Matt Forney
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“You’re Just a Troll”: The Manosphere vs. the Narcissistic Left

Didja hear? Everyone in the manosphere is a troll, including me. We don’t actually believe in any of the stuff we say, we just do it to get attention and make money. Hell, I published a book called Trolling for a Living; there’s all the evidence you need. We’re just a bunch of performance artists making shit up because our mommies didn’t give us enough hugs.


In the past few months, as the ‘sphere has gained popularity and our ideas have penetrated the mainstream, I’ve noticed this new line of attack from the left. Whereas before they tried denouncing us with the fury of a born-again preacher railing against sin, now they’re trying to dismiss us as “trolls” or otherwise people not worthy of serious consideration. Take this recent article from Thought Catalog, “The Real Leader of the Trolling Revolution,” a broadside attack on Return of Kings:

In order to keep my out faith in humanity alive, I really do have to believe this is just a collective of trolls. I shudder at the thought that there actually are people who believe the ridiculous, sexist, delusional things that get posted to that site.

It’s extremely tempting to engage people like this on a logical level. For example, as I mentioned, I frequently get dismissed as a troll based on my book Trolling for a Living even though I’ve repeatedly stated that the title of that book was a joke. About a year ago, when one of my articles went viral on Tumblr, some social justice warrior remarked about how I was “high-fiving my bros on Twitter” and said that I “troll[ed] for a living.” I thought it was funny enough to make into a book title. I’m planning to title my next best-of compilation I’m Sorry, But You Might Just Be Evil; I imagine I’ll get people thinking I’m the Antichrist or something based off that.

But engaging these people logically is a waste because they aren’t thinking logically, but reframing reality out of narcissism.

I’ve written about how most leftists, or at least the most prominent ones, are narcissists who construct a false identity and constantly fudge the facts to maintain that identity. When a narcissist is at risk of his world caving in, he has to eliminate the threat to his ego by any means necessary. The most visible response is by physically attacking or killing whatever is causing him narcissistic injury, known as “narcissistic rage.” All the feminists who went berserk at my article on self-esteem, threatening to murder or castrate me, were in the throes of narcissistic rage.

Thing is, rage is a response of last resort for most sophisticated narcissists. The girls openly sending me death threats were disproportionately young (teenagers/college students) and not mature enough to realize that saying those things online could potentially ruin their lives. If you’re a little older and more mature, it takes more effort to push you to the brink.

Hence why the ‘sphere is now being accused of being “trolls”; it’s a mass narcissistic coping mechanism on the part of the left.

Destroying a threat is an option for the narcissist, but so is pretending that the threat doesn’t exist to begin with. The idea that men want to be men, women want to be women and people would be happier in their traditional roles is incomprehensible to leftists, sheltered as they are. By dismissing the manosphere as being attention-seeking trolls, they can maintain their false identities and realities while still looking (relatively) sane.

This ego defense mechanism is made possible by the crabbed, parochial worldview that leftists and feminists adhere to. One of the fundamental underpinnings of progressivism is the belief in its inevitability, which goes all the way back to Marx; I recently re-read The Communist Manifesto and Marx’s arrogance in believing that humanity would eventually be united under the socialist banner is nauseating. Progressives also fetishize formal education, elevating it above actually acquiring knowledge, hence why the most common insult anti-feminists get is that they’re “ignorant” or “uneducated.”

The thing is that when some 19-year old pre-law student at a third tier toilet in Minnesota calls me “uneducated,” it’s not merely a convenient insult: she really does believe it. Leftists are so convinced that worldliness and knowledge makes people progressive that they’ve caricaturized their opponents as being mouth-breathing, Bible-beating, illiterate hicks from the sticks. When a leftist who has internalized this worldview comes across someone like me, they can’t handle it. Let’s recap:

  • I’m educated: I not only went to college, I went to one of the most prestigious private high schools in my hometown, the one all the doctors, lawyers and other rich people send their kids too. Additionally, I attended both junior high/high school and college on academic scholarships.
  • I grew up in New York, one of the most liberal states in the U.S., in a heavily Democratic city. Most of my extended family are Democrats. I’ve also lived most of my life in liberal states (Vermont, Wisconsin, Oregon).
  • I’m articulate. I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I do think I’m a good writer. My articles and books are compelling, I have a big vocabulary, and my writing is largely free of typos. I’m not some angry guy writing from my mom’s basement; everyone who knows me can attest (and has attested) to the fact that I’m a cool, copacetic guy in real life.
  • I’m well-read and I’ve traveled extensively, as the book reviews I publish on a regular basis (and the hitchhiking trip I took last year) show.

But despite all this, I’ve rejected the leftist/feminist cant. A normal person would look at me and figure that my ideas and beliefs are at least worth considering, seeing as I’m an intelligent, well-traveled man. But because leftists and feminists are narcissists, a simple admission like this would result in narcissistic injury. Hence the constant refrains from the pantshitters:

“He’s just a troll looking to rile people up. No educated, intelligent person would ever believe something like that.”

“I can’t tell whether this article is satire or real. It’s got to be satire, right? Because if it’s not satire…”

“Um, Mr. Forney, I read your article and I have to ask, do you actually believe these things or do you just say them to get attention?”

Leftists and feminists construct their false identities in part around the idea that they’re more enlightened and intelligent (usually conflating intelligence and education; the two are not the same) than conservatives. The problem is that the manosphere is not the haven of angry illiterate rednecks they desperately want it to be; we’re at least as educated and intelligent as them, and in most cases more so.

Since they can’t attack us by saying we’re ignorant, their only option is to reframe us out of existence.

Just look at the Thought Catalog piece I quoted above. The girl writing it all but admitted that she’s a narcissist and her very worldview depends on articulate anti-feminists like myself, Roosh and the Return of Kings crew being trolls. If she were to admit that it’s not only possible but probable for intelligent, observant, cosmopolitan men to reject leftism and feminism, a crucial part of her false identity would be destroyed.

Dismissing the manosphere/anti-feminists as “trolls” will likely be the dominant line of attack the left uses on us for the next few months. Since it’s clear we’re not going away anytime soon—and since they can’t scare guys like me away by threatening to “out” us—the next option is to pretend that we aren’t serious, that we’re a group of rodeo clowns who will eventually get bored and go home. Once that line no longer becomes viable, the claws will come out.

To all my detractors, I’m sorry to tell you, but I’m dead serious about everything I write. I joke and kid around (and if you can’t tell the difference between when I’m being serious and when I’m kidding, you’re an idiot), but I wouldn’t advocate these ideas if I didn’t believe in them. I have changed my opinions on some things and I’ve made lots of mistakes in the past, but what I’m writing today is what I sincerely advocate.

Yes, an educated, articulate, well-traveled copacetic guy from a blue state actually believes all this stuff.

I hope that keeps you up at night.

Read Next: Rob Fedders Retires: Paying Tribute to One of the Godfathers of the Manosphere