Another repetition of the hissy finger-pointy meme that (deep breath and then say along with me) FTbloggersareevilbullies.
I should have written this post a few months ago…I am ashamed that I didn’t write about this months ago. It is with more than a little apprehension that I say the following: I think there might be some truth to the seemingly outrageous claim that a few of the bloggers at FtB are acting like bullies.
To be clear, the majority of those writing for FtB have not been doing any detectible bullying. In fact, I am referring to a relatively small group of about 4 or 5 at most. Based on the comments I’ve seen here and on other atheist blogs, as well as the email I’ve received, I am fairly confident you know who they are. So while I am of the opinion that FtB and any other blog conglomerate is generally a bad idea, this is not an indictment of the entire FtB team.
No no, not at all…But then why say FtB at all? Why not just talk about the specific blogs instead? “FtB” doesn’t blog anything; specific blogs do. Talk to them, don’t talk to the umbrella.
Then there’s the lack of specifics. There are three links to posts – one each of PZ’s, mine, and Jason’s – but there are no quoted passages. There’s a lot of very stale, recycled-looking generalization, with no particulars at all. The generalization is so recycled that it’s even labeled as such in places –
From what I have seen for myself and heard from others, they quickly dismiss ideas different from their own…Phrases like “groupthink,” “hive mind,” and “echo chamber” have been used when describing these few FtB bloggers. There was talk of this well before Kirby…I have heard from many people who are questioning whether they can continue to support FtB as long as they promote the few bloggers to which I am referring.
People say, therefore it must be true, so I will say too, without troubling myself to give any particulars at all, even to illustrate what the hell I’m talking about, let alone actually demonstrating it. Buzz buzz buzz, whisper whisper whisper, ooooooh doncha just hate that FTB.
There is also the fact that at least some of that buzzbuzz is coming from a very small but very dedicated and very obsessed group who hate the mythic beast FTB out of all proportion to its actual evil or importance. They are having some success in creating an impression that Everybody Thinks FTB is terrible – so people like this Atheist Revolution feel “ashamed” that they didn’t get out ahead of the curve and talk smack about FTB “months ago” – as if it were some urgent duty left undone as opposed to a stupid spiteful campaign of cyberstalking.
There’s one item I want to dispute directly.
Kirby deserved flak for the “feminzai” slur. Isn’t that one of Rush Limbaugh’s words? She should have known that this would color everything else she wrote, even though some of her points were valid. But I do think it should have been okay for her to raise the issue of bullying without being ripped to shreds over it. Based on the prolonged reaction to her letter, I’m not sure this was the case.
That’s stupid. She didn’t just “raise the issue of bullying” (and it’s debatable whether there really is an issue separate from the campaign to make it an issue); she called people a lot of very rude names including Nazi and Stasi in the process of claiming that they’re bullies. That’s why she got harsh responses. Since there is no rude-names-free version of Kirby’s discussion of “the issue of bullying,” it’s not possible to know how that version would have been received, and it certainly makes no sense to scold us for not addressing a version that doesn’t exist. The sneering epithets are interwoven into the “Oppressed Sisterhood” article, and that’s the article I and others criticized.
I could always just get a T shirt made up…