Not long after a UC Santa Barbara student went on a killing spree last Friday, his homicide-suicide message surfaced on the internet. “I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me but I will punish you all for it,” he complains, “I’m the perfect guy and yet you throw yourselves at all these obnoxious men instead of me, the supreme gentleman… I take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am, in truth, the superior one, the true alpha male.”
While we can hope that the killer’s misogyny, narcissism, and fascination with revenge are signs of an unusually demented mind, it is a mistake to dismiss the killings as a lone incident or freak behavior of an isolated miscreant. There is no such thing as isolated violence. Misogynists, sociopaths, even psychopaths are a product of a cultural illness – an illness that tells us that we should mind our own business; that boys will be boys and hopefully they’ll grow out of it when they become men; that we need to keep the silence and refrain from naming our fears and our perpetrators because, well, you know, we’ll be branded as crazy. Or worse.
In response to the UCSB killing and the murderer’s misogyny, women around the world are adding their voices to a Twitter stream, #YesAllWomen. As I write this, it is the top-trending hashtag, with 49,541 tweets and an average of 20 tweets per second.
Here are just a few of those almost-50,000 tweets:
One of the tweets most likely to resonate with all or most female philosophers (thanks, S.E.!) is this one:
I’m not the tweeting type, but it occurred to me that if I were to tweet, it would be to a #YesAllPhilosophers hashtag. Here are just a few of the tweets I’d probably write:
#YesAllPhilosophers because the accused was given a golden parachute to another better position, and the survivor, who got nothing, tried to commit suicide.
#YesAllPhilosophers because I can name four philosophers who read or gave copies of Lolita to the students they desired.
#YesAllPhilosophers because when I asked a provost whether the university would keep a known serial predator and pedophile on the faculty, she didn’t immediately say no.
#YesAllPhilosophers because I can name 34 philosophers who have been accused of sexual misconduct, ranging from “mere” drunken groping, to first degree sexual assault and child porn.
#YesAllPhilosophers because I was a student in a department where four faculty members were accused of sexual misconduct in five years.
#YesAllPhilosophers because I’m currently helping complainants at 10 different universities who have been adversely affected by the misconduct of 8 different philosophers.
#YesAllPhilosophers Because I can’t solve this problem alone.
Comments are closed on this post because I don’t have time to moderate – but those who want to comment can of course tweet using the hashtag #YesAllPhilosophers.