Medusa Magazine is probably a hoax

Yesterday I may well have spent a lot of time attacking a strawman—or rather a straw woman: one Nicole Valentine, who supposedly wrote a piece at the Medusa Magazine site on why white women owed it to women of color to abort their white fetuses, reducing the number of white “family units” and freeing up white women’s time to help their sisters of color.  The piece was outrageous, a call for racist eugenics, and I took it to be part of the “let’s demonize/attack/kill white people” attitude that seems to be increasingly frequent among racial activists.

Several readers suggested that Medusa (motto: “Feminist Revolution Now”)  was in fact a hoax (I don’t call it satire because satire is both funny and susceptible to discovery), but I wasn’t so sure. For instance, their article on Bret Weinstein and Evergreen State, “Patrarchal conformity and the invasion of The Evergreen State College“, is not funny, and is completely indistinguishable from the many Control-Left pieces that expressed similar sentiments. Does this final paragraph sound like a hoax or satire?:

So, for all of his claims of being a progressive, Bret Weinstein essentially invited the fringe-Right extremists onto the campus.  His ridiculous stance, followed by cries for attention to the right-leaning press, created a climate (and continue to create a climate) of fear at the campus, to the point where students have to carry baseball bats to defend themselves from the Alt-Right who are descending upon the campus.  At this point, I cannot understand how this man continues to have a job, let alone a job at that college. The staff at the college should be ashamed that they haven’t done more to oust him, and the board of directors should be ashamed that they let a professor insult their students to the media without holding him to account.  It undermines the safety of the campus, it undermines the very concept of the campus, and it undermines the ability of students to safely and effectively learn. For the campus to heal, Bret Weinstein must be removed.

And there once was a real Medusa Magazine. Reader Craw noted that in a comment:

Well I think my analysis of the Father’s Day is convincing, but I did some more checking. This is ambiguous, but take a look.

http://medusamagazine.blogspot.com/2013/04/we-have-re-branded-and-moved.html

Note the 1 April date. [JAC: it’s actually April 22; I think Craw got April 1 from the fact that on the right there are the number of posts for April as “April (1)”]

But I admit this is still inconclusive. As far as I can tell from other searches there (probably) was a real Medusa student magazine at Syracuse University, but the trail stops in 2012. It seems to have ended then. This new Medusa starts after that, as you can see.

and Craw added this in another comment:

Let me explain my theory more carefully. There was a Medusa. It was a radical feminist magazine, of the type many would wish to satirize. It had a FB page. In 2012 the wind went out of its sails. In 2013, on April 1, someone with the FB password put up a post linking to the this new site, which is a satire site, in an act of magazinal identity theft.

Note the sly comment about rebranding, and the lack of any further link to Syracuse. I think the satirical nature of the site is evident, having read a bunch of its articles.

On the side of “hoax” is also the fact that none of the authors’ names link to real people.  And there’s also this comment by reader “Bortwell”:

Hi, Jerry.

It’s easy to prove that this website is fake. For example, take this article: https://medusamagazine.com/are-military-combat-roles-really-best-suited-to-men

The author is “Hailey Altmigi”, who supposedly has a journalism degree, but whose name appears nowhere else on the Internet. Also, “migi” is the Japanese word for “right”. So her family name translates to “Alt-right”.

Definitely a fake website, although Poe’s law makes it very difficult to tell.

Finally, reader Chakravarthy commented:

This website is satire, PCC.

The site is registered in the name of one Elijah Adiasany. This is the guy who runs the website Age of shitlords. Looking further: https://www.sockt.com/php/ageofshitlords.com or here: http://whois.easycounter.com/ageofshitlords.com

Age of shitlords is a website that is dedicated to criticizing these “SJW” types.

To me, all of this has the piscine odor of a hoax, though Chakravarthy hasn’t yet told me how he/she figured out that the site was registered in the name of Elijah Adiasany (exactly the same claim appears on another site).

If the last finding proves to be true, then I come down on the side of “big hoax”.  But I’m not sufficiently convinced of that that I’d bet on it now. But if it is a hoax, is it a good one? Well, since to some of us it’s indistinguishable in the main from other sites that are Control-Left, yes, it fooled me—and others.  In that sense it’s a “success” in the same way that Alan Sokal’s piece, or the “conceptual penis” article of Boghossian and Lindsay, fooled journal editors.  And that shows something: that you can make up really outrageous and extreme stuff, and yet it’s indistiguishable from extreme true stuff from the Regressive Left.  That says something about the Regressive Left. But we knew that already.

But if it’s a good hoax, it’s not good satire for two reasons: most of the pieces aren’t in the least amusing, and good satire is not only amusing but detectable as satire.  So I’ll say to the readers that while I may well have wasted my time criticizing “Beyond pro-choice: The solution to white supremacy is white abortion”, I await further information before I’m fully embarrassed.

44 Comments

  1. Scote
    Posted June 24, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Hmm…

    The Internet Archive doesn’t have any records of the site before a week ago. That’s not proof of a hoax in and of itself, but I think that the site landing as a filled out site rather than organically growing over time adds to the conclusion of a hoax.

    http://web.archive.org/web/*/https://medusamagazine.com//*

  2. fizziks
    Posted June 24, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    As I mentioned in the last thread, this piece here:

    https://medusamagazine.com/my-ex-was-secretly-alt-right

    is both clearly satire and actually funny satire.

    • Gareth
      Posted June 24, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      And the author name – Alisowoke

    • Posted June 24, 2017 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Yes, this article convinced me as well that the site was hoax. Most other pieces are indistinguishable from what you occasionally find on PuffHo and Salon.

      • fizziks
        Posted June 24, 2017 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        True. Other than the ‘my alt-right ex-boyfriend’ article, the next most readily detectable as satire is the ‘You’re homophobic if you don’t suck off your gay friend’ article. However even that one is just a shade too close to actual serious HuffPo/Salon/HelloGiggles barf to be completely sure.

  3. Posted June 24, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    As far as the registration of the site, you can do a ‘whois’ search with a URL registrar and get public info on a site registration. If you were Poe’d, then I’d say it’s not totally embarrassing because it isn’t funny and it wouldn’t surprise me if someone did write it for real. Such is regressive left scholarship these days.

    • tubby
      Posted June 24, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      It’s a private registration, leading back to Domains By Proxy, LLC. More interstingly, it shows as registered on June 6th, 2017. It’s also behind CloudFlare, so maybe they expect a little DDoS action in their future.

    • Historian
      Posted June 24, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps you could find other clearly genuine writings that mimic the thesis of the article in question. But since the Trump administration is the home of alternative facts, a place where lies surpass the truth, my primary concern is the future of the country. The New York Times has documented every lie Trump has told since taking office. It is quite a long list. It notes that “Trump Told Public Lies or Falsehoods Every Day for His First 40 Days.”

      As I have stated before on this site, as a liberal I find the regressive left despicable, deserving of the strongest criticism, particularly its assault on free speech and its obsession with identity politics. They are quite maddening. I have also used this analogy: the regressive left is like a boil on my ass as Trump and the right wing is a deadly cancer in my body. It’s perfectly fine and desirable to lance the boil, but do not neglect attending to what may be killing you.

      • Posted June 24, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        Good analogy.

      • BJ
        Posted June 24, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        The thing one has to consider, though, is that the boil is only strengthening the cancer.

        • Posted June 24, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

          Yes. I agree with those who think that the CTRL-Left contributed to Trump’s election, and reading what comes from them, I fear that the USA is heading to re-election.

        • Craw
          Posted June 24, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

          Consider another perspective. The regressive left is the disease and Trump is the fever — the body’s attempt at a cure. Whether the cure is worse than the disease is another question.

      • nicky
        Posted June 24, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        A boil? More like a hard chancre. And the regressive left is long past the hard chancre stage.
        Tertiary Syphilis -neurosyphilis- makes you crazy, so we know it is tertiary, the fact we cannot distinguish ‘hoax’ from ‘serious’ (Poe’s law) is diagnostic, meseems.
        It will kill you if not treated, probably before the cancer does (well, depending on the cancer). Tertiary Syphilis needs at least 10 days of high dose IV penicillin.

        • BJ
          Posted June 24, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          Tertiary syphilis. That was a good one 🙂

      • ToddP
        Posted June 24, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        Great analogy. That’s exactly how I feel, too.

    • Scote
      Posted June 24, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Looks like the registrant posted their “real” name before turning on the identity hiding proxy service:

      “medusamagazine.com
      Words in domain name medusa magazine
      Title Medusa Magazine – Feminist Revolution Now
      Date creation 2017-06-09
      Web age 15 days
      IP Address 104.27.176.225
      IP Geolocation US United States, California, San Francisco map
      SEO & Backlinks
      Medusamagazine.com Referring Domains, Backlinks, Estimated traffic and value on hyperbacklink.com
      Registrant
      Name Elijah Adiasany
      Private no
      Whois
      Domain Name: medusamagazine.com
      Registrar URL: http://www.godaddy.com
      Registrant Name: Elijah Adiasany
      Registrant Organization:
      Name Server: AMIT.NS.CLOUDFLARE.COM
      Name Server: MOLLY.NS.CLOUDFLARE.COM
      DNSSEC: unsigned”

      http://domainbigdata.com/medusamagazine.com

      The site is now registered to a proxy at GoDaddy – a common method of hiding the name of the real registrant.

      Showing results for: medusamagazine.com
      Original Query: medusamagazine.com
      Contact Information
      Registrant Contact
      Name: Registration Private
      Organization: Domains By Proxy, LLC
      Mailing Address: DomainsByProxy.com, Scottsdale Arizona 85260 US
      Phone: +1.4806242599
      Ext:
      Fax: +1.4806242598
      Fax Ext:
      Email:medusamagazine.com@domainsbyproxy.com

      https://whois.icann.org/en/lookup?name=medusamagazine.com

      ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) officially allows these identity hiding services in spite of the rules that all web registrations must have accurate registration information.

      However, sometimes people don’t buy the identity hiding service right off the bat and you can pay private companies for a domain history report that may include uncloaked registration information. This domain was registered for the first time on 08-jun-2017. A domain history report won’t have a lot of, well, history.

  4. Craw
    Posted June 24, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    The important question is, do I get a book?

    🙂

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 24, 2017 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      FWIW, the above sentence is identical in form to the dread “is, is” construction, except that the second position is occupied by the first-person present tense of the verb “to do,” rather than the third-person present of “to be.”

      Personally, I find the sentence grammatical and perfectly serviceable (and would feel the same if it read “The question is, is he going to get a book”).

      • Craw
        Posted June 24, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        Ha!

        Well done.

  5. Jenny Haniver
    Posted June 24, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I’m now convinced it’s a hoax, though I was taken in at first. My misgivings arose when I couldn’t find any information about the magazine or its staff on the website or elsewhere online; then after re-examining the site in light of WEIT readers’ comments, I am sure that it’s a hoax. It certainly isn’t a satire, not according to my sense of satire. A bad spoof, perhaps, but not satire.

  6. Craw
    Posted June 24, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I don’t think the fact it’s not funny (most of the posts, a few are) means much. Humor requires perspective. You can be a mocker of SJWs who is too extreme or committed to other views to be capable of the needed detachment. Plus some people just aren’t funny.

    As for any embrassment, the article at first fooled me too fwiw.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 24, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Decades ago French philosopher/critic Roland Barthes controversially claimed that Western literature had experienced “the death of the author.” I fear that pieces like this have put us on the path to la mort de la satire.

    Let’s hope rumors or its perishing are greatly exaggerated.

  8. jeffery
    Posted June 24, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    It’s a good “rule of thumb”, though: “If an article is indistinguishable from a ‘hoax’ article, it’s probably bull shit.”

  9. BJ
    Posted June 24, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I do indeed think it’s a hoax, although we can’t confirm it. As noted, however, it’s poor satire, most of all because most of the themes and ideas it proposes can be found among serious regressives.

    Then again, it is difficult to make good satire when it comes to the regressive left. Even when one does come up with good satire, that satirical idea usually becomes a serious one in the community within the year (as an example, the first thing that always comes to my mind is people having joked about trigger warnings needing trigger warnings. A few months later, many regressives started using the phrase “content warning” because they felt the word “trigger” might be too triggering).

    • Craw
      Posted June 24, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Well, there are ways. This article we are most discussing, abortions, would have been better satire had it been written by a fake white woman expressing her shame and regret as she watches her son graduate from medical school, and lamenting his part in the cis-white patriarchy. “Another rich white male in a position of power and privilege, contributing to income inequality. I could have had averted this had I only made the right choice — abortion.”

  10. KD33
    Posted June 24, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Is there a term for content that is fake, is not meant to be (easily) detectable, but is meant to make the imitated group look bad? Seems that’s the purpose of Medisa 2.0.

    • ToddP
      Posted June 24, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      +1

      I think that was the exact purpose of this so-called “satire.” They can then point to fake articles like this to stir up more animosity and outrage among the credulous alt-right brigade.

      • Craw
        Posted June 24, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        I think rather they are looking for regressives to applaud the article.

    • fizziks
      Posted June 24, 2017 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      False flag?

      • Posted June 24, 2017 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        I strongly suspect so. The use of alt-right themes like minorities outbreeding whites and abortion as white genocide are suspicious.

  11. mikeyc
    Posted June 24, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    There is absolutely no reason to be embarrassed. As many have said, the mere fact that we could be fooled (I was) is an embarrassment for the regressives.

  12. Posted June 25, 2017 at 2:26 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand why you should be embarrassed. The point that we couldn’t distinguish it from ‘real’ stuff that alt-leftists write, should be embarrassing to alt-leftists

  13. Posted June 25, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    I disagree with your final conclusion, that the fact that you were fooled, or nearly, is an indication of the left’s ridiculousness… And this applies on the other side too… What this is indicative of is how the right imagines the left. The right imagines that the left is calling for “white genocide” so when you see an article that actually *does* call for white genocide, you believe it is real, and the work of the left. It is not. It is the work of the right’s imagination plus a misunderstanding of the actual goals of the left. The same thing happens with hoax/satire articles lampooning the right. What it indicates is how deep our echo chambers go, and how ridiculous we have become.

    • Posted June 25, 2017 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      The problem with your conclusion is both I and many of my readers who were fooled consider ourselves Leftists, and some have a long history of Left-wing activism. QED

      • Posted June 26, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        Actually, I agree with Gella. It’s confirmation bias. You’ve thought “I always thought this is what they were thinking, and it turns out that is what they were thinking.” This is like Yossarian and the LaPage gun.

  14. Dave
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Given the way the alt-right media has exploded with news of this heretofore unknown website, it would seem that the hoax was an intentional effort to outrage the right and ridicule the left.

    • Craw
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      That makes no sense, as you would see the same response if the site were for real. You cannot judge X on the basis of Y’s reaction.

  15. RLY
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    I think the sponsored advertising links on the site give a good indication of their non-feminist credentials; and, as has already been noted, there is no information about their staff or organization. No mission statement,just a slogan.

    Remember to look at the frame as well as the picture. I believe it is a hoax.

    Satire is a mirror and does not have to be funny. It can be ironic, for example.

    There may come a day when the owners won’t have to write the content any more because there will be more than enough addled thinkers lining up to have their strange opinions published. That will be a real LMAO moment for them.

    • Posted June 26, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Don’t be sure about advertising. I’m appalled that the Science Based Medicine site has to take money from clickbait advertising, including for woo, but what can you do?

  16. Posted June 27, 2017 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    The fact that you fell for this obvious hoax reveals that you have been fighting windmills for a long fucking time. Nobody with even minimal knowledge of modern feminism could possibly have been fooled by this trash. You find the article indistinguishable from what far right misogynists have told you that feminists say. Maybe this will be a valuable lesson to be less gullible and better informed.

    • Posted June 27, 2017 at 5:03 am | Permalink

      You don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about; I’ve posted about real feminismarticles (one recently on Everyday Feminism, others about feminist glaciology and the racism of Pilates) that are indistinguishable from these pieces. You come over here and start spouting ignorance and insults (I see you’ve left two other comments insulting readers) without reading the posting rules, which you’ve violated big time.

      I urge you to go post your rancor and palaver at a site like Everyday Feminism. Oh wait–they don’t publish comments.

  17. jaketeater
    Posted June 27, 2017 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Just one quick addition, ageofshitlords.com has, in the past, used the same Adsense ID as is used on medusamagazine.com. Obviously one could just start hosting someone else’s ads, but I doubt a real feminist mag would give their clicks to ageofshitlords.com

  18. Paul
    Posted June 30, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Curious – I just listened to a right wing radio host go on an on about the Medusa story stated above. He read it verbatim. Then he went on to use this article to attack the left. Is it real or not. Looks like you think it’s a hoax.


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