Saturday Storytime: Sister Twelve: Confessions of a Party Monster

Christopher Barzak‘s novel One for Sorrow is currently being turned into a movie, to be released early next year. This story is from the just-released anthology Glitter and Mayhem, edited by Apex Magazine editors Michael and Lynne Thomas and Electric Velocipede editor John Klima. The story is based on the fairy tale that I have the most ambivalent attitude toward.

I laugh at this memory now. I laugh at how innocent I truly was. How little I knew of what the world had to offer beyond the confines of my father’s kingdom within its place in time and space. What a gas! What a lark! What a blast! What an epic evening! Even that—all of those bits of language—would have been limited to “Quite enjoyable indeed!” prior to my underground dancehall experiences.

Our spooky princes took our hands and drew us out into the crowded dance floor, where all of us began to move in unfamiliar ways. Our hips out, our hands in the air, our hands gripping those warm bare waistlines of our princes even. The song the DJ was playing kept repeating the phrase, Get down like you’re underground, and I backed up against my prince, like I’d seen a woman with pink frizzy hair and a face made up like a geisha do with another woman, who was dressed in a dark pinstriped suit and a bowler hat. My prince put his hands on my waist as I ground against him, slid his fingers down my thighs, and for the rest of the night we did not speak a word. We just danced. As one song slid into another, we just sighed.

At the end of that night, my sisters and I knew we’d return. Despite being covered in a slick of our own sweat, despite our dresses and shoes being hopelessly ruined, we knew we’d go back as soon as we could. So after our underground princes led us back to our boats and poled us across the river to the forests of diamonds and of gold and of silver, Sister One stopped at the bottom of the stone steps that led up to our room and said, “Sisters, if we are to ever visit this place again, we must not speak a word of what we saw and what we did this evening. Understand?”

We all nodded, and one by one we made solemn vows. “I will never ever,” Sister One said, and then Sister Two, and then Sister Three, and then Sister Four, and so on, down the line we pledged, until it came to me, and I completed the previously unspoken end to our sentence: “I will never ever speak a word of this place or what we do within it.”

What happens underground, stays underground.

Keep reading.

Atheist Shoes Revisited, David Bonney on Atheists Talk

More than a year ago, we interviewed David Bonney, founder of Atheist Shoes, about his Kickstarter project and the shoes he made to help people declare their lack of belief. In the meantime, he has continued to make the news–and make new kinds of atheist shoes. This Sunday, we catch up and find out what he’s been up to. Please join us.

Related Links:

Listen to AM 950 KTNF this Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call in to the studio at 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to during the live show. If you miss the live show, listen to the podcast later.

Follow Atheists Talk on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates. If you like the show, consider supporting us with a one-time or sustaining donation.


Prepare for the Blazing

Now that “Elevatorgate” is in the news for his harassment on Twitter, I figured news sources might as well know that this isn’t just the one account with the puerile name-calling and the obsessive Storifying. Just scratching the surface, there are several. I also named his associate, Edie Kendel/AmbrosiaX, because the fact that people who do this are being aided by others within our community is contested, and thus, important.

So now, according to Edie, I guess I’m gonna get it. [Read more…]

What Mother Jones Missed

Mother Jones today published an article about “Elevatorgate”. No, not the backlash Rebecca Watson has been receiving for more than two years now. Reporter Dana Liebelson wrote about the pseudonymous fellow with that Twitter handle (now, apparently, permanently suspended by Twitter after the publicity it’s been receiving) and former blog title who has been trying to inflict harm on Rebecca Watson for more than two years now. The part of the backlash who named himself after the whole.

The occasion of the article is Elevatorgate’s recent forays into “documenting” feminists outside the skeptical and secular movements through Storify. With more people (and more high-profile people) complaining, Storify’s president has had to take notice. He hasn’t done it well (Voltaire! Ergo there are no limits to free speech!), but he is maybe, possibly getting better.

What sets apart Liebelson’s article, however, is that Elevatorgate reached out through an “intermediary” who says they “work with elevatorgate” to give his take on what he’s doing. [Read more…]

One More Defender

It’s hard to avoid these days. You’re wandering around the internet, looking at other things, and there you find someone expressing their thoughts on the Michael Shermer rape allegations. Take this guy, for example. He’s very clear on where he stands.

Screen shot of tweets from @miserere22. Text provided in the post.

@michaelshermer pz meyers is accusing you of rape rape. please sue the shit out of him.

Nor is he afraid to take it to the source. [Read more…]

Dear John Loftus (Update)

Your recent post on the allegation of rape against Michael Shermer that was posted on PZ’s blog is everything I’ve come to expect from you–self-important, disingenuous about being “forced” to come to the conclusion that people you don’t like are bad people, containing the conclusion that “important” people should be granted deference, self-contradicting–except for one thing.

In a personal email to me Shermer categorically denies these accusations. If what he said about his accuser gets out, it will be apparent to most all reasonable people that PZ Myers published a bold-faced lie. He recklessly tried to destroy another person’s reputation without regard for fact-checking.

When did you decide that there was something someone could tell you about a woman that would make that woman unrapeable?

Update: First, Loftus walked back the claim that this information was so stunning everyone would be convinced. From his comment section:

I have read Shermer’s response, as I said. Had PZ asked Shermer like I did he would not have published this unevidenced accusation. Shermer knows the accuser and presents a more likely scenario than hers in my opinion.

Then he told us Shermer didn’t know who this was after all:

Initially he didn’t. Then he thought about it and thought he did. Now he tells me he doesn’t. Don’t make too much of this. He’s trying to guess, that’s all, just as anyone would.

For the record, I tend to agree with Jason on the question of whether “anyone would”.

Mock the Movie: Hostile Takeover Edition

All right, now that we’re fully rested from shark week, it’s time we prove that we’re all masochists. That’s right. This Wednesday, August 28, we’re watching Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike. Taste the paranoia.

This is available on Netflix.

What? You don’t think we’d pay extra to mock this movie, do you? After this, though, we’ll be mocking a couple of movies that no one has to pay for, just to piss off John Galt. [Read more…]

Someone Is Confused About Ethics

Clark Bianco at Popehat put up a post Friday claiming that atheists are confused because they rely on the concept of rights. Although I disagree with him, I can see where the confusion comes from. He presents an interesting argument:

No, the reason that modern atheists have incoherent views is that they simultaneously

  1. assert that there is nothing beyond that which is visible (i.e. they are materialists)
  2. they believe in rights, and not merely in a legal or social descriptive way, but in an absolute and prescriptive way.

Let me explain what I mean by point number 2.

The English language muddies many discussions of “rights” because it uses one term to cover three very distinct meanings.

The three meanings are:

  1. the “rights” that society acknowledges a person has
  2. the “rights” that government acknowledges a person has
  3. the “rights” that a person actually has according to non-material abstract principles

I assert that almost everyone in the modern West, including “Brights” / “new atheists” / Ayn Rand followers / etc. acknowledges these three distinct things and acknowledges them as distinct. And it’s that final one, the acknowledgement of non-material abstract principles, that puts the contradiction in modern atheism.

He then goes on to give examples that do a very good job of demonstrating that there are indeed three distinct meanings of “rights”. That part of his argument is sound. So where does the whole thing fall down? [Read more…]

“Nailed” David Fitzgerald on Atheists Talk

David Fitzgerald is back on Atheists Talk! Last month we had David on to discuss his new book The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion: Book One: The Mormons. This Sunday he joins us again, this time to speak about his critically-acclaimed book, Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All.

In Nailed, David Fitzgerald explores ten commonly accepted ideas that many people hold about the existence of Jesus Christ. He proposes that Christ is a mythical being, a story formed out of legend and desire. He presents painstakingly detailed historical research which suggests that Jesus Christ logically could not have existed. His writing style is approachable and entertaining for those who are new to the idea of the Christ myth theory, but detailed enough to peak the interest of those who have studied it.

We hope you can join us this Sunday!

Related Links:

Listen to AM 950 KTNF this Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call in to the studio at 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to during the live show. If you miss the live show, listen to the podcast later.

Follow Atheists Talk on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates. If you like the show, consider supporting us with a one-time or sustaining donation.