Holding clay feet to witch-burning fires

One of the more ridiculous memes that’s gained a disproportionate amount of traction in the freethought community is that of “witch hunts”. It’s the idea that there’s some roving band of bloggers and commenters hunting for the least appearance of deviation from the One True Path and punishing with extreme prejudice without evidence or empathy. It’s that if you dare speak up, you’ll be unfairly tarred and silenced and black-bagged and murdered and possibly eaten.

This band is invariably called “FTB”, “FTBullies”, “FTB and Skepchick”, or some mutation of the network’s name that includes the word “from” or “feminist”. Lately the smear also applies to atheism plus — mostly because that label, in being inclusive of outgroups, makes an outgroup of bigots and misogynists. Doesn’t matter if the people involved are actually from either network — it’s enough to use our site name as a shibboleth, to associate it with this opposition-to-the-haters as though that’s somehow a bad thing.

What’s actually going on here, though, is significantly different.
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A public service to koalas and skeptics

An image has been circulating recently throughout the intertubes depicting a wet koala looking absolutely terrifying with its hideous fangs:

Turns out that’s a fake.

The real image shows grumpiness, but not viciousness. Some wags apparently ‘shopped in a wolf jaw or something. Mind, koalas aren’t very sociable even if they’re not befanged. Don’t pet them. They have long claws.

Funny how many people got suckered in by that meme.

CONvergence: Doomsday Scenarios

Another of the three panels I was on, audio only unfortunately. Do let me know if the questions from the audience aren’t audible, I might be able to normalize the volume some. I’m not terribly experienced with Audacity, but I’m willing to play with it some more if you have problems.

Also on the panel were biologist and medium-calibre blogger PZ Myers, sci-fi author Adam Whitlatch, math professor and zombie afficionado Robert Smith? (yes, the question mark is part of his real name), and The Skeptical Teacher Matt Lowry (who tried to bite PZ’s head and whapped me about with a CONvergence schedule — I’m just saying).
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Sparlock the Warrior Wizard… IS EVIL

So sayeth the Jehovah’s Witnesses. See, Sparlock is a magical toy, and Jehovah hates magical toys. What’s that? Sparlock is a fictional character, and the “magic” is fictional too? Er, um. It’s ABOUT a magical wizard, therefore magic is real.

See? Sparlock is EVIL. THERE WAS A SNAKE IN THIS ANIMATION! That’s proof enough for me!

Remember kids, don’t participate in popular culture if it involves fictional magic, because there’s only one fictional magical creature you’re allowed to talk about, and that’s Jehovah. And Jehovah will not love you very much unless you obey him, and playing with toys is totally disobeying him. (Why am I reminded of the intro to The Binding of Isaac? Next Billy’s clothes get taken away because he’s still too sinful?)

Not all the JWs agree though. There’s actually a DEEEP RIIIIFT forming in the JW community over this, believe it or not. They’re TEARING THEMSELVES APART.

Hat tip sinned34. Who doesn’t seem to blog any more. Everyone shame him now.

The GrotheBot 5000 meme

So one of our commenters who shall not be named unless xe comes forward used memegenerator.net to create a meme generator to parody DJ Grothe’s latest bout of intractability.

It’s crude, it’s crass, it’s even gross mischaracterization in many cases, and I’m willing to admit that I’ve participated in creating at least one. I’m honestly hoping it’s enough of a slap in the face to wake DJ the hell up to the fact that he’s running around being a douchebag to those women who are identifying the problem and working to solve it, instead of actually fixing the problems people are having with harassment.

He can start by listening to the recommendations of the community and implementing a strong harassment policy that covers this year and all future years. Because there’s a lot of questions floating about regarding his, and JREF’s, willingness to do either. The fact that they haven’t yet is telling.

Update: Before you get all up in arms about “douchebag”, read this.

LOLcats: the later years

The route down which all LOLcats go. So very sad.

(Trigger warning for sexual exploitation — commenters have been triggered, so seriously, this is a real trigger warning. The sexual exploitation, specifically taking pictures of this LOLcat without its consent, with multiple tiers of sexual reference at every stage, in this video. It is graphic and really fucked up.)

Via Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal Theater.
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U Can’t Touch Mormon Jesus

Remember that cartoon that explains Joseph Smith’s Christianity fanfiction? The one that would eventually become banned by Mormons for laying it all out a little too clearly? Some wags somewhere on the intertubes have finally… FINALLY… turned it into a meme.

A little hard to follow the lyrics, but after repeated listening, you can get all the lulz.