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Oct 16 2012

Relative Levels of Concern

I’d never heard of the Amazing Atheist until a few months ago, when I found that the only thing that was amazing about the guy is his general assholeishness. His latest example of vile behavior is noted at PZ’s blog. In the wake of the suicide of a young girl named Amanda Todd who was subjected to relentless bullying from an online stalker, he decided to slam those who care and are paying attention to that tragic situation.

It started with him posting a picture to his Tumblr account holding a sign that said:

I am the other hundreds of thousands of people who died today other than Amanda fucking Todd

And then he proceeded to defend himself when he got criticized for this callous reaction. He just thinks her suicide and the all common circumstances that prompted it “doesn’t warrant the attention of strangers across the internet. There are many people who suffered worse than she did and died struggling and fighting. She was, at the end of the day, a very privileged girl who killed herself for very shallow reasons. She shouldn’t be of any great concern to anyone who didn’t know her personally. She is no hero.”

No, she’s not a hero. I don’t know of anyone claiming she is. But she is a victim. But that doesn’t seem to matter to him because “she was privileged. She was a teenage girl living in the western world. If she couldn’t cut it here, I’d hate to see how she would have handled being a teenage girl in Iran.” And he continued in another post:

We know that she had enough money to access video equipment and upload content to YouTube. And we know she was born in a country where her genitals weren’t mutilated to make her less likely to seek out sexual pleasure. We know that she wasn’t born into a country where women can be lashed for being out alone on the streets, or where girl’s are executed for being the victims of rape. We know she didn’t have to worry about stepping on a landmine on her way to school. We know she had access to clean water and healthy food.

That seems like privilege to me.

Shades of Richard Dawkins’ appalling statement about Rebecca Watson in the wake of elevatorgate, the notion that if others have it worse than you, you don’t have any right to complain about mistreatment and others should not care. PZ eloquently answers that attitude:

Well, you know, we have a couple of choices in our lives.

We could, for instance, search the world for that one person who is in the worst circumstances of anyone; the person who is suffering the very most right now. We can do this while turning up our nose at each other afflicted individual who isn’t hurting enough for our standards; why, you’re a quadriplegic dying in a ditch? But you don’t have shingles! And both your eyes are intact! I’m sure we can find someone worse off than you. And then when we find that ultimate person in pain, we can promise to do everything we can to help them.

But I’ve noticed that people who make that kind of argument aren’t actually offering to help anyone. Their perversely inverted, demanding standards are really an excuse to turn away from the miserable they consider undeserving, to justify refusing to help…because that ultimate sufferer will never be found.

I remember Michael Kinsley back in the 1980s, when there was debate going on over whether left-wing dictators were better or worse than right-wing dictators, arguing that it’s pointless to argue over what he called “comparative awfulocracy.” The same is true here. The reason Amanda Todd is getting so much attention is because it shines a light on an important issue, the dangers of stalking (whether online or not) and the cruelty that is far too often excused away or diminished.

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  1. 1
    iknklast

    This is like those endless repetitions of “I used to feel sorry for myself because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet”. I never found that a convincing argument. By the way, I faced the same thing when I was in therapy for severe, life-threatening depression – why, there’s someone else who has it worse, you middle-class whiny bitch! No, I was not brought up middle-class. No, I am not whiny. I had an illness, and it’s an illness I’ll fight with my entire life, and this person of privelage who happens not to have that particular illness is telling me that someone else is worse off. It neither helped my illness suddeny dissipate, nor did anything to alleviate the position of “the man who had no feet”. It’s saying you don’t have any right to feel the pain of real injuries if other people don’t perceive them as real because…well, just because. But those people want to excuse their callousness by claiming they’re concerned about someone with worse problems, so you’re selfish for being ill.

    As a victim of life-long bullying and child abuse (sexual, physical, and emotional), I am acutely aware of the level of pain this girl was feeling. I am more fortunate than she, because I was able to survive (eventually, not for any lack of trying to die), and have been able to get the help I need. It angers – no, enrages – me to see the callous disregard with which human pain is dismissed and belittled. This guy sounds like an amazingly oblivious or sociopathic individual.

  2. 2
    Bronze Dog

    A lot of trolls seem awfully concerned about the fact that people care about things they don’t. Like everyone is supposed to share exactly the same priorities in exactly the same order and allocate their resources according to a strict triage process. It’s like they think that attention and speech are extremely scarce resources that have to be rationed, and that attention to one victim inherently takes resources away from other victims in a big zero sum game of completely isolated problems.

  3. 3
    eric

    I think AA needs to look up “example” and “symbol” in the dictionary.

    Sometimes we highlight someone’s pain precisely because lots of other people experience the same type of problem. Precisely because its common, rather than unique. Because there are many common tragedies that shouldn’t be common.

  4. 4
    Sastra

    Really. Can’t The Amazing Atheist find something better to write about?

  5. 5
    Michael Heath

    Anonymous outed the guy terrorizing Ms. Todd: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/16/amanda-todd-bully-anonymous-suicide_n_1969792.html

    That’s two notable outings recently, the other being the pervert on Reddit.

  6. 6
    anandine

    Reminds me of the Phil Ochs song, “I guess it doesn’t matter anyhow, outside of a small circle of friends.”

  7. 7
    Abby Normal

    How dare he waste time complaining about the attention on Amanda Todd when there are so many more important issues he could be writing about. Actually, not only are there more important topics, but more important writers. How dare he distract from them with his own prattling.

    Is there a support group for people who condemn themselves with the very premise of their argument? If not, someone should put him in touch with Janis Lane to get one started.

  8. 8
    =8)-DX

    TJ (aka The Amazing Atheist) has had some merit as a YouTube personality – basically what he does is an atheist rant-vlog, and a lot of his videos have been thought provoking and very refreshing to anyone looking for some cynical in-the-teeth atheism. Among the most intriguing are his interview/conversations with Howard Bloom.

    I unsubbed from him a while back myself due to the misogyny and being tired of his repetitive “spiel” and less-than-nuanced approach to everything.

    Yes, he’s completely wrong about this (I mean I could go about punching people with impunity by his logic – they aren’t being threatened by guns are they? Or waterboarded etc?), but I always think it’s good to try and understand more about a person (especially an influential one) before labelling them as assholes.

  9. 9
    Anthony K

    Really. Can’t The Amazing Atheist find something better to write about?

    No. You see, by the rule that one can only talk about the most harm, there’s really no need for the atheist community to exist. Religion is a bag of douche to be sure, but poverty accounts for way more harm.

    Odd that Dawkins wasted all that ink on The God Delusion, rather than a letter addressing “Dear HomelessAndStarvingToDeatha”.

  10. 10
    Tabby Lavalamp

    He once posted a video titled “My Father is Dead”. HOW DARE HE!!! Was his father beheaded in Saudi Arabia? Was he beaten to death in Abu Ghraib? There are people who have suffered more, so he should shut his privileged mouth!

    Or is it only when women and girls are involved that levels of suffering matter?

  11. 11
    arno

    @iknklast

    I love the analogy to the guy without shoes and the guy without feet! The aspect probably lost to the people usually telling the story is that resolving the former’s issue would be very easy, which is not the case for the latter.

    Likewise, we can do very little to change other cultures so that women are harmed less, whereas we do have an influence on our own.

  12. 12
    Raging Bee

    First, if this guy really cared more about people in Afghanistan and other such hellholes, then why did he divert attention to Amanda Todd just to complain about all the attention being diverted to Amanda Todd? His complaints are so babyish I’m not even sure they rise to a level where they can be called hypocritical.

    And second, if we ignored Amanda Todd, we’d all be accused of bitching about problems halfway around the world while ignoring obvious injustices in our own neighborhoods — injustices we might be better able to correct!

    This tired wanker doesn’t have an agenda or a set of priorities, and he clearly doesn’t really give a shit about women in Afghanistan or Somalia or wherever; he’s just another hateful loser picking on innocent people (not to mention a dead girl and her family) to make himself feel relevant or something.

  13. 13
    Raging Bee

    Shades of Richard Dawkins’ appalling statement about Rebecca Watson in the wake of elevatorgate…

    “Shades?” No, this is even worse than Dawkins’ pointless antics. And IMHO that’s saying a lot.

  14. 14
    reliwhat

    So much hate on this blog.

    As far as the “rule that one can only talk about the most harm” is concerned, if you are gonna take it to the extremes, you need to do it to both sides. So, outcome number one, you only talk about the extremes, and people get a good idea of the worst situations, contribute to fix them, and work their way down like that. Outcome number two is, people focus their attention on “less important” (i use less important for lack of a better word, but i really don’t want to speculate on the importance of things, that’s a whole different debate), people fix those problems, but less people are positively affected because the issues are not as “important”, and they work their way up like that. Now the questions are, which is more preferable? Do we have a moral responsibility the help the ones who need it the most? Would a more focused approach end up doing more good?

  15. 15
    pinkboi

    The whole “others have it worse” argument is so illogical. I’m sure people living in slums still have it better than cavemen. Or cattle.

  16. 16
    bcmystery

    I confess to not being particularly moved by arguments like, “when he’s not being a raging, hate-spewing misogynist he does good work.” It’s not that hard to find people who AREN’T raging, hate-spewing misogynists who are doing work at least as good, if not better.

    So what if the Amazing Atheist, or Thunderfoot, or Justin Vacula did “good work” in some areas before (or while) going full-tilt dick-waving asshole in other crucially important areas? They’ve disqualified themselves from receiving attention from anyone who values decency or compassion.

  17. 17
    reliwhat

    So if they were to come up with the ultimate solution to every problem in the world, they shouldnt get attention for it, because they’ve been disqualified?

  18. 18
    bcmystery

    As soon as they pull that off, you let me know.

  19. 19
    Enkidum

    I think I just had a sort of revelation about what these kind of douchebags think privilege means. They interpret “you are privileged” as “you are an asshole/contemptible/etc”. So, whenever someone comes on Pharyngula and says that he’s tired of being hated for being a male WASP, or whatever, what he’s really referring to is people saying that being male, white, and so forth are all examples of privilege. But he interprets this as an attack. Cf. Al Stefanelli’s second-last post here.

    The thing is that no one (or a vanishingly small proportion of people) actually view privilege as a negative thing per se – it’s just a thing that exists, and that matters to us all. So when someone points out the massive privilege involved in being a well-off male WASP in a rich country, this doesn’t mean that they hate well-off male WASPs, it just means that they’re pointing out that this affects everything about how they approach the world and how they should approach the world.

    But if you stick with the privilege = asshole misinterpretation, TAA suddenly starts to make a twisted kind of sense. Todd was privileged, therefore we should hate her, right? Therefore spending time mourning her death is hand-wringing over something meaningless. Clear as a fucking bell. (Of course this requires the massive self-delusion required to not take the further step of saying “I am privileged, therefore…”)

    Not trying to justify his awfulness, just thinking that there is a twisted way of actually getting there by something approaching a chain of “logic”.

  20. 20
    Anthony K

    So much hate on this blog.

    Stop right there. There’s way more hate on other blogs. Unless you’re commenting at the hatiest, you’re wasting time.

  21. 21
    reliwhat

    @ brownian

    there’s still lots of hate

    @ bcmystery

    It was an hypothetical statement, because you said they should be disqualified for their previous stance. The point i was trying to make with that statement was that facts or good arguments are there, and the person who states it has no effect on them, therefor disqualifying them would mean disqualifying the factual stuff they might say, which is would basically mean ignoring reality.

  22. 22
    Anthony K

    The point i was trying to make with that statement was that facts or good arguments are there, and the person who states it has no effect on them, therefor disqualifying them would mean disqualifying the factual stuff they might say, which is would basically mean ignoring reality.

    So, we can all not worry about the hate then, as long as the arguments are factual.

  23. 23
    pinkboi

    @reliwhat -

    I get what you’re saying but others have made similar points without being ridiculous assholes. I don’t discount what someone says just because they are an idiot but I will discount what someone says because it’s simply incorrect.

    A valid problem remains a valid problem whether or not there are worse problems out there. Saying that someone is focusing on the wrong thing doesn’t really address the issue (and it often means you are making bad assumptions about someone’s motives; I talk a lot about gay marriage, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think us bombing civilians isn’t a yet bigger issue).

  24. 24
    Reginald Selkirk

    reliwhat #14: As far as the “rule that one can only talk about the most harm” is concerned, if you are gonna take it to the extremes, you need to do it to both sides…

    “Both sides” – What a load of crap. I am reminded of when John Edwards got caught cheating on his wife, and Republi-douches screamed “See? Politicians from both parties do it.” Well, so what? If Edwards had built his political career on legislating the sex lives of others, then it might be relevant cheating on his spouse; but he didn’t, so it isn’t.
    .
    And in the current situation, it is “Amazing Atheist” complaining that someone other than him is not important enough to merit attention, so that standard ought to be applied to him, too. But there is no explanation for why this douchebag rule which he made up and is attempting to enforce should be applied to those who criticise Amazing Atheist. His petard is not Ed’s petard.

  25. 25
    bcmystery

    You seem to have missed the part where I said there are others who AREN’T raging assholes doing work at least as good, if not better.

    But tell you what. If Vacula and TF and TAA turn out to somehow be magical beings who find the “ultimate solution to every problem in the world,” then I’ll gladly reconsider my position.

    But, to specifically address your absurd hypothetical, until they can solve the problem of themselves, I’m not holding my breath about them solving much of anything else.

  26. 26
    reliwhat

    @ Brownian

    we can still worry about the hate, but i can’t say you are wrong because you are hateful. You could still be hatin and completely right at the same time.

    @ pinkboi

    1.Discounting what someone says because it’s incorrect is fine, i never said it wasnt.
    2.I also never said that valid problems were not valid.
    3. If the issue is people are focusing on the wrong thing, then yes, it addresses the issue.

  27. 27
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Reliwhat has been a complete asshat about this topic at Pharyngula. He is as disgusting as he seems.

  28. 28
    reliwhat

    @ janine

    following me everywhere, posting insulting stuff about me. That sounds an awful lot like harassment.

  29. 29
    Michael Heath

    Reginald Selkirk writes:

    If Edwards had built his political career on legislating the sex lives of others, then it might be relevant cheating on his spouse; but he didn’t, so it isn’t.

    Some of us voters do think character counts and factor that in accordingly, where I find that to be an easily defendable position. In fact I can easily use character alone to disqualify Mitt Romney (serial liar) vs. Barack Obama, even if I agreed with Mr. Romney’s positions more than President Obama’s (which I predominately don’t).

    That doesn’t mean we’re all simpletons about it either; for example, there is a difference between what Anthony Weiner did and what John Edwards did when it comes to our attempting to gauge their ability to manage their duties. So our judgment should be weighed accordingly. Where of course it’s a far bigger character failure for someone to be caught doing the very thing they seek to legislate be prohibited for others.

  30. 30
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Reliwhat, I am not following you. I am a regular reader of this blog.

    You bloody stupid git.

  31. 31
    reliwhat

    @ janine

    stop harassing.

  32. 32
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    I am not harassing you, fuckface. But people who not seen your shit throwing at Pharyngula should be warned about what you are.

  33. 33
    reliwhat

    @ janine

    asshat, disgusting, bloody stupid git, fuckface. sounds a lot like harassment.

  34. 34
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    *laughs at the sniveling worm*

    Fuckface, why donn’t you try to revive you Kantian argument in support of TAA mocking Amanda Todd.

    You are the one supporting true harassment, you fucking whiner.

  35. 35
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    This will be my lasts words about this on this thread.

    Here is reliwhat at work.

  36. 36
    reliwhat

    @ Janine

    i’m not supporting anything, i didnt even say i agreed with TAA, matter of fact, im pretty sure i said i disapproved of his action. I’m just not a big fan of that mob mentally thing you got going on.

  37. 37
    reliwhat

    sry for derailing the subject, it’s just that i found janine’s behavior quite inappropriate.

  38. 38
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    So much hate on this blog.

    I know. It’s almost like they think actions have consequences or something.

  39. 39
    reliwhat

    hate breeds hate

  40. 40
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Do we have a moral responsibility the help the ones who need it the most?

    I would think that when you’re about to die, be it through starvation, war, treatable illness or suicide you’d qualify as “need it the most”. Because, duh, you can’t help people once they’re dead.

  41. 41
    reliwhat

    @ giliell

    good point. Now should we introduce the concept of responsibility in the argument? if some one had nothing to do with his bad situation, is he more illegible to receive help or sympathy?

  42. 42
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I don’t know what “illegible” means, but you know what? Somebody suffering is somebody suffering.
    Unless you’re a cruel bastard who gets off on the idea of “just desserts” and enjoys to watch people suffering because clearly, they deserve it.
    Apart from that, how had the girl any responsibility for the fact that a waste of skin stalker chose to ruin her life?

  43. 43
    reliwhat

    @ giliell

    sorry, i meant eligible.

    Also, i was lead to believe that she got bullied because of actions she took. Now i’m not trying to say the bullying was justified. But, should responsibility be a factor. Again, if we push the ideas to the extreme, we’ll get 2 outcomes, determinism or free will.

  44. 44
    brightspot

    Teens kill themselves because of people like Amazing Atheist. If he honestly thinks suicide is a picnic, maybe he should give it a try sometime. That would actually be amazing.

    I am glad I never bullied anybody in school. I made a point to avoid it and now I can immensely enjoy my guilt-free adulthood.

  45. 45
    Michael Heath

    brightspot writes:

    maybe [Amazing Atheist] should give [suicide] a try sometime. That would actually be amazing.

    I am glad I never bullied anybody in school. I made a point to avoid it and now I can immensely enjoy my guilt-free adulthood.

    So, no guilt over your fantasizing that someone kill themself?

  46. 46
    Suido

    Also, i was lead to believe that she got bullied because of actions she took.

    I’ll take victim blaming for $200.

    Fuck you reliwhat, you insensitive fuckhead.

  47. 47
    reliwhat

    @ suido

    nice quote mining, the very next sentence was “Now i’m not trying to say the bullying was justified”. So stop trolling.

  48. 48
    leni

    I wonder what AA would say if she were, say, an atheist who was bullied by her religious community and committed suicide because of it.

    @ reliwhat- go read that link posted above about the outing of her stalker.

    If you read that and still feel like blaming her for what that sick fuck did, go donate to the Michael Brutsch Sympathy Fund instead of coming back here.

    Either way, your excusing bullying and sexual predators is not interesting. It’s not enlightening. It’s just creepy. You’re pretending to be concerned, but mostly you just come off like a slimy loser with a very thinly veiled agenda. You should maybe ask yourself why that is.

    Part of the mindfuck of sexual abuse, especially but not exclusively in children, in that victims are made to feel responsible for what happened them. That shame is a big part of what keeps them silent and, in a twisted ironic way, what makes assholes like you open your mouths when you should just shut the fuck up and instead spend some quiet time trying to find the tiny, shriveled kernel of humanity that you might still posses.

    So don’t except much sympathy here. You’re basically piling on a dead teenage victim and doing it in a way that, while you might think is novel, is actually something every abuse victim has struggled with and is a minefield through which I doubt they’d want or need your “help” navigating. So you’re basically piling on them too. Does that make you feel proud?

  49. 49
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    So, no guilt over your fantasizing that someone kill themself?

    No guilt over the idiotic false equivalence?

    Honestly, it’s pretty fucking horrible to see someone do things that make them a person that the world would objectively be better off without. But that doesn’t make it YOUR fault for noticing.

  50. 50
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Also, i was lead to believe that she got bullied because of actions she took.

    No one EVER gets bullied because of actions they took.

    People get bullied because of the actions of a bully.

    Period.

  51. 51
    reliwhat

    @ leni

    I have trouble understanding why you would think i’m blaming her since i have not stated my position on this issue. And if you want to know my thinly veiled agenda, there it is; I was gonna apply the 2 concepts i spoke of before, which are determinism and free will. If, the victim was indeed bullied because of her actions, she then should accept the consequences of her act, because she acted with free will, but, on the other hand, if the result of her experience and the influence of different factors on her we’re surely going to lead to her actions, then she cannot be blamed for it, and therefor her actions should have been met more open mindedly. I would then have made a parallel with that situation and the way people on this site judge others without showing any sort of open mindedness and are so eager to crucify them. That was my hidden agenda.

  52. 52
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    If, the victim was indeed bullied because of her actions, she then should accept the consequences of her act, because she acted with free will

    Then why shouldn’t The Amazing Atheist accept that being regarded with contempt and disgust is the consequences of the actions HE took?

    Or you, for that matter.

  53. 53
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    “Free will” is a nebulous philosophical concept grounded in intuitive notions about the functioning of consciousness that are irreconciliable with the modern understanding of neurology and psychology and has gradually been defined and excepted into nonexistence.

    “Determinism” as usually meant is manifestly inconsistent with our actual experience.

    Your philosophical masturbation is not more important than the lives or suffering of human beings.

    Fuck off.

  54. 54
    reliwhat

    @azkyroth

    because it’s not a result of freewill, but a result of determinism. That’s what i explained in the second part of the paragraph

  55. 55
    leni

    If, the victim was indeed bullied because of her actions, she then should accept the consequences of her act,

    Since when is getting stalked by an internet pedophile a reasonable consequence of one’s actions?

  56. 56
    reliwhat

    @leni

    it’s not, and i never said it was.

  57. 57
    leni

    Then why the fuck do you keep asking if she was responsible for the bullying?

  58. 58
    reliwhat

    @ Leni

    i don’t believe it is, but that doesnt mean it’s not. I don’t hold ultimate knowledge.

  59. 59
    leni

    Oh for fuck’s sake.

    You don’t need ultimate knowledge. I don’t need to know how the universe came into existence to know abject cruelty when I see it and neither should you.

  60. 60
    leni

    By the way, these ridiculous attempts of your to make this about determinism or free will look like little more than sad attempts to depersonalize a victim and try to make the world make sense. And meanwhile bullies get a handy excuse so hey, plus!

    Well, you can sigh and relief and hide behind it you want, but mostly it just makes you look like an asshole.

  61. 61
    leni

    Bad grammer. Sorry short temper and bedtime.

    But good luck on your grand existential quest, reliwhat. Cause you are gonna fuckin need it.

  62. 62
    reliwhat

    @ azkyroth

    That’s exactly right, free will is indeed not a very likely thing. Various experiments on the brain have shown that we have very little control on our decisions. Which is why there’s a philosophical debate on human responsability, can we really be held responsible for our act if we could do nothing else but to act that way?

    “Your philosophical masturbation is not more important than the lives or suffering of human beings.”

    Wtf man, what kind of weak ass bullshit is that, i make rational fucking statements based on major schools of taught and all you can come up with is that shit. Get your fucking shit together. It’s not philosophical masturbation, it’s called a fucking argumentation, that’s what adults do to understand problems. If you don’t like it, then go live in a goddamn cave, where no one is gonna challenge your ideas. And, how on earth did you come up with that “more important than the lives or suffering of human beings”???? do you think im enslaving young children, making them run in a hamster wheel to produce power to run my fucking computer so i can argue with your lazy ass.

  63. 63
    Who Knows?

    Reliwhat, let me just say. Fuck you, you fucking fuck. Go fuck yourself.

  64. 64
    dingojack

    Sorry to jump in so late -
    reliwhat typed (#14) “… which is more preferable?”
    [wince]
    ‘Preferable’ is used to express relative desire of one option over another.
    For example, one might say ‘I find banana sundaes preferable to plain ice-cream‘. That is to say, given the choice the speaker would rather have a banana sundae, but is not saying that plain ice-cream is not also desirable.
    If comparing three options I would say something like: ‘I find banana sundaes preferable to chocolate ice-cream which, in turn, I find preferable to plain ice-cream‘ (if a>b>c then a>c. That is a is ‘more preferable’* than c). [/pedant]
    Carry on.
    Dingo
    —–
    * as you expressed it

  65. 65
    paulg

    Does he feel the same about gay kids (or kids perceived to be gay) who take their own lives because of their society? That they should suck it up because we’re not Arab? Fucking sick fucking goddamn fuck.

  66. 66
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    reliwhat:

    Also, i was lead to believe that she got bullied because of actions she took

    Emphasis mine.

    Did you not read up on this story before commenting? If so, then you wouldn’t have been led to believe. If not, then why are you commenting on a subject you have educated yourself on?

  67. 67
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    that should read:

    If not, then why are you commenting on a subject you have NOT educated yourself on?

  68. 68
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    How are so many people missing the part where an adult manipulated her into doing things?

  69. 69
    dingojack

    Eric (#3) – said, and it bears repeating:
    “Sometimes we highlight someone’s pain precisely because lots of other people experience the same type of problem. Precisely because its common, rather than unique. Because there are many common tragedies that shouldn’t be common“.

    I keep thinking of this.
    :(
    Dingo

  70. 70
    democommie

    reliwhatafuckingassholeIam,noImeanit,whatafuckingassholeIam:

    You think Janine was “harassing” you? Do you know why she was making those comments? It’s because of what YOU did. See how that works, you fucking moron.

    Shorter reliwhatadouchebag:

    “I can haz abuze that I ask for–and then complain about it!”.

  71. 71
    reliwhat

    @democommie

    so, if one judges that one’s actions are wrong, it gives them a free pass to harassing?

    also, you seem to insinuate that my action have led to me being harassed. I’m being harassed here, i’m the victim. It’s always the same stupid argument that somehow, i was asking for it. I bet you use that same kind of argument to justify rape, like “she was wearing a short skirt, she was asking for it”. So shame on you, there’s no excuse for bullying people.

  72. 72
    Ace of Sevens

    I think this is important, but not because she got stalked. The stalker sent pictures to people. Those people are the ones who took the pictures as a good reason to bully her. This is society’s doing. It’s mainly important as an example of why you shouldn’t slut-shame people.

    Also, The Amazing Atheist has screencaps taken of something he did on a webcam that were then sent around for the purpose of bullying him about 2 years ago. The lesson he seems to have learned is that he didn’t kill himself, so no one else should either, nor should anyone get more attention than he did over it.

  73. 73
    abb3w

    Seems behavior I’d associate to the high-SDO/low-RWA type; particularly, something loosely resembling prejudice against the derogated, and being relatively unaffected by widespread criticism of his actions. (Mind you, I can only turn up a study to support the former association to high-SDO empirically; the latter association to low-RWA is informal inference from my conceptual model.)

  74. 74
    Who Knows?

    Wow reliwhat, you do realize you’re responsible for your harassment? It is based on actions you’ve taken with your own free will.

  75. 75
    Dan J

    @reliwhateverthefuck:

    I’m being harassed here, i’m the victim.

    You really need to go back to the basics and understand a lot more about what words mean before you come in here trolling while the adults are trying to have a conversation. Fuck you and the martyr-complex trolling you rode in on.

  76. 76
    democommie

    reliwhatlookslikeaturdIthoughtI’dlostforever:

    “also, you seem to insinuate that my action have led to me being harassed. I’m being harassed here, i’m the victim. It’s always the same stupid argument that somehow, i was asking for it. I bet you use that same kind of argument to justify rape, like “she was wearing a short skirt, she was asking for it”. So shame on you, there’s no excuse for bullying people.”

    Self-awareness is apparently above your pay grade.

    You’re not being harassed or bullied, fuckwit. You’re being ridiculed and laughed at AND it’s likely to continue for so long as you come here and make indignorant comments.

  77. 77
    dingojack

    Demo –
    ‘indignorant comments’ = comments that are both indignant and ignorant.
    Nice.
    :) Dingo

  78. 78
    leni

    Wtf man, what kind of weak ass bullshit is that, i make rational fucking statements based on major schools of taught and all you can come up with is that shit. Get your fucking shit together. It’s not philosophical masturbation, it’s called a fucking argumentation, that’s what adults do to understand problems.

    No, what you are doing is completely misusing the idea of determinism in order to blame of victim of stalking and bullying.

    Let me ask you a question. Do you have an existential crisis about determinism and blame every time someone dies in a robbery? Or does it just crop up when you hear about female sexual abuse victims?

    All you’ve done here is posit that she should have known how badly she’d be treated, therefore the whole thing is her fault, or at least partially. But whew thank goodness we can wash our hands of the whole sordid affair and never stop to question our own behavior in similar situations. And let’s face it, we’ve all had them and they usually aren’t pleasant to think about, especially if we were the ones bullying or turning away from suspected abuse, or blaming a victim of abuse.

    You’ve said absolutely nothing new, although I suppose the deterministic slant is one I hadn’t heard since arguing with creationists.

    Determinism does not mean “you should have known therefore you deserved it”. If you think that’s what it is, then please either shut the fuck up until you figure it out or go back to the jailbait reddit or yahoo comments or wherever you came from and never speak of it again.

    And, how on earth did you come up with that “more important than the lives or suffering of human beings”???? do you think im enslaving young children, making them run in a hamster wheel to produce power to run my fucking computer so i can argue with your lazy ass.

    I rather suspect Az is having a similar repulsed reaction to you that I am.

    You aren’t enslaving children exactly, your just piling on to the massive social blame that already serves to keep them silent about their abuse. No that’s not enslavement, it’s just a really fucking nasty, self-serving thing to do. That you are doing all this while completely misusing determinism and patting yourself on the back for it is probably pretty close to why Az called it masturbation. Maybe not but I definitely had the same thought. You can’t even get your hand off your philosophical dick long enough to simply acknowledge that she was preyed upon by adult and then further abused for it by her peers. No you’re just here to question her responsibility in the matter as if that isn’t why she’s fucking dead.

    Anyway, you know what I call “philosophers” who do that sort of thing while completely fucking up the basics of their chosen school of thought and then applying said philosophy to situations they barely know the basics of? Assholes.

  79. 79
    reliwhat

    @ whoknows

    thumbs up to you my good man, for understanding the irony.

    @leni

    1.determinism doesnt say you should have know, free will does. you got the 2 mixed up. Determinism implies that everything that happens could only have happened that way.

    2.I dont think you have noticed yet, but i dont actually make points according to my beliefs, i just try to analyze the situation. Which is why most of my posts are questions, or are divided in two opposing opinion. Like in one of my previous post, where i asked whether responsibility really does exist in a case like this, or in any case really. It wasnt a statement of my opinion, it was a question, an idea, on which we could debate, like adults. Instead, you took the most controversial side of the argument and said it was my opinion, which is not true. I don’t remember well, but i doubt i’ve actually stated my opinion on this site. So, i guess there’s no point in calling me an asshole because the idea i post on this site are not mine, and therefor are not affected by my behavior.

  80. 80
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    reliwhat:

    I’m being harassed here, i’m the victim. It’s always the same stupid argument that somehow, i was asking for it. I bet you use that same kind of argument to justify rape, like “she was wearing a short skirt, she was asking for it”. So shame on you, there’s no excuse for bullying people.

    I’m sure Janine didn’t *intend* to harass you. Given what you say here:

    Irrelevant, the intention is what counts.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/10/13/the-amazing-atheist-reveals-his-lack-of-humanity-again/comment-page-1/#comment-472616

    whatever you feel as a result of someone’s words or actions is irrelevant. All that matter is Janine’s intent.

    I thought you were scum before, I think you’re utter pond scum now. I cannot believe you compared the victim blaming faced by innumerable women to you being called out for the ridiculous things you say. Oh wait, the things you say aren’t your ideas, right?

    So, i guess there’s no point in calling me an asshole because the idea i post on this site are not mine, and therefor are not affected by my behavior.

    Yep. According to you, the shit you’ve posted here (I take it you mean here at Dispatches rather than the whole of FtB; was that your intent?) aren’t your ideas. So you’re just regurgitating ideas you’ve heard elsewhere; ideas that don’t stand up to scrutiny (you cannot know someone’s intent; you can only judge them on their actions) and aren’t applicable to real world scenarios. Do you have an original thought of your own? All the philosophy you’ve read hasn’t resulted in you having actual opinions?

    So shame on you for drawing comparison between yourself and rape victims.
    Shame on you for minimizing *real* harassment (the type faced by Amanda Todd and Amanda Cummings).
    Shame on you for not showing an ability to think for yourself and empathize with victims of bullying.

  81. 81
    reliwhat

    @ tony

    Thx tony, you are giving me some good material to work with.

    1. By making a parallel between my situation on this side and amanda todd’s situation, my point was the show that people on this site behave exactly like the people they condemn, even though they had good intention (in this case, defending amanda todd). The idea behind that was to make people understand that understanding behavior isnt easy, and that sometime, it’s really unpleasant to try understanding the opposition.

    2. as for that janine thing, i was basically doing the same parallel i mentioned in point one. i do not think her intention were bad, and indeed, if you were to see this matter in a intent before result point of view (like kant would), then the action would not be immoral. The line between moral and immoral in this case would still have been really small. If she had acted that way in the hopes of shutting me down, pushing me out of the conversation or bullying me (because it was bullying) to make me leave, then it would have been immoral, on the other hand, if she truly believed i was behaving baldy, and, in an attempt to prevent me from deceiving people, tried to expose my true nature to everyone, then it would have been moral. Since i really dont know her true intent, i cannot pass an accurate judgement. But, i can say it really didnt affect me in anyway, so you can rest easy.

    3. “[regurgitated]ideas that don’t stand up to scrutiny (you cannot know someone’s intent; you can only judge them on their actions) and aren’t applicable to real world scenarios.”

    Here are some small things those regurgitated ideas that dont stand up to scrutiny and are not applicable to real world scenarios have had impact on:

    The united kingdom, the united states of america, atheism, capitalism, human rights, freedom of speech, holocaust, united nation, feminism.

  82. 82
    Nepenthe

    Reliwhat, please try to English better. Some beginning steps would be a review of what the shift key does and where apostrophes live. Making your sentences more coherent would be an excellent idea.

    Because I don’t know about anyone else, but I can’t understand what the fuck you’re attempting to say half the time. Reading your writing is like watching a one-armed person using semaphore.

  83. 83
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Yes, reliwhat; I have a compromising photo of you. I am trying to blackmail you. I know where you live and I am setting pages for people who know you in meat space. I will follow about for years, always where you are at.

    Either that or I am calling you names and mocking you because you are transparently showing how disgusting you are while trying to act like you are just calming asking questions.

    Who knows? Perhaps I am trying to shock people into being more compassionate towards people more deserving of compassion than you.

    For someone who came in, defending a person known for his inhumanity, you have a hard time with treatment does not compare to the treatment of Amanda Todd.

    Reliwhat, you are a slimy piece of work.

    What is nice is that it seems that most of the people here see you for what you are.

  84. 84
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    reliwhat:

    1. By making a parallel between my situation on this side and amanda todd’s situation, my point was the show that people on this site behave exactly like the people they condemn, even though they had good intention (in this case, defending amanda todd). The idea behind that was to make people understand that understanding behavior isnt easy, and that sometime, it’s really unpleasant to try understanding the opposition.

    If you think I assisted you in anything, you’re sadly mistaken you pathetic wretch.

    Your defense of TJ is shameful. There is no excuse for his actions. There is no excuse for yours either.
    Amanda Todd was bullied, harassed, beaten and tormented by lowlifes. She committed suicide as a result of what they put her through. Do you fucking understand that?
    A young woman felt that the only way out of the pain and misery she was feeling–pain and misery which were directed towards her from so many directions–was suicide. This was a young woman who had the world ahead of her. She could have done so much. She had her entire life ahead of her. Her life was cut short because she felt alone and unable to deal with the shit thrown her way. None of that–ABSOLUTELY NONE OF THAT–was her fault. She was not responsible in any way, shape or form. Her tormentors were. Her tormentors should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. They should be named and shamed for the horrible pieces of excrement they are.

    TJ’s callous disregard for her pain…his dismissal of the torment she was enduring is inexcusable. If he wants to direct his energies in other directions, towards goals *HE* feels are more worthwhile, no one is stopping him.
    But for him to treat her death like it’s no big deal?
    For him to dismiss her and treat her situation like she was too privileged and shouldn’t have complained about anything?
    I find that attitude scary. Scary and disturbing. Scary, disturbing, and vile.

    Moreover, in your defense of TJ, I find you to be scary, disturbing and vile. That any human being could just so casually dismiss the pain and suffering of another just because they feel someone else, somewhere else, has it worse is playing a game of Oppression Olympics I have zero interest in playing.

    There are no parallels between you and Amanda Todd.

    She was victimized to the point of suicide.

    You’re being called out for the pathetic scum you are.
    You weren’t coerced into having pictures of yourself taken and dessiminated to people.
    You haven’t then faced scorn and been treated like a pariah because of any pictures.
    You haven’t been physically beaten because of any pictures.
    You haven’t been harassed by an individual trying to blackmail you.
    You didn’t drink bleach in an attempt to commit suicide.
    You didn’t make a video in a cry for help.
    You didn’t successfully commit suicide.

    There is nothing similar between your situation and Amanda Todd’s.

    All you’ve faced is scorn for the callousness you defend.

    Scorn, I add, that is well deserved.

    Go away and learn some fucking empathy.

  85. 85
    mildlymagnificent

    Thank you Tony.

    I didn’t have the words.

  86. 86
    Raging Bee

    If, the victim was indeed bullied because of her actions…

    Do you have even one scrap of evidence that this might be the case? If so, let’s have it — but remember, the victim was a MINOR, so pinning responsibility on her would be a huge stretch in any case. And if not, then why are you insinuating her fate might be her fault?

    relitwat, you’re just another uncaring moron making disgusting insinuations in the thin guise of “just asking questions.” And crying about “harassment” when someone points out your previous behavior? Even more babyish. Grow up two decades and you might have a place here; but in the meantime, fuck off and try to learn something.

  87. 87
    Raging Bee

    …i make rational fucking statements based on major schools of taught…

    Wow. What a fucking pretentious idiot.

  88. 88
    Raging Bee

    Oops, an apology is in order. In my (perfectly justifiable) anger at reliwhat, I called him “relitwat.” That is, on reflection, an unwarranted insult to female genitalia, which has, at least on occasion, been very very good to me. My humblest apologies to twats the world over.

  89. 89
    DuWayne

    reliwhat –

    You really can’t comprehend why people are upset with you?

    The asshat who calls himself the amazing atheist is dismissing what many of us see as a very serious problem. Worse, he is using the most idiotic fucking logical fallacy he could possibly find to do so. When people assert that we shouldn’t be worrying about X, because Q is so much worse, they are trying to divert attention that should be payed to X. They are *not* trying to divert attention to Q. If they gave a fuck about Q, they could just make an argument for Q – define the problem in concise, strong terms, possibly even offer some solutions. When they fail to do either of those things, when they just say “stop looking at X, because Q!” they are only trying to make people feel bad for giving a shit about something that is not quite as bad as Q.

    Was Amanda Todd a privileged white girl? Absolutely. By all accounts it would appear that her family was able to provide well for her, even to the extent they were able to move her to new schools. The question isn’t about whether she had a higher level of privilege than, say, girls living under Taliban rule who get acid thrown on them for having the temerity to learn the wrong things. The latter is a horrific problem and one that we should all want to fix, but has nothing whatever to whether or not Amanda Todd’s suicide is important. Both are important issues we should care about.

    What’s more, while we are quite limited in our ability to do much of anything about girls living under Taliban rule, we are far less limited in what we can do about sociopathic shitbags who try to drive little privileged white girls to suicide. And I care a great deal about that. Not because I am particularly fond of kids – most kids actually irritate the shit out of me. I care because irritating or not, I believe that we (as in our society and culture) should do our best to protect kids from the poor choices they make. I wouldn’t give a fuck is she had done a full on strip tease on webcam, having done so doesn’t mean she brought the resulting blackmail by a pedophile onto herself. It means she made a poor choice – like every other child out there does on occasion.

    Sometimes we can’t mitigate the damage done by the poor choices a child has made. Kids do stupid things that sometimes kill, maim or otherwise grievously and permanently harm them. That what miss Todd did when she was thirteen falls into that category is not not acceptable to me. It isn’t acceptable, because the damage caused was preventable and should have been prevented. What happened to her was a failure of our culture and society, indicating to me that we have a problem that we need to fix.

    The ultimate problem here, is that I do not want to live in a society that will treat a child the way miss Todd was treated. I don’t want my kids to be those sorts of abusers, nor do I want them to be abused that way. I want to see fucknuts who would cackle with glee about what happened to her to be social pariahs. And I want to see fucknuts who would try to divert attention away from the problems thrown into sharp relief by miss Todd’s death also turned into social pariahs. I do *not* want to restrict their freedom to be fucknuts, I want people to be so disgusted by them that they will properly feel the shame of being disgusting shitheads – or short of that, will just feel lonely.

    And I want fucknuts like you, saying who really knows what, who assert that we’re somehow wrong, to feel like morons for being on the wrong side of it. I would also like you to properly feel shame for trying to defend or rationalize the actions of fucknuts like the amazing atheist.

  90. 90
    reliwhat

    @ Duwayne

    1. I’m never gonna feel shame, nor will i ever feel like a moron for trying to rationalize an issue. It’s never been about me being right or wrong, i dont care about that. The whole point of debating is to get to the core of the issue. So if you think we should shut people up because they say things we dont agree with, that we find stupid, we’ll just tell each other our same point of vue, never widening the possibilities, never opening our minds.

    2. So, let’s say we push the issue to the extremes. If the “some people have it worse” point is completely irrelevant, then, i supposed it would be ok to use all of the world’s charity money to get rid of dandruff forever.

    In conclusion, people should disagree with me, i’m not always right, no one is. But people shouldnt get upset for that, being wrong isnt a crime.

  91. 91
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    reliwhat:

    never opening our minds.

    I doubt most people here want to open their minds in the manner you speak of. That way leads to the callous, uncaring attitude you and TJ have for people.
    You still fail to understand that you’re not being harassed.
    You still fail to understand that you’re being held accountable for the things you have actually said.
    You still fail to realize that how you’re being treated bears NO relation to the treatment of Amanda Todd.
    You still fail to engage with the specifics of what people are criticizing you for.
    You still fail to specify what you believe in, choosing rather to parrot philosophers.
    You still fail to see why you’re not a martyr.

    In the final analysis, you’re the living embodiment of an F.

  92. 92
    Raging Bee

    I’m never gonna feel shame…

    Are we supposed to be impressed by that?

    The whole point of debating is to get to the core of the issue.

    Ur doin it rong. Stupid insulting insinuations disguised as “just asking questions” do NOT get to the core of an issue, they do the exact opposite. So does making bogus babyish accusations of “harassment” when we point out facts about your past behavior.

    Oh, and you’re not the first wanker to say something totally idiotic, get exposed as an idiot, and then try to rescue your rep by pretending you’re only trying to get people to open their minds. We’ve heard that juvenile BS before, and you’re not fooling anyone. Sticking to reality and reason is not “closed-minded.”

    So, let’s say we push the issue to the extremes.

    Why should we? All that gets us is more stupidity and hatred. I prefer to stay in the real world instead. You got a problem with that?

  93. 93
    Michael Hoaglin

    If the “some people have it worse” point is completely irrelevant, then, i supposed it would be ok to use all of the world’s charity money to get rid of dandruff forever.

    What an utterly asinine argument. This has never been a question of allocating recorses for the world’s problems; it’s about how stupid the position would be that nobody should care or try to do anything about dandruff because there are worse ailments.

    I must say, though, I’m slightly amused by the thought of a supremely rational, well read philosopher type who can’t spell “view” (@91).

  94. 94
    DuWayne

    reliwhat –

    I’m never gonna feel shame, nor will i ever feel like a moron for trying to rationalize an issue.

    And that is fine, depending where trying to rationalize something takes you. Just keep in mind that people sometimes try to rationalize things that are absolutely unacceptable, that cause real harm to others. This is one of those times.

    It’s never been about me being right or wrong, i dont care about that.

    Which shows you have a callous, inhumane outlook. When being wrong hurts other people, we should *always* care about being right.

    So if you think we should shut people up because they say things we dont agree with, that we find stupid, we’ll just tell each other our same point of vue, never widening the possibilities, never opening our minds.

    I am all about defending the rights of others to say stupid things. When they say stupid things that are inconsequential, I don’t even want to try to make them shut up. But when people say things that harm others, though I will defend their right to say it, I will also use whatever social pressures I can bring to bear to shut them up.

    So, let’s say we push the issue to the extremes. If the “some people have it worse” point is completely irrelevant, then, i supposed it would be ok to use all of the world’s charity money to get rid of dandruff forever.

    Now you’re just being a fucking moron squared. The resources committed to a problem should always be proportionate to the nature of, harm caused by the problem. But using your example, the “some people have it worse” is still irrelevant. Dandruff is a problem, one that resources have been committed to solving. That someone who has cancer, for example, has a significantly worse health problem doesn’t mean we should just ignore dandruff. Rather, it means that we should and do commit more resources to saving the lives of people with cancer, than we do to curing dandruff.

    And that is the point. Dandruff hasn’t been ignored in the face of more dire health concerns and shouldn’t be. Less resources are required to deal with it and it is a simpler problem. Likewise, we are in a position to more easily deal with bullying, stalking and the bitter hatred that harms many young (and even some older) people, than we are to change other cultures wherein children are more grievously harmed.

    In the case of preventing harm related to bullying here in the U.S., it might well require committing more resources to the problem, than to the problem of harm caused children in other cultures. That isn’t because the latter problem isn’t serious, it’s just a matter of having very little ability to foster the changes necessary to prevent it. And the most effective methods for trying to foster change generally require people to put their lives in danger – which some people have and continue to do. Unfortunately many of us aren’t in a position to do that (for example, I am the only parent of two young boys).

    But people shouldnt get upset for that, being wrong isnt a crime.

    There are all sorts of things that aren’t a crime, that are worth getting upset with people over. A close friend of mine was told by a grade school teacher that she shouldn’t pursue a career in science, because black people and girls just aren’t smart enough. Another friend of mine was disowned by his family and told by his brother that he hoped my friend would get AIDS and die, when he came out as gay. I was told by a cop once (while I was wearing a skirt, dressing like a hippy) that freakish motherfuckers like me should be rounded up and sent to hell where we belong. I have been told by several people over the years, that the world would be a better place without me in it (I have been struggling to manage rather serious mental illness for most of my life). None of this was criminal, all of it was absolutely vile and if you can’t get upset that that shit happens millions of times daily, you are just as vile as the motherfuckers who actually do it.

    Say all the stupid things you want, just don’t say or defend things that hurt other people. It isn’t the stupid that has people angry with you, it’s the hurting others and defense of hurting others that has people pissed.

  95. 95
    Raging Bee

    I must say, though, I’m slightly amused by the thought of a supremely rational, well read philosopher type who can’t spell “view” (@91).

    That’s how they spelled it in the “major schools of taught” where he learned his irrefutable logic. Can you prove him wrong? Were you there?

  1. 96
    Settling for Second Worst | The Bronze Blog

    [...] example that’s been in my blogosphere is Amanda Todd, and how a guy calling himself The Amazing Atheist demonstrates that you don’t have to be [...]

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