Defending the Indefensible


A guy I know on Google+ posted something about the Amazing Atheist, TJ Kincaid, and I commented and said “let’s hope that this creepy fuckstain called the ‘Amazing Atheist’ doesn’t threaten to rape her as he’s done to more than one woman in the past. You really shouldn’t be promoting a fucking asshole like this.” (Note: Someone pointed out that this could be interpreted wrongly. To make clear, he has threatened rape in the past, not committed it) I was then asked for evidence, which I linked to. Here’s what he wrote in a book:

Rape isn’t fatal. So imagine my indignation when I saw a chatroom called “Rape Survivors.” Is this supposed to impress me? Someone fucked you when you didn’t want to be fucked and you’re amazed that you survived? Unless he used a chainsaw instead of his dick, what’s the big deal? … The word survivor applies to people who are alive after being stabbed 73 times with an ice pick or mauled by rabid wolverines, not to a woman who gets dick when she doesn’t want it. Just because you got raped, you have to rape the English language? You vindictive bitch! Also, don’t you ever get tired of being the victim? How many failed relationships are you going to blame on a single violation of your personal space?

And another one from the same book:

I told her, “You’re lucky it wasn’t me. I’d have busted your fucking nose and raped you.”

And in a men’s rights subreddit:

On February 2012, in a thread on the MensRights subreddit about a disasteful username on a feminist board, he made a “joke” about how he wanted to violently rape one of its users. When he was informed the person in question was an actual rape victim and called out by said person for his abusive language and lack of respect for people with post-traumatic stress disorder, he complained about the very concept of trigger warnings and posted further graphic descriptions of how he would rape her again in a deliberate attempt to make her relive her trauma. Choice statements include “I will make you a rape victim if you don’t fuck off.” and “I think we should give the guy who raped you a medal. I hope you fucking drown in rape semen, you ugly, mean-spirited cow.

So he has threatened to rape multiple women, called rape victims “vindictive bitches” and accuses them of “raping the English language” by calling themselves survivors. To any decent human being, this would seem to be completely indefensible. But that prompted this exchange with a different person in the comments on the Youtube video:

Aside from being an ass at times (can’t say that I am exempt), has he done anything else since the incident in question?

My reply:

Well sure, he’s threatened to rape multiple women and deliberately abused women who have been raped, but he hasn’t done it in a while now, so it’s totally cool.

Them:

I recognize people as having melt down moments as well as patterns of behavior. So, the nasty ranting is common for him especially on some topics, but there is usually a line which apparently he crossed then. The question of whether he has lost control since then becomes an issue as well as whether he has any actual reports of violence or purely verbal abuse.

I don’t put anything past anyone. Since, there have been many “really nice guys” that turned out to be rapists.

My reply:

The statement about how rape victims are “raping the language” and are “vindictive bitches” was made in a book. It wasn’t in the course of some angry argument with someone, he sat down and wrote that and edited the book and at no point, apparently, did it occur to him that it was vile and deranged. But even if it did take place in an angry conversation, I just don’t buy this excuse. I’ve been furiously angry at many people in my life; it has never once occurred to me that I should threaten to rape them or to say that the person who actually DID rape them should get a medal. Not once. These excuses simply don’t cut it. He’s a fucking asshole. He’s a repulsive misogynist. And he should be treated as one.

In fact, here’s what he says on the very next page (page 91 of this book):

“I just showed this writing to a friend of mine, along with the question, “Is this too offensive to release?” I was looking for a yes. I got one. So, I’ve included it here. I’m here to cross lines. This is not The Amazing Atheist from those cute little youtube videos you love so much—this is the real me. And the real me doesn’t give a fuck about your small-minded boundaries.

If you’ve been raped, does the above passage add insult to injury? Does it make it hurt worse? How could it? If rape is the paramount psychological trauma in life, then how could my words aggravate it whatsoever?”

And then another person jumped in with this:

Look, I agree, rape jokes are bad. They aren’t funny. The Amazing Atheist can, and has, and probably will, act like a massive douche to people. But he is telling a joke. It’s not funny to you, and it’s definitely not funny to the people he was making fun of, but they aren’t real threats. If the jokes he told caused real trauma, there’s a case to be made. But the second you say “Fuck this guy, I’m out”, he’s gone. He can’t/won’t find you through the interwebs and harass you IRL (and, again, if he did, there’d be a case to be made). Real life is your safe space from him. Jesus, look what you’ve got me doing. I’m writing a whole damn essay defending the Amazing Atheist. Long story short: he’s an asshole, to be sure, but, IMO, a harmless one. And, unfortunately, the only way to avoid the assholes online is to keep your stuff as private as possible or keep it offline entirely. Is that a good way of doing things? No, of course not. I’d love for everybody to be able to share their experiences with others in a safe environment, if that helps them, but that just isn’t how it works at present.

And my reply:

Sorry, I don’t have you doing anything. You’re defending the indefensible all on your own. Don’t blame me for your appalling excuses for this world class asshole’s behavior.

And then from another person:

He may not be an ally of feminism but he’s still a cool entertainer.

*headdesk* I find it absolutely astonishing that anyone could possibly defend this asshole. And if a Christian said things remotely like that, I highly doubt that any of the people defending him would accept “oh it was a joke” or “but he hasn’t done it lately.” This looks a lot like basic tribalism to me — he’s on “our team” so we excuse his behavior. Sorry, he isn’t on my team. He never will be.

Comments

  1. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I find it absolutely amazing that anyone could possibly defend this asshole.

    First, FTFY.

    Second, now I finally have an idea of how his title might be something more than deluded, self-aggrandizing douche-gabbery.

  2. beezlebubby says

    There’s nothing amazing about that asshole, except that it’s amazing to me that anyone would defend him. Ever since I’ve started following some freethinkers on youtube, I’ve found him, by turns, to be grating, irritating, stupid, wrong, and a complete asswipe. It’s embarrassing to most other atheists to be affiliated with him because he identifies as an atheist, despite having views on women’s rights that comport nicely with the views of barbaric middle-eastern misogynists from centuries ago.

  3. cptdoom says

    I’m physically I’ll reading that crap. IANAL, but isn’t threatening to rape someone a form of assault? Even if it’s supposed to be “funny” – and the crap he wrote ain’t funny.

    I was gay bashed 10 years ago and experience some residual trauma – everyone in my office knows not to sneak up behind me. I had a brick smashed into my face in a crime that lasted maybe 30 seconds and from which I was able to defend myself. I cannot fathom how much worse it would be to be violated so much more intimately – and probably by someone you know. I also cannot fathom the moral corruption of someone who would make light of that sort of violation. I’ve never been told to “get over” my attack – even by homophobic bigots.

  4. ButchKitties says

    But hey, Hemant Mehta thinks it’s totes okay to promote his videos as long as they’re not his hateful, threatening material.

    TJ doesn’t bother me nearly as much as so-called good guys like The Friendly Atheist overlooking this crap bothers me. If Hemant doesn’t give a shit about women, he should just come out and say it. Maybe my priorities are out of line, but I don’t think debunking an unknown YouTube creationist merits overlooking TJ’s history, especially when there are so many other YouTubers out there who 1. can debunk creationism and 2. don’t have a history of threatening to rape people. Posting one of the Amazing Atheist’s videos is a tacit endorsement, no matter how much Hemant wants to pretend otherwise.

    The rift exists. People need to pick which side of that rift they’re going to stand on.

  5. busterggi says

    “He may not be an ally of feminism but he’s still a cool entertainer.”

    I am not amused.

  6. karmacat says

    “He may not be an ally of feminism…” that is quite a euphemism. As ButchKitties said, there are plenty of people who can be entertaining without shitting on other people

  7. typecaster says

    I find it interesting that the MRAs think that when a woman has once done anything remotely sexual (posing for a picture, or Jen’s “offering her boobs for Science”), then she’s given perpetual consent to sexual harassment, but if an MRA hasn’t been vilely asshole-ish for a few weeks, then it’s all OK, and it’s like it never happened. How dare you hold it against him?

  8. Beth says

    @ButchKitties:

    Hemant Mehta thinks it’s totes okay to promote his videos as long as they’re not his hateful, threatening material….The rift exists. People need to pick which side of that rift they’re going to stand on.

    Okay, you have a problem with the Friendly Athiest being friendly to people you consider the enemy. That’s fair, you are entitled to feel that way. But when you lump folks like Hemant – who is not sexist or misogynist himself – to be standing on the other side with the sexist pigs simply because they are willing to support their non-objectionable work, it sounds like a purity test.

    Your spiel that everybody must ‘pick a side’ reminds me of Carriers ill-considered diatribe along the same lines when A+ was started. Such animosity towards those who do not adequately hate or shun your enemies is unattractive to me. While I do not want to be on the same “side” as the Amazing Atheist, I do want to be on the same “side” as the Friendly Atheist. If I’m forced to pick between the two ‘sides’, I’m going to go with the side that allows people to occupy a middle ground, not the one with the purity test.

  9. pocketnerd says

    “The Amazing Atheist” is a walking, talking example of atheism’s race, sex, and class problems. Atheism isn’t (or shouldn’t be) the end goal; it’s a by-product of an investigative, questioning approach to life, one that focuses on the real world and real people rather than the dictates of culture and dogma.

    No wonder it’s people like TJ Kincaid who whine the loudest that skepticism and rationalism should be about declaring “there are no gods” and absolutely nothing else. They know where the next step leads, and they don’t like it.

  10. John Pieret says

    I do not think it is “rape” of the English language to say that the Amazing Atheist is, so far a survivor of stupidity. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a Darwin Award in his future.

  11. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Okay, you have a problem with the Friendly Athiest being friendly to people you consider the enemy. That’s fair, you are entitled to feel that way. But when you lump folks like Hemant – who is not sexist or misogynist himself – to be standing on the other side with the sexist pigs simply because they are willing to support their non-objectionable work, it sounds like a purity test.

    Rejecting people who threaten fucking rape, you stupid, dishonest piece of shit, is a perfectly reasonable and appropriate standard of “purity.”

    I don’t eat food with visible cockroaches baked into it either.

  12. Beth says

    @Azykroth:

    Rejecting people who threaten fucking rape, you stupid, dishonest piece of shit, is a perfectly reasonable and appropriate standard of “purity.”

    While it’s perfectly reasonable to reject people who threaten rape, it’s not so reasonable to reject people who do not reject people who threaten rape.

    Myself, I reject people who call me a stupid dishonest piece of shit for expressing my opinion. Bye.

  13. says

    People are saying that you need to break a few eggs to make an omelet and all he has is yoke and egg shells all over the place. I’d still find him repulsive even if he was funny but the sad fact is he’s not even that.

  14. says

    Wow, I am truly appalled and sickened that Hemant Mehta chose to promote Kinkaid’s video on his site. What a betrayal. He has fucked up before, but not like this.

    I guess that’s too much “ideological purity” for people like Beth. Oh well. Bye Beth!

    Jesus, look what you’ve got me doing. I’m writing a whole damn essay defending the Amazing Atheist. Long story short: he’s an asshole, to be sure, but, IMO, a harmless one. And, unfortunately, the only way to avoid the assholes online is to keep your stuff as private as possible or keep it offline entirely. Is that a good way of doing things? No, of course not. I’d love for everybody to be able to share their experiences with others in a safe environment, if that helps them, but that just isn’t how it works at present.

    Translation: “I totally would challenge Kinkaid’s violent misogyny if I felt like it might affect ME, but it doesn’t, therefore I deem him harmless, on the basis that he’s unlikely to harm ME. Let’s just let misogynists and other bigots rule the internet, because I’m too lazy and cowardly to confront them!’

    *vomit*

  15. says

    To expand a bit:

    Rejecting people who threaten fucking rape, you stupid, dishonest piece of shit, is a perfectly reasonable and appropriate standard of “purity.”

    While it’s perfectly reasonable to reject people who threaten rape, it’s not so reasonable to reject people who do not reject people who threaten rape.

    Sure it is. How else are we going to turn this rape culture into a culture where men like Kinkaid don’t feel empowered to use the language and imagery of sexual violence to intimidate their opponents? By giving a pass to people who give him a pass?

    It’s reasonable to reject Kinkaid, because he’s a rape-threatening misogynist. But Mehta didn’t reject him. Therefore he’s being unreasonable. Therefore it’s reasonable to assume that Mehta doesn’t have THAT big a problem with rape-threatening misogynists. Is pointing out that Mehta is being unreasonable tantamount to blanket rejection? Or is it just garden-variety, subject-specific criticism?

  16. caseloweraz says

    A blogger: Look, I agree, rape jokes are bad. They aren’t funny. The Amazing Atheist can, and has, and probably will, act like a massive douche to people. But he is telling a joke.

    This brings a certain song by the BeeGees to mind…

  17. says

    “I’d have busted your fucking nose and raped you” is not a rape joke. It’s a rape threat, whether you mean it or not.

    Not quite all the way meaning a threat does not make it a joke.

    The people in that thread are not defending rape jokes– they’re defending rape threats by claiming they’re jokes.

    If you think threatening to rape someone is funny, it means you’re a psychopath– not that the person making the thread is a comedian.

  18. ButchKitties says

    I hear Westboro Baptist Church once made a really awesome video about the importance of flossing. I’m sure Beth would be just fine with The Friendly Atheist posting that on his blog, and any criticism of that decision would be an unfair purity test. It’s not fair to reject people who do not reject hate groups. I know that there are plenty of videos about dental hygiene that weren’t produced by groups actively working against equal rights or harassing people who are grieving, but that’s not the point.

    How can we expect this problem to ever get better if we can’t count on the good guys to reject people who threaten people with rape? This isn’t asking for much. It’s not even asking for a positive action like actively challenging TJ, just the passive (in)action of not posting his videos.

  19. samgardner says

    IANAL, but isn’t threatening to rape someone a form of assault? Even if it’s supposed to be “funny” – and the crap he wrote ain’t funny.

    Well, I agree it’s not funny. But to be a form of assault (as opposed to battery, which requires contact, a common-law definition of assault can include putting someone in fear of being battered), the fear has to be reasonable. A threat over the internet made during a back-and-forth posted argument likely doesn’t qualify.

    Moreover it could be supplanted by state law.

    I fully agree the AA is repugnant. While a number of his statements could be deemed just… well, stupid… there’s no way you can really justify, ” “I will make you a rape victim if you don’t fuck off.” as a joke. It’s not funny, there doesn’t even seem to be an attempt at humor there, and while there are (likely! not definite. Who knows if TJ Kincaid actually knows where this woman lives) practical barriers to carrying out that threat which don’t make it credible, if those barriers did not exist it clearly would be a threat.

  20. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Sallystrange@13: Is that quote from Hemant? I assume so, but it’s a bit unclear from your post.

    A lot of people have pointed out that those words of TJ’s are from something like 15 years ago. Ok. I grok that. Now, point me to something recent where TJ has now distanced himself from that writing, and admitted that he’s grown up/changed/gotten smarter or whatever, and I’ll both cut him slack, and give him the benefit of the doubt going forward. But if there’s no such evidence, why should anyone not believe he was still that much of a misogynist asshole?

  21. Beth says

    @SallyStrange

    It’s reasonable to reject Kinkaid, because he’s a rape-threatening misogynist.

    Yes, I agree with this.

    But Mehta didn’t reject him. Therefore he’s being unreasonable.

    Not in my opinion. After all, Mehta isn’t making rape-threats nor allowing them on his blog. But I can understand if you want to reject Mehta for that reason. That’s your right. Can we agree to disagree on the issue of Mehta or am I now subject to the same rejection due to insufficient hate of perceived enemies?

    Therefore it’s reasonable to assume that Mehta doesn’t have THAT big a problem with rape-threatening misogynists.

    This is a reasonable assumption. Is not having THAT big a problem with rape-threatening misogynists sufficient justification to consider them to be on the same ‘side’ as those who threaten rape via the internet? Seems like a ‘if you’re not with us, you’re against us’ mentality to me.

    Is pointing out that Mehta is being unreasonable tantamount to blanket rejection?

    Pointing out you think he’s being unreasonable is not blanket rejection. But if you say that people must pick a side (see post #5) and place people like Mehta on the opposite side for the sin of sharing non-objectionable material produced by an objectionable jerk (see post #12), that’s blanket rejection.

  22. Francisco Bacopa says

    Is it just me or is “Beth” new here? I think everyone understands what I mean.

  23. dugglebogey says

    One of the nice things about being an atheist is nobody assumes you believe all atheists are good people.

    The same is definitely not true of many christians.

  24. Beth says

    @butchkitties

    I hear Westboro Baptist Church once made a really awesome video about the importance of flossing. I’m sure Beth would be just fine with The Friendly Atheist posting that on his blog,

    Yes, actually, I’d be fine with that. I’d not view it, just as I didn’t view the creationist video or he posted along with TAA’s parody of it.

    and any criticism of that decision would be an unfair purity test.

    No, criticize all you like. Only if you claim that because he posted WBC’s video on flossing he should be considered to be on the same side of the rift between you and the WBC on homosexuality will I complain about it being an unfair purity test.

  25. GiantPanda says

    … but there is usually a line which apparently he crossed then. The question of whether he has lost control since then becomes an issue as well as …

    So… he hasn’t made any rape threats since the last time he made rape threats. And this means everything is fine? Can we make a universal standard out of this?

  26. Artor says

    My first encounter with the Amazing Atheist was a half-drunken rant against some particularly ignorant aspect of modern American Xianity. I don’t remember what it was, but it was an impressive rant, and I started out thinking JT Kinkaid was pretty awesome. Then I heard reference to his amazing misogyny. I followed the link, and was amazingly appalled. WTF? There is no amount of humor, thoughtful analysis, or attacking the same people I despise that can justify that sort of ignorant abuse. Fuck that guy in the neck. If I never see his face or hear his voice again, I’ll be that much happier in my life.

  27. says

    Yeah Beth, based on your answers, I wouldn’t mind socializing very casually with you, but I certainly wouldn’t trust that you share enough of my values to make working with you on, say, an organizing campaign or planning an event anything less than a huge gamble. Who knows who the fuck you’ll invite to the party?

  28. ButchKitties says

    You personally can be a really nice guy. But when you invite known misogynists to your parties, don’t be surprised when women start declining your invitations. That’s not a purity test. That’s a consequence of your actions.

  29. says

    Seriously – why WOULD anyone post a video on dental hygiene from the WBC? Unless they are trying to discredit the idea of dental hygiene, I don’t understand. Can you explain why this is a totally okay thing to do in your book, Beth?

  30. Beth says

    @Sally: I’m not sure why you care about my opinion as we don’t seem to share many values and you stated you don’t trust me nor want to work with me, but I’ll try to answer your question:

    Can you explain why this is a totally okay thing to do in your book, Beth?

    I don’t like the WBC. I don’t like their morality, their religion or their tactics. But I don’t have to listen to them or interact with them in any way. Whether or not it would be ‘totally okay’ to post a “really awesome video about the importance of flossing” they produced would depend on the context. But assuming the context was appropriate, say a dentist’s blog, why should their religious views, which are not included in the flossing video, make posting it objectionable? How would you feel about religious dentists with blogs who refused to post a dental hygiene video made by atheists?

    @ButchKitties #34 – You’re right, that is not a purity test.

  31. lofgren says

    It seems to me that distinguishing between “real” rape threats and not real rape threats (whether you want to call the real ones jokes or not) is pretty damn important. It doesn’t make the not-real ones OK, or harmless, or funny, or anything else, but if you’re going to say that somebody threatened to rape somebody you ought to admit when that threat was made in jest or out of bluster vs. a threat that they fully intend to carry out. One is clearly less vile than the other – although to repeat myself, still clearly Very Bad.

    I think it’s perfectly reasonable to like some things by a person and not other things and there is no harm in that and we should not judge people for it. The Amazing Atheist might have some great videos about Christianity and atheism (just as WBC may have some great views on flossing). Liking and watching and approving of those videos is not the same as liking and watching and approving of his opinions on rape and rape victims. Even going to a talk by the Amazing Atheist about atheism or Christianity does not signal support for his other views.

    That calculus is considerably different in other circumstances, such as going to a party with someone or organizing a conference (analogies used above). In those situations, you are not inviting the person’s views, you are inviting the whole person for both social and purpose-driven interaction. I would watch a video by the Amazing Atheist or I would watch a video by the WBC. I wouldn’t want to hang out with either.

    As to whether or not Ed’s response to this situation was appropriate, I don’t know. I don’t know how the video was presented. I don’t think that it’s inherently wrong to share one of his videos or promote his views just because he has other views that are vile, though. But it probably would be good if the re-poster threw up a disclaimer that Amazing Atheist has some other opinions that he does not support.

  32. says

    Beth, #36

    I’m not sure why you care about my opinion as we don’t seem to share many values and you stated you don’t trust me nor want to work with me

    I care that your opinion is fucking wrong and currently you’re making excuses for people who can and should be doing more to make the world a less hostile place for women instead of a more welcoming place for misogynists.

    But assuming the context was appropriate, say a dentist’s blog, why should their religious views, which are not included in the flossing video, make posting it objectionable?

    It’s just bizarre to me that you would attach the word “appropriate context” to this hypothetical example, or to the example of Kinkaid the rape-threatener’s video debunking creationists on Hemant Mehta’s site. There’s no context that makes what the WBC does okay. There’s no context that makes rape threats okay. Since there are videos that debunk creationism, or promote dental hygiene, without lending an aura of credibility to a virulent misogynist, or to a hate group, there is no context wherein using a creationist-debunking video from a known misogynist bigot is more appropriate than posting a creationist-debunking video from someone without that baggage.

    How would you feel about religious dentists with blogs who refused to post a dental hygiene video made by atheists?

    Hey, did anybody see my goalposts? I swear they were around here just a minute ago…

    Anyway, I’d think they were really silly–UNLESS that atheist was TJ Kinkaid, in which case I’d think they were very smart to avoid having their dentistry or whatever blog associated with a misogynist who makes rape threats.

    “Atheists” =/= “individual bigoted atheist who makes it a point to spread bigotry”

    Seriously, you’re not very bright.

  33. says

    lofgren, #37

    You enrage me.

    It seems to me that distinguishing between “real” rape threats and not real rape threats (whether you want to call the real ones jokes or not) is pretty damn important.

    No, it really is not. It is literally impossible for a person on the receiving end of a rape threat to have any idea whether the threatener is sincere or not. That, coupled with the prevalence of rape in our culture, and the difficulty of convicting rapists in court, is what makes rape threats such an effective silencing tactic against women and feminists.

    It doesn’t make the not-real ones OK, or harmless, or funny, or anything else, but if you’re going to say that somebody threatened to rape somebody you ought to admit when that threat was made in jest or out of bluster vs. a threat that they fully intend to carry out. One is clearly less vile than the other – although to repeat myself, still clearly Very Bad.

    No. The insincere threateners RELY on the existence of sincere threateners in order for their threats to have the desired effect. I don’t have to fucking acknowledge SHIT once someone starts saying that they want to rape me or they wish I got raped. FUCK YOU for saying that there’s some kind of burden on my part or that of society’s to pat men on the head for making rape threats, but without any sincere intention of carrying them out. Fuck. You. Sincere and insincere threats are identical until someone actually acts on one of them.

    I think it’s perfectly reasonable to like some things by a person and not other things and there is no harm in that and we should not judge people for it.

    Why not? Personally, I judge the fuck out of people who don’t allow Kinkaid’s disgusting behavior to impinge on their enjoyment of his rants on religion. What they’re saying is that they are so profoundly apathetic about sexism and violence against women that they care more about enjoying a video than they do about sending a message that it’s not okay to make rape threats.

    The Amazing Atheist might have some great videos about Christianity and atheism (just as WBC may have some great views on flossing). Liking and watching and approving of those videos is not the same as liking and watching and approving of his opinions on rape and rape victims.

    No, watching Kinkaid’s videos on religion is not exactly the same thing as approving of his views on women and sex and rape. What is it exactly like? It’s exactly like throwing women and rape victims under the metaphorical bus for the sake of an entertaining rant. It’s exactly like caring so little about women and rape victims that you can’t be arsed to find a creationism-debunking video from someone who doesn’t have violently misogynist views. And there are SO MANY of those videos out there.

    Even going to a talk by the Amazing Atheist about atheism or Christianity does not signal support for his other views.

    Unless you’re going there with a protest placard proclaiming that rape threats are wrong, then yeah, it pretty much does signal exactly that.

    That calculus is considerably different in other circumstances, such as going to a party with someone or organizing a conference (analogies used above). In those situations, you are not inviting the person’s views, you are inviting the whole person for both social and purpose-driven interaction. I would watch a video by the Amazing Atheist or I would watch a video by the WBC. I wouldn’t want to hang out with either.

    And now women and rape victims know that they shouldn’t hang out with you.

    *spits*

    As to whether or not Ed’s response to this situation was appropriate, I don’t know. I don’t know how the video was presented. I don’t think that it’s inherently wrong to share one of his videos or promote his views just because he has other views that are vile, though. But it probably would be good if the re-poster threw up a disclaimer that Amazing Atheist has some other opinions that he does not support.

    Of course Ed’s response was appropriate, you wishy-washy idiot. Grow a spine! Yes, it is inherently wrong to share and support the views of someone who is that violently bigoted, when there are hundreds of other writers and vloggers out there, making the same points, probably better, and without the hatred and misogyny. Disclaimers aren’t going to fucking cut it. Rape threats are a crime in and of themselves.

    I cannot BELIEVE that there are people defending using TJ Kinkaid’s videos! What the fuck are you even thinking? Unless you WANT to help organized atheism maintain and build on its reputation as a bastion for woman-hating he-men, there is no good reason to give TJ Kinkaid any kind of platform, full stop. There’s nothing he says that hasn’t also been said by someone without a history of deliberate, enthusiastic, malicious bigotry against women and rape victims.

    Your response, lofgren, has me wondering whether even my tiny little corner of the atheist community is worth staying in. You’re really that willing to throw me and people like me under the bus, all so you can watch some stupid videos without feeling guilty. Fuck that shit.

  34. says

    lofgren:

    That calculus is considerably different in other circumstances, such as going to a party with someone or organizing a conference (analogies used above). In those situations, you are not inviting the person’s views, you are inviting the whole person for both social and purpose-driven interaction. I would watch a video by the Amazing Atheist or I would watch a video by the WBC. I wouldn’t want to hang out with either.

    As to whether or not Ed’s response to this situation was appropriate, I don’t know. I don’t know how the video was presented. I don’t think that it’s inherently wrong to share one of his videos or promote his views just because he has other views that are vile, though. But it probably would be good if the re-poster threw up a disclaimer that Amazing Atheist has some other opinions that he does not support.

    If we were talking about a virulent homophobe like Rick Santorum, or a racist fuckwit like Ted Nugent, would you be saying the same thing? Ignoring the harmful shit people say in favor of the stuff you do agree with does nothing to show that these people are unethical, immoral human beings who do not deserve support.

  35. Greta Christina says

    Hemant has now said:

    To be perfectly honest, I was unaware of the threats he had made online until last night. Whether he was serious or not, I don’t tolerate them. Had I known about them ahead of time, I wouldn’t have posted his video. Sorry, all.

    Unfortunately, he said it buried in the middle of the comment thread on that post, and (to the best of my knowledge) not anywhere more public. Still, just so you all know — he has said that if he’d known, he wouldn’t have posted the video.

  36. ButchKitties says

    Thanks, Greta.

    And thank you SallyStrange for expressing my sentiments much more clearly than I ever could.

  37. Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally says

    So he has threatened to rape multiple women

    Ed, just to clarify, the rape victim on Reddit that TJ threatened identifies as male, not female.

  38. says

    Lofgren blithered thusly:

    I think it’s perfectly reasonable to like some things by a person and not other things and there is no harm in that and we should not judge people for it.

    Yeah, that’s what supporters of the Catholic Church say to avoid having to stand up effectively against its sexual exploitation of children.

    It seems to me that distinguishing between “real” rape threats and not real rape threats (whether you want to call the real ones jokes or not) is pretty damn important.

    Not nearly as important as you seem to think. Non-specific pseudo-threats and hateful rape “jokes” have the same effect as “real” threats: intimidating their targets and making them feel less secure in places and forums where they have every right to be. And when uncaring assholes like you start finding excuses not to stand up against such hateful rhetoric, and the people who spew it, you add to the toxic effect by further isolating the targeted people. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

    Lofgren, this is the second time I’ve found you trying to justify some totally unnecessary and indefensible talk of rape, for no good end that I can see. Here’s the first time. In fairness, I will admit this latest instance is not nearly as disgraceful as the first. But it’s still pretty disgraceful, and totally unnecessary.

  39. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    @ Beth

    But I don’t have to listen to them or interact with them in any way.

    That’s just it, isn’t it? You’re not a member of the group harmed by the ideas being perpetuated (or don’t perceive yourself to be) so it’s totes coolio. You can just click the little red X in the upper right and it’s actually over for you. Members of marginalized groups aren’t so lucky. Those attitudes follow them everywhere. They can’t stick their noses out their own front doors without being confronted with it.

    It seems to me that distinguishing between “real” rape threats and not real rape threats (whether you want to call the real ones jokes or not) is pretty damn important. It doesn’t make the not-real ones OK, or harmless, or funny, or anything else, but if you’re going to say that somebody threatened to rape somebody you ought to admit when that threat was made in jest or out of bluster vs. a threat that they fully intend to carry out.

    And how do we know the difference, oh prescient one, short of waiting for him to actually attempt rape? Pardon me if I prefer to be just a teency bit more proactive than that. Asshole.

    Seriously, fuck people who think that, because someone’s threats don’t seem likely to affect them, that everyone else is just being unreasonably hasty in condemning the behavior.

  40. dingojack says

    Wait a second.
    If person X makes a video saying the sky was blue (and why) then posted a violent rant against group X, would you disbelieve the sky was blue? That would be pretty much an ad hom. wouldn’t it?
    If you enjoyed Cat Scratch Fever way back in your callow youth*, does that necessarily mean you’re a raving gun loon apologist? If you think that the Theory of Relativity describes the cosmos reasonably well, does that mean you support mistreating wives and disabled children?
    Wouldn’t you rather judge the veracity of the argument at hand, rather than wether you absolutely agree with a person’s position on everything?
    Individuals are bad and good. Criticise the bad, encourage the good. I find it works a lot better for all if one stops seeing the world as only black and white.

    Oh and ‘Amazing Atheist’ — stop being a dick. Threatening people is NOT acceptable as a method of discourse either on the Internet or in real life. While in the strict sense not illegal, it’s not a winning move at all (as that seems to be an argument likely to strike home with you). Scepticism isn’t just saying ‘I disagree because that is what the majority thinks’**, it means looking at things objectively and basing your conclusions of the evidence presented.
    Dingo
    ——-
    * In the sprit of disclosure — I didn’t
    ** Yes, the majority have rationally rejected your inequality-supporting bluster, deal with it or present a rational argument to support your position. Threats are NOT going to ‘win’ the argument nor make the 21st century go away.

  41. Michael Hoaglin says

    Just using a tiny bit of imagination (something TJ clearly lacks)…

    Maybe those who have been raped might prefer to refer to themselves as “survivors” is because they would like to use a POSITIVE term for themselves going forward with their lives after a traumatic event, even if the term is slightly less literally accurate than the NEGATIVE word “victim”.

    And please notice that fucking assholes like TJ take these same people to task for acting for acting too much like victims in his very next sentence. What a fucking hypocrite.

  42. dingojack says

    Interestingly, ‘survivor’ is from the Latin supervīvere, to live on (after an event)*.
    Seems a perfectly apt descriptor to me.
    Dingo
    ——–
    * as examples:
    “sin autem uno die supervixerit vel duobus non subiacebit poenae quia pecunia illius est” – Exodus 21:21.
    “Percussorum autem fere neque triennio quisquam amplius supervixit neque sua morte defunctus est. ” Julius Caesar 89. Suetonius.
    “Ac sic pulcherrimo exitu Thermopylarum et Leonidae famam adaequavit; hoc illustrior noster, quod expeditioni tantae superfuit et supervixit, licet nihil inscripserit sanguine.” Epitome Rerum Romanorum 1 18 14. Lucius Annaeus Florus.

  43. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    @ dingojack

    If person X makes a video saying the sky was blue (and why) then posted a violent rant against group X, would you disbelieve the sky was blue? That would be pretty much an ad hom. wouldn’t it?

    Who said anything about disbelieving anything TJ Kincaid says about subjects unrelated to women? This whole thing came up because Kincaid made a video refuting the arguments, such as they were, propounded in a video by some creationist that, for some reason, went viral. TJ Kincaid is not the only person capable of refuting those arguments, nor is he the only one to have posted a fisking of that specific video. So, when someone wants to promote a refutation of those arguments, there’s no particular reason to pick the one by the raging misogynist unless you’re either unaware of Kincaid’s history or aren’t especially bothered by the behavior.

  44. Nick Gotts says

    If we were talking about a virulent homophobe like Rick Santorum, or a racist fuckwit like Ted Nugent, would you be saying the same thing? – Tony!@40

    In fact, I think the case for atheists not promoting Kincaid’s videos is stronger: public atheists who are also decent people should not facilitate their atheism being associated with a scumbag like Kincaid.

  45. dingojack says

    The issue is that Mehta posted a video and others objected because of the vile things the creator of the video, ‘The Amazing Atheist’ did and said.
    If you don’t like AA’s behaviour toward rape victims (and frankly, who could) tell him.
    AA’s arguments on atheism and his misogynistic ideas on women are two different arguments. One ‘meh’ the other completely wrong. Criticise the one that is wrong. Don’t just say ‘everything he says is automatically wrong’. What you’re doing is mere ad hom. – that person’s arguments are bad because they are bad.

    As to Mehta. Posting a video (or publishing an article or letter) does not imply that you approve of every single aspect of, or utterance of, a person* or even what they wrote or posted. (Weirdly even the most vile and hateful persons can sometimes be right about things they’re not being irrationally vile and hateful about).
    ‘Black & white thinking’ with just a sprinkle of self-righteous censorship. Just the sort of thing we are fighting against.
    Dingo
    ——–
    * Ed posts video and audio of people saying astonishingly vile things (for the purpose of criticism, admittedly), he even lets idiots like me comment here. Does that mean he agrees with all that content, absolutely?

  46. Nick Gotts says

    Don’t just say ‘everything he says is automatically wrong’. What you’re doing is mere ad hom. – that person’s arguments are bad because they are bad. – dingojack@53

    No, nobody at all is saying anything like that. Why not try reading what is actually being said?

  47. says

    AA’s arguments on atheism and his misogynistic ideas on women are two different arguments. One ‘meh’ the other completely wrong. Criticise the one that is wrong. Don’t just say ‘everything he says is automatically wrong’. What you’re doing is mere ad hom. – that person’s arguments are bad because they are bad.

    No one is saying that Kincaid’s ideas about atheism are wrong because of his attitude toward women and his threats of rape, etc. Here’s what’s being said: Kincaid’s misogynistic views are vile. Kincaid continues to espouse views that denigrate women and feminism. Providing support for Kincaid’s diatribes, no matter what their content, implicitly supports his rape threats as “humor” or “hyperbole.”

    Yes, we’re shooting the messenger because he refuses to deliver one message without bringing in the other.

  48. Nick Gotts says

    If you don’t like AA’s behaviour toward rape victims (and frankly, who could) – dingojack

    After all the threats and vileness hurled at those opposing harassment and rape apologists – including survivors of rape – over the past few years, how could you possibly be that naive?

  49. says

    Dingojack, you blithering fool.

    Nobody said anything about disbelieving the correct things Kinkaid said as a result of his being wrong about women, rape, gender roles, feminism, etc.

    The risks that we want to avoid are:

    1. Some atheists concluding that since Kinkaid is correct about the former, he may be correct about the latter (and gaining support for that conclusion via the irresponsible choices of videos to post by respectable people like Hemant Mehta)

    2. Some non-atheists encountering videos promoted by ostensibly non-sexist atheists like Mehta, becoming convinced that maybe there’s something to this whole godless thing, but then being scared away from publicly identifying as atheists because they clicked through to find Kinkaid’s other videos and decided that the atheist community was entirely too hostile to women and rape victims for them.

    P.S. Fuck you too.

  50. says

    Oh yeah, and–the other thing we SHOULD be trying to avoid–actual rapists see Mehta’s endorsement of an avowed woman-hater who has made repeated, graphic, brutal, public rape threats and think to themselves, “Hey, the atheist community seems to be a pretty welcoming place for rapists like me!”

  51. Parse says

    Dingojack @ 53:

    If you don’t like AA’s behaviour toward rape victims (and frankly, who could) tell him.

    Except that he knows, and he just doesn’t care – as quoted from the post:

    I just showed this writing to a friend of mine, along with the question, “Is this too offensive to release?” I was looking for a yes. I got one. So, I’ve included it here. I’m here to cross lines. This is not The Amazing Atheist from those cute little youtube videos you love so much—this is the real me. And the real me doesn’t give a fuck about your small-minded boundaries.

    Flat out telling him that I disagree with his behavior isn’t going to get him to change. If anything, it’s going to reinforce his behavior, along the lines of “Good, I’m pissing off those self-righteous SJW types”. So beyond that, how would you try to get him to change his behavior, or at the very least get him to realize that it’s not just the activists he’s offending?

    Ed posts video and audio of people saying astonishingly vile things (for the purpose of criticism, admittedly), he even lets idiots like me comment here. Does that mean he agrees with all that content, absolutely?

    Emphasis mine. On the flip side, if Ed posted a video of something positive that Michelle Bachman said without any acknowledgment of any the pants-on-head nonsense she’s said in the past, what would you think? If he said, “I think she nailed it.” without even making an implied reference to her past actions?

  52. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    @ dingojack

    Don’t just say ‘everything he says is automatically wrong’. What you’re doing is mere ad hom. – that person’s arguments are bad because they are bad.

    Again, please point me to where anyone has said any such thing. What we’re saying is “There are plenty of decent people who can debunk tired old creationist canards. Please promote the ones who aren’t raging misogynists.” We’re doing this because, among other reasons, TJ Kincaid runs a Youtube channel on which one of the things he posts is anti-feminist, anti-woman diatribes. If you give his channel exposure, you’re giving that stuff exposure as much as the other, less objectionable stuff he posts.

    As to Mehta. Posting a video (or publishing an article or letter) does not imply that you approve of every single aspect of, or utterance of, a person* or even what they wrote or posted. (Weirdly even the most vile and hateful persons can sometimes be right about things they’re not being irrationally vile and hateful about).

    Yet again, point me to where anyone said that. It doesn’t imply you approve of every aspect or utterance of a person but it certainly doesn’t imply that you disapprove either. And if you’re totally OK with giving that person extra exposure, regardless of your protestations that you disapprove, you’re still enabling them.

    If you don’t like AA’s behaviour toward rape victims (and frankly, who could) tell him.

    Why don’t you take your own advice and tell him instead of scolding us for saying things we didn’t even say?

  53. kagekiri says

    @dingojack:

    Criticise the one that is wrong. Don’t just say ‘everything he says is automatically wrong’. What you’re doing is mere ad hom. – that person’s arguments are bad because they are bad.

    Are you high?

    Your ill-evidenced idea that anyone is saying this is obviously wrong, making your arguments seem hilariously stupid and making your criticisms of other’s arguments embarrassingly hypocritical.

    “You guys are making ad homs” when you can’t even take the time to fucking read properly?

    It’s a short comment thread. Your poor straw-manning and/or lazy ignorance is fucking obvious.

  54. says

    When I first became involved and interested in movement atheism – someone directed me to Aron Ra’s awesome videos. I then started going through other channels suggested by YouTube.

    This was a few years ago.

    One of the channels suggested was Amazing Atheist – so I subscribed. Then I unsubscribed because all his channel seemed to be was yelling and calling people “stupid” – I couldn’t figure out what could possibly be redeeming about his videos.

    I wondered why he was so darn popular.

    When the incident with him making some sort of “object lesson” out of attempting to trigger someone – I thought – this has to be it. Who would stay subscribed to his channel and want to associate with this person? There has to be some sort of limit. But – that’s not what happened.

    He lost some subscribers – but he still has almost 600,000 – more than Aron Ra (about 100,000) more than Non-Stamp Collector (about 90,000) more than Zinnia Jones (about 40,000) more than CrisRad (about 100,000) more than The Atheist Experience (about 120,000) more than Concoordance (about 40,000) more than Tim Minchin (ffs – about 200,000)….

    More than Thunderf00t (who seems to just rag on feminism all day recently) – about 280,000
    More than Jaclyn Glenn (even with the “Dawkins bump”) – about 210,000

    If there is a YouTube atheist with more subscribers than “The Amazing Atheist” – I don’t know who that is.

    You look at the “friends” and “suggestions” of other YouTube atheists – and there is The Amazing Atheist – being actively promoted.

    It seems that Mehta was unaware of the antics of “The Amazing Atheist” – and really – I don’t blame him for not knowing. It doesn’t make ANY sense what-so-ever outside of the immature notion that if you camp-up with a bully that belittles and abuses others – you might feel like you’re better than the people that he targets. Maybe it’s misplaced loyalty?

    Hell if I know.

    I’m disgusted by his antics and his shock-value crap – but I am MORE upset with his popularity and the willingness of others to *actively* promote him.

    Actively promoting this guy is not just ethically abhorrent – it’s a tactical nightmare for anyone attempting to combat the stereotype of the arrogant, man-child insulting abusive asshole atheist.

    He can do whatever the f* he wants – but why the hell are so many enabling and *PROMOTING* his special kind of bullshit I have no goddamn clue. There SHOULD be negative consequences for doing what he chooses to do – and there appears to be none.

    You go to ANY atheist channel on YouTube and if he isn’t in the “friends” he is being promoted by YouTube as a “similar channel” – ANY person going to YouTube to learn about movement atheism or atheism in general is going to be funneled to his channel and that’s who they are going to see as THE MOST POPULAR atheist there.

    Go us.

  55. Donnie says

    I skipped through the comments, so I apologize if this comment is a repeat. I hate tribalism. I hate it in politics, I hate it in religion, and I despise it in the atheist movement. We, atheists, pricing ourselves on logic and reason are idiots when we subscribe to tribialism. Criticize our “thought leaders” when the say racist, sexists, or assine comments. The Catholic Church turtles up against cricism. Atheists that turtle up against criticism are no better than creationists or priestly pedophiles. I mean, DJ Groethe has stated online that he believes the age of consent should be reviewed. Which, why are libertarian leaning people obsessed with reviewing the age of consent.

  56. says

    Wait a second. If person X makes a video saying the sky was blue (and why) then posted a violent rant against group X, would you disbelieve the sky was blue? That would be pretty much an ad hom. wouldn’t it?

    Who the fuck is advocating anything like that? The color of the sky can be verified by other sources, so we don’t need to make any excuses for person X’s hateful rhetoric, because we don’t need to rely on person X for any other useful insights.

  57. Knabb says

    Dingojack: Nobody is saying that his views on creationism and such, “are wrong”. Nobody is saying that him being an asshole somehow makes his views “wrong”. They are entirely correct. The problem is not accuracy. It’s that we don’t want to associate with this guy because he’s a horrible person.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Greta Christina is busting heads again, and it’s brutal.  The short version: Hemant “The Friendly Atheist” Mehta set off a bit of controversy by posting a video by a horrific misogynist scumsucker, which was on a topic unrelated to misogynist scumsucking.  Mehta has since apologized, but the conversations ensuing have produced a bevy of defenses for the indefensible. […]

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