Travis Roy, of the Great Penis Debate, dropped a comment (in moderation) on my Vacula v. Silverman post to do something that he seems to think was defending himself. I’m highlighting it here because it so perfectly captures the pettiness of the complaints that have led to years of sniping at activists in this movement.
Since this was posted I thought about commenting, mostly to address #16 Oolon’s comment.
The first comment he links to, I was addressing what Melody said directly, that people she blocked were showing up in her mentions. I argued that they were showing up someplace else (in a search perhaps). Simon, her husband, told me he would get me examples of blocked people showing up in her mentions, but he never did. I was addressing her concerns and pointing out that either there may be a technical problem with twitter that’s causing this, or that people she thought were blocked were perhaps not blocked.
As far as the second tweet he links to, yes, many women (about a dozen in the past two weeks since this has kind of come up again since WiS2) have said to me that they don’t feel like speaking out because they are worried about backlash, even if this is legit. Mallorie (who I know most people on this site probably don’t agree with) is often given as an example since Lousy Canuk mentioned her in a blog post and it did cause her some problems with potential clients asking her about it. He took her name off the post when she brought it up and that has been, overall, a very good exchange so there’s not much to go on about other than it’s an example of how these debates in the skeptical community can bleed into our professional lives.
I think you would find, if you actually talked to most of us on what people perceive as this “side” of the sexism/feminism issue are actually pretty moderate, and agree with what most of you on that “side” seem to want.
Nobody is perfect in any of this, and everybody, on all sides and in the middle have made mistakes, myself included. Painting me with some weird broad brush as kaboobie did about how I had “developed a bizarre vendetta against Surly Amy and Rebecca Watson” is very much unfair.
I haven’t talked publicly about the falling out that happened there, but in the case of Amy, what I will say is that at NECSS 3 I bought a bunch of Granite State Skeptics surly’s from her, and my wife got some others for herself and it was all very nice and pleasant and she actually gave us a discount for being such good customers. Two weeks later she cut me off and blocked me, when I emailed her to ask what was up to see what I could do it order to fix whatever I inadvertently done to upset her I got back a “never contact me again” reply, and I think I’ve pretty much kept to that, as far as I know.
I still would greatly like to repair these relationships, but I feel that they’re to far gone at this point.
It is true that I’m critical of Rebecca, Amy, and many bloggers here.. But I’m critical of everybody. I’ve been critical of DJ, Justin, Emery, and others on both sides.
Anybody is free to contact me off this comment thread if they would like to discuss further, be it email, FB, twitter, whatever. I’m more than happy to talk about it in more detail, or at TAM if you want to do it in person.
First of all, Mallorie received arguments against her position, not backlash, and she stood up and took them well. She didn’t ask Jason for changes to his post because of that. She asked for changes, months after the arguments had died down, because people were treating her argument as preapproval to sexually harass her. Go lay the blame for that with the people who defend harassers, and if you have to look in the mirror to do that, then try not to flinch.
Now for the rest of your complaints.
I do actually have a pretty good idea why Amy decided she didn’t want to talk to you anymore. It was this weird little passive-aggressive post about Amy trying to “tell [women] how to feel” about feminism and the skeptic movement. The article was posted just after NECSS 2011 about an article Amy posted just before NECSS 2011 and about a workshop that had happened nine months before. It was posted on the website of a group, your group, which, during NECSS 2011, received a nice discount on custom work from Amy, and comes complete with comments from you.
So is Amy deciding she didn’t want to deal with you based on that bit of rudeness and other interactions with her friends (mentioned in the comments on that post) an overreaction? I don’t think so, but I don’t care. I don’t care whether Amy decided your position on the Oxford comma was an abomination and she didn’t want to deal with you because of that. She gets to decide who she wants to talk to and who she doesn’t.
Despite your protestations in this comment, you apparently didn’t agree. Two months after, by your own account, Amy asked you not to contact her again, you showed up in the comments of Skepchick to point again to the GSS post. A month later, you showed up again. Both of those comments were on Amy’s posts. You didn’t leave her alone.
Even when you weren’t talking to her, you kept talking about her. There’s this:
There’s this retweet promoting Dale’s suggestion that not interacting with you two amounts to silencing:
Then this little love affair starts:
And is carried on in conversation:
Then there’s this touching exchange:
But, you know, that’s just “satire”. You’re still just leaving Amy alone, certainly not contributing to making anywhere like TAM hostile to her. At least you’re not after you’re caught:
Until there’s a rift to applaud by retweet:
If you can interfere with that rift being healed, all the better.
You may not have contacted Amy directly since…well, a few months after she asked you to stop. However, you’ve been poking and prodding at her and her friends for most of the two years since. And I’ve only captured the obvious stuff because I’m tired of spending time on you.
As for the idea that you criticize others, that’s trivially true. You criticize people making the products your placebo bands are supposed to fight, along with assorted psychics and mediums. You criticize tech companies or products occasionally. I haven’t seen the criticism you claim to have made of folks on “your side”, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
However, the only other skeptic you “criticize” the way you do Amy is Rebecca Watson. All over a heap of nothing. Amy expressed her opinion about feminism and asked you to leave her alone after you gave a rude response. You’ve done anything but, contributing for most of two years to the hostile environment female skeptics have to deal with if they want to contribute to the movement. Thus, your comment gets its own post as a great example of the petty crap we’ve been handed as a result of speaking our minds.