Mysteries of the inexplicable: A tale of two conferences - HBR Talk 98

Is the men’s rights movement haunted?

The question may seem odd, but it’s not as odd as what happened in Chicago on the weekend of August 16-18, 2019, when a paranormal phenomenon seems to have taken place. 

One Chicago business has held two dramatically different events with two entirely different goals, and two incompatible sets of people in exactly the same venue at the same time, and neither seems to have known of the other’s existence. Neither of these two events seems to have affected the other, and no reports have come in from either one detailing any interaction with the other, or observation of one by the other, despite their alleged simultaneous manifestation in the same location. 

Those who attended the 2019 International Conference on Men’s Issues experienced a peaceful and informative event at which a variety of ideas were discussed by people from a broad variety of socio-political perspectives. We connected over our common recognition of the need to include the interests of men and boys in the human rights discussion, and enjoyed broadening our own and each other’s perspectives by discussing our abundant ideological, cultural, and circumstantial differences. We listened to speakers and panels with an extensive spectrum of personal outlooks discuss a wide variety of issues related to the welfare and interests of men and boys, as well as points regarding women’s interest in these topics. We all came home with much to consider. 

In the end, this turned out to be the largest attendance we’ve had so far at ICMI, and we began receiving positive feedback about the event from attendees as soon as registration began. 

In the shadow of this shining success was a darker, much more scandalous and creepy event… one that was so fearsome, so imposing as to have been witnessed by people who weren’t even in attendance, yet so cunning and deceitful as to have escaped the notice of those of us who attended ICMI2019.

Opponents of the men’s rights movement gave their description of a gathering of nazis, male supremacists, white nationalists, rape apologists, woman haters, and probable perpetrators of mass violence. 

In an effort to get this shadow conference shut down, its critics tried to use a twitter campaign with a boycott hashtag to intimidate the venue into breaking its conference contract and refusing to house associated guests. 

When this failed, the twitter mob attempted to shame the venue with further accusations against the group, describing a sparsely-attended gathering of bigotted, violent patriarchs who all think in lockstep with each other and presumably meet for little or no reason, since there’s no discussion necessary to evolve your outlook if it’s already set in stone. Perhaps this ghostly gathering was about planning, as the twitter mob has accused them of wanting to regress the western world back some dark ages of gender politics when women were literally chattel, to take away women’s reproductive rights, cancel women’s sufferage, and legalize targeting women for rape and other forms of violence.

It’s shocking that none of us at ICMI2019 spotted these wild, misogynistic bastards parading such crazy ideas around the same venue we were attending. Not a hint, not an inkling of their presence was detected by a single MRA as we shared the dining room, halls, and conference rooms with these monsters. It was as if they weren’t even there.

How they managed to camouflage themselves remains a mystery. The contrast alone should have made their activities a relative eyesore in comparison to presentations on topics like due process, equal opportunities in education, and equally shared parenting. We’re certainly quite lucky we weren’t confronted by those guys. Surely there would have been some horrible conflict, or at least a massive, venue-wide pie-fight. Alas, not a single apparition stepped forward to launch the first pastry. We’re not even sure if there were any pies on site.

Odder still was abrupt ending of the spectral conference. As soon as it became obvious that the venue’s management wasn’t going to kick their clients out, the angry twitter mob and its reprehensible target seemed to vanish without a trace, leaving only a few, confused stragglers still muttering allegations into the void. 

The disappearance of the phantasmal gathering of male supremacists defies explanation. No trace of these intolerant freaks has been found outside of the descriptions of those who lamented their gathering from afar. No employees of the venue have come forward to talk about these spectres of animosity, and no one seems to have documented their activities. 

Tune in to HBR Talk this week as we analyze the impenetrable mystery surrounding the phantasmal wrongthink boogeyman conference. The discussion streams on multiple platforms. You can tune in Thursday at 7:30PM Eastern via the link in the lowbar, or find other viewing and listening options for that time or later, on badgerfeed.com

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