You may be aware that Dave Silverman went on “Brave Hero” radio yesterday to give some advice about how to be a good activist instead of a dedicated shit-flinger. It was an interesting listen.
The pushback went into indignant overdrive before the show even started, and is no doubt still roaring and raging now.
PZ even ventured into the chatroom there; he reports on it at Pharyngula.
I was in the chatroom for the show, and it was like being in a mob of baboons. They were barking mad and raving — rather than arguing for Vacula, their approach was solely one of throwing around false equivalencies, in particular, demanding that Silverman denounce me as severely as he was the slymers (this was before I’d even logged in. Silverman was not there to talk about me, it was a debate between Silverman and Vacula, but Vacula and his cronies did an awful lot of yelling about me.) It ended up with a bunch of them just typing in all caps that I SUPPORT TENTACLE RAPE, and that I HATE ATHEISTS IN THE MILITARY, so I left.
It was ridiculous. Here, I’ll make it easy for everyone: let’s stipulate that I’m an evil, lecherous old man, creepy and horrible, far worse than anyone on the slymepit; Pharyngula is a hotbed of wickedness, all the commenters here are demonic (sorry); and that everything I’ve ever done has been irredeemably destructive to atheism, skepticism, science, and the American way. OK? Call me the Atheist Satan.
Now, what the heck does that have to do with the Silverman/Vacula discussion? How does it excuse fake twitter accounts, rape threats, bad photoshops, a multi-year campaign of denigration against Rebecca Watson, Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zvan, Amanda Marcotte, Jennifer McCreight, and basically anyone who argues that the atheist movement ought to support greater equality? How does it justify Vacula acting as a representative for A Voice For Men at conferences advocating for greater support for women in secularism, a cause he opposes?
I don’t know the answer to that question. Perhaps someone does.
There was quite a lot of discussion of the photoshop of our atheist solidarity picture – a picture for Maryam to send to the persecuted atheists in Bangladesh – which Reap Paden turned into a picture of us declaring our love for Vacula. Lots of jeering and sneering about “slacktivism” and how hard it was to read our signs. Reap Paden should go tell Maryam what a “slacktivist” she is.
Stephanie has another excerpt that demonstrates their willingness to crap on any project at all as long as it’s one of ours.
ReapSowRadio: I have a sound bite where it sounds like she says “I have a nice cock”
ElizaSutton: LOL he says infighting & egos affects small groups (not large groups????)
ReapSowRadio: is he on sephanie zvan’s high school project she calls a radio show?
ElizaSutton: “we love Amanda here” (said about Amanda Kneif, by Zvan) – how often would a male staffer be referred to that way? (I’m not saying it’s BAD, I’m saying it’s a casual manner in which people more often refer women than men, esp in jobs)
ElizaSutton: Jewelry ad. Restaurant ad prominently featuring gluten-containing foods.
ReapSowRadio: Im going to Write a review of Atheists Talk…They asked me to! On the website. I’ve listened to lots of their shows.
zenbabe: Grats Reap
ReapSowRadio: It s no big deal really anyone can do it :$
ElizaSutton: Reap – you serious? “they” asked you to? Woot!
ReapSowRadio: well the website aksed me to …that counts right?
ElizaSutton: LOL we’ll take it
We’ll take a radio show that does long-form interviews of activists, scientists, artists, and scholars, a show that supports a community of atheists and humanists, a show that a team of volunteers sinks a lot of time into, and we’ll have it reviewed by a guy who’s tickled that he has an audio clip that sort of makes it sound like I said something I didn’t say. Yeah, let’s encourage bad reviews for the lulz!
All because I work on the show.
If you wondered at all why Dave Silverman took such a strong stand against what’s going on with that crowd, there’s all the answer you need. Listen to a show with me talking to Dave Silverman about American Atheists and the general state of the atheist movement and feel moved to prevent other people from listening to the show. Because I work on the show. Because that’s how you make the movement better.
Allies? Not so much.