Comments

  1. says

    Harriet Hall provided aid and comfort to the enemy.

    Surly Amy was understandably distraught over Hall’s pointed invalidation of efforts to improve the environment for both women and everyone.

  2. Erick says

    Really KarenX? I have yet to see the number of comments of this thread in a “god hates fags” or “thank god for dead soldiers” picture. I guess the proper way of handling this subject is approaching the boo-hooing lady in question and saying “grow up”, there’s really not more to it.

  3. says

    Direct quote from Amy:

    This was not the only incident that happened to me at TAM where people were targeting me with personalized items meant to mock or diminish my presence. I only bring up the Harriet Hall instance because she is already in the spotlight as a leader in our community and because she was someone I looked up to. The other people who targeted me don’t deserve our attention at this point. So know that just a ‘silly tshirt’ did not reduce me to tears. Sadly, there was a lot more going on.

    Any conference which does not have a code of conduct in place which lays out standards defining mocking one of the conference sponsors as unacceptable conduct for attendees doesn’t deserve to have those sponsors.

    The mockers would still be free to make their statement outside the environs of the conference all they wanted, but they really shouldn’t expect any conference to put up with disparaging their sponsors. Obviously, TAM is entirely free to choose to allow their sponsors to be targetted by hostile conduct without intervention – it’s just hugely unprofessional and thus, in the long run, ridiculously counterproductive.

  4. Erick says

    @tigtog
    I’m not defending the t-shirt lady, although she has that right. Counterproductive and unprofessional, sure, I agree. The real problem is people overreacting(again, remember the elevator) and being all emotional about it. Mockery, as I recall, comes from freedom of expression which is one of THE most important rights of modern society. And now a personal advice, if the intention is to affect you personally and you make a huge show about it, they/he/she wins, therefore the action I would have taken was to approach the person in question and bring up the topic, which would influence my next actions regarding going to said confereces, that’s because I’m not 4 years old and need to call my mommy when the other kids call me fat. Sorry, couldn’t resist that last bit.

  5. Bernard Bumner says

    And now a personal advice, if the intention is to affect you personally and you make a huge show about it, they/he/she wins, therefore the action I would have taken was to approach the person in question and bring up the topic…

    Just as Amy did?

    The fact that you are too lazy to acquaint yourself with the facts before forming an opinion is a good indicator that you aren’t here in good faith.

    Amy worked hard to take people to TAM. She was a sponsor of the event, and she was attacked by a prominent personality. TAM isn’t a free-for-all, it is a social and educational event which is meant to be fun and inclusive.

    Free expression is an important principle, but so is treating your fellow humans with appropriate respect and decency.

    Once again, you are able to repeat the mantra of Amy being immature, but you don’t seem to make the same judgement of someone who makes personal attacks via a t-shirt slogan.

    Try to say something original, or at least deconstruct that hoary old argument your offering.

  6. Philip says

    Ahh yes Ophelia, I forgot its all about you isn’t it – very well, I promise never to darken your blog again

    You however are always welcome and will never be banned from posting on Tea Fueled Madness, that I promise

    Thank you all, I leave you in peace

    xxx

  7. Erick says

    @Bernard Bumner

    The fact that you are too lazy to acquaint yourself with the facts before forming an opinion is a good indicator that you aren’t here in good faith.

    So, I’m not here in good faith, well, that’s good to know, I’ll keep in mind, never liked the whole “faith” deal much anyway, heh.

    “Amy worked hard to…”

    Appeal to emotion, no thanks.

    Free expression is an important principle, but so is treating your fellow humans with appropriate respect and decency.

    Agreed.

    Once again, you are able to repeat the mantra of Amy being immature, but you don’t seem to make the same judgement of someone who makes personal attacks via a t-shirt slogan.

    I don’t think I defended her in any form and even agreed it was counterproductive and unprofessional, and now, for your amusement, childish. I defended her right to do what she did.

    Try to say something original, or at least deconstruct that hoary old argument your offering.

    Old, new, a good argument is a good argument and, when the situation calls for it, so is mockery.

  8. says

    Erick #308:

    The real problem is people overreacting(again, remember the elevator)

    The elevator in Dublin? In the context of Rebecca having been invited to speak about why skepticism had a problem attracting women to events, and she used the example of a gauche/boorish proposition as an example of woman-repelling behaviour, and said “Guys, don’t do that”, and then the dudesphere went apeshit? Indeed, I remember that overreaction very well.

    Philip #310:

    Ahh yes Ophelia, I forgot its all about you isn’t it

    Actually, this post was about what Harriet Hall did to Amy Roth Davis. As the thread has drifted, it has become about people misrepresenting a metric buttload of events both at TAM2012 and in the preceding 12 months.

    But it’s definitely not about you.

  9. Erick says

    The elevator in Dublin? In the context of Rebecca having been invited to speak about why skepticism had a problem attracting women to events, and she used the example of a gauche/boorish proposition as an example of woman-repelling behaviour, and said “Guys, don’t do that”, and then the dudesphere went apeshit? Indeed, I remember that overreaction very well.

    This is a Red Herring as you did not address my actual argument after all. But nice try.

  10. says

    Erick, if you had a different overreaction in mind with respect to the elevator, perhaps you’d like to clarify?

  11. Erick says

    Erick, if you had a different overreaction in mind with respect to the elevator, perhaps you’d like to clarify?

    Tell you what, either agree with the comment in question or actually reply to it if you disagree, then I’ll be more than happy to clarify my stance on the whole overreaction regarding the elevator deal.

  12. says

    “Amy worked hard to…”

    Appeal to emotion, no thanks.

    Looks like a statement of fact to me.

    And now a personal advice, if the intention is to affect you personally and you make a huge show about it, they/he/she wins, therefore the action I would have taken was to approach the person in question and bring up the topic, which would influence my next actions regarding going to said confereces, that’s because I’m not 4 years old and need to call my mommy when the other kids call me fat.

    Gee, but you’re a charmer. And so strong and mature. Straight from the school of “emotions are for kids and women”. What a clown.

  13. says

    Erick, Bernard already addressed other matters in your comment, where he pointed out that Amy actually did what you implied that she had not done – directly confronting the person giving offence. That is why I concentrated purely on your sentence describing an “overreaction” similar to that in “the elevator”.

    As to other matters of record, going by Amy’s subsequent description of events in comments here on Ophelia’s blog:
    1. Amy did not report anything to security, security imposed itself upon her with requests for information when somebody (thus far unidentified) notified them that Amy was visibly upset in the speakers’ lounge (i.e. not out in public).
    2. Inviting one’s mother to spend a fun weekend helping out at an event where one has a merchandise table and sponsor status is not a moral failing. Many of us would enjoy spending such a weekend with a parent proudly enjoying public recognition of our talents. That the weekend turned out to be a lot less fun than hoped is not Amy’s fault, nor her mother’s.
    3. When one is no longer enjoying one’s time at an event, why should one stay?

    So, how about that clarification re “overreaction” now?

  14. Erick says

    @rorschach

    Looks like a statement of fact to me.

    A fact that has no point in the topic at hand and was only brought up to create emotion, perhaps you should actually read the other comments?

    Gee, but you’re a charmer. And so strong and mature. Straight from the school of “emotions are for kids and women”. What a clown.

    A strawman and an ad hominem, next.

    @tigtog

    Erick, Bernard already addressed other matters in your comment, where he pointed out that Amy actually did what you implied that she had not done – directly confronting the person giving offence. That is why I concentrated purely on your sentence describing an “overreaction” similar to that in “the elevator”.

    I’ll take that, even though he didn’t address for a moment the topic which is bothering me, which is the whole overreaction that she had, this post makes, and the other 800 comments addresses.

    1. Amy did not report anything to security, security imposed itself upon her with requests for information when somebody (thus far unidentified) notified them that Amy was visibly upset in the speakers’ lounge (i.e. not out in public).

    Clearly needed, almost like the t-shirt lady was gonna jump in and assault her.

    2. Inviting one’s mother to spend a fun weekend helping out at an event where one has a merchandise table and sponsor status is not a moral failing. Many of us would enjoy spending such a weekend with a parent proudly enjoying public recognition of our talents. That the weekend turned out to be a lot less fun than hoped is not Amy’s fault, nor her mother’s.

    You people seriously need to stop making appeals to emotion.

    3. When one is no longer enjoying one’s time at an event, why should one stay?

    Crying over the deal? Having security standing by? Commenting online about it? That would be like me crying because you’re disagreeing with me at this moment, yep, it would be an overreaction on my part.

    So, how about that clarification re “overreaction” now?

    The whole overreaction was from everyone, seriously, I could not believe my eyes in reading the whole drama over a “coffee” proposition that had done no harm whatsoever. The lady fely like she had to talk about the subject, as if flirting is somewhat unnatural(I wonder if it would have happened if the guy was like a model or better yet, if he was a she), then Dawkins out of nowehere felt like he had to jump in on the subject(although I did appreciate his sarcasm) and bam, disagree with anyone from this community and you’re sure to get a lot of butthurt responses and from “wanna have ‘coffee'” it went to “I’ll never buy, recommend, give as presents, use as toilet paper, anymore of Dawkin’s books”.
    The thing is that people here need to understand that not all of us have the same views on every subject, and like I said, disagree with anyone here and you’re sure to get drama, 100% guaranteed.

  15. Erick says

    Also, I don’t want to go off-topic(since this article is surely not about that subject) but that opened my eyes on dogmatic feminism and I finally understood why so many people cry out “feminazi”. Feminism is about sexual equality, which I’m all for, but some “feminists” want to spread hatred and superiority against men, and that is the kind of fundamentalism I hate about most religions in the first place.

  16. julian says

    You people seriously need to stop making appeals to emotion.

    You need to bring this up in a relevant context.

  17. Axxyaan says

    Crying over the deal? Having security standing by? Commenting online about it? That would be like me crying because you’re disagreeing with me at this moment, yep, it would be an overreaction on my part.

    How do you come to that conclusion? You just assert it would be overreaction. First of all it has already been pointed out serveral times that Amy didn’t had security standing by. Security imposed itself on her. So why do you continue to misrepresent this fact?

    And why does crying over the deal or commenting online about it make it an overreaction? Is crying over something always an overreaction? Is commenting always an overreaction or is commenting about something that upset you soo much it brought you to tears always an overreaction? If yes why? If no why yes in this case?

    How do you judge whether the hostility leveled at Amy during TAM was low enough so that being brought to tears by how HH reacted to Amy’s feelings of allienation because of the T-shirt, was an overreaction?

    How do you judge that commenting on line about such treatment is an overreaction?

  18. julian says

    The lady fely like she had to talk about the subject, as if flirting is somewhat unnatural

    She never said don’t flirt. She said to not corner her in the middle of the night when she’s trying to get to bed. She has said she doesn’t appreciate constantly being hit on when at events but that’s another thing.

    Every third word out of your mouth is an outright lie.

  19. says

    Erick, in #318 your responses to my 3 numbered points are each non-sequiturs which simultaneously poison the well.

    Your response to the request for clarification on the “overreaction” part of your previous comment appears to rely on a rather extreme ignoring of both context and causation. This convenient conflation has been addressed ad infinitum over the last year, so the application of Occam’s Razor leads one to conclude that your ignorance is both wilful and a close cousin of JAQing off.

    Once again for those in the bleachers: various skeptical/atheist/freethought orgs have over the last several years asked prominent women members of their communities (including Rebecca Watson) why it is that more women don’t attend meetings. Many (not all) of those prominent women members have asked other women they know who are prominent online skeptics or women who have attended one meeting or a few meetings but then declined to attend another exactly why it is that they don’t go to meetings. “Many (not all) of the women who decline to go to meetings have said that chilling/hostile conduct exhibited by many (not all) male skeptics is the reason why they decline to attend.”

    Rebecca’s vlog was made in the context of being asked to address the issue of “Communicating Atheism” at the World Atheist Convention 2011 in Dublin. Much of her contributions to the panel that day had been about the discomfort arising from unsolicited sexualising interactions initiated by men responding to her skeptical/atheist activism, and how many other women had reported how experiencing similarly discomfitng responses had led them to decide to withdraw from skeptical/atheist interaction as a result.

    After describing the proposition from Elevator Guy, here is all that Rebecca said about that interaction:

    “Just a word to the wise here guys, don’t do that. I don’t know how else to explain [that] this makes me incredibly uncomfortable but I will lay it out that I was a single woman in foreign country in a hotel elevator with you, just you, and don’t invite me back to your hotel room right after I have finished speaking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualise me in that manner.”

    So Erick, how exactly are the words quoted above an “overreaction”?

  20. Erick says

    @Axxyaan

    How do you come to that conclusion? You just assert it would be overreaction. First of all it has already been pointed out serveral times that Amy didn’t had security standing by. Security imposed itself on her. So why do you continue to misrepresent this fact?

    The other guy already said why they went there, but do they had to be there? Was her security at stake over a t-shirt? Why didn’t she actually told them she was crying over a %$#@ing t-shirt and made them leave?

    And why does crying over the deal or commenting online about it make it an overreaction? Is crying over something always an overreaction? Is commenting always an overreaction or is commenting about something that upset you soo much it brought you to tears always an overreaction? If yes why? If no why yes in this case?

    No problem in crying, I don’t have a brick wall over my feeling, it’s what you cry for and your reaction, such as leaving the place, that make it an overreaction.

    How do you judge whether the hostility leveled at Amy during TAM was low enough so that being brought to tears by how HH reacted to Amy’s feelings of allienation because of the T-shirt, was an overreaction?

    I’m judging by what’s being presented, isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? Or should I never have conclusions due to the fact that you can never have all the variables(or even know you have them)?

    How do you judge that commenting on line about such treatment is an overreaction?

    No problem about it, but being butthurt over a t-shirt is still overreaction.

    @julian
    Sir, as much as I’d like to address your comments, this is not the topic at hand. I’ve stated my opinion about it and I’m not gonna address it anymore. Also, on the previous one, yes it is an appeal to emotion, read it again, otherwise I could draw it for ya, I must have MSPaint here somewhere.

  21. says

    The sentence above which reads
    “Many (not all) of the women who decline to go to meetings have said that chilling/hostile conduct exhibited by male skeptics is the reason why they decline to attend.”
    should read
    “Many (not all) of the women who decline to go to meetings have said that chilling/hostile conduct exhibited by many (not all) male skeptics is the reason why they decline to attend.”

  22. carlie says

    Erick, are you going to continue to ignore tigtog’s question?

    After describing the proposition from Elevator Guy, here is all that Rebecca said about that interaction:

    “Just a word to the wise here guys, don’t do that. I don’t know how else to explain [that] this makes me incredibly uncomfortable but I will lay it out that I was a single woman in foreign country in a hotel elevator with you, just you, and don’t invite me back to your hotel room right after I have finished speaking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualise me in that manner.”

    So Erick, how exactly are the words quoted above an “overreaction”?

  23. says

    carlie, perhaps I’m exercising a timezone privilege and Erick is sleeping right now. Let’s give him another eight hours or so, eh?

    Besides, strictly speaking, I was addressing that part of my comment above to “those in the bleachers” rather than Erick, so let me take this opportunity to repeat it as a direct question to Erick on his “overreaction” accusation:

    After describing the proposition from Elevator Guy, here is all that Rebecca said about that interaction:

    “Just a word to the wise here guys, don’t do that. I don’t know how else to explain [that] this makes me incredibly uncomfortable but I will lay it out that I was a single woman in foreign country in a hotel elevator with you, just you, and don’t invite me back to your hotel room right after I have finished speaking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualise me in that manner.”

    So Erick, how exactly are the words quoted above an “overreaction”?

    Erick, do you have a response to my question here?

  24. Axxyaan says

    The other guy already said why they went there, but do they had to be there? Was her security at stake over a t-shirt? Why didn’t she actually told them she was crying over a %$#@ing t-shirt and made them leave?

    This doesn’t change the fact that you misrepresented the situation. You strongly implied it was Amy’s choice to have security stand by. It wasn’t. There is a difference between deciding for something to happen and not protesting when others decide for something to happen.
    And she did tell the security exactly what had her brought to tears:

    After I reported to them that the TAM twitter feed with the anonymous blogging from the event and Harriet’s shirt had upset me to the point of wanting to leave, I had security cameras trained on me and my table where I sat with my mother the entire time.

    You can think she should have been more firm and send the team away but I think that is asking too much of someone in distress. If you want to be humane to someone in distress, you don’t impose anything, you ask them if doing this or that would be helpfull or you ask what you can do for them.

    I’m judging by what’s being presented, isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? Or should I never have conclusions due to the fact that you can never have all the variables(or even know you have them)?

    This doesn’t help. Of course (ideally) you are judging by what is being presented. That doesn’t say anything what it is in what is presented that makes you judge this an overreaction.

    And I don’t mind people coming to premature judgments or conclusions, but I would expect the force with which one brings such a judgment or conclusion to be in accord be with how much one knows about the situation and in case of judgments be espially carefull. Since you seem to be very forcefull in judging Amy’s reaction as an overreaction, I expect you to be very knowledgable and accuratly represent the facts on which you decide your judgment. I can’t judge the first but you seem to fail in the second.

    No problem about [commenting], but being butthurt over a t-shirt is still overreaction.

    Why do you reduce all the hostility Amy experieced during TAM to a T-shirt? You seem to blind yourself intentionnaly to the context in which this T-shirt played its role. It seems you are seeing the immediate occasion as the primary cause, ignoring all context that was the real cause of the distress in which HH T-shirt was just the final drop.

  25. says

    Axxyaan, Erick’s position also assumes that the security team would have paid attention to Amy’s wishes regarding surveillance etc. Seeing as they arrived on the scene without her initiating a report, why does he think they would have left just because she asked them to?

  26. says

    Since I don’t think it’s been referenced so far (at least not on this page of the comments thread) here’s another TAM attendee (quoted from comments on Jason Thibeault’s blog) recounting her interactions with the harassment/security team:

    #87
    UAJamie says:
    July 18, 2012 at 2:39 pm ADT

    I also had to deal with the secret anti-harassment consultants at TAM this year. On Sunday I was telling a group of people about an incident of harassment I’d dealt with two days previously and one of the 19 trained individuals overheard and soon after a man and woman showed up and brought me into a storage closet to question me.

    It was nice that they have been treating the incident of harassment seriously, even though it was relatively mild. They made it clear that all incidents are taken very seriously, no matter how small it may seem, and have been investigating it accordingly. This is exactly as it should be!

    However, their methods of interrogating me have been far worse than the original harassment incident. Put it this way: original harassment led to no crying. Being questioned about the incident by the anti-harassment people has led to three separate incidents of crying. It’s quite stressful and they seem to get lots of the things I say wrong. When I point it out in future conversations, I’m accused of “misrepresenting” what I told them previously. And when I say “accused” I mean they’ve actually yelled at me over the phone and told me “How dare you misrepresent me and my partner.”* And this from the people who are suppose to be helping me. They even told me “There were two of us there and one of you. We know what happened so don’t claim otherwise.”*

    Additionally, after the original interrogation, they told me many times not to tell anyone about them or the conversation we had. I was very upset and crying at the time and wanted to tell my friends and get support, but was afraid they might see it on the cameras they said they had pointed at me, so instead I waited until I was in a non-TAM area of the hotel. The secrecy seemed to just make everything worse.

    I’m glad they are taking my case seriously but the treatment by the anti-harassment folks has been so much worse than the original incident of harassment that I’ve really been regretting ever talking to them at all.

     

    #88
    UAJamie says:
    July 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm ADT

    Sorry, just to be clear, the * was because I wanted to add a note.

    *Note: All quotes are paraphrased. I wrote everything down within about 15min following the conversation I had with them yesterday, but the quote are still from memory 15min following the event and may not be exact.

    Doesn’t sound like the security team gave UAJamie much choice about the level of surveillance/protection they offered. Sounds very like their playbook only laid out one way to play any “situation”.

  27. Axxyaan says

    tigtog, I don’t know. It is possible that Erick expects Amy to try and dismiss the security team whether she could expect them to follow up or not and that her current reaction would have been appropiate in the event they didn’t disappear after her trying to dismiss them.

  28. says

    p.s. I’m assuming that you’re more than likely to already know this part of the backstory, but so far Erick has shown no awareness of it.

  29. Axxyaan says

    Tigtog, I am not implying in any way that Amy would have had any control in the situation. I didn’t comment on the actual situation at all. What I commented on was what Erick’s possitions would assume or not.

    Now what I have read from Erick, is not in contradictions with expecting Amy to try and dismiss the security team, whether that would do any good or not. Since this seems compatible with Ericks position but contradicts what you think his position assumes, I think your assumption about his possition is incorrect.

    But I don’t think it fruitful to persue this particular detail, so I am going to drop this.

  30. says

    “it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner.”

    This is what started it all.

    Equating an invitation to coffee with implied sex. Nobody I’ve seen or heard had any problem with anything prior to this being written. Personally, I don’t even care about it in it’s entirety.

    Some women (and men) did, they commented and blogged about it.

    Here we are today.

  31. says

    It’s a little too late in the night here for me to adequately parse your latest comment, Axxyaan. However, up until now I thought we were roughly on the same page, but it appears you think otherwise. Perhaps a sound sleep on my part will make things clearer.

  32. Jeeb says

    Oh no, please, not a woman who doesn’t want to be individually defined as a woman, she just wants people to know she’s a skeptic. Unlike all other attention seeking cry baby feminists.

  33. Axxyaan says

    Tig tog, I do think we are roughly on the same page. The point we disagree about here, is not about the actual situation. What we disagree about is what is assumed by Erick’s position. Which seems a minor detail and not worth persueing.

  34. leMysogynist? says

    “I don’t understand this. I don’t understand people.”
    It may be that she’s trying to send the following message:
    ~I don’t want to be identified by my genitalia, but by my thoughts, beliefs~

    But then again, I can always put forward my fiddly bits as a source of “pride”, as well as my ethnicity too! “Not just a skeptic! Azn MALE skeptic!”. Maybe we should be focussing on values rather than the aesthetic nature of ourselves?

  35. A. Noyd says

    leMisogynist? (#342)

    Maybe we should be focussing on values rather than the aesthetic nature of ourselves?

    Do you have a magic wand that you can wave to instantly make society consider gender a matter of mere aesthetics? Because we’re not living in a gender-blind society, and wishing won’t bring one about. If you’re not going to help with the hard work of changing society, then at least refrain from airing your ignorance.

  36. Daniel Conceicao says

    Dear Noyd and dear tigtog,

    Allow me to say a bit about myself. I have been a silent fan and sporadic follower of FTB for a little over two years. My academic field is macroeconomics, but I have always wished to become active in the skeptic movement. I was significantly enlightened by some of the work done by the Skepchicks to raise awareness about misogyny within the rationalist community. As I tried to explain in my previous message, until this recent episode I was mostly sympathetic to your position. I repeat: I believe that we should raise awareness about sexism in our community not because it is a more prevalent problem than in the broader society, but because we want to eliminate oppression within our own community. Thus, I do not even agree with the message conveyed in HH’s shirt which to me implies that she does not believe that efforts should be made to reduce gender-oppression within the skeptic movement.

    That being said, it has been incredibly disappointing to see the reaction of the FtB bloggers regarding the t-shirt incident. In particular, it has been disheartening to be treated so antagonistically by the more influential commenters here. Let me assure you that I am not a Thunderf00t soldier trying to defend his views blindly. I am simply a fan of this blog disagreeing with its latest entry. Even if you believed that my point was incorrect, which I still do not think that it was, weren’t there better ways of challenging my views than saying that “I was simply pulling strawperson arguments out of my butt” or asking “how the hell can anyone debate me when I am so hopelessly misinformed” (I hope this two misquotes are not perceived as strawpersons)?

    Noyd mentioned three differences between the outrage of religious people over their myths being challenged and the plight of feminists. Although we cannot ignore the fact that some religions are indeed oppressed and may need to be protected against oppression (not everyone is Christian where Christians are the majority, not everyone is a Muslim in Muslim nations, and not everyone is Jewish in Israel…), I see your point. There are no relevant similarities between our fight against gender-oppression and religious outrage against expressions of disbelief. We should all fight against the oppression of women because women are oppressed. Women face unfavorable social structures for the simple fact that they were born of a particular gender. On the other hand, we should not refrain from expressing our disbelief in God simply because religious people get offended by it. Doing so would be an oppression of our own rights to have an opinion.

    However, HH’s shirt was not an instance of gender-oppression. It was an expression of her own views regarding gender-oppression and the need (or lack thereof) for specific actions to raise awareness of gender oppression within the skeptic/atheist community. Was it done in poor taste? Perhaps. Was she trying to get under the skin of Skepchicks by naming them in the shirt? Sure she was.

    I might have also cried if one of my intellectual heroes wore a shirt that discredited my views on a subject that was dear to me, especially after being made to feel marginalized by other conference goers. Not to mention the surreal “Agent Smith going after Neo”-like experience of having ninja security persons monitoring you. Mrs. Ross crying or leaving the event is not the issue at all for me. People are entitled to having emotional responses to emotionally-charged situations.

    What I do not agree with are this particular post and some of the comments here. In fact, I am disappointed with the general outrage of the FTB community over a person who expressed her “disbelief” in a manner that was “in your face”. Being challenged about your views comes with being a part of a rational thinking community. Does it get on our nerves sometimes? Yes. No one said debating ideas should be always painless. We are emotional creatures after all and becoming emotionally invested in our ideas is only natural. However, it is important for us to fight the strong impulse to take and make debates personal. This is what religious people do. Mistaking disagreement for a personal attack is one of the many paths to rigid thinking.

    IMHO, the intellectually mature response would be for FTB bloggers to take HH’s shirt as an invitation to a debate. What HH was saying was “Hey Skepchicks, I do not agree with you! I do not believe the work you are doing to raise awareness about gender-oppression is valuable or necessary!” Well… give us reasons to disagree with her, but let us not condemn her for expressing her views.

    Respectfully,

  37. says

    Daniel,

    But a slogan on a T shirt is not an invitation to a discussion. In fact this is one reservation I ended up having about the Motoons – the fact that a cartoon may be taken more as a take it or leave it jeer than as part of a discussion, or an invitation to one. That’s certainly not always the case – Jesus and Mo for instance is very discussion-like and very susceptible to discussion. A cartoon can be more like a poke in the eye.

    HH’s T shirt looked like a taunt. Wearing it for three days really looked like a taunt. According to report, DJ even said at one point that he thought it was a bad idea.

  38. Stacy says

    Well… give us reasons to disagree with her, but let us not condemn her for expressing her views

    I don’t see anybody here condemning her–people who don’t like how she behaved in this instance have expressed admiration for her otherwise.

    As for the rest, we are discussing the issues raised. There’s more than one. There’s Dr. Hall’s implicit assertion(s): “I don’t stand with the Skepchicks–I think we should be gender-blind–don’t see me as a woman see me as a skeptic” vs. a feminism that takes into account societal attitudes and the pressures women face qua women. There’s the question of how Dr. Hall expressed her disagreement in this specific instance. There’s the issue of JREF’s response. There’s the issue of how DJ and TAM handled the whole discussion of sexual harassment policies, going back to before TAM itself and how that might have led to Surly Amy feeling marginalized from the get-go.

    Lots to discuss, here.

    (Which BTW is why I don’t understand people who complain, “You never have comment threads this long when you’re talking about [insert terrible thing here].” Our community just isn’t likely to disagree that Fred Phelps is a vicious ignoramus or that Islamist human rights violations are reprehensible. How much is there to talk about in instances like that, beyond, “Yup. I agree; it’s disgusting.”)

  39. Feline says

    Are you (and your causes and valued principles and things) better off now than you were a year and a half ago?

    Well, other conventions do have anti-harassment policies, so yes.
    Yes we are.
    The rest of your word-salad is a pile of stupid, and I am too old to hold your hand.

  40. Daniel Conceicao says

    @Tigtog,

    Wow… That is surprising to me. It surely felt like much more than that. But yes, I now see that “over 2 years” was an exaggerated claim. It was not an intentional lie, though. I knew that I had been checking posts from FTB for a very long time (probably since it was created, I am now told), so around two years felt about right to me. FTB was one of my favorite pastimes (or tools for procrastination, if you will) while writing my dissertation (the other was watching atheist videos on youtube), and I believed that my following FTB had begun around the time when I begun writing. Now you have demonstrated to me and everyone else that it did not. I also believed that the rebuttals of Mr. Dawkins by Mrs. Watson and Mr. Meyers had taken place over 2 years ago and that they had been done via this blog? Obviously, I was wrong.

    Anyway… Is that what we are going to focus on now, Tigtog? The fact that I misspoke when stating how long I have been a fan of FTB? Does that mean that my opinion is not valid in this debate? Well, then let us not debate. It seems to me that we have developed an antagonistic dynamic since my first post that you do not wish to change.

    Thank you, Ophelia and Stacey, for your respectful responses to my comments. I understand your views much better now. And yes, Stacy, a more careful look at the comments suggests that lots of issues have been discussed productively. That has been great.

    I actually agree with Ophelia more than before that HH’s T-shirt itself was an insensitive way to present her views. I actually find the Motoons parallel very good. There are surely counter-productive ways of engaging those with dissenting views. Some are very close to bullying. Drawing Mohamed mostly enraged those indoctrinated by Islam. If our goal was to make those people more likely to get cured from their religious ills, that strategy certainly was not helpful. Of course, that was never our goal. In that particular case we wished to make evident to the world our defiant commitment to protecting freedom of speech even in the face of real threats of violence from radical Muslims. But it is also true that many atheists must have gotten a kick out of causing such distress on religious nuts. And here your point is strengthened greatly by comparing HH’s shirt to Motoons. Skepchicks are obviously not a threat to freedom of speech as radical Muslims are, so engaging them in such a defiant way cannot have been a pro-free-speech statement. You are likely right that the shirt was basically a taunt. It was taunting Skepchicks for holding views that she did not agree with, but it was a taunt nonetheless.

    In the end, I am left with a question: Would the taunt have even worked if the debates over feminism within the atheist movement had not taken a turn into the (quasi) dogmatic? Please, do not take this the wrong way. I do it, you do it, we all do it. It is natural to become attached to our views, especially on such matters that hit so close to home as gender-based oppression. I, for one, have felt true anger against those who believe that governments should leave economic results to be determined by free markets. However, critical thinking requires that we fight our tendencies to feel like our beliefs define us and/or that someone challenging our beliefs is attacking us. Should we strive for civility in academic discourse? Absolutely. But even when discourse is not civil, I’d prefer for us to stick to debating ideas instead of people.

    Respectfully,

  41. says

    Daniel:

    Anyway… Is that what we are going to focus on now, Tigtog? The fact that I misspoke when stating how long I have been a fan of FTB? Does that mean that my opinion is not valid in this debate?

    My nit-picking was meant to demonstrate that your views of who said what when and to whom are extremely incoherent, and thus unlikely to offer much of substance to the debate.

    I also believed that the rebuttals of Mr. Dawkins by Mrs. Watson and Mr. Meyers had taken place over 2 years ago and that they had been done via this blog? Obviously, I was wrong.

    See, this is just so very fractally wrong that it calls all your claims to be familiar with the background of this situation into doubt.

    You appear to be calling FTB “this blog” when the blog we are writing on right now is actually Butterflies and Wheels, which is just one of the many blogs on the FTB network (see the list in the sidebar), FTB being simply the framework for the multisite hosting platform. Ophelia Bension writes this blog, PZ Myers writes the Pharyngula blog, Ed Brayton writes the Dispatches from the Culture Wars blog etc. Only some of the blogs currently on FTB have been here for the last year, some of them have only been here for a few weeks. So exactly which of these blogs have you been reading since FTB began?

    Rebecca Watson is the founder of an entirely different network of multiple blogs under the Skepchick banner.

    Since you don’t appear to understand even this much, then it is highly unlikely that you understand nearly enough about the history leading up to this post to offer an informed opinion. Of course you still have the right to form an opinion and to share it with us, but I for one will not be giving your opinion a great deal of weight until you correct your fractal wrongness.

    It is absolutely possible to rectify your ignorance and become an informed contributor to the debate. I suggest lurking longer.

  42. Stacy says

    Would the taunt have even worked if the debates over feminism within the atheist movement had not taken a turn into the (quasi) dogmatic?

    I think I know what you mean, though dogmatic is probably not a helpful word here. It may seem dogmatic to people who aren’t aware of the history of feminist ideas, on the one hand, and the history of this controversy within the skeptic’s movement, on the other. There are people who are more dogmatic than thoughtful in feminism, (as in any group or movement). Ophelia doesn’t belong in that camp, though.

    But, context always matters. If we hadn’t all been discussing feminist issues so much over the past year, would Harriet’s shirt still be considered a taunt? Maybe not. It could have been seen as a reasonable, if arguable, POV. “Judge me as a person, not as a ____ person!” Lots of women and members of other minorities have said similar things in the past. It’s a reasonable point on one level–surely we’d all like to be appreciated for the contents of our hearts and brains and character!–but, As A. Noyd said in response to leMysogynist above, we don’t live in a gender blind society, any more than a color blind one, and pretending we do helps nobody. Without going into too much detail, that attitude leaves the people dealing with problems stemming from prejudice and systemic injustice carrying an invisible burden of stuff they have to struggle with in day to day life, while those with more (unexamined) social privilege can just say, “See? The system works just fine!” and be gobsmacking ignorant of what others have to deal with.

    I’m sure there are other situations where the shirt may not have been perceived as a big deal. Would the taunt have worked if Amy had not also had other instances of hostility directed at her? (She indicated that it wasn’t the tee shirt in isolation that upset her.) If DJ had handled the original discussion of harassment policies better? Perhaps if Harriet Hall had decided not to wear the tee shirt after the first day, Amy, though initially upset, would have been able to shrug it off after hearing Harriet’s explanation?

    Context is important.

  43. A. Noyd says

    Daniel Conceicao (#343)

    In particular, it has been disheartening to be treated so antagonistically by the more influential commenters here. Let me assure you that I am not a Thunderf00t soldier trying to defend his views blindly. I am simply a fan of this blog disagreeing with its latest entry.

    So what?  You’re being massively wrong; you’re disagreeing with something you invented in your own mind (a strawman) and are being called on it.  If you don’t like that, don’t do it.

    Even if you believed that my point was incorrect, which I still do not think that it was, weren’t there better ways of challenging my views than saying that “I was simply pulling strawperson arguments out of my butt” or asking “how the hell can anyone debate me when I am so hopelessly misinformed” (I hope this two misquotes are not perceived as strawpersons)?

    Try using real quotes.  Not hard.  The point of what I said that you’re paraphrasing there is that we can’t offer you honest debate until you honestly understand what there is to argue over in the first place.  It’s not sidestepping the debate to say that you’ve got the wrong idea to start with.  Anything else is just an academic exercise and we’re not interested in that—so your accusation falls totally flat.  However much you might wish the problem was the rest of us, the problem is you. And you’re derailing the more you take the time out to share your opinion based on inaccuracies.  Yet, you want us to respect and debate you over your misconceptions!  Why the fuck would you ask us to do that if you were honest?  You’re not.

    However, HH’s shirt was not an instance of gender-oppression.

    And yet, whatever Dr. Hall’s intentions, it fed into the whole year-long (and longer) ridiculous backlash against attempts to apply feminism to the skeptic/atheist movements.  You are either ignorant or you’re playing the “context doesn’t matter” game.  Either way, you’ve rendered your own opinion worthless.

    I might have also cried if one of my intellectual heroes wore a shirt that discredited my views on a subject that was dear to me…

    Again with the strawmanning.  Apparently you want to be disappointed because you’re not getting it when people are telling you that’s not what the problem is.  You even have Amy’s own goddamn words to refer to, reposted multiple times.  And still, you don’t get it.  Guess what?  I’m not saying another word to you until you can correctly paraphrase what was problematic about the shirt.  (And there are multiple things.)  Here’s a hint: It’s not about goddamn fucking disagreement.  Until you get that, you’re wasting everyone’s time.

    (#349)

    Thank you…for your respectful responses to my comments.

    Okay, I lied: one more thing.  This here is yet another tidbit that shows how little you actually pay attention.  Long time reader of FTB?  Then you should know how little value even the more civil blogs give to “respectful responses.”  You’re just outing yourself as an outsider; even the regulars who are more polite by nature don’t make a big deal of tone.  It sounds like you’re giving yourself an excuse for not listening to anyone who talks straight but doesn’t hold your delicate little hand while stroking your fragile goddamn ego.  Don’t like it?  Fuck off.  No big loss.

  44. Daniel Conceicao says

    It seems like I have been exposed as an outsider. Yes, I am that.
    Before leaving you insiders be, let me give you the most accurate description of my experience with FTB up to now. I had read the occasional PZ Meyers and The Atheist Experiment entry and I was probably led more than once to Cristina Rad’s and Aron Ra´s blogs by links and facebook shares, but I guess I never bothered to explore the other authors much. I had probably never read an entry from Ophelia’s blog until this one (and I am glad I came to find it). I did, however, understand how the system works. FTB should have been referred to as the blog-hosting system for clarity. I never thought I was dealing with a single blog. I guess I was never as big a fan of FTB as I claimed. I would have better said that I was a fan of atheist blogs in general and many times I had enjoyed something posted on a FTB blog. To be honest, I never pay much attention to the actual name of blogs, but rather to the content of each entry and I try to remember the author. This is also the case with economics since my favorite authors often post on 3 or 4 different blogs. Most times skeptic blog entries were suggested to me by fellow atheists on facebook and many times they had the big FTB letters on the top. Still, I did consider myself a fan of FTB and what I perceived it to be: a gathering place for skeptic thinkers to share their ideas freely, organized around a blog-hosting system for select skeptic bloggers.

    I do need to correct a misunderstanding about the extent of my ignorance. When I said I believed the Watson/Dawkins polemic had taken place over 2 years ago over FTB, I did not mean that I was entirely unfamiliar with that incident. Rather, I miscalculated how long ago it happened. I came to know about it from watching a Mr. Deity episode that came out just as the polemic was at its peak (or maybe just after it had happened). I devoured everything that was written/said about it, from the original video where Ms. Watson discussed the elevator incident, to the unfortunately worded response by RD (The letter to Muslima) to the PZ Meyers post, to the several reactions to RD’s comments, to Ms. Watson’s entry where she declared she would no longer consume RD’s products, to the video made by a young woman atheist condemning Ms. Watson for what she perceived to be an overreaction, to the reported interaction between said young woman and Ms. Watson at a conference, etc. Unfortunately, I never paid attention to the name of the blogs where I read/saw each of those articles/entries/essays/videos.

    Personally, I was educated by reading about the polemic surrounding the elevator incident. My initial reaction to it was, I must admit, dismissive much like RD. However, after consulting with female friends (including my wife) I came to see that Ms. Watson’s concerns were not only reasonable, but that a conversation about gender-oppression within the atheist movement could be productive. I was glad that things seemed to be moving forward within the movement and that policies would be enacted to make atheist gatherings more women-friendly.

    Then I read that Tf00t had been kicked out of FTB (Yes, I understood that he was very briefly one of many bloggers here). Reading more about it, I learned about the t-shirt incident and got to this very post we are commenting on. What was disappointing to me was not that Ms. Ross reacted emotionally to seeing the t-shirt. I have read Ms. Ross’s statement and can understand how the t-shirt may have been only the straw that broke the camel’s back. What was disappointing to me was the fact that the blog entry and so many commenters seemed to be condemning Dr. Hall in a manner not too different from those who accuse Mohamed-drawing-atheists of being intolerant. This was the point I was trying to make with my original comment and those that followed it.

    @A. Noyd

    It seems like we are living in strawmen land, my dear Noyd. You think I do it, then you do it right back! Tu quoque!!! Is this how we are going to play it?

    Let me be clear: I DO NOT BELIEVE that you ever believed that the problem with the t-shirt was that it expressed HH’s disagreement. I was saying that I BELIEVED that HH’s t-shirt WAS ONLY expressing her disagreement with the Skepchick version of feminism AND THAT I BELIEVED that you were wrong for thinking that there was more to it. It was my own understanding of HH’s behavior, not yours! I DO BELIEVE that you believe that HH’s shirt was more than simply a statement of her opinions. I DO BELIEVE that Amy also felt like the shirt was more than just a simple expression of HH’s opinion. I ALSO BELIEVE that even if HH’s t-shirt slogan was more than a simple expression of her beliefs, it should not have been turned into such a big deal.
    Some commenters here actually understood what I was saying and gave me reasonable arguments against my position. Ophelia, Stacy and tigtog say that I should know more about the back history to understand why they felt like HH’s shirt was more than just her expression of disagreement. Perhaps that is true. I know some of the history, but surely not as much as those who were more in the middle of it all.

    So you see, Noyd? My argument could not have been a strawman because I never claimed to be describing your view. I was giving MY OWN interpretation of HH’s behavior. Unless you claim that I did not believe what I believed regarding HH’s intentions, do not accuse me of building a strawman.

    I will repeat it to avoid any more confusion on your part. Of course I do not think that you ever thought that HH’s t-shirt was insensitive because it offered a statement about her beliefs. I was the one saying that I thought that her shirt WAS a declaration of opinion and just that. Since then, arguments were actually given that made me rethink my original opinion. You even made a reasonable one:

    “whatever Dr. Hall’s intentions, it fed into the whole year-long (and longer) ridiculous backlash against attempts to apply feminism to the skeptic/atheist movements. You are either ignorant or you’re playing the “context doesn’t matter” game. Either way, you’ve rendered your own opinion worthless.”
    This is one was fair and it was taken into account.

    Indeed, I do believe now, having considered what Ophelia and Stacy have said, that the t-shirt may have been a cheap shot and not a productive way of presenting HH’s opinion. So there! However, I still find the response to the cheap shot a bit overblown, NOT because of how Ms. Ross reacted when it happened, but because we are still debating it.

    You see, Noyd. This is how intellectually honest debate goes. I gave my argument clearly enough for the sufficiently capable and honest thinker to understand it. Honest/capable thinkers responded to the actual arguments I had made and my beliefs evolved as a result.

    I did, however, lose all interest to be here. Being an outsider, I am indeed not used to being told to fuck off for no good reason. At least, not by commenters who are not immediately denounced as uncivil trolls. I will check the follow ups to this last post, but I will likely not post here another time (unless my position is too unfairly misrepresented). It shall be no big loss, after all.

    Respectfully,

    PS. Is it not ironic that I am being told that

    “It sounds like you’re giving yourself an excuse for not listening to anyone who talks straight but doesn’t hold your delicate little hand while stroking your fragile goddamn ego.”

    Next thing you know, I will be told to “grow a pair”…

  45. says

    Daniel, FWIW and in what may be contra to your perception, I don’t view myself as an FTB insider, and I’m fairly sure that hardly anybody else views me as one. Up until the last few weeks, I hadn’t commented more than a dozen or two times over the last few years on any of these blogs in either their FTB or their pre-FTB incarnations.

    What I have done, however, is a hell of a lot of lurking. Indeed, I’ve been aware of P.Z.’s writings since before Pharyngula started, back in the heyday of talk.origins on USENet. I was a moderator and FAQ author on USENet myself in different forums, and I’ve been blogging myself since 2005.

    Once I too was a n00b with not as much clue as others possessed. However every year I spent interacting online, I accumulated cluefulness of various sorts and degreese, until now I am fully aware of all internet traditions, as the young ‘uns say.

    The point of this is to assure you that although you are currently being somewhat castigated for wading into the deep end without adequate clue-floaters, this is a deficit that time and effort can totally fix. If you want it to.

  46. chris says

    I have been trying to catch up with this issue, and there are several links to this tread from other blogs. Unfortunately the comments that are being referenced have been deleted, which is very frustrating.

  47. says

    chris, perhaps they linked to comments before they topped 500, and thus now those comments are now on comment-page-1 (you are right now on comment-page-2)

    If the link you were given is in the format as follows:


    freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/07/in-your-face/#comment-xxxxx

    try changing it to


    freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/07/in-your-face/comment-page-1/#comment-xxxxx

  48. chris says

    chris, perhaps they linked to comments before they topped 500, and thus now those comments are now on comment-page-1 (you are right now on comment-page-2)

    A thousand thanks for that tip. I had no clue, especially since the link above just ends with “/in-your-face”, with absolutely no reference to page number. That looks like a failure of the blog software.

    As it stands, I am thinking there may be a difference in generation. I was an engineer in the same age category as Geek Goddess, so I know there is a difference of experience between us and younger women. It was very common forty and thirty years ago that professional women like engineers, and Air Force doctors were commonly called “girly”, “chick”, and other diminutives to undermine our professional stature. So the term “skepchick” is not viewed positively.

  49. says

    chris #357:

    So the term “skepchick” is not viewed positively.

    I’m not a great fan of the title “Skepchick” myself, for similar reasons, although I’ve become accustomed to it now and have no major issues with it. Reclamation happens.

    My mild dislike of the term however fades into imperceptible levels compared to my willingness to defend the people associated with the title right now, at a time when the blog (and Rebecca, since lots of flamers call her “the Skepchick”) have been subject to thousands and thousands of deeply personal and hatefully abusive critiques, just because Rebecca told an unpalatable truth: that many skeptical women don’t want to go near skeptical events with a bargepole because of previous negative experiences, and that the culture needs to change to express disapproval/discouragement of some behaviours which many women find alienating in order to encourage those women to give skeptical gatherings a second chance.

    Putting the slogan on a t-shirt sent the message that none of the abuse hurled against them for that telling that truth mattered to Harriet Hall. It sent the message that disliking the term “chick” mattered much more to Harriet Hall than encouraging more women to attend skeptical events. It sent the message that all the pro-gatherings activism that the Skepchick organisation had done over the last few years was much less important to Harriet Hall than her dislike of the word “chick”.

    Those “words on a t-shirt” sent that message of disdain to Amy, they sent that message of disdain from someone viewed as a movement leader to the already-angry detractors at the convention so that they felt encouraged in their own personalised hostilities, and it sent that message of disdain to every one of us who saw it online. The message that whether we feel welcome and safe at movement gatherings or not does not matter to Harriet Hall as much as the fact that she doesn’t like the word “chick”. Such callousness frankly shocks me.

    Wearing it the first day would have been harsh enough, doubling down by wearing it for the second and third days still has me shaking my head in disbelief. I certainly don’t feel right now like I can trust Harriet Hall to have my back as a fellow woman, and given all the admirable work she’s done otherwise, I find that terribly disheartening.

  50. says

    Glad you found it useful, Bernard. There’s more to the message of disdain than just the bit about “chick”, of course (the mockery/misinterpretation of Rebecca’s statement of withdrawal from TAM, and the fallacy of an idealised gender-blindness, each of which also prioritise matters other than why many women are currently disinclined to attend movement gatherings). But so far as that was the issue that chris brought up, that’s the issue that I addressed.

  51. A. Noyd says

    Daniel Conceicao (#353)

    My argument could not have been a strawman because I never claimed to be describing your view. I was giving MY OWN interpretation of HH’s behavior.

    I don’t know how I can be more explicit about this.  The strawman in question is not Dr. Hall’s behavior but how you framed Amy’s problem as “someone’s disagreement with [her] personal beliefs” being “taken as a personal attack.” After I tried to correct you on this, you accused Amy of crying because one of her “intellectual heroes wore a shirt that discredited [her] views on a subject.”  Both times I pointed out the strawman, and, rather than addressing my objection, now you’re going on about how you “do not think that you [A. Noyd] ever thought that HH’s t-shirt was insensitive because it offered a statement about her beliefs.”  You’re either a liar or a sloppy thinker and writer.

    However, I still find the response to the cheap shot a bit overblown, NOT because of how Ms. Ross reacted when it happened, but because we are still debating it.

    Just whose response are you talking about?  Amy’s?  Ophelia’s?  Mine?  What about your own response?  It seems like you’re ignoring how this “debate” is extended by your participation.  Will you only think well of Amy/Ophelia/me/whoever if we just let you (and the rest of the covey of the confused) vomit your misconceptions everywhere without challenging them?  Because that’s what it sounds like you’re saying.

    This is how intellectually honest debate goes.

    Ahahahahaha!  No.

    Being an outsider, I am indeed not used to being told to fuck off for no good reason.

    Nothing wrong with outsiders when they own up to it.  The problem is that despite having read several of the blogs here for a long time you still don’t understand the culture and are acting like we should relax our standards of argument to accommodate you.  Precision matters, facts matter, not avoiding what’s brought up to you matters.  If you can’t adapt to the culture here, that’s a great reason for you to fuck off.  Or lurk more, as tigtog is suggesting.

  52. says

    Hang on!

    I really don’t want to divide people into insiders and outsiders here. That’s junior high school stuff, you can’t sit at our lunch table stuff. I want new people – aka “outsiders” – to read and enjoy and join the discussion.

    Now…some of that insider v outsider happens anyway, or as it were “naturally” – i.e. without anyone spelling out that that’s what we’re doing. But if that is what we’re doing…well we shouldn’t be.

    On the other hand – there is a certain ethic that builds up over time. There are understood conventions, and so on. Casual jokey sexism isn’t popular here, for instance – and since it’s not a particularly benign thing in itself, I think it’s ok to object to it somewhat sharply. But I don’t want us pouncing on anyone who’s new here as if this were a club with a secret code. I really don’t. That’s just a barrier to new people. Plus…well, it ain’t nice.

    That’s part of what critics dislike about blog culture, you know. It’s part of what the goons who rant about the mythic beast “FTB” have in mind. It’s that insider thing, that gangs up on outsiders. It’s groupthink; group dynamics; the Robbers’ Cave; all that. We don’t want to do that. The goons aren’t wrong to frown on that.

    On the other hand the goons themselves help to elicit it, by being so goonish, by trolling, by being so selective in whom they scold – so that’s part of why we get so defensive.

    But let’s not.

    Daniel seems to have good intentions, so let’s not beat up on him.

  53. smhll says

    …we don’t live in a gender blind society, any more than a color blind one, and pretending we do helps nobody.

    I want to approach this with my own bent humor. Humor sometimes gets us past blocks in our logical thinking. (Or, maybe it’s just perverse.)

    I want to to design an extra-long T-shirt. It’s a white T-shirt that falls nearly to the knees. On the front in black letters is says Shroedinger’s Buttocks. Down low on the back, across the ass, it says “No gender information provided.” It is loose fitting.

    Would a shirt that attempts (but fails) to obscure gender prevent a determined ass-groper from groping said ass if an opportunity presented itself in an elevator or a crowd at a conference? Probably not. Many of the women who wanted an anti-harassment policy would probably be enthusiastic about being able to fuzz other people’s gender detecting radar so that at conferences they could just be treated as people. It sounds awesome to me. (I’m married and monogamous.) However, gender screening technology does not exist, ‘cept on the internet where we can use ambiguous or misleading names. Thus Dr. Hall’s t-shirt does nothing to deflect unwanted come ons (for her or for other women).

    If there was actual real ambiguity about the gender of the person being groped, perhaps some gropers would refrain. Some because they don’t swing both ways, and some out of fear that an offended personage might deck them.

    Gender is not usually optional. I’m middle-aged, but younger, I think, than Dr. Hall. Yes, many forms of sexual harassment decline with age, but one is rarely offered any opportunity to “opt out”. (Perhaps someday one can travel with a holographic husband, but that day is not today.)

  54. Bernard Bumner says

    But so far as that was the issue that chris brought up, that’s the issue that I addressed.

    Hopefully people will read your comment for at least a partial insight into what is at stake when leaders like Harriet Hall fail to take these issues seriously.

  55. A. Noyd says

    Ophelia (#362)

    I really don’t want to divide people into insiders and outsiders here.

    Sorry, I wasn’t trying to make this into insiders vs. outsiders, either.  I just have no patience for people who act like they deserve some sort of insider cred (and leniency) for having read blogs like B&W for a long time while simultaneously getting all surprised that their bad-faith arguments, repeated distortions, tone trolling, etc earn them a bad reaction.  Daniel reminds me of those tourists (or expats) who act like an expert on a foreign country while trying to apply their home country’s customs to everything and running blindly into instance after instance of culture shock, then judging the natives for being so damn intransigent.

  56. says

    Is ok, A – I do the same thing myself. My comment was a Reminder to Self at least as much as to anyone else.

    Daniel does seem to be listening though. That’s an improvement on many people!

  57. says

    I really don’t want to divide people into insiders and outsiders here. That’s junior high school stuff, you can’t sit at our lunch table stuff.

    And that is exactly what you see happening right before your eyes. It is a very well known and studied aspect of human behavior, and you won’t be able to get past it unless you explicitly recognize that those who are not with you are not necessarily against you. Only then can you treat disagreement with respect and discuss the truth and value of thinking independent of personal attacks or attempts at marginalization re hand delicateness.

  58. says

    No shit. That was my point, wasn’t it.

    But you seem to have missed the part about the goons. Maybe you’ve also missed what the trolls have been doing here and elsewhere. Their hyperactivity and persistence makes it difficult to distinguish between disagreement and trolling.

    Your comment, for instance, seems somewhat pugnacious because of the way it makes my point as if I hadn’t just made it.

  59. says

    Yes. And? Did you think I was unaware of group dynamics? I wasn’t. But as you pointed out yourself, trolls complicate things.

    You also told me I should listen to Corylus, and there I totally disagree with you. I think Corylus is completely clueless about other minds, at least in this kind of format; she seems to have no idea how she comes across. That makes her entirely unhelpful.

  60. says

    Yes, Corylus was trying to make some of the same observations. Unfortunately for her, those observations turned to be immediately shown to be correct. If you don’t want “us v. them” reactions to deplete your blog of any depth of thoughtful discussion, you as the leader must set the example.

  61. A. Noyd says

    Quine (#?71)

    If you don’t want “us v. them” reactions to deplete your blog of any depth of thoughtful discussion, you as the leader must set the example.

    We won’t lose any depth to the discussions here if you, Corylus and your fellow finger-shakers take your snipey, bossy preaching elsewhere.  Though, I find it really amusing when people like you presume to lecture others on divisiveness when you can’t keep your holier-than-thou attitude oozing up from everything you say.  I have few illusions as to how I’m perceived, and if I am openly antagonistic, it’s because I would rather be told off to my face than play the civility games you’re trying to impose on Ophelia’s blog.  (That’s way too much like what I put up with as the unpopular girl in middle school.)  I love folks like Ophelia and Josh Slocum and SC because even when I disagree with them, I know where I stand.  If it’s an insider/outsider or us/them thing to say that folks who don’t like the FTB culture should find somewhere that suits them better, that doesn’t make it a bad thing.  Better that than we try to accommodate your tastes everywhere.

  62. says

    Quine – no, that’s not what happened. Corylus simply parachuted in out of nowhere and gave me a damn good scolding, from an assumed position of authority and wisdom. That just doesn’t work. It’s mind-blind. It’s Lady Catherinesque. Even if she were right in every detail, that approach would still be a complete failure.

    I take it you know her. Does she do that on a lot of blogs? Arrive out of nowhere and tell everyone what to do, from a standpoint of personal perfection? If so, does it work? I have a very hard time believing that would work on anyone.

  63. says

    I keep switching it so that there will be a decent number on the last page. I don’t like carving them up at all, but when the count goes this high, I feel as if I ought to for the sake of people reading on phones. I’ll just stop breaking them up at all if most people would prefer that.

  64. says

    And P.S., this is not about the subject of the post. Could we move the meta discussion to the Robbers Cave post? It’s more current and more manageable.

  65. says

    re comment-paging: deciding the optimum comments-per-page is a hassle, agreed. Everybody’s going to have a different preference.

  66. says

    p.s. if WordPress had a better way of dealing with the unique comment-ID slugs, then the paging wouldn’t matter in terms of breaking incoming links.

  67. says

    I know. I wish it just left the numbers as they are, however many pages there are.

    I’ll just stop carving them at all. The thread should be over now anyway, I hope.

    (But don’t want to close it in case anyone has anything fascinating still to say.)

  68. Sheena of the jungle says

    David-
    I see you joined the ranks of people wishing to have an intelligent, civil discussion but because I didn’t agree was viciously attacked by the dregs of skeptic society, like donny others who came before you.

    Ophelia-
    If you had any she you would be mortified by the way people have treated each other on this blog. But instead you seem to feed on it. You are an emotional vampire.

    Tigtog-
    You are such an expert! To be so perfect must be terribly draining. And since you are such in inform FTBajor player, what blog was yours? I can treat anyway like shit because I think I am better buy I am really just a douchebag?

    Stacy-
    Having nothing original I can only garner you were ones from tigtog.

    And your socalled sheriff-
    Wow. You ate such a pompous jackass. Your aren’t even worthy of thinking up an original epithet.

  69. jenniferphillips says

    (But don’t want to close it in case anyone has anything fascinating still to say.)

    *reads Sheena’s exceedingly odd rebuke*
    *giggles uncontrollably*

    Ahem–yes, Ophelia, you emotional vampire, you. If only you’d had some she, Setar might not have been tempted to eat that pompous jackass.

    Fascinating stuff, indeed!

  70. marlo rocci says

    Amy had a job to do. it was to represent her group. Instead, she chose to fall apart. When I keep hearing how women are as good as me or better than me, and yet I hear of this sort of thing, I keep wondering where the equality is.

  71. Daniel Conceicao says

    I had promised not to come back. I will really try to make this my last comment. I have just a few final words before returning to my lurking ways.

    Those who tried to understand what I was saying gave me useful feedback and I believe something was gained from the debate. Those who wished to beat on the newcomer (perhaps taking me for a troll, since trolls have been known to visit these realms) eventually found enough inconsistencies in what I wrote to dismiss any and every argument that I presented. It was classic argument from fallacy. But enough with that…

    About Ophelia Benson:

    Despite what has been said about her here and elsewhere, I come out of this exchange with much respect for Ophelia Benson. She took the time to read my comments (even when it was presented in a less than respectful manner), countered the points I made with reasonable arguments and I was able to reach what I believe to be an improved understanding of this entire issue as a result. Plus, she is a fellow student of Muzafer Sherif’s work who references the Robber’s Cave experiment. In the social sciences this is the equivalent of finding that an adversary goes to the same church as you or that she is your cousin. Few in-group identifiers are this powerful. Oh, how easy it is to pull the emotional triggers in our brains. Maybe one day Noyd and I will become allies by joining our efforts to reach a superordinate goal. ;)

    Finally, I believe that an important and interesting debate was initiated here over tone in intellectual debates. It is not just the message that matters. The way we communicate our message also matters. “Context matters.” If anything, we should be aware of how the way we present our points is affecting others whom we wish to address. Unless our goal is to intentionally taunt and piss others off, not every statement of belief is equally OK. And if someone is being intentionally hurtful without contributing to the debate, maybe it is OK to ask “What’s up with that?”

    Respectfully,

  72. Stacy says

    When I keep hearing how women are as good as me or better than me, and yet I hear of this sort of thing, I keep wondering where the equality is

    Wow, ladies. Marlo’s got us there. It’s true. Women are better than you, Marlo. We try not to admit it, because, you know, we don’t want to hurt your feelings. But–there it is.

  73. The Pint says

    Amy had a job to do. it was to represent her group. Instead, she chose to fall apart. When I keep hearing how women are as good as me or better than me, and yet I hear of this sort of thing, I keep wondering where the equality is.

    And every time you keep opening your mouth so that asinine statements like this keep coming out, I keep wondering if you are completely bereft of the ability to empathize with another person.

  74. Christopher Camp says

    I was just wondering: would you say the same thing about a man who had welled up because he had seen a t-shirt he didn’t like?

    This patronising male protectiveness of someone who is an adult and who is very well capable of looking after herself is highly conspicuous. Privilege sexism is still sexism.

  75. The Pint says

    I was just wondering: would you say the same thing about a man who had welled up because he had seen a t-shirt he didn’t like?

    Yes, without reservation. Whether or not one is allowed to be hurt and cry in public shouldn’t be determined by gender. Next?

    This patronising male protectiveness of someone who is an adult and who is very well capable of looking after herself is highly conspicuous. Privilege sexism is still sexism

    No, it’s being empathetic and critical of what caused the person, in this case Amy, to be upset. And you’d know that if you’d bothered to read any of this damn thread in the first place, but I’m not holding my breath. What makes you think I’m male, anyway?

  76. The Pint says

    Also, that “t-shirt” didn’t happen in a vacuum or without context. Quit strawmanning that Amy was upset “just over a t-shirt.”

  77. A. Noyd says

    Daniel Conceicao (#886)

    The way we communicate our message also matters. “Context matters.” If anything, we should be aware of how the way we present our points is affecting others whom we wish to address.

    No, no, no. “Context matters” is not about tone. It’s about judging people’s reactions (such as Amy’s) by the context in which they were made. It’s about forming your opinions with full awareness of the facts, not inventing a context-free distortion of events in order to be “right.” Tone means nothing when it’s a cover for argumentation that ignores context. In fact, no actual civility can be had when folks are not honest about events under discussion.

  78. Bernard Bumner says

    …would you say the same thing about a man who had welled up because he had seen a t-shirt he didn’t like?

    Sorry, is crying an unacceptable reaction to stressful and upsetting situations?

    I’m not absolutely sure how everyone else’s are plumbed in, but my testicles are not directly attached to my tear ducts, so I’m not quite sure how they would prevent me from shedding tears. Would you like to provide me with a list of proper responses, so that I can temper my future behaviour accordingly? (My long journey from robot to man is not yet complete, and there are still so many social protocols for me to programme. Maybe, some day, I’ll tell you about it.)

    Still, the idea that this is merely a story of a reaction to a t-shirt is simply not true. If I’d made that claim, given that the actual facts of the matter are so easily available, I would feel embarrassed.

  79. The Pint says

    @ Bernard #893

    I’m not absolutely sure how everyone else’s are plumbed in, but my testicles are not directly attached to my tear ducts, so I’m not quite sure how they would prevent me from shedding tears. Would you like to provide me with a list of proper responses, so that I can temper my future behaviour accordingly? (My long journey from robot to man is not yet complete, and there are still so many social protocols for me to programme. Maybe, some day, I’ll tell you about it.)

    Thank you for one of the most amusing things I’ve read this morning (although snorting hot tea up one’s nostrils is not one of the most pleasant sensations ever). Here’s a shiny new internet.

  80. Daniel Conceicao says

    Wow. I really gotta unsubscribe from getting comments deliverd to my e-mal, or I will never be able to leave.

    Tsc, tsc, tsc, Noyd… At this point you are providing us all with an educational experience. What is an argument from fallacy? Noyd is giving us a textbook example of it. Up to this point, I wrote tons of different (evolving) arguments, but Noyd has always chosen to focus only in what Noyd perceives to be my inconsistencies. Noyd salivates whenever Noyd finds something that can be exposed as incoherent argumentation on my part. Nothing else matters. It is a behavior born out of a competitive drive that is one of the many roots of dogmatism. I cannot tell you all how many times I felt that my arguments had been misrepresented by Noyd in Noyd’s comments (try every time). But this game you want to play I do not want to play, Noyd. It takes us nowhere. Even if some parts of an argument are less than entirely consistent, we can still gain from engaging our opponents on the stuff that matters. By always choosing the least generous representation of someone’s argument, one can be sure of finding something that can be read or misread as a fallacious argument.

    And here is what is funny. I actually agree with what Noyd wrote as a conclusion in Noyd’s last comment. But Noyd chose to distort my words into yet another fallacy just for the sake of pounding on the newcomer just a bit more. I always claimed that analyzing Amy’s behavior was not my interest. My interest was to evaluate people’s interpretations of HH’s behavior. So “context matters” was used here not in the same exact way as Stacy used it. Notice that the same message was there. Context matters as a general statement is still a reasonable reading of what Stacy was saying, so the quotes were not misused. Context matters! I agree. Context always matters! But in the particular case I am interested in, context matters for evaluating HH’s use of the shirt (not Amy’s behavior!). Context matters for us to evaluate whether it constituted a cheap shot or whether it was simply a defiant expression of her disagreement. Yes, Noyd, context always matters!

    Now… It is a bit disappointing that in all of this Noyd’s repeated use of arguments from fallacy has not been denounced once. It stops the debate. It is a tool for shutting me up. It is supposed to make me afraid of speaking up at the risk of being called a sloppy thinker and writer. It is tiresome. It is a way to protect Noyd’s pride and show that Noyd’s first assessment of me as a troll was accurate.

    Farewell,

  81. A. Noyd says

    Daniel Conceicao (#895)
    Oh joy, a whole reply about me.  What fun.

    What is an argument from fallacy? Noyd is giving us a textbook example of it.

    Good grief, you’re obtuse.  I’m not saying the presence of a fallacy or two renders all your arguments false or anything like that.  Learn what the terms you’re using mean.

    I cannot tell you all how many times I felt that my arguments had been misrepresented by Noyd in Noyd’s comments (try every time).

    Well, you could try.  If it matters, make the effort to correct what you think I’m getting wrong.  But then, you seem to have some issue with pointing out wrongness, as I’ve corrected your misrepresentations multiple times and your main response is to whine about it.

    Noyd has always chosen to focus only in what Noyd perceives to be my inconsistencies.

    I’m focusing on the things you’re wrong about because you should try to be less wrong if you want people to respect and engage your arguments.  Attempting to continue arguments based on inaccuracies by turning them into philosophical exercises is, at best, derailing.

    But in the particular case I am interested in, context matters for evaluating HH’s use of the shirt (not Amy’s behavior!).

    That’s just blatant bullshit.  Do you have memory problems?  Because your words are still up there in the thread above us, and you very clearly have an interest in scolding people for their negative reactions to the t-shirt as you’ve been doing that since you arrived.  (First for using offense like religious folks and later for talking about the incident for too long.)

    Context matters for us to evaluate whether it constituted a cheap shot or whether it was simply a defiant expression of her disagreement.

    No.  Many people have already said that Dr. Hall’s intentions aren’t the problem, but you keep ignoring that.  You keep trying to remove her actions from the context in which they were performed in order to judge others for their reactions.

    It is supposed to make me afraid of speaking up at the risk of being called a sloppy thinker and writer.

    Yes, because there’s only shutting up.  I couldn’t possibly want you to be more careful and considered in the things you say.  I could never hope that you’d realize it’s important to make sure you’re not misrepresenting those you’re criticizing and apologize for judging others without understanding why they reacted the way they did.

  82. says

    Daniel: Context matters for us to evaluate whether it constituted a cheap shot or whether it was simply a defiant expression of her disagreement.

    A. Noyd: No. Many people have already said that Dr. Hall’s intentions aren’t the problem, but you keep ignoring that.

    Exactly.

    Daniel, here’s a hoary old example, but it encapsulates the problem with focussing so much on intent when the harm happens no matter what the intent may be: when Jill accidentally steps on Jack’s foot, Jill’s lack of malice doesn’t change the fact that Jack’s foot is bruised.

    Once Jack tells Jill that Jill is bruising Jack’s foot, what is the usual social convention? Most people would expect an apology, but even if that is not forthcoming, at the very least they would expect Jill to stop stepping on Jack’s foot.

    Unforeseen consequences of premeditated acts happen all the time, and when a basic partial remedy for a harmful consequence is as simple “don’t do that any more”, then Jill’s decision to keep on doing the premeditated act which means repeatedly stepping on Jack’s foot becomes no longer accidental but totally purposeful.

    For Jill to keep on stepping on Jack’s foot when Jill can see that the bruise is growing and that other people are pointing and laughing at Jack’s bruise and worsening limp? When other people are ignoring Jill’s other message and just congratulating her on bruising Jack? When other people decide to copy her and step on Jack’s foot too, because it looks like fun?

    It sends the very clear message that Jill thinks that her original reason for the premeditated act which keeps exacerbating Jack’s bruise is far more important than Jack’s pain or Jack’s marginalisation or the concern of all the other people who are telling Jill that she should just stop stepping on Jack’s foot because it’s mean and is encouraging others to bully Jack.

    So, do you think people would be wrong to criticise Jill for continuing to step on Jill’s foot when it would have been so very easy for Jill to stop?

    Or do you think Jill should get a free pass for stomping on Jack’s foot for three whole days because she didn’t originally foresee that foot injury would occur?

  83. Arzin Chibber says

    Dear tigtog,

    when Jill accidentally steps on Jack’s foot, Jill’s lack of malice doesn’t change the fact that Jack’s foot is bruised…. Unforeseen consequences of premeditated acts happen all the time, and when a basic partial remedy for a harmful consequence is as simple “don’t do that any more”, then Jill’s decision to keep on doing the premeditated act which means repeatedly stepping on Jack’s foot becomes no longer accidental but totally purposeful.

    I would be interested in hearing your response if we remove bodily harm from the example (which muddies the water) and replace it with a case of a differing hurtful view. Eg. If you are wearing a FSM T-shirt, and a staunch Christian requests you to desist from wearing it since it ridicules her faith, would you comply? What about if your friend was wearing the shirt? Would you ask your friend to take off the shirt too?

    I’m trying to understand whether you feel it is an objective moral duty of every person to modify their action to reduce its perceived hurtfulness, or if you feel that it is more of a personal choice.

  84. Bernard Bumner says

    If you are wearing a FSM T-shirt, and a staunch Christian requests you to desist from wearing it since it ridicules her faith, would you comply? What about if your friend was wearing the shirt? Would you ask your friend to take off the shirt too?

    There is a big difference between a t-shirt that questions religion generally and a t-shirt that attacks an individual or minority group specifically.

    The physical harm aspect of the the hypothetical situation you were presented with does nothing to muddy the waters, unless you mean to argue that minor physical insults are incomparably worse than emotion ones.

    …an objective moral duty of every person to modify their action to reduce its perceived hurtfulness, or if you feel that it is more of a personal choice.

    What? You’re over-complicating it. If something you’re doing causes hurt, distress, or upset to a friend, colleague, ally, stranger, then don’t you stop and make amends? Particularly if the cost to you is trivial (wearing a different t-shirt when you dress in the morning).

    If a nuance is lost in that hypothetical situation, it is that Amy was effectively attacked by name by someone who then refused to stop.

    This isn’t a case where there is anything so abstract or over-arching as an objective moral duty to modify their action, but a case where action was needed to be taken to prevent one person directly attacking another.

    Evidently, Harriet Hall felt no obligation not to continue harming Amy, and that failing is absolutely her responsibility, but the situation was then handled poorly by those with absolutely a duty of care to Amy.

  85. Arzin Chibber says

    Dear Bernard,

    There is a big difference between a t-shirt that questions religion generally and a t-shirt that attacks an individual or minority group specifically.

    Let’s say the T-shirt said ‘Christians, FSM is the one true God’. Now Christians may not be a minority, but I don’t really see how that would matter. So my question (originally posed to tigtog) still stands – would you stop wearing the T-shirt? If you friend was wearing it, would you make her take it off?

    The physical harm aspect of the the hypothetical situation you were presented with does nothing to muddy the waters, unless you mean to argue that minor physical insults are incomparably worse than emotion ones.

    Oh, not at all. It’s just that there are specific laws against causing physical harm. So posing as an example something which is illegal is a little pointless when speaking about an incident which, socially, might only be considered rude.

    What? You’re over-complicating it.

    Trying my best to simplify this. Maybe not succeeding entirely.

    If something you’re doing causes hurt, distress, or upset to a friend, colleague, ally, stranger, then don’t you stop and make amends? Particularly if the cost to you is trivial (wearing a different t-shirt when you dress in the morning).

    If it upsets my friend, yes sure. A perfect stranger? I don’t know. I’m being quite honest, and I think this would hold true for most human beings.

    Which is why I’m wondering whether it is tigtog’s view that a common morality suggests that one cease to do anything that is causing distress to another person, regardless of a valid reason or not.

    If a nuance is lost in that hypothetical situation, it is that Amy was effectively attacked by name by someone who then refused to stop.

    I don’t believe the nuance is lost in my revised hypothetical. IRL, Amy was not attacked, though one could say Skepchik (as a group)was attacked. In my hypothetical, the individual was not attacked but Christians (as a group) was attacked.

    This isn’t a case where there is anything so abstract or over-arching as an objective moral duty to modify their action, but a case where action was needed to be taken to prevent one person directly attacking another.

    It might be absolutely clear from where you are standing. But consider a neutral party. On what ground can such a person ‘take action’ to prevent another person from wearing a T-shirt (ignoring ‘directly attacking’ to stay true to the real situation and the hypothetical).

    Unless it is generally understood that one should never do something that upsets any other person. In the absence of such a belief, I cannot see on what basis any action can be taken.

    Evidently, Harriet Hall felt no obligation not to continue harming Amy, and that failing is absolutely her responsibility, but the situation was then handled poorly by those with absolutely a duty of care to Amy.

    While I understand that this blog post is about Amy and Harriet, my previous post was directed to tigtog’s point. I parsed it to mean that intent does not matter and the only thing that matters is that Jill should immediately stop doing whatever it is that she is doing, if Jack feels hurt/distressed/attacked by it. I’m merely trying to understand the basis of this position.

  86. A. Noyd says

    Arzin Chibber (#901)

    I parsed it to mean that intent does not matter and the only thing that matters is that Jill should immediately stop doing whatever it is that she is doing, if Jack feels hurt/distressed/attacked by it. I’m merely trying to understand the basis of this position.

    Empathy and compassion.  The recognition that gratuitous harm is a moral wrong.

  87. says

    Bloody timezones! I missed the latest dramatic instalment!

    Others have replied (thanks!) with most of the points I’d want to make in reponse to the challenge to my allegory, but I’ll address a few other points:

    If a nuance is lost in that hypothetical situation, it is that Amy was effectively attacked by name by someone who then refused to stop.

    I don’t believe the nuance is lost in my revised hypothetical. IRL, Amy was not attacked, though one could say Skepchik (as a group)was attacked. In my hypothetical, the individual was not attacked but Christians (as a group) was attacked.

    Amy was the only Skepchick blogger at this year’s TAM, and was pinned down behind a merchandise table where she could be easily pointed out to others. Amy also has several highly visible disinguishing marks which make her extremely easy to pick out in a crowd even when she moved away from the merchandise table. Given these unique aspects to what actually happened, Amy was effectively singled out by name.

    HH may well not have realised that this would be the case when she decided to wear the t-shirt originally, but it must have been very clear to her by the time Amy spoke with her in the speakers’ lounge about it, or surely once she learnt that a group of people went to much more time and effort than HH did by making copies of Surly-Ramics necklaces with their own mocking slogans on them to pointedly wear in close proximity to Amy.

    Arzin Chibber (#901)

    I parsed it to mean that intent does not matter and the only thing that matters is that Jill should immediately stop doing whatever it is that she is doing, if Jack feels hurt/distressed/attacked by it. I’m merely trying to understand the basis of this position.

    Empathy and compassion. The recognition that gratuitous harm is a moral wrong.

    Since many people aren’t a fan of moral arguments (although I’m a big fan of reciprocal ethics myself) I’ll distil this down to something more fundamental: survival instinct and risk assessment.

    Humans are a gregarious species who require cooperative interaction to get things done. Empathy and compassion in other members of the associations we form make them more reliable and trustworthy in shared endeavours than people who lack these qualities. In situations involving hostile conduct/conflict, people who lack empathy and compassion are not the people you can trust to have your back when it’s needed.

    It was trivially easy for Harriet Hall to take a few minutes to change her shirt so as to no longer send a message of encouragement to other attendees who were gleefully bullying Amy with highly personalised messages. She chose to continue to display the encouragement. She chose to side with the comparatively faceless grassroots bullies against a well-known activist who has enthusiastically raised thousands and thousands of dollars to support skeptic events over many years, especially supporting TAM as an official sponsor.

    Do you think other potential sponsors haven’t noticed how TAM failed to protect a sponsor of their event this year? Do you think the gleeful bullies are going to step up as sponsors instead? Do you think other organisations aren’t already wondering whether an honoured guest who decides to carry on encouraging the harassment of a fellow honoured guest at an event is somebody they should take a risk on at their own event?

  88. Arzin Chibber says

    Dear A.Noyd,

    Empathy and compassion. The recognition that gratuitous harm is a moral wrong.

    Thank you for this response. Is it your position then that if you were wearing the ‘Christians, FSM is the real God’ T-shirt’, you would immediately take it off if it hurt the sentiments of a staunch Christian, based on the concepts of empathy and compassion? I wouldn’t, and that is why I wonder.

    I, personally, found PZ’s ‘Eucharist Host’ incident quite hilarious and poignant. Based on ‘empathy’ and ‘compassion’ though, it is utter gratuitous harm, and even more deplorable because PZ went out of his way to do it. One can at least say that wearing a T-shirt is a daily activity, but putting a rusty nail through a Eucharist and a Q’uran? Hardly!

    What are your thoughts?

  89. Arzin Chibber says

    Dear tigtog,

    Amy was the only Skepchick blogger at this year’s TAM…. Given these unique aspects to what actually happened, Amy was effectively singled out by name.

    I beg to differ. the T-shirt says ‘Skepchik’. If anything, one could argue that it singles out Rebecca (since that is often her moniker), but it definitely does not single out Amy any more than any other members of Skepchik. I can understand how one can deduce that in retrospect, but with all respect, it is quite a stretch to claim that Amy was particularly singled out.

    HH may well not have realised that this would be the case when she decided to wear the t-shirt originally, but it must have been very clear to her by the time Amy spoke with her in the speakers’ lounge about it, or surely once she learnt that a group of people went to much more time and effort than HH did by making copies of Surly-Ramics necklaces with their own mocking slogans on them to pointedly wear in close proximity to Amy.

    Rude and obnoxious behaviour, I’m sure. But again, I’m wondering why HH would stop wearing her T-shirt because of unconnected external agents who are causing distress to Amy. This could happen if she felt empathy and compassion towards her plight. But does she have an actual responsibility to modify her actions to lessen Amy’s hurt? Please note that this is again only in the context of your ‘Intent does not matter’ post.

    Since many people aren’t a fan of moral arguments (although I’m a big fan of reciprocal ethics myself) I’ll distil this down to something more fundamental: survival instinct and risk assessment.

    The paragraph following this does not mention survival instinct or risk assessment. Maybe I’m missing something in comprehension?

    Empathy and compassion in other members of the associations we form make them more reliable and trustworthy in shared endeavours than people who lack these qualities.actions?

    We are assuming that all humans want to be seen favourably by everyone. Maybe HH simply didn’t care to be seen favourably by Amy. Maybe she valued her freedom of speech/action more than she cared about Amy’s mental peace.

    In situations involving hostile conduct/conflict, people who lack empathy and compassion are not the people you can trust to have your back when it’s needed.

    This is a statement about why HH may have wanted to listen to Amy – to create an ally. This is not a statement about why HH ought to have listened to Amy.

    I am snipping the rest of your argument, not because I think it lacks merit, but because I do not think it is relevant to my primary query, which was to the statement of intent.

  90. Arzin Chibber says

    I really am interested in finding out what the respondents would do in my hypothetical situation.

    If you are wearing a ‘Christians, FSM is the one true God’ T-shirt, and a staunch Christian requests you to desist from wearing it since it ridicules her faith, would you comply? What about if your friend was wearing the shirt? Would you ask your friend to take off the shirt too?

  91. Hertta says

    Well, I haven’t participated so far, but I’ll answer for myself to the question @906:

    There’s no general rule what I would do if someone told me that that the slogan on my shirt was hurting them. If they were someone whose feelings I care about, I’d go change immediately. I they were someone I wanted to show respect to, I’d change. If I wanted to make a clear that I don’t care how hurt they feel, even if they told me so personally, I’d go on wearing the shirt. I still probably would’t wear it the next day and certainly not three days in a row, if I seriously didn’t want to rub their face in it, even at the expence of my personal hygiene.

    Right now I can’t think of anyone I dislike and disrespect so much, Christian or atheist, that I would choose to wear something they’d told me was hurtful to them for days just to spite them. That’s why Harriet Hall’s behaviour is so incomprehensible to me. What had Amy ever done to her? And it wasn’t an FSM-shirt and Amy wasn’t someone whose religion was ridiculed. She was a fellow skeptic, a sponsor of the event, and from what I’ve heard, she’s a very likable person. If there was a different point Hall wanted to make, it doesn’t really matter, because after Amy told her she was hurt by the shirt, the message became how little Hall respected Amy or cared how she feels. It must really have hurt. And I can imagine every time the shirt got a positive reaction from someone, it stung some more.

    So, no general rule, if you were looking for one. You’d have to care.

  92. Bernard Bumner says

    @906,
    If I was attending an inclusive social event and wore a t-shirt (any t-shirt) that offended someone, I certainly wouldn’t continue to push the matter for three days. I’m not a bully.

    I have no wish – deliberately or simply in defiance – to make someone feel singled-out to the point that they are distressed. And if I thought I was giving succour to other bullies, even if I though my own point was well-made and intentioned, I would not only stop, but I would also speak out against it.

    You inability to draw the distinction between a slogan that singles out an individual or minority (the only person in attendance who could officially self-identify as a Skepchick) and one that criticizes a dominant cultural practice (Christianity), is unhelpful. However, if I am forced to answer your question, then let me say that the situation isn’t clear cut. Would I wear an anti-Christian t-shirt? It isn’t really my style, but I don’t see why not. Would I wear an anti-Christian t-shirt in an environment where there is active persecution of a Christian minority? No. Never.

  93. Arzin Chibber says

    Dear Hertta

    There’s no general rule what I would do if someone told me that that the slogan on my shirt was hurting them. If they were someone whose feelings I care about, I’d go change immediately. I they were someone I wanted to show respect to, I’d change.

    Appreciate your response. I would completely agree with your take. I have no doubt that this is exactly how I would respond too.

    If I wanted to make a clear that I don’t care how hurt they feel, even if they told me so personally, I’d go on wearing the shirt.

    Just as an addendum – I would probably also keep on wearing the T-shirt if I was simply indifferent to their claims of hurt. It need not be malicious. It could simply be that I do not think their request lack credence.

    That’s why Harriet Hall’s behaviour is so incomprehensible to me. What had Amy ever done to her? (bolding mine)

    This assumes that HH’s actions were personal to Amy. Another viewpoint would be that Amy actually hasn’t done anything to HH – HH is abjectly indifferent to Amy. Which, I believe, would make the behaviour much more comprehensible. What say you?

    And it wasn’t an FSM-shirt and Amy wasn’t someone whose religion was ridiculed. She was a fellow skeptic…

    Creates a division between ‘believer’ and ‘skeptic’ – implicitly suggesting that a skeptic’s feelings are somewhat more important. Which actually I agree with for the reasons I have mentioned elsewhere – if I feel somebody is an ally, I might heed their feelings more than another.

    However, just like there can be so many sets of people among ‘believers’, I think it is also true that there are lots of ‘sets’ among ‘skeptics’. Apparently HH cared less about Amy as a ‘set’ of speptic, and more about the message she wanted to send across.

    …after Amy told her she was hurt by the shirt, the message became how little Hall respected Amy or cared how she feels. It must really have hurt.

    I agree. We as human beings want to be recognized and appreciated. When that does not happen, we obviously feel hurt. But I don’t think we need to assign any malice on the part of HH to make this true. Indifference also works.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is there seems to be a lot of hyperbole about Harriet Hall and her ‘vendetta’ against Amy, and the monstrosity of her actions etc. I feel that while she could have handled it differently, it is, at the end, no different from me wearing a ‘Unlike Christians, I do not believe in a Sky Daddy’ T-shirt in a gathering where Christians might be present.

    The fact that I choose to wear the T-shirt does not mean I hate the Christians present at the gathering and want to hurt them personally – simply that I am indifferent to their ‘hurt’ when opposed to my self-expression.

  94. Hertta says

    Sometimes indifference is not very far from maliciousness. I don’t see why that distinction is so important to you. And I want nothing to do with a movement that prides itself on not caring about people’s feelings. Amy is being ridiculed for criyng! Not my kind of people, not my kind of movement.

  95. Hertta says

    And I’m not saying the whole skeptic movement is represented by the kind of indifference/maliciousness Amy faced at TAM. There’s nothing about being a skeptic or atheist that requires one to be an uncaring asshole. Skeptics can be passionate, involved and active in a caring and positive way. You know, like the Skepchicks.

  96. Arzin Chibber says

    Dear Bernard,

    Thanks for your response. I understand the collective position better now.

    If I was attending an inclusive social event and wore a t-shirt (any t-shirt) that offended someone, I certainly wouldn’t continue to push the matter for three days. I’m not a bully.

    While I disagree with your implied logic i.e. anyone who does the above is a bully, I understand where you are coming from. To keep it equal, my position on this isn’t quite cut and dried. I guess I can imagine situations where someone’s offense would not make me change a shirt that I have chosen to make a personal statement.

    And if I thought I was giving succour to other bullies, even if I though my own point was well-made and intentioned, I would not only stop, but I would also speak out against it.

    Then you are a bigger person than a lot of other people :)

    You inability to draw the distinction between a slogan that singles out an individual or minority (the only person in attendance who could officially self-identify as a Skepchick) and one that criticizes a dominant cultural practice (Christianity), is unhelpful.

    I would strongly disagree. Something that is offensive is offensive, no matter whether it is aimed towards the majority or minority. We are just more tolerant of the former.

    If it is good form to be empathetic towards the hurt of a person, it should be good form regardless of whether she is in majority or not.

    Anyways, I greatly appreciate yours and others response. Helps me to understand your positions, which I believe is more important than whether I support it or oppose it :)

    Thanks everybody.

  97. A. Noyd says

    Arzin Chibber (#904)

    Is it your position then that if you were wearing the ‘Christians, FSM is the real God’ T-shirt’, you would immediately take it off if it hurt the sentiments of a staunch Christian, based on the concepts of empathy and compassion?

    Is it your belief that Amy was suffering only from “hurt sentiments”?

    Based on ‘empathy’ and ‘compassion’ though, [Crackergate was] utter gratuitous harm, and even more deplorable because PZ went out of his way to do it.

    If you think that, then you don’t know the context of Crackergate anymore than you understand the context Dr. Hall’s shirt was received in. PZ was responding to the attempt by certain Catholics to harm Webster Cook for the “crime” of unwittingly disrespecting one of their sacred crackers.

    What are your thoughts?

    My thoughts are that I’m not interested in hypotheticals that allow you to ignore the specifics of the incident in the OP.

    (#905)

    But again, I’m wondering why HH would stop wearing her T-shirt because of unconnected external agents who are causing distress to Amy.

    Because it added to the bullying and sent the message to those doing the bullying that Dr. Hall approved of their hate and harassment campaign.

    (#909)

    Another viewpoint would be that Amy actually hasn’t done anything to HH – HH is abjectly indifferent to Amy. Which, I believe, would make the behaviour much more comprehensible.

    We get that people can be callous. What’s so very incomprehensible is that Dr. Hall would be that sort of person.

    (#912)

    Something that is offensive is offensive, no matter whether it is aimed towards the majority or minority.

    How that offense translates into harm is context dependent. Get it through your head that the issue with Dr. Hall’s shirt isn’t mere offense or “hurt sentiments” or a disruption of “mental peace.”

  98. Arzin Chibber says

    Thanks A.Noyd,

    My discussion did not start as a comment on the Surly Amy – Harriet Hall incident. It was more as a response to tigtog’s post #898. My hypothetical situation was merely a response to tigtog’s hypothetical situation. If you feel that my intent was to ‘ignore the specifics of the incident in the OP’, maybe you are reading too much into my words. I think it’s time I went back to lurking after this post.

    If you think that, then you don’t know the context of Crackergate anymore than you understand the context Dr. Hall’s shirt was received in. PZ was responding to the attempt by certain Catholics to harm Webster Cook for the “crime” of unwittingly disrespecting one of their sacred crackers.

    Automatically assuming that a person does not know context does not assist in the free flow of ideas. If you had read my post in the context that it was made (see what I did there :)), you might have better comprehended its meaning.

    I am well aware of PZ’s intent. However, both tigtog and you are quoted in #898 that intent does not matter when harm occurs regardless – ‘harm’ being defined in context as ‘hurting someone emotionally’. PZ’s actions hurt the sentiments of a lot of Catholics. Hence, the intent should not matter, and PZ should have desisted from driving that rusty nail into the wafer.

    I don’t agree with the above reasoning. And I’m sure you won’t either. Which is why I was trying to understand why this same line of reasoning was being applied in this instance.

    How that offense translates into harm is context dependent. Get it through your head that the issue with Dr. Hall’s shirt isn’t mere offense or “hurt sentiments” or a disruption of “mental peace.”

    I would absolutely love to get it through my head that the issue with the T-shirt isn’t hurt sentiments, except for the fact that given no physical harm, it did only hurt her emotionally, of which ‘hurt sentiments’ is a synonym.

    The magnitude of ‘hurt sentiments’ might be high, it might have been exacerbated by past events, or by external agents, but it is, at the end of the day, ‘hurt sentiments’. If you still feel that this is incorrect, I can only blame the English language.

    And with that…. poof!

  99. says

    Here’s the thing. It’s not an absolute. It’s not a matter of set rules that apply no matter what. It’s also not the case that the wafer is the same as the T shirt.

    Particulars matter. The Catholic church is a huge, demanding, powerful global institution, that does its best to make people obey its rules. Skepchick is not like the Catholic church.

    Also, PZ didn’t trash the wafer in anyone’s face. He didn’t seek out Catholics in order to trash the wafer in front of them.

    Consider the Motoons for another example. I think the cartoonists were right to draw them. Would I go to a meeting where I knew a lot of Muslims would be present and wave the Motoons in their faces? No.

    In short, pay attention to particulars. Skepchick is not the Vatican. Amy is not the pope, or a priest. PZ’s trashing a wafer in his back yard is not Harriet Hall wearing an anti-skepchick shirt at an event that included a skepchick.

  100. A. Noyd says

    Arzin Chibber (#914)

    My discussion did not start as a comment on the Surly Amy – Harriet Hall incident. It was more as a response to tigtog’s post #898. … If you had read my post in the context that it was made…, you might have better comprehended its meaning.

    Well, tigtog’s post was an analogy for what happened in the t-shirt incident. I’m not under any obligation to forget that just because you want to ignore that context whenever you find it convenient.

    Automatically assuming that a person does not know context does not assist in the free flow of ideas.

    I’m not assuming anything. You’re quite clearly ignoring a whole mess of context and power dynamics to make superficial connections between very different events. I’m not interested in doing that because there’s no meaning to a free flow of ideas if those ideas are not relatable to actual circumstances. (One might as well praise theology. Ideas flow quite freely there.)

    PZ’s actions hurt the sentiments of a lot of Catholics.

    The harm done to Webster Cook also went way beyond harm to sentiments. You can’t simply declare that any harm done by Crackergate was gratuitous without acknowledging the context. It was meant to juxtapose the relative importance of human being and sacred objects. Any harm done to Catholics because of their feelings about their magic crackers has to be contrasted with the harm done by Catholics to people (like Cook) who have different ideas about their crackers. It is not gratuitous to offend someone’s feelings over the sanctity of a cracker when they’re unwilling to grant the same (or more) consideration to a human being. (Note the conditional.)

    …‘harm’ being defined in context as ‘hurting someone emotionally’…

    No, that’s not the definition of harm being used here.

    I would absolutely love to get it through my head that the issue with the T-shirt isn’t hurt sentiments, except for the fact that given no physical harm, it did only hurt her emotionally, of which ‘hurt sentiments’ is a synonym.

    Am I to take it you’re a dualist who thinks there are hard and fast boundaries between mind and body? That the mental and the physical are separate? Because stress, just to name one “emotional” consequence of bullying, is a physical thing. And fearing for one’s physical safety due to implicit or explicit threats takes its toll on more than the mind (not that we should be dismissive of the harm it does to minds) such as forcing one to change one’s behavior and to restrict where one goes and when, sometimes drastically. (The shirt itself didn’t make threats but effectively contributed to an environment that condoned threats and harassment.) Then we must consider the damage to one’s livelihood and contributions to society when the climate at one’s work (or school) becomes chilly and/or overtly hostile. There’s more to harm in this instance than what I bought up, but this should be sufficient to show you that your dichotomy is false and that “hurt sentiments” is totally inaccurate.

    (Note that no one’s saying Dr. Hall’s t-shirt could accomplish this on its own. It has to be placed into context, which includes, among other things, Dr. Hall’s influence in the skeptic/atheist community; the targeted bullying against Amy in particular by others at TAM; and the more general disparagement, including violent threats, of Skepchicks, other women bloggers, and women in general that has arisen over the past year.)

  101. A. Noyd says

    Ophelia (#915)

    Also, PZ didn’t trash the wafer in anyone’s face. He didn’t seek out Catholics in order to trash the wafer in front of them.

    Yes, this is also important. It’s part of what I was getting at in #916 with my mention of power dynamics and chilly/hostile working environments. This is why, whatever my feelings about the harms of Islam and veiling, I’m not going to wear a “take that bag off your head” t-shirt in front of the women wearing chador at my university. There’s nothing I could accomplish that would offset the harm of doing so; they’re just looking to get an education, same as me, and such a t-shirt could infringe upon that.

    However, I feel it’s my duty to get into no-holds-barred debates with the Mormon missionaries, mock the random preachers ranting about hellfire and heretics, call out the lies of the anti-choice protestors with their gigantic dead fetus signs, laugh at the sneering old men handing out mini-Bibles and Chick tracts, and counter-protest the Phelpses. Those people are making it their business to engage with others over religious beliefs.

  102. says

    Having been distracted by further developments amongst the ‘Shut Up Skepchicks’ crowd, I haven’t paid this thread the same level of attention that I was paying earlier. My allegory, which was an attempt to highlight a real effect on real people by taking polarising personalities out of it, was taken as an invitation to move into higher levels of abstraction which have resulted in trivialising the real pain of somebody by treating it as an intellectual puzzle. This is frankly derailing the meat of this discussion, so I don’t wish to continue down that track. I made a non-useful contribution, let it rest.

    Harriet Hall chose to prioritise presenting a meta-argument over behaving humanely to a fellow public skeptical activist, at an event where they were both honoured guests, and thus a certain amount of collegiality for the duration of the event was a reasonable expectation of peer-to-peer courtesy (and one that many host organisations would explicitly expect from their guests).

    Don’t many, if not most, professional speaker contracts include clauses in the fine print boilerplate specifically identifying acts that bring the host organisation into disrepute as constituting a breach of contract which makes the speaker liable to the penalty of cancellation of their fee and confiscation of their complimentary event pass? Indeed, if an organisation’s management didn’t require such contracts for their speakers I wouldn’t regard them as acting professionally in the best interests of their organisation.

    Harriet Hall’s t-shirt has been a PR nightmare for TAM precisely because she was an official guest of TAM, not just an ordinary attendee. If that’s not bringing her hosts at TAM into disrepute, then I don’t know what is.

    Two main grounds thus are shown for criticising Harriet Hall’s decision to keep wearing the t-shirt after Amy spoke to her about it:
    1. her behaviour towards a fellow guest was both contrary to collegial conventions and personally inhumane (which I find personally most worthy of criticism on ethical grounds), and
    2. her behaviour was also detrimental to the public reputation of her hosts (which I would expect TAM-boosters to find most worthy of criticism on professionalism grounds).

    That all this took place in the context of a sustained bullying campaign against the target of HH’s t-shirt slogan is also highly relevant; a bullying campaign that most professional organisations would have made strong efforts to defuse on a patch of ground to which they control access rather than shrugging their shoulders over. This is why TAM is also garnering criticism for their lack of interest in remedial action of any kind against harassment of one of their sponsors.

  103. Aerik says

    Geezus. I came to this thread via a link in a youtube video by integralmath aka justicar, which was favorited by thunderf00t.

    Tf00t is actually getting more misogynist. He’s started falling in love with MRAs. justicar first, then the real wingnut “girlwriteswhat”. He has favorited two of her videos. “I’m a sexy woman, stop objectifying me” and “the tyrrany of female hypoagency”

    Thunderf00t has really hit the gas pedal on his misogyny mobile.

  104. says

    Dr. Hall can wear any damned shirt that she wants to.

    Dr. Hall can choose to associate/dissociate with any political faction, group, individual, cause, or narrative that she likes.

    Why don’t the rest of you worry about what is on YOUR shirt instead and give her the respect that she deserves as a person of merit.

    You all sound like a bunch of fashion hacks critiquing the new evening gown on a runway model without giving a second thought to interviewing her – oh the irony.

    sambarge said: “She seems remarkably proud of the fact that she doesn’t agree with women who feel that they’ve been treated poorly based on their gender. I can’t imagine being proud to not understand the oppression of others.”

    The operative words there are “seems” and “imagine”.

    If you want to know Harriet was thinking, proud of, agreeing/disagreeing with, or feeling – ASK HER.

    Without making any stupid assumptions, it SEEMS to me that she doesn’t want to be associated with SkepChick… Nothing else.

  105. Aerik says

    @922 (Ophelia)

    Tf00t has since unfavorited that justicar video. Who wants to bet that he’ll claim he was unaware of the guy’s reputation?

  106. Jon Rohr says

    @922 Aerik : “Who wants to bet that he’ll claim he was unaware of the guy’s reputation?”

    I will take that bet. While you may not agree with what someone wrote, it is bad form to put words in other people’s mouthes.

    Why has this turned into a clash of Personality Cults instead of a clash of conflicting opinions & just how well supported those arguments are based in logic and reason.

    If you know that slmeone is wrong, just prove it. These personality attacks are childish and inappropriate coming from a Skeptic. What Would Socrates Do?

  107. says

    Why has this turned into a clash of Personality Cults instead of a clash of conflicting opinions & just how well supported those arguments are based in logic and reason.

    Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!1! Pick me!

    Maybe because many loudmouths got horrendously bent out of shape by one woman wryly recommending “Guys, don’t do that” with regard to wtf-inappropriate-at-3AM behaviour? And since then the other loudmouths high-fiving the whargarrbl-over-reaction to that wry recommendation have never given a single indication of being willing to let that whargarrbl-over-reaction to that wry recommendation go?

  108. Nyx says

    “what if”

    the shirt said, I’m not a black skeptic, I’m just a skeptic.

    and there were black members that felt singled out?

    You’d all do something about it.

    But because it’s a woman it’s not a big deal and it’s ok to hurt women.

    I’m a radical feminist and this has been your almighty lesson.

    ~N

  109. vincenthewitt says

    Fuck all of you whiners.

    Woman wore a fucking t-shirt. Get over it and get over yourselves.

    Is this supposed to be “freethought” blogs? I guess you’re free to have thoughts, but you’re not free to express them on a t-shirt?

    I see offensive shit all the time. I drive down the road, and half of the bumper stickers offend me. Do I have a cry about it? Fuck no, because I’m an adult.

  110. Mal says

    Vincent.

    Awfully well done! I bet you feel better now you’ve got that off your mind. Of course it’s ironic that you defend Harriet Hall’s free speach by telling the “whiners” that they should shut up. Pity you couldn’t have ignored the “offensive shit” like you say you do all the time.

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