Beatriz » « Lies

Look at them all


A small thing, but annoying. People who say “I completely condemn any harassment and abuse” – and then follow up quickly with a much more detailed and enthusiastic condemnation of whatever it is that you, the object of abuse and harassment, might possibly decide to say at some point in the future if your nerves are shredded and there is no lemonade in the fridge.

One thing that’s annoying about that is the fact that the people who say it never actually seem to do this condemning of harassment and abuse out loud. Or in public. Or in places where people who are engaging in harassment and abuse might potentially see it. Or in places where people who are engaging in harassment and abuse would for certain see it. These people-who-say seem to say it to themselves, and then swell a bit with admiration for their own rectitude and good taste when it comes to hobbies. They never seem to say it anywhere useful when you, the object of abuse and harassment, could use a little backup or support or solidarity.

They seem to want credit for it all the same, though.

You know what? They’re not getting it. I don’t give a fuck if they condemn harassment and abuse inside their own heads. That doesn’t do me one god damn bit of good. If they’re saying it just to get it out of the way before they get down to telling me off for being so harassable and abusable – well –

Beatriz » « Lies

Comments

  1. bcmystery says

    I condemn abuse and harassment, and not just in my head or here in your comments section. Furthermore I admire, respect, and appreciate you, Ophelia. I’ve learned a lot reading your work, and hope to continue to have that opportunity for a long time to come.

  2. Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I) says

    Fuck the fucking fuckers! :D

    Seriously, abuse and harassment are no bueno.

  3. spike13 says

    When your opponent is forced to resort to ad hominems,it’s the internet version of running out of bullets and then throwing the gun at you.
    They have nothing to say,nothing to teach and are reduced to flinging excrement at the wall.

  4. says

    One thing that’s annoying about that is the fact that the people who say it never actually seem to do this condemning of harassment and abuse out loud. Or in public. Or in places where people who are engaging in harassment and abuse might potentially see it. Or in places where people who are engaging in harassment and abuse would for certain see it. These people-who-say seem to say it to themselves, and then swell a bit with admiration for their own rectitude and good taste when it comes to hobbies. They never seem to say it anywhere useful when you, the object of abuse and harassment, could use a little backup or support or solidarity.

    They often seem to say it as an introduction to minimizing or justifying the harassment or to lecturing the harassed.

    You know what? They’re not getting it.

    I love this post and share its sentiment. But I can’t agree with this. I think they get it. The US government gets that it’s not promoting democracy in Latin America. The IMF gets that austerity programs are detrimental to well-being in the short and long run. And people like this almost always get that they’re not really taking a stand against those who harass and abuse feminists and try to push women out of the public sphere. They get that their statements won’t reduce this behavior and often encourage it. At some point, when people have failed over and over to take an unambiguous and active stance in favor of basic human decency when they could easily do so, we have to conclude that this isn’t where they stand. For many of these people, that point was passed long ago.

    It’s important to recognize this because it affects how – and if – we engage with them. If we keep giving them some benefit of the doubt and appealing to their “real” values, we’re wasting our time. And playing their game. They want nothing more than to be seen as supporters of decency and justice while condoning and even supporting the opposite.

  5. MrFancyPants says

    chrisho-stuart @3: ditto spike, excellent link.

    And yeah, harassment/abuse is NOT COOL. One other thing: you harassers, what sort of example are you setting for your children? There’s a reason why bullying among kids is getting worse. Kids are dying, for real, because other kids bully them and adults do nothing. And you people? You’re actively taking part in the same behavior. You’re condoning it. I’m looking at you, Skep Tickle. You should be ashamed.

    I’m definitely no longer staying quiet about the issue.

  6. says

    … and then follow up quickly with a much more detailed and enthusiastic condemnation of whatever it is that you, the object of abuse and harassment, might possibly decide to say at some point in the future if your nerves are shredded…

    That particular thing, that’s just…

    Seriously, where to begin.

    Okay. Beginning here: I can’t at all relate. This far into the systematic harassment thing, I am more of a mind that pretty much anything you do to these charmers would be more, well, what the hell does anyone expect at this point?

    And listen, building in part for the fact that I so cannot relate, I get to thinking that whole ‘oh this would be bad if you did’ thing, it’s probably frequently part of the whole harassment game, too. The whole damned point of systematic harassment is to unhinge and distress. And now that this program is in progress, let’s also make snide little comments and snick and snip at every little reaction, better still imply what we think in our wisdom your allegedly unwise reaction might be, imply that oh my goodness, that’s not right and how could you. It’s just ‘what, you mad?’ in another guise. Whaaat… are we gettting to you? No? What about now? Was that a twitch? Aw, are you upset? No? What about now… Hey now, and don’t swear at us or nothin’… That’s rude… Better still, let’s also load on all the things you must not do, as bracketed and constrained and frustrated will also do nicely… Let’s make sure you realize anything you do or even might do is being scrutinized, now.

    Pathetic. And transparently so. And honestly and on the contrary, Ophelia, I’m more thoroughly impressed with your forebearance through all of this. Looks to me like you’ve put up with a long haul of this crap, been more than patient, more than sensible, so I really have to take this ‘oh you mustn’t do this or that or this would be bad’ crap as really just that game, described above.

  7. jcarr says

    I rarely comment, preferring to lurk, but I’ve found this recent schism in the atheist community frequently puzzling and absolutely disheartening.

    The schism appears to be thus: many leaders of the community have brought attention to problems within the community regarding gender equality and insensitive commentary that fails to account for women sensibilities. Many other leaders have dismissed such concerns and have gone to great lengths to portray themselves as the actual victims, despite the fact that they are part of the dominant group. The dismissive leaders don’t seem to realize that their position is frightening similar to past and current arguments posed by Christian leaders here in America, portraying themselves as the victims suffering persecution while at the same time fighting to retain their privileged status.

    Most importantly, they aren’t listening! Every misconception, misunderstanding, and miscommunication is an opportunity to learn. We might think the other person completely wrong, but something we said or did provoked the reaction, and we should endeavor to find out how that happened. Even if we are in the right and the other person wrong, we can at least learn what prompted the reaction so that we can avoid this problem in the future. It’s not about ass-kissing or being overly PC, it’s about compassion and empathy.

    As an example, I’m married to a black woman, and yet despite this I’ve actually been accused of being racist on three separate occasions by a black individual who, naturally, doesn’t know my wife. My first inner reaction is to dismiss the claim, because, after all, I’m married to a black woman (17 years now), so how racist could I be? But if I do that, I don’t learn anything. I’ll never really know what happened, or why. Instead, I apologize for any misunderstanding, and try to understand their position. In all three cases they were clearly wrong in their assessment of me, but I was able to deepen my understanding of racial and cultural differences in our communities here in America. Their feelings were just as important as mine, so it didn’t seem valid to simply dismiss their claims out of hand.

    The opposition to Ophelia, PZ, and others seem to be suffering from an absolute refusal to listen, a commitment to victimhood, and an inflexible position that fails to even consider that they might be wrong. It is a position shared by prominent Christian leaders of today, opponents of the Civil Rights movement, isolationists during WWII, racist leaders opposed to interracial marriage, etc.

    The disheartening aspect of all this is that atheists are supposed to be more rational in their thinking. They are demonstrating that they are no more rational in their positions than the fundamentalists they criticize.

    I hope you continue blogging, Ophelia, and move on from this.

    Oh, and can someone tell me how to put spaces between paragraphs? This looks like a wall of text, a phenomenon that I dread…

  8. says

    #10 AJ Milne, yep. They’ve got a gaslighting cookie-cutter set of manipulative silencing tactics, and this is just one of the the array that they’re using for their display tray that they’ll present to the judges in Team Harassment’s ongoing Next Top Silencer contest.

  9. Silentbob says

    Apparently, Dan Fincke (of the civility pledge) is scheduled to appear on Vacula’s “Brave Hero” podcast Friday. Given Fincke’s contribution to a recent exchange on twitter, that should be… interesting. Dave Silverman has also agreed to appear on a future episode. I assume their intention is to call out harassment “in places where people who are engaging in harassment and abuse would for certain see it”.

  10. says

    There’s a related argument, that’s even more annoying:

    Stop insisting that anyone who disagrees with you is as bad as or allied with the worst of those who disagree with you.

    This in itself is perfectly reasonable advice. However, it’s always presented as being more important than not abusing people in the first place. The slightest line-blurring is complained about bitterly, with the same examples being dredged up time and time again, whereas the abuse itself is barely mentioned. If it’s condemned at all, it’s inevitably (as Ophelia points out) denounced only in an abstract sense.

    Actually, I’ll go further. I think some of these people do support the abuse. They believe that Ophelia hasn’t respected the authority of out great skeptical leaders, and that she deserves to be punished for it. This abstract non-committal condemnation of the abuse is just a way of keeping their hand clean. Of course silence isn’t always approval, but someone who delivers finger wagging lectures to the victims, and yet never does the same to the abusers can reasonably be suspected of approving.

    Is Steve Zara one of these people? I really don’t know.

  11. shari says

    this unhappy behaviour crops up even in families ‘you shouldn’t say mean things about so-and-so – he/she is just_____and after all he she is our______.’ Rarely, if ever, do you hear, ‘Hey, he/she, why were you being so crappy to _______? Talk out your problem or knock it off.’

    At least you don’t after the age of 15!!!

    Getting credit while being complicit – or, complacent – doesn’t fly.

  12. says

    I roundly condemn harassment, abuse and bullying, online or in meatspace. Sadly your comments section probably gets more readers than anything else I do, so it’s my best space for saying that this is NOT disagreement and criticism. It’s lies, well poisoning and ad hominims. Which people only resort to when they don’t have arguments. They’re doing this because you speak uncomfortable truths clearly and their best hope of burying the message is some variation on shooting the messenger.

    Please continue to be awesome.

  13. savagemutt says

    I condemned it out loud but the guy in the office next to mine complained about the noise and cussing.

    Actually, I’ll go further. I think some of these people do support the abuse. They believe that Ophelia hasn’t respected the authority of out great skeptical leaders, and that she deserves to be punished for it.

    Well, the harassment predates the Dawkins “Dear Muslima” thing so I think the original motivation for some of them is just out-right hatred (or fear) of women. Vacula’s association with AVfM being a wonderful example. And then there are their female fellow travelers who apparently are worried they won’t be considered “one of the boyz” if they object to the misogyny.

    You know, I really have nothing to do with any of this. I’m not an activist. I don’t belong to any atheist or skeptical organizations. But I keep following this stuff. Perhaps part of it is like slowing down for a freeway accident, but I think part of me still can’t believe there are people who consider themselves rationalists who think their behavior is all ok.

  14. Arnie1Cooper0 says

    Ophelia has been caught doxxing. Oolon was fully complicit in it as well.

    Should Ophelia and Oolon be banned from conferences?

    YES!

  15. says

    Ah there’s that Team Harassment commenter again, to tell me again that Abbie Smith’s pit bull would kill Cooper if they ever met. They’re so impressive.

  16. says

    Salty, you misread that line. It goes with the line before it. They want credit, and they’re not getting it (that is, I’m not giving it to them). It’s not an epistemological claim!

  17. freemage says

    Arnie: She ‘doxxed’ someone by repeating points made, on this site, by the person in question. But hey, keep working that lie-crank, I think you’re about to pop another.

  18. says

    Ah there’s that Team Harassment commenter again, to tell me again that Abbie Smith’s pit bull would kill Cooper if they ever met.

    What the ever loving fuck?

    Salty, you misread that line. It goes with the line before it. They want credit, and they’re not getting it (that is, I’m not giving it to them). It’s not an epistemological claim!

    Oh – hee! Yes, it seems so clear now.

  19. Anthony K says

    Ah there’s that Team Harassment commenter again, to tell me again that Abbie Smith’s pit bull would kill Cooper if they ever met. They’re so impressive.

    My friend’s dog could kill your dog?

    That’s a threat, albeit one of the stupidest ones I’ve ever read.

  20. leftwingfox says

    “Arnie1Cooper0″

    What the ever loving fuck?

    I remember Abbie’s pit-bull activism from before the slimepit. I’m now morbidly curious if she’d be offended by the implication that her dog is a killer, or if she’d excuse it as something else because everyone knows her dog isn’t a killer?

    Such charming company those “brave heros” keep.

  21. says

    It’s not the first time. Whoever it is has made that little “joke” before.

    It’s such a good fit, isn’t it. That’s what they’re all about. Cooper is an absurdly sweet dog even for a Lab. He’s 2 now and I’ve never seen him show the slightest hint of aggression. Once when he was about 5 months old we were playing in a park and a tiny little girl decided to throw the stick for him. She was around 2 or 3 herself so didn’t have a lot of sense – she threw the stick and Cooper went bouncing up to grab it and then she suddenly picked it up herself – they were both yards away so I had no time to do anything but watch in terror (along with her mother) – but little Cooper just stopped bouncing and waited. That’s the kind of dog he is!

    So yeah. No doubt a pit bull could take him out in an instant. Congratulations.

  22. says

    The abstracting away what the actual issues at hand are and just waving around words like “disagreements” and “opinions” drives me bananas. “Oh, you think everyone who disagrees with you is evil!”

    You can’t just “disagree with” people. That’s a syntactical shorthand used when you don’t feel like repeating what the topic at hand is about every sentence, like pronouns existing. You can disagree with people about something.

    I don’t think everyone who disagrees with me about everything is bad, particularly for non-moral claims. One of my good friends who I generally think is a wonderful human being thinks that Demons and Wizards is a better band than Blind Guardian, something with which I disagree very strongly. We also have significantly different tastes in beer. We’re still friends.

    I do think people who “disagree with” me on basic, basic, basic moral values like that harassment and stalking are bad and women are not subhuman are, in fact, bad people, and I make no goddamn apologies for that. If they didn’t want me to regard them as bad people, they could stop having such shitty morals.

  23. notsont says

    First off, Ophelia I’m sorry you have to put up with the crap that you do, it is reprehensible. I get the feeling quite often that at least some of the people doing it think each separate incident should be looked at separately and not counted as part of the whole scheme of things. Which is pretty stupid.

    The thing with the, “what he/she/they did was bad, but lets talk about what you did” That is something I do with my children, I’m wondering now if it is a bad thing, It is something I heard as a child and I am wondering if maybe that’s why people do it as adults. On the one hand I do not want my children thinking other peoples actions mitigate their own responsibility, on the other hand of course context matters. I will have to think on it some.

  24. jenBPhillips says

    Ah there’s that Team Harassment commenter again, to tell me again that Abbie Smith’s pit bull would kill Cooper if they ever met.

    Seriously? That is a whole new realm of fucked-uppedness. I feel ill.

  25. jenBPhillips says

    right, hyperdeath–note that I said “new” and not “worse”. It’s just an unpleasantly novel (to me) approach to the harassment, airing this sort of jokey/violent (your mileage may vary) fantasy about Ophelia’s dog. I’m definitely not suggesting there haven’t been far more graphic or unpleasant jokey/violent fantasies about some of the human players.

  26. Subtract Hominem says

    Another mostly-lurker breaking silence in solidarity. Don’t let the assholes who say stuff like

    I completely condemn any harassment or abuse you uppity broads feel you’re receiving. Now shut up and let us thought leaders get back to our fun, rational, intellectual Photoshop satire.

    [not an actual quote]

    get you down! You do good and you make a difference, which is more than can be said for those targeting you.

  27. says

    Should Ophelia and Oolon be banned from conferences?
    YES!

    I’m starting a fund to send me to empowering women through secularism…. Any ideas on what I should give away as prizes for donating to my cause? I was thinking…

    1/ Sponsor a t-shirt with a friendly crocheted message to Vacula
    2/ Upgrade of any member of the block bot to level1 and spam
    3/ Troll a Slymie, I’ll target any Slymepitter you don’t like!
    ….

  28. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    leftwingfox,
    I can’t speak for Abby. I don’t know her. I do know that as a dedicated pitty cuddler myself, I would be pissed. I can’t imagine a pet lover approving of threats made toward someone else’s pet. I also can’t imagine an anti-BSL activist approving of her pet being talked about as if it is dangerous.

  29. Nadai says

    notsont@30:

    I get the feeling quite often that at least some of the people doing it think each separate incident should be looked at separately and not counted as part of the whole scheme of things. Which is pretty stupid.

    It’s an old, old tactic of anti-feminists. Marilyn Frye had a lovely quote about it in her 1983 essay “Oppression” in Politics Of Reality – Essays In Feminist Theory:

    Cages. Consider a birdcage. If you look very closely at just one wire in the cage, you cannot see the other wires. If your conception of what is before you is determined by this myopic focus, you could look at that one wire, up and down the length of it, and be unable to see why a bird would not just fly around the wire any time it wanted to go somewhere. Furthermore, even if, one day at a time, you myopically inspected each wire, you still could not see why a bird would gave trouble going past the wires to get anywhere. There is no physical property of any one wire, nothing that the closest scrutiny could discover, that will reveal how a bird could be inhibited or harmed by it except in the most accidental way. It is only when you step back, stop looking at the wires one by one, microscopically, and take a macroscopic view of the whole cage, that you can see why the bird does not go anywhere; and then you will see it in a moment. It will require no great subtlety of mental powers. It is perfectly obvious that the bird is surrounded by a network of systematically related barriers, no one of which would be the least hindrance to its flight, but which, by their relations to each other, are as confining as the solid walls of a dungeon.

    Ophelia, I am so sorry you have to put up with this endless crap. This new bit about Cooper is so far over the line you can’t even see the line in the distance any longer.

  30. kellym says

    Would Abbie Smith condemn a death threat against a beloved pet of one of her targets? Especially if the threat was issued by one of her adoring fans? I’ve never seen evidence that she possesses that level of decency or integrity.

  31. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    Then not only is Abby not a decent person, she’s also a horrible anti-BSL activist.
    OT dog rant:

    Bully breeds are really in a serious pickle right now. They are over bred, badly bred and often neglected, abused and abandoned. They end up in pounds where they are often put down on sight. Large dogs, black dogs, and dogs that don’t handle separation or being confined well don’t last in a kill shelter. Often pitties possess all of those traits. I adopted the dogs I have because they are adorable, cuddly and would not have found homes otherwise. Activists and owners are often as misunderstood as the dogs they advocate for. Because of that I have to take extra steps to speak up about the canine additions to my family. I make sure to be a good steward of not only the dogs, but their reputations too. It is telling that Abby enjoys the harassment of people she dislikes so much that she’ll play right into a stereotype that works against a cause she cares about. With friends like that, the pets BSL endangers do not need enemies.

    BTW, I know some people don’t like the look of pit bulls, Rotties and other supposedly “scary” dog breeds. (That’s fine. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.) I think they’re cute. The first time I saw a pitty I laughed and laughed because I thought he looked like a dog with the head of a catfish. His shoulders were too broad and his butt was too tiny. His wagging tail nearly made his whole back end wag with it. He seemed to have a big goofy grin permanently plastered on his face and he had a sunny attitude to match. He made a good first impression. I still can’t help but smile back when I see a happy pit bull.

    I have one of my own now. She’s got fluff for brains, drools, can be a brat at the dog park*, has medical conditions and may be codependent. She’s also very sweet. Currently she has bruised, scabby nipples from letting kittens try to nurse on her. Not because she loves them, but because she’d tolerate anything to be included in a cuddle pile on the bed. (She’s actually a little frightened of them.) She’s hardly the stuff of nightmares. So, please don’t think of killer dogs when you think of pitties. Think of drool, farts, hyper tennis ball chasing and other normal doggy things. Think of working dogs, rescue dogs, therapy dogs and plain ‘ol lazy house pets. Because that’s the reality. They are no more or less problematic than any other breed.

    *She steals other dogs tennis balls.

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