tv Question Time CSPAN December 8, 2013 9:00pm-9:31pm EST
conference and getting a conference at the involvement with some of the religious development in the region, so please join us again tomorrow and the day after, but for now please join us outside for snacks and feel free to continue the conversation. thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations] up next on booktv come "after
words." this week sociologist michael kimmel and angry white men. anin it at the stony brook university professor argues many white men see gender equal the psa major contributor to their downward mobility and b. are angry about their declining dominance in american society. this program is about an hour. >> host: congratulations on your book, i call. i thought it was an interesting idea the first time you told me about it. there is anger out there and nobody has made sense of it so i'm glad you took the time to do that. i would say one thing that strikes me as a journalist reading the book is you operate like a reporter. i would ask you why did you do
your books that way where you are sorted out and about and talking to different people? >> guest: first of all, i think -- i appreciate that come and i want sometimes to be out and about. i want to be out talking to people and i don't want to just sit and manipulate interviews. i found these to be really revealing particularly with people i don't particularly understand or get their worldview. i actually didn't start this book thinking i was going to go through a lot of interviews. my first -- the work for example the chapter on the extreme right-wing neo-nazis and white supremacy's they are so wired i figured i could do most of it on the internet. and so i would go out onto these chat rooms and listen to people talking but it occurred to me as i was on these chat rooms there would be eight people saying all these horrible things and suddenly it donned on me if
eight people are here for them are probably graduate student in anthropology. one is like a high school kid goofing around. i can't tell who is who. you have to have the resources to see them so i decided to go talk to them and as i began to do that research as i was actually working as well i began to realize i was going to want to talk to people for the other chapters as much as i could. >> host: what's talk about your relationship with rick who used her to the book with any gun show with because i think that it will give the watchers a sense of who we are talking about and where are we in america and also a little bit about your relationship with the people that you are interviewi
interviewing. >> guest: he is a guy that i've met with when i went to interview white supremacists and neo-nazis -- >> guest: when i told friends i was going to be doing work on the extreme right, they said you are going to have to go to the deep south or something like that and i said i don't think so. it turned out i met him right outside of pennsylvania. the actual mason-dixon line. today there are quite a large number of, you know, white supremacist extreme right-wing stronghold and it turns out that in a lot of suburban schools along western new jersey, southern pennsylvania a lot of schools are so short on cash that schools actually rent out their auditorium, the jim for gun shows on weekends. so i walked into basically what is a high school and inside the
gym there is tables and tables of guns -- >> host: is there also a middle school basketball game -- >> guest: but as you walk in there o are tables out in front with lots of pamphlets. prior to entering the gun show and the pamphlets all have to have a government is trying to take away your right to own guns and doing this and that and obamacare is terrible, so those were the ones i wanted to talk to because they were the ones with the ideas. so i went up to this one table and i just sort of said -- i pick up a pamphlet and said is this yours and about three or four guys were standing around this table talking and, you know, they looked at me kind of suspiciously -- >> host: you sound like what you are -- you sound like a new york guy so it's not hard to hide -- >> guest: iam a brooklyn
jewish sociologist, so you know, take two. [laughter] but so of course i'm not going to like take some accent and pretend to -- >> host: could you even do it? >> guest: i doubt it actually. i don't think i would try. so i said to them is this your stuff and they said yeah, who are you? i said i am an academic. i'm a researcher and i'm doing research on these organizations, these ideas into trying to understand. i'm actually studying men who believe this stuff and a bunch of them looked at me suspiciously and sort of asked me questions and i just said look, here's what i am. i don't get it but here's my job. i want to understand how you see the world. i want to understand your worldview. you will not convince me and i will not convince you.
that is off the table. what is on the table if i want to understand why you think the way you do. so here's the thing that was interesting. i would say roughly half of those that i approached with an talk to me. so there are biases in my research and i will acknowledge those. >> host: what did they say? >> guest: i don't want to talk to you basically, you will never understand, you know, one or two said something anti-semitic. but basically it was i don't want to talk to you, and i'm fine with that area but basically your whole complaint as i understand it is you are the forgotten americans on whose back this country was built. you fought the wars and build the bridges, you've built the country and no one is listening to you. i will. i will listen to you. i will not agree with you. that isn't why i'm here but i will listen.
so they will not have the kind of job protection that their fathers had. they were like smith and sons, right? or a lot of those guys i talked to were independent contract workers, plumbers, electricians, off the books. but they were all downwardly mobile. that was their background. so he's shows up and he decides he's going to be playful with me and that is one of the reasons i chose him to introduce the book.
we are now sort of in central pennsylvania. but he also wears a black t-shirt with a confederate flag. as he sits down he kind of opened his flannel shirt and says i wore this just for you. [laughter] >> host: just to hit all the stereotypes. >> guest: so i can't make them up. so, and the thing is he is also -- because he and his wife are trying to make it on far less -- >> host: she's married to? >> guest: yes, has to kids, five and seven i think at the time i interviewed him. really unhappy with the quality of schools and, you know about of course the conversations we weren't going to have is that it be nice if he had three child care and exercise the right to
healthcare? we didn't have those conversations. we had a conversation about what he expected as he was growing up, what he thought was going to be his and what he didn't get and how he feels somewhat basically screwed by the system. >> host: like things were taken away that were rightfully his. and that in a sense -- >> guest: that's the line, that's the kind of connective tissue among all the different factors. so my book has some resonance with yours for example, it has a lot of resonance with the gift that is this a subtitle of that is the betrayal. and they definitely feel like they've been betrayed. >> host: i was thinking a lot about that but he caused she similarly visits different parts of america and different ages of people in both through line is a similar one of sort of what was promised to me when i was growing up, the fathers in the 50s down to the su sun sun thatd
no model for manhood and, you know, no easy thing to grasp onto as a model for success. before we get to the entitlement question which is totally central to your book since the book in many ways what is uncomfortable about reading the book is that it is like rippling with racism, sexism and anger that you see across the chapters anyway that's a little bit frightening when you read it and it is encompassed between the two covers, so you no sense we just talked about this as a bridge, how close before you get to the racism and sexism how does that come up in the different conversations? >> guest: it comes up in two ways. the racism comes up self-consciously seriously either it is right there at the front because they want to shock me -- >> host: is it about obama? >> guest: a lot about obama. it's not obama specifically if they generalized like how they are invading, if they are taking
what's ours. >> host: interestingly in visiting my brother i feel like the bellagio has exploded. i haven't heard it so much in a while and all of a sudden it's like a barbecue like where did this come from? it's just like all over new york -- >> guest: i hung out at a bar not far from my house and the new york city fire department and so i heard that -- i heard a little bit about that but i haven't gone back and listened to it around the mixed race marriage and -- >> host: it's like really we are going to talk about this for how long? >> guest: that was fun because remember these guys know i'm not one of them. i make it clear. i'm not going to try to pretend
-- >> host: are they self-conscious about racism or not even? >> guest: that's the thing. it is utterly self-conscious. there is no -- there's the occasional, but there's never a sense of sexism because they are also proclaiming the shell bachmann or sarah palen. >> host: isn't it also because the rage is channeled through a person like an ex-wife -- >> guest: . >> host: but not necessarily. you have personal experience. >> guest: in our culture i actually think that it is far more permissible than racism. but we give you a good example about how to think about that. if you remember during the primary season of 2008 when clinton was running against
obama in the democratic non-asian and there was a guy at one of clinton blank rally -- >> host: hillary clinton -- >> guest:, he held up the sign that said i earned my shirt. i asked my students how many of you remember that -- by the way in 2009 i asked this question, not five or six years later. i asked how many of you remember that? 10%, 20% of hands. i said it really didn't pass under the media radar to follow these sort of things. now, imagine if afghan obama rally someone in a white guy held up a sign that said polish my shoes, don't you think every media outlet it would have been front page, john mccain come every single republican would have said to stop everything. that's wrong to get. >> host: is it because they don't think it's dangerous? are talking to a woman that's running -- i don't know. >> guest: i think it's because it seems more acceptable.
race is on -- prior to 2008, right after we were all like racism, that's going to go away. we were wrong about that. but i think that in fact in some ways obama has become such a lightning rod for the research of the overt racism. >> host: your president, that kind of thing. >> guest: he is not one of us. we know he is one of them. and so part of this has always been startling because after all, obama is not a black president he is also a next race. he is african-american. he has one white and one african parent. this is like the one draft rule.
so it is i think really interesting that sexism is far more casual partly because it is interpersonal. the guys i was talking with committee have ex-wife that the hate or ex-wife's lawyers that they hate even more. but they also have the women in their lives they see as getting ahead of them. >> host: you can see taking your job or whatever. we are going to return to that subject when we return to the groups but it's important now to define the central concept of your book which is this idea of the entitlement because i have a lot of questions about it so just tell the viewers what is the end title might? >> guest: it's a title like him it was because the groups from the main rights groups to the fathers rights groups that beat up their wives or partners were killed and in some cases to the guys that go postal or open
fire in the workplace to the men on the extreme right, i think what binds all of them is this entitlement and the easiest way that i can describe it is to tell you one story where i first sort of income per device and i was on a tv talk show opposite these men who were angry white men and they all believed that they were the victims of reverse discrimination in the workplace. so it was a workplace show in which they were talking about affirmative action was diverse in the code reverse. they were qualified for jobs and promotions. they didn't get event and they were angry about it. so why was there opposite of them alongside of joe wilson, the journalist who had written volunteer slavery. so the two of them were there to respond to them and the reason i told you this story is my first
inkling was a quote from one of these men that became the title of the show. the title was a black woman stole my job. so i said okay i have one question for you and it's about the title of the show. actually it is about one word in the title. i want to know about the word by. where did you get the idea that it was your job? why isn't the title of the show a black woman got the job or got a job because without confronting the sense of entitlement, we won't understand why so many research gender a quality because we think this is a level playing field. you have a policy tilted even a little bit you think one is rushing a pill from its reverse discrimination against us. so this is what the entitlement i think sounds like. these were our jobs and our positions. these are the ones we were told when we were little this is what
is waiting for you. this is the funniest scene of this entitlement that i've ever seen is a monty python he goes to the castle walls and the holy grail and he goes to the castle and says sun, one day this will all be yours and the sun this is what, the curtains? like one day this will all be yours. that is what fathers have said two sons and the expected that they were entitled to it and now you're telling them they aren't going to get it to do after allr all these years you have to play fair? so my feeling was i felt like when i heard this it registered for me and i began as i was doing the research for the buck i began to hear it in a lot of different then use. so i tried to use that as a framing device because my argument in the book into a way that our books kind of run parallel to each other is i
think this is into the end of men but this is the end of the era of the assumed entitlement, the end of the era -- that's what i kept hearing from these guys. and they were kind of blindsided by it. the rules have completely changed from the office in batman where the women are in a corral in the center and you have your pick. there's like an office perk to harassment and women have in the corner opposite. the pace of this change -- postcodes fast and alarming. >> guest: it's what happened. >> host: one thing i did while reading the book is try to match
in one of these reading your book and the end title and make absolutely sense but it's harder thardto accept them as and titld anymore. so you have a phrase that sticks in my head that makes sense when you read it especially to me and you. they've had the wind at their back for all this time. so if you have tens of thousands of years it was never a level playing field. we had the advantage and now we don't have the advantage anymore. it's like we have this push but they don't feel that way. the wind at their back like they are looking at obama and hillary clinton and it doesn't look like them they can't get a job as one of them says the only job in my town is to be a wal-mart hostess. it's a girls job and it's not even that good of a job so i was having a hard time conceiving of why they should accept your argument that they were entitled. >> guest: there's two levels
of answers to your question. first is those this actually describe their experience in the second is why should they then agree with me. the first part it seems to me is the mistake i think that we made that being liberal and feminist basically in the 1970s feminism sort of first began to permeate the culture in the 1970s and the argument looked something like this. men have all the power to look at every single corporate board and legislature, state, local, national, international. every university board. men have all the power. and individually -- women don't have the power and women don't feel powerful individually. so feminism we as a group need to address the imbalance of power at the top and individually feminism was about empowering women to have a wide
range of choices, more options around reproduction and family life and all those sorts of things. so it basically says there was a symmetry between the aggregate powerlessness and the individual experience of power. you apply that to men. they have all the power in the world. therefore then must feel powerful. and then we are like what are you talking about? y. wife bosses me around, mike k., i am completely powerless. that analyst is fails to designate even then because men don't feel powerful. >> host: never did or don't now? >> guest: there's only one the king of the hill. we feel that we have to be subservient to the bosses. i tried telling my male students they have all the power. >> host: the idea that was also privileged --
>> guest: we all take the 737. that kind of model couldn't really apply to men so then we have all these groups that sprung up in the 70s or so that basically said you know how you don't feel powerful? you are right created they have all the power to read or you have another group that says you know how you don't feel powerful, here is the power drumming and then you have all of them wearing power ties as if it were some kind of a fashion accessory. because it was meant to post tot fuel powerful but didn't this entitlement. you're supposed to feel this way but they don't who's fault is that. then when you move to who's fault is that that's why you should agree with me because i
think they have been sold a bill of goods and they have been duped and betrayed and all those sorts of things by not by the people who think, not by those lower than them, by the arrogant cynical elites that are manipulating them into those below them so my argument to them is that it is not timothy mcveigh is tom jones who was your model the right who makes common cause and recognizes his plight -- >> host: explain who that is. >> guest: timothy as the oklahoma city bomber and a tom jones is the hero of the john steinbeck novels of the great depression who is a displaced migrant on his way moving to california. both in and possible.
farmers who wrote them off and he finally realizes that it's not the other guys that are trying to make a buck that's the problem. it's the people above him. he then goes off and he says to his mother in the great scene can't you just see him sitting next to the candle saying to his mother wherever there's a man looking for a job that's where i will be? said as i see a said at the ends fascinating to me that both timothy mcveigh and john mandela -- nelson mandela, the guys like tom jones or bruce springsteen as another example, working class who makes common cause with those below him rather than turns them into the enemy. >> host: is the what's the matter with kansas idea you quoted in the book which is this argument. you are hating the argument.
instead of hating the corporate powers that have shifted overseas and completely forgot about you and made no a men's you hate the people below you, you hate women, -- >> guest: and yes i have great respect for that argument as well because i think that there is a kind of distraction going on very often and it's a very seductive distraction. >> host: so one of your most original chapters is about the rampage shooter and what we get wrong. you sort of reconceived the rampage shooter is but can you talk about? >> guest: the rampage school shooter. i also have a chapter on the guys that go postal. >> host: that's different. i named a young school shooters like columbine. >> guest: i'm flattered that you think i have a take on it and what you think that is. i will tell you what i think is ne