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Oct 11 2012

Metamorphoses

Never a dull moment, eh? Al Stefanelli has left FTB, and on his way out he did a podcast with his friend Reap Paden.

I listened to as much as I could stand, which wasn’t much. I transcribed a few high points.

Reap Paden: I guess I pissed some people off with my last. I guess the main thing – I called Stephanie Zvan a bitch. She was being a bitch.

They both agree it’s a good word. “I use it all the time,” says Al. ”So does my wife. I can understand that it’s controversial, but everyone’s entitled to their opinion.”

They say swearing is great, they like swearing. Hooray for swearing. “If it’s a word that offends you don’t use it,” one of them adds. They compare “bitch” to “fuck” and Al talks about offending people by saying fuck, and being obliging enough not to use it if he knows someone dislikes it, then they say it’s a great word and they like it.

(Commentary: yes, I like it too, and I use it quite a lot in blogging [and certainly in conversation]. I notice it doesn’t work all that well on a podcast (or radio) though, at least not the way Al and RP say it. I could explain why, but I don’t feel like it right now.

But anyway the whole discussion misses the point. “Swearing” isn’t the issue. The issue is epithets. It’s a different thing. “Bitch” doesn’t go in the box with “fucking,” it goes with “nigger” and “faggot” and “kike.” And of course “cunt.”)

RP explains why it’s fine to call Stephanie a fucking bitch repeatedly. He said “She’s a bitch and here’s why”; he didn’t just say “she’s a bitch”; he explained why she’s a bitch, so that’s totally ok.

But those stupid people got all in a lather. “Everybody’s running around with their arms over their heads screaming.” All angry and upset.

Because Stephanie’s such a fucking queen of the shit? Give me a break. Get over yourself.

Al says people aren’t familiar with your podcast. If they were, they would know what to expect. It’s like someone who tunes into Howard Stern. Nothing is sacred, there are no sacred cows, and people would get they if they listened to more of RP’s podcast. That’s how shock radio works.

That’s you, that’s how you are.

I listened to a couple of minutes more but then I couldn’t stomach any more of the shock radio schtick. I never have liked shock radio.

Meanwhile, we have new people joining FTB very soon. You will be thrilled! I promise.

Update: I forgot to add Al’s farewell post (although he apparently didn’t think of it as such when he wrote it).

Update 2: Al’s actual farewell post, which he wrote after I wrote this one. Note first two sentences:

Yes, I’ve decided to leave Freethought Blogs. Now, before you go assuming there were pitchforks and torches involved, this was my decision.

His decision.

97 comments

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  1. 1
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Al who?
    Just kidding, but I honestly haven’t noticed he had left. I think I’ve only ever read a couple of his posts.
    Considering what you wrote here, I don’t think I’ve missed anything.

    Re: bitch
    Someone protesting your political correctness and yelling censorship will appear here. It’s the law.
    Won’t it be fun explaining it all over again? *sigh*

    I’m looking forward to new bloggers.

  2. 2
    Aratina Cage

    Very very disappointed in Stefanelli.

    “If it’s a word that offends you don’t use it,”

    Ya think? Is that really the problem here? Their whole inability to think past their own noses is really exhausting to confront.

  3. 3
    Aratina Cage

    I forgot to add Al’s farewell post

    Oi. The extreme amount of sockpuppeting going on on that thread is amusing. That kind of near complete lack of ethics is what Stefanelli is encouraging in his companionship with the misogynists.

  4. 4
    smhll

    Nothing is sacred – even the feelings of other people?

    (Sighing a sad humanist sigh here.)

  5. 5
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I went over there to read that farewell post.

    So much wrong there, not to mention in the comments.

    Ew

  6. 6
    bcmystery

    Stefanelli, like Kagin, both strike me as being primarily one-dimensional thinkers suffering under the kind of self-absorption I expect from a precocious 13-year-old. They’ve clearly read some Heinlein, so there’s a lot of self-congratulatory “striking a blow for the rugged individualist” in their musings, with an undercurrent of “blow me—no, I mean, actually blow me.” The above simple-minded exchange with Reap is thus no surprise.

    That Stefanelli is leaving FTB is meh to me. I rarely read him because I knew what to expect. He won’t challenge himself, so I know he won’t challenge me. There are a few areas where he could be interesting, but not enough to reward him with many clicks. I probably won’t even notice when he banner vanishes.

  7. 7
    Aratina Cage

    On closer look, perhaps it isn’t sockpuppets on that thread but just a slimepit troll infestation. Some of the nyms make me suspicious of it, though.

  8. 8
    opposablethumbs

    So … the very first post of his I ever read turns out to be his last on ftb? Can’t say I’m sorry; that post was beyond disappointing. Picture-perfect exercise in missing the point, category errors and erecting strawmen; not knowing what to expect of him, I was actually quite surprised by how poor it was.

  9. 9
    hjhornbeck

    Weeeird. Stefanelli struck me as someone who half got it; in some parts of his post, it sounds like he understood Schroedinger’s Rapist.

    There are times when I find myself in a secluded space and suddenly am in the presence of another, sole, human being. Because I know that being alone in a secluded area can be uncomfortable for some people, I usually offer up a smile, a tip of my hat in passing, and move on.

    In some parts, not so much.

    As well, if my mere existence as a male is something that makes someone of whatever gender nervous, this is not my problem. No, really, it’s not. It’s their problem, and this is not to diminish in any way the horrors that someone who has been raped has to deal with, and will have to deal with likely for the rest of their lives – both males and females.

    He was pretty active in the comment section, so I’d hoped the input of other commenters would have clarified his thinking. Sounds like I was wrong.

  10. 10
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    For the life of me, I don’t see any indication in Al’s post that he’s leaving. What I did see was a lot of fail on his part. That’s a shame because I’ve enjoyed his writing in the past.

  11. 11
    Stephanie Zvan

    Oh, did Reap actually explain what made me a fucking bitch? I didn’t really see that he did. Maybe that’s because he still needs to define what a bitch is aside from a woman who disagrees with him and does something about it. Was there anything other than that?

  12. 12
    oolon

    Oh poo, I liked Al. Or maybe I did – he wasn’t on my radar for long enough to decide. I liked his support for keeping people in the conversation much like Dan Fincke. However I cannot agree with his use of bitch or other slurs and I’m disappointed that he did not say that is not ok in that context. I tried the same explanation as Ophelia above in the slimepit (I have a masochistic streak I think) and failed miserably to get them to even see what the point about bitch, cunt, twat etc is. Saying Rebecca or Ophelia, any woman who you are criticising in particular, is a cunt is not ok. They couldn’t quite get the distinction as I was apparently a ‘FtBs’ troll and ‘FtBs’ say that those words are not ok in any context. They then got very paranoid as I was equating the slurs to racist and homophobic slurs same as Ophelia above (Which they don’t use, mostly) and I was apparently trying to prove them to be all racists and homophobes… Which they apparently have a problem with… Somewhat ironic that this was my point, they have a problem with being called racist and homophobic so avoid those words but have no problem (Or a lot less at least!) with being seen as misogynists. (Maybe they think only the FtBs/Skepchick bloggers/commenters who they hate will see them this way)

    .. But now I’m thinking it is disturbing that Al who seemed a wee bit more rational than the average pitter does not see this either.

  13. 13
    Argle Bargle

    I was completely unimpressed by Stefanelli’s farewell post. He railed against Schrödinger’s Rapist while not understanding the concept.

  14. 14
    julian

    I really don’t care about his views on SR. To me their whatever. I couldn’t get over how he was insisting there’s a feminist faction after him demanding he apologize for being white and being a man. Jesus, how deluded is he?

    Cheering on someone calling Stephanie Zvan a bitch doesn’t shock me. She seems like the type of woman he fears wants to shame him for having a penis.

  15. 15
    No Light

    I’m surprised and saddened by this.

    I opened up a lot on Al’s recent series about disability and mental illness. It’s so rare to encounter a disability blogger who doesn’t gush about “God’s mysterious ways”, or try to be cripspiration material for able-bodied people.

    Now I’m at 0 again, and the way it was done is so disgusting. That’s especially true, given how Al experienced the usual nasty gender-essentialist shite associated with physical disability.

  16. 16
    LeftSidePositive

    @Bea: to be fair, some of the commenters did a brilliant job showing Al exactly where he was wrong, multiple times. Of course, all we got from it was “Yeah, I’m gonna be an asshole sometimes!” and “How dare you tell me how to run my blog!” And he never actually clarified what he meant or what he objected to, even though he was given multiple opportunities.

    Why the hell did he agree with every explanation of the values communicated in Schrodinger’s Rapist, and still go off like gangbusters on this strawman?

    Moreover, if he does care about women’s rights, etc., doesn’t it concern him who is defending him? Doesn’t it concern him that no one ELSE seems to be agreeing with him? When Glengarry (is that Glengarry Glenn Ross?!) and CL are ra-rahing, doesn’t that mean you’re likely not communicating what you mean to be…and that this is a problem!??!!?

  17. 17
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    LeftSidePositive,

    I noticed Sally Strange, you and Brownian (among others) trying to tip the scale, but there were slimepitters and Al supporting them… I didn’t linger.

  18. 18
    A Hermit

    I liked some of Al’s stuff, but I have to say I lost a lot of respect for him when I saw he was working with shameless self promoter Ernest Perce; (the guy behind that awful “slavery” billboard and the plan to whip the koran on “diversity day”…)

    I think Al means well, but he seems to be a bit tone-deaf at times…

  19. 19
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Apparently, Brownian made one comment, so I was giving credit where it wasn’t due. Sorry.

  20. 20
    LeftSidePositive

    Bea–true, I’ve refused to go back to it for a day or two. My objections have been voiced (and no examples of all the evil and irrational things the A+ forum supposedly did have been substantiated!), and everyone there who is still cheering Al on are *refusing* to see that people are objecting to him putting up strawmen and not substantiating his claims, not for “having a different opinion.” Everyone who was genuinely ignorant of why Al is engaging in seriously shoddy reasoning has an explanation, but the rest of them just don’t care.

  21. 21
    LeftSidePositive

    Oh, and Julian, oolon, Nepenthe, fastlane, and CJO made some really good points too. (Sorry, everyone else who said clever things there…I’m just not going to go back to that sinkhole to check for whom I should give credit!)

  22. 22
    Worldtraveller

    I can’t say I have ever been terribly impressed by his writing since he started here (and I’d never heard of him before). His seeming complete lack of understanding early in the comments of the whole concept of burden of proof, though, was enough to keep me from getting far enough to see many of the slymepitters’ posts.

    I won’t miss him. (which I’m sure just tears him up. ;-P)

  23. 23
    hjhornbeck

    The episode description:

    Since people assume they can tell others what to do and who to associate with it is time to set things straight. Al Stefanelli and Reap Paden do just that. Whether you believe it or not we have been fighting for equality for years. No one here is new to the rodeo. Anyone who didn’t know that will be aware of that now. From this point on it is your problem if you still don’t get it. This is where A+ gets a reality check. If you have a problem we are the guys you want on your side and guess what? We are on your side despite the fact you think we are not. We just don’t want any of your labels slapped on us.

    So they completely agree with the ideas behind A+, but don’t want to be labelled as A+. They assume everyone within A+ is telling others what to do, and now they are going to tell us what to do, as they know better than us.

    I thought only creationists could write such twisted, convoluted prose. Oy.

  24. 24
    Anthony K

    Apparently, Brownian made one comment, so I was giving credit where it wasn’t due. Sorry.

    Yes, I didn’t have the stomach to wade through it all, to explain once a-fucking-gain what Schrödinger’s Rapist means to people who aren’t interested in learning to begin with.

    I did want to counter the idea that there are Political Correctness cops lurking everywhere and demanding that we straight, white males apologise for being such, but all I can offer is my own personal experience of being a straight, white, male for some near four decades, and never once having had that demanded of me. Apparently, my father encountered this all the time, which is odd, since I’m the one who hangs out with leftists and feminists and assorted America-destroying others.

  25. 25
    Anthony K

    We just don’t want any of your labels slapped on us.

    Is this their idea of ironic hypocrisy, or is it actually the case that the atheist community is some sort of refuge for the stupidest, most fucking clueless people on the goddamn planet?

  26. 26
    Ophelia Benson

    Stephanie – no, he never explained “why,” at least not in the bit I listened to. I think he was saying he said why in that podcast, the earlier one, and was just saying that he had said why in the recent one. If you see what I mean. English is hard.

    @ 10 – no, neither of these items says he’s left FTB, but he has.

  27. 27
    Bjarte Foshaug

    If my disappointment circuits hadn’t already been fried to a crisp long ago (*cough*dearmuslima*cough*), I would find this especially depressing after Al’s participation in the Google Hangouts session about TAM back in June (the first thing I had seen or read by him at that time). Oh well, I guess it’s possible that he just pretended to be sympathetic to the other participants or something…

  28. 28
    oolon

    Brownian,

    We just don’t want any of your labels slapped on us.

    Is this their idea of ironic hypocrisy, or is it actually the case that the atheist community is some sort of refuge for the stupidest, most fucking clueless people on the goddamn planet?

    Well to be fair I’m not convinced they actually think these things through. The thought process seems to be how can we twist the reality a little in order to land a punch on FtBs, not how can we express our carefully thought out objections to A+. They are essentially political statements, memes, designed to damage FtBs and whatever comes out of here in terms of ideology – A+, ‘radical’ feminism, whatever. So rather than the best ideas floating to the surface, whatever stinks and sticks best to FtBs gets passed on.

  29. 29
    Bjarte Foshaug

    If you have a problem we are the guys you want on your side

    No, you guys are the problem.

  30. 30
    chrissadler

    The hive mentality shuns yet another. You must feel SO proud.

    Just why is this called ‘Free Thought Blogs’ anyway? I would say Hitch it turning in his grave, but he gave his body to science.

  31. 31
    Ophelia Benson

    If anybody wants a look at what kind of thing people will sink to, you could do worse than checking out @SammyBoal on Twitter. I just read all 118 of its tweets.

  32. 32
    Worldtraveller

    @30: before you go off half, or quarter, cocked, you might want to note Al’s last post.

    Now, before you go assuming there were pitchforks and torches involved, this was my decision.

    So apparently, even though he acted a right wanker in his next to last post, he didn’t feel run off. Or, alternately, you can go to his ‘new’ blog and call him a liar. Let us know how that works out for you.

  33. 33
    Anthony K

    Well to be fair I’m not convinced they actually think these things through.

    So, it is the case then.

    The hive mentality shuns yet another. You must feel SO proud.

    Just why is this called ‘Free Thought Blogs’ anyway? I would say Hitch it turning in his grave, but he gave his body to science.

    So, it is the case then. I mean, what a content-free fucking comment.

    Jesus Christ, my Catholic family doesn’t invoke popes as much as these so-called free-thinking atheists. “Hitch said this…Harris said that…”

    Hey, Christopher Hitchens: spin all you want or don’t fucker, who the fuck are you to me?

  34. 34
    llewelly

    shock radio?
    Call it what it is. Slur radio.
    It’s not about ‘shocking’ people.
    It’s about unreasoning prejudiced denigration.

  35. 35
    oolon

    Yeah I just read SammyBoals tweets, I see Renee Hendricks is sticking up for her as ‘not’ a slymepitter. So she presumably knows who she is, I’d think there would be some empathy on her part and have a word. Anyone creating an account just to spend the last 13hrs spewing hate needs help.

    Hmmm I see SammyBoal has disappeared! Account suspended after a little bit of attention from PZ and Ophelia… Cowardly hater?

  36. 36
    nms

    Cemetaries should really offer a rotisserie service.

  37. 37
    Ophelia Benson

    It’s gone? Good! I did report it for spam. Yeah no followers, 118 tweets in one day all aimed at 2 women, saying unbelievably disgusting things? Sounds pretty spammy!

    Actually I thought even Hendricks was grossed out by that one. I think I saw her reply to say stop, it’s awful.

  38. 38
    besomyka

    I have to say that I got stuck reading that post of his at this:

    nor will I allow anyone to convince me that the concept of privilege has more to do with how someone was born than how someone behaves or perceives themselves among their fellow humans.

    So much wrong with that. So, so much. I knew something was up following the twitter discussion between Al and Natalie yesterday, but didn’t know what, exactly. But with a post saying that he will not ‘allow anyone to convince me’, I have an idea. I mean, what else is there to say? With all his tweeting about reality and truth… yeah.

    I unfollowed him and I’m not sorry to see him go.

  39. 39
    Anthony K

    nor will I allow anyone to convince me that the concept of privilege has more to do with how someone was born than how someone behaves or perceives themselves among their fellow humans.

    I’ve been brewing this joke all day:

    Q: What’s the difference between atheists and Catholics?
    A: It might take 400 years, but Catholics are generally capable of learning.

  40. 40
    bethhedrick

    I tried to stomach as much of this blog as I possibly could. Wasn’t much. Could it be that no matter what Reap says, or did…. The fact is you just don’t want to like him?

  41. 41
    pqs

    [quote]I’ve been brewing this joke all day:

    Q: What’s the difference between atheists and Catholics?
    A: It might take 400 years, but Catholics are generally capable of learning.[/quote]

    Awful.

  42. 42
    bethhedrick

    Oh and “on his way out?” Als been doing the show with Reap for 3 years. Great way to know your fellow bloggers.

  43. 43
    Anthony K

    Could it be that no matter what Reap says, or did…. The fact is you just don’t want to like him?

    So, it is the case then.

  44. 44
    Anthony K

    Awful.

    Sorry, did I say ‘joke’? I meant ‘fact’.

    Oh and “on his way out?” Als been doing the show with Reap for 3 years. Great way to know your fellow bloggers.

    Could it be that no matter what Ophelia says, or did…. The fact is you just don’t want to like her?

  45. 45
    jenniferphillips

    Could it be that no matter what Reap says, or did…. The fact is you just don’t want to like him?

    More likely it’s because of what Reap says and does. We don’t like it.

    Oh and “on his way out?” Als been doing the show with Reap for 3 years. Great way to know your fellow bloggers.

    non sequitur. Regardless of how many years Al has been podcasting with Reap, on his way out of FTB he participated in a podcast slagging on one of his fellow bloggers.

    Logic: it shouldn’t be this hard.

  46. 46
    jenniferphillips

    Also, on behalf of the hivemind: bethhedrick probably shouldn’t be considered a neutral observer.

  47. 47
    Anthony K

    Also, on behalf of the hivemind: bethhedrick probably shouldn’t be considered a neutral observer.

    You don’t say?

    She’s about as subtle as a Jim Carrey character.

  48. 48
    A Hermit

    @sammy boal on Twitter has been suspended…

  49. 49
    Ophelia Benson

    That’s an interesting thought. Why on earth would I not want to like Reap Paden – why would I have any inclination either way – no matter what he said or did? What would be my motivation?

    I have no thoughts at all about Reap Paden apart from those about what he said on those podcasts and his comment on Stephanie’s post. That’s all I know of and about him. That’s my only reason for disliking him. What other reason could I possibly have?

    What weird things people say.

  50. 50
    Ophelia Benson

    Yup. If anyone on Twitter ever deserved to be suspended, SammyBoal did.

  51. 51
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    But now that he’s suspended I can’t get sludge all over myself reading what he said.

  52. 52
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    It’s back as SamanthaBoal.

  53. 53
    bethhedrick

    Reading the comments here is a perfect example of what everyone accuses A+ of. You are good with someone until they disagree with you. Then you pounce like sharks. Disgusting.

  54. 54
    Didaktylos

    My perception: using the word “bitch”, unless one is actually discussing the breeding of dogs, should be considered an act of war.

  55. 55
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Yeah, funny that, Beth Hedrick. Getting called a faggot really does immediately change my perception of someone I was formerly fine with. Weird, huh!

  56. 56
    noelplum99

    This seems a very strange turn of events.

    On his Q&A blog not only did he give no indication that he was going but he also made a big thing about how his difference of opinions ably demonstrated that FtB is not a ‘hive mind’. Then a couple of day slater he has gone.

    I take on board his comments that he was not forced out the door but went of his own volition, so i make no accusations or insinuations here, but i just wonder that there has to be more to this story than meets the eye.

    Jim (np99)

  57. 57
    chrisdevries

    Stefanelli says, in his Q&A post, that he will “not apologize for these things (being white and male), nor will [he] allow anyone to convince [him] that the concept of privilege has more to do with how someone was born than how someone behaves or perceives themselves among their fellow humans.”

    I don’t know if he really believes that the majority view of “atheists plus” is that the entirely random nature of your physical, mental and emotional being at birth is what imparts privilege upon people (or fails to do so), but this is certainly NOT my view (and A+ is something I can really get behind).

    The insidious thing about privilege is that it is an acquired trait: your self-perception and behavior are entirely influenced by the culture in which you have lived your life, and in our culture, the white males grow up (mostly) with the belief that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to. As a white male, your privilege is not a birthright in any determinative sense, but something that you LEARN, mostly through passive observation of social interactions as a child. A female or person of color, on the other hand, learns that they are expected to defer to the white person, or the male, that there is something inherently imperfect about not being white and/or male and that there will be obstacles in their path to achieving their ambition due to their imperfect nature. White males are so used to the privilege they have in our society that it takes an effort to convince them that it really exists in the first place, while non white males live with the reality of underprivilege all the time.

    So I don’t know if Stefanelli was using a straw man argument here or just clueless, but it is obvious to me that white males are not born privileged, they become acclimatized to privilege as they grow up in a culture that has a history of racism and sexism, the effects of which linger to this day.

  58. 58
    hjhornbeck

    Reading the comments here is a perfect example of what everyone accuses A+ of. You are good with someone until they disagree with you. Then you pounce like sharks.

    If you’re correct, you’ve done the equivalent of jumping into a fishtank to poke the sharks in the nose. If you are incorrect, you must be trolling for a reaction. So are you trolling, or merely stupid?

  59. 59
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    bethhedrick wrote:

    Reading the comments here is a perfect example of what everyone accuses A+ of.

    Define “everyone”.

    Then you pounce like sharks.

    You’re as good with metaphors as you are intellectually honest!

    Disgusting.

    Yes. Yes, you are.

  60. 60
    Ophelia Benson

    Jim noel plum – it’s no good saying you’re making no insinuations when you go right on to do exactly that.

  61. 61
    jenniferphillips

    Spokesgay @52:

    O ye Gods, yes, back with a vengeance! What an appalling person.

  62. 62
    Aratina Cage

    You are good with someone until they disagree with you. Then you pounce like sharks. –bethhedrick

    What the hell? You pounced on us like a shark yourself at Almost Diamonds, and now you come here and act like you are the most exemplary atheist ever? Get real, beth!

    Disgusting.

    Go ahead and run on back to your Sexism+ playhouse where you can feel safe threatening women with misogynistic slurs like you did to Stephanie Zvan. You are going to get shredded by the shark tank doing that shit here.

  63. 63
    reappaden

    Allow me to add “FUCK YEA!” and “Fuck you” just try and do something about me and my freedom to say any damn thing I want. You loons sit here at your circle jerk and think you effect the real world? People like me who take on people face to face will be making change while you sputter amongst yourselves. Look at how much you’ve changed my behavior so far…pfft. Ophelia Benson are you needy for attention or just like to blab blab blab? No matter do not fret you will have your wish I’m happy to speak out about you to as part of the disease called A+. Poor A+ a group of idiots too dumb to know how limited their reach. You do make for great fodder I give you that much. Nothing anything any of you can or will say will harm or hurt me I am the wall you were bound to hit sooner or later. Funny thing is I am not alone we just don’t talk to hear ourselves speak, people actually listen. Now back to the banter……

  64. 64
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    bethhedrick:

    The fact is you just don’t want to like him?

    Is there some reason anyone should like him?

    Oh and “on his way out?” Als been doing the show with Reap for 3 years. Great way to know your fellow bloggers.

    I didn’t know there was a requirement at FtB that each blogger knows one another (or is buddy buddy, or pays attention to every other one, or whatever you’re trying to “argue” here).

  65. 65
    noelplum99

    Ophelia @60

    Ok, i will clarify my statement.

    By not making an insinutation I mean I am not suggesting that, contrary to Al’s protestations FtB HAS booted him out; i really do take Al at his word on that.

    However, the facts simply do not add up. There has to be something above and beyond what has been said to account for this sudden volte face on Al’s part. Now I am not insinuating anything because i don’t really know what is a likely possibility i could even insinuate (other than perhaps the weight of comments against his last blog perhaps made him think that FtB wasn’t the ideal home for his blog??).

    I just find the whole thing unusual – one minute he sounds like he is going nowhere and the next minute he has gone. Doesn’t that strike you as likely involving more than what we have to go on Ophelia?

    Jim (np99)

  66. 66
    jenniferphillips

    Thanks for stopping by, Beth & Reap!

  67. 67
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    bethehdrick:

    Reading the comments here is a perfect example of what everyone accuses A+ of. You are good with someone until they disagree with you. Then you pounce like sharks. Disgusting.

    Oh for fucks sake, would you people stop thinking it’s about disagreement??!!
    Are you incapable of nuance?
    Reap’s comments about Stephanie are childish and insulting. By your argumentation, if someone insults me, it would be disgusting for me to pounce on them like a shark.
    Sorry, if I get called a faggot by someone, whether or not I’ve been good with them, I’m going to pounce on them. It’s not about disagreement (although I do disagree with the thinking involved with feeling that’s an acceptable insult to use; call me an asshole if you want, but faggot is off limits).

  68. 68
    julian

    Wow. How entitled can you get? It’s like he completely ignored everything Natalie Reed, Crommunist or The Black Skeptics ever wrote. Stefanelli and his friends really are just a group of entitled obnoxious assholes.

    Jesus. There isn’t even a trace of humility or acknowledgment of others in Reap. And this is someone Stefanelli encourages and cheers on? What the fuck is wrong with him?

  69. 69
    Anthony K

    Reading the comments here is a perfect example of what everyone accuses A+ of. You are good with someone until they disagree with you. Then you pounce like sharks. Disgusting.

    ‘Disgusting?’ Is that anything to say to your allies?

  70. 70
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Jesus, no wonder this asshole makes videos. I could write more coherently with a crayon clasped between my butt cheeks.

  71. 71
    Ophelia Benson

    Well Jim what would you expect the facts to add up to? Would you expect a complete explanation? It looks to me as if Al decided not to give a complete explanation. So? What about it? He’s not required to. This isn’t the army, or an elected office. He doesn’t owe anyone a complete explanation.

    I don’t know why he left, not specifically. It seems obvious that it has to do with Vacula, and stuff at the Atheism+ forum, and people shouting at him in comments…but I don’t know any more than that. Neither do you. So?

    Judging by that podcast, he was pretty pissed off. He ended up deciding to leave. It’s not all that mysterious.

  72. 72
    jenniferphillips

    Reap, who has tried to change your behavior, exactly–anyone on this blog? I don’t give a shit how you behave–I appreciate it, in fact because it tells me unambiguously that I want to stay far away from your internet presence.

    Why do you think A+, or feminists, or FTBers or anyone at all want to define you or oppress you or anything? Evidence, please.

  73. 73
    Ophelia Benson

    Oy; I overlooked Reap Paden’s eloquent comment.

    And sure enough, @SamanthaBoal is recycling the same bowl of sick.

  74. 74
    Anthony K

    Allow me to add “FUCK YEA!” and “Fuck you” just try and do something about me and my freedom to say any damn thing I want. You loons sit here at your circle jerk and think you effect the real world? People like me who take on people face to face will be making change while you sputter amongst yourselves. Look at how much you’ve changed my behavior so far…pfft. Ophelia Benson are you needy for attention or just like to blab blab blab? No matter do not fret you will have your wish I’m happy to speak out about you to as part of the disease called A+. Poor A+ a group of idiots too dumb to know how limited their reach. You do make for great fodder I give you that much. Nothing anything any of you can or will say will harm or hurt me I am the wall you were bound to hit sooner or later. Funny thing is I am not alone we just don’t talk to hear ourselves speak, people actually listen. Now back to the banter……

    But…but…I thought we were allies.

    Anyway, your “I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom” speech was much better when Jack Nicholson said it.

  75. 75
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    reap:
    Have you heard of the word concise?
    Your entire post could have been condensed into “la la la la la la, I can’t hear you. I’m going to keep saying what I want. Fuck you.”

    I find it curious that you came here and posted in a fashion extremely similar to a troll and accuse Ophelia of wanting attention.

  76. 76
    David123

    @noelplum99

    Wow, you need to take 3 seconds and think. Why would an obvious friend of Reap Paden and Vacula want to leave FTB. I just cant think of a reason. It must be a conspiracy.

    Really?!?

  77. 77
    noelplum99

    David@77

    Why would an obvious friend of Reap Paden and Vacula want to leave FTB. I just cant think of a reason.

    I don’t think his position on those guys has altered since his Q&A blog, so whilst your point has some relevance it doesn’t account for his obvious and significant change of position the last couple of days.

    Jim (np99)

  78. 78
    Stacy

    Allow me to add “FUCK YEA!” and “Fuck you” just try and do something about me and my freedom to say any damn thing I want

    Oh, there you go again Ophelia, trying to suppress the FREE SPEECH!!!11! of another valiant internet warrior!

    lol. I suspect these folks’ real problem is that nobody outside a small group of angry obsessed wankers is impressed by the intelligence and insight they’re convinced they possess.

  79. 79
    Ophelia Benson

    Jim noel plum – this is incredibly stupid. You don’t know that Al’s position on x y or z hasn’t altered – you don’t know what’s in his head. I don’t either. What the hell is the point of asking puzzled questions about it here? I don’t know. Go ask him.

    I suppose you’re trying (despite the disclaimer) to imply sekrits. I don’t know any sekrits. Stop boring on about unknowables here. Go ask Al if you’re that interested. I don’t know that he’ll tell you, but it makes a lot more sense than asking me.

  80. 80
    hjhornbeck

    noelplum99 @ 65:

    By not making an insinutation I mean I am not suggesting that, contrary to Al’s protestations FtB HAS booted him out; i really do take Al at his word on that.

    However, the facts simply do not add up. There has to be something above and beyond what has been said to account for this sudden volte face on Al’s part.

    I suspect it was sudden only to us:

    I have returned to my stand-alone blog, where I was before I came to Freethought Blogs and where many of you have followed me from. Everything that I have written here has been migrated over there (although I am still trying iron out image links), including your comments. [...]
    I am also starting another project, and am thrilled to announce that I will be writing for The God Discussion website, which has been around for quite some time, and is also a Google News Source. As well, I will also be a co-host on their podcast, The God Discussion Show, starting some time very soon.

    You don’t migrate an entire blog’s comments on a whim, let alone sign up for a writing gig or podcast. I think a better explanation is that Stefanelli has been privately planning to move off FtB for some time, and his second-last article just happened to be… well, his second-last article. At worst, the reaction to his article just accelerated the process. Even that seems a bit much, given the last paragraph in his last post:

    I would like to thank Ed Brayton for having me here for the past year or so. I have forged friendships with people who write here and have written here in the past. I will cherish those friendships, hopefully, for years to come. Please continue to read your favorites here, there’s a tremendous amount of talent on this network.

    Those aren’t the words of someone leaving over a hostile reaction.

  81. 81
    EllenBeth Wachs

    Samantha Boals is a troll and has posted stalkerish spam on facebook on every one of my groups, fan pages, group pages etc.

    Get a fucking life.

  82. 82
    A. Noyd

    Stefanelli is very convinced he already understands social justice concepts. But he doesn’t understand them at all, so when he tries to talk about them or apply them, he makes no damn sense. And he’s so wedded to his belief in his own competence, he won’t allow for correction. It’s exactly like watching a creationist talk about how evolution is wrong. Not the professional liar sort like Ham or the Hovinds, but the average person who imagines he knows enough to speak authoritatively and thinks asking why there are still monkeys is genuinely damaging to evolution.

  83. 83
    A. Noyd

    chrisdevries (#57)

    As a white male, your privilege is not a birthright in any determinative sense, but something that you LEARN, mostly through passive observation of social interactions as a child.

    Your understanding of privilege needs a bit of work. Privilege itself not something learned; it is a birthright*. It’s just a set of social advantages given to people belonging to a particular category. However, one’s awareness of and sense of entitlement towards one’s privilege is learned.

    ……..
    *”Birthright” by way of analogy for some domains of privilege. One can gain or lose able-bodied privilege at any time, for example.

  84. 84
    LeftSidePositive

    Anyway, your “I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom” speech was much better when Jack Nicholson said it.

    Frankly, I think Reap Paden’s remarks more closely resemble this Jack Nicholson talking about his responsibilities.

  85. 85
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Well, I see I was too optimistic when I thought someone will come to argue about the use of “bitch”. That would almost be an interesting and nuanced intellectual debate, compared to these little piles of excrement that are being left here.

  86. 86
    Emily Isalwaysright

    OK Beatrice let me attempt to oblige.

    I think the word “bitch” does not always have to be an epithet, and does not always have to be misogynist.

    But I think that when it is used in earnest as an epithet, because of socio-historical reasons it always connotes misogyny, whether intentional or not.

    Reap’s use of the word in context of the current bitter debate about misogyny was clearly very deliberate. But he seems to be willfully, stubbornly unaware of the misogynist connotations of “bitch-as-epithet.”

    Perhaps he feels that now that he’s figured out god isn’t real, his thinking is done. Which is in start contrast to Rebecca Watson: I was struck by how often in her talk she said “what I learned from that was . . .”

    I found that very inspirational.

  87. 87
    Rory

    I was okay with Al’s opinions, even though I disagreed with some of them. But then his rationalization and pivots off the point in the comments made me sad. He seemed to not even try to consider what people were saying and would go off on a tangent just just wave his rhetorical hand at the discussion.

    And now he’s hanging out with Reap? Oh boy. Now I’m not too worried he’s leaving.

  88. 88
    Jack Rawlinson

    Well, how unpredictable that people would start deserting the home of the New Righteous. I certainly didn’t predict it. Oh wait, yes I did. I’ll say this for you guys though: compared to the jaw-dropping nonsense that’s going on over at the Atheism Plus forum you look like models of broad-mindedness and inclusivity. That isn’t saying much, though.

    Wonder who’s next? My money’s on Edwin Kagin.

  89. 89
    SallyStrange

    Yeah, I wouldn’t miss Kagin, but I’m not particularly bothered if he decides to stay.

    Oooh, what an exclusionary, terrible person I am!

  90. 90
    Ophelia Benson

    Meanwhile, of course, other people are joining. I can’t wait to say who the next one is.

  91. 91
    LeftSidePositive

    Meanwhile, of course, other people are joining. I can’t wait to say who the next one is.

    **pleasebelacigreenpleasebelacigreenpleasebelacigreen**

    Ahem–what? Oh, I was just clearing my throat. I do that sometimes.

  92. 92
    Ophelia Benson

    I guess I see now why Al is so pissed off, because he says.

    http://alstefanelli.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/welcome-back-old-friends-and-welcome-aboard-new-friends/#comment-7279

    I’ve been confirming that I left of my own accord all over the ether, including my farewell post on Ftb, and my Welcome post here, on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

    It was Ophelia who decided to let the cat out of the bag several days before I had planned, and posted a piece that insinuated the exact opposite. This left me with a shitload of work to do changing links, redesigning graphics, etc., on a night I planned to spend with my family.

    I didn’t know it was a secret. In fact I still don’t know it was a secret – I don’t know that Al told anyone it was a secret. I thought it wasn’t a secret. And he’d done that ragey podcast – so it was pretty damn clear that he shared Reap Paden’s hostility to the people RP had called fucking bitches and stupid cunts. Given that, it didn’t even occur to me that it was a secret.

    So there it is. I didn’t intend to leave Al with a shitload of work on a night he’d planned to spend with his family.

    This made me quite angry, but not at FtB as a whole. I still maintain there are a lot of talented writers there, and regardless of anyone’s personal opinion about individual writers, it would be perfectly understandable if they stayed with their favorites.

    I’ve commented on this blog, as well as other places, that the only two who’ve been given the boot from FtB have been Thunderf00t and Laden, and that JT, Dan, John, etc., left on their own accord, as well.

    There are, however, individuals at FtB who are REALLY starting to piss me off – and the results will be predictable, and not pretty at all.

    So I guess that means we can look forward to a shouty podcast calling me a fucking stupid cunt bitch.

  93. 93
    Ophelia Benson

    Oh and one other thing – his saying I “insinuated the exact opposite” in this piece, meaning, I insinuated that he’d been pushed out. That’s not true.

  94. 94
    jenniferphillips

    his saying I “insinuated the exact opposite” in this piece, meaning, I insinuated that he’d been pushed out. That’s not true.

    Yes, I noticed that. It’s not at all clear to me what he means by ‘insinuated the opposite’, as your OP insinuated nothing at all, as far as I could tell. I had a question to that effect typed into the reply box over there and deleted it because really, in a thread where Hoggle and numerous other longtime grudge-holders are already crowing ‘good on ya!’ and the like, what’s the point of trying to engage?

    I also noticed oolon–who has been banned from Pharyngula due to failure to follow instructions–shit-stirring by saying that PZ has declared Al to be a racist. Sigh.

  95. 95
    Ophelia Benson

    Indeed; it’s hopeless trying to engage, which is why my first comment there was my last.

    Al says on one of those threads that he’s been to the slymepit to say hi, and will probably be back.

    Well of course he has, and of course he will.

    People, eh.

  96. 96
    rfgrfgfb

    shut up bitch

  97. 97
    No Light

    How eloquent and profound you are, Mr Troll.

    Socrates would be humbled in your lofty presence.

  1. 98
    A guest post by Reap Paden | Butterflies and Wheels

    [...] Reap Paden says [...]

  2. 99
    What’s Up With Al? | Reasonable Conversation

    [...] What confuses, me, though, is that I’ve heard his name twice in two days and both times is him being an obtuse asshole. [...]

  3. 100
    One of these things is eerily like the other » The Crommunist Manifesto

    [...] why Ophelia would choose not to engage in a dialogue with him. After all, it’s not like he’s an unreasonable person or someone who has, time and again revealed himself to be nothing more than a particularly [...]

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