#bullies


A few hours after we did the hangout video yesterday, Russell Blackford did a tweet.

I see that DJ Grothe is still Witch of the Week. #bullies

Followed by another.

Freethought Blogs – the haven of bullies, bully-enablers, and witch hunters. I’m sick to death of this. #bullies

Some hours after that, Jeremy Stangroom did one.

…the bullies at FreeThought Blogs run the risk of precipitating a tragedy. Bullying ruins – and sometimes ends – lives. #bullies

So now you know. We (we of Freethought blogs, we who did that video, we whom DJ Grothe accused of turning women away from TAM by discussing harassment issues, we who have been rejecting that accusation, we who have been getting shouted at by raging men on ugly videos) – we are bullies and witch hunters. We run the risk of driving people to suicide.

We are. We do. Really? How? Who is it who is being bullied by us? DJ? Apparently, according to Blackford. But DJ is the president of a big skeptics’ organization, and he has lots of allies. Is he really the powerless one here? And what exactly is it that we’re doing that constitutes bullying? We’ve been disputing what he said about us, certainly – but is that really bullying? I think it isn’t. In fact I think it was DJ who was bullying us. I certainly think it is some of DJ’s partisans who have been bullying us ever since – Emery Emery and Travis Roy, for instance. The people who call us cunts and fucking bitches on Abbie Smith’s blog, for instance.

Blackford knows all about that. He’s never said a word about it that I know of (and believe me, I’ve looked) apart from once saying the Abbie Smith gang should stop it because it’s not helpful to Stef McGraw. I’ve never seen him call it bullying. Not once. It’s been going on for a year, singling out Rebecca Watson, me, and PZ Myers for their most devoted attention.

Stangroom knows all about it too. He has friendly exchanges with some of the Abbie Smith gang. I’ve never seen him say a word about it, either. I’ve seen him say nasty things about “Freethought Blogs” many many many times, but never once anything about Abbie Smith’s blog, where the vilification goes on day in and day out.

So how does this work? What’s the thought process that sees us as bullies and witch hunters (and Talibanesque) while it ignores or even encourages the vicious bile at Abbie Smith’s blog and The Great Penis Debate?

I don’t know. It’s a poser. I don’t get it.

I’ll tell you what though. It makes me feel a little sick to see a couple of men calling a few women witch hunters and bullies when the women have been and are being regularly targeted by genuine misogynist bullies. It’s like a couple of white people calling a few black people who are being targeted by racist bullies “KKK” and “racist.” It’s fucked up. It’s backward. It’s appropriating words that are meaningful to a particular liberation struggle and using them to beat up on the very people doing the struggling.

Greg tried to get some light shed on this matter, but he was told to fuck off.

#bullies indeed. What a joke.

 

 

Comments

  1. Josh Slocum says

    We knew Stangroom had lost the plot and that Blackford was getting muddled, but when did they go full-on insane? Because that’s what this is. It’s insane. It’s nuts. It’s inexplicable and it’s perverse.

  2. says

    So how does this work? What’s the thought process that sees us as bullies and witch hunters (and Talibanesque) while it ignores or even encourages the vicious bile at Abbie Smith’s blog and The Great Penis Debate?

    I think characterizing it as a thought process is extremely generous.

  3. Lyanna says

    Privileged people always call the less-privileged bullies, when the less-privileged start demanding equal treatment.

  4. says

    yeah it’s very much like the way atheist get called bullies and militants for the actions of … discussing things, writing books, blog posts, doing podcasts ….

  5. says

    Privileged people always call the less-privileged bullies, when the less-privileged start demanding equal treatment.

    yeah it’s very much like the way atheist get called bullies and militants for the actions of … discussing things, writing books, blog posts, doing podcasts ….

    And Stangroom’s pulled this towards gnu atheists, too. Blackford’s more…inconsistent.

  6. machintelligence says

    I have noticed a general tendency of people to accuse others of doing what they want to do or would do themselves. Just a thought.

  7. screechy monkey says

    This is just another variant of the “nuh-uh! YOU are!” defense so beloved of eight-year-olds.

    Want religious exercises kept out of public schools because it’s unconstitutional? “Nuh-uh! YOU’RE the one oppressing religious freedom!”

    Think racism is a problem? “Nuh-uh! YOU’RE the racist, because you hate white people!”

    “Sexist? Nuh-uh! Us MRAs believe in equality, you radical feminists are the sexists!”

    Complain about threats and people vowing to kick you in the ****? “Nuh-uh, YOU’RE the bully!”

  8. says

    And the notion that being calling someone/thing racist is a graver offence than being racist, or calling something/one sexist is a graver offence than being sexist …

  9. Stacy says

    DJ is being witch-hunted and bullied? His life is being ruined to the point of possible suicide?

    That’s terrible.

    Have lots of people on the interwebs been calling him a prick and a cock? And saying they’d like to kick him in the balls?

    Because that would be really bad. And if anyone’s done such things, I would expect any ethical acquaintance of DJ’s to call out such behavior in unequivocal terms, ASAP, and not waste their time on pissy-poo passive-aggressive tweets.

  10. TheVoiceOfTheMovement says

    So the people at FTB are finally realising that the majority of the atheist community views them as bullies and hypocrites.

    What took so long?

    BTW, I’m not surprised Greg was told “fuck off”. He’s is one of the worst bullies, along with PZ Myers.

    Plenty of former FTB posters are seeing the error of their ways, and have renounced FTB. Apparently, Ophelia was pissed at someone publishing one of her emails that she sent to them. This is the same person who published a private email sent to er around the time of shaftgafe. Hypocrisy is par for the course for people at FTB.

    Anyway, I notice the “Witch of the Week” game has turned into the “Witch of the Day” game. But I bet you guys are well pissed that you can’t go after a woman (“sister punisher”) at this moment in time. Oh wait, there’s always Malorie!

    Thing is, when it comes to Opehlia getting “called out”, she completely freaks out and starts throwing out logical fallacies.

    We’ve seen your game, and we’ve worked you out.

    It’s time for FTB to fuck off.

  11. dysomniak says

    @15 Crawl back to your hole. You and your little band of misogyists are just a loud and odious minority. You are not the future of the movement, any more than you are the future of human society. People like you have been on the wrong side of history every time, and you will be left behind.

    All your bloviating is just the petulant cry of an evolutionary dead end being left behind.

  12. says

    When the Nirmukta editors published a short piece in support of Rebecca and Jen for all the misogynistic abuse they were receiving – http://nirmukta.com/2011/11/23/against-misogyny-in-solidarity-with-jen-mccreight-and-rebecca-watson/, and tied that in with steps we were taking to improve things in our own little community, Russell Blackford threw a fit on our facebook group, saying something along the lines of “This is an outrage and I’m going to stop supporting Nirmukta”. And then he left the group… good riddance.

  13. TheVoiceOfTheMovement says

    dysomniak

    You and your fellow bullies like to target “sister-punishers”.

    So go fuck yourself – with a porcupine.

    #FTBbullies

  14. TheVoiceOfTheMovement says

    Oh, one more thing:

    The community would rather Ophelia not turn up to TAM, having done her darndest to promote the idea that rapists run amok at TAM, and it is not safe for women.

    Ophelia can fuck off and take her speaking fee somewhere else.

  15. Stacy says

    @”TheVoiceOfTheMovement”

    Your concern is noted.

    Plenty of former FTB posters…have renounced FTB

    Say hello to the gang at Abbie’s for us. kthxbai

  16. TheVoiceOfTheMovement says

    Stacy, all the major atheist/skeptic forums see you as bullies. And that sentiment is growing – we have uncovered your little game.

    Nice try, though. Even Caine has fucked off from Pharyngula because of the bullies.

    But if you want to stick up and defend bullying, then you can go fuck yourself as well.

  17. dysomniak says

    The irony of your attempt to bully us with nonsensical accusations is charming. I’m sure you have lots of actual evidence to back this up, but why bother with something like that?

  18. TheVoiceOfTheMovement says

    So dysomniak’s tactic is to call the people who have faced racist abuse “racist”.

    We know your tactics. You are a bully and a bully-enabler.

    Anyway, aren’t you supposed to be bullying a “sister-punisher” somewhere – perhaps Malorie Nasrallah, or something?

  19. Suido says

    @TheVoiceoftheMovement

    Which movement, your bowels? That’s called shit talk, and it gets you nowhere.

  20. dysomniak says

    Step right up and see real live cargo cult debating! No need to understand the others sides arguments, just flip them around in the hopes they work!

  21. Stacy says

    all the major atheist/skeptic forums see you as bullies.

    Suure, TVOTM. You are totes somebody whose testimony can absolutely be believed. No, really:

    Even Caine has fucked off from Pharyngula because of the bullies

    Liar. Caine has taken a break, and has said she expects to be back. As I understand things, she’d been arguing with a couple of commenters in the Endless and Zombie threads.

    Say hello to the gang at Abbie’s for us.

  22. Stacy says

    [Meta

    So dysomniak’s tactic is to call the people who have faced racist abuse “racist”

    Whut? Don’t they have anybody coherent on their side?]

  23. Stacy says

    P.S. Or anybody with courage enough in his/her convictions to stick with one nym and forego sockpuppetry?

  24. says

    @Stacy :

    I often wonder just how many of these people are sock puppets. The blog owners rarely shed any light on this, sadly…

    For example, if it’s the same IP address, 99+% chance of sock puppetry.

    Even if it’s not the same, it’s a good idea to do a geographic lookup on the two IPs. If they narrow down to roughly the same region, it’s often someone doing drive-bys using home/work, home/cafe or some other simple connection displacement trick.

    There’s also the old fashioned method of just getting your buddies to parrot some crap. Often, they really seem to be making a game of it.

  25. mandrellian says

    #bullies. Jesus H Arse-biscuits. Well done Russell – you’ve done what I thought was impossible and made me lose some respect for you.

    Oh, and, looky at dear little Voice. How positively adorable that he/she/they are, getting up on that footstoll to troll Ophelia with that big growed-up laptop. Precious!

    Hey, junior troll: hurry up and flounce off in your cloud of fucking self-righteousness, do say hi to Abbie from the FtB’ers, you crusty little spankerchief.

  26. Midnight Rambler says

    I often wonder just how many of these people are sock puppets. The blog owners rarely shed any light on this, sadly…
    Yeah, I’ve wondered that too. There usually seems to be exactly one asshole on each thread, and they rarely exist for more than one thread.

  27. mirax says

    I dont comment much on B&W or the rest of FTB, but pretty much read and listen to most of what has been happening since elevatorgate and it has been downright ugly and abusive since the start. I thought the nasty misogynist bastards were confined to the slimepit but it seems that the disease is catching and quite a few well-known male (and the few hanger on chill girls) bloggers/names in the skeptic community have completely lost the plot. Stangroom, for all his intellectual pretensions, is a lightweight who couldn’t even figure out what was wrong with Mooney’s sleight-of-hand tactics. Blackford (and I suspect Coyne in the future) has dived into the shit quite happily. FTB’s Hallquist is remarkably tonedeaf and rather full of himself too. It is all so depressing. The only bright spot is the robustness of FTB and the skepchick blog. The horde scares the hell out of me sometimes but as a woman – a feminist- I am immensely grateful for all that they do and the efficiency with which they dispatch the bullshitters.

    It is telling that Blackford or Stangroom or Grothe or the Emery types rarely venture forth here for a debate – they know that they can’t win. It is the lowrent assholes trolls like bowelmovement above who do the shit-and-run for them.

  28. Svlad Cjelli says

    What’s going on? Was I gone that long? Is this the new whatevergate-thing that’s hip?

  29. Sharpur says

    I would have thought that you would have learned to take a little more care with analogies Ophelia. I mean, that whole women at TAM/Jews in Nazi Germany thing backfired when some people pointed out that you and your friends, unlike those Jews, weren’t being beaten, stripped of your rights and property and thrown into Kat-Zet. So it wasn’t the same thing.

    Now you give us this:

    It’s like a couple of white people calling a few black people who are being targeted by racist bullies “KKK” and “racist.”

    Is that what it’s like Ophelia? Because what the KKK are most known for is the practice of lynching black people. You know, make an allegation, form a mob and (this is key) murder someone by hanging them.

    Now, it is true that many people have expressed disgust at you and your friends hounding of DJ Grothe and your efforts to lose him his job when he’s done his best to accommodate you, but I haven’t seen it suggested that you have hanged him. Furthermore, and I don’t think that anyone has attempted to hang you.

    So, once again, eager as you are to amplify your status as a victim, please have the good taste to refrain from claiming that your current situation of self-inflicted public embarrassment is in any way analogous to that of people in real danger of being murdered.

  30. Brian says

    I don’t get it. But then, I’m a white, middle-class male, which may be why Russell seemed really cool to me until elevator gate. Not that I think he’s evil or anything, just a nasty blind spot.

    Once elevator scheissenhousen started, he put ‘cute’ comments about having coffee and getting an elevator on Facebook. Which was just sticking something sharp into a wound. When I posted a disenting comment on one of his snarky digs, he deleted it and told me he wouldn’t be arguing about it. I don’t remember the details but his idea behind it was that ‘we don’t know what elevator guy was thinking’, so we can’t hang him. But we arrest people everyday for negligence. And honestly, elevator gate was such a small seed (getting biblical here with the gospel error about mustard seeds….), Rebecca Watson only pointed out that it wasn’t cool to be hit upon at 4am in the morning in a strange city, alone in an elevator, by someone who had heard earlier that she wasn’t up for some funky-monkey. I don’t care what he was thinking – and if he was thinking anything else than ‘I want a fuck, here’s my chance’ – I’d be surprised. But it doesn’t matter. If I drop my dacks in public, thinking it’s OK, these people seem cool – I’ll still get done for public indeceny – my self-justification is irrelevant, it’s a public world outside of my private fondling chamber…

    I guess it’s privilege. All the anger at someone explaining something pretty obvious and reasonable, victim blaming. But anyway, greater and more studious minds than me can work it out theoretically…

  31. Sharpur says

    Deen says:
    June 19, 2012 at 3:05 am

    As opposed to women’s fake danger of being murdered?

    I did not say that women are not murdered. I said that Ophelia being discomfited by criticism was not the same as murder. Perhaps it’s a subtle distinction, but it’s there.

    Unless you have some evidence that her life is at stake in this matter. Have JREF built a gallows for TAM?

  32. says

    TheVoiceOfTheEmotionallyDamagedLosers whines:

    So the people at FTB are finally realising that the majority of the atheist community views them as bullies and hypocrites.

    Plenty of former FTB posters are seeing the error of their ways, and have renounced FTB.

    It’s fascinating how these embittered little weirdos like to portray themselves as the reasonable majority. Except, of course, when they’re portraying themselves as tragically persecuted victims.

  33. says

    I did not say that women are not murdered. I said that Ophelia being discomfited by criticism was not the same as murder.

    And Ophelia did not say that feminists were threatened with murder either. The comparison was more that feminists get called things like “feminazi”, and what were Nazis known for again? And now they’re being called “bullies” who may even end lives.

    Unless you have some evidence that her life is at stake in this matter.

    Where was your evidence that the hypothetical blacks from her analogy were threatened with murder again?

    Also, stop with pretending we’re only talking about mere “criticism”. We’re talking about year-long online harassment campaigns, and you know it.

  34. says

    @hyperdeath: never mind the fallacy of appeal to a majority – and then complain about Ophelia throwing about logical fallacies and being a hypocrite.

  35. Hypatia's Daughter says

    Well, geez, as someone whose involvement with the skeptic/atheist community is entirely on-line (but who someday might attend a conference, if it’s local), I’m kind of an outsider looking in on all the drama.
    If I flee FtB, as TheVoiceOfTheMovement, thinks I should, where do I go?
    I have no interest in hanging out in a place where, when a discussion gets heated, one heads for the genitals and “cunts” “kick him in the balls” or “I hope you get raped” are the favored insults-de-jour.
    If the comments on the FtB about Groethe and his supporters had descended to that, I wouldn’t come back. And from what I have seen, that is how many of the blogs favored by TheVoiceOfTheBowelMovement operate.

  36. says

    TheVoiceOfTheEmotionallyDamagedLosers whines:

    The community would rather Ophelia not turn up to TAM

    This would be the same community that invited her? If you must indulge in infantile “I’m the voice of the movement” power fantasies, at least have the decency to make your grand pronouncements sound convincing.

    Incidentally, have you ever had any interactions with women in your entire life, that haven’t consisted of envious online sniping? I thought not.

  37. Stewart says

    I really do like to keep things as simple as possible. It is not difficult, if one is an adult of reasonable intelligence, to tell the difference between failed attempts at clarity and deliberate attempts to muddy the waters. With that in mind, it is my observation that we have a divide here between two groups of people and it is not a very porous divide. With few exceptions, most people at all familiar with the nature of the problem have chosen a side.

    It is true that people on both sides have descended into bad language and insults in response to varying degrees of provocation (and also in its absence) and one is responsible to oneself to see past that and avoid false equivalencies. Even in this heated climate, there is one thing that betrays, on the one hand, hostility for its own sake, and, on the other, a lack of good arguments to be used in place of that hostility. The thing in question can be found only on one side of the divide and it is: the tendency to dismiss opponents as too unattractive to be raped (though rarely phrased as decorously as that). This is, as already implied, usually a substitute for engaging with the opponent’s argument.

    When things are seen as clearly as that, it becomes impossible not to choose, indeed embrace, the other side, warts and all (and nobody is denying there are a few). Those not already deep in what is rightly referred to as the pit are doing themselves a great disservice by allying themselves with those who either practice, condone or fail to condemn the gratuitously barbaric attitude described above.

  38. hypocrites'r'us says

    Here’s a thought. If Ophelia still insists on attending TAM whilst spitting at it so relentlessly, how about she donate her appearance fee to a useful, non-partisan charity like Médecins Sans Frontières? You know, put that tainted money from TAM where her blabbermouth is? Of course she won’t. Which underscores the point that the motives of all those pursuing this relentless public slander spectacle have zero concern for people’s actual welfare and this is all just a business model to generate revenue. Y’know, a leaf out of the creationists book – “feed the controversy, no matter how ridiculous it sounds”.

  39. says

    The idea of criticizing something in order to make it better seems completely alien to a lot of people.

  40. says

    This bizarre “logical fallacies” gambit is reminiscent of cargo-cult thinking.

    All movements can attract people for the wrong reason, and in skepticism, the most common “wrong reason” is self-flattery. These skeptic fanboys like to feel superior to the superstitious, not just in terms of knowledge, but in terms of personal worth.

    All movements have pejoratives, and for skepticism the big two are “anecdotal evidence” and “logical fallacy”. For the proper skeptic, these are precise terms, whereas for the fanboy they are incantations which help them feel superior. If there’s a story they don’t like, they shout “anecdotal evidence” (regardless of context), and if there’s an argument they don’t like, they shout “logical fallacy”.

    I think that these fanboys are making up a great deal of misogynistic chorus.

  41. says

    The idea of criticizing something in order to make it better seems completely alien to a lot of people.

    B..b..but criticism is bad.

  42. karmakin says

    Geez. It’s unfortunate that all this is blinded in like infinite amounts of rage by the anti-fems or as there’s actually an interesting seed to start a discussion here, I think. There actually is a sort of parallel.

    LGBT bullying is people using social pressure in order to “encourage” people to right a perceived wrong. That’s actually not that much different than what we’re doing here. The big difference, of course, is that there’s really nothing wrong with being homosexual and there’s a whole lot wrong with misogyny/social privilege/harassment.

    The argument that you do see sometimes, is that this social pressure is in itself wrong. It’s dangerous, and it “hurts” people and it shouldn’t be used. The problem with that argument is that it’s basically stating that morality just doesn’t matter, and that there’s no real thing such as right and wrong, and that we shouldn’t express it as such.

    But outside of the Rrrrrraaaagggeee I think this is the point that they are trying to make here.

  43. Timid Atheist says

    Which underscores the point that the motives of all those pursuing this relentless public slander spectacle have zero concern for people’s actual welfare and this is all just a business model to generate revenue.

    Again with the accusation that FtB bloggers are just trying to make money off controversy. I seriously doubt that any money they might make from blog hits or speaking fees at conventions is enough revenue to make them on par with the fat cats on all street.

    Honestly all of these comments seem to be just randomly throwing mud to see what sticks while getting everyone dirty in the process.

  44. Doubting Thomas says

    Funny, I would have thought the word “projection” would have been used by now, because that it seems to me is what is going on.

  45. Dave says

    Well, I must say that, if things hadn’t already got to the ‘take off and nuke it from orbit’ stage before, they certainly have now.

    What a total, absolute, pathetic, disgraceful failure of people to take seriously their interpersonal obligations as supposedly rational, ethical individuals. How mindlessly self-regarding can such people be not to see that personal safety at public gatherings is and always will be a serious issue worthy of serious concern?

    I sincerely hope that the organisations in question are financially ruined by the negative publicity they and their supporters are generating. They don’t deserve a hearing any more. There is plenty of space in the world for gatherings that don’t tacitly condone sexual harassment, and don’t draw their supporters into hate-filled misogynist diatribes. Let’s use that space instead.

  46. says

    Geez. It’s unfortunate that all this is blinded in like infinite amounts of rage by the anti-fems or as there’s actually an interesting seed to start a discussion here, I think. There actually is a sort of parallel.

    LGBT bullying is people using social pressure in order to “encourage” people to right a perceived wrong. That’s actually not that much different than what we’re doing here. The big difference, of course, is that there’s really nothing wrong with being homosexual and there’s a whole lot wrong with misogyny/social privilege/harassment.

    The argument that you do see sometimes, is that this social pressure is in itself wrong. It’s dangerous, and it “hurts” people and it shouldn’t be used. The problem with that argument is that it’s basically stating that morality just doesn’t matter, and that there’s no real thing such as right and wrong, and that we shouldn’t express it as such.

    But outside of the Rrrrrraaaagggeee I think this is the point that they are trying to make here.

    This reminded me of a post by Stangroom a year ago, going after Rieux and gnu atheists on the basis of a comment by Rieux that he completely misrepresented (see Rieux’s comment @#16*) and attempting to depict us as a mob of bullies.

    It’s amazing to me that Blackford and the others are now joining with Stangroom in and supporting him for the same behavior they objected to when it was directed at gnus/themselves.

    *For entertainment, see also #28.

  47. karmakin says

    It’s almost entirely irrational and non-coherent, I just prefer to argue and debate with rational and coherent ideas (as do most of us) so I tend to try and give the other side the most charitable reading possible. If I do that and I can still oppose them, then I know I probably am right.

    Anyway, there’s another good link/article to this at http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/05/22/the-value-of-defiance-2/ from Stephanie no less. Now I don’t think this is hypocrisy, the article itself is very even-handed talking about the pros and the cons of creating social norms. But there’s a lot of potential social norms that are being decided here. Everything from political norms (progressive vs. libertarian) to social norms (aggressive vs. cautious). And like it or not, people on the “wrong” side of the social norms will find themselves on the outside of the movement as a whole.

    This cannot be avoided. The status quo results in social norms which excludes people as well. Not fighting, quite frankly, is NOT an option.

    Just as an aside, when it comes to bullying as a whole, I’m a big supporter of the idea that the big problem of bullying is social, and not traditional bullying situations. The “Nelson Muntz”‘s of the world are relatively easy to deal with in terms of therapy or other supports for the bully. But when we’re talking about the truly harmful bullying situations, we’re talking about entire communities which have adopted social norms which are unnecessarily and over-the-top damaging for subgroup(s).

  48. says

    …the bullies at FreeThought Blogs run the risk of precipitating a tragedy. Bullying ruins – and sometimes ends – lives. #bullies

    Wow… as someone who was actually bullied to the point of near suicide, who knows what the word actually means, I would like to kindly ask the human filth who chose to trivialize that experience by conflating it with their petty little feud with FTB to please…please go fuck a light socket.

  49. embertine says

    This is getting more and more bizarre. All DJ had to do to end this was to say “Yes, there’s been some harassment at TAM, no more so than anywhere else, and we have a policy in place to deal with it. However, we’re happy to take on board suggestions for making that policy more effective. Thanks for your input.” Instead he denied that harassment ever happened and shot the messenger.

    I suspect his radio silence is due to the fact that the higher ups have noticed that it was he that drew attention to TAM in the first place, and are keeping him under wraps as damage limitation. I persnally don’t mean him any harm and I understand entirely the impulse to double down when something you say has been badly received.

    I hope he’s taking a break and having a good think about what’s happened.

  50. says

    Clearly the ERV gang know my schedule; they comment when I’m offline and fall silent when I’m on.

    They’re otherwise clueless though. They think I’m getting a speaker’s fee for TAM! They apparently even think it’s hefty. What a joke. I’m not getting a speaker’s fee, and there will be expenses I’ll have to pay myself. I don’t even know if I’ll get meals. As I’m an impoverished freelance, this is no small matter.

  51. says

    TAM pays diddley-squat. There aren’t any speaker’s fees to profit from or donate.

    I don’t think any of us are in this for the cash. Most of the events I speak at pay nothing, or a token honorarium (GAC was an exception).

    I took a hefty cut in blogging income moving here — I’m getting about half or less of what I got at Scienceblogs, with roughly the same number of readers. And I’m not complaining, because (let me repeat myself), THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE MONEY.

  52. Emptyell says

    Forgive me if this is already obvious but…

    Sharpur @ 35 says:

    Because what the KKK are most known for is the practice of lynching black people. You know, make an allegation, form a mob and (this is key) murder someone by hanging them.

    So let me get this straight. The KKK form a mob, accuse a black people of something and lynch them. Witch hunters form a mob, accuse women of something and stone and burn them to death. So accusing women who speak out against sexism of being on a witch hunt is not like accusing black people fighting racism of being like the KKK? maybe I’m dense but it seems spot on to me.

  53. says

    Dave @ 56 –

    There is plenty of space in the world for gatherings that don’t tacitly condone sexual harassment, and don’t draw their supporters into hate-filled misogynist diatribes. Let’s use that space instead.

    Precisely. This is the conclusion many of us are coming to.

  54. says

    Yeah, the idea of payouts to speakers didn’t make any sense to me. JREF is no huge organization and they are not raking in the money. They can’t afford to award substantial sums, even though the speakers honestly deserve to be paid.

    This suggests to me something about the mindset of these commenters, though. They’re projecting their concept of the typical professional right-wing commentator, who does get paid (sometimes handsomely) for lying to the public on a regular basis.

  55. says

    And what Emptyell said @ 65. Again, precisely.

    Sharpur (@ 35) you seem to be totally confused. I didn’t say “the people calling us names are like the KKK.” Der. I said the people calling us witch hunters are like people calling anti-racist activists the KKK. You do see the difference don’t you? You left out the calling us witch hunters part and the calling anti-racist activists part. You’re failing to notice levels.

    It’s not: people who shout at us=the KKK

    It’s: people who shout that we are witch-hunters=people who call anti-racists the KKK

    I’ll number the parts, to make it extra clear, in case you still can’t see it.

    Not: 1 people who shout at us = 2 the KKK

    but

    1 people who shout 2 that we are witch-hunters = 3 people who call anti-racists 4 the KKK

    See? Levels.

  56. says

    I never get paid for speaking. The ERV gang think we’re all getting rich speaking for organizations that aren’t rich themselves. Yeah right. I’ve got a fur-lined swimming pool already.

  57. Josh Slocum says

    I do a lot of public speaking too and rarely get much of an honorarium (I speak to small nonprofits). When I do it goes back to the organization I represent. Unless I am occasionally on my own time, such as during a vacation, and then I’ve taken the couple hundred bucks once or twice.

    But PZ, Ophelia, and the rest are, in fact, on their own time. Frankly it’s outrageous that TAM doesn’t even offer a token honorarium when you guys are going there as part of what is a huge fundraiser for them. This is where the richies go to give money, and that’s great. But you’re selling yourselves short thinking it’s perfectly OK not to even be offered a token. It’s not, and it’s galling that this is TAM’s practice.

  58. says

    Emptyell says:

    Witch hunters form a mob, accuse women of something and stone and burn them to death.

    My understanding is that the sequence is slightly different:

    1. accusation.
    2. mob formation.
    3. burning at the stake.

    From where I am sitting, this appears to be the case.

    Of course apparently we are at the stage where the mob having been successful/foiled at #3 depending on your point of view, appears to casting around for another.

    /popcorn

  59. Emptyell says

    AndrewV69,

    Point taken. The precise order is:

    1. Form hate group.

    2. Accuse someone of something.

    3. Assemble mob.

    4. Lynch, stone, burn, drown, etc.

    The analogy still holds.

    We aren’t at any stage of this since there is no witch hunt going on. Just some jack-offs stupidly accusing Ophelia et al of being witches on a witch hunt. Maybe they think we’ll just be confused trying to figure out which which is which.

  60. Sastra says

    The VoiceoftheMovement #19 wrote:

    The community would rather Ophelia not turn up to TAM, having done her darndest to promote the idea that rapists run amok at TAM, and it is not safe for women.

    Oh, come on. She has not. Although I’ve not been following this debate in relentless detail, I think I have read enough to know that Ophelia (and most others) have not been criticizing TAM as rapist sanctuaries less safe than other conventions, but pointing out that sexism and harassment is a problem in the larger culture and, sadly, the atheist/skeptic/humanist movement — and their conventions — reflect that. Criticism of DJ Grothe and how he chooses to deal with issues and problems isn’t the same as criticizing TAM itself. Neither DJ — nor you — speak for the diverse community which has grown up around the JREF. TAM is immense and contains multitudes.

    But at least I’m starting to relax a bit over my fear that Ophelia will eventually decide to boycott TAM this year and not speak. The more a small faction tells her she is not wanted and she should NOT show up, the more likely she is to show up and show that small faction that it IS a small faction — and the rest of us want her very much indeed!

    Push comes to shove, that is what rowdy, ornery feminists do, when bullies try to make push come to shove. You’re not going to shove her out.

  61. Rieux says

    SC @57: Yes, it reminded me of that as well. Glad I’m not the only one.

    I have to go back to being an overworked attorney (though my wife and I got to meet Ophelia in person in April, which was delightful), but in the little sliver of time available I would like to say that as far as I’m concerned Rebecca and her FTBlogger supporters are all-but-100% in the right in the current flare-up; I’m glad they’re around to carry the banner for acting-like-ethical-human-beings through yet another storm of misogynist and privileged shit. I wish I had the time and energy.

  62. Funny Diva says

    karmakin@53

    Organized presure to change the status quo in a more just direction != (does NOT equal) Bullying. And not all organized pressure of any kind is bullying. That’s broadening the term so much as to make it meaningless (see also: “terrorist/terrorism”)

    Now, I’m off to see if there’s evidence of an “in group”/”out group” dynamic to what is reasonably and/or normally called Bullying. Other than my personal, seat-of-the-pants perception of same.

  63. Sastra says

    I had not known that Russell Blackford was weighing in here, and apparently not on the side which has been making the most sense. I thought the ‘hangout video’ was pretty measured and well-expressed. Russell Blackford?? Anti-Ftb? Oh, that is sad. And perplexing.

  64. says

    Where were these guys when people were sending rape threats to RW? Or when the slime pitizens went crazy at ERV’s place? If what is going on with DJG is bullying those things surely were too then.

  65. iiii says

    I think it’s clear that the haters are just jealous because they don’t have a pony.

  66. josh says

    It’s a stupid little sideline but… what the hell.

    Witchhunters killed both men and women, (though more of the latter I suspect), the goal was to eradicate supposed infernal influences. The term has long since entered common usage as slang for a certain set of METHODS: accusations without evidence, anonymous testimony, denial of guilt as a sign of guilt, guilt by association spiraling out of control, etc. It does not refer specifically to persecution of women. That’s why McCarthyism can be called a witch-hunt.

    The KKK exists specifically to persecute black people (and Jews, gays, etc.) Nonetheless, it’s obviously possible for black people to be racist, just listen to Malcolm X in his Nation of Islam days: he sounds like an exact mirror image of the ‘intellectual’ white racists he hated.

    So, whether or not the accusation of witch hunting holds any merit, there’s nothing “obscene” about leveling it at a group of women (and men), and it could be valid whether or not that group has been the target of bad behavior itself.

  67. julian says

    If Ophelia still insists on attending TAM whilst spitting at it so relentlessly

    That’s just stupid. Ophelia has criticized Grothe for his mishandeling recent issues surrounding harassment and culpability for a decrease in women attending TAM.

    She’s gone on, because of the amount of bullshit she’s getting for this (on a witch hunt, accusing TAM of being a rape fest and that’s just in this thread) to say she no longer feels entirely comfortable speaking at TAM. Please don’t misrepresent people or lie about what they’ve done.

  68. 'Tis Himself says

    skeptifem #78

    But that’s different. That’s just the dudebro MRAs putting uppity women in their place.

    </snark>

  69. julian says

    And perplexing.

    Not really. Most people, atheists included, take the side of their friends before they’ve even heard the arguments. Doubly so when it’s an enemy they see on the other side. This is no different.

  70. says

    josh @ 80 –

    You only “suspect” witch-hunters killed more women than men?

    Anyway, yes, the term is used loosely, but that doesn’t make it unreasonable to point out when it topples into absurdity. A couple of men calling some women witch-hunters when they’re not doing anything resembling a witch-hunt or McCarthyism seems like an example of that kind of absurdity.

  71. says

    Huh. I remember when Russell Blackford was a reasonable person with whom I agreed on most occasions. How art the sensible fallen.

    I like how a policy against booth babes is “Talibanesque”. I suppose this means that it’s also “Talibanesque” to expect that the office Casual Friday attire does not include latex pants, a corset and a spike collar. And would a rule invented for gaming cons have that much effect on atheist/skeptic meetings? From my experience with TAM, I’d say the effect would be more drastic if they banned the promotion of evidence-free political ideologies, PowerPoint slides filled with text, or the sale of soporific videos featuring wizened white men rambling about godlessness.

  72. josh says

    Ophelia @ 84

    “You only “suspect” witch-hunters killed more women than men?”

    It’s called understatement. :) I don’t have complete numbers of course. It looks like 17 women and 7 men in the Salem trials, for instance.

    Obviously, you’re not going to see it as a witch hunt, but I hope we can agree that men accusing women of a witch hunt isn’t by itself an issue since 1) the genders are irrelevant to the accusation and 2) the term was applied to the FtBloggers in this case, who are majority male.

    I get frustrated that any productive conversation is so often stymied by these little escalations and point scoring with uncharitable readings. For the record, I wouldn’t call it a witch hunt, but the central issues are not what terms we use.

  73. says

    josh, it’s not really “understatement” when it’s kind of central to what you’re claiming (and when it’s also pretty well-known that women were and are the usual victims of witch hunts).

    No we can’t agree that gender isn’t relevant when the two people talking about witch hunts are men and the people doing all this supposed “witch hunting” are women.

    The term wasn’t applied to “the FtBloggers.” The majority of Freethought bloggers haven’t talked about this issue at all. The people blamed by DJ were, explicitly, women.

    I too get frustrated, for instance when bystanders make wild crude generalizations about “FTB” when they really mean specific people. I also get frustrated when the bystanders doing that are former friends of mine, so that it all looks weirdly personal and spiteful.

    Maybe the words we use aren’t central issues to you, but then you’re not being called Talibanesque or a witch hunter or a bully or someone who is driving people to suicide. Are you. To me, the words we use are quite central. “Cunt” is one such word: “Talibanesque” is another; “bullies” is another.

  74. Josh Slocum says

    I get frustrated that any productive conversation is so often stymied by these little escalations and point scoring with uncharitable readings.

    This is exactly what you’re doing. How can you not see that? You’re upset at Ophelia for defending herself against an absurd claim, but you have nothing to say about the absurd claim itself? Look in the damned mirror!

  75. josh says

    Ophelia @ 88:

    Oy… No, it’s not central to my claim and it is understatement. I don’t care what the actual percentage of men vs women dead by witch hunt is, it would depend on the definitions of what counts as dying by witch hunt and it would still be irrelevant because, regardless of history, the term has come to have a genderless meaning, c.f. McCarthyism.

    Look at your quoted tweets above, all three refer to FtB and not to women specifically. As far as I can see, the original DJ facebook post that started this particular round of shit doesn’t mention witches.

    Yes, there are multiple things to be frustrated about. You aren’t responsible for everything said on FtB and you don’t speak for them as a whole. I would think, by the same token, that DJ or Blackford isn’t responsible for whatever some commenter said on ERVs blog. You don’t like being called Talibanesque, I imagine DJ doesn’t like being labelled a misogynist, etc. I don’t imagine DJ will commit suicide unless he has some pre-existing mental health issues, but he is being threatened with losing his job and seeing a big hit to an organization he has invested a lot in and being regarded in the worst possible terms by some people. No doubt you think he has brought it on himself, but obviously other, generally respectable people disagree and arguing about the definition of bullying or tu quoque responses is a distraction.

    Surely the central issues are: what is the incidence of harassment? what is the nature of particular incidents? How were they handled by organizers, hotel staff, other attendees? How should they be handled in the future?

    We should try to correct misinformation at all junctures. We should try to accurately represent what other people think and say.

    #89 Josh Slocum-
    Ophelia made her own absurd claim, followed by some commenters below. My specific complaint was that she didn’t defend against the ‘witchhunt’ label by arguing why she was justified in going after DJ and co. like this, she implied it was itself a gendered insult or sexist, which I think is absurd. And I pointed out that I wouldn’t use the term witchhunt myself. But if I were to go back and fisk all the comments, tweets, facebook updates, video discussions and whatnot on all sides I would never finish. The larger point is that we all need to police ourselves, and our allies as well as our antagonists. We need to try to get things right the first time so it doesn’t devolve into a rebuque to a response to a paraphrase of a hyperbole on a tangent. As a gesture of good faith I won’t respond to any further disagreements about the usage of the words “bully” or “witch hunt”.

  76. Sally Strange says

    You don’t like being called Talibanesque, I imagine DJ doesn’t like being labelled a misogynist…

    Hey idiot. One of these things is NOT like the other.

    Can you give an example of one thing that Ophelia has done that the Taliban also does?

    I have several examples of things that DJG has done that misogynists do.

  77. avh1 says

    Sally, Ophelia breathes. And eats. And…ok I’m all out of similarities now. ;)

    The idea that making suggestions about the running of a big convention, and then correcting what look like very deliberate misstatements about you is bullying is one of the dumbest ideas that I have ever heard. And trust me, I’ve heard some good ones.

  78. josh says

    Hi Sally. Yes, DJ is not like a misogynist and, bonus points, FtB is not like the Taliban. avh1 demonstrates the fallacy of your argument below, albeit unintentionally. DJ and a misogynist have trivial things in common, like having Ophelia mad at them right now, that doesn’t make DJ a misogynist. Similarly, the Taliban and certain FtBloggers have advocated strict social controls to regulate male-female interactions and an aggressive in-group/out-group with-us-or-against us approach to perceived slights and disagreements. That’s where the comparison comes from, but is Ophelia significantly like the Taliban? Obviously not. And someone who ran an organization held up as a model for women’s participation and generally good handling of harassment complaints is obviously not a misogynist.

    DJs said a couple of stupid things which he needs to walk back or explain in detail and probably apologize for. (He’s also said some things that are substantially correct for which he’s been jumped on because he’s been designated the boogey-man du jour.) That makes him like… a human.

  79. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    DJ and a misogynist have trivial things in common, like having Ophelia mad at them right now, that doesn’t make DJ a misogynist.

    Oh, of course. It’s trivial that after DJ blamed women who talk about sexual harrassment for the decrease in female participation in TAM, at least one such women gets a threatened in such a manner as to make her reconsider going. It’s trivial that anyone would be pissed off at the instigator of all this misogynistic bullshit lately. Women’s anger is trivial.

    Similarly, the Taliban and certain FtBloggers have advocated strict social controls to regulate male-female interactions and an aggressive in-group/out-group with-us-or-against us approach to perceived slights and disagreements.

    Seriously. What is with you morons? Why do you lie – so blatantly and incompetently lie – when EVERYONE can simply go back and read what was actually posted? What the fuck is the point of lying when its easily refuted?

    So to recap, women’s anger is trivial. Women not wanting to be treated like pussy vending machines is just like the Taliban and DJ is an innocent victim.

    You clearly want the sausage-fest you’re going to get. So enjoy it and leave decent, honest, non-bigotted people alone.

  80. avh1 says

    Ophelia, I am so sorry you have gotten threats. I’m sorry you aren’t going to JRF (and completely understand why you wouldn’t want to).

    Josh @93, could you maybe actually state, clearly and unequivocally, what you think DJ got right. Because my understanding of this, as someone who has no prior dealings with the man or his organisation, is that he engaged in some quality victim-blaming (I mean really, gold star – give this man an MRA blog of his own – he’s clearly ready for it)and doubled down when his victims had the nerve to try and correct him with the facts.

  81. says

    Greg Laden shed light on something? Well, a stopped clock is still correct twice a day, as the saying says.

    Actually, if he does expose anything, it will only be what Stephanie told him to find.

  82. ohdear says

    I’ve got an idea: don’t go to TAM. I mean, please, please don’t. It’ll be much more interesting and less boring. I mean, you want it phrased so that we either dump people like Dawkins and Grothe, or people like you and Watson. Well, that seems a no brainer.

    Incidentally, “gender traitor” despite your attempts to handwave it away is really a giveaway. Watson and her crowd are canalizing the most toxic stuff, and they do it because it’s all they have.

    Incidentally, Maryam Namazie – I still cannot believe she takes part in this ramshackle community – get’s a lot worse thrown at her, but when Iranian neo-nazis call her a “commie kike Zionist bitch”, there’s no outrage here. Because there’s only ever any outrage when the scandal’s bogus.

  83. julian says

    @ohdear

    Ophelia has decided to not attend TAM. You are welcome to hi-five Grothe if you do attend on a job well done.

    Incidentally, you’ll rarely find Ophelia, Stephanie Zvan or any other of the people you want out of skepticism to talk about Namazie without congratulating her on her courage and commitment.

    Have an unpleasant day and catch your big toe on a thumb tack.

  84. says

    I’m already not going to TAM.

    No I don’t have it phrased that way, and that’s not what I think. Dawkins is a vastly bigger draw than I am; absolutely no argument there. I well remember the thrill of going to a reading he gave at the local university book store in the mid-90s when Climbing Mount Improbable came out.

    “Gender traitor” is not a giveaway because I don’t use it.

    As for Maryam – you really are a clueless moron. Maryam’s a friend of mine. I’ve been energetically promoting her work for years. What have you done for her lately?

    Here’s an irony for you: Maryam and I were on a panel together in March in the UK, along with Paula Kirby and (wait for it) DJ Grothe. It was a very good panel, and well received. We all had fun.

  85. says

    Honestly, Abbie, what a shitty crowd of trolls you do collect. They don’t bother to do the smallest bit of homework. Here’s this imbecile accusing me of ignoring it when real vitriol is thrown – when I’ve written godknowshowmany posts and half a book about it!

    And of ignoring Maryam – !

    What next? I never say a word about bishops? I’m way too friendly to the pope? I’m a fan of the burqa?

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