That’s a doesn’t follow if I ever saw one


Joking aside, though, I really do have profound contempt for this whole “there are bigger issues so shut up about your issues because they’re not the biggest issues” line of patter. It’s even worse because it’s not even serious, or really meant, it’s just a pretext for saying some kind of shit, however desperate. But it wouldn’t be very respectable even if it were meant.

It’s just fucking dumb. The world is a big place, with a lot of people in it, and it’s a good thing that different people work on different things in different ways. It’s not a reason to spend a big chunk of time using social media for the purpose of badmouthing people who work on things that are not The Most Important Things Anyone Could Possibly Work On.

Saudi women are not allowed to drive, therefore people who blog about feminism should shut up.

Wut? Why should they? Why should we? And who made random creepers on Twitter the experts on the subject?

They shouldn’t, we shouldn’t, and no one did.

Comments

  1. Dunc says

    Let’s suppose, just for the sake of argument, that we should grant the principle… Where exactly in the hierarchy of Most Important Things does “complaining about people talking about things that aren’t The One True Most Important Thing” lie? Surely if the fact that Saudi women are prevented from driving means that people shouldn’t talk about feminism, it must also mean that people shouldn’t complain about people talking about feminism.

  2. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    Many of those speaking out against those seeking to increase diversity and inclusivity in the atheist community are people who had nothing whatsoever of interest to say before Rebecca said ‘Guys, don’t do that’. And were we to ever stop trying to alter the status quo, they’d go back to doing nothing more than fawning over Dawkins and Harris and whoever else came along to give them what they want – being told they’re better and smarter than dumb ol’ religionists and anti-vaxxers and Deepak fucking Chopra.

    The Rich Sandersons and Sara Mayhews of the world love that the people they call #FTBullies exist; if they didn’t, no-one would even know their names.

  3. jagwired says

    SallyStrange,

    I think you meant to say nobody should be talking about anything except the Nazi-like harassment policies at atheist/skeptic conferences.

  4. grumpyoldfart says

    I had a splinter in my finger and for a little while it was the biggest issue in the world – and you people went on talking about other issues!

  5. Bjarte Foshaug says

    Oh yes, our old friend “Dear Muslima”… It’s one thing to point out that problem A is worse than problem B if the point you are trying to make is that we should be more concerned with problem A. It’s another thing entirely to use problem A as a arbitrary excuse for actively opposing a solution to problem B, or even going out of your way to make it worse.

    When the usual suspects accuse the “FTBullies” and “feminazis” of “freaking out about obscenities on the internet rather than deal with real problems” they don’t actually give a shit about said “real problems” except to the extent that they can be used as an excuse to sling mud at feminists. To argue that something must either be the only/worst problem on the planet or no problem at all is a false dichotomy if ever there was one. It’s not exactly rocket science, is it…

  6. latsot says

    The claim is easily refuted. There’s an elderly neighbour who can’t look after herself. She has Altimeters and no money. Should we spend so much time, effort and money combating the fact that nobody looks after her that we don’t, actually, do a fucking thing to look after her?

    Or do we check up on her every day, talk to her, make sure she eats and doesn’t hurt herself AND do what we can to make things better for people like her in general?

  7. brive1987 says

    By all means spend a lifetime rewriting conference codes, decrying sexist language or debating drunk sex. Just don’t expect anybody much to give a damn or take you as seriously as someone saving lives and risking all for a selfless cause.

    The lack of proportional awareness displayed by certain SJ celebrities leads to Dear Muslima style push backs.

  8. echidna says

    brive1987,

    ‘Proportional awareness’ is not as helpful as you might think. ‘Systems awareness’ is far more useful to tackle big problems which arise when the smaller, contributing factors are ignored.

    You might appreciate reading ‘Systems thinking’ by James Reason. It’s about using the systems thinking that developed in highly dangerous industrial or military environments, and taking those engineering principles into hospitals and other environments to save lives. It highlights the importance of noticing the little things that are trivial in themselves that cause big trouble when they combine.

  9. Alex says

    @brive1987
    not quite sure whether that was an attempt at satire…

    By all means spend a lifetime rewriting conference codes, decrying sexist language or debating drunk sex.

    The way you say that, one could get the impression that you think sexual harassment and nonconsentual sex under the influence of alcohol are entirely trivial topics not worth anyones time. You surely don’t mean that, though, right?

    Just don’t expect anybody much to give a damn or take you as seriously as someone saving lives and risking all for a selfless cause.

    I’m not aware that any of the activists you are addressing here have ever claimed that first and foremost they are “risking all” to “save lifes”. That is just a cheap rhetorical attempt on your side to make their activities look ridiculous by contrasting them with some mythical action hero ideal.
    Ironically, the effect of their work will very probably be lives saved among other things (making lives better, for example, doesn’t count in your world I suppose), and we know that death threats, rape threats etc. against feminist activists especially on the internet
    are the norm nowadays.

    The lack of proportional awareness displayed by certain SJ celebrities leads to Dear Muslima style push backs.

    You seriously think that the stuff Richard Dawkins wastes his life on (helping that handful poor atheists at coming out) is so important in light of the global problems we have nowadays?
    It would be nice if it were that easy, but unfortunately, once everyone is converted to atheist and has clear thinking skeptical scientist brainz, alas, the world will still be full of people like you.

  10. Bjarte Foshaug says

    The lack of proportional awareness displayed by certain SJ celebrities leads to Dear Muslima style push backs.

    No, a petty sense of entitlement and a selfish desire to seek personal gratification on women’s expense and get away with it leads to Dear Muslima style push backs. It wasn’t Rebecca Watson or any of the other supposed “feminazis” who blew this thing out of proportion. It was the legions of orcs who have been in a chronic state of amok about it for 2 1/2 years. It’s funny how the same people never seem to have any problem with the “lack of proportional awareness” displayed by those who are prepared to spend an unlimited amount of time writing about topics like “99 more reasons to doubt the existence of Bigfoot”.

  11. Kilian Hekhuis says

    “Saudi women are not allowed to drive, therefore people who blog about feminism should shut up” – In fact, Saudi women should shut up too, as there are people who are *stoned to death* for being *raped*. Oh, wait…

  12. Gilgamecha42 says

    #11 Alex

    The way you say that, one could get the impression that you think sexual harassment and nonconsentual sex under the influence of alcohol are entirely trivial topics not worth anyones time. You surely don’t mean that, though, right?

    Or maybe he thinks undermining people’s affinity for acting with common sense unless they have rules (“commandments”) to live by is counterproductive.

    As for you turning drunken sex into nonconsensual sex, one could get the impression that any kind of drunkeness means you’re not in control of your own devices. You surely don’t mean that, right? Because I’m pretty sure drunkeness, unless it’s to the point of losing consciousness, only loosens your inhibitions but doesn’t actually prevent you from acting under your own free will. Because if it wasn’t, that would turn the responsibility drivers have for driving drunk on its axis.

    You seriously think that the stuff Richard Dawkins wastes his life on (helping that handful poor atheists at coming out) is so important in light of the global problems we have nowadays? It would be nice if it were that easy, but unfortunately, once everyone is converted to atheist and has clear thinking skeptical scientist brainz, alas, the world will still be full of people like you.

    Richard Dawkins has never said his work is more important than the other global problems we face nowadays, so I’m guessing not. But nice strawman.

    Also, I’m curious as to why the need to mock people with clear thinking, sceptical scientific brains (or “brainz” as you call it) as if it was a bad thing.

    #12 Bjarte Foshaug

    No, a petty sense of entitlement and a selfish desire to seek personal gratification on women’s expense and get away with it leads to Dear Muslima style push backs. It wasn’t Rebecca Watson or any of the other supposed “feminazis” who blew this thing out of proportion.

    Perhaps a pointless derail to the thread, but who do you think blew it out of proportion? If it wasn’t for Rebecca’s want to lecture and insult a student from the podium where she had the power—among other things—then it wouldn’t have reached the level that it did. Watson’s antics, coupled with her friends who elevated it (if you’ll pardon the pun) to heights that was unneccessary, PZ’s comparing it to potential ‘elevator rape’, etc, etc, ad nauseam, was what “blew it out of proportion.” Not the “orcs.” And correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t it become Rebecca’s shtick to bring it up on every single conference she attended since? What was the point of that, then, if the incident was “not that big of a deal”?

    In a time where Muslim women still can’t drive, or go for a walk without a male escort, was it really that offensive for Dawkins to make a satirical comment on the absurdity of it all, especially to how big it had become? That’s what his “Dear Muslima” comment was supposed to imply, not the ridiculous interpretation Rebecca and her cohorts have given it — that women who speak of other issues other than these should shut up. But I digress. If I draw this out longer, you may accuse me of being an “orc.”

  13. Alex says

    Saudi women are not allowed to drive, therefore people who blog about feminism should shut up”

    Well you know, it’s rarely about the first part of that sentence, an all about the second. It’s that enfuriatingly lazy reaction humans are so prone to. People who have never really done anything about an issue (say, women in Saudi Arabia), when confronted with activism that makes them uncomfortable at home, can just about manage to point to that former issue, hoping that the thing that makes them uncomfortable goes away real quick before they have to think about it. Similarly, when people notice that I am vegetarian (I never bring that up on purpose, but it might be inferred from what I order at a restaurant), others often try to point out something inconsistent about my behaviour (do I have leather shoes or whatever) in order to invalidate my choice in diet as quickly as possible and to be able to return to not thinking about the issue. It’s almost like an automatism, and when it is pointed out to us, boy do we get irritated.

  14. Dunc says

    @brive1987

    By all means spend a lifetime rewriting conference codes, decrying sexist language or debating drunk sex. Just don’t expect anybody much to give a damn or take you as seriously as someone saving lives and risking all for a selfless cause.

    Please explain why we should give a damn what you think, or take you as seriously as someone rewriting conference codes, decrying sexist language or debating drunk sex. What exactly are you doing that’s so worthwhile?

    You might want to exhibit some of that “proportional awareness” you seem so keen on. Surely you’ve got better, more important things to do with your time than leave stupid comments here? After all, you don’t give a damn or take us seriously. Shouldn’t you be out saving lives, or risking all for a selfless cause?

  15. says

    I may have said this before on this very blog, but I see these arguments as simply a defense of the status quo. They seem to be an attempt to make the activist feel guilty for not tackling the real big issues. The problem with trying to tackle big issues, though, is that those issues likely have multiple root causes and there is no way they can be tackled because, ultimately, you’re just tackling the symptoms.
    Take the cliche “hungry kids in Africa” problem — Tackling this problem directly (if that even makes sense to say) would involve shipping the kids food. But this is a never-ending solution; you’re going to have to keep sending more and more food and the problem never goes away. So how about instead we work on educating the population on birth control so that the people don’t give birth to more children than they can support? Well, if we look at that, we find a lot of conservative religious organizations spreading the opposite message. So now if we want to really work on education, we must first battle these religious organizations here at home. And then DA’s like brive1987 will come along and claim you’re not saving lives like they are. When, in truth, you may very well be doing more than brive1987 because you’re working to end a problem permanently.
    Also, brive 1987 reminds me that there can be a bit of a selfishness to these arguments as well. brive 1987 seems to be gloating about the lives they are saving. So is brive 1987 doing what they do because they actually care about saving lives or are they doing it to stroke their own ego? They claim it’s a selfless cause, but, if that’s true, then why are they bragging about what they do so damn much?

  16. says

    Just don’t expect anybody much to give a damn or take you as seriously as someone saving lives and risking all for a selfless cause.

    Wtf? What IS that? What is this ridiculous assumption that I do expect anybody much to give a damn or take me as seriously as someone saving lives and risking all for a selfless cause? When have I ever run around shouting that I expect everybody to give a damn and take me as seriously as, say, Leo Igwe? When? When have I? EVER?

  17. Alex says

    Or maybe he thinks undermining people’s affinity for acting with common sense unless they have rules (“commandments”) to live by is counterproductive.

    So what are thoughts about laws, you know, in general? Are you some kind of anarchist/hyperlibertarian who thinks any kind of rules are just an impediment to your personal development?

    As for you turning drunken sex into nonconsensual sex, one could get the impression that any kind of drunkeness means you’re not in control of your own devices. You surely don’t mean that, right? Because I’m pretty sure drunkeness, unless it’s to the point of losing consciousness, only loosens your inhibitions but doesn’t actually prevent you from acting under your own free will. Because if it wasn’t, that would turn the responsibility drivers have for driving drunk on its axis.

    That’s probably true, but what’s your point again? You know very well that the discussion is not about how all sex while being a bit tipsy is rape.

    Richard Dawkins has never said his work is more important than the other global problems we face nowadays, so I’m guessing not. But nice strawman.

    So you notice such reasoning is a strawman huh. I was merely extending brive1987’s way of thinking to Richard Dawkins precisely to make the point that it is fallacious and counterproductive. I do not think that RD really ever said that, so I should have put sarcasm markers. That being said, when he felt the need to write his “Dear Muslima” response, he obviously thought much more highly of his activism than of feminist activism.

    Also, I’m curious as to why the need to mock people with clear thinking, sceptical scientific brains (or “brainz” as you call it) as if it was a bad thing.

    I’m a scientist, an atheist and a skeptic, and while I sometimes do feel the need to mock myself, my point was a different one: that scientific, skeptical thinking and atheism alone do not nice, thoughtful and socially progressive people make. It has become so obvious during the past few years, partly because of the kind of attitudes displayed by brive1987 in this thread, and much worse ones of course.

    @Ophelia

    Wtf? What IS that? What is this ridiculous assumption that I do expect anybody much to give a damn or take me as seriously as someone saving lives and risking all for a selfless cause? When have I ever run around shouting that I expect everybody to give a damn and take me as seriously as, say, Leo Igwe? When? When have I? EVER?

    It must come from the same part of the brain that let’s people think Rebecca Watson is busy 24/7 denouncing all men riding in elevators as rapists . In the very first day of that elevator thing, people kept coming to those 1000+ comment thread arguments about the issue and assumed the amount of heat was due to Rebecca’s insatiable craving for recognition, projecting the intensity with which the issue was discussed at that point completely on her. Richard Dawkins did precisely the same thing.

  18. A Hermit says

    I’m still bald. Until we fix that I don’t want to hear about any of your petty little problems!

  19. A Hermit says

    Gilgamecha says:

    If it wasn’t for Rebecca’s want to lecture and insult a student from the podium where she had the power—among other things—then it wouldn’t have reached the level that it did.

    You know what’s funny about that? I never see the student in question whinging on and on about Rebecca Watson or telling people not to talk about sexism people Saudi women can’t drive cars. In fact it’s a subject she addresses herself on occasion…http://www.centerforinquiry.net/oncampus/blog/entry/mcgraw_the_chilly_climate/

    Go ahead, tell us how ridiculous she’s being for suggesting that the “chilly climate” is a big enough issue for us to actually have a conversation about it…

  20. Bjarte Foshaug says

    @Gilgamecha42 #14

    …but who do you think blew it out of proportion? If it wasn’t for Rebecca’s want to lecture and insult a student from the podium where she had the power—among other things—then it wouldn’t have reached the level that it did. Watson’s antics, coupled with her friends who elevated it (if you’ll pardon the pun) to heights that was unneccessary, PZ’s comparing it to potential ‘elevator rape’, etc, etc, ad nauseam, was what “blew it out of proportion.” Not the “orcs.”

    Sorry to dissappoint you but guess what, I can read for myself, and I don’t need you to tell me who started this conflict. Your revisionist history-telling may work on people who haven’t been paying attention, but not here.

  21. johnthedrunkard says

    The ‘Dear Muslima’ effect and the invocation of ‘privilege’ are the SAME THING.

    ‘You’re not being shot in the head/publicly stoned/propositioned in elevators so shut up.’

    The elevator biz, and more importantly its aftermath, demonstrates that Watson’s experience, and the status of women in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are on the SAME SCALE. The crazed stalker fury on the interwebs is not different in kind from the misogyinist fury of Tarhir Square gang-rapists.

    PS: the level of flat-earth denial around alcohol continues. Alcohol impairs judgment long before it incapacitates. A significant porportion of drinkers will ‘black out’ after consuming enough alcohol. In that condition they may drive cars off of cliffs, consent to, or initiate, sexual activities, sign contracts, marry strangers etc. etc.

    Just because writers on Jezebel and Salon can’t imagine having sex without getting legless first does not make it ‘normal’ or acceptable for 14 year olds to be incapacitated by rapists.

  22. says

    Alex @ 19 –

    I’m a scientist, an atheist and a skeptic, and while I sometimes do feel the need to mock myself, my point was a different one: that scientific, skeptical thinking and atheism alone do not nice, thoughtful and socially progressive people make. It has become so obvious during the past few years, partly because of the kind of attitudes displayed by brive1987 in this thread, and much worse ones of course.

    Funny you should mention it, because that’s in essence what I said for my part of that opening panel at the CFI Summit.

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