Tech-bro Pax Dickinson, whose misogynistic, homophobic and racist tweets finally got him ousted as chief technology officer of Business Insider, is draining every bit he can from the stream of attention that has come his way. Today, Dickinson used the media attention to host a Reddit AMA, which served as a sort of "Pax Dickinson for Dummies" for all of us non-techies who just don't get it. Let Dickinson mansplain to you why his tweets are really comedy (a la Stephen Colbert!) and not just a "defense of male privilege," as tech entrepreneur and blogger Anil Dash has called them.
Dickinson, social theorist:
One day after the Newtown massacre, you sent this tweet:
Women don't get forced into marriages with "creepy" guys anymore, so sometimes those desperate sexless virgins kill dozens. Quelle surprise.
I'm intrigued by your underlying thesis that compulsory marriage for women will stop mass shootings. Do you think forcing women to have sex with mentally unstable men will prevent all crimes, or just this one?
Dickinson: Let's be clear, I am by no means prescribing forced marriage. I think there are a lot of men shut out as "losers" by our society and they sometimes react in violent ways. I'm pointing out a possible reason this didn't happen in bygone days, but that's not to be read as a prescription for any solution.
Dickinson on justifying misogyny:
You, at one point, tweeted:
Tech managers spend as much time worrying about how to hire talented female developers as they do worrying about how to hire a unicorn.
On Medium, you then claimed that:
I meant that unicorns are mythically rare but also highly valued and impossible to catch!
Dickinson: It's a facetious reference to the urbandictionary definition.
...My tweet is referencing the urbandictionary definition of a unicorn in that talented women in tech are highly sought after but to focus on looking for one is about as sensible as focusing on looking for a unicorn because of their near-mythical scarcity.
Dickinson on youthfulness:
why are you a 30-something male that thinks tweeting things like this is funny/acceptable?
Dickinson: I'm 40 so thanks! I try to keep my skin looking young by moisturizing frequently!
Dickinson on satire:
Valid analogy? Pax Dickinson (twitter) : Pax Dickinson (offline) :: Stephen Colbert (character) : Stephen Colbert (actor)
Dickinson: That's somewhat valid. I think though that my twitter and offline personas are more similar than his in outlook if not in tone.
Dickinson on innovation:
What do you think about all this political correctness and "no jokes about dongles if you want to keep your job"?
Dickinson: I think that we need to take a step back, and ask if this is the way we want to run an industry that depends on innovation. Many of the absolute best technologists I've known are also people who have wild ideas about politics, culture and society. If we shut out iconoclasts for having unpopular ideas we could all lose a lot in the way of creativity.
Questions that Dickinson did not answer:
- Have you been medically diagnosed with sociopathy?
- Do you genuinely believe no attention is bad attention?
- How does it feel to apparently be a 35 year old who discovered Atlas Shrugged and reacted to it the same way most 15 year olds do?
- Why do you hate puppies and kittens?
In an industry that currently breeds and enables the mentality of Dickinson's, it is worth reiterating Dash's warning to those considering investing in Dickinson's new project: "If you're a venture capitalist, and you invest in Pax's startup without a profound, meaningful and years-long demonstration of responsibility from Pax beforehand, you're complicit in extending the tech industry's awful track record of exclusion, and it's unacceptable."