I can’t make excuses for Scott Adams and his recent brawl with feminism…but I can forgive him. Again, if my White Male Privilege is just going to be dismissed anyway, don’t waste your time reading on.
While reading his original blog post, I was able to pick up on what he was putting down. I understood that the overall message was to debunk the Men’s Rights Movement as insecure wieners who lacked real problems. Unfortunately, he packaged this message with baseless opinions and misogynist jabs. He dug himself deeper by failing to clearly communicate that the article was tailored for the target audience of his blog, instead of appearing to suggest his subscribers were an elite membership of the illuminated.
Whether you “got” it or not, he said some pretty dumb things. Above all else, I want us to agree on that.
What piques my interest in this story is that it became such a story. I’ve heard far more offensive comments from people whom I hold more admiration. I have to assume that the reason why his words make it to the Twitter trends is because he’s The Scott Adams. The Dilbert Guy said some things about how good the ladies got it. We expect better of him because writes best-selling books and draws that comic strip everyone finds so funny.
He brings up at least one solid point that reminded me of Jerry Holkins’ [much better written] address to the Penny Arcade “Dickwolves” debacle. That point is that emotional reaction will take the reigns over reason every time. If something touches a nerve (the intention is irrelevant), it can affect someone personally and the impulsive response is a powerful drive that doesn’t surrender. Because of this, true communication breaks down, impairing our ability to come together in the end.
I’m still a fan of Scott Adams and consider him a genius. But be clear that I don’t idolize him, nor do I erroneously synonymize genius with perfection. By coincidence, I’d started re-reading his books a couple weeks before this controversy erupted and noticed misogynous remarks within their pages as well. Puzzling over whether they were meant to be tongue-in-cheek hasn’t discouraged me from finishing my read.
As far as I can tell, these are the symptoms of progressive growing pains. We’re growing more aware of our culture’s ills and I’ve seen incredible movement to correct them. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of pain and animus from past crimes causing us to lash out at each other. Hammers who only see nails; many doing more harm to the cause than good. But we’ll never defeat the true enemy if we’re at each other’s throats…