in light of the Serwer-Baker Buzzfeed attack is lend my voice in return. I need to offer the obvious disclaimer that I do not actually speak for Paul, and I do not know him as well as his family, closest friends, and current lover. But after spending time with Paul and his awesome partner after they graciously welcomed me in their home, I know Paul well enough to see when people lie about his character.
The first and most obvious criticism I see forming in the air is that Paul cannot complain about the Buzzfeed hit piece because he targets people in articles himself.
Critics will not believe me when I say this, but Paul does respect boundaries. It’s just that he reciprocates his targets’ intensity. Case in point, Paul Elam is speaking in my defense against the faculty who bullied me on Kennesaw State University, and he stayed within the scope established by the faculty themselves. Despite what some say, he never did anything to ISD faculty that they haven’t done to me (But notice that it’s only “harassment” when Paul does it).
Paul’s takedown of Brian Clyne is the only time I recall Paul swiping at someone on a familial level, and even then that was because Brian Clyne publicly volunteered his daughters as a topic and threatened intervention from his father.
Whether Paul calls out professors by name or writes scathing satire, he has evidence of his targets’ wrongful actions. When Paul jumps the gun, he admits it and apologizes. Show me one critic confessing that they overreacted to MHRAs in this way, and I will show you a unicorn.
There is nothing wrong with calling out wicked people, and there is no doubt that Serwer and Baker thought they were doing the same thing. However, their “evidence” is opinion carefully framed to manipulate, not persuade. This is David Futrelle’s style of toxic propoganda: Distort context until the target and all supporters appear inhuman.
In terms of his difficult decisions during his youth, Paul had to live with choices that only prove that he is human. Today, Paul faithfully operates within the boundaries of the law as an advocate. Critics lack evidence showing otherwise, but this will not stop them from trying to destroy him.
The attitude of those bent on Paul’s destruction are best summarized by Charles Augustus Magnussen in Sherlock:
Proof? What would I need proof for? I’m in news, you moron. I don’t have to prove it, I just have to print it.
— Charles Augustus Magnussen
What does it matter if the lies by omission, or prints as facts things that are merely speculation or allegation? It doesn’t matter to them. Propogandists like Serwer and Baker will argue that the sun is black if it made MRAs look bad.
Men’s Rights Activists are rage-filled misogynists who claim feminists intentionally “cover up” issues like male rape and workplace injury rates so women can achieve global domination.
–Katie J.M. Baker, Rape and Death Threats: What Men’s Rights Activists Really Look Like
Nope. No bias there at all. Never mind MHRAs pooling money to investigate an alleged assault of a feminist. Never mind welcoming women in managerial positions. In Femtopia, none of those things happened.
Remember that Serwer came to ICMI14 with a free press pass, and spent his time visibly shaking with rage because no one thought like him. Serwer made this personal, because to him, it was personal.
I’ve read every one of Paul’s articles, so I know every confrontational thing he put on this website. Like other people who think, I can read between lines and deduce motivations and character without being distracted by popular emotional impressions.
I bonded with Paul as a guest in his home, where there is no evidence that he is exploiting money in the way David Futrelle and Diana Boston suggest next to their own “donate” buttons. No sex dungeons, no blood money under the mattress, nothing.
For those who think I am a biased source, recall that I’m fiercely insistent on universal accountability. I owned up to every wrong thing I’ve done, both in internal conflicts here at AVfM, and in breaking any rules at Kennesaw State University. I’ve banned self-proclaimed MRAs from this site early in my volunteerism here for bigotry (yes, including misogyny), and noticed ideological development in “manosphere” communities.
I’m hardly one to presume infallibility, and I sure as hell do not endorse exemptions in my principles for friends. If I saw Paul drinking Château Lafite out of a pimp glass instead of keeping his promises, I’d be the first to tell the world, even if my doing so ended our friendship. If I was not willing to do that, then I would not be a proper activist.
But I don’t worry about enduring that moment because I know it won’t happen. Paul uses every cent of donations to AVfM in good faith towards his promises. If he fucks something up, I know he will own up to it. His integrity is solid, no matter what his enemies say about him.
Another money fact that keeps slipping by unreported is that Paul has allowed others to feed off his main revenue stream. Paul hosts fundraisers on this site where AVfM gains no money. I offered Paul a percentage in Zen Men’s last fundraiser, and he refused the money. He also gave Dean Esmay money for private dental work in public view.
Serwer tried to paint Paul as being defensive and secretive about money. But Paul demonstrates that he keeps promises. He promised a conference, and there was a conference. Serwer was there! Where else did he think the money went? Hookers and blow? Public information shows donor money being spent in good faith. Paul’s just not going to give up sensitive financial documents to complete strangers who want to control money. To them, Paul’s sin is that he’s not spending money on feminism.
Between Dean and Zen Men, AVfM gave up access to over $10,000, which means Paul gave up more than AVfM itself raised in its last fundraiser. AVfM has historically raised money for people’s legal defense, to help activists get to protests, to fund other activist groups, to help build shelters, to help fund research on male birth control, and more, yet no one in the mainstream even acknowledges these things, and some outright lie and say AVfM never does it. But here’s my point:
Greedy people out to exploit the masses don’t give away money.
Paul’s gestures of appreciation are not limited to Dean and me. When one of the many talented activists on staff do outstanding work, Paul helps them step up their game however he can.
Somehow that memo didn’t make it to the “Paul just wants money” crowd. Could someone please rub it in their faces until the ink stains their eyes?
Even if Paul legally owns the cash assets as AVfM’s proprietor, so what? Running an international organization is a job, and Paul does that job well. It is true that most staff are not paid and the few who are are getting very little, but we are certainly not cheated because Paul supports his volunteers. He also never tells us to do anything; we make up our own work. This allows us to practice new skills and connect with new people. People even find lovers here. Since the AVfM platform is so accessible, it grows quickly and there’s basically an entire city’s worth of activity going on behind this site. There are radio shows, chat rooms, art, comics and Wild West debates. There’s a reason why we stick around: Volunteering at AVfM is fucking awesome.
Critics turn up their noses and act as if real activists like them would work 80+ hours a week saving the world for free and not go broke. The whole reason I started asking for donations myself was because activism costs money, honey, and you aren’t much use to your supporters if you can’t put gas in the car. Paul gets shit done, and donors take care of the bills flowing out of the P.O. box and yell at idiots alongside him. Looks like a perfectly sensible arrangement to me. Prigs who disagree are free to prove they have a better model.
Paul does not intend to hurt anyone. He is, however, gleefully willing to risk offending millions when there is no other way to make a point. I and other MHRAs follow that example because dammit, it works. One year we are doing odd jobs, and the next year every MHRA and his cat are in the news. Critics cry foul, but they cannot deny that MHRAs are now among the most interesting people in the world.
Feminists and “social justice” crusaders attack Paul because he is not compliant with their Church. In their attempts to pretend that they care about men’s issues—they really don’t—I find myself only trusting Paul more. He scares the shit out of demagogues because he can guide activists to reform. He went from blogging in a semi to becoming an international media figure.
If I was a crook that lied for a living, I’d be attacking Paul too. Too bad you can’t shame men who value themselves.
The Church is trying to excommunicate Paul. But he knows he has my complete support, as well as the support of every MHRA who knows what equity looks like.
Welcome, my friends, to the new Renaissance.