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Havrilesky writes: "Let's not call that toxic masculinity. Saying 'toxic masculinity' implies that masculinity is the core problem here, and suggests that a tiny bit of masculinity might also be a tiny bit poisonous. Using the word masculinity suggests that all men have a toxic core. I don't buy that. What we're seeing in the Sociopathic Baby-Man bestrides the world of ordinary men like a colossus."

Donald Trump and Bill Cosby. (photo: Getty)
Donald Trump and Bill Cosby. (photo: Getty)

ALSO SEE: Rose McGowan Is Starting a Revolution

ALSO SEE: Stop Mentioning Your Daughters
When You Denounce Harvey Weinstein

Don't Call It 'Toxic Masculinity.' They're Sociopathic Baby-Men

By Heather Havrilesky, The Cut

11 October 17


n any other year, Thursday’s New York Times article on Harvey Weinstein’s long history of sexual harassment might have felt like yet another story of a powerful man in Hollywood, abusing his power. The studio head who demands head in exchange for a plum role is such an accepted part of the sickness of the industry that it’s a long-running joke. That’s certainly how his lawyer Lisa Bloom seemed to want us to see Weinstein when she referred to him as “an old dinosaur trying to learn new ways.”

But this is the year of our lord 2017, soon to be known as the Year of the Sociopathic Baby-Man, and it feels like we’re cursed by an increasingly grotesque subspecies of this infantile beast at every turn. Does the world even feel real to powerful men, or is it more like playing an exciting video game? How else do two world leaders with nuclear weapons capable of murdering millions of people trade juvenile insults like toddlers battling over a toy? What else makes it seem fun and exciting to break a window in a hotel tower and point one of 43 assault weapons out a window at a crowd below? Are we really going to hold our collective breaths and watch these angry fools determine our fates? How is this reality?

In the Year of the Sociopathic Baby-Man, it’s more than a little challenging to view Weinstein as a friendly dinosaur, or to take the humble words of his open letter to the Times seriously. “Though I’m trying to do better,” he wrote, “I know I have a long way to go.” We’re meant to picture a sad, old, nearly extinct beast, brought low and forced to reflect on his sins closely for the first time ever — and not, say, I don’t know, a guy who’s been paying women to stay quiet for over two decades now. I mean, this guy kept signing settlement papers then turning around and doing the same thing all over again —and again, and again. Jesus, imagine the sheer tedium of that! Imagine insisting that one young employee or actress after another meet you in your hotel room, day after day. Casually opening your robe to reveal your naked body to her. Why? Because “they let you,” as the Sociopathic Baby-in-Chief once put it? Imagine either not registering the look of disgust that washes over each woman’s face, or worse yet, enjoying it. This repulsion reminds you that you’re powerful. This fear means that you’re scary and intimidating and not just an oversize infant with unsightly patches of body hair and a sick robot brain rattling around in your bloated skull.

When you really slow down the tape on Weinstein — or Trump, or Cosby, or Stephen Paddock, or Richard Spencer, and make no mistake, you have to work very hard not to draw lines between these men by now — what you see more than anything else is a profound lack of connection to other human beings. It’s not just that women or strangers or people of color or children of immigrants or Muslims don’t rate in their world. It’s that other human beings in general are utterly irrelevant. You are useful and part of the club or you’re cast out like trash. The second you’re not useful, you are waste. Or you were always waste. Your feelings about the matter couldn’t be less relevant. Whether or not their behavior will ruin you or literally end your life and the lives of countless others is utterly insignificant to these people.

Let’s not call that toxic masculinity. Saying “toxic masculinity” implies that masculinity is the core problem here, and suggests that a tiny bit of masculinity might also be a tiny bit poisonous. Using the word masculinity suggests that all men have a toxic core. I don’t buy that. What we’re seeing in the Sociopathic Baby-Man bestrides the world of ordinary men like a colossus. It’s more important than ever to make this distinction. Equating every man with the very worst, most repugnant, infantile robot-men alive is, pragmatically speaking, a very bad idea. Because these Sociopathic Baby-Men are not fucking around. Those who have power seem to become more and more powerful by the day. Their money grows. They seek out and surround themselves with other Sociopathic Baby-Men who recognize in them the same core values of zero values and zero concern for the future of humanity.

I know I sound like a fucking comic-book writer now, but this is no joke. These motherfuckers will make all of our lives miserable, simply because their fun video game can never end, they want to play it over and over and over. They are tenacious, they are insatiable, they want more ruin, if that’s what it takes, and we need every one of us — man, woman, all — to fight this scourge.

Because it’s not just that the Sociopathic Baby-Man believes that he can take whatever he wants, grab whatever he wants to grab and “they let you do it.” (Why do they let you do it, again?) It’s not just that he’s greedy and sick and corrupt and selfish and unfair and lacks any semblance of empathy. It’s that the world hardly even exists for him at all. He navigates a dreamscape. He doesn’t just feel very little empathy for other humans. He feels nothing at all, for anyone. He is entirely subsumed by his self-created fantasy. He moves through an imaginary realm.

When you read that Times article and others about Weinstein — and then you read Kate Aurthur’s BuzzFeed interview with Rose McGowan, how McGowan seems to hint that she experienced violations by Weinstein as a kind of death the age of 23 (“It alters the course of your life”), and then you imagine all of the women and men whose lives were altered or whose careers Weinstein stalled out or ended (based on what? A moment of hesitation or disgust? Some sign that they were actual human beings with wills of their own?) it becomes clear that Weinstein and everyone who colluded with him and empowered him over the course of the two decades have just offered us a frightening picture of exactly how we lose our grip on this beautiful world forever. For the powerful, it’s simple: You say whatever you want, and they let you. You grab what you want, and they let you. And the people around you stand by and they roll their eyes and silently back away — or they pat you on the back as you do it.

What’s most shocking of all right now might be the chorus of voices saying “We knew all along, and wondered when the truth would come out!” The truth doesn’t come out until someone is very brave. In this, the Year of the Sociopathic Baby-Man, we have no more excuses. We know this villain pretty well now. We have lots of very vivid examples of his kind. We know what he’s capable of. We all have to be brave now, and speak the truth to power. Because he might be a dinosaur, but he’s far from extinct, and he’s more than a little bit dangerous. your social media marketing partner


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+21 # librarian1984 2017-10-11 16:09
Very nice article. Now is the time for the Big Purge. We need whistleblowers, thousands of them. We need the enablers to stop enabling. We need the police to stop enforcing establishment abuses. We need accountants to spill the beans. We need hacktivists to do whatever is legally allowed to reveal the monsters' secrets. We need consiglieres to cut the head off these apocalyptic corporations. We need millions of us in the streets saying, 'Enough is enough!'

Because these people are not self-regulating . They will not stop until you are dead, your kids are broke and THEIR kids are enslaved.

Neoliberals and neocons are as dangerous as Nazis. They are an existential threat to our country and our planet. The 2008 crisis, after decades of booms and busts, proved their economic philosophy is bankrupt. Governments, including ours, have shown they do not have the political will to safeguard us even from the oligarchs' worst policies and TPTB themselves have shown they are incapable of self-regulating .

Our financial system is in the hands of addicts. Our livelihoods are at the mercy of sociopaths. We cannot wait for someone to save us. Times like these, of the veil being lifted, are rare. But we are in such a time and we need to grab it by the shorthairs and expose it to the light.

This is our fight. Rise up and meet it.
+5 # librarian1984 2017-10-11 16:12
btw, who is the 4th man pictured?
+2 # bread and butter 2017-10-11 20:37
Not sure. Maybe Ted Bundy?
+2 # librarian1984 2017-10-12 09:30
I wondered that too but that would seem like an odd addition to that group.
0 # lfeuille 2017-10-12 19:33
Maybe it's Paddock. He was the 4th man named in the article. The pictures I've seen make him look older but maybe it's the way this one was cropped.
0 # Dancing Inigo 2017-10-12 10:10
Looks like Roger Stone.
-1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-10-12 20:32
It is Bill Clinton -- only the picture is not very good.
+1 # librarian1984 2017-10-13 14:34
Someone in the comments section at the original article said it's Richard Spencer. It does look more like him than the other people mentioned. He is definitely a sexist but I didn't know he's an abuser?

I think Roger Ailes would have been a more appropriate fourth picture, or Bill O'Reilly or Bill Clinton.
+2 # Wise woman 2017-10-11 19:30
No "amen" here. It's "awomen". These cretins are everywhere and I've met up with my share of them. Getting rid of these demented creeps would be a hirculin task because I believe they are born deficient in some gene or another. I would encourage those attempting to explore this to begin there.
+1 # ThorunnPS 2017-10-12 01:28
It's herculean - after the Greek demigod Hercules, or Heracles.
+1 # bread and butter 2017-10-12 07:28
Not "awomen". That still has "men" in it. It's "awo-women".

Oh wait. That does too.

How 'bout "awo"?
0 # Dancing Inigo 2017-10-12 15:52
Or "awomb"?
0 # bread and butter 2017-10-12 21:18
0 # Wise woman 2017-10-12 18:14
Quoting bread and butter:
Not "awomen". That still has "men" in it. It's "awo-women".

Oh wait. That does too.

How 'bout "awo"?

Thanks for the chuckle. How about Awomyn?

PS men and male are contained in both women and female. Obviously because we birth them. They wouldn't be here without us.

And Thorunn - that's my spell checker for you.
+2 # bread and butter 2017-10-12 21:22
From what I heard, women wouldn't exist without one of our ribs.

Another version has to do with sugar, spice, puppy dogs' tales, etc.

Awomyn, and Awomb are both excellent choices.
+7 # dotlady 2017-10-11 22:31
It seems to me nothing has changed much with powerful men and their behavior for many decades I've been on earth, been thru the same trials. Thankfully women are able to speak up about it now - women had almost no chance of getting support or action for this back in the day.
+2 # librarian1984 2017-10-12 09:33
Were often villified for causing problems. I feel sorry for the victims in the military, who cannot leave, whose careers are shattered because of someone else's behavior.
+7 # mill valley maven 2017-10-11 23:39
This is what patriarchy looks like.
aka "power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Recall the psychologist Philip Zimbardo's "Stanford prison study" from the '70s. Nothing genetic about becoming a depraved bully: put on a uniform, dark glasses and a night stick....and they "let you do it."
+10 # lorenbliss 2017-10-12 02:21
Quite possibly the best piece of work I've yet seen on RSN, my "yet" dating to RSN's first year. Kudos to Heather Havrilesky for her writing and thanks to RSN for bringing it to us.
+1 # draypoker 2017-10-12 05:04
These people get into office because of the fatal flaw of the 1789 constitution. The Founding Fathers failed to understand the British arrangements, where the main political power had already shifted from the Monarch to the Prime Minister. The presidency was supposed to be a democratic monarchy.

They would have been wiser to have adopted an arrangement like the later Canadian constitution with a prime minister emerging from the elected assembly. A prime minister can be seen to demonstrate his character and abilities in the assembly. People like Trump, entirely unsuited to leadership (and the younger Bush also) would not arise.
+2 # Citizen Mike 2017-10-12 08:17
It is not "masculinity" that is at fault,it is the drive to obtain wealth and power over others which is composed of malignant narcissistic elements. Men in general are not bad. But wealth and power can only be obtained by single-minded selfishness and greed, and total disregard for others and contempt for anyone who has any feelings of community responsibility. In short, one must be evil to get rich.
+3 # Dancing Inigo 2017-10-12 09:25
We are a tragic example of macroevolution. The creatures referenced in the article are just farther along in the process. We're losing the traits that previously made us human. It won't be much longer 'til we are completely unrecognizable as such. Most people are already existing on Hot Cheetos and energy drinks and feel utter indifference to the shells behind them at the Circle K, waiting to purchase the same.
+1 # 2017-10-12 15:10
NO, it is not "we". Let's not accept them as some "new normal". Let's not "let them do it". The rest of us are far better than that. Men and women.
+3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-10-12 20:38
It is good to name these people as sociopaths. We have a real problem with sociopaths. Our society and particularly capitalism as a dressed up version of social Darwinism rewards and favors sociopaths. Then as the sociopaths gain more power, they transform social institutions so that they encourage more sociopaths. We are at a very dangerous point now.

It is not just the abuse of women. Sociopaths abuse everything. That's their nature. As a society, we can stop this. our values don't reward the way they are. We even have laws that criminalize most of what they do. We need to see that all these sociopaths end up in jail.

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