If you haven’t had the misfortune of witnessing Mike Duran’s epic tone-trolling masterpiece, well, here it is. Summary, Mike is mad that egalitarian women are using mean words like “enabling the patriarchy” and “glorifying abuse,” all in response to a totally polite article that only cited a woman staying with her abuser as a positive example, so he’s going to take his balls and go home to the complementarian camp. That’ll show them!
One of the first things you’ll probably notice is the sheer mildness of the comments he’s objecting to. No name-calling, death threats, swearing, or ad homines, just things like “shame on you” (haven’t stodgy old guys been using that one for centuries?) and “downright irresponsible” (dear God, what are you supposed to say if something is downright irresponsible?). Obviously Mike isn’t just looking for people to avoid abusive language, but also to coddle his whiny-ass white-guy sensibilities, as demonstrated in the downright farcical comment section, where women try gentler and gentler ways of attempting to allow facts to penetrate his skull, only to be rebuffed every time with “That’s the kind of comment I’m talking about!”
I’ve, therefore, taken the opposite approach; since everything that isn’t completely deferential to him hurts his precious fee-fees, I’m just making an all-out assault on them. Why? Because it doesn’t change the validity of my argument in the least. Mike, if you’re reading (and, come on, we know you are), let the record state that I don’t give a shit about the opinions of people who care more about who’s polite than they do about facts. You’re welcome to post this on your blog as an example of shrill, hysterical womenfolk who just can’t see reason, but you’re also invited to kiss my ass.
There have been many wonderful responses to Mike’s post, so I’m not going to explore the rhetorical problems with his argument, but rather look at another question: Does Mike actually have a problem with tone, or does he just have an enormous rage-boner for ladies who don’t submit to his mighty cock by agreeing with him? And yes, I am going to approach this scientifically. If Mike has a real, dispassionate problem with tone, we should see that expressed about equally to people who agree and disagree with him, and about equally to men and women. In particular, he should crack down zealously on inappropriate tone from his supporters, because he sure as hell wouldn’t want them undermining his side of the argument*.
Methodology: I went through the thread as of 11:30 July 13 and noted each poster (aside from Mike and me), their gender if known, and whether they generally agreed with Mike. Then I noted Mike’s response: Did he not respond, did he respond positively, neutrally, or negatively, or did he make a crackdown, condemning the comment as the very sort of thing he was complaining about? Finally, I made a vague attempt at quantifying how many uncivil things were said. Since Mike is touchy beyond all belief and since words like “horrible” and “irresponsible” apparently count, I’ve used the vaguely objective metric of “negative adjectives and swearwords**.” This puts Mike into the negative from the get-go (oops, he called the feminists “acerbic!”), but whatever.
Ready for the exciting results? Here they are! Raw data available as an XLS file.
- Out of 49 total posters (not counting Mike and me), 32 were female and 13 were male (the rest were unknown). Women left 70% of the comments, men 29%. Top poster was the formidable Katherine Coble by a landslide (64 comments), followed by Mich Pendergrass (43 comments) and top male poster Alan Molineaux (38 comments).
- A victory for human decency: 63% of the posters generally disagreed with Mike! 33% agreed and a few left neutral or unclear comments. Women disagreed by a landslide (23 to 7), of course, while men agreed by a small margin (7 to 5).
- Mike made a total of 10 comments that I classified as crackdowns: Three against Sara, one against Jill, two against Alan, two against Alise, and two against Maya3. Thus, 80% were against women and 20% against men. Normalized for the number of male and female posters, we find 0.25 crackdowns per female poster and 0.15 crackdowns per male poster.
- Women received more crackdowns relative to the number of posts and negative adjectives they had posted. Women received 0.17 crackdowns per comment and 0.25 per negative adjective, to men’s 0.05 and 0.13, respectively.
- I’m sure you’ll be stunned to discover that 100% of the crackdowns went to people who disagreed with Mike, even though 29% of the negative adjectives came from people who agreed, versus 63% from those who disagreed (about the same as the ratio of comments, 33% to 63%).
- By far the most negative tone in the whole discussion came from…drumroll please…Mike himself! This makes perfect sense; since his original post was complaining about others’ tone, everyone was on their best behavior so that he wouldn’t accuse them of being part of the problem, except Mike, who didn’t have to worry about such an accusation.
- Negative adjectives often come in strings.
- Almost everyone on his blog used a real (sounding) name, often full names. I’ve noticed that Christian blogging circles have a higher rate of real names than secular ones, even though they rarely have official policies about real names; I don’t know why this is.
- The phrase “shame on X” was used quite a few times in the thread. Although Mike repeated the “shame on you” citation from the OP several times in a row as an example of hateful, inflammatory language, not once did he crack down on its use in his comments…towards people he disagreed with.
- While Mike called Sara a troll for pointing out that he had benefited from feminism, Sally literally calls for people to take abuse in the name of Christ and Mike merely asks her to “clarify.”
- Mike is as dense as a neutron star. Go ahead, read that thread and despair as people try to explain simpler and simpler concepts to him and none of it makes a dent. Abuse survivors may have a better understanding of abuse? Saying “women submit to their husbands as men submit to Jesus” is treating men like gods? Positively citing an abusive situation is glorifying abuse? You wouldn’t call a man “shrill?” Women face disadvantages in society? LALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!
- He also has trouble spelling women’s names.
- What the hell is the manosphere doing in this thread? (The answer is, of course, wanking about white feathers, but where did they come from?) Same poster is also a grade-A example of mansplaining: Not female, married, or an abuse survivor, but you must totally listen to his opinions on women, marriage, and abuse!
In conclusion, Mike is a whiny little bitch with a congenital inability to pull his head out of his anus. He wouldn’t know a strong argument if it bit him in the ass, his massive ego routinely pulls satellites out of orbit, and as a result, his reptile brain has no more advanced view of social justice issues than “I’m not trying to oppress people and anyway I’m colorblind.”
This post won’t change him. Being nice wouldn’t change him, either. I’m not trying to change him, because he’s incapable of change. For the record, I don’t hate him. I’m not even angry at him. I am, in fact, amused, and I’m poking him with a stick for my own amusement and yours.
*Feminists do this all the time. If they think body-shaming is wrong, you’re not getting away with saying “I wonder if the Republicans in Congress are compensating for something?” If it’s wrong, it’s wrong, no matter who it’s directed at!
**Negative nouns and verbs, sadly, fall outside the scope of this particular post. I didn’t count words in quotes and exercised some discretion about skipping words that were paraphrasing something that someone else had said. There’s an inevitable degree of subjectivity even in quantitative studies like this.