Choking on the Red Pill


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Last Tuesday, May 2, 2017 the Linfield community was subjected to a showing of the Red Pill—a tedious 2 hour propaganda ‘documentary’ advocating for the so-called ‘Men’s Rights Movement.’  The movie derives its premise from the famous scene in the movie Matrix in which Morpheus offers two pills to Neo:

“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

In the minds of the Men’s Rights Activists (MRA’s), the red pill is a metaphor for opening one’s mind to the sad reality that we, poor, overworked, underappreciated, straight (white) men are a misunderstood minority whose rights have been trampled upon by society.  These ‘meninists’ claim that it is women, and radical feminists in particular, who are responsible for their sorry state.

Part of the worldview of the MRA’s is the belief that society considers men disposable.  According to their thinking, men take all the hard jobs, are more prone to addiction, die disproportionately in wars,  discriminated against in family courts, and believe it or not, are often tricked into fatherhood. The MRA’s claim that their personal grievances are indicative of the world in which the systematic discrimination against men in general is the norm.

This project is the Kickstarter-funded creation of Cassie Jaye, an actress and an amateur film-maker.  It is a sort of a video diary starring Jaye herself.  She starts her journey as a ‘feminist,’ yet gradually succumbs to the MRA’s charms.  As she begins to see virtues in the point of view of these middle-aged, tired, angry white men, she gradually modifies her views on gender equality—so much so, that by the end of the movie she tearfully declares that she can no longer call herself a ‘feminist.’

Not surprisingly, since its premiere in the fall of 2016, the Red Pill has received rather mixed reviews.  While the Guardian, The Village Voice and the LA Times unanimously panned the movie, the Pill received glowing reviews from Breitbart News and its recently disgraced provocateur and anti-feminist crusader Milo Yiannopoulos.  A deeper search of the internet’s less travelled corners quickly reveals an enthusiastic endorsement from the Daily Stormer—the leading neo-Nazi site.

Personally, I found this dreary jeremiade a bitter pill to swallow.  My first reaction was—gentlemen, you cannot be serious!  In our times, while women suffer disproportionately from sexual abuse, workplace discrimination, lack of access to affordable healthcare and a myriad of other issues, you dare to pine and whine about your own victimhood? As a father and a husband, somehow I don’t feel the need for your advocacy! Instead, I’d much rather fight for the rights of my daughter who is about to enter adulthood.

The creators of the Red Pill utilize to the fullest the power of emotional persuasion. Throughout the movie, the MRA’s insufferable grumbling is accompanied by equally mundane and generic soundtrack. In the propagandist cinematography, kitschy music is akin to emotional fascism—it has the power to make the audience feel a certain way while feeding it all kinds of lies and banalities. For me, it took a certain amount of mental discipline to separate the revolting mendacities spewing from the mouths of these curmudgeons from the emotional bombardment produced by constantly cooing strings.

In the final analysis, The Red Pill is a classic example of kitsch, and in the words of Milan Kundera: “Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession. The first tear says: How nice to see children running on the grass! The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass! It is the second tear that makes kitsch kitsch.” Kitsch and propaganda make a powerful combo and the creators of The Red Pill use it to great effect.

The unfortunate reality is that some of the MRA’s claims are undoubtedly true and deserve serious consideration, yet the overall picture presented to the audience is erroneous at best and outright disingenuous at worst. While men’s issues require genuine advocacy, the heroes of this pathetic diatribe tend to be rather unsavory characters.  An internet search easily reveals the following gems from Paul Elam, a dead-beat dad and the founder of the Voice for Men:

“And all the outraged PC demands to get huffy and point out how nothing justifies or excuses rape won’t change the fact that there are a lot of women who get pummeled and pumped because they are stupid (and often arrogant) enough to walk through life with the equivalent of a I’M A STUPID, CONNIVING BITCH – PLEASE RAPE ME neon sign glowing above their empty little narcissistic heads.”

What surprised me is that this horrendous bucket of lies of a documentary was followed by a rather civil discussion in which ‘both sides of the issue’ were presented.  I am all for reasonable discourse, however, I do not believe that lies and misogyny can be argued with rationally. What we saw in this movie was not just another perspective on a complex issue but a poorly produced piece of sexist propaganda sponsored and endorsed by the most-repulsive characters in today’s political universe.  The answer to rape apologists cannot be just a rational discussion—it has to be outrage!

I am confused and bewildered why a small group of students is dead set on promoting misogyny and discrimination in the name of free speech. In light of their enthusiastic support for this second-rate, amateurish caricature of a documentary, their sanctimonious pining decrying “moral panic at Linfield” rings particularly hollow. What we witnessed on Tuesday was revolting. I can only imagine how the victims of sexual violence (if they were in the audience) felt while listening to these abuse advocates spewing their repulsive worldview.  In my humble opinion, free speech is no excuse for bigotry and harassment.

 

Anton Belov, DMA
Associate Professor of Music

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18 Comments

18 Responses to Choking on the Red Pill

  1. Samantha Palmer on May 9th, 2017 12:30 pm

    This is an excellent piece! Thank you for sharing.

    -Sammi Palmer, Class of 15

    [Reply]

  2. Chris on May 9th, 2017 7:22 pm

    In our times, while women suffer disproportionately from sexual abuse

    Literally addressed in the film. 1 in 3 women will be a victim of domestic violence. 1 in 4 men will be also victim. There are over 2000 shelters for women in the US. There is one shelter for men. Do you honestly believe this is representative of a fair and functioning society?

    Sounds like you ignored any facts and figures in the film that show there ARE certain areas where men are disadvantaged in society and stuck onto your preconceived notion that this film is sexist the whole way through. Laughably, you call the film sexist and fail to throw in a single sexist quote from the documentary itself (because there are none) and instead cherry pick an out of context comment from an article from one of the activists interview to prove your point.

    This opinion piece is a joke. Rewatch the film without your bias goggles on and try again. How you became a professor of anything will forever be a mystery.

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  3. Nena Jaye on May 9th, 2017 11:09 pm

    Mr. Anton Belov, your review of the film, The Red Pill, is one of the clearest examples of pure fiction. Most of your plot points have no basis in the actual content of the film but rather exists within your own delusions. Instead of genuinely reviewing the film, you chose to engage in inflammatory lies.
    As a producer of this film, and mother of its director, I am disgusted by your hate filled, bombastic mischaracterization of our film and its female director. You claim to be a father of a soon to be adult daughter fighting for her rights. Well, Ive been a mother raising 4 successful adult daughters fighting for their rights to be heard and respected. I know what it takes to instill power and passion in women. I can tell you that your slanderous portrayal of our film is shameful and disrespectful. This film represents 3 1/2 years of dedication, passion, and perseverance to create a truthful and accurate portrayal of a movement that has been demonized by many, including you. But I am not surprised by your vitriol. When hate exists within ones heart, it easy to project it onto others.
    If you truly are an associate professor of music, and I would venture to assume, a creative soul, it disgusts me how you can sit there in front of your computer bashing the creative efforts of all the professionals who put there time and heart into this film.
    To suggest that our film is propaganda is absolutely without any merit. Saying it is does not make it so. However, your appalling mischaracterization and inaccurate telling of the films content perhaps makes you the propagandist.
    Suggesting the film represents only points of view of middle-aged, tired, angry white men, tells me more about you. If you indeed watched the film, you would have seen a diverse group of people represented: women and men; young and old; white and non-white; gay and straight. So if all you saw were middle-aged angry white men, perhaps your own biases and racism is rearing its ugly head.
    To say that the director tearfully states she can know longer call herself a feminist tells me one of two things: you either willfully decided to be untruthful in your depiction of that scene OR your viewing comprehension is lacking. Which is it? If its the latter, you have no business writing a review of a film you didnt actually see or cant comprehend.
    To only speak about Breibart, Milo, and Daily Stormer as our positive reviews is purposely misleading. You can actually view all press we have received to date at http://theredpillmovie.com/press/
    The Village Voice is an interesting example of a non-review, but more of a ideological rant much like yours. The fact that the Village Voice article sites a known propagandist as a source, and completely manufactured lies about the film and its director, cannot be taken as a credible review.
    Our film has been seen worldwide by diverse audiences who have been positively affected by it. I have personally spoken to many women, young and old, at screenings that Ive attended. To say that the film had a profound impact on them is an understatement. I have spoken to men who have been victimized by family court, and victims of domestic violence. This film gave them hope that their voices would finally be heard. If you cant even drum up any compassion for the personal stories represented in the film, that tells me a lot about you.
    Our film has won 4 film festival awards so far including: Best of The Festival, Best Feature Documentary-Audience Award, Best Female Director and Best Produced. To characterize the director as an amateur and dismiss our films production, after many industry professionals, including an Oscar winning producer, have praised Cassie Jaye, makes me wonder if your derogatory comments are based on your own internal sexism?
    The film has been at the top of the charts on most of our VOD platforms since it was launched in March 2017. The Red Pill qualified for the 2017 Academy Awards. It is a film that is now part of many prestigious university libraries around the world. We receive thousands of emails each week telling us how this film positively impacted lives, relationships and families. To state that this film promotes misogyny and discrimination is a disgusting lie. Shame on you!
    This film is a compassionate look at the mens rights movement (and btw, meninism is not an actual thing, its a joke) and challenges the audience to engage in productive discourse. We at Jaye Bird Productions are dedicated filmmakers supporting all human rights, intellectual diversity and free speech, while creating films that encourages critical thinking and expands the mind. You could actually benefit from our films.

    [Reply]

  4. Gush on May 10th, 2017 1:13 am

    So you didnt watched the movie?
    Even in the movie with feminist opposition they blame more traditional gender roles than feminists, and they never single out women, more society as a whole of course.

    [Reply]

  5. WhoTheHell_Cares on May 10th, 2017 1:31 am

    I certainly hope your knowledge of music is better than your social knowledge.

    [Reply]

  6. Steve on May 10th, 2017 1:36 am

    As a man who was a victim of rape in college, I am glad someone is bringing light to these issues instead of mocking them. Elam is, without a doubt, an unsavory character. There is no disputing this.

    I struggled for years with my rape, and the mocking that followed. Being called gay because I didnt just roll over and accept how lucky I was. I thought I was the only man ever to get raped by a woman, well and truly alone.

    Then I saw the CDC data that over a million men are raped every year in the US, and most of them raped by women. I finally found out I wasnt alone. I wasnt an anomaly.

    Elams an unsavory character, but the points brought up in the film about men suffering rape and domestic violence should not be ignored anymore. Hopefully someone better can take charge on these issues, but these issues need to be addressed. We cant allow the silence to continue.

    [Reply]

  7. Jimmy Rickard on May 10th, 2017 2:06 am

    You fail to make any convincing case against the content of the movie. You present no counter argument or facts, only the foundation premise that women are opressed and double standards should apply, giving them every advantage over men. You do not deny one thing they say because you can not, yet claim the facts they present are only in their minds. The strongest argunent you could find is a quote, not even part of the film suggesting women should have some accountability. To a feminist, that makes it disgusting and terrible and angry white men. Lets begin with the double standard. Kill all men is quite acceptable to say for feminists and many similar sentinents, such as treating all nen as rapists. Rape culture, men should not be allowed to speak unless parroting feminism as you do, or its mansplaining. You would argue that is all ok because somehow men are still oppressing women, though the movie disproves it. Then there is your checkmate watertight argument, an appeal to identity politics. Dismiss all that is presented because it affects white angry men. I am not white, the distribution of mra follows the general demographic drawing on all races. This is because a minority man still loses his home and children to his minority wife. Also the producer of the film is a woman, as are most prominent mra. Lauren southern, karen straughan, christina hoff summers, betina arndt, Barbara4u2c, shoe on head girl etc. The general make up of mra is 20-30% women. Not surprising as it is their brothers and sons facing kangaroo courts, higher dropout rates in school, way lower graduation from college, lower earning in the 20s etc. As for angry you sound like an angry middle age white man yourself, so that should be reason to dismiss your words, even if you provided any evidence, as the mra do. But what activist doesnt have the right to be angry anyway? Feminists do not speak calmly like the angry white men you dismiss, they scream obscenities in the streets and call thenselves survivors of anything and everything. The white man here is the white knight.

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  8. borabosna on May 10th, 2017 2:24 am
  9. borabosna on May 10th, 2017 2:27 am

    while women suffer disproportionately from workplace discrimination

    That is also false:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/112/17/5360.abstract
    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-11/uom-vai111714.php

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  10. borabosna on May 10th, 2017 2:31 am

    As a father and a husband, somehow I don’t feel the need for your advocacy!

    Millions of men and boys do, who are genital mutilation victims, are discriminated against in education, are falsely accused of rape in college, who are divorced, cannot see their children, in jail for child support, fired from their jobs, and suicidal.

    Do you not even have a modicum of empathy for these men and boys? Do male victims piss you off so much, that you deny their existence and their pain and experience?

    [Reply]

  11. borabosna on May 10th, 2017 2:34 am

    Instead, I’d much rather fight for the rights of my daughter who is about to enter adulthood.

    Your daughter is twice as likely as your son, if you had one, to graduate from college and be accepted into a STEM job. Your son, if you had one, is twice as likely to be discriminated in school by female teachers who punish him far more than girls for the same mistakes and give him lower grades:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/112/17/5360.abstract
    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/eliminating-feminist-teacher-bias-erases-boys-falling-grades-study-finds
    https://www.nhh.no/en/research/research-news/article-archive/2016/september/greater-acceptance-for-men-dropping-out/

    [Reply]

  12. Alex on May 10th, 2017 3:08 am

    Well, I will just reverse your sentences:

    In our times, while men suffer most of the discrimination well explained in the documentary (except for the sexual assaults which are not done by men, but rapists, difference!), feminists dare to pine and whine about their own victimhood?

    I do not believe that lies and misandry can be argued with rationally.

    There you go. Your whole text is biased and you should open your eyes to the other reality. I have a son, and Im really concerned about his future in this world.

    Cheers,
    a.

    [Reply]

  13. Clara Hamlin on May 10th, 2017 4:03 am

    I dont have to imagine how a female survivor of sexual violence would feel watching this documentary.
    I thoroughly enjoyed it, thanks.

    Male victims of female abusers seem to find the experience a lot more emotive though.

    What has irked a few of us is the use of the phrase subjected to to describe people who were free to leave, unlike many of us rape victims who were genuinely subjected to trauma.

    Long may you continue to go without need for advocacy. Meanwhile please respect the needs of people beyond your own progeny who have cause to seek help overcoming the problems our current society and legislature throw at them, even if those people are men.

    [Reply]

  14. Declan on May 10th, 2017 5:46 am

    I have to say, I must assume you havent actually seen the documentary as you miss all of the important, overlooked and undeniable issues raised within. Also, Im not convinced that youre not a 4Chan troll doing this review for the keks.

    Anyhow, I suggest that anyone who hasnt seen Jayes documentary to do so, if for no other reason than to just see how biased and WRONG Anton Belov is.

    Please also check out Jayes other works: Daddy I Do and The Right to Love, the latter being strongly pro-gay rights and -gay marriage.

    The woman is obviously a monster(!)

    [Reply]

  15. Chris on May 10th, 2017 6:44 am

    Well Anton at least you took the time to see the film. At least I assume you did, though the description you provide appears to be wildly at odds with the version I saw. And yes there are a lot of serious issues affecting men and boys for which acknowledgment, advocacy and support are warranted and well overdue. Further background regarding the Red Pill movie can be found at http://www.fighting4fair.com/uncategorized/more-feminist-censorship-cancellation-of-the-australian-premiere-of-the-red-pill-movie/

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  16. Tanya Tompkins on May 10th, 2017 8:25 am

    Dr. Belov hits the nail on the head here. As an academic institution we often need to be willing to enter into difficult and uncomfortable spaces during discourse and dialogue in order to grow, personally and intellectually. Doing so requires trust, sharing evidence to support ones beliefs, and a willingness to consider anothers perspective long enough to pick it apart (finding places of agreement and disagreement in the process). In this polarized political climate, trust is at an all time low and emotions are running high. Choosing a film that heightens emotions, further polarizes around gender issues, and counts among its champions those who advocate violence against women shows poor judgement. If the organizers are truly concerned (as I am) about how gender roles seem to be leading to a host of health and mental health problems in men it seems there are a myriad of ways they could organize a campus conversation to encourage meaningful dialogue. Clearly this wasnt it. I appreciate this thoughtful caution about where we draw the line between freedom of speech and anti-discrimination/harassment on our campus.

    [Reply]

  17. Jonas Scheyrer on May 10th, 2017 9:44 am

    You do realize that if you were to use the exact same language to describe something a feminist produced there would likely be such a big backlash and such a big public outcry that you might lose your job? There are numerous examples of people to whom that happened for daring to counter feminist and similar social justice movements rhetoric.
    As a professor I would have expected a much higher standard. All you do is poisoning the well, making appeals to emotions, misrepresenting, taking out of context and making false equivalencies. I could probably find even more fallacies but I doubt this will be posted anyhow because usually legitimate criticism of such hit pieces is silenced, so really it is not worth that much of my time.
    It would have been nice to see legitimate criticism of the documentary but you actually do not counter a single point they made, you even admit some have merit. So then what is your huge problem? Cant both women and men have problems in society that we need to address?

    [Reply]

  18. Jane Murphy on May 10th, 2017 9:54 am

    Why does the author have so little compassion for his fellow men? Why is he so hostile to the very idea of them speaking up for themselves? Completely lacking in self awareness, this opinion piece is a perfect demonstration of the serious cultural blind spot in recognising mens humanity and pain. It shows exactly the importance of the documentary.

    Fortunately, every begrudging acknowledgement that men have some issues is a victory for mens rights.

    [Reply]

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Choking on the Red Pill