Oh, Dear, the Rifts Aren’t Yet Deep Enough


Sigh. Yet another cycle of asshole atheists throwing feces at those of us who care about doing more than merely shitting on religion. We’ve got the so-called Amazing Atheist stirring up the masses to send ridiculous missives saying, in effect, Atheism Is All So Shut Up and Stop Dividing the Community By Requiring Basic Human Decency!!! And we’ve got Jaclyn Glenn putting up Very Concerned Comments and Videos about how divided we fall and feminists are icky and feminists are sooo divisive… my gosh, color me convinced. Mm-hmmm.

Or, you know. Not.

Image shows a black and white kitten lying in bottom half of an egg carton. Other half is spikey. caption says, Other side wazn't so comferbul."I don’t write about this stuff all that often, partly because I give myself a headache rolling my eyes and then wander off to do something more interesting, like scrub the cat’s water dish, but mostly because other people on this side of the Deep Rift™ do a bonza job of putting this drivel in perspective. A small selection:

Our own Martin Wagner on You NEED to stop doing things to divide the community:

Funny, it’s never the people who are actually making the “community” an uncomfortable and unwelcoming place for women and other marginalized groups who are being “divisive.” It’s never the misogynists or harassers. It’s never the prominent figures who use their celebrity to justify inappropriate behavior, nor the ones who shield them because they don’t want to lose a valuable, popular public speaker.

No, the “divisive” ones are always those who say “Let’s be better than this.”

Funny how that works, innit? I think I’ll stick with the divisive ones, in that case. I like the idea of being better, thank ye ever so much.

Stephanie Zvan assures people like Jaclyn Glenn, who likes to end streams of strawmanning and insults with cries that we all want the same thing, that we don’t, in fact, want the same thing:

No, we don’t want the same thing. I don’t want what you want.

    • I don’t want my arguments to rely on dressing my opponents’ arguments up in a cheap wig and a sneer because I can’t call them ridiculous when they stand on their own.

[snip]

    • I don’t want to benefit from the work of generations while telling the world that I’m not a part of what they’ve done.
    • I don’t want to feel so helpless I throw my hands up at YouTube or Twitter harassment because that’s just the way the internet is.
    • I don’t want to have to make myself look brave by suggesting that people who have stood fast in the face of years of harassment are “pussies”.
    • I don’t want anyone ever to see me conflate caring that people are treated well with weakness.
    • I don’t want to be held up as a “good one” by people who are pretty awful themselves.

[snip]

  • I don’t want anyone ever to see me argue to someone that our mere shared identity is a good way of evaluating how well I work in their interest.

And speaking of lists, Alex Gabriel compiled a doozy, focused this time on how the atheism “movement” treats women, and ends thusly:

When I remind myself and others that the people who carry out the above are supposed to be my allies, I find myself much less worried that I argue with them more than with believers. I’d be embarrassed if I didn’t: if I weren’t so divisive, and there were no rifts between us, I’d be fighting for the same new world they are, and that thought terrifies me. With friends like these, who needs religion?

If colleagues and I are creating the divisions Glenn describes, I’m proud of it, because unlike her I do find them necessary. We all want the same, she says, but I’m less sure: I want a secular movement as accessible to women as men, that challenges religious sexism with authority and isn’t the preserve of powerful men and misogynists. If building one requires rifts today, then like Jen McCreight, I want deep rifts.

I’m not sorry atheists are divided. I’m sorry we need to be.

Which sums up the situation nicely.

Listen: the sides in this rift are not equal. This is brought home to me with renewed force whenever those who want us to shut up start howling about how divisive we are whilst enthusiastically causing strife and pain. I watch their antics and reach for the dynamite, because I’d rather blast through bedrock and split the damned planet than heal any rift between myself and those folks.

Image is a sepia print of a woman in early 1900s attire gazing into the Grand Canyon. Caption reads, "I think we're gonna need a bigger rift..."

Artist’s conception of the Deep Rifts saga wot I made. Feel free to filch. The original image is from here.

They can keep the sexual assaulters, rapists, Randroids, racists, bigots, sexists, and various other undesirables on their side, please. I’ll hang out over here with the social justice warriors and assorted folk with well-developed consciences, thanks. And while I’m sure we’ll cross paths and walk a few steps in the same direction on a few issues, I don’t think I need to swallow my revulsion and lay down my interest in various human causes – such as feminism – in order to help them with… whatever it is they think they’re doing.

As for people like Jaclyn, who believes she doesn’t need feminism despite having to beg other women to make videos so she won’t be left alone and vulnerable in a sea of sexism and people believing she only succeeds because of her looks… well, love, we’ll be here when you realize that, hey, that’s just what those nasty feminists have been working to fix all this time. We’ll be here when you slip up and demand a little too much autonomy and respect from the assholes currently celebrating you because you’re such a cool girl. Feel free to join us when you realize that there’s still a long way to go before there’s anything like equality for women and minorities in this movement, much less this world.

It’s better over here.

Comments

  1. rq says

    You scrub your cat’s water bowl? Mine gets a quick pass with a sponge from time to time, if Cat is lucky.
    I wish I could give these other-side-of-the-rift atheists a quick pass with a sponge most of the time, too. Well-said and well-written, and I love the Bigger Rift picture. :D
    I wish people would stop whining how “But things are fiiiiiiiiiiine! Stop complaaaaaaaaaaaaaining!” every time someone wants to point out that no, things actually are not fine.
    And then they’re so defensive of the status quo. I’m a big fan of as-little-change-as-possible, too, but every opportunity for change deserves at least a token thought – and some things (like, oh, hey, let’s stop marginalizing all those people because they are people too!) are obvious even with that one little token thought. Setting up all these arguments? That’s a lot of effort and energy that could be better spent. What a waste.

  2. Pteryxx says

    Great roundup. And I not only scrub my pets’ water bowls, I swap ‘em out and let them completely dry for a few days. Best I can do without an in-house autoclave. /labtechhabits

  3. says

    Well-said. Continental drift is too slow and weak a rift-maker for this purpose. I’m thinking we tell the oil companies there’s a huge gas field under the Deep Rift, and that they should let their frack flag fly.

    Bonus points if we can leave the oil companoes down there.

  4. says

    Your post was so spot-on I had to steal your kitten pic.

    BTW, did those assholes ever say what they wanted the atheist community to be united FOR?

  5. rorschach says

    As always, my atheist movement is Dana Hunter. If they all were like you, we might stand a chance. As for Glenn, the way the homo sapiens brain works we will see a lot of doubling down, reinforcement by white males serving as reassurance, and in-group associating in the days and weeks to come.

    As I have said elsewhere, I am reminded of Abbie Smith, a young attractive female just like J Glenn. Who the old white atheists approved of up to some point.

  6. Onamission5 says

    I can’t find a thing with which to disagree in this post.

    *dusts off backhoe*

    Let the rifting recommence.

  7. Trebuchet says

    “I don’t write about this stuff all that often…”
    …but you do it very, very well. Bravo.

  8. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Yeah, and I want the rift to be a virtual DMZ. Not interested in ‘healing’ those rifts.