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Dammit, DJ

Note: Minor tweaks have been made to this post for clarity.

I’ve been working on this post for quite a while, thinking it ought to be as close to perfect as I can make it. Perfect is unattainable. So, since I mentioned this here without naming names (bad form), I’ll take a page from Debbie Goddard’s playbook and some heart from the fact that Ms. Magazine just tweeted one of my posts, jump in, and finish the thing.

I first noticed the problem in DJ Grothe’s behavior in April, when Rebecca Watson posted about Lawrence Krauss defending his friend who had pled guilty to sex with 30 underage prostitutes, some as young as 13, and invoking his authority as a scientist to do so. Grothe popped up in the comments to defend Krauss:

I think I see where Krauss is coming from here.

I don’t know the first thing about the Jeffrey Epstein situation, but I think in general that:

1) age of consent laws should be looked at more skeptically,

2) prostitution is not necessarily a bad thing, and

[...]

Age 13 is below the age of consent in my book, but 16 or 17 isn’t necessarily so. But I don’t read Krauss as in any way defending sex with a 13 or 14 year old girl.

After Rebecca pointed out that she had provided enough information to make a decision based on the facts of the case and other commenters expressed serious reservations, DJ rethought his comment:

I wasn’t thinking about it in terms of exploitation, which is clearly important. I stand by my view that laws regarding age of consent and prostitution, and the ways these laws are applied, should probably be looked at more skeptically. But that comment was ill-timed. I understand how, in the context of the other comments, it may have looked like I was trying to dismiss the harm done by sex trafficking. I wish it had been obvious that that wasn’t my intent at all, and I sincerely regret that it came across that way.

At this point, DJ had already been president of the JREF for more than a year. As one commenter noted:

If this is the attitude of the leadership of this movement, we’re never going to get anywhere. I can think of no better way to ensure that the “skeptics movement” remains white, male, and old.

I ran into DJ doing something similar when Bug Girl and I countered some evolutionary psychology claptrap on the subject of “rape adaptations” and suggested that CFI Michigan shouldn’t promote a talk like that uncritically, as it’s the sort of thing that requires some specialized knowledge on the topic to criticize effectively. I did so, then followed up on misconceptions demonstrated in comments. Bug Girl’s post contained a significant amount about the history of the field. Feel free to judge for yourself how much of those posts is knowledge that would be available to anyone who doesn’t specifically study rape or insect mating strategies.

CFI leadership’s response was less than stellar. It involved, among other things, a Facebook post saying we were behaving “like thought police.” This included references to “ideological purity,” and ended thus:

I assumed the bloggers were overreacting because of an honest mistake…they believed our group had invited Shakelford and was actively endorsing his views. I’m still hoping thats the case. I have a lot of respect for both Bug Girl and Watson. But saddly even after the true nature of the situation had been explained, Skepchick.org did not correct their attack and the author of Almost Diamonds made her position crystal clear: It doesn’t matter because your members are not informed enough to think skeptically about this subject. In other words…this viewpoint is too dangerous to be heard. How paternalistic and unfitting for a skeptic (I’d like to add several of our mebers are psych Phd’s and evolutionary biologists and would be more qualified than any of these blogers to deliver a smackdown). CFI has been taking a lot of flac lately. Arguably some of it may be deserved…but not this. Its the kind of silly over reaction we skeptics so quickly criticise others for.

Yes, the requirement for expertise was equated with paternalism, the authority of a PhD in any psychology field was considered more important than a specialty knowledge of rape, and Bug Girl was relegated to “blogger.” She happens to be an evolutionary biologist herself.

There was then a comment on this post, which had stressed that CFI didn’t endorse Shackleford:

Signed,

Jefferson Seaver
Executive Director
Center for Inquiry – Michigan

The comment included this: “We respect and value Dr. Shackelford and his work, and his role as a faculty adviser to the Atheists at Oakland University student group.” In other words, the organization that didn’t endorse Shackleton’s work had just endorsed his work.

Both the post and the comment were “liked” by Grothe. I can’t tell you whether he read the posts involved before endorsing his friends’ defensive characterizations of them. He was still the head of the JREF when he made those endorsements. I got nods when I said I would go back to TAM only when they invited me to speak.

Most recently, I ran into DJ Grothe in the comments of a #mencallmethings post by Greta Christina. DJ took Greta to task for taking the following words (not by DJ–by someone I shall call “the yutz” rather than invoke him) “out of context.”

Fuck you Greta. You’re the troll. You posted for the sole reason of trying to bait a sexist into writing something threatening. You didn’t find one, but I dared to disagree with you, so you and your brainless followers thought ‘eh, fuck it, close enough. We’ll attack him instead.’ You’ve been capitalizing on this for months and perpetuating vicious stereotypes about both men and women, under the guise of ‘feminism’. I used to think you had something to contribute. Now I see you’re just a pathetic attention seeker who isn’t interested in anything other than stirring up shit.

Let’s provide that context, shall we? On Facebook, Greta posted Rebecca Watson’s Skepticon talk with a compliment about her speaking style. The very first comment was “yeah but she’s also a humorless feminazi who gets her jollies emasculating atheist men.” It was not ironic. Greta’s blocking of the commenter was compared by someone who is either “Franc Hoggle” or a fan with a similar fetish to the tactics of the religious right. To clarify, this is Greta’s personal page.

Shortly thereafter, Greta posted a new status:

So apparently, if you want your comment thread to draw hostile, entitled, misogynist trolling, all you have to do is say the words, “Rebecca Watson.” It’s like magic! Horrible, stupid magic.

Ten minutes later, the “out of context” yutz in question (again, not DJ) commented that “I think Rebecca was wrong. I don’t need to be a troll to disagree with her.” Not very much later in the thread he hoped “the skeptic community – EVENTUALLY – moves past this fiasco and actually gets around to discussing real issues related to sex and gender.” Real issues, not like those fake issues that came out of the treatment of Rebecca and others over “Elevatorgate.” Not like calling her a “humorless feminazi who gets her jollies emasculating atheist men” with no more provocation than seeing her video posted. Those aren’t “real issues” of sex and gender.

There was quite a bit more back and forth, including Greta pointing out that this guy was engaging in what she would later term the “yes, but” response to misogyny, the response in which whatever you want to talk about is so much more important than misogyny. There was also some paraphrasing that he insisted was misquoting, even after Greta clarified. Eventually, she posted a new status:

The magic works! Wow. Let me try again. Apparently, if you want your comment thread to draw a million dollars, a bathtub full of chocolate, and a pony, all you have to do is say the words, “Rebecca Watson.” It’s like magic!

This is where the “out of context” comment she quoted came from. The entirety of the comment (once more, by the yutz,  not by DJ):

The magic worked? So now you’re accusing me of “hostile, entitled, misogynist trolling”? Like the kind you claimed you were trying to address, which included death and rape threats?

Fuck you Greta. You’re the troll. You posted for the sole reason of trying to bait a sexist into writing something threatening. You didn’t find one, but I dared to disagree with you, so you and your brainless followers thought “eh, fuck it, close enough. We’ll attack him instead.” You’ve been capitalizing on this for months and perpetuating vicious stereotypes about both men and women, under the guise of “feminism”. I used to think you had something to contribute. Now I see you’re just a pathetic attention seeker who isn’t interested in anything other than stirring up shit.

That’s the context Grothe was so concerned that Greta was leaving out. Changes the meaning greatly, huh? Or perhaps not at all. That somehow justified Grothe’s accusations of “unduly fomenting controversies” to drive traffic and suggesting that the yutz was a victim of “strong in-group/out-group biases.” Grothe suggested Greta was “bullying” the yutz by banning him on her blog as well as Facebook for the comments above:

If so, that seems to me like sort of bullying move. Like I said, I winced when he stated rather matter of factly that one can disagree without being a “misogynistic troll.” This is precisely why: such disagreements, especially as they escalate among partisans in a comment thread, can get one tarred and feathered by the personality driving the controversy, or by her or his loyalists. Wiser people than me just avoid such discussions as being far too risky, and too prone to divisive “us vs them” thinking.

Yes, these things just escalate on their own, don’t they, DJ? It isn’t ever because someone can’t leave a personal disagreement aside long enough to actually discuss migogyny. It isn’t because they deny that harassing and threatening behavior constitutes “real issues” of sex and gender. It isn’t because they can’t recognize something as “hostile, entitled, misogynist trolling” unless it contains “death and rape threats.” No, this is just going to happen any time any innocent individual clashes with “certain bloggers.” It’s automatic.

Or maybe not. The following are screen captures I took from the Facebook profile of the person in question.

I only want to kick them in the cunt

Jesus would slap the bitch

Greta is a fake feminist

Greta is posting about me over and over and over...

Maybe…now I know this is a long shot, but just maybe Greta, despite going in for controversy, managed to correctly identify someone prone to irrational behavior, overt hostility, paranoia, and, gee, misogyny. And–again going out on a limb–maybe that person isn’t someone you want working themselves up into a lather through continuing direct confrontation on your blog.

In other words, maybe that “controversial” blogger was carefully getting her facts right. Maybe she did that the same way Bug Girl and I did, the way Rebecca did. Maybe we were all actually pointing to real problems, problems Grothe might understand a little better if he read more of those atheist blogs he disdains. Maybe these problems are things that require some background, some homework which we’d already done and Grothe simply didn’t before reacting. Maybe they even require some critical thinking about people Grothe is friendly or identifies with.

And maybe Grothe should consider the fact that he still heads the JREF, because this most recent incident was the first time I heard several people say they weren’t sure they wanted to speak again at TAM while he was in charge. Yes, DJ Grothe has a problem, an ongoing problem with a pattern, and that problem is him.

Comments

  1. julian says

    I loved listening to DJ Grothe on POI (he really was brilliant) but yeah, it’s a good reminder competence in one area doesn’t translate to competence across all areas, even if you might expect them to over lap.

  2. SallyStrange, FemBrain in a FemBadge (Bigger on the Inside!) says

    Have no regard for the misogynist behind the curtain!

  3. Sili says

    Well, what do you expect? Both he and Randy are gay, so obviously they hate women!

    Why do you think they had to kick Phil Plait out?!

    /snark

  4. Pinky says

    For a while now I’ve thought the Atheist movement has been going down the dead end alley of having unelected leaders. Like Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton who media folk run to whenever an event concerning an African-American* happens. (What about going to the local African-American leadership or, better yet, the leaders who represent all members of the community where the incident or event happened – they all have a stake in the outcome.)

    Atheist meetings IMO, seem to have the same faces time after time; heavily weighted to European-American* men.

    I assume there are no official rules to say who advances in the Skeptic or Atheist world, but am I correct to assume making it to the top is mostly a matter of expressing the views that please the unofficial hierarchy?

    It’s human nature to warm up more to people who see things the way we do, however ignoring those asking the tough questions will lead to group-think.

    Consider the experience of two who dared to bring up uncomfortable subjects; Phil Plait asking if ridicule is the best means to win converts and Rebeca Watson mentioning a personal what not to do that illuminated the talk she had given the day before. Both became targets of not only loud discussion (no problem there) that moved into incivility and in Watson’s case, nasty misogynous invective some diving into the foul cesspool of rape/death threats.

    If DJ Grothe, a leader in the Skeptic / Atheist movement, loses his commitment to logic and equality because a friend was inconveniently found guilty of a crime, than it’s time I either left the movement or tried to change its course. Even if I am only able to affect a small change.

    (* I think the hyphenated American labeling is ridiculous. I look forward to a time when we ignore physical characteristics; i.e.; gender, skin color, shape of face, etc., and label ourselves as “people” or if we must be national; “American” or “Canadian” or “Palauan.”)

  5. papango says

    It’s poor timing for him because I just got an email from him asking for donations for JREF.

  6. says

    I’m saying this again, I have done so elsewhere:
    I’m sick and tired of those “open-minded, free-speech, free-thinking critical skepics” who fucking claim that you have to allow any position to be voiced and represented and left uncommented regradless of the bullshit and the harm.
    What’s next: The Holocaust, did it really happen?*
    Slavery in the USA, was it really that bad?
    The KKK, villains or victims?
    Pedophilia, the last discriminated against sexual orientation.
    You’re not a critical freethinker for going against decades of scientific research. You’re not brilliant for questioning if the earth really moves around the sun. And you’re definetly not going to get a cookie for hurting people.

    *Sorry for the Goodwin

  7. says

    Stephanie, your posts make me sad. :(

    And it’s nothing against you; it’s the truth that is sad. You just go about reporting on the truth. You are awesome for that. As a white male, I will try my best to make women feel welcome in the community.

  8. says

    This is pretty damned close to perfect.

    DJ Groethe is a good person but his blind spots are large enough to drive an eighteen wheeler through. I hope pointing it out has the desired effect — making him aware of them, and causing him to try to correct this problem.

    Pinky@6 said it extraordinarily well:

    If DJ Grothe, a leader in the Skeptic / Atheist movement, loses his commitment to logic and equality because a friend was inconveniently found guilty of a crime, than it’s time I either left the movement or tried to change its course. Even if I am only able to affect a small change.

    Our leaders are not immune to the very cognitive biases we rail against. They are not prophets, they are not perfect, they are not exempt from criticism when that criticism is leveled and backed with evidence. I can’t help but think that this post is pitch-perfect in that respect.

  9. Belial says

    The sooner everyone realizes that facebook isn’t your living room the better.

    That said, Grothe needs someone to get him to read Stephanie’s post and these comments.

  10. D.J. Grothe says

    I wanted to clarify a few things that I think people have misread: first, when I commented on Rebecca’s post contra Krauss, I was not “defending [my] friend,” since I do not know Krauss well at all (I would consider myself friendly with him, and most everyone of my other guests over the years). At that time, he hadn’t yet spoken at TAM, although I had interviewed him once, years before. I have done about 250 interviews. As I stated in my comment on Rebecca’s post contra Krauss, I stand by my original comments and again apologize if they were misunderstood.

    Second, to me freethought means at least that one can “like” a comment on FB without being excoriated. I happen to agree with most all of CFI Michigan’s programming decisions, and having even a controversial speaker like Shackleford is well within its mission.

    Third, I was alerted to this post because someone emailed me because they misread it and incorrectly thought I was the one being quoted in the “Fuck you Greta. You’re the troll. . . ” paragraph. I hope you might clarify, since there seems to be confusion on this point. I believe some folks may believe a number of the quotes you include are to be attributed to me. Please make sure you attribute your quotes on your blog posts accurately and clearly.

    Fourth, I stand by my comments on Greta’s post; I think she was unfair to the guy she was quoting (a gay women’s studies major who was roundly attacked on her FB wall), despite being right about other things. And I do believe that much atheist and skeptic blogging engages in far too much in-group/out-group categorizing, us vs. them thinking. If the consequence of sharing these opinions means that you or others do not want to attend TAM under my leadership, I’d be baffled. People of good will should be able to disagree about things without such a reaction.

    And lastly, I stand by our work at TAM and at the JREF. Among other things we’re proud of, we had around 40% women registrants last year, and around 50% women speakers on the main program. But disagreeing with Greta’s approach in that blog post shouldn’t make women want to boycott TAM; indeed, if it does, it suggests that disagreeing is dangerous, something I find to be anathema to the values of skepticism I have worked for 15 years to promote. If some women, yourself included, feel that way, I would find that regrettable.

  11. says

    That’s a hell of a comment to wrap my head around, so I’ll just start here. How was Greta unfair to this idiot? Did the missing context somehow make that statement true? Does getting really angry over an argument make a reaction like that justified? Do you agree that Greta is just a shit-stirring fake feminist who has been perpetuating stereotypes and working to trap the unsuspecting?

    “Unfair” implies that somehow the reaction to that statement would be different if something else were different. What do you think is supposed to change people’s mind that that rant was anything other than despicable?

  12. says

    DJ,

    First: You cannot both stand by your comments and apologize that they were misunderstood. Especially if you later complain about someone being unclear.

    Second: You cannot be excoriated for liking a comment on facebook, but liking a comment on facebook is an endorsement of that comment, which can be criticized.

    Third: I’m not sure how much clearer Stephanie could have been.

    Fourth: I don’t see anything wrong with treating unfairly someone who starts their conversation by treating someone unfairly.

    Finally: You cannot cherry-pick your arguments in favor of disagreement. I suspect someone at TAM proclaiming that everyone there was wrong and scientology was the only true science would not be treated at all well.

  13. Bentley Owen says

    DJ,

    You wrote, “I stand by my comments on Greta’s post; I think she was unfair to the guy she was quoting (a gay women’s studies major who was roundly attacked on her FB wall), despite being right about other things.” That doesn’t address the criticism leveled at you, though. In the comment Stephanie quoted, you accused Greta of taking the man “out of context.” She goes on to demonstrate that the context does not change the statement. In fact, the “gay women’s studies major” made some far more misogynistic and violent comments on facebook, and you don’t address how that affects the “context.”

    Stephanie’s contention is that Greta had an appropriate read on the guy, and you have offered nothing to make me think otherwise.

  14. says

    Ben, I’m not sure how much clearer I can be either, although I’ve made another edit to try, but people are actually reading it wrong. D.J. is correct about that.

  15. julian says

    a gay women’s studies major

    sigh

    Can we do without this please? It’s no more valid a defense than ‘a law abiding citizen’ or ’20 year member of law enforcement.’ It’s a distraction aimed at garnering a level of legitimacy we have no reliable reason to believe is merited.

  16. says

    Greetings DJ.

    I’m not going to participate in the discussion proper, but you are not alone in noting a potential trend in our community toward proscribing discussion in certain contexts. The personal cost for dissenting against some popular individuals is getting disproportionately high, sending the message they are beyond criticism.

    The din of sycophantic fans is getting uncomfortably loud at times.

  17. julian says

    The din of sycophantic fans is getting uncomfortably loud at times.

    Yes, I remember that not to long ago a long established and highly respected member of the atheist community was incredibly dismissive, insulting and condescending towards a group discussing sexual violence and fears of sexual harassment. Can you believe how many people tripped over themselves to defend him despite him clearly 1)speaking out of turn, 2)not being well informed on what he was deriding, 3)reaching a condescending high score and 4) never so much as admitting to any of that?

    We really do have a problem on our hands.

  18. says

    DJ Grothe
    There’s a pretty big pond between us, so the probability of me ever attending TAM are neglectable anyway, so, nothing you say will make it more likely for me to attend/stay away.
    But to comment on one thing that bugs me about all those comments:

    And I do believe that much atheist and skeptic blogging engages in far too much in-group/out-group categorizing, us vs. them thinking.

    You know, they are hurting us. Over the past months I’ve seen rape victims triggered and I’ve seen their concerns brushed aside. And I’ve noticed how those debates have changed me. No shit in my life has ever made me so much afraid. Not the guy who tried to assault and (most likely) rape me in a car park. Not the assholes who shouted things at me, not the perverts who groped me. It was seeing the reaction of people I considered to be my allies, the people I thought I should feel safe with. To see them brush away the concerns of women, to see that they don’t give a damn, to see them go after women who publicly tried to raise those issues.
    This is not a “both sides are bad and should just let it go” situation.

    . But disagreeing with Greta’s approach in that blog post shouldn’t make women want to boycott TAM; indeed, if it does, it suggests that disagreeing is dangerous,

    You do notice that you’re actually asking people to never disagree with the things you find OK and that you ask them to put up with whatever shit gets flung at them?

    Second, to me freethought means at least that one can “like” a comment on FB without being excoriated.

    Yes, that’s the kind of “free-of-consequences-thought” stuff I’ve come to hate.
    You want to like a comment on FB? Do so! You are absolutely free to do so. But others are also free to call you out for it and to make their decissions about whether they can feel at home at an organistation you’re a head of based on your actions.
    This goes both ways.
    Don’t like what I said? Fine!
    Rebut me? Go ahead!
    Think I’m a stupid idiot? No problem!
    Decide you don’t want to be a member of a group that is glad to have me amongst them? Your decission!
    But don’t ask me to shut up because I happen to think that some positions are simply bullshit and that I don’t want to spend my evenings with people who endorse them.

  19. says

    I think she was unfair to the guy she was quoting (a gay women’s studies major who was roundly attacked on her FB wall), despite being right about other things.

    I’m just curious, DJ…what was he right about? That some women deserve a kick to the cunt, that some men should get a boot to the balls, or that intersex readers can get a mallet to the micropenis?

    Does a “gay women’s studies major” just automatically get a pass on that kind of thing?

    It seems to me that those comments reveal that Greta was actually very perceptive and saw right through to the quality of the man’s character.

    I’m not so much worried about the skeptical movement getting to a point where disagreement is dangerous — especially since the only “danger” here is that a mob of commenters on the internet will howl in protest, and some will disallow the nastier vermin to use their personal sites — but I am concerned that some people in this movement appear to think that if someone is right about some things, we shouldn’t criticize them vigorously when they’re wrong about other things. Not even if the wrongness is odious and destructive to the health of the movement.

  20. D.J. Grothe says

    PZ — I mean that I think Greta was unfair to the guy she was quoting, despite being right about other things — She was unfair . . . despite being right about other things.

  21. you_monster says

    D.J. Grothe,

    Wiser people than me just avoid such discussions as being far too risky, and too prone to divisive “us vs them” thinking.

    Yes, lets only spend energy on issues that pose no risk of heated disagreement.

    Go skepticism (but only when it is easy)!

    I think she was unfair to the guy she was quoting (a gay women’s studies major who was roundly attacked on her FB wall)

    How so? This needs more explanation considering Stephanie dissection of the context of the quote. What is there to defend from “the Yutz’s” comments?

    Fuck you Greta. You’re the troll. You posted for the sole reason of trying to bait a sexist into writing something threatening

    or,

    You’ve been capitalizing on this for months and perpetuating vicious stereotypes about both men and women, under the guise of ‘feminism’. I used to think you had something to contribute. Now I see you’re just a pathetic attention seeker who isn’t interested in anything other than stirring up shit.

    Insinuating that Greta’s sole purpose in posting about sexism is to rile shit up is ridiculous.
    When the commentariat calls out such “dissent”, and the response is rude and copious, it is not evidence of “too much in-group/out-group categorizing, us vs. them thinking”. It is evidence that there is a large number of people congregated on a blog willing to call out poor arguments being made by dishonest condescending idiots.

    *I’m having trouble submitting this comment, sorry if this is a double post.

  22. says

    DJ: What was Greta unfair about? How was she unfair? Please, be explicit, because the evidence Stephanie laid out makes it eminently clear to me (and I suspect a number of us) that Greta was being very fair.

  23. says

    Also because I asked you this already, D.J., and you ignored my questions in favor of answering PZ’s.

    Free PR lesson, because I’ve already added enough to Sadie’s workload today: When the topic is already misogyny, happening with the background of a months-long discussion about sexism in the movement, don’t ignore your female critics, especially the one who happens to be your host, in favor of answering a guy. Not even PZ.

  24. daenyx says

    People of good will should be able to disagree about things without such a reaction.

    One party’s defense of misogyny pretty much negates the ‘of good will’ part of that statement. Yes, people of good will *should* be able to disagree about things. If the topic of disagreement is the mistreatment and/or exploitation of a group of people, then… no. There is no ‘good will.’

    It’s easy to see a disagreement as harmless if you, personally, have never been harmed by such a ‘disagreement.’ Unfortunately, these ‘disagreements’ that are currently under discussion involve the systematic oppression of a group of people. DJ, you aren’t a member of that group of people. Check your privilege.

  25. says

    DJ,

    How was Greta unfair to this idiot? Did the missing context somehow make that statement true? Does getting really angry over an argument make a reaction like that justified? Do you agree that Greta is just a shit-stirring fake feminist who has been perpetuating stereotypes and working to trap the unsuspecting?

    (Maybe if we all ask it, he’ll see the question in one of our comments.)

  26. Jodi says

    I’ll get on that.

    DJ, can you please answer or at least try to address what Stephanie has asked?
    Here’s a quote for easy access.

    How was Greta unfair to this idiot? Did the missing context somehow make that statement true? Does getting really angry over an argument make a reaction like that justified? Do you agree that Greta is just a shit-stirring fake feminist who has been perpetuating stereotypes and working to trap the unsuspecting?

  27. says

    Ed Clint: I know it’s your style to do the Iago routine, but maybe you could be a little more clear and specific. Who are these popular individuals it is too costly to criticize? This is a post where DJ Grothe, one of the big names of skepticism, is being criticized. Richard Dawkins gets criticized. Sam Harris gets criticized. Greta Christina gets criticized. There don’t seem to be any saints anywhere who are exempt from the relentless barrage of questions and arguments.

    I can’t accuse you of contributing to the “din of sycophantic fans”, though. You don’t do dins; whispering poison in the ear, as you did here, is more your thing.

    DJ: I’ll echo the others. How was Greta unfair?

  28. says

    @Giliell (#23)

    (Bolding mine)

    Over the past months I’ve seen rape victims triggered and I’ve seen their concerns brushed aside. And I’ve noticed how those debates have changed me. No shit in my life has ever made me so much afraid. Not the guy who tried to assault and (most likely) rape me in a car park. Not the assholes who shouted things at me, not the perverts who groped me. It was seeing the reaction of people I considered to be my allies, the people I thought I should feel safe with. To see them brush away the concerns of women, to see that they don’t give a damn, to see them go after women who publicly tried to raise those issues.

    THAT, right there, is the scariest thing to come out of all this. As a survivor, it’s scarier — it just reinforces what I already learned the hard way: Nobody cares if women are harmed or hurt. Nobody pays attention until you’re in hospital (if you’re lucky) or in the morgue (if you’re not).

    There have been a few comments that left me shaking in rage and fear. And I’ve been relatively quiet about it. Mostly because I feel like, despite the efforts of the FTB Overlords (and I appreciate all you do!) there are still, sometimes I end up feeling like it doesn’t matter what I think or feel, I’m just going to get shouted down, so why bother.

  29. says

    Does anybody have a link to the Facebook thread? I’m getting tired scrolling back through Greta’s posts.

    I want to see what I said, again – I think I may have accidentally poured gasoline on Ryan’s flame.

  30. says

    Found it. Never mind. I thought I might have sounded as if I were accusing Ryan of wanting to kick women in the cunt, but I didn’t. I said “Ryan can explain why it doesn’t matter about guys talking about wanting to kick us in the cunt, over and over and over again.” It’s clear that I was talking about other people.

    All this time I’ve thought maybe I was a little responsible for his cunt kicking remark. Well I wasn’t. If he didn’t already know that that was happening, he should have been able to pick up on it from what I said.

  31. D.J. Grothe says

    PZ, Stephanie, and others: First, I have stated on Greta’s original post on the topic how I thought she could have been unfair to the guy. It may be the atheist blog sort of thing to do to insist someone who disagrees with something on one blog weeks before repeat themselves on multiple other atheist blogs weeks later (does that help with page views?) but my opinions are there for the reading, and I stand by them. And if people have the time or gumption, reading the whole 200 comment thread where the guy was roundly attacked, and the stuff escalated in ugly ways on both sides, seemingly egged on with impunity, provides some good context. As an example, it was a woman commenter, not the guy (referred to on this post as a “yutz”) who first talked about “kicking women in the cunt.”

    Second, I have to say I find this whole discussion of how horrible it is to some that I commented in disagreement on blog posts or liked FB statuses (of CFI Michigan regarding their defense of a speaker on their program, etc.) to be unsettling. I debate ideas professionally, and often they concern central beliefs that are controversial. Unfortunately, nothing in this blog post approaches debating an idea, nor is there much actual criticism of ideas. Instead, there is deceptive and dishonest tarring-and-feathering. I reserve the right to express my opinions, even if I am the ceo and president of a nonprofit foundation, and I hope that others can disagree with them in emotionally and intellectually mature ways. You may think I’m wrong in my view that Christina behaved unfairly. But that is a far cry from saying that I am a misogynist or that women should boycott TAM or that “D.J. Grothe has a problem and that problem is him.” Such overwrought rhetoric isn’t how the good guys debate issues honestly. 

    As Stephanie first published this blog post, a number of people assumed many of the quotes were attributed to me. I have received nearly two dozen emails and FB messages today expressing concern, and even outrage, accusing me of being a misogynist, someone who obviously hates women, someone who defends rape, wants to kick women in cunts, or who said a number of things I did not say to Christina. Some JREF donors have emailed to cancel their support (until clarified that such quotes were at first falsely attributed).

    I think as skeptics, it behooves us to be a bit more generous with others in disagreement, to be slower to vilify, and to engage in less scorched-earthing. I know it may be good for blog hits, but it is bad for skepticism and in my view, is antithetical to our values.

  32. Wilt says

    Hello Hello Hello…small world behind the screen, needs to get out into real world problems…

    http://www.skepticismandethics.com/2011/07/on-naming-names-and-tuning-tones.html

    read for the other side of the story. Professional victim and blaming 50% of the population is not fair. Plus, it’s now “not my opinion, STFU”.
    Rebecca has hurt more people. And turned off more women, that don’t want to associated or represented by the skepchicks, mainly Rebecca Watson. The quality of the posts and posters at Skepchick reflects this change. Yes, women need to be represented more and respected more. But not lectured and nagged… instead included and brought into the discussion. I highly reccomend the new site…..

    http://skepticalteacher.wordpress.com/

    Matt is to be commended for working with other men to try to address this situation. He’s doing it right, and his good work should be commended. Instead, no pats on the back, just “oh my gawd someone called someone a feminazi…so men are scum” Matt isn’t scum ladies.

  33. Sheesh says

    “D.J. Grothe has a problem and that problem is him.” Such overwrought rhetoric isn’t how the good guys debate issues honestly.

    Did you hear that? Congrats on being one of the bad ‘guys’, Steph! That ought to be good for some more blog hits, right DJ?!

  34. you_monster says

    First, I have stated on Greta’s original post on the topic how I thought she could have been unfair to the guy.

    From Greta’s original post, you assert that Ryan’s quote was taken out of context. Please explain how. You also write,

    What little I know of Ryan Grant Long suggests he is a atheistic gay guy who has a reasoned position of disagreement, and that he said so and then was roundly attacked.

    What part of Ryan’s quote, the quote that was the topic of Greta’s OP, presented a reasoned position?

    Is it alright to ask for elaboration? I resent the multiple suggestions that criticisms coming from the “loyalists” of the FTB bloggers can be dismissed as group-think.

  35. Beer batter says

    Sometimes people who get to the top of such organizations are sometimes psychopaths.

    Confusing someone as a ‘good person’ just because they head an organization you support is kind of sad.

    I wonder if Randi really wanted DJ to be the president of
    The JREF? I’m sure he will publicly say he did, but the truth will never be known.

    Good work Stephanie.

  36. you_monster says

    even if I rarely surf the atheist blogs because they often seem to present controversies, possibly unduly fomented just to drive readership

    does that help with page views?

    I know it may be good for blog hits

    I’m sure none of these women bloggers care about the issue they write about. They will just say anything to up those page hits, right? Sounds an awful lot like the point Ryan was trying to make (in a less rude tone, obviously),

    You’ve been capitalizing on this for months and perpetuating vicious stereotypes about both men and women, under the guise of ‘feminism’. I used to think you had something to contribute. Now I see you’re just a pathetic attention seeker who isn’t interested in anything other than stirring up shit.

    Sounds like you agree that Greta was attention seeking/ stirring shit up just for the page views. That is a pretty low accusation.

  37. Wilt says

    PZ, you get some weird sick kick out of stirring the pot using as offensive language as you can? Did DJ ever say or write “cunt”? but no, it feels like you just throw in as many inflamitory words as you can and sit back with a smile and go “this is GREAT!” You are the master at pushing buttons rather than brokering discussion and working for change. With your position, education, acess to skeptic leadership… you should be the Jimmy Carter of this issue. Instead, you just figure out how to keep the wounds open. What’s best for the movement? A concerted effort to work on this important issue as adults. Not potty mouths. For shame you are using your brilliance in this manner, instead of the manner that would result in real change.

  38. Wilt says

    In other words PZ…slam the enemy full steam ahead. But, in your own house, where we all have to live together, let’s work things out. We are all smart enough to figure out how. We need to meet, not only online but face to face. But, instead fear and intimidation is used. How about saving that for our enemies and saying “We need to solve this, together, because it is a real problem.” But it’s also not our only problem. Let’s go kick some fundie Republican ass, and work hard together for inclusion.

  39. says

    Wilt -

    You mentioned my friend and collaborator Matt Lowry and talked about his new blog where men are working to encourage diversity in skeptic/atheist/science communities. You linked to his Skeptical Teacher site, though. Perhaps you meant the project that I am running and Matt is a major part of, the More Than Men project: http://www.morethanmen.org/. In that case you may be disappointed to know that our aim is exactly the opposite of saying that women who talk about issues of sexism should just calm the fuck down and let us men handle it.

  40. says

    That’s very interesting, Wilt, that you should take such offense at PZ’s language, considering it is the pushback against the use of that very language against women that DJ is minimizing.

  41. Kammy says

    @Wilt (37)

    “The quality of the posts and posters at Skepchick reflects this change. Yes, women need to be represented more and respected more. But not lectured and nagged… instead included and brought into the discussion. I highly reccomend the new site…..

    http://skepticalteacher.wordpress.com/

    Matt is to be commended for working with other men to try to address this situation. He’s doing it right, and his good work should be commended. Instead, no pats on the back, just “oh my gawd someone called someone a feminazi…so men are scum” Matt isn’t scum ladies.”

    What in the name of Satan’s left nipple are you on about? No one that I know of, and certainly no Skepchicks have called Matt scum. There is no doubt that Matt has and continues to do great work. A fair bit of it in cooperation with Skepchick. He’s been a regular panelist at SkepchickCON for a few years and he’s a board member of Women Thinking Free Foundation, an organization started by Elyse, a Skepchick. I won’t speak for Matt, because he’s more than capable of doing that very well for himself, but last I checked, he sure seemed to be on the side of helping skepticism be more welcoming and woman friendly. I seriously doubt he’d appreciate you using him or his blog to try to discourage people from reading Skepchick.

  42. says

    DJ: OK, I looked up your response in Greta’s thread. Your explanation for why you thought Ryan Grant Long was treated unfairly was this:

    When I read the FB thread, I winced when he spoke up and said that one could disagree with Rebecca’s stance without necessarily being a misogynistic troll, etc.

    Guess what? I agree. Just disagreeing with Watson doesn’t make you misogynistic, and there certainly are ways to express that disagreement that shouldn’t get you drawn and quartered. Ophelia Benson, for instance, expressed reservations early on. No one attacked her.

    But that’s irrelevant. Long did not make calm, rational arguments, as Greta demonstrated with quotes directly from him; as Stephanie illustrates here with some fairly substantial excerpts. Those are hostile, misogynistic comments. In every case, Greta and Stephanie haven’t just, out of the blue, insisted without evidence that Long is a hostile, misogynistic, troll — they quote him. I find it impossible to read those things he said without wondering what the hell is wrong with that guy.

    And yet you just ignore the evidence. People aren’t jumping on Long for expressing disagreement with Watson, they’re doing it because he’s screaming mad accusations at Greta.

    This is a nice sentiment.

    I think as skeptics, it behooves us to be a bit more generous with others in disagreement, to be slower to vilify, and to engage in less scorched-earthing.

    It doesn’t ring convincingly, though, when it’s applied unfairly. You’re chewing out a couple of women for “scorched-earthing”, when they’ve posted nothing equivalent to this:

    Fuck you Greta. You’re the troll. You posted for the sole reason of trying to bait a sexist into writing something threatening. You didn’t find one, but I dared to disagree with you, so you and your brainless followers thought “eh, fuck it, close enough. We’ll attack him instead.” You’ve been capitalizing on this for months and perpetuating vicious stereotypes about both men and women, under the guise of “feminism”. I used to think you had something to contribute. Now I see you’re just a pathetic attention seeker who isn’t interested in anything other than stirring up shit.

    Now that’s scorched earth. That’s vilification. That’s not exactly generous in disagreement.

    And that’s the guy you’re defending while asking women to be more charitable. I haven’t seen so much as a “tut, tut” from you directed towards Ryan Grant Long.

    Do you begin to understand why some people see you as having a giant gaping blind spot here?

  43. skm9 says

    I’ve never been a big fan of the JREF, and I had hoped DJ would be an improvement, but I can’t say I’m impressed. I stopped giving respect to what he says after the most recent TAM (my first and last) when he preached religious inclusion and spoke against skeptical views of religious belief.

    That said, I don’t think he was wrong in his statements regarding age of consent or sex-work. The implied defense of criminal behavior is wrong, but not a skeptical look at the laws.

  44. says

    Wilt: What are you talking about? I did not accuse DJ of calling women “cunts” — I know DJ, and actually can’t imagine him doing that. I was quoting the phrases Ryan Grant Long used. This Long fellow that DJ is defending.

    As Sasha Pixlee and Kammy have pointed out, it’s very, very weird that you bring up Matt Lowry as an example of someone who’s an alternative to the Rebecca Watson ‘style’. I know Matt, we meet every summer in Bloomington “face to face”, and he’s a good friend to the Skepchicks. They work together. You might want to talk with him about whether he doesn’t “want to associated or represented by the skepchicks, mainly Rebecca Watson”.

  45. Rupert McClanahan says

    Please, let’s hope that PZ is so turned off by DJ and his position on this that he never darkens the door of TAM ever again. He and his followers are a true wretched hive of scum and villainy, and I expect they always will be.

  46. Kammy says

    What’s best for the movement? A concerted effort to work on this important issue as adults. Not potty mouths. For shame you are using your brilliance in this manner, instead of the manner that would result in real change.

    Oh for fuck sake. Seriously, potty mouths? Who died and made you mom? Why don’t you give the same lecture to this Long fellow who used some pretty abusive language?

  47. says

    Pfft. Rupert, quote Star Wars at him. That’ll learn him.

    And join the conversation with one of George Hrab’s segment names, for his “indestructable bastards”.

    At least PZ is original.

  48. D.J. Grothe says

    PZ — We look through a glass darkly: the excerpts on Christina’s post, and the quotes on this post from Long originally seemingly attributed to me (very surprisingly) are only a snippet of a spectacular 200 comment-long FB thread, where Long was insulted, accused of wanted to kick women in cunts, and was party to escalating the rhetoric. As I wrote to Christina, there is never any defense for real or pretend threats of violence, and on her wall, such threats came from both sides. Long was wrong to escalate things, and to comment in anger, as I said on Christina’s post. But my point is that in those quotes of his angry and unfortunate reaction (something, again, I commented about directly on Christina’s post) I believe he is taken out of context, or at least not in the whole context. Note that Christina didn’t quote her defenders’ over-the-top attacks against him. Her post seemed to me to be unfair to Long after I read the whole FB thread where he begins by saying something reasonable, is roundly attacked, unfortunately attacks back, and then is made weird poster boy for misogyny.

    I believe it is a pretty extreme reaction to all of this if someone were to state that because of my rather temperate comments on Christina’s post, that women won’t (or shouldn’t?) come to TAM while I remain at the helm of the foundation. I am proud of some of the changes we have tried to make in order to fix systemic sexism in the skeptics movement, to make it more welcoming and friendly to racial and sexual minorities. I think so many of these internet kerfuffles seem to distract from that important and necessary work. I am an ally for equality in this movement. I have worked hard and deliberately over the last 15 years to make this movement more welcoming and women-friendly. And I think it is a mistake both ethically and strategically for some to be so quick to vilify.

  49. Kammy says

    Please, let’s hope that PZ is so turned off by DJ and his position on this that he never darkens the door of TAM ever again. He and his followers are a true wretched hive of scum and villainy, and I expect they always will be.

    Rupert, why don’t you ask DJ if he hopes that PZ’s followers stay away from TAM? Losing a hive’s worth of scum at nearly $500 per villian would prolly sting a bit.

  50. you_monster says

    Her post seemed to me to be unfair to Long after I read the whole FB thread where he begins by saying something reasonable, is roundly attacked, unfortunately attacks back, and then is made weird poster boy for misogyny.

    “Weird poster boy for misogyny? Fucking Christ. Ryan Long made HIMSELF a poster boy for misogyny. By saying that Greta Christina and her followers should be “kicked in the cunt”, and for the “slap the bitch” comment. Criticism of this yutz is merited.

  51. says

    Of course there is context. There is a huge screaming body of context for all of this. As Ophelia has already explained, he was not accused of wanting to kick women in the cunt — this is what was said to him.

    Ryan can explain why it doesn’t matter about guys talking about wanting to kick us in the cunt, over and over and over again.

    Context. It matters. In this case, Ophelia and other women have been repeatedly threatened with this “cunt kicking” nonsense, over and over and over again. That’s what this is about, this extremely peculiar behavior by some people, who do not themselves engage in that kind of threat but still get irate and tell women to stop complaining about it…and never get around to being irate with the “cunt kickers”. Long was accused of being that sort of person.

    And then, of course, he began making the threat himself.

    You say “there is never any defense for real or pretend threats of violence”. Ryan Grant Long was making threats of violence. Yet in his case you seem to be saying that context is his defense. Again, it’s this one-sidedness on your part that people are finding infuriating.

    Note also that you can’t accuse either Greta or Stephanie of being over-the-top or violent or threatening attacks, only some nameless commenters, yet Greta was the target of such attacks. As more one-sidedness, who do you criticize? Greta. Who do you defend? The guy making the kinds of attacks you deplore! It’s just weird.

    I don’t advocate boycotting TAM, and I know you’ve made great improvements in gender representation at the meeting. But I can understand why some people are feeling uncomfortable right now, and it’s because sometimes the temperate remarks are thoroughly inappropriate: sometimes you do have to be quick and clear to vilify behaviors that are wrong. Ryan Grant Long was wrong, and you continue to waffle about it: your comment above is the first I’ve seen you say anything negative about what he said, and the strongest thing you can say is that it was “unfortunate”.

    Would you have been as sanguine about Long’s comments if they’d been homophobic rather than sexist? Would you be arguing that it is an ethical and strategic mistake to be quick to criticize a gay-basher?

  52. says

    I won’t be asking my readers to stay away from TAM — I’ll certainly be plugging it later this year on the blog (and it doesn’t even matter if I’m a speaker or not, it’s a good meeting). It’s always been a great meeting for having diverse speakers and attendees, and it’s gotten better with DJ at the helm.

    But doing good overall doesn’t mean we should ever withhold criticism on the details, and I really do think DJ has a gigantic blind spot on display here.

  53. Kammy says

    To be clear: I’m not at all suggesting anyone stay away from TAM. Only that if a lot of people did, as Rupert was suggesting, it would not help the JREF fulfill it’s mission, which I generally agree with.

    And I really wanted to make the hive/sting joke.

  54. RemieV says

    PZ,

    While I do not agree with threats of violence, you must admit that you’re being disingenuous in their characterization. The comments are not misogynistic. They are not directed at all women, or even just women. They are directed at a subset – Christina and her followers – and the reason is not because they are women. It is because of the views this subset of women (and, as he points out, men and intersex individuals as well) hold.

  55. julian says

    It is because of the views this subset of women (and, as he points out, men and intersex individuals as well) hold.

    “I don’t call all blacks niggers. Just niggarfucks like *insert black person*”

    “I don’t hate Jews. I hate kikes.”

    “I don’t think all hispanics should be sent back home on their banana boats. Just spics like *insert spanish dude*”

  56. RemieV says

    No, Julian. That is not comparable. Race is not a viewpoint. And it wasn’t just women he was referring to, either. The commonality between the three groups of people is their BELIEFS. Not their genders. Thus the comment is not misogynistic.

    It is more comparable to, “I want to slap Christians who try to shove Jesus down my throat at every turn,” and really, I’m not positive this crowd would have a problem with someone who said that – though I could be wrong there.

    Characterize his comments as what they are – rude, violent, assholish. Don’t just toss up the ‘misogyny’ label because it is convenient.

  57. julian says

    The commonality between the three groups of people is their BELIEFS. Not their genders.

    What makes you think kike can’t just refer to a particularly obnoxious jewish person or someone who isn’t jewish at all? I’ve heard it used both ways.

    Why can’t nigger refer to a particularly dumb, violent and criminal black person? I’ve heard it used that way.

    Why can’t ‘go home on your banana boats’ be a exclamation of frustration with immigration policy? I’ve heard it used that way.

    Why the double standard between gender based insults and other readily recognizably racist ones?

  58. you_monster says

    Yeah, “slap the bitch” and “kicking in the cunt” sounds like language that a non-misogynist would use.

    How does this sound to you,

    Greta Christina’s insane followers accused me of being an evil sexist man racist and wanting to “kick women in the cunt every day” “spit on niggers”. Let me be clear. I don’t want that for all women blacks. Just them.

    or

    Greta Christina’s insane followers accused me of being an evil sexist man homophobe and wanting to “kick women in the cunt every day” “apply a boot to the balls of fags”. Let me be clear. I don’t want that for all women gays. Just them.

    *just refreshed and saw Julian beat me to this analogy.

    Characterize his comments as what they are – rude, violent, assholish. Don’t just toss up the ‘misogyny’ label because it is convenient.

    Stop white-washing the vile sexist language he was using to say that Greta and her followers are wrong.

  59. Sheesh says

    RemieV, what would you say to the argument that Americans that use the word cunt, especially in insults or abuse aimed at women, are misogynist or sexist? Do you deny that words carry sexist connotations?

    (Say in the context of non-bigots not directing the word nigger at blacks.)

  60. Pteryxx says

    And I was doing so well in the rage department today.

    The comments are not misogynistic. They are not directed at all women,

    Universal fallacy. Just how many women SHOULD it be okay to call “stupid, fucking, lying, fake feminist, man-hating, sexist BIGOT” (s) anyway?

    or even just women. They are directed at a subset – Christina and her followers – and the reason is not because they are women. It is because of the views this subset of women (and, as he points out, men and intersex individuals as well) hold.

    There’s a word for those who hate the view that women are people and should be treated as such.

    Misogynists.

  61. MattusMaximus says

    Howdy all,

    My my my, what an interesting discussion this is… I wanted to drop in quickly, since my Skeptical Teacher blog was invoked up in comment #37, and just say my $0.02 worth.

    First, thanks to Stephanie for giving me a heads up on this whole thing.

    Second, I have worked with the Skepchicks and WTFF on many projects and will continue to do so in all likelihood. As Kammy and Sasha can attest, I do have my disagreements and differences with both groups at times, but in general I applaud them for their work and agree with their goals.

    Third, this whole discussion has inspired me to write up my own blog post on the matter. It’s pretty long (took me two hours to write it), but it sums up my thoughts on all of this rather nicely…

    http://skepticalteacher.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/why-the-skeptical-movement-needs-more-than-men/

    That said, I shall retire from this field and watch the discussion.

    Cheers – Matt, the Skeptical Teacher

  62. RemieV says

    Yes, the response is often, it seems, to run to the race comparison. It simply is not the same, particularly in this instance.

    Let me say it again –

    The only commonality between the three sets of people he described kicking was their beliefs.

    The religion comparison was much closer in content than any race comparison it is possible to make. So, let me ask you – would you be this angry if someone had said, “I want to slap Christians who shove Jesus down my throat”?

    Please do remember the difference between being a sexist and a misogynist and just being a jerk.

  63. Sheesh says

    Just so I’m clear on your argument: If I call a woman a cunt or say that I want to kick her in her cunt, that is not a sexist statement, it’s just an “jerky” statement?

  64. says

    RemieV: So using gendered insults isn’t misogynistic if you disagree with a woman. Just like using racial slurs isn’t racist if you disagree with someone? Is that *really* your argument?

    You mean that the person who made this sign is just making a tasteless commentary on Obama’s policies, but they’re not racist? If you don’t think that’s what you’re saying, I think you need to think some more.

  65. Pteryxx says

    So, let me ask you – would you be this angry if someone had said, “I want to slap Christians who shove Jesus down my throat”?

    If that hypothetical comment read “I want to shove that cross up their backside”? Yeah, most of us would be miffed. Can you think of a reason why specifically genital-related violent imagery might be a relevant factor in discussing misogyny?

  66. julian says

    So, let me ask you – would you be this angry if someone had said, “I want to slap Christians who shove Jesus down my throat”?

    Would you be so accepting if he had said “I want to slap ragheads who shove Islam down my throat”?

    And my point stands. Kike, nigger, jewbag, fag, whatever can be used in similar fashion. For example kike, which can be used to refer to just anyone who’s being a jerk. Why would it be racist to use it if it can be used at people who aren’t Jewish and for reasons other than they are Jewish?

  67. you_monster says

    MattusMaximus, thanks for the links. More Than Men sounds like a laudable project. I like the phrasing if your welcome,

    So, welcome to the More Than Men Project. This is a forum for People with privilege to talk about diversity, why it matters, and how we can make it happen. I don’t want to get all “White Man’s Burden” on you, but it’s a little ridiculous that the only people consistently talking about (for example) sexism are women. These issues matter to every one of us because we need more than men to make a community.

    In regards to your response that you linked to, I thought it as pretty good. It ended particularly strongly.

    Which brings me to my final point: the fact that these knuckle-dragging goons feel the need to use such thuggish language and behavior towards women illustrates perfectly well the need for more diversity within skepticism. This also illustrates the need for more white guys like me to call out our fellow white male skeptics on this sort of bullshit and argue for more diversity…So in closing, let me send a message to my skeptical brothers and sisters out there: guys, don’t be ashamed of who you are, but also understand that there is a profound need to understand things from a non-male, non-white perspective; and if you wish to grow the movement you cannot get around this need.

    Well said. It is in the best interest of our movement that we get over having more diverse voices being prominent. It is inevitable and the sooner people learn to handle vocal women making awesome contributions, the stronger we as atheists/skeptics will be.

  68. Pteryxx says

    It’s interesting that us supposed sycophants came up with four DIFFERENT critiques in four responses.

  69. RemieV says

    @… well, everybody at this point.

    Saying “I will kick you in the cunt, the dick, or your altered genitalia” (which is, in summary, what was said) is all-inclusive. It isn’t, therefore, a ‘gendered’ insult, except insofar as to point out that the name of the anatomical region of the person would alter what was kicked. I suppose he could’ve been universal and made one comment and said, “the crotch”.

    Are we equally angry at Phil Plait for the title of the “Don’t be a Dick” speech? I’m not sure. I haven’t been keeping up on the list of things I should be pissed off about.

    Continuing to bring in the race card is ridiculous in the extreme.

    Why can’t we just agree that the guy was an asshole for what he said? Why is this an issue of sexism? Because he used the word ‘cunt’? Then I ask again – would you have preferred ‘crotch’? Would that make it an asshole thing to say, rather than a sexist one?

  70. Sheesh says

    But Julian,

    RemieV took umbrage with the race analogy, so let’s throw it out, and just go at it head on — do sexist insults exist? Are the users of sexist insults sexist?

    (Like you are asking — are racists slurs racist? Are the users of racist slurs bigots? — but to the point at hand of wanting to “kick her in the cunt”. I generally think it’s fair to assume that the users of racist slurs are bigots, and the users of sexist slurs to be sexist or misogynist. Also, Pteryxx is awesome here and in past threads, does that make me a sycophant?!)

  71. Sheesh says

    RemieV,

    Is it fair to suggest there might be a reason beyond ‘aesthetics’ (used loosely) to use the word cunt instead of, e.g.:

    I want to kick her in her vagina!

    I want to kick her in her genitals!

    I want to punch her in her face!

    (See you can even express the desire for violence in a non-gendered phrase! Yes, I would think if people wouldn’t want to be smeared as sexists they wouldn’t use sexist insults, even when they deeply desire violence to be committed to some other persons crotch.)

  72. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    You disgust me, DJ. What a pitiful, weaselly, dishonest bit of excuse-making. Ecch. I wish we didn’t share a sexual orientation, because you squick me right the fuck out.

  73. Sheesh says

    I’m glad though that everyone on this thread has finally come to agreement on the jerkiness of wanting certain people to be kicked in the crotch! Progress!

  74. RemieV says

    @Sheesh –

    Seems like a personal preference. As I said above, it might’ve been better (though, really, I cannot see any threat of violence as ‘good’, so ‘better’ isn’t a great term) to have said “crotch” and applied to everyone.

    There would be less ammo now, anyway.

    ‘Cunt’ has no magical powers for me personally, but I don’t think you’re asking me personally. While we’re at it, though, neither does ‘dick’, ‘bitch’, ‘asshole’, yadda ya, you see where I’m going.

  75. julian says

    Then I ask again – would you have preferred ‘crotch’? Would that make it an asshole thing to say, rather than a sexist one?

    Hmmm… Personally the threat targeted at women would have still been a bit stronger than anything I’d go for.

    It’s obvious what someone hoping to kick a woman between the leg is threatening and that’s a common threat of sexual violence against woman. Furthermore given how he is clearly aware that Greta Christina is among the woman some have expressed a desire to kick in the cunt it would be a bit much. But yeah I wouldn’t find it nearly as objectionable.

    So what? He said cunt and slap the bitch and you have yet to answer why that’s any different than the slurs I’ve used.

  76. Pteryxx says

    Saying “I will kick you in the cunt, the dick, or your altered genitalia” (which is, in summary, what was said) is all-inclusive.

    I’d be more impressed with the yutz’s so-called inclusivity if he hadn’t started out with accepting “kick her in the cunt” as his premise. Following up with male and altered versions didn’t impress me.

    Besides, how gender-neutral is “Slap the bitch?” (two posts later, see screencap in OP)

    (thanks Sheesh, “sycophant” means something dirty, right? <_< )

  77. julian says

    ‘Cunt’ has no magical powers for me personally

    Then why do you grant other slurs the magical status? Or do you think they fall along the same lines as cunt, bitch, dick ect?

  78. RemieV says

    @Julian –

    Again – because people can’t change their race. They can, however, change how they respond to objections and dissent. And this goes for both the guy and Christina’s followers. What he took issue with was the response, not that it was from women.

  79. Pteryxx says

    …If you think the only objections to “cunt” as an insult are personal preference, you have some serious background reading to do.

  80. RemieV says

    @Pteryxx –

    I think that words are words, and that if you’re giving them this amount of power, you are going to subject yourself to endless frustration.

  81. julian says

    What he took issue with was the response, not that it was from women.

    Then what about uses of kike or nigger where it’s the behavior or attitudes that inspired the slur and aren’t targeting blacks or jews?

  82. Sheesh says

    RemieV, Yes. Sexist connotations are frustrating for a lot of people (not you, but that’s OK). Now, we’ve all come to agreement: The guy was a jerk and language like his is frustrating to people here that aren’t you.

    Let’s talk about if it’s safe to assume that bigots use racist slurs, and sexists use sexist insults and whether it’s safe to assume that the users of sexist or racist language are in fact sexist or racist/bigots!

  83. julian says

    I think that words are words, and that if you’re giving them this amount of power, you are going to subject yourself to endless frustration.

    Not that this isn’t something I disagree with but, why object to words at all the? Harsh, kind, racist, homophobic ect are irrelevant if it’s all just words. Going further why object to slurs or derogatory name calling and similar bullying campaigns at work, school or anywhere if these words have no power?

  84. Pteryxx says

    @Pteryxx –

    I think that words are words, and that if you’re giving them this amount of power, you are going to subject yourself to endless frustration.

    O RLY

    That would be victim-blaming with a side of dismissal. You need to read up on chilly climate, harassment and #mencallmethings. There’s very good reason why slurs are different than general insults – they are markers of discrimination, not just personal offense, and the use of slurs without social reprisals signifies that any person belonging to the slurred group is not safe from harassment or worse. Your personal indifference to such terms is not valid evidence against their general harm.

  85. RemieV says

    @julian –

    Tough question. And my opinion on that probably won’t be a popular one.

    I don’t condone using ANY pejorative as a means to settle an argument. But I suppose the difference between race-driven pejoratives and gender-driven pejoratives is that they have a clearer meaning. I can define what would potentially make someone an asshole – in fact, I called the guy we’re discussing an ‘asshole’ further upstream.

    Check out the following Wikipedia entries.

    Asshole: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asshole

    Kike: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kike

    The ‘asshole’ Wiki says, “The word is mainly used as a vulgarity, generally to describe people who are viewed as stupid or incompetent or detestable.”

    The ‘kike’ Wiki says, “Kike is a derogatory slur used to refer to a Jew.”

    Or even, since we are discussing it, check out what Wiki says about ‘cunt’:

    “Cunt is also used as a derogatory epithet referring to a person of either sex. This usage is relatively recent, dating from the late nineteenth century. Reflecting different national usages, cunt is described as “an unpleasant or stupid person”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cunt

    See the difference?

    Sorry I don’t know how to make my quotes look pretty.

  86. RemieV says

    No, Pteryxx. They are not markers of discrimination in all cases. That is the designation you are giving them. I call people cunts, both in happy “Y’all my bitches!” ways, and in traffic when someone cuts me off.

    This is not victim-blaming. I am simply reticent to assign motivations to any and all who use gender-driven pejoratives. You, on the other hand, seem to take no issue with doing so – hence my comment that you are going to experience a lot of frustration. People DO experience a lot of frustration when their own ideals are not universally applied.

  87. you_monster says

    I think that words are words, and that if you’re giving them this amount of power, you are going to subject yourself to endless frustration.

    Better repeal those pesky employee harassment laws. Evidently we are blaming the wrong people, it is those women being threatened of being “kicked in the cunt” that are ultimately to blame. Their affording too much power to those words are subjecting them to the harassment, not the harasser.

  88. Sheesh says

    People DO experience a lot of frustration when their own ideals are not universally applied.

    Yes, they certainly do!

    Now, as I was saying, would you clarify for me if you consider it safe to assume that bigots use racist slurs, and sexists use sexist slurs and whether it’s safe to assume that the users of sexist or racist slurs are in fact sexist or bigots?

    (It’s fair to have a different answer for each case, since you’ve insisted they aren’t analogous.)

  89. julian says

    They are not markers of discrimination in all cases.

    But they are reliable markers. As in, if you see them it is generally safe to assume this is an unwelcome/hostile environment for x.

    I call people cunts, both in happy “Y’all my bitches!” ways, and in traffic when someone cuts me off.

    The same could be said for haji, raghead, nigger, kike, ect. What makes them different?

    This is not victim-blaming.

    You put the responsibility for taking offense, for resolving the issue and for ‘giving the word power’ on the people who are targeted by them. That’s blaming them for not resolving the situation.

  90. RemieV says

    @Sheesh – Didn’t I cover that with the comment I left with all the Wiki links?

    @you_monster – Please don’t try to pull me in with hyperbole. Employee harassment laws are in place because of power differences between employee and employer. This issue is not an example of anything like that. Christina has every right to attack back.

  91. julian says

    Employee harassment laws are in place because of power differences between employee and employer.

    They protect coworkers from each other as well, don’t they? It isn’t only superiors who can harass you. Peers are perfectly capable of doing the same damage.

  92. Pteryxx says

    This is not victim-blaming.

    The parts of your comment I highlighted are.

    I am simply reticent to assign motivations to any and all who use gender-driven pejoratives.

    You may note I said nothing about motivations. I’m talking about the effect of the words themselves. You do know that intent doesn’t magically make harm become not-harm, right? You read this blog?

    Magical Intent is the principle by which someone who has said or done something offensive, hurtful, rage-making, marginalizing, and/or otherwise contemptible argues that the person to whom they’ve said or done it has no right to be offended, hurt, enraged, alienated, and/or otherwise disdainful because their intent was not to generate that reaction.

    In other words: “I didn’t intend for you to feel that way, so if you do feel that way, don’t blame me! My intent magically inoculates me from responsibility for what I actually said and how it was received!”

    This is one of the most harmful—and common—manifestations of accountability deflecting language, rooted in the false contention that intent is more important than effect. It is a most curious habit, given that most of us would readily acknowledge that “I didn’t mean it” isn’t an excuse for not having to apologize when we bump into someone or accidentally step on someone’s foot. Yet we have nonetheless created an entirely different standard for things we say that inadvertently hurt other people.

    Source

  93. RemieV says

    @julian – Again, in the comment I left with all the Wiki links, I pointed out the difference. Terms like ‘cunt’, ‘prick’, and ‘dick’ all have usages toward specific negative traits – like stupidity, for instance. Racial terms have none.

    @Sheesh – In case it wasn’t clear before, I don’t view terms that have clear definitions as being inherently sexist – hence all the linkage. What you’re asking me is like an SAT question. If some x’s use y term, and all z’s use y term, are all x’s z’s? No.

    (Where x = ‘people’, y = ‘pejorative’, and z = ‘sexist’.)

  94. julian says

    Racial terms have none.

    Yes they do. I’ve heard kike and nigger used multiple by times by different people the way you use cunt. At my high school among some ‘brown’ (south asian and middle eastern. a term they adopted for themselves) students it was common to refer to people who behaved stupidly as black. Were my classmates wrong to? Was my roommate in Comm School wrong for refering to SNCO’s he saw as being obnoxious as kikes?

  95. RemieV says

    @julian – Sort of. Not exactly. Take this example for what it is worth -

    Sexual harassment is outlined here:

    http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-sex.html

    Specifically:

    Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

    ***

    This means an employer can’t ask an underling out on a date unless they’re willing to deal with potential charges – even if the date-asking was innocent, and not intended to affect the workplace whatsoever.

    While harassment laws also apply to co-workers, it’s much more difficult to illustrate that such advances would interfere with employment. The employer is in power. The co-worker is not.

    I’m not explaining this as well as other things, so bear with me on this. Basically, an employer inherently has the power to make an employee feel threatened with a sexual advance. This is not inherent for a co-worker. A co-worker can ask someone out on a date, the individual asked can say no, and so long as everyone returns to business as usual, it is not harassment.

  96. RemieV says

    @julian – You are talking about a specific subset of people for whom the word has specific meaning. I am referring, however, to universal meanings – once again, illustrated by the Wiki links. ‘Cunt’ means ‘unpleasant or stupid person’ to everybody where the term is a common pejorative. ‘Kike’ ONLY means ‘pejorative for Jew’, and any other definition you are giving it is based upon a small subset of the population using it in a specific way.

    I can walk into a room and say “Man, the people at such-and-such place were such cunts today,” and everyone I’m talking to will know that I mean that the people at such-and-such place were unpleasant and stupid.

    If I walk into the same room and say, “Man, the people at such-and-such place were such KIKES today,” no one will know what I mean, because that ONLY means “rude term for Jew”.

  97. Pteryxx says

    Basically, an employer inherently has the power to make an employee feel threatened with a sexual advance. This is not inherent for a co-worker. A co-worker can ask someone out on a date, the individual asked can say no, and so long as everyone returns to business as usual, it is not harassment.

    A co-worker can also make a co-worker feel unwelcome by using slurs, for instance, when the affected co-worker can’t say “Don’t call me a cunt” without being laughed at or further marginalized. You’ve conveniently forgotten part of the definition you just quoted:

    unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

    Inappropriate conduct is not limited to requests for dating, and requests for dating, even between supposed equals, easily can constitute harassment when those requests are frequent and unwelcome. I suggest again that you read the Chilly Climate essay I linked and the resources it cites about harassment. Also the post right here on this blog, “After You Say No” (link).

  98. Sheesh says

    RemieV, I looked around and didn’t find a comment with wiki links. Perhaps you could identify the number of it, or link to if it was in another forum.

    I’m not asking a SAT question. I’m asking a very, very basic question about how you make assumptions (form opinions, etc.)

    Personally, I tend to assume that when someone uses racist or sexist language they are bigoted or sexist (I said this already). I’m asking directly if you agree that:

    It’s fair to assume that sexists use sexist language

    and that

    It’s fair to assume that users of sexist language are sexist.

    I don’t think that’s controversial in the common sense. We all (or mostly all) make snap judgements or assumptions when we don’t have deep experience or evidence with a particular person. I’ll say things like, “If a stranger calls me nigger he’s in all likelihood a bigot.” (Because my assumption, my working theory on the probabilities, is that non-bigots won’t call me nigger. It’s straight forward, I think.)

  99. you_monster says

    I can walk into a room and say “Man, the people at such-and-such place were such cunts today,” and everyone I’m talking to will know that I mean that the people at such-and-such place were unpleasant and stupid.

    If I walk into the same room and say, “Man, the people at such-and-such place were such KIKES today,” no one will know what I mean, because that ONLY means “rude term for Jew”.

    Weapons grade stupid.

  100. RemieV says

    No, Pyterexx – I didn’t forget it. In fact, I gave the caveat “So long as they go back to business as usual.” And the reason I gave the employer/employee example is because the only reason I could fathom you would bring sexual harassment up was to demonstrate that this was a case of unequal power.

  101. Pteryxx says

    I am referring, however, to universal meanings – once again, illustrated by the Wiki links. ‘Cunt’ means ‘unpleasant or stupid person’ to everybody where the term is a common pejorative.

    You’ve just undercut your own assertion of “universal meanings”, unless you mean “universal” to equal “convenient” for you. There are people right here on this blog (hi!) telling you that “cunt” is a problematic word, and we’re at least as representative of our communities as you are of yours.

    Besides, do you REALLY think the yutz in the OP meant he would “kick them in the stupid person”?

  102. RemieV says

    @Sheesh – It isn’t straightforward at all. For my opinion on the matter, I’ll paste the relevant part again.

    If some x’s use y term, and all z’s use y term, are all x’s z’s?

    (Where x = ‘people’, y = ‘pejorative’, and z = ‘sexist’.)

    No.

  103. Pteryxx says

    And the reason I gave the employer/employee example is because the only reason I could fathom you would bring sexual harassment up was to demonstrate that this was a case of unequal power.

    Perhaps you should try considering my actual arguments, instead of ascribing motivations to my actions, particularly since you accused ME of unfairly ascribing motivations in your comment #95.

  104. Sheesh says

    Pteryxx,

    This is sort of why I aimed at American use of the word at the beginning of this back and forth. I’m aware from these long struggles that Ozzies and Brits just can’t be arsed to see that we hear something different when they say cunt. So I’m starting to assume that RemieV, taken at his/her word to frequently use cunts as a familiar greeting, might not be American…? Trying to be charitable here!

  105. RemieV says

    @Pyterexx – No, I don’t think he meant that he would kick them in the stupid person. I think he was referring to what area of the body he would kick them in (the other universal definition, in areas where the term is used at all). However, since I had already brought up the fact that he referred to kicking people in regions affiliated with *all gender descriptions*, and was told that ‘cunt’ was an improper term no matter what the context, we began discussing the definition of ‘cunt’ as a pejorative instead of as in the original context given by Long. The conversation drifted from the original topic, is what I’m saying here.

    Context will tell you which one is being used.

    I’m sorry that you have a problem with certain words being used. I don’t know what else to say to that.

  106. RemieV says

    Pyterexx – Post #95 was directed at Julian. I don’t know which post you’re referring to.

  107. Sheesh says

    RemieV,

    You misread me yet again. “If a stranger calls me nigger he’s in all likelihood a bigot.” (Because my assumption, my working theory on the probabilities, is that non-bigots won’t call me nigger. It’s straight forward, I think.)

    Am I wrong to think the stranger is a bigot?

    I’m asking directly if you agree that:

    It’s fair to assume that sexists use sexist language and that it’s fair to assume that users of sexist language are sexist.

    If you don’t want to give a straight answer on the record just “plead the fifth” as we Americans say.

  108. RemieV says

    Also @Pyterexx –

    I was attempting to discern why you were bringing up sexual harassment regarding a subject that had nothing to do with sexual harassment. Since apparently I am wrong in what I believed to be the reason, please do tell me what it was.

  109. julian says

    @RemieV

    I don’t accept that kike only means ‘rude word for a jew.’ It may be the most common definition among the larger population but it isn’t the only one. (Ditto for nigger and wetback) Nor do I accept that if you said something like that there would be any confusion as to what you meant.

    Somewhat embarrassing to admit but I hadn’t even heard of the word kike until my roommate used it. I immediately understood what he meant. When he said “So SSgt wants me to take some dumbfuck’s duty so he can bang his girlfriend for her birthday. He’s such a fucking kike. I want out of this fucking platoon” I knew he was using the word as a place holder for jerk/douchebag/whatever.

    And you seem to be undermining your point. In many places it’s understood cunt means ‘jerk’ because of its association with female genitalia. Likewise with calling a group of ‘weaklings’ fags or pussies. In the former it’s the association with non heteronormative men and perceived rejection of masculinity while supposedly embracing femininity. In the later it’s the association with female genitalia and the percieved weakness of women.

  110. Pteryxx says

    @Sheesh – It isn’t straightforward at all. For my opinion on the matter, I’ll paste the relevant part again.

    If some x’s use y term, and all z’s use y term, are all x’s z’s?

    (Where x = ‘people’, y = ‘pejorative’, and z = ‘sexist’.)

    No.

    The flaws in your construction:

    “all z’s (sexists) use y (pejorative) term.”

    First, universalizing is false here. A pejorative term doesn’t cease to be pejorative if only 95% or 70% of people with sexist attitudes use it. Universalizing is also false because people are not neatly divisible into absolute sexists and absolute non-sexists. Most people display sexism in varying degrees, or in some beliefs but not others.

    Second, whether a given person is sexist or not is irrelevant when considering the use of a sexist term. Use of slurs contributes to a hostile environment regardless of the INTENT of the speaker (remember the Magical Intent quote I gave above?)

    It’s very simple. The use of x term is harmful to some people. We know this because of research (see Chilly Climate) and because those people tell us it harms them (hi! again!). Therefore, the use of x term should be avoided.

    Would you like to explain how using the word “cunt” instead of “jerk”, “jackass” or “douchecanoe” is of greater intrinsic value than having a hospitable environment for all genders?

  111. RemieV says

    @julian – The point was that there is an inherent difference between racial epithets and ‘gender-driven pejoratives’. The difference is simply that there is a clearly understood definition for ‘dickhead’. There is not a clearly understood definition for ‘kike’ other than ‘whatever surrounding this is clearly a negative statement’. While you could tell by context what the person you were talking to meant, remove the context, and it’s impossible to tell. “The people at such-and-such place were such kikes today.” What does it mean? There is no context. Do I mean that they were very Jewish? Do I mean that they were mean? Rude? Stingy? Money-driven? It could be any of those, or all of them.

  112. Pteryxx says

    Pyterexx – Post #95 was directed at Julian. I don’t know which post you’re referring to.

    Your post #95:

    RemieV says:
    January 5, 2012 at 12:00 am
    No, Pteryxx. They are not markers of discrimination in all cases. That is the designation you are giving them. I call people cunts, both in happy “Y’all my bitches!” ways, and in traffic when someone cuts me off.

    This is not victim-blaming. I am simply reticent to assign motivations to any and all who use gender-driven pejoratives. You, on the other hand, seem to take no issue with doing so – hence my comment that you are going to experience a lot of frustration. People DO experience a lot of frustration when their own ideals are not universally applied.

    By now I’m reasonably certain that you’re a liar. I’m only about 75% sure of that, to be fair.

  113. RemieV says

    Weird, Pyterexx, that is post #96 over here.

    I’m not sure what you think I’m lying about.

    Also, you forgot to quote the words “seem to”. If ever I am wrong about what something “seems”, you can just correct me and tell me what you really think. I do put words like that for a reason.

  114. Sheesh says

    Would anyone agree that it’s fair to assume that liars tell lies and that it’s fair to assume that users of lies are in fact liars?

    I don’t see why this construction is confusing.

  115. Sheesh says

    Our shared sense of confusion is starting to make sense now. RemieV might have a post with lots of Wiki links stuck in moderation — we can’t see it — so the numbers for his/her posts are different from the rest of ours, and why we’re scratching our heads when such a post was mentioned.

    (Not that a bunch of dictionary play is a worthy argument.)

  116. RemieV says

    @julian – Because many racial and gender-driven pejoratives have been reappropriated – as I said earlier with the whole, “Y’all my bitches!” thing.

  117. RemieV says

    @Sheesh – OH. Well, now it makes sense. :) Thanks, I’m new to commenting, and that would’ve never occurred to me.

  118. RemieV says

    Hahahaha… I’ll be back tomorrow, and hopefully you’ll be able to see the comment by then. Without it, this thread probably makes zero sense. ;) Night, all.

  119. Sheesh says

    RemieV,

    I’m pretty sure for most blogs these days that comments with more than two links are held for moderation. That’s true on a lot of WordPress blogs, and at the very least Pharyngula. (Probably it’s two links here too!)

  120. julian says

    @RemieV

    The same confusion exists for cunt. Do you mean they were rude, that they were just some guy you met, that they refused to give you their number, that they’re ‘bitchy?’ What? The same goes for dickhead. Were they obnoxious, callous, indifferent to you, just someone who rubbed you the wrong way?

    Neither kike nor cunt have universally accepted definitions and both words are readily and easily used to describe something that’s ‘bad’ without changing the meaning of the word since there isn’t any definitive meaning to tie them down. I’d say that’s true of most of the words we’ve used here with the possible exception of fag and pussy. (Although South Park seems to disagree about fag.)

    And it’s the lack of any universal meaning that keeps bringing me to these racial analogies. Setting aside how today there are strong pockets where these words are appropriate, 50 years ago we’d have to accept that there was nothing racist about nigger because most people saw the definition as valid despite the clear and admitted associating with black people.

  121. Pteryxx says

    I’m not sure what you think I’m lying about.

    I think when you said

    the only reason I could fathom you would bring sexual harassment up was to demonstrate that this was a case of unequal power.

    you were ascribing motivations to my actions, after accusing me of doing so when you said:

    I am simply reticent to assign motivations to any and all who use gender-driven pejoratives. You, on the other hand, seem to take no issue with doing so –

    in post #95 which was addressed to me by name.

    Also, you forgot to quote the words “seem to”. If ever I am wrong about what something “seems”, you can just correct me and tell me what you really think.

    You said “seem to take no issue with”, which does not modify your use of “doing so” where “doing so” refers back to “assign(ing) motivations”. For someone so bent on the universal meanings of words, you apparently have a deficiency in basic grammar.

    As to correcting you and saying what I really think, that was in my comment #101 (or so) above, to quote:

    You may note I said nothing about motivations. I’m talking about the effect of the words themselves. You do know that intent doesn’t magically make harm become not-harm, right?

    Would you like to make any SUBSTANTIVE arguments in this discussion?

  122. Pteryxx says

    @julian – Because many racial and gender-driven pejoratives have been reappropriated – as I said earlier with the whole, “Y’all my bitches!” thing.

    And I’ll just say that RemieV is not the universally appointed arbiter of pejorative reappropriation. Reappropriation is cultural (as is word meaning in the first place) and it’s not an excuse for some individual to say “me and my friends don’t mean it that way therefore you all are wrong”.

  123. Kammy says

    ‘Cunt’ has no magical powers for me personally, but I don’t think you’re asking me personally. While we’re at it, though, neither does ‘dick’, ‘bitch’, ‘asshole’, yadda ya, you see where I’m going.

    How do you feel about the words pedant and obtuse?

  124. says

    DJ Grothe

    As I wrote to Christina, there is never any defense for real or pretend threats of violence, and on her wall, such threats came from both sides.

    Evidence, please.
    I’m not on Facebook, so, where was this guy threatened with violence.

    . I debate ideas professionally, and often they concern central beliefs that are controversial. Unfortunately, nothing in this blog post approaches debating an idea, nor is there much actual criticism of ideas.

    So much more rational than thou.

    As Stephanie first published this blog post, a number of people assumed many of the quotes were attributed to me. I have received nearly two dozen emails and FB messages today expressing concern, and even outrage, accusing me of being a misogynist, someone who obviously hates women, someone who defends rape, wants to kick women in cunts, or who said a number of things I did not say to Christina. Some JREF donors have emailed to cancel their support (until clarified that such quotes were at first falsely attributed).

    So, you’re blaming Stephanie for people being sloppy readers?
    And please, how many of those emails contained threats of rape, of sexualized violence, or other kinds violence?
    You know, like those mails and FB messages female bloggeres have been getting for like forever and especially during those last months?
    I assume there probably weren’t any. So your argument that “both sides do it” holds no water.

    Remmie V
    You’re gold, really.

    The comments are not misogynistic. They are not directed at all women…

    Yes, I’m sure people who use such words love their mummy. Also, those jerks on Reddit weren’t misogynists. After all, they didn’t want to rape all women, just Lunam.

    ‘Cunt’ has no magical powers for me personally, but I don’t think you’re asking me personally. While we’re at it, though, neither does ‘dick’, ‘bitch’, ‘asshole’, yadda ya, you see where I’m going.

    Therefore what?
    Because you don’t feel that way it doesn’t make it so.

    I call people cunts, both in happy “Y’all my bitches!” ways, and in traffic when someone cuts me off.

    Which means that you obviously have a problem using sexist language that implies that being a woman is something bad. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Because many racial and gender-driven pejoratives have been reappropriated – as I said earlier with the whole, “Y’all my bitches!” thing.

    Yes, there’s something called “reclaiming the slur”. Which has absolutely nothing to do with the usage of a word as an insult.
    You know, there are people who are gay. They call themselves gay, their friends speak of them as gay, their parents say, when asked if they have a daughter in law “No, a wonderfull son-in-law, our Ben is gay”.
    This doesn’t change the fact that when somebody uses “gay” to insult and shame another person that it isn’t a homophobic slur and the user is a bigot.

    Again – because people can’t change their race.

    But they can sure do something about those nasty cunts of theirs.

  125. Gordon says

    Fun fact – while Ryan is on his high horse about getting blocked, I know for a fact that in that discusion he was blocking the people who disagreed with him (like me).

  126. julian says

    @Gordon,

    This guy’s scum. Why so many people insist on defending him and berating Greta Christina is beyond me.

  127. says

    DJ @36 -

    reading the whole 200 comment thread where the guy was roundly attacked, and the stuff escalated in ugly ways on both sides, seemingly egged on with impunity, provides some good context. As an example, it was a woman commenter, not the guy (referred to on this post as a “yutz”) who first talked about “kicking women in the cunt.”

    Yes: I was that commenter; but no: I didn’t talk about kicking women in the cunt, I talked about men talking about kicking women in the cunt, and I did that because a few men have been talking about kicking me in the cunt for the past six months. They’ve been doing that because they disagree with what I write about sexism and sexist epithets and misogyny (and Rebecca Watson). I was making a point about Ryan’s er intervention in that thread. I didn’t do it in order to escalate the discussion, I did it to indicate the kind of thing Ryan was brushing aside as unimportant in order to talk about what he considered important.

    @ 56

    We look through a glass darkly: the excerpts on Christina’s post, and the quotes on this post from Long originally seemingly attributed to me (very surprisingly) are only a snippet of a spectacular 200 comment-long FB thread, where Long was insulted, accused of wanted to kick women in cunts, and was party to escalating the rhetoric.

    No: he was not accused of wanting to kick women in the cunt. See my comment #35, immediately before yours @36 (so you probably didn’t see it). He was implicitly accused of shrugging off the fact that other people talk about kicking women in the cunt.

  128. says

    D.J., I asked you a number of specific questions about why it was unfair for a reason. Reading your comments on Greta’s post, in the full context of the argument on Facebook, I come to the conclusion that you think that some amount of heated argument over whether we should even be able to have discussions about the real misogyny and sexism experienced by some women in the skeptical and atheists movements is a justification for calling a woman who wants to have that discussion all the things Ryan called Greta. I asked those specific questions because I wanted you to know that this was a concern. Sadly, I don’t find anything in your answer to tell me otherwise. So, yes, you appear to be saying that when we fight back against the people who are trying really very hard to tell us that our concerns on this topic aren’t “real issues,” as Ryan did, we’re being “unfair” to object to any treatment we get. Not only that, you seem to be saying our fight itself is unfair.

    Note that I say “appear” and “seem.” Feel free to clarify your position on that.

    This blog post laid out your behavior without putting much in the way of labels on it for a reason. That reason is that it was working very hard not to prejudice people’s views of the incidents in question. Let me make my point about your problem a little more blatant then. You have a position of authority, and with that position comes a certain amount of clout. That means that your opinion on various things carries more weight than it would otherwise. Despite that, you’ve got a habit of showing up in the middle of a debate and endorsing a side without understanding all of the issues at play. The issue at Skepchick was not the age of consent, no one was telling CFI Michigan that they don’t put on a good lecture series, and no one had accused Ryan of wanting to kick women in the cunt (at least not until he said so himself). So you drop your clout somewhere where it endorses stances you probably wouldn’t endorse if those issues were presented to you for cold consideration with all the personalities stripped out. Then you’re bewildered at the response.

    Unsettling that your statements carry weight and consequences? Yes, it is. It’s also just one of those things that people in leadership positions are stuck with. You’re hardly alone on this.

    As for how that’s affecting people’s views on TAM: I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but as a movement, we’ve been fighting over women’s participation for about half a year now. If you’ve paid attention, you’ll have seen people trying to block the participation of particular women, most notably Rebecca Watson. They’ve been quite nasty about it, in fact, in ways that specifically invoke sexual violence. They’ve also been highly persistent about it, popping up in places that would otherwise seem innocuous, like announcements of SGU events and posts on her talks. If you haven’t been blind, you’ll have noticed that some people with a lot of clout in the movement have not exactly been quick to tell these people to knock it off. Many of them have, in fact, blamed Rebecca for the people trying to stop her from participating in this movement.

    This is a major issue for the movement. It’s also exactly what you stepped into the middle of commenting at Greta’s. That argument on Facebook started with one more round of attacking Rebecca for nothing more than participating–giving a speech. Then Ryan showed up to say that this issue that had been preoccupying the movement for, at that time, five months, wasn’t a “real issue.”

    Then you joined the party, D.J. Guess which side you dropped your clout on for this one?

    Sure, you’re giving every indication that you didn’t realize the argument was part of the months-long fight. That’s not reassuring. It just tells us you’re not paying attention to this. See Giliell and WMDKitty’s comments for why that’s important.

    And the really stupid thing about it is that you and the JREF are doing good work with TAM. The numbers on speaker and audience participation are great. It’s not going to stay that way, however, if women think that fighting back against the people out there who really do try to stop them from participating is just going to be met by management with “I think you’re being unfair to him.” That’s how this affects TAM.

    So yes, you, D.J., as president of the JREF, have a problem. That problem is that you, D.J., insist on acting as a private individual in public matters.

  129. says

    Let me add that I don’t see how Greta was unfair, and for someone (a skeptic) to say that she was, they need to be able to specifically articulate exactly what action was unfair, what moral code it was unfair under, how it was unfair and what Greta could have done to make her action more fair.

    The status had no content other than “Rebecca Watson”. If that is enough to trigger a misogynous rant, then the person who has been triggered has some serious issues.

    I went over to Greta’s “yes, but” blog, read through it, found nothing controversial, then was shocked that there were 700+ comments! (tldr).

    I am not sure that I am understanding this correctly, that the person who had the misogynous rant was claiming to be or reported to be a gay women’s studies major? as in a male, majoring in gay women’s studies?

    If so, then he should change majors because I don’t think he has the capacity to understand the subject. Not to dump on him, but he has a serious perception fault that will make this an impossible career choice. It would be like someone blind majoring in art history, or someone deaf majoring in music.

    It is very clear to me that some people (mostly men) are unable to perceive how many men speak to women as women perceive them. This is the problem. To understand someone, you need to understand them from their perspective, not from your own perspective.

    If you can’t understand someone from their perspective, you can’t understand them. This is not a close call. This is the essence of mansplaining. This is the essence of what leads to bigotry, being unable to understand someone from their perspective and defaulting to xenophobia.

    http://daedalus2u.blogspot.com/2010/03/physiology-behind-xenophobia.html

    If you don’t understand someone from their perspective, the normal human default is to trigger xenophobia (my hypothesis).

    If you don’t understand why someone is upset with something you have said, then you don’t understand them from their perspective. What you then need to do is listen to them explain why from their perspective what was said was upsetting, and not try to bully them into ignoring their perspective and instead use your perspective. That is not being understanding, that is being bullying.

    The not understanding someone is morally neutral. It takes two people to understand each other. There is no “fault” in not understanding someone. To go from two people not understanding each other from the other’s perspective requires cooperation to exchange information and neuronal remodeling (aka learning) to instantiate new neuroanatomy so “the other” can be understood. Defaulting to xenophobia is normal but unfortunate. Acting on that xenophobia is not morally neutral. It is not acceptable. If you can’t speak or interact with someone without defaulting to abusive language, then there is a problem, and the problem resides in the person using abusive language.

  130. D.J. Grothe says

    Hi Ophelia: Thanks for clarifying, and I think you’re right. But I also think it is clear from that long FB thread that Long misread your intention, and that he thought he was accused in that thread of wanting to kick women in cunts, among other things. FWIW, that is how I read or misread that thread as well. Long reacted completely inappropriately in anger to this (something I have said numerous times). But the guy’s initial comments were reasoned, and then he was roundly and personally attacked by a number of Christina’s ditto-heads in that FB thread. He reacted poorly, and that’s what Christina I think rather opportunistically ran with.

    Now, turning to this blog post, because of the initially pretty sloppy way quotes were attributed in this post yesterday, many people actually thought I was the one who said those things. (I believe it is pretty standard in journalism and blogging for corrections to be made in-line, clearly stating what they were and why they were made, but such corrections weren’t made that way here; Stephanie does now say “Not DJ” in places, but it is still confusing to some folks I’m told.) I would certainly accept Stephanie’s apology for the initial misattributions, if she were to offer me one.

    Stephanie: I do believe my statements carry consequence, and do not find that unsettling (I’ll try to assume you were not deliberately mischaracterizing what I said there.) But I do not believe that my liking a FB post by CFI Michigan’s response to your attacks over their choice of a particular speaker over a year ago should be a new attack opportunity for you. That is the sort of stuff I find pretty unsettling. I stand by my comments on Watson’s post contra Krauss, as I stated back then. And I stand by my comments on Christina’s blog post.

    I am pleased that you and others have been fighting for women’s participation for over half a year. I have been doing the same in this and allied movements for over a decade, and it is a worthy fight. And I think our hard work has been paying off in measurable ways.

    But I do not believe this post is a demonstration that you are “fighting back against the people out there who really do try to stop [women] from participating.”

    As for some people trying to block the participation of some women at TAM: No one has ever tried to influence programming decisions regarding any women, although a small subset of women did suggest that they would lead a boycott and “ruin TAM” if we “allowed” Dawkins to be on the program, which I found distasteful and offensive, and some folks tried to encourage various TAM speakers behind the scenes to publicly admonish Dawkins publicly during their TAM talks, which I found objectionable, unprofessional, and overreaching.

    Few of these sorts of blog posts, this one included, appear genuinely to attempt to change anyone’s behavior for the better; instead, they seem to me to be deliberately controversialist, and focused on excoriating individuals for various things. If you were so concerned about the three examples in your blog against me, and that they show such an alarming pattern of behavior that makes you feel like boycotting TAM (unless you were invited as a speaker, as you say), then why not email me, and see if any problems might be resolved? Instead, you choose to do a job against someone whom you have never before spoken to, and I feel you did me a disservice. I think that as a budding opinion leader, it would be good if you begin to think how you may foster opinions in your readers in the future that better represent your stated values, and are supported by evidence. Of course, the rewards resulting from these sorts of unfair polemical and personal attacks ilk your blog post may be too great to change your MO, which I can sort of understand.

    Your blog post here doesn’t at all address issues related to the involvement of women in skepticism, since in none of the three examples you attack me for in the post, is that topic even touched on. And quite literally, the blog post engages in spectacular ad hominem: no where do you express exactly why you may disagree with any ideas I might hold, nor do you engage them, but instead you list three things I did that you did not like, and then literally attack me as a person, saying the problem I have is me, as a person. This is dumbfounding.

    More than just better representation at TAM, I have a sort of track record going back over a decade of working to help this movement become more welcoming for women, as well as for racial and sexual minorities. It is a value I hold, even as I object to social policies like quotas etc. — It is just that I believe our movement is better if it involves more of the talents and enthusiasm of everyone and not just older white guys. FWIW, I have personally hired half of all the women employees and nearly all of the LGBT employees at the skeptic organizations I’ve worked with since the late 90s. I’ve fought behind the scenes to have more women in leadership roles within the movement. As ceo and president of the JREF, I’ve happened to contract with women and LGBT owned businesses, totaling over a hundred thousand dollars of revenue for those various business. We have partnered with and made grants to The Women Thinking Free Foundation, among other groups, who work to make skepticism more welcoming to women and minorities. But saying all this sounds a bit like insisting I don’t beat my wife; some charges, like that of misogyny, when so widely applied, lose their meaning at distinguishing those against whom we really should be on the offensive.

    Again, I am your ally in some of your goals, including representation issues, and I think it is a mistake both ethically and strategically to be so quick to vilify. I think it is either sloppy thinking, unduly opportunistic, or both.

    This will be my last post on this topic. I’ll go back to believing what I have believed for a while now about some of these atheist blogs, now yours included: that fomenting movement controversy often seems to be prized over honest and sincere argument, that some folks are too quick to vilify and engage in destructive in-group/out-group thinking, that these online communities are exclusive rather than inclusive, and that unfortunately as a whole, the feminist and atheist blogospheres often operate quite separately from and counter the growing skeptical movement working to combat unreason and harmful pseudoscience in society.

  131. says

    I think it is a mistake both ethically and strategically to be so quick to vilify.

    I should have contacted you privately? I should have extended a courtesy to you that you did not extend to Greta? Why? Why would I even think that this was something you would expect if it wasn’t the precedent you yourself set?

    On the “misattributions,” there were nothing of the sort. And you, D.J., were copied yesterday on the email in which I thanked Sadie for bringing it to my attention that people were reading the attributions that were there incorrectly.

    As for the topic of women’s participation in skepticism, I just explained to you how it was relevant. Others have mentioned here how it is relevant. I can’t make you see it, but please don’t pretend the connection has not been made.

  132. says

    There were no misattributions in this post, ever, DJ. Merely attributions that are not clear if you skim the post rather than actually reading it.

    Your drumbeat of “this is divisive rather than inclusive talk” is, frankly, missing the fact that these women who are making the argument that people are mistreating them are the VICTIMS of this divisiveness. The “half year” that these women have been fighting for equality in the community is, in actuality, a half year of combatting a concerted effort to vilify and demonize those people who are trying to bring it to our communities’ attentions that this nonsense is going on. They have been fighting for equality, I expect, for far longer than that half year.

  133. says

    Now you’ve got it, Stephanie.
    Why can’t you be nice?
    Why do you insist on publicly responding to a public comment instead of just voicing your concerns behind the scenes where they can be easily ignored?
    I think you’re getting uppity
    Why, after all those men have done for you, can’t you just let it go?

    OK, I’ll take my bitter cynism to bed now.

  134. screechy monkey says

    DJ, your whining about people not giving you the benefit of the doubt would have more credibility if you didn’t constantly accuse everyone of blogging things just to get page hits, as you’ve done in practically every comment you’ve made here.

    When you keep accusing your opponents of arguing in bad faith, don’t turn around and cry that they’re not being polite to you.

  135. julian says

    I’ll go back to believing what I have believed for a while now about some of these atheist blogs, now yours included: that fomenting movement controversy often seems to be prized over honest and sincere argument, that some folks are too quick to vilify and engage in destructive in-group/out-group thinking, that these online communities are exclusive rather than inclusive, and that unfortunately as a whole, the feminist and atheist blogospheres often operate quite separately from and counter the growing skeptical movement working to combat unreason and harmful pseudoscience in society.

    Well, I sure as fuck won’t be supporting any organization you belong to from now on.

    You can keep your indignant passive aggressive crap. I want no part of it nor do I want to support someone who’s going to undermine the projects, programs and work I want to see done. Have fun debunking UFO claims as that seem to be all you want to offer the world.

  136. julian says

    Out of curiosity, how long do you all think DJ Grothe has been walking around with that on his chest?

  137. julian says

    @DJ Grothe

    Another thing that’s grating me, in your post you state you believed Ryan Long had been accused of wishing to kicking a woman in her cunt. (Let’s set aside that he clearly does provided she is a woman he feels strong disdain for.) You say this was your reading of the thread and yet you can’t produce a quote or comment that leads you (not you specifically) to believe this was a reasonable interpretation.

    It seems terribly unreasonable to not have a reason to assume someone said something but go ahead and assume it anyway. It’s inflammatory and counterproductive to a conversation as you agree. I’d go further and say it suggests the individual was pre-disposed to seeing that accusation.

    But there’s no admonishment for that coming from you. You readily and openly castigate feminists for falling for such pitfalls but you don’t spare the same breadth for yourself or Mr. Long who were clearly wrong to assume such an accusation had been mind. It’s an irritating double standard that (from my reading) underlines all the situations in the OP.

    That’s to say nothing of how obnoxious your initial comment on Greta’s post was where Mr. Long insisted Greta Christina was an evil tyrant masquerading as feminist pushing sexist stereotypes. Honestly, how much more clear cut a case of disproportionate aggression and unneeded hate do you need to illicit your ire? Why, in that situation, was it Ms. Christina that needed to be rebuked?

    gah, I need to go hug a cat or something.

  138. you_monster says

    DJ from past comments,

    even if I rarely surf the atheist blogs because they often seem to present controversies, possibly unduly fomented just to drive readership

    does that help with page views?

    I know it may be good for blog hits

    DJ, again, in his most recent comment,

    He reacted poorly, and that’s what Christina I think rather opportunistically ran with.

    Few of these sorts of blog posts, this one included, appear genuinely to attempt to change anyone’s behavior for the better; instead, they seem to me to be deliberately controversialist

    Of course, the rewards resulting from these sorts of unfair polemical and personal attacks ilk your blog post may be too great to change your MO, which I can sort of understand

    I think it is either sloppy thinking, unduly opportunistic, or both.

    I’ll go back to believing what I have believed for a while now about some of these atheist blogs, now yours included: that fomenting movement controversy often seems to be prized over honest and sincere argument,…

    Your incessant accusations that these bloggers are writing insincerely to drive up the page hits is noted. No need to mention again that you think Stephanie and Greta are shit-stirring for the sake of controversy.

  139. you_monster says

    that these online communities are exclusive rather than inclusive

    I truly wish society at large was “exclusive” in the same way that these particular online communities are.

  140. Marta says

    Grothe@141:

    “and that unfortunately as a whole, the feminist and atheist blogospheres often operate quite separately from and counter the growing skeptical movement working to combat unreason and harmful pseudoscience in society.”

    Do you mean that because the girls keep complaining about being called cunts, they’re getting in the way of the important work you’re doing?

    On behalf of feminist ditto-heads everywhere, I apologize.

  141. says

    I’m curious. Do people who agree with DJ get called ditto-heads too, or are they truly skeptical and rational? Seriously, I was waiting for a snide comment about “freethought” in there.

  142. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Do you mean that because the girls keep complaining about being called cunts, they’re getting in the way of the important work you’re doing?

    Bingo. YET ANOTHER faux skeptic non-ally. I’m starting to believe that their goal is not to get more female participation in the movement, but to prevent it. That’s the only explanation for this constant, repetitive refusal to be skeptical about sexism/misogyny and ONLY sexism/misogyny,

  143. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Do people who agree with DJ get called ditto-heads too, or are they truly skeptical and rational?

    those who blatantly ignore bigotry are TOTALLY skeptical, logical and rational. It’s those who fight against it who are free-speech squashing fascists.

    Unless it’s bigotry that affects DJ Douchebag personally – THOSE people, I’m sure, are also totally skeptical, logical and rational.

  144. Kevin Kirkpatrick says

    DJ,

    Your problem right now (at least, the problem that *I* have with you) is not that you came to the defense of a person who was villified for making misogynistic comments. The comments in this thread (even leaving aside those from women and just looking at those from men like PZ), make an irrefutable case that your defense of Long was disgraceful. But, again, your defense of despicable behavior is not my problem with you.

    My problem with you is that you, too, have read these comments. And yet, despite them being blindingly illuminated as such, you stand by your words. *That* is your problem – *that* is the difference between you doing something despicable, and *being* somebody who is despicable.

    This is the exact sentiment I have w.r.t. Richard Dawkins. I ran into his ‘Muslima’ comment firsthand, and was sickened by it. But, off the bat, I lost no respect for him. “Surely,” I reasoned, “Somebody of Dawkins’ intellectual capacity and moral fortitude, upon having the errors of his ways explained in clear, rational, lucid, and unambiguous terms, will accept his mistake, own it, learn from it, and may ultimately use his position of authority and respect to help others see misogyny in our community for the problem it is.”

    But alas, he saw and ignored (willfully? through irredeemable privileged? makes no difference…) those explanations, remained blind to his shortcomings, and has continued to trumpet his ZERO BAD tune to this day. To me, that made the difference between Dawkins saying something that condescendingly dismissed the concerns of women in our community to being someone who doesn’t give a shit about the concerns of women in our community. And each day that goes by, each talk that he gives, wherein he does not take back or recant the sentiments he expressed on those blog comments, amount to a continued dismissal of real the issues women face in our community. Speaking for myself, I have no interest in seeing such a person talk about much of anything. Further, I think attending (much less hosting) such a talk would amount to a tacit acceptance of his misogynistic attitude, and I can’t empathize enough with the women YOU call out for feeling the same way (and on that note, fuck you).

    Actually, I think that’s a fine note to end this on.

  145. says

    This will be my last post on this topic. I’ll go back to believing what I have believed for a while now about some of these atheist blogs, now yours included: that fomenting movement controversy often seems to be prized over honest and sincere argument, that some folks are too quick to vilify and engage in destructive in-group/out-group thinking, that these online communities are exclusive rather than inclusive, and that unfortunately as a whole, the feminist and atheist blogospheres often operate quite separately from and counter the growing skeptical movement working to combat unreason and harmful pseudoscience in society.

    Well. That was certainly dismissive.

    I have a different opinion. I’ve been distressed with elements in the skeptical movement that insist on a retreat to what they consider “pure” skepticism — arguments over bigfoot and chupacabras and UFOs that actively avoid issues that have more substance in our culture. This old-school skepticism fails to “combat unreason and harmful pseudoscience in society” because it refuses to address the biggest conflicts, and appears to be more interested in using lesser issues as distractions.

    Stephanie has already addressed this red herring of blogs using controversy as a mere tool to gain traffic for the sake of traffic. That’s insulting. What you see here is passion — people who care deeply about these subjects. To spit on that concern and enthusiasm is something that won’t gain you any friends.

  146. says

    I’m starting to believe that their goal is not to get more female participation in the movement, but to prevent it.

    No, you’re wrong. They really want you, as long as you sit still, look pretty and don’t ever insist that there could be anything more important than the 49863th UFO sighting.

  147. says

    Right. I keep forgetting our pingbacks aren’t working at the moment. About those pageviews: http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/01/05/about-those-pageviews/

    Also worth noting: I’d been saying I’d go back to TAM when I was invited to speak since right after my first TAM. July desert heat is the one thing that can make me do a good imitation of a wilting flower, and cigarette smoke gives me migraines. What changed after the defensive reaction by CFI Michigan wasn’t my opinion of TAM (which is generally high). It was that people stopped asking me why I wasn’t going. I still explained.

  148. says

    you_monster @150 has kindly provided a grand assortment of quotes that, in combination with Stephanie’s example in the OP of how she and Bug Girl were dismissed because they are “bloggers” illustrate what I popped in to say: I get the distinct impression that DJ does not believe that things that happen online deserve to be taken seriously. If it didn’t happen in meatspace, it’s not a real problem, and complaining about it is just divisive.

    This seems highly unfair, considering how much the skeptical/atheist movements owe the internet for their growth. You know, among other reasons.

  149. Ryan Grant Long says

    D.J. is right (mostly), I have a certificate in LGBT studies which relied heavily on women’s studies coursework. I’m an outspoken liberal, I routinely post about issues related to women’s rights, and particularly in recent days, abortion rights, on my own facebook wall. I also routinely post about gay and trans issues.

    Not even five days before this went down on Greta’s facebook page, in fact, a co-worker had asked me “how come they can have feminism but if someone called themselves a masculinist, everyone would get angry?” I gently explained to him that historically the arc of justice has had to lean toward legal recognition of women’s equality. If he described himself as a “masculinist” it would look like he supported the previous status quo, in which women were considered inferior.

    He got it, mostly. But he still had reservations about the word “feminist”. He didn’t want to be associated with “radical, man-hated feminists”. I laughed that off at the time, and tried to reassure him that was only a stereotype.

    I spoke too soon.

    I did lose my temper with Greta, but I stand by every word I wrote. I don’t care that Rebecca Watson was politely asked out for coffee. It’s not a real issue. It’s tragic and destructive that this non-issue has gotten the attention it has, and is distracting from real gender issues. A real gender issue would be economic inequality between the sexes. The defunding of Planned Parenthood. People who actually are victims of sexual assault. Or, for men, the fact that sexual and physical abuse of men often goes under-reported because men in this society are expected to be unassailable.

    That is the context that is being left out here. Greta, because I dared to disagree with her, characterized me as an evil misogynist. She twisted words I wrote, blatantly misquoted me a couple times, and encouraged her readers to bully me. And then, laughably, I get heterosexual white men like PZ Myers accusing me, a gay person, of being unaware of my own “privilege”. It’s absurd.

    Since this has gone down I have received many private messages in support from people who are fed up with the radical misandry and trolling being passed off as “feminism” in this so-called “freethought” community. Plenty of these people are females. They are getting sick and tired of this hysterical crusade. And frankly so am I. However, most of these people are also afraid to come out in public, because they have seen what happens to anyone who rubs Greta or Rebecca the wrong way.

    The truly pathetic thing is that this happened weeks ago, and yet here you nutjobs are, bringing it back up again, trolling the Internet for whatever potential manufactured “controversies” that you can blow out of proportion and exploit to drive readership to your little blogs.

    It’s pathetic, and also self-defeating. I am an ally. I am pro-gender equality, pro-trans equality, pro-gay and bisexual equality, pro-science, pro-education…

    I’m everything you probably claim to be. And yet you have nothing better to do than attack me, call me an “idiot” and a “yutz”. I encountered the same hostile insults on Greta’s wall, and you’re actually wondering why I lost my temper? Figure it out.

  150. Ryan Grant Long says

    And to clarify one thing, when I say I stand by everything I wrote, I mean I stand by everything I wrote on Greta Christina’s wall, about her being a sexist herself, and Rebecca Watson manufacturing a controversy. Both bloggers are detrimental to any cause that can reasonably be described as being concerned with “free thought”.

    I do not (I feel silly even having to point this out) condone violence against anyone. D.J. is quite correct, when I wrote the posts about “cunt-kicking” I was responding to someone else who wrote it as a provocation.

    I erased all of the offending posts from my wall after I cooled down, and if you’re going to freak out over the screen captures of posts I wrote in the heat of anger, well then I can’t stop you. Have fun. But you’re wasting your time.

  151. says

    I am pro-gender equality, pro-trans equality, pro-gay and bisexual equality, pro-science, pro-education…

    Pro-slap-the-bitch. But only in the heat of anger.

  152. julian says

    Well I was regretting my previous declaration I’d never support an organization Grothe represents but now, fuck that.

  153. julian says

    I encountered the same hostile insults on Greta’s wall, and you’re actually wondering why I lost my temper? Figure it out

    Have you at least apologized for wishing she’d have her cunt kicked in? Or hoping to be able to slap all those bitches?

    You have a problem. I have a similar one. In an argument just today I lost my cool and used a racial slur. Clearly I have a lot of work to do. Clearly my brain is still set up to try and diminish people like that whatever my professed liberal ideals may be.

    Going off your kick in her in the cunt and slap the bitch comments, you have a similar issue with women. There’s no point in charging forward especially if you complaint is that everyone here is ignoring ‘real’ issues. I doubt the women you’re calling fake feminist and declaring misandrist are giving those issues less thought and concern than you are.

  154. Carmady says

    Julian
    “Have you at least apologized for wishing she’d have her cunt kicked in? Or hoping to be able to slap all those bitches??”

    What is interesting about this is the threats to have nuts kicked in, to syphon mens sperm, the references to men who ‘rub their penises clean off” seem to go entirely unnoticed or apologised for. I wonder why that is?
    Maybe Julian would like me to “burn in a fire” for this comment?

  155. julian says

    Maybe Julian would like me to “burn in a fire” for this comment?

    Funny story, I never disagreed with the banning that comment earned me. I never made excuses for it or pretended it was anything but destructive to the conversation, threatening and uncalled for. I made no friends off it, gained nothing from it and would be appalled if I did. I fully recognize however sexist and demeaning a lot of what I’d seen written about Rebecca Watson was I was out of line.

  156. says

    What is interesting about this is the threats to have nuts kicked in, to syphon mens sperm, the references to men who ‘rub their penises clean off” seem to go entirely unnoticed or apologised for. I wonder why that is?

    Because they haven’t happened anywhere in any of these conversations, probably. Where were you seeing them?

  157. screechymonkey says

    Ryan Grant Long @163:

    Wow. You managed to hit the derailing bingo pretty quickly there. Let’s see, there’s “I’m a feminist,” the “man-hating feminist stereotype,” a little Oppression Olympics (RGL’s gayness means he trumps PZ on feminism), There Are More Important Issues, The Lurkers Support Me, You’re Hurting Your Own Cause, You’re Just Trying To Get Traffic, and some good old-fashioned Tone Trolling.

    Bonus points for sneaking the word “hysterical” in there.

  158. Anonymous says

    I have to say, as a woman, none of these examples make me feel unsafe or disrespected by DJ Grothe or the JREF. They all seem rather mild and like he was just stating his (harmless) opinion. I realize you disagree, but for the record, nothing about this persuaded me to worry at all about DJ Grothe’s character, and I’ll certainly return to TAM.

  159. SkepticAtheist says

    Freefromthoughts’ blogs never ceases to amaze me. This baboon board has hit a new low. Now there’s even more blogging about problems which Greta created, which her and her minions fueled, with no mention of their attacks on Ryan, how they goaded him, misquoted him, used him as their scapegoat to vent their hostility, and with no mention that Ryan sarcastically posted on his own wall [in his screenshots] about the attacks made against him.

    Because Greta was upset that D.J. Grothe disagreed with how she handled that situation by using her power and atmosphere to bully Ryan on her facebook and blog with her sycophant-lynch-mob, now she’s got her buddy, Stephanie, to pick on D.J. Grothe for simply voicing his opinion? WOW!

    JREF has always had my support in the past. They handle real issues in an adult manner, not self-induced controversies. The comments that D.J. Grothe left on this blog are correct and very articulately done. Despite the fallacious attacks made against his character, he still kept his cool and handled this situation in the most adult manner.

  160. says

    Ryan Grant Long has the support of sockpuppets and the denizens of the ERV slimepit. I think that belongs in his CV, right there with his certificate in LGBT studies.

  161. says

    Ryan

    . A real gender issue would be economic inequality between the sexes. The defunding of Planned Parenthood. People who actually are victims of sexual assault.

    I award you 8/10 Dawkins-points for this.
    Try being a bit more condescending next time and you might make it to 10.
    You know, if you had being paying attention to this whole debate you would have noticed that a lot of those you are dismissing here actually are victims of sexual assault. They are telling you that this is important.
    Who are you to tell them that it isn’t?

    BTW, if this is all about freethinking and stuff, how do you defend yourself for being an asshole towards Matt Dillahunty when he declined this Atheist-Award?
    You accused him of not being able to think for himself for declining an award he was deemed to receive for being such a great freethinker…

  162. julian says

    So now Grothe’s sent his friends to describe FTB and its readers as a lynch mob. Thanks for the adult behavior Grothe.

  163. says

    What Ophelia said. There’s no way DJ Grothe has anything to do with the ditto-heads that have shown up here to defend Long and attack feminists in general.

    That said, if he doesn’t see these people and recognize that THEY’RE driving this wedge in the discourse, then his blind spots are bigger than I imagined.

  164. says

    Meanwhile – julian @69 -

    Maybe Julian would like me to “burn in a fire” for this comment?

    Funny story, I never disagreed with the banning that comment earned me. I never made excuses for it or pretended it was anything but destructive to the conversation, threatening and uncalled for.

    Thank you for saying that. I’ve seen brazen lies about it at ERV – saying I condoned it or agreed with it or brushed it off as trivial. I did no such thing: I did the opposite: I said “no ‘die in a fire’ here please.”

    (I didn’t ban you though. I banned that kind of comment, but not you. Three strikes kind of thing, I guess.)

  165. says

    Oops. Forgot to preview. Corrected version:

    Meanwhile – julian @69 -

    Maybe Julian would like me to “burn in a fire” for this comment?

    Funny story, I never disagreed with the banning that comment earned me. I never made excuses for it or pretended it was anything but destructive to the conversation, threatening and uncalled for.

    Thank you for saying that. I’ve seen brazen lies about it at ERV – saying I condoned it or agreed with it or brushed it off as trivial. I did no such thing: I did the opposite: I said “no ‘die in a fire’ here please.”

    (I didn’t ban you though. I banned that kind of comment, but not you. Three strikes kind of thing, I guess.)

  166. julian says

    Sent? Friends? Surely not. They send themselves (and each other).

    Sorry, it was a poor attempt at imitating their reasoning.

    I didn’t ban you though.

    I meant the banning at Miranda Hale’s blog.

  167. julian says

    After re reading Long and Grothe’s point I have to ask, why can’t Greta Christina or her readers call misogyny out of frustration or anger? After all, Long seems to be allowed to hope to be able to kick her in her cunt when he gets frustrated.

    He’s allowed to say it and go on to joke about slapping the bitch. It seems like a double standard to dismiss the latter as just the manifestation of frustration with a block headed group but use the former as evidence that group is composed of misandric bullies who control the internet with an iron fist.

    And you’re both allowed to accuse Stephanie Zvan, Greta Christina and Rebecca Watson of ignoring sexual assault and gender discrimination. Why? What evidence do you have they do? Isn’t that an equally offensive accusation on par (or greater I’d say) than an accusation of misogyny? Hell, I’m certain I’ve seen Long’s new fans say it’s an incredibly insulting an inflammatory thing to say. So why can the two of you say it and everyone just nods their heads?

  168. A. Noyd says

    Ryan Grant Long (#163)

    I am an ally. I am pro-gender equality, pro-trans equality, pro-gay and bisexual equality, pro-science, pro-education…

    The thing is, an ally is not merely someone who shares certain ideals; an ally is someone who acts in ways that make others feel safe and welcomed and understood. But when you belittle the concerns of women, call feminists man-haters, put the blame for overreaction on the wrong people, place words into people’s mouths, disparage their motives, and excuse your own violent language as having been provoked, then you’ve shown that you’re not an ally. Fuck you for assuming you can call yourself that or that Stephanie and Greta and Rebecca and all the rest of us should be grateful for having you.

  169. SkepticAtheist says

    Julian said: “After re reading Long and Grothe’s point I have to ask, why can’t Greta Christina or her readers call misogyny out of frustration or anger? After all, Long seems to be allowed to hope to be able to kick her in her cunt when he gets frustrated.”

    Julian, in case you missed what originally happened, Ryan simply disagreed with a post, and he said that he didn’t have to be a troll just to disagree. After several comments, the usual tactics started where people jumped on him and attacked him, where people posted things about rape or “kicking women in the cunt”, as if Ryan should have to answer for that, even though he didn’t even mention it. Then after Greta misquoted him, and blamed him for trolling when it was HER followers who kept goading him by hurling insults, she continued her attacks. So Ryan mockingly made those comments which he was accused of on his own wall, which this blog shows. But remember, this was AFTER Greta tried to publicly bully him on her blog. Greta was clearly wrong, and since D.J. Grothe politely pointed it out, Greta then set new rules on her blog to not bully anyone, BUT that doesn’t mean that someone else can’t do it, which is why this blog exists. It was meant to attack Ryan again without violating the rules of Greta’s blog, instead by having one of her friends do it.

    And by the way, there was no misogyny here. Those comments from Ryan were said in a mocking context in response to the attacks that he received. It is the same thing as if an atheist gets into a heated argument with a bunch of theists, and was accused to being a baby-eater, so then he posts on his own wall “A theist has accused me of eating babies everyday. Let me be clear, I don’t want to eat all babies, just his”.

    I think that D.J. Grothe saw what appeared to be an injustice, which is why he pointed it out. From what I understand, D.J. Grothe didn’t even know who Ryan was. But then he got attacked by this blog for it. This is the level that people like Greta and her posse have to go to. It is the opposite of how skeptics should react. With people like them and these types of blogs, you can’t disagree without insults being hurled at you, without flame wars, without being misquoted, goaded into a bigger argument, and chastised.

  170. julian says

    “A theist has accused me of eating babies everyday. Let me be clear, I don’t want to eat all babies, just his”

    Are you serious? If any atheist I knew responded to a believer that way (and I know how frustrating those discussions can be) I’d be the first to hand them their ass.

    Besides, they aren’t comparable. Threats of sexual violence aren’t absurdities that one can safely ignore. Nor is frustration and anger reason enough to make one. Especially against a group you know full well takes those threats very seriously.

    Long messed up. Believe what you want about him getting dogpiled but he went over the line in way no one else in that discussion did. And he went on to accuse them of not caring about sexual assault, about trying to draw attention away from ‘legitimate’ concerns and being misandrists.

    You don’t get to simply excuse his actions if you’re going to take Greta Christina to task here. They may have jumped the gun but calling someone a troll or a putz or even a misogynist does not make Long’s response appropriate or any less misogynistic.

    But remember, this was AFTER Greta tried to publicly bully him on her blog.

    He was not publicly bullied. There was no bullying and more over Greta Christina tried to keep the conversation from getting hostile, sending email warnings out to those of us (*points to self*) acting inappropriately.

    That was always her policy. Several fans of her were annoyed when she announced it on her first post on this site months ago. Don’t try to re write history.

    It was meant to attack Ryan again without violating the rules of Greta’s blog, instead by having one of her friends do it.

    This is incredibly paranoid, uncritical thinking. You have no way of knowing that. In fact you have several indicators pointing at another motive for writing this piece. Namely, the author’s dissatisfaction with DJ Grothe and his approach to several arguments that have come up online.

  171. SkepticAtheist says

    Julian said: “”Are you serious? If any atheist I knew responded to a believer that way (and I know how frustrating those discussions can be) I’d be the first to hand them their ass. Besides, they aren’t comparable. Threats of sexual violence aren’t absurdities that one can safely ignore. Nor is frustration and anger reason enough to make one. Especially against a group you know full well takes those threats very seriously.””

    Atheists respond back mockingly to theists all of the time. Don’t act surprised. Yes, they are comparable. And no, it was NOT a threat of sexual violence, it was mocking those assertions made by others towards him. Once again, context. But your mind is already set to blame Ryan as the bad guy.

    Julian said: “You don’t get to simply excuse his actions if you’re going to take Greta Christina to task here. They may have jumped the gun but calling someone a troll or a putz or even a misogynist does not make Long’s response appropriate or any less misogynistic.”

    No, it wasn’t “excusing” his actions, it was acknowledging his “responses” for what they were. And it was Greta who “jumped the gun” with her posts from the beginning, by setting up a post which vilifies anyone who disagrees as automatically being a troll, but you do what you can do evade having to talk about that, by diverting back to Ryan, when his was a mocking reaction to the misquotes, attacks, and mistreatment for his simple disagreement.

    Julian said: “He was not publicly bullied. There was no bullying and more over Greta Christina tried to keep the conversation from getting hostile, sending email warnings out to those of us (*points to self*) acting inappropriately.”

    Yes, Ryan was publicly bullied. Greta wrote a whole blog about their discussion which was out of context and didn’t tell the whole story about how he was goaded by sycophants, and almost everyone who read that blog and knew him would have known it was about him, because we saw the comments from before due to other atheists sharing the link on facebook. Something like that could have been handled right there on facebook, but it wasn’t for all of the reasons I mentioned many times already. You even acknowledge it in your comment. So from there, the post should have been quashed. The points could have still been discussed in a non-hostile setting.

    Julian said: “That was always her policy. Several fans of her were annoyed when she announced it on her first post on this site months ago. Don’t try to re write history.”

    She then banned Ryan from that post after he responded to defend himself, while others could still have the option to spout their garbage. That’s when D.J. Grothe stepped in to point out the bullying. I’m not trying to “re-write history”, I’m just stating the facts that you sycophants ignore (due to your nature of supporting her because of your “group-think” mentality).

    Julian said: “This is incredibly paranoid, uncritical thinking. You have no way of knowing that. In fact you have several indicators pointing at another motive for writing this piece. Namely, the author’s dissatisfaction with DJ Grothe and his approach to several arguments that have come up online.”

    Perhaps I don’t “know” that. But it is VERY likely that this was the reason. We have all of the events which I’ve explained, then we have the screenshots taken from Ryan’s page, and the fact that Greta later restated the rules of her blog after the incident, which meant that she could no longer continue her attacks since she realized that D.J. Grothe was right. Also, they’re a posse, and this is the baboon-board afterall.

  172. says

    SkepticAtheist, if you have nothing more to add to this discussion than your weird little fantasies, which contradict reality, kindly go away. And change your screen name.

  173. SkepticAtheist says

    Stephanie says “SkepticAtheist, if you have nothing more to add to this discussion than your weird little fantasies, which contradict reality, kindly go away. And change your screen name.”

    It doesn’t contradict reality. All of the evidence clearly shows the events that took place. You have made false attacks on D.J. Grothe which can wrongfully hurt his cause, and you have took the situation with Ryan and Greta to pick on Ryan even more, while you failed to explain the details as to what happened and the context associated, and while you failed to point out that Greta and her minions goaded and fueled that situation.

    You want me to go away, because what you people on the baboon-board want is blind-obedience, not skepticism. You want controversies and flame-wars, not understanding and peaceful discussions. You are the modern witch hunters looking to burn people at the stake, like you tried to do with Ryan and D.J. Grothe in this blog.

  174. julian says

    Atheists respond back mockingly to theists all of the time. Don’t act surprised.

    If atheists make it a point to drag someone’s family into an argument and threatening to hurt them (even jokingly), I want no part of it.

    And no, it was NOT a threat of sexual violence

    Maiming and harming the genitals is sexual violence. Saying ‘I wanna kick you in the cunt’ is as much a threat as saying ‘I wanna clean your clock.’

    Besides, he stated outright he wanted to kick her in the cunt knowing full well the implications such a threat carried with that group. He knew that’s something that would hurt (and intimidate in a few cases) the women he was angry at. So even if generally it isn’t a sexual or sexist threat he directed at a group who were likely to be more hurt and bothered by it than other people.

    In effect he used it exactly like one would any slur (to hurt, humiliate and degrade a group).

    But your mind is already set to blame Ryan as the bad guy.

    No more the bad guy than me.

    No, it wasn’t “excusing” his actions, it was acknowledging his “responses” for what they were.

    You feel his frustrations with the group make what he did less wrong and more permissible. You don’t afford this same consideration to any of the people who dealt with Long.

    Nothing you describe is bullying (no one is being defamed, targeted, anything. Someone made a post on their blog about a very frustrating and aggressive person they dealt with on facebook. Jesus, how rare is that?). Nothing you list is reason enough to suspect Greta Christina, Stephanie Zvan and some unnamed cabal of internet feminist are targeting people critical of feminism.

  175. Ryan Grant Long says

    I am not following this conversation at all. But I did want to add that, for the record and all who read this, I do not know D.J. Grothe. I did some illustration work for TAM last year, but I wasn’t approached by D.J. himself, nor did I deal with him throughout the process. I was hired because I am a professional artist with an interest in skepticism, my art happened to have been noticed by someone at JREF, and I was willing to do the work they requested. That is all.

    Although I do respect him greatly as a public figure, D.J. Grothe did not support me because we are friends. And he did not defend anything I wrote after I had lost my cool. From what I can tell he has said from the very beginning that he thought I went overboard when I lost my temper. My boyfriend told me the same thing and suggested I drop the entire issue. I eventually agreed with him, which is why I took down the facebook posts and attempted to withdraw entirely from this fiasco.

    But lo and behold, after I took them all down, one PZ Myers decided to continue to troll my page and leave two comments on my wall attempting to provoke me further. He was immediately blocked for that – and mind you, this is a man who had been my facebook friend for at least a year or more, who had never once commented on a single other thing I had ever posted, including many, many posts related to women’s rights issues and gender equality in general – yet suddenly he took an interest in me. Why?

    All D.J. Grothe did was simply point out that, from his reading of Greta’a facebook wall, it appeared that I started out attempting to have a reasonable conversation, and instead was relentlessly bullied by Greta Christina and her supporters to the point of rage. That is exactly what happened.

    If you have a problem with me, then you can talk to me about it.

    If you have a problem with D.J. Grothe or anyone else who is NOT me, then talk to them. But conflating us as if we have some kind of personal connection is totally out of line. The fact that a public figure I have no personal connection to has had to put up with these annoyances because of things I wrote on my own personal facebook wall is absolutely and utterly irresponsible and unforgivable. There is NO excuse for the harassment D.J. Grothe has been receiving over something he had no part in.

    You owe him a huge public apology.

    -R

  176. A. Noyd says

    Wow @ #196. What a load of oblivious, self-aggrandizing, histrionic bullshit.

    It’s super creepy how Ryan keeps going on about how he was provoked into talking about kicking women in the cunt. That’s the same damn justification those who beat their partners or children use. As he prides himself on being an “ally,” he should notice that similarity and be horrified at himself not only for the talk of cunt kicking but also for his attempt to blame his indiscretion on others.

    (Since he appears to use his skull to store pudding and old socks and is apt to get confused, I’d like to take a moment to explicitly state that, no, I am not saying Ryan physically abuses people.)

  177. julian says

    There is NO excuse for the harassment D.J. Grothe has been receiving over something he had no part in.

    Considering no one has been harassing DJ Grothe (some of us have decided to stop supporting his organization but that’s hardly harassment) this comment seems kinda… I dunno, pointless?

  178. you_monster says

    All D.J. Grothe did was simply point out that, from his reading of Greta’a facebook wall, it appeared that I started out attempting to have a reasonable conversation, and instead was relentlessly bullied by Greta Christina and her supporters to the point of rage. That is exactly what happened.

    Stop pretending that if you wrote those vile comments in response to being provoked, that that makes it all ok. I don’t give a fuck if people failed to have a “reasonable conversation” with you. I don’t care if you thought you were bullied. I don’t care if you were enraged. I’ve felt similarly before, but I didn’t respond by saying I wanted to kick the offenders in their cunts. By continuing to attempt to justify your actions with the lame “they made me do it” garbage, you are just digging deeper.

    I do not (I feel silly even having to point this out) condone violence against anyone.

    You should feel silly having to point that out, asshole. Non-douchebags do not make comments that require this after the fact disclaimer. Even if they were angry at who they were speaking with.

  179. julian says

    I am getting tired of people like Long claiming to have been bullied. These tend to be the exact same people who will insist nothing wrong happened on that reddit thread and that Rebecca Watson made up everything about being harassed after E-Gate. I suppose there’s one standard for them and one for everyone else.

  180. Amphigorey says

    Ryan said,

    “I don’t care that Rebecca Watson was politely asked out for coffee.”

    Oh jesus bloodsucking christ, do we have to explain this AGAIN?

    You are suffering under a very basic fallacy. She was not “politely” asked out for coffee. The very act of asking, because of the context, was the very opposite of polite. It doesn’t matter that the phrasing was polite; the action itself was very rude and creepy.

    So, to review: Asking someone out for coffee at 4 am by a stranger with whom you’d had no previous interaction is NOT FUCKING POLITE.

    Clear now?

  181. julian says

    I’ve decided if I ever attend TAM or another theist gathering (relax, I won’t) I’ll be politely asking for everyone’s wallet. Possibly in an elevator at night after they’ve said they’re ready to go to bed. Or maybe I’ll just settle for asking them to flash me. There’s nothing wrong with that, is there?

  182. Michael Kingsford Gray says

    @202:

    She was not “politely” asked out for coffee.

    I agree completely!
    Her whole story is an obvious confabulation.

  183. Forbidden Snowflake says

    I don’t care that Rebecca Watson was politely asked out for coffee.

    Her whole story is an obvious confabulation.

    One of my favorite things about Elevatorgate were two groups of people who made the following claims:

    One group (let’s say, group A) vigorously claimed that the behavior of Elevatordude was completely normal, run-of-the-mill, acceptable and nothing to kick up a fuss about.
    Another group (let’s say, group B) vigorously claimed that Watson’s whole account was an “an obvious confabulation”, that it was straining credulity, and that it was unskeptical to believe it on her word alone, since extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    And the peculiar thing is this, my friends: in the lengthy debates spawned by E-gate, I have never seen these people disagreeing amongst themselves, despite their seemingly opposite claims. I haven’t noted so much as an offhand “Why the high bar of evidence for a perfectly pedestrian event?” from an A to a B or “No, it’s bad behavior if it’s true, I just don’t believe that it’s true” from a B to an A.
    I did see, however, someone making both claims at once.

    Make of it what you will.

  184. Jeremy Shaffer says

    I’ll probably regret walking into this conversation because I know it’ll be tedious as hell and will likely lead to nowhere but, here we go:

    A real gender issue would be economic inequality between the sexes. The defunding of Planned Parenthood. People who actually are victims of sexual assault. Or, for men, the fact that sexual and physical abuse of men often goes under-reported because men in this society are expected to be unassailable.

    It really gets me when these so- called “real” gender issues are tossed about.

    My suspicion is that Long, who has pointed out that he is a gay man, would not be quick to receive someone as an ally if they claimed that any and all efforts towards LGBT equality should simply be limited to stopping violence against LGBT people, reversing inequality in laws and making it so that they cannot be fired from employment or refused housing because they are LGBT. I doubt Long would suggest that we shouldn’t bother to try to get people to realize and work to reverse the lack of respect for LGBT people that is the root cause for all the symptoms listed above just as I doubt he would call anyone that opposed such efforts, or at least appeared to, an ally. I imagine that Long would see that the idea that those and those alone are the only “real” issues facing LGBT people is quite condescending.

    Which makes me wonder why he doesn’t see the same when it comes to gender issues. Yes we should work to stop all the wrongs Long here and Dawkins in response to EG have pointed out. Those are legitimate issues. Ultimately though it will be wasted effort to fight them if nothing is done to recognize and reverse the lack of respect for women that is pervasive in society. As with issues like LGBT and race, I not only think we can work to alleviate the symptoms while trying to heal the disease, if we hope to be effective, I also think we have no choice but to do so.

  185. says

    Jeremy – well said.

    The quoted examples of “real” gender issues are all symptoms, not the disease. Symptoms can be horrible! Often they’re so horrible that they’re the first thing one wants to fix. But that still doesn’t mean that they’re the disease. If we got rid of all the physical (“real”) manifestations of contempt-for-women but left the contempt-for-women untouched…that would not be a good outcome.

  186. smhlle says

    “But the guy’s initial comments were reasoned, and then he was roundly and personally attacked by a number of Christina’s ditto-heads in that FB thread.”

    (I have not seen a link to the Facebook thread, which I find frustrating.)

    People have a right to agree with Christina without being called dittoheads. Why the need for a slur?

  187. Rabidtreeweasel says

    I was taught that some things, once said, can’t be “taken back,” but the internet has given people the idea that since their words can be deleted they should also be stricken from memory. Why is that? Taking it down does not change the fact that you said it. Taking it down is not an apology and, for the record, an apology itself does not right the actual wrong.
    Actions speak louder than words; they also speak louder than deletions. Asserting ones ally status does not carry weight with me when ones actions belie that assertion. That’s how trust and safety work. I could say I’m pro-children till I’m blue in the face but if I got caught calling one a whiney snot faced ass hat who should be beaten like a red headed step child I shouldn’t be surprised if I am no longer taken at my word.

  188. ufo says

    Dammit, DJ… just apologize already and try a little bit of “theory of mind”. Imagine you were similarly attacked online for complaining about being called (for example) “a fag” at a TAM and Randi started defending the homophobe’s “freedom of speech” online, then a bunch of trolls piled on and suggested you should be kicked in the nuts…. I’m not saying any of these things are at all likely to happen to you, but imagine how you might feel if they did.

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