by Anders Wallace
On Monday, April 23rd, a 25-year old man named Alek Minassian drove a rented van down a sidewalk in Toronto, killing eight women and two men. The attack was reminiscent of recent Islamist terror attacks in New York, London, Stockholm, Nice, and Berlin. Just before his massacre, he posted a note on Facebook announcing: “Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161, the Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!” The phrase paid homage to a young man named Elliot Rodger. In 2014, Rodger shot and killed six people in Isla Vista, California, before taking his own life.
Minassian and Rodger were members of an online subculture called “incels.” Like a 21st Century American psycho Norman Bates, they killed women because they felt sexually rejected by them. Incels are a particularly vicious subculture of the manosphere. The manosphere is a digital ecosystem of blogs, podcasts, online forums, and hidden groups on sites like Facebook and Tumblr. Here you’ll find a motley crew of men’s rights activists, white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, angry divorcees, disgruntled dads, male victims of abuse, self-improvement junkies, bodybuilders, bored gamers, alt-righters, pickup artists, and alienated teenagers. What they share is a vicious response to feminists (often dubbed “feminazis”) and so-called “social justice warriors.” They blame their anger on identity politics, affirmative action, and the neoliberal state, which they perceive are compromising equality and oppressing their own free speech. Their heated resentment warps postmodern (post-1960s) countercultural beliefs currently in vogue among alt-right provocateurs like Milo Yiannopoulos and Alex Jones: specifically, that Americans need to liberate their consciousness from lies and falsehoods borne out by corporate manipulation, government conspiracies, and politically-correct social norms.
Very few people would become so inflamed by the perception of sexual rejection that they would wantonly kill strangers. But sexual abuse, rape, and other types of gendered coercion are rampant in U.S. society. The recent #MeToo movement has shown a spotlight on these men, though mostly only the very rich and successful ones. Behind computers and in bedrooms across the nation, hundreds of thousands of men nurse a seething sense of anger, shame, and resentment coupled with entitlement and stifled desire. Some of these men choose not to kill or rape (though they may, from the privacy of their skulls, want to do both those things). These men are trying to fix their dating lives through masculine kinds of self-help. These are men’s pickup, dating, and seduction communities. Read more »