So I had read before about Scott Adams’ various comments that had got him in hot water over the past few years and had people calling him a misogynist, and then when I went looking for the original blogs and things so that I could quote them in this post, I found this: Douchebag Decree: Scott Adams, Douchetoonist, a blog on the Bitch magazine website in which they hand out Douchebag Decrees to people they deem deserving. Apparently when talking about these people, I’m not the only one for whom the term “douchebag” leaps to mind. As an aside, I love the term “Douchetoonist.”
So, that article has done me the favor of providing me a nice rundown of Adams’ various controversial comments and, especially, documents the doucheitude of his responses to the controversy those comments have caused. It’s all sort of the Orson Scott Card school of saying something horrible, and then going, What? Why are people being mean to me?
Adams explains that people have low reading comprehension and just don’t understand what it was that he said. Except, he said exactly what it is that people think he said, they just don’t appreciate what a hilarious genius he is, obviously.
As a brief rundown, there’s the women are the same as children and the handicapped comment:
“The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone. You don’t argue with a four-year old about why he shouldn’t eat candy for dinner. You don’t punch a mentally handicapped guy even if he punches you first. And you don’t argue when a women tells you she’s only making 80 cents to your dollar. It’s the path of least resistance. You save your energy for more important battles.”
He got a lot of flack for that one. Can’t imagine why, must be all the low reading comprehension.
And then there’s his repeated obsession with how society makes men feel bad for their “natural instincts.”
“Now consider human males. No doubt you have noticed an alarming trend in the news. Powerful men have been behaving badly, e.g. tweeting, raping, cheating, and being offensive to just about everyone in the entire world. The current view of such things is that the men are to blame for their own bad behavior. That seems right. Obviously we shouldn’t blame the victims. I think we all agree on that point. Blame and shame are society’s tools for keeping things under control.
“The part that interests me is that society is organized in such a way that the natural instincts of men are shameful and criminal while the natural instincts of women are mostly legal and acceptable. In other words, men are born as round pegs in a society full of square holes. Whose fault is that? Do you blame the baby who didn’t ask to be born male? Or do you blame the society that brought him into the world, all round-pegged and turgid, and said, ‘Here’s your square hole’?”
He doesn’t mention what “natural instincts” of women there are that are comparable to rape but also accepted in society, so how sexual violence is equatable to something that women are allowed to do is one of the many incoherent points he’s trying to make. He also never makes it quite clear what he considers the “natural instincts” of men to involve, but he mentions rape twice and it’s a little baffling how he makes the leap from sexual desire being natural to rape being the same.
He goes on: “The way society is organized at the moment, we have no choice but to blame men for bad behavior. If we allowed men to act like unrestrained horny animals, all hell would break loose. All I’m saying is that society has evolved to keep males in a state of continuous unfulfilled urges, more commonly known as unhappiness. No one planned it that way. Things just drifted in that direction.”
You start to wonder what these urges are that he has unfulfilled, and it becomes a little bit troubling. I’m a gay man, so maybe I don’t understand the torture of temptation poor straight men are subjected to by all these thoughtless ladies leaving their homes and going out into public with their vaginas attached, but as a gay man I can tell you I’m thinking about sex with cute guys pretty much every minute of the day, and society does specifically condemn my “urges,” at least in the some places, like Utah, and I’ve still managed to satisfy quite a lot of them. I’ve never felt particularly forced into a continual stage of “unhappiness” because I haven’t been actually raping dudes to fulfill those urges.
Whatever it is that Adams is thinking about that he can’t do, though, it’s troubling him to the point that this is the solution he forsees:
“Long term, I think science will come up with a drug that keeps men chemically castrated for as long as they are on it. It sounds bad, but I suspect that if a man loses his urge for sex, he also doesn’t miss it. Men and women would also need a second drug that increases oxytocin levels in couples who want to bond. Copulation will become extinct. Men who want to reproduce will stop taking the castration drug for a week, fill a few jars with sperm for artificial insemination, and go back on the castration pill.”
He thinks that men will require chemical castration at some point to make them happy without performing these “urges” all over some poor lady. He also seems to feel he’d need additional medication to want to “bond” with a woman whilst not urging on the bitch. Tell me this dude isn’t troubled. You can read the original blog that the specific quote is from here, since Adams likes to accuse people of misunderstanding his words, I’ll make it easy to read it just how he wrote it for anybody that’s curious. He makes several comments in the post that I think he felt were supposed to be funny, I’m not sure due to my low reading comprehension, but about the chemical castration bit he especially doesn’t seem to be joking.
Then again, it’s hard a lot of times to tell when Adams is joking, which brings me to my second point. My blog, and the Douchebags of Comics cards, are about comics, and I’m making the cards for a variety of reasons, but the primary one is crimes against comics, and Dilbert has never been funny. Like, ever, really.
There’s also the fact that Scott Adams can’t draw, but that’s not necessarily requisite for quality cartoons. The important part is to be able to sell the joke or tell the story, and a comic like Pearls Before Swine by Stephen Pastis, who’s not an especially great illustrator, can still work. I haven’t read Pearls for a few years, because who reads newspaper comics? But I remember it being really good.
Dilbert, on the other hand, always struck me as extraordinarily unfunny. As a little kid, my brother liked Dilbert a lot, and I remember arguing with him, trying to explain to him that, no, he was mistaken, Dilbert wasn’t funny. Of course, you can’t talk somebody into or out of finding a joke funny and Dilbert has its fans, but it struck me as so *un*funny that I remember my brain grappling with it, trying to figure out what the hell somebody could find entertaining about it.
I would probably say Family Circus was less funny, but Family Circus at least is fascinating in this weird meta kind of way. A lot of times, Family Circus didn’t even have jokes. Or observations. Or anything. And you would just kind of stare at it, trying to figure out what it was you were looking at and why it existed. Kind of like a Rob Liefeld drawing. I have to admit, I can stare at a Liefeld drawing a lot longer, in some cases, than a drawing by somebody who can actually draw, because there’s just something fascinating about it. Traffic slows down when it passes a car accident. You can’t *not* look.
Dilbert, on the other hand from Family Circus, makes jokes, they’re just not funny. And Stephen Pastis can’t really draw, but you feel like his characters have this rich emotional life. They’re expressive. Dilbert is kind of a square with squiggles on top.
As a little kid, as a birthday present for my Dilbert-loving brother one year I drew a poster with all the Dilbert characters on it. On that occasion, I owed Scott Adams some gratitude, because the whole poster with 20 or so characters took all of an hour to draw. Conversely, as a little kid I remember trying to draw Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes and agonizing over it, because no matter what I did it didn’t look exactly like Calvin. I remember pulling all the pens and markers my mom had together and trying to figure out how to do the beautiful thick-to-thin lines Watterson did, which of course I’ve since figured out he did with brushes. Even aside from the line width, the design of Calvin is very particular. If you move the nose a little bit, or make the chin the wrong shape, he starts to look grotesque. The simplicity of great cartoons is deceptive, because you’re trying to do so much with so few lines. Watterson could do this because he’s a genius. Dilbert, I drew with a sharpie on poster board, and it looked just fine.
Anyway, in the drawing I did of Adams for Douchebags of Comics, I thought the combination of the word rape with the shrugging hand gesture was the best expression I could think of for Adams’ comments on the issue. Like a lot of times when people say horrible things, they kind of shrug it off like, What it’s just common sense. They usually then act like they want a cookie for being “brave” enough to say what they know everybody else is thinking, but only somebody as great as them has the courage to come out and say. Adams’ plays it off as all being very minor, and he uses the word “rape” twice, the rest of the time he talks about “urges” that society won’t allow men to act on. If not rape, what other “urges” is he going on about? Something worse?
Adams is a creepy little dude.