Jan 07 2013

What Melody Hensley Has to Teach You About Professionalism

There’s this meme that the slime pitters are trying to pass around that my petition to have Justin Vacula removed as the co-chair of the Pennsylvania state Secular Coalition chapter was part of a bullying campaign against him. I won’t try to tell anyone I’m particularly nice to Vacula, but really, I think a bullying campaign generally has to consist of more than answering when someone asks me what I think of something or standing up for upset people who don’t have a platform of their own. Of course, in this case, I’m going to do something that isn’t quite either of those.

Melody Hensley didn’t point me at Vacula’s latest video, and though it’s probably a fair guess that it would upset her, I don’t know whether she’s watched it. It was pointed out to me by someone else.

The video consists of about five minutes of essentially saying this about Melody:

…she is just blocking entire lists of people who happen to follow certain unapproved accounts she considers to be misogynistic or harassing, as is pretty clear from her Twitter description.

Oh, “unapproved accounts”. Sounds vaguely McCarthyist, yeah? Orwellian, even? Controlling and unsavory in any case.

But who did Melody block? She preemptively blocked people who follow the @elevatorgate Twitter account. You know, this one.

Twitter "art" for Elevatorgate account.

Smash Patriarchy
I love @justinbieber and @timminchin. #TeamMatriarcy If you follow me, you will be shunned by #atheismplus & #FTBullies cult
U mad, RadFems?
Question Becky & Mangina Myers

This is the guy who calls himself “Brave Hero” and a defender of TAM without, apparently, any irony whatsoever. He’s run a blog devoted to trashing Rebecca Watson and friends for about a year and a half. He’s been keeping a Storify account for the last three or four months, which now has about 1,800 “stories” (about 15 a day), many of which consist of nothing more than a single tweet by someone this guy thinks he needs to monitor. Somewhere north of 100 of those “stories” mention Melody. As I write this, he’s musing on Twitter about how sad Melody’s husband must be that she isn’t as skinny as she once was.

In other words, “unapproved account” means a persistent stalker and abuser. Not much consideration required on Melody’s part. Orwellian indeed.

I could point out that it’s quite reasonable to put some separation between yourself and your abusers, or even to arrange to handle them on your own terms, but it really shouldn’t be necessary. Even if it were, Michael Nugent handled the matter four days ago:

Who did she ban from where? She banned nobody from anywhere. She blocked people from following her on twitter, who were also following the Elevatorgate twitter account, which was posting tweets harassing her. That seems like a prudent and sane thing to do. She did not infringe on anybody’s right to freedom of expression.

Four days ago. That’s two days before Vacula posted his video. Why he did so anyway I don’t know. I’m not going to try to figure out what he was thinking. Besides, it’s irrelevant to what I want to talk about.

That would be the title of the video. You see, it’s called “Professional Victim Melody Hensley”.

It’s that “professional victim” trope again. You know, those of us who dare to say we deserve something other than abuse and say it out loud–we only do it for…money, I guess. It’s how we make our livings, of course. Forget that we actually get paid for doing math or science or art or writing and speaking about religion or writing and speaking about everyday skepticism. No, all those talents and accomplishments mean nothing when we complain. We become “professional victims”.

They can get away with saying that when our public faces are blogs or books or talks. Those are subjective, easy to devalue when delivered by someone who annoys you. The only reason anyone would pay attention to us is because we cry victimhood, don’cha know.

And then someone says this about Melody Hensley. Seriously. Melody.

Who is Melody Hensley? She’s the Executive Director of CFI-DC, a position she’s held for almost four years. She is an incredibly accomplished professional skeptic and secularist who has done rather a lot for our movements.

That’s who Melody Hensley is. That is the full-time, paid activist and organizer, one of only five CFI branch directors in the country, whom Justin Vacula dismissed as a “professional victim”.

When I created that petition asking for Justin Vacula to be removed from his position, people said I was dismissing his volunteer work. I have never done any such thing. Rather, I pointed out that the requirements of leadership are greater than the requirements of volunteering.

I’ve never heard from the Secular Coalition about the petition. I don’t expect to, particularly since Vacula did the responsible thing and resigned rather than placing the burden of a decision on them. Still, it wouldn’t surprise me if there are people there–assuming they still pay attention to Vacula–who sigh with relief every time he says something new.

“Um, boss, got a sec?”

“This is about him again, isn’t it?”


*sigh* “What did he do now?”

“It’s probably not a good thing when one of our volunteers makes a video claiming that an executive director for an affiliate of one of our member organizations makes her living as a ‘victim’, right? Boss? Boss, you okay? Say, I’ll just…uh…close the door behind me on the way out.”

How much less professional can someone get? Seriously, who thinks it’s a good idea to spend the time to put together a video like this denying someone’s blazingly obvious professional accomplishments because you don’t like who they blocked and who they talk to on their personal Twitter account? Beyond that, who thinks the way to convince the world that a woman is overreacting to sexist abuse is to deny said blazingly obvious professional accomplishments of a woman who is already being subject to sexist abuse? If this were a game, I would call that the kind of own goal that stays on the blooper reels for decades.

It isn’t a game, though. Melody is being harassed and abused, not moving a ball down a field. There are people who consider this a sport, including Michael Cortese/Mykeru, whom Vacula mentions in the video, but they’re playing with Melody’s professional reputation and emotional health.

Vacula’s contributing to that, with this little Calvinball video. It’s wrong not to approve of Twitter accounts that stalk and abuse you. It’s wrong to block people. It’s wrong to talk to people who abuse you on your own terms when you feel up to it. Why? Because Vacula now makes the rules of social media. And the rule you must never question is that we must always lose.

“Professional victim” my ass. Melody is one of the people making these movements get things done. Somebody who claims to be an activist could take some lessons. Instead, Vacula is making ad-supported videos dismissing all her important work, work from which he should be learning.

Technically, I think that makes him a professional victimizer.


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  1. 1

    Good lord, who does he think he is? How is it remotely his business who someone else blocks on Twitter or why? Last I checked, having the ability to post your merest whims to the Twitterverse did not entail the right to force people to read them. Find a better use for your time, Vacula…this is simply pathetic.

  2. 2

    Gretchen, how dare you violate Justin Vacula’s and ElevatorGATE’s Free Speech rights by not sitting quietly and listening to their every utterance, no matter how vapid or hateful? As a True Skeptic(TM) you should be ashamed of yourself. After all, how can we call ourselves freethinkers unless we’re willing to discuss just how big of a cunt Rebecca Watson actually is? As for me, I’m such a skeptic I actually doubt whether Melody Hensley exists at all – it’s entirely possible that she’s a fiction created by PZ Myers to get himself some of that professional victim gravy train. Boy, won’t her husband be surprised when he finds out she doesn’t actually exist. [/sarcasm]

  3. 3

    … I’m struggling with this one. Has there ever been such a thing as a “professional victim?” The closest I can think of is someone in a reality TV show, who uses false claims of victim-hood to earn sympathy from the audience.

    Because it seems more likely the term is just a shaming tactic used to dismiss any claims of victim-hood, and has no use otherwise.

  4. 4
    Raging Bee

    I’m still waiting for an explanation of what good work, exactly, this Vaculous guy does at the “local level” that makes him worth anyone’s time. I asked this question in a comment to your October post (cited above), and didn’t get an answer then either. Does this guy actually oragnize things that help people, or does he just make videos mocking theists, like ThunderZerosFootInMouth does?

  5. 5


    I would say that someone like Bill Donohue (sample quote, re: The Passion of the Christ: “Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It’s not a secret, OK? And I’m not afraid to say it. That’s why they hate this movie. It’s about Jesus Christ, and it’s about truth. It’s about the Messiah”) is a professional victim– always claiming that Catholicism has been “attacked” and trying to censor those attacks. A professional victim would be someone who makes a living by claiming victimization, with the suggestion (by the namer) that it’s false victimization and usually proposing counter-measures that amount to actual victimization, i.e. limiting the rights of others.

    Melody Hensley, of course, has done none of that.

  6. 6
    Raging Bee

    hjhornbeck: Yeah, you’re pretty much spot-on there. Not much “struggling” required, eh?

  7. 7

    @hjhornbeck, I don’t know about ‘professional’, but plenty of the ‘pitters have made a habit of claiming their rights have been violated, or they’ve been “bullied” by the mean FTB bloggers, or they’ve been shamed by being labeled a misogynist. It doesn’t engender much sympathy from me, but then, I’m neither a moron nor an asshole.

  8. 8

    When I was in sixth grade, I liked Teri but she didn’t like me back, so I declared WAR on her!

    Honestly, I can’t remember exactly what this war consisted of, except maybe I drew maps of the playground and where different people hung out at recess. Also, I think there was lost of whispering during quiet reading time. Anyway, the war ended when Teri sent me a note telling me Julie liked me and did I like her back? [ ] Yes, or [ ] No. Later, Teri and I became kinda friends because we had to share a frog in science class, but Julie and I, sadly, lost during Spring Break. Or something.

    I grew up, but clearly Justin Vacuous and his ilk remain stuck in the sixth grade mentality, except as their bodies aged they’ve gotten more virulently persistent in their raving, juvenile assholery.

  9. 9

    Sigh. My comment might have almost achieved a limited degree of semi-cleverness had I managed to avoid so many typos and missing words.


  10. 10

    If we were to apply the same principles to real life that these people say should be done on social media, you would have to leave your front door open and let masked people (so there remain anonymous) take a dump in your living room. And not only would you not be able to clean up the mess but you would have to let all their masked friends come in and do the same.

  11. 11
    Stephanie Zvan

    Raging Bee, he helped found a local atheist group with a small membership. He talks to the media sometimes on secular issues. He speaks occasionally at local events. He plays target to anti-atheist prejudices with local media campaigns (mostly sponsored by the FFRF) that draw and expose hatred. I’m sure there’s more, too.

  12. 12

    This is the guy who calls himself “Brave Hero”

    He’s now calling himself “JREF Saviour”. Modest, isn’t he?

  13. 13

    As an aside do you really think EG is being sincere? When I see him pop up in a comment thread saying “Al Stefanelli/Michael Shermer/Justin Vacula is a brave hero” I can almost feel the pitters wince. No one responds to these little comments and they hang there begging the question of how serious is this geezer?

    He is clearly a Brit, not necessarily living in the UK at the moment, and that sort of bald-faced banal arslickhan statement would make any Brit cringe. It seems to me that he is taking the piss out of his own side a bit as well…

  14. 14
    Stephanie Zvan

    Have you looked at the Storify account? That isn’t performance art. That’s a level of obsession that should raise flags.

  15. 15
    Bjarte Foshaug

    Even I have blocked people on twitter without any prior communication. If I see that someone is parroting the whole #FTBullies idiocy, that’s more than enough for me to conclude that anything other than hostility to death is out of the question. BTW I recently did a Google search for something totally unrelated, and came across a picture I had previously tweeted at Surly Amy of myself wearing my surly-ramics neclaces, and someone had added the caption “Their money makes Amy grow stronger” (Good! That’s $118 well spent then!). If that’s your idea of “only disagreeing” with me, you’re damn right I will block you and call you an excrement for doing so.

  16. 16

    Well yeah have you seen my analysis of when he tweets? Basically there is no hour of the day when he is not tweeting some crap about Rebecca/You/Melody etc. So he *really* enjoys “parody” and *really* likes being an offensive arsehole to achieve the pariah status he obviously craves. But still… “Brave hero”, and really mean it when he plainly says pretty much everything for maximum offensive effect with no consideration for feelings.

    I don’t get the impression that like Franc Hoggle for instance he takes himself that seriously. He takes his role as “skeptical pariah” and king Twit seriously for sure.

  17. 17
    Stephanie Zvan

    That’s nice. I’m glad you can treat him as an academic subject. Now get on topic or go away.

  18. 18

    I think “offensive arsehole” fails to meet academic standards but point taken :-)

    On topic has anyone noticed the Thunderf00t controversy? He has *blocked* people on Twitter! Examples of hypocrisy from the freeze peach crowd! I think I need the fainting couch…

  19. 19

    Thank you for this post Stephanie.

  20. 20

    Vacula’s contributing to that, with this little Calvinball video. It’s wrong not to approve of Twitter accounts that stalk and abuse you. It’s wrong to block people. It’s wrong to talk to people who abuse you on your own terms when you feel up to it. Why? Because Vacula now makes the rules of social media. And the rule you must never question is that we must always lose.

    Well, I am forming my own pet theory.

    Basically, Vacula et al seem to be reaching the conclusion that FREEZE PEACH entails not only saying what you want, but also forcing others to listen to you. In other words, YOUR freedom of speech does NOT entail the right to avoid Justin Vacula’s speech or anybody else he thinks you ought to be listening to.

    The only rational explanation for this idiocy I can think of is that they are realizing that their ideas are not popular. That, in a free marketplace of ideas, fewer and fewer people are interested in hearing theirs.

    So, they are promulgating a false interpretation of free speech, because they are working from some faulty premises about the nature of free speech, and the reason they are using these faulty premises is basically self-interest and denial about the possibility of being wrong.

    But, you know, they have SO MUCH to teach the rest of us about how to do skepticism!

  21. 21
    Dave W

    This makes me want to open a Twiiter account just so I can block Vacula.

  22. 22
    George W.

    Pro-fes-sion-al vic-tim noun \prə-ˈfesh-nəl\ \ˈvik-təm\
    : a person who makes or maintains a reputation and/or notoriety by maintaining that they have been adversely affected by the treatment of others, be it real or perceived.

    Though his position in a local atheist group gave him little relevance, he was able to become known in the larger community by playing the professional victim- decrying his perceived mistreatment in the blogosphere and social media.

  23. 23
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    You missed something about Melody and that’s fukken awesome!

    So, I learned today that managing your own space (twitter, blog, youtube) and living your own live (buying shoes and stuff) is bullying and censorship and harassment, while going after those people into their own spaces, demanding that they provide you a platform and obsessively blogging/tweeting/making videos about them is actually kind of the real victimhood.

  24. 24

    Wow, this is wild.

    Look, folks, I am a commenter on FtB and a lurker in the movement such as it is. And I haven’t been personally involved in any of this.

    But FFS. What is it with people? I see these attacks on Rebecca Watson, or Greta Christina, or whomever, and i just can’t figure this out.

    I can throw out a comment and disagree, and I can be chastised–it’s happened. No biggie, I have written stuff I am not proud of now occasionally. Hey, that’s life. I’ve gotten into online back-and-forths with people. OK, live and learn, and I hope that I come out of it better-informed. And I don’t take it too personally (or I try not to) if I piss someone off without meaning to and I apologize. I have feelings and I get mad, but I can’t see myself going after someone day in and day out for some apparent slight to my manhood or whatever.

    I just can’t get enough energy up to harass anyone like this. I mean, I have to write all day to make any money, and not about stuff that just comes into my head — i have to make phone calls and such, you know? I have to make dinner and do the laundry and all that.

    I mean, I was off Twitter for a week ‘cuz I had shit to do. Off line. That made me money to like, eat. Do none of these folks have friends? Spouses? A need for sleep? Homes? They have Internet access, obviously.

    Where the hell do these trolls find the time? I mean, I wish I had the time these trolls seem to. I’d write that novel or something.

    There’s a whole bunch of people who spend hours of their day just to make someone’s life miserable.

    What the hell is going on? Really? I can’t imagine that the Internet magically made people worse or better.

    I guess I just wake up sometimes and think “what the hell planet did I just land on? This is Earth right? Not the Star Trek mirror universe?”

    Does anyone else ever feel like this?

  25. 25
    WMDKitty -- Survivor


    Yep, I feel that way, sometimes.

    That level of devotion and dedication… is kind of admirable, but really scary.

  26. 26

    @jesse – Once there was a dude on Twitter who responded to my admonition to gay men being gay does not magically transform the act of groping my breast into a non-sexist act of not-harassment, and they should not sexually harass women by saying, “EVERYONE should sexually harass women!” I tried really hard to tweet at him in every spare moment to remind him what a fucking idiotic sexist douchebag he was, but I got bored and distracted after about a day and a half. I wasn’t able to get him to block me, either. Which was disappointing. Clearly I lack the dedication of these dudes. If there are professional victims, then I guess these guys are professional victimizers. Nice line of work there.

  27. 27


    Vacula et al seem to be reaching the conclusion that FREEZE PEACH entails not only saying what you want, but also forcing others to listen to you. In other words, YOUR freedom of speech does NOT entail the right to avoid Justin Vacula’s speech or anybody else he thinks you ought to be listening to.

    The only rational explanation for this idiocy I can think of is that they are realizing that their ideas are not popular. That, in a free marketplace of ideas, fewer and fewer people are interested in hearing theirs.

    So, they are promulgating a false interpretation of free speech, because they are working from some faulty premises about the nature of free speech, and the reason they are using these faulty premises is basically self-interest and denial about the possibility of being wrong.

    That is what they think. It’s a confused rationalization offered by people who feel entitled to others’ attention.

    I’m on a skeptics book club email group and recently had this exchange with a dudebro:

    Me: “Freedom of speech” refers to the right to freedom from government
    restriction of speech. It doesn’t mean freedom from the consequences of
    speech. It doesn’t mean that everybody is required to give everybody a

    Him: Not so; “Freedom of speech” can also refer to the principle that unpopular
    ideas deserve a hearing, and that we are best served by not crushing them
    (if you trust your fellow humans to do what’s best, that is).

    Me: >unpopular ideas deserve a hearing

    A deepity. We allow unpopular ideas, “deserving” or not, a hearing by ensuring that the government cannot censor them. Beyond that: freedom of speech does not mean it’s morally incumbent on everybody to listen to anybody who wants their ear.

  28. 28

    They’ve confused “freedom of speech” with “right to be listened to.”

  29. 29
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    They’ve confused “freedom of speech” with “right to be listened to.”

    As I’ve said/written a few places, I see it as the unfortunate by-product of how the atheist presence on the internet got to the size it is today, i.e. that every bozo with an opinion, no matter how ill-considered, was treated as if that opinion was important – simply because we needed to have the numbers in order to demonstrate we were relevant.

    Now we’re paying the price; we’ve inadvertently created an army of lazy, clueless, entitled douchebags who’ve gotten so used to having their opinions asked for that they can’t process the idea that that this does not a) include listening to every thought they have on topics they clearly know little to nothing about; or b) extend to providing them with the means of broadcasting said thoughts, no matter how many times they squeal about ‘freedom of speech’.

  30. 30

    Agreed, Stacy. I’ve been trying to tease out a thought: Is there a point of comparison in their requirement to be listened to and those who say “It’s not freedom from religion; it’s freedom of religion?

  31. 31
    Xanthë, Amy of my threads

    I’d stand up and cheer for all of Melody’s achievements, but the one I really want to shout to the rooftops is her role as organiser of the Women in Secularism conference, which from the many reports of those who attended (*sniff*… sadly, it was too far away for me to do so) was a huge success, and I hope the follow-up conference will prove the same. So what if she doesn’t want to listen to ElevatorGATE’s followers on Twitter… maybe that’s because Twitter is being used by those folks as a tool of harassment, rather than a social medium?!

  32. 32
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    I don’t get it. They sound exactly like creationists now, demanding the right to have their bad arguments heard on an equal level. And yet…it’s like their brains have shut down or something =/

  33. 33
    Argle Bargle

    Sally Strange #20

    Basically, Vacula et al seem to be reaching the conclusion that FREEZE PEACH entails not only saying what you want, but also forcing others to listen to you.

    FREEZE PEACH also operates in only one direction. If someone says something, it’s censorship to criticize the original statement. The slyme pitter can say whatever they want and you have to listen to them. However you can only agree with them or ignore them. Disagreement is denying them FREEZE PEACH and is bullying behavior.

  34. 34
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Just Vacuous seems to be shooting for a Rush Limbaugh-like career.

  35. 35

    Ugh, the whole “censorship” trope again.

    No, dumbarses, “free speech” does not apply on someone’s private web space or media account. Free speech is not absolute or innate; it is a right bestowed by (some) governments onto citizens and – importantly – it always comes with caveats, qualifications and responsibilities. Or should it be legal to threaten to rape or murder someone or publicly misrepresent them? The “free speech” on the internet comes with the gigantic caveat that bascially all of the internet that allows public interaction is under the control of a private individual or entity and that individual or entity has the right to decide who gets to share their space and how. Or should I have the right to stand on your lawn and draw pictures of you fucking a goat without you even raising an eyebrow or locking your gate?

    No, douchebags, nobody has any obligation to listen to your open hatred, colourful fantasies or outright falsehoods (or even your fawning praise). Or did those kids you fucked with in high school have an obligation to stand there and listen to the hilarious insults you invented that rhymed with their names?

    No, two-fisted wankers, blocking you on twitter isn’t censorship – it’s ignoring you. Or would it be okay with you to see insults and lies about you/your friends in your fucking feed – or your mailbox – every single day? For years?

    No, Internet Heroes, banning you on a blog isn’t censorship – it’s locking you out of the clubhouse. Or should noone have the right to refuse entry to their private space/personal contact? Should every person you ask HAVE to give you their number and open every email you send them, or do they have a right to say “no” or click “SPAM”?

    No, half-pates, it isn’t being a “professional victim” if someone complains every time (or even only 1% of the time) YOU misrepresent them, lie about them, post hateful shit about them or join in yet another group-bashing – but if they really are “professional victims” (a phrase which sounds identical to Ann fucking Coulter’s “grief junkie” crack about 9/11 widows), then how about you stop giving them material ans stop – erm – victimising them? How about you respond to them proportionately? How about you describe their words and actions honestly? How about you engage them in argument in good faith? How about you interact with them or talk about them without a gigantic fucking hateful chip on your shoulder?

    Or – how about you just leave them the fuck alone? Is it because without them to throw stones at everysinglefuckingday you’d just be *gasp* Unknown On The Internet?

  36. 36
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Yeah, there’s a man’s freedom of speech, but never a woman’s to be left in peace for 5 fucking minutes.

  37. 37

    Struth, Giliell, how’s a bloke supposed to tell a sheila she’s doin’ it wrong without his flamin’ freeze peach?

  38. 38

    Thanks for this, Stephanie. I’ll continue to support CFI because of Melody and others like her.

  39. 39
    John-Henry Beck

    When I think of ‘professional victims’ I think of insurance fraud. Perhaps because I work for an insurance company… Though as much time as some of those assholes spend hanging out on #FTBullies and #AtheismPlus you’d think they were getting paid for it.
    As far as that @ElevatorGATE ass goes, though, I don’t think it’s accurate to claim that he makes the antis wince. There are people re-tweeting him when I take a peek at those hashtags, and they aren’t rebuking him.

    Anyway, I’m very glad we have Melody Hensley, and people like her, working hard for our cause. Work like that is very important to a lot of people. I do hope we can find a way to curb the harassment – it’s really not the way to treat our champions.

  40. 40
    Tabby Lavalamp

    For crying out loud, haven’t you FTBullies read your First Amendment?!?!

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, and Individual Persons shall not do anything restricting or impeding the right of Other Individual Persons to shout at or harangue them, even by means that do not cover the Individual Person with the Other Individual Person’s spittle.

    By not letting them say anything they want at you by any means they so desire, you are infringing on their Freedom of Speech! That’s the very definition of “bully”!


    1 [boo l-ee] Show IPA noun, plural bul·lies, verb, bul·lied, bul·ly·ing, adjective, interjection.
    a person who refuses to listen to people insult and/or harangue him or her.
    a big meanie who won’t let you do or say whatever you want whenever you want.

  41. 41
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Pro-fes-sion-al vic-tim noun \prə-ˈfesh-nəl\ \ˈvik-təm\
    : a person who makes or maintains a reputation and/or notoriety by maintaining that they have been adversely affected by the treatment of others, be it real or perceived.

    In that case, I think professional victims definitely have their place. In an environment where mistreatment is common, one person can speak up about it (even though it draws more mistreatment) and bring about public debate, and, eventually, change (really hesitant to invoke Rosa Parks, but…). Maybe there are things amateur victims just can’t accomplish.
    I think you should stipulate that personal gain is the main motivation for the True Professional Victim.

  42. 42

    The continued misrepresentations of Freeze Peach in various arguments over the years have always struck me as typifying a particularly sophomoric flavour of Glibertarian fundamentalism, consisting of 3 parts *Nobody Tells Me What To Do* and 2 parts *Nobody Gets To Ignore Me*, studded with crunchy *I’m The Smartest One In The Room* chips.

  43. 43
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    @Gretchen #5
    I’d say that the right-wing punditry generally meet that description. They’re always whining about how the ebil libruls are taking away their religion/guns/tax money , and this is worse than Stalinism, so buy my latest book.

  44. 44

    A few months back, some doofus from a gaming magazine tried to pick a fight with Felicia Day, similarly ignoring the work she did. The pushback was quick and implacable, the guy apologized, she accepted, end of story.

    What’s different in this case? My guess is that while the doofus was alone, Justin Vacula has Loftus and his network and ERV and her forum backing him up.

  45. 45

    What’s different in this case? My guess is that while the doofus was alone, Justin Vacula has Loftus and his network and ERV and her forum backing him up

    DJ Grothe is also friends with Justin Vacula. (In contrast, Grothe blocked on Twitter and FB unfriended Jen McCreight for criticizing Penn Jillette’s use of “cunt” to describe a woman with whom he disagreed.) It still saddens me that the president of the JREF tacitly approves of the harassment of Melody Hensley.

  46. 46
    onion girl, OM; social workers do it with paperwork


    Melody is an absolutely fierce, intelligent, and just fucking awesome person. I have the utmost respect for her; I credit her, Ophelia, Rebecca, Jen and you (among others) for giving me the push to start becoming involved with the atheist movement on my local level after last year’s WiS. This bullying and harassment is such utter bullshit!!

    I really, really, really wish I had more time to keep up with what’s been happening so I’d be able to jump into the fight and support the women and men fighting it more often, but unfortunately work & health (and some of that meatspace activism) are taking all the time I have. I’m only catching things in rare moments like this when I happened to glance at my ‘tweets you missed’ email rather than deleting it.

    Thank you for continuing to not shut up about this for those of us who haven’t been able to keep shouting, and for supporting Melody. And if you’ll excuse me, I need to go make something shiny and sparkly for her (I’d offer something for you too, but I won’t be seeing you in meatspace :)).

  47. 47

    OMG, I can’t believe how long it took me to figure out the whole Freeze Peach pun! Perhaps I should sound out the words as I read from now on…

    More importantly, thanks for this post, Stephanie. And thanks, Melody, for all you do for the community.

  48. 48

    It was totally professional of Hensley to imply women speakers, like myself, try to gain male approval and more speaking gigs by “bashing” Skepchicks. It’s totally not irresponsible of her to call my followers crazy MRAs. It’s completely okay for her to make me feel intimidated by her hurtful remarks (as an older woman in a position of authority with the org I’m about to speak at) and instead of offering an apology, blocks me.

    Real professional.

  49. 49
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    You are so right saramayhew. Ponting out the blatantly obvious is SOOOOOOOOOOOO unprofessional.

  50. 50

    Because a CFI Director gossiping about women speakers and calling them chill girls is *so* professional http://www.saramayhew.com/blog/index.php/2012/09/cfi-responds-melody-hensley/

  51. 51
    Stephanie Zvan

    Sara, I see you still prefer to lie. I just don’t know why you’d think you can do it here without having it pointed out again: http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/09/13/within-the-movement/

  52. 52
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    When it comes down to it, it’s always about Sara Mayhew, isn’t it?

  53. 53
    Stephanie Zvan

    Uh, no, Sara. You’re not using my blog to post private correspondence. Also, knock off equating organizational intelligence with “gossip”. As it turns out, it’s been rather important this year to know who supports whom, who (male and female) doesn’t want their ability to harass challenged, whom one can trust with private correspondence, etc.

    As for lies, don’t ask me what you’re lying about when I just linked you to a conversation in which I explained it to you repeatedly.

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