By now you've probably heard that "legal rape advocate" Daryush Valizadeh, better known as Roosh V, is heading to Australia on February 6 to take part in a global meet up for fans of his "neomasculinist" website Return of Kings.
More than 80,000 people have already signed a petition to get his visa revoked, while immigration minister Peter Dutton has called for an investigation of his travel plans. Usually, journalistic integrity would call for me to get a comment from Roosh V but honestly I have no interest in being told he won't do an interview because he doesn't want to "bang me." So many Australian journalists have already tried to reach out to Roosh V on Twitter, only to be grossly denied.
Return of Kings is a strange place. It looks like a website you'd end up on if you typed a URL in slightly wrong. The design is terrible, and it's doused in ads for miracle genius pills, pyramid schemes, and cosmetic treatments that promise to cure your "crepey skin."
On the site, Roosh asserts himself as a sort of no-filter prophet, someone who sees the world for what it is and isn't afraid to say it. In reality he's just a perfect storm of confidence and idiocy. He's that dude who drops statistics into conversation to sound intelligent, and butchers Eastern philosophy to sound worldly. He's that friend of a friend's friend you get stuck talking to at a party—sitting quietly as they jump from discussing conspiracy theories to their failed relationships, all with the same manic intensity.
I'm not basing this synopsis on speculation. Roosh actually believes Western civilisation is a cosmic force that has tipped the universe out of balance, leading to both falling birth rates and degenerate behaviour. He pens awful dystopic fiction, in which California's budget crisis leads to a TV show where male prisoners are forced to satisfy a panel of female judges. If they fail, the prisoners are executed. As Roosh writes:
Two men came close to freedom by satisfying three of the four women, but they failed to satisfy the last panelist, Big Bertha, who possessed a double PhD in women's and transsexual studies. She was seen as the foremost expert in America on Bible Belt rape culture.
This is something you quickly learn about Roosh reading Return of Kings, he's well-versed in the language of everything he despises and he loves a good thesaurus. Attempting to sound intelligent, he has no qualms about peppering his writing with outdated academia or dropping in a couple of big words without spellcheck.
A lot of concern around Roosh's visit centres on one particular idea he advocates: making rape legal as long as it happens on private property. Tracing his rationale in a blog post on his website, Roosh lays out one of those strained hypotheticals people reach for in a debate when they run out of anything logical to say:
A woman who drinks and has sex is not responsible for her actions, but if that same woman gets into a car and drives it into someone else, causing a loss of life, she would be prosecuted and sent to jail. I couldn't find an explanation for this inconsistency.
You could try and explain to Roosh and his readers that he has created the inconsistency by attempting to shift the blame away from the sexual harassers to victims, but you'd be wasting your time. They don't want to engage in debate, they just want to feel important. The massive media coverage surrounding the Return of Kings meetup is Roosh's wet dream.
Let's get one thing out of the way, ignoring your trolls isn't a strategy to make them go away. But Roosh V is only a troll insofar as he's partial to asking clever riddles that make him seem smart. A more appropriate metaphor might be a remora, which is one of those fish that latches onto a bigger fish and feeds on any dregs that come its way. This is a guy who hungers for people to take his opinions seriously, and we've all taken the bait. Yes, Facebook commenters, I completely understand that this is yet another article for Roosh to add to his scrapbook.
Roosh hates trans people, gay people, women and migrants because they represent his declining relevance. Return of Kings is just him and his male writers screaming into a world that increasingly doesn't care.
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