The Internet's cycle of outrage, backlash, and then backlash against backlash continued this week in a story as labyrinthine as it is infuriating. It's hard to follow the manifold twists and turns of the story of Roosh V but we're going to try our best to explain what the hell is going on. Get ready to get angry.
So what's going on?
A prominent and controversial anti-feminist activist and author named Roosh V decided he wanted to organize a bunch of semi-secret Men's Rights meetups.
Well, that doesn't sound too bad.
Oh, no. It's really bad. See Roosh V has been a fringe political figure for a while now. He considers himself the head of the "neomasculinity" movement, comprised mostly of pick up artists, men's right's activists, militant anti-feminists, and other assorted radical bigots, misogynists, and homophobes. Roosh's various groups are often seen as Internet trolls, but their politics are rather dangerous. (Fun fact that should surprise no one: Roosh lives in his mother's basement.)
They want to legalize rape on private property. That dangerous.
That's terrible. What are they up to now?
Earlier this week, Roosh decided to organize a handful of clandestine meet-ups / protest rallies in order for his followers to discuss their extremist political positions. Here's the description of the event(s):
"We will have 165 meetings in 43 countries for our international meetup day on February 6, 2016 at 8PM local time. Hosts have been instructed to wait at the meeting point from 8:00-8:20pm before moving on to the final location. If you arrive at the meeting point at 8:21pm, you will miss the meetup. Arriving on time within the window is absolutely paramount.
To identify your fellow tribesmen, ask the following question to a man you suspect is there for the meetup: 'Do you know where I can find a pet shop?' If you are asked this question, answer in the affirmative: 'Yes, it’s right here.' You can then introduce yourself and get details about where to proceed at 8:20. If you ask someone for the pet shop and they appear confused or actually try to direct you to a real pet shop, they’re not there for the meetup."
It was elsewhere made explicitly clear that women and queers were not only unwelcome to attend these meetings but that members would react to resistance from outsiders with violence.
“Up to now, the enemy has been able to exert their power by isolating us and attacking with shrieking mobs, but we’ll be able to neutralize that tactic by amassing in high numbers come February 6," he said. “I will exact furious retribution upon anyone who challenges you in public on that date."
Yikes! How did people react?
While some activists suggested the best possible approach would be to ignore the events, others quickly organized counter-protests against the group. The proposed strategies of the counter-protests have ranged from antagonistic resistance to peaceful exchange. Some straight male activists have suggested infiltrating the group and engaging in debate, knowing they are the least at risk to be faced with physical violence.
Awesome! How has Roosh's gang reacted to these counter-protest groups?
They're scared. So scared they cancelled the meetups.
Cool! So this is all over?
Not quite yet. Many protestors think that the cancellation is a ruse to discourage counter-protestors from showing up. Many suspect that Roosh's supporters will show up anyway.
With that in mind, counter-protestors are still planning on meeting at the various spots worldwide.
Oh boy. So this still has the potential to get ugly?
Well, it was ugly from the start. But yeah. Big time.