Quantity »« Against – against against against

Scolds

And for today’s installment of thinly-veiled loathing – Stephanie quotes DJ Grothe on Facebook.

It’s rank.

There is an impressive distemper these days on the internets.

Many smart, good people that I know personally seem to fear this “call-out culture” online that is going on right now in many communities online. Folks are immobilized by a moral scare or panic that they think they are watching unfold presently. As for me, I think it all seems increasingly like some surreal science fiction imagining of some bizarre future dystopia. And so, I say:

Consensual sex — between any mature adult male or female etc. — is a human good. It is something that should be prized and promoted (would there be world peace if people just had more and better sex, ha?).

But instead I think unduly-moralistic scolds end up actively diminishing human flourishing by their sex-negativity.

And I curse the unholy alliance of the quack far-left so-called feminists: a different kind of ardent feminist than I am — and the authoritarian anti-sex rightist religionists whom I used to run with decades ago. (How the heck is it that these two equal opposites agree on so very much these days, and the two last decades, too?).

I have a disturbing answer, but it doesn’t work for a social networking or FB comment..

For a start – moral panic? Really? Trying to end sexual harassment – not consensual sex, but sexual harassment – is a moral panic? What an ugly thing to say.

Then, “unduly-moralistic scolds” – that’s right out of the time-honored woman-hating playbook.

There was such a thing as a scold’s bridle.

A scold’s bridle, sometimes called brank’s bridle or simply the branks, was a punishment device used primarily on women, as a form of torture and public humiliation.[1] It was an iron muzzle in an iron framework that enclosed the head. The bridle-bit (or curb-plate) was about 2 inches long and 1 inch broad, projected into the mouth and pressed down on top of the tongue.[2] The “curb-plate” was frequently studded with spikes, so that if the tongue moved, it inflicted pain and made speaking impossible. [3] Wives who were seen as witches, shrews and scolds, were forced to wear a brank’s bridle, which was locked on the head of the woman.

Nice job, DJ. That’s the way to convince everyone that there’s no misogyny in the skepticism community – call women you dislike “scolds.”

Branks were used in Scotland to punish slander, cursing, witchcraft or irreligious speech.

And then, wanting to end sexual harassment is not “sex negativity.” For that matter, sexual harassment is not sex positivity, either.

And then, there’s “the quack far-left so-called feminists.” Dog whistle dog whistle dog whistle dog whistle.

And then, perhaps worst of all, there’s “I have a disturbing answer, but it doesn’t work for a social networking or FB comment..” It’s so easy to imagine what he means. It’s even uglier than what he did say in social networking FB comment, so it’s ugly indeed, and we can easily guess what kind of ugly.

Comments

  1. carlie says

    I don’t even understand that last comment – disturbing answer to what? If it’s to the question in parentheses, then the comment referring to it should also be in the parentheses because it’s all the same aside. HEY DJ, YOUR GRAMMAR STINKS AS MUCH AS YOUR MORALITY.

  2. says

    Consensual sex — between any mature adult male or female etc. — is a human good.

    No, it isn’t always good. Without raping or coercing anyone, I’ve had really great sex, so-so sex, and really lousy sex. I’ve had lousy sex-partners, and been one myself. Shermer’s Grothe’s “all sex is good” BS is dangerously close to the “I’m doing desperate chicks a favor!” rhetoric we sometimes hear from ignorant self-important men who fancy themselves irresistable to women. We also sometimes hear it from actual rapists. This BS is only cementing Shermer’s Grothe’s reputation as a creepy self-aggrandizing sexual predator.

    He has an answer that will lay all doubts to rest for good — but it’s too big for the Internet, which is why we’ll never hear it.

  3. says

    Crap, I forgot to paste Shermer’s straight line before my punchline…

    I have a disturbing answer, but it doesn’t work for a social networking or FB comment.

    He has an answer that will lay all doubts to rest for good — but it’s too big for the Internet, which is why we’ll never hear it.

  4. Corvus Whiteneck says

    If being anti-rape is sex-negativity in DJ’s mind, then I would gladly own the label “sex-negative.”

  5. Ysidro says

    So sexual harrassment = consensual sex to these people? I don’t have the words to express my confusion and disgust.

  6. Stephen says

    Consensual sex — between any mature adult male or female etc. — is a human good. It is something that should be prized and promoted (would there be world peace if people just had more and better sex, ha?).

    Skeptics aren’t very deep thinkers are they?

  7. trinioler says

    Oh godless.

    A tip: if something is “too ugly” for social networking or otherwise said in the public space, ITS PROBABLY BIGOTED AS HELL AND SHOULDN’T BE SAID OR CONSIDERED.

  8. says

    Well…wasn’t that …. creepy and disgusting and wrong….

    Thanks, DJ. If there ever was a doubt in my mind about what a clueless gobshite you were, you just removed it.

    Which organization was it that I’m never going to give a red cent to for the rest of my life, neither in hard currency nor in the soft currencies of time and attention? Oh yes…yours.

  9. says

    Oh, FFS, Grothe. Go play in traffic.

    Sex negative, my ass. Rape negative, ya useless chucklehead. Rape and non-consensual and questionable consensual and unwelcome, presumptuous groping very negative, thanks.

    Such a useless bit of biomass, that one. Enough already.

  10. deepak shetty says

    And I curse the unholy alliance of the quack far-left so-called feminists: a different kind of ardent feminist than I am — and the authoritarian anti-sex rightist religionists whom I used to run with decades ago. (How the heck is it that these two equal opposites agree on so very much these days, and the two last decades, too?).
    I must say that comparison did occur to me too – how much in common the anti-feminist /hyperskeptical crowd has in common with the religious fundamentalist crowd. Mr Deity’s personal responsibility crap for women is something that I expect a Bill O’Reilly / Rush Limbaugh to say. Ron Lindsays “there is no extraordinary amount of harassment at CFI” is straight from Bill Donohue . The “stasi” epithets are probably inspired from some Tea party comparison of Obama to Hitler or from Rush himself and so on. The I can proposition any woman anytime anywhere under any circumstance is probably a Ron/Rand Paul libertarian stance.

    A couple of years ago I would probably take the position that liberal religious folk , even though they share a lot of common causes are no allies of mine. But after all this I think id rather have them as allies then these bunch of clowns. Even if Mr Deity hasn’t personally harassed anyone and even if there is so much else is common with him he’s no ally at all. Its sort of weird that what the accomodationists couldnt do , the hyperskpetics and anti-feminists have managed to do.

  11. johnthedrunkard says

    Is this endlessly replicated creepishness really an expression of ‘maleness’ or even ‘patriarchy?’

    I might repay careful scrutiny of the backgrounds of these pigs. How many copies of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ on how many bedside tables?

    Is there some other source for psychopathic misogyiny looming behind this? Or is the internet lifting the lid off a subculture so deep that it encompasses the Taliban and Shermer simultaneously?

    The latter seems dubious. Could Rand and Randi be in cahoots?

  12. iknklast says

    deepak shetty – I hadn’t heard anything about Mr. Deity. Is he involved in this too? That might be the last straw.

  13. says

    I can understand thinking the accusations are true. I can understand thinking they are false because the accusers is either lying or delusional. What I don’t get is all the people who think they are true, but both the accuser and PZ are someone just mistaken about it being rape.

    For this to work, you basically have to think that she got drunk, enthusiastically agreed to sex, then decided it didn’t count because her BAH was .09 or something. That’s a rather novel interpretation of what she said. It’s like they saw the word “alcohol” (which they had to dig through the comments to find), then decided to ignore every other part of what was said and jumped to a conclusion that it must be some kind of picayune technicality she’s talking about and not really rape.

    Even if this were an actual thing that happens along the lines of people misplacing their wallets and thinking they were pickpocketed, coming to this conclusion based on this evidence would be bad skepticism.

  14. Sili says

    On what conceivable basis could Grothe be described as an “ardent feminist” of any sort?

    He hasn’t personally raped any women.

  15. Maureen Brian says

    Well, I dunno! I thought we had and won that argument back in the late 1960s when the dimmer brethren first interpreted sexual liberation as, “Oh, goody! I get to fuck anything not actually dead and you can’t stop me. Neener, neener, neener.”

    They were soon admonished and put on the path towards sex positivity. How come the idiot Grothe is so very far behind the curve?

  16. hjhornbeck says

    My reaction is quite different than most of you, thanks to an experience I had at Imagine No Religion 3. The full anecdote has an eye-catching intro, but falls flat in the second and third acts, so I’ll just edit down to the most relevant bit:

    A slightly drunk DJ Groethe gave me a late-night three hour lecture on feminism.

    I decided to stay passive and mostly just listen, happily letting him spool out the entirety of his views without interference or judgment. And while I was tipsy from lack of sleep and at the end of a long day, I can clearly remember my overall impression was:

    bored disappointment.

    As many of us have now gathered, Groethe is squarely in the libertarian/egalitarian feminist camp. Pinhead lefty academics have hijacked feminism, they cry, and decades of study have led these ivory-tower hippies to politicize gender. Milennia of patriarchy and oppression can easily be solved by passing some laws that state men and women are equals. Oh hey, and we have those! BOOM! Problem solved, sexism is over, everyone head home.

    Stripped of context, Groethe’s remarks here sound exactly like thousands of other “feminists” who learned what the term meant from religious conservatives, and then took off the sharp bits so it fit into their ideology. He blindly accepted their lies and half-truths as gospel, and categorized the occasional rant from someone calling him out as yet another loony lefty hippie academic. His opinions are disappointingly common, and thus banal.

    Groethe is different from the blind hordes in two ways, though.

    He identifies as a skeptic. As a skeptic, he should be challenging his own views and carefully reviewing criticism. Instead, like many people he’s been lazy and mistaken “skeptic” as a synonym for “I don’t believe in Bigfoot, ghosts, and psychics.”

    Ignorance by itself is a pardonable offense, but when ignorance combines with power the results can be pretty damn ugly. Groethe was in change of the Code of Conduct for TAM, Groethe was responsible for setting the expected behavior around the JREF, and Groethe determined what issues both should focus on. His ignorance and lapses of skepticism have been silently fueling this controversy, like a fault line slowly being placed under pressure.

    Groethe’s post is what happens when sexism and ignorance grabs on to power. And sadly, that’s a story that’s been repeated many times before. He’s not a special evil.

  17. jose says

    Ah, I know too well how it feels when people label themselves as sex-positive and label you as sex-negative and attempt to make that pass for an argument. I feel for you.

  18. Anthony K says

    On what conceivable basis could Grothe be described as an “ardent feminist” of any sort?

    Oh, you know. The equity kind that has no problem at all with women having the vote.

  19. says

    I’ll be waiting for the strict scope-of-skepticism folks – looking at you, Daniel Loxton and Barbara Drescher – to write blog posts about how skeptics like DJ Grothe shouldn’t be pushing morality like “consensual sex… is a human good… that should be prized and promoted…” for skeptic conventions.

  20. Stacy says

    Cross-posted from DJ’s Facebook comment thread:

    “so, I say: Consensual sex — between any mature adult male or female etc. — is a human good. It is something that should be prized and promoted (would there be world peace if people just had more and better sex, ha?).

    But instead I think unduly-moralistic scolds end up actively diminishing human flourishing by their sex-negativity.”

    Erm, NON-consensual sex is rape. Pointing that out is not “sex-negative.” And calling out harassment and rape is not being an “unduly-moralistic scold.”

    Are you really calling Greta Christina, for example, “sex-negative”? LOL

    Also, echoing carlie at #1: he writes as poorly as he thinks. (“But instead”–instead of what? Instead of your opinion about consensual sex?)

  21. latsot says

    I too thought of the brank the moment I read the word “scold”, but he’d already lost me at “call-out culture”. I can’t manage to interpret that phrase as meaning anything other than “people with opinions I don’t like should shut up”.

  22. says

    Judging from this quote, I’m not sure he even understands what “consensual” means. He uses the word, but then immediately goes on to talk as if it meant something else.

    Surely, he doesn’t suffer from the delusion that all this talk about harassment is because we have a problem with consensual sex, does he? At this point, those are the options I see:
    1) He doesn’t know what “consensual means”.
    2) He’s so stupid he actually thinks this is about people wanting to ban consensual sex.
    Oh, and there’s also:
    3) He’s a lying sack of shit, deliberately playing to his audience of misogynists.

    Moreover, the fact that he still has a job and is allowed to speak in public must mean that the JREF likes what he’s saying and agrees with him. To put it bluntly, until DJ is fired, I have to assume that he’s got the full support of the JREF leadership, including Randi.

    Randi! Please, please, please prove me wrong.

  23. Pteryxx says

    Surely, he doesn’t suffer from the delusion that all this talk about harassment is because we have a problem with consensual sex, does he?

    Unfortunately… to this sort of person, “consensual” just means “got away with it/you can’t prove anything”. The partner joining in of their own free will and having the right to disagree or refuse at any time simply doesn’t enter into it. There’s no such concept, to them. The target’s just a target and “having sex” means anything short of stranger-in-bushes-with-knife-catches-a-nun.

    Y’all have probably read Predator Theory and Mythcommunication, and posts like “Women just need to learn to say no”… but the clearest explanation of the fundamental disconnect that I know of is here:

    (TW for graphic description of nonconsent at link)

    You know what consent looks like

  24. says

    Moreover, the fact that he still has a job and is allowed to speak in public must mean that the JREF likes what he’s saying and agrees with him. To put it bluntly, until DJ is fired, I have to assume that he’s got the full support of the JREF leadership, including Randi.

    As discussed here and here, the JREF leadership appears basically to consist of one guy, who approves of Grothe’s actions. How else could he keep his job while continuing to fail so spectacularly?

  25. says

    So, basically, he can do whatever the hell he wants. There goes any hope of JREF reforming. It’s beginning to look like we’ll have to build all new organizations for a non-douchebag type of skepticism.

  26. Al Dente says

    DJ Grothe doesn’t care about women in general or feminists in particular. He doesn’t actively hate them the way the Slymepitters do, he just doesn’t think they’re important to his scheme of things. He does think the libertarian supporters of JREF are important because they’re the ones who pay his salary. Since for the most part libertarians are anti-feminist then Grothe makes anti-feminist noises to keep his customers satisfied.

  27. DaMann says

    Indeed, Poppy’s account about Grothe’s behavior in general which she characterized as ” constant duplicity, dishonesty, and manipulation” accords with both his public weaseling and accounts by others who have worked with him. He seems to revel in digging himself deeper and deeper, too, unable to acknowledge his shortcomings and mistakes. I guess he learned his lesson from constantly failing upward. But where’s his next up? word.

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>