Catching Up 2: Ophelia Benson & Advocating Trans Person Rights

I’ve been too busy to blog about all the things I wanted to this month. From the Black Lives Matter protest to the Ophelia Benson departure to a weird John Loftus flameout currently going on. So here I’m quickly trying to catch up. Second on deck: the Benson departure…

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Looking for Place to Stay in Georgia and Pennsylvania

Photo of hotel capsules outdoors, single concrete pipe segments, the circular cap on either end a hinged door, simple bed and lamp inside. From Austria. Google wacky concrete pipe hotel to learn more.Anyone who wants to host me, with bed or couch, for a night or two this September, please let me know! Here’s the skinny…

Georgia:

I’ll be speaking at DragonCon in Atlanta this year (I’ll be there from the 3rd of September through the 7th), and then at PAstahCon in Harrisburg the following weekend. No efficient reason to fly home in between and then all the way back out. So to help them save money for their conference, I had the PA coordinators just fly me from Atlanta to Harrisburg the following Friday (the 11th of September). But that leaves me homeless in Georgia from the night of the 8th (Tuesday) to the night of the 10th (Thursday).

So I’m looking to piece together places to crash those three nights. It doesn’t have to be in Atlanta, if you are willing to come get me (and bring me back). I’m fine even with long drives. If you want to host me, and can anytime in that window, please email me (or message me on FaceBook). And yes, if you want to throw dinner parties with me as your guest, or anything akin, you can do that. As long as it’s informal.

Pennsylvania:

To make my life easier I’m also staying an extra night after PAstahCon, which is in Harrisburg (September 11th through 13th). I have no place yet to crash on the 13th (Sunday night). I fly home later the next day.

So I’m looking for any place to crash that one night. It doesn’t have to be in Harrisburg, if you are willing to come get me (and bring me back). Again, I’m fine even with long drives. If you want to host me, and can that night, please email me (or message me on FaceBook). And yes, if you want to throw a dinner party with me as your guest, or anything akin, you can do that, too.

Please get in touch!

You will be helping me and the PAstahCon coordinators a bunch.

Dinner for Patronage? At Skepticon This November!

Photo of Richard Carrier in white shirt, red and grey striped tie, and silver vest, speaking at the podium of Wonderfest.Want to secure a dinner conversation with me? Here’s how. Not only will I be at Skepticon this November 13th-15th (not to speak but just for fun!), but I’m helping Bo Bennett & Kile Jones launch their Secular Backstage service by offering up an opportunity to join me for dinner when I’m there! We are auctioning the opportunity, minimum bid $100. Closes in six days (or until we have a bidder), so spread the word, and let everyone know whom you think might be interested. Or put in a bid yourself! The money goes to support my ongoing independent scholarship and activism. So this is a worthwhile way to offer me your patronage, as well as bend my ear or pick my brain for at least an hour.

The occasion will be Friday the 13th (Day of Evil!) at or around 7pm. In Springfield, Missouri. And Skepticon is free, so this is all the more reason to go. Their website has all the info you need to plan.

Things we can talk about include… [Read more…]

Christians Freaking Out Over Freedom: Polyamory Edition

Photo Dr. Carrier took of his bottle and glass of wine at the airport. Venue menu on the table reads Carlolina Vintages. Bottle label reads Restless Soul Red Table Wine, from Old North State Winery. Label depicts drawing of a rising skeleton's arm lifting up a glass of wine.So when I came out as polyamorous in February, the godless Slymepit blew a gasket. But so did Christians. Their freakout was quaint. And hardly substantive. So I just filed it as something to amuse over when I had time. Now as I sit for hours in the Raleigh-Durham airport awaiting my flight home, drinking a lovely bottle of Carolina wine from the Old North State Winery, what better fun than to survey the Christian panic over poly?

First I’ll summarize a sample of some of what happened, then delve into a long treatment of the most thoughtful (albeit still totally wrong) example…

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Don’t Be Explicit in Other People’s Spaces: An Apology

This is an apology for a mistake I made. In a comment thread on Ophelia Benson’s blog about the effects of porn on unwanted violence in the bedroom, I gave as examples for my own points relating to that cases from my own personal sexual experience, which despite one content warning nevertheless got too detailed and explicit for Benson and many of her readers.

I became too defensive when attacked over that and I handled the whole matter poorly. I was too blinded by defensiveness in fact to adequately see things from other people’s perspective. Although some people appreciated what I wrote, and I value their perspective too, others who’s opinions I also respect did not, and that caused me to reexamine everything and (I hope) recognize where I went wrong and what to do about it.

I don’t want to distance myself from the people who thanked me, who included people who feel isolated from what men actually think or can think about sex and were glad to have access to it for a change, and people who deal with being attacked and demeaned and shamed for their fetishes and kinks and were thus understandably defensive about people seeming to attack and demean and shame me for the same.

But there are better ways to serve those needed ends. And I understand that now. I am always very frank and open about my sexlife. And I am often surrounded by people who are the same, and who appreciate that. So I too easily forget the world does not live in that bubble. And I didn’t realize the significance of that before now.

Explicit content is not universally wrong. It can even still serve the purposes I originally stated there and intended. And I may blog separately about that, in a better way. But content warnings are necessary for that even in your own space. And they aren’t sufficient in another’s space. You need to know it’s permitted there first, that it will be acceptable. And I now realize it’s your responsibility to check that beforehand. Because what results if you don’t can affect people badly in ways you don’t intend and wouldn’t want.

To all of those people who were harmed by my actions, I apologize. I did not want to cause harm, and regret having done so. This is another mistake in my life I shall endeavor to improve myself on and not make again. And I thank those whose remarks helped me to see that.

There are better ways to advocate for wider acceptance of sexuality and sexual diversity, and better ways to discuss the impact of porn on our lives too.

How To Do Wrong Right

Picture of a traffic sign in green with white lettering and border against a cloudy sky, which has arrows pointing both right and left, one labeled Right Way, the other labeled Wrong Way.After my post last month asking for a date the following week, many very positive and some slightly negative things transpired in result. The date went well. I chose a very lovely person who replied to my advertisement awesomely. We hit it off very well and are now in a relationship (mutually open). Others asked me out on future dates that have happened or will. Still others were inspired by my post to strike up an exploratory correspondence from afar, and some of those encounters might become future relationships. The hostility that was generated came mostly from sexists or anti-feminists with weird hangups. Some feminists had problems with it but weren’t hostile. I also received a lot of wonderful support.

This post won’t be about that.

Today I’m going to bring up one particular issue that has come up many times before in my discussions with movement insiders across the spectrum. The meta-question is, how do we draw the line, or even tell the difference, between honest, open, consensual, sex-positive behavior, and behavior that should be criticized and disapproved. But within that umbrella is one particular aspect: everyone screws up from time to time; and we can’t pillory the whole world. So what is a positive and constructive way to deal with correctable error, and what distinguishes that from behavior beyond the pale?

Of course, the Slymepit won’t care about that distinction. Even though they insist they do, they just horribly attack and harass anyone and everyone who ever defends any standard or policy whatever. And regardless of what those of the Slymepit profess, in actual practice they are the scary, amoral nihilists of this movement. They are also beyond facts, reality, or reason. So this post is not intended to educate them. They are uneducable.

Who I’m writing for now, is everyone else. [Read more…]

Help Miri Mogilevsky Keep Writing for a Living

Snapshot from a corner of Miri Mogilevsy's Patreon page, showing you can give a dollar amount per blog post to become a patron of her writing, and that she has at writing eleven patrons contributing a total of sixty-seven dollars a month so far.I have long been a fan of Miri Mogilevsky’s excellent writing on society, science, and sexuality, among many other topics, including feminism and other aspects of social justice. As well as her speaking and teaching. I’ve also been considering launching my own Patreon account later this year. But I’d like to see a colleague get it functional in action in the way I see Mogilevsky doing it now. And really, I’d just love to see her supported as a writer.

Her Patreon launch is really great. It’s inspiring me to develop my own someday and she’s given me great ideas for it. Check it out. You can become a patron of her work for just a dollar a month even. Or more. There are also some special goals she’ll meet for greater investments.

It’s worth it. I’ve cited and used her work many times (e.g. [1] and [2]). And I would value getting to do that more often. She nails certain subjects I want to find good articles on far better than I ever could. Including topics in Polyamory (e.g. [1] and [2]). She writes well, clearly, completely, and thoughtfully. I have enjoyed countless of her articles here at FtB as well as for Daily Dot, xoJane, Everyday Feminism, Friendly Atheist, Salon, and other venues. To get a feel for her contributions, just skim her blog archive for the month of this April alone.

-:-

I’ve posted about this not only because I’m a big fan of Miri’s and support her work and think some readers of mine might share both sentiments, but also because I’m becoming more interested in the anarchic Patreon model of employment for authors and artists. I think more authors I like might do this in future. As perhaps will I. So stay tuned!

Looking for a Date Middle of May

Close up photo of Richard Carrier in a suit and tie, wearing his characteristic glasses, speaking at an event before a screen showing text, gesturing as he makes a point, in front of a podium microphone almost out of view to the left..So, this is experimental. I’d like to go on a date in May. And for the first time, I’m going to try a bat signal: putting a call out on my blog. I don’t know anyone else who has tried doing that, so I have no precedent to work from as to etiquette or even arguments for or against doing it. So I’m just going to do it and see what happens and document and assess. If you know anyone who might have an interest in dating me, let them know. If you might have an interest, read on. [Read more…]

Following Me on Facebook Might Be a Thing

I’ve realized that I often post things to my Facebook wall that I don’t mention on my blog. And then I realized some readers of my blog, might want to also read those things (always brief comments or announcements of places I’m hanging out—where you might even be able to join me—and things like that). If you are one of those people, you might want to follow me on Facebook. In fact my Facebook wall is basically my twitter feed. So if you wanted a Richard Carrier twitter feed, that’s the closest there is. (No, I have no plans to get on twitter, too much work to manage.)

But again that’s follow, not friend.

I am nearly out of slots for Facebook friends. They allow you only 5000, and I’m over 4000. And I receive several hundred requests a month. So, simple math entails I must decline nearly all. So don’t friend me, unless (a) we actually are friends (or colleagues), or (b) we’ve hung out before in substantial fashion, or (c) you have a professional reason (like if you are a board member or officer of an organization, even a small one, e.g. a campus group or community group; or you are a producer of media content, like podcasts or secular swag or blogs or books or movies or what have you; or you are a professor or professional thinktanker interested in my work; things like that), or (d) you are considering dating me. Or any combination of the above. I will accept requests for a variety of other reasons that I can’t articulate into words, usually something I love about a person’s profile or their aesthetic or their art. But there’s no easy way for you to know that in advance.

If you do want to friend me specifically, and not just follow me, and you meet one or more of the above criteria, also message me to tell me that. I might not be able to tell from your profile who you are or if we’ve met or anything. Most people don’t have their settings set to public enough for me to even vet their profile, or don’t put that information on it, and profile pics are often inadequate for me to recognize faces, and so on. So just tell me. Then I’ll know. All my Facebook settings are set to public, so anyone can message me.

That saves me a lot of time. Because, yes, I actually respond individually, and manually, to every Facebook friend request I get, explaining all this. That’s generally over a hundred a week. And I do try to figure out if each requester meets any of the criteria beforehand. So, that’s time. Indeed, not only is there is no automated capability on Facebook, in fact they stymie it by forcing you to pass a Find Waldo test for every message you send, when you message to non-friends as often as I have to do for this purpose. So, hundreds and hundreds of Find Waldo tests every month, just to send this quasi-automated message:

Greetings! Thank you for your friend request. I probably have to decline (as my friend count is approaching the Facebook maximum), but please read my note:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/richard-carrier/note-to-all-have-you-asked-to-be-my-fb-friend-and-not-heard-back/512364158839147

(You can “follow” me instead of friend me, or remind me of whether we’ve hung out before, or any other reason I should have you more than just follow my FB page. I won’t necessarily be able to tell who you are from your FB page or profile pic. I might also not recognize your name, even if we’ve worked together or communicated before, as I have to process a hundred of these requests a week. So do feel free to message me with a reminder if I’ve overlooked our connection. Thanks!)

The linked note then explains further.

Conversely, if we are already Facebook friends, feel free to unfriend me and then just follow me instead (if still interested). For example, if you want to clean up and pare down your own friends list. Since if you are following me, you don’t need to be my Facebook friend (unless our lives are more entangled in some way), since all my settings are on public anyway, so you don’t gain many features.

Either way, if it sounds like something you are interested in, follow me.