“And he looks at me and says ‘So what?'” »« Christ… OR ELSE

Bullying the bullies into stopping bullying

As I mentioned in my essay on safe spaces, sometimes bullies win.

Sometimes the bullies wear at a person’s resolve enough so that one little weird and probably innocuous incident from an unrelated source is enough to rattle that person. Enough to change the calculus used to determine whether something is worth doing, such that suddenly something that they were gung-ho to do (like Ophelia Benson speaking at TAM) becomes a headache just not worth undertaking.

It doesn’t matter that the last straw — the incident that caused the equation to flip from “worth it” to “not” — might have been completely innocent. It really doesn’t. All the damage has already been done.

The years of targeted hatred someone like Ophelia Benson has experienced has done its job, has sensitized her to the point where an ambiguous warning that she might be shot must needs be taken seriously. Especially where the convention at which she was to speak, has taken great pains as of late to studiously avoid any responsibility for making the convention a safe space for these people.

And yet, people have as of late taken to calling Freethought Blogs and its bloggers the bullies. I’m guessing it’s because when we say that harassment policies help to protect people from nonsense like this, and others complain bitterly that we’re trying to “ruin” their convention, they see our unwillingness to back down as an effort to bully them into seeing things our way.

Are you noticing a familiar motif to this particular fight? It rings almost identical to the fight against Christians who believe that stopping them from bullying others is in fact a way of bullying THEM. That they have such a fundamental right to bully others that someone telling them to stop is the REAL bully.

I complained bitterly on Ophelia’s post that this situation played out the way it did.

Jafafa Hots @74:

Well, I guess TAM is now a safe space for poor Blackford now that one of the “bullies” isn’t going to be there.

I bet he, Stangroom, Sarah Mayhew and the ERVites are so pleased that they’ve successfully bullied one of the “bullies” out of the picture.

What’s the commonality between all four of the entities/groups I mentioned? They’ve claimed we’re the bullies. And, they’ve themselves bullied one or many of us. They’ve done all the chipping damage they needed, so that our resolves were weakened such that one of us, when faced with an ambiguously worded but creepy email flipped her “worth-it” equation.

And now they’re doing it with me, claiming, repeatedly, that I blamed them for the emails that Ophelia received. Of course, I didn’t. It doesn’t even take any kind of special parsing of my original bitter complaint about the bully-crying bullies to get exactly what I meant.

But what I meant doesn’t matter. Nor does what I actually said, regardless of how well it comports with what I meant. What matters is the narrative that the bullies built to be able to slime me with the epithet “liar”, and the fact that they’ll use it in isolation of corroborating evidence from now til eternity.

Do I care what the bullies themselves think? Of course not. It would be a difficult slog trying to post my beliefs and my philosophies on the internet every day if I had to kowtow to every bully who came along and demanded that we stop talking about the things I want to talk about. It’s never the bullies that one cares about when one laments that certain contrafactual narratives gain a foothold. It’s the fact that good people, who are right about a lot of things, and who otherwise agree with a lot of what I say, fall for these narratives and repeat them credulously.

That’s what hurts. Not the bullies, but the people who believe them.

Of course, I’m certain that by my saying so, the bullies will take heart in the fact that they can win these wars of attrition — that all they have to do is keep piling on the slurs and the insults and the lies and eventually that camel’s back will break and that equation will flip.

And they’ll pop their champagne corks, even if none of them get to claim the killing blow. They’ll have achieved their goals even without being the last person to place that one last straw. They’ll have won.

At least, temporarily. At least, until people support the demoralized and mend some of the damage. Challenge the lies and the liars using those lies to bully us.

Comments

  1. says

    Right, Jason, just keep telling yourself that. “They started it” justifies everything. In case you hadn’t noticed, bullying is a behavior, not a “side”, and if you don’t think you and FTBers engage in it, you are willfully blind. Point to all the shit that “your side” has gotten and you might even be completely right. And you know what? That does not excuse the atmosphere and behavior that you help perpetuate.

    And as for the “threat” against Ophelia, it just amazes me that you can’t see it for what it is – somebody on your side who got caught up in the paranoia and “us vs them” mentality of FTB and fed that right back to her, like a runaway feedback loop. “Threat” indeed. Paranoia will destroy ya!

  2. says

    So let me get this straight… you haven’t seen any bullying, therefore it hasn’t happened?

    And you’re still willing to opine on things you don’t understand?

    You wonder why you’re getting lumped in with the bullies. I think it’s your own fault. Look to your own behaviour first.

  3. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Right, Jason, just keep telling yourself that. “They started it” justifies everything. In case you hadn’t noticed, bullying is a behavior, not a “side”, and if you don’t think you and FTBers engage in it, you are willfully blind. Point to all the shit that “your side” has gotten and you might even be completely right. And you know what? That does not excuse the atmosphere and behavior that you help perpetuate.

    And as for the “threat” against Ophelia, it just amazes me that you can’t see it for what it is – somebody on your side who got caught up in the paranoia and “us vs them” mentality of FTB and fed that right back to her, like a runaway feedback loop. “Threat” indeed. Paranoia will destroy ya!

    What the fuck is WRONG with you?

  4. dogeared, spotted and foxed says

    Jason, I hear ya.

    I don’t, I really can not understand people who delight in causing pain or anxiety. I don’t want to argue minutia with them. I’m tired of seeing people bend over backwards to educate them, only to watch the conversation derail into trivia. I’m sick of the word “skepticism” meaning “calls for extraordinary evidence to the self-evident.”

    I understand that changing the demographics of any community will cause backlash but I never expected the old guard to piss on everything in sight in order to mark it.

  5. Stacy says

    iamcuriousblue, on that thread at Justin’s you conspicuously criticized one side and one side only.

    You were on a thread with people demonstrably arguing in bad faith, taking other peoples’ words out of context. You ignored that.

    “Just ignore them” doesn’t help with bullies. But leaving that aside, and giving you the point for the sake of argument, you’ve clearly picked a side yourself. By your logic you are helping to perpetuate the atmosphere you decry.

  6. Stacy says

    somebody on your side who got caught up in the paranoia…

    Funny how you put “side” and “your side” in scare quotes til you came to that sentence.

  7. 'Tis Himself says

    Of course one of the slimepit bullies refuses to see the bullying being done by his buddies. That would require introspection and empathy, two concepts the slimepit has no interest in.

  8. says

    “Of course one of the slimepit bullies refuses to see the bullying being done by his buddies. That would require introspection and empathy”

    The irony of that statement.

  9. says

    “But leaving that aside, and giving you the point for the sake of argument, you’ve clearly picked a side yourself.”

    “He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathers not with me scatters”

    Where have we heard this before?

  10. says

    Iamcuriousblue, you couldn’t or wouldn’t point to anyone actually objecting to adapting the Geek Feminism harassment policy despite you repeating multiple times that they did. Can you point to specific behaviors you consider bullying that have happened here at FtB? You know, actual links and descriptions of why that behavior is bullying.

  11. Stacy says

    He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathers not with me scatters

    You missed the point, iacb; whether deliberately or out of stupidity I cannot say.

  12. Stacy says

    “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

    I can quote the buybul too.

  13. says

    Well, Stephanie, I’d say that the constant piling on and gutter level name calling to anybody who even slightly disagrees with the consensus around these parts amounts to a form of bullying. Or are you going to deny that this is a big part of the atmosphere at FTB.

    How about rhetoric by PZ Myers to how they “gave a good spanking” to some blogger or another who you disagree with? How about YOUR snide claim that you and other FTB commentators “beat on” other commentators they don’t like: http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/06/15/holy-fucking-shit/#comment-76666

    How about FTBs constant warring with other parts of the skeptical community such as JREF and CFI? How about the long list of shit this “community” pulls, nicely summed up by Chris Willett here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/06/21/schroedingers-threat/#comment-78665

    Stacy and Maureen: Yep, just keep up the name-calling. Way to prove my point.

  14. dogeared, spotted and foxed says

    Iamcuriousblue, so I took Phil G’s advice. I went to ERV, I clicked on recent comments. Suffice to say, I failed to find any goodwill.

    Were I to post there, what do you suppose the response would be?

  15. says

    “Iamcuriousblue, so I took Phil G’s advice. I went to ERV, I clicked on recent comments. Suffice to say, I failed to find any goodwill.

    Were I to post there, what do you suppose the response would be?”

    Well, I imagine the response would be pretty assholish. Kind of like what I’m seeing here.

    But way to miss my point. Like that in some way justifies the overwhelming climate of hostility here, and not just toward ERVers?

    This kind of “They started it!” line of argument is pretty childish, don’t you think?

  16. says

    Stacy, don’t be thick with me. You called me “stupid”, and Maureen called me “irrational”, even if you both phrased it in the form of a sentence.

    And if that’s the kind of discourse you wish to engage in, great. It simply proves my point.

  17. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    you and other FTB commentators “beat on” other commentators they don’t like who make statements that express or support bigotry

    Fixed that for you.

  18. says

    Iamcuriousblue, you were *not* called names by Stacy and Maureen, and your post at 20 is tone trolling. If we’re looking for asshole behaviour on this thread… from the lurker’s point of view, that might be you. Just sayin’.

  19. Stacy says

    Stacy, don’t be thick with me. You called me “stupid”

    Actually, iamcurious, I called you a hypocrite. If pointing out hypocrisy where it occurs can be reduced to mere “name-calling” in your book, then mea culpa.

    If you think I’m wrong, you can counter me by explaining how you are not contributing to the tribalism you decry by criticizing one and only one of the “tribes.” But claiming that my perspective on what you’re doing amounts to “name calling” strikes me as a not-very-credible deflection from my point. And thin-skinned, to boot.

  20. maureen.brian says

    No, dear, I said you had delusions of rationality. So either I am calling you delusional or I am putting it slightly more gently than that – just in case it is an illness you have. In the latter case you would not be to blame.

    As a matter of now proven fact you are someone who cannot discern the meaning of a single 10-word sentence before the red mist descends. That was a figure of speech, by the way.

  21. says

    Stacy: Right, because calling somebody “irrational” or “delusional” and saying somebody has “delusions of rationality” is *so* different and not name-calling at all. I leave you to your rationalizations. Deflection? That presumes I owe a response to each and everything you say, and so far, you haven’t said much that dignifies a greater response then I’ve given.

    Your accusation of “contributing to tribalism” is just a massive case of “You too”! I’ve already mention that I think ERV is pretty assholish. I also think in the context of the skeptical community, ERV is small potatoes, whereas FTB stirs up a whole lot of needless strife and bullying beyond the confines of FTB just by sheer numbers.

    Xanthe: Tone trolling? Well, considering tone, in this case the extremely hateful tone that is endemic to FTB, “tone” is part of the issue. And as a matter of fact, the claim that being “right” (or –cough– “on the side of oppressed”) gives one license to be a no-holds-barred asshole is a big part of the problem.

  22. dogeared, spotted and foxed says

    Iamcuriousblue, do you honestly feel that you are being bullied within this thread?

  23. smhll says

    I don’t want to argue minutia with them. I’m tired of seeing people bend over backwards to educate them, only to watch the conversation derail into trivia.

    Quoted for truth.

  24. says

    I am very amused by the list provided at @15 that ostensibly catalogues all the “shit” that FtB “pulls”. Seriously? A list major conflagrations where someone else was the aggressor???

    So we’re all supposed to get along and have no ideological differences, and when someone comes along to say “OMG DON’T SAY ‘guys don’t do that’ BECAUSE THAT’S MISANDRIST AND WILL KEEP ME FROM GETTING LAID” we’re supposed to, what, thank them for their input and write a post about how awful Rebecca Watson was? That’s how we are supposed to react when other people are bullying us, by pretending everything’s fine just fine, and throwing those people under the bus whom the trollitariat attack?

    If that’s what the shape of this movement should be in your estimation, you can bloody well have it. Because it won’t last long.

  25. says

    Iamcuriousblue says:

    Stacy, don’t be thick with me. You called me “stupid”, and Maureen called me “irrational”, even if you both phrased it in the form of a sentence.

    Gasp! The horror!

    Now do you have anything to say about your compatriots taunting rape victims?

    God, you’re pathetic.

  26. A nym too says

    IACB – does somebody need a hug?

    If this is distressing you so much that you’re flailing around like an epileptic octopus, then stop it.

    Click the little red X in the top right hand corner of this window. Have a nice warm drink, watch The Blue Planet, and have a nap.

  27. says

    A Nym Too has made an excellent suggestion, actually. May I recommend some blueberry green tea, if you can find it? It’s really quite soothing, especially when I need to calm my blood pressure after someone says something awful about me.

  28. says

    Iamcuriousblue, if one were to believe your blanket accusation, all of FTB is compromised by the same ‘endemic’ assholish behaviour. This risible claim is undermined by the fact that every single blog has different moderation practices, and to varying degrees a different commentariat. It sounds to me like you got a poor reception over at Pharyngula, where civility is valued less than having robust, just arguments, and now want to have a whinge on any other blog that will tolerate your tone trolling. If so, you really should read George Waye’s comment on the recent thread, “An open letter to the tone troll”.

    Not all discussions deserve civility. Not all positions deserve respect. For example, if Jason suddenly decided to post a blog thread arguing that gay people should be rounded up and placed in concentration camps (an idea apparently publicly preached by some crackpot pastor in the US), it would not be worthy of polite dissent. Open bigotry like that does not deserve the oxygen of fair debate, and even-handedness in treatment, because it places the fair-minded rebuttal on the same level as the bigotry.

    If anything, I think the moderation at FTB often allows the bullies more than their fair share of the discussion anyway. For example, at Greta’s blog recently she had not one, but two threads derailed by people bending over backwards to deny that harassing behaviour was actually harassing behaviour. One of the derailleurs there has changed his pseudonym in the last year; I remember the same guy derailing threads at the old, pre-FTB version of B&W because he was obsessed about the source of the Elevatorgate meltdown being what Rebecca had said about Stef McGraw, not about the mild ‘guys, don’t do that’ which sent people like Trevor Boeckmann into paroxysms of ‘Dear Rebecca, Fuck you’.

    Over at the BlackSkeptics blog, the lax moderation there allowed a very well-argued guest post be savaged by some of the usual suspects from the slimepit, and the guest poster bullied. He acquitted himself very well, but it was frustrating to see what could have been an interesting comments thread completely obliterated by trolling.

    Finally, I was one of a number of trans posters to attempt to make contributions to some discussions on transgender issues over at WWJTD, only to be disrespected by multiple tone deaf posters who wanted to play ‘Just Asking Questions’, who refused to listen to the answers to their questions, and who were in the end rewarded for their otherwise obnoxious and objectionable behaviour by having remained ‘civil’ in the sense of not succumbing to the use of invective. Instead, JT – the other JT, Eberhard – turned up like the bad sheriff in a spaghetti Western and shot the wrong ne’er-do-wells. As a result, the people like myself who were attempting to argue or present a side of the issue in good faith felt completely used and abused by the bad moderation, and that that particular blog is not a ‘safe space’ – in the technical definition of the term – where trans people can openly discuss issues without being subjected to attacks.

    So, I think it is obviously untrue and unfair to smear the entirety of FTB with the broad brush of ‘endemic’ bad behaviour – go have a look at each of the blogs to see what the commentariat is like, what standards are enforced, how issues like trolling, bullying, ‘JAQ’ing off, and assholish behaviour are handled (or not), before you make such an easily dismissable claim.

  29. julian says

    Right, because calling somebody “irrational” or “delusional” and saying somebody has “delusions of rationality” is *so* different and not name-calling at all.

    It’s no different than calling someone ignorant or mistaken. I’m often irrational and mistaken, largely ignorant of science and on the odd occasion deluded (especially about how relevant/insightful my observations are).

  30. Stacy says

    Right, because calling somebody “irrational” or “delusional” and saying somebody has “delusions of rationality” is *so* different and not name-calling at all

    I did not call you irrational or delusional.

    I leave you to your rationalizations.

    What am I rationalizing? Sure you’re not projecting, here?

    Deflection? That presumes I owe a response to each and everything you say, and so far, you haven’t said much that dignifies a greater response then I’ve given

    Now you are being dishonest. I presume no such thing. You could have chosen not to respond to me, but you did not make that choice. You responded to me but not to what I actually said. That is a deflection.

    What I said was: 1) You cannot deal with bullies by ignoring them, and 2) You have picked a side yourself.

    You responded by, in effect, accusing me of saying “you’re not with us so you’re against us!” Um, no. That was clearly not my point. Either of them.

    Your accusation of “contributing to tribalism” is just a massive case of “You too”

    It is not “just” tu quoque. If you think we’re being too tribal, how is repeatedly weighing in on one side helping?

    It’s also an observation of hypocrisy on your part.

    I’ve already mention that I think ERV is pretty assholish.

    The problem is not that they’re assholish. They call women gendered slurs, they attack certain individuals and troll their blogs, and they misrepresent–read, lie–about their perceived enemies.

    There is a big difference between that and being “assholish”.

  31. says

    One small point of clarification. An implication of my post #34 which I immediately wish to recant, having reread it, suggests I’m saying that the moderation of the BlackSkeptics blog is always lax – I should have instead said, the particular thread that was attacked and derailed by the slime-pitters was in my recollection very slackly moderated (which says nothing about any other thread on the rest of the blog).

    This might be a general problem with the WordPress style of comment approval: once a commenter has had one comment approved by the blog owner, they can comment until the cows come home, unless they trip the moderation or spam filter somehow. There doesn’t seem to be a way to punish posters who argue in bad faith except to put them on explicit moderation, which many blog owners are unwilling to do since it creates extra work for them, having to approve every single subsequent comment by that poster.

    For example, the well-known anti-feminist troll David Byron took a shine to this blog at one stage, and was derailing threads so hard that he had to be put on moderation, but that was an extreme case, wasn’t it Jason?

  32. says

    Yes — I’ve put a few people in moderation, Byron included. Most of the ERVites are in moderation now, after I tried to have an honest-to-dog conversation with John Greg and his anti-“gender-feminism”, and still to this day they whisper sweet nothings into my ear.

    Moderation means you choose for each individual comment whether that person’s comment is displayed. But if you have it email you every comment regardless, like I do, then you still get to read it all.

    I know exactly how much they hate me, and all the lies they think about me.

    And it’s not just them. I’ve put a few other people in moderation for blatantly and repeatedly lying about me, one of whom is a feminist and one of whom is a genderqueer. It’s not about tribalistically shielding you from their words — I’ve let quite a few through moderation despite them heaping opprobrium on me and my commenters. It’s that they simply aren’t adding to the conversation, and once they lose their privilege to post here after abusing it, I get to decide when and where they steal the microphone to interject.

    In my blog’s case, I have it set so that all posters can post freely and anonymously. Other blogs might have it so you have to be registered to post (e.g. Pharyngula), or you have to have a post that gets through moderation once (e.g. En Tequila Es Verdad). I’ve considered changing it, and I might if spam gets too bad, but for now, you’re through moderation and live on the page instantly, until you piss me off. I have ~10 people in moderation status give or take, though way more than that for different IPs and nyms, because these folks do love to morph.

  33. says

    Xanthe – the problem is that the mentality here that “not all ideas are worthy of respect” has translated into “anything that disagrees with the party line in any way is unworthy of respect”. And you damn well know that anybody who agreed with you on 99% of your beliefs, but challenged you on 1% would be dismissed as a “concern” troll. Or a “derailer”.

    Stacy writes:

    “The problem is not that they’re assholish. They call women gendered slurs, they attack certain individuals and troll their blogs, and they misrepresent–read, lie–about their perceived enemies.”

    And FTBers can be accused of the same things. Plenty of name calling in these parts, much of it just as vile as the “gendered slurs” which apparently you consider to be inherently worse for poltical reasons. FTB *definitely* singles out certain individuals (DJ Grothe has been “witch of the week” several times now) and how truthful FTB is about what they say about them is pretty disputable, and, yes, I’ve seen FTBers at other blogs making trolly comments. You do not convince me in the least that FTB has applied a higher standard to their own behavior than that which they criticize.

    “how is repeatedly weighing in on one side helping?”

    And this is so much bullshit. I’ve never said that the problem is only with one side, but it’s this side I’m directly addressing here. Also, I think just based on sheer numbers and a level of hostility toward a hell of a lot more of the skeptical community than just ERV, FTB plays a major role in the poisonous atmosphere currently in the skeptic/atheist community/milieu/whatever you want to call it.

    And for dog’s sake, this kind of “if you’re against us, then your an agent for our enemies” is pretty laughable coming from supposed “rationalists” and “progressives”. That’s the kind of crap you hear from Faux News about anti-war demonstrators.

    One more thing – I’ve never said all of FTB is a problem. There’s definitely a notable block of FTB in the more “militant” camp, including Pharyngula, which is probably the biggest blog here, but there are also a few like Uncredible Hallq that don’t take part in this crap and have even dissented against it. (And UH features a higher percentage of posts that discuss topics with some intellectual depth, as one would expect from “rationalist” blogs – imagine that.) Kudos to them.

  34. says

    Bullshit, Iamcuriousblue, the ERVites are provocateurs and bullies. They’re not interested in an honest debate, and having seen your handiwork elsewhere I am wondering to what degree you fall into that mould yourself, seeing as seem to enjoy pulling the ‘both sides are at fault’ false equivalence crap, as a result of you having an obvious dislike for the Pharyngula militant camp. Perhaps with good reason since you didn’t get a warm reception over there; but then again, this is just the old honey and vinegar thing again: maybe Pharyngula is not for you?

    Thanks also for your presumption that I am happy to cut people off because of the 1% difference despite 99% agreement on everything else. Treating me with utter disrespect and libelling me, as those people would be inclined to do given the opportunity, is not a question of they ‘challenged you on 1%’ which I didn’t like. It’s an actual rift that I am not prepared to deal with people like that.

    I don’t read Chris Hallquist very much, and yes, I noticed his entry into the current debate. To be honest, it reminded me of last year, reading Stef McGraw’s blog and listening to Rose St Clair’s YouTube that were critical of Rebecca Watson’s YouTube anecdote: those criticisms were superficial, naïve, and missed the point, and as one of Stephanie’s recent threads (Elisions) illustrated in parallel, the reason they missed the point was because a large amount of context had been entirely jettisoned to create a straw argument representation of Rebecca’s position. This doesn’t mean I would ostracise Chris by any means, even though he rather doubled down on his position in his thread. Contrarily, I did not feel safe entering that thread to offer my opinion – which would have argued contra Chris in good faith – because the comments had already been infected by the slime-pitters who don’t argue in good faith.

  35. Stacy says

    much of it just as vile as the “gendered slurs” which apparently you consider to be inherently worse for poltical reasons

    “Political reasons”? O.o

    So being rude to an individual is just as bad as smearing a whole group of people based on gender?

    I don’t think so. I also don’t think insulting somebody by using a slur based on race or sexual orientation is equivalent to inviting one’s interlocutor to perform an autoerotic act with a porcupine.

    One insult is directed at an individual. The other is directed at a group of people. People who have been marginalized.

    Let’s cut to the chase: no, the arguments with ERV, and with DJ Grothe, are not about “name-calling”. A rude atmosphere obtains on certain blogs, no question. Don’t like it? Don’t post there.

    this kind of “if you’re against us, then your an agent for our enemies” is pretty laughable

    Yeah, that would be pretty laughable. Nobody’s said that, though, despite your attempt to reduce what I said to that, so it’s kind of a moot point.

    So your problem is that FtB are the big kids on the block, and some of them aren’t nice when they disagree with certain people. You’re not terribly interested in the content of the disagreements, but you want us to know that you think we’re a bunch of meanies.

    OK. Your concern is noted.

  36. says

    Xanthe:

    “Bullshit, Iamcuriousblue, the ERVites are provocateurs and bullies.”

    Fine, it’s all “them”, you have the absolutely high ground, and are 100% right. If that’s your mindset, I’m certainly not going to be able to talk you down from it. But don’t think that kind of self-righteousness excuses bad behavior in any way.

    and having seen your handiwork elsewhere I am
    wondering to what degree you fall into that mould yourself,

    ENEMY! ENEMY!

    “Thanks also for your presumption that I am happy to cut people off because of the 1% difference despite 99% agreement on everything else.”

    Actually, that was directed to the collective “you”, meaning the commentariat here as a whole.

    Treating me with utter disrespect and libelling me

    And here we have a good example of the all too common rhetoric inflation. “Libel” is a pretty serious accusation (and perhaps one you should learn how to spell, much less define, before throwing it out there). Will I be seeing you in court? That would be a seriously amusing case, probably more worthy of Judge Judy than an actual courtroom.

    Stacy: If you really want to go there, then we could bring up accusations of Jason’s “homophobic” slur against DJ Grothe. And for the record, I thought that accusation was pretty off-base too, but if you want to start accusing people who are using common curse words of some kind of hate speech, be prepared to open your side up to such charges.

    And yes, the blogwarring and hatefulness of the “militant” (for lack of a better word) FTB blogs combined with the size of your community, not to mention the level of self-righteousness and moral crusading you (collectively) amp it up with (yeah, Freethoughtblogs is really striking some great blow for women’s rights and social justice, one pile-on at a time) really do make FTB the proverbial rutting elephant running through the atheist/skeptic community. By comparison, ERV is more of the obnoxious dog barking at you and nipping at your heels.

    “OK. Your concern is noted.”

    Wow, snotty *and* unoriginal. I’m impressed!

  37. says

    Iamcuriousblue,

    no, you won’t be seeing me in court any time soon – it’s not as if libel on the Internet is taken seriously for one thing, even though that’s what it is, and moreover, even where cases do end up in court there are usually quite severe limitations on the effectiveness of the litigation. First off you have the Streisand effect, which will ensure the libel is amplified a thousand times before the papers are even served; second, litigation is a crap shoot and it’s rare for damages to be awarded to the plaintiff unless there is proof they have suffered material losses from being libelled. And it’s not as if I want to waste money on lawyers.

    Despite all that, it is utterly uncontroversial and unremarkable to observe that what Abbie Smith has been cultivating over at her blog for the last year in the slimepit threads, is a libel free-for-all zone, directed at a few choice targets over here. It’s petty, obsessive hatred. The targets are mostly the bloggers here, but occasionally the commenters are libelled as well. I turned up my own name over there using a Google search, which revealed a comment implying I’m a pedophile: would you agree that is libel? If the commenter who said that about me should turn up to comment on this thread, should I engage him as capable of acting in good faith?

  38. says

    Also, IACB, to respond to one other of your sad attempts at barbing me: not everyone on the Internet follows American spelling; moreover, there is no editing facility to correct a spelling error in a comment once it’s been made – so your criticism of my spelling of ‘libelling’ is a doubly false step. I assume that’s the word you’ve highlighted: it is the more correct of the two spellings in my country, which generally prefers British usages over American. It might also be indicative of the lack of a legitimate argument on your part that you have to stoop to such low hanging fruit to attack the spelling of your interlocutor. Not very civil of you.

  39. Stacy says

    If you really want to go there, then we could bring up accusations of Jason’s “homophobic” slur against DJ Grothe. And for the record, I thought that accusation was pretty off-base too, but if you want to start accusing people who are using common curse words of some kind of hate speech, be prepared to open your side up to such charges

    Yeah! Completely the same thing! Except not!

    And you were able to think of one whole utterly unconvincing example!

    Wow, snotty *and* unoriginal. I’m impressed

    Well, I wasn’t really trying to impress you with originality, but I was trying to send a message. Let me try again, this way: you’ve made your point. I find you unconvincing. And now you’re repeating yourself, and, indeed, starting to hyperventilate.

    Fuck off.

  40. says

    To back up Xanthe:

    At Justin’s blog, I learned that I am being trotted out in conversations, in which I am not involved, by strangers, as an example of the Horde’s hypocrisy. because nobody at Pharyngula has called me out over my enjoyment of rape jokes, even ones mocking Sandusky’s victims.

  41. says

    Hi Sally,

    I saw that it got raised very early on in the thread at Justin Griffith’s place; it was seriously awful. And it could have been any commenter on FTB that the bullies decided to pick on.

    In my post at #34 I mentioned the fact that a couple of threads at WWJTD were effectively turned into ‘unsafe spaces’ by the effects of bad moderation. For obvious reasons, I would not have felt safe venturing into that comment thread at Justin’s blog, even if it had been me that was being unfairly described as a hypocrite and my views misrepresented. Why? The bullies have more power to hurt me, than I have power to hurt them.

    This is just another reason why the action of the bullies is pernicious, and has a poisonous effect on the blogs where they are allowed to take up residence.

  42. says

    Xanthe:

    I stand corrected on the UK spelling of “libelling”. And I wouldn’t even pounce on it, but for the fact that you employ the very *concept* so entirely inappropriately.

    “I turned up my own name over there using a Google search, which revealed a comment implying I’m a pedophile: would you agree that is libel?”

    Oh, hell, yes. In fact, I’ve seen that trotted out against people without grounds on other forums and called it out. What you were accusing me of didn’t even remotely rise to that level. Putting aside that I was talking about the community in general, and not you in particular, saying that you wouldn’t give somebody the benefit of the doubt over slight disagreement in an online argument is pretty damn far from something that rises to malicious damage to one’s reputation. Which is exactly why I called it out as “rhetoric inflation”.

    Stacy:

    If you want to start playing the “what you say is hate speech” game just because you’re feeling butthurt, be prepared to open up all the rhetoric at play in the argument to charges of hate or bias speech. You don’t get special dispensation against the standards you hold to others. Period.

  43. says

    Well then IACB, what exactly have I said that rises to the level of the most horrible invective “in every post”? Since you’re taking such a nuanced view on the things being said about others suddenly.

  44. says

    @47 Sally, let me just say, I consider nothing sacred whatsoever about your pet ideology, and if you want to go around throwing accusations of “misogyny” at anybody who disagrees with it, be my guest. It is pretty clear just how much your rhetoric is worth.

    As for “internet feminism”, I’m saying the ideology of the “feminist blogosphere”. Which, like many internet cliques, tends toward assholism and cliquishness and not very deep analysis.

  45. says

    I mostly only use the word “misogynist” to denote someone who actively promotes or defends memetics that actively hurt women. For instance, defending the words “cunt”, “bitch”, or saying “hysterics” and “histrionics”. Strangely, these same people were bawwwwing that I called DJ a douchebag. It’s not about giving offense — it’s about giving offense to a class of people as opposed to one person. When you call someone a sexist slur, you do splash damage to every member of that class.

  46. says

    And Sally — now that I know you’ve been smeared by these same lying asshats, if I ever encounter this particular set of lies again, I’ll happily provide the links to prove exactly what two rape jokes you found funny. (You know, the two from The Onion that were joking about the rapists, and rape culture, as opposed to rape itself. In case a search engine hits here or some other douchebag derails us on this.)

  47. says

    “Every post” is rhetorical excess on my part. But you have plenty of post where you are incredibly attacky, call those that disagree with you “trolls”, are proud that you lose your shit over people who you consider “sexist”, which seems to be defined *very* broadly by you. Don’t go claiming to be proud of your hostility, then wonder why people call you a hater.

  48. Stacy says

    be prepared to open up all the rhetoric at play in the argument to charges of hate or bias speech. You don’t get special dispensation against the standards you hold to others.

    No one should get “special dispensation,” and nobody here is arguing for it. You, however, are making a false equivalence by comparing rudeness on FtB to what goes on at ERV.

  49. says

    Which is exactly why I called it out as “rhetoric inflation”.

    Except it isn’t ‘inflation’, it’s in fact a fairly accurate description of what is going on, not least because I was able to quickly discover that if I wished, I could provide you with a link to a comment that defames my character. Me, personally. For no other reason than I commented on a blog here at FTB. No one brought up that accusation in the thread where it was conceivably of possible relevance, instead it had to be discussed elsewhere in a cesspit of the Internet. Why is that?

    If, on the other hand, we wished to find a written example that defames the character of say, Jason or Ophelia, then the task becomes quite a bit easier, since the bloggers here have been the targets of an extra-ordinary hate campaign for the last year.

  50. says

    Sally –

    Are you trying to get rhetorical with me?

    In general, I think it can mean a lot of things, with the common denominator being the belief in women’s equality. (Though I’d have to qualify that, since there are schools of feminism that see cis women as *superior* to men and trans people.) That’s the general sense (one that I have no objection to), though ideological feminism can be much narrower and more specific in its demands to follow a specific line on a number of questions.

    In the context of the ideology touted around here, I think it means a great deal more, and plays roughly the role that authoritarian Marxism played in the declining days of the New Left. Thirty years ago, the equivalents of the the people here would have been the ones with Mao wrapped around their tonsils. Now ideological feminism is the intellectual fashion. Same bullshit, different era.

  51. Stacy says

    [Meta:

    Now ideological feminism is the intellectual fashion

    They’ve been saying that for forty years. Except for a while in the 1990s, when “post-feminism” and Camille Paglia really were the intellectual fashion.]

  52. says

    And while we’re at it, I’d like an example of something false I’ve said about D.J. Grothe while “bullying” him (which, according to comment 15, means arguing really hard, just like “dogmatic”; I’m not sure why we need so many words if they all mean the same). Surely you can come up with something, particularly since I can point to his “controversialist”, “page views”, and “responsible for the declining female attendance at TAM” lies about me.

  53. says

    Hell, I’m still waiting for links to the specific bullying behaviour IACB is talking about, that Stephanie requested way up at @11. The links at @15 were less than damning of the bloggers xe’s talking about so damn much. Stephanie moderates people who are carelessly thoughtless about what they’re saying, and who are obstructionist to commentary, and therefore… we’re bullies and authoritarians who block everything outside the party line? How are you still commenting *anywhere* then?

    And the second link @15 is a list of times people have attacked one another that some of our bloggers were involved in. Do we count times when bloggers defend themselves from attack as “bullying”, rather than self defense now?

  54. says

    Jason @65: Wow, waiting a whole 30 minutes! Some of us aren’t permanently at our computers, you know.

    @61: “Really. Wow. Now with examples, please point to someone saying something on a Freethought Blog that is fascistic and in support of feminism.”

    Coming right up:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/03/16/hipster-misogyny/#comment-12114

    eulercycle says:
    March 16, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I deal with the Hipster Misogynist/Racist/Whatever “but it’s art! you can’t censor art!!” excuse all the time. And it is wrong for all the reasons you outlined, but it also bothers me in particular because art has always been a way for repressed groups to speak out. And the problem with censoring art has been that it has invariably been used by governments to suppress these persecuted communities. So now a lot of artists have a knee-jerk reaction against censoring, so when a Hipster Misogynist says “but it’s art!” a lot of artists will, understandably, react immediately by supporting the artist. But they shouldn’t, because the two cases: censorship of art produced by persecuted minorities, censorship of hipster art appropriating narratives of persecuted minorities, are completely different.

    So here we have the claim that people only deserve protection of basic civil liberties, such as free speech, insofar as they are a member of a historically marginalized group, and members of historically dominant groups should be perfectly liable to have their speech censored. Sorry, but that’s pretty damn fascistic in my book, even if it supposedly does serve the interests of the marginalized. (Not to mention, even if that idea had any merit in itself, who gets to claim to be the “oppressed” group getting the spoils of such entitlement is absolutely open to political jockeying between interest groups, as any observation of anti-trans/anti-sexworker “radical feminism” would show.)

    If that’s the kind of politics the “militant” mob at FTB supports, I’m quite proud to be in the opposition!

    Sally Strange: At this point, I don’t think you’re arguing in good faith, but just being an asshole, something I gather from your previous writing you excel at. You want to know what “authoritarian” means, grab a dictionary. I think the passage I quoted above well defines an approach to feminism or “social justice” that is clearly authoritarian.

  55. says

    Wrong. 65 wasn’t a request for you to hurry up about my request at 61, it was a request for something a little more substantive than what you gave at 15. Read for comprehension please.

    I don’t particularly support the idea that these people should be “censored” from making their horrid misogynist art that the commenter you pointed to has apparently advocated. I do, however, advocate that they shouldn’t be exempt from criticism for their shitty misogyny because it’s art.

    You have the right to speak. We’ll judge you for it though. Just like you have the right to stand on a street corner and scream obscenities at passers-by until someone arrests you for making a public disturbance, you have the right to make all the nasty evil art you want that perpetuates all the hatred you so choose, but people will see that art and will recognize that you are a hateful person because of it.

    All that notwithstanding, this commenter did not advocate that the government censor these things. It’s not censorship when someone shouts down an odious idea in the “marketplace of ideas”. If your idea doesn’t find purchase, it’s because the public is against it. And if FtB is against ideas like rampant misogyny, I’m very proud to be part of this community too.

    Now try again. Find something actually fascistic.

  56. says

    That’s what you’ve got?! That’s the fascist feminism “we” support?

    Go ahead, people, and follow that link. See what kind of support that maybe-possibly-referring-to-government-censorship-but-probably-not comment got. It’s truly terrifying to see how people jumped on the bandwagon of…saying, “Yes, we can criticize art.” Fucking fascists, they are.

  57. says

    Let’s count up all the things that are bullying and its “synonyms”.

    – Criticizing art (which = fascism)
    – Defending one’s self from attack (which = bullying)
    – Arguing forcefully (which = dogma)
    – Having more than one person agree that something is a poor argument (which = mob)

    Now let’s itemize that which isn’t.

    – Engaging in a years-long campaign to harass certain individuals
    – Defaming individuals by lying about them repeatedly in numerous places
    – Attacking the perceived “weak” targets, like rape victims

    Have I missed any?

  58. says

    So, moving goalposts, are we? The term used in the post was “censorship” and I take it as such, and like anybody who happens to believe in little things like basic individual rights, find that pretty objectionable.

    I damn well know the difference between that and criticizing, objecting to, or even protesting art, media, or writing one disagrees with. Such as what I’m doing now. If you’re going to strawman the fuck out of what I’m saying, that says more about you than it does about me.

  59. says

    So here we have the claim that people only deserve protection of basic civil liberties, such as free speech, insofar as they are a member of a historically marginalized group, and members of historically dominant groups should be perfectly liable to have their speech censored. Sorry, but that’s pretty damn fascistic in my book, even if it supposedly does serve the interests of the marginalized. (Not to mention, even if that idea had any merit in itself, who gets to claim to be the “oppressed” group getting the spoils of such entitlement is absolutely open to political jockeying between interest groups, as any observation of anti-trans/anti-sexworker “radical feminism” would show.)

    Ummm, perhaps I’m missing something here. But to be fascist don’t you have to also be racist? If so, then I’m not seeing how this comment is fascist. Nor do I see a call for a dictator to decide what is hipster misogyny or hipster racism. And I don’t see anyone calling for oppression through terror and censorship.

    Do you honestly believe that it’s okay for a white rapper to say the n-word ironically? If not, why is it no okay to ask that they not use it? And if so? Well I guess I have nothing more to say.

  60. says

    “Defending one’s self from attack”

    *If* that’s in fact what you’re doing. A less partisan observer might see otherwise, namely FTB going on the offensive in a big way.

    And, in any event, I’m sure if you asked the ERV crowd, they’d just say they’re defending themselves too. But, oh, you’re “right” and I should take your version of things as gospel.

  61. says

    No, telling you that you don’t understand the words you’re using is not moving the goalposts.

    Fascism includes censorship BY THE GOVERNMENT, not “censorship” by criticizing the thing that should never have been added to the public discourse but was anyway because it wasn’t censored. Just because the commenter used the word doesn’t free you from reading for comprehension.

  62. says

    And now accusations that you have to take my word as dogma. Riiiiiight. This after saying “they did it first isn’t an excuse”.

    So ERVites attack, and we’re not allowed to defend. If we do, then we’re being bullies. Why are you stacking the deck in favor of the people who hate us so much, if you aren’t invested in tribalism and explicitly in the “tribe” that just wants us all to shut up so badly that they’re willing to bully “disagree using adult words” for YEARS?

  63. says

    “But to be fascist don’t you have to also be racist?”

    Um, no, not by a long shot. Even if I’m talking about Fascism in the strict historical sense, a precondition of that would be *nationalism*, not racism. (And “nation” does not necessarily equal “race”.) And if you’re using “fascist” as shorthand for “authoritarian” (and you can object to the specifics of that – I’m just using the word Jason introduced to the conversation), I see no precondition for nationalism or racism at all.

  64. says

    here we have the claim that people only deserve protection of basic civil liberties, such as free speech, insofar as they are a member of a historically marginalized group, and members of historically dominant groups should be perfectly liable to have their speech censored.

    That is a very uncharitable and hyperbolic reading. Looks to me like the author is urging a more receptive stance to critiques of art that are sociological, while expressing sympathy to the automatic anti-censorship stance most people take.

    I thought you were a fan of nuance.

    I’m adding “fascist” to my list of words you should define–IF you are wanting a good faith discussion.

  65. says

    Look. I am growing very tired of these baseless repeated accusations, deck stacking, goalpost-shifting (since YOU’RE the one doing it, not us!), complete misapprehension of the language being used, et cetera.

    So I’m going to do something kind for you, IACB. I’m going to put you in moderation. That way people won’t pile onto your shitty argumentation overnight while I’m not looking, thus “bullying” you.

    How about you try to find something actually fascistic (e.g. authoritarian, yes, I’m using it as shorthand) and make an actual case that one of us is actually advocating something like that? Preferably, this time, a top level blogger. It should be easy to find something like that on my own blog, considering how every post is invective, right?

    So you go ahead and try to do that while I go get a good night’s sleep. I’ll check the moderation queue in the morning and release whatever’s closest to actually making a coherent case.

  66. says

    Jason @73:

    For fuck sake, Jason, can you even begin to argue in good faith? I understand perfectly well what *censorship* means, even if you don’t. It means either censorship by a government (either a priori or by punishment after the fact) or a non-state entity that uses violence or other coercive force to similarly silence a point of view.

    I am not including under censorship banning someone from your blog (which might be cowardly, but not censorship) or a gallery not carrying a piece of art they find offensive or just shitty art.

    I’ll also count as borderline censorship things like Morality in Media using boycotts to get certain programing off the air, or, say, attempts by some to have a “geek feminist” policy against “sexualized” imagery adopted across the board in so many venues that it amounts to an across the board ban.

    I understand such distinctions even if you don’t quite seem to get them.

    The poster in question used the word “censorship” with no clarification that they did not mean state censorship, so I take them at their word.

  67. says

    Jason, the bullies’ bahaviour doesn’t just remind me.pf Christians.

    It reminds me.of right-wingers. They get to have their own major networks twisting up conspiracy theories, strawmen and pure bullshit, and if we don’t give their craziness the time of day, or worse yet go on the attack and call out their pattern of disingenuity and dishonesty, we get them plus a fucktonne of “centrists” whining about how we’re biased closed-minded bullies.

    -sigh- it’s fucking disheartening.

  68. karmakin says

    It’s not like there’s no overlap there.

    Like it or not this sort of thing is going to be almost an eternal conflict within the skeptic community. There’s simply no way around it, like it or not. Yes, you will be told when people think that your ideas and actions harm other people around you. Yes you will not like it. But that’s the way it works.

    Social pressure and influence are only wrong not because the pressure and influence are wrong (they’re unavoidable, for what it’s worth), but because they are regarding things that would be negative and harmful to change. It’s not hurting you to not have booth babes. Really.

    Now, IACB, I’ll give you a point somewhere, although you’re probably too filled with the blind RAAAAAGGGGEEE to realize it. I do think that on occasion that on our side people have been less than clear on what exactly is being pushed for. There really is an automatic mental link between strong moralistic (what people are calling being “dogmatic”) views and extremism. It’s probably a fallacy, of course, but I think it’s generally speaking something that we all fall for to some degree, but it’s nobodies fault..it’s the nature of these types of arguments, but maybe we should try to account for it? But we really can’t without undercutting the moral nature of the debate. Sure! It’s fine if some people keep on being misogynistic and all that, we’ll just agree to disagree!

    Errr…no. I don’t think that’s realistic.

  69. Stacy says

    Wow. I go out to a nice dinner and what happens? Freethought Blogs goes from “bullying” and uncivil, tribalist “atmosphere” to totalitarian Maoist fascism.

    My feelings are hurt. As a semi-regular commenter, I demand in future to be kept in the loop. I don’t even have a pair of jackboots.

    …er, All hail PZed, our Coleoidean Leader.

  70. samoanbiscuit says

    Wow. Just wow. You people have so much patience when dealing with someone who vomits wordspam so prodigiously.

  71. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    It’s been quite a spectacle: an ostensibly tone-focused commenter claiming martyrdom at the hands of childish dishonest hateful snotty militant fascists, while the rest calmly debunk.

  72. says

    SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says:

    iacb, what is feminism?

    The reason he can’t get a girlfriend. If you poke most of these misogynistic little manchildren hard enough, that’s what it usually amounts to.

  73. says

    or, say, attempts by some to have a “geek feminist” policy against “sexualized” imagery adopted across the board in so many venues that it amounts to an across the board ban.

    Amazingly enough, that policy asks that the venue itself not engage in “sexualized imagery” which sets a tone of “objectification of women is hereby officially part of this venue” and helps to create a chilly climate for them. This is the difference between hosting a wet t-shirt contest, and having someone come in out of the rain with a soaked white t-shirt.

    If you want sexualized imagery, e.g. people in bikinis or doing sexually suggestive (or explicit) things, there are plenty of venues that’ll oblige. Why does the freethought movement absolutely have to include officially-sanctioned sexual objectification lest people like you cry “censorship”? And when has it been a problem committing to that? Do you think Dawkins should hawk The God Delusion at a booth at TAM wearing nothing but a speedo? Do you think Penn and Teller should be allowed to add strippers to their live show for everyone to ogle?

    Methinks you protest too much.

  74. A nym too says

    Fascist. Hmm. I don’t wish to Godwin up the thread, but I’m pretty sure fascism is what killed a good chunk of my family, and about eleven million others in camps, plus about forty million others who died in occupied territories.

    Apparently not though. As IACB has pointed out (so kindly and patiently too) fascism is actually arguing against the defence of oppressive language.

    Wow, thanks IACB! I consider myself schooled. I know English is a rapidly morphing language, but that was quite a shift.

  75. says

    In fairness, I used “fascism” as a shorthand for “authoritarianism” but IACB rolled with it. But yes, it does say exactly where xe was going with it, and it does inform why xe’s wrong.

  76. says

    #87 Um, yes, as a matter of fact, I do prefer sleeping to beating at your cyber door all night. (#78 summed up anything immediate I had wanted to respond to.) It also might come as news to you that not everybody on the internet is in the same time zone.

    Now on to more substantial matters, #89 and #90, um, yes, as a matter of fact, Jason, you *did* introduce the term “fascism” to mean “authoritarianism”, and I quite clearly pointed out in #75 that I was just going with that usage. But, hey, invoke Godwin on me over that for cheap debate points. It’s a good substitute for debating in good faith.

    #88: First, I’ve never said that individual venues can’t regulate what imagery can be displayed. It’s the all “geek” venues everywhere push that I have a problem with. As I discussed elsewhere, I gave some examples of vendors like Seduction Cinema and Justine Joli that would be banned from DragonCon if such a policy were implemented and a number of people defending the policy conceded it would do just that. Also, Ask an Atheist in their recent critique has discussed how such a policy would likely prohibit a forum they want to have on sexuality as part of a conference they’re taking part in.

    And considering the push to have such an overreaching policy implemented across the board in what might be broadly defined as “geek” spaces (never mind that DragonCon and a professional engineering conference are places where one can and should expect a very different atmosphere), yes, I do think the push for such a policy to be adopted widely is pretty fucking problematic from a free speech point of view. Now I’ll probably hear that the policy can be “modified”, which *really* doesn’t exactly square with the kneejerk defense of the policy as written. I get some *very* mixed messages from the defenders of the “geek feminist” model policy in that regard.

    (Too many to number.) As for the pithy two sentence responses by several of you – you really do think you’re clever, don’t you? Have fun with that, kiddies.

  77. says

    As I discussed elsewhere, I gave some examples of vendors like Seduction Cinema and Justine Joli that would be banned from DragonCon if such a policy were implemented and a number of people defending the policy conceded it would do just that.

    I don’t think it would, in fact. Even with the “no sexualizing language” clause. You can professionally talk sex, and you could probably sell sex toys and accurately describe exactly what they’re used for, without telling (say) audience members or debate opponents to suck their cocks. (Just the first example that comes to mind of sexualizing language.)

  78. says

    Oh, for fuck’s sake. Now Iamcuriousblue is back to claiming people are objecting to changes to the sample policy? First s/he fails to point out where that had happened here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/06/05/sexual-harassment-not-naming-names/#comment-75107 Then refuses to answer here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/06/14/sexual-harassment-and-the-opensf-conference-code-of-conduct/#comment-77420

    But, hey, it’s been a few days since those posts, so maybe everyone forgot, right?

  79. says

    iamcuriousblue is so opposed to internet bullying and personal attacks that they go around leaving comments like this on a commenter’s personal blog:

    Or maybe, Setar, because you’re a cowardly little shit who’s only good at oh so bravely badgering people you disagree with in 10 on 1 pile-ons in comments sections of blogs where you know most people support you. Bet you aren’t much one on one, intellectually or as a person.

    http://lordsetar.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/why-i-refuse-to-debate-in-person/#comments

    If I now call iacb a hypocrite, am I bullying them?

  80. says

    @95 Sally Strange:bf,w-sp
    You are, in fact bullying them. You see, iacb called Setar a bully first, thus nullifying their own culpability as a bully.
    See how that works?

    Wait….
    You called iacb a bully, so does that mean you aren’t a bully either?
    You can’t be a bully if you bully a bully but if a bully bullies you for bullying a bully then they….Oh for fuck sakes…

    I give up….

  81. Stacy says

    The poster in question used the word “censorship” with no clarification that they did not mean state censorship, so I take them at their word

    lol. Here we have iacb’s intellectual honesty and acumen laid out for all to see.

    Yes, in casual communication, jumping to the most extreme possible interpretation of a word demonstrates both good faith and sensible interpretation skills.

    (And I point out that that single comment, which was not posted by an FtB blogger or afaik even regular commenter, was the best, and only, example iacb could offer to prove xir claim of authoritarianism on the part of FtB.)

    Have fun with that, kiddies.

    It is fun, thanks for making it easy! :)

  82. Stacy says

    If I now call iacb a hypocrite, am I bullying them

    I called him one way back in comment #13. He didn’t even contest it, probably because the evidence is overwhelming.

  83. smhll says

    “Every post” is rhetorical excess on my part.

    You can’t fucking use rhetorical excess when crusading for people to tone it down and be more polite. If you want people to be more fair and more accurate and show more intellectual depth, then rein it in yourself. Resist the dark pull of parody and exaggeration and cheap shots.

  84. dean says

    It is possible to summarize iacb’s posts very succinctly.

    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

  85. John Horstman says

    @93: Ze’s missing the distinction between “sexualizing” and “sexual”, though since ze’s not particularly careful with language (or very careful and just lying and intentionally misusing terms), that’s not surprising.

  86. says

    Re-visiting here a few days later just to point out one or two things. First up, smhll made this reasonable point:

    You can’t fucking use rhetorical excess when crusading for people to tone it down and be more polite. If you want people to be more fair and more accurate and show more intellectual depth, then rein it in yourself. Resist the dark pull of parody and exaggeration and cheap shots.

    Notably, I was one of those accused of rhetorical excess (in IACB’s #42 “And here we have a good example of the all too common rhetoric inflation.”) which is deliciously ironic, because he engaged in a particularly gross example of it himself, which I’ll lay out in parts.

    I had seen IACB’s writings elsewhere on FTB before entering this thread; these had given me a certain impression, which I fair-mindedly stated I was trying not to hold against him in spite of him trying to defend the side of the bullies, but that it was nontheless a consideration:

    Bullshit, Iamcuriousblue, the ERVites are provocateurs and bullies. They’re not interested in an honest debate, and having seen your handiwork elsewhere I am wondering to what degree you fall into that mould yourself…

    The phrase “I am wondering” is there precisely to speculate how far IACB would go in defending the indefensible; moreover, it is there to distinguish him from the bullies and point out that I am not considering him as being one with them. Guess what his reply to this was?

    ENEMY! ENEMY!

    Hilarious. In fact it seems most of the animus seems to be due to his confusion that often I am referring to the ERVites, whereas he thinks I’m addressing him; or that I have explicitly conflated him with the ERVites, when as I have just demonstrated, I did not. I won’t attribute the entire blame for the misunderstanding, since my language is sometimes oblique and I could have made that distinction far clearer. And anyway, it’s all over red rover, and we have a new game of ‘gotcha!’ being played today by the bullies. Groundhog Day number #360+.

  87. says

    Today’s gotcha seems to be the PZ/RW Twitter blocking thing, since Rebecca mis-remembered an anti-feminist douchenozzle saying one insult to her, when he actually used a completely different insult. Rhys Morgan and Hayley Stevens have a couple of good posts over at the heresy club.

  88. says

    Jesus fuck. And the usual illogical suspects turn up in comments to fan the flames, too.

    What gets me about this is the tactic is working. A year of concerted attacks actually is having damaging effects on our respective psychology. Admitting that, though, gives hope to the hateful fucks.

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