Trigger Warning: Discussion of racism, misogyny, rape, and extreme physical and emotional violence against women.
I only learned who Mark Ames is recently, when I started hearing about the magazine nsfwcorp (nsfwcorp was formed in 2011 and has apparently been running stories since early 2012, but only released their first print issue last month). Ames is the senior editor and co-authored (with Max Blumenthal) a history of Andrew Breitbart’s media “empire” that received a lot of praise. Even better than a gleeful attempt to tarnish Breitbart’s legacy (which has already been done) was Ames’ piece on the right-wing propaganda coming out of NPR. I myself happily shared that piece, as well nsfwcorp’s “Not Safe for War 100” list of media figures who supported the Iraq invasion and are likely to support further military action by the US. I planned on subscribing to the magazine.
But I didn’t really learn who Mark Ames is until yesterday.
Ames is aggressive and rude, and often gets into heated spats on Twitter. He’s harassed Dave Weigel for the latter’s youthful warmongering; Weigel for his part doesn’t take Ames too seriously:
Lies. They never sleep. RT @markamesexiled: Just landed in LAX and boy are my trolls tired— daveweigel (@daveweigel) April 5, 2013
Then something interesting happened, justifying my wasting so much time on Twitter:
@daveweigel @markamesexiled Dave, why is it you’re following a rapist? twitter.com/jimgoad/statusÉ (h/t @jimgoad)— Jenny (@Jenny_IDLYITW) April 5, 2013
@daveweigel You know @markamesexiled gloats about raping a 15 y.o. in his “nonfiction” jimgoad.net/images/nonfictÉ?— Jenny (@Jenny_IDLYITW) April 5, 2013
This is a serious accusation; if true, those who associate with Ames have some decisions to make.
Jenny links to an essay by Jim Goad, the editor of Taki’s Magazine. General Gandhi pointed out to me that Jim Goad is not exactly a reliable source: Taki’s publishes racist and sexist drivel, including a piece by Goad himself in which he compares supporters of Trayvon Martin to the KKK. Goad is also a raging misogynist who regularly beat his wife and went to jail for assaulting another woman:
Goad has never expressed a scintilla of remorse. Asked if he’s sorry for beating Ryan, he tells me, “Absolutely not. I enjoyed it.”
So as not to leave any doubt about Goad’s moral character, here are the opening passages of his essay “Let’s Hear it for Violence Toward Women!”:
Women are only good for fucking and beating. When you get tired of fucking them, there’s only one thing left to do.
After you fuck them, they start talking. That’s when you beat them. They all talk too much, especially when you don’t want to hear it.
And what do they talk about? Violence toward women. But they fail to realize that their whining is what provokes most of the violence. They don’t understand what their eternal screeching does to men. Shut up! We don’t need to hit you. Just shut your mouths.
One simple rule, guys—the first time she gives you some lip, bust it open WIDE. She won’t talk shit again. Not if she’s smart, she won’t.
(Chuck Palahniuk, the author of “Fight Club”, is a fan of Jim Goad.)
Jim Goad is human garbage, so any accusations he makes against other people must be backed up by a lot of evidence.
In the case of his attack on Ames, though, the evidence seems to be there. This is because all Goad really has to do is quote Ames himself.
In 2000, Ames and Matt Taibbi published The eXile: sex, drugs, and libel in the new Russia, described in a review by Martha Bayne as “breathtakingly misogynist” (many of the following quotes were originally flagged by Bayne). Ostensibly a history of the founding of The eXile magazine, The eXile includes accounts of Ames’ sexual exploits, which—at least in the case of Ames—clearly involve rape and abuse. In one passage, Ames—then in his thirties—knowingly and in fact enthusiastically has sex with a 15-year-old-girl:
When I went back into the TV room, Andy pulled me aside with a worried grin on his face.
“Dude do you realize…do you know how old that Natasha is?” he said.
“No! No, she’s fif-teen. Fif-teen.” Right then my pervometer needle hit the red. I had to have her, even if she was homely (eXiled, 153).
Ames then recounts how he threatened to kill a women he impregnated unless she consented to an abortion:
“I can’t do that,” she said. “I can’t kill our child.”
Right then, I stared at Katya with a look—I’m not sure how it appeared to her, but in my mind, I was started to contemplate two courses of action: murder, or AWOL.
“What will you do, kill me?” she said, laughing nervously.
“Maybe, yeah,” I replied. “I’ll throw you off my balcony. I’ll make it look like an accident.”
She started to cry, but I was relentless. I told her that if she had the child, she would be killing me, so it was an act of self-defense. And if I didn’t kill her, then I would flee Moscow and she’d never find me. Her child would be fatherless. He wouldn’t have an Oedipal complex like the other kids; his complexes would be monumental, guaranteed to make her life a living hell … I wore her down for hours during the night, KGB interrogation-style …
At 5:30 the next morning, Katya, acting the martyr, quietly slipped out of my apartment, made a beeline to the abortion clinic, and sucked the little fucker out (eXiled, 154).
Pushing women off balconies seems to be a recurring theme for Ames. According to Owen Matthews, Ames sometimes wrote under the name “Johnny Chen”, and in one Chen column, the author rapes a young woman and then describes an imaginary conversation between himself and his dick (“Johnny Jr”):
Literally within four minutes of arriving, some teenager with a face like Muttley’s from Laff-A-Lympics fell off the bar and onto my shoulders. I carried her almost straight out to the coat check, then hurried her down to a taxi, ran her home, up my stairs, and into my apartment. The whole time she was begging me to take her back, to be careful, she was drunk, bla-bla-blah … After we were through, I had no idea what to do with her. She was bleeding and crying. As for me, I was depressed. I’d just shot a load large enough to repopulate North Korea. So I walked her over to my balcony, and held her in my arm, leaning her over the ledge.
“Throw her over,” Johnny Jr. advised me.
“You know you want to,” he said. “Just pick her up and throw her over. You’ll feel better, I promise.”
But I didn’t have the energy.
Given what we’ve seen, the claim that this is Ames is entirely plausible.
It’s of course possible that Ames is not Johnny Chen, but that that only removes one atrocity from the list. There are other examples of Ames’ horrific behavior referenced by Bayne in her review, and he said this in an interview with the New York Observer in 2000:
“Russian women, especially on the first date, expect you to rape them,” said Mr. Ames. “They’ll go back home with you and say, ‘No, no, no,’ and if you’re an American, you’ve been trained to respect the ‘No,’ because you’re afraid of sexual harassment or date rape, and so you fail over and over. But it took me a while to learn you really have to force Russian girls, and that’s what they want, it’s like a mock rape. And then you come back here and you’re really freaked out—because you don’t know if that actually exists deep in all women’s psyches, that that’s what they all want. All relations between guys and girls is basically violent, I think. It’s all war.”
Ames claims that his writing during the eXile years was in a “satirical context”, but the book The eXiled is marketed as a work of nonfiction. Moreover, what is satirical about toxic misogyny?