Friday, September 11, 2015

Meanies are picking on Evan Marc Katz!

Poor Evan Marc Katz. Everybody's hypersensitive, and he's feeling, well, sensitive about it.
"And pretty much all of my favorite writers and comedians have been attacked by the PC police – Jerry Seinfeld, Stephen Colbert, Sam Harris, Andrew Sullivan, Bill Maher, Laura Kipnis. Why? Because even though all of them have socially liberal worldviews, they either made jokes or spoke their minds – much to the chagrin of their critics."
Now I've certainly come out against, for want of a better term, Social Justice Warriors. But not only SJWs criticized Sam Harris. And that's because Sam Harris is a bona fide asshole and kind of an idiot too, as I've discussed many times on this blog. If liberals object to Sam Harris speaking his mind, it's because Sam Harris so often supports right-wing views: on torture, ethnic profiling, gun control and attitudes towards women.

Both Katz and Sam Harris have convinced a fairly large number of dullards that they are really bright guys. And they make a nice profit from that. So you can see how they might, at least occasionally, be concerned that there is a certain subset of the public who are not baffled by their bullshit.

But not only that, some of us are not even grateful to the service Evan Marc Katz is performing for humanity!
I have been giving free dating and relationship advice twice a week on this blog since 2007. I have approved 75,000 comments, thousands of which were vociferous criticisms of me and my advice. I’ve been blog trolled and Facebook trolled and Twitter trolled and comment trolled and email trolled. It doesn’t make me mad. It just makes me sad for those people who feel that the best form of debate is to create straw man arguments to attack me – all because I believe something different – something that is usually well-reasoned.
Poor Evan Marc Katz. All he wants to do is make a very sweet living sitting around talking about himself and inventing little tips and tricks for how woman can snag a man. And for that he must endure the horrific oppression of occasional criticism!

This is the kind of snake-oil Evan Marc Katz is selling to women, all the while claiming to be a liberal and pro-feminist. From his book Why He Disappeared:
Being passive doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything proactive. It means that you’re choosing not to do anything proactive, because being proactive during courtship is ineffective in making a man feel attracted to you. 
Here are a few common examples of being proactive:
  • You have a great date, you email him the next day to say you had a lot of fun.
  • You haven’t heard from him all weekend, you text him to make sure he’s doing okay.
  • You want to see him next week, you tell him his favorite band is playing downtown and you can get tickets.
  • You’re confused about where your relationship stands, you ask him where things are headed.
You think you’re being real; he thinks you’re acting clingy. Understand, the man of your dreams doesn’t NEED to be pushed to be your boyfriend.
You see, you are choosing to be passive (non-proactive) because you want to snag a manly-man who is threatened by you asking him on a date to see his favorite band. Or calling to inquirer after his well-being.

What Evan Marc Katz is doing is not performing a service for women - he's performing a service for the most worthless men on the planet, by encouraging women to believe that a real man is one who expects a passive woman. Instead of such men becoming evolutionary dead-ends as they deserve to be, Katz is telling women to accept this grotesqueness as the price heterosexual women must pay if they want to get married.

What does Katz think is going to happen after the desperate woman becomes passive during courtship and tricks the manly-man into marrying her? The man will be extremely confused when this perfect girlfriend who wouldn't dream of being such an aggressive bulldyke as to offer tickets to his favorite band suddenly stops being passive. Divorce will ensue. But possibly not before this piece of shit passes his genes onto the next generation. 

So what Evan Marc Katz is selling is women training themselves to be deferential to men. And he's such a little weasel he pretends that he's really a feminist and a liberal. Except that he gives the game away in so many ways, not the least of which is that a misogynist dumbass like Sam Harris is one of his favorite writers.

Katz was thrilled by Date-Onomics, a book that emphasizes the scarcity of men vs. women, because it helps to stampede poor gullible suckers into buying his how-to-be-passive-enough-to-snag-a-man advice books. Although Katz doesn't agree with everything in the Date-Onomics book -  of course he is very much against the notion that women should ever pursue men:
However, the author does make some very salient points that echo things you may have read here – particularly about how female maximizers can be left standing alone because they were consumed with their careers, didn’t prioritize love, and felt they deserved to be picky.
“With a lot at stake in getting it right in one shot, it’s the women who are confident that they are holding a strong hand who are likely to hold out and wait for the perfect prospect.”This is why it seems that there are a disproportionate number of “quality” 40-year old single women. Like Lori Gottlieb, they were holding out for a 10, while the appropriate guys settled down with other women who may have been less impressive on paper but who prioritized love and compromise.
Birger’s solution to this is that women should pursue men. I don’t think that feels good for most women, nor do I think it’s very effective. What I do concede, is that it behooves all of us to date extensively through our 20’s, to grow and mature, and figure out what works for us, so that we can realistically settle down between 30-35 instead of 35-45. Life doesn’t always work that way, of course, but it’s hard to argue that prioritizing love is, in any way, “bad” for you.
Naturally men don't have to prioritize love. They have their pick of apparently oodles of women who are doing that. The real message that all these dating hucksters have, ultimately, is that women need to cater to men's preferences. Or else.

Dating books - certainly Katz's - are often ignored by more serious media, but it was very interesting to read a review, in the NYTimes Sunday Book Review of all places, that did not unquestioningly accept the premises of Date-Onomics:
It’s important to point out here that there aren’t actually more women than men in the United States: There are 1.05 boys born for every one girl. But by “women” Birger means single, college-​educated, straight women, and “men” are single, college-educated, straight men. There are 33 percent more such women in their 20s than men. To help us see what a big difference 33 percent is, Birger invites us to imagine a late-night dorm room hangout that’s drawing to an end, and everyone wants to hook up. “Now imagine,” he writes, that in this dorm room, “there are three women and two men.” If this is a predicament that brings to mind some provocative possible arrangements, this is not what Birger intends: “Date-­Onomics” is written for people who assume that pairing two by two, male and female, with educated people in or above one’s class, is the endgame, and his book aims to give women the data to win it. 
The gender gap in college education is striking, and Birger joins a chorus of critics arguing that we must do better at educating young boys to prepare them for college, adding that ignoring the gap in education is bad not only for boys but also for girls. But he attributes to the “man deficit” everything from “loosening sexual mores” to young women’s increasing tendency to delay marriage, and male sexual aggression and issues with intimacy. Without substantial survey or interview data to ferret out the reasons that, for example, the number of women between 30 and 34 who are not marrying has increased by 31 percent between 2007 and 2012, he depends on anecdotes to assume that these women actually want to be married and that most women participating in “hookup culture” would forgo uncommitted sex for a “serious” relationship if only there were enough “good” men. 
Birger claims not to be cautioning young women to prioritize marriage, but the book seems to support exactly that conservative and panicked view. One strategy for women who want to marry, Birger suggests, would be to move to Silicon Valley, where single men outnumber single women. Another is that women who want to marry should expand their options to include men who have not gone to college and who are more likely to marry because “their” women are scarce. That marriage might not always be good for women is not a possibility he considers.
Of course someone like Katz would never broach the possibility that marriage is not always good for women. It's in his own financial interest to promote it, even when he apparently believes that the best women can hope for is to marry men who are turned off by the ridiculously inoffensive, and even considerate "pro-active" behavior that he warns against, and turn themselves into passive receptacles of male approval.

Which is why feminists are Katz's natural enemy although he won't acknowledge it straight-out. Katz's job is to sell marriage to women regardless of the cost. Feminists actually stop and consider the costs of marriage.

What's really funny is how Katz and other dating hucksters don't seem to be aware of the actual real-world conditions that they themselves have written about, while they're exhorting women to jump through hoops to land a man. We all know that what men really want in a woman is to be young and pretty. 40-year-old single women have a hard time finding someone to date because they're trying to date 40-something men, who are trying to date 20-something women. Men don't give a shit whether women are "pro-active" or not. But Katz can hardly tell women: just become 20 again. So instead his advice is that women should bow to the traditional masculine desire for control. But the men that Katz is pushing as marriage material really don't give a shit how passive you are, if you aren't young and pretty.

The solution for 40-something women (or older) is to date men under 40. I highly recommend it, especially if you're not a big fan of baldness. Maybe it won't lead to marriage, but since the marriage Katz has in mind is marriage to complete assholes, who needs marriage? Maybe we should all heed the slogan of Samantha Jones of "Sex and the City" - "women are for friends, men are for fucking."

UPDATE: while Evan Marc Katz is whining about meanies attacking him and favorite writers, he's apparently not above unprovoked personal attacks against others - and he does it in exactly the way you would expect from a weasel:
I personally thought it was helpful and pretty inoffensive! Apparently not … here’s Evan Marc’s response! I would like to point out, Evan Marc didn’t in any way share this article with me, contact me with his disagreement, or even comment on the HuffPo article directly – which I think is a bit spineless and underhand. If you’re going to write a response to something, at least have the decency to let the person you’re attacking know about it! Especially when your own article appears to begin with a rather personal attack!
More of my contempt for Evan Marc Katz and the other misogynist anti-feminist hucksters he likes to promote.


  1. Markus10:20 PM

    I have a suspicion that you may have slightly the wrong idea about Sam Harris — he seems to be frequently misrepresented. For instance, I'd like to hear your thoughts about this article of his:

  2. You did not read this article carefully enough:

    That post provides a link to Amanda Marcotte's response to the Harris "not the sexist pig" denial. She does a very good job of addressing his post and I don't see the need to reiterate her points. Go and read it for yourself:

  3. And sexism is only one reason to despise Sam Harris, who is a bigot and apologist for torture and ethnic profiling. He's an all-around creep, and it seems as though not a month goes by when he doesn't say something else right-wing or otherwise objectionable.

    I disagree with these guys about Hillary Clinton, but they make good arguments against Sam Harris.

  4. Markus1:52 AM

    Apologies for not having read your previous blog post! I have done so now. Harris' worst trangression in that article seems to be the implication that the difference in social status between genders may be partly attributable to a difference in psychology (a behavioral difference; he's not, I think, implying a difference in intellectual ability). On the one hand, I definitely see why people would take offense at this. Intuitively, I find it suspect as well – if largely because most people who talk about psychological gender differences do it for suspect reasons. On the other hand, I actually don't think it's a completely incoherent position... so I'm undecided as to whether it indicates sexism or insensitivity (or both) on Harris' part. Apropos of torture, I'm almost positive his position has been misunderstood. Regarding profiling, he is against principally excluding any variables. While this leads to the most efficient use of limited resources, it also leaves room for taking ethnicity into account, which is distasteful... so I'm torn here as well.

  5. He wrote a piece entitled "In Defense of Torture" -
    So if his position was misunderstood he has only himself to blame.

  6. And sorry but ethnic profiling is not a regrettably bigoted but necessary security measure - Bruce Schneider, described by Harris himself as a security expert, debated Harris on this and proved that not only is profiling not helpful, it's actually harmful.

    I don't just idly say things about Sam Harris - if I make a claim about him it's because I have evidence.

  7. Markus5:03 PM

    Whether profiling actually works or not (a question I don't think has much bearing on the moral issue), his core view seems to be that "insofar as taking ethnicity (or any other variable) into account may improve efficiency of security, we should be allowed to do so." But maybe that's genuine bigotry in your view? And I guess I wouldn't outright dispute that it is... but, yeah, I don't know.

    1. It's bigotry because even after it has been explained to him why it would do no good to take ethnicity into account, and in fact might be cause for failing to identify real terrorists, he persists in holding that view - if he has changed his mind about ethnic profiling, I haven't heard about it.

    2. And like all the "New Atheists" he has an outrageously bigoted attitude towards Islam, as uniquely evil among all religions - and Harris's reasoning is laughably bad as I discuss in this post.

    3. Markus3:54 PM

      Well, Harris contends with the notion that all religions are equally good or bad – in his view, the importance of specific religious doctrine is underrated (and radicalism is too often attributed to socio-economic factors or "legitimate grievances" motives). Different religious beliefs lead to different behavioral consequences. For example, on a spectrum of benevolence, he would place Jainism and Buddhism on the opposite side of the Judeo-Christian religions. Zooming in on the bad end of the spectrum, he thinks Judaism and Christianity are, to some degree, on the whole, and for various reasons, less dangerous (but still dangerous and on some points more dangerous) than Islam. Whether you agree or not, this position doesn't seem incoherent, and I don't agree that it is inherently bigoted. (That is not to say anything in defense of any other New Atheists.)

  8. In order to believe that "Different religious beliefs lead to different behavioral consequences" you must be completely unaware of the history of Christianity. Christians once burned people as witches. Now they don't. But the words of the Bible haven't changed. So clearly it isn't the religious beliefs that have changed. Which is why I say the New Atheists are "idealists" - they believe ideas are the ultimate cause of everything, rather than socio-economic factors being the cause of which ideas are considered good.

  9. And Harris's idea is SIMPLISTIC - which is not what you'd expect from someone who is considered by himself and his fanboys to be a superior intellect.

    First off, if Harris was really going to play that game - which religion is more irrational - he'd have to make an effort to tally up all their beliefs - as in the case of Mormon vs. Christian - and then rate those beliefs on a plausibility scale. He makes a half-assed effort to do so in his essay, but nothing systematic.

    But the entire project is idiotic because it's like multiplying by 0. The basic premise of ALL religions is some irrational belief. It doesn't matter how many sub-beliefs there are associated with the main belief - the initial belief is enough to cancel out any tallying of beliefs. You can multiply 1 by 0 or a million by 0 and you'll still get 0.

  10. Markus7:25 PM

    I don't think Harris denies the importance of socio-economic factors in general, but he finds them insufficient in explaining certain things, such as why some religions produce more radicals under the same circumstances ("Why are there so few Christian Palestinian or Guatemalan suicide bombers?"). I grant that it is possible that he is overestimating the importance of doctrine, and understimating other factors – personally I don't have a strong opinion either way, it's simply an empirical question – but I don't think that's tantamount to bigotry. Also, I think his point about plausibility (while, in my opinon, cogent) was pretty minor compared to the more important question about benevolence.

  11. He doesn't deny socio-economic factors because he never mentions them at all. And his failure to take note of them is obvious in a statement like "Why are there so few Christian Palestinian or Guatemalan suicide bombers?" I mean GUATEMALA? Seriously? The conditions in Guatemala are nothing like the conditions for Muslims in Palestine. What an incredibly irrational comparison! Maybe he isn't a bigot, maybe he believes such astoundingly irrational things that I can't imagine he isn't blinded by sheer bigotry. Otherwise he's just a freaking idiot. Which I think is definitely a possibility.

  12. And I have no idea what you mean about the "question about benevolence." In any case the point about plausibility only makes sense if you don't reflect on it for two seconds. But I can see that my excellent multiplication metaphor has gone completely unappreciated by you. You still don't get why his statement that "Mormonism (is) objectively less plausible than run-of-the-mill Christianity" is completely absurd - both due to logic and due to his failure to provide substantial supporting evidence. Even if his reasoning wasn't fatally flawed, he'd have to do a hell of a lot of tallying of and evaluating the tenets of both religions to have make worthwhile case at all.

  13. Markus10:00 PM

    Oops, I didn't mean to equate Guatemala with Palestinia in terms of socio-economy. (I'm quoting Harris very loosely, and making a poor job of it.) His Guatemalan example was targeted at the "political grievances" explanation for radicalism, as in – if radicalism is largely driven by political grievances, where is the Guatemalan terrorism on the US? The socio-economic parallel is only between Christian Palestinians and Muslim Palestinians.

    On plausibility, I actually think that talking about probability makes sense even in the context of very unlikely prospects – in other words, while it seems extremely unlikely that Christianity is true, I may grant that the likelihood is (very slightly) higher than 0 – and if Mormonism equals Christianity plus some very stupid ideas, Mormonism is even closer to 0 than Christianity is.

    On benevolence, I meant that the question about how benevolent different religions are is probably more important than the question about which religions are more likely to be true.

  14. Markus5:50 AM

    So just to clarify: the Guatemalan example only contends with the grievance argument, while the Palestinian Christian/Muslim example contradicts arguments of both grievance and socio-economy, since both of those groups are subject to various kinds of beleaguerment under the same socio-economical circumstances (and by "Palestinia" I meant, of course, Palestine... it's called "Palestina" in my mother tongue).