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Dec 01 2011

#mencallmethings: “pathetic attention seeker”

From Facebook:

“Fuck you Greta. You’re the troll. You posted for the sole reason of trying to bait a sexist into writing something threatening. You didn’t find one, but I dared to disagree with you, so you and your brainless followers thought ‘eh, fuck it, close enough. We’ll attack him instead.’ You’ve been capitalizing on this for months and perpetuating vicious stereotypes about both men and women, under the guise of ‘feminism’. I used to think you had something to contribute. Now I see you’re just a pathetic attention seeker who isn’t interested in anything other than stirring up shit.”

#mencallmethings

Apparently, writing professionally = pathetic attention seeking.

It’s also apparently the case that pointing out instances of hostile, entitled misogyny = trying to bait a sexist into writing something threatening. And that writing opinions about feminism and gender that this guy doesn’t agree with = perpetuating vicious stereotypes. But what’s really jumping out at me about this one is the whole “capitalizing on this,” “pathetic attention seeker,” “stirring up shit” thing. Because when professional female writers write things that a particular man agrees with, we have something to contribute… but when we say things this particular man doesn’t agree with, it’s just a self-serving attempt to get attention.

It couldn’t be that we want our voices heard for the same reasons anyone wants their voices heard. You know — because we think we have something valuable to say, something we think people want and/or need to hear. And even if we have regular readers numbering in the thousands, that doesn’t give any support to the conceited notion that we have something valuable to say that people want and/or need to hear. We’re basically just jumping up and down screaming, “Look at me, look at me, look at me!” Pathetic.

63 comments

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  1. 1
    Thivai

    I have been reading your writings for a few years, usually at the suggestion of my partner. I find your writings to be very sensitive to people of all types, case in point, in this post you twice referred to this irrate reply as the views of a “particular man,” rather than this is how men act.

    Thank you for expanding my understanding of the world through your experiences/writings and I look forward to much more.

    Solidarity!

  2. 2
    Sam Salerno

    Hmm, It almost sounds like this guy is the pot calling the kettle black. Why would someone be so vane as to think he is the center of attention in a comment thread if he wasn’t seeking attention himself.

  3. 3
    Alyson Miers

    “Pathetic attention-seeker” = “Don’t make us uncomfortable.”

  4. 4
    Petter Häggholm

    When I talk or write about feminist rhetoric that does come off as alienating or hostile to men (as I have, once or twice), your writing always leaps to mind as the most obvious example of someone who writes about feminism without ever giving a hint of unfounded antagonism. Your (I presume) explicit effort to avoid writing in a general voice where it might cause misunderstandings is what got me reading any kind of feminist literature at all.

    As I said in my blog, “Reading up on feminism has helped me understand this language and realise that this is not what [certain prima facie antagonistic language] means, but giving me the initial impression that I am the enemy you want to destroy is kind of a barrier to wanting to read up on it!” I always feel like your tone is telling me “OK, you’re a guy, which in terms of my feminism means that you are shaped and moulded by patriarchal culture no more or less than us women; we women happen to get the rawer end of that deal, but let’s throw off the blinders and the shackles together, as civilised humans and fellow brain-washing victims.”

    If someone as sensitive to that kind of tone as I am – very probably over-sensitive, I’ll freely admit – regards you as some of the very best antidote to misandrist language and stereotypes where (justified) anger (unfortunately) makes it creep in, then this guy’s complaint isn’t just wrong-headed, rude, and misogynist, but ironically so. (In fact it strays dangerously close to that level of misogyny where I find it difficult to get upset anymore because, once a certain level is reached, as with “MRAs”, for instance, it looks so cartoonish and unreal that I need to constantly remind myself that they live in our world and not Dick Dastardly’s.)

  5. 5
    Laura-Ray

    I am writing my first-ish blog post about just this type of misogyny. Hope to be done sometime tomorrow. I mentioned you and linked to one of your posts (if that’s not okay, just tell me, and I’ll edit it). It’s called “A Kinder Perspective on Nice Guys.” I will probably also include a link to this post as well, if it’s alright.

  6. 6
    Monado

    How pathetic of this whiner to think you give tinker’s dam about him, instead of having opinions and motives of your own agenda. My irony meter is pegged at 100%.

  7. 7
    Ashleigh

    Good on you Greta! Words are powerful weapons and you wield them well. I look forward to the day where misogyny really is a thing of the past. For now I’m glad there are people like you.

  8. 8
    Quinapalus

    Oh look, Hogglesville has put you on its Christmas card list. How charmingly inconsequential.

  9. 9
    Retired Prodigy Bill

    Funny, I’ve been reading your work for a few years now, and I’ve always thought of your oeuvre as a public service, with you using your talents as a writer to communicate positions that many people hold yet can’t articulate as well.

    Plus, you explained the fascination with shoes to me in a way that I can grasp. (My wife doesn’t share it, by the way, at 6’2″ and size 12 she falls into the “hard to find” category with them.) Anyone who can explain a concept that alien to me isn’t just jumping up and down for attention!

  10. 10
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Wow… I’m going to second what Petter said: if someone were looking for an example of an angry feminist who might be baiting men hoping for a negative response, he’s picked the exact opposite of a good example. Greta, you’re classy even when folks don’t deserve it.

  11. 11
    Jen

    Thanks for the lulz. What a serious case of projection.

  12. 12
    Steven

    You posted for the sole reason of trying to bait a sexist into writing something threatening.

    If you were trying, Greta, you succeeded. This comment was example #97,472. Wasn’t that hard to do, either, unfortunately.

    I’m sorry you have to put up with this BS, but I’m also thankful someone as intelligent, eloquent and skilled as you is around to help lead the fight against this BS. Don’t let these jerks get you down.

  13. 13
    Steven

    Sorry, HTML fail in my last comment. If it wasn’t clear, the first sentence is a quote from the FaceBook comment.

  14. 14
    Rieux

    I’m experiencing this serious temptation to go the “Oh, just ignore him; his garbage is just too stupid to deserve time and attention” route. Because, dammit, just get a load of that stupid. Aggressive, hateful stupid.

    But the last several months of traffic in the atheist blogosphere have made it clear that that’s just not a productive or appropriate response to a post like this one. Not Feeding The Troll, in this context, doesn’t work—and it’s entirely contrary to the productive effects of #mencallmethings and similar efforts at needful consciousness-raising.

    Trying a little introspection, I think the impulse to tell Greta to ignore this, for me anyway, comes from the guilt and frustration and empathetic pain I feel when I read the nasty shit my fellow Y-chromosome bearers fling at terrific people like Greta and Jen McCreight and, obviously, so many others. I would rather not see that, because it makes me feel terrible.

    But then, who the fuck am I to tell anyone to hold off on a post like this for my personal-predilection reasons? Nobody. No standing at all. Ech.

    I’m very sorry you have to deal with nasty abuse like that, Greta. Same goes to anyone else who has to field similar garbage.

    Shit.

  15. 15
    Geoff

    This reminds me of a feminist writer once said guys like this had mothers who said “boys will be boys”

    Anyway, I agree this kind of thing needs to be hit head on.

  16. 16
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    as a non-facebook person, can I ask what this was about? Does it relate to the librarian comment? (I will not comment on your appearance as I do not have the good fortune to be having sex with anyone at the moment, much less you in particular, but I will comment on librarians to say: “Librarians are the bomb!”

    How could anyone think that librarian could be used as an insult in any way, shape, or form? That’s like believing the water describes something dry.

  17. 17
    davecooper

    As a normal middle class white heterosexual mere atheist male I would like to say thank you Greta.
    You and others have taught me a lot and I have never found you to be offensive or demeaning.
    I was following Ryan’s posts yesterday and I think there’s a lot of pent up angst. You really need to question your approach when every reply is against you.

    Stay true Greta, I for one need that from you.

  18. 18
    vivace

    I can relate to what you are saying Greta. I am a man myself, so I cannot fully appreciate how it is to be the target of misogyny and to be alienated by a maculinely skewed culture. I agree we have to fight this, and that men have to take their part of the responsibility to rectify the problem.

    There is one small problem I have with your post above, and I hope I won’t get flamed for this. I have a slight dislike of the hash tag “#mencallmethings”. A hash tag like that seems to group men together, as if “calling women things” is a property of all men as a group. There are men out there who are misogynistic, but as an individual man among many men, I feel slightly uncomfortable whenever mysogynistic behavior is implied as a property of my gender. I am not implying that this was your intention with the hashtag, but this is how it comes off to some men at least.

    To try to give you an impression of how it sounds to me, consider the hash tags #blackscallmethings, #jewscallmethings, #atheistscallmethings. To me, these hash tags leave behind a slightly sour aftertaste. To exaggerate a bit to make my point even clearer, consider #blacksstealstuff, #jewsbeingstingy, #atheistsbeingamoral. I hope you understand my point.

  19. 19
    Melody

    Isn’t provocative and effective writing SUPPOSED to be thought-provoking and challenging? What’s gotten stuck in this guy’s craw? Bah.

  20. 20
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    This reminds me of a feminist writer once said guys like this had mothers who said “boys will be boys”

    Why only mothers?

    Agree otherwise.

    Isn’t provocative and effective writing SUPPOSED to be thought-provoking and challenging? What’s gotten stuck in this guy’s craw? Bah.

    He probably thinks “provocative” means “semi-viable jerkoff material.” >.>

  21. 21
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    I am a man myself, so I cannot fully appreciate how it is to be the target of misogyny and to be alienated by a maculinely skewed culture.

    Really? I’m a man and find myself alienated by culturally entrenched “masculinity” on a daily basis. >.>

    To try to give you an impression of how it sounds to me, consider the hash tags #blackscallmethings, #jewscallmethings, #atheistscallmethings.

    And if those were socially entrenched and deeply privileged groups among whom this behavior was fairly common and apologetics for this behavior were epidemic, that might be a fair comparison. And hell, the hashtags might even be worth having.

    As it stands…

  22. 22
    julian

    To try to give you an impression of how it sounds to me, consider the hash tags #blackscallmethings, #jewscallmethings, #atheistscallmethings.

    Wouldn’t it depend, though? Women are a group who are disproportionally targeted by men (us) with this sort of garbage. So it serves the function of illuminating a very real problem within our society while giving the wronged group the opportunity to vent and call out the main perpetrators of this crap.

    The same cannot be said for ‘blacks’ or ‘jews.’ And not just because they’re a disenfranchised or persecuted group, but because they aren’t targeting (as a whole) anyone or anything. (Although if you live in the Gaza strip the situation changes dramatically.)

    If your concern is that men are being associating with harassing, sexist and discriminatory speech you’d be much better off telling your friends off when they engage in it. Telling the group getting the short end of the stick to hush up because they might be unfairly including you in their criticism isn’t productive for anyone.

  23. 23
    julian

    And beaten by Azkyroth.

  24. 24
    Greta Christina

    as a non-facebook person, can I ask what this was about? Does it relate to the librarian comment?

    Crip Dyke @ #16: Here’s a brief history. I posted a link to the video of Rebecca Watson’s talk at Skepticon. Said post drew some hostile, entitled, misogynist trolling comments.

    I posted another post, saying, “So apparently, if you want your comment thread to draw hostile, entitled, misogynist trolling, all you have to do is say the words, ‘Rebecca Watson.’ It’s like magic! Horrible, stupid magic.” A male commenter took issue, beginning with the comment that “I think Rebecca was wrong. I don’t need to be a troll to disagree with her.” And he proceeded to derail the thread for over 200 comments: rehashing Elevatorgate; ignoring the actual topic of the post; quickly getting hostile, and getting more hostile as the thread unfolded; saying that he hoped the skeptical community could move past Elevatorgate, while continuing to rehash it and ignore the actual topic that had been posted on; saying that he wished we could discuss “real issues related to sex and gender”; saying that it was a waste of time to focus attention on hostile, entitled, misogyny routinely aimed at women on the Internet; and saying the only reason I’d posted this post in the first place was for controversy and publicity. All in increasingly ugly, hostile, abusive language. Thus, you know, proving the point I had made in the post: that merely mentioning Rebecca Watson’s name was enough to draw hostile, entitled, misogynist trolling.

    I posted a follow-up post, saying, “The magic works! Wow. Let me try again. Apparently, if you want your comment thread to draw a million dollars, a bathtub full of chocolate, and a pony, all you have to do is say the words, ‘Rebecca Watson.’ It’s like magic!” And got the comment cited above.

    Internet drama. More fun even than root canal work.

  25. 25
    Greta Christina

    vivace @ #18: I’m not going to flame you, but I am going to disagree with you.

    Men on the whole are in a position of privilege and power, in a way that blacks, Jews, and atheists are not. (As Azkyroth and Julian said above.) A better analogy would be the hashtags #whitescallmethings, or #christianscallmethings.

    And you know what? I would absolutely want to follow those hashtags. Are black people getting a regular barrage of ugly and hateful racist abuse from white people on the internet, in the way that women face a regular barrage of ugly and hateful sexist abuse? Are non-Christians getting a barrage of ugly abuse on the internet from Christians? If so — then I want to know about it.

    The hashtag doesn’t say #allmencallmethings. It says #mencallmethings. And you know what? They do. Men call me things. Ugly, hateful sexist things. Men call other women these things. Not all men — but enough that it’s worth pointing out.

  26. 26
    R. Johnston

    To be fair, “pointing out instances of hostile, entitled misogyny” is, in fact, “trying to bait a sexist into writing something threatening.” That may not be the primary intent, or even any intent at all, but we all know that sexist, anti-feminist, MRA types just cant help themselves. Pointing out their hostile entitled misogyny will, in fact, inevitably lead to their writing something threatening, and everyone knows this.

    That is, of course, no reason not to point such things out. To the contrary, it’s exactly why such things should be noted publicly with extreme condescension and mockery. Sexism is real, it’s really hostile, and highlighting and denigrating it wherever it exists is a virtue. Meanwhile, the threats of a sexist whose only relationship to you is yammering at you over the internet are impotent, limp, flaccid projections of the sexist’s fears.

  27. 27
    julian

    *reads Greta Christina’s summary*

    Ah if only self-awareness were a common trait…

    Are black people getting a regular barrage of ugly and hateful racist abuse from white people on the internet -Great Christina

    That’d be pretty interesting to look into especially within the gaming community (which seems to be full of sexist, racist and homophobic assholes who deny calling someone a fat nigger dyke is in anyway bigoted).

    The black guys I know seem to not be affected by that sort of thing as harshly as women and gays I heard from (forums and around the net) who do cite it as something that puts them off. Unlike other groups they just seem to up the hostility but, then again, the blacks I know are all Marines and are much more accustomed to insulting and demeaning insults than the rest of the population.

    It may just be something as simple as a different internalized stereotype at play (the large angry black man) or, even simpler, blacks are put off from this and gravitate toward non community games.

  28. 28
    Dunc

    I have a slight dislike of the hash tag “#mencallmethings”. A hash tag like that seems to group men together, as if “calling women things” is a property of all men as a group. There are men out there who are misogynistic, but as an individual man among many men, I feel slightly uncomfortable whenever mysogynistic behavior is implied as a property of my gender.

    Well, you’ve just had a tiny little hint of what it’s like to be not-privileged. Ramp it up by a factor of a thousand or so, and imagine it coming from all quarters, every single day, and you might start to get the idea of what it’s like on the sharp end of prejudice.

    The question now is: do you want to use this experience for good, or for evil?

  29. 29
    hoverfrog

    Women of the world: please don’t ever stop challenging people. We need it and we appreciate it. This is especially true of some men who need it more than most but just don’t appreciate it as much.

  30. 30
    mariadkins

    Right on!

  31. 31
    cullen

    Sorry about the trolls, but keep on writing. You do it well.

  32. 32
    Lou Doench

    It occurs to me that a lot of what Jay Smooth talks about in the video Crommunist linked to,
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/crommunist/2011/12/02/movie-friday-jay-smooth/
    could be easily re-purposed to deal with misogynist speech as well.

  33. 33
    Ophelia Benson

    The real tragedy here is that Ryan got so pissed off at me that he BLOCKED me, so I don’t get to see his pathetic attention-seeking comments on Greta’s Facebook threads. It’s so unfair!

  34. 34
    Brad Emery

    Hi Greta,

    I never really gave much thought to feminism until the great elevator incident of aught-eleven. Since then, I’ve gone through a great deal of reading and introspection on what exactly the whole thing meant to me. I had some gripes with the feminist contingent at Pharyngula (which, I’m very glad to say, are now resolved!), and I learned just how easy it is to sound like an MRA-type to people that deal with those idiots every single day. Your writing on the subject, along with Jen McCreight’s, PZ’s, Amanda Marcotte’s and some others have been helping me learn to pay more attention to what I say and do, and to watch my male/white/hairy/muscular/whatever-else-applies-to-me privileges. I’m not perfect, and never will be, but I’ve got the basic idea now, and I’m running with it. While I’m still terrified there will be a shout-fest any time Ms. Watson or the incident is mentioned (really, really terrified!), I get why it needed to be talked about, and some of that talk has been life-changing.

    Thank you.

  35. 35
    julian

    You have to wonder how many atheist guys are walking around with grudges against feminists and why?

    The reason why Christians (religious men in general) have these outbursts is obvious but what exactly makes us atheist guys feel so much anger and hate towards out feminist women for miniscule shit?

    Is it the nerd guy thing? Is it some gnawing fear of inadequacy (I can sympathize here. I suspect this kept me hostile to ‘pretty’ women for a while)? Is it an unconscious desire to be a ‘frat’ boy? What?

    Atheist/skeptics should be one of the most welcoming communities around but in practice we’re prone to the same pointless rages and hate tantrums you see from the guys who prowl FOX news boards against feminism and (to a much lesser extent) anyone who talks about privilege.

  36. 36
    Ophelia Benson

    Well, frankly, it’s partly just liking an all-guy world and not wanting it to stop being that. I figure it’s much the same thing that keeps tv and movies nearly all-guy world. Guys are interesting because they’re generalists; they can be cops, soldiers, lawyers, doctors, anything you like. Women are boring because they’re all about “dating” and marriage and shoes – they’re particularists.

    This of course is circular. Women are not all about that, but tv and movies represent us as all about that, and it’s fucking boring, so everybody prefers all-guy world, including women.

  37. 37
    Leon

    Hey Ophelia, that makes a lot of sense. I think you’ve done some nail-on-the-head thinking there. I can see now, viscerally, why this is an issue for a lot of guys. Not that that’s any reason to keep it an all-guy environment; it’s just good to have a better idea of how someone who’s otherwise reasonable could be drawn into that way of thinking.

  38. 38
    Quinapalus

    Greta @ #25
    And you know what? I would absolutely want to follow those hashtags. Are black people getting a regular barrage of ugly and hateful racist abuse from white people on the internet, in the way that women face a regular barrage of ugly and hateful sexist abuse? Are non-Christians getting a barrage of ugly abuse on the internet from Christians? If so — then I want to know about it.

    Not exactly what you asked about, but I give you: http://microaggressions.com

    Enjoy. And by “enjoy”, I mean “try to stop reading before it drains the last drop of your hope for humanity.”

  39. 39
    Ophelia Benson

    Leon – yeh – I think popular culture really Isn’t Helping. “Women” now raises images of desperate housewives and “real” housewives and the airheads on Sex and the City. Well who wants them messing up atheism? I certainly don’t! But guess what, not all women are like that, in fact damn few women are like that, but you’d never know it from The Media. It’s all very frustrating…

  40. 40
    scenario

    I don’t know why stirring up shit is a bad thing. Some shit needs to be stirred. I don’t want to live in an echo chamber.

    I don’t agree with everything Greta says but when I disagree, she usually forces me to think about why I disagree. It usually ends up with me realizing that she has a legitimate point whether or not I happen to agree with it.

    Challenging assumptions is a good thing, especially when you don’t even realize that you are making the assumption.

  41. 41
    Ben

    Greta @24:

    Thanks for the summary! But what you’ve done is described the effect that the exchange had on you, rather than the actual exchange. It sounds like your summary is extremely valuable (who wants to read 200 flame-enhanced posts?) but it seems to me that it would be more informative (fair, even?) to also link the original, if that’s technically possible.

    And @25:

    “The hashtag doesn’t say #allmencallmethings. It says #mencallmethings.”

    Even though it appeals greatly to the disenfranchised sides of my life, this technicality rubs me the wrong way. Here are two counterexamples (one a sadly true-on-average relative value judgement, and one a harmless statement that outliers exist, posed in a deceptively suggestive way) to illustrate what I don’t like:

    #menarebetteratmath
    #menhaveIQsover180

    On the other hand, perhaps calling attention to sexism even in this way is worthwhile–Machiavelli would doubtless approve. But I think in that case the argument should be that the ends justify the means, not that your statement was misleading but technically correct.

    And on that note–TROLLS! I have long wondered about the difference between (a) raising controversies (especially emotionally charged ones) and (b) trolling. There seems to me to be a fine line indeed, and that probably means that the distinction is in the eye of the beholder. I’m sure it’s not lost on you that many of your articles will evoke strong negative emotional reactions in some readers, and I suspect you use this as a way of hooking people into the conversation. Isn’t that the highest form of trolling?

  42. 42
    Ryan Grant Long

    Actually Greta, it’s because you misrepresented what I said several times and directly misquoted me while your brainless fake feminist followers hurled insults at me and repeatedly accused me of being an sexist man because of a point of view I NEVER expressed. This is not “professional” behavior. The only sexist bigot here is you.

    You’re simultaneously playing the part of a professional victim and a bully, and it is truly pathetic.

  43. 43
    Ryan Grant Long

    Why don’t you post the entire conversation in which you repeatedly lied and your idiot readers called me “stupid” and “insane” and accused me of wanting all women to be “kicked in the cunt”. Eh? Let’s see the whole story you lying fraud.

  44. 44
    anon

    I read the whole exchange, through 3 different threads, and was shocked by what I read.

    I completely agree that it seems that with the 3 status updates that I saw, Greta was absolutely out to goad someone into a fight. She says so again in this thread here: “Internet drama. More fun even than root canal work.” I think she doth protest too much.

    Seriously, read this post again and tell me what its purpose is:
    “So apparently, if you want your comment thread to draw hostile, entitled, misogynist trolling, all you have to do is say the words, ‘Rebecca Watson.’ It’s like magic! Horrible, stupid magic.”

    She alludes to a topic that atheists have disagreed on and has caused terrible behavior and strong feelings, and tosses out strong words like “misogynist trolling”. What is the purpose here?…

    Ryan tried (perhaps poorly) to simply state that there is a reasonable position that disagrees with Rebecca Watson without falling into misogyny. For this he was repeatedly insulted, misquoted, and generally abused.

    Multiple commenters on the thread remarked how *fun* it was to berate and abuse someone like that.

    What was Greta’s high road response – post it again and see if she could find another victim.

    Classy.

  45. 45
    julian

    Here’s a better idea, Mr Long. Fuck off back to whatever bridge you crawled out from under.

  46. 46
    anon

    @45 – Keeping it classy.

  47. 47
    julian

    @anon

    That is…well, I don’t know how else to say it, that’s fucking stupid. Those aren’t expressions of joy or fun. Ms. Christina is trying to communicate through irony and probably a little bit of humor mixed with bitterness how ridiculous a lot of the crap she’s been getting since E-Gate is. Case in point:

    “Internet drama. More fun even than root canal work.”

    Root canal work is painful in a way that sticks with you for several days. The comment is saying internet drama sucks. It ain’t fun and it leaves you aching for days afterwards.

    How you managed to interpret this as her either egging on the trolling sexist crap or encouraging flamewars is beyond me. To me the statement clearly reads as exasperated with internet drama to the point of linking it to the most painful dental procedure around.

    Your other examples likewise miss the point by a mile.

    Seriously, read this post again and tell me what its purpose is:
    “So apparently, if you want your comment thread to draw hostile, entitled, misogynist trolling, all you have to do is say the words, ‘Rebecca Watson.’ It’s like magic! Horrible, stupid magic.”

    To express her disdain for having to put up with misogynist trolls when posting a link to an entirely unoffensive talk? To express her frustration with constantly having to deal with trolls dragging past drama into threads that have nothing to do with it? To show just how ridiculous their obsession with making sure everyone sees Ms. Watson as an evil man-hating cunt?

    She alludes to a topic that atheists have disagreed on and has caused terrible behavior and strong feelings, and tosses out strong words like “misogynist trolling”. What is the purpose here?

    To express her frustrations with what she perceives to be a very misogynistic, hatefilled campaign against an individual?

    Dude, seriously, where’s your reading comprehension at?

  48. 48
    julian

    @anon

    Por el amor de dios,

    I guess I can take this as a clear signal you have nothing to say or contribute to the actual discussion here.

  49. 49
    anon

    Last post from me. Thanks for your colorful feedback, Julian. “Fucking stupid” is very helpful for illustrating my point.

    At what point does calling attention to a perceived hate-filled campaign become inviting it to continue?

  50. 50
    Ryan Grant Long

    Greta owes me a public apology for repeatedly misrepresenting my views, misquoting me, and characterizing me as someone who wishes to silence the voices of women.

    She also owes you, the readers, an apology for lying to you. None of this happened the way she has implied that it did. You’ve all been manipulated.

  51. 51
    anon

    There is no actual discussion here.

  52. 52
    julian

    At what point does calling attention to a perceived hate-filled campaign become inviting it to continue?

    What the fuck does this even mean? It’s complete gibberish.

    No one is asking for a hate-filled campaign to continue. No one wants it to. The idiotic, bullshit meme you’re peddling (that people targeted by harassment, hate and bullying are inviting it because they’re attention whores or something) is such complete utter garbage I don’t see how you can’t smell the stench.

  53. 53
    julian

    There is no actual discussion here.

    That you’re contributing to in a positive and constructive way? Nope.

  54. 54
    Greta Christina

    Ryan Grant Long — the person who wrote the Facebook comment cited in this piece — has been blocked from commenting on this blog, for what I hope are obvious reasons. (I was not going to cite him by name, since there is a degree of privacy on Facebook that’s not available on blogs, but since he’s outed himself, I am now willing to cite him publicly by name.)

    Please do not reply to anything he writes: among other things, it’s unfair, since he’s been blocked and won’t be able to respond. If he somehow comes back, please do not respond: let me handle it through comment moderation. (If he does somehow come back, any future comments will be deleted.) Thank you.

  55. 55
    Greta Christina

    Julian: I very much appreciate you defending me — but please remember that my comment policy doesn’t permit personal insults and namecalling. Please keep criticism focused on ideas and behavior, and keep the hostile rhetoric to a bare minimum. Thanks.

  56. 56
    julian

    Sorry about that. I’m a little quick on the draw. I’ll try to keep it from happening again in the future.

    anon, Mr. Long, sorry about the taunting tone. I’m not exactly the nicest douchebag online. My bad.

  57. 57
    D.J. Grothe

    Greta — I sincerely appreciate how you sometimes highlight sexism in the atheist and freethought movements (representation of women on programs at conferences and in attendance, women in leadership in national freethought organizations, and the like).

    Nonetheless, I do think you took things Ryan Grant Long said out of context, probably just unintentionally. I read the whole thing on Facebook, as I often do such controversies on FB — even if I rarely surf the atheist blogs because they often seem to present controversies, possibly unduly fomented just to drive readership (and who can fault professional writers for wanting to drive traffic to their words). When I read the FB thread, I winced when he spoke up and said that one could disagree with Rebecca’s stance without necessarily being a misogynistic troll, etc. Why did I wince? Because from what I’ve seen, a number of fans of certain bloggers tend toward strong in-group/out-group biases and seem to vilify any dissent others show regarding their favorite online personalities.

    What little I know of Ryan Grant Long suggests he is a atheistic gay guy who has a reasoned position of disagreement, and that he said so and then was roundly attacked. Most people respond angrily when attacked, and that often makes things worse, and probably did in this case. Did he say something in his comments on this blog above that justified your banning him here?

  58. 58
    Greta Christina

    D.J. @ #57: I hope I don’t need to explain why I’m blocking someone who said, quote:

    “Fuck you Greta. You’re the troll. You posted for the sole reason of trying to bait a sexist into writing something threatening. You didn’t find one, but I dared to disagree with you, so you and your brainless followers thought ‘eh, fuck it, close enough. We’ll attack him instead.’ You’ve been capitalizing on this for months and perpetuating vicious stereotypes about both men and women, under the guise of ‘feminism’. I used to think you had something to contribute. Now I see you’re just a pathetic attention seeker who isn’t interested in anything other than stirring up shit.”

    I don’t agree about taking what Ryan said out of context, and I don’t agree about your assessment of the Facebook thread. But more importantly: There is absolutely no context in which the quoted text is appropriate.

  59. 59
    julian

    But more importantly: There is absolutely no context in which the quoted text is appropriate.

    Bits and pieces of it (had they been part of an actual argument) actually do sound like the sorts of things that should be discussed.

    Ok really only the perpetuating stereotypes for both sexes part.

    Yeah, it’s hard to look at it and not see someone with a lot more anger and hate than a single FB thread would be responsible for.

  60. 60
    D.J. Grothe

    Thanks for the response, Greta. Just trying to avoid misunderstanding: You’re saying you didn’t ban Ryan Grant Long from commenting on your blog here because of comments he made on this blog post, but because of comments he made to you on that long Facebook thread, and which you quoted here (arguably out of context, or at least not within the whole context)?

    If so, that seems to me like sort of bullying move. Like I said, I winced when he stated rather matter of factly that one can disagree without being a “misogynistic troll.” This is precisely why: such disagreements, especially as they escalate among partisans in a comment thread, can get one tarred and feathered by the personality driving the controversy, or by her or his loyalists. Wiser people than me just avoid such discussions as being far too risky, and too prone to divisive “us vs them” thinking.

  61. 61
    Greta Christina

    D.J. @ #60: Please read the private email I just sent you about this matter. Thank you.

  62. 62
    SkepticAtheist

    I just read that whole thread. Ryan originally disagreed politely. That doesn’t make him a troll. That was the point of his first post…

    Ryan: “I think Rebecca was wrong. I don’t need to be a troll to disagree with her”

    He also said something which Greta and all of her sycophants proved…

    Ryan: “I don’t care so much about what actually happened, it more so represents the general failure of the skeptic community to be able to discuss sex and gender. Skeptics and atheists love the natural sciences and have a pretty weak grasp of social science, in my experience.”

    One of the sycophants tried to imply that Ryan was defending rape. And then others started picking on Ryan because he was the person of the opposing position from that group’s opinion. That’s pretty sad, coming from a group who are “freethinkers”, though they seem more like they were “free-from-thought”.

    And then Greta falsely quoted Ryan, implying that he said things which he never said, while using condescending tactics to put Ryan down.

    Ryan tried to steer the conversation back to the rational side by saying…

    Ryan: “This is why the issue blew up. Because BOTH SIDES WENT OVERBOARD AND OVERREACTED”

    And then after Ryan said something that he shouldn’t even had to say, because he never asserted anything different…

    Ryan: ‎”obviously I agree it’s wrong to react in such a hostile and non-constructive way to Rebecca Watson. And there is no ‘controversy’ about whether or not it’s okay to call Rebecca Watson horrible names because you disagree with her. That is clearly wrong.”

    …then Greta acts surprised…

    Greta: “I would like to point out that, in a 100+ comment thread, this is the first time you have said this.”

    …really? Did he have to say it??? It wasn’t even what Ryan was trying to discuss in the beginning. And then Ryan brings up the baiting from Greta’s sycophants, and Greta finally says…

    Greta: “Everyone, on all sides, please dial down the personal insults.”…

    FINALLY! Thank the FSM! But what took her so long? And why didn’t she see it earlier? Was it because she was blinded by her bias to her position that she was unable to see that everyone else was attacking Ryan? It appears that anyone who disagreed with Ryan can say whatever they wanted, and Greta still blames Ryan.

    And yet still, her sycophants try to goad him…

    Sycophant L: “Oooh, now he’s trolling, can I tell him to go fuck himself greta, can I plz?”…

    And by the way, the original post was…

    “So apparently, if you want your comment thread to draw hostile, entitled, misogynist trolling, all you have to do is say the words, “Rebecca Watson.” It’s like magic! Horrible, stupid magic.”

    …which does a few things. It sets up anyone who disagrees as automatically being hostile, a misogynist, and a troll, even though they may not be, (insert Ryan’s first post here). It was used to avoid having to rationally discuss the issue with people who disagree, like Ryan. And it was used to setup an attack on anyone who disagreed, which is why her sycophants freely attacked him.

    Greta’s comment above…

    “And he proceeded to derail the thread for over 200 comments”

    So here’s what to do, limit who can see your page. And if you post something, then don’t complain just because someone disagreed, unless you don’t want anyone to have discussions, unless you want mindless drones to say “yes ma’am” all of the time. Don’t complain that it went over 200 comments, when those comments also consisted of yours and your sycophants, most of which were goading Ryan, using condescending tactics, implying that he was stupid, etc, when originally, Ryan was simply politely voicing his disagreement.

  63. 63
    Greta Christina

    I am shutting down comments for this post. I have concerns about cyber-bullying (among other things), and am concerned that this thread may lead in that direction.

    I realize some people may question my motivations for doing this. There’s nothing I can do about that. I’d link to the Facebook post/ thread in question, but that’s not possible with the way Facebook is set up. I believe anyone on Facebook can look at my wall, look at the threads in question, and come to their own conclusions about it. Thanks for understanding.

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