Acid in the face »« Dividing bridges

Comments

  1. Tony says

    Philip, do you know where the root of the word ‘hysterical’ comes from?

    Do you know where the root of the word “atom” comes from? Is an atom the smallest state of matter? Are we unable to “cut” atoms?

    Attempting to insist on archaic meanings for words when they are being used within the context of modern parlance is deliberate dishonesty. Stop insisting that everyone who holds a position in minor disagreement with your own is automatically an enemy.

  2. simonsays says

    @male voice #397:

    First the skepchicks cheekily ask why so few men attend the “women in secularism” conference

    Where exactly did “the skepchicks cheekily ask” this question? I volunteered for the conference and do not recall seeing this.

  3. SimpleComments says

    I love how the convention has completely turned into this again well done guys, open minded thinking may start a new movement aside from all this if we are to get anything done

  4. The Pint says

    SimpleComments: So what you’re saying is, you’re unable to hold multiple, complex concepts and ideas at the same time and understand how they intersect, influence and relate to each other.

    Clearly your moniker was aptly chosen.

    Addressing forms of societal oppression isn’t sequential – one does not eradicate racism first before moving on to, say, sexism, because systems of oppression are intersecting in one gigantic tangled knot. Pull at one thread and you invariably find yourself grappling with more.

    Seriously. Go educate yourself. I’ll even get you started with a basic, easy to read wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersectionality

  5. petermountain says

    This is sort of like the “Draw Mohammed” of freethinkers. How can we purchase one of these shirts?

  6. says

    SimpleComments, what is this “Atheism Convention” you are talking about? American Atheists does a convention but that was last March (and there was no conflict over feminism that I know of).

  7. says

    Amy said –

    This does not diminish the fact that there was an extreme undercurrent of ‘othering’ and angry divisiveness swirling about me the entire time. It was very, very stressful.

    That doesn’t surprise me, alas. It’s the inevitable fallout from DJ’s blame-the-women move. It’s what I was expecting and dreading before I got the weird over-dramatic emails – not physical danger, just a hella unpleasant hostile atmosphere.

  8. says

    It is fairly easy to tell a real scientist from a layman.

    Yes, by their publication record. Not by some “no true scientist” drivel. Not by what words some third-party talking about them chooses.

    This is Chris Hever again, isn’t it?

  9. Matt G says

    This is absurd. There is nothing offensive about that shirt and especially not the back of it. The message I received when I read it was that the application of gender-specific labels to a gender-neutral quality can only exacerbate existing issues.

    There will always be people who disagree with you, and your reaction is a measure of your character. Expelling your rage and pain, generated by blinded interpretations of the argument, depicts nothing rational nor skeptical about you.

    If you think, “I disagree with your premise and methods,” is a statement to be enraged over, then you live in a bubble. To all those angry posters in this thread, a question: did you consider that you could be wrong?

  10. Lauren says

    Harriet Hall is getting way too much credit for being a “pioneer” in the advancement of women in male dominated professions. When you choose the tactic of joining the boys club to get along and be effective in your profession, it’s Vichy, not medal-worthy. I’m not knocking that – hell, I did it – but the people who deserve the most respect are the ones who take on the entire system for the benefit of everyone, not those of us who settle for the essentially selfish adaptation of getting around or finding a niche in the system while letting it perpetuate undisturbed around us.

  11. Christopher Hülsbeck says

    Hülsbeck. A publication record can mean anything. A publication record is not tenure, a ph.d. a teaching position or an entry in a scientific journal. Blogging does not count.

  12. Godless Heathen says

    The back of her shirt was making the point that women should strive to eventually throw off the feminine modifier and just become people.

    I’m pretty sure that’s what most feminists want. That’s what I want. That’s why I agree that the words “actress,” “waitress,” “hostess,” and the like are silly.

    Unfortunately, it’s the people who don’t treat us like any other person who are the problem. Not us.

    Also, some women and feminists embrace feminine things as a way of saying “there’s nothing wrong with something that’s feminine.”

    Feminine things get vilified a lot. And things that used to be coded male, but become coded female will often go from being respected to being ridiculed. Because when most people think of “people” they think of “men.”

    So, I agree with you to some extent, but I also think it’s more complicated.

  13. says

    Matt G, don’t be silly. What you say would apply to a conversation or a discussion or an article or a blog post. It doesn’t apply to a slogan on a T shirt.

  14. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I think its clear she is not happy that Atheism is being lumbered with feminism when clearly they are two different topics, equality should be something to strive for but the community is corrupt in a negative direction

    .

    Hmm. let’s think about this a little. Religion, uniformly, tells us that women are inferior etc etc.

    And, your opinion is that feminism is a pointless distraction to the atheism movement.

    You didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about that before you posted it, huh.

  15. Utakata says

    @Matt G

    “This is absurd. There is nothing offensive about that shirt and especially not the back of it.”

    …did you ever consider you could be wrong? Since evidence suggest you are being clueless currently.

    I think there’s a fallacy for this somewhere…or least there should be. When people try to belittle the subject with a glaringly important message. “You know, it’s just a T-shirt” or “You know, your honor…that was just a stop sign.” Then they have the audacity to call themselves skeptics or even reasonable by proclaiming without a shred of evidence it is nothing, lol. To me, that is absurdism at its best.

  16. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    There will always be people who disagree with you, and your reaction is a measure of your character. Expelling your rage and pain, generated by blinded interpretations of the argument, depicts nothing rational nor skeptical about you.

    .

    LOL. What the fuck is it with these idiotic trolls? Are they allergic to CONTEXT or something?

    CONTEXT, dumpling. It's this thing that's required to understand the reaction. And, as surprising as this may be to you, you don't magically know and understand everything just cuz you assume you do.

  17. The Pint says

    In MattG’s comment, I’ve got a “You’re being overemotional”, “You’re being oversensitive”, “You are damaging your cause by being angry” and “You’re taking things too personally” on my Derailing for Dummies card – one more and BINGO!

  18. Matt G says

    @Utakata
    I saw nothing belittling nor any personal attacks on that t-shirt. I also never said anything like, “It’s just a t-shirt.” I also never mentioned the issue of feminism nor discrimination within the skeptic or atheist communities.

    My argument is simply this: there is an extreme overreaction to this t-shirt.

    @Ophelia Benson
    The words on that t-shirt are a message; one half of a discussion. I fail to see how that invalidates my position.

  19. Christopher Hülsbeck says

    @ Utakata, a T-shirt is very different from a stop sign. A stop sign has legal relevance. The t-shirt was simply a piece of clothing with two slogans printed on it. The wearer wanted to make it clear to everyone that she did not wish to be associated or connected with the skepchick website. She was well within her rights to do so.

  20. Matt Penfold says

    I saw nothing belittling nor any personal attacks on that t-shirt. I also never said anything like, “It’s just a t-shirt.” I also never mentioned the issue of feminism nor discrimination within the skeptic or atheist communities.

    My argument is simply this: there is an extreme overreaction to this t-shirt.

    That is because you either cannot or will not put the t-shirt into the context of the support Skepchicks have given TAM for years, and more specifically, the events regarding the treatment of women in the sceptic/atheist community in the last 12 months. Without understanding any of that then yes, the t-shirt will appear harmless. However the t-shirt was not being worn in a vacuum and context matters. Unless and until you accept that, your opinion is not only worthless but offensive.

  21. emburii says

    Tony, except that modern parlance doesn’t change that meaning. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve heard that word applied to a man (Glenn Beck, for the record). Meanwhile Surly Amy and those with an empathetic and vocal response to her are having it slapped on over very reasonable offense, complete with comments about ‘crying over a t-shirt? is she five?’.

    Still sounds like a belittling and demeaning response overwhelmingly to women to me.

  22. Matt G says

    @Illuminata
    I find insults to be insubstantial and unproductive. I refrained from name-calling, perhaps you could as well?

    @The Pint
    The thrust of my argument was that the overreaction was a result of misinterpreting the message. There is a pervasive idea that Hall’s t-shirt was a personal attack and/or that it attacked the feminist movement within the community. I think that the t-shirt was neither of those things.

    When someone offends me, I always ask: “Do they really mean what I think they mean?”

  23. says

    Oy. Matt G – a slogan on a T shirt is not half of a discussion, because there’s no way to answer it. How could anyone answer it? By getting a reply T shirt made instantly (how?) and then being chained to Dr Hall?

    A slogan on a T shirt or bus or billboard is just a slogan, it’s not half of a dialogue. It is of course possible to turn it into a dialogue in another medium, but it’s not a dialogue itself. Half of a dialogue is not a dialogue at all.

  24. says

    A publication record can mean anything. A publication record is not tenure, a ph.d. a teaching position or an entry in a scientific journal.

    You’re really dumb about science, aren’t you? A publication record is a list of studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, along with a few other things, like scientific book chapters and some conference presentations. Greg Laden has a publication record, several peer-reviewed studies that have been published.

    “Christopher Hülsbeck” does not, according to Google Scholar. Christopher Hülsbeck is a German video game composer. Chris Hever is an obsessive troll with an interest in German music and a habit of making statements about academics that are dead wrong.

  25. says

    Christopher Hülsbeck @ 421

    The wearer wanted to make it clear to everyone that she did not wish to be associated or connected with the skepchick website. She was well within her rights to do so.

    Certainly, and we are well within our rights to say it was an unpleasant thing to do, at the very least. DJ Grothe is well within his rights to fawn on her for wearing it, and we are well within our rights to conclude that TAM is an event that overtly hates people like us, so we won’t be going there. Everyone’s happy.

  26. Utakata says

    Incoming denialism 1,2,3…

    @Matt G, 420.

    Hey, neither did I. But that’s not my point. My point is that you where trying to belittle something with an important message. And dismissing everyone else as over-reacting because they disagreed with you. This is not skeptism. It’s marginalizing the people who have a clear issue with this at best. But it doesn’t address the issues this shirt is trying to convey. So you may want to adjust your statement to reflect that if you’re planning to save face.

    @Christopher Hülsbeck @ 421.

    I think we all aware the the message on the T-shirt has no legal bearing in of itself. But that’s not my point. And you are quite likely aware of that.

    “The wearer wanted to make it clear to everyone that she did not wish to be associated or connected with the skepchick website. She was well within her rights to do so.”

    But you are claiming then the message has importance…regardless the medium it’s posted on. Thanks for reiterating my point.

  27. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    My argument is simply this: there is an extreme overreaction to this t-shirt.

    And have YOU considered that YOU are wrong?

    CONTEXT. CONTEXT. CONTEXT. CONTEXT. CONTEXT. CONTEXT. CONTEXT.

    Get it yet?

    I find insults to be insubstantial and unproductive. I refrained from name-calling, perhaps you could as well?

    LOL. Tone trolling is the last refuge of someone without a leg to stand on. Respond to the point, or admit that you can’t.

    Respect is earned. You wandered over to puke out your worthless uninformed mansplantion. It was pointed out that you’re ignoring context. Context that very clearly and easily explains the reaction to Hall’s shirt. And your response was to double down on the worthless uninformed mansplantion.

    If it behaves like a context-ignoring troll, and doubles down, it’s a context-ignoring troll.

  28. Christopher Hülsbeck says

    Greg Laden does not have any peer-reviewed literature. The Greg Ladens that appear on google scholar write about culinary history, anthropology, not science. The blogger Greg Laden is merely a layman.

    There is no German video game composer who goes by the name Christopher Hülsbeck. This Christopher Hülsbeck does not know anything about music, German or otherwise. He is a science teacher.

    Everything else in your post appears correct, or at least not falsifiable ;)

  29. The Pint says

    @ Matt G – There have been plenty of people arguing here with well-thought-out explanations of how Hall’s t-shirt could be perceived as an attack against Amy (as a representative of Skepchick) and against the feminist movement within the skeptic community as a whole, all of which hinges on a context that I think you are either overlooking or ignoring. Amy herself has commented here with her thoughts on the whole thing and has been quite articulate. If you haven’t read this entire thread, I suggest that you do.

    You might want to consider why you are determined that there is nothing offensive about the message of Hall’s t-shirt, the fact that she wore it for 3 days straight, and why you’re perceiving it as an overreaction. I cannot stress enough how important CONTEXT is to these interpretations. I’m assuming from your nym that you are a man (and if not, I apologize) – it might behoove you to reconsider how this sort of action, on top of over a year’s worth of aggressive pushback against those calling attention to the reality of sexism and misogyny in the skeptic movement (both microaggressions and outright attacks), especially the amount of it that’s occurred in recent months, looks from a viewpoint other than yours as a man. When you’ve been a target of over a year’s worth of invective, your perspective is decidedly different from that of someone who has been relatively unscathed.

  30. Utakata says

    “CONTEXT. CONTEXT. CONTEXT. CONTEXT. CONTEXT. CONTEXT. CONTEXT. ”

    …and what Illuminata just said.

    Now you’ll excuse me; I am off to have lunch. :)

  31. Ze Madmax says

    Christopher Hülsbeck #430:

    anthropology, not science

    Christ, what an asshole. Anthropology is not a science now?

  32. says

    @ 430 –

    I’ve had enough of this “layman” shit. It’s both meaningless and beside the point. It’s meaningless because everyone is “lay” in most possible senses, and it’s beside the point because this is not a science blog, or an academic blog, or any kind of blog that demands a PhD as a condition of reading or commenting.

    Knock it off.

  33. says

    Greg Laden does not have any peer-reviewed literature. The Greg Ladens that appear on google scholar write about culinary history, anthropology, not science. The blogger Greg Laden is merely a layman.

    Ahem: http://gregladen.com/blog/ Pay particular attention to the “research” tab.

    There is no German video game composer who goes by the name Christopher Hülsbeck.

    My apologies. Google Scholar returns information on him under a search for “Christopher Hülsbeck”, but he appears to go by “Chris”.

    This Christopher Hülsbeck does not know anything about music, German or otherwise. He is a science teacher.

    So, not a scientist after all. I see.

  34. SimpleComments says

    So what I’ve garnered from these comments is that 1. I’m Stupid 2. Ill educated 3. My own personal opinion is second to your beliefs 4. I can see how the rational community is coming along as a whole 5. Condescension is the weapon of the rational 6. The relisious community are far more welcoming and are open to listening to many sides of a story, your all awesome ya know that glad I came, I saw and I left. I hope an open minded forum can be opened without this sort of “believe in my ideals or your an idiot” attitude I get here ,thanks all

  35. Sandiseattle says

    I guess there’s more being read into this than I see. I always thought of “skepchick” as a type of skeptic, maybe one who willingly identifies herself as a female. I get she wants the community to be genderless in its labeling but it just doesn’t happen IRL.

  36. Pteryxx says

    tangent to discussion…

    If you haven’t seen the heaps of citations Pteryxx and mouthyb have brought to this discussion…

    Most of mouthyb’s citations, along with mine, oniongirl’s, Jadehawk’s and others, have just been collected on the Pharyngula wiki page for convenient reference.

    (borked to avoid spam filter)

    pharyngula (dot) wikia (dot) com/wiki/Feminist_link_roundup

  37. Christopher Hülsbeck says

    I do not know about the country you live in, but here, you do not get to teach science unless you’re a scientist yourself. Anthropology is a science? How? Where it crosses over into biology? Does this make him a biologist then?

    We need to be clear about our terms here: sitting in liberal arts classes chattering away about literature and philosophy and ‘gender studies’ does not require one to deploy the scientific method. I should like to know where the scientific method comes into play in anthropology. Furthermore, I can talk to my students about the LHC. I cannot talk to them about music. Can anthropologist Greg Laden make informed statements about the human brain, in particular the effect testosterone has on it? If so, what leads him to the conclusion that ‘a male brain is a human brain that has been damaged by testosterone at various stages of its life?’
    He obviously does not know what testosterone is, what a hormone can and cannot do to the human neural system, he does not explain what he means by ‘damage’, he does not talk like a biologist.

    @ Ophelia Benson, I fully agree with you. What is happening in the rationalist community is a much needed schism. Rationalists were never meant to be unitary.

    @ ze madmax, my Good Sir, I did not mean to tread too close. Perhaps we have a disagreement on concepts. Perhaps it is nothing more than that. No need to get all hot under the collar and ruin the evening for Your good Self.

  38. Matt G says

    Context? How about this context:

    The commenters above who suggested that she is making a point that women should aim to eliminate bias by refusing to be minimized into a “woman skeptic” category are correct. Harriet is old school, and she suggested that it’s possibly a generational thing. She doesn’t object to the Skepchicks, mind you. She’s not against them. She was very careful to make sure the back of her shirt had a small “s” on skepchicks.

    I told her I was afraid this fine distinction would be lost.

    With this context, it is clear that Hall just plain disagrees with some things Amy said and wore a t-shirt to reflect that. How is that offensive?

    @Utakata 428
    I must thank you for that post, as it has given me the most to think about. However, as much as I try, I cannot imagine taking offense to the message Hall intended to send. The only scenario where I think offense is justified requires a misinterpretation of that message. I understand the outrage at, say, Thunderf00t’s stance and comments, but Hall simply has different ideas of what form and manner the feminist movement should have.
    Debate, doubt, and criticisms are to be appreciated, not vilified.

    @The Pint 431

    When you’ve been a target of over a year’s worth of invective, your perspective is decidedly different from that of someone who has been relatively unscathed.

    Surely you can see why this would cause someone to overreact to an innocuous statement.

    @Illuminata 429
    If you can write a post without calling me a troll perhaps I will consider your point.

  39. Matt G says

    @Ophelia Benson
    I disagree. I think that conversing with the person wearing the shirt is a meaningful answer.

  40. The Pint says

    So what I’ve garnered from these comments is that 1. I’m Stupid 2. Ill educated 3. My own personal opinion is second to your beliefs 4. I can see how the rational community is coming along as a whole 5. Condescension is the weapon of the rational 6. The relisious community are far more welcoming and are open to listening to many sides of a story, your all awesome ya know that glad I came, I saw and I left. I hope an open minded forum can be opened without this sort of “believe in my ideals or your an idiot” attitude I get here ,thanks all

    1. Your comments certainly could be described as such.

    2. You demonstrated that you are ignorant of the concept of intersectionality or you have dismissed it entirely. The former can easily be remedied by educating yourself – I was unaware of the concept until a few years ago and rather than whining how having that ignorance pointed out to me was mean, I did my homework and learned. Why won’t you?

    3. It is when those beliefs are backed up by testable evidence and facts.

    4. Was there a point there?

    5. If you’re willing to dismiss arguments purely on “tone” without considering the reasoning contained therein, it’s your loss, but somehow I suspect you weren’t all that interested in learning anything to begin with.

    6. There are religious communities that are welcoming to everyone – the UU’s in my experience have been quite welcoming to both theist and nontheist members (although it really does depend on the individual congregation). And this blog community is quite open to other viewpoints – so long as they are backed by logic, solid reasoning and evidence, none of which you’ve offered in your comments.

    I did not say “believe what I believe or you’re stupid” – neither did anyone else. The errors in your reasoning and absence of familiarity with concepts that are commonly discussed here was pointed out. You could have taken that as an opportunity to educate yourself, but instead you’ve opted to whine about tone and flounce. Your loss.

  41. says

    Nobody who formed an opinion about this without knowing who Harriet Hall is has a leg to stand on regarding her stance on harassment. Skeptics who make the ridiculous assumptions shown in these comments without so much as checking Wikipedia first should question their methods of arriving at conclusions. Especially Ophelia, who as the owner of this blog should have known better, or at the very least, should now at least revise the original post with her new and *extremely* relevant knowledge. (Not saying she needs to change her opinion, that’s each person’s own concern, but the context is quite important here.)

  42. The Pint says

    @ Matt G #444

    Surely you can see why this would cause someone to overreact to an innocuous statement.

    Yes, I can. And no, I don’t think that Amy overreacted, or that the disappointment and consternation expressed by Ophelia was overreacting, or that the criticism of Hall’s t-shirt and her decision to announce her stance via that medium is unwarranted. Frankly, it’s not shocking because of the message itself, rather, the stance Hall seems to have taken is disappointingly common.

    But can *you* see why the message on the shirt could be construed as a hurtful attack against Skepchick as an organization and against feminists who have spoken out about the very real presence of harassment at conventions (not just TAM)?

  43. Marlo Rocci says

    Imagine you are an employer reading all this hypersensitivity over a t-shirt. REGARDLESS of context. You’re so well trained to see offense and overreact that you are a lawsuit waiting to happen. You wouldn’t be working for me for two weeks without some sort of harassment claim against my company. I would be mad to hire you.

    Think of the message to employers you are sending here. The simple act of someone disagreeing with your views makes you cry? Seriously?

    This is why the word “feminist” is no longer a word american women like associated with themselves. Because REAL women are stronger than feminists. I am so grateful for my female co-workers for being people, not procelian.

  44. says

    Ignoring all the BS about anthropology not being a science…

    We need to be clear about our terms here: sitting in liberal arts classes chattering away about literature and philosophy and ‘gender studies’ does not require one to deploy the scientific method.

    That’s nice. No one said it did.

    I should like to know where the scientific method comes into play in anthropology.

    Perhaps you should read some papers on the topic. I linked you to several above.

    Can anthropologist Greg Laden make informed statements about the human brain, in particular the effect testosterone has on it?

    Greg is a biological anthropologist specializing in evolution. If you’d followed the link, you’d know that. Yes, he can, and yes, he does.

    If so, what leads him to the conclusion that ‘a male brain is a human brain that has been damaged by testosterone at various stages of its life?’

    I’ve already explained this. You didn’t like the explanation due to the “non-sciency” words I used, but it’s still true. If testosterone increases the specialization of parts of the brain for particular functions, it decreases other of the brain’s more general abilities. That is both improvement and damage. We simply rarely mention the damage because we treat the male brain as the default.

    He obviously does not know what testosterone is, what a hormone can and cannot do to the human neural system, he does not explain what he means by ‘damage’, he does not talk like a biologist.

    He talks like someone talking to a lay audience about complex scientific topics in a brief window of opportunity. You’ve given no argument about how he got something wrong, just tried to attack him on his credentials, which appear to be much more suited for this topic than yours. (You’ve published studies on what topics? What does the LHC have to do with testosterone?) That doesn’t tell us which of you is correct, but it does suggest you’re unwilling to argue specifics.

  45. Lauren says

    JoeyH @448

    Nobody who formed an opinion about this without knowing who Harriet Hall is has a leg to stand on regarding her stance on harassment. Skeptics who make the ridiculous assumptions shown in these comments without so much as checking Wikipedia first should question their methods of arriving at conclusions.

    Her freaking T-Shirt was a statement of her stance on harassment. We don’t need to look up her CV to understand her clear statement.

  46. CT says

    I am so grateful for my female co-workers for being people, not procelian.

    it’s amazing the bullshit women have to ignore at work in order to keep their job and the respect of the over privileged asshats who surround them. If I had a dollar for every time I had to smile and act like I was fine when some asshat made some flaming asshole remark at work, I’d never have to fucking work again.

    But oh yeah, my coworkers often mention how easy it is to talk to me because I don’t act like teh wimenz. They have no fucking idea what that costs me. They just congratulate themselves that they hired someone who was not a whiner. woohoo.

  47. 'Tis Himself says

    Marlo Rocci #450

    You’re so well trained to see offense and overreact that you are a lawsuit waiting to happen. You wouldn’t be working for me for two weeks without some sort of harassment claim against my company. I would be mad to hire you.

    Please give me the name of your company so I’ll be sure not to send any business your way. I prefer to give my money to people who give a damn about other people, not to whiners who make strawman arguments.

    This is why the word “feminist” is no longer a word american [sic] women like associated with themselves. Because REAL women are stronger than feminists. I am so grateful for my female co-workers for being people, not procelian. [sic]

    I’d have more regard for you if I thought you actually gave a damn about women, including your co-workers.

    Incidentally, spellcheckers are available for free.

  48. The Pint says

    it’s amazing the bullshit women have to ignore at work in order to keep their job and the respect of the over privileged asshats who surround them. If I had a dollar for every time I had to smile and act like I was fine when some asshat made some flaming asshole remark at work, I’d never have to fucking work again.

    But oh yeah, my coworkers often mention how easy it is to talk to me because I don’t act like teh wimenz. They have no fucking idea what that costs me. They just congratulate themselves that they hired someone who was not a whiner. woohoo.

    THIS!!! Seriously, every time I’ve ever heard (usually) a man tell me “You’re so tough, not like those *other* women,” it takes an emotional toll because they often don’t have any idea how hard it is to maintain that veneer. And yet many women will swallow their hurt and anger and pride and fear because to consequences to expressing any of it will quite often lead to the situation causing those emotions to worsen rather than improve. Because we’re labeled uppity bitches who can’t take a joke, or weak, wilting flowers who can’t control our emotions, or angry feminazis who can’t be trusted to act rationally. Our emotions are NEVER LEGITIMATE, they’re just further proof that we’re “inferior.”

    Marlo Rocci, you and the other smug shit assholes who parrot this line have no concept of how deeply this sort of survival mechanism scars you for life. You have no idea how deeply it can burrow into your consciousness and infect your ability to trust other people and the good intentions of others. You can’t grasp how easily this can feed into self-hatred and poison one’s confidence. And you clearly have no fucking clue how much strength it takes to survive any of this over the course of a life time. Your concept of what makes one “strong” is so narrow it would be amusing if it weren’t so goddamned commonly used to attack women who are willing to speak out against sexism and misogyny as “weak.”

  49. Matt G says

    @The Pint 449

    But can *you* see why the message on the shirt could be construed as a hurtful attack against Skepchick as an organization and against feminists who have spoken out about the very real presence of harassment at conventions (not just TAM)?

    I see how it could be confused for an attack, but the problem as I see it comes to two points: a) That shirt is at worst ambiguously an attack, and b) it wasn’t actually an attack.
    An elaboration on A: Whenever something is ambiguously offensive, the best course of action is to withhold your offense until it can be clarified. Unless it is blatant (e.g. calling someone an idiotic troll), most of the time the offending party did not mean to insult or attack anyone. You do them a disservice by assuming malice when ignorance – theirs or yours – is to blame. If you describe yourself as a skeptic, you owe them the benefit of the doubt.
    That’s my problem with this fiasco, essentially. I hate it when any person is attacked without proper justification. I’ll defend anyone who deserves the benefit of the doubt.

  50. says

    Christopher Huelsbeck @ 421

    The wearer wanted to make it clear to everyone that she did not wish to be associated or connected with the skepchick website. She was well within her rights to do so.

    Intent is not magic.

    Harriet Hall may have wished not to be associated with Skepchicks but in the context of this event, with these attendees, these sponsors, and in a context of all the preceding blog posts and discussions … she is, lowercase ‘s’ or not. .

  51. says

    Matt G:

    That’s my problem with this fiasco, essentially. I hate it when any person is attacked without proper justification. I’ll defend anyone who deserves the benefit of the doubt.

    I am curious: did you bother to read upthread, or did you just randomly happen across The Pint’s comment and started blathering? ‘Benefit of doubt’? That would have been day 1, not after day 3; not after she found out how Amy felt about it and why.

  52. Matt Penfold says

    I see how it could be confused for an attack, but the problem as I see it comes to two points: a) That shirt is at worst ambiguously an attack, and b) it wasn’t actually an attack.

    Earlier I said you either could not or would not understand the concept of context.

    It is now clear that your ignorance on the issue can only be wilful. You simply do not want to admit that there is context around Hall wearing that t-shirt that you refuse to acknowledge. Simple ignorance can be ruled out, because anyone genuinely ignorant of the context would have asked for clarification, whereas you just carried on.

    And congratulations on being on the same side as Thunderfoot. That really tells us what sort of person you are.

  53. Beauzeaux says

    “If I had a dollar for every time I had to smile and act like I was fine when some asshat made some flaming asshole remark at work, I’d never have to fucking work again”

    Oh yes. I’ve had to put on the “tough” mask over and over. And yeah, men will say you’re not like those other crazee wimmin and you’re supposed to take it as a compliment.

    Rocci: Get the fuck out of here. How very very grateful I am to have never known you any better.

  54. carlie says

    Lauren – I appreciate what you’re saying, but I think you’re selling yourself short. It takes major strength and stamina to buck the system enough to force yourself in, even if you have to conform to the norms of the system to get by.

    Oh well if second-wave feminists count as early-wave, we certainly can and always did see that it’s possible to change the environment itself. I mean, that’s what it was about! It was about looking at the environment and finding it shitty and getting together to change it.

    I guess I thought of Harriet as first-wave from the description; even though she fits second-wave timewise, I figured she was in a field that came to it later.

  55. Matt G says

    @Matt Penfield
    I’m still waiting for somebody to use that context to argue against me rather than just saying that it proves me wrong.

    And congratulations on being on the same side as Thunderfoot. That really tells us what sort of person you are.

    I don’t recall endorsing any of Thunderf00t’s views; my only mention of him was to say that I understood how his statements could be offensive.
    It seems that you are accusing me of being a bad person merely for disagreeing with you. That really tells me what sort of person you are.

  56. Matt Penfold says

    I’m still waiting for somebody to use that context to argue against me rather than just saying that it proves me wrong.

    Why are you still waiting ? It has been done. The context has been explained, repeatedly.

    However, because it is clear you are too lazy to look for yourself I will explain.

    The t-shirt included the word “skepchick”. Surly Amy is part of the Skepchicks, and was at TAM representing them and looking after the attendees that Skepchicks sponsored to attend. Amy saw the shirt as a direct attack on her.

    The other context you will already be familiar with, but in case you want to pretend you have forgotten let me remind you. The last 12 months have seen something of a furore in the atheist/sceptic community ever since Rebecca Watson (another Skepchick) said that if the atheist/sceptic community wanted to attracted more women to conferences it might be an idea if people did not proposition those women who did attend for sex. More recently there have been proposals that atheist/sceptic conferences adopt anti-harassment policies, which most organisers readily agreed to. TAM was an exception, with no published policy being forthcoming despite repeated requests. It is important to note that an key element of such a policy is it widespread dissemination. People are supposed to know what it says.

    Now do you want to explain quite why you are so ignorant of that context ?

  57. Utakata says

    “I must thank you for that post, as it has given me the most to think about. However, as much as I try, I cannot imagine taking offense to the message Hall intended to send. The only scenario where I think offense is justified requires a misinterpretation of that message. I understand the outrage at, say, Thunderf00t’s stance and comments, but Hall simply has different ideas of what form and manner the feminist movement should have.”

    But this is your mistake…and a very classic one that many make. That is, you’re interpreting your reaction to said message as your own perersonal experience it seems. And then using that as evidence of truth. It is not. I have never been sexually harassed, but it doesn’t mean because I have never experienced it, that nobody else has, for example. Thus the message maybe meaningless to you as it is to me, but it doesn’t mean it does not convery an important and divisive message to everyone else, including its critics’ detractors. Again, it is the message that is up for debate, not the medium it was conveyed on. This is most assuredly not an overreaction.

    Furthermore…

    “Debate, doubt, and criticisms are to be appreciated, not vilified.”

    …I am afraid, you will have to eat those words now. Because this is precisely what is been done here. So anyone try’ing to pull the “it’s just a T-shirt” troll will have to realize that they’re pissing all over reasonable debate. And if they really don’t like the debate, they should STFU (using Geek Goddess’ esteemed words) and go somewhere else. Just saying.

  58. Matt Penfold says

    I don’t recall endorsing any of Thunderf00t’s views; my only mention of him was to say that I understood how his statements could be offensive.
    It seems that you are accusing me of being a bad person merely for disagreeing with you. That really tells me what sort of person you are.

    You share his views, and that is something you might want to reflect on.

    And I do not think you are bad person for not agreeing with me. I think you are bad person for not being honest, and for not giving a fuck about women.

  59. Dianne says

    If you describe yourself as a skeptic, you owe them the benefit of the doubt.
    That’s my problem with this fiasco, essentially. I hate it when any person is attacked without proper justification. I’ll defend anyone who deserves the benefit of the doubt.

    Hall wore a t-shirt that specifically mentioned the name of an organization the members of which had been harassed by people claiming to be “skeptics” and specifically attacked by people running TAM, i.e. Grothe’s statements about how women talking about the problem of harassment was the “real” problem rather than the actual harassment. When confronted with the implications of her t-shirt, she responded by blowing off the person who complained and continuing to wear the t-shirt for at least 3 days.

    Continuing to give this person the benefit of the doubt is not skepticism, it’s denialism.

  60. Matt Penfold says

    Continuing to give this person the benefit of the doubt is not skepticism, it’s denialism.

    Exactly. If Hall had gone to Amy after the first day and apolgised, and then not worn the t-shirt again it would churlish to assume any intent on her (Hall) part to cause offence. That she was aware she was causing offence, and carried on wearing it for another two days means she can no longer be assumed to have simply made a mistake.

  61. says

    @Lauren 452:

    “We don’t need no stinking information. We already know exactly what she means.”

    And people here wonder why their self-identification as skeptics is being challenged and mocked.

    Also interesting to note that people holler about requiring context until it behooves them to consider some, and then It’s irrelevant. Yet another double standard shown here.

    I’d guess many people commenting here, no matter what point they’re arguing, would admire the way she handled the abuse she went through as a pioneer in medicine and the military (if they weren’t busy moaning about a shirt that described her own feelings). And to the inevitable “well then she should know” response, the answer is yes — SHE does.

  62. Utakata says

    @Ophelia Benson, 464:

    I think it’s suffice to say now, we don’t need the likes of Ken Ham or Ray Comfort, when we have Thunderf00t and Justica. Least when it comes to insane bigoted rantings.

  63. The Pint says

    Sigh. Do any of the “quit whining, it’s just a t-shirt” brigade even bother reading the thread before opening their mouths?

  64. Matt Penfold says

    I’d guess many people commenting here, no matter what point they’re arguing, would admire the way she handled the abuse she went through as a pioneer in medicine and the military (if they weren’t busy moaning about a shirt that described her own feelings). And to the inevitable “well then she should know” response, the answer is yes — SHE does.

    Which then leads one to ask, if she knows, why do it ?

    You do realise that you are actually admitting Hall deliberately set out to offend Amy ? Do you have her authority to make such an admission on her behalf ?

  65. Matt Penfold says

    Sigh. Do any of the “quit whining, it’s just a t-shirt” brigade even bother reading the thread before opening their mouths?

    Nope. Too many long words for them, and besides they do not want to get confused by facts.

  66. Matt G says

    @Ophelia Benson
    Your stance is that it was unambiguously a hurtful smear against Surly Amy? Really?
    So it’s not possible that she wore it to say that the application of gender-specific labels to a community which is fighting against sexism was the wrong way to go? So it’s not possible that Harriet Hall was wearing the shirt to show simply that she disagreed with “skepchicks”? So it’s not possible that you and Surly Amy misinterpreted Hall’s intention?

    You’re right, it’s not ambiguous. That implies only two interpretations, but it is even more vague than that.

    @Matt Penfield 470
    It’s weird that your explanation of the context didn’t contain any new information for me. I already admitted that the shirt could be seen as an attack, but I assert that it was no worse than Hall disagreeing with statements made by Skepchicks.

    @Utakata 471
    It boils down to this: most people in this thread think that Harriet Hall did something terribly wrong, and some things written portray her in a negative and hostile manner. I feel like we should be discussing whether or not the application of labels like “skepchick” is beneficial to the movement rather than demonizing Hall for daring to present the idea in such a way.
    In other words, we disagree on what message Hall was sending.

    …I am afraid, you will have to eat those words now. Because this is precisely what is been done here. So anyone try’ing to pull the “it’s just a T-shirt” troll will have to realize that they’re pissing all over reasonable debate. And if they really don’t like the debate, they should STFU (using Geek Goddess’ esteemed words) and go somewhere else. Just saying.

    I don’t see how I’ll have to eat my words as I am engaging in debate.
    I agree that “it’s just a t-shirt” is no argument, but both sides stifle debate with pointless invective and name-calling.

    @Matt Penfield 472
    Sir, you have gravely offended me with your comment. You have absolutely no evidence that I have been dishonest with these posts nor that I don’t care about women. Shame on you for such slander.

    @Dianne
    Who complained to her? Is it not possible that she didn’t take the complaint seriously? Is it not possible that she was very much convinced that her shirt was not hurtful and that the complaints were generated by dissent rather than tears?

  67. Matt Penfold says

    It’s weird that your explanation of the context didn’t contain any new information for me. I already admitted that the shirt could be seen as an attack, but I assert that it was no worse than Hall disagreeing with statements made by Skepchicks.

    You claimed you were not aware of the context, I explained it to you. Some thanks would have been nice, rather than an admission you lied about not knowing the context.

    Care to explain why you lied ?

    Sir, you have gravely offended me with your comment. You have absolutely no evidence that I have been dishonest with these posts nor that I don’t care about women. Shame on you for such slander.

    You have already admitted you lied about not knowing about the context of the t-shirt. With regards your attitude to women, well it is true that is more supposition, but I find that when someone acts like a dishonest sexist arsehole as you have done, they generally do not give a fuck about women. If are really are not a sexist, maybe you ought to stop acting like one to avoid any confusion.

  68. Dianne says

    Who complained to her?

    Amy of Surly Amy, a sponsor of TAM and someone who worked to bring more women to the meeting. I hope she will consider redirecting her energy elsewhere next year as there are many other skeptics and atheist meetings she could help women go to.

    Is it not possible that she didn’t take the complaint seriously?

    Possible? It’s almost certain she didn’t. But why not? Why would she not take a sponsor of the meeting she attended seriously? Because she was a young woman, most likely and Hall rose partly by her ability to act like a man and pretend to not be bothered by sexism. It’s a survival skill that any successful woman of her generation has. But it’s a maladaptive one if the goal is to make more women successful.

    Is it not possible that she was very much convinced that her shirt was not hurtful and that the complaints were generated by dissent rather than tears?

    Only if she were incredibly stupid! She was confronted by Amy and told, very explicitly, why the t-shirt was harmful. She responded by wearing it another two or more days. There is no way she could not understand that she was hurting Amy and others.

    Give it up. You sound like an anti-vaxxer claiming that contrary to every bit of available evidence the MMR still MIGHT cause autism.

  69. Matt Penfold says

    Oh, and Matt G, you might as least pretend to be paying attention by spelling my name correctly.

  70. Matt G says

    You claimed you were not aware of the context, I explained it to you. Some thanks would have been nice, rather than an admission you lied about not knowing the context.

    Care to explain why you lied ?

    Can you cite the part where I said I didn’t know the context? Besides, I assume that there is further context beyond the contents of your post which I am not privy to.

    How am I acting sexist? Explain it to me.

  71. says

    Matt G, why is your interpretation of this better than mine? I know some of the people involved, I’ve been involved in the controversy that led up to this, I’ve been following it. Why should I think your reading of it is more accurate than mine?

    One potential reason could be that you know Dr Hall well, and had a long talk with her on the subject. Is that it? Sastra did talk to her at length at TAM (see above) and I paid close attention to what she said. Can you offer anything equally informative?

    You need something a lot better than insisting that a slogan on a T shirt is part of a serious reasoned discussion.

  72. Dianne says

    most people in this thread think that Harriet Hall did something terribly wrong, and some things written portray her in a negative and hostile manner.

    Many people on this thread think Hall did something wrong and hurtful. Many of those who do, including the blog author, have also expressed admiration for Hall’s achievements and ability to brave sexism. That doesn’t change the fact that she made a bad error and, IMHO, should apologize for it. Good people can make bad mistakes. I hope Hall can learn from hers.

  73. Matt Penfold says

    Your stance is that it was unambiguously a hurtful smear against Surly Amy? Really?
    So it’s not possible that she wore it to say that the application of gender-specific labels to a community which is fighting against sexism was the wrong way to go? So it’s not possible that Harriet Hall was wearing the shirt to show simply that she disagreed with “skepchicks”? So it’s not possible that you and Surly Amy misinterpreted Hall’s intention?

    You’re right, it’s not ambiguous. That implies only two interpretations, but it is even more vague than that.

    You have a valid point. Or rather you would have had a valid point had Hall only worn the t-shirt on the first day. We know Hall was aware her wearing the t-shirt was offensive to Amy. If it was not her intention to cause offence to Amy, she would have apologised and not worn the t-shirt on subsequent days.

    Can you explain why you have deliberately ignored the facts of the situation, and how that cannot be taken as being anything other than dishonest ?>

  74. echidna says

    You do them a disservice by assuming malice when ignorance – theirs or yours – is to blame.

    I don’t think anyone is doing this. Harriet continued to wear the shirt even after she knew it was seen as an attack on a specific group. No ignorance there. As for malice, if you look at Sastra’s posts, you will see that Harriet was delighting in creating a stir; without intending to be malicious. If you look at my posts, you will see me explain that Harriet is very likely to be unaware and dismissive of barbs, and how hurtful they can be.

    If I had a dollar for every time I had to smile and act like I was fine when some asshat made some flaming asshole remark

    What!!? No, I never did that. It would have been too costly in terms of the power of the situation, let alone my own emotions. A raised eyebrow, a laconic remark, a steady gaze – all of these convey disapproval without giving up power.

  75. Matt Penfold says

    Can you cite the part where I said I didn’t know the context?

    Yes.

    I’m still waiting for somebody to use that context to argue against me rather than just saying that it proves me wrong.

    QED

    Again, you seem to not be honest. You know what you said, so why pretend you did not say it ?

  76. Matt G says

    @Matt Penfold 493
    You even cited what I thought you would, good job. Now, what part of that statement says that I do not know the context? I was asking people to cite specifics of the context which proved me wrong rather than simply claiming that it does. How is that an admission that I am completely unaware of the context?
    -
    @echidna
    As for Sastra’s post, that’s where I got most of my information. Being “delighted in creating a stir” is no damning evidence; creating a stir creates debate and according to Sastra, Hall prefers a plurality of opinion so she would be very excited by this prospect.

    @dianne
    Could you give me more details on what Amy said to Hall or a place to find out more about that conversation?

  77. Utakata says

    @Ophelia Benson, 489:

    That’s a good question. And again gets to my point of making conclusion based on ones’ own experiences. Doesn’t mean it’s the correct one.

    @Matt G, 484:

    I have also made no personal attacks on Dr. Hall for doing this other than strongly questioning her logic. She has presented an opinion for 3 days on the issue at a conference, and she is being asked to give an account for it. This also a part of the healthy debate and discussion you have requested that is already taking place. /shrug

  78. says

    Matt G: Ophelia quotes Surly Amy’s description of her conversation with Harriet Hall in #133.

    I told her through tears, in the speakers’ lounge, that it was dehumanizing and gender/color blind and very hurtful to me specifically as a person who does have to deal with harassment regularly. I said I was glad she felt safe and that I wouldn’t have sent 22 women to the event if I didn’t think it was safe for them either. So who was she talking to?

    I thought you said you’d been paying attention to the full context of this incident? You not bothering to read at least the whole of this thread you’re arguing in doesn’t appear to support that claim.

  79. echidna says

    Matt G:

    “delighted in creating a stir” is no damning evidence

    I didn’t say it was. You are mischaracterising the whole discussion.

  80. Matt G says

    @Utakata, 495:
    Then I have to thank you again. I really appreciate your non-confrontational posts. I would like to hear from Dr. Hall as well.

    @tigtog, 497:
    More specifically than that. I want to know Dr. Hall’s reaction and manner during that conversation, how that conversation was initiated, just more details in general.

    @echnidna, 498:
    I believe I misread your post. I was unsettled by Matt Penfold’s accusations and rushed to reply. I apologize for that.

  81. says

    I would like to hear from Dr. Hall as well.

    Upthread it was mentioned that it is probable that HH won’t be blogging on this at the Science Based Medicine blog, since it’s well outside the range of topics they normally cover. I can see why that might be the case.

    However, she does have her own site at skepdoc.info where the range of other forums/presses where she is a contributor and/or editor is listed. She also has her Twitter account. Thus HH has many choices of places to publish her account of this “expression of dissent”/”hostile jab”. Surely she must also know how easy it is to get a new, free blog at Blogspot, WordPress or Tumblr if she feels that none of her existing platforms are the appropriate space to do so.

    Given that creating/wearing the t-shirt, and especially the choice to continue wearing it after the 1st day, has placed HH at the centre of a reputation management storm, and that speculation about her motive/intent and mindset is only going to mount from all corners the longer she stays silent, I really do hope that she speaks up soon.

  82. says

    I doubt that, really, and I don’t want it to, either. I think it will just fade away. I wanted to say why I thought it was an unplesant thing to do, but if she doesn’t want to comment, then she doesn’t.

    (That wasn’t my view of DJ, by the way. I thought [and still think] he had a real obligation to deal with the blame-the-women thing, and in particular to assure me that he hadn’t meant to make me feel like a pariah after inviting me to speak.)

  83. says

    Yep, there’s TF, completely rational and not at all emotional and filled with irrational rage, which is why he can’t stop attacking people who have never done anything to wrong him.

  84. carlie says

    Wow, Thunderfoot is doing a great job of proving that FtB should have kept him around.

  85. says

    Well… it is more of the same Bizarro World, isn’t it? Calling someone a Nazi is rational, reacting to being called a Nazi is bullying. Being hateful towards other people is rational, reacting to being treated in a hateful manner is irrational and means you deserve to be hated even more.

  86. says

    Ophelia, of course this particular storm of reaction will eventually fade away to a backgound mutter in the Misogyny Wars. However, a picture of HH wearing the t-shirt at TAM2012 is already shown on the Wikipedia page about her – this is not something that’s going to go away from the public record about her.

    She’s not obliged to comment, but I really don’t think that not commenting is going to improve the hit to her reputation regarding what’s already being speculated about here.

    To be absolutely clear, I think it would be a terrible shame if doubling-down over a cheap shot on a t-shirt became what HH is most widely known for on the Internet. But I sadly think that it might end up being the case.

  87. Mike de Fleuriot says

    You want to be treated as equals? Ask yourselves what would Hitchens or Ayaan Hirsi Ali have to say on this petty little matter. You guys are becoming a joke, if this is the level of abuse that offends you.

    Behaving like this fulfils everything the MRA’s say about you lot. You might want to stop have a think about your reactions, because they are not helping your cause.

  88. Stacy says

    OT: @carlie:

    I guess I thought of Harriet as first-wave from the description

    First wave feminism was the 19th century-early 20th century push that led to (among many other things) women’s right to vote.

    Second wave feminism began in the 1960s. It was always about fighting systemic sexism. But the individual women who entered male dominated fields (not all of whom even identified as feminists) had to be tough, hence the individualistic “I was tough enough to do it, so they should just stop whining” attitude some of those pioneers exhibit/ed.

  89. bastionofsass says

    Christopher Hülsbeck said:

    I do not understand your second point about sexual harassment policies. I do, however, find it noteworthy that you seem to think that criticism and sexual harassment policies are equivalent. What are they critical of?

    Nope, I do not think that criticism and sexual harassment policies are equivalent. I don’t even understand how they could be “equivalent” given their different purposes.

    I was commenting on what you said about how skeptics should be able to “take criticism.”

    You previously said:

    Skeptics should be able to take criticism without getting upset about it, even passive-aggressive shirt-slogan criticism.

    And my response was:

    I suppose you said the very same thing to everyone upset about the very idea of sexual harassment policies, right?

    My point was that the very people who are opposed to having a sexual harassment policy have been the ones who seem most “upset,” as evidenced by their threats; their abuse via emails, tweets, blogs; and their harassment of those who have been supportive of the idea of a written policy.

    Or do you think that people who have behave that way aren’t exhibiting signs of being upset?

    And when others criticized their anti-policy stance, they continued to act “upset.” They reacted to the criticism with more abuse and harassment.

    So, did you tell the skeptics who gave every sign of being so upset with the very notion that a sexual harassment policy was needed that they “should be able to take criticism”? If you didn’t, will you, since it looks as though they are continuing to act “upset”?

  90. buddhabuck says

    To the crowd claiming that this wasn’t a personal insult…

    My understanding is that on day 1 of a 4-day event, HH wore the T-Shirt in question, a T-Shirt that she had specifically made and was 100% in control of the editorial content. She phrased the front of the T-Shirt deliberately in parallel construction to a statement made by Rebecca Watson on the Skepchicks blog, and on the back deliberately included a mentions of “skepchicks”. She included a smiley on the front and deliberately lowercased “skepchick” on the back. She wore this T-Shirt on the podium of a presentation she was giving at TAM on day 1. In conversations with friends who expressed concern that the T-Shirt might be taken badly, she shrugged off any concern, amused by the negative response the shirt was already receiving on the internet.

    Surly Amy, a sponsor of TAM, a fellow speaker at TAM, and a representative of the Skepchicks blog who was there to welcome and host a group of 22 women who the Skepchicks were sponsoring at TAM, saw the shirt, and did take it badly — both as an insult to her personal experience as a victim of harassment at events like TAM, and as a direct and deliberate insult to the Skepchicks.

    Amy discussed the issue with Harriet, pointed out that the shirt was insulting and hurtful, and was brushed off.

    The organizers of JREF told Amy that there was nothing they could do, but that they would watch her via surveillance cameras to ensure that she was safe for the rest of the convention.

    On Day 2, despite knowing via the internet that the shirt wasn’t communicating the message she claimed she was trying to send, and despite being told first-hand of the distress it was causing Amy, Harriet decided to wear the shirt again (or, possibly, a second identical shirt).

    On Day 3, under the same conditions as Day 2 (knowing of the distress it was causing Amy personally, and how the shirt was being received and interpreted by others talking about it online, she chose to wear the shirt (or another identical one) again.

    Also on Day 3, Amy, upset about the shirt and the focus by JREF to watch HER as part of it’s anti-harassment policy, changed her travel plans and left a day early.

    On Day 4, after Amy had left, Harriet decided to wear a hand-made sweater instead of the controversial T-Shirt.

    When I look at it like that, the most charitable interpretation is that Harriet Hall is, at best, a jerk. Intentionally wearing something that seems designed to single out a group (even if only that group would see that message), being informed early that it might be viewed as offensive, following online how it is being viewed badly (and taking pleasure in it), being told, in person, by a peer she claims to respect (but is a representative of the targeted group) that it is offensive and distressing, and *continuing that behavior* for 3 days until the distressed peer leaves the event and then stopping?

    Hanlon’s Razor is dulled by this; “adequately explained by ignorance/stupidity/whatever” just doesn’t cut it here.

  91. bastionofsass says

    Nobody who formed an opinion about this without knowing who Harriet Hall is has a leg to stand on regarding her stance on harassment.

    Right, because someone with Hall’s background could never do anything that others might think is offensive, hurtful, and demeaning.

    To err is human, but Hall is what? Superhuman?

  92. carlie says

    Thanks, Stacy. I had thought first wave went up through the 60s and 70s.

    You guys are becoming a joke, if this is the level of abuse that offends you.

    It’s not that it offends anybody. It’s that it contributes to a chilly climate for women in general, and the goal is to not do that.

  93. bastionofsass says

    male voice said:

    The main cognitive dissonance in feminism is the dogma that men and women have to be treated equally while at the same time advocating to treat women differently.

    What different treatment were women asking for at TAM?

    First the skepchicks cheekily ask why so few men attend the “women in secularism” conference and then they complain about that t-shirt.

    So your belief is that men didn’t attend the WIS conference in May because they knew that the “skepchicks” (generic or specific) would complain about the t-shirt at TAM in July?

  94. echidna says

    You want to be treated as equals? Ask yourselves what would Hitchens or Ayaan Hirsi Ali have to say on this petty little matter. You guys are becoming a joke, if this is the level of abuse that offends you.

    Behaving like this fulfils everything the MRA’s say about you lot. You might want to stop have a think about your reactions, because they are not helping your cause.

    You need to be clear. Who is this “you” that you are waving your hand at? Who writing on this post has claimed offence? Who has used the word “abuse” with respect to the t-shirt?

    If you think that you have any standing to tell either Ophelia or the commenters on this post who we should be taking our cues from, then explain yourself.

  95. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    carlie wrote:

    It’s not that it offends anybody. It’s that it contributes to a chilly climate for women in general, and the goal is to not do that.

    Our goal is that. These others? Not so much. I’m fairly sure the only reason they’d like to see any women there at all is either a) so they can tell themselves (and anyone who’ll listen) they aren’t misogynists; or b) so they can hit on them.

  96. Mike de Fleuriot says

    It’s not that it offends anybody. It’s that it contributes to a chilly climate for women in general, and the goal is to not do that.

    Seems to me that some are going around opening windows and allowing the chill to come in.

    As to the secret team following the victim around, well I think maybe they were correct, getting emotional about a t-shirt could have led to worse action. But the secret team’s presence was enough to satisfy the victims emotional needs I think, she had the evidence that she actually was being harassed by the t-shirt and the men who where “supposed” to protect her from harassment and rape.

    See how stupid this can get, and it could have been a non event if the t-shirt was not acknowledged. But that would not have been profitable for their cause nor their funding.

  97. echidna says

    Carlie:

    Thanks, Stacy. I had thought first wave went up through the 60s and 70s.

    It’s not all that clear. There is feminism as a movement, which Stacy has described. Then there are people like me (and I suspect HH), who are in practice products of first wave feminism (e.g. as transmitted by my grandmother), who are all about not letting anybody tell us what we can and cannot do because of our gender. As Stacy remarked, not all pioneers identified as feminists, and many (including myself) positively bristled at the term, mainly due to the feminists on campus who were trying to tell me I was selling out to the patriarchy by becoming an engineer. On a time-line, I was a second wave feminist. In practice, I was a first-wave feminist riding a second-wave change in community attitudes.

  98. echidna says

    it could have been a non event if the t-shirt was not acknowledged

    The t-shirt was intended to provoke debate among feminists (sastra@75). It is doing exactly that.

  99. carlie says

    echidna – I obviously need to do more reading!

    Apart from fuzzy timeline, I was under the impression that first-wave was more “I can do this, dammit” and second wave was more “we can all do this, dammit”. Third wave I know even less about and only via complaints about it, but seems to be “and I don’t have to do it if I don’t want to”? Just trying to articulate it makes it clear that I don’t know much, so I’ll go do some learning.

    But the secret team’s presence was enough to satisfy the victims emotional needs I think, she had the evidence that she actually was being harassed by the t-shirt and the men who where “supposed” to protect her from harassment and rape.

    Did you actually read anything she wrote? She thought that being followed and taped was creepy and wrong, not “protected by men”.

  100. Michelle says

    Wow, do you suppose JREF and TAM set out to make themselves look as much like idiots as possible with their “secret” harassment policy and response team? Like who keeps a harassment policy secret? How can anyone know what is okay or not if the policy is secret – what sort of dumb is that?

    I am (was?) a fan of Harriet Hall’s writing but so disappointed by her actions surrounding this. Before I even heard about Amy’s response I saw pictures of the front and back of that t-shirt and couldn’t believe it. I thought it was offensive and clearly designed to harass and I have never wanted to go to TAM and am not a Skepchick. Indeed if I was at any of the conferences I normally attend and I saw something like that, I would make a point of avoiding the person as much as possible thereafter on the grounds that they are clearly a jerk. How can I believe Harriet is really as rational and reason based as she claims after this?

    To say something like “I feel safe and welcome at TAM” on the front – well “whoop de do”, I am sure lots of people do, and some people don’t – so I guess she thinks that dismissing other people’s fears is a good way to make them feel even safer? Particularly as it is clear that she wrote that deliberately in response to RW’s comments that she (RW) didn’t feel safe and welcome at TAM.

    And the back is just downright pointed and in Amy’s face – and as many people have said, if Harriet didn’t mean that – why on earth did she wear it for 2 more days.

    If someone tells you they are offended by your t-shirt you can tell them that you didn’t mean to offend them, but if you keep wearing the t-shirt in their presence it can only be assumed that you don’t care about offending them and/or are deliberately continuing to offend them. In any case it is rude and malicious.

    Of course you can keep wearing the t-shirt if you want to, it is your right. But what you can’t do (and your defenders can’t do) is claim that you weren’t trying to be rude and malicious.

    And yes the back is harassment – imagine if Harriet had personally shouted this out to Amy every time she saw her, shouted it from the podium and to every other person she came into contact with at TAM – I have not doubt she would rapidly be told off for harassment. How it putting it on a t-shirt different – it shouts it out to everyone all the time.

    Just because you put your harassing statements on a t-shirt so you are quietly harassing someone doesn’t make it not harassment.

    And yes I know TAM claims to have not had a general harassment policy (or if they did it was as secret as their sexual harassment policy) – which actually makes it worse because clearly they don’t care about the harassment of their attendees. And the fact that someone (anyone or indeed everyone) other than Amy didn’t feel harassed is irrelevant to the fact that it amounted to harassment of Amy. Amy clearly communicated to Harriet and TAM that it was upsetting her, but Harriet continued in her behavior. I don’t see how that is excusable in any way at all. The “I didn’t mean it that way” is no excuse once the behavior has been drawn to the attention of the harasser.

    And repeating my statement above, sure there was nothing legally or in the TAM rules stopping Harriet continuing her harassment (clearly she thought it was funny which is quite bizarre) but that doesn’t stop it being categorized as rude, malicious and harassing behavior.

    Sure I guess I could go around with a t-shirt that had “I think Harriet Hall is stupid” on the back at a conference Harriet was attending (and this would be rightly rude and offensive to Harriet and possibly other people to), but a conference is not a public venue and any conference that didn’t have rules preventing me from harassing another attendee in such a way, is a conference I would not want to be attending! And when the harasser is a speaker – well that makes it even worse.

    So I guess this comes down to, how rational and reasonable are TAM and JREF – enough to see that that harassment is wrong and that anti-harassment policies need to be public, or not?

  101. says

    I am a scientist. It is fairly easy to tell a real scientist from a layman.

    Okay – so I’m skimming down this really long thread about some pretty interesting topics and then I see the word “scientist” and since I hang out with lots of scientists I’m like – huh – someone’s talking about scientists.

    However, it’s just some pretentious sounding essentialist who thinks zie can kick people out of the “scientist” club.

    So, buddy. Am I a scientist or a layman layperson? Just think of this as a test of your psychic powers.

  102. carlie says

    Pansies.

    Rafflesias!

    Are we just naming plants we know in the Malpighiales, or are we extending it out to all eudicots?

  103. echidna says

    echidna – I obviously need to do more reading!

    It could be that no-one actually agrees with me; I’m only calling it as I see it.

  104. carlie says

    Has anyone here considered the fact that the point of the shirt was, rather than to attack one group, to emphasise that fact that being a skeptic is the important part, not the person’s gender?

    Please read the thread before commenting.

  105. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    Really? really wrote:

    Besides, I don’t see how the shirt is even offensive.

    You should have made that your first sentence – then no-one would have to waste any time reading what came after it.

    Ignorance: you haz it.

  106. says

    I think something we forget in these situations is that a lot of men come from abusive backgrounds, and then we more or less all suffer verbal and often physical abuse from each other for our whole lives. Feminists label this an aspect of “toxic masculinity,” while most men simply see it as “the way things are.” And as is often the case, victims of this sort of constant abuse lack empathy for others because they have first and foremost had empathy for themselves stripped away from them. So instead of seeing someone being harassed and thinking “I hated that when it happened to me, I don’t like seeing it happen to anyone else either” all they are capable of thinking is “I dealt with it, you should man up and deal with it too” and I’d bet some small part of them is feeling “Why should I have had to suffer, and what makes you think you’re so special that you don’t have to suffer too?”

    Maybe that’s the source of all the anger at feminism, because in a sense it doesn’t appear to be seeking equality at all, when it promotes a decency towards women that men are unwilling to extend to each other or even to themselves. Or maybe I’m just high on allergy medication and should go to bed. One or the other.

  107. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    John Epic wrote:

    There was nothing offensive about that t-shirt, and even if you were offended it doesn’t matter.

    That’s right, girls: your poor pink fluffy ladybrains aren’t capable of enough thought for you to determine for yourself what is and isn’t offensive – and even if you by sheer luck happened to puzzle it out and be offended, it wouldn’t matter because you’re just girls – and who cares what girls think anyway, amirite?

    Isn’t it lucky you’ve got a big strong smart man like John Epic to tell you how the world works? Don’t forget to thank him!

  108. echidna says

    when it [feminism] promotes a decency towards women that men are unwilling to extend to each other or even to themselves.

    One of the interesting things that happened when I was working as the first female engineer in certain industrial settings was that the level of abuse between men dropped drastically – just because I was present, nothing to do with me personally. This happened several times, every time I went to a new area. Later, men would come up to me and tell me what used to happen, and how it didn’t happen anymore, and how they were dreading having a woman around, and how much better it turned out to be than they had feared. Having women who are there as equals changes the dynamics from the all-male “how much shit can you take unflinchingly” environment to something else.

  109. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    Wardjinn wrote:

    So why does the OP center around a fucking T-shirt and why is Ophelia screaming and crying about said T-shirt?

    Hmm, if only there was some reason – or a whole raft of reasons – a person might have for making the comments in the way that Ophelia has. If only there was a magical way of finding out more about something before one comments on it.

    If only!

  110. echidna says

    No-one said that.

    So why does the OP center around a fucking T-shirt and why is Ophelia screaming and crying about said T-shirt?

    You used a quote about the abuse men suffer (improbable joe@536) and misinterpreted it to refer to the t-shirt. Now you attribute the phrase to Ophelia. You’re just flinging mud, hoping it will stick. You are not worth my time.

  111. Stacy says

    @Improbable Joe @531

    Yeah, I think that’s part of it. You sometimes hear men complaining that “women want to have it both ways: to be treated as equals, and to have special privileges!” What they often mean by that, I think, is, “sure, people are going to harass you and pick on you–that’s just how it goes. You want to be equal, deal with it!” because being harassed is often part of male culture. The harassment is different in content, but it’s still harassment.

    It’s all so fucking complicated. I actually have a little sympathy for the attitude (note: not saying I agree with it. Just that I can understand and have some sympathy for it.) It’s the same one I and others mentioned before, with respect to Harriet Hall and other female pioneers: they learned to deal, and rise above, the shit they had to take. So, as you said:

    all they are capable of thinking is “I dealt with it, you should man up and deal with it too” and I’d bet some small part of them is feeling “Why should I have had to suffer, and what makes you think you’re so special that you don’t have to suffer too?”

    So, thanks for bringing that up.

    Or maybe I’m just high on allergy medication and should go to bed

    Hey, in allergy medication veritas! :)

  112. The Pint says

    @ Improbable Joe #531

    I think something we forget in these situations is that a lot of men come from abusive backgrounds, and then we more or less all suffer verbal and often physical abuse from each other for our whole lives. Feminists label this an aspect of “toxic masculinity,” while most men simply see it as “the way things are.” And as is often the case, victims of this sort of constant abuse lack empathy for others because they have first and foremost had empathy for themselves stripped away from them. So instead of seeing someone being harassed and thinking “I hated that when it happened to me, I don’t like seeing it happen to anyone else either” all they are capable of thinking is “I dealt with it, you should man up and deal with it too” and I’d bet some small part of them is feeling “Why should I have had to suffer, and what makes you think you’re so special that you don’t have to suffer too?”

    I think there’s something to that. I’m not a man, but that “I dealt with it, why can’t you?” attitude you describe is REALLY close to the attitude I was coping for awhile as a result of both my parents dying before I was 14 (and my mom suffered from a steady decline variation of MS for 8 years before she died), along with other early developmental emotional trauma. It was… difficult at times to have sympathy for the troubles of others if I knew they hadn’t gone through anything traumatic or trying (in my definition) in their childhoods – to me, it looked like they had it easy and had no business crying about whatever it was they were crying about that seemed trivial to me. Why couldn’t they just grow up and realize how lucky they had it and just suck it up?

    Pretty sure that attitude contributed heavily to my being one of those “special snowflakes” who was obviously better than those *other stupid girls* because I wasn’t into girly, silly things and took my life SERIOUSLY and didn’t cry at (what I thought was) every little thing. *winces*

    I grew out of that stupid phase, thankfully, as I transitioned from my teens to my 20s, especially after I finally admitted (thanks to some persistent friends) that I would benefit from (long overdue) therapy. Because having gone through that sort of crap and knowing how awful it was, why would I want other people to go through similar just so they could “understand what it was like”? Why couldn’t I take my knowledge of pain and loss and use it to EMPATHIZE with other people, rather than judge them for “not being as strong as me” – when really, “strong” was synonymous with “unhealthily repressing and ignoring the fact that I was still bleeding inside.” Although getting over the “special snowflake” syndrome and weeding out the internalized misogyny took awhile (and in many ways is still a work in progress).

    Given the amount of toxic masculinity in our culture, I don’t think what you’re saying is a stretch.

  113. Christopher Hülsbeck says

    @ dianne re: criticism and anti-sexual harassment policies. Sorry, but you’ve lost me. I do not know what you’re talking about when you compare people finding it amusing that someone should be upset about a shirt with people who are upset about anti-sexual harassment policies. I am assuming you are not talking about me. I am not aware of any such policy that anyone gets upset about.

  114. says

    Echidna @337:

    One of the hardest things to deal with was the opposition regarding my career choices that I had received from other women, who saw me as proclaiming their choices were inadequate (much as Christians are affronted by the mere existence of atheists). The only group that seemed to back me up were the women who had done technical work in WWII and been forced out of the workforce afterwards.

    You just described my mother the feminist.

  115. ThereButForTheGrace says

    Is the T-shirt any more insulting than Rebecca Watson’s post insinuating that TAM is about as safe as your average gathering of Juggalos? The answer probably depends on whether Watson is accurately depicting what women in the skeptical community can expect at TAM. I noticed she was oddly careful not to attribute any of the harrowing experiences she describes as happening there — rather, attributing them to the “freethought community” at large.

    I don’t doubt for a second that Watson has endured shocking abuse online. When she says she has been groped (read: sexually assualted) by skeptics and atheists I can only feel disgusted. But I can’t just turn off my skeptical instincts because because of the heinousness of Watson’s claims. Or her popularity in the movement. Watson’s decision not to attend TAM — both the reasoning behind it and the timing — struck me as more of a punitive measure against DJ Grothe’s clumsy Facebook comments than a genuine fear for her safety at the event. And, if that’s the case, then that does produce an undeserved chilling effect on women’s attendance. So, yeah, maybe Grothe had a point (and shouldn’t have been so quick to issue his groveling and unheeded apology).

    I know I’m going to get flamed like holy hell for saying all this out loud. All I can say is, if you apply the same skeptical principles to Watson’s insinuations about TAM as you would to any other claim, there are some holes. The fact that awful things have happened to her does not automatically make her a hero that should be unquestioningly followed.

  116. Craja says

    My understanding from reading the commentary around the issue is that Hall had pure intentions, but goofed up and completely misunderstood the situation, and as a result misunderstood how the shirt would be taken. I consider it an unfortunate set of circumstances, and while I hold no ill will against Hall I think some sort of explanation from her could do a lot.

  117. says

    In light of the anecdotes from Amy herself and from UAJamie about the actual effect TAM’s “anti-harassment” policy had on the women it purported to protect, and from this person who’s worked in convention security for a decade, I’d really love to hear from Bob again about how JREF “[took] the issue seriously” and how its policy “seems to have worked” and how its critics are “living a rabies-induced fairy tale” and how the real problem is that “Amy’s own support network” wasn’t there.

    I mean, Bob’s got a Ph.D. in rhetoric and argument, so surely his enlightened opinion will trump theirs.

  118. says

    I for one hope that Surly Amy, Rebecca Watson, and the other skepchicks switch their attention to organizations that do get it and sponsor the CFI or Women in Secularism from now on. Supporting JREF and TAM after this would be like tipping slow, cross, sloppy, and forgetful wait-staff.

  119. says

    Setar-
    The reasoning behind my statement of gender was very simple. I did not want any misconceptions that I was male and therefore not able to understand the plight of a woman in a male dominated arena. Before you cherry pick any phrases out of that let me clarify that I do not think all males are incapable of empathy-I have seen in various discussions about this throughout the web that men have been accused (fairly or not) to “just not understand”.

    As far as your statement that skepticism precludes unity, I respectfully disagree. They really aren’t even relating to the same concept-I mean, sure you could stretch them together, but as general ideas they are pretty different. Skepticism is a way of thinking whereas unity (at least in the manner I meant it-maybe I should have been clearer) is more of a societal concept. And if you read the next sentence (that you quoted for a completely different reason) it pretty much clarifies exactly what I meant.

    How my words and actions are disconnected, well you must be far smarter than I-or possibly a psychic-as you only have my words to go on. And considering this entire discussion was founded on how a woman was offended by the actions of a man (which in turn sparked the t-shirt), I don’t see how I am the one to be blamed for bringing gender into it.

    As far as the next portion:
    A) Yeah, I do get it.
    B) You seem to be looking for a fight rather than a discussion and I am not in it for that
    C) Really? Really?? That was just a childish response.

    SO now as far as asking what she meant-the ideology behind that is for the offendee to ask the offendor. Rather than make up your own meaning which could very well be incorrect find out what was meant by it-right from the person instead of the thousands of internet personalities who have their own idea. Talk about trolls!! And let me reiterate that I do not doubt someone was offended.

    For all the ideas that people have regarding the meaning, only Dr. Hall knows-unless she enlightened someone else. So the key is getting the correct info and as you yourself stated Sastra did that. I even went back and read it again, wondering if I missed something. Nope. Dr. Hall explained herself. Because “the commenters” chose to not like the reasoning does not change the facts-and since the person wearing the shirt stated her meaning by it, that is what we go by. Not making up our own version of what is in another’s head. You attempted to call me out, that I was not being a good skeptic-but aren’t all these opinions that differ greatly from the STATED MEANING of the shirt by the originator in fact a classic example of not using scientific method? Since we have no way to prove what the actual meaning of the shirt is, we can go on our perception-which differs between the various commenters. “This is blatantly obvious to anyone with a basic level of reading comprehension.” Or we can go on what the expressed meaning of the shirt was, giving to us by the person who made it.

    Lastly, if I did not “read any of it” I would hardly have any idea what the vastly differing opinions were. And never once did I say anyone was stupid, and had I tried to be offensive I certainly could not have directed it to all of the commenters as I agree with many of them-so glittering generalities are quite ineffectual. For you to have gathered out of my post that I am trying to feel superior….ugh. Really?? You truly are just looking for a fight. I am sorry my words were so incredibly misconstrued. As a new poster I will make a more concerted effort in the future. ;-)

    Stacy and Echidna-
    Yes I did read the thread….see above please. My late night ramblings left a bit to be desired apparently :-/

    Tigtog-
    “I wrote up above that we really need some clarification from HH herself on her very own blog. I’m just finding the spin on this from third parties is already so aggravating that the waiting is becoming more and more aggravating, which lead to ungenerosity.”

    Can I just say, Thank you.

  120. Philip says

    Ophelia

    Thank you for insulting my sincerity, seems to me you and your followers here have zero interest in sorting out differences of opinion and every desire to shut up,insult, misquote and bully anyone who doesn’t sign up to your way of thinking

    There is NOTHING I could possibly say to convince any of you that, in fact, I have fought nothing but tooth and nail for a whole plethora of equal rights – for gay people, women, atheists etc – I’d soon as objectify and dismiss someone on account of their gender or sexual preference than I would take up religion.

    That, I’m sorry to say, is pathetic.

    You just assume everything and prove nothing whilst going out of your way to bully me like I’m the enemy.

    You are too easy to provoke, too quick to take insult, too ready to take offence and very slow at realising what you are doing wrong.

    It is not your cause I disagree with – it is your way of going about it!

    At them moment I really don’t see any difference between you and a fundamentalist – that is a pretty harsh thing for me to say but until I see better evidence, what the hell am I to think? I can’t have any discussion with you. There is no discussion because apparently you are never wrong, you have no intention of hearing or accepting anything different – worse still you think by taking offence that somehow that gives your argument more validity.

    To quote Stephen Fry – “You are offended? So fucking what!”

  121. says

    Sammi-
    Wow! What a deep well of bile you all dip your buckets into!

    What is the rule for argumentation here: “I disagree with what I have decided you meant therefore you are a fucking sexist shitbag?”

    How enduring is a movement built on this torrent of vicious invective going to be? I’m in favor of both feminist and skeptical movements but it is not a cause of regret that I won’t meet most of you, as a community you come across as a bunch of obnoxious self-obsessed idiots.

    Go on, call me a tone troll, and stuff some swear words round it. If you want a movement, you need some tolerance and cohesion. This ain’t it.

    Oh yes, to pre-empt the “why are your here you shitbag?” question: I bumped into the link and followed it, and was curious to see what this argument was. Now I know.

    EXCELLENT!!!!! Although I don’t generally phrase as you did, I quite agree!

  122. says

    It’s so peaceful in here.

    Comment by The Barefoot Skeptic blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

    Comment by Philip blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

    Comment by The Barefoot Skeptic blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

    Comment by The Barefoot Skeptic blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

  123. says

    I had no clue what FTBullies was all about. I am rather new in the skeptic community. I very politely respond to some very harsh statements directed specifically at me, as does Phillip, and the next thing I see is a post with our comments blocked.

    I now understand. Unfortunate, because you have probably lost many people who could have added to the community just because they didn’t agree with you on something.

  124. says

    The Barefoot Skeptic #544:
    I would be responding to your post, except that it has one glaring problem that tells me a response is not worth it:

    B) You seem to be looking for a fight rather than a discussion…

    You see, I see this piece of bullshit all the time. Invariably, it comes from someone who is colossally and hopelessly wrong, after I have told them so in no uncertain terms.

    Never mind that I know it’s an attempt at tone-trolling, no one thus far has explained this magical distinction between “fight” and “discussion”. It’s just something that is there, to be taken for granted, and anyone who feels that they’re not getting the attention they want can yank it out and use it to make their opposition look bad.

    It’s also not a fucking argument at all. The fact that you feel the need to resort to it indicates that you have no response to the substance of the argument. If I’m wrong, you would be able to show that without whining about how I’m being mean to you, because what matters is not that I’m being mean but that I’m being wrong.

    I’m not going to take you apart point by point. Instead, I’m just going to get to the meat of your point…

    Dr. Hall explained herself.

    …and move to strike as non-responsive, because as I already fucking said the explanation has been analyzed and found wanting. Namely, it would require Harriet Hall to have this amazingly narrow blind spot with reading comprehension, where an ‘I’ statement somehow doesn’t just apply to the speaker in some cases.

    For someone who thinks of themselves as such a Good Skeptic, you sure aren’t being skeptical of Harriet Hall’s reasoning. Your entire point is that logic be damned, she gave her reason and that’s that.

    That’s bullshit. Take it to the shitpile you got it from, and come back when you’re willing to admit that “discussion” doesn’t mean “everything I say is right and you’re just being mean and making assumptions”.

  125. Matt Penfold says

    I had no clue what FTBullies was all about. I am rather new in the skeptic community. I very politely respond to some very harsh statements directed specifically at me, as does Phillip, and the next thing I see is a post with our comments blocked.

    Did you not stop to think that if you are new to the sceptic community there might be issues about which you are ignorant, and therefore would be better off keeping quiet about ? Did it also not occur to you that to offer an opinion when ignorant on an issue that you are being rude, and that people reacting harshly to your rudeness should not be a surprise to you ? How did you expect people to react ?

    I now understand. Unfortunate, because you have probably lost many people who could have added to the community just because they didn’t agree with you on some thing.

    So no real loss then, if they are that shallow.

  126. Matt Penfold says

    You even cited what I thought you would, good job. Now, what part of that statement says that I do not know the context? I was asking people to cite specifics of the context which proved me wrong rather than simply claiming that it does. How is that an admission that I am completely unaware of the context?

    I see you have given up any pretence of being honest.

    The context I, and others, have given is specific. If you are still unable to understand what might have caused Amy to become upset the failure is yours, and it is one on empathy. Again, you seem intent on showing us what an obnoxious person you are.

  127. echidna says

    Philip,
    Please be specific. Your use of “you” seems to switch between Ophelia and the people commenting here. This in particular:

    There is NOTHING I could possibly say to convince any of you

    is very unlikely to be a sound statement.

    seems to me you and your followers here have zero interest in sorting out differences of opinion and every desire to shut up,insult, misquote and bully anyone who doesn’t sign up to your way of thinking

    I’ve written quite a few comments on this post, and I would like you to show me where I have insulted, misquoted or bullied anyone. All of my posts have been aimed, directly and indirectly, at answering Ophelia’s question on how it is possible to understand Harriet’s actions in the context of Harriet being someone who we admire.

  128. Philip says

    echidna

    I would reply in full but I’ve just seen this:

    Comment by Philip blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

    Ophelia has the right to hypocritically condescend my “clueless male-normal language”, I’m happy for that, but blocking what I say, I think is reprehensible – way to go for free speech!

  129. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Philip doesn’t comprehend how the killfile works.

    LOL.

    You see, it was Markita Lynda that blocked you, not Ophelia. So why don’t you just shove your special-snowflake whining back up the hole it came from?

    And Barefoot S(k)eptic, PLEASE don’t leave us! The movement just won’t be the same without you! You’re like, our heart and soul or something!

    Hahahahahahaha.

    Remember, the lower case ‘s’ means it wasn’t personal! Seriously!

  130. Philip says

    Laughing Coyote – I couldn’t care less who blocked me to be honest, to be told I am a sexist because of the language I use after being told I use “clueless male-normal language” is pretty hypocritical where I come from!

    I might just as well have turned up and said “”now, now, don’t you worry your pretty little head about it darling, Philip will take control, you get back to the kittens in the kitchen!” for all the difference it will make.

    Anyways, I shall leave you all in peace for I see this turning into an ugly slanging match.

  131. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Philip: awwwww, your pwecious widdle feewings were hurt. *pouty face*.

    Don’t forget to stick the flounce, snowflake!

    So you were going to poop out a response to Echidna… but since Markita Lynda killfiled you, you’re going to yell at Ophelia Benson and flounce instead. Right. Gotcha.

    Good riddance!

  132. echidna says

    Philip:

    echidna

    I would reply in full but [shiny!]

    Yeah, right. As if. I’d run away too, if I were as full of bluster as he appears to be.

  133. Philip says

    Ok then Laughing, since you feel it is so important I stick around, so be it.

    Philip: awwwww, your pwecious widdle feewings were hurt. *pouty face*.

    Gosh, shit, you got me. Yes, my manly feelings were utterly shredded.

    Imagine how far that kind of language would have got me had I started my first post with that!

    So you were going to poop out a response to Echidna… but since Markita Lynda killfiled you, you’re going to yell at Ophelia Benson and flounce instead. Right. Gotcha.

    Yes, I was going to respond to Echida but then, after thinking about it, there really isn’t much point if my posts are going to cause offence.

    I think my big mistake is that I have not been clear enough when addressing Ophelia or the majority of posters on here, my apologies on that front

    You can accuse me of all the flouncing you like, I’m not the slightest bit bothered.

    My reason for not really wanting to post any more is mainly to do with how my words and intent have been taken completely out of context and ridiculed by various posters who responded. I don’t think there is a chance of discussion and so therefore wanted to end it before it got silly.

    I would like to single out Ophelia for her rude and condescending post back to me – I thought it was highly hypocritical of her to accuse me of sexism and in the same sentence do precisely that to me. This whole nonsense is centered around the accusation that women are being mistreated and that sexism is prevalent and in abundance in the atheist/conference community. The use of the phrase “clueless male-normal language” suggests she thinks she is superior as a woman – I do think that is very much a case of Pot calling the Kettle black. Don’t accuse me of sexist remarks by using sexist remarks – it doesn’t work

    Markita Lynda – why did you block me? I am very interested to know why you did such a thing

  134. SAWells says

    I think Philip still hasn’t grasped what “male-normal language” means. He seems to have taken it as “how men normally speak”, hence dogmatic feminism you can’t be convinced blah blah blah weepy poor Philip.

    It’s a technical term, Philip, for language which expressed an underlying belief that to be male is normal – that the normal, default kind of person is a male – and that Women are other, are different, that the concerns of women are not the concerns of normal people, but rather a minority issue. A belief that tends to show up even among people who think they’re egalitarian and feminist. Like Philip, with his I is totes feminist now you emotional ladies hush up.

  135. Matt Penfold says

    Ophelia has the right to hypocritically condescend my “clueless male-normal language”, I’m happy for that, but blocking what I say, I think is reprehensible – way to go for free speech!

    Ophelia did not do anything. A killfile is used by readers of blogs to hide comments. It has nothing to do with the blog author, and it is just an outright lie on your part to claim it is. I note you seem to have accepted you lied, but fort some reason you decided not actually apologise for libelling Ophelia. I guess your call for manners is entirely one sided, and you think you can be as dishonest as you like.

  136. Bernard Bumner says

    Can anyone tell me why apologists for shitty behaviour insist on reducing eveything to a question of rights, rather than responsibilities

    Harriet Hall had a right to launch a sloganeering attack on Skepchicks and those who don’t feel included at TAM.

    Elevator Guy had a right to be a clumsy creep.

    Sleezy, camera-wielding dude had a right to be given the benefit of the doubt.

    DJ had a right to express any wrong-minded opinion he might choose.

    What about the responsibility of these nominally intellligent, certainly adult, individuals not to make others feel vulnerable, ostracised, and/or threatened?

  137. Matt Penfold says

    I think Philip still hasn’t grasped what “male-normal language” means. He seems to have taken it as “how men normally speak”, hence dogmatic feminism you can’t be convinced blah blah blah weepy poor Philip.

    I suspect there is an awful lot Phillip has not grasped, not least how to behave a like a decent person.c

  138. KellyM says

    The dishonesty of Dr. Hall’s insult directed at Rebecca Watson still disappoints me. “I feel safe and welcome at TAM” implies that Rebecca implied that TAM wasn’t safe or wasn’t safe for women. This is not true. As has been mentioned here, Rebecca was speaking of her unique circumstance only. The evidence against Dr. Hall’s accusation includes: if Rebecca thought that TAM wasn’t safe for women, she wouldn’t have helped sponsor 22 women to go there. Someone of Dr. Hall’s intelligence and reading comprehension abilities must have known that. If you’re going to go to so much trouble to insult Rebecca personally, find something Rebecca said that was actually incorrect.

    I’m glad I know where DJ stands regarding Dr. Hall’s dishonest and unprofessional behavior (thanks MyaR). I’ve been a supporter of the JREF since before the first TAM because I’m a rabid James Randi fan. I’m kind of sad to stop my support of JREF, but happy that I can contribute to organizations that share my values more closely.

  139. Stacy says

    Philip, earlier in this thread:

    Are you lot really going to keep playing the “hurt” and “offended” cards like this?

    Phil thinks Surly Amy, and folks here, are being “hysterical” because, after a solid year of invective, some of it incredibly vicious, thrown at the Skepchicks and FtB bloggers, people are on edge and found Dr. Hall’s insensitive tee shirt upsetting–

    –And then after Ophelia directs a critical but perfectly civil comment at him Phil makes a drama out of his hurt feelings:

    I would like to single out Ophelia for her rude and condescending post back to me

    Protip, Philip: don’t play the “hurt” and “offended” cards right after you’ve castigated others for being hurt and offended.

    The use of the phrase “clueless male-normal language” suggests she thinks she is superior as a woman

    It “suggests” no such thing.

  140. Philip says

    :D

    I like the way I can say things with no intent of sexism behind it – that is bad and obviously full of sexism

    But when someone openly condescends me for being male and prone to using sexist language because of it – suddenly – yikes, you are wrong Philip, that is not what she meant!

    Bullshit.

  141. says

    You are being obtuse, Philip. Several people have already told you that you don’t understand what the term “male-normal language” means.

    Instead of asking for clarification, you have jumped to creating your own definition of what you think it means. Going by your efforts so far, you have totally misunderstood the term.

    So do you want to stop and take a moment to ask Ophelia what she meant by the term she used? Or do you want to continue to make an ASS out of U and ME?

  142. SAWells says

    It’s intriguing that, per Philip, if Amy felt hurt by a message on a T-shirt she must be over-reacting and over-emotional and she should be much more calm and rational, but when Philip feels hurt by a blog comment he must be absolutely right and he can’t possibly have misunderstood and we must all care deeply about his fweeeeeeeeeeeeeeelings. Very revealing.

  143. carlie says

    Barefoot Skeptic – can you describe one civil rights movement that succeeded because everyone in it was polite and deferential and worried most about alienating people with their tone?

  144. says

    Tigtog – you forgot the word clueless – that I think is very important.

    If I’d wanted to use that word, Philip, it was well and truly close to hand. I made the alternate choice of the word obtuse for a reason.

    Never mind, your response has made your lack of goodwill clear.

    SAWells, re your observation above: intriguing/revealing, indeed.

  145. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    Comment by Philip blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

    ONOEZ! FERE SPEEECH!!!

  146. echidna says

    Philip,
    You put your foot in it by using the word “hysterical”. It’s really an unfriendly word to use towards women. I will assume you don’t realise the history of the word:
    From wikipedia:

    For at least two thousand years of European history until the late nineteenth century hysteria referred to a medical condition thought to be particular to women and caused by disturbances of the uterus.

    This is why you were described as using male-normative (or normal) language: it’s the term used language that assumes that men are the default case, for example using “he” to refer to both men and women.

  147. Philip says

    Ophelia Benson says:
    July 18, 2012 at 8:01 am
    Philip, no, I don’t remember you from RDF. Your language does sound familiar though, it sounds like the clueless male-normal language of a lot of the men who commented there (which is why I stopped commenting there). “Hysterical” is that; “you guys and girls” is that.

    What part of that is not accusing my language of not being dissimilar that of a poster on the Richard Dawkins.net whom she specifically cites as being male and clueless – she then uses examples from my words indicating they are typical of male normal language.

    Tis why I call bullshit.

  148. Matt Penfold says

    Philip,

    Is there some reason you are refusing to address you lack of honesty in accusing Ophelia of censoring you ? Or is it just a lack of manners and decency on your part that means you have not bothered to admit you lied ?

  149. echidna says

    Philip,
    You misunderstand what Ophelia said. She said she does not remember you specifically. She also says that some men on RDF speak the way you do. She then goes on to describe what she means by “the way you do” – making use of male-normal language, and links that to the words you have used.

    You have specifically misunderstood the scope of “clueless” – it refers to the oblivious use of the word hysterical.

  150. Philip says

    Mat –

    I think my big mistake is that I have not been clear enough when addressing Ophelia or the majority of posters on here, my apologies on that front

    I did apologise for my mistake – what’s your problem? Where is my lack of honesty?

  151. SAWells says

    @577: the terms “clueless” and “male-normal” describe the _language used_, dumbass, and the meaning of “male-normal” has been explained to you: hint, “male-normal language” is not “normal male language”.

  152. echidna says

    Philip:

    Where is my lack of honesty?

    Right here:

    echidna

    I would reply in full but

    I would accept some acknowledgment that you now understand that you had the wrong end of the stick.

  153. CT says

    Improbable Joe:

    Yep, there’s TF, completely rational and not at all emotional and filled with irrational rage, which is why he can’t stop attacking people who have never done anything to wrong him.

    Well, you know, it’s perfectly okay to *rage* since that’s a manly emotion, just the girly ones are unacceptable.

    The continuing theme of “she shouldn’t have been tearful” is complete and utter misogynistic bullshit. I’m sure if she had gotten angry and raged her way around the CON about the tshirt, teh menz would have had a completely different attitude, since, you know, that’s a manly emotion and all. “well, she probably should have said nothing but I can understand her rage”

  154. CT says

    Improbable Joe again:

    I think something we forget in these situations is that a lot of men come from abusive backgrounds, and then we more or less all suffer verbal and often physical abuse from each other for our whole lives.

    Yeah, some of us women too. I wouldn’t have said or done anything if HH tshirt was directed at me but that’s because I was brought up by the biggest asshole bully in town, not becuase I didn’t feel anything.

  155. says

    Deen, whatever REAL problems WoolyBumbleBee is solving, apparently posting essentially the same comment all over FTB is part of the Master Plan.

  156. MyaR says

    Shall we try once more for a definition of “male-normal language” (aka “male-normative language”, “androcentric language”, “generic male language”, etc. — plug variations into google scholar) that even the slowest among us can understand?

    It is language that takes the male as default, and as a stand-in for universal. “Mankind” supposedly includes women, but “womankind” is understood as explicitly only women. “He” is supposedly generic, but “she” is certainly not (in most cases — some people have made a conscious decision to use ‘she’ as generic — I’m looking at you (and applauding), V.S. Ramachandran!)

    Some examples:
    1 generic ‘he’
    2 ‘mankind’
    3 ‘-ess’/’-trix’/’-ette’/’lady X’

    Ways to make those examples gender neutral:
    1 ‘xe’/singular ‘they’/’s/he’
    2 ‘humankind’
    3 just use the unmarked form

    These things have real impacts on people’s thought patterns and lives, which you would find out if you took the time to actually do those google scholar searches.

  157. bastionofsass says

    OK, folks. WoolyBumblebee wants us to move on. So let’s shut down this discussion. Because making WoolyBumblebee happy is what it’s all about.

  158. mildlymagnificent says

    Feminists label this an aspect of “toxic masculinity,” while most men simply see it as “the way things are.” And as is often the case, victims of this sort of constant abuse lack empathy for others because they have first and foremost had empathy for themselves stripped away from them

    and echidna

    One of the interesting things that happened when I was working as the first female engineer in certain industrial settings was that the level of abuse between men dropped drastically – just because I was present, nothing to do with me personally.

    All this reminds me of the gathering pace of health and safety concerns as more women moved into various industries. It wasn’t really about protecting women because they weren’t willing to take the same risks men had been facing all along. Though some blokes did rethink their work practices along these lines.

    It was simply new eyes on old problems. The new entrants just couldn’t understand why anyone would *do* things that way. And said so.

    Men’s bullying style with each other might underlie some of the genuine confusions expressed by some men – and some women who’ve become accustomed to that – about their general style. New eyes can help if they just look in the right direction.

  159. Philip says

    I apologise to Ophelia for accusing her of blocking my post, I misinterpreted it and did not understand posters could block things and that is why I said what I did.

    I thought I had apologised enough earlier, I hope that accusations of dishonesty will now stop.

    I will however not apologise for anything else I’ve said and I stand by my accusations of hypocrisy. You can’t accuse me of sexism in my words whilst blatantly using sexist language right back at me to discredit anything I’ve said!

  160. The Pint says

    To the people trying to explain the concept of “male-normal language” in precise and logical terms:

    But guys (hey, see what I did there?), everyone uses that kind of language, so there can’t be anything wrong with it. No one’s intending to be sexist by using this kind of language so it’s totes ok! It’s just the way things are, pointing out how it “others” women is just contributing to the problem, clearly you’re all just being hypersensitive and hypocritical and asking for special privileges for women rather than real equality. Don’t we have more important things to worry about than silly things like language that equates the default “normal” with “male”?

    (Now if you’ll pardon me, I need to go scrub out my brain with some steel wool.)

  161. says

    If some of the things I have heard from the “Skepchick” are any indication (especially the “coffeegate” incident) of the sorts of “oppression” that the skepchick is on about, then I can easily imagine a strong woman wishing to distance herself from that group. As a woman, she may have felt that she would be associated with one of the more prominent feminist groups at the conference and wished to strongly show that she was not of the same mindset as the skepchick. How can anyone who claims to be a strong human being, worthy of equal treatment, melt into tears and run away at the sight of someone who strongly disagrees with her and dares to show it.

    Also, the intent of the shirt might have been a unifying message. A way of saying; “men or women, we are all skeptics”. This seems MORE likely to me, since the shirt also said “not a female skeptic”. Her intent seems to be to say that gender wars have no place at TAM.

  162. says

    Just to confirm – yes that is (of course) what I meant by “male-normal language” – I meant language that treats being male as normal and being female as aberrant and peculiar and marginal.

  163. Parse says

    I’m not very active in the ‘in-person’ side of the atheist community, but I do read a lot of blogs and such. In my reading, I only ever recall seeing the term ‘skepchick’ used to refer to the blog, or members of the community that blog and comment there. Is this term actually used elsewhere, not referring to them?

    Given how close the wording on the front is to Rebecca Watson’s original statement, actually using ‘skepchick’ on the back, and her (lack of) actions after this was pointed out to her, I see Harriet Hall’s explanation as dubious at best, or an intentional lie to tell the #FTBullies. It’s just like how cdesign proponentsists claim intelligent design is an ‘actual scientific theory’ in court, and the latest and greatest form of creationism in churches.

  164. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Go on, call me a tone troll, and stuff some swear words round it. If you want a movement, you need some tolerance and cohesion. This ain’t it.

    Fascinating how this ONLY ever applies to targets of bigots and not bigots themselves. What a loss to the movement it will be to have you tapdancing for unhinged bigots instead of working for the positive change you’re screeching at us – but ONLY US, of course – to have.

    If being completely ignorant, but still feeling entitled to shit all over someone else’s blog with lies, distortions, strawmen and hilariously juvenile posturing is what constitutes ‘skepticism” to you, PLEASE go hang out with ThunderDouche. You’ll be best buddies.

  165. Martha says

    @Philip

    Honest disagreement implies a genuine attempt to understand the language and arguments of the other side. One doesn’t have to lie to argue dishonestly. One can, for example, refuse to agree upon terminology and insist he has been slandered merely because he refuses to acknowledge that he’s misunderstood a term.

    Clueless male-normal language means that one uses language that implies to be male is to be normal, to be female is not, and that one does this without any knowledge of so doing. That would be most of society, most of the time. We have *all* been trained to do this at some level. It doesn’t men you’re evil, but it does mean that you are perpetuating a patriarchal system whether you mean to or not. If you wish to make the choice to do that, that is clearly your right. But do us the favor of acknowledging this instead of accusing people who have used a term that you do not understand of hostility.

    Honest disagreement often leads to a statement of the basic terms of the disagreement at the end, and that can be useful for all parties. Sometimes, it leads one side or the other to go away and think about things a bit. If you do not agree that our society defines male, white & straight as normal, by all means, say so. If you agree that it does but do not think it’s important, by all means say so. Continuing to imply that without being willing to own it doesn’t help the discussion progress.

  166. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    How can anyone who claims to be a strong human being, worthy of equal treatment, lie his ass off instead of reading the thread and the context surrounding the situation? Exactly what makes someone behave in such an idiotic, childish and tremendously cowardly manner?

    is it stupidity, laziness or hate that makes you post the way you do, pdoylemi?

  167. The Pint says

    @ Ophelia #598 – I suppose asking anyone who posts comments like pdoylemi if xir has bothered reading the thread is a rhetorical question at this point. Brilliant. *head desk*

  168. says

    @pdoylemi:

    How can anyone who claims to be a strong human being, worthy of equal treatment, melt into tears and run away at the sight of someone who strongly disagrees with her and dares to show it.

    You may want to read that again, and then walk it back. Surely you don’t mean to say that only the strong deserve equal treatment?

    This seems MORE likely to me, since the shirt also said “not a female skeptic”. Her intent seems to be to say that gender wars have no place at TAM.

    Intent is not magic. Whatever the intent of the shirt was, the effect was exactly to bring the “gender wars” to TAM. I’d say that was a rather predictable effect of it too.

  169. beth says

    @ 551

    If I’m wrong, you would be able to show that without whining about how I’m being mean to you, because what matters is not that I’m being mean but that I’m being wrong.

    This whole discussion thread, including the OP, can be charactorized as being about the fact that Dr. Hall was mean to Amy and other skepchicks in attendance. Whether or not someone is ‘mean’ does matter. In some situations, it can matter more than whether or not they are correct.

    I don’t agree with what Dr. Hall did. I think it was mean. I’m not so certain that the message she intended, as described above by those who asked her about it and posted her response, was wrong.

    Of course, such a message cannot be considered ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ objectively, only subjectively. It can be considered ‘wrong’ in the sense that many (most?) people are not picking up on the intended message. The mean-spiritedness of her action in wearing it for three days detracts from communicating that message, as being mean to others nearly always does.

    It’s nice to be right. It’s wrong to be mean.

  170. SAWells says

    Philip will apparently go to his grave convinced that Ophelia told him he was bad for being male. No amount of explanation is going to deprive him of his hard-won victimhood.

  171. smhll says

    You want to be treated as equals?

    Despite what Dr. H.H. had to say about not being a female skeptic, the truth is that when the ass-grabbers are looking for a female ass to grab, hers will still be in the category of female.

    And sexual harassment is often not egalitarian, especially in an environment with a much higher percentage of heterosexual males than heterosexual females.

    Guys – either don’t do “that” so much, or start doing it to other men half the time. Then the discussion is certain to get interesting.

  172. RR says

    My goodness, it is impossible to have civil and healthy discussions between opposing views in these comment sections’ blog anymore. It saddens me because it didn’t use to be that way.

    I find it ironic that you accuse Dr. Hall of being mean to Amy whilst you are 10 times worse to anyone here who dares to have a different prespective on this tiny, little, unnoticeable pimple of an issue.

    Get over your fucking selves.

  173. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Get over your fucking selves.

    LOL. So, how’s that petard treating ya?

  174. Matt Penfold says

    I see Mooney’s law is in evidence here.

    Why is it that people who complain about a lack of civility almost always are uncivil in doing so ?

  175. says

    “Get over your fucking selves” goes right next to “you’re too emotional and take things too personally, which is why I hate you and I’n going to stalk you forever!” on the cross stitch sampler I’m working on.

  176. The Pint says

    Damn it, Daisy, I just got done scrubbing my brain out and then I clicked on that link. Now I gotta go back in there and sanitize it again!

  177. says

    You mean Philip didn’t understand that killfile is a blog reading tool? And obviously didn’t notice that it has a “show comment” option for me to read his drivel if they really want to? It just saves me having to scroll down over the maunderings of commenters who have demonstrated that they are not worth reading because they are dishonest and wilfully misinterpreting and hostile.

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  178. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    The absolute irony of people saying Surly Amy should get over it, that it’s just a t-shirt, and then whining that we bully anyone who doesn’t ‘share our viewpoint’ (as if the idea that people shouldn’t be publicly harassed is ‘just a viewpoint’. Privileged slime.)

    *sits on Philip and puts stinkbugs in his mouth*

  179. smhll says

    I think something we forget in these situations is that a lot of men come from abusive backgrounds, and then we more or less all suffer verbal and often physical abuse from each other for our whole lives. Feminists label this an aspect of “toxic masculinity,” while most men simply see it as “the way things are.” And as is often the case, victims of this sort of constant abuse lack empathy for others because they have first and foremost had empathy for themselves stripped away from them. …
    Maybe that’s the source of all the anger at feminism, because in a sense it doesn’t appear to be seeking equality at all, when it promotes a decency towards women that men are unwilling to extend to each other or even to themselves. Or maybe I’m just high on allergy medication and should go to bed. One or the other.

    I think this is really an important point.

    When women have pushed into previously all-male jobs, the words “bitch” and “c-nt” get thrown around a lot. It then appears to the woman that she is being abused because of her gender. The amount of background harassment that the men gave each other before she arrived is not apparent. In solidarity against her, they may temporarily stop harassing each other. Being outnumbered and knowing herself to be unwelcome is going to heighten how intensely she feels the harassment.

    While women competing for male attention may occasionally be spiteful, generally I see grown women not behaving competitively with each other, not hazing each other and not harassing each other. And in my career, people were almost always well behaved at the office. I always thought harassment and bullying were Junior High School things, that tapered off as people achieved maturity. Perhaps my friends and acquaintances are above average? IDK.

    It’s certainly clear than in online gaming, many people are as offensive as possible to many people. However, using racial epithets against a white guy doesn’t hurt him much. So the online playing field does feel tilted against minorities.

  180. says

    Interesting, I freely admit I didn’t know what a ‘killfile’ was either.

    Markita:

    It’s so peaceful in here.

    Comment by The Barefoot Skeptic blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

    Comment by Philip blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

    Comment by The Barefoot Skeptic blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

    Comment by The Barefoot Skeptic blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

    My weight tends to fluctuate. I always know when it is time for me to start seriously hitting the gym: this is when I find myself avoiding looking in mirrors.

    -=-=

    Hmm,

    I see there is a concern about being ‘othering’. What precisely happens on this blog to those who disagree?

    Remember, ‘othering’ is a classificatory act: one in which people are placed in (generally) bifurcated boxes. This is just a little different from people disagreeing with each other.

    For the grown ups amongst us anyway.

  181. says

    smhll:

    I think this is really an important point.

    When women have pushed into previously all-male jobs, the words “bitch” and “c-nt” get thrown around a lot. It then appears to the woman that she is being abused because of her gender. The amount of background harassment that the men gave each other before she arrived is not apparent. In solidarity against her, they may temporarily stop harassing each other. Being outnumbered and knowing herself to be unwelcome is going to heighten how intensely she feels the harassment.

    I also think it is important to also make sure not to disappear sexism and misogyny by pointing out the ways that men are abusive to one another. After all, huge amounts of the abuse men heap on each other is gendered and it’s no accident. I’m sure lots of guys are excited to have an actual woman to insult rather than designating one of the men as the resident “bitch” and even more exciting for the lowest man on the totem pole.

    And as has been mentioned previously, Harriet Hall has surely put up with the same crap and has likely internalized the same “I dealt, everyone else should too” instead of maintaining a sense of empathy.

  182. Pteryxx says

    Joe, this may be relevant: blogging on a research article about changing the typical hyper-masculine culture in an all-male environment (oil rigs) to a safety-centered, supportive culture.

    http://nofearofthefuture.blogspot.com/2011/03/changing-corporate-gender-case-study.html

    The traditional research has shown that men in these occupations try to achieve a kind of hyper-masculinity, but this comes with a cost: excessive risk-taking, poor decision-making, interference in training and recruitment, marginalizing women workers, violating the civil and human rights of workers, and alienating “men from their health, emotions, and relationships with others.”

    However, the authors of this paper looked at “high-reliability organizations” (HROs), which are “organizations designed to avoid catastrophes despite operating in dangerous, technologically complex environments.” Studies have shown that male workers at HROs “deviate from conventional masculine norms. In place of toughness, these men avoid taking unnecessary risks, seek help, and inquire after failures.”

  183. says

    Corylus – it depends. It depends on background conditions, recent history, level of trolling, and similar variables.

    I really wish that were true, but it isn’t. For example, the last time I was on here registering disapproval at the level of discourse (on your Wollstoncraft thread), I was described by one of your regular posters as (I quote)…

    … just as bad as anyone who would advocate for murder, slavery or pedophilia–because it shows the same utter disregard for individual agency and liberty….

    Now, OK, I cannot link to this comment as you got rid or it. Your view on it (and the maker of it) though?

    That’s not the first time I’ve removed a comment by Aquaria. She…ah…overdoes the epithets.

    No mention from you on whether this statement was justified or not. I would swear long and loud here if I were inclined to such actions. So. Responses dependant on background conditions or similar variables? Yeah, gotcha.

    Consider the sports products thread for instance.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/07/value-for-money/

    There’s disagreement. Nothing bad is happening.

    Thank you for linking to evidence. However, a thread with 25 comments; on sports; on a nerd site (N.B. I am not using this term in a derogatory fashion: I am a nerd). Nice representative sample you have there.

    Trolls don’t help.

    No, and calling all and sundry ‘trolls’ does not count either.

    How much time do you spend lecturing trolls?

    Well, I have my SIWOTI moments as do we all :)

    However, I tend to talk most (don’t think I didn’t notice that question-begging term “lecturing” brought in there) when I think issues are important or where people are getting hurt.

    That’s me.

    Anyway, I was interested in your statement that you do not understand Dr Hall/people like her at all.

    Willem Defoe once said something – that hit me like a train – in response to being asked about whether he preferred playing heroes or villains. (Something that I wish that one of the lecturers I had to listen to as part of my psychology degree* had said).

    “Good guys, bad guys—it doesn’t matter. Everybody thinks they’re righteous.”

    You want to have some insight into people? Spend some time viewing what they say from the viewpoint of them thinking that they are right.

    Your want to understand people? You want to crawl into their skin?

    Spend some time viewing what they say from the viewpoint of them not only thinking that they are right, but them being right. It is this second point that stops the instinctive ‘othering’ that we humans like to do. It stops the classification process dead. First person or third person? Throw those puppies in the bin! Go on. Pull on that skin. Walk around in it a bit. See how it feels. Rarely pleasant, but always informative, in my humble experience.

    Ophelia, I understand you (honest!) and I understand Harriet as well (honest!), I generally understand “people” too. I understand the nauseous tummy-turning feeling that comes with wondering whether someone is just an oblivious internet warrior, or is instead a laughing sociopath masturbating at your discomfiture, and I also understand the anger that comes with experiencing false accusations – accusations of the very vilest type.

    I get it. I do. And this “getting it” stops me being awfully cruel. Please, please try it.

    -=-=-
    * I mention previous study not as an argument to authority, but instead to head off some of the patronising laughing at lack of familiarity with specialist jargon that I am seeing on here. Mind you, I am trying to recall if de Beauviour herself ever used the term ‘male-normal’ – buggered if I can remember her doing so. N.B. Completely open to correction on this one of course.

    P.S. I am familiar with Philip online, and his treatment his treatment on here has been absolutely fucking disgraceful.

    [Oh dear, did I just swear? Fuck. Me. Dead. Guess I am human after all.]

  184. says

    You missed my point. I’m being swamped by trolls – deliberately, as part of a campaign (more than a year old now) to be a pain in the ass to a few selected Hated Women plus PZ. That means it becomes difficult in any thread on the subject to know who is trolling and who is just irritably disagreeing. I refuse to let the trolls settle in here.

  185. SAWells says

    I love the phrase “…the last time I was on here registering disapproval at the level of discourse…”. It manages to convey such utter, oblivious self-absorption; a sniff, the careful deployment of a lace-edged handkerchief, and a pursing of the lips, conveyed in text form.

  186. says

    Oh and the bit about lecturing. Yes, you’re definitely lecturing. Not talking, lecturing. Very de haut en bas. Very as if you’re omniscient. It’s not as effective as you may think.

  187. SAWells says

    @128: my mother-in-law manages a UN agency and I’ve never heard her sound quite that lofty :)

  188. says

    Ophelia

    You missed my point. I’m being swamped by trolls – deliberately, as part of a campaign (more than a year old now) to be a pain in the ass to a few selected Hated Women plus PZ. That means it becomes difficult in any thread on the subject to know who is trolling and who is just irritably disagreeing. I refuse to let the trolls settle in here.

    I agree that things are different here than they were a year or so ago and I am very, very sorry about that. You did (and still do) work damn hard on B&W. I occasionally posted and enjoyed the (as much as is possible on teh intertubez!) polite atmosphere.

    Something happened though didn’t it? (Not just sudden context specific emotion going on, for that can be justified and that can be healthy).

    Empathy went ‘bye-bye’, didn’t it?

    It’s always easy to think this is one-sided, but it never, ever is.

  189. says

    Ha!

    Sorry, Corylus, I’m othering you, but really – your style is very irritating. I get that it’s meant to be calm and wise and Olympian, but it’s not working that way.

  190. says

    132 was before I saw 130.

    Corylus – listen up – I’m not that stupid. I do know about trying to see it from the other point of view. You can stop talking to me as if I’m an idiot and had never conceived of such a thing.

    You can also stop patronizing me.

  191. Sili (I have) says

    Now, OK, I cannot link to this comment as you got rid or it. Your view on it (and the maker of it) though?

    Her view? Hint: The answer is in the question.

  192. says

    Is there a reason why Corylus is lecturing here instead of on TF’s blog, or sending scathingly polite letters to JREF? Funny how the tone lecturing is always directed at the victims of trolls and harassment and such, and never at the perpetrators. “Stiff upper lip” for you, Ophelia, or else a lecture from those who are sure they know better… and an unobstructed line of fire for your detractors/attackers. Lovely how that works.

    And before it gets lost, thanks Pteryxx for the interesting link. I’ve worked in dangerous all-male environments of the toxic and healthy kinds, and it is amazing how much better the healthy environments are.

  193. says

    SAWells

    I love the phrase “…the last time I was on here registering disapproval at the level of discourse…”. It manages to convey such utter, oblivious self-absorption; a sniff, the careful deployment of a lace-edged handkerchief, and a pursing of the lips, conveyed in text form.

    Would you rather I talked about hurt ‘fee-fees’? Or ran every comment I make through a reading ease test?

    I don’t dumb down in response to the men about me (tis a feminist thing) and I don’t dumb down in general conversation either. I have spent a considerable amount of time on both formal and self education and I am not inclined to ignore it just some people can retain their view of themselves as intrinsically smart.

    I use the most appropriate – most polite – terms available for whatever I am trying to convey … and give people credit by presuming they can understand me without assistance.

    I show respect that way.

  194. SAWells says

    @137: Corylus, did you really think I was complaining your comment was too intellectual and hard to understand? Really? In all honesty? Wow. Funnier and funnier.

  195. says

    The monk item is hilarious.

    Joe, there must be a reason, but I have no idea what it is. It seems to have something to do with self-importance, but why that requires coming here in particular is not obvious.

    I say that even though I know perfectly well that I’m not completely faultless. Jean Kazez accused me of thinking I am the other day, on Twitter, and it’s ridiculous. Of course I’m not! I’m very irritable, and I say irritable things often.

    But I’m not in troll territory, even when being irritable here. I don’t compare people to the Stasi or the Taliban. I have some limits.

  196. Martha says

    Somewhat OT: @Pterryxx and Improbable Joe: I read about that study in Joan C. Williams’s “Reshaping the Work-Family Divide: Why Men & Class Matter.” She compared the unsafe, inefficient machismo of the old rig with the way computer guys in Silicon Valley compete to work the most hours, almost certainly leading to bad decision making and lower efficiency. She suggested that this was the male geek’s way of doing masculinity in the workplace. It’s an interesting notion, and I think I buy it.

  197. SAWells says

    I think “I show respect that way” is the funniest part so far, but only because of all the buildup beforehand.

    But what would I know? I only have a lowly BA MSci PhD (Cantab.) and cannot comprehend Corylus’ complex verbiage! Corylus has after all spent a considerable amount of time on both formal and self education!

  198. SAWells says

    @142: I’ve also seen commentary lately that all the European Union bailout and financial-reform decisions seem to emerge from meetings that went on until 3am; we can hardly be getting the best quality of decision making there either.

  199. says

    Ophelia, Corylus is trying to help you in an area where you clearly need help. She is a good person, and good to have as a resource. Dumping on her only reduces your support.

  200. says

    Thank you for the ‘de haut en bas’ Ophelia.

    That is waaay better that being conflated with an advocate for paedophilia.

    Things are looking up.

    Ha!

    Sorry, Corylus, I’m othering you,

    Thank you for realising this. Really. Not taking the ‘pee-pee’ or ‘fee-fees’ here. Truly. Thank you for realising this.

    … but really – your style is very irritating.

    I am sure that you feel that way. However, please consider the possibility that I might also find your style irritating but am talking to you anyway: whilst making no comment about it.

    I get that it’s meant to be calm and wise and Olympian, but it’s not working that way.

    Nope. I don’t engage this way in order to create a persona. I engage this way because it is this or getting grumpy. I have a temper from hell which I channel by keeping emotional distance. I am perfectly happy for you to have a walk in my skin here – I don’t think we are that different in our instinctive reactions to people :)

    Corylus – listen up – I’m not that stupid.

    Great. Show me you are not. I would really like this.

    I do know about trying to see it from the other point of view. You can stop talking to me as if I’m an idiot and had never conceived of such a thing.

    Great. Show me. Why do you think Dr Hall did this thing? What do you think about when you put yourself in her shoes?

    You can also stop patronizing me.

    See above.

  201. says

    Who are you?

    I didn’t ask Corylus for help.

    I don’t need help in the area where Corylus is (unasked) trying to “help.”

    She may well be a good person. I don’t know her. She’s not being particularly “good” here. She clearly thinks she is, but she’s wrong.

    And who are you, again?

  202. says

    Joe

    Is there a reason why Corylus is lecturing here instead of on TF’s blog, or sending scathingly polite letters to JREF? Funny how the tone lecturing is always directed at the victims of trolls and harassment and such, and never at the perpetrators.

    Dear Muslima …

  203. says

    However, please consider the possibility that I might also find your style irritating but am talking to you anyway: whilst making no comment about it.

    But I didn’t ask you to! I don’t want you to. You seem to think you’re doing me a huge favor. I can’t imagine why you think that.

    You’re beginning to remind me of Lady Catherine de Bourgh – if not Mr Collins.

  204. says

    Sigh. No, Corylus, I’m not going to show you. Stop giving me orders. I talked about why (in my view) HH might have done it, early in the thread.

    Really: stop. Make an argument about the substance if you want, but stop the Mission to the Heathen stuff. Stop telling me what to do. Talk subtance or go away, one or the other.

  205. says

    And it’s not Dear Muslima. That would work only if Rebecca had spent the previous year degrading four or five chosen enemies for hours a day every day. She hadn’t. Joe’s point was not “why not talk about something more important?” but “why not talk to the real shits instead of the object of their deranged loathing?”

  206. says

    SA Wells

    @137: Corylus, did you really think I was complaining your comment was too intellectual and hard to understand? Really? In all honesty? Wow. Funnier and funnier.

    No SA. I was giving you credit for having an functioning brain. Was I wrong to do so? Blimey I hope not.

    I think “I show respect that way” is the funniest part so far, but only because of all the buildup beforehand.

    Nowt wrong with a bit of foreplay :P

  207. SAWells says

    @149: YES! Lady Catherine de Burgh- exactly! It’s that distinctive combination of massive rudeness and total certainty that we’re all hanging on their every word and they’re being very kind by condescending to take note of such lowly creatures as ourselves. In this case, the preaching of empathy and understanding, and the boasting, and the faux-humility, while being an intrusive douchenozzle.

    This latest dance-for-my-amusement routine seems particularly over the top, though.

  208. says

    Right Ophelia… I totally was going to get back and explain to your new chum(choose your preferred meaning) that “Dear Muslima” was about prioritizing one victim over another, while my point was that there’s two sides to this conversation, one side is being bigger jerks than the other and being much more actively aggressive, and Corylus is preaching civility to the more civil party in the exchange.

    And throwing out “Dear Muslima” is sort of a hint of the actual thinking behind the false civility from Corylus, isn’t it?

  209. says

    Ophelia

    Really: stop. Make an argument about the substance if you want, but stop the Mission to the Heathen stuff. Stop telling me what to do. Talk subtance or go away, one or the other.

    OK. I’ll make an argument, and I’ll even say something nice about a FTBlogger while I am at it. I do actually have a measure of sympathy for Amy, in one very specific way.

    Some of you might remember what happened when Anne Marie Waters (of the Council for ex-Muslims) got seriously threatened by some loons when talking at the University of London against Sharia law. Nasty enough for the event to be stopped mid-way and for the police to be called.

    What happened? Talk rescheduled with Anne back and Maryam Namazie along too. Maryam was her boss/friend and had her back in case of any crap. I was there, I saw this and observed the body language between them. I was there because I made a point of attending. This is how I react to threats against people who do not deserve them.

    Here? Nothing similar happening. Girl ended up taking her Mum for company and support.

    I would be so ashamed if I had left a friend/colleague to it like that, and I would be so depressed if I had to even consider dragging my mother into a situation like that. Not that my mother (although lovely) isn’t capable of extreme and calculated violence in defence of her offspring, but that is beside the point. Not that I have to worry, I had lots people to call on in this situation.

    Amy didn’t have that. Poor kid.

  210. says

    Oh FFS, Amy was harassed and bullied, and the blame goes not to the harassers and bullies, but to other potential victims who didn’t go with her? WTF?

  211. jenniferphillips says

    Wow, Corylus is here? The Corylus? An auspicious day indeed!

    Seriously, Corylus. Minus the pomposity, your challenges have already been issued and met by others on this comment thread. If you can (or perhaps you have some available minion(s) to whom you can direct to this task), I really urge you to go back through the abundance of comments on this post and pay attention to what Ophelia has contributed to the conversation, particularly when her comments are responding to Sastra, who is a friend of Harriet’s, a regular at TAM, and an all-around excellent skeptic.

    If you (or the aforementioned minions) complete this research, you will find that, indeed, not only has Ophelia has been offered a glimpse of Harriet’s POV by people who know her and conversed with her on this very topic, but Ophelia has actually responded to this information with more than a little consideration and grace. Thus, your helpful suggestion is redundant, and, I regret to say (speaking only for myself, as a mostly lurker) quite boring. On the other hand, I find your admission that you have a ‘temper from hell’ intriguing. I’d quite like to see that, and it would certainly liven your comments up a bit.

  212. says

    You call that an argument? It’s a sneer combined with a genuine Dear Muslima.

    Maryam’s a friend of mine. Of course the nastiness at TAM is not remotely comparable. What happened at that One Law for All event was part of the subject matter of my talk at QED – where Maryam’s talk the next day brought down the house, and left a lot of people stunned and wondering why they hadn’t known. I wouldn’t dream of doing a talk on the nonsense around TAM. I still get to blog about it.

  213. says

    I do understand what having to deal with trolls is like, and I recognize that doing so tends to whip up the basic human feeling that those who are not with you, are against you. Sometimes that is true but often is not. HH and the T-shirt is such a case. She made a statement of not being ‘with’ a particular group. She did not make a statement that was against any group, but as I wrote above, I understand that a group besieged by trolls might not take time to see it that way. Same thing seems to be writ small, right here, right now.

  214. says

    Oh wait, I missed it – is “I would be so ashamed if I had left a friend/colleague to it like that” meant for me? I should be so ashamed because I left Amy to it by not going to TAM? Is that what you’re saying?

  215. says

    Also, Corylus’ claim is simply not true. Amy was there to support 22 other women who had received grants from her sponsorship program. Are you saying none of those women came and went and hung around the Surlyramics table in between attending the parts of the program that they wanted to see? And that there weren’t also other friends who made a point of being around her? Were you there to see this, Corylus? Or are you relying on assumptions made without knowledge of all the facts?

    Even when the secret harassment response squad descended on Amy, they interrupted a bunch of people who were hanging around with her in order to comfort her in order to do so.

    Her mother may have been the only other person who was sitting behind the Surlyramics table with her, but from her own accounts there’s plenty of evidence that many supportive friends were there, and yet the microagressions of us-vs-them posturing were still relentless background noise that were stressful enough that she decided to leave early.

    If the people who were already there weren’t enough to buffer the distressing effects of being overtly marginalised, what makes Corylus think more people would have made it better?

  216. jenniferphillips says

    You. Rebecca. insert other Femstasi of note. I guess the 22 women there via Amy’s sponsorship don’t count.

  217. says

    Joe

    Oh FFS, Amy was harassed and bullied, and the blame goes not to the harassers and bullies, but to other potential victims who didn’t go with her? WTF?

    Thank you, Joe. Your comment really helps here, as it shows the difference between our viewpoints. I personally don’t see Ophelia as a ‘potential victim’ – how daft I would be to do that! After all, I have see how grumpy she can get:)

    Oh, and you refer to an adult woman as a “kid”…

    Yes, indeed I did. I did this in a calculated fashion too. Infantilization of women is a big problem (incidentally this is why I don’t like the term ‘skepchick’ but nevermind this for the moment).

    This why I do not want to have to wade in to protect other women. This is why I do not want to have to show fury at other women snivelling in public. However, I find myself in this very position because of this issue, and the way it is being currently framed.

  218. jenniferphillips says

    You guyyyyyzzzz! Look what you made Corylus go an do! She didn’t want to have to wade in and/or show fury, but we forced her to with our horrid, horrid obstinance. Fie! For shame!

  219. says

    I blame myself. Clearly I forced Corylus to take the side of the bullies, and make a stand against their “sniveling” targets. Totes my fault y’all.

  220. says

    Well at least now we know where we are. The mission stuff was just a beard, what she really wants to say is the “toughen up” thing.

    I like toughness. I think we should be tough. That does not mean I think it’s just fine for people to talk dishonest smack about us so that we can have an opportunity to be tough.

  221. says

    Shame on you, Improbable Joe! You made Corylus so furious about all the damn snivelling that she appears to have overlooked the fact that Amy wasn’t a poor kid there with just her mother, she was actually an adult conference sponsor there with a team of friends and supporters which just happened to include her mother, and that therefore her own framing of Amy as abandoned by her friends is wrong-wrong-wrongitty-wrong.

  222. says

    Jennifer

    Wow, Corylus is here? The Corylus? An auspicious day indeed!

    Hello Jennifer, an auspicious day for me to see you too :)

    Seriously, Corylus. Minus the pomposity, your challenges have already been issued and met by others on this comment thread.

    I made only one very serious challenge on this thread. I wanted Ophelia to show me how her empathy abilities. I said:

    Why do you think Dr Hall did this thing? What do you think about when you put yourself in her shoes?

    All I got in response was:

    Sigh. No, Corylus, I’m not going to show you. Stop giving me orders. I talked about why (in my view) HH might have done it, early in the thread.

    Not good enough. Shall I accept the wizard of OZ behind the curtain too?

    I want to know Ophelia’s view on why . I want these hypotheses not be about how Dr Hall is just lacking in empathy or intrinsically incapable of being understood. I want to know why she thinks she might have done this. N.B. A variety of possibilities is fine here.

    If you can (or perhaps you have some available minion(s) to whom you can direct to this task), I really urge you to go back through the abundance of comments on this post and pay attention to what Ophelia has contributed to the conversation, particularly when her comments are responding to Sastra, who is a friend of Harriet’s, a regular at TAM, and an all-around excellent skeptic.

    No problem. Thank you for redirecting me to an important area. I have read Sastra’s comments. I liked her straight off and saw her trying to understand what was going on. I have not seen this from Ophelia and this is depressing.

  223. says

    Ophelia

    Oh wait, I missed it – is “I would be so ashamed if I had left a friend/colleague to it like that” meant for me? I should be so ashamed because I left Amy to it by not going to TAM? Is that what you’re saying?

    Yes.

  224. says

    Corylus: Why should Amy have needed or wanted Ophelia there when she was already going with a group of at least 22 people?

  225. says

    Jennifer, Joe and Tigtog.

    You think I was furious above?

    No. I wasn’t.

    I was just depressed because Ophelia has done some sterling work highlighting abuses against women, and is now throwing all of that hard won, hard earned credibility away. Damn. I am almost ready to snivel like Amy at the very sight of it.

    Not quite ready though. I am, after all, Lady Catherine.

    Big girls don’t cry.

  226. says

    Corylus:

    Your want to understand people? You want to crawl into their skin?

    Ed Gein, is that you?

    On a serious note, no, I really don’t want to “crawl into the skins” of virulent misogynists or their enablers, thanks. We don’t need to find out what “makes them tick.” We need to find ways to stymie their assholery.

    Rarely pleasant, but always informative, in my humble experience.

    It’s always the pretentious asshats who use “humble” to refer to themselves. Or xtians. Not that these are mutually exclusive categories.

    P.S. I am familiar with Philip online, and his treatment his treatment on here has been absolutely fucking disgraceful.

    Is Philip your sock?

    However, please consider the possibility that I might also find your style irritating but am talking to you anyway

    You could just leave, you know. I mean, this is Ophelia’s blog, not yours.

    Great. Show me you are not. I would really like this.

    Ophelia has a lot more patience than I do. Because at this point I’d be asking you where the fuck you got off with such a demand and booting your ass out the door.

    Dear Muslima …

    Cargo cult social justice.

    Infantilization of women is a big problem (incidentally this is why I don’t like the term ‘skepchick’ but nevermind this for the moment).

    For fuck’s sake.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reclaimed_word

  227. Stacy says

    Corylus, you’re rude and oblivious. You think you have some superior capacity for empathy? You don’t. In that respect, you’re a victim of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    Take your stilted, pretentious diction and perform an autoerotic activity away from the place at which all other commenters on this blog are presently situated.

  228. says

    So, you’re not furious, you’re just refusing to acknowledge that your Ophelia-shaming scenario is counterfactual. Amy is not a kid, she was not there with just her mother, and a large team of friendlies could not block her seeing continued marginalising microaggressions directed towards her over the TAM weekend.

    Big girls don’t cry.

    What a pile of toxic faux-machismo crap.

  229. Martha says

    Coryolus is more entertaining than Philip, I’ll give her that. But I’m not sure she’s reading the earlier parts of the thread any more carefully. To insist that Ophelia must explain herself again, when she’s already done so at length within the thread is more than a little high-handed.

    And if the comment about Amy’s having been deserted by her supporters is in fact a personal dig at Ophelia, then shame on her!

  230. says

    Daisy

    Ed Gein, is that you?

    Heh! Thanks, Daisy for my first laugh on here tonight. I don’t think you are vile, BTW. I really don’t. You will have to earn this assessment from me.

    On a serious note, no, I really don’t want to “crawl into the skins” of virulent misogynists or their enablers, thanks. We don’t need to find out what “makes them tick.” We need to find ways to stymie their assholery.

    Dammit! This type of thinking is what I have been trying to highlight. Some people are virulent misogynists are some people are not. Even if that were not that case, you cannot “stymie” people if you do not understand them. You think you are above thinking dark thoughts? Think again.

    Is Philip your sock?

    Nope! [Whispers behind hand: I have a verruca I don't want to pass on - don't tell anyone.]

    Ophelia has a lot more patience than I do.

    Wow. Well I suppose it is possible that such a person exists.

    For fuck’s sake.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reclaimed_word

    Bull. Shit. Shall we talk about how n=====r can be reclaimed?

  231. mildlymagnificent says

    Corylus ….

    I am almost ready to snivel like Amy

    is the very same person who said ….

    Spend some time viewing what they say from the viewpoint of them not only thinking that they are right, but them being right.

    Perhaps we’d have been better off with some sound advice on how to clean our satin gloves or instructing the housekeeper on flower arrangements.

  232. julian says

    This why I do not want to have to wade in to protect other women.

    That’s absurd. If someone, anyone, is in a bad place, lacks the coping mechanisms to deal with a confrontation, or is just all around miserable, you help them. Why would you do anything else? Because of some absurd philosophy of yours?

    People’s lives and well being aren’t something you can just play with. You dislike the stereotype of the weak woman so you’re going to prop up another one of the invulnerable bitch? What sense does that make?

  233. says

    Stacy

    Corylus, you’re rude and oblivious.

    These are often mutually exclusive. True rudeness requires the paying of attention.

    You think you have some superior capacity for empathy? You don’t.

    Well, I have shown more than you. I once said to you:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/06/17/update-clarification-correction-on-holy-fucking-shit/#comment-77404

    Oh for dog’s sake! Just imagine yourself publicly discussed in this fashion.

    … and it bounced off without a pause.

    [N.B. Unless I am talking to a different Stacy here, in which case I apologise.]

    Take your stilted, pretentious diction and perform an autoerotic activity away from the place at which all other commenters on this blog are presently situated.

    Dude. You want to lecture ME on stilted diction?

    Sigh, I am getting distracted away from my main point here, which is that emotional flailing really isn’t helping.

  234. felixBC says

    “Lady Catherine seemed quite astonished at not receiving a direct answer; and Elizabeth suspected herself to be the first creature who had ever dared to trifle with so much dignified impertinence.”

  235. julian says

    Bull. Shit. Shall we talk about how n=====r can be reclaimed?

    It can be. Like queer or bitch in some groups. Besides, nigger has been reclaimed to some extent (although it’s still problematic)

    Big girls don’t cry.

    Everyone cries.

  236. islandstrust says

    “Obstinate, headstrong girl! I am ashamed of you! Is this your gratitude for my attentions to you last spring? Is nothing due to me on that score? Let us sit down. You are to understand, Miss Benson, that I came here with the determined resolution of carrying my purpose; nor will I be dissuaded from it. I have not been used to submit to any person’s whims. I have not been in the habit of brooking disappointment.”

  237. islandstrust says

    “I take no leave of you, Miss Benson. I send no compliments to your mother. You deserve no such attention. I am most seriously displeased.”

    I think Lady Catherine did stick the flounce.

  238. says

    Mildly

    Corylus ….

    I am almost ready to snivel like Amy

    is the very same person who said ….

    Spend some time viewing what they say from the viewpoint of them not only thinking that they are right, but them being right.

    Perhaps we’d have been better off with some sound advice on how to clean our satin gloves or instructing the housekeeper on flower arrangements.

    Comprehending and condoning are not always the same thing.

  239. Martha says

    Thanks, Tigtog, I missed that. I was pretty sure that’s what Coryolus meant and was appalled by the very idea, but I see I had no need to give her the chance to say that she wasn’t behaving as badly as I thought.

    Is there a computer program that could analyze the comments on these threads and give us the probability that two apparently different posters are one and the same? It would be an interesting experiment.

  240. says

    Julian

    Bull. Shit. Shall we talk about how n=====r can be reclaimed?

    It can be. Like queer or bitch in some groups. Besides, nigger has been reclaimed to some extent (although it’s still problematic)

    I worry about this reclamation argument myself, I never want spend time with the type of people doing the reclaiming. N=====r this, my n=====r that. It all seems rather sad and desperate to to me.

    Big girls don’t cry.

    Everyone cries.

    Now here I am willing to accept a correction. This happens.

    Yes indeed everybody cries (barring certain medical conditions that effect tear ducts). They cry for a variety of reasons: onions; pique; stress; pain; worry; fury; humiliation; a cold wind in the face; laughter, and grief (to name but some of the many causes).

    What big girls (and boys) don’t do is cry in public when they are meant to be showing an example. This is not about constructing a “pile of toxic faux-machismo crap” (Tigtog). This is about controlling yourself when situations demand it.

  241. Stacy says

    True rudeness requires the paying of attention

    What a ridiculous thing to say. No, it doesn’t. Somebody could flip you off without listening to a word you said. That would be rude.

    As for obliviousness, here’s an example:

    Take your stilted, pretentious diction and perform an autoerotic activity away from the place at which all other commenters on this blog are presently situated.

    Dude. You want to lecture ME on stilted diction

    Um, that’s a parody. Of your writing style.

  242. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Corylus:

    I am almost ready to snivel like Amy

    This says to me that you are an empathy deficient bag of crap. I’ve been watching you lecture and condescend to Ophelia on her own blog for at least fifteen minutes now.

    You talk about Amy ‘snivelling’ (Is this another ‘calculated’ case of you using infantilizing and condescending language to ‘show what a problem it is for feminism’ or something? Because to me it just looks like infantilizing and condescending language, period.)

    I can’t help but note your own snivelling about not being given the respect you think you deserve.

  243. says

    What big girls (and boys) don’t do is cry in public when they are meant to be showing an example. This is not about constructing a “pile of toxic faux-machismo crap” (Tigtog). This is about controlling yourself when situations demand it.

    Amy describes crying only twice at TAM, and both occasions were in the speaker’s lounge, not out in the public area.

    So unless you actually know that she was crying “in public”, then how about you retract your inaccuracies here? Isn’t going into the reserved speakers lounge to cry away from public eyes exactly what you just said was the correct course of action?

    Also, another inaccuracy of yours which has been pointed out multiple times now: since she wasn’t there just with her mother like you claimed, abandoned by other friends/colleagues like you claimed, but did in fact have quite a large body of friends/colleagues/supporters keeping their eyes out on her behalf, how about you withdraw you attempted Ophelia-shaming (which you confirmed as your intent in #172)?

  244. says

    Julian

    Sorry – missed your comment 183

    This why I do not want to have to wade in to protect other women.

    That’s absurd. If someone, anyone, is in a bad place, lacks the coping mechanisms to deal with a confrontation, or is just all around miserable, you help them. Why would you do anything else? Because of some absurd philosophy of yours?

    I was talking about infantilisation above.

    To made it even clearer than I thought I would have to. I don’t want to have to wade in to protect other women, just because they are women

    People’s lives and well being aren’t something you can just play with.

    Here we agree completely. (This is me being very, very serious again).

    Do you think Harriet (I don’t use her first name to be disrespectful here, but as a deliberate empathy increasing strategy) is enjoying this?

    She wore a T-Shirt with a series of factual statements on it. For this she is being painted as someone who it is impossible to understand, someone who made someone needlessly cry, someone who throws out personal attacks with abandon etc. etc.

    She had the temerity to disagree, and moreover to do so publicly.

    Shame on her.

    Shame. Shame. Shame.

    You dislike the stereotype of the weak woman so you’re going to prop up another one of the invulnerable bitch? What sense does that make?

    Goodness me. Did you just call me a bitch? I do hope not.

  245. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    This is not about constructing a “pile of toxic faux-machismo crap” (Tigtog). This is about controlling yourself when situations demand it.

    And yet you still keep spewing your… what’s a word for the opposite of ‘insight’ again?

  246. says

    Oh the agony – Corylus you’re wasting your talents, and throwing away your credibility, on this futile project of trying to get me to do what you tell me to do. It’s not going to happen! And the more you try, the less inclined I become to think you have even the ghost of a point somewhere under all the posturing and bossing and harrumphing.

    And that business of trying to shame me for not going to TAM to – protect? talk to? defend the honor of? – Amy – my god what a stupid presumptuous intrusive pig-ignorant unempathetic thing to say. Who the fuck do you think you are? What the fuck makes you think you know enough to make that judgement? What on earth makes you think it’s any of your god damn business?

    You need to piss off now. Really.

  247. julian says

    I worry about this reclamation argument myself, I never want spend time with the type of people doing the reclaiming. N=====r this, my n=====r that. It all seems rather sad and desperate to to me.

    Desperate how? Some people just talk like that.

    This is about controlling yourself when situations demand it.

    But what does that have to do with this situation? TAM is meant to be an open and friendly place for skeptics, isn’t it?

    So why shouldn’t she be open there of all places? Because the other skeptics will wrongly assume she’s frail and unable to look after herself?

  248. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    You dislike the stereotype of the weak woman so you’re going to prop up another one of the invulnerable bitch? What sense does that make?

    Goodness me. Did you just call me a bitch? I do hope not.

    You’re an idiot, but you’re not this big of an idiot. I refuse to believe this ‘failure of reading comprehension’ of yours is in any way honest. But just in case- No, you weren’t being called ‘a bitch’. We avoid such language even when arguing with an insufferable moron such as yourself.

    It was an attempt to point out that the ‘Invulnerable Bitch’ stereotype is just as bad as the ‘Weak Woman’ stereotype. Completely wasted on you, I might add.

  249. julian says

    Do you think Harriet (I don’t use her first name to be disrespectful here, but as a deliberate empathy increasing strategy) is enjoying this?

    I don’t know and have no desire to pry or speculate. If she is meh. If she isn’t meh. Her feelings on all this really don’t matter much to me. She wore a T-shirt, it was one in a long line of bs Amy dealt with, Amy left TAM early. I don’t fault the T-shirt or Harriet Hall for that. They alone didn’t do it or cause it.

    Goodness me. Did you just call me a bitch? I do hope not.

    No.

  250. says

    I confess to experiencing a mildly bemused frisson as I await the presentation of Corylus’ next set of goalposts.

  251. julian says

    So apparently the only valid emotions according to Corylus are hate and contempt. Weird, but I guess that’s how “skeptics” roll.

    I doubt those are the only emotions she sees as valid. Bit unfair to say so.

  252. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Do you think Harriet (I don’t use her first name to be disrespectful here, but as a deliberate empathy increasing strategy) is enjoying this?

    Damn I forgot this one…

    That’s right… Harriet Hall deserves ALL the empathy in the world.

    But Surly Amy is just ‘snivelling’.

    You’re a real piece of work, you know that?

  253. says

    I doubt those are the only emotions she sees as valid. Bit unfair to say so.

    You’re right, I forgot “joy at hurting other people” in the list.

  254. says

    Julian

    I worry about this reclamation argument myself, I never want spend time with the type of people doing the reclaiming. N=====r this, my n=====r that. It all seems rather sad and desperate to to me.

    Desperate how? Some people just talk like that.

    Yes, people do sometimes talk like that. I personally don’t like it any more than I like people “reclaiming” the work cunt. On this Ophelia and I agree, and continue, to agree. If you don’t think language like this is an issue then you should take this issue with her.

    This is about controlling yourself when situations demand it.

    But what does that have to do with this situation? TAM is meant to be an open and friendly place for skeptics, isn’t it?

    Yes, yes, yes! It is. You get it.

    So why shouldn’t she be open there of all places? Because the other skeptics will wrongly assume she’s frail and unable to look after herself?

    Other skeptics though are assuming that she’s frail and unable of looking after herself because she is making comments that show this very thing.

    I told her, through tears …

    If a friend of mine send me an email like that I would never consider publishing it without talking to my friend first (yet another way in which I find myself sympathising with Amy) about what level of ridicule she might attract in response.

  255. Stacy says

    I refuse to believe this ‘failure of reading comprehension’ of yours is in any way honest.

    I encountered her on Greta Christina’s Blog. I had trouble believing her abysmal reading comprehension was for real myself, at first, but I think it must be. Either that or she’s a genius at parody on a par with Stephen Colbert, and is wasting her talents here. Like Colbert, she never breaks character.

    I told her several times on a comment thread on that blog that she needed to read more carefully (I was being civil, as per GC’s rules). She responded by addressing my comment–and attributing it to Stephanie Zvan.

    True story.

  256. says

    If a friend of mine send me an email like that I would never consider publishing it without talking to my friend first (yet another way in which I find myself sympathising with Amy) about what level of ridicule she might attract in response.

    That is yet another disgusting thing to say, on about eight different levels.

    You’re done here for tonight.

  257. julian says

    Other skeptics though are assuming that she’s frail and unable of looking after herself because she is making comments that show this very thing.

    No, she isn’t. But it’s whatever at this point and I doubt Amy’s past history and activities are going to change anyone’s mind. They’ve already dismissed the whole scholarship thing and the other work she’s done.

  258. says

    So that’s a third inaccuracy*, Corylus. Ophelia’s comment quoting Amy’s account opens with this sentence:

    Amy’s given me permission to quote her, so here’s her account of what all that was like:

    Any chance, at all, of you retracting these three misrepresentations you’ve relied on for your arguments? Since you’ve yet to acknowledge or retract your other two inaccuracies, I’m not overly optimistic here, but I’m always ready for a pleasant surprise.

    *Yes, I know at this point that I’m being overly generous by continuing to use the i word.

  259. says

    Ophelia #209, I think you’ve shown great restraint in not giving Corylus the boot until now. I wouldn’t be giving her another chance tomorrow if our situations were reversed, so kudos for being the stronger character here.

  260. says

    Well, Corylus’ contributions to that thread definitely throw further light on the value of her measured advice.

  261. says

    It is a victory for the trolls when they can cause the reactivity of an entire community of bloggers to reach a point where even polite disagreement can’t be tolerated. The result is that quality drops and the community collapses.

  262. says

    Where exactly in that pile of strawmen and shifted goalposts that traduced both Amy’s and Ophelia’s characters was Corylus being “polite”?

    It takes more than merely eschewing obscenities/blasphemies/insults in one’s communication to be “polite”.

  263. Tym says

    This is what we spend our time on now?

    The shirt was in bad taste, largely misunderstood, or out right designed to offend. A shirt reading “screw your Jesus” or “Mohammed was a pedophile” would have been common place, or at least laughed at and possibly got a “maybe that’s a little excessive”.

    You can all assume you know what HH’s intentions were, you can all read between the lines of text printed on the shirt. But spending this much time and effort on a shirt of which the intentions are not known, looks to me like petty bickering.

    Maybe HH just doesn’t want to be called a skepchick. Maybe she’s tired of the male female distinction. Maybe she thinks it would be better if there was no in-groups. Whatever her reason, you cannot infer malice and have a leg to stand on. As skeptics we should know this and reserve our contempt for the person till such a time we actually have reason to hold it.

  264. says

    Who’s making a big deal? The shirt became a major issue instead of a one-off post because of all the people who decided to make fun of Amy for being offended.

  265. says

    Tym @ 219 making shit up,

    Maybe HH just doesn’t want to be called a skepchick.

    No danger of that happening, pal. She wouldn’t have had to put that wish on a shirt, either.

    But spending this much time and effort on a shirt of which the intentions are not known, looks to me like petty bickering.

    The intentions seem fairly obvious to anyone not completely stupid after wearing the same shirt for 3 days in a row despite knowing from the reaction on the net that its message was upsetting to at least one conference attendee.

    Maybe she’s tired of the male female distinction.

    What are you, a failed geologist ?

    Maybe she thinks it would be better if there was no in-groups.

    And maybe she was just hellbent on upsetting Surly Amy and anyone sympathetic to the skepchicks at TAM, regardless of your ludicrous post hoc rationalizations.

    This is what we spend our time on now?

    Spake Tym the concern troll who just spent his time on this.

  266. islandstrust says

    Is there a computer program that could analyze the comments on these threads and give us the probability that two apparently different posters are one and the same? It would be an interesting experiment.

    This came just after my logins borked. FelixBC=Islandstrust, but I’m never sure which one will come up on different FTB blogs. Apologies.

  267. Gen, Uppity Ingrate says

    In pursuing this discussion through various threads and blogs, one thing that really struck me (and which I haven’t seen directly addressed yet, though I might just have missed it) is how big a deal people are making about Amy’s crying.

    So, she cried! In the face of a terribly stressful situation and a continuing campaign of harassment, she showed emotion. My word. People are really going to town with that little titbit! As if that’s the greatest scandal and personality flaw combination EVAR!

    Someone who is a skeptic, rationalist atheist cried! The horror! The shame!

    It’s completely ridiculous beyond measure.

    Why should the very mention of the fact, for example, lead one to expect strenuous ridicule as posited in comment 207 here? Not to mention all the posts I’ve read that decried Amy’s rationalism based on the sole fact that she has emotions and dared to show and share them.

    To me, this looks suspiciously like “bitchez be hysterical”.

  268. Philip says

    To paraphrase Corylus, your treatment of people who disagree with you is fucking disgraceful.

    *Waits 5 mins for VICTIM sneering to die down*

    I made an honest apology for what I did wrong, I made a mistake, I admitted it, it was due to ignorance on my part for not knowing what a killfile is.

    This is what i get:

    Markita Lynda—damn climate change! says:
    July 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    You mean Philip didn’t understand that killfile is a blog reading tool? And obviously didn’t notice that it has a “show comment” option for me to read his drivel if they really want to? It just saves me having to scroll down over the maunderings of commenters who have demonstrated that they are not worth reading because they are dishonest and wilfully misinterpreting and hostile.

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    Fucking hell, are you a 13 year old gamer? I post an honest apology and all I get is the OMFG YOU NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOB! equivalent of a put down! :D

    Willfully misinterpreting and hostile?

    Act1, Scene 1
    Enter Pot stage left

    Pot: Forsooth Kettle, verily do I name thee black!

    Will you PLEASE look at yourselves before even daring to accuse people like me of willful misinterpretation and hostility!

    What the hell do you think you have been doing with Corylus when she turned up?

    I turn up, I question why this situation has gotten so out of hand – yes the situation and I was referring to people, not just women, when I made the accusation that the reaction was hysterical.

    But – what I have said above is not going to help is it? I felt it needed to be said cos, well, everyone suffers from SIWOTI from time to time, I’m no exception.

    So why did I comment here in the first place?

    Dr Hall made a challenge to something she deems worthy of addressing, she felt it so important she wore a T Shirt expressing the opinion contrary to that of the FtB/Skepchick community.

    I fully admit it was provocative, it was purely intentional.

    Surly Amy was offended and hurt by these remarks and now, after adding more to the original story, we know she was driven to tears over it and other things.

    What happened afterwards was even more ridiculous – the Harassment Swat Team moves in and exacerbates the situation and Amy does have my sympathy for that as I’m sure it was highly embarrassing to say the least.

    Two things I do not agree with here – other people’s outrage over this and the reasons for the over the top reaction by the Harassment Swat team.

    I said it is just a T-Shirt and I meant just that. Dr Hall was standing up for herself – she is obviously an assertive, strong minded woman who wants to be independent from the FtB/Skepchick viewpoint on the furor over harassment.

    Well so what? Are you FtB/Skepchicks really that easy to be provoked? Seems so.

    THAT is what point I was making – it has bugger all to do with sexism – it is the reaction to a T-Shirt NOT that I think Amy is pathetic and weak because she is female.

    The other thing is – I think this very much stems from Elevatorgate and the year long argument that has been raging over the Internet. I think it has got completely out of hand. To the point where now you have the Harassment SWAT and Surveillance Team making people’s lives a misery – that is also the hysteria I was referring to.

    It has nothing to do with sexism, that is not why I am saying these things. Sexism is something that I find abhorrent to the core, the mistreatment of women in society is abundant, it is disgraceful and it stops women from being equal. Women are objectified, sexualised and marginalised even now in the 21st century. The day I support it is going to be a dark day.

    My whole point is – the situation that has arisen from the sexism debate had got out of hand, it is getting hysterical – Thunderf00t and Pz are at verbal war at the moment, I understand when I say the names Richard Dawkins and Paula Kirby that a fair few of you bristle with annoyance, Dr Hall is busy wearing provocative T-Shirts pissing you all off.

    Its not getting us anywhere.

  269. says

    Thunderf00t and Pz are at verbal war at the moment

    This is demonstrably incorrect, PZ has declared a million times that he is done with TF, it’s only the butthurt not-quite-bannee who is dragging this out and is digging his hole ever deeper.

    Its not getting us anywhere.

    Actually, it is. This “us” you speak of may just not include you.

  270. julian says

    Why should PZ befriend Tf00t? The guy deliberately triggers and demeans several of PZ’s friends. Why would anyone want to befriend someone like that?

    I hate atheists/skeptics. Constantly telling people to befriend people who are abusive, cruel and sadistic towards them just to maintain some pretense of civility and community spirit. What a joke this whole community is.

  271. Philip says

    Pz and Thunderf00t were good friends before this happened, that is all I was saying, this nonsense has driven them apart.

    rorschach

    Sorry, are you claiming superiority here?

  272. Moderatating voice says

    Get a fucking grip. Its a *very* mildly critical t-shirt slogan – nothing to start crying over. Congratulations on damaging the credibility of the atheist movement with your bullshit.

  273. says

    are you claiming superiority here?

    Huh ? No, I’m just referring to the fact that you wrote “us”, when I’m not aware that I currently share any values or convictions with you, dear internet person I know nothing about. There is however a large bunch of people who are currently making a dent and whose values I do share. Hence my referring to you as potentially not part of the group I consider “us”.

  274. Silentbob says

    @ 224 Philip

    Women are objectified, sexualised and marginalised even now in the 21st century. The day I support it is going to be a dark day.

    Is that what that is? I thought maybe there was an eclipse.

    P.S. Sorry, Philip. Sometimes I can’t resist being a smartarse. But I think the truth is we all support it. It’s just that for most of us, it’s not conscious or intentional.

  275. Philip says

    Rorschach

    Actually,I’ve seen your posts on Pharyngula (You are that Rorschach right?) and I am very impressed with your ability to cut through bullshit, I don’t think there have been many subjects that I have not agreed with you on.

    Sure, I know next to nothing about you dear Internet person and I’m not claiming you or other people here are all bacon eating buddies of mine, I’d hate to come across as that presumptuous and place you in any particular box.

    But, the “us” I’m referring to are simply those who, on the Internet have been involved on a forum basis concerning discussions on atheism, reason, bacon, rationality, sexism, AiG’s nonsense etc

    Does that make any sense?

  276. says

    Quoth Philip:

    What the hell do you think you have been doing with Corylus when she turned up?

    Can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I’ve been pointing out 3 separate counterfactual claims made by Corylus, and asking her to show some intellectual honesty by retracting them, seeing as she has used each of them as a basis for some nasty accusations.

    I realise that she’s still in moderation until Ophelia’s back on deck, but she had several opportunities to acknowledge her inaccuracies before that happened, and she chose to not do so.

    There’s a few other aspects of Corylus’ interactions here which have negatively impressed me, but those are more subjective and thus more difficult to debate. The 3 I’ve mentioned upthread are demonstrably false claims about what actually happened. So what do you think Corylus should do with regard to having made 3 false claims, if she’s the all-that-and-a-bag-of-chips that you hold up as an exemplar for the rest of us?

  277. Philip says

    Speaking from personal opinion, I have known Corylus for going on 7 years now, so probably am biased but she is one of the most honest and straight-forward people I know

    3 false claims?

    Gosh.

    Such a troll, she really is!

    I’ve counted a fair few just on this thread from other people about me so do we moderate them too?

    I’ve been accused of being dishonest, sexist, a bully, male-normal (Which conveniently has two meanings)I’ve apparently demanded people who disagree with me to “sit down and shut up”, I’m prejudiced and Privileged (Richard Dawkins style I presume?)

  278. Bernard Bumner says

    Its not getting us anywhere.

    Poor Philip, caught like a child between warring parents. Why can’t they just try to make a go of it, for the sake of the children?

    (Possibly because one of them is an abusive, borderline sociopath who cares more for winning arguments than doing the right thing?)

  279. Jack Butler says

    What a load of bollocks.

    The massive overreaction to what is basically one person saying “Please do not label me and lump me in with you, because I don’t agree with you” is as silly as it is stupid.

    This isn’t about sexism, or “being threatened”, this is about one person calling bullshit on another person, and that second person getting her wittle feelings bruised because someone dared call bullshit on her.

    Boo fucking who.

  280. Philip says

    :D Thanks Bernard!

    Yes, why can’t PZ and Thunderf00t just hug, a few tears and a manly pat on the back, it would be so fluffy!

    My point still stands, good people have really fallen out over this nonsense and has really impeded any progress that was being made by the atheist/rationalist/[Insert name for community of people who stand up to nonsense]

  281. The Pint says

    In pursuing this discussion through various threads and blogs, one thing that really struck me (and which I haven’t seen directly addressed yet, though I might just have missed it) is how big a deal people are making about Amy’s crying.

    So, she cried! In the face of a terribly stressful situation and a continuing campaign of harassment, she showed emotion. My word. People are really going to town with that little titbit! As if that’s the greatest scandal and personality flaw combination EVAR!

    Someone who is a skeptic, rationalist atheist cried! The horror! The shame!

    ^^THIS!! Apparently women aren’t ever allowed to cry or show emotion to completely understandable stressors because *gaspshockhorror* doing so just proves that we’re a bunch of spineless, delicate flowers who overreact to EVERYTHING. Nevermind Amy’s worked hard to support TAM – her efforts resulted in 22 women being able to afford attending the conference, for fuck’s sake – and that she had to deal with being treated like shit by other people for her trouble. Feeling attacked by the deliberate phrasing on Hall’s t-shirt (regardless of whether or not that’s what Hall meant because INTENT ISN’T FUCKING MAGIC), coupled with all the other stressors Amy’s been subjected to, and being upset about it is a completely reasonable response. DAMN IT, IT’S OK FOR WOMEN TO CRY AND BE UPSET IN PUBLIC, and we shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not we’re going to get judged for doing so.

    And for crying out loud, could all you assholes sneering about how stupid it is for Amy to have been upset over the t-shirt (not to mention how it’s been a topic for discussion in this thread) do yourselves a fucking favor and read the comments here before opening your yaps and barfing up your idiocy? Your points have been answered, explained and refuted over the course of nearly 800 comments thus far.

  282. says

    You know what’s even more ridiculous about “getting upset over a T-shirt”? Following the person and her supporters around on the Internet telling them how ridiculous it is to “get upset over a T-shirt.” Who appointed any of you the Emotion Police, that you get to determine what are and aren’t valid expressions of feelings? How narcissistic are you folks?

    … well, we know there’s a bunch of libertarians over at JREF, and that explains the narcissism.

  283. Bernard Bumner says

    Philip:

    My point still stands, good people have really fallen out over this nonsense…

    We really can only judge people by the quality of their actions; you’re only as good as your behaviour marks you out to be.

    Many people have taken this opportunity to state (or reiterate and make explicit) that there are principles that they won’t compromise for the sake of political alliance. For those people, this is not nonsense, but an issue that is sorely in need of address and redress. They aren’t simply being reactive, but are choosing to fight for a cause that they genuinely believe to be critically important. (And it seems that their opposition thinks so too, given the effort they have expended to pretend that such matters are trivial.)

    That seems to be fair enough.

    I agree with them; lance the boil.

  284. The Pint says

    My point still stands, good people have really fallen out over this nonsense and has really impeded any progress that was being made by the atheist/rationalist/[Insert name for community of people who stand up to nonsense]

    It’s easy for you to label arguing over rooting out sexism and misogyny among skeptics and being upset about how much pushback there has been for even mentioning that it exists at all among skeptics as “nonsense” when you’re not the one who’s bearing most of the consequences of said sexism and misogyny, isn’t it? Jebus fucking christ, would you pull your head out of that privileged man-bubble of yours and just think for once? This is an intellectual exercise over “nonsense” to you, but for many women here, it’s our entire fucking lives because we have to deal with this shit on both microaggression and blatant attack levels every. single. day. We’re soaked in it and for once we’d just like to wash the stink of it off without having someone tell us we’re making too big a deal out of wanting to not smell like shit.

  285. Philip says

    The Pint

    I don’t think I could have been clearer earlier in my post about what I feel and think about the mistreatment of women.

    Further more, don’t assume I don’t know what it is like, I’ve been there too.

    I repeat, again, I do not think I am better than you.

    My gender means fuck all to me – I have no more privilege than you do.

  286. The Pint says

    <My gender means fuck all to me – I have no more privilege than you do.

    And that right there illustrates that you’re really not getting it at all.

  287. ildi says

    My gender means fuck all to me – I have no more privilege than you do.

    There goes another irony meter! Lucky I buy in bulk.

  288. The Pint says

    @ ildi – I almost hesitate to ask how many you’ve lost in this thread alone…

  289. Bernard Bumner says

    My gender means fuck all to me – I have no more privilege than you do.

    Privilege is granted, not asked for. Your gender may be an irrelevence to you, but it certainly isn’t for society at large.

    It is the insidious, systematic advantages that the average male simply receives at a cost to the average female, whether he may wish to have them or not.

    Renouncing your privilege is an empty gesture, you also have to work to improve the lot of the disadvantaged.

  290. Philip says

    Huh?

    How many more times do I have to repeat that “I do not support the harassment of women, the objectification of women, the mistreatment of women or anything else that makes them of less worth than men” without having it shoved down my throat that I am a sexist bastard male whose privilege knows no bounds.

    I’ve never said otherwise – I’ve argued that the situation is out of hand and that it needs a better approach than we have going at the moment.

    What precisely am I not getting?

  291. Philip says

    Renouncing your privilege is an empty gesture, you also have to work to improve the lot of the disadvantaged.

    This.

    This is why I am fighting a pointless battle.

    No matter what I say I’m fucked.

    Great

    Excellent discussion tactic.

  292. says

    Philip – could you please go away?

    This conversation isn’t about you. There is no “you” as far as anyone here is concerned – you’re just a random commenter with the handle “Philip.” We don’t know you. Nothing bad has happened to you because the “you” you present here is too insubstantial to be harmed. You’re just taking up oxygen talking about yourself. That’s not an interesting subject. Please stop.

  293. dianne says

    No matter what I say I’m fucked.

    Maybe you should try saying something that didn’t reek of outraged privilege once in a while. Or, even better, listening first instead of jumping in to mansplain right away.

  294. says

    No matter what I say I’m fucked.

    Maybe try shutting up and listening for a change then? Might be worth a try – clearly, your current strategy isn’t working out for you.

  295. The Pint says

    No matter what I say I’m fucked.

    Well that’s certainly an easy way out of having to actually think about how varying forms of privilege affect your outlook and circumstances in life.

    Having privilege =/= having everything you say dismissed simply because you have it.

    Having privilege = admitting that you have it, and taking the initiative to examine how it’s affected your perspective, which might lead to you having to admit to some very unpleasant realities about how you’re coming off in these sorts of discussions, *especially* when denying that institutionalized privilege has affected you at all. And realizing that you have a responsibility to empathize with and wherever possible assist those who have not shared in those same benefits, even if it’s something as simple as refraining from using sexist, male-normative language in your everyday speech, or something as big as volunteering with organizations that lobby vigorously for more equality – being an ally doesn’t have to be about grand gestures, sometimes making small but important changes in your personal behavior can be a great instrument of change. That is, of course, if you’d like to be as good of a human being in action as much as you seem to think you are.

    I have privilege – I grew up in an upper-middle class environment, benefited from a stellar formal education and was extraordinarily lucky that I had parents who had the ability and foresight to ensure that their children would be adequately provided for should anything ever happen to them, which it did. I attended good colleges, got a degree and all without incurring any student debt. I’m able-bodied, neurotypical, am cis-gendered and straight.

    I am also a woman, an ethnic minority, atheist, childfree by choice, and many other number of things that aren’t considered “mainstream” or “normal” by the culture at large.

    All these things intersect in varying ways so that I experience different forms of societal oppression and benefits on multiple levels. And it’s MY responsibility to keep in mind that however I’ve benefited from whatever privileges I have, I need to remember that not everyone has shared in them and I’ve got to listen to those who have not, because they’re going to understand the absence of privilege on a level that I simply can’t.

  296. The Pint says

    And, if one is called out on having displayed ignorance that could be attributable to some form of privilege, it’s generally a good idea to step back, LISTEN to what’s being said, do some research, THINK about it, and then come back.

  297. Bernard Bumner says

    No matter what I say I’m fucked.

    If all you have are words, and at that words which run roughshod over experience and hardship, then yes. Yes you are.

    I can also say a lot of pretty things which don’t make the world a better place. I can say that I understand, and that I have an authentic insight, but tht won’t make it true. Or I can listen to the problems and solutions as described by those on the receiving end, and then try to do what they suggest.

    When you read a story of victimisation and your instinct is to spend a lot of time arguing that the victim’s reaction was insufficient or inappropriate, then you’ve chosen the wrong target for criticism.

    I’ll leave it at that, because Ophelia clearly wants to return to the original topic, and rightly so.

  298. SAWells says

    In the hope of a teachable moment here: one of the big sticking points for gender equality is the tendency of people to think, as Philips says he does, that because they believe in gender equality, they do not have gender privilege, and all they have to do to further the cause of feminism is to do nothing and just be their lovely egalitarian selves.

    It does not work like that. If you stop at being “not consciously sexist” all you’re doing is leaving a space for social and cultural assumptions, unconscious biases, and stereotypes to come out to play. Consider the case of Philip, who is deeply outraged at not being taken as seriously as he thinks he deserves, while dismissing Amy’s feelings as hysterical over-reaction. Stereotype: women get upset over every little thing and their emotions are not really worth considering, whereas if a man gets upset it must be terribly important.

  299. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    Good grief, how many times do we have to go through this?

    If you think the t-shirt was an isolated incident and there is no other significant history to the story then you have missed more than a few extremely important points; with that in mind, do not expect that a comment along the lines of ‘but it was just a t-shirt!’ to lead to anything else but a complete comment beat-down from people who are very, very sick of ignorant people weighing in on something they know far too little about.

  300. Tym says

    @rorschack oh you’re one of those people. Someone who calls themself a skeptic but lacks everything it takes to be one. Just keep building your straw men and burning them down.

    Do you ever think sometimes you just do this to cause you enjoy being an asshat?

  301. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    Tym wrote:

    oh you’re one of those people. Someone who calls themself a skeptic but lacks everything it takes to be one.

    Uh, what? Can you please highlight the sentence or sentences in Rorschach’s comment that prompted you to make that massive leap?

  302. says

    Right where was I? Time to see if I am moderated or banned …

    I have deliberately left off responding until I was sure Ophelia would be up, as I did not want to be accused of being an “overnight troll”. I was up late last night and am still tired, but I like people to be around to deal with issues with me directly one-on-one.

    N.B Can I suggest a checking of time-zone privilege might be in order? Just another bit of free advice in there for you Ophelia – I know you love that.

    I replied to Ophelia’s 197 comment last night, but it did not make it through moderation. I presume she read what I said in response, so I will not repost unless she requests that I do so. Hopefully her language will be less foul tonight.

  303. says

    Laughing Coyote (199)

    You’re an idiot, but you’re not this big of an idiot. I refuse to believe this ‘failure of reading comprehension’ of yours is in any way honest.

    Hmm, well I must admit that my comment was of the humorous variety. Although I was using this seriously as well, in order to point out how pervasive strawmanning and word-twisting is on here.

    No, you weren’t being called ‘a bitch’. We avoid such language even when arguing with an insufferable moron such as yourself.

    But you are not avoiding it are you? Now you may not use the term as referring directly to me, in fact you may have reasons for avoiding doing so that I will go into in a moment, but you ARE using the term.

    I have noticed that criticism is often met with the phrases like how ‘the bitches aint shit – this is what you mean, amrite?!’ or variants of the above. I don’t like this, as this cannot be managed without shrapnel. Let me explain.

    What do terms like this do? Well with the person being directly hit with it is a nasty attack for a start. Often an attack from a complete stranger as well. What does it do to the people simply reading though? Well, as with most profanity, it bashes at the lizard brain – priming you for combat. With many readers (the female ones) it may also bring back memories of being referred to in that fashion. They may find themselves superimposing the face of a real life person onto the person chatting online, and it probably will not be a pleasant face at that.

    I appreciate you (and others) not calling me a bitch although you must forgive me if I suspect that this is merely due to your not wanting that real life person’s face sitting over your own name rather than any care for my feelings.

    My point here is that the term ‘bitch’ might be better avoided in toto.

    A thought.

    It was an attempt to point out that the ‘Invulnerable Bitch’ stereotype is just as bad as the ‘Weak Woman’ stereotype. Completely wasted on you, I might add.

    Please consider the possibility that I understand stereotyping issues rather better than you have given me credit for.

  304. says

    Joe 200 and Daisy 201. Strawman white noise.
    -=-=-=-

    Julian 202.

    I don’t know and have no desire to pry or speculate. If she is meh. If she isn’t meh. Her feelings on all this really don’t matter much to me.

    Now this is an example of the empathy shut off that I have been talking about.

    I have spent some time online and whenever I comment on articles/debate/events I always try to do so with the assumption that the person I am commenting about is reading what I say. Doesn’t stop me being insulting at times (I can get cross just like everyone else and I might want an insult read!), but it does stop me saying certain type of things. Like the above.

    Oh, and as above, yes I know you were not calling me a bitch. That’s appreciated – as is your comment 204.

  305. says

    Laughing Coyote 205 and Joe 206. Strawman white noise.

    -=-=-=-=-

    Stacy 208

    Thank you for confirming you are the same Stacy, and yes I did indeed once get you and Stephanie mixed up. Something that I corrected and apologised for. I had, as here, quite a few responses to deal with. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

  306. says

    Ophelia 209.

    Yep, I accused you of not having a friend’s back, and no it is not nice – I would not go as far as “disgusting” though.

    I agree it is not nice in that I have a very strong sense of loyalty myself. I am loyal enough to tell my friends when they are being idiots – they do the same for me with no hard feelings all round.

    It might be that you don’t have this type of relationship with your friends, however, that’s your concern.

    -=-=-=-

    Julian 210. We are going to have to agree to disagree on that one.

  307. says

    Tig Tog 211.

    Apologies for not directly responding – you confused me by using the term counterfactual in a different manner than I am used to. In terms of inaccuracies, I have had a look at your comments and think I know what you mean, but if there is any I am missing anything do say. Back to your comment way back:

    Also, Corylus’ claim is simply not true. Amy was there to support 22 other women who had received grants from her sponsorship program. Are you saying none of those women came and went and hung around the Surlyramics table in between attending the parts of the program that they wanted to see? And that there weren’t also other friends who made a point of being around her? Were you there to see this, Corylus?

    No and no and no.

    Are you relying on assumptions made without knowledge of all the facts?

    I see the problem now, you are not understanding that I am (as I suspect are you) going on Amy’s comments. Comments implying isolation and ostracisation. E.g. There was definitely an us against them feeling that I personally experienced at the event, with groups of people who wouldn’t get within 10 feet of my table..

    If the people who were already there weren’t enough to buffer the distressing effects of being overtly marginalised, what makes Corylus think more people would have made it better?

    This is not about a number of people, it is about having a certain type of person with you and this is why I noted that she had taken her mother. Amy was in charge with 22 people under her. I suspect the first time that she has been in this sort of position. Her comments sound to me like someone wanting senior backup. A boss figure like Rebecca or a senior friend like Ophelia would have worked. This was what my story about Maryam’s actions was about.

  308. says

    Ophelia 213
    Thank you for linking to that thread. I am proud of the stance I took on it.

    -=-=-=-
    Daisy 214

    Well the term ‘hoggle’ wasn’t in my thesaurus so I had to google it. I generally thank people when they teach me a new word, but it this case I must be half-hearted about it. N.B – Do you ever contribute anything of substance?

  309. says

    Tig Tog

    It takes more than merely eschewing obscenities/blasphemies/insults in one’s communication to be “polite”.

    Hold that thought please – and have look at Ophelia’s comment 249.

    -=-=-=-

    Setar 218
    I am a bit bemused as to where I brought politics into the conversation.

  310. says

    Sigh.

    “Time-zone privilege”? What’s that supposed to mean? I’m well aware of differing time zones, but (obviously) I work according to my time zone. Stuff comes in overnight my time. Everybody knows that’s not overnight everywhere. Der.

    Now; look, Corylus, I don’t particularly want to block you from commenting, but I do wish you would go away voluntarily. If you don’t, I will in the end block you, because you’re being a pest, and you’re doing it deliberately. You’ve got some kind of weird narcissistic trip going here, and you should save that for your own blog, not dump it on mine.

  311. says

    Yeesh. 14 comments, most of them long, in the space of a few minutes. The last ones were blocked but still they poured in.

    I never did like missionaries.

  312. says

    Let’s see, if I have the calculation correct, 14 out of 266 is a bit over 5%. I wonder what the average blog take-over threshold percentage is across all skeptic web sites?

  313. says

    Ah but it’s actually 776; this is page 2 of the comments, because there are so many. That’s a much smaller percentage. But it’s a hell of a lot to dump on one blog in the space of a few minutes. Very self-important, very Lady Catherine.

  314. says

    Thanks for that correction. Yes, a very small percentage. Of course, if several people write to you while you are asleep in another time zone, one might have quite a bit to answer in the morning.

  315. says

    Wow, Corylus must have spent ages writing those all up in advance just so she could publish them ASAP once she figured it was time.

    I’m so sick of this continued idea that Amy is a scared young thing so devoid of staunch supportive friends that she “had to bring her mother”. A very short Google-walk finds the Surly-ramics about-page, where one learns that Amy’s mother is also a ceramic artist, and thus just maybe really enjoys (usually) sitting behind the merchandise table when Amy is selling her art at a large event.

    I could go on and on with various levels of the fractal wrongness of many of Corylus’ other points, but they’ve already stunk up your blog enough.

  316. says

    You should see the ones that didn’t get through!

    @272 – of course a lot of comments come in while I’m offline. But Corylus (alone) was blocked for that time, because I didn’t want her taking over the thread any more.

  317. says

    Ophelia, don’t make me imagine that!

    *curious as to how many seats some people think there are behind a merchandise table anyway*

  318. says

    The dynamics and psychologies of on-line communities is now a field of study for academics such as John Riedl at the University of Minnesota. Perhaps there is a correlation between low range of take-over threshold percentage and progressive schismogenesis.

  319. says

    take-over threshold percentage

    Cute.

    Is there a blog anywhere that doesn’t consider attempting to post 14 comments in a row as the mark of a Derailer?

    How many other comments there are on the thread is actually irrelevant, it’s the act of hogging that section of the thread which constitutes the take-over attempt.

  320. says

    Well, more and more are coming to realize that there is a connection between writings in cyberspace and actions in the real world. TAM was in the real world and impacted by writings on-line. Check out this very interesting article on the subject:

    Let’s Gang Up on Cyberbullying

  321. says

    The level of sexism and misogyny in the atheist/skeptic community is not any less than in the religious. The same infantile attitudes are in evidence.

  322. says

    If a man cried on reading a T-Shirt, people would laugh at him, and rightly so. But the gender is really irrelevant here. A society which discourages strong opinions for fear of upsetting the emotional state of its people is a society that will remain infantile and highly susceptible to emotional arguments rather than rational ones – active flourishing grounds for dogma, religion, and all kinds of woo.

    There is an implicit hidden misogyny in the attitudes of Skepchicks & FTBers which considers women as being incapable of being mentally strong, incapable of controlling their emotions like a mature adult, and as needing all of society to treat them like delicate flowers that need be sheltered from the harsher elements of reality.

    For a people who throw around the words “privilege” and “social justice” so frequently, FTBers/Skepchicks seem remarkably blind to their own privilege that allows them to think that their right to not being offended or to a comfortable mental state is a matter of social justice.

    So stop being sexist misogynists & recognize that women are capable of handling offense just as well as men. Or you will slowly devolve into a cult that infantilizes women even more than religions, a remarkable achievement no doubt, but probably not one you would want.

  323. Jessie says

    2 #281:
    Yep. “Only women who are willing to put up with being hassled need come to conferences, ‘cos we’re going to keep doing it”.
    Can you see why that might not encourage women to attend? Do you care if they don’t?

  324. says

    Hah, it is evening somewhere! YOU’RE the chauvinist!

    Also, note #2′s comment about how it is misogynistic to defend women from verbal harassment and abuse, because men take harassment and abuse all the time and rightly so. Sounds more like #2 has contempt for men and hates that women sometimes get a “free pass” by comparison. It is a disgusting yet prevalent view that infects far too many people who call themselves skeptics, that they can’t even consider that it might be possible for EVERYONE to not face verbal harassment and abuse, rather than just making sure that no one gets to avoid it.

  325. says

    I was too busy dealing with the onslaught to read all the comments. One thing has caught my attention. (It’s not really fair to discuss the comments once she’s blocked, but then again it wasn’t really fair for her to dump them all in the first place.) The thing that caught my attention betrays a really bizarre level of confidence in her own psychological insight. Somebody mentioned Dunning-Kruger above; this is that.

    If the people who were already there weren’t enough to buffer the distressing effects of being overtly marginalised, what makes Corylus think more people would have made it better?

    This is not about a number of people, it is about having a certain type of person with you and this is why I noted that she had taken her mother. Amy was in charge with 22 people under her. I suspect the first time that she has been in this sort of position. Her comments sound to me like someone wanting senior backup. A boss figure like Rebecca or a senior friend like Ophelia would have worked. This was what my story about Maryam’s actions was about.

    She thinks her “suspicion” that Amy has never been in charge before is worth something! She thinks she can tell what kind of backup Amy wanted. She thinks she knows that Rebecca or I would have “worked,” for peculiar reasons that exist only in her own head. The reality is that she’s not in a position to know anything about that – yet she thinks her magical X-ray vision is so good that she gets to give me a dam’ good scolding for not doing what that bizarro scenario of hers says I should have done. That paragraph is a staggering mix of presumption and assumed omniscience.

    She said a similar thing in reply to my asking who she thinks she is.

    Oh, I dunno. Maybe someone who has spent some time in your skin. Someone who has thought not only about what it would be like for you to feel that you are right (stage one) but also someone who went to stage two in order to understands how you would be inclined to act if you were, indeed, right.

    Oh my god no no no no. She has not spent time in my skin. That’s an impossible goal. If she thinks she can do that she really is deluded. Trying to imagine what it’s like to be someone else is one thing, but assuming that you’ve simply accomplished it by trying is quite quite another – and pretty damn dangerous, if you ask me.

    Plus on top of all this I have no idea who she is. She kept talking as if we were old buddies, but I don’t know her from Adam. I’ve seen her comment at RDF a couple of times, but that’s it. Maybe she doesn’t realize that either.

    Well, that’s the end of that.

  326. says

    Joe – yes – that’s a good point.

    Do you ever watch Deadliest Catch? I find it weirdly fascinating – but god it’s a classic example of that. And how do they abuse each other? By calling each other girls. It’s horrible.

  327. says

    Ophelia, I’ve seen Deadliest Catch but never paid much attention to it. I saw more than my share of abuse in the Marines though. Three years of people shitting on each others heads for mostly no good reason, and then the last year I managed to hide from most of it. And yes, lots of using “woman” and variants as insults, and almost as much threat of sexual violence as a “joke”. Plus some borderline sexual assault stuff that I wasn’t involved in but knew about. But you know, there was always some woman who got promoted first or manipulated the system,(hypothetically, since we didn’t work with any women except accidentally) so the casual misogyny was just peachy.

    Some few of us learned slowly that maybe no one should have to deal with that, rather than saying “I took it, why can’t you shut up and take it too?” Then again that sounds a little like the Golden Rule, and since it is both a rule (anathema to libertarians) and adopted by various religious traditions (poison to “skeptics”), it means that treating other people decently is both totalitarian and dogmatic, and must be resisted at all costs.

  328. carlie says

    You know, I only see my mother once a year, if I’m lucky. I’d love to be able to have a conference about something that my mother and I both cared about and be able to go to it with her. I have friends whose mothers have died, and they’d give anything to be able to spend more time with their mothers. So fuck “taking your mommy means you’re weak”.

    And crying is a normal reaction for either gender and perfectly acceptable in public, and anybody who says otherwise is at the emotional development level of an 8 year old.

  329. Bernard Bumner says

    So stop being sexist misogynists & recognize that women are capable of handling offense just as well as men.

    What is this ranting fool talking about?

    The issue here is not whether any particular gender has more capacity for ignoring or dealing with offense, but about a very real incident where one person most certainly did cause distress, and continued to do so after being asked to stop. Then there was a massively inappropriate reaction from officials which served only to compound the insult.

    The only people who seem to consider gender as a factor in the appropriacy of a reaction are people like 2 (that what is, according to them, seen as appropriate for a women, would not be so for a man).

    I’m not sure how difficult is to understand that Amy cried because she was upset,offended, and frustrated at finding herself in such a crucible of malice and ill-will. Why should crying whilst upset be seen as anything other than a human reaction?

    There is an implicit hidden misogyny in the attitudes of Skepchicks & FTBers which considers women as being incapable of being mentally strong, incapable of controlling their emotions like a mature adult, and as needing all of society to treat them like delicate flowers that need be sheltered from the harsher elements of reality.

    Someone is vividly socially dysfunctional if they are unable to muster even an iota of sympathy for an upset fellow human.

    I think the strength of Amy is very obvious for all to see, in what she did to help others attend TAM, in being there to support them despite the potential that she might become a target, and in confronting the attacking behaviour directed at her.

    For a people who throw around the words “privilege” and “social justice” so frequently, FTBers/Skepchicks seem remarkably blind to their own privilege that allows them to think that their right to not being offended or to a comfortable mental state is a matter of social justice.

    Can anyone parse this?

    It seems to be an extortion that no-one has the right to not be offended (trivially true, but entirely missing the point). At this point I can no longer tell whether these people are deliberate trolls, sad provocateurs, or if they really think they have a point to make.

    It is very strange that so many of these commenters feel able to pour scorn upon the supposed immaturity of Amy’s response, but don’t seem to have an qualms about conducting feuds via the medium of glib slogans on t-shirts.

    Their underlying concern seems to be that someone, somewhere will at some point make them stop and think before opening their mouth. This, apparently, is a bad thing.

    Their identikit arguments seem to be taken one directly from another, to the point that they appear as Legion. Have any of them made, or even attempted to make an original argument, or must we see the same dessicated turd of an opinion presented time and again as though it was a shining nugget of golden originality?

  330. says

    Bernard Bumner:

    Their identikit arguments seem to be taken one directly from another, to the point that they appear as Legion. Have any of them made, or even attempted to make an original argument, or must we see the same dessicated turd of an opinion presented time and again as though it was a shining nugget of golden originality?

    We’ve actually discussed in many of the Freethought Blogs the idea of “context denial,” and it seems to apply to their arguments as well as their takes on the situation. They ignore every facet of the issue and just scream “she cried over a T-shirt!” and then say the same tired BS as though they invented it brand new for the event that they are misrepresenting. It is tiresome and boring, and makes lots of folks question the validity of a “skeptical movement” that contains so many people being so very irrational.

  331. Daniel Conceicao says

    Do you guys seriously not see the parallel between you being offended by someone expressing her own views emphatically and religious people who feel offended by our expressing our disbelief in their dear fairy-tales? When someone’s disagreement with your personal beliefs, is taken as a personal attack, it is a sign that “free thought” has been replaced by dogma.

  332. says

    Daniel Conceicao,

    do you seriously not see just how huge that strawman is that you just pulled out of your butt?

    p.s. Calling us “you guys”. Really?

  333. Daniel Conceicao says

    My apologies to referring to you people as “you guys”. It has been a long journey for me to become aware of the many instances of sexism in our use of language. I have since trained myself to using “she” and “her” rather than “he” and “him” when describing a genderless general person, but I still occasionally slip. I sincerely thank you for pointing out that unfortunate use of words. I truly do.

    Now to the point I was attempting to make. I am curious as to why you perceive my comment to be an example of a strawPERSON (I promised I would be more careful) argument somehow extracted from my butt. Of course, it was much too short of a statement for anything to be represented without oversimplification. However, sometimes I feel like pointing out logical fallacies has become the lazy-person’s way of avoiding the debate. Not that I believe you to be a lazy person… But the strawPERSON fallacy refers to the inaccurate representation of an opponent’s point of view for rhetorical purposes. I was not trying to misrepresent the opinions of this group in any way. I was simply trying to point out the glaring irony that I saw in the t-shirt incident and the fact that the blogger’s reaction to that incident was so similar to that of many religious people when confronted with the dissenting views of skeptics.

    Having been raised in a very misogynistic culture (Brazil), I have slowly grown more aware of the various forms of oppression against women in all but extinct matriarchal societies. Sometimes that oppression is blatant, sometimes it is subtle. But it exists and I try to be always aware of it (although I am not always successful, as you could see from my misuse of words in the previous comment). For me, the Watson/Dawkins debate was a learning experience. After hearing about it, I asked around and was told by several female friends (including my wife) that such a situation would have been tremendously uncomfortable. I did not have a problem with the issue being much discussed within the Atheist movement. I found Tf00t’s view regarding the attempt to bring awareness about sexism within our community objectionable. We should discuss sexism within our movement not because it is a greater problem within this community than in the rest of society. We should discuss sexism within the atheist community because it exists and because we wish to do something to reduce it. The fact that we are a collection of rational thinkers willing to engage each other without dogmatic attitudes makes the fight against sexism and other forms of oppression within our community much more likely to bear good fruits.

    And this is why I was so disappointed by the t-shirt incident and what it suggests about some of the leading figures raising awareness about sexism in general and within the atheist community. It seems as if they are not willing to participate in dialogue with an open mind. It seems as if they have become so committed to their own views (even if their views are likely right) that they have taken as personal offense expressions of disagreement—just as religious people do. By wearing her t-shirt, Harriet Hall was simply being open about disagreeing with the views of the group identified as Skepchicks. It was a “your views are not my views” shirt. How is finding that shirt offensive any different from religious people who find it offensive when we declare our disbelief in their myths? As critical thinkers I expect the excellent bloggers in FT to debate the ideas expressed in the shirt, not just resent them.

    Respectfully,

  334. Godless Heathen says

    It is a disgusting yet prevalent view that infects far too many people who call themselves skeptics, that they can’t even consider that it might be possible for EVERYONE to not face verbal harassment and abuse, rather than just making sure that no one gets to avoid it.

    THIS. A million times this.

    And it’s like that in real life, too.

  335. A. Noyd says

    Daniel Conceicao (#296)

    I am curious as to why you perceive my comment to be an example of a strawPERSON…argument somehow extracted from my butt.

    Because “someone’s disagreement with your personal beliefs” is a total mischaracterization of what was upsetting about the t-shirt—both to Amy and to those of us who sympathize with her.

    However, sometimes I feel like pointing out logical fallacies has become the lazy-person’s way of avoiding the debate.

    How the hell can anyone have a “debate” with you when you so very clearly don’t know what’s going on?

    I was simply trying to point out the glaring irony that I saw in the t-shirt incident and the fact that the blogger’s reaction to that incident was so similar to that of many religious people when confronted with the dissenting views of skeptics.

    You can’t know whether it’s ironic if you don’t understand the reaction of bloggers well enough to correctly paraphrase what they’re saying.  This is why it’s important not to dismiss accusations that you’re strawmanning.

    How is finding that shirt offensive any different from religious people who find it offensive when we declare our disbelief in their myths?

    There are three major differences.  One, unlike feminism, religion doesn’t need support because it has a lot of respect backing it.  Feminism lacks that respect in general, and we’ve just had a year of outrageous backlash over feminism from skeptics and atheists in particular.  Two, an expression of non-belief in a myth isn’t targeted at a specific person.  Dr. Hall’s choice of wording, whether she intended it that way or not, did target Amy and the other Skepchicks.  And it seems she wore the shirt longer than she originally intended after she knew how Amy felt about it.  That’s very targeted and personal.  Three, no one’s saying Dr. Hall had no right to wear it.  They’re criticizing her for it.  Religious people generally try to use offense alone as a way of getting what they want whereas people in this instance are expressing their offense and giving reasons why making and wearing the t-shirt was wrong.

    If you still think there’s some ironic parallel I would suggest you’re so committed to your own view that you’re “not willing to participate in dialogue with an open mind.”

  336. Erick says

    Seriously, being THIS offended by a t-shirt? Was there a memo I missed about the need to be offended by other people stupidity? Did this become a religious event and nobody told me?

    Heck, I don’t even know who these people are, but I if I attend to this event I’ll surely print that on my t-shirt just for the sake of it.

  337. Erick says

    Well thank you, tigtog, it’s great to know that I’m appreciated. Just don’t print that comment on a t-shirt, otherwise I’ll have to call security, make a video, make 100 comments on my blog about how you were wrong and cry a little, also taking my flight a day early. So please, don’t do it.

  338. says

    Oh, has Amy blogged on this somewhere? Link?

    Or perhaps you don’t know nearly as much about what’s been happening here as you think you do.

  339. Erick says

    Sure I know, this is the elevator thing all over again. Just a boo-hoo on how everyone should behave by this woman’s standards, and how people breathing is offensive(I giggled a bit), hence why I would proudly wear this t-shirt without even knowing these people.
    Really, a t-shirt?! I mean, there’s not even enough to make a strawman here.

  340. says

    I mean, there’s not even enough to make a strawman here.

    And yet you did.

    No one is boo-hooing on how everyone should behave according to one person’s standards.

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