Skeptically looking down »« Women are told to sit in back

Is rape a good punishment for being so annoying?

There’s a forum called Rationalia. Already the warning lights start to blink – the forum seems to be a genre that attracts a lot of, hmm how to put it, a lot of mind-blind, entitled nastiness, aka sexism. A forum that calls itself Rationalia – that doesn’t bode well.

And so it came about. You have to register to read the particular item in question, so I’ll link to PZ’s report on it instead, in case like me you don’t want to register just to see some sexist crap in its native habitat.

Would it be immoral to rape a Skepchick?

Post by Pappa » Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:46 am

Not for sexual gratification or power or anything like that, just because they’re so annoying.

I’m really torn on this one. :dunno:

There were some angry comments at PZ’s (how astonishing, how wicked, how deepriftsian). “Pappa” replied.

by Pappa » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:51 am

OK, sorry but this’ll have to be brief. I start a new job today so I don’t have much time.

1. PZ, why don’t you ever shut the fuck up and think before you engage your fingers? If you weren’t already a member here I’d call you an idiot, but you are and I don’t want to break the rules.

2. PZ, where to we purport to be rational? We’re two of Dawkins’ bastard children, hanging out here because it’s more fun and way less anal than most of the other places we could go. Besides, have you read some other irrational crap you’ve posted occasionally? You’re an intelligent and thoughtful guy, almost always worth reading. But sometimes you jump on some random banwagon without much rational thought at all.

3. PZ’s followers. You’re a bunch of retarded arse-lickers (not all of you, just the retarded ones who aren’t also members here). Seriously, are you not able to understand concepts like irony, hyperbole and irreverent humour?

So that’s how that went.

Stephanie has commentary. 

Update:

“Pappa” has commented again.

One

I suppose you’ve all heard the expression,”You’ve every right to be offended” before. It’s true, you do. You also have every right to rant about it online if that’s what floats your boat, but really many of you need to get some perspective and stop seeing the world in such black and white ways. If any one of you have ever laughed at a sick joke of any kind, then you’re hypocrites. If you really care about rape, stop posting shouty replies on some blog and go out and do something about it in the real world. Responding to blog posts and getting all worked up in the process is about as effective as praying.

I don’t know what’s wrong with the supposed “community” that spans a load of atheist/sceptic/rationalist sites, but you don’t half waste an absurd amount of time arguing amongst yourselves and getting really angry and self-righteous in the process. I like PZ and follow his blog from time to time, but even PZ seems to engage his fingers quite a lot without much rational thought… and I’ve seen Dawkins do the same quite a few times too. That’s pretty lame considering most of these people involved proclaim themselves to be rational minded people.

Before you turn that round to suggest I’m a hypocrite, “Rationalia” has never claimed to be a hub of reason and rationalism, as anyone who’s spent any time there can verify. It’s a hangout for (mostly) atheists/rationalist/sceptics who used to spend their free time in the Off Topic section of RDF, plus a load of fresh blood who just like the relaxed atmosphere.

Two

There are a huge amount of assumptions being made about me here. I am not misogynistic, sexist or woman-hating in any way. I support equality in all its forms and have done for my whole adult life. I have posted uncountable times online about my support for equality of sex, race and sexuality. Just a few days before the Skepchick thread I started I posted a “Stop Rape” poster on FB, I am vocally supportive of gay rights and gay marriage both online and off. At no point did I say I think Skepchicks should be raped, or that I wanted that to happen. I posted a ridiculous parody thread asking a “moral” question because I’ve been so sick of the ridiculous irrationally conducted “debate” ever since Elevatorgate I felt it should be ridiculed.

Something you all need to understand is that while I am 100% supportive of matters of equality, I also absolutely support the right of free speech, even when it is extremely distasteful.

I didn’t post that thread naively. On Rationalia in the past we’ve had long, heated discussions on the topic of offensive humour, stemming from unpleasant jokes made about disabled children, jokes that appeared right after Michael Jackson died, jokes about Madeline McCann, etc.. Some of which I found very distasteful, others I did not. I happen to have an irreverent sense of humour, and believe it or not but there are lots of other people who also have irreverent senses of humour who are fully capable of understanding the seriousness of the topics involved, people who are morally upstanding and who’s thoughts and actions are good. Honestly, I’m one of those people. I understand that many people are unable to see the funny side of humour that entails rape, death, baby eating, etc., but that doesn’t mean that anyone who does is ethically and morally corrupt. Plus, one thread of sarcastic ridicule is not all of who I am. Anyone who took the time to find out, rather than condemning me blindly on some blog would quickly realise.

Three

I am genuinely sorry that some people who have been affected by rape have been caused some further hurt by reading my thread. But I can’t renounce my joke for the simple reason that if rape jokes are verboten then by the same logic, so must dead baby jokes be so. Real people have had to live through the torment of a baby dying and must unfortunately also deal with the hurt of sometimes hearing or seeing dead baby jokes. People who have had children vanish without trace must unfortunately also deal with the hurt of sometimes hearing or seeing Madeline McCann jokes. People whose family have been murdered must unfortunately also deal with the hurt of sometimes hearing or seeing jokes about mass shootings or terrorism.

Comments

  1. callistacat says

    OK, crosspost:

    Ya know, re: Pappa shithead

    When I was a christian I never, I mean NEVER heard fellow christian men joke about raping other christian women they found annoying, and if they complain about it they can suck their c***s the way some atheist men are saying the Skepchicks should be raped, etc. Or that they should be kicked in their cunts. Likewise for mormons.

    Just sayin.

    And how is violating women “irreverent” humor. What is revered that you are ‘rebelling’ against? Our lives, our bodies? Way to stick it to The Man.
    Oh wait…

  2. Josh Slocum says

    And it gets worse. Pappa:

    Just so there’s no confusion, I’d like to make it clear that I think PZ’s a pretty cool guy. As I said before, and prior to this Drama Lama event, I think he can be a bit quick to jump on some bandwagon and post about it without thinking through what he’s actually on about… but that’s fairly common in the blogosphere anyway. The guy should be commended for all the other excellent stuff he posts.

    And if anyone uses this drama to start an inter-site war, I’ll personally butt-rape them.*

    * Not to be taken literally.

  3. Nepenthe says

    Silly PZ, getting all irrational and emotional about someone “humorously” contemplating raping his friends. Seriously, if you can’t discuss that situation perfectly calmly, you’re just jumping on the irrational anti-rape bandwagon and aren’t a real skeptic.

    /gross

    I’m really starting to like ‘Tis Himself’s definition of a skeptic as “a misogynist who doesn’t believe in Bigfoot”.

  4. Onamission5 says

    Well that pretty much settles it. I am never stepping an internet foot in any skeptic or atheist site outside of FtB and one other which I already frequent. Otherwise, I will have to spend the rest of my time talking myself out of the angry dome, and I get to do that enough already as it is.

  5. says

    Oh yes, how dare we “start an inter-site war” i.e. react to a “joke” about rape as the way to deal with “annoying” women, along with verbal attack #14,117 on our friends.

  6. porlob says

    So, in other words:

    “It totally sucks that we can’t say we want to rape a few specific people without being called out for being horrible. Can’t we just semi-publicly threaten rape in private?”

    Ugh.

  7. Roger says

    Would it be immoral to rape Pappa?

    Not for sexual gratification or power or anything like that, just because he’s so stupid and cannot understand the meaning of words.

    I’m really torn on this one but say ‘no’ in the end. Arrogance, stupidity and ignorance should not inevitably entail their worst possible consequences.

    If this is what they post at Rationalia, what do they post at Irrationalia?

  8. Sgaile-beairt says

    What a horrible view of sex this man has, that he thinks its principally something to do to hurt other people (ie women & inferior men), not something two people do together for run. And they call us anti-sex!!!

    (and his wife being upset didnt even phase him…..)

  9. says

    If you look at the Rationalia forum “rules”, ironically posted by Pappa itself (himself being reserved for those who have evidenced some humanity):

    http://rationalia.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3449

    No personal attacks. If you don’t agree with someone, debate their argument, behaviour or beliefs, do not attack their person. Attacks may be direct (“You are a cunt.”) or indirect (“Somebody with that view is stupid.”). Personal attacks will not be tolerated.

    I’ll just let that speak for itself.

    And to the person (#1) who said

    >>> NEVER heard fellow christian men joke about raping other christian women they found annoying

    Then you missed it because I promise you it happens, and frequently. Come down here to Texas and listen to the “Good Ol’ Christian Boys” talk about women. And down here it isn’t the exception, it is the rule.

    The intellectual secular community (be they agnostic, atheist, skeptic, or otherwise) is generally MUCH MUCH MUCH better than the average population (in my experience).

    That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have problems NOR does it mean we should just ignore those problem. And it does not matter if other people have it worse – that is not a valid excuse to ignore unacceptable behaviors in our community. I find it shocking that this theme seems to rumble through a supposedly educated and rational thinking group of people.

    I’m 100% behind conferences having harassment policies — the fact that they haven’t needed them so much in the more distant past seems a testament to two things: 1) the community thus far has been pretty outstanding (but again, not perfect — nobody expects perfection, but when a problem does arise those affected would appreciate being treated as human beings), 2) the community is growing and frankly, less desirable people are joining secular ranks.

    Both of these things are good things. And I hope the secular community (especially the leadership) will continue to voice how unacceptable these behaviors are.

  10. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    Would it be immoral to rape Pappa?

    I get that you are just trying to make Pappa/his apologists think about the vileness of what was said, but this comment is not cool.

  11. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    When I was a christian I never, I mean NEVER heard fellow christian men joke about raping other christian women they found annoying, and if they complain about it they can suck their c***s the way some atheist men are saying the Skepchicks should be raped, etc. Or that they should be kicked in their cunts. Likewise for mormons.

    Just saying.

    That is nice that you haven’t personally experienced these things in your interactions with the x-tian and mormon communities. Please refrain from whitewashing theistic misogyny though. It is pervasive, despite you never having witnessed it.

  12. says

    @ 12 – no I differ with that – turning around an appalling comment that way isn’t use, it’s attribution. (Ben Nelson nudged me into awareness of that distinction. It’s very useful.)
    Roger wasn’t saying that, he was ironizing “Pappa’s” saying of it.

  13. callistacat says

    @Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts

    I’m definitely NOT saying they aren’t misogynistic. But I never saw *open* threats of rape where I came from (I don’t know about in private or in Texas…) Don’t attack me for that. I’m an EX-christian for a reason. I just didn’t expect it from so-called skeptics and atheists who are so quick to point out misogyny in religion when it serves their purposes. The hypocrisy is sickening.

    I haven’t seen that from anyone at FreeThoughtBlogs. Maybe that’s why they get so much hate.

  14. says

    By the same token I could have said, “Should I call Paula Kirby a Feminazi Femistasi totalitarian?” If I had I wouldn’t have been saying it, as Paula did; I would have been holding the saying up between thumb and forefinger for inspection.

  15. A Hermit says

    “I would have been holding the saying up between thumb and forefinger for inspection.”

    I hope you were wearing gloves…I wouldn’t touch that stuff without a pair of forceps myself…

  16. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    I see your/ Ben Nelson’s point about how that comment is “ironizing” the original rape “joke”. It is punching down, mocking the people who would make a rape “joke”.

    I retract my objection.

  17. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    I hope you were wearing gloves…I wouldn’t touch that stuff without a pair of forceps myself…

    Rape jokes are so vile, I tend to avoid the types of ironizing jokes like #9. These types of jokes can mock rape-culture, rapists, and rape-enablers. That is good. They can also still be triggering and force people to imagine the literal meaning of your words. Even if your mocking intent is obvious, having a very negative visceral reactions to a joke like that sometimes cannot be helped.

    I like to mock rape-joke-makers, but I don’t want to cause harm.

    So yeah, I am not sure exactly how I feel about jokes that are mocking rape-culture, but that follow the form of the original rape-jokes so much that they can still be potentially triggering.

  18. Onamission5 says

    @Josh Slocum–

    Inorite? I can’t help bullying people who stoop to mocking the ongoing and often life long trauma of rape by refusing to add traffic to their forums. How dare I not allow them to abuse me on their own turf? I am so mean.

    To everyone who *has* gone over and tried to make sense happen, applause from someone who can’t take it and admires the work of those who can.

  19. eric says

    2. PZ, where to [sic] we purport to be rational?

    Um, in your web page title, Rationalia?

  20. says

    @Callistacat:

    Funny. Both of the men who raped me were Christians; in fact, one was my boyfriend and he raped me after we went to church together. I didn’t tell my parents because they would have known that I was voluntarily sexually active before that. I am uninterested in whether they talk the same as skeptical dudes; they behave the same, all in all. Privilege is privilege, whether it wears a cross or a red A.

  21. Pierce R. Butler says

    We’re two of Dawkins’ bastard children…

    Maybe Timonen’s purge had adequate justification after all.

  22. dianne says

    “Pappa” has posted on PZ’s thread on the matter. He gets worse the more he tries to explain himself.

  23. callistacat says

    @Jennifer, Uppity Bitch and General Malcontent
    I’m so sorry. :( I didn’t mean to imply christians don’t commit rape. I guess I was lucky enough to grow up around people who don’t make light of or joke about women getting raped. (If they actually practiced what they preached, I couldn’t say).

    “Privilege is privilege, whether it wears a cross or a red A.”
    Yes, I agree.

  24. says

    Maybe Timonen’s purge had adequate justification after all.

    I’ve been thinking about that episode lately, too! At the time, I opposed Timonen’s actions because the way he went about it was disrespectful, dishonest, and authoritarian; there was harm to third parties; and he destroyed some things irreversibly. I wasn’t convinced by the argument that the forums were nasty hives and sexist anyway so why should anyone care, and I’m not convinced by it now – would take the same position as I did then if I had it to do over.

    But I was aware at the time that the place attracted these people and that they generally found a congenial home there. When I hear someone claiming a connection to that forum I’m quite suspicious, and I don’t think I’ve ever been pleasantly surprised. Dawkins should be so proud.

  25. Andy Groves says

    “Pappa”, meet the Guardian’s Charlie Brooker:

    You really ought to consider folding your laptop shut and sitting quietly in the corner until that fallow lifespan of yours eventually reaches its conclusion.

  26. says

    Is torture a good punishment for being so annoying?

    A more general form of the original question, and the answer is still categorically NO!

    Torture culture is more about intimidation and control of a population than specific atrocities; a psychological instrument of oppression.

  27. 'Tis Himself says

    Pappa has refused to retract his “joke” because if he did then he wouldn’t be able to tell dead baby jokes. No, I am not kidding.

    But I can’t renounce my joke for the simple reason that if rape jokes are verboten then by the same logic, so must dead baby jokes be so.

  28. screechymonkey says

    ‘Tis @30, oh great. Another idiot who thinks that just because (let’s assume, for argument’s sake) some jokes about X are ok, that this means that all jokes about X are not only ok, but must be defended to the death.

    Fine, take his example. Let’s assume that it’s ok, depending on context, etc. to tell a joke along the lines of “whats blah and blah and blabbity blah? A dead baby! HA!” It doesn’t follow that it’s ok to make a joke about Specific Person X’s dead baby. Which is basically what Pappa has done here. (Oh, sorry, he didn’t name one specific person, just a very small identifiable group of people.)

    Isn’t that exactly the sort of logical fallacy that self-proclaimed skeptics like to think they’re good at avoiding?

  29. Andy Groves says

    [...] if rape jokes are verboten then by the same logic, so must dead baby jokes be so [....]

    I can probably make it though the rest of my life in a rich and fulfilled way without the need to post dead baby jokes in a public forum. But that’s just me.

  30. brucegee1962 says

    I was never much of a fan of dead baby jokes when I was 14, which seemed like the natural habitat for that type of thing. But the minute I held my own, personal baby, they instantly seemed so far the opposite of funny…

    But that’s the problem, isn’t it? A whole lot of our culture seems to involve men defending their right to be perpetually 14. Maturity isn’t just scary — apparently it’s in bad taste.

  31. dep says

    Pappa Don’t Preach

    At http://rationalia.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=3449 the very first rule by Pappa (Rationalia rule-meister and rape joke connoisseur) says (bold emphasis mine):

    Play nice, please. Those who intentionally harass other members, openly or via private correspondence, will be penalised. Intentional malicious trolling and use of offensive language, images or jokes, with the intention of harassing, intimidating, tormenting or persecuting another member, or in the knowledge that such posts are likely to cause widespread general offense, will not be tolerated. The penalty will depend on the severity of the infraction and will be decided upon via staff discussion.
    Please note: Offensive language, images and jokes are not in themselves disallowed, merely their application to intentionally harass or cause widespread offense. Also, if a member wishes to post an image which is relevant to the discussion but they believe there is a chance it may cause upset or offense, they are requested to spoiler the image and add a clear warning in red. Members who persist in posting potentially upsetting or offensive images without spoilers and warnings will be subject to our reminder/warning/suspension policy. Context will always be considered and staff reserve the right to remove images we deem inappropriate.

    I guess causing general offense to nearly all women and some (hopefully) large fraction of men is not considered widespread enough. Or perhaps he only counts general offense to other members. What is certain is that harassment of Skepchicks via rape joke is perfectly acceptable to him.

    In any case, I can’t help but wonder about the psyche of a man who, unprompted, directs a rape joke at a group of decent women who’ve done nothing to him. Is their expressed desire to not be objectified, to not live in a rape culture, really so provocative that he just had to reach for the rape joke? Are these women really deserving of such treatment? Or is Pappa just another immature boy in a man’s body, venting his sexual frustration by lashing out at desirable, unavailable women in public forums?

  32. Roger says

    “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
    Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit”

    Dp we have to choose one or the other?

  33. says

    In all my 64 years I don’t think I have ever heard a joke about rape. Not even when I was teaching at a local prison. The more I learn about what counts as normal in US society the more repulsive it seems. I’m sure it’s not actually as bad a place as it seems from the UK, but I,for one, am in no hurry to go there.

  34. says

    How is this hyperbolic? Raping Skepchicks is a humorous exaggeration of what, exactly? I guess I can see the irony of someone not wanting to have sex, then having it, if you have Homer Simpson-level grasp of the concept, but that isn’t helping.

  35. callistacat says

    Can people please stop calling it a rape ‘joke’? Where is the punchline? It’s a nasty, hateful attack on the women at Skepchick. Flat out hate speech.

    It’s the bully take-back. They say/do something hateful and wait to see how people react. If they don’t see people backing them up, they get out of it by saying ‘I was just KIDDING!!’

  36. Orlando says

    At the risk of further dignifying this dude’s bastardization of the word ‘logic’, if people whose babies have died were routinely mocked in our society, told that it didn’t really happen, to get over it, to grow a thicker skin, and their babies’ murderers acquitted on the grounds that these people really wanted their babies killed, then we would be campaigning just as hard for an end to jokes on the subject, so as not to provide support to dead baby culture. There is no equivalence.

    I feel quite queasy now. Sorry, everyone, for being so crass.

  37. says

    dep says:

    In any case, I can’t help but wonder about the psyche of a man who, unprompted, directs a rape joke at a group of decent women who’ve done nothing to him.

    It would comeas no surprise to me if Pappa turned out to be clinically insane. However his rape post doesn’t even pretend to be a joke. It reads more like incitement. How would one take a similar post about torturing Jews because they are so annoying?

  38. says

    Bernard, just to reassure you (or to defend the US, or something) – I don’t think rape “jokes” are broadly considered normal here. In seedy corners of the Internet, yes, but in the US overall, no.

    By the same token, people keep telling me that using “cunt” as an all-purpose, totally nonsexist epithet is “normal” in the UK, and I don’t buy that, either.

  39. Matt Penfold says

    By the same token, people keep telling me that using “cunt” as an all-purpose, totally nonsexist epithet is “normal” in the UK, and I don’t buy that, either.

    The people who keep telling that probably do not get out much. Too busy hoggling in their bedrooms I would imagine.

  40. Musical Atheist says

    People who have had children vanish without trace must unfortunately also deal with the hurt of sometimes hearing or seeing Madeleine McCann jokes.

    Who the hell makes jokes about an actual missing child? This guy’s ‘logic’ is disgusting.

  41. says

    Who is Pappa?

    I’ve been poking around on the WHOIS database. The entry for rationalia.com
    Its entry starts with:

    Domain Name: RATIONALIA.COM
    Registrar: ENOM, INC.

    But the really interesting part is the contact information which reads:

    Visit AboutUs.org for more information about rationalia.com
    AboutUs: rationalia.com

    Domain name: rationalia.com

    Registrant Contact:
    Rationalia Association
    . . ()

    Fax:
    .
    .
    ., . .
    GB

    Administrative Contact:
    Rationalia Association
    . . (rationalia@gmail.com)
    .
    Fax: .
    .
    .
    ., . .
    .

    Technical Contact:
    Rationalia Association
    . . (rationalia@gmail.com)
    +44..
    Fax: .
    .
    .
    ., . .
    GB

    This is someone who really doesn’t want to be contacted. The only clues are the +44 and the GB which suggest the web server is in the UK. I assume those parts of the form were pre-filled. But the reference to aboutus.com intrigued me. There is no new information on their website, however they too turn out to be registered by Enom Inc., but their WHOIS entry turns out to be more informative:

    Administrative Contact:
    AboutUs, Inc.
    Raymond King (raymondking@gmail.com)
    +1.5038888808
    Fax: +1.4259779239
    107 SE Washington Street
    Suite 520
    Portland, OR 97214
    US

    (The other contacts are the same).

    Since rationalia.com appears to be hosted in the UK, I have sent this information to my local MP together with a screenshot of the site in case it gets taken down.

  42. Lyanna says

    callistacat at 39:

    Can people please stop calling it a rape ‘joke’? Where is the punchline? It’s a nasty, hateful attack on the women at Skepchick. Flat out hate speech.

    It’s the bully take-back. They say/do something hateful and wait to see how people react. If they don’t see people backing them up, they get out of it by saying ‘I was just KIDDING!!’

    Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!

    It’s kind of astounding when people try to FLAT OUT INSULT someone else and then, when called on it, backtrack and call it a joke.

    Jokes are supposed to have punchlines or wit or some kind of absurdity. Saying “you suck and I hate you and I hope bad things happen to you” isn’t a joke of any kind, it’s just an expression of dislike.

  43. margiebargie says

    I don’t comment much, but this post prompted me to.

    I work with a Viet Nam veteran. One day I was wearing a blouse with an asian-inspired print. He mentioned that the print made him think of his time in Viet Nam, which I knew was not pleasant. He didn’t make a big deal of it. He didn’t speak to anyone about it except me. And I didn’t get my back up and start yelling that I can wear whatever I damn well please so stfu.

    I never wore the blouse to work again. I’m not an especially empathetic person. In fact, I can be pretty oblivious. I don’t even like this guy all that much, and he doesn’t like me.

    It just seemed like the decent thing to do was to stop wearing the blouse to work. So that’s what I did.

    To me that’s how it is with rape “jokes” (sorry can’t think of a better word). They hurt people and they are offensive so stop telling them. Easy.

  44. smhll says

    I agree that what Pappa posted at “Rationalia” is not a joke. Tried to think what to call it. It smells like a reminder or a warning, so I would call it a rape rattle , like a snake makes, which comes across as a marker of menace. Such as, implying – bad things could happen to you, or – I’m enjoying thinking about bad things happening to you.

  45. Deepak Shetty says

    @Ophelia
    I differ with that – turning around an appalling comment that way isn’t use, it’s attribution. (Ben Nelson nudged me into awareness of that distinction. It’s very useful.)
    I’d disagree – you run the risk of the person saying he/she is perfectly fine with the epithets applied to them. (Though I did find calling Orac a nazi nazi hilarious)

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