Alcoholism and Personality Disorders

And this weekend in the annals of “You feminist women don’t get to organize and maintain spaces of your own”, we have this.

Screen capture of Twitter conversation. Relevant text in the post.

Travis Roy: The people I’m badmouthing and getting banned from meetings because I don’t like them are being mean to me! Out of the @SurlyAmy playbook.

Richard Murray: @Sc00ter @SurlyAmy you and your misogynistic micro aggressions, Travis. No more real jewelry for you.

D. J. Grothe: Maybe cut people some slack. Don’t underestimate the role of alcoholism and personality disorders.

Yes, that’s D. J. Grothe calling Surly Amy an alcoholic with a personality disorder. It’s almost cute that he’s decided this is just a thing people do, except, of course, that he’s just throwing the words at someone who is no longer useful to him. When I talked about the people who have suggested to me that Grothe is a psychopath–though I’m pretty sure I didn’t mention anywhere that a few of them also said they’d never seen him sober, so I don’t know where he picked that up–I was careful not to endorse the label.

Instead, I was specific about the pattern of Grothe’s problematic behavior that was behind the complaints of those people. That is not what Grothe did here. Instead he, entirely in line with the pattern of behavior I documented, flat out lied. [Read more...]

The Reading List, 8/3/2014

I share a lot of links on Twitter and Facebook that I don’t blog about because I don’t have much to add. The reading list is a periodic feature where I share those links with my blog audience too. Of course, you’re still welcome to follow me on Twitter.

Around FtB

The Wider Web

Saturday Storytime: Tommy Flowers and the Glass Bells of Bletchley

I do like stories that send me off to find out more about real people, like this one by Octavia Cade.

When little Tommy Flowers was presented with a baby sister, he was disappointed to find that she was not a Meccano set. Her head lacked the simple geometry of strips and cogs and angle girders, and her fingers were innocent of gears. What was worse was the fact that she cried so—wailed, really, and nothing comprehensible at that. There was nowhere for him to build in peace, and even the construction sets he did have paled when he couldn’t hear their connective clicks for crying.

If he could have used his dad’s bricks to build a wall between himself and the cot he would have. “You wouldn’t be able to hear her if you did that,” said his dad, bringing him a glass of milk and an apple for his supper, and that was the point.

“It’s not like she can talk, is it,” said Tommy. “So I wouldn’t be missing out on much.”

“She’s talking,” said his dad. “In her own way. It don’t sound like much now, but you’ll figure it out.”

Tommy bolted plates together, tightening the nuts carefully, with deliberation, a milk moustache on his face. The empty glass sat beside him, near clear but for the last pale drops slithering to the bottom. He lay on his tummy, cogs around him, and when his sister squawked from her place in her cot, he glanced at her, automatically, through the smeared material of glass.

It was in his way. He couldn’t help it.

What are you doing? said the glass. The milk drops had coalesced, moving upwards, forming wet, sloppy letters on the inside of the glass—letters that soon lost their form and dribbled down into disassembled alphabets.

The glass wasn’t warm, or cold. Tommy snatched it up to his ear, but it didn’t make any sort of sound, and when he put his finger in, gingerly, and then his tongue, the drips of milk remaining didn’t taste any different that they usually did.

His sister squawked again, interrogative.

What are you doing? said the glass. Tommy had cleaned out most of the remaining milk with his tongue, so the letters were much fainter than before. He looked at his sister, and she looked back, her head cocked on one side and fat, gearless fingers gripping the bars of the cot in fascinated earnest.

“I’m building,” he said, feeling stupid. He didn’t say it very loudly, in case he was going crazy, in which case it would be best if dad didn’t hear him, but he said it nonetheless. He reached out with one hand, blind, and felt a girder piece press into one palm. “Look,” he said, waving it at his sister. “You make the pieces fit together. For trains, and cranes, and . . . all sorts.”

His sister gave a little chirrup.

Can I have a train? said his milk glass, and Tommy resigned himself to building to order, and to a baby that stumbled after him through the house, clutching a milk bottle that bubbled What are you doing, Tommy? What are you doing? What are you doing?

Keep reading.

“Atheists in America”, Melanie E. Brewster on Atheists Talk

Dr. Melanie Elyse Brewster is a professor in counseling psychology who studies the mental health effects of marginalization, including marginalizatoin of atheists. In her new book, Atheists in America, Dr. Brewster collects more than two dozen stories from atheists across the country, illuminating both what atheists have in common and how atheism interacts with other aspects of our identities.

From the publisher’s description:

These narratives illuminate the complexities and consequences for nonbelievers in the United States. Stepping away from religious belief can have serious social and existential ramifications, forcing atheists to discover new ways to live meaningfully without a religious community. Yet shedding the constraints of a formal belief system can also be a freeing experience. Ultimately, this volume shows that claiming an atheist identity is anything but an act isolated from the other dimensions of the self. Upending common social, political, and psychological assumptions about atheists, this collection helps carve out a more accepted space for this minority within American society.

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 [email protected] 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.

Watch Your Mouth

Things are disappearing. Facebook posts calling people “pussies” have vanished! People with the clout to speak to Richard Dawkins and be heard are leaving some of their thoughts unsaid and unwritten for the fear (no exaggeration) that they’ll be arrested and tortured and punished, maybe even by death! Or because they’re not prepared to deal with being criticized. Either way.

Welcome to my world, guys, or at least a pale approximation of it.

It’s no secret that I’m a feminist and use my blog as a platform for activism, particularly on issues surrounding sexual harassment. What some people, particularly guys with jobs that give them some amount of power, don’t seem to understand about this is that I and everything I say are under constant scrutiny. Not only do people hold me accountable for every individual word I write, but they hold me responsible for every half-assed “gotcha” misreading of those words.

Is that fair? Well, it’s not charitable. It’s not diplomatic. It’s frequently anything but civil. It certainly doesn’t happen through private channels. Yet I never see any of the people who are now afraid going after the people who do this to me. [Read more...]

TBT: Summer Fruit

Hmm. We haven’t done this yet this year. Going over your own archives is, as it turns out, a helpful thing. This was originally posted in July 2008.

My husband asked me last night what I wanted for dinner. We’d both just walked home in dark clothes under an insistent sun, and I had no appetite. I looked at him and said, “Ice.”

Then we grinned at each other. He headed for the basement freezer while I checked the juice pitcher in the fridge.

Every year, when the trees bow under their fruit, the melons drip with ripeness, and you start having to fight the wasps for the raspberries, we collect the sweetest, juiciest fruits we can find and take them home. We don’t eat them. Well, we pick at them a bit as we’re chopping them up–you would too–but these are destined for the freezer.

Nectarines and plums with their skins on, honeydew and musk mellon, pears, pineapple, raspberries, grapes–all fresh–plus frozen blueberries and cherries and whatever else looks good. All go into the biggest bowl we have and get tossed together. Then we stash them in the freezer in gallon bags. Some will come back out on the hot days before fall settles in. The rest will wait until the next summer, when the weather is oppressive but nothing is ripe yet.

Then, on those days that are too hot for solid food, we chop off hunks of our frozen fruit, throw it in the blender, and cover it with juice. It takes an amazing amount of juice, because none of the fruit liquifies as it blends down. But the end result is a brain-freezing mix of pure, sweet, icy fruit.

Uh, unless we add rum. Rum is good, too, although it gets harder to claim it’s dinner then. Either way, they’re the best fruit smoothies I’ve ever had. It makes those hot days something to look forward to.

Yes, Richard Dawkins, I’m Emotional

Am I emotional? Why, yes. Yes, I am.

I’m annoyed. I had plans for today that had nothing to do with addressing Richard Dawkins’ self-serving justifications for his Twitter trolling. But no, he chose today to brand consequence-based ethical arguments about how he should shape his public messaging as “taboos”, as though they were based in religion or tea-table politesse. That means I get to take time to address that today. You can’t let that sort of thing sit around. It starts to stink up the place. [Read more...]

The Reading List, 7/30/2014

I share a lot of links on Twitter and Facebook that I don’t blog about because I don’t have much to add. The reading list is a periodic feature where I share those links with my blog audience too. Of course, you’re still welcome to follow me on Twitter.

Around FtB

The Wider Web

Sexual Assault Plus

I don’t usually do reposts so soon after the original publication. This was originally posted last fall, when Dawkins was talking about “mild pedophilia. He’s ranking rape again. It’s worth pointing out that Dawkins isn’t doing this because no one provided him with any better information. He’s been told this is inappropriate and why, in great detail.

Yesterday, Richard Dawkins issued an apology. In talking about his own sexual assault at a young age, he had generalized their experience from his. He was relatively unaffected by the experience and expressed his opinion that the same was true of “all of us”. He apologized for doing so.

Dawkins’ apology was very welcome, if incomplete, as was his admission that he should not speak to the experience of other victims of sexual assault. Alex has a pretty good take on what it missed. I don’t agree 100%, but I’m close enough not to quibble. Instead, I’d like to dig into this idea of degrees of assault. What Dawkins has had to say on the topic isn’t entirely wrong, but his naive take on the topic obscures as much as it reveals.
[Read more...]