Scott Adams Once Again Embodies the Epitome of White Male Fragility

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We’ve had fun with Dilbert creator Scott Adams here on the Mary Sue before. Really, at this point, we shouldn’t be surprised that a man whose entire identity nowadays seems to be making an unfunny, dated three-panel comic and being a condescending ass on social media is, well, being an ass on social media. And yet, here we are, because the potent combination of toxic masculinity, classism, ingrained racism, and overall white male fragility that Scott Adams exemplifies is worth examining.

Let’s first examine Adams’ painful whiteness, and by extension, his perceived victimhood in relation. Adams recently claimed that his Dilbert cartoon was canceled because he was white. Because that’s a thing that happens. Twitter was swift to dunk on him for what was both obviously a lie and a statement that feeds into the false narrative of white victimhood.

That last tweet from Joelle Monique sums it up perfectly. A mediocre white dude like Adams would never attribute his success to his privilege, but that same privilege has made him so oblivious to his mediocrity that he blames fake persecution, due to whiteness, for his failures.

This tracks really well, because Scott Adams is a very insecure little man, as we can see from his 2016 essay on the Democratic National Convention, which he saw as an attack directly on his manhood—no, really. Here’s a quote:

I watched Keys tell the world that women are the answer to our problems. True or not, men were probably not feeling successful and victorious during her act.

Let me say this again, so you know I’m not kidding. Based on what I know about the human body, and the way our thoughts regulate our hormones, the Democratic National Convention is probably lowering testosterone levels all over the country. Literally, not figuratively. And since testosterone is a feel-good chemical for men, I think the Democratic convention is making men feel less happy.

Yes. Scott Adams felt that the celebration of the potential to elect the first woman president was emasculating, and that’s because the toxic masculinity that Scott Adams represents isn’t the most obvious kind. He’s not out there being violent or reckless to show he’s a man; he’s just doggedly defending his place at the top of the heap and thinks feminism means women will treat men as badly as men have treated women for millennia. Think of hyper-masculine toxic masculinity as Sriracha mayo, and this as a tub of Hellmann’s that’s been left on a picnic table for so long that even the flies are avoiding it.

This white male fragility has a lot to do with classism, as well (and of course, class divides are rooted in white supremacy, because it’s all related). Adams has a habit of refusing to engage with any sort of debate on Twitter, or anywhere, and instead just insults people as failed artists or musicians. That’s certainly funny, because he himself has made his fortune as an artist of sorts, and yet won’t have a debate or even a competition with anyone that threatens his worldview.

Take, for example, what happened today, when Bill Sienkiewicz called out Adams’ latest BS. (Today’s BS flavor, by the way, is saying that if Joe Biden is elected, Republicans will be hunted, and “you” will be dead within a year. Way to show you’re a secure, normal guy and not a paranoid racist, Scott).

When fellow comics legend and queen of Twittering Gail Simone proposed Sienkiewicz and Adams settle this with a draw-off for charity … Adams was silent on accepting, because it’s pretty clear he’s an insecure, petty guy that doesn’t want to be shown as inferior to another artist.

And that’s what’s at the core of Scott Adams and so many other white men like him performing for each other. They’re insecure and afraid because they know they got where they are because cis, straight, white men are exclusively allowed to fail upwards. They’ve never had to confront their own unremarkableness, not to mention their complicity in systems of white supremacy and patriarchy. They think equality means oppression.

But fear isn’t an excuse, Mr. Adams. Your brand of white male victimhood might seem boring and unimportant, like you, but you are a man with a platform, and when you perpetuate that narrative, you empower other racists and sexists. You make it seem fine to dismiss people based on their race or sex rather than engage with challenging ideas. You set an example for all the trolls that follow you that it’s not white supremacy and sexism that’s the enemy; it’s the social justice warriors and, snort, the artists.

And I know that this sort of piece won’t change Scott Adams’ mind. I know he’ll probably read this and scoff and call me a failed artist, as well. (I hate to tell you, Scott, that I’m not just a failed artist. I’m also a lawyer, and my Juris Doctor cum Laude could beat up your MBA any day.) But that’s fine. What matters here is confronting and breaking down the insidious ways in which Scott Adams and his ilk stand in the way of progress.

Fragile white men who are afraid that if women and BIPOC people get any sort of power, we’ll hunt them for sport and burn all their boring comics are just as dangerous to progress as some jerk with a Confederate flag tattoo—perhaps they’re even more dangerous, because they dress up their hate in a sneering veneer of superiority and disdain for anyone that dares to question them.

But we do question them, and hopefully, if we do it enough, one day, they’ll be as distant a memory as the time when anyone cared about Dilbert.

(image: Pexels)

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Jessica Mason
Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.