Living in an Echo Chamber Like Lori Alexander, Tim Bayly and Others

The howler monkeys that visit my yard daily.

Recently I played host to a dear friend of mine from my days at the old Quiverfull church we both attended years ago. While we’d both changed a lot in the last eleven years out of the hot mess of the old church I’d gone leftist and she was still stuck in the right wing politically. I knew the visit would be difficult, but mostly I managed to keep my mouth shut when she babbled about the wonders of Ben Carson, Donald Trump and others and tried to issue a ‘Come to Jesus’ on the last night in my pool.

Towards the end my control was slipping, I snarled responses a few times and I think I was experiencing something called ‘Ego Depletion’. Daniel Kahneman’s book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” describes ego depletion thus: Studies have shown that if you make someone very self-conscious about everything they do and say, their self-control just gets tired out. The ego can be exhausted.’  This is also why people on competitive reality television shows tend to crack or freak out so many days into the competition. I suspect it happens to anyone not being naturally who they are. It’s just too hard to maintain.

Whenever we have cultural enforcers like Lori Alexander going off the deep end, or Bayly threatening lawsuits over someone screen capping their own words I wonder if they are suffering from ego depletion, the need to keep the facade in place to the point where they no longer control their words.

Which leads me to my second point in the words of many cultural enforcers in Evangelicalism. They cannot handle reality, truth or any sort of proof that what they believe in might be wrong.  I saw this plainly in my friend, combined with a fear of anything that might even slightly threaten their world view. She stood in the ocean and ordered the sea creatures to stay away from her in the name of Jesus. I had to point out that the ocean is the sea critters home and we’re trespassing and that’s not how prayer works.

Remember earlier in the week when Lori Alexander was claiming all feminists were mentally ill due to the claims of one prominent feminist’s sister? Seizing on the possible truth of one feminist to paint all feminists as mentally ill. That would be like me claiming that because pastor Jack Schaap got caught and convicted of violation of the Mann Act and sexually abusing a teenager than all pastors do this.

I didn’t quote Lori’s piece because there’s been an overwhelming flood of awful ideas this week from Ms. Alexander, to the point where it starts to be overwhelming.

I don’t know much in this world but I do know that the iguana that lives here can be found sunning himself on the cactus stump every morning. I know it will be sunny and warm. I know that at some point in the day the howler monkey troop will pass through my backyard.

But, if one day the iguana decided to start sunning himself on the high wall I’d adjust my daily knowledge to fit this new reality.

Not Ms. Alexander and others, like Tim Bayly. They seize upon only the thin evidence that supports their ideas. Tim Bayly has also gone off the deep end of claiming things about feminism from the same interview that Lori mangled to support her ideas. Here’s what Bayly said:

Bayly is speaking about Kate Millet and this particular book  – “Sexual Politics” – and using it to smear others that are undeserving of his scorn. He later calls out such more rational people as Rachel Held Evans and Tim Keller.  Fuming and denigrating at others using the words of someone else with a similar agenda, unable to rationalize his ire with his own proof.

So I took a look at this interview with Kate Millet’s sister Mallory and it reads like a hysterical uber-Christian trope of a former career woman feminist that suddenly discovers Jesus, the fundy edition and rails against everything she built her entire life upon. She was a CEO, and as fully involved in the feminism moment as her sister Kate. Oh how convenient that she’s now repudiating everything she had accomplished.

What makes Mallory’s words in the interview beyond disgusting is not just the murder of her sister’s reputation and claims of mental illness, but what she had to say about the sexually abused women of the #MeToo movement:

What follows in most of the piece are disgraceful words, name calling, nasty blaming, and ranting from what sounds very much from a demented and mentally ill woman calling her sister mentally ill. I do not know if Kate Millet was mentally ill, but I do know that Lori Alexander, Tim Bayly and others using these vile accusations to shore up their abusive ideas from the 1950s is wrong in every way. There’s a lot of legitimate studies, empirical evidence and happy families to put lie to what they are saying, but they cannot accept any reality that runs counter to their own fantasy land. Such a sad and frustrating way to live.

Read more by Tim Bayly

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