Can Founders Be Criticized on The Good Men Project?

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About Justin Cascio

Justin Cascio is a writer, editor, and activist. He has written on food, lifestyle, gender, and sexuality for The Good Men Project, xoJane, and other publications; his work has been selected as Editor's Picks on Open Salon.
Justin is a former managing editor of The Good Men Project Magazine and editor of The Good Life, and a founding editor of Trans-Health.com. You can follow him on Twitter, Google, and Facebook.

Comments

  1. Would somebody kindly inform readers about what is going on in the editorial team of GMP and what is the stand of each individual. It is getting really murky.

    • Lisa Hickey says:

      I am the Publisher and CEO, Ryan O’Hanlon is the Managing Editor. We are the only full-time employees and make up the “Editorial Team.” Tom Matlack is the Founder, a business strategic advisor and a writes a weekly column called “Good is Good”. We also have a community of 350 Writer/Contributor/Evangelists who write the bulk of the articles here. Those 350 write articles, help with the editorial “packages” such as “Presumption of Male Guilt”, “Male Heartbreak” or “Fear & Courage” (running now). Those 350 contributors also are invited to our weekly conference calls, help with the content calendar, help with comment moderation — help out in any place where they would like to learn the operations of an online publication or just volunteer.

      If any of that does not make sense, please ask additional questions.

  2. Michael Rowe says:

    As a queer man in 2011, I aspire to live in a culture so evolved that Tom Matlack and the Good Men Project (which, in spite of its allegedly anti-feminist “straight, white, cisgender, able-bodied man who so far refuses to recognize his own privilege” founder continues to encourage and publish work by gay men, lesbians, transsexuals, straight men, straight women, and disabled persons without bias or censoriousness) is my biggest problem.

    Likewise, I aspire to someday live in a culture where the original mission of the GMP (to promote a serious dialogue on manhood and what it means) has been so thoroughly fulfilled and exhausted that we can afford the time and space to revisit, pick at, and bash Tom’s honest and open-hearted first-person essay “Being a Dude is a Good Thing” ad nauseam.

  3. Justine – It may have been something if Hugo had even started hos won piece with the right facts:

    He said:

    “One of the most popular articles of the year (and certainly one of the most-viewed here at GMP) is Yashar Ali’s now thoroughly viral Why Women Aren’t Crazy. Referencing an old film, Yashar **coined”" the simple term “gaslighting” to describe the way in which men undermine women’s self-confidence through subtle (and not so subtle) insinuations that women’s feelings are unreasonable.”

    **highlighted for clarit**

    Could we just get it on the record again – Yasher did not coin or create the phrase “Gaslighting”. Don’t want any more Internet myths do we?

    If Hugo is so lax with basic facts – he may need to speak to the editor before publication. I deal in facts – I speak to editors very often!

    I have to say that many have been watching not just the blogsphere and twittersphere – and as Lisa has had to point out YET AGAIN – the title “Wrath Of Feminists” was created by A N Other and nothing to do with GMP.

    I am concerned that there has been a great deal of GAS created, and looking at all elements of what has been going on – time lines – and who said what to who, it’s quite possible to see Hugo’s last post as “Gaslighting” of TOM and GMP. Another one for the Editor to address!

    Given the Hugo has such a professional interest in gender – feminism – and how things play out, I’m surprised that he’s so lax with facts and does not see how his own work can be seen.

    Criticism is all very constructive to those who hear it and take it on board – but activity such as cyber mobbing and other activities are not about criticism and they get managed in very different ways.

  4. DavidByron says:

    Wow.

    • Lisa Hickey says:

      Wow bad or wow good? Can you explain?

      • DavidByron says:

        Several wows.
        Good, bad, one was kind of sidewise which I will share. I was pretty surprised – and maybe I’m totally wrong here – but it seemed like you were pretty angry, which I’ve never seen before, so that was pretty spectacular.

        • Lisa Hickey says:

          I was angry. I’m human. I was not angry at Justin, I was angry at this: “I’m concerned about the future of the Project.” That is the thing I have to constantly battle — the future of the project — turning it into a business, getting it noticed, building community, building traffic, getting it to succeed, and getting it to succeed in a way that honors everyone as well at the mission we started out with. It makes me angry for anyone to imply that this will not succeed. Ask Tom. He’s seen me angry at that very thing as well. More than once.

          We had a conference call today. Justin was on it. We didn’t talk about this piece, at all — we talked about all the ways in which we can move forward. Together. Justin had some brilliant ideas — as always. We’re building a metaphorical house together. And we laughed at the fact that I’ve had to defend every single word of the name: The Good Men Project. I’ve argued with people over what it means to be “good”. What the word “man” means. And even the word “project”. About the only safe word in the title is “The”. But I would defend that as well — what better way to start a story than with the word “The”?

          Thanks for listening.

          • Its kind of funny. It would be easier for you if you were totally feminist or the reverse but you have staked a position right in the middle and you get flack from both sides. I think the site is pretty useful however I don’t know if its primary use is really “Good Men”.

            After all the pieces that get the most comments are NOT the ones about good men. They are the gender pieces where feminists, anti-feminists and others generate a debate. I believe this is because this site is the only site which is neutral ground for feminists and anti-feminists. So its the only outlet for debate which is pretty remarkable. This implies that your best bet is to keep the site as neutral as possible. Fall one way or the other and you just end up becoming either a feminist or anti-feminist site. We have many of those already.

            Really this is the only site where feminist ideas can be presented and critiqued. Even the feministcritics site which is really quite good is not popular and not trusted by feminists.

            I know you want this site to be about Good Men. But to honest, its just boring to talk about Good Men. Really this site has become something quite different.

            • Lisa Hickey says:

              I responded to a similar comment on a different post, but this one goes into depth a little more so I’d like to talk about it hear as well. I agree with what you say here, and thanks for articulating it. I don’t think it’s *always* boring to talk about Good Men — after all, we talk about both the good and the bad, and we look for stories from individuals that have a moral dilemma at their crux, to give the story it’s dramatic tension. And that I DO think is interesting.

              However — the stories themselves in isolation can’t be all it is. It needs *ideas* that tie the stories together. That’s why the Feminist/MRA debates are so fascinating. But even those are a little narrow for us — we also like the provocative topics such as race, class, agism, porn, sex, divorce, prison, aggression, addiction, etc.

              And within *all* of those topics we would like to see both MRA and Feminist viewpoints, and, as you say, not lean too far one way or another.

              Thanks for the great insight.

            • Justin Cascio says:

              I criticize because I care, distinguishing myself from People Who Troll (PWT) through my consistency, transparency, and fairness. I also try to take deep breaths and come from a place of love, but that doesn’t happen 100% of the time. I thrive on lively debate about important matters, and how to be a good man is one that matters a lot to me, for personal reasons that are biographically obvious. That this site is a place where people of diverse opinions can come together and share our personal stories and our opinions (and we need both) is a joy to me; Lisa calls us “evangelists” and for me it is a fair label. I evangelize the site. I talk about it at parties. At this moment, there are a rape awareness activist, a straight guy from Ohio, an #OWS activist or two, Lisa, and I, all talking about a GMP article I posted on my FB page. I’m finding more conversations in the comments threads that I want to be a part of, too, so I’d say the site is succeeding because it’s sparking thoughtful conversation in areas where other sites have failed.

            • Lisa Hickey says:

              Thank you so much Justin. I really appreciate that. And I agree — I keep hearing the words “nobody else has a site quite like this” and “you’re doing something different” and “nowhere else on the web”. We are doing something different. It’s an important conversation. It’s a conversation around an idea. Sometimes it’s damn hard and we screw it up. But it’s obviously a conversation worth having.

  5. PursuitAce says:

    What is cyber mobbing? Did you just make that up?

    • “Cyber Mobbing – Cyber-Mobbing” is to my knowledge and experience a well known phrase that relates to patterns of Cyber Harassment and Bullying. It seems there is a divergence in language between US English and UK English. Perhaps I’m more familiar with it due to my works streams in Equality and the Net.

      On the other hand – a quick check of Wikipedia does show an in depth analysis of Mobbing, and even addresses the psychology of those who instigate mobbing !

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobbing

      For example:

      “In the book MOBBING: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace, the authors identify mobbing as a particular type of bullying that is not as apparent as most, defining it as “…an emotional assault. It begins when an individual becomes the target of disrespectful and harmful behavior. Through innuendo, rumors, and public discrediting, a hostile environment is created in which one individual gathers others to willingly, or unwillingly, participate in continuous malevolent actions to force a person out of the workplace.”"

      Also:

      “In medicine, sham peer reviews have been recognised by some as a manifestation of mobbing. US neurologist Lawrence R. Huntoon considers that the psychology of the attackers is a combination of the psychology of bullies and that of the lynch mob. The attacks are typically led by one or a few bullies who have gained positions of power over others and who enjoy exercising and abusing that power to attack and harm the vulnerable.”

      Those two give a piquant flavor of how I used the term “cyber mobbing” and how those I associate with use it.

      It also addresses a number of venues such as schools, academia, Sham peer review etc. It is not the venue and venue specific Modus Operandi that significant, but the patterns and motivations observed and perceived.

      It is that pattern made manifest via the Internet that makes it “Cyber Mobbing”. The use of the Internet with multiple and parallel channels on communication simultaneously often disguises and hides the mobbing – and allows it to also continue long term and by diverse means that can hide the activity or make it less apparent.

      The most common US centric language equivalent I have seen is “Piling On”! Though that does not seem to be a direct equivalent.

      We will have to wait and see what the Lexicographers do with the term when it is assessed for inclusion on various dictionaries. I don’t have a full Oxford English Dictionary Available to check – either in printed or cyber form. I do think that $295 annual subscription is a bit OTT ( Over The Top ) – as in Excessive or uncalled for.

  6. PursuitAce says:

    If the primary purpose of Feminism is not education, how will they succeed?

  7. “Criticism’s”? Basic spell-check would have caught this error by the publisher and EDITOR of this web site. I get more and more distracted from this site’s content every time I see the awful spelling and grammar that goes on here. These errors, which are widespread here, are very definitely an indication of the care and standards of excellence you do or do not set for yourselves. They detract from the writers’ ideas and material.

  8. To the editor:
    You say, “I don’t expect him to agree with everything we do. But I do expect him to support our intentions.” You show no evidence and make no arguments to show how, where, or when Justin does not “support our intentions.” You simply state that he does not. You do not define “us.” You do not state what “your intentions” are. Is this an attack on Justin? Is it criticism? In either case, shouldn’t you at least define what he is not supporting, and back up what you say regarding his lack of “support”, with something beyond mere assertion and accusation? I am starting to understand some of the problems with the declining calibre of articles on “The Good Men Project”: lack of editorial judgment, lack of high standards–and the holding of double standards–on the part of the top echelons of the organization, and unwillingness to invest in rigorous proofreading or content editing, epecially for your own writing. I’ve worked as editor for publications like this. Quality writers left, editors and readers abandoned them, and they folded.

    • Lisa Hickey says:

      Sorry if that wasn’t clear. I had meant “to support the intentions of the goals of The Good Men Project as a whole.” A site that Tom Matlack founded with the goal of collecting stories of men, stories that talk about the changing world as they see it, from a viewpoint that is honest and insightful. And to engage in provocative discussions around issues that are often difficult to talk about. This is a community site, built by our community, with content that is written by the community and topics that they think are important at any given time. We do not, as a rule, look to publish comments that attack the site as a whole.

      Can you explain what you mean by “the holding of double standards” and give an example? You do not define that. Can you go beyond assertion and accusation? Also examples of posts that show the “declining calibre of our articles” — perhaps some that you liked originally and some that you see have “declined?” Also, if you would like a “better calibre of articles” you are welcome to submit one.

      • Hi, Lisa. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. You display a double standard in taking issue with Justin’s definitions of “attacks and/or criticism” and then attacking him for having attacked “the site as a whole” without definitions, vigorous arguments, evidence, or examples. (You still haven’t supplied these despite your comment above attempting to clarify.) Vague, broad accusations of “attacking the site as a whole” (whether you intended this for Justin or others) certainly come across as attacks despite you denial below in the comments section. Your position of power at this site makes such accusations even more serious for writers whose careers could be hurt by such statements by editors. They are the volunteers who keep this site going, after all. You owe your contributors the justice of clarity and specifics when disagreeing with them.

        By the way, your reply to me attempting to clarify did not do so (and displayed poor editing by containing two sentence fragments). How specifically is the article above not meeting “the community’s” goals and standards? How is it not honest, insightful and important? Again: how is it “attacking the site as a whole”?

        Regarding the declining calibre of articles, more and more pieces lately related to Tom’s “Being a Dude Is a Good Thing” are narrow in tone, scope, and vision, amounting to a defensive give-and-take regarding who is or was right. A few of these features offered new definitions and ideas but their number is getting smaller as the “debate” goes on. Editors and writers keep rebutting other people’s rebuttals. If the site is going to get past this increasingly boring topic, the editors and writers are going to have to stop defending themselves and agree that you will never agree about the article or the site’s tactics in handling the resulting furor. (By the way, Tom’s original article too contains vague and whiny complaints and accusations such as “Why do men get blamed for everything?” which are not backed up by a shred of evidence, examples or arguments beyond a few statements by unnamed associates of the author’s).

        Regarding examples of excellent articles, I began reading the site because of the great writing and variety of viewpoints offered in the series on race. You offered thoughtful, important, and eloquent articles on issues affecting men of all ages on fatherhood, sexual orientation, dating and breaking up, and family. Now one of the articles is on “respectful grinding”? Is that meant as a joke?

        • Lisa Hickey says:

          Hi Catherine,

          You make some fair points. I am in agreement that our section on race was one of our best sections — it is certainly one of which I am most proud. We also continue to work hard on getting new stories on fatherhood, sexual orientation, dating and breaking up and family. All of those we will be continuing to write about — one of our contributors is running a three part series leading up to Valentine’s day. Sexual orientation gets big play around Gay Pride week. Fatherhood we work hard on in the weeks leading up to Father’s day.

          And yes — one of the things we do differently than other media organizations is we have a lot of writers write on very specific topics. Some people think it is “too much” at the time at which we do so. But we really do want to give everyone a fair chance of having a voice. We try to curate so that the better stories come forward. The “grind” article — it’s right there in the headline as to what it’s about. There are 38 other stories you can read on the front page if any one in particular is not of interest to you. But it is important to us to have the people who want to write about a particular subject — subjects that are really important to them — do so. And in trying to strike that balance, I can see how we sometimes fail in other people’s eyes. I still maintain the direction of our editorial vision. But I’m also always willing to listen to what people have to say about what can make it better.

          All of that said — I am still unclear on a few things. I am particularly unclear of why what I say comes off as an attack and what Justin says does not. And I think this is a really really important point. I am not a stupid person. But when people tell me “You can’t take criticism and you don’t even know what an attack is”. “You don’t even know what privilege is.” “And oh, by the way – you can’t spell and you use sentence fragments.” – well – that sure feels like an attack. It feels as if I am being called “stupid” in a variety of different ways. It feels like an attack on The Good Men Project — something I have worked on 24 hours a day for two and a half years — along with hundreds of other amazing people — to build. So if I am defending that which I built – is that defensive? Do I have to agree with criticism in order to be seen as “accepting” it? Should I accept criticism if the foundations upon which that criticism is built are built on what I see as not truths? These are questions I would really like to understand the answers to, and that is why I ran Justin’s post with my explanation the way that I did.

          This is what I am truly seeking to understand. This is what I think our audience could benefit from understanding. But when it is presented to me over and over as “just take the damn criticism, will you?” – then I have to say, “I don’t understand.” And I look to ask more questions, or get at the issue in different ways, or put myself out there in ways that could be construed as “defensive”, “unable to take criticism” or “difficult.” And I do that so that I can continue to seek to understand the others viewpoint.

          So I can see where you asked me to clarify “Justin does not support our intentions” – and what I did was respond with our intentions as GMP, but was not clear on how Justin did not support them. The places he did not support them – to me – and I talked about this with Justin on the phone — is where he says “are we building a monumental substitute for one man’s personal growth?” That – to me is so far from the truth that it is hard to find a common language to discuss it with. To imply that this is could be just about Tom’s growth negates all of the personal growth that has happened with others. And so, it is that dismissal of intellectual, spiritual, emotional, writing, debating growth by thousands of other contributors, evangelists and commenters – in order to imply “It’s all about Tom* — that – to me – comes off as an attack. So does stating publicly “I am concerned about the future of the Project.” Again – to me – I would rather have people dive in and work directly with me — with all of us who are working so hard on the project — to help make it better instead of implying that the whole project might collapse because of one incident.

          That was how I saw it. But Justin had felt really strongly that how he saw it was equally valid, and that’s why – together — we had decided to run the piece. And – on the phone, with Justin – I had told him I would run it unedited with a statement from me as to why I disagreed. Because, again, to me – the thing that is most interesting is that the discussion itself brings up how hard it is to have a singular version of “the truth”. And at the same time, it fits into our often stated mission of what we are doing here — “to have an ongoing, deep, sometimes provocative conversation about what it means to be good. To not define the word “good” for people, but to give them the ability to define it for themselves.”

          In an interesting bit of irony, when Justin sent his very first piece in – he describes it above — it was edgy, it was provocative. And so, I asked two people who I trusted if they could help me make the decision on whether to run it – Ryan, our managing editor, and Hugo. Hugo had reservations. Ryan thought we should. I told both of them I would take responsibility if we ran it and it got backlash. It got backlash. But Justin then went on to write one of my favorite pieces for the project: “Grew Up as Girls, Married as Men”. As Justin and I discussed before it ran “it answers the question him and his partner get all the time ‘why would you trans only to then become gay’. That to me is brilliant and brave and thought-provoking in all the right ways. The to me is what we are about – opening people’a eyes to experiences they might otherwise understand. I have often talked about how great that post is – in conference calls, in public, to other editors. And, so, if it came across by me that Justin was not in any way an amazingly valued contributor and a wonderful writer, then I heartfeltly apologize.

        • Now one of the articles is on “respectful grinding”? Is that meant as a joke?
          No it is serious question – for a young man.
          I didnt reply to it, as i did not know how to advise him. Im 36, my era was house and rave. So the hiphop grinding dancing that i see young people do in nightclubs is outside of my ‘experience of manhood’, as i sure as hell refuse to dance like that.

          I could see grinding etiquette in a nightclub being a serious question, for a young man

        • You say:
          Regarding examples of excellent articles, I began reading the site because of the great writing and variety of viewpoints offered in the series on race. You offered thoughtful, important, and eloquent articles on issues affecting men of all ages on fatherhood, sexual orientation, dating and breaking up, and family.

          Followed by:
          Now one of the articles is on “respectful grinding”? Is that meant as a joke?

          Wow what a way to contradict yourself. I would think that a young man trying to get advice on navigating a the club scene in a decent manner would be an example a thoughful and important article on an issue affecting men. But you take it as a joke. Not as “he didn’t use the best wording but…”. No you ask if its a joke.

          I guess you would rather he not say anything, make bad decisions, then turn around a blame women so that you can throw another guy into the “what’s wrong with men” pile?

    • Michael Rowe says:

      Actually, it was very clear Lisa. On the other hand, thank goodness the GMP has at least one crabby, agenda-driven, beetle-browed spelling-and-grammar nazi among its readership. The thousands of devoted readers who read it every day for enjoyment and enlightenment should be balanced with the other sort, for variety’s sake if nothing else.

  9. tom matlack says:

    Justin:

    A bit of clarity here. YOU actually edited the piece which created the firestorm here. So it’s kind of strange for you now to be critiquing me or my response to the feedback I got for it. To refresh your memory here is the exchange after I submitted the piece to you.

    You wrote: “Hi Tom,

    I read your article, “Being a Dude is a Good Thing,” and liked it. There is one thing that stuck out for me, and I hope you don’t mind me asking you this.

    I was wondering if you’d consider changing this sentence: “How a transgender guy relates to his spouse is probably pretty different than how some Navy SEAL does. ” I think what you want is a contrasting pair that illustrate the extremes of masculine and feminine ways of interacting, even just among men. The problem I have with your current example is that transgender guys really have genders that are all over the map: there are butch ones and more feminine ones, straight and gay, and so on. We come in as many flavors as cisgender guys. I even know quite a few trans people of both genders who have served in the military, including Robyn Walters, a famous trans activist who was a Navy SEAL as a young man.

    My point is, you can reach for some cultural points of reference that describe gender presentation, that don’t serve to further conflate “butch” and “femme” with “transgender.” If you explicitly want to talk about gay men, for instance, you could say that you think that gay men probably relate to their husbands differently than straight men relate to their wives. If you think profession says a lot about class and gender (and I would agree), then maybe pair another profession with Navy SEAL, like gender studies professor or librarian. Keeping the two halves of your contrasting pair equivalent in some way will make your point more clear.

    I’m happy to talk about this more with you if you like. I’ve been enjoying getting more involved in the GMP and while I hope my contribution is more than just being “the transsexual,” I’m an activist in that regard, as well, and so I open the door to talk about it when I can.

    Thanks and regards,
    Justin”

    To which I responded:

    “Of course. Wrote that sentence too quickly and apologize if it offended. Let’s keep it simple and change to “Gender Studies professor” to keep it clear. That might annoy Hugo, who is exactly that but that’s kind of the point since he wouldn’t agree with my piece from the start.

    I am obviously fascinated with how transgender plays out in how we think about manhood but don’t want to confuse the basic point of this piece which isn’t about that topic.

    Thanks for all you are doing to add to our little, or not so little, community.”

    and you responded,

    “Thanks, Tom… I’ll make the change now. If Hugo says anything, you can tell him I threw him under the bus!
    Be well,
    Justin”

    • Justin Cascio says:

      My main points in this piece are not about “Dude,” but about your Twitter conversation. And while you didn’t ask my permission before posting this email exchange, I’m glad you did. I sweated over that letter.

      • DavidByron says:

        I enjoyed your article, “Grew Up as Girls, Married as Men” (which Lisa highlighted above) and I was wondering why your bio mentions you are gay, but does not mention you are trans. OK it mentions the trans magazine. I don’t know who puts the bios together but I assume you OK-ed it at least. Is that intentional? Accidental? Is that from a sort of who you see yourself angle? As a reader it’s information I’d want to have on a bio.

        I hope my contribution is more than just being “the transsexual,”

        So should you mention it? Well for me it depends on the topic. This topic in this article? No. But 99% of the topics here are more directly linked to gender and — yeah sorry — your background is important, or feels like it ought to be. It’s of interest to me even if all you say is “I’m transsexual and guess what? didn’t make an ounce of difference”.

        • Justin Cascio says:

          My bio says that I’m queer, not gay. I wrote it when I submitted my first article on the site, in September. It’s a very short bio, but I have a long history of writing on the internet, so if you wanted to know more about me, you could google my name.

      • tom matlack says:

        Justin I was frankly responding to the comment that my piece included a sentence that was “transphobic.” In order to simply clarify that point I felt it appropriate to include our email exchange so that readers could see the orignal sentence I wrote, my response to your comments, and how the replacement “gender studies professor” came about.

        While perhaps you were talking more about the twitter exchange than the my original piece, make no mistake that Hugo, Amanda et al were tweeting (along with the many who then piled on to make clear what a scumbag I am) were all quoting the original piece. The one you said you liked so much.

    • DavidByron says:

      I would have suggested going the other way; keep the trans example and the Navy SEAL but add a third example so it is clear you are NOT pairing two opposites.

  10. tom matlack says:

    with regard to Hugo’s piece. he and I exchanged emails on the afternoon of December 19th about the difficulty of the exchanges that had transpired. I urged him to move on and write about other things having already written once about me and my perceived lack of understanding in “Serious Discussion is Not “Wrath of Feminists””. I didn’t feel we needed to continue the mud slinging any more since it was, in my view, personal about me and not about him, Amanda or any of the folks who so passionately disagreed with my views.

    His response at the end of the exchange was:

    “Fair enough, Tom. My next few pieces will NOT be on feminism, I promise…

    A very Merry Christmas to you.

    Hugo”

    Five hours later, the piece “Words Are Not Fists: What the Twitter Blow-Up Tells Us About Men, Women, and Anger” showed up in which he equated me to a college student wearing a football helmet having a temper tantrum. To me those are not ideas, those are personally attacking my intellectual integrity. And they came on top of his promise to stand down and be constructive going forward. So I asked Lisa to take the piece down and talk to Hugo about his intentions. She tried and ultimately he refused and resigned. Now she has posted it after a cooling off period.

    I stand by my belief that the language was demeaning and the fact that Hugo had told me he was done hours before posting another inflammatory piece dishonest.

    That doesn’t take away from his right to a POV that at times is radically different from mine and our willingness to allow him to articulate that view. In fact my greatest critic Amanda Marcotte, was allowed to write and we published her very direct criticism on our pages, in which she pretty much says that her boyfriend is a much better guy than I will ever be. That’s fine. I am very willing to take one for the team but at some point we have to just step back and try to call out some rules of the road.

  11. tom matlack says:

    Finally with regard to my supposedly saying empathy for women is bullshit that is simply not true. If you read the body of my work you will know that a recurring theme is learning as men to be better husbands and fathers (to girls in particular as I have a 17 year old daughter) and doing so with great empathy.

    The exact exchange to which you refer on twitter amid heating discussion about why I had committed some kind of mortal sin was:

    @TMatlack: WTF. So the only way to be a “good” man is to imagine how hard it is to be a woman? What a crock of shit.

    @AmandaMarcotte: Imagining the POV of someone you’re in conflict with is bare minimum of being a good person, yes.

    The fact is that to me part of being a good man is having empathy for both men AND women. Amanda was completely disregarding the idea that men deserve empathy which upset me greatly.

    • @AmandaMarcotte: Imagining the POV of someone you’re in conflict with is bare minimum of being a good person, yes.
      Did you by chance come across four rather demonic looking horse riders after getting that Tweet? Or nine because after reading AM trying to drop this revelation on someone else is a level of hypocrisy that borders on either the coming apocalypse, or the return of the king…

      • Danny – you reminded of this little ditty I came cross some years ago:

        The lord of the Web-Rings.

        Three Rings for the server-kings in thier clean rooms,
        Seven for the Cyber-lords in their comfy chairs.
        Nine for Mortal readers doomed to die,
        One for the Blog Lord on their Blogging throne
        In the Land of Blog where the Shadows lie.
        One Web-Ring to rule them all, One Web-Ring to find them,
        One Web-Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
        In the Land of Blog where the Shadows lie.

        It was pre-twitter, and when web-rings were the way to go!

  12. Lisa Hickey says:

    I do want to add that the intention is not to have this be perceived as an “attack” against Justin, any more than I wanted so many people going after Tom’s words from multiple sources.

    In the end, the decision was made to run the piece because of the difficulty of “seeing” the truth. And because if we look for truths in absolutes, we will only see what we want to see.

    And — if someone has a point of view that is not the truth as you see it — and you counter with your own truth what is that? Is it standing up for what you believe, standing up for yourself, or being defensive? What is the difference?

    Empathy sounds easy. “Recognize and share the feelings of another.” or “Emotionally put yourself in the place of another.” But if someone else is angry, and upon talking, you feel angry too — is that empathy? When we then act in anger, and the anger begets more anger — where does that leave us? Is it important for us to abandon our own feelings in order to really understand what the other person is feeling?

    I’d like to think that we can have ongoing conversations about difficult, provocative topics respectfully. I’d like to think that we never have to attack — or even criticize another person — certainly not together, and certainly not as a group against one. I’d like to think we can use these new technology tools of blogging, tweeting, and commenting with ease — to have multiple conversations with multiple people about topics that have been too difficult to solve for decades.

    But in the end, what I’d really like to do — as Justin so eloquently writes at the end of this piece — is to be “here for each other, imperfect role models.”

    Imperfect indeed. (and I’m speaking only about myself here.)

    I appreciate the difficulty inherent in all these conversations, and am thankful for those who continue to look for better ways into these discussions with grace and kindness.

  13. Tom Matlack says:

    Agree with Lisa that I am not trying to attack anyone, only shed some light on my perception of what actually happened and why communication broke down.

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