Film Review: The Red Pill by Cassie Jaye

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“I don’t know where I’m headed with what I believe, and what is right and what is wrong, and who is wrong and who is right and… […] that’s why I’m feeling frustrated, I don’t know where the truth is.”

It’s an inept director who, at 1 hour 20 minutes into her fourth feature-length documentary, queues up a video diary where she cries and confesses she has no idea where she’s going with this project. 1.5/5. Continue reading

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Is Laci Green Going Galt? My Analysis

Two weeks ago, YouTube sex educator and MTV sex-education show host Laci Green announced that after a long absence from YouTube, she would soon upload new videos featuring more anti-feminist/anti-SJW content. Green spoke of “taking the red pill”, in the sincere sense of choosing to radically change her views rather than carry on believing what she has up to this point despite her doubts.

Effectively, Green announced she had been watching videos from the alt-right YouTube talk circuit, liked at least some of what she found, and offered to appear on their debates and livestreams. The news appears to have been a boon to the alt-right, and a bust for Green’s established left-leaning and feminist audience. Now, the question on everyone’s mind would seem to be: Why is Laci Green now engaging with a community which has for years harassed her and treated her as their folk demon?

According to Laci, she just “[ran] out of fucks”, and in a spirit of depression, indifference, and self-loathing decided “I don’t have a choice, it’s this or try to appease everyone and I gotta do me.” Having encountered harassment and censorship both within feminism and anti-feminism, it would appear Green is now extending her dialog with right-leaning YouTube stars on the right as a sort of centrist pursuit. However, I think there’s also more proximal incentives for Laci’s pivot to the center: money and viewers.

Here’s the facts: Green’s show on MTV has ended, and her personal channel hasn’t uploaded new videos for months. Building pro-feminist, left-leaning channels of any size is slow work, especially if you’re returning to it after a years-long absence. Alt-right channels, however, get great ratings and plenty of patronage; and many of them do so by regularly discussing Laci Green herself. Laci’s person and the footage of her shows has been the fodder for probably hundreds of these low-effort talk-show broadcasts. Sargon of Akkad, in particular, has been obsessed with Green for years. He even once pretended to be Laci Green by speeding his voice up and arguing with himself for his YouTube talk show. His viewers like it: currently, Sargon gets $5,550 a month to “create arguments”. Even Laci’s announcements about thinking about talking with the alt-right have gotten increased views compared to the last few sex-ed videos she posted. Financially, Laci Green has every incentive to take her channel in the direction it appears to be headed.

Laci Green would not be the first feminist to sell out and ally herself with the right. Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin did it in order to draft an antipornography civil rights ordinance for the right-leaning Minneapolis city government. Director Cassie Jaye did it for her 2016 movie, “The Red Pill”, which was bankrolled by Mike Cernovich and A Voice for Men.  Feminist lifestyle marketing is now a common ad strategy for all kinds of products. However, I think if Laci is going to take her channel in a more “naive and stays that way” type direction, it bodes poorly for the discourse. It suggests one of the most experienced feminist channels on YouTube has decided it’s better to go along with with the alt-right than to resist it.

CORRECTION 05/27/17: “The Red Pill” is the fourth feature film made by Cassie Jaye, not her second. I regret the error.

TJ Kirk Humiliates Deceased, Disturbs Bereaved With “Memorial Fundraiser” Benefitting No One Involved

Update 05/22/17: Heather Anable’s family has set up a GoFundMe to cover her final expenses. Donations will cover Anable’s funeral costs and any debts the family uncovers as they settle her estate. Since opening the fundraiser, the family has raised $2,100 of their $10,000 goal. Excess funds will be given to charity. In the spirit of giving credit where it’s due, I also note that TJ Kirk shared the family’s fundraiser on social media and donated $100 to the campaign. 

Two days ago, Aleksandr Kolpakov, who calls himself “Russian Deadpool” on YouTube, was arrested for allegedly shooting and killing Heather “Ivy” Anable,  his girlfriend and co-host. The two were collaborators on “The Skeptic Feminist” YouTube channel, along with a third woman who calls herself “Harley Quinn”, who was not present at the shooting.

Alt-right skeptics, atheists, and their fellow travelers had a mixed reaction to the news. Armored Skeptic and Mundane Matt decried the violence and sent heartfelt condolences, but some of their peers were unable to conceal their mirth about the news. Vee organized a live stream on his channel featuring Sargon and KT responding to the death and demise of The Skeptic Feminist channel with two and a half hours of crass jokes and wild speculation. Vee called this monetized hangout a “Tabloid discussion speculating about the skeptic feminist”. Now it would seem the Amazing Atheist wants to be on the front page of that discussion.

The Amazing Atheist, aka TJ Kirk, responded to the news of Heather Anabel’s death and Kolpakov’s arrest by releasing this video, titled “Fëminist YouTuber Murdërs Co-Host/Lover (Exclusive Details) – Heather Anable Memorial Fundraiser“. This video and the counterpart memorial fundraiser have a very melodramatic tone:

“Heather Anable was a feminist YouTuber who was murdered by her lover and fellow YouTuber Aleksandr Kolpakov (AKA SkepticFeminist). Aleksandr, who according to my sources may have been a veteran who suffered from PTSD, was doing shrooms with Heather on Saturday night, when he became obsessed with the notion that Heather was trying to kill him and that she had poisoned him. Feminist Laura Athena, another member of Aleksander’s polyamorous harem, was apparently skyping with Heather and Aleksandr during their mushroom trip, when Aleksander started freaking out and making bizarre accusations against Heather. Both girls attempted to calm Aleksandr down, but he was inconsolable with fear and rage. At around 9:30 PM, the skype call dropped. Shortly thereafter, Aleksandr shot Heather Anable multiple times in the neck and chest. With fresh bullet wounds, she fled from her apartment, still scrambling to escape—but she didn’t make it far. She collapsed in the parking lot and died scared and alone there, bleeding on the cement.”

TJ goes even further in the video, and presenting this whole story about a ring and Aleksandrs’ desire to make “their relationship more serious and possibly more exclusive, moving away from their polyamorous lifestyle” in the style of a sanctimonious radio preacher, suggesting ‘polyamorous jealousy’ led to Anable’s death. This seems salacious and gratuitous, as if TJ’s real purpose here is to humiliate the deceased by embellishing the most lurid details of her killing. TJ’s eulogy for Anable is comparatively short and glib compared to his accounts of her drug use and the intrigues of her relationship with Kolpakov.

None of these details – the drugs, the ring, or the jealous-lover angle were covered in the Denver Post. TJ says he knows this wealth of “exclusive details” about the killing because one of Anable’s friends told him. Indeed, if you believe TJ he knows more about the killing than the people most affected by it, to the point of knowing Kolpakov’s state of mind during the murder. I’m not sure how TJ could know that any more than he could know the innermost workings of Kolpakov’s relationship with Anable, regardless of who his source is. However, TJ Kirk seems enormously concerned with making his account of the murder the most credible one, to the extent that he’s accused “Harley Quinn”, the channel’s 3rd collaborator, of lying to protect Kolpakov.

Given the pitch video’s intense focus on Anable, her relationship with Kolpakov, her behavior on the night of her death, and her sex life, it seems cheap to me that TJ didn’t designate this side show’s proceeds to go to her burial. For now, whatever money is raised is being given to the National Coalition on Domestic Violence. I would call this a sour grapes fundraiser: TJ’s motive to hold it is to spread rumors about Anable and Kolpakov’s relationship in the wake of her death, and collecting funds for domestic violence prevention is a means to that end. Sargon of Akkad donated 100$ to it, perhaps to clear his conscience / buy an indulgence for laughing it up about the killing on Vee’s live stream the day before.

Meanwhile, those who actually knew Heather Anable in life, disturbed by the sensationalistic and gruesome tone of this fundraiser, have repeatedly asked TJ Kirk to remove her name and image from it. TJ responded by saying Anable’s a public figure, and he has a right to use her name and likeness to raise money for charity. TJ has spent a lot of time positioning himself as morally superior to anyone who disagrees with this fundraiser, on the grounds they don’t care about domestic violence prevention. (TJ Kirk, OTOH, apparently cares so much about domestic violence, he will meet you in Seattle and fight you.) So what we have here is a “memorial fundraiser” which humiliates the deceased, disturbs the bereaved, and which benefits a cause TJ the Rager can’t quite seem to abide by. This is why I question the sincerity of his motives.

 

Currently the proceeds of TJ’s memorial fundraiser total about a thousand dollars. That’s a trifle compared to his previous, more successful sour grapes fundraisers. Extraordinary People: Daring to Actually Help Women, raised $100K for women’s health care in developing countries. According to reports from when he ran it, TJ seems to have set up “Extraordinary People” in response to Feminist Frequency’s then-new “Ordinary Women” series. Apparently, TJ heard Anita was going to release some new videos, so he felt the need to belittle her project and responded by doing this.

But you know what? It would trouble me less if TJ Kirk spent the rest of his days raising enormous sums for worthy causes by indulging his obsession with Anita Sarkeesian with the brainless insects on his channel. It’s exploiting people he’s never met on the occasion of their deaths for comparatively piddling sums of money that I find truly objectionable.

Edit: Added additional background to the “Extraordinary People” event, 1 sentence to p 5