It’s striking, now, the breeziness with which so many news outlets amplified the voice of a man who wrote, on his well-publicized website, that “females aren’t here to soothe the ‘savage beast’; the ‘savage beast’ is here to limit their infinite capacity for evil.” And it is notable that one of the corners of the media that did not treat Den Hollander with such easy detachment was the feminist blogosphere. Feminist journalists, much more clearly than their mainstream counterparts, understood that gendered grievance can often turn into gendered violence. They mocked him, too (Jezebel compared him to a recurrent yeast infection), but their mockery had a distinct edge. It warned. It focused on Den Hollander’s “hatred for women.” As Salon’s Amanda Marcotte wrote yesterday, in a piece headlined, in part, “Feminists Have Warned Us”: “Den Hollander was just the latest in a long line of men who would rather blame feminism than themselves for their personal failings, and who lash out violently at the world in acts of murder or terrorism.”
Many media outlets, now, have heeded the warnings. Many now appreciate how easily misogyny can become an emergency. But while the years-old treatments of Den Hollander now seem dated, they don’t seem dated enough. For many Americans, the impulse to treat misogyny as an amusement remains. It was there when Jeffrey Epstein joked about molesting underage girls. It was there when, according to a lawsuit filed on Monday, male employees of Fox News viewed sexual harassment of their female colleagues as little more than pranks. It is there in the presidency of a man who bragged about sexual assault and was elevated to office anyway.
Den Hollander was apparently proud of his media appearances. He listed them, organized neatly by year, in the “résumé” section of his personal website. Under “2011,” nestled between stories about him in the The Times of London and The New York Times, is his appearance on The Colbert Report—the segment in which Den Hollander and his misogyny were so thoroughly mocked. Next to the link, Den Hollander included a note. “If you can make them laugh at you,” it says, “they won’t expect something serious.”