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Jun 13 2012

“The Great Penis Debate”

Wendell Henry contacted me over the weekend to let me know about conversations he’d been having with the crew of The Ardent Atheist about anti-harassment policies, etc. Emery from Ardent Atheist wanted to take these conversations public, and Wendell felt a woman should be holding up the feminist side. It was another one of those discussions that didn’t promise to be exactly friendly, but I agreed in principle.

Circumstances conspired to make it such that Wendell went to bat for anti-harassment policies on his own. I haven’t caught up on sleep since Women in Secularism (May 18-20). This was supposed to be my weekend for that, but then this happened. I left Wendell hanging as I ran out of time and energy. And he took care of it.

This is the result. [ETA: If you're not sure whether you're up for more nastiness on this, read the comments before deciding whether/how much to watch.]

It’s not short. Honestly, I don’t have the heart to watch it all right now. I would, however, like it made more accessible for people who don’t have an hour an a half to spare. To that end, I’d like to bribe someone to create a transcript. If you have the time and talents for that, leave a comment here. First come, first serve, but please make sure you can commit.

When the transcript is done, run over to Ologies store and pick out some cool atheist art. You can have one stretched canvas or two anything elses. We can sort that out by email if you leave a functioning email address when you volunteer. Not only will you provide a helpful transcript, but the proceeds from the art will benefit the Secular Student Alliance. Wins all around. [ETA: The bribe has been claimed, but you can still support the SSA through the widget on the sidebar. They do great work for students, who frequently have their rights challenged by administrations. This is a very good thing. Hint. Hint.]

The transcript is now available, starting here.

Also, a huge thank you to Wendell. I can’t tell you how much other people standing up and working on this means, particularly as I come under fire from people who are uncomfortable (and/or unfamiliar) with what’s happening. It makes it possible to keep moving forward with any kind of grace. Thank you.

215 comments

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  1. 1
    Kate Donovan

    I’m on it!

  2. 2
    Stephanie Zvan

    Excellent!

  3. 3
    karmakin

    I’m just going to say one thing.

    Trigger warning people. The discussion gets NASTY. And I’m not normally a person who does trigger warnings (usually content is self-evident).

    I don’t think Wendall had a good take on the actual timeline here and as such the discussion went way off-course. There was a seed of a discussion about dealing with repeated creep behavior. DJ jumped and claimed how wonderful TAM was. Some information came out, that stated that maybe their policy wasn’t as good as they thought it was. DJ responded back with a whole lot of things that were very dog-whistleish.

    At least that’s my take on it. But boy, does Emery take TAM seriously. Wow.

  4. 4
    michaeld

    Skimming parts of this but Ugh I’m so burnt out on this debate. I’m really not sure how this Rebecca, harassment policy stuff became such a huge argument seemed fairly simple and straight forward to me. I like the parrot…

  5. 5
    michaeld

    I’ll second Karmakin… its a very heated bare knuckles debate.

  6. 6
    msm16

    I agree with michaeld. I am not tired of this imbroglio because I don’t care about women, but because the answer is so simple. Institute policies that end harassment and create a safe environment. There is NO excuse for anyone to feel uncomfortable and violated.

    Its funny when I was a child I assumed that adults had all this stuff worked out. And now I am an adult and I find that everyone is still acting like a child. When did it become acceptable for anyone to be hurt/insulted/violated/insulted/etc…?

  7. 7
    unbal

    I agree in principle with msm16. I would like to add, though, that instituting policies to end harassment and create a safe environment are just the first step. Making sure these policies are upheld and prominently displayed, etc are also necessary, and a serious self-critical discussion of feminism in the skeptical movement should NOT end there, either, if we want to be the kind of community that welcomes everyone.

  8. 8
    Pteryxx

    If anything, the sheer amount of pigheaded resistance is rapidly convincing me that atheism DOES have a severe misogyny problem even compared to other communities. If the discussions here are more contentious than in campuses, businesses, and sci-fi cons, and roughly paralleling *gamers* in misogyny? That’s nothing to be proud of.

    Thanks karmakin for the warning, and especially thanks to Kate Donovan for doing the transcript.

  9. 9
    KarenX

    I was skipping ahead and Emery says this at around 31:00.

    I think that the people who claim the JREF is not a safe place and needs this policy in order to be a safe place or to feel like it’s a safe place are wrong. I think that the evidence shows that it’s an extremely safe place for women, and men, and gays, and transexuals. In my opinion, the evidence that deports the idea that this even needs to be a fucking discussion is completely bullshit.I think it’s completely bullshit.

    Around 1:19:00

    The greatest harm that has ever been done to TAM so far is the awful, awful groundswell of bullshit that claims that TAM is an unsafe place for women. I think it is absolute bullshit. I don’t know what the motivations were of all the people involved in turning this into this. I just think this: I think they are doing so much more harm to the skeptic movement in general and I don’t believe there is a danger or risk to women any higher than going to the fucking grocery store. In my opinion, TAM should be doing nothing more than they’re doing.

    He also loses it at 1:23:00. So there’s that. And he concludes with this:

    There isn’t a real threat to women at TAM. Not any. Not at all.

    Rebecca is being: dishonest, incendiary, completely sending an awful message, is the result of lower women attendance. She’s dishonest, evil, and wrong. He’s really, really mad that women don’t want to go to this party.

    That’s what I don’t understand–why these people care so much if women don’t want to come to their party, when they care so much about not wanting to welcome them to the degree they ask for.

  10. 10
    Pteryxx

    That’s what I don’t understand–why these people care so much if women don’t want to come to their party, when they care so much about not wanting to welcome them to the degree they ask for.

    Maybe they should institute a Free-Beer-for-Ladies-Night, because that totally solves everything. /snark

  11. 11
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I’m typing as I watch, so…

    -”There is no power imbalance between speakers and audience”
    Does that hold true for Rebecca adressing Stef McGraw, too, or is she the magical exception? And have they seriously no idea that speakers have a kind of authority and celebrity status? (around 7:00)
    -Joking about a doctor having sex with a patient during the operation? Really guys, you have a long way to go.
    But at this point of the discussion it is already clear to me that these guys are pretty unfit to have that discussion, because of course doctors have power over their patients. They depend on them giving them important care and treatment and often don’t have the luxery of just switching to another one, be it for matters of avaibility, insurance or simply time (waiting another 6 weeks to get an appointment with a different specialist when you’re in pain? Yeah…)
    -Only the (sorry for not knowing the names) grey-headed and bearded guy (Wendell?) had a basic grasp about those things when he asked “what would have happened had Rebecca accused Dawkins of groping her?”, considering what happened to her after the “guys don’t do that”. (around 10:20)
    -”The abuse Rebecca is suffering is no different from the abuse DJ is suffering” (10:30)
    Really? He’s getting rape threats? And that’s not even mentioning that the “crimes” of those two persons are not nearly comparable.
    -Oh, so Rebecca just has to STFU, because that’s what happens on the internet. No, DJ, it’s not. Many male bloggers have come forward and said that they don’t get that kind of abuse, the rape threats and the high level stuff. That’s simply a fact. And this is the guy we should trust with handling complaints about harassment? Oh, and BTW, if that’s just what happens, what are you complaining about?

    -Where did Rebecca link her online experiences to being like the stuff at TAM? Last thing I heard from Rebecca about TAM days before she was accused of scaring women away was glowing praise of TAM (her speech in Cologne) (12:30)
    Where does that fucking quote imply that those things happened to her at TAM? And it’s nice that he omits all the very positive things she says about TAM just before that passage
    -”You shouldn’t count her experiences as abuse…” (14:00)
    WTF? No sentence you start like that is going to end well. So, all you creepers, you’ve heard it, feel free to do whatever you like to Rebecca watson, she’s fair game!

    -Emmery (?)”I have evidence to support my claim that nothing bad would happen to a woman who accused somebody famous of harassment because nobody has spoken out…” (17:00ish)
    What? That’s the whole thing backwards! It has not happened to anybody because everybody was too scared to be the person to whom that shit would be happening, therefore it wouldn’t happen?
    More later, I’m too fucking upset already.
    I think what we can safely say so far is that you should be glad you missed it, Stephanie.

  12. 12
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Pteryxx

    Maybe they should institute a Free-Beer-for-Ladies-Night, because that totally solves everything. /snark

    Noooo, that would be DISCRIMINATION and misandry and proof that feminists just want to be better and have more rights than men.
    I remember a court case from Germany where some guy sued a dating portal that charged women less than men because there were many more men than women amongst their clients.
    When the court said that the different rates served everybody, the MRAs howled out.

  13. 13
    Pteryxx

    Giliell: Yep, that’s the sort of BS I meant. Not enough fresh meat women at their gatherings? Bribe them/ trick them/ order them! Because actually treating women like real people worthy of basic respect would ruin everything. Can’t have that!

  14. 14
    Jacqueline S. Homan

    I can offer my take on it as to why they care so much about women not coming to their party after alienating a bunch of women: they don’t view women as full persons, they view us as “the Other” while men are the default “normal.”

    These guys want women to come to their events, but only on male-centric terms and under male-defined conditions: as inferiors whose efforts and work they can steal credit for (which a lot of men in patriarchal societies have a long, well-established and proven track record of doing throughout history), and as potential sexual conquests that are only allowed to speak if we don’t challenge male privilege and their “entitlement” to women’s bodies as if we’re war spoils.

    The dead give-away was when BJ Kramer said that “in any kind of social situation there’s power imbalance” and that “it’s ludicrous for us to try to institute social rules to say that one person who may have an advantage socially over another cannot take advantage of that advantage.” No one called him on it, either.

    To me, that smacks of rape apologia. It also sounds like an argument for male entitlement, against having any “social rules (which we call laws) that restrain sociopathic behavior/activities that benefit the predator at the victim’s (or the larger society’s) expense — a ‘might makes right’ logic, because it’s “ludicrous” to have laws against rape because “that’s just the way it is.” That is EXACTLY what that argument sounds like. Because that’s pretty much what it is, and there’s no way to polish that turd. And would-be prey, well, the onus is on the victim for “negotiating the fields of power imbalance.”

  15. 15
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Jaqueline

    The dead give-away was when BJ Kramer said that “in any kind of social situation there’s power imbalance” and that “it’s ludicrous for us to try to institute social rules to say that one person who may have an advantage socially over another cannot take advantage of that advantage.” No one called him on it, either.

    Just reach that point and it nearly made me puke.
    Yes, he actually just said that it’s bad to create a more equal society, that we shouldn’t tackle privilege and that those with the short end of the stick should just STFU. Bosses groping secretaries? It’s ludicrous to have rules against that! Police kicking a black kid? Just deal with it!

    Sorry for spelling BJ DJ above. Power of tradition

    -”We like the term “minions” actually”
    Fuck you, too, Wendell (19:30)

    -”We’re not here to beat you up” “You’re sure?” (21:50), talking about letting Sarah Mayhew join the conversation. Also, of course mentioning that they outnumber her. Yes guys, that’s the way you make women feel welcome and safe. Are they just fucking unaware of the limate this creates? Yeah, you can feel safe, guys, there’s 5 of you, you have just made clear that you think this is men vs. women and not about opinions and then you deny power imbalances. People would have to pay me a lot of money to join that conversation.

    -”We all should be on the same page”
    No, BJ, there’s no page I want to share with you. You justify abuse of power, you think that the whole issue is “people said stupid things on the internet. To which you’ve added a great deal already and I haven’t even watched a third of the broadcast.

    -”If you speak out against the feminist position you’re automatically labelled as a misogynistic sexist”
    Duh, no kidding. Why would that be. Not that I’ve heard anything from you to convince me that this was wrong… (24:40)

    -”The fundamental problem is the misinformation about DJ and JREF”
    Yeah, nice telling women that all their cincerns are much less important than the feefees of DJ Grothe (27:10)

    On a side note, the finish talking about their penises, then let Sarah join and ask her if she has anything to add. This could actually be a scene from Colbert…

    -”Where’s TAM’s harassment policy for this year”
    “Well, DJ linked to last year’s policy in a comment somewhere and said they’d have something similar this year”. Ladies, what do you want more? Somewhere not connected to the official outlet the president said in a comment(!) that they were going to have something similar to last year (which worked perfectly!)

    -Now were at the “TAM doesn’t need a harassment policy anyway”.
    So, Ashley Miller is obviously lying.
    Interestingly he announced that he wants to bring in Mallorie, I suspect it’s Chill Girl&TN; Mallorie Nasrallah and surprisingly he didn’t ask if anybody had any objections this time.
    -”Nothing would change with having a harassment policy the way Wendell describes it”
    Yeah, women don’t report (our fault) because they have no clear structures and support, nothing would change because women are not harassed, it’s safe (for women, men, gays and transsexuals and even queers. Yes, i would totally feel supported as a trans-person to be listed as a seperate group from men and women…), because there can’t be what mustn’t be…
    -”Rebecca became 10 times more known the moment she started this fight” (31:00)
    WTF? Rebecca made a small and mild remark at the end of a pretty unremarkable video and all hell broke loose targetting her with threats and abuse. Yeah, she must win the psychic contest because she clearly could have forseen that.

    End of part 2, my blood pressure is rising again…

  16. 16
    Wendell

    Hi people. Yes I should have warned Stephanie that this is definitely NSFW. In case you have not listened, the Ardent Atheist is a no holds barred discussion among comics. Also Emery was the co-producer for The Aristocrats if that gives you any idea of his view of polite language. In his defense (on the show that is) the directness and lack of any filters resonates with me. It is my favorite podcast which is one reason I was surprised at their attitude.

    As you probably can tell I am ‘just a guy’ I have never done anything public like this before so I apologize in advance for anything I said that was stupid or inaccurate or misleading or …. There were a couple of times I attempted humor (such as the ‘minions’ comment) so please watch out for anything like that since the transcript will not show my tone of voice or facial expressions.

    Sorry for the occasional time it just dissolved into Emery and I yelling at one another. I doubt that that is transcribable but I felt strongly that I needed to respond in kind to avoid getting trampled. Probably the thing that was most disturbing/amazing to me were the times (twice I think) that Emery clearly indicated that Rebecca et. al. were intentionally out to destroy TAM. I demanded that he explain why they would want to do that and although he had no clear response, he implied once that she (R) is now famous and a leader whereas before she was just Rebecca, just amazingly clueless is the nicest thing I can say. (this led to another comment I assume y’all will note as a humor attempt where I explained that Rebecca has hired me to go to events and grope people in order to prove she and her minions are rightand make her more famous.

    By the way the people are BJ for a bit then after the women join it is from left to right .

    Emery Emery, Mallorie Nasrallah, Richard Murray, Sara E Mayhew, Travis Roy, Wendell Henry (I am the santa claus impersonator)

  17. 17
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    -”Anonymous guys in their parents’ basement” (32:40, replay of an old episode) are the only bad guys. Yeah, we haven’t heard that before…
    -”The minute she went after Dawkins*” Yeah, he seems to have suffered greatly. What was this about power balance again?
    *Who attacked her, condescended her, ridiculed her. Her crime was not to take it like a good woman and STFU
    -”What Dawkins did doesn’t matter”
    At this point I’m beginning to hate that agressive, obnoxious privileged guy shouting his “arguments” because obviously getting the most decibel makes him right.
    -”We don’t call our grandparents racist because they were raised in a different time” Yeah, because they’re your granny they can’t be racist. It would be totally unfair to call my deceased grandfather a Nazi because he was raised in that time and thought joining the SS was a good thing. Who’s going to hold him responsible for that, those were different times!
    -”Richard Dawkins didn’t have the persepective why what he said was maybe not worded well”. ladies, just STFU. Never expect anybody to grow and learn and become better than people generally were when you were 12.
    -And yeah, Mallorie the Chill Girl™ Even Emery disagrees with her.
    -Rebecca isn’t sexually harassed, she’s a public figurewho has people react to her. What has to happen to her that Emery would accept that there’s a sexual component to it?
    -”There are laws, we don’t need policies”. Yeah, thank you, Mallorie.
    -”Women are a complex group” (no shit, Sherlock), therefore we’re only going to listen to those who agree with me (58:30)
    -”People on your side, Wendell…”
    And you’re the guy who complains about being put into a group with all the other women-haters? So, because Wendell agrees that there should be clear harassment policies he’s obviously on the “other side”
    And since he said there should be ways to report harassment he also says that TAM is a sexist desaster and nothing DJ could do would satisfy him (when he already said what he would consider to be good steps). Lots of shouting around 1.02. And now they want to know what Mallorie (of course not Sarah) has to say…

    End of part three

  18. 18
    A nym too

    Jacqueline@14 – as someone who’s straddling several intersecting axes of oppression*, that statement terrifies me. He’s saying “Sorry antelopes, some of us are lions, and we’d like to be able to bite your throats out sometimes. Why? Duh, cos we can!”

    Sometimes I feel really unsafe/unwelcome.

    “I sound like the punchline to a joke, but here goes: I’m a woman, gay, non-binary, physically disabled with added sensory impairments, non-NT, mentally ill, of low
    socioeconomic status, and probably some stuff I’ve forgotten! The kyriarchy is kicking my backside.

  19. 19
    Frogmistress

    These guys are unreal.

    How I really hate watching an all guy panel discuss how women who think they are being treated badly are just plain wrong.

    “Power balances don’t exist, or do exist but suck it up ladies!”

    This whole show is a huge example of the problem. But they are all so involved in being right that they can’t even hear what they are saying.

    Emery@37:35 “[Rebecca] isn’t being sexually harassed.”

    Why should I think they want women at their conferences?

  20. 20
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Hi Wendell
    First of all let me thank you for doing a pretty good job at defending the need for harassment policies.
    Sadly, your humor failed, that’s why you got a heartfelt “fuck you” above. At that point I was yelling at the screen because of the utter stupidity of the whole debate.

    But one point: NSFW isn’t the same as a trigger warning. Although probably all things that require a trigger warning are NSFW it doesn’t hold true the other way round. Trigger warnings are necessary because some content might make people with traumatic experiences have flashbacks, become unglued in time and relive the moments of abuse. That’s something different than saying “fuck” all over.

  21. 21
    Jacqueline S. Homan

    I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but but I don’t believe for a New York minute that these guys genuinely have women’s best interests at heart. They’re only out for themselves.

    They don’t want an honest discussion on dismantling oppressive structures of privilege; they want to hang onto their male privilege at women’s expense.

    They did not discuss how they could work towards helping to build a movement that does not replicate the existing structures of privilege, misogyny and oppression that women and other marginalized people already suffer because of the stranglehold that religious institutions and leaders have on our geopolitical sphere.

    Instead, these guys spent well over an hour justifying their bullshit, making excuses for their bullshit, and argued for the sake of arguing when some things simply are not up for debate.

    Their nitpicking over how Rebecca as the victim “should have handled” what happened to her proves that they have no desire to build an inclusive environment that doesn’t reek of the same patriarchal authoritarian horseshit as misogynistic religious institutions. The oppressor has no right or moral high ground to dictate to the oppressed how to react after being attacked for demanding basic human dignity. Would anyone today debate the “right” to own slaves? Women’s human rights are non-negotiable.

    There is no way to polish this whole steaming pile of bullshit cooked up and served by these professional bullshit chefs.

    After listening to/watching this smorgasboard of mansplaining bullshit, I am now convinced that other women are not being unreasonable when they say ‘Why should I spend my hard-earned money to enrich these assholes when I can get treated like crap for free?’

    These guys have only themselves to blame. It was not Rebecca or any other known female member of the atheist community that damaged their organizations’ reputations and caused women to vote with their feet (and their wallets). It’s this shit that guys like this pull while having the moxy to make excuses for doing it and then calling for the wahmbulance.

    It was not Rebecca, or Greta, or Stephanie, or Ophelia or any other woman that gave them bad publicity: they earned it by shooting off their mouths and running off on their keyboards with their anti-woman bile. I saw their online rants and posts in the free-thought/atheist blogosphere before I even KNEW about what had happened to Rebecca. I first heard about all this from these he-man-woman-haters themselves. They brought negative attention to themselves by the crap they/their faithful followers posted which prompted me to go to the Skepchick site to see what “mortal sin” Rebecca committed to be deserving of so much contempt, scorn and abuse from them.

    My grandmother, who came to this country as a destitute Holocaust refugee, once told me: “When someone shows you who they really are, believe them.”

    These guys showed me in this video who they really are: Insecure beta male status-seekers with misogyny issues and attitudes of entitlement, who are trying to be alpha males when all they really are are alpha dipshits. It is my personal opinion that women can do better by withdrawing support of ALL forms from any organization or political party or whatever that despises us and seeks to keep us beat down, marginalized, silenced and relegated to the periphery.

  22. 22
    Cheron

    I had to boss key it at the point where they started to say that what’s been happening to Rebecca isn’t really harassment because it’s only happening online.

    I can’t be bothered to start watching again and look for where I left off because I no longer care what these MRA have to say. Nor do I care that they don’t think that they are MRAs.

  23. 23
    Wendell

    You know as much as I was initially disappointed in the podcast and ensuing discussion and video chat I find myself particularly annoyed that they have not reacted constructively to this post which I made yesterday (the day following the video)
    ——–
    I have half a harebrained idea. As much fun as it is to argue over exactly whom said what to whom, when and project what their evil intentions might be. I personally am much more interested in the path forward. We tried to discuss that a little at the end but I seem to recall Wendell and Emery yelling at one another again…

    I am not sure of the technical dynamics but I would be very interested in setting up a process where each of us (and maybe others) wrote up a 3 – 5 point plan on what we think should happen going forward to put this kerfluffle behind us in the best manner. But instead of just posting them when we got them done I think it would be fascinating for us all to create them asynchronously and post them at the same time for the universe to review.
    ———

    My thought was that we should move this discussion forward toward solutions. Since I honestly believe we all want the same thing (yes I know I might be wrong there) it seemed like a good idea to start working toward acceptable solutions. Perhaps I am too quick on the trigger here but continued failure to want to talk about solutions indicates clearly that they truly are not ‘on my side’ and that would be sad.

  24. 24
    Deen

    @Gilliell: thanks for those snippets so I didn’t have to waste my time and bandwidth on this.

  25. 25
    A Hermit

    The effect of the “informal power imbalance” can be seen in what happened to Rebecca Watson; the furor of her attackers was encouraged and enabled and amplified after Richard Dawkins made his stupid comment. His position in the skeptical/atheist community lent a sense of legitimacy to the mysoginists posting those rape threats.

  26. 26
    Deen

    @Wendell in #23: from what I’ve read, they don’t even seem to think there is a problem that needs a solution. Why would they be interested in finding a solution?

  27. 27
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    They don’t want an honest discussion on dismantling oppressive structures of privilege; they want to hang onto their male privilege at women’s expense.

    BINGO. Everything they claim to hate about theists, THESE DooDS ARE. They are no different. Why would I want to participate in yet another whiny self-obsessed clueless white dude controlled movement that is unwilling to do anything but cater to themselves?

    After listening to/watching this smorgasboard of mansplaining bullshit, I am now convinced that other women are not being unreasonable when they say ‘Why should I spend my hard-earned money to enrich these assholes when I can get treated like crap for free?’

    I’ve said exactly that several times. In fact, just this morning, I was called a bitch and a slut for not stopping to talk to a way-too-old-to-still-think-he’s-a-frat-boy douchecanoe outside my favorite morning spot. Since I now know that I just made that up because I’m a chick and chicks always lie, and that I should just put up with it because it makes whiny white doods upset to have to think about someone else for five seconds, why the fuck would I shell out my money to go hang out with more dudes like this?

    They’ve shown me they are not skeptics, they are not rational, they are in inquisitive, they don’t give a fuck about diversity and have the intellectual capacity of broccoli. What’s in it for me to hang around them? Apart of idiotic come-ons, insults that are “just jokes!” and tedious boring prick-waving conversations where they scream at each other saying absolutely nothing.

    They clearly want a sausage fest, so they can have one. I’ll spend my money and my time with actual skeptics.

  28. 28
    Laura-Ray

    I feel like we need to make a public statement to these people that their approach, their tone, and their arguments are what has made us uncomfortable at conferences. Like a letter and petition. Maybe then they realize that if they want the wimminz to make them look good, they have to cater to our needs and play by our rules.

  29. 29
    Frogmistress

    Deen @26, the only problem they see is a decline in women attending their cons.

    But, they, obviously, can’t be the cause. It must be the silly women whining that is the cause.

  30. 30
    A Hermit

    OK, I watched the whole thing…speaking as an agnostic-atheist, a skeptic, a longtime reader of the JREF website and big fan of James Randi;

    I am not one who joins clubs or goes to conventions but if I ever had the opportunity now to go TAM I would avoid it like the plague after seeing the smug, self serving, insular dickheaded attitude of these people speaking on it’s behalf. Instead of considering the other side of the debate they retreat into a hostile, defensive shell, they react not to what their critics have actually said but instead to the voices in their heads. I didn’t see evidence of a skeptical community here, I saw a display of groupthink being led by the ego driven opinions of a couple of loudmouth assholes.

    Way to sell your brand guys…turned me right off.

  31. 31
    Chris Clarke

    JREF is to misogyny as the Vatican is to child molestation.

  32. 32
    Wendell

    Deen @26 I agree with Frogmistress. They do see a problem in the declining attendance and even the existence of some harassment. Somehow though they think the the declining attendance as a result of the vitriolic manner that ‘we’ are expressing ourselves is the larger problem. In their defense I think they sincerely want to have meetings which are sexually safe for all. Also please note that this is a comic known for his excitability and utter disregard for many common social norms (like language).

    He in no way represents JREF and DJ. Although DJ said several things on the show with which I disagree there were occasions when he tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to walk Emery back from his more radical statements. Please do not blame JREF or TAM for Emery.

  33. 33
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Instead of considering the other side of the debate they retreat into a hostile, defensive shell, they react not to what their critics have actually said but instead to the voices in their heads. I didn’t see evidence of a skeptical community here, I saw a display of groupthink being led by the ego driven opinions of a couple of loudmouth assholes.

    All the while projecting all of this behavior onto feminists, just as another way to cower behind their privilege and avoid being skeptical. My heart breaks for Randi, who I greatly respect. How horrible to watch people speaking for your org turn into a pack of Vatican-suckling cardinals in child rape scandal – denial, dismissiveness, ignorance, threats, whining, lying.

  34. 34
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Chris Clarke – i swear i did not see your comment before I posted. But, yes, clearly i agree. LOL

  35. 35
    Kate Donovan

    Leaping back in–I’m about halfway done with the transcript, and someone, brain bleach, please. Listening over and over to the same misogynist snippets, and then reading and rereading to make sure I captured every word is horrid.

  36. 36
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Please do not blame JREF or TAM for Emery.

    Agreed. A common sense stance. But, after DJ’s epic and repeated failures recently, denouncing and distancing themselves from sexism-deniers would do some good to their tattered rep. I’m not saying that they have to do so, or that they are compelled to do so, just that distancing themselves from that bullshit might help a little.

    On the other hand, the case could be made – as in the example of the increase in vitrol towards Watson after Dawkin’s “dear muslima” epic fail – that the DJ’s recent behavior (blaming women for speaking about harassment, instead of harrassers) could be bolstering the already unhinged misogyny that plagues the entire movement. We already know that misogynists need only a hint of a spark to start an inferno.

  37. 37
    Stephanie Zvan

    I owe you, Kate, even after the bribe is delivered. I knew it wasn’t going to be good, but I didn’t know they weren’t even going to try.

    For a different mental picture, try this discussion: http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2012/06/13/a-little-perspective-on-the-troll-cry-of-witch-hunts/#comment-65415

  38. 38
    Wendell

    Kate thanks for surviving the transcriptional process. I personally am refusing to listen to it again unless forced to do so but I would like to read through it when you are done. On completion I will likely post a link to the transcript on Emery’s facebook.

  39. 39
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    So, part four, let’s see how long my blood-pressure holds this time…
    -And here Mallorie is going again:”TAM staff should not be dealing with sexual assault/harassment at all” Because the woman could make it all up (those lying bitches again…). She lays the treshold at stuff that is illegal. Apparently, everything below that is not worth bothering. And should a woman decide not to go to the police when she was groped (and lose half a day of an expensive conference to be laughed out of the building), she obviously didn’t mind. Checkmate!
    I got harassing phonecalls. I asked a cop-friend of mine about what I could do. He told me I could change my phone-number
    -”DJ did a survey and nobody complained” Yes, Mallorie. It’s also that there wasn’t any question that asked “were you approached by any participant or staff member in a way you found inappropriate and that made you feel unwelcome or even nit safe”. They asked for an overall experience. (1:04:40)
    -”Leave it with hotel security”. Yes, I can totally imagine that hotel security will tackle a guy and take him out because a woman goes to them and says she was groped. And if they do Mallorie will scream “where’s the evidence?”
    -Wendell trying to take the debate back to reality “but all they’re saying is that TAM should have procedures and policies!” (1: 07:20)
    -Mallorie “But they had last year, so what’s the debate”? Well, maybe they can be improved?
    -”It’s only people who have never been to TAM and who have no idea” I guess Ashley Miller was dreaming when she was harassed at TAM, and when she tought it had been recorded because DJ kicked the guy out hinself. That may just be an unfortunate chain of events with no ill intent from anybody (aside from the harasser), but it clearly shows that the policies and procedures need improvement.
    -Wendell mentions that Stephanie asked whether TAM would have a harassment policy this year three weeks ago and didn’t hear back and gets yelled at by Emery “One single person wrote an e-mail, what are you expecting!”
    Yeah, apart from the fact that Stephanie isn’t just one single person but one of those targeted by DJ and a well-known blogger (hey, TAM, free publishing, it would have been all over FTB, which is not a small place), but that’s irrelevant.
    A woman enquires whether there will be a harassment policy and doesn’t hear back. And according to Emery shouldn’t. Because that’s taking the concerns of women who worry about those matters serious. Wait little woman until we decide that you’re important enough to deal with you. Be happy and say “thank you” if we finally do”. And then they’re wondering why women don’t buy tickets? 1:08:40
    -”Is Stephanie one of the people who is outspoken against TAM?” (Emery). That’s a level of dishonesty taht’s incredible. AFAIR, nobody has spoken out against TAM. Rebecca has announced that she won’t go there (yeah, who would after the way DJ treated her), so have a few other people. But there is no campaign against TAM. 1:09:10
    -Wendell: She’s outspoken against not having a proper harassment policy”
    -Emery: “Then I’m going to fucking ignore her!”
    Yes, that’s the way you deal with people, Emery: Dishonestly misrepresent their position, strawman them and then say you won’t listen to any argument they make because they make it (wow, it’s not often that you see a real ad hom).
    Just live with it, Stephanie, any argument you make is worthless because you make it.
    Rot 13 because of trigger: Naq lbh pna fhpx uvf shpxvat pbpx
    -”TAM is the only conference that had a near parity of speakers, not that it matters” Yeah, not for you 1:10:40
    -More dishonesty from Emery “TAM even had a grant program to bring in more women!” (framed as something positive) (1:11:30).
    -Wendell “Well, that was RW and Skepchick”
    -Emery “So they just put up a grant to bring in more women to be harassed!”
    Wendell, I think your attempt at sarcasm was lost at them.
    -”Ophelia Benson compared TAM to Nazi Germany” 11:12:15 Another blatant lie. I don’t agree with Ophelia’s post, but that’s not what she wrote. It simply isn’t.
    -”If Ophelia thinks TAM is like Nazi Germany, why is she going there?” Well, it might be because she never actually said that…(1:12:35)
    I notice that Sarah wanted to say something but doesn’t get to, but Mallorie does…
    -Mallorie “A little FT-Blogger was dishonest about what I actually said!” I guess that would be Jen (yeah, don’t name her, people could be tempted to look stuff up) who quoted and linked to your letter (The discussion can be found a href=”http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/01/the-straw-woman-of-the-skeptical-movement/”>here). And no, not condescending at all…(1:15:00)
    More after dinner…

  40. 40
    Kate Donovan

    Stephanie..that made me incredibly happy. I’m just going to hold that picture in my head.

    For everyone else waiting on the written transcript, here’s what (so far) I’ve found the best example of the truly awful attitude. It’s so casual.

    [trigger warning for dismissal of abuse]

    Wendell: Another example I failed to list was priests or ministers, and parishioners. I for one, saw one of those up close, at the Unitarian church I went to, the minister taking unfair advantage of some of his parishioners. In that case, which I could give you lots of details you don’t care about, it was truly abusive. It was wrong .
    Emery: yeah, no, I don’t have time to masturbate, or whatever.

  41. 41
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Kate
    I don’t know how you can stand this.
    Honestly.
    *bacon-chocolate-hugs* if you want them

  42. 42
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    My thought was that we should move this discussion forward toward solutions.

    Wendell, not only have we heard that particular idea before, solutions had been proposed immediately, prior to having this idea being brought forward from someone demonstrating concern (with or without additional cluelessness or accomodationism).

    1. All the drama, excitement, and yelling are originating on the anti-feminist side. The ridiculous overreaction is only really explainable by denial, guilt, and fear for losing a tiny bit of privilege.

    2. The anti-feminists deny any issue exists in the first place.

    3. Solutions have been proposed and rejected or ignored. There seems to be an issue with just saying that the policy set in place for one event can be made permanent and given a home other than a comment on a post somewhere. You do the math.

    Right now, the only way to deal with some of these people is to point out their complete lack of reasoning skills and appeals to logical fallacies and denial. You have here skeptics behaving like creationists or bigfoot and flaying saucer fans. They aren’t being skeptical at all, and obviously never came to skeptic community by reasoning skills – they just like attacking things that they already feel are stupid.

    Go ahead and take one of the policies already proposed. Fuck, take a sheet of paper or blog post that contains nothing but placeholder “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet… text, tell them it is a proposed policy, and see what reactions you get. I’d bet you they wouldn’t even fucking notice.

  43. 43
    Frogmistress

    -Emery: “Then I’m going to fucking ignore her!”
    Yes, that’s the way you deal with people, Emery: Dishonestly misrepresent their position, strawman them and then say you won’t listen to any argument they make because they make it (wow, it’s not often that you see a real ad hom).
    Just live with it, Stephanie, any argument you make is worthless because you make it.
    Rot 13 because of trigger: Naq lbh pna fhpx uvf shpxvat pbpx

    And that’s where I quit listening. It’s not because of profanity. It’s because the obvious hatred coming from this man is deplorable.

    Stephanie is one of the people who has been trying to move things forward. Blasting her with blatant sexism is not going to make anyone believe they have women’s interest at heart.

  44. 44
    Stephanie Zvan

    Ah, well.

    If Emery’s penis is all he has for an argument, he’s probably in trouble here.

  45. 45
    Jason Thibeault

    -Mallorie “A little FT-Blogger was dishonest about what I actually said!” I guess that would be Jen (yeah, don’t name her, people could be tempted to look stuff up) who quoted and linked to your letter (The discussion can be found a href=”http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/01/the-straw-woman-of-the-skeptical-movement/”>here). And no, not condescending at all…(1:15:00)

    Likely she’s referring to me, actually. She said as much when I pointed out her passive-aggressive dig (made almost identically, in fact) at JT’s on the flirting thread.

  46. 46
    Stephanie Zvan

    Actually, I guess his argument would be not so much his penis but that no one is currently occupying his penis? I still don’t see how it helps him, though.

  47. 47
    kagerato

    Also Emery was the co-producer for The Aristocrats if that gives you any idea of his view of polite language.

    His reprehensible behavior has nothing to do with politeness. It’s about constant egotistic and dismissive declarations that “just happen” to bully and vilify women who attempt to address a substantial problem.

    In their defense I think they sincerely want to have meetings which are sexually safe for all. Also please note that this is a comic known for his excitability and utter disregard for many common social norms (like language).

    Stop making blanket excuses for people. Emery doesn’t want women present as equals; that much is more than abundantly clear. There’s nothing that can possibly excuse his statements, he was not misinterpreted, and he does not get a pass for being a “comic”.

    What DJ wants is ambiguous. Significantly, he’s done nothing to clearly show he understands the dynamics of what’s happening here. He’d be pushing a hell of a lot harder against the bullshit that Emery and several of his other “followers” if he had any real clue. Instead of denouncement, he pretty much just lets this garbage fly past uncontested.

    If he actually wants a safe space for women, it’s his job to do it himself — not sit back and watch while others have a flame war right in front of him.

  48. 48
    Anonymous

    #19 – Frogmistress – Clearly you didn’t watch the video, because you would have seen that it was not all men.

  49. 49
    Frogmistress

    Anon @ 48 The video started with only men. Then, a woman. I think her name was Sarah, joined. When they asked her if she had anything to add she said, “No. I’m just here to break up the sausage fest.”

    Later Mallorie joined in.

    In the beginning, it was just men talking about how women who felt they were being treated badly were just plain wrong.

    I do admit that I did not watch the last 20 minutes or so. Nor do I want to.

  50. 50
    Jason Thibeault

    Sara Mayhew, btw, was one of the people working hardest to convince everyone that I’m a homophobe and a misogynist on that thread where I called DJ Grothe a douchebag.

  51. 51
    Jason Thibeault

    Sorry. Not trying to make it “about me”, but that’s the only interaction I’ve had with Mayhew before this. She didn’t participate in the thread directly, but retweeted everything Justin Vacula said uncritically and even created new tweets saying the same thing, CCing a bunch of well-placed skeptics. She’s not exactly unbiased herself.

    It sounds like it’s Wendell vs Everyone Who Thinks We Should Shut Up. I’m not going to be able to watch this video. Transcripts will be tough enough. I don’t envy Kate Donovan.

  52. 52
    BJ Kramer

    Based on the comments so far, I’ve learned that I’m a rape apologist, I’m pro-male entitlement, pro bosses-groping-secretaries, and pro-police-beating-black-kids; I’m a woman-hater, I genuinenly don’t have women’s best interests at heart, I’m a ‘mansplainer’, and I’m an insecure beta male status-seeker with misogyny issues and attitudes of entitlement.

    Oh, and I’m a whiny self-obsessed clueless white dude.

    Please, come to TAM. I’ll buy you a beer and you can see what I monster I am first-hand.

  53. 53
    Stephanie Zvan

    BJ, what you appear to be telling me is that you’d prefer to be judged by something other than this discussion. Why did you participate in it the way you did, then?

  54. 54
    Pteryxx

    BJ: do you realize you just commented with “I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m, and I’ll buy you a beer”?

    If you’ve got thoughts on how to fix sexual harassment, spill ‘em. If you think sexual harassment isn’t a problem, then let’s rock the evidence-based discussion.

    Otherwise, you just proved the point, dude.

  55. 55
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    -Ah yes, after Wendell asks her for names she names Jen Mcgibberish. Jason gets a honorary mention, too. She claims she was blocked by Jen on the discussion. I only see one comment by her on that post and no note from Jen that she blocked Mallorie. Make of this what you like. (1:15:00ish)
    -Mallorie: “Jason said I suffered from Stockholm syndrome” (1:16:00)
    Did you, Jason? Thibidiboo, I should add.
    -”FTB has the most harassing comments ever” Wait, suddenly harassment exists and is a bad thing? Why ain’t anybody telling Mallorie that it’s just shit on the internet and therefore not worth mentionig? Or why don’t they tell DJ?
    -”Jason titled his post “I like it when #men call me things”. That was horrible. If anything made me uncomfortable it was that!” (1:17:07) Wait while I shed a crocodile tear, dear Mallorie. So, that was horrible, people criticising your bullshit without threatening you with rape or demanding that you’re banned from society? But whatever Jen and Rebecca and Stephanie are getting is just OK…
    -She just called us Douchebags and Shitheads. I’m waiting, will all those people who got upset about Jason using that word make also sure that Mallorie hears their disapproval (Note: I don’t think she’s justified, but meh, at least she could so far refrain from using slurs)
    -So, basically a lot of Mallorie whining about how mean people on FtB were to her. Noticable absence of people telling her to stuff it because it’s just stuff on the internet. Noticable absence of all the respect she got all over FtB for her involvement in the Nude Revolutionaries Calender.
    -So, I’ve made it to the “I don’t believe there’s a danger or risk for women at TAM any higher than going to the fucking grocery store” Yeah, because you’re an expert on that, Emery. Because you really gave me the impression that should anything happen to me that you have my back. Or even take me serious. Oh, and the grocery store? I could tell you stories about that. Sad thing: going to the grocery store is not safe either, asshole.
    -”That girl Zwan” (1:19:50). You’re trying to bait TAM by your question about the harassment policy. As if anybody needed to bait DJ Grothe into putting his foot in…

    -Wendell brings in some facts. After Emery threw a whole bunch of abuse at Stephanie, that she was being dishonest and lying when she says that she didn’t get a reply from TAM about this years harassment policy (BTW, something Emery has claimed they had and had communicated. But that’s obviously not a dishonest lie but just an honest mistake), and Wendell shows him the facts, he retracts “half of his rant” Which half? The definite and indefinite articles he used? 1:22:00ish. Less hatefull misogynists would have apologized for getting the basic facts wrong and therefore drawing very wrong conclusions, but don’t pull that shit with Emery, he’s got a Penis
    -Should you have tweeted your question you’re a bully and don’t deserve an answer, Stephanie… You’re also only interested in TAM replying so you can go after them. I remember your extremely agressive and hostile post entitled “real progress” (yes, that was sarcasm)
    -Emery yelling “She’s fighting them, can’t you see that she’s trying to harm TAM!!!” That’s you, Stephanie. Right now I picture you like one of the Valkyries in a Wagner opera ;)
    1:23:30 Gosh I’m glad this will be over soon.
    -Even Mallorie is chiming in to defend Stephanie, although she can’t d so without saying “you can call her a nasty c*nt” 1:23:50
    -”She’s doing harm to TAM” Lie back and think of TAM, baby…
    -”There’s no real threat to women at TAM, not any, not at all” Did I mention Ashley Miller already? 1:24:30
    Of course, what he means is that there’s no bigger risk than in any other setting. Now, women, you have it. The world might be a fucking dangerous place for you, but you’re not getting anything better and aiming for this is hurting the menz therefore we must’t do it.
    Here’s a hint, Emery: the world’s a fucking dangerous place to women. Why should I pay money for that?
    -1:26:00 More quotes from Rebeccas’ post about why she won’t be at TAM where she tells about the abuse she’s suffered. Still no mentioning of all the good stuff she says about TAM. That’s called quote-mining, guys.
    -”Jura fbzrobql fnfl fur’f gbb htyl gb or encrq V gbgnyyl qvfnterr jvgu gung” Rotted for reasons of rape apologetics. Much laughter
    -Lots of talking about Rebecca’s haircolour. Yeah, because that’s somehow important.
    -Another quote from Rebecca and Wendell rightly pointing out that she says specifically that TAM is not safer than everyday life and that she’d like it to be. Objection:”But she just listed all the nasty things that happened to her!” No shit Sherlock! That’s maybe because those things do happen to women in their everyday lives (1:27:40)
    -”She singles out TAM” Yeah, probably the leaders of those other cons haven’t vicously and dishonestly accused her of ruining them.
    -Rebecca’s powers transcent time and space. A post she made after DJ complained about lower registration of women is the reason why there’s a lower number of women buying tickets. Go girl! 1:29:00
    -”It’s evil” Cue in Darth Vader theme
    Emery to Wendell: “Please tell us, what should we do?” Wait, that question has been answered long ago, hasn’t it. But you have to answer it again and again until your answer fits what Emery wants. You’re probably going to be accused of not having an answer.
    -”Everybody handled it crappy, on both sides”. Oh come on, Wendell. You were doing pretty well until now. No, it’s not an “both sides are equally bad issue” 1:30:00 Only 90 seconds more.
    -And they’re not even agreeing, it’s only Rebecca and Stephanie!
    -”I’m gone, bye” yeah, me too.

  56. 56
    BJ Kramer

    Stephanie, I am fine being judged by what I actually said, which was ridiculously mis-characterized. I participated in the discussion because I was invited, and the issue (and how it’s being discussed) disturbs me. I think it’s important.

    Pteryxx, I don’t understand your comment. Is there something wrong with my offer to pay for the beers when I meet the people who I think unfairly insulted me so they can get to know what I’m actually like? And as much as I’d like to ‘fix sexual harassment’, I don’t really think that’s on the table for any of us, and don’t see that having such ideas are necessary for participation on this blog. Nobody else has offered solutions either (nor is that remotely plausible).

  57. 57
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Jason
    I know she was talking about you “Tibetiboo” is obviously your new last name.
    Ahh, Sarah Mayhew, I know the name rang a bell but I’m terrible at names.
    So, yeah, two chill-girls. Again, absence of condemnation when people call you a douchebag.
    So, two Chill Girls™

    BJ Kramer
    So, care to explain why “in any kind of social situation there’s power imbalance” and that “it’s ludicrous for us to try to institute social rules to say that one person who may have an advantage socially over another cannot take advantage of that advantage.” doesn’t mean that people with power should be free to use that power over people with less power? You know, like the boss and the secretary, which is kind of the poster-couple for that situation.

  58. 58
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Ahhh, the thread moves faster than I type:
    BJ Kramer
    Reading the thread is your friend.

    Is there something wrong with my offer to pay for the beers when I meet the people who I think unfairly insulted me so they can get to know what I’m actually like?

    Apart from the fact that there’s a great big ocean between me and you, I would have zero interest in becoming intoxicated in the presence of a man who thinks that it’s totally OK if he should use any power that fortune has dealt him over me.

  59. 59
    Stephanie Zvan

    Funny thing, BJ. I was talking solutions three weeks ago. Perfect solutions? Nah, but good enough that about a dozen atheist and skeptic conventions have adopted them at this point. Or did you mean to suggest we can only talk about perfect solutions and have them count?

  60. 60
    BJ Kramer

    Giliell,

    Did you actually watch the video? That statement was about social ‘advantage’; we discussed and explicitly excluded social ‘authority’ scenarios (your ‘power’), like teacher/student and priest/parishoner. The examples of social advantage I gave were looks, clothes, fame, money, etc.

    Wendell asked me if I’d agree with him in those ‘authority’ scenarios, and I (of course) did. Which makes sense, because we’re talking about a conference where nobody has authority over anyone else.

  61. 61
    Pteryxx

    BJ: yes. Based on your comments here and in the discussion above, I would not recommend that any woman accept a drink from you.

  62. 62
    BJ Kramer

    Stephanie,

    That’s a cheap shot. I’m glad you’re working on solutions, but as I thought was clear, I was responding to Pteryxx’s rather bizarre insinuation that I should only be allowed to comment *here* (on this post) if I have a way to ‘fix sexual harassment’.

    I missed the post you linked to the first time around, but looking at it now it seems like we’re much more in agreement than disagreement about how people should treat each other.

  63. 63
    dogeared, spotted and foxed

    Shorter video – “If you stupid bitches would just stop listening to those fucking uppity cunts, you’d understand there’s no sexual harassment at TAM or anywhere in skepticism!”

    Color me unconvinced.

  64. 64
    Jason Thibeault

    BJ: There’s nothing cheap about bringing up that the very contributions and work she’s done to fix the problem are WHAT THESE PEOPLE ARE ANGRY AT HER ABOUT.

  65. 65
    BJ Kramer

    Pteryxx, Giliell: I did not presume to know your genders, and the offer of a beer is a remarkably common one here in New York, not to be confused with “I want to get you drunk so I can press my (assumed?) advantages on you”. It’s depressing to me that you’d jump to that.

    I’ll happily buy you a non-alcoholic beverage instead, or even let you pay if you want, but I would like the opportunity for people to meet me face-to-face, and then reflect on how justified the epithets hurled in my direction may or may not be.

  66. 66
    BJ Kramer

    Jason,

    It absolutely is cheap to imply that I have any problems with the attempts at improving this issue when my comment was clearly only about Pteryxx’s strange demands for what I write on this post.

  67. 67
    Greg Laden

    Oh, this is so incredibly stupid I can’t believe it.

    Skeptic rule number one: If you don’t know what the fuck you are talking about shut your fucking mouth until you do.

    Skeptic rule number two: Don’t evade rule number one by trying to impress everyone that you are “only interested in facts” because you are not. You are only interested in hearing your own voice.

  68. 68
    Pteryxx

    BJ: I did not say nor insinuate anything about you being “allowed” to comment. I said, if you’re only willing to talk about insults to you, but NOT to address harassment, which is the actual issue here, then the statement that you’re a “whiny self-obsessed clueless white dude” looks pretty fucking accurate.

  69. 69
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    BJ, did you read the thread? I have a pretty detailed take-down of the video in several posts. Yes, I watched it, all the horrible 92 minutes of it. It shows me that you actually don’t understand how social dynamics work, especially for those who got the short end of the stick and it shows me that you think it’s OK if people view sexual partners and, whom are we kidding, especially men viewing women as things to get and not people to interact with and in which it is totally OK if they use any advantage they have over, and this is important, not a competitor, but the object pursued. You’re probably a nice guy if the other person is a nice guy, too, with an emphasis on guy.

  70. 70
    Stephanie Zvan

    So you went and did that show that was all about anti-harassment policies and the people proposing them and you never bothered to find out what was being proposed? *headdesk*

    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*

  71. 71
    RW Ahrens

    Please, come to TAM. I’ll buy you a beer and you can see what I monster I am first-hand.

    Really? You can’t see how you just derided all the accusations made towards you and then asked those same people for a date?

    I’m a 58 year old man (from Texas, originally, no less), and I have absolutely no problem in seeing how right these people are about you and what you guys were saying.

    Let me clue you into something any married man (or a guy with a girlfriend) should have discovered ten minutes after meeting that significant other:

    If she says she’s got a problem with it, SO DO YOU!

    Your opinions in the matter don’t count, since it isn’t you who is getting groped, pinched, butt-slapped or propositioned. If the ladies are telling you they aren’t buying tickets because they don’t feel safe, the only thing you can do to help is to institute policies (which you then follow up on and enforce) which actually will make them feel safe.

    It isn’t about you.

  72. 72
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Oh, and before anybody pulls any crap, the above is not an innuendo to homosexuality.

  73. 73
    KarenX

    we’re talking about a conference where nobody has authority over anyone else.

    In a society where men have authority over women generally, and which is structured at almost every level to give the men opportunities to use it. You can look at this via rape prosecutions, or via why it’s almost always the mother who quits her job to raise a child, or via the gender imbalance in political and executive environments, whatever. It’s always the same.

    And it’s weird and unsettling to me that men are SO ANGRY that women aren’t going to be at this conference in the numbers that MEN WANT and that the reasons women have given for saying no to these men and this conference aren’t considered good enough. They are, in fact, bullshit. These men want access to these women’s bodies via attendance, and the women who say no aren’t having their reasons respected. They are being screamed at and called names and labeled evil liars. It’s the same old same old.

    I shouldn’t have to point out how similar this is to what often happens when women say no to male sexual attention, but I will. Same shit, different interaction. It’s more important that men get what they want than that women get what they want.

    Not once did I hear anyone ask in that video why it was so important for women to be there in the first place. The conversation just jumped straight to how offensive it was that they didn’t want to go and how stupid their stated reasons for that were. Who cares if women come? Won’t the conference be just as interesting? And won’t not dealing with the hassle of PR and harassment policies make it less stressful and more enjoyable?

  74. 74
    Stephanie Zvan

    For the record, BJ, pretty much everybody on this thread has also been pushing solutions for the last three weeks. You just went public with your opinion on the whole mess. It doesn’t seem unreasonable that if you were going to do that, you’d have something to contribute that’s positive. That’s we’re in this for, right? To make things better? Or do you really think we all just like the sounds of our own voices, no matter what uninformed, useless stuff we’re spewing?

  75. 75
    PZ Myers

    I am totally baffled by this podcast. So they got one guy (a guy I don’t know, who hasn’t been a major player in this argument) and got what, 7 other people, to shout him down in a podcast? And then what little I listened to was people yelling what Rebecca Watson thinks?

    Not interesting. Not a productive or useful contribution.

  76. 76
    karmakin

    One thing I’d like to add, is that I do not believe that “they’re just people on the internet” is a valid excuse for this sort of behavior. It’s actually my personal philosophy that the true value of who and what we are is what we do when nobody is looking, and this sort of situation is exactly that.

    It’s in our day-to-day real life where we are truly wearing the mask.

  77. 77
    Ophelia Benson

    Oh fucking hell. At this rate, I’m going to get kicked to a pulp as I check into the hotel for TAM.

  78. 78
    Jason Thibeault

    BJ, re what Stephanie said @70, you’re tuning in late. I made a post for people like yourself.

  79. 79
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    It’s actually my personal philosophy that the true value of who and what we are is what we do when nobody is looking, and this sort of situation is exactly that.

    Well, I pick my nose, other people make rape threats, what’s the difference?

    Stephanie
    Well, it would have been a starting point if he’d read the thread.

  80. 80
    Jason Thibeault

    karmakin@76: the funny thing is, it turns out that people on the internet are also people in real life. It’s seriously doubtful any of this misogyny is randomly-generated by script. Though, I’m not ruling that possibility out.

  81. 81
    Frogmistress

    Did anyone ever really say why the lack of women registering for TAM was blamed on women not feeling safe?

    I know why women are saying that now, after so many men have shown their asses. But, did DJ ever give any justification of why he said that in the first place?

  82. 82
    BJ Kramer

    Giliell: Considering how little of that I was actually in, there’s simply no way you can back up all of those assumptions about me. I hope we can meet some day so can actually decide based on something real.

    Pteryxx: I was directly addressing the meta-conversation about how we address the problem. I thought it was clear, but my point was that I think all the name-calling is counter-productive.

    Stephanie: Your statement is remarkable. I participated in a conversation between concerned skeptics about a topic *everyone* is talking about, and you think it’s headdeskingly-obvious I shouldn’t have because I didn’t read one of YOUR blog posts? I wasn’t aware that the conversation was about you. I’ve read quite a bit on the subject from many authors, including you.

    As to your follow-up, yes, I went public insofar as I joined a G+ hangout, which to me is a video analog of a blog post or my Facebook wall (Emery published it farther and wider afterwards). I’ve been public on forums and Facebook for some time, talking about problems as well as solutions. I’m sorry that this is the only statements of mine you have, but it’s understandable, I hardly expect you to follow everything I say.

    RW Ahrens: What? A date?! Have you seriously never offered to buy a beer for someone so you could have a talk? I happened to be a straight guy, but I have no idea who here is make or female (with some obviously-named exceptions), and my offer was to everyone. It is quite an indictment of the attitude around here that you’re the third person to comment based on the assumption that my offer to buy a beer for someone to sit down and talk (like, oh, the President has done) is somehow sexual. Depressing.

  83. 83
    MyaR

    But, did DJ ever give any justification of why he said that in the first place?

    The only “evidence” he cited anywhere I’ve seen is a quote (and a quote-mined one at that — he left off the critical ending of what was said) Rebecca Watson gave in a USA Today article from last year.

  84. 84
    BJ Kramer

    Jason: Nope, not tuning in late, here the whole time. Strange assumption you both made (unless your goal was condescension). Good looking post, though, I’ll read through the whole thing when I have more time.

  85. 85
    Hertta

    Oh yes. Talk about a hostile environment. But Ophelia, if you decide not to go, remember to not state your reasons publicly lest you become an attention whore and a drame queen.

  86. 86
    Jason Thibeault

    BJ: Stephanie is the tip of the spear, as one of the most prominent people involved in trying to get harassment policies implemented, and as the blog at which DJ Grothe made that claim that Stephanie, Rebecca, and others are to blame.

    Yes, he said that HERE.

    It behooves you to catch up before pontificating.

  87. 87
    Hertta

    *drama

  88. 88
    Frogmistress

    MyaR @83

    Oh, I know he blamed it on Rebecca and those women blogging about harassment. But, did he ever say why he chose that reason as the downfall of TAM for women?

    Did women answer his survey with “Rebecca has me scared? I’m not coming?” Why does he think this is the reason?

  89. 89
    Jason Thibeault

    @86 Err. More specifically here, which is a few comments down.

  90. 90
    Jason Thibeault

    He hasn’t elaborated, Frogmistress, but if I recall correctly, he’s alluded to emails he’s received in passing. They could very well have been disingenuous, sent to him by antifeminists.

  91. 91
    Stephanie Zvan

    Actually, BJ, for this particular discussion, I really do expect you to know what I’ve said in that post. There are two reasons for that. One is that it was one of the posts DJ blamed for lower female registration at TAM. You should be able to evaluate the likelihood of that if you’re going to talk about the subject. The other is that it’s the post that created the push for policies and, as such, is what you were talking about on the show.

    You’re a skeptic, right? You investigate what you’re talking about before you talk about it, right? Why would I not expect you to do the same before opining on this?

  92. 92
    karmakin

    I wouldn’t use that argument, to be honest, as it seems silly to think.

    For what it’s worth, I do think that point is probably correct. Talking about how something is unsafe WILL make people think that it’s unsafe. The question I guess at that point is if it’s unsafe or not. That’s where the big disagreement is I think.

  93. 93
    BJ Kramer

    Jason: I’m caught up. I know who Stephanie is, and I’ve read many of her postings. I even read the comment you just linked to. You’re making a string of assumptions because I said I didn’t read one blog post.

    …and here’s the embarrassing part: I just looked back over that post, and I think I did read it. Well, it’s hard to remember, I’ve read so many. But I know I read the sample policy at the geekfeminism wiki and that’s probably what got me there.

    My apologies.

  94. 94
    Stephanie Zvan

    Yes, I realize some people are referring to it as a discussion. It was, however, days in the planning and recorded for sharing. I’m still referring to it as a show.

  95. 95
    Saurs

    I hope we can meet some day so can actually decide based on something real.

    Dude, if the interwebs and video are such constrictive media that you feel they prevent you from stating your beliefs clearly, you shouldn’t be using them as a platform. Stick to “real” life if you’re worried about an audience armed with transcripts who are willing to cite you when you later lie about something.

    I happened to be a straight guy, but I have no idea who here is make or female (with some obviously-named exceptions), and my offer was to everyone. It is quite an indictment of the attitude around here that you’re the third person to comment based on the assumption that my offer to buy a beer for someone to sit down and talk (like, oh, the President has done) is somehow sexual.

    This is also sort of disingenuous. Usually the rule of thumb for most men navigating the interweb is that your interlocutor, by default, is a straight white male. But in feminist discussions, that rule (which is shit) should never apply. I’m going to assume you know that when you act like an anti-feminist and folk want to confront you about your anti-feminism, a whole bunch of those people are going to be women.

  96. 96
    BJ Kramer

    Stephanie:

    As I pointed out above, I think I was mistaken and I actually had read it. I just re-read it, and I realized I was very familiar with the content, even if the actual words didn’t sound familiar.

    But that could be because there have been countless articles on the topic by numerous bloggers that I have read, and possibly some have quoted or excerpted your post.

    Regardless, you have my apologies for the confusion. Furthermore, I’m commenting now on your blog, and if you feel I should read one of your posts specifically, I guess it’s you house/your rules, and I should just comply. I do wish you did it with less snark, but again, your blog/your prerogative.

  97. 97
    Stephanie Zvan

    BJ, I assume you’ve watched the whole video. Try to have some sympathy for why a distancing technique like snark would be useful here.

  98. 98
    BJ Kramer

    Stephanie: re discussion/show
    I only found out about it an hour or so before it started, and I wasn’t away it was going to be anything more. Frankly, had it been billed to me as a show for public consumption I would not have participated — I do not enjoy defending myself from people who assume the worst of me and comment with appropriate vitriol.

  99. 99
    Ophelia Benson

    Hertta, I know, but I’m doomed no matter what I do. I’ll get a ton of shit if I don’t go and a ton of shit up close and personal if I do.

    Thanks a lot, DJ. Nice job.

  100. 100
    MyaR

    …and here’s the embarrassing part: I just looked back over that post, and I think I did read it. Well, it’s hard to remember, I’ve read so many.

    OK, this is why I don’t listen to this particular sort of podcast — why would I spend 90 minutes of my life listening to someone who doesn’t do their homework, but likes to bullshit publicly about things where they’re admittedly fuzzy on details? And who actually watches this sort of public exhibitionism?

  101. 101
    BJ Kramer

    Saurs: I use the Internet all the time, and I use real life too. This blog is the only place where my behavior gets construed as ‘anti-feminist’.

  102. 102
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    BJ
    How can I make those assumptions?
    Well, statements like “we’re talking about a conference where nobody has authority over anyone else.” show me that you don’t know how social dynamics work, especially when you’re at the receiving end.
    Statements like “The dead give-away was when BJ Kramer said that “in any kind of social situation there’s power imbalance” and that “it’s ludicrous for us to try to institute social rules to say that one person who may have an advantage socially over another cannot take advantage of that advantage.” No one called him on it, either.” tell me that you’re obviously happy with the status quo.
    I know, you think of yourself as one of the good guys. Because you see nothing bad in all those little things. Because they’Re not happening to you.
    No, you don’t know my gender, but I know mine. If I were a guy it would probably be fun having a beer with you.

  103. 103
    BJ Kramer

    Stephanie: snark is certainly ‘useful’. I was careful in my words — I only said ‘I wish’. It’s not a style I like to employ or receive.

    Yes, I watched the rest of the video. I am a good friend of Emery’s, and he employs other ‘useful’ tools besides snark; I don’t like a lot of them, either.

  104. 104
    karmakin

    Yeah, that statement there really is anti-feminist. I’m going to give you the burden of the doubt in a way BJ, because when that whole discussion got really nasty I don’t think you piled on (recognizing that maybe you should have jumped in, but I realize how difficult that is), but that statement in and of itself really is anti-feminist.

  105. 105
    Stephanie Zvan

    BJ @98: Ah, that does change my perceptions somewhat about how prepared you should have been. I’ve known since Sunday that the plan was to do something recorded.

  106. 106
    Ophelia Benson

    Who was it who said I compared TAM to Nazi Germany at 11:12:15? Was it this BJ who is going to be at TAM?

  107. 107
    MyaR

    Wait, I’m getting very confused — this is a recorded Google Hangout? And BJ didn’t know that Emery was going to make it available for public consumption? If someone did that to me, I would not be calling them my “good friend”.

  108. 108
    Ophelia Benson

    Pardon me for being egocentric here but I really do need to figure out if I can possibly do a talk at TAM with all these distortions and lies and rants flying around.

  109. 109
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Ophelia
    That’s Travis Roy.
    You have my heartfelt sympathies. You’re really stuck between a rock and a hard place.
    You know, usually I’m a bit sad when I hear all you people on the other side of the pond meeting each other, but at the moment I’m rather glad.

  110. 110
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    He’s also the King of Quotemines who goes on reading from Rebecca’s “Why I won’t be at TAM” post while completely omitting the large part where she heaps praise on TAM

  111. 111
    Hertta

    I wonder if the people participating in that conversation think they were making TAM seem more welcoming to women? I’m asking seriously. BJ, can you answer on your own behalf?

  112. 112
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    “it’s ludicrous for us to try to institute social rules to say that one person who may have an advantage socially over another cannot take advantage of that advantage.”

    Whoa that is creepy as fuck. Probably doesn’t sound that way from the summit of privilege mountain though.

  113. 113
    Anonymous

    #106 – Ophelia – That was in reference to this comment left on your own blog – http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/06/rebecca-explains/#comment-182473

    “Orac says:
    June 2, 2012 at 8:38 am
    As Jews in Germany circa 1936 might have created “a climate where Jews — who otherwise wouldn’t — end up feeling unwelcome and unsafe.” As the Southern Poverty Law Center creates a climate where people who are the object of systematic vocal hatred end up feeling unwelcome and unsafe. That’s not to compare TAM with Nazi Germany or racist pockets of the US, of course…

    Nonsense, Ophelia. That’s exactly what you just did, compare TAM to Nazi Germany and women to Jews in Nazi Germany. Denying that you did so doesn’t change that. It just makes you sound disingenuous.

    As you might (or might not) know, I very much detest the gratuitous use of argumentum ad Nazi-um. I even have a special category for it on my blog:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/category/history/hitler_zombie/

    My taking you to task for your analogy also has nothing to do with whether I agree with you and Rebecca regarding TAM and DJ Grothe. Rather, it has everything to do with language and not sliming your opponents with the Nazi label (while saying that’s not what you’re doing). These are things that really irritate me. I expect better.

    I’m debating whether your hyperbole is worthy of inclusion. I haven’t done a Hitler Zombie post in a long time. Maybe it’s time.”

  114. 114
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    while completely omitting the large part where she heaps praise on TAM

    Wait a minute – he omitted the lengthy parts where she discusses how she started the TAM grants, etc.? Makes perfect sense. Can’t demonize someone making a perfectly reasonable argument if you actually deal with the argument. Better to spin republican-wise.

  115. 115
    Jason Thibeault

    Ditto on others — BJ, if you were asked to participate in a discussion and weren’t made aware that it was for public consumption, I’d be mad as hell at my “friends”.

    Additionally, the reason — the MAIN reason — I thought you weren’t caught up is that you think this thread doesn’t require one to offer solutions, when the people who the discussion chastised very liberally (and you participated in that!) were very much offering solutions this whole time.

  116. 116
    Stephanie Zvan

    Anonymous, you mean the comment thread that also contains the link to this? http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/06/degodwinization/

    Does anyone ever mention that when they’re talking about what Ophelia said?

  117. 117
    Chris Clarke

    Ophelia@108: That’s not even a little egocentric, except in the healthy, justifiable self-preservation sense.

  118. 118
    Ophelia Benson

    I know what it’s in reference to, “Anonymous” – and I know what Orac said about it.

  119. 119
    Jason Thibeault

    Anonymous @113: you should catch up. You’re well behind.

  120. 120
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Illuminata

    Wait a minute – he omitted the lengthy parts where she discusses how she started the TAM grants, etc.? Makes perfect sense.

    Worse. When Wendell pointed out that it was the Skepchicks who gave out those grants Emery said they were just doing so that women yould be harassed.

  121. 121
    Kes

    BJ, you think that you’re being unfairly mus-characterized in comments based on your publicly stated views vis-a-vis harassment… So your solution is to come here and whine about how insulting and unfair that is? Methinks a better approach would be to discuss how your views were either misstated or misconstrued and correct that impression by stating your “real” views on harassment and misogyny in the skeptical movement.

    The fact that you haven’t done so, and instead keep bloviating about being insulted by people who don’t know how you *really* are, makes me suspect that you do actually view things the way people think you do, but they’re being mean about saying so. Also, way to make the thread about *you*, *your feelings* and how *you* are represented, when the good people here about been talking about the movement and what can be done for the good of the community for the past week, month, year, ever. Do you have an annotated copy of derailing 101 on your desk, or are you just innately gifted?

  122. 122
    Ophelia Benson

    Here’s the conclusion to that Degodwinization post -

    However – he does have a point. It wasn’t a good example for the point I wanted to make. That point was just that targets of hatred and vilification should not be blamed or rebuked for saying they are targets of hatred and vilification. That does, certainly, apply to Jews in Germany circa 1936, but that’s not the best example to choose because it’s colored by what happened to Jews in Germany in 1942. I meant to avoid that by saying 1936, but I should have just chosen a different example, instead. It’s not as if I think all this verbal misogynist bile is going to result in a genocide against women. I don’t think that. I think it sucks and has bad consequences, but I don’t think it’s pre-genocidal or anything like that.

    A much better example would have been LGBQ high school kids in (say) suburban Minnesota.

    So, ok. Orac had a point. I still think he was rude and a bit thuggish about it, but he had a point.

  123. 123
    Ophelia Benson

    I do hope that’s clear.

    I don’t think TAM is like Nazi Germany, and I never said that. I don’t think DJ Grothe is like Nazi Germany, and I never said that. I do think it’s a very shitty idea to say that people who report discrimination are to blame for reporting discrimination. That is what I was talking about. DJ did that, and I think it was a shitty thing to do. I don’t think it was a Nazi-like thing to do.

  124. 124
    MyaR

    I really do need to figure out if I can possibly do a talk at TAM with all these distortions and lies and rants flying around

    Ophelia, I personally hope you do decide to go — your being a speaker (along with a few others) was one of the deciding factors for me and my husband registering. And I think there are enough others who are NOT distorting and lying and ranting who will be there. And if you talk about something relating to this very issue, I (and at least three other people I know will be there) will give you standing ovation.

    Also, we’re renting a car and planning at least one trip to some of the scenery (Canyon of Fire, Hoover Dam, the Atomic Testing Museum, or the like), to be scheduled when the worst speakers are speaking, or most boring, or whatever.

  125. 125
    Stephanie Zvan

    Oh, the Atomic Testing Museum is to be seen if at all possible. My husband and I combined it with a trip to the Test Site, but that has to be arranged in November, I think.

  126. 126
    RW Ahrens

    BJ;

    Yeah, “date”. Don’t tell me you had no idea there were women among the outraged on this thread. You’d just, a line or two above that offer of a beer, completely dissed every objection and characterization that had been made of you. Instead of addressing the actual problem, you simply dismissed those complaints. Kinda like men do to women, huh? Kinda like what they’re complaining about?

    Again, if someone tells you they have a problem, that they don’t feel safe at a particular venue, your opinion doesn’t count. Theirs does.

    Let go of the crap that you dislike about what people are saying about you, and listen to what they’re saying about how they feel about that venue. Listen to what they want to see that makes them feel safe.

    Then you’re back on the right track. Then you no longer have to defend yourself, but you are having a constructive conversation, not that crap that’s up at the beginning of this post.

  127. 127
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    When Wendell pointed out that it was the Skepchicks who gave out those grants Emery said they were just doing so that women yould be harassed.

    Huh. So, is Emery going to TAM? Because that would be the very best repellent of women yet. Who the fuck would want to spend five seconds with that waste?

    There is nothing trustworthy about dudes who get so irrational and emotional over something so non-controversial as “sexual harassment sucks. What can we do about it?”

  128. 128
    BJ Kramer

    [Sorry for the delay folks, had to attend a meeting at work]

    Ophelia:
    I hope you come to TAM. I really don’t think the noise on blogs spills over into the real world as much as people fear it does. (I didn’t particularly care for your Nazi analogy, but I also didn’t think it was worth bringnig up. It was an *analogy*, and obviously hyperbolic.)

    MyaR:
    I wasn’t double-crossed or anything, I just wasn’t aware of Emery’s plans. And for someone’s who’s ‘getting very confused’ you were very quick to jump on me for being ill-prepared (and by now you’ve read that I was, in fact, adequately prepared for the chat (not podcast) I was invited to join).

    Hertta:
    I can only answer for myself. No, I don’t think the conversation would make ‘TAM seem more welcoming to women’, nor do I think it would do the opposite. And it certainly wasn’t any of the participants’ goals. More generally, nearly everyone I’ve encountered over the last two years with whom I’ve been having this discussion treats it more like sports or politics. You pick a team, and you defend it right or wrong.
    I think we all went into that conversation to hear out each other’s arguemnts and see if anything was persuasive. Ultimately I think Wendell discovered that some of us did not have the starting positions he assumed we did (sorry if I misread you there, Wendell)…and I wasn’t on long enough to be swayed by anything Wendell said — I assumed he’d be reasonable from the get-go. Maybe it was a pointless exercise in hearing ourselves bloviate, as most debates are. But I was hoping for the possibility of a little more light and a little less heat.

    Jason:

    I thought you weren’t caught up is that you think this thread doesn’t require one to offer solutions, when the people who the discussion chastised very liberally (and you participated in that!) were very much offering solutions this whole time.

    Maybe so, but they’re not doing it *here*, and neither am I, but I have elsewhere. I think you should be slower to jump to conclusions of not-being-caught-up.

    Kes:
    I *have* explained how I was misconsrued. Comment 60: http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/06/13/the-great-penis-debate/#comment-89771. You’re certainly welcome to disagree with my position (there are poeple I respect who do), but I clearly have explained myself.

    RW Ahrens:
    No, I will not conform to your rules that offering to buy someone a drink is automatically a sexually aggressive act. Where I come from it’s simply polite.

  129. 129
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    More generally, nearly everyone I’ve encountered over the last two years with whom I’ve been having this discussion treats it more like sports or politics. You pick a team, and you defend it right or wrong.

    Excuse me if I puke. Because one team is defending sexual harassment and agression towards women.
    This is not a fucking football match, these are our lives and health and safety. Fuck that shit.

  130. 130
    Hertta

    BJ
    Would it very uncharitable of me to conclude that you (collective) don’t really care very much if women feel safe or welcome at TAM. That’s how your answer reads to me.

  131. 131
    RW Ahrens

    Where I come from it’s simply polite.

    Yeah, dismissing someone’s arguments out of hand and then offering them a beer is polite. Sure. Them’s might be your rules, but they aren’t polite where I live.

    I also notice you are ignoring my point about the ladies’ complaints.

    Typical.

  132. 132
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Wendell:

    Also Emery was the co-producer for The Aristocrats

    Wow, who’d have thought that the co-producer of a movie in which comedians tell a joke that almost invariably involves a man raping his young daughter, over and over, would be a raging misogynist fuckwad?

    And who gives a shit that he’s a comic? Was this supposed to be a performance piece for his fans, in which he makes like Andrew Dice Clay or Joe Rogan and slaps down the uppity bitches? No, it was supposed to be a serious discussion of sexual harassment. Fuck him, he doesn’t deserve a serious voice in any organization, and fuck your defense of him.

    BJ Kramer: How personable you are to have a beer with has absolutely no relation to the fact that you’re fine with there being stronger predators and weaker victims in human society and that therefore nobody should work to change it. The fact that you’re making this all about you and your hurt feeeeewings and your “personal philosophy,” when what it’s really about is the reprehensible shit you and Emery and Mallorie said in the video, is pretty telling.

    So is your whining about how your “buy you a beer” remark was “misinterpreted.” Knowing whom it’s safe to get drunk around and whom it isn’t is considered part of “basic safety” for women in society, and if our instincts are wrong and we’re raped, we get blamed for being “careless.” I realize men almost never have to think about this, but considering the basic topic of this discussion, maybe you ought to stop whining and buy a goddamn clue.

    More generally, nearly everyone I’ve encountered over the last two years with whom I’ve been having this discussion treats it more like sports or politics. You pick a team, and you defend it right or wrong.

    It’s not a “game” for some of us, asshole. It’s our lives and our safety.

    Jacqueline Homan and KarenX are right on the money here. Teh menz want women at their little stag party as décor and fuck objects, not as equals, and in fact feel entitled to our presence and money. I don’t do conventions, because I don’t like crowds, but if I did there’s no way in hell I’d go to TAM. This bullshit is freely available online, in public, and for many of us in our own homes.

    Finally, I’ve seen lots of concern over Ophelia’s Nazi comparison. Where’s Orac’s comparative concern for the misogyny going on in the movement? Because about the only clue I’ve seen in that regard is Abbie Smith saying she regards him as an ally.

  133. 133
    Ophelia Benson

    BJ, that’s swell, only my “Nazi analogy” isn’t what you think it is and anyway I withdrew the analogy I did make.

    But no worries, I feel totes welcome.

  134. 134
    Jacqueline S. Homan

    Having those guys plus their two Stepford cheerleaders — ALL who have a vested interest in maintaining male privilege at women’s expense, even eventually at the expense of their Stepford cheerleaders’ too — set up a conference or a video meeting or panel or whatever the fuck you want to call it, to discuss the need for sexual harassment policies is like Darrell Issa’s all-male Congressional panel supported by Sarah Palin and Sharron Angle deciding on whether or not women need contraceptives.

  135. 135
    julian

    I really don’t think the noise on blogs spills over into the real world as much as people fear it do

    No they’ll just be sure to wait til her back is turned before they get to their usual antics. And when she gets home she can look forward to them doing the people from inmalafide proud all across the net.

    But none of that matters of course because it isn’t to her face, right?

    Where’s Orac’s comparative concern for the misogyny going on in the movement? -Ms Daisy Cutter

    Orac is an asshole of the first order and not one that does introspection. He’s a great blogger and his work countering vaccine denialism and the like are top notch but don’t expect him to care about things that don’t fall in his bubble. However absurd (and incredibly insulting given the context) accusations of Talibanesque policies may be they’re well outside his areas of interest.

  136. 136
    julian

    @Jacqueline S. Homan’s #134

    Yeah that’s where my mind went to. Besides, you know, it being an excuse for this jerk and 2 quarters to bad mouth women in skepticism he hates. It was, another nail in the coffin of me ever getting involved with atheist/skeptic groups.

  137. 137
    Ophelia Benson

    Is Enmery Emery the bald guy slumped in the armchair?

    He wants to know if I think TAM is that bad why am I going and speaking there?

    I was invited, and I accepted, before all this happened, Emery Emery (if that’s you). I’m not clairvoyant. I didn’t know it was going to happen when I accepted. It started happening just a couple of weeks ago; I was invited in February. I am, indeed, very tempted not to go – especially after watching you sneer at me – but there are reasons that would be awkward and unkind.

  138. 138
    Kate Donovan

    Popping in again, I’d like to point out to BJ that G+ hangouts aren’t suddenly released later. If you record them via YouTube (the only way to do so, I think), they are streaming right then. Unless I’m very much mistaken, there is no way around it. Teen Skepchicks toyed with the idea of a podcast, and we ultimately didn’t record the first trials, because they would have been streaming as we messed up and figured things out.
    If anyone knows any different, do tell, as it’s awfully inconvenient, and I’d like to know if there’s an exception.

  139. 139
    Jacqueline S. Homan

    Wendell said:

    “I have half a harebrained idea. As much fun as it is to argue over exactly whom said what to whom, when and project what their evil intentions might be. I personally am much more interested in the path forward.”

    And here’s my harebrained answer: the oppressed cannot reasonably expect justice in the oppressor’s court. The good ol’ boys in the MRA/PUA bowel movement have a lot of cleaning up to do in their house of patriarchy and that needs to be dismantled. And that entails men working on building new identities for themselves that are NOT based on misogyny, sexism, and maintaining male privilege at women’s expense by always looking for ways to justify keeping women down and disadvantaged as “the inferior”, the dismissible and disposable “Other”, and rationalizing it 8 ways from Sunday. How’s that for starters?

    Frogmistress said:

    “Oh, I know he blamed it on Rebecca and those women blogging about harassment. But, did he ever say why he chose that reason as the downfall of TAM for women?

    I am one of the millions of “invisible” atheist/skeptic women who lacks adequate income to meet my basic human needs (scraping by on less than $90/mo in food stamps, book sale royalties of less than $50/mo, no way of getting ANY income, no safety net, no access to healthcare outside of Planned Parenthood for the past 8 years as a long-term jobless and therefore “unemployable” middle-aged woman) so I can’t afford to travel anywhere. I have Internet access ONLY because I share my neighbor’s Internet service. I have a 17 yr old Ford pick-up truck that’s on its last legs and can’t afford another vehicle.

    Yet, despite the unrelenting crushing poverty I live in every day in rural northwestern Pennsylvania with no hope and no end in sight, I STILL managed to do more by accident to help other oppressed women that have it worse off than me under patriarchy buttressed by religion (and the extra privileges religious corporations enjoy) than Richard Dawkins and the guys in the Google chat video having the sausage fest do on purpose. (Yes, I AM going there.)

    I am one of those “atheists in the foxholes”, I am in the trenches fighting for women’s human rights. I am usually busy doing volunteer clinic escort duty and researching and writing and putting together articles, treatises and Fact Sheets that drive the thoughts and deeds of lawyers and medical community members who DO have the privilege and power to turn this whole shit train around, (hopefully straight to the inter-American Human Rights Tribunal in the OAS)to combat the War on Women by taking on the Big Daddies of religious bad guys: the Christian Right, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Vatican.

    And yes, that means working with and supporting other women and women’s rights male allies whether they believe in a god or not, because ALL women are suffering tremendously under the hyper-patriarchal theocratic fascist shithole this nation has become — with a lot of help from privileged, secular male voters who voted for reactionaries and conservatives that ran on platforms centered on conserving male privilege, specifically rich white male supremacy, that entailed beating women down by stripping us of our basic human right to bodily autonomy and bodily integrity and then re-writing the laws on domestic violence and the US Criminal Code definition of “rape” as icing on the fuckin’ cake.

    Where I live, the nearest Planned Parenthood to me is a two hour drive across the PA/OH state line in the next state. It is being targeted for defunding and closing just as several hundred other clinics were across the country, leaving 80% of American women without access to reliable birth control. 87% of all US counties lack an abortion provider. “Conscience clause” laws and “fetal personhood” laws resulted in pharmacists, doctors, ER staff, et al, denying women their birth control prescriptions and access to Plan B in the event of rape.

    Owing to “fetal personhood” laws, the “rights” of blastocysts/zygotes/fetuses and the rights of rapists’ sperm have been elevated over and at the expense of women’s basic human rights. The result: over 300 women across the US are either currently incarcerated for the “crime” of having a miscarriage or stillbirth, or are languishing in jail cells awaiting prosecution and adjudication for the same — some as young as Rennie Gibbs of Mississippi, who was sentenced to life imprisonment last year on July 3rd, for a stillbirth she had at age 15. No one cared of the sex that caused the pregnancy, or if the pregnancy itself, was consensual or not.

    Were I not an underprivileged woman from generational poverty, and had law school been within my reach when I was still young enough to have a chance for something resembling a comfortable life, I would be the international human rights lawyer pushing this and taking the Vatican on in the Hague in the ICC because I’ve got the intestinal fortitude to do it. I am not afraid.

    And if any of the lurking MRAssholes/PUAssholes on this thread think that forcing women to go through pregnancy and childbirth against our will no matter the cost to us through law and public policy is somehow fucking rational and “no big deal” because “that’s just the way it is” and it’s “only” women that have to suffer these consequences as punishment for being on the receiving end of some self-entitled dude’s orgasm, I suggest they read this medical and legal ethics Fact Sheet I wrote for the national and state organizers for the Unite Against the War on Women effort so men know EXACTLY why all of this shit is a HUGE deal for women.

    I cannot speak for other atheist women, but THIS atheist woman has not come to ANY atheist conferences and events because THIS atheist woman is in the trenches fighting against the very real oppression and brutal life-threatening crimes against humanity being occurred against ALL women in the name of “freedom of religion.” This shit is real for me. It’s not some abstract, intellectual parlor sport.

    I don’t get the honorariums, the accolades and all the social prizes and rewards for what I am doing and HAVE BEEN doing. I get bomb threats by religious wackos and woman-hating pigs, I get confronted with angry white dudes with fetus signs and concealed firearms that engage in terrorism masquerading as “sidewalk counseling” to abortion clinic patients and staff. And among the atheist movement’s white maledom, I get told how my thoughts, needs, and feelings don’t matter if they get in the way of male privilege and ego. Real fuckin’ cute. NOT!

    And I get hassled by the cops for picketing the local diocese with pictures of illegal back alley abortion’s “collateral damage” who were left with no option other than coat-hanger care; medical pictures of obstetric fistulas, 4rth degree tears and episiotomies and other lovely childbirth injuries that leave women maimed and sometimes disabled for life.

    What does Dawson, or any of these other privileged blowhards, get besides occasional butt-hurt along with the fame, glory, extra respect, and financial rewards?

  140. 140
    Jacqueline S. Homan

    BJ Kramer said:

    I really don’t think the noise on blogs spills over into the real world as much as people fear it does.

    The “I don’t think” part is the only part you got right in that statement. I suggest you familiarize yourself with the term “stochastic terrorism.” Words have consequences because words are followed by actions.

  141. 141
    Funny Diva

    Jacqueline S. Homan @140

    I. Am. In. Awe. Wow. Don’t know what else to say that wouldn’t sound patronizing. If I could give you some of my privilege and relatively cushy life I surely would.

    And, of course “MRA/PUA bowel movement” made me LOL. I think that’s a keeper.

    BJ Kramer: Please. Recall the First Rule of Holes, stop digging and really absorb what Ms Homan is telling you in #141. If that’s really too hard, go back and re-read RW Ahrens’s advice to you throughout this thread. Either way, stop. digging.

  142. 142
    Wendell

    For the record my intention was certainly not to have panel discussion with anything brilliant to say on this issue. I for one lack the expertise or insight or experience to be present for such a debate. I was coming at it from 2.1 directions. 1) A person’s whose views I very much liked (although his style does not work for many) had said some pretty stupid sounding things and I wanted to understand why. 2) For reasons both worthwhile and not I enjoy/get benefits from/like/derive pleasure from/?? spirited debates such as this one. .1) I had some secret hope that perhaps my undeniably correct logic would be helpful in showing Emery the ‘light’ (LOL well it has never worked the previous 40,000 times I have tried it so logically it will work soon I am sure).

    For my purposes the event went reasonably well and accomplished 2 out of my 2.1 goals. I do hope that my silly little video has not widened the chasm and caused everyone to dig in deeper. If so then I sincerely apologize, that was not my intent.

    In a post above my statement that everyone has behaved crappy was construed to mean that I thought everyone was equally at fault. That is not my point of view. It does seem to me that while there are people behaving badly/goodly everywhere the goodness balance is clearly pointed in this direction.

  143. 143
    Sethra

    @Jacqueline S. Homan at #140:

    *standing ovation*

    You are fierce. Thank you for everything you do.

  144. 144
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Wendell

    For my purposes the event went reasonably well and accomplished 2 out of my 2.1 goals.

    It’s nice that things worked out for you well. I mean, who cares about those 0.1 things that are basic human rights and decencies?
    You know what’s most depressing?
    When even the “good guys” treat this like a fucking football match. I expect that your opinion of Emery Emery hasn’t been lowered despite the blatant lies, the misogny, the rape joke, because in the end, it doesn’t even matter to you really.

    Jaqueline
    Wow.
    Someone around here should do that comment as a blogpost. I’m serious.

  145. 145
    Gen Fury

    This shit is real for me. It’s not some abstract, intellectual parlor sport.

    This cannot be said enough times or with enough volume. Thank you, Jacqueline, for your wonderful contributions and comment.

    HEY DOODS, THIS IS NOT A FUCKING SPORTS MATCH FOR ME! THIS IS MY FUCKING LIFE ON THE FUCKING LINE! ALSO THE LIVES OF MY DAUGHTERS AND SISTERS. AND YOURS TOO.

    So fuck all of you who are just “choosing a side and defending it to the death”. That shit is vile. That shit is toxic. That shit is why I’m staying the fuck away from skeptical and atheist cons.

  146. 146
    Frogmistress

    I will second Giliell; this should be its own post!

    I don’t get the honorariums, the accolades and all the social prizes and rewards for what I am doing and HAVE BEEN doing. I get bomb threats by religious wackos and woman-hating pigs, I get confronted with angry white dudes with fetus signs and concealed firearms that engage in terrorism masquerading as “sidewalk counseling” to abortion clinic patients and staff. And among the atheist movement’s white maledom, I get told how my thoughts, needs, and feelings don’t matter if they get in the way of male privilege and ego. Real fuckin’ cute. NOT!

    Definitely not cute.

  147. 147
    Wendell

    Giliell, Gen My initial reactions to your posts above were bifurcated. The possibilities seemed to be 1) React in a similar vein to your posts indicating things you have said and directed at me which are inaccurate or 2) React with utter acceptance of the fact that since I have never had to put up the the levels of abuse and fear you are forced to live with, your opinions should be accepted without criticism. Since neither of those reactions really expresses who I am, below is my attempt at a compromise.

    I am a limited human and for that I apologize when because of those limits what I had to say causes associations and reactions from y’all which are unpleasant (it seems) for you. The absolute truth is that my brain has been formed as it is by my experiences and my choices and I can only do with it what I can.

    My previous post was a statement of my purpose and goals for the event in all honesty and sincererity, no more and no less in response to a few posts wondering what the purpose of the whole thing was.

    What I want to stress is that by explaining what my purpose was I did not intend and I do not see how that insulted or demeaned your purposes or experiences. I admit am a privileged middle class (sort of) white male. My point of view no matter how educated or nuanced is not yours and will never be BUT that fact cannot be used by either of us to force the other to express only opinions which match ours. Not only are there ethical considerations but (see remarks concerning brains) I do not think it is physically possible. No matter what I do these things will always be abstract for me as my experiences are equally abstract to you BUT that does not mean that I think they are a parlor game, it does not mean that I think they are a sports game, it does not mean that my opinion of Emery has not changed, it does not mean it does not matter to me, and it does not mean that I think your feelings on this are invalid or ‘wrong’ because they are not exactly mine.

  148. 148
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Wendell

    No matter what I do these things will always be abstract for me as my experiences are equally abstract to you BUT that does not mean that I think they are a parlor game, it does not mean that I think they are a sports game, it does not mean that my opinion of Emery has not changed, it does not mean it does not matter to me, and it does not mean that I think your feelings on this are invalid or ‘wrong’ because they are not exactly mine.

    That’s good to know. I really mean that.
    But I can only go by what you said and wrote and your 2.1 goals came of as “two important things about me, one unimportant thing about women”.
    Seriously, can you see how this comes across when you reduce the actual key point of this whole thing to a 0.1 issue?
    Yes, we’re angry and upset.
    Some of us are shouting at their screens, some of us are crying.
    And we need allies to keep our backs. When those who seem at least good candidates for allies come across as if our concerns are something you engage in while you have nothing more important to do, that’s bad for us, because it means that we actually have no allies.

  149. 149
    Aquaria

    can only answer for myself. No, I don’t think the conversation would make ‘TAM seem more welcoming to women’, nor do I think it would do the opposite.

    Then you are an absolute moron.

    I wouldn’t go to TAM now if it was across the street from me and free. I’d just load up on more ammo, in case any of you cretins got the wrong idea of what I think of sexist garbage like you.

  150. 150
    Wendell

    Giliel, yes I can see how it might have been taken in that manner. That was not my intention. I listed the last one as .1 because realistically I knew that there was almost zero chance of it being achieved. If that had been my goal I would have not bothered to have the discussion at all there just would not have been any point. Certainly the goal of changing minds and opening people to see their bind spots is the only worthwhile purpose. My rankings were not meant to have anything to do with importance.

    I do get just a whiff of your frustration when it seems even the people who sort of appear to be on your side are not. As an atheist I am a member of a group that studies have show is just barely trusted as much as rapists. Within that group I now find a loud if not large group (Emery and friends) who appear to be completely clueless about something I care about deeply so well I guess I am not a part of their group. Now in some of the posts here on this site I see that there may be some numbers of this sub-group who also cannot accept me as ‘one of them’. Well at least my cats like me (LOL).

    Now please please do not think that I am equating the level of problems that I have in finding a group which accepts me for who I am with the reality of physical and direct harassment that women must endure. They are in no manner the same. I do however resonate with your statement concerning having no allies albeit in a battle which has much less essential stakes.

  151. 151
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Stop with the “it’s not my intention,” and “I can see how you construed.” STOP IT. Your intent doesn’t matter and you don’t get to shift the burden to others and how they “construe” what you’re saying. Seriously—if you don’t get this then shut up and do some elementary reading on privilege. You’re making my disgust meter hit the red zone.

  152. 152
    Emrysmyrddin

    To be fair to Giliell, Wendell, that’s how I read the ’0.1′ and I winced. I hope you can see how it came across that way. Thanks for the clarification, and kudos for attempting to be the voice of reason in the nauseating video above.

  153. 153
    Stephanie Zvan

    Josh, Wendell is working and learning. How about you save some of that disgust for the people who are working hard to maintain the problem.

  154. 154
    Emrysmyrddin

    I’m genuinely very glad that Wendell’s ‘working and learning’, we need a lot more of that. However, pointing out unhelpful language related to that learning is, I think, part of that needful process.

  155. 155
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Wendell
    There’s a little saying around here: Intent isn’t magic.
    It was not your intent but it was the result. If you don’tz intent to step on my toes they still hurt.
    Thanx for the clarification.

  156. 156
    Stephanie Zvan

    Emrysmyrddin, I agree. I think Josh’s hyperbole obscured rather than clarified that message here, though. He and I have a bit of an ongoing disagreement on that score.

  157. 157
    Emrysmyrddin

    Diff’rent strokes. I’m a substance-over-tone kinda gel myself :)

  158. 158
    Stephanie Zvan

    It’s not a tone thing, trust me. :) It’s that hyperbole can sometimes create false equivalencies.

  159. 159
    Wendell

    Here is the deal people. I think I have clearly shown that I am making every attempt to express myself in the most inoffensive and neutral terminology of which I am capable. How about giving me a little slack, please?

    I think there needs to me a middle ground between ignoring something offensive and yelling at them (” STOP IT. Your intent doesn’t matter and you don’t get to shift the burden to others ” ). Yes I understand that intent is no magic bullet and I understand the way that it is often used to avoid the damage that people cause but I must ask, do you think it is appropriate to yell at a child for doing something you never told them was wrong? Note that in this case as soon as Giliel pointed out that my categorization could be interpreted in the way it was I realized my mistake, and clarified my intent.

    If this level of harassment (yes I am using that term intentionally) is what a ‘new member’ can expect to receive when he has taken a huge risk by making at least a potential fool of himself on YouTube supporting a cause that he at least thought was shared by y’all, do you honestly think you are going to keep his support? Do you think that he is more or less likely to do speak up in favor of your point of view in the future?

    In contrast Emery and I completely disagree on this. You all saw that in live color. He continues to frustrate and disagree with me via emails we have exchanged but in his last email he invited me for a ‘beer’ (yes I know that is also a problem for some but not me, OK?) if I am ever in LA and complimented me for my willingness to stand up for what I believe.

    As I tried to express in my earlier comments I am not a mind reader and as soon as I become one I will collect the million from the JREF and retire. I have been married now for 11 years and I have exactly zero chance of ever being 100% appropriate and inoffensive to the person with whom I have had millions of conversations so as I calculate it I have about a negative zillion percent chance of never saying anything offensive to y’all. I simply ask from you the same thing I asked for (and did not receive) from the Emery crew. Please can I have some moderation and respect and understanding for who I am and what I am trying to accomplish?

  160. 160
    smhll

    I managed to watch about half of the video this morning. I felt pretty angry and upset listening it to because it was so dismissive. Since I don’t know the people involved, I can’t attribute comments to individual speakers.

    I did not like the use of the word “ludicrous”, which I think was used to discuss the reaction of Rebecca and her allies to the elevator incident.

    I’m pissed about one speaker dismissing the hate mail and hate campaigns Rebecca gets as being just an internet thing that goes along with being famous. Because, in the first half of the show, someone quoted her Why I am not going to TAM post words about harassment and yet slid right past what she mentioned about groping and other problems.

    I am pissed about that one speaker saying roughly “it’s just an internet thing” and then later in the video the men are peeved that people on their side (?) or one side of the Elevatorgate issue were called “sexist” and “misogynist”. Aren’t those just words on the internet as well? I’d like to see more consistency about what you all consider harmful. Some of these things are clearly not just words and not just on the internet. How did this just disappear from the framing of the discussion?

    And the stuff about why it’s okay for grandparents and Dawkins to be ignorant/bigoted about minority issues, I can only say “arrrgggh”.

  161. 161
    Stephanie Zvan

    Wendell, the people you’re dealing with here have been working hard on this too. That there are raw nerves all around are not your fault, but they’re not the fault of the people you’re talking to either. They are a fact of the situation and in no small part attributable to the people on this video who are not you. Everybody’s hurt and cranky. You’re going to have to accept that it’s not personal.

  162. 162
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Wendell, please stop making it about you.
    Yes, I understand that this is frustrating for you.
    Yes, I understand that this is the first time you put your toe over the line and hen this happened.
    But here’s where I’m coming from: I’m coming from a whole fucking year of being accused of the most ridiculous things you can imagine and I’m just a commenter on these blogs.
    The benefit of doubt has worn thin. I am pretty willing to give you some, I don’t expect perfect people, but you ain’t going to get cookies either.
    So, Emery invited you for a beer, because, well you had a disagreement amongst guys. Do yxou think he’d have one with stephanie whose wonderful work on getting harassment policies in place got her labelled “the girl who wants to ruin TAM”?

  163. 163
    Stephanie Zvan

    No, coffee was not what Emery “offered” me.

  164. 164
    Emrysmyrddin

    No, coffee was not what Emery “offered” me.

    …where can I find the ‘spewing copious vomit’ emoticon?
    Just…
    Just…
    *headdesk*

  165. 165
    Gen Fury

    Wendell, just to clarify, I didn’t actually mean you in my post, I meant BJ Kramer @128 who said :

    More generally, nearly everyone I’ve encountered over the last two years with whom I’ve been having this discussion treats it more like sports or politics. You pick a team, and you defend it right or wrong.

    Odious as it is, at least he’s honest about an all too common problem amongst men – the need to play “devil’s advocate”, the need to be Uber Skeptikky, the need to pull apart every single thing you must have done wrong to provoke the violent man in the name of “fairness” and “balance” and “benefit of the doubt” and “debate”. For them, it’s just another academic mind-game to play. For us women, it’s our lives. Literally, our lives, our ability to keep breathing.

    Some things shouldn’t even BE up for doubt and debate, and the humanity of women and their right to not be harassed is amongst that.

  166. 166
    Frogmistress

    No, coffee was not what Emery “offered” me.

    That was where I shut off the video. I had seen enough to know, not just what kind of person this Emery is, but all of those that sat there, watching him, and not saying a damn word about it.

  167. 167
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    No, coffee was not what Emery “offered” me.

    No, indeed not, but if you’re a good girl he’ll supply the cream
    *yuck*

  168. 168
    Gen Fury

    If this level of harassment (yes I am using that term intentionally) is what a ‘new member’ can expect to receive when he has taken a huge risk by making at least a potential fool of himself on YouTube supporting a cause that he at least thought was shared by y’all, do you honestly think you are going to keep his support? Do you think that he is more or less likely to do speak up in favor of your point of view in the future?

    Wendel, not to pick on you because it seems that you really are trying, but rhetoric like this? Not. Helping. Yourself.

    You took the risk of looking like a fool? I take the risk of being killed or seriously harmed – real, physical harm – if allies like you suddenly decide that nope, fuck the injustice of this, the women aren’t being nice enough about this so I’m backing off or joining the other side.

    Seriously, if your allyship is dependent upon how you are treated by the oppressed (who have been actively, without pause, fighting this battle for at least a year in this community non-stop with no quarter given to them and no chance to rest between “blow ups” and quite frankly, are getting fucking tired to have to try to convince people that yes, they are indeed people just like the bepenised who deserve the same freedom from harassment that the bepenised enjoy – again with the same underscript of this is not just a debate or a mental exercise, this is my rights and my life that’s under attack here, this shit has real, IRL negative consequences for me and women like me) instead of upon outrage at the FACT of the oppression itself, if it’s something that can be “turned off” if people aren’t nice enough to you, maybe you need to rethink your motivations because then I am not sure how far I can trust you and when you are going to decide “these fucking uppity women, I’ve had enough of their mouthiness/bitchiness/whatever” and either ignore the issue completely (which is something you in your privilege can do) or join the “other side”.

  169. 169
    Wendell

    Gen Fury you said “I take the risk of being killed or seriously harmed – real, physical harm ” Yes I know that and tired to say such in the previous post. I certainly have not been paying the price that you all have for the battles fought so far. In fact no matter what I do or how much effort I put forth on this issue in the future I will never have experienced the risks that you do.

    I am not saying that I think because Emery offered me a beer all of of his stupid remarks are forgiven. I am not saying that because I might feel attacked here for some of my remarks I have decided he is completely right. I am not saying that my lifelong effort to support women in any way I can is going to be ignored. I am not saying that I have anything but disgust for the entire macho male attitude (imagine long youth history of being a geek physically assaulted by macho bullies in this space). I am not making this ‘all about me’.

    I am saying that Emery is wrong in that he has apparently created an imaginary group of women who are causing trouble for some unspecified reason (maybe fame and riches?) and he feels that there is no reason to change his point of view for this misguided group. I am saying that people like Emery and much much worse (physical harassers) are not imaginary. I am saying that there are many many men out here who have not had the experiences you have and in fact cannot have had no matter how well meaning they were. I am saying that to the extent that anyone treats accidental miscommunication by us as some sort of intentional insult or betrayal that there is a real risk of reducing or eliminating our support.

  170. 170
    Forfluff'ssake!

    Wendell, you just basically walked by a alley where women were being assaulted and when they shouted, “Motherfucker, don’t just stand there, DO SOMETHING! We’re being seriously harmed over here!” You responded, “Not unless you ask nicely”.

    If you’d like to withdraw your support of women wanting to be treated like human beings, because they weren’t sensitive enough to your needs, you have my permission to not let the door hit you in the ass.

  171. 171
    Forfluff'ssake!

    …You may want to take a look at cupcake Bingo, Wendell. You are unintentionally marking off too many squares and it is not our job to gently educate you and feel honored that you give two fucks about “our problem”. Cuz guess what? If you don’t already feel this is a human problem and therefore a problem all humans should care about, regardless of the minimal risks to you and these other fabled white knights who will presumably flood the ramparts of misogyny if we’d only be nicer and more patient with them, you can’t help us.

  172. 172
    KarenX

    I am saying that people like Emery and much much worse (physical harassers) are not imaginary. I am saying that there are many many men out here who have not had the experiences you have and in fact cannot have had no matter how well meaning they were. I am saying that to the extent that anyone treats accidental miscommunication by us as some sort of intentional insult or betrayal that there is a real risk of reducing or eliminating our support.

    I’m confused. Are we talking about that podcast video embedded above as accidental miscommunication? Or is there some part in it that is the accidental part? Is the “us” the Wendells or the Emerys? The combination of all the Wendells and Emerys?

  173. 173
    carlie

    I am saying that to the extent that anyone treats accidental miscommunication by us as some sort of intentional insult or betrayal that there is a real risk of reducing or eliminating our support.

    And we are saying that’s a shitty reason to reduce or eliminate your support. Please read Stephanie’s comment again:

    Wendell, the people you’re dealing with here have been working hard on this too. That there are raw nerves all around are not your fault, but they’re not the fault of the people you’re talking to either. They are a fact of the situation and in no small part attributable to the people on this video who are not you. Everybody’s hurt and cranky. You’re going to have to accept that it’s not personal.

    Please don’t say that we have to always be nice and kind on top of all the intentional and simply negligent abuse we’re trying to fight against. Please understand what an imposition that is. Please understand that when people respond angrily to you, part of the reason they’re doing so is often precisely because they have seen you as an ally, and are shocked by hearing that coming from someone they’ve let their guard down around.

  174. 174
    Forfluff'ssake!

    Oh…and I think you meant to begin this…” I am saying that people like Emery and much much worse (physical harassers) are not imaginary. I am saying that to the extent that anyone treats accidental miscommunication by us as some sort of intentional insult or betrayal that there is a real risk of reducing or eliminating our support.” ….with “Dear Muslima”.

  175. 175
    Sethra

    @ Wendell:

    I am saying that to the extent that anyone treats accidental miscommunication by us as some sort of intentional insult or betrayal that there is a real risk of reducing or eliminating our support.

    Yes, we know that – far too well. I get reminded of it every so often when I make a casual mention of something and my husband stares at me like I’ve grown a second head.

    Please bear with me while I try to explain my thoughts on this. This isn’t intended to be insulting – this is how I work my way through issues surrounding various sensitive subjects.

    Our life experiences are all very different, but I try not to let my ego stand in the way of my desire to promote social justice. If I find out I’m wrong about something, I accept that I’m wrong, learn from it, apologise, and move on. I also don’t blame other people for reacting with energy if I utter words that hurt them – whether or not I intended to hurt them, I’m still the person responsible for uttering those words. That’s on me, not on other people.

    You are speaking to women who have been harassed and there’s a high likelihood that multiple women here have been sexually assaulted or raped, and I am one of them. Can you see how “If you talk to us men the wrong way, we’re not going to help you” might not be a constructive thing to say to people who have experienced gender-based abuse?

    Multiple people in my life have taken personal offence to me being blunt about why harassment isn’t acceptable. However, they have no issue with me being blunt when discussing other subjects. I’m left with the thought that they simply don’t want to acknowledge the problem if they’re more concerned with tone than substance.

    That’s something I’ve had to review in my own interactions with people. I used to be dismissive of certain subjects and tried the same type of tone control. It took years, but I finally started analysing *why* I did that and I didn’t like what I found. I researched some of those topics and found out the problems were actually worse than people had been telling me, and I’d been dismissing them because they weren’t my concerns. I had other things to worry about and me being dismissive seemed to be a subconscious tactic to prevent needing to help or work with other people. I’m much better about catching it now, but I still occasionally find myself trying to ignore Y because it’s not as much of an issue for me as X.

    And when I catch myself – or when someone points it out to me – I work on it because I want to be a better human being, and not because I expect anything for it. I don’t always take everything seriously either, but I do my best not to hurt other people or contribute to hurting other people.

    Except trolls. Them is fair game.

  176. 176
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    I am saying that to the extent that anyone treats accidental miscommunication by us as some sort of intentional insult or betrayal that there is a real risk of reducing or eliminating our support.

    Okay, Wendell, I’ll bite. After all you’ve seen and experienced during this thread, this whole debacle, how do you propose women tell what is an “accidental miscommunication” and a trolling misogynistic asshat that infest every one of the threads on this topic? Internet is not magic.

    Seriously. We’re not psychics. We’ve been through this exact same bullshit a billion times online. Misogynistic asshats always come to derail. Our lives offline are full of dealings with them.

    And, why is it OUR responsibility to give the benefit of the doubt instead of THEIR responsibility to listen and learn BEFORE speaking? Why is it our job to be nice instead their job to be informed?

    Lastly, exactly why would you call someone an ally who pouts and runs away when challeneged by women?

  177. 177
    Sethra

    …and reading back through my post, I supported the gender binary and it’s very othering toward a lot of people. I apologise to everyone who doesn’t identify as cis male or cis female, I did not intend this to exclude LBGTQ who’ve experienced abuse based on patriarchal stupidity and gender constructs. I need to work on that. :/

  178. 178
    Blake Stacey

    More generally, nearly everyone I’ve encountered over the last two years with whom I’ve been having this discussion treats it more like sports or politics. You pick a team, and you defend it right or wrong.

    As an academic, I don’t get to say this very often:

    Here, one “team” is right, and the other is wrong.

    On the wrong side of the facts, on the wrong side of basic decency, and, I hope, on the wrong side of history as well.

  179. 179
    Wendell

    Sethra, thank you for your comment. You are telling me I am wrong and you are doing in a manner that is not obscured by implications that I support the kind of ridiculous things that Emery has said or worse.

    Several have expressed confusion over phrases used in my post above
    - When I refer to accidental miscommunication I am specifically referring to the fact that my decision to call the goal of ‘changing Emery’s mind’ my 0.1 goal could easily be seen as minimizing the only truly worthwhile goal.
    - When I used the pronoun ‘us’ above I was referring to other people (most likely men but I imagine not exclusively) who are well intentioned but have not experienced the kind of sexism and even physical assault that some here have had to endure.

  180. 180
    Ophelia Benson

    Who are these people?

  181. 181
    smhll

    Wendell, also don’t assume that the posters here watched the whole video and know who you are. I watched the whole thing, but it was mostly repulsive, and I had to pause it many times to curse and shake my fist at the ceiling. (If I wasn’t unemployed, I would never have found time in my day to watch it.)

    If many readers here didn’t click on it at all, because they’ve been having this painful and circular discussion for a year, or slammed their laptops shut after three minutes, I don’t blame them. Ranty-assed dude (Emery?) was doing some really repulsive ranting. You can ask him to be nicer in his communications, but seriously, I doubt you’ll get far.

  182. 182
    Sethra

    I didn’t watch the video. I was ready to put my fist through my monitor after reading the first set of comments on it. I get enough of that type of crap from people I know IRL and I don’t need to listen to more of it on the internets.

  183. 183
    Jacqueline S. Homan

    For the record,

    Josh said:

    Stop with the “it’s not my intention,” and “I can see how you construed.” STOP IT. Your intent doesn’t matter and you don’t get to shift the burden to others and how they “construe” what you’re saying. Seriously—if you don’t get this then shut up and do some elementary reading on privilege. You’re making my disgust meter hit the red zone.

    I agree with this statement 100%.

  184. 184
    slignot

    I just found time to watch the video and I am still reeling enough from the creepy, dismissive and fictional representations that I’m having trouble forming a coherent response. I’ll try to break things out clearly, but I apologize if these seem a bit jumbled.

    I feel Wendell conveys goodwill that doesn’t exist.
    I am troubled by the extraordinary benefit of the doubt Wendell shows his fellow debaters when he voices the idea that they share the same goals for a safe-space conference environment.

    It is abundantly clear that they do not; it is clearly said that there is not a problem here, that these legitimate criticisms and concerns over sexual harassment aren’t real. That they don’t exist. That there is no danger to women at TAM. That coercion doesn’t exist (and right here I’m terrified to even think about what Emery believes about coercion negating consent) in power inbalances. That BJ thinks that although power imbalances exist in all our social interactions (ahem: *patriarchy* and *rape culture*), it’s just something we have to “learn to navigate.” That Emery sees the constant stream of harassment Rebecca faces (including death threats, despite Emery’s assertion to the contrary) simply doesn’t matter because it happens online*; that it therefore isn’t even harassment. That it’s perfectly okay to condone sexual slurs and imply violence against Stephanie Zvan and Rebecca Watson because it’s funny joking that we should just ignore.

    Because of all this, there is no way I can see to rationally believe their goal of a conference with strong guidelines and clear reporting/response to prevent and minimize abuse is a shared goal. Emery certainly wants to be able to approach and fuck any attendee he wants, and would really prefer we stop scaring away potential targets by reporting on actual incidents and concerns.

    Women are diverse, but we should leave the bar for safety as low and minimal as possible because not everyone has been traumatized.
    It’s true that no one should be able to speak for all women because all our experiences are unique, but that doesn’t mean they happen in a fucking vacuum or that there isn’t a disproportionate risk we face simply by being women. What’s more, saying that we don’t need to have strict guidelines such as being called for, and saying that even having this discussion is damaging ignores the needs of the substantial percentage of women who have suffered traumatizing harassment, assault and rape. Mallorie and Sara had dismissed the need these women have to feel like it’s worth their time, energy and money to be a part of the community without worrying they will be targeted or triggered at any moment.

    Nasrallah and Mayhew actually commit the action they accuse others of doing: they speak for the needs of all female attendees.

    TAM is no longer the only group committed to an anti-harassment policy.
    A huge fuss was made that TAM put in a policy last year, although given the increasing number of incidents we now know about, it was clearly not executed in a remotely capable way. If these reported complaints were actually seen as real issue, they would not have been dismissed and twisted over and over again as they have been.

    The way I see it, TAM is stuck in place, having put a PR band-aid on the issue, while other groups are having a real discussion about what it would mean to make progress and reducing the problem in our communities. Unless JREF leadership makes an effort at continued progress, they don’t deserve any more laurels about supposed equality priorities.

    I would have liked to see Wendell challenge the incorrect assertion that TAM is still the only org that has implemented a policy. We’ve hit at least a dozen groups that have already done so. I’m not sure if he simply wasn’t aware of these groups or didn’t want to get sidetracked, but this was a big misrepresentation that got a pass.

    Now there’s a whole lot more awful to unpack, but I don’t know where else to start ranting. I suspect this comment is massively TL;DR already.
    _____________________________________________________
    Double standards and malice
    *Note: that when we’re talking about negative things said about women, there is a huge double standard applied. For Watson, it’s all just anonymous trolling and doesn’t matter (plus it’s her own fault for making a big deal about non-issue behavior). We should simply ignore when she is threatened with physical violence because we’re only talking about anonymous internet assholes in their parents’ basements. But when we’re discussing things that were said about Mallorie Nasrallah or Sara Mayhew, it’s no longer just mean stuff on the internet, it’s a serious issue and “hurts the cause.” When criticism happens in impolite language for someone they know and like, it’s REAL.

    Mayhew is apparently still totally bent out of shape because a commenter on Pharyngula called her a “lying fuckface” when she asserted that the reports of harassment at previous TAMs were simply “rumors.” As far as I can see, she’s being criticized for being a liar with mean language. But that’s much more real than being threatened with rape, battery and murder.

    Nasrallah is very, very angry at Jason because he made a characterization that her apologies and support for unsolicited (and potentially unwanted) sexual advances might be because she has:

    got some sort of Stockholm syndrome going on and you think if you just make nice with all the nasty fucks out there who can’t see a woman on the internet without calling her a cunt, maybe you’ll be exempted from that kind of thing.

    In the same post, Jason mentions that Nasrallah said the following to Greta Christina:

    Go fuck yourself with a knife you irrational cunt.

    I wonder if that’s real harassment or not.

  185. 185
    Wendell

    slignot Hmm perhaps you are right about the ‘too much goodwill’ at this point I am still arguing some with Emery via email but I am leaning towards you point of view. Besides that thanks for your analysis you have noticed things I have not herd before and certainly did not see at the time. As for other Con’s having harassment policies. I was aware but did not find a time to make that point. Since you are watching it fresh and I have not seen it again can you let me know. My impression was that Emery and friends did not even agree with me concerning the usefulness and need for a policy. They certainly disagreed on the content but I was left with the impression that they did not want one at all. They are now telling me I was mistake. What is your interpretation?

    It has been a while since the players were ID’d . They are generally from left to right Emery Emery (host of the Ardent Atheist podcast), Mallorie Nasrallah, Richard Murray, Sara E Mayhew, Travis Roy, Wendell Henry. BJ Kramer was there at the beginning but had to leave.

    smhll Yes I certainly should not make that assumption. I myself am not planning on watching it again unless required to do so, so I understand anyone who chooses not to.

  186. 186
    Jacqueline S. Homan

    Sethra:

    “You are speaking to women who have been harassed and there’s a high likelihood that multiple women here have been sexually assaulted or raped, and I am one of them. Can you see how “If you talk to us men the wrong way, we’re not going to help you” might not be a constructive thing to say to people who have experienced gender-based abuse?”

    Sethra, I may be wrong on this, however I have yet to be proved wrong and this is my take on it: I have not seen sufficient evidence showing Wendell to be a genuine ally. Even though Wendell has a wife and daughter(s), he basically comes across to me as indifferent towards women being deserving of full and equal human rights. And then he had the temerity to dictate to the oppressed how we should talk to the oppressor and how we should feel about our oppression. I wonder if they know that hubby and dad considers their basic human rights to matter only on the condition of getting his ego stroked and his ass kissed. Sorry, but self-proclaimed allies that have not earned my trust don’t get milk and cookies from me just because they say, “but my wife thinks I’m the NIcest Guy that Ever Lived.” (Save it, Nigel. Womanity isn’t fooled!)

  187. 187
    slignot

    @Wendell,

    My impression was that Emery and friends did not even agree with me concerning the usefulness and need for a policy. They certainly disagreed on the content but I was left with the impression that they did not want one at all. They are now telling me I was mistake. What is your interpretation?

    My impression is slightly different. I’m left with a very strong “sexism is over because women can vote and own property and get an education and get a job” feeling regarding harassment policy at TAM. TAM had a policy last year and a speaker list that wasn’t dominated by men so all the hard work is done.

    I do not believe they think that the policy needs be very tight, including things that will make many women uncomfortable but that center around subtle pressure and invasion of space or even just feeling entitled to a woman’s time because she’s a woman. They certainly don’t want anything that could impede on sexy funtimes for any speakers. I get the distinct impression that the policy they envision need only cover stuff that is legally actionable or nearly so, and they only want that protection extended in very limited contexts. I see nothing that advocates a strong message that abuse of any kind will see swift action and emphasize expulsion.

    As for not watching the video yourself, I can understand that. I’m honestly a bit queasy right now. My disgust is visceral.

    Now I do have a criticism and it is intertwined with this idea you advanced that there were significant (and by implication comparable) issues with characterizations on both sides.

    As for your overall cordial interactions (both during the podcast and presumably in followup email conversations), I can understand not wanting to cut off lines of discussion with Emery and his ilk somewhat, because the alternative is no voice would challenge the mess of sexism denial and misogyny that comes from voices like these. But I would feel much more comfortable in considering you a voice supporting anti-harassment if you would at least acknowledge we are not dealing with nice people here.

    They can put on a nice face when it suits them, and claim to be “friends” with Rebecca (as was claimed in the podcast by…was it Travis?). The fact of the matter is being affable when it suits them doesn’t count when we can see what they really think and believe behind slightly opaque doors. The ability to be a nice guy to have a beer with doesn’t make you a decent human being, and charm is used by abusive manipulators the world over. (For clarity, I’m not saying I know this group is abusive, I’m saying that personability means absolutely nothing.)

    I’m willing to admit there have been intent-is-not-magic gaffes that are so miniscule compared to the sexism apologists that they don’t even register. And you know what happened? They were called on it and apologized and clarified when necessary (see Lousy Canuck). Because that’s what decent people do when they mess up and hurt someone through privilege blindness.

    If you really feel that there was some substantial problem with the feminist side of the debate, which it seemed you implied, please explain and be very specific. Otherwise we’re simply supporting the asserted strawmen that were trotted out through misrepresentation and quote mining on the video.

    We’re tired. We’re so tired that it’s nearly impossible to explain the way frayed nerves and sore buttons get pressed when we see a false equivalence or see anti-harassment folks just like you saying that being angry and aggressive when you mess up endangers support.

    I know you do want to help and you are learning, but statements like this:

    I am saying that to the extent that anyone treats accidental miscommunication by us as some sort of intentional insult or betrayal that there is a real risk of reducing or eliminating our support.

    Mirror so much bad-faith trolling and apologism we see day after day that it makes us want to give up on you entirely. Please try to understand that. (And as Stephanie says, it’s not personal.)

  188. 188
    Jacqueline S. Homan

    Wendell:

    “I admit I am a privileged middle class (sort of) male. My point of view no matter how educated and nuanced is not yours and will never be BUT that fact cannot be used by either of us to force the other to express only opinions which match ours.”

    1. Educated and nuanced” does not make quality. There is no shortage of empiracle evidence to prove that.

    2. It is not the “opinions being forced” that’s the issue; it’s the injustices in terms of real, tangible harm and measurable damage being inflicted by men as the patriarchy class that oppresses and dominates women as the sex class — that, my godless “friend”, is the issue. We don’t try to reason with or compromise with the KKK and get them to change their opinions, we enact and enforce laws preventing them from hurting others by putting their opinions into action.

    “As an atheist I am a member of a group that studies have shown is just barely trusted as much as rapists.”

    Gee, I wonder why THAT is? /snark

    “I am saying that to the extent that anyone treats accidental miscommunication by us as some sort of intentional insult or betrayal that there is a real risk of reducing or eliminating our support.”

    Genuine allies don’t take control of the message with their patronizing, condescending crap along the lines of “Ladies, you’re doing it all wrong, let me do it for you and show you how to do it properly.” Genuine allies also don’t demand that the oppressed kiss their ass as if we should be ever so grateful if they give us the time of day. The onus for stopping oppression is on the oppressor, whether the oppressor feels he is getting his ass sufficiently kissed or not.

    You mentioned in the video that you have a wife and daughter. Do they know that their human rights only matter if other women “make nice” with you and stroke your ego? If you think that your relatively privileged (by virtue of race and socio-economic class) wife and daughters are safe because they have YOU to protect their interests, you’ve really missed the mark.

    Darrell “Car Thief” Issa’s all-male misogynistic Congressional panel decided that THEIR health needs, including the health need to prevent unwanted and physically debilitating endless cycles of pregnancy from menarche to menopause (which used to put about 20% of American women in the grave before age 40 as recently as 1950), are not important enough to justify women having access to reliable birth control. The misogyny-driven War on Women waged by the patriarchy is not only aimed at “other women” that don’t matter to you, sparing your wife and/or daughter. It is being waged against ALL women — including your wife and daughter. Two words are evidence of that: Sandra Fluke.

  189. 189
    ischemgeek

    Wendell, about your concern over your harrassment:

    There are people (plural) on this thread who have received hate mail because of their refusal to back down on this. There are people who have received rape threats. There are people who have received death threats. There are people who have been called crazy, called gender-based slurs, told they’re over-reacting to harrassment and sexual assault, and told their irritation is related to their menstrual cycles.

    For over a year straight.

    These people have to deal with this stuff not only online, but in real life to varying degrees.

    Forgive me, but a few people being rude on a comment thread doesn’t exactly rise to ‘harrassment’. None of us are threatening you, or saying that because you’re a man, you’re worthless, or telling you that your only worth is in your strength and sexual prowess. People on this thread – including many if not most of the women – get told equivalent things (substitute ‘cleaning’ or ‘cooking’ or some other stereotypically feminine pursuit for strength and attractiveness for prowess since a woman who has sexual prowess is considered the lowest of the low in our culture) all the time.

    You can walk away, and we won’t stop you. We won’t follow you and scream abuse and sexual innuendos after you. We won’t threaten your body, your life, your autonomy or your family.

    People here, myself included, deal with that sort of stuff on a regular basis. Some people get it several times a day. I’m relatively lucky: offline, I only get that treatment a few times a week. Online, I get it around 2/3rds of the time I step into one of these discussions, and maybe a fifth of the time I let slip I’m a woman away from this site.

    People being rude to you over an issue you freely chose to get involved in over their perception of a poor attitude on your part, based on at least a year of fighting it out and having people with attitudes similar to yours demand they stop and personally tutor them on the issues? Not harrassment. Rude, yes, but not harrassment. To call it such trivializes true harrassment, though I suspect to you, it does feel like harrassment. I know it might be hard to believe after the rant I just wrote, but I’m honestly very glad for you that you haven’t. And I hope that you’ll be able to understand that for those of us who live this every day for twenty or thirty or fifty or more years, our patience is gone.

    Wanna know why we’re not nice? Nice gets us ignored, brushed off or trivialized. Many women who relate stories of harrassment mention that they tried to tell the guy to back off but didn’t want to be ‘rude’ (ie, they were trying to be nice about it) and the guy pushed right past their nicely-erected boundaries as if they weren’t there. Read the comment thread on the Blag Hag post about the creepiest pickup line ever for anecdotes about that – and I’m sure there are similar stories in other comment threads, but I need to get food or my stomach will turn itself into a pretzle soon so I can’t be arsed to dig them up. Emotionless gets us told if we’re talking so calmly, we obviously can’t be that upset about it and therefore it must not really matter to us. So we’re left with rude, which gets the fairweather allies all up-in-arms because we’re not being nice (which, remember, we know from experience gets us ignored, brushed off and/or trivialized) and gives the misogynists occasional quote-minable “bitches b crazy” fodder.

    If we’re being rude, it’s because we’re 1) respecting you enough as a person to expect you to be able to educate yourself on it and disappointed when you demand we do the work for you, and 2) trying to get you to actually pay attention, since so often we’re ignored. The ‘pay attention’ part is working, isn’t it? You might be pissed off (so are many of us), but you’re still here. Which means that you’re getting exposed to our points, and maybe after you cool off, you’ll be able to process what we’re saying rather than just react to the manner in which we’re saying it. Odds are, if we were ‘nice’, you would’ve gotten bored and left already.

  190. 190
    Wendell

    @slignot
    You ask if I “feel that there was some substantial problem with the feminist side of the debate”. This is impossible for me to say in the general sense because I admittedly have no overall or properly informed opinion on the subject(what amounts to substantial,what is the feminist side). I have never pretended to be an expert and am ‘just a guy’.

    For me personally I have been shocked by the comments made here in reaction to some of the things I have said. Are the commenters ‘wrong’ to have said those things, should they be required in a global sense to not act that way, I do not have the right to say. Considering the way that our male patriarchy has treated women for thousands of years perhaps this is simply the way that it has to be.

    In my lifetime I think a terrible thing has happened in politics. In my youth while the parties disagreed, there was some ability for the politicians to listen to each other and make decisions based on what was best for the country. Now this is no longer possible as people are required to follow the specific doctrines of their group (i. e. the now extinct species ‘moderate’ republican) or be expelled and I think the results are terrible for the country. To the extent that the fight for respect and equality for women follows this model I am concerned that this cause I have supported will not be as successful as we wish.

    As for examples. The conversation here seemed to shift noticeably when I explained why I bothered to do the event at all. I labeled my 3 reasons 1, 2, 2.1 . ’2.1′ was the chance that I could change Emery’s mind. I labeled it as such because I knew from long experience that that would not happen. I did not for see the implication that I was downplaying and making unimportant the only really globally important issue. After that things got a little tender around here.

    Now a current example of the effect. I draw your attention to the phrase I typed above “I am concerned that this cause I have supported” . Prior to the last several days I would have said “OUR cause” but now I am afraid to do so because it seems to me likely that because of my male privilege some commenters here may be offended at my pretending to be really one of them and I do not want to cause any additional offense. Is this forced distancing going to make me decide that Emery is right, of course not. Are there others that could help the cause and share my experience, I do not know but it seems likely.

    ‘We’re tired’ . Yes I cannot imagine how tired you must be. I am exhausted and I have been actively involved for what, 7 days (LOL)? I honestly do not know how those of you who have done this for years keep going. I do not have the strength. I can only tell you all that I appreciate what you are willing to do personally and on behalf of my wife and daughter.

    Excellent observation above where you mention the ‘legal’ angle. In the podcast itself Emery says exactly that and is supported by the others on the show that day “It’s not DJ’s job or any of the people who work under DJ in my opinion to uphold the f****g law” and later DJ says “sexual harassment cannot happen at a public event, sexual harassment can only happen in the workplace” and Emery agrees.

  191. 191
    CT Chimako.27

    later DJ says “sexual harassment cannot happen at a public event,

    he said that, out loud, like so people could hear, not like just in his head dismissively??? I can’t even– I think I may have to go vomit now.

  192. 192
    Wendell

    ischemgeek

    You say ” few people being rude on a comment thread doesn’t exactly rise to ‘harrassment’” . Yes you are correct. I apologize. I was annoyed and surprised at some of the comments and got more than a bit hyperbolic, sorry. It has become apparent that if I am to be in this game I need a much thicker skin.

    You say “Odds are, if we were ‘nice’, you would’ve gotten bored and left already.” Now that is a fascinating observation. Who knows maybe it is true? My gut reaction is NO NO NO (of course) but as we all know true self knowledge is the hardest thing to learn so maybe there is more to it than it seems.

  193. 193
    Sethra

    @ Wendell:

    I had given you the benefit of the doubt on not realising the full import of your words until you said this:

    In my lifetime I think a terrible thing has happened in politics. In my youth while the parties disagreed, there was some ability for the politicians to listen to each other and make decisions based on what was best for the country. Now this is no longer possible as people are required to follow the specific doctrines of their group (i. e. the now extinct species ‘moderate’ republican) or be expelled and I think the results are terrible for the country. To the extent that the fight for respect and equality for women follows this model I am concerned that this cause I have supported will not be as successful as we wish.

    What the fuck do you think women have been doing for millennia? Not saying a word and just baking more pies? Because that totally worked at getting us equal rights. /sarcasm

    This isn’t about politics. This is about actual people and their lives and their safety. Many, many women have tried being nice AND IT DOESN’T WORK. Standing one’s ground and pushing people to acknowledge problems/issues is necessary to make some sort of difference, ESPECIALLY WHEN so many people seem to think that harassment, sexual harassment, AND EVEN RAPE aren’t crimes if they’re committed against women and/or children.

    No one’s ego and sensibilities are more important than the safety and well-being of at least half of the human race. No one’s. And I do not have the time and patience to waste on someone who thinks that women shouldn’t aggressively fight against issues that concern THEIR BODIES, THEIR LIVES, AND THEIR RIGHTS. Do only men get to do that? I must have missed the memo.

    Politics is a GAME of one-upping the other person or seeking consensus. My life and the lives of other women aren’t a fucking game for other people to play. We shouldn’t need to one-up anyone or be required to find a group of people willing to CONCEDE THAT WE ARE PEOPLE.

    This Public Service Announcement was brought to you by Too-fucking-pissed-off-before-my-first-cup-of-coffee. Thank you for your attention.

  194. 194
    Sethra

    DJ says “sexual harassment cannot happen at a public event, sexual harassment can only happen in the workplace”

    I sincerely hope someone passes that gem along to James Randi and asks him what he thinks of the JREF’s president spouting that kind of bullshit.

  195. 195
    CT Chimako.27

    What the fuck do you think women have been doing for millennia? Not saying a word and just baking more pies? Because that totally worked at getting us equal rights. /sarcasm

    shit, we were supposed to be baking pies? I was totally busy with being abused and marginalized to bake pies. that’s probably why we’re having problems now.

  196. 196
    julian

    DJ says “sexual harassment cannot happen at a public event, sexual harassment can only happen in the workplace” – Wendell

    He said that? I’m hoping there’s some context I’m missing. This was in the debate linked to in the OP? I don’t know what to say. I thought Laden’s suggestion Grothe resign was to extreme but if he’s saying shit like this he’s got no business heading any organization that’s going to have to confront sexual harassment.

  197. 197
    Wendell

    Sethra I did it again. Honestly I apparently have no idea how to express myself in a safe manner. I really do apologize because you have been patient and reasonable so since I have annoyed you I must have truly put my foot in it.

    I do not get why what I said was offensive but here is my best bet.

    I was not saying anything about the debate over sexual harassment be in ‘politics’ in the sense that it seems you understood it.

    Please note that all I was was doing is taking about my experiences here and why I felt that people who are ‘on your side’ could be treated differently. That is all I was referring to I am not talking about the Republican War on Women I am not talking about the guy who was trying to take upskirt pictures at TAM, I am not talking about playing politics with horribly real issues to which you refer.

    Does that clarify anything or am I still hopelessly confused?

  198. 198
    CT Chimako.27

    It has become apparent that if I am to be in this game I need a much thicker skin.

    Wendell, don’t say stuff like this. it’s not a fucking game. this thread is not a fucking game. these people aren’t trying to play games with your feelings.

    not. a. game.

    yes, you need not only a thicker skin but a more relevant sense of the hugeness of this problem of rape culture which is *not a game*.

  199. 199
    Sethra

    Wendell, thank you for responding and trying to clear that up. Once I’ve had my coffee and relaxed a bit, I will address your points.

  200. 200
    smhll

    If you really feel that there was some substantial problem with the feminist side of the debate..

    This was one of the many stumbling blocks in the video for me, and perhaps the most fruitful one to pursue. I heard more than one person in the discussion agree that Rebecca’s first “elevator” comment “guys, don’t do this” was mild and that it was reasonable for her to not wish to be propositioned in elevators (or not propositioned after stating she didn’t want to be hit on).

    However, then Emery, backed by others, stated that the pro-Rebecca arguments became overblown. And it’s a drawback of the medium that no links were given, and at this point in the debate, no quotes were read.

    My impression, reading the anti-Rebecca comments right on her threads on this topic on Skepchick (last July) was that the anti-Rebecca comments were hugely inflammatory and nasty and obnoxious. (I like to think that my side is pure, but I admit that it IS the internet and people get riled.)

    It’s hard to parse what his real argument with “the Rebecca side” is when all he’s doing is stating he thought they were unreasonable. Unreasonable about what? Unreasonable about not understanding how men feel? (Pot -> Kettle). Unreasonable linking the Shroedinger’s Rapist essay? Unreasonable in calling people stupid, ignorant, or rape apologists? I’m tired of guessing. I read many, many anti-feminist arguments on that thread and many of them were posted by people who had clearly read very little of the upthread material.

    If Emery is still bringing what got said in a flame war on the internet last July to his thought processes about whether harassment is real or overblown, then I suggest he let that older stuff rest and read what’s been posted recently.

  201. 201
    slignot

    @Wendell,

    I’m glad you had a chance to get back to me and I understand better things you’ve said (though I think they’re wrong), and perhaps how to help you understand why we’re getting frustrated with you.

    You’ve bought into the idea that in a major conflict both sides make equivalent mistakes

    That’s bullshit whether you’re talking about social justice like here or national politics.

    You want to attack what you see as inflexibility or refusal to listen? Don’t pretend that the parties in the US are remotely comparable. We have seen a shift in politics and it’s one sided enough that this sort of false equivalence of “politicians used to talk to one another even if they disagreed” is pretty much fiction. Look at ideas advanced by DEMOCRATS in the last several years; where did they come from? Listening to Republican ideas and positions. On the other side, Republicans get more and more and more conservative and implacable.

    You want to say this isn’t about the War on Women? You’re wrong. The party’s rhetoric shift is the context and the War on Women is the evidence. Period.

    As for feminism, the reason we get accused of being dogmatic is one side is right! There is no just or rational way to compromise or negotiate here. How are we supposed to compromise on the principle of women being fully equal human beings? We sound angry and inflexible? We should be!

    Now, you’ve perceived my criticism to be of what you’ve said here, and it’s becoming that as well, but that is not what I meant when I asked about the feminist side of the anti-harassment discussion here. On the hangout, you very clearly give the idea that both sides are as bad; it’s been a while since you did the recording, so I understand not remembering what you said. But you did give the impression that you felt we had done something measurably wrong that merited mention alongside the sexist apologism of Grothe.

    I wanted you to clarify for me whether there was anything real and specific that gave you that impression. You’ve clarified it’s more that you are used to a narrative where both sides have extreme rhetoric that should be criticized (although you show willingness to accept this is a rational response to years and years of misogyny).

    Fuzzy ideas that discourse has gotten ruder or more inflexible doesn’t buy you any sympathy with us because we’re still struggling for anything close to parity.

    I understand being shocked by anger when you’re fighting for a cause that you believe in, but which has never devalued you as a person. But please, please, stop criticizing us for not listening simply because we’re angry. You seem to think that this tone could drive people away; it’s possible. But I’ve also seen people say they learned, and thank those who argued with them passionately, angrily, shockingly, for finally hitting them with a cluestick. These approaches to have value, even if you haven’t been around long enough to see progress like many of us have.

  202. 202
    smhll

    @Wendell

    I get that your 0.1 percent comment meant that changing Emery’s mind on this issue was a long shot, not a low priority, but I can’t give you a pass on this one:

    I was not saying anything about the debate over sexual harassment be in ‘politics’ in the sense that it seems you understood it.

    When you talked about politics, you also brought in how people today follow a party line and don’t tolerate disagreement. The parallel seemed pretty clear that you’re not happy that we can’t be nice to you here and give you a B+ if you agree with 85% of feminist arguments. Sorry, be we focus on the disagreements.

    Look, I think you may be getting more than your personal fair share of flak because you attempted to discuss issues here. People are damned mad about the video and furious about the comments about the video on Youtube. Anyone who couldn’t stomach watching the video or couldn’t keep the name straight has a lot of free-floating anger towards Emery and his backup singers, and it’s not obvious to everyone in the thread which of his sentiments you nodded at and which ones you attempted to counter.

    In my personal opinion, things that are said politely by women go in one ear and straight out the other. Sometimes when people yell or curse they mean “goddamnit, listen to me.”

  203. 203
    carlie

    Thank you for trying, Wendell. Please understand that when your points are being attacked, it’s with the goal of you becoming a better-informed ally.

    DJ says “sexual harassment cannot happen at a public event, sexual harassment can only happen in the workplace”

    I assume that his thought process is that public events are where people have social interactions, and social interactions by default include people trying to hook up with each other, which are therefore going to include guys hitting on women in various ways, and these are all to be expected and are normal parts of social interactions, therefore can’t possibly be what he thinks of as harassment. He completely doesn’t understand that women get the short end of the stick in the kind of environment he thinks of as totally normal.

  204. 204
    Wendell

    slignot
    I do not believe I ever stated that the things that are wrong with Emery’s opinions are equal in volume and content as mistakes made by those with whom he disagrees. I also did not state that there was no War on Women or that the Republican party is not an embarrassment to our country. I do not recall my exact words in the video but I hope I did not say that there was equivalence. In part I made the comment on the video as a tactic to reduce the level of acrimony in hopes of getting the conversation into a more productive mode. Please remember I was the catalyst for the stupid video by raising hell with Emery for his remarks so there should be no doubt where I stand despite the inarticulate manner with which I discuss it. He was wrong then and he tripled down at least in the video.

    Do you know how I know mistakes have been made by everybody? It is because we are human and speaking for myself (as evidenced by my comments on this thread) humans make mistakes. Please if you want to show where I specifically said that the level of wrongness was equal, point it out to me I will admit to another in my stream of offensive remarks.

    CT, I was not denigrating your struggles by using the term ‘game’. Perhaps it is a personal turn of phrase but I refer on occasion to my entire life as a game and and that is something important to me at least. I believed that usage to be common with others but (no surprise) I was wrong.

    Carlie , yes I recognize that I have a lot to learn and I appreciate those here who are showing me patience for my ignorance.

    smhll , Yes I am getting that message loud and clear (your need to yell) I myself tend toward the histrionic on occasion but jeez I do not much care for being on the receiving end (LOL).

    Sigh … I had not even considered the You Tube comments. Maybe after a good nights sleep I’ll feel like enduring them in the morning.

  205. 205
    Pteryxx

    Wendell: consider that there is a War on Women, for instance, whether you personally said so or not; and such things are in fact germane to an informed discussion when you are talking about women’s lived experience.

  206. 206
    Jacqueline S. Homan

    I would also like to remind everyone that the rampant misogyny, sexism, and socially accepted denial of sexual harassment and ongoing sexualized threats of violence aimed at women being a problem in the atheist/skeptic community is not a separate issue from the War on Women and the fact that (according to the CDC and the IBIS Study), 25,000 rape victims across the US get pregnant each year as a result of those rapes.

    The eliminated access to reliable contraception and safe legal medical abortion that has been going on has resulted in rape victims being FORCED to give birth to their rapists’ progeny, at great cost to their mental, physical, and economic wellbeing since childbearing is not only the leading cause for women’s impoverishment it is also the leading cause for long-term debilitating health problems for women.

    Now imagine being forced against your will to go through pregnancy and childbirth, and thus be forced to suffer pain, trauma, disfigurement, risk of disability, , or even death, when that pregnancy is the result of a RAPE.

    When the Occupy movement started, stories of rapes and sexual assaults at various camps leaked out. One survivor wrote in her Daily Kos diary of what she witnessed. The “facilitators” actually pressured the women who were raped into not going to the police, and “counseled” them to keep quiet about what happened — for the “greater good” of the movement and the need to keep “divisive, special interest” issues out of the discussion on social justice. Economic, social, civil and human rights for only half the population at the expense of the other half is no justice at all. I see a very disturbing similarity here in the atheist/skeptics movement.

    Women’s human rights have always been back-benched in every social justice movement in this country.

    From Stokely Carmichael of the Black Panthers who said the only position for black women in the movement was “on their backs”, to the male leadership of Native American rights groups who climbed to fame and fortune while Indigenous women suffer in Third World poverty, and suffer the highest rates of murder and domestic violence, rape and unwanted pregnancies without any remedy at peril to their health and lives; to the white working class self-styled “socialists” and Leftists that blame everything on capitalism instead of on the cruel system of unearned male privilege as they deny misogyny, deny that there’s a War on Women, and trivialize the real harm to women as a result of being deprived of our basic human rights in a country by a male-dominated government that decided a 15 second old zygote and a religious corporation are “persons” but women are not.

    Nearly every sex education program fails to address the problem of forced pregnancy by abusive males who are using their penises like a loaded weapon to abuse, dominate, and utterly destroy women in our culture of impunity.

    Dr. Elizabeth Miller’s newest study published in the January 2010 issue of the journal Contraception showed that 74% of women aged 18-49 reported having experienced some form of reproductive abuse, including forced unprotected intercourse, refusal to withdraw as promised, the sabotaging of condoms, flushing birth control pills down the toilet, and removing contraceptive patches and rings. Women who did become pregnant as a result were coerced or forced into going along with their partners’ wishes, who in some cases threatened to kill them if they got an abortion. These figures are consistent from clinic to clinic.

    Not one law has been passed to criminally prosecute men who cause injury, disability or death to women through the reproductive abuse of forced pregnancy and birth.

    To deny women the right to be free from sexual harassment and discrimination and to deny women the right to prevent or terminate an unwanted or medically risky pregnancy is to consequently deny her all basic human rights. It’s not a separate issue. It’s not a “special interest” issue. It’s not a frivolous issue. Not if one is a woman. It affects everything in her life.

    The right to determine what happens to your own body, the fundamental human rights of bodily autonomy and bodily integrity, are the sine qua non of ALL rights that are inalienable— including the right to freedom from religion.

    If women’s human rights can be discarded, ignored, or postponed, then policymakers are once again placing issues that directly and specifically relate to men at the top. There is no democracy or fairness in any sense of the word if double standards drive the issues. Democracy, freedom, and justice for only half the population but not the other is no real freedom or justice at all.

    What many proudly misogynistic, selfish, narcissistic, sexually repressed, emotionally stunted psychos say on talk radio, prime time TV, during political campaign season, and post online in social media sites, blogging communities and in commentaries to news articles about the War on Women with very little opposition from the “good guys” loudly and boldly denouncing this legitimized misogyny reveals a lot.

    My grandmother once told me: When someone shows you who they really are, believe them.

  207. 207
    Jacqueline S. Homan

    Wendell:

    “Prior to the last several days I would have said “OUR cause” but now I am afraid to do so because it seems to me likely that because of my male privilege some commenters here may be offended at my pretending to be really one of them and I do not want to cause any additional offense.”

    Actually, it really is “OUR” cause, even when your male privilege causes you to stumble. And I will tell you why. You mentioned, briefly, during the Google Hangout video conference/chat with those fart blossoms, that you sought your wife’s counsel on something relating to women’s safety. That tells me that you not only care about your wife and daughter, but that you respect your wife as a person whose thoughts and feelings matter. Given that, I am sure that you would not wish to see your daughter’s rights to her own body removed, or stripped of her rights to an education and a good job, or her right to the liberty of not having to self-impose self-imprisonment in order maximize her safety from rapists and other social predators that are free to act with impunity.

    What happened to Rebecca Watson, Greta Christina, Stephanie Zvan, Ophelia Benson, as well-known members, bloggers, and speakers of the atheist/skeptic community happens to average middle class women who don’t have impressive job titles and whose names are not widely recognized. It happens mostly, however, to marginalized, poor and “invisible” women every day. But as I said earlier by citing Sandra Fluke, no woman or girl is immune from the harm and injustices of patriarchy and its mortar of misogyny and sexism.

    I don’t know how much money those men from TAM and JREF in the Google video rake in from female conference registrants who now know that their reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault will get swept under the rug while they are bullied into silence over any bad experience they had, but the idea that the men at the apex of these organizations’ hierarchy ARE being enriched by those same women’s dollars is noxious to me. Especially when those women could have chosen to use their money that they spent on exorbitant conference and travel costs to instead help their less fortunate “sisters”: Destitute women needing birth control in areas where there is no longer a Planned Parenthood, and to the National Abortion Federation Network to help pay for poor, abused and marginalized women’s abortion care(some which are the result of rape).

    It doesn’t sit well with me and a lot of other women when we see how the men running the show with these atheist and skeptics organizations enrich themselves (and the coffers of hotel and casino owners) at the expense of women whom they despise and view as disposable fuck toys in terms of male sexual ethics as if “scoring” women is just another game to them.

    As an “atheist in the foxhole” fighting in the trenches every day, struggling on occasional donations from my readership on Facebook and WordPress, on food stamps that are not enough for me to eat on in a month, and on paltry book royalties, you cannot imagine how utterly disheartening it is for me to see such blatant misogyny and sexism from other atheists when I am (by virtue of my medical and legal ethics writing) at the fore aiming to take down the protected institutions of misogyny (namely, the USCCB, the Vatican and the Christian Right) and working with other activists to dismantle the privileges enjoyed by the fetid havens of misogynistic fetal idolators of popery.

  208. 208
    Wendell

    Jacqueline
    I do accept it as ‘our’ cause and however badly have worked to do my tiny bit over the years. My comment was not intended to express that I did not think the cause was also mine but to point out the difficulty I am having even participating in the conversation. It appears that I was wrong (no surprise there and consistent with my record so far) and that using the phrase “our cause’ would have been acceptable but when writing that post I could not risk expressing my honest expression (‘our cause’).

    My personal frustration comes from not being able to express myself without offending y’all. I am not trying to state that you are wrong to be offended, I have not earned that right. I am just surprised and struggling/failing to understand how to participate without causing harm.

  209. 209
    Jacqueline S. Homan

    Wendell:

    “My comment was not intended to express that I did not think the cause was also mine but to point out the difficulty I am having even participating in the conversation.”

    I can see how and why it is difficult for you and I empathize with you along those lines. I will not even try to pretend that it’s not hard for you. It is for that reason, along with the fact that, based on my uncanny ability to “read” people as efficiently as the well-educated upper-middle classes can read academic treatises and wiz around technology (which, as a poor woman on the wrong side of the “digital divide”, you can imagine how daunting that is), I can see that you’re not an apologist for the MRA/PUA bowel movement and that you DO genuinely care about working towards a more ethical and equitable society so your own daughter does not have to be subjected to the putrid odor of this misogynistic shit-filled world.

    As hard as it is for you to find out how to express yourself and participate, many women who are poor and far less educated without the $64 million dollar vocabularies of the well-educated and culturally-enriched also face that difficulty too, even though poor and marginal women are the ones most devastated and harmed by the machinations of privilege and power under patriarchy. So I can only imagine the degree of difficulty you face as an “outsider” who lucked out in the socio-economic class/gender/race privilege lottery.

    I don’t think there really is a “one-size-fits-all” way to combat entrenched sexism and institutionalized misogyny. So one thing that might be helpful to you is to see what other male feminists and allies are saying. Jason Thibeault is pretty good, and if you read his material on this matter on his blogs, it may help you gain more confidence.

    I would have never heard of this whole brouhaha if the MRA/PUA element and their bigoted fellow travelers in the atheist/skeptic community NOT drawn attention to themselves and their actions by being assholes, full stop. Before jumping in, I went over to Rebecca Watson’s and Greta Christina’s sites (which I admittedly NEVER read through before until now) because I wanted to see what they wrote that they were being so mercilessly abused for by male members of their own community.

    I was happily Facebooking when a little birdie told me that I needed to wander over here to do some MRA/PUA clean-up in the atheist/skeptic community. By the time I got over here, so much damage had already been done — not by women that complained, since their voices were silenced and wholesale bullied for the better part of a year, but by the male poo-flinging primates who caused it all.

    Had I been aware of all this crap, including Elevatorgate, before this Google video, I would have contacted Stephanie and you myself and offered to take your spot in the sausage fest to handle that type of a sausage fest, including the two “Stepford wives” serving as willing handmaidens of patriarchy providing ego-stroking ‘hand-jobs’ to the oppressor.

    My impression of the whole mess was that Travis, Emery, BJ and those other two tarts would not be able to hold their own in any serious debate against the Vatican’s polished spin doctors and the USCCB, who I am taking on in a real bare-knuckled, knock-down, drag-out fight for my/my gender’s human rights which are being brutally subordinated to their “right” to “freedom of religion” which is literally costing women their lives. I guess tearing down abused women is so much easier for them than taking on the Vatican, the USCCB, and the fascist Christian Right which morphed into the Tea Party, I suppose.

    My initial knee-jerk reaction was “holy shit, no wonder the Christian Right was able to rise to such prominence and power, with male chauvinist pigs putting themselves out there as the poster boys for the atheist/skeptic community, riding on the coattails of Madalyn Murray O’Hair — who had already single-fuckin’-handedly done all the sacrificing, back-breaking, groundwork in an era when women dare not think in public much less champion atheism and promote atheists’ rights that these Johnny-Come-Latelies claim they are doing!

  210. 210
    Deen

    @Wendell:

    I am just surprised and struggling/failing to understand how to participate without causing harm.

    Well, there is one option that is always safe: just listen for a while. If you truly acknowledge that the people here have something to teach you on this issue, stop trying to explain yourself over and over again, and try something else: just let them speak.

  211. 211
    Wendell

    Deen , excellent advice. very very very hard for me to follow so probably an indication that it is the perfect concept for me.

  212. 212
    Sethra

    Wendell:

    Sorry, I meant to respond to you sooner, but I got ridiculously busy.

    Listening is the most important thing you can do, but taking the time to evaluate what people say and how you want to respond to it is also important.

    You are speaking to a number of people for whom this is not an abstract exercise. Some of the people here watched that video, and others read comments and transcriptions of it. Think about it: if you were repeatedly slammed by a group of people for characteristics beyond your control, wouldn’t you be pissed off? If your gender (or the gender you present as) is the one most affected by sexual harassment and that particular gender was repeatedly treated in an offensive manner during a discussion about the subject, wouldn’t you be pissed off?

    There is a time for joking. When feelings are still very raw after watching such garbage, it’s not the best time for jokes. That’s pretty much it – you might be able to treat it in a more hypothetical manner because you’re not directly affected by it, but we know this is targeted at us. This isn’t something that people can take lightly because we get shit like this on a daily basis and it sucks bongwater. And then spits on ponies and kittens and rainbows.

    I’m glad you care enough to work on how you interact with people on the subject. Just try to keep in mind that harassment (sexual and just plain verbal/emotional/physical abuse) isn’t an abstract for the vast majority of people who are or present as women. It’s an ugly component of life that we’re forced to cope with and we’re pretty fucking sick of it.

  213. 213
    slignot

    Due to technological malice, I have been unable to post for a while, but I need to make a correction to something I said above and apologize.

    I mistakenly attributed a vicious comment to Mallorie Nasrallah because I could not remember the way in which her comments were entwined with the violent threat made to Greta I cited above. Nasrallah did not threaten Greta and I need to make that perfectly clear. I am very, very sorry for this mistake. I should have triple checked the posts before I made this assertion.

    She was tied in with discussion about that threat in December, which is why I conflated her with the actual comment. I was confused because in comments discussing it, she accused Greta of: “shutting down” conversations, vilifying all men (somehow) through open discussion of misogyny and the use of tags such as #mencallmethings, of pretending there is an entrenched social system that subjects women to abuse, harassment and rape threats simply because of their gender.

    Here are some examples of the content of her commentary on the threat.

    In an equal world things like #mencallmethings do not trend on facebook.
    Everything else you said I feel lacks credibility, I could offer up my examples of women who “hold the reins of power” and you could retort in kind, I would prefer not to get in to that, it seems a waste of time.
    Rather I will offer real equality:
    Stop creating gender divides. This isn’t a women’s issue its an assholes + anonymity issue.
    That is not a derailment of discussion, the most offensive absurd thing you can do is act like gender matters.

    Sorry, Ive got to say it:
    Its unfair to blame men, I’ve said some vicious things to women and men alike online. Its never had anything to do with gender and always had a whole lot to do with me being a vicious person…who just so happens to be female.

    I am challenging the idea that its not ok to have a conversation, that we have to accept that its men doing it, and short of stating our disapproval we have to shut up.
    Because that is what these posts say.
    I like being told to shut up much less than I like being call gender specific names.

    With that in mind, when I see #mencallmethings trending on twitter, I cant help but think “what a horrible shame”.
    #peoplecallmethings fine whatever, but this IS unfair.

    And no I wont let the graphic or shocking nature of the things said to that little girl shock me in to shutting up. Of fucking course it was horrible, but I am not going to accept that pointing the finger at men and screaming “bad” is the only appropriate response.
    If that means putting my head on the chopping block and admitting that I as a woman have been vicious and nasty to men and women alike, then fine.
    I have offered no defense of the people who said these things, I have only been honest and admitted that I (even in my apparently saintly status as a woman) have said, and will probably continue to say vicious things.

    Its unproductive and useless to say we cant offer protest or analysis.

    You were told not to make excuses for the posting of rape threats online. You disregarded this instruction.

    No shit I did, because in this instance it amounted to being told not to think, and just accept. I never thought I would have to say this here, but excuse me for being skeptical in nature.

    Actually No, This was not a rape threat, Asking questions and discussion were the avenue for that discovery, and thats awesome.
    Nothing you said above in any way has anything to do with what I said, you have put words in my mouth. No “yes but”. Rather a open wholehearted no.
    If you would like I can finish every paragraph with “I see no reason those comments should be called rape threats”. It seems obvious at this point though.

    I disagree with your premise, they were not misogynistic, they expressed no arbitrary hate of women. They were sexual and explicit, if you would like to try to make the case that all sexually explicit remarks are misogynistic in nature then you still have all your work cut out for you.

    Nasrallah minimized and dismissed Greta’s concerns about misogyny and harassment, insisted that statements of sexual violence did not constitute rape threats and handwaved away gender inequity behind the threats, but she did not threaten Greta Christina and that is a big difference. I was wrong and I am sorry.

  214. 214
    Jacqueline S. Homan

    slignot:

    Due to technological malice, I have been unable to post for a while, but I need to make a correction to something I said above and apologize.

    I mistakenly attributed a vicious comment to Mallorie Nasrallah because I could not remember the way in which her comments were entwined with the violent threat made to Greta I cited above. Nasrallah did not threaten Greta and I need to make that perfectly clear. I am very, very sorry for this mistake. I should have triple checked the posts before I made this assertion.

    Thank you for clearing that up, because I was operating under that intel and really hammered Mallorie for that on one of the other threads (I forget which one now, since there’s been so many and even though I am poor and long-term unemployed, I DO have a life outside of this forum, and outside of the Internet in general and trying to keep up with “who’s on first” if you get me).

    With all of Mallorie’s other vitriol and invalidating/disparaging of other women, including rape survivors, harassment targets, etc., there is no shortage of malicious crap to call her out on. She is still pretty contemptible, IMHO.

    Lastly, when you’re dealing with being bombarded by a literal avalanche of misogyny, unable to keep up with all the posts, trying to defend yourself/other women, etc, it’s extremely difficult to always get the “who said what” material straight on these message boards, forums, blogs and online sites in general. I think the MRA/PUA element that seems to dominate atheist/skeptic online forums and blogs does this deliberately as a tactic to publicly screw women over to make us all look stupid (and therefore undeserving of any respect and human dignity).

    Ian Cromwell generously stated in the recent podcast hosted by PZ Myers that we shouldn’t “attribute to malice that which can be blamed on stupidity.” I think the converse also holds: never automatically ascribe to stupidity that which is often done in malice.

  215. 215
    slignot

    @Jacqueline S. Homan,

    Lastly, when you’re dealing with being bombarded by a literal avalanche of misogyny, unable to keep up with all the posts, trying to defend yourself/other women, etc, it’s extremely difficult to always get the “who said what” material straight on these message boards, forums, blogs and online sites in general.

    Yes, it’s tricky and takes mountains of time, and I absolutely would understand people struggling to remember the context of what was happening in the ongoing sexism in atheism fight months ago.

    But I’m deeply embarrassed and angry with myself for not verifying again what I was asserting. It was totally not okay that I didn’t do that. As you said, there’s plenty to be angry about in regard to what these people have actually said without conflating them with others.

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    [...] it put some distance between us and that guy who explodes in anger when challenged. Or that guy. Or all the other guys who do that. It allows us to have our say [...]

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