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Feb 19 2012

Argumentum ad haircut

There’s a separate, unrelated hit piece on Dawkins in the Sunday Times, which I haven’t yet read because of the paywall, but a comment at RDF quotes from it, and that’s quite informative by itself.

I’ve just been reading an article in today’s (19/02/12) Sunday Times By Camilla Long. It’s the front page of the News Review section and has a photo of Richard on the front page of the section. It really is the most appalling article. The very first sentence gives a flavour of how it will go, “Richard Dawkins has an extremely unfortunate face in that he always looks angry, even when he is quite calm.” I don’t know who she met, or if she has even bothered looking at the photo that accompanies the article, but that is not a description I would recognise of Richard.

The whole article then has a series of slurs designed to belittle Richard, he has a “nibbly little voice”, he has a “thin smile”, he has a “slightly prissy manner”, he has a “crushing misanthropy”, he never just says any thing, he “retorts”, “fulminates”, “whinnies”, “shouts”, “scoffs”, “snapping”, “hoots”, “sneers”. An insinuation is made that he is “hideously pompous”, when he picks up a copy of the survey he “stalks over to the desk and snatches up a copy”. She even has a go at his haircut and the way he is dressed and his looks, saying he was “gnashing his tiny teeth”  and describing him as “complete with anorak, creased tie and grey hair cut into indignant little flaps”.

Jesus Christ. Hair cut into indignant little flaps? What on earth?

There’s just no end to it. It’s disgusting.

You know…I hate the pope, as you know. I hate him with a passion – but mostly because of his office. He’s clearly not the warmest or most comparatively-liberal pope there’s ever been, but so what, however nice the occupant may be, the office itself is a monstrosity. I hate the pope, but I’ve never picked on him for his looks. Of course that’s partly because I’m ugly as shit myself so it would be unbecoming and silly to rail at other people for being ugly – but that’s really not all. The main reason I don’t do that is because I think it’s shitty. I think people who do that are shitty. I think Camilla Long is shitty and I think the Sunday Times is shitty.

28 comments

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  1. 1
    'Tis Himself

    Without reading the article, all I can surmise is Ms. Long couldn’t find anything substantive to refute Prof. Dawkins’ arguments so she resorted to ad hominem.

  2. 2
    Chrisj

    Also, you don’t need to complain about the pope’s appearance because you have real reasons for disliking what he does, rather than disliking it and having to desperately search for a justification for your complaints after the fact. The pope is the leader of an aggressive and morally repulsive organisation that thinks it should be given control over everyone else’s lives. Richard Dawkins is a man stating his opinions. People who disagree with him are welcome to say so, but if the best they can come up with is “he must be wrong because I don’t like his haircut” then it’s reasonable to assume that they don’t have any plausible arguments against his position.

    (Or to put it another way: “Two plus two is five, and anyway, your mom cuts your hair” is the sort of argument anyone old enough to read their own bedtime story should be embarrassed to make.)

  3. 3
    Stewart

    Don’t forget, there’s also an unstated comparison being made here; everyone knows, because they’ve seen the pictures, that Jesus had really lovely, long, flowing hair, which proves that everything Richard Dawkins has ever written or said is a pack of blasphemous lies.

    Have we won so obviously that it’s come to this?

  4. 4
    Aratina Cage

    Yeah. I realized shortly into the Elevatorgate flap that Dawkins actually has had some very ugly things written and made up about him, too. Things that have nothing to do with his arguments or activism. He really does have a firsthand view of how hateful people can be.

    God (I use that today in solidarity with Dawkins), what an appalling snit that Camilla Long is on!

  5. 5
    Pierce R. Butler

    How could the Times have omitted “strident”?

    And the pope’s wardrobe is fabulous!

  6. 6
    Ophelia Benson

    Well Jesus was dead before he hit 35. If he’d lived to be 85 his hair would have been all thin and grey for the 1st century Camilla Longs to sneer at – or maybe he would have been BALD. We’d all be writing books about Athena and Zeus.

  7. 7
    Aratina Cage

    And the pope’s wardrobe is fabulous!

    His red Prada slippers are to die for!

  8. 8
    Ophelia Benson

    Aratina @4 – I know. That was something Russell Blackford pointed out to me recently, that I hadn’t paid enough attention to at the time – that part of the tension around E’gate was because Richard is such a totem for people to throw things at. I did pay attention to that at first, but then more stuff happened and I lost sight of it.

    Man, is this stuff ever a reminder.

  9. 9
    Stewart

    We need a good, serious investigative journalist to probe the question of whether Richard Dawkins’ barber is secretly on the payroll of Opus Dei.

    Adam Lusher?

  10. 10
    feralboy12

    I understand some of Dawkins’ ancestors had bad haircuts, too.
    He owes us all an apology.

  11. 11
    evilDoug

    It is quite amusing to do a Google search on Camilla Long.
    She belongs to what I call “the yappage trade”, out to raise her personal profile, and facts be damned.

  12. 12
    Skeptico

    Talking of bad haircuts…

  13. 13
    Brian

    This is pathetic.
    On EG. I thought Dawkins was wrong with his minimizing of any woman who didn’t feel comfortable being hit on in an elevator because they could just ‘get off’ at the next floor (a woman was reportedly raped recently in an elevator, since she didn’t just ‘get off’, then she must have desired to be raped one presumes) and it wasn’t FGM after all!
    But I don’t hate the guy or think he’s not a champ in most cases. He just might show he’s privileged from time to time.

  14. 14
    Emily Isalwaysright

    Can someone please let me know when high school is over? Thanks.

  15. 15
    echidna

    Brian,
    I agree that Richard Dawkins showed a lack of understanding in elevatorgate. But one presumes too much with “a woman was reportedly raped recently in an elevator, since she didn’t just ‘get off’, then she must have desired to be raped one presumes”.

    What Richard got wrong, in my view, was his contention that little stuff really doesn’t compare to big stuff. A block chatting you up in an elevator at 4am does not compare with, say with a rape in an elevator, or FGM.

    My own experience in changing a workplace environment is that there are two major factors. One is the leadership – it’s much more important than I would have imagined. They set the tone that everyone else follows. CEO’s, principals in schools, PZ’s on blogs, whatever. The second is taking the little stuff seriously, agreeing where the lines are and not crossing them. If you don’t, things get out of hand remarkably quickly.

    Richard Dawkins really didn’t understand the importance of the second factor. But to extend that out to saying he follows a “blame the victim” line is not remotely fair.

  16. 16
    Ophelia Benson

    echidna, Brian was being ironic with the “one presumes” bit.

    I think he meant Sheila Nabb, who wasn’t raped but was beaten in the face so badly that all the bones in her face were broken. I did a post about it by way of pointing out that it’s really not always possible to just hit the button and get off.

  17. 17
    ckitching

    Who would’ve ever expected something like this from a Rupert Murdoch paper? Maybe they just needed something to distract from the phone hacking scandal and a quick hatchet job was just the thing.

  18. 18
    Bill Yeager

    There appears to be a theist fixation on the bizarre notion that, in order to have your balanced and reasonable argument accepted for consideration, you have to have to literally be a saint. That is, you have to be a person for whom the normal personality flaws that show you to actually not be quite as perfect as ‘necessary’, can be ‘edited out’ of your character resume in order to ensure that the tales of your saintly self are unblemished by the stark reality that, in fact, even the most righteous of people can be complete arses on occasion.

    Trouble is, because the Church normally re-words the character reference of it’s saints long after they are dead, to ensure a truly pious and glowing picture of the deceased, in order for them to justify being promoted to saint-hood without risking the troublesome issue of facts getting in the way, this does only mean one thing:

    We have to kill Dawkins.

    I know, I know, I’m not happy about it either, but I’m sure he’d understand that it’s for the greater good.

    That he is a flawed human being is bad enough, that he is a flawed human being who isn’t cosying up to child-raping priests in order to be magically ‘cured’ of his ‘sins’ means that ANYTHING he does which might suggest a lack of perfection, means that anything he has to say must be immediately dismissed and rightfully ignored in order to focus on the fact that, shock horror, a bloke who usually says lots of rational and reasonable things, can, on occasion, be a socially-inappropriate twat when it comes to women.

    “Geeky Science Bloke in inappropriate, clumsy and awkward encounter with female, shocker!”

    Kill the man Dawkins, so we may have Saint Dawkins, a far more powerful tool than the tool he sometimes is. A tool who’s character traits can be ‘amended’ to ensure the perfection required by theists in order to accept counter-argument to their child-molesting religions as being worthy of consideration.

    Who’s with me?

    Anyone?

  19. 19
    Brigadista

    Oh dear. Here’s another one, this time from the Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/mary-ann-sieghart/mary-ann-sieghart-you-dont-have-to-believe-in-god-to-cherish-the-church-7216680.html

    Specious nonsense. It starts with the title (what??!!) and just continues, piling logical fallacy on top of personal insult until it turns itself entirely inside out.

    Just another pile of apologist ordure.

  20. 20
    dirigible

    Haircuts. Therefore God exists.

    Im guessing this is one of those arguments in favour of the existence of God that theologians claim atheists have no answer for.

  21. 21
    Rosie

    I don’t buy The Sunday Times but I was in a cafe yesterday, picked up the review section of The Sunday Times, and there it was, on the front page, with pic and everything. Read a few sentences, thought, and “What’s this with Dawkins’s angry face? He’s a good-looking bloke for his age, and has a pleasant expression, if anything,” read further, thought “What garbage is this?” and chucked it aside. The Sunday Times does have some pretensions to seriousness – did they have to get the kind of writer that spots cellulite on celebrities to cover Britain’s best know atheist?

  22. 22
    Sili

    It’s sorta refreshing to see a man get criticised for his looks in a context where doesn’t matter in the least. It’s not the way I would have preferred the discrimination be solved, but I’ll take what I can get.

    I just hope the remember to describe how Terry Feagletosh smells.

  23. 23
    Sili

    Emily Isalwaysright says:

    Can someone please let me know when high school is over? Thanks.

    High School never ends.

    You’re welcome.

  24. 24
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    hair cut into indignant little flaps

    That is the funniest thing I’ve read in a very, very, very long time.

    (My new blog: Militant Ringlets.)

  25. 25
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  27. 27
    Andrew

    Oh come now.

    This is the second doing over Dawkins has had this week.

    First he goes on TFTD and makes a tit of himslef and now this.

    The man may be right but he is irritating, smug, a bit pompous and full of himself. According to Rod Liddle over at the Spectator he even stipulated that he would only give an interview to a person who has no belief. That’s not debate its polemic.

    He should surely be able to enagage with reporters and opponents without acting like a spoilt child or losing it if challenged.

    and some of the comments about Camilla Long here are bang out of order – cheap sexual innuendo -they belong in the pages of the sun

  28. 28
    John Davison

    Camilla Long frequently makes me laugh, which is more than I can say for Richard Dawkins.

  1. 29
    Dawkins 3, Competent Journalism 0 « Cubik's Rube

    [...] apparently the Times also had a feature on Dawkins yesterday, though “feature” in this case appears to translate to “several paragraphs of [...]

  2. 30
    Skepticlawyer » The Notpology

    [...] pile-on, and across the political spectrum, too. First cab off the rank goes to the pornishly-named Camilla Long in The Times, who among other things spends time complaining about Richard Dawkins’s haircut. Then [...]

  3. 31
    The Notpology | Skepticlawyer

    [...] pile-on, and across the political spectrum, too. First cab off the rank goes to the pornishly-named Camilla Long in The Times, who among other things spends time complaining about Richard Dawkins’s haircut. Then [...]

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