Comment Settings Update – UPDATED


Note: The Amazing Atheist has apparently put up a video responding to my recent post excoriating his behavior and calling on the atheist community to shun him. (No, I’m not linking to it.) As a result, I am expecting a temporary influx of TAA fans in this blog. I have therefore changed my commenting settings. For now, and until the influx dies down, comments in this blog will automatically go into comment moderation unless someone has commented here before and has had that comment approved. (Translation: Brand-new commenters go into comment moderation.) Thanks for your patience and understanding.

UPDATE: The majority of All comments from the influx of fans of The Amazing Atheist are being posted here. I don’t want them to derail the thread they’re primarily being posted on, and most of them violate my comment policy; but since this conversation is garnering a certain amount of attention, I’m posting them here for the purpose of documentation.

SECOND UPDATE: The influx of comments from TAA fans has died down, so I have re-set my commenting settings. Commenters still have to register to comment, but comments from first-time commenters no longer have to be moderated before they go onto the site. For now.

Comments

  1. cubist says

    But Greta, you’re thawing their peaches! What kind of fascist communist BadThinking™ meaniecrat would stoop so low as to thaw a frozen peach, I ask you!?

  2. atheist says

    Oh wow. I’m so sorry you have to deal with this nonsense, Greta. Hope it dies down soon.

  3. triple3a says

    I am expecting a temporary influx of TAA fans in this blog.  I have therefore changed my commenting settings.  For now, and until the influx dies down, comments in this blog will automatically go into comment moderation unless someone has commented here before and has had that comment approved.

    A common sense, rational, and intelligent response to what undoubtedly will be coordinated yet ultimately irrational and hateful reactions.

  4. Trebuchet says

    Sad you have to do this. Perhaps you’ll share some of the “better” ones later on?

  5. Crimson Clupeidae says

    And their responses will most likely be typical, thereby once again validating Lewis’ Law.

  6. says

    Hey Greta? Thanks.

    For all that you do, with the full knowledge that this will be the fallout. For bravely, continually articulating reason and compassion in the face of inarticulate and seemingly endless rage.

    Thank you.

  7. says

    Hey Greta….I read your blog about him and a few other things on the net and unsubscribed from him. However, I watched his response video and he does make clarifications on the statements you pointed out in that post. He apologized and said it was out of anger and they were made in a certain context. While that doesn’t justify or excuse his actions, maybe it would be a good idea to address his recognition of his error and apology? I’m not trying to debate, I’d just like to see something positive come out of this rather than the typical us vs them comments and division. I mean after all, isn’t correction of the behavior the reason these things should be pointed out. Shouldn’t realization of the wrongdoing on the part of the one doing it be recognized and commended?

  8. says

    Hello Ms. Christina,

    I do not comment on this blog a lot, in fact I think this is my first comment. Given that you are being swamped by a bunch of nonsense, I just wanted to send a quick note saying thank you for the blog. I have always found your writing informative, entertaining and thought-provoking. I hope the nonsense storm isn’t too bad!

    Take care,

    Michael

  9. Ganner says

    “But Greta, you’re thawing their peaches!”

    This is the best thing I’ve read today, by far.

  10. triple3a says

    Misty White @ #7:

    He apologized and said it was out of anger and they were made in a certain context.  While that doesn’t justify or excuse his actions, maybe it would be a good idea to address his recognition of his error and apology?  I’m not trying to debate, I’d just like to see something positive come out of this rather than the typical us vs them comments and division.

    Except that he didn’t apologize.  He didn’t accept the terms of the person to whom he owed amends.  His response was a classic “not-pology” (“I’m sorry you thin-skinned feminists took it that way. Toughen up and learn how to take a joke!”)

    A dripping-with-sarcasm caricature of straw-feminism (and Greta’s speaking voice) followed by this nugget about trigger warnings …

    I don’t view your feelings as a valid reason to curtail my speech.  I never will.

    … shows he doesn’t give a damn about women, feminists, or rape survivors.  I guess he thinks PTSD is some made up feminist conspiracy to keep the manly men from expressing their inherent “right” to be as offensive and hurtful as possible.

    He also mansplains his “jokes” as being “designed to encourage rape victims not to dwell on their victimhood and get on with their lives.”  Because we all know {this is sarcasm, by the way} that the best way for rape victims (and potential rape victims) to get on with their lives is for some man to describe in the most brutally graphic, offensive way possible scenarios that would make Ed Gein vomit.

    He also had the audacity to defend his speech as akin to BDSM rape play or rape fantasies.  He forgot one small thing, though … consent.  He didn’t ask us or anyone if we wanted to hear or participate.  He plunged ahead without any regard for anyone else’s feelings, just like a rapist would.

  11. Great American Satan says

    ^triple that was a damn fine comment. U kicked it up a notch like Emeril.

  12. says

    Triple3a….let’s critically look at what you claim to negate the apology of The Amazing Atheist.

    “Except that he didn’t apologize. He didn’t accept the terms of the person to whom he owed amends.”

    First off, what he said that is currently being used against him as evidence that he is a misogynist, he said in a heated online argument with someone years ago (I can’t remember exactly how many). The very next day, he apologized after realizing his stupidity in the words he used out of anger.

    You say he didn’t accept the terms of the person….and what were those terms? For him to delete his entire YouTube channel. To throw out years worth of work and a source of income because he said some words in anger during an online argument.

    Are you saying that anytime someone says something stupid that they later regret that it is appropriate for them to throw away their source of income just to prove how sorry they really are? Really? I’m assuming you have said some things in the past that you regretted to another person. If they wanted you to quit your job and start your career completely over, you would have done that? I highly doubt it. Saying that you don’t accept someone’s apology because they didn’t say it or do something in a way that you wanted to is playing games in any aspect.

    The mocking voice overs you mentioned that he did for Greta…please be sure to note that he also did the same when reading the quotes from his own supporters.

    Your holding it against him that he won’t curtail what he says based on someone’s feelings. Yes, there is a fine line with this, but if you are suggesting that he should do this, then with that logic, so should about 99% of the atheists, skeptics and freethinkers of the world because we say some horrible things about religion and what religious adherents believe. No matter what you say, it will offend someone in someway. This does not cover what he said regarding the rape comments….for which he apologized and admitted was stupid and he regretted saying. Not all people agree with “Gallow’s humor”, but many, many people take part in such humor. I am one of them that doesn’t agree with that humor; however, I know that just because someone throws out such humor it doesn’t mean that they want to do or promote what the joke is about. I could throw out a million examples, but that is not the point. He said in his response video, and as can be seen in other videos of his, that he is against rape, anyone that does it a horrible person, he supports various form of women’s rights (outspokenly so) and these words that he typed YEARS ago in a certain context are now being used to negate everything else he has done and said.

    Am I defending what he said….no. Not at all, but I am speaking out against vilifying someone based on small snippets of what they have said in their past and negating whatever they say about those words currently. That is saying that someone should continue to be punished for something they did, no matter what the ‘crime’ was or what was done in retribution. And that is wrong. It becomes vengeance at that point which is irrational.

    When I was a teen, being raised by a very devote Catholic mother I said horrible things about LBGT persons. I can clearly remember one time stating that they should all be put on an island and blown up. Did I really believe that? NO! Do I think that way now? NO! It was in a specific context during a specific time in my life and there are many psychological reasons why people say or do things they later regret and to pretend that those reasons don’t exist and that someone can never be excused and that they should eternally suffer for something dumb they have done or said in their past makes me think of Christian beliefs of eternal damnation. We as atheists and freethinkers don’t subscribe to such ridiculousness. The punishment should fit the crime, yes, but the regret and the correction of the behavior is what really matters.

    To continue to draw this out and ignore his response borders on sensationalism and just trying to prove someone is right and someone is wrong and in all honesty, only perpetuates irrational behavior.

  13. triple3a says

    The apology I’m referring to is where the rape survivor TAA threatened asked him to post his apology publicly.  TAA refused to do this, saying he doesn’t let others “bully” his freeze peach.  TAA is calling a rape survivor asking him to post his apology publicly a bully, a man who violently, graphically, and brutally threatened a rape survivor on purpose with the intention of triggering her.

    A real apology/real atonement by TAA: “Holy shit.  What I said was fucking horrifying, unconscionable, and beyond the pale.  What do you need from me in terms of atonement?  I promise to never do anything so horrible again.  I’ll try to do better in the future, publicly renounce the idea that rape threats are humorous, and devote time and/or money to rape survivor advocacy and organizations.  Even so, I wouldn’t blame you if you never forgave me.”

    TAA’s “apology”: “Shit.  How many times do I have to say I’m sorry? …even though I still think rape threats aren’t that big a deal.  After all, …”

    I don’t view your feelings as a valid reason to curtail my speech. I never will.

    … Even when that speech is virulently hateful misogyny and threats of sexual violation directed at a rape survivor.  Why is he not in jail?  Oh, right, because he was young, it was a long time ago, he didn’t really mean it, blah-fucking-blah.

    Vengeance?  No.  How about some personal fucking adult responsibility instead of cowardly hiding behind freeze peach?  What TAA is going through is the logical, rational, public excoriation that comes from threatening an actual human being with bodily harm.  (By the way, in case you haven’t been paying attention, the blog owner whose website you’re commenting on receives threats like this all the damn time.  I guess she’s supposed to magically know which ones are serious and which ones are “just playing around”.)  He said these things, he said them directly to a rape survivor in a public forum, he said them in his own damn book, and he said these things in an internet climate that’s actively, aggressively, ceaselessly, and criminally hostile to feminist women.    As far as she knew, he was Elliot Rodger just before the bloodshed.  This shit is gonna stick to him for life and deservedly so.

    Back in your pre-socially conscious adolescence, did you track down QUILTBAG individuals and tell them, directly to their faces, “I hate you so much I’m going to tie you up, take you to an undisclosed location, tie explosives to your body, and blow you up”?  Did you do so repeatedly using the most brutal, disgusting language possible?  Didn’t think so.  That’s the equivalent of what TAA did as an adult and he’s using every excuse in the book to try and wriggle off the hook.

    I don’t care if he continues to post videos to YouTube as his primary source of income.  Post away.  But if he continues to negate, obfuscate, and minimize what he did, and continues to do, as “just jokes” and “freeze peach” and tries to cover it up with donations to progressive organizations and claims he really “luvs the wimmenz” (honest!), then he deserves all the scorn we can heap on him.

  14. says

    What exactly is the problem with asking Kinkaid to delete his youtube channel anyway? It’s not like anything of value would be lost. Let him get a job like everyone else.

  15. Bernard Bumner says

    @SallyStrange,
    You sound like an old cumudgeon there! Plenty of people make a respectable living using YouTube to distribute videos which bring hope, pleasure, and socially responsible messages. Those are real jobs.

    Kinkaid needs to stop behaving like an are hole, however he makes his living. And he needs to learn that apologies can’t come with demands for forgiveness and understanding attached.

  16. Spencer Dub says

    Heads-up: this comment discusses rape jokes, rape culture, and rape.

    Misty White @#13:

    Not all people agree with “Gallow’s humor”, but many, many people take part in such humor. I am one of them that doesn’t agree with that humor; however, I know that just because someone throws out such humor it doesn’t mean that they want to do or promote what the joke is about.

    Gallows humor is a very specific thing. It refers to humor in the face of hopeless circumstances–the attempt to use wit as a response to overbearing misfortune. It’s humor as a coping mechanism. It’s the prisoner who looks at the hooded executioner on the gallows and asks, “So, come here often?”

    What TAA and anyone else who makes misogynistic rape jokes are doing is not gallows humor, because it has no element of vulnerability. TAA isn’t using humor as a coping mechanism–he’s just making “jokes” about a very real, very traumatic and awful part of life, and normalizing it in doing so. If gallows humor is a response of the oppressed to their oppression, then what TAA’s doing is more like “executioner’s humor”. He’s the hooded executioner on the gallows who looks at the prisoner and snorts, “Have a nice trip!”

    Those are two very different situations. Gallows humor allows victims, survivors, and the oppressed to find light, or at least some levity. Executioner’s humor does nothing but reinforce the shitty circumstances that the people who are the butt of the joke find themselves in.

    You say that joking about something doesn’t mean you actually want to do it. The whole “I wasn’t serious, it’s just a joke!” defense.

    Here’s the thing, though: Even if we accept that someone who makes a rape joke doesn’t actually want to commit rape, there’s still ample ground to consider that person misogynistic. That’s because rape jokes operate in a particular cultural context where 1 in every 6 women will be the victim of a rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. The people who commit this rapes, who are overwhelmingly men, believe that they are not unique. They believe that all men are naturally sexually aggressive. They’ll admit freely to rape, so long as you don’t use the word “rape”. They don’t care about consent, and they think they’re normal.

    Someone who tells a rape joke–at least, a rape joke where the punchline is “haha, women get raped!”–is contributing to that culture of rape normalization. They’re tacitly encouraging anyone in the audience who thinks rape is normal and a no-big-deal part of life.

    I don’t care if it’s Jesus himself who comes down and tells a rape joke–if you do that, you’re contributing to rape culture.

    (Standard disclaimer: No, not all rapists are men, not all men are rapists, sexual assault is committed against people of all genders. I’m focusing on situations with male rapists and female victims for this comment, though, because that’s what’s relevant right now.)

  17. says

    I second bernard’s comments. There’s nothing wrong with making a living posting content (read:entertainment) which people enjoy . There’s nothing unreal or unprofessional about it, and making a statement like yours, Sally, isn’t productive or a path to better understanding, I can’t see how it amounts to much more than shit-talking. Consider how, if this is how he makes all his income, he is supposed to simply find a new “real” job, and why it doesn’t matter that this could pose real problems for him, that are worth taking into consideration, regardless of what a flaming asshole he might be.

  18. says

    So, with all this back and forth about what he did or didn’t do then or now….I ask…what is the point and purpose of this outcry? Isn’t it to get an apology, a recognition of what is being done wrong? And how would that best be accomplished? Basic psychology shows that communication is the best, not this rallying the troops to either side which is what is accomplished by the “look what he/she/they did” with no offering of true discussion.

    And please note, I did make the point that Gallows humor about rape did not apply to his threats and disgusting behavior to the person in question on the forum. And please also note, that I did not use it as an excuse for his behavior or as justification.

    Talking about his apology…as it did or didn’t happen YEARS ago is once again ignoring the main goal of pointing this behavior out! And with that, I revert back to the first paragraph of this reply. What is the point? What would be the desired outcome? Because thus far all I’m hearing is that vengeance is what is wanted…for the community to “exile him” and for him to be shunned. At the risk of sounding sarcastic…..let me know how well that works out for ya!

  19. Al Dente says

    Misty White @20

    People have communicated with him. His response was a notpology trying to excuse his disgusting threats as “jokes” that happened a long time ago and he’s much better now, especially since his rape threats weren’t all that big a deal, at least not for him.

    The point is that some people go way past the point of redemption, of hoping they’ll see their errors and misbehavior. Kincaid is one of these people. As triple3a says @10

    he doesn’t give a damn about women, feminists, or rape survivors.

    If he doesn’t give a damn about us, why should we give a damn about him? The desired outcome is for him to be a social pariah, someone who knows that his behavior is hurtful to others. For some reason you think this is too extreme. Maybe you should try to explain to him why some people are fed up with his narcissistic bullying. Good luck and let us know when he sees the light.

  20. Raucous Indignation says

    My sons figured out that T”A”A was an amazing asshat when they were 11 years old.

  21. Bernard Bumner says

    Basic psychology shows that communication is the best, not this rallying the troops to either side which is what is accomplished by the “look what he/she/they did” with no offering of true discussion.

    Best? Best for achieving what, exactly?

    Some apologies are simply not enough, even when they are sincere and acknowledge the harm done, which this non-apology didn’t. Deliberately seeking to trigger a victim out of malice due to frustration cannot be dismissed as a “joke”.

    No one has a right to demand that an apology is accepted and forgiveness granted.

    One doesn’t get to be automatically absolved of sin as though this is the twisted institution of the Confessional.

    The desired outcome is to say this is not decent behaviour, and we will keep people safe by not permitting or tolerating this behaviour so far as we are able to. The point is to say if you behave like this, you will not be welcome in these circles , and to say to survivors and potential targets of this behaviour, you will never have to tolerate people persistently behaving in that way in this place, because those people will be shown the door and not welcomed back

  22. triple3a says

    Misty White @ #20:

    So, with all this back and forth about what he did or didn’t do then or now….I ask…what is the point and purpose of this outcry? Isn’t it to get an apology, a recognition of what is being done wrong?

    The point and purpose of this outcry is to identify people who aren’t safe to be around or to follow as an example of what it means to be an ethical atheist.

    I will go back to the question that started this whole thing …

    Atheists, I need to ask you: Is there any line that you think should not be crossed?

    Answer: Yes there is, and TJ Kincaid crossed it repeatedly, willingly, and gleefully.

    He only half-heartedly apologized, wouldn’t do it publicly, and reserved the right to do it again by defending rape threats as being akin to consensual BDSM and fantasy.

    This is a man without an internal moral compass, a man who only tepidly retracts some of his disgusting and inhumane behavior after a massive public outcry.

    This is a man whose “followers” come on this blog and try to defend his reputation as a newly minted “defender” of women’s rights by insulting Greta, other women, and other feminists with gendered slurs and insults.

    I’m perfectly okay with saying I don’t want this man or people like him representing atheism at public events.  I’m more than fine with refusing to link to or to promote his videos.  I’m absolutely all right with repeatedly calling out his misogyny.  Quite frankly, the issue is larger than TJ Kincaid (but not much larger than his insufferable ego).

    I know which side of the line I’m standing on.  Good look on your side.  No, seriously.  Good luck.  You’re going to need it.

  23. says

    Bernard Bumner #23

    Some apologies are simply not enough, even when they are sincere and acknowledge the harm done, which this non-apology didn’t. Deliberately seeking to trigger a victim out of malice due to frustration cannot be dismissed as a “joke”.
    No one has a right to demand that an apology is accepted and forgiveness granted.

    This a million times over. I am rather sick and tired of the almost ritualized apology dance people are expected to play. If someone apologizes, no matter how tepid it is, you are expected to forgive. Forgiveness is a requirement and you are expected to play your part as the wronged person, if you refuse to accept the apology you become the party in the wrong. People need to realize that they are not owed forgiveness. If you make a transgression, lose someone’s trust, you may never get it back and that is that. Feel bad about what you ruined, and learn from it.

  24. Donnie says

    Bernard Bumner #23:

    No one has a right to demand that an apology is accepted and forgiveness granted.

    Travis #25

    This a million times over. I am rather sick and tired of the almost ritualized apology dance people are expected to play. If someone apologizes, no matter how tepid it is, you are expected to forgive. Forgiveness is a requirement and you are expected to play your part as the wronged person, if you refuse to accept the apology you become the party in the wrong.

    Quite right. Wasn’t it us atheist who pointed out that religious folks were expected to forgive and forget, if a pastor had an ethical / moral / criminal lapse (we are all sinners, and one forgives the sinner). Wasn’t it us atheists who pointed out the sexism in Churches that forced rape victims to confront their rapist, accept the apology, and forgive the rapist, or; be cast out from the community for not “forgiving-and-forgetting”. TAA is being cast out from ‘our’ side of the rift, because he is an asshole, who does not understand, care to understand, or demonstrates any concern why his behaviour is considered unethical and immoral. He is more than willing to create his videos, exercise his freeze peach, and wallow in his own presence. He is just being forced to do it on his side of the rift. All the while, we will be exercising our freeze peach pointing out the assholes on the other side of the rift while trying to keep our side a safe space for all others who have a different (I would stronger and better) moral and ethical code.

    Nice to know that some atheists have no problem crossing the line. I wont. Appropriately, that line is as big as a rift. And, as TAA and his supporters demonstrate, I hope that rift gets bigger and bigger for the sake of the atheism movement as a whole.

  25. says

    I can already see them screaming and crying about TEH FREEDOMZ OF ESPRESSIONS they’re being denied. To think, when I was new to the atheist and skeptical communities back in 2006, there was a time I sort of LIKED The Amazing Atheist, although it even then his blatant and phony use of unmitigated “male outrage” grated me even then and seemed very disingenuous. I guess I was right in my conclusion. He really is just an obnoxious ass.

  26. says

    So, with all this back and forth about what he did or didn’t do then or now….I ask…what is the point and purpose of this outcry? Isn’t it to get an apology, a recognition of what is being done wrong?

    No. The point isn’t to reach TAA. He’s a lost cause.

    Instead, a significant part of the point is simply to point to his words and then make a note of how people react. If, just to take a random example, people react by going out of their way to defend him, that tells me a lot about those people.

  27. says

    You know, ummm…

    Reading the less incoherent defenses of TAA, at least one pattern emerges. There’s a tendency to say “yes he’s XYZ bad, but that doesn’t mean he’s not right about ABC! So how dare you shun/reject refuse to listen to him?!?!” The thing is, the first part is right. Sure, he’s correct on some subjects even though he’s a horrible human being that no one should have to suffer being around. On the other hand…

    … and this is a HUGE other hand that all the pro-harassment “skeptics” seem to miss…

    … what do we care about, people or ideas? Isn’t it the ideas that matter? And if it is really the ideas that matter, rather than the person saying them, then don’t we need to pick a different standard for who we choose to listen to and support spreading those ideas? Unless someone is claiming that TAA is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime mind whose ideas cannot be gotten elsewhere, then why not get those ideas from someone who doesn’t carry the baggage of being a horrible human being? Unless it IS about the person and not the ideas, and his defenders really care about TAA rather than whether or not he’s actually saying things that make sense.

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