To leaders of secular groups »« Afternoon

Thunderfoot’s inflammatory video

Never enough time…

And then spending an hour walking on the beach with the dog first thing in the morning eats into the day something fierce. And yet – it’s walking on the beach first thing in the morning! And I’ve only just realized that it’s actually the best beach for the purpose on the peninsula. I tried to shake up our routine yesterday and go somewhere else for the sunset, but it wasn’t fun – too rocky, not enough beach, and too near the road. Gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, but not right for dawn and sunset walks with a dog, or really even for long comfortable walks with or without a dog. This beach here is a strolly beach. Big, and strolly, and nowhere near a road.

So I’m reading Mick Nugent’s long reply to Thunderfoot. It’s a joy to read.

The part about Melody, for instance.

Thunderf00t then attacks Melody Hensley:

“Look, let me make this simple. I just got back from an experiment where I was surrounded by sane, rational, capable, able, intelligent people. And then you come back to the secular community, where you have people like Melody Hensley, the Executive Director of the Center For Inquiry in DC going creationist style ban happy on people who haven’t even mentioned her name yet, because they might say something bad about her someday.

And starting flagging campaigns against videos critical of her. Oh, and would you believe it, she labels herself a feminist. It’s just sickening to see someone from the Center For Inquiry embrace with such relish these silencing tactics which we have seen creationist use here on YouTube for years to protect their budget arguments from criticism. I mean, really an Executive Director from the Center For Inquiry running a flagging campaign. Shit, these people would give Scientology a run for their money.”

So let’s examine TF’s personal attack on Melody.

Who did she ban from where? She banned nobody from anywhere. She blocked people from following her on twitter, who were also following the Elevatorgate twitter account, which was posting tweets harassing her. That seems like a prudent and sane thing to do. She did not infringe on anybody’s right to freedom of expression.

Melody then asked her friends on Facebook to flag as ‘bullying’ a video about her, because she was tired of dealing with constant online harassment and bullying. What did this video say about her? It was titled ‘Melodramatic Melody’ and the description began:

‘Melody Hensley is executive director of CFI in DC, and has been acting like a total douchebag feminist this past week.’

Some of the content included:

“Yours truly, who had never even given a shit about this little twat until today… had she not made it known that she was doing this mass blocking on twitter, people would have gone about their business of not giving a fuck about her at all… The simple fact is she has now stirred the pot and has painted a large bull’s-eye on her ass… She doesn’t know how twitter works, but that’s understandable seeing as how twitter is a bit more complicated than a cappuccino machine… as for Melodramatic Melody, well, she’s off to stick her flag on the top of Mount Moaning Victim. Don’t worry though, it’s more of a small hill than a mountain, because we all know that feminists don’t fare well when faced with real challenges when trying to get to the top…”

This hate-filled video was published by a woman calling herself the Wooly Bumblebee. The video ends by seeking financial support for a website called a Voice for Boys, which in turn has a link to a website called A Voice for Men, which is so misogynistic a website that it reads like dark parody, and which is currently featuring Thunderf00t’s video which we are discussing here.

Flagging this ‘Melodramatic Melody’ video seems a prudent and sane thing to do. Flagging is an entirely appropriate facility put in place by YouTube to govern how YouTube oversees the privilege that it gives to people to post videos for free on its website. If you want to start your own video website without flagging facilities, you can do so. If you want to use YouTube’s video service to publish your videos, you have to abide by the rules that YouTube determine. Freedom of expression does not mean that you control the use of other people’s communication platforms.

A joy to read, I tell you.

Comments

  1. Tony the Queer Shoop (owner of the pink cotton ball of death) says

    FFS.

    Can someone please find the rock that Wooly Bumblebee crawled out of and give it back to her? She needs her home back.
    I didn’t know she was affiliated in any way with AVfM. That makes my opinion of that pissant even lower than it was (it was pretty low after she retracted her support of Greta earlier this year because people said bad things about her).

    It still boggles my mind that a woman can be so aggressively anti-feminist.

  2. freemage says

    Ah, the sound of the Freeze Peach Brigade; they’ll never get it. (To be clear: I’m referring to T-foot and Wooly Bumblebee, here.)

  3. great1american1satan says

    Interesting that WB included a money grab in her video, isn’t it?

    You can find women promoting misogyny for the same reason you can find scientists promoting creationism – it’s profitable to sell people validation of their comforting delusions.

  4. says

    In her defense the money link was donations to a website I don’t think she’d have seen any of the money herself unless she is more directly associated with the site then it appears.

    Semi scary thought of the day. Having just visited AVFB, people associated with AVFM are going to be putting up resources on sex, dating and relationships in a section marked: coming soon.

  5. says

    Having just read through it all I will say the post is superior to my own modest efforts to take apart thunderf00ts video. While I don’t agree on every point very well done overall.

  6. Your Name's not Bruce? says

    Pardon my density around some of this newfangled stuff; I’m a bit of a techno-peasant. I don’t have a cell phone, I don’t do Twitter. What’s the big deal with blocking someone on Twitter? Isn’t it sort of like having a service that prevents junk phone calls from getting through? Is one supposed to accept all “Tweets” from everybody, all the time? Who one accepts or rejects such communications from is one’s own business, or at least so I thought. That’s what call display and peepholes in doors were invented for. I didn’t realize I was infringing on others’ free speech by not answering every single phone call and opening my door to any and all door knockers. I stand corrected. From now on I’ll read every last word of all my junk mail too.

  7. Stacy says

    michaeld, I know you weren’t asking for praise but you still deserve kudos for undertaking to transcribe TF’s mighty piece of…work. Thanks!

  8. eric says

    Second @7’s request for an explanation. I don’t tweet or you tube, and had to google both “flagging” and “blocking” to figure out what they meant. Please, someone who is more knowledgable about this stuff correct me if I’m wrong or even just confirm if I’m right.

    Blocking – when you block someone, they can’t read your stuff. So AIUI, its basically analogous to removing someone from your own email distribution list or not letting them see some part of your own facebook page. This cannot possibly be considered a speech ban, because it in no way limits the other person’s speech. It limits the distribution of the speech of the person doing the blocking. When Melanie blocks Bumblebee, that limits the distribution of Melanie’s speech, not Bumblebee’s.

    Flagging – in short; a you tube user asking you tube management to review a video to see if it complies with their website rules. Now, I guess its possible that you tube oversight runs on some sort of peer-pressure based system. But more than likely it doesn’t – you tube independently assesses whether a flagged video violates their policies. This is just a user saying “hey, site managers, take a look at this one.” Again, this cannot possibly be considered a ban.

  9. says

    @King crocoduck

    11 minutes by justin vacula… ok I’ll watch and respond.

    around the 2:40 mark
    Idea that the atheist community is particularly hostile for women, followed by Justin not knowing how to prove this.

    Atheist community is probably no worse then other communities when it comes to women this is not saying much as many online communities are not terribly inviting to women. Look at the gaming community, spend some time on FUoS http://fatuglyorslutty.com/ . Women face a higher level of harassment then men just for stepping into the conversation. I will let some personal information out of the bag. I was a moderator of a no longer existent fetish site. The women there took a hell of a lot more abuse then the men, men treating them badly, ignoring repeated requests to leave them alone etc. This is not something unique to atheism but it’s something we’d like to address.

    As to how you would even prove it’s harder for a woman, change the gender of your username and try to say the same stuff you would have before the same way you would have said it before. You will be treated differently.

    3:18
    Slyme pit is disappointed at the continuation of these claims that the atheist community is hostile to women

    We are disappointed with the continued harassment and bullying that comes out of the slyme pit. From photoshopping pictures of their critics, to taking glee in the misfortunes of those critics and their families.

    3:59
    can we really take comments to the effect of you should get rapped seriously.
    I don’t know about where you live. In Canada were I live it’s illegal to utter threats even if you are unable to or have no interest in carrying them through.

    from defenselaw.com
    “To secure a conviction at trial, the Crown must prove that the person making the threat did so knowingly. That is, the prosecution must show that he was aware of the words used and the meaning they would convey. It also must show that he intended the threat to be taken seriously, that is, to intimidate or strike fear into the recipient. It is not necessary that the person making the threat intend to carry it out or be capable of doing so. The motive for making the threat is equally irrelevant.”

    So it really doesn’t matter. The intent is the try to intimidate women and make them feel unsafe and that’s fucking wrong. Justin Vacula SHOULD not be brushing this off or offering casual defense of these actions. One nice step would be to say “hey people Knock this illegal shit off”.

    4:15
    people say mean things about Justin vacula calling him fat, a loser etc

    People should not be fat shaming him etc but this is not an argument against taking threats and bullying online seriously this is just further evidence that we need to try to change internet culture and make it less harmful.

    5:00
    talking about problems at conferences lead to people avoiding conferences

    This is a bad argument. It’s like saying we shouldn’t talk about murders or the murder rate in our city because it will scare off tourism. Well how do you expect to address the problem if you can’t talk about it? There may be a short term drop in attendance but it will lead to work on solutions that will make our conferences stronger in the long run. Just think of the loss of attendance from people who go to a conference have something bad happen to them and people don’t take it seriously. Are they going to want to go to future conferences, probably not.

    5:42
    where’s the evidence
    Well here’s a post by Rebecca on some of the abuse she got for example http://skepchick.org/2011/09/mom-dont-read-this/

    here’s an example of harassment at conventions
    http://ashleyfmiller.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/harassment-at-tam9/

    That’s from a couple minutes googling if you’d like more from me I’d like to start getting paid for the time I spend researching for you.

    6:22
    report threats to the police

    While I don’t know your situation there are logistical problems reporting anonymous threats to police. This does not mean it is not a problem. I had chairs stolen from my cottage while we were away for several weeks. There seemed little the police could do if I reported the theft so we didn’t. That doesn’t mean the theft didn’t happen, that it wasn’t a problem or that I shouldn’t talk about it cause it might hurt property values around my cottage.

    7:22
    Amy shouldn’t be immune to criticism
    There’s a difference between criticism and personal attacks.

    7:48
    conferences shouldn’t be banning free expression
    I at least agree here but conferences should also try to be a welcoming place for all their conference goers. How best to do that is another conversation we can have and a harassment policy would even provide a framework for such a discussion.

    Why are we spending so much time on Amy I think Amy’s role in thunderf00ts video was almost 30 seconds long.

    8:45
    the incident with amy is why skepchick/FTB was attacking TAM

    No one was attacking TAM over this. People were talking about about the problems of harassment they were experiencing in the community and at conferences. DJ Grothe made a post about how this was hurting TAM and that TAM was good and these were damaging discussions. That’s when the discussion became about TAM in particular and it’s sometimes lousy track record of taking harassment seriously.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2012/06/15/harassment-policies-campaign-timeline-of-major-events/

    There’s the time line go read it full of links.

    9:04
    Attacking the conference so you shouldn’t expect a great response

    Again no one was mentioning TAM specifically. Just to point out Amy was at the time also volunteering and fundraising to send women to TAM.

    9:30
    don’t see how thunderf00t is mocking a natural vulnerability to the point of misrepresenting the reason she was upset.

    Yeah no thunderf00t boiled the incident down to Amy see’s shirt makes her upset she cries wants it banned. Leaves out things like, the harassment she’d been receiving, the fundraising she’d been doing for TAM, the reasons she was upset. Here read for yourself http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/07/in-your-face/#comment-223155

    9:50
    I don’t think I would be reduced to tears

    Good for you Justin, you know there’s a big nasty social pressure on men not to show emotions especially vulnerable emotions like crying. But you and thunderf00t are both diminishing how upsetting this was to someone cause you wouldn’t cry and that’s something to prod her with instead of

    10:20
    its not women exclusively being criticized

    Harassment is not criticism. There’s a difference between this post that I’m making going through your video and addressing your point and just unleashing a barrage of hate, slurs and threats at you. Please get that into your head.

  10. says

    Thanks for getting my post out of moderation even though the original poster is gone Ophelia. I forgot to save a copy before I clicked submit so it’s nice to have it up so I can copy it. ^.^

  11. jenniferphillips says

    thanks again for the effort, michaeld. I much prefer reading posts/essays/transcripts to watching videos, so I’m grateful to you for putting it in text form.

  12. says

    You’re welcome Jenniferphillips and anyone else who may come later to thank me. Really it was just a sudden onset of someone is wrong on the internet. My writing isn’t the best but it is better then my video editing skills ;P (sides who wants to deal with youtube size restrictions).

  13. Arakiba says

    Thunderfoot should move to India. To Dehli, so he can commit atrocities against women without fear of reprisal (unless he actually kills any of the women he abuses, of course). Or maybe he could move to Afghanistan and join the Taliban, and shoot 14 year old girls in the head for daring to want to learn to read and write. I bet he’d feel like a Real Man then!

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