How Deep Does the Rabbit Hole Go?
The Red Pill, Cassie Jaye’s documentary on the men’s rights’ movement, is an informative watch for those unacquainted with the destructiveness of Western feminism. However, dedicated alt-Righters may find it lacking.
The Red Pill presents a conundrum for me: how do I write about a well-made film that focuses on a group of people I despise?
Despite what my enemies claim, I’m not a men’s rights’ activist (MRA): like the terms “racist,” “Nazi” and “White supremacist, “MRA” is an all-purpose pejorative Leftists hurl at anyone they don’t like. I used to be loosely affiliated with the men’s rights’ movement back in the In Mala Fide days, but I never identified as one for the simple fact that I’m not an “activist,” I’m a writer. Around 2012, my tolerance for the MRM turned into disgust, as Paul Elam and his merry band of dipsomaniacs turned away from traditionalism and oriented their movement around getting men a seat at the grievance table, alongside homosexuals, Blacks and every other aggrieved “minority” group.
While the men’s rights’ movement does admirable work in bringing attention to the horrors inflicted on men and fathers by family courts and mentally ill women, I don’t care for their woe-is-me solution of expanding the government to treat men as a victim class. You fight feminism with patriarchy and capitalism: smashing the welfare state and restoring the family to the center of Western life. Trying to solve the problem of modern feminism by creating government departments for men and boys (in addition to those of women and girls) is like trying to cure a hangover with Manischewitz.
To make matters worse, as Right On contributor Bernard Chapin has pointed out, the MRM has been infiltrated and coopted by Leftists such as Dean Esmay and Bar Bar who despise limited government and the nuclear family. In the past year, many MRAs have gone full retard in either opposing Donald Trump or openly supporting Hillary Clinton (as Myth of Male Power author Warren Farrell is doing). When the Cologne rape attacks happened, prominent MRAs such as Esmay called the victims “liars” who were trying to stir up “rape hysteria” against Muslim
migrants invaders in Europe. When I called out Esmay for his duplicity, he falsely accused me of raping Right On Co-Editor Ann Sterzinger. At this stage, the Leftist cancer has killed the MRM host.
Having said all that, a good film is still a good film, and The Red Pill serves as a fine introduction to the problems that men and fathers face in the West today. I attended the West Coast premiere of the movie in Los Angeles this past weekend and had a good time hanging out with the cast and crew. While I highly doubt the movie will give a boost to the men’s rights’ movement, Cassie Jaye’s documentary is a worthwhile summation of anti-feminist thought, good for normies who aren’t acquainted with the reality of relations between the sexes.
The Red Pill bills itself as covering not just the men’s rights’ movement, but Jaye’s own ideological transformation. As the film’s opening crawl shows, she used to identify as a feminist and was attracted to the idea of doing a documentary on the MRM after reading biased news coverage of the movement from the mainstream media. After she opted to do a fair and balanced examination of MRAs as opposed to a hit piece, feminists angrily declared a jihad on Jaye. Her film was aided in part by Mike Cernovich (from whom I found out about the movie), Milo Yiannopoulos and other alternative media figures, who helped promote Jaye’s Kickstarter to obtain funding for the film.
The movie is structured in a rather linear fashion, with Jaye’s interviews with prominent anti-feminist and feminist figures interspersed with archival footage of men’s rights’ rallies, feminist protests and her own video diaries. One of the most pleasant aspects of the film is that despite what the marketing says, Jaye almost entirely extricates herself from the action, adhering to the “show, don’t tell” principle of good storytelling. While her video diaries pop up from time to time, her directing places us in her position, as she is alternately bemused, horrified or nonplussed by her various interview subjects.
Also aiding The Red Pill is first-rate cinematography. Jaye’s filmmaking approach has more in common with dramas than documentaries, and her method of filling up the frame with her subjects’ faces recalls Irvin Kershner’s directing in The Empire Strikes Back and The Luck of Ginger Coffey. This results in interviews that are alternately flattering and unflattering, yet always human. For example, an interview with Karen Straughan in a bar depicts her as a gin-blossomed rubster, while Dean Esmay’s perpetually trembling hands and missing front tooth make him look like a less hygienic version of Ed Helms’ character in The Hangover.
While The Red Pill also examines the feminist side of the argument, no one will be joining NOW after watching it, because its feminist figures come off as disingenuous and/or insane. Jaye’s laid-back, humanistic directing is also an aid here, as it contrasts the horror stories relayed by MRAs with dismissive rebuttals from pederast-esque male feminist scholar Michael Kimmel and crazy-eyed Ms. Magazine editor Katherine Spillar. One interview with a much-maligned feminist (who I will not name, but your jaw will drop when she’s introduced) absolutely steals the show: her Ritalin-addled twitching and angry sneer had the audience in stitches.
My primary criticism of The Red Pill isn’t so much about the quality of the film as the subject matter. Like it or not, the men’s rights’ movement is deader than Betty Friedan. The MRAs interviewed in the film were largely men in their forties and up, trapped in a Baby Boomer activist mentality of eternal victimhood. Their efforts towards “true gender equality” have little appeal to young men, who are joining up with the alternative Right and the Trump campaign, hoping to restore patriarchy and the family. Self-respecting men don’t want to be victims, they want to be victors.
Additionally, The Red Pill would have done well to examine the role of female mental illness—and how society and the legal system either ignore or encourage it—in creating our current sexual dystopia. For example, one MRA in the film, Fred Hayward, discusses how his ex-wife got pregnant solely to spite him, then tried to manipulate their son as part of her sick power games (such as trying to make him obese so he’d be miserable like she was). This is textbook narcissism. Given that most men have had to deal with mentally ill and/or alcoholic women, this is something of an oversight by the film.
Despite all this, The Red Pill’s depth of content, neutral approach and attractive visuals make it a film worth watching. While alt-Righters might find some of the content old hat, The Red Pill isn’t for us: it’s for average folks who aren’t acquainted with the reality of relationships in the West. Here’s hoping it’s a massive success.