Tag Archives: tomassi

My Favorite “Iron Rule”

Iron Rule of Tomassi #9
Never Self-Deprecate under any circumstance.

The Iron Rules is the chapter I will recommend people start with when I recommend The Rational Male to their reading. Most people are reluctant to read a book in the first place, so I say if you can’t make yourself read any other part of the book, at least read through The Iron Rules. The ninth rule listed above is easily my favorite, and I want to explain why.

Christian men always self-deprecate. From the pulpit, of course, but in day-to-day interactions too. We act like it’s an indication of virtue on the part of the men who do it. One easy example is a pastor in the pulpit making some unfunny joke about his wife’s only imperfection being her taste in men. That’s a common phenomena, but I see it as even more pervasive than that. Men in the exclusive company of other men routinely cut themselves down. Someone mentions working out, and another man pipes up to inform the group that he would go to the gym, but the boss-man (his wife) won’t let him. Some guy talks about his hobby, and makes sure to tell everyone that his wife loathed it so much he had to make a “man-cave” to pursue his interests. This is typical, unsolicited self-deprecation committed voluntarily by Christian men all the time.

This behavior goes beyond men-bad, women-good, of course. For example, some guy talks about working out, and another man, likely obese and generally unattractive, self-deprecates without even mentioning his wife. “Man, I would work out, but I’m just too lazy, and I just love pizza and ice cream too much! Lol!”

Clearly Christian men don’t think it’s inappropriate to joke about their personal failures in this way. That’s why I think Iron Rule #9 is my personal favorite, because making the conscious decision to live by it gives you light-bulb moment after light-bulb moment in your day-to-day interactions. I can personally attest to this, having been trained for most of my life to see self-deprecation as a good thing. In The Rational Male on page 234, Rollo wrote a couple sentences that make this point especially clear:

The message is ‘women love men who laugh at Men’. Thus, you have to be hyper-aware of it and unlearn it. You have to catch yourself in mid-sentence so to speak. Women operate in the sub-communications and when you overtly admit to a lack of confidence in yourself or your collective gender you may as well just LFBJ yourself.

Page 234 of The Rational Male by Rollo Tomassi

Rollo was talking mostly about women in this particular paragraph, but I would extend this to interactions where men are your primary or only audience. You do have to be hyper-aware of it, because catching yourself before you open your mouth takes a conscious, focused act of the will. The action itself is simple; It’s just keeping your mouth shut, basically. But, when you do stop yourself from self-deprecating, you will immediately feel a strong desire being denied its usual satisfaction. You want to make yourself look bad. It’s uncomfortable to not do it. But, it’s an eye-opening moment, because now you’re starting to see your self-deprecation for what it really is. Before you thought it was no big deal, but then you actually implemented the rule, and now it’s clear that it is a very big deal indeed. You really wanted to cut yourself down in front of your friends and family.

Stopping yourself before self-deprecation is good for you. The more you do it, the more your realize how pathetic it was all along. You enjoyed taking the opportunity to advertise what a loser you are. Heck, it gets you cheap laughs, doesn’t it? Relieves a little anxiety, right? Keeps everyone’s expectations low, and you can take comfort in embracing the truth that you’re just a lame, unexceptional dude among many. Stopping and recognizing your insecure behavior for what it really is will only reinforce your desire to keep it to yourself.

To my readers, if this is a lesson you haven’t learned yet, I highly recommend it. Implementing rule #9 yields immediate results. You don’t have to be in denial about your negative self image, but for God’s sake and your own, keep it to yourself! You will instantly see why once you take that simple step. Just because you have a character flaw relevant to the topic of conversation does not mean you should tell everyone about it. Stifle that desire to expose your failings! Your friends and family won’t even know to think less of you if you don’t tell them about it in the first place, so stop being your own worst enemy. You want to know a basic, simply way to improve your own confidence and self-esteem in general? This is the way to go.

You Can’t Negotiate Genuine Desire, But That’s Not The Point.

Rollo Tomassi is correct when he says you can’t negotiate genuine desire. Femininely Mild isn’t arguing that you can. She’s denouncing women who take advantage of their husband’s sexual needs to exert control over him. While a husband can’t negotiate genuine desire on the part of his wife, she can use his genuine desire to force him into negotiations. That’s where chore lists come from, and why sex is listed as a reward for completing the list.

The proper response to that kind of sinful manipulation is straight-forward denunciation. The rebuke is not intended to generate genuine desire within the wife. It’s to confront her sin and exhort her to repent of what she’s doing. Repenting of this sin would lead to the wife giving her husband sex. Does this mean she’ll wind up having sex with him even though she doesn’t genuinely desire him? Most likely, yes, but that’s not the point. We’re all required to obey God whether we like it or not, and that includes wives. It’s not wrong to tell a frigid wife to have sex with her husband just because her doing so won’t make her want him. Hopefully that will happen, but if it doesn’t, that’s okay.

In fact, it’s a common phenomenon for Christians to experience sanctification in a begrudging manner. We can all think back to times when we realized we had to stop doing something we enjoyed because it would directly or indirectly violate God’s commands. Perhaps we hated it at first, but over time, that hatred waned and melted away. What a tragedy it would be if we were to refrain from obeying God because we thought we only had to obey Him if we felt like it first! So a wife isn’t attracted to her husband, and she doesn’t want to obey God. Is it better that she sins instead? Should she also miss out on the opportunity to develop those feelings over time because she’s not in the mood now? Of course not!

It’s true- we can’t negotiate genuine desire. Most Christians don’t know how to create it at all, let alone that negotiating for it won’t work. We should definitely learn how to go about that. However, if we don’t know how to do that right now, but in the meantime we obey God despite our desires to the contrary, then we’ve won, because that’s what matters most.

Bnonn Doubles Down

Question: Why does a man who promotes biblical masculinity poison people’s minds against other men who have been doing that very thing for years?

Answer: When he’s trying to promote his brand.

Looks like Bnonn decided that he hasn’t done enough to distinguish his brand of biblical masculinity, and it was time to denounce Christians who describe themselves as red-pillers yet again.

The red pill is something like a modern mystery cult; pairing it with Christianity just produces a Christian knockoff of that cult.

I could argue that this statement is false, but if you read Bnonn’s article, he never quotes anyone (excepting C.S. Lewis, which isn’t relevant). Bnonn expects his readers to take him at his word that he knows red pill Christians enough to make such a declaration, and providing proof in the form of direct quotes isn’t necessary. (It’s not a terrible bet either; he managed to hoodwink Hawk at Triablogue despite my placing that exact proof of Bnonn’s dishonesty right under his nose.).

If this is Bnonn simply explaining how he and Foster view red-pill Christians, then that’s his prerogative. He isn’t obligated to provide proof just for offering his opinion, but the fact remains that he is doubling down like a lying SJW. Back when his ministry was first starting out, Bnonn Tweeted a thread beginning with this:

If you read the thread and then compare it with his recent article, you can see that he’s merely re-publishing his Twitter-thread in article form on his website, albeit with a few minor edits. For example (differences bolded by me):

There are folks out there calling themselves red pill Christians. We believe this is no better than the many people who consider themselves feminist Christians, or social justice Christians, or gay-affirming Christians, or whatever other idol of wokeness they have discovered in the world and then attached Christianity to.

The message in the article remains the same as it did on Twitter, and it’s just as bad as it was back in December.

Here’s this same Tweet in the article (again, differences bolded by me):

Our conviction is that, while the red pill shares certain commonalities with biblical Christianity, and often sees the nature of things more clearly than mainstream evangelicalism, it is actually a separate religion in its own right. Even the very name describes a conversion experience by which the acolyte is inducted into an elect group, gains hidden wisdom and secret doctrines, and becomes part of a justified minority. (So) The red pill is something like a modern mystery cult; pairing it with Christianity just produces a Christian knockoff of that cult. Implicit in its doctrines are:

This garbage is just as inane as it ever was. This is a fully Internet-savvy man describing men reading public discussions on the Internet as acolytes who are inducted into a group filled with hidden wisdom and secret doctrines. What in God’s name is he blathering about?

I called Bnonn out for this nonsense back when it first came out. Michael Foster tried to defend him, and failed miserably (see here). Now, nine months later, he’s repeating it, but with some more careful edits:

This is especially obvious if you read red pill Christian discussion threads on popular blogs like Dalrock; the eagerness with which they violate the principles of Ephesians 5 is startling to behold. There is as much contempt for women there as for men on feminist forums, and as little fear of God before their eyes.

In Bnonn’s Tweet, he said, “discussions on blogs like Dalrock;” which includes Dalrock himself. As he re-purposed this material, he made sure to specify that he’s talking about “discussion threads” on Dalrock’s blog, which would mean Dalrock isn’t necessarily included in his denunciation of this… Mystery cult, or whatever Bnonn thinks it is.

There are still a few problems with this:

i) It’s drama-queen drivel. Does any human alive really think Bnonn was “startled” when he beheld the discussions at Dalrock’s blog?

ii) Feminists call for the castration of men and the right to murder their own babies. You can’t find a single comment on Dalrock’s blog that even comes close to that. Most of Dalrock’s readers are also professing believers. Any regular reader knows that. There is no way Bnonn thinks that the fear of God exhibited by Dalrock’s discussion threads is mimicked by the God-hating insanity spewed on feminist forums. But, if Bnonn can count on his audience taking him at his word that he has done his homework and is representing red pill Christians accurately, then they’ll never realize that the man is poisoning the well.

iii) Bnonn Tweeted this out shortly after being called out for his original Tweet:

Notice that Bnonn justified what he originally Tweeted by writing, “But Dalrock curates those comments; he is responsible for the tenor of his own blog.” From Bnonn’s perspective, Dalrock bears the blame of the sin committed within his blog’s discussion threads, whether Dalrock himself personally wrote something sinful or not. Seeing as how he doubled down on lying about Dalrock’s readers, there is no reason at all to assume he’s letting Dalrock off the hook this time around. He remains an opponent, not an ally, in Bnonn’s eyes. That doesn’t surprise me, of course. I can see Bnonn’s game for what it is, but your typical Christian male is far more likely to latch onto Bnonn’s more qualified statement and proclaim that he wasn’t such a bad guy after all, and there was never anything to worry about.

If that’s what you think, you’re probably a complementarian.

Why I’m Suspicious of the “It’s Good To Be A Man” Project

Michael Foster and Dominic “Bnonn” Tennant run the men’s ministry project called It’s Good To Be a Man. That ministry was suspected by myself and other readers of Dalrock when it first came out, and I’m going to explain why.

I keep an eye on Foster’s Twitter account and noticed that he occasionally offers to speak to men on the phone when he has some free time. He has also tweeted that he is willing to appear on big or small podcasts to discuss men’s issues. I think it was this specific Tweet that caught my eye.

I was interested in exploring the possibility of seeing what would happen were he and I to debate each other on the criticism he and his ministry had leveled against Dalrock. I messaged Foster and directly told him I was interested in doing a livestream, but unlike certain individuals at Warhorn Media, I was up front with the fact that it would be more like a debate.

The livestream did not take place, but we did eventually speak on the phone that same night. It was very impromptu and not at all planned out beforehand. Foster said he was interested in learning what it is about all these Dalrock guys. Like, what’s with all the paranoia? We covered a great deal in our conversation, but I think answering this one question in depth will help explain the negative reaction Foster characterized as paranoia. I told him that the reason for it was because his ministry came out of the gate in its early stages taking shots at men like Dalrock. Foster suggested that if we searched his website, we might find four references to Dalrock, and that’s it. They may have taken a couple glancing shots at him, but in reality, there was nothing to be concerned about.

I decided to check that out for myself. I used the search function on the It’s Good To Be a Man website, and used a specific site search using Google. I got the same two results: Attending church is entering the heavenly court, and The bitter taste of the red pill. In the first article, only Dalrock’s name is mentioned because they were citing a comment left on Dalrock’s blog. No criticism at all was directed his way. We’ll get to the second article later on.

The third area I saw him mentioned was not on the website, but on Twitter. Bnonn tweeted out a link to one of their newsletters, a link that doesn’t take you to the It’s Good To Be a Man website. You can find it here: Even in there, they don’t criticize Dalrock. They actually praise his law of feminism. The object of their severe criticism is red pill Christians, but not Dalrock himself.

That makes three separate mentions so far. Another was on Twitter.

Not much to comment on here. At worst Foster stands guilty of passive-aggression. Not a great move for men attempting to champion masculinity, but that’s as far as it went.

So far, that makes 4. As anyone can see, sometimes they praise Dalrock, sometimes they mention him in passing, and sometimes they make an unfriendly remark. Is that all then? Was I wrong to think there was a clear and identifiable attempt on their part to demonize Dalrock?

No, I was not. Let’s begin with a Tweet from one of Bnonn’s Tweet-threads:

As anyone who frequents Dalrock’s blog knows, this statement is obviously false. Feminists casually wish for the death and castration of men. Bnonn could never produce proof of similar things being said about women by Dalrock. Did he find a comment on Dalrock’s blog by some random user that set him off? If he did, he never said so. Then again, telling people you have no evidence either way doesn’t help when you’re trying to demonize someone.

Foster didn’t accept that characterization of Bnonn’s Tweet though. In fact, as he witnessed the reaction of Dalrock’s readers to Bnonn’s words, he said:

I replied (for the record, I have multiple Twitter accounts):

Although I was referring to remarks Bnonn had made about Christian men’s concerns about sex in marriage, Foster didn’t ask about that. Instead, he asked me what specific lie Bnonn told about Dalrock.

I answered by quoting Bnonn’s words from his Tweet-thread. Foster replied:

I’m sure a strict legal reading in a court room would appreciate Foster’s lawyer-esque justification of Bnonn’s Tweet. True, the words say “discussions on blogs like Dalrock.” Did Bnonn make the highly specific statement that Dalrock himself was a participant in the discussions that happened on the blog, namely, the comments section? No, he didn’t.

So, does Foster’s defense hold water? No, as Bnonn demonstrated the very next day:

Unsurprisingly, Bnonn didn’t reply to that comment. As you can see, Bnonn said his criticism was “aimed more directly at the commenters there.” That means it was at least partly directed towards Dalrock, which means he wasn’t only talking about the participants in the comment section, but Dalrock himself.

Now, how did I know that? If Foster’s defense held water, then how did I know Bnonn was targeting Dalrock in his Tweets prior to Bnonn admitting that he was? Am I psychic? Was I just so smart that I could tell what was really going on despite the fact that Bnonn didn’t spell it out for us in a strictly legal fashion a-la Foster? Or could it be that it was just so obvious that any non-partisan could see it?

And for those who remain un-convinced, Bnonn put the whole question to bed a little over a month later when he wrote the following in The bitter taste of the red pill:

We are not interested in bitching, raging, or defeatist moping. Patriarchs do not wallow in whatever red pill boilerplate they picked up from Dalrock or Rollo or their clones.

You’ll notice that this article was published on February 3rd, 2019. Foster had defended Bnonn’s Twitter thread on January 1st, and yet only a little over a month later, Bnonn publishes a full-blown article on his website slamming “Mr. Man-O-Sphere” directly.

This came as a surprise to absolutely nobody, of course, and this time Foster can’t use some silly legal argument to claim Bnonn wasn’t talking about Dalrock specifically. He was. I don’t think Foster would even try to defend this statement. Granted, I didn’t have this at the ready, so I can’t fault him for not responding to it when we spoke on the phone. However, his defense of Foster’s tweet-thread in December can’t be so easily overlooked. As he himself told me:

What this Tweet proves is that Foster himself claims to have read the first and second-draft of Bnonn’s Tweet-thread, “…before it ever went public.” Foster said he knew what it meant, he was telling me what it meant, and both he and Bnonn discussed it as well, either before or after publication. This means Foster doesn’t have an ‘out’, so to speak, in terms of being able to claim ignorance of what Bnonn wrote. How is it that he didn’t recognize Bnonn’s demonization of Dalrock for what it was? Either Foster lied to me, or he can’t see the Foster for the trees.

………..It’s funny, okay?

The point is, either Foster is a blissfully ignorant good guy who truly did not realize what Bnonn was doing the whole time, or he lied to cover for Bnonn as he attempted to poison the well. They both look bad either way.

In summary, both of these men have talked about Dalrock multiple times and on different platforms. They did not simply make a couple of edgy remarks as Foster claimed. Bnonn lied about Dalrock and his readers, Foster took a swipe at him, and when people reacted negatively, Bnonn doubled-down while Foster ran interference. Foster may dismiss it all as paranoia if he wishes, but hopefully I’ve provided enough proof for anyone familiar with Dalrock and the Christian manosphere as to why it is that I’m suspicious of the It’s Good To Be A Man project. They may say a lot of true and good things as do most Christian men, but honest men do not behave this way. You won’t see me taking swipes at the greatest Christian blogger on biblical masculinity, and then acting like I’m a good little boy who didn’t do nothing. Dalrock is my brother-in-Christ, and an incredible ally in the fight for biblical masculinity. His writings have exposed the rotten underbelly of feminism throughout even the most conservative Christian writings on marriage and sexuality. Of all the people Bnonn and Foster could have gone after in the first four months of their ministry, they went after him. What does that tell you?

P.S. I wrote this article entirely of my own accord. Dalrock had zero input as I wrote this. I wrote it out of concern for my brothers in Christ who are coming to the slow realization that most purveyors of biblical masculinity are charlatans. Christian men need to know how to identify red-flags on the up-and-coming teachers of masculinity before they gain wide-spread popularity. I won’t tell you to stay away from their ministry since we all know how that works. Read what Bnonn and Foster have to say if you will, but be wise as serpents. It’s better to be suspicious first and found to be paranoid later.