It’s more of a guy thing


The more I look at that picture, the more I’m just…amazed and repulsed.

guyThis isn’t at a party, or even a banquet or a reception. It’s for a group photo of Very Important People in the Global Secular Conference; it’s for the home page, the front page, of this Important new organization. Six adults and one frat boy. Yeesh.

Comments

  1. Steersman says

    “I like at that picture ….”?

    And linky?

    Though I agree that that picture is a little “off”. But maybe it’s his wife or girlfriend … you might investigate that a little instead of leaping to a conclusion ….

  2. Jean says

    Steersman, look at where the picture is from and you’ll see that this is Edwina Rogers and that she is the executive director. Then tell us how it is appropriate.

  3. Pen says

    The research called for is whether the globalists mutually agreed that they wanted to present themselves as friendly. Unless you know more than you’re telling us, this comes across like complaining about that footballer guy’s kiss or Muslim girls who DO wear make up. Actually, you come across sounding like you want an uber-formal world in which everyone stands up straight and keeps their tie starched.

    Or else you’re talking to a little clan of ardent followers who know why you apparently disapprove of these two people making physical contact with each other.

  4. says

    …aaaaaaand the desperately over-extended apologetics race is off again. First prize is a pat on the head from the winner’s chosen authority figure.

    “Maybe it’s his wife! Yoooo need do homework!”

    “You anti-sex prude because disregarding and/or misrepresenting your objections, an’ seeing you that way, helps me view hero in more positive light.”

    “I can’t state why your objection is wrong, so I’ll speculate that you are biased, and treat this speculation as fact!”

    “OUT OF CONTEXT!!!! LENZ LIES!!!1!”

  5. Al Dente says

    The woman is Edwina Rogers, the Executive Director of both the Secular Coalition of America (SCA) and the Global Secular Council. The man is Michael Shermer, a professional skeptic and alleged rapist.

  6. Abdul Alhazred says

    What exactly is bad about this picture?

    I’m not trying to pick a fight, or even take a position.

    I really don’t know.

  7. Al Dente says

    Abdul Alhazred @7

    Shermer has been publicly accused of sexual harassment and rape by several women. A fair number of people, myself included, see that picture as evidence that he is a sexual harasser. The picture in the OP is just part of a larger picture for the Global Secular Council showing several of the experts and staff of the Council. Everyone else in the larger picture is standing and grinning at the camera. Shermer is draped over Ms Rogers and mugging.

  8. Silentbob says

    @ 2 Steersman

    maybe it’s his wife or girlfriend… you might investigate that a little instead of leaping to a conclusion…

    Lol :-) Irony, thy name is Steersman.

    If you had “investigated that a little” you would know that the identity of the woman is not a mystery.

  9. militantagnostic says

    Maybe it’s his wife! Yoooo need do homework!

    It would still look creepy if she was his wife.

  10. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    @ Pen

    Actually, you come across sounding like you want an uber-formal world in which everyone stands up straight and keeps their tie starched.

    Because “uber-formal” is totes the only alternative to smarming up to the nearest woman and mugging for the camera like a drunken frat boy. To paraphrase a line from Thelma and Louise: It’s a good thing they’re not all as friendly as Michael Shermer.

  11. Självbestämmande says

    @12: The photo is not in good taste, but you are erasing the agency of women by choosing how and with whom they want to be photographed. Please stop that. You are not helping.

  12. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Must confess looking at the photo and not knowing who the people were I saw nothing either amazing or repulsive about it. Its not a great photo but it doesn’t seem anything out of the ordinary at first glance. It looks to me, (not that I’m great at reading body language and expressions) that both people are smiling and happy and it seems consensual and relaxed and okay.

    Even knowing the identities from reading the comments I’m not quite sure why this is supposed to be quite so wrong.

    Shermer has been accused of rape – and yes I believe the accusation – so I don’t approve of his conduct and behaviour on that – but does that mean he is never allowed to be in a photo with a woman again if she agrees to be photographed with him especially given he disputes the allegation and has not been found guilty?

    I presume Edwina Rogers knows about the accusations and has decided to allow this to be taken so she seems to be making a judgement call of her own and her own choice here which may not reflect well on her but is or seems to be *her* call. Neither of them appear drunk to me although I haven’t seen the group photo only this inset (is it?) featured here.

    I presume she’s indicating by this photo that she is on Shermer’s side metaphorically as well as photographically and, yes, I think that’s distasteful and wrong but still understandable since Shermer is a popular figure and not everyone believes, as we do, that he’s guilty.

    I’m also not aware of her relationship and personal history with Shermer and how that may or may not pertain to this photo being taken – there’s a lot here I will freely admit I don’t know about this although I have read PZ Myers famous “Grenade” post and some of the comments on it quite a number of months ago. (Last year? Maybe even the year before was it?)

    So, sorry if I’m being dense and missing something here – I could well be, sure, – but I don’t quite see what exactly is so horrible about this photo? Yes, its sad that Shermer is getting support from a powerful secularists who is apparently siding with him for reasons unclear but both people seem happy to be photographed like this and it’s not either he’s holding a glass or bottle of wine or doing anything particularly unusual or provocative for a group or couple / friends photo.

    Is it simply the identities of the people photographed and the physical closeness of them when Shermer deserves to be socially shunned (at the very least) in many people’s opinions (again, incl. mine) but clearly not Ms (?) Rogers one or is there more to it than that?

  13. Blattafrax says

    I didn’t know it was Michael Shermer (who I have heard of) and Edwina Rogers (who I had not) until I read the comments. My first thought was that it’s a picture of two people clearly enjoying something and good for giving a relaxed picture of the organisation. Edwina looks to be having more fun and Michael looks like he’s just been told it’s unexpectedly his birthday again. It also doesn’t look like either are coerced and I don’t think we should assume otherwise. A bit informal, but I like informality.

    Then I discover it’s Shermer and the picture becomes just creepy – and yes, very creepy. It’s creepy even if the allegations against him were to be false and there is no way I would want this on my organisation’s website. But should the first unprejudiced impression not stand?

  14. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @8. Al Dente :

    A fair number of people, myself included, see that picture as evidence that he is a sexual harasser.

    Why do you say that?

    It doesn’t look like sexual harrassment to me, just him having one arm around her. The other arm isn’t in view but,again, it doesn’t appear to me that she is particularly looking upset or bothered or under duress or suchlike there. Not that I can necessarily judge or know I’ll admit. but just going from the photo -all I have to go by really it doens’t seem wrong to me.

    Except that there’s the back story of Shermer having been accused of multiple counts of rape and harrassment which does make it kinda squicky but that’s not visible in the photo itself. I’m presuming here that Ms Rogers is consenting to being in that photo and that pose and nothing seems to contradict that from the image. Again, unless I’m missing something in body language /facial expression / background knowledge the wider group photo context which is a possibility. Am I?

  15. says

    It would still look creepy if she was his wife.

    Absolutely. Because it’s actually NOT a picture of two people making physical contact with each other. It’s a picture of a man draping himself over a woman. She’s not leaning towards him, she’s not puting her arm around him or her hand on his arm. She’s standing there straight and he’s just hanging onto her with no recognition from her that this is a pose she mutually enjoys.
    Seriously, look at pictures of people, partners, friends, families who are being photographed together. They look a lot different.

  16. thetalkingstove says

    SteveOR

    Again, unless I’m missing something in body language /facial expression / background knowledge the wider group photo context which is a possibility. Am I?

    How about asking yourself whether, if the Executive Director position was being held by a man, Shermer would have draped himself over the Director’s shoulder like that?

    Indeed, if you look at the full picture, there is a man on Shermer’s right. Why isn’t he also putting his arm around him? That would at least be consistent with an informal, look-at-us-larking-around image.

    Just grabbing hold of a woman next to you when it’s not reciprocated and no one else is behaving similarly? Kinda creepy.

    It doesn’t look like sexual harrassment to me

    No one said that this photo documented a specific incident of sexual harassment.
    People are suggesting that the casual appropriation of a woman’s personal space displayed here is indicative of a certain kind of behaviour.

  17. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @ ^ thetalkingstove :

    How about asking yourself whether, if the Executive Director position was being held by a man, Shermer would have draped himself over the Director’s shoulder like that?

    Good question. I don’t know the answer and can can only guess.

    Indeed, if you look at the full picture, there is a man on Shermer’s right. Why isn’t he also putting his arm around him? That would at least be consistent with an informal, look-at-us-larking-around image.

    I can’t seem to find the full picture,sorry. I clicked on the image and only saw that same photo again – no group photo. But yes, fair point although I can see a number of possible explanations for why that might be such as positioning, relative size and how close they are personally as well as maybe the other man not wanting it and Ms Rogers allowing it. Or youmay be right init reflecting Shermer’s bias and approach to women. I don’t know.

    Just grabbing hold of a woman next to you when it’s not reciprocated and no one else is behaving similarly? Kinda creepy.

    Agreed. Is that what this is though? It could well be but maybe not necessarily the case. Again, I don’t know and, again, fair point.

    No one said that this photo documented a specific incident of sexual harassment.

    Actually I thought that was exactly what #8. Al Dente was stating, no?

    People are suggesting that the casual appropriation of a woman’s personal space displayed here is indicative of a certain kind of behaviour.

    Okay, that’s fair enough but I’m not really sure that’s clear from the photo. As I said before, it looks like something that they mutually agreed to and I don’t know whether Ms Rogers welcomed and invited or disliked and did not invite or approve of, Shermers’ arm around the shoulder here.

    Incidentally, I don’t know what – if anything – Edwina Rogers has said or expressed about her views on the Shermer case and allegations or how well they know and like each other. Both of those are, I think, salient factors.

    Personally, I do believe the accusers and think Shermer is probably guilty.

    If I were in Ms Rogers position I wouldn’t want to be photographed with him and if I were Shermer I’d be careful not to do anything that looks potentially sleazy or disrespectful of women like put my arm around a woman for a photo like he’s done – but, of course, I’m neither.

  18. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @16. Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- :

    Okay, that’s a valid case you make as well as a good observation.

    When you put it that way I do see what you mean although she is smiling and I don’t think it looks that atypical of couple / mates photos.

  19. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    PS. With “mates” meaning friends there. Using the Aussie slang sense of the word. Think it is used elsewhere in the same way too?

  20. Ed says

    I don’t care for Shermer, though I enjoy some of his writings, but both men and women put their arms around my shoulders in group photos all the time. Have to say the expression on his face does sort of remind me of the TV villain Joe Carroll from The Following.

    A lot of people I know of both sexes are into spontaneous hugs, touching your wrist or arm during conversations and calling everyone things like “dear”. I don’t do these things myself except for reciprocating if the person is actually a friend and it would seem cold not to.

  21. Menyambal says

    Yeah, it is hard to precisely analyze one picture. But obviously he is the only one making contact, and I say he is the only one smirking. Given that he is draped over a woman, given his history, it is creepy.

  22. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Okay, thanks – now I see it. D’oh! Just the last post here too. Just seen that and twigged. (Blushes.)

  23. carlie says

    Besides his shit-eating grin, that’s not the kind of “arm around draping” that I ever see with people who are friends. That’s usually with the elbow down across the back, hand on shoulder. This is close to a headlock, and it appears that she’s as tall or slightly taller than him and he’s literally pushing her shoulders down to leverage himself above her. And combined with that, she looks like she’s leaning slightly back and away and smiling in a “get this over with as soon as possible” way. YMMV, but it looks like that photo was professionally taken, and the photographer should have seen how aggressive that pose looks. Makes me wonder how bad the rest of the photos in that set were, that this was considered the best one to use.

  24. Edward Gemmer says

    The “secular” community kind of has a reputation for being emotionless (or possibly evil). So I imagine the goal was for the people to look like actual human beings. Actual human beings sometimes touch each other.

  25. says

    Ok all this benefit of the doubt stuff, this “that just looks like colleagues being friendly” stuff – some of you seem to need a refresher course.

    See this:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2013/11/04/carrie-poppy-and-the-nay-sayers/

    It collects information made public by Carrie Poppy and Brian Thompson, both of whom used to work for the JREF and left because of the kind of information they made public.

    I’ll quote the key bit that Carrie said:

    Hi everyone. I just spoke to a lawyer about sharing this information with you, and feel comfortable telling you this one thing (though it is one of several):

    D.J. Grothe told me and others, repeatedly, that he (DJ) had personally witnessed Michael Shermer groping a female TAM speaker’s breast, unprovoked and against her protestations. She has confirmed this, since. D.J. continued to invite that speaker to TAM in subsequent years. D.J. has stated this much over and over. So please, do feel free to ask him yourselves.

    Ok? Grothe has told several people, repeatedly, that Shermer groped a woman’s breast unprovoked and against her protestations. This is out there; Shermer can’t possibly be unaware that it’s out there. The picture in this post looks to me like Shermer saying (or signaling): “Yeah, I’m a groper, so what?”

  26. John Gobb says

    Shermer has been publicly accused of sexual harassment and rape by several women. A fair number of people, myself included, see that picture as evidence that he is a sexual harasser.

    PZ Myers and Lousy Canuck have also being accused of sexual harassment, and in the case of the latter – of rape. I see that picture as evidence that these two are sexual harassers. Only trying to be consistent, of course. Further, PZ and many others at FreeThoughtBlogs are happy that a rapist (Ogvorbis) openly admitted he raped, and is free to comment here and receives “hugs and kisses” from his rapebros.

    We know only you, Ophelia, will see this, because you are happy to post unproven accusations against people you don’t like (Shermer), but not your rapebros (PZ Myers, Lousy Canuck, and Ogvorbis).

    Goodbye, hypocrite.

  27. says

    It’s especially funny when they slip up and comment as “we” – as if all of them are typing that comment at once. Hive mind! Borg! Groupthink! But when “we” comment, under the random name chosen for the moment, “we” are fearless individuals thinking independently yet all miraculously arriving at the same conclusion.

    Also there’s the frank boast about trolling – “we” know only you will see this and “we” will leave it for just that reason because “we” have spent three years doing nothing else so “we” can’t stop now or “we” would have to admit what a waste of time and effort it’s been.

  28. chigau (違う) says

    And what’s up with “good-bye”?
    Does anyone really comment for the first time just to say they’re never going to comment again?

  29. says

    I think I’m supposed to have hurt feelings because of “good-bye.” Or maybe I’m supposed to be afraid – Freethought Blogs is crumbling, everybody hates me, buses roar past when I’m waiting at the bus stop – that kind of thing.

  30. says

    That photo of Shermer and Rogers gives the impression to a casual observer that they’re dating each other; his arm draped around her shoulders is possessive, not collegial. The fact that the rest of the participants in the photo aren’t posed in similar ways makes the Shermer/Rogers positioning particularly notable.

  31. johnthedrunkard says

    Even without the casting, the right hand edge of the picture is jarring. Looks as if it were photoshopped in, albeit with matching shadows etc.

    Shermer and Rogers are separated from the others. Only Shermer has put his furry paw into the frame. The pose pulls Rogers around so that she isn’t part of the group, but just an attachment to him.

    So, even without Shermer’s background of felony accusations, Libertarianism, partially recovered Randroid-ism; and Rogers’ status as token Republican blonde, the picture should, on aesthetic grounds alone, have not been chosen.

    As for the ‘global’ without looking like a Benneton ad? Where are Nasrin, Ali, Namasye etc.?

  32. says

    Exactly. Or Igwe, Ilesanmi, Edamaruku, Nanda, Sahgal, Malik, Shaha, Patel, Chemaly – we could go on and on and on.

    Every one of them, by the way, a great deal more interesting than Michael Shermer.

  33. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    @13 Självbestämmande

    The photo is not in good taste, but you are erasing the agency of women by choosing how and with whom they want to be photographed. Please stop that. You are not helping.

    …the hell are you even talking about? How is describing Shermer’s pose and pointing out the false dichotomy between that and “uber-formal” erasing anyone’s agency? I wasn’t even speculating about how Rogers feels about the photograph.

  34. says

    Actual human beings sometimes touch each other.

    What evidence do you have for this assertion, Gemmer? Huh? WHERE’S YOUR EVIDENCE?!?

    /hyperskeptic’d

  35. carlie says

    I simply don’t believe that anyone can look at that entire photo and not see the obvious discrepancy between the way everyone else is standing and Shermer’s pose, and the inappropriateness of that pose for a professional photo. Anyone claiming that they don’t see it is being disingenuous or hasn’t bothered to look at it. Even if you claim no knowledge of social rules regarding touching other people AT ALL, you can see that it’s markedly different from everyone else in the picture.

  36. noxiousnan says

    Ophelia,

    “The more I look at that picture, the more I’m just…”

    Steersman @2,

    “… you might investigate that a little instead of leaping to a conclusion ….”

    Not exactly what I’d call leaping, Steersman. The picture is a visual representation of the event, and Ophelia simply stated her perception. What would investigating the people in the photo do exactly? Do you think that people viewing these photos, whatever their perceptions, will follow the viewing with research into the relationships of the models?

  37. leni says

    I can’t tell if she’s uncomfortable or not, but that is probably exactly what I would do if someone with really bad breath got all up in my business but I still had to pose for the photo.

  38. says

    PZ Myers and Lousy Canuck have also being accused of sexual harassment, and in the case of the latter – of rape. I see that picture as evidence that these two are sexual harassers.

    Actually, I have never been accused of sexual harassment. I don’t count random anonymous irate dudes who invent vague accusations with no specifics.

    Further, PZ and many others at FreeThoughtBlogs are happy that a rapist (Ogvorbis) openly admitted he raped, and is free to comment here and receives “hugs and kisses” from his rapebros.

    You are disgusting, Mr Gobb…or should I say, Mr Random Anonymous Irate Dude. Ogvorbis was a victim of childhood rape and sexual abuse, and as part of his torment was made to participate in sexual activities with other children. That’s the basis of the slymepitter’s frequent accusations that he is a rapist, and is among the vilest things they do, that they blame a remorseful victim for a child-abuser’s repugnant manipulations in a long-running campaign of lies.

  39. noxiousnan says

    So that’s Shermer. Well knowing who the two are now increases the creep factor for me. Before knowing it still wouldn’t have been something I’d want to represent my event. Because he looks like one of those men that uses informal atmospheres to insinuate himself uninvited into women’s personal spaces, and she looks like a woman who would rather not have the man draped over her, but will tolerate it to keep the peace.

    I’ll admit to some bias though since I’ve been in the position I described countless times, always kept the peace, and did what appears to be that same uncomfortable looking laugh when it happened.

  40. carlie says

    I wonder what the breakdown is in how people interpret that picture and what kind of life history they’ve had – male/female is too broad a brush, but what I’m thinking is that people who have had to develop a keen sense of predicting if someone might likely be a space invader could be picking up on visual cues that people who have never had to worry about that haven’t learned about.

  41. says

    I think the reason while the slyme can’t understand the difference between the deeds of a child and the deeds of an adult is that they themselves never really made it to “adult”.
    Also fabricating your own false rape allegations in order to show that there are false rape allegations is not the behaviour of well-adjusted moral adults.

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