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I don’t get it

People keep sending me this cartoon, and I really don’t understand it. Is this an issue? Are there flocks of people fleeing atheism who need superstitious artifacts to ease their way? Some of the readers have been telling me to pay particular attention to the dartboard target of the crazy bearded guy in the lower left…I look at it and see Mel Gibson. WTF?

But that’s OK, they all reminded me to browse Atheist Cartoons, which has some much better cartoons that don’t feature Elvis and Mel. I particularly liked this one, which will throw everyone into a tizzy.

He dares to question your right to bacon? Burn him at the stake!

Comments

  1. shortChanged says

    What, no crystals, no tarot cards, no Satan nor wood nymph… what kind of lame AA group is this?

  2. says

    Why are they mixing religious artifacts with things like the God Delusion?
    Can someone explain the Ritz crackers to me?
    PZ dart board, that’s rich! That means you have their attention!

  3. Sili says

    Are there flocks of people fleeing atheism who need superstitious artifacts to ease their way?

    Hint:

    Alcoholics Anonymous are not trying to encourage alcoholism.

  4. Sili says

    Why are they mixing religious artifacts with things like the God Delusion?

    It’s not “The God Delusion”, it’s “‘The God Delusion’ Delusion” – one of the fleas.

  5. Physicalist says

    Holy crap! We’re starting the bacon wars now? I’m heading to my local fallout shelter.

  6. says

    My nephew and his wife just had the tip of their newborn son’s penis lopped off, but I probably shouldn’t send them this.

  7. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    I don’t get the Atheists Anonymous cartoon either. The other cartoon has some wit and a point. The AA cartoon has neither.

  8. says

    the ritz crackers are budget communion wafers

    Au contraire, Narvi. They are premium communion wafers—way better than the usual thing. Lots more folks would turn out for communion if the wafers were Ritz crackers instead of tasteless disks of pasteboard.

  9. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Okay, what’s up with the Xmas tree? Am I not supposed to celebrate Xmas since I’m an atheist? It’s not a Christian thing and it has pretty much lost its original symbolism.

    Gahflargblargl!

  10. Mattir-ritated says

    Another one here who doesn’t get the first cartoon, and neither one is particularly funny.

    Perhaps I’m one of those humor impaired atheist feminist twelve-step carnivores.

  11. says

    Audley:

    It’s not a Christian thing

    No, it’s not. Or at least, it’s not supposed to be.

    Jeremiah:

    10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

    10:3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

    10:4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

    Damn heathens.

  12. Mattir-ritated says

    I believe that it’s acceptable for atheists to celebrate Christmas, but I’ve gotten considerable shit from Christmas-celebrating atheists for celebrating Jewish holidays. The cultural hegemony of Christianity seems to endure even once the magic sky fairy and dead-Jew-on-a-stick are abandoned.

  13. Sili says

    Okay, what’s up with the Xmas tree? Am I not supposed to celebrate Xmas since I’m an atheist? It’s not a Christian thing and it has pretty much lost its original symbolism.

    We know that. The Christians refuse to accept that it can be about anything but Christ.

  14. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Mattir:

    I believe that it’s acceptable for atheists to celebrate Christmas, but I’ve gotten considerable shit from Christmas-celebrating atheists for celebrating Jewish holidays.

    That totally sucks. Mr Darkheart and I celebrate both Christian and Jewish holidays* but we’ve never caught any flack for it.

    Caine,
    *snerk!* That is so awesome.

    *Well, the big ones anyway.

  15. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Also: What fucking voodoo doll? I don’t see any voodoo dolls.

  16. Sili says

    Also: What fucking voodoo doll? I don’t see any voodoo dolls.

    The little strawman right in front of the leader.

  17. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Sili:
    The thing that looks like a frog? That’s a piss poor representation of a voodoo doll IMHO.

    Meh, whatever. I don’t get this cartoon, anyway.

  18. nemo the derv says

    The christmas tree is a representation of Yggdrasil.

    Yknow, the tree that Odin hung himself from for nine days after impaling himself on his own spear. The one where he placed his eye on top of after plucking it from his skull.

    I don’t know why people gave up Norse mythology for xianity. It’s much more colorful.

    So next christmas, instead of putting a star on top of the tree, do like I do. Put an eye up there. Mine looks like Sauron’s.

  19. harold says

    Mattir –

    I believe that it’s acceptable for atheists to celebrate Christmas, but I’ve gotten considerable shit from Christmas-celebrating atheists for celebrating Jewish holidays.

    As a lifelong Christmas loving non-religious person (raised in a Christian church that did not traumatize me or teach me to be a bigot), let me tell you that those people are bigots. Hopefully they will improve. Without meaning to create a shit storm, I see skepticism toward religious claims as a positive thing, but not as something that makes people perfect. Respect for the opposite gender, atheism, vegetarianism – all pretty good ideas. (I am an omnivore personally, but vegetarianism is a positive and healthy thing to do.) None make you perfect.

    These people are also, in my opinion, not getting the idea of Christmas. A lot of bad stuff can be said about diminutive billionaire Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, but he occasionally does something I agree with. A few years ago, he referred to the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree as a “Holiday Tree”. Although I personally call it a “Christmas Tree”, I strongly endorse his terminology. The point is that Christmas is largely a secular/ecumenical celebration of generosity and good cheer, with its roots deep in pre-Christian mid-winter rituals. Mixing it with bigotry, Bill O’Reilly style, is missing the point.

  20. says

    @Sili – “‘The God Delusion’ Delusion” My duh!
    @Narvi – Ritz crackers are budget communion wafers? LOL!
    I’m glad everyone is here to set me straight!

  21. Mattir-ritated says

    On the Christian-holidays-only atheist scolds, I think it’s just that they can imagine why Christmas can be de-coupled from the magic sky fairy, but they can’t quite figure out how one could decouple other holidays from their religious origins without completely abandoning any affiliation with said religion. It’s bizarrely unimaginative.

    Having scrolled through several of the cartoons on that site, I’ve concluded that they’re about as funny as the more religiously annoying BC comic panels, and only marginally more amusing than a Chick Tract. Probably the cartoonist is No True Atheist™.

  22. I hate the login here says

    Eh… add me to the list of people who don’t get the first cartoon.

    I get the second one, and I don’t really have an argument for it.

    Do people really think it is not privileged to eat meat?

  23. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Mattir:

    Having scrolled through several of the cartoons on that site, I’ve concluded that they’re about as funny as the more religiously annoying BC comic panels, and only marginally more amusing than a Chick Tract.

    You are far more charitable than I am. The Atheist Cartoons were fucking stupid.

  24. I hate the login here says

    Holy shit Jadehawk… fuck that cartoon you linked. That is some complete bullshit right there.

  25. harold says

    Do people really think it is not privileged to eat meat?

    That seems to me to be a semantic dispute, and the most reasonable answer in a given individual case would be heavily dependent on the context.

    Obviously, for obligate carnivore species to eat meat cannot possibly be thought of as privileged (relative to not eating meat).

    Is it/was it privileged for hunter-gatherers to eat meat? For pre-industrial agricultural or pastoral societies in regions where it is more efficient to include animal products in the diet?

    Even in some societies where meat is more or less a luxury, vegetarianism and expensive meat are associated with privilege, but cheap meat is associated with low social status. That is pretty much the case in Hindu society. It is also the case here, and in much of east Asia. Vegetarianism (sometimes associated with Buddhism) is associated with a privileged, educated class.

    Of course, I understand that you meant that eating of meat means that the human doing the eating is privileged relative to the animal being eaten, which is pretty unequivocal. Although even there, a case could be made that the relationship between humans and domestic animals is symbiotic.

    For full disclosure, I think vegetarianism is a great idea and happen to eat a lot of vegetarian meals out of choice.

    As for the other two panels – “hittin’ on” women in a threatening or excessively intrusive way is a “privilege” only in the sense that getting away with something obnoxious is a privilege. This activity is associated with both privileged men, and with extremely non-privileged lower class men. Attempting to hit on women (in an acceptable and non-obnoxious) way is unavoidable for most heterosexual men and lesbians.

    Praising Jesus in school is 100% legal. Students can praise Jesus between classes, at lunch, during recess, etc. That panel risks playing into the hands of the authoritarian right wing. They spend enough time promulgating the lie that a non-religious curriculum is the same thing as suppression of censorship of Christianity. It isn’t. I strongly support every student’s right to praise Jesus, Cthullu, or the Amazing Randi, at appropriate times.

  26. Waffler says

    I get the second one, and I don’t really have an argument for it.

    Do people really think it is not privileged to eat meat?

    Probably. But I’d imagine privilege would be invoked more to contrast the person who can afford to eat meat versus the person who cannot, rather than the person who eats the meat versus the pig that provides it.

  27. says

    Harold:

    “hittin’ on” women in a threatening or excessively intrusive way is a “privilege” only in the sense that getting away with something obnoxious is a privilege. This activity is associated with both privileged men, and with extremely non-privileged lower class men.

    :sigh: Educate yourself, petit gâteau:

    Excellent explanation of privilege

  28. Pteryxx while tussling with intestines says

    “Do people really think it is not privileged to eat meat?”

    Eh… it’s complicated. Cheap CAFO meat is cheaper than most vegetables and fruit, especially where fast food is involved. Sometimes it’s privileged to be vegetarian. *shrug*

  29. Dan says

    Lets see…

    He’s a preachy holier-than-thou vegan, he presents such a bizarre obsession with race that I suspect that “I’m not a racist, but…” and “But Chris Rock says n****r all the time, so why can’t I?” are frequent refrains in his IRL conversation…

    And above and beyond all, the greatest sin of any humor cartoonist, he’s Just. Not. Funny.

    Summation: Atheist Cartoons is just one more corner of the internet I am now aware of and need not ever visit again.

  30. says

    “Do people really think it is not privileged to eat meat?”

    Depends on the circumstances. Where I live, you have a lot of people who once ate well, good, lean, nutritious meats such as buffalo, moose and deer. Now? NDN steak, also known as Spam. Then there’s NDN bacon, also known as bologna, fried. Plenty of govt cheese, suitable for use as a doorstop.

    However, this is also farm country, so there’s access to good quality, cheap vegetables and fruits.

    Basically, diet tends to be ruled by how much money you have. The less you have, the worse the diet. I’d be more inclined to say that eating well (and healthy) is a mark of privilege.

  31. I hate the login here says

    “hittin’ on” women in a threatening or excessively intrusive way is a “privilege” only in the sense that getting away with something obnoxious is a privilege.

    I’d say harassing other people over your needs is a bit worse than that. Especially since the constant unwanted attention makes people miserable enough to completely avoid participating in things they care about. But, hey, bitches ain’t shit and are incapable of letting people know that htey are sexually attracted to them so they absolutely have to be harassed ad nauseum by every penis in the vicinity…and men got neeeeeeds that outweigh anyone else’s that absolutely can not wait for anyone else to signal interest in them.

    As for eating meat, I’m not a vegetarian, but for most people in the US who have enough money it is not a need. Symbiosis doesn’t mean things are equal either. The choice for cattle, could they make it, would be between extinction or death. Not much of a choice.

    no, I think it’s pretty much a privileged status.

    Where people’s survival is more in question I could see an argument that they can not make the sacrifice, but for the average Jane in Omaha the steak is probably just because she likes it and can do it.

    Well, fair enough. But it certainly *is* a privileged position.

    Veganism is too though, and that is what bothers me about the suggestion that all people could become vegan. It isn’t possible, and too many people can not afford to and could not get adequate nutrition. So I think it is a problem when vegans toss things like this out as if other issues don’t affect the choices people can make about their food.

  32. I hate the login here says

    Basically the fail, to me, isn’t that eating meat is NOT privileged but that ignoring other people’s lack of privilege to make that point is… well, privileged.

  33. I hate the login here says

    Also the cost of meat relative to vegetables is a societal decision for most of the US at least. We could *work* to get people better access to a wider variety of foods. Honestly, it would be nice if we could work to overcome the food ghettos in urban areas (ten fried chicken joints and not a single place to buy a vegetable without a drive on a toll road only to find that the veggies cost more than two cheap tacos can’t just be pawned off on the free market and poor urban people being “too stupid” to eat well).

  34. harold says

    Caine Fleur du Mal –

    I completely agree with your link. In fact, ironically, I’ve seen it before and have it bookmarked because it is so insightful

    I mixed apples and oranges. I referred to lower class men as not being “privileged”. But that, of course, refers to other situations. In the situation of being able to make threatening and intrusive approaches to helpless women, they are indeed in a position of privilege.

    Sometimes “privilege” refers to good things that it would be reasonable to aspire to. Here it refers to a bad thing that men should understand and never do.

  35. harold says

    I hate the login here –

    I’d say harassing other people over your needs is a bit worse than that. Especially since the constant unwanted attention makes people miserable enough to completely avoid participating in things they care about. But, hey, bitches ain’t shit and are incapable of letting people know that htey are sexually attracted to them so they absolutely have to be harassed ad nauseum by every penis in the vicinity…and men got neeeeeeds that outweigh anyone else’s that absolutely can not wait for anyone else to signal interest in them.

    I completely agree with your point here. It was not my intention to defend obnoxious behavior.

    I agreed above that the male does assume privilege when he behaves like this.

  36. says

    Do people really think it is not privileged to eat meat?

    that’s… a very strange question.

    Some areas of the world don’t produce much plant-matter that’s digestible to humans; in those areas, meat is a necessity. In other areas, especially agriculturally fertile ones, the staples are usually starches, with meat either not present or extremely rare.

    In the west, cheap meat is cheaper than a healthy diet; and a healthy diet that includes meat is easier and cheaper to come by than an equally healthy vegan diet. So, depending on which part of the country you come from, it may well be veganism that’s class-privileged.

    From a Tom Regan-ish perspective, you could say that the human is privileged over the animal, which I’m not going to argue with (mostly because I find all deontological arguments stupid, including deontological animal rights arguments)

  37. says

    This activity is associated with both privileged men, and with extremely non-privileged lower class men.

    lack of class-privilege has no effect on the existence of male-privilege. They intersect, but they don’t offset each other.

  38. harold says

    Jadehawk –

    lack of class-privilege has no effect on the existence of male-privilege. They intersect, but they don’t offset each other.

    I agree. My original comment, which I otherwise stand by for now, confused this issue. Please seem my comments of 12:54PM and 1:00PM above.

  39. says

    Harold, you are not getting it. Class privilege has nothing to do with male privilege. We all have privilege and need to be aware of it because that awareness makes us better people.

    Males have a high level of privilege. It’s rather obvious you aren’t grokking this, because you’re just reinforcing your own views after reading about it, rather than understanding what you just read.

  40. harold says

    Harold, you are not getting it. Class privilege has nothing to do with male privilege. We all have privilege and need to be aware of it because that awareness makes us better people.

    I said I agree with this and I agreed that my original comment was in error for not reflecting this

    There is no possible thing I could do to “get it” more than that.

    But let me ask – what more could I do?

    Males have a high level of privilege. It’s rather obvious you aren’t grokking this, because you’re just reinforcing your own views after reading about it, rather than understanding what you just read.

    What more could I do to satisfy you?

  41. harold says

    Rev BigDumbChimp –

    Your point, if I understand it correctly, is a metaphorical elaboration on the idea that “male privilege” is not exactly the same thing as “class privilege”.

    But I’ve conceded that point and agreed that language that could be interpreted as conflating them is inaccurate. Therefore your comment would appear to be anachronistic.

    So let me ask you a question. Because I asked Caine, but I’m getting the old “sound of crickets chirping reply”. (That’s the reply I get when I ask creationists who the designer is, what the designer did, when that designer did it, how the designer did it, or what an example of something that isn’t “designed” is. And it usually means “You will never get a reply”.)

    So I’ll ask you.

    Not that it really matters, but…

    Is there something that people would accept as a communication of “whoops, you’re right about that”?

  42. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Your point, if I understand it correctly, is a metaphorical elaboration on the idea that “male privilege” is not exactly the same thing as “class privilege”.

    Actually I wasn’t very good at directing my comment.

    It was at the second cartoon, I haven’t even read all the comments yet.

    But feel free to apply it as needed.

  43. harold says

    Ing –

    I don’t think these cartoons are funny or particularly enlightened (in fact, if you follow the link, there’s at least one I find bigoted, but that’s another issue).

    However, I do understand what the “joke” is supposed to be. It’s actually a bit elaborate.

    The four people in front of/to the side of the table are “addicted to atheism” and want to “get back to religion”. Although that may sound pro-religion, that cartoon actually criticizes religion.

    The guy with AA on his shirt is helping them become religious again.

    He is handing out “aids” that include a picture of what appears to be PZ Myers with darts to throw at it, a voodoo doll, a book called “the God Delusion Delusion”, an inaccurate statue of Ganesha, a horseshoe, a spoon for bending, etc.

    The point of the cartoon is that not being an atheist is the same as believing that a horseshoe brings good luck, psychics bend spoons with mind power, voodoo dolls work, etc.

    I don’t especially disagree with the point of this cartoon. I’m not “against religion”, but I’m willing to say that unskeptical acceptance of religious claims is analogous to unskeptical acceptance of other supernatural claims. However, I find that the humor is a bit strained.

  44. Ing says

    I don’t get it though…Atheism isn’t something you can CHOOSE like a pair of pants. You can’t choose whether you’re convinced or not. It doesn’t make sense on the face of it.

  45. Classical Cipher says

    Because I asked Caine, but I’m getting the old “sound of crickets chirping reply”. (That’s the reply I get when I ask creationists who the designer is, what the designer did, when that designer did it, how the designer did it, or what an example of something that isn’t “designed” is. And it usually means “You will never get a reply”.)

    harold, think about what you just implied. Someone not responding to your post in what you consider a timely fashion could happen for any number of reasons, including that person leaving the discussion for another, more interesting discussion, or leaving the computer for meatspace reasons. You’re not entitled to someone else’s time just because you spoke to them, your post not getting a response you consider timely doesn’t have anything to do with whether you’re right, and if you thought about that for a few seconds you’d know it.

  46. says

    Someone not responding to your post in what you consider a timely fashion could happen for any number of reasons, including that person leaving the discussion for another, more interesting discussion, or leaving the computer for meatspace reasons.

    To add to that, this discussion dropped off a little while ago; there’s newer content (+ TET) which is more visible right now – while I’m sure Caine would have got around to responding to you in her own time, she’d be well within her rights not to bother now.

  47. says

    Harold:

    Because I asked Caine, but I’m getting the old “sound of crickets chirping reply”.

    Pardon me, Cupcake, but just who in the hell do you think you are? I don’t know you, you aren’t important to me. You’re just another abruti petit gâteau with serious comprehension problems.

    I’m recovering from surgery, I haven’t slept for two days, and I will be “disappearing” from the net very fucking early this evening, as I have to be back at hospital in the morning. I’m going to spend the rest of my afternoon with people I actually know and care about. You are not one of them.

    So you can take your moronic demands, assumptions and expectations and shove them up your ass, followed by a decayed porcupine chaser.

    Jesus Fucking Christ. Idiot.

  48. I hate the login here says

    From a Tom Regan-ish perspective, you could say that the human is privileged over the animal, which I’m not going to argue with (mostly because I find all deontological arguments stupid, including deontological animal rights arguments)

    My argument is simply that the access to meat that people in the US have, the production of massive amounts of meat, the factorization of meat processing, and the benefit of that is a privilege.

    I suppose the thing is that I don’t see all privilege as negative or bad. People who eat meat a lot and have easy access to it have a privilege they are getting the benefit of. It doesn’t mean they may not have bigger problems.

    This doesn’t negate the reality that it is something that is only a concern for people who have a lot of other privilege such as living in a country where massive amounts of meat can be distributed.

    Is it not a privilege to eat Bluefin Tuna even as their numbers plummet?

    Well for people who were surviving on it perhaps it’s something that couldn’t be helped because their other problems make it such that they’re only chance of survival is to execute that privilege.

    That doesn’t make it a non-privilege though, does it?

    I guess the thing is I don’t see privilege as tied to morality some how…

    is it?

    I’m not really sure I would go so far as to call humans privileged over animals. I can’t really comprehend the idea of privilege outside of human society? I’m not sure how that would work.

    I would suppose in the sense that we can control our environments more? But that would just be weird.

    Basically I probably should have said more than that one line, but I’ve kind of gone on to say what I mean since then so I don’t see the point in bothering with it further.

  49. says

    My argument is simply that the access to meat that people in the US have, the production of massive amounts of meat, the factorization of meat processing, and the benefit of that is a privilege.

    in the sense that the USA is an Industrialized country, sure. That’s not how I interpreted your question (especially in the context of the cartoon), which seemed to ask whether individuals who eat meat, in general, are enjoying a privileged social status (either because of meat-eating, or in order to be able to eat meat)

  50. Lord Shplanington, Not A Frenchman says

    Ugh.

    It’s everything that’s shitty about newspaper comics, but with the preachy bullshit, horrible art, and lack of anything remotely resembling humor being shat all over Atheism instead of Jegus.

    I’ll stick with non-terrible webcomics, personally.

  51. Ing says

    [Cinemasnob]If I want to read an Atheist webcomic I’ll stick with Saturday Morning Breakfast Club/Tom The Dancing Bug/XKCD/Tree Lobsters, Thank you very much! [/Cinemasnob]

  52. pharylon says

    Yeah… I don’t really “get” either cartoon. I understand that cartoons aren’t always supposed to be funny (many political cartoons are just trying to prove a point, not invoke laughter), but I don’t understand the point on any of these.

    The first just isn’t funny. The second one, pretty much the same… I guess I’m supposed to agree with the first two panels and be shocked by the third… or something?

    But, at the risk of being labeled a “mansplainer,” I don’t see a problem with hitting on women. I mean, maybe not “all the time,” and I know some guys are very annoying in that way, but some women are too (there’s a woman I know that will not stop with me, and it really makes me sympathize with particularly attractive people that have to put up with that kind of stuff all the time… but not so much that I wouldn’t still trade places with them), but there’s a weird implication I’ve seen from PZ Myers and others lately that no time is acceptable. I mean, if it’s not OK to hit on a woman that you’ve been drinking with until 4 in the morning at a bar (see: Elevatorgate), then when is it OK?

    As for the second, Christians should be able to praise Jesus all the want, even at schools, as long as it’s not a person in a position of authority (a teacher, for instance) using that position to push religion on their students. Students should be able to pray and go Jesus-crazy all they want, again, so long as it’s not being sponsored by the school in any official capacity.

    The third one, well, I disagree with treatment of a lot of animals, but I personally have 13 acres where I raise grass-fed beef cows and have a few free range chickens. I’m an omnivore, I do think it’s natural to be one, and I don’t feel guilty about eating meat.

  53. says

    Oh noes! Pharlyon, you have misrepresented the story. EG has NOT been “drinking with” RW, unless you count being in the same bar.

    If you absolutely must have a rule, try this one – you can “hit on” women any time and place that they have a totally easy getaway. (No confined spaces, no isolation.)

    And if you’ve never spoken to them before, you should accept that “fuck off, creep” is a completely legitimate reply.

  54. infophile says

    @pharylon:

    I mean, if it’s not OK to hit on a woman that you’ve been drinking with until 4 in the morning at a bar (see: Elevatorgate), then when is it OK?

    I think your problem is a failure to understand the situation. It would be better described as, “It’s not OK to hit on a woman when you’re alone in an elevator with her after she’s said she doesn’t like being hit on at conferences such as the one you’re at and she’s also just said that she’s dead tired and needs to sleep.”

    If you were simply drinking at a bar with someone and she hadn’t said she didn’t want to be hit on and she hadn’t just left to get some sleep, then yes, it would be alright to hit on her. I really hope you can see the difference between these circumstances.

  55. I hate the login here says

    OK to hit on a woman that you’ve been drinking with until 4 in the morning at a bar (see: Elevatorgate), then when is it OK?

    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*
    *headesk*

    Why don’t you go watch the video, hear the account of what happened, and then say something.

  56. says

    but there’s a weird implication I’ve seen from PZ Myers and others lately that no time is acceptable.

    don’t lie

    I mean, if it’s not OK to hit on a woman that you’ve been drinking with until 4 in the morning at a bar (see: Elevatorgate), then when is it OK?

    are you one of those idiots for whom “context” doesn’t exist?

    For one, I’d argue that EG was not drinking “with” RW, but rather in her general vicinity; they have had no interaction at all while at the bar. Two, you conveniently left off the part where this happened after RW said “I’m tired, I’m going to bed”, and after having spent a lot of time saying she doesn’t want to be hit on. And three, going from zero to asking for sex is appropriate pretty much only in situations and venues explicitly designed for finding a sex-partner; which an evening of post-conference drinking at a hotel bar is most definitely NOT

  57. says

    Pharylon:

    But, at the risk of being labeled a “mansplainer,” I don’t see a problem with hitting on women.

    There isn’t one.

    but there’s a weird implication I’ve seen from PZ Myers and others lately that no time is acceptable. I mean, if it’s not OK to hit on a woman that you’ve been drinking with until 4 in the morning at a bar (see: Elevatorgate), then when is it OK?

    Oh man, do you ever have every. single. thing. wrong. It’s all about context and how being unaware of one’s privilege leads you to inappropriate actions.

    First of all, Ms. Watson had given a talk that evening about sexism at conferences/meetings. EG (elevator guy) was aware of that. Later on, there was a meetup at the bar, where talks continued. Some people were drinking alcohol, others coffee, all that. EG was hanging out at the bar, but never said one word to Ms. Watson.

    Do you understand the difference here, from what you said? EG was not drinking with her. He was part of a crowd. He waited until she said she was exhausted and wanted to go to bed. He then decided to follow her down the hall, at 4 a.m., in a quiet hotel, wait until she was on the elevator, also got on, then waited until the doors were closed to say “I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but I enjoyed your talk, would you like to come up to my room for coffee?”

    Do you understand how fucking inappropriate and creepy that is?

    You can flirt all you fucking want, however, here’s an idea: how about treating women like actual, full human beings? How about getting to know them? How about acting appropriately and paying attention to the situation and context?

    Did EG give one damn about hearing Ms. Watson talk about sexism? No. Did EG give one damn about hitting on a woman who said she was exhausted and going to bed? No. Did EG give one damn (or a single thought) that waiting for a closed elevator in a quiet hotel at 4 a.m. to approach a complete stranger might be taken as threatening or unwelcome or creepy?

    Women need to to do risk assessment all the time. It’s part of every day life for us. Myself, I wont get on an elevator with a strange man. That’s because I have been raped and it’s waaaaay out of my comfort zone.

    Did EG display any empathy for the stranger he was going to hit on inappropriately? Did he stop to think once, about how the woman might feel about it? No. That is privilege.

    Don’t bother with the lameass excuses, oh, maybe he was socially awkward or autistic. NO. Autistic people know better than to do such a thing. By prefacing with “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…” he knew damn well what he was doing was inappropriate.

    Reading:

    Excellent explanation of privilege

    Nice Guy™ 101.

    Schroedinger’s Rapist

  58. I hate the login here says

    I’ll put it to you this way, if all that is likely to happen from going to an atheist convention is that you’re out 400 bucks and even a speaker who has talked about why and how the meat market environment can be offputting to women who want to participate in ways other than sexual service can not go to sleep after saying she’s tired and wants to go to bed…

    why would you bother going? It’s kind of not worth it unless you’re just there to find a guy to fuck.

  59. says

    Pharylon:

    But, at the risk of being labeled a “mansplainer,” I don’t see a problem with hitting on women.

    There isn’t one.

    but there’s a weird implication I’ve seen from PZ Myers and others lately that no time is acceptable. I mean, if it’s not OK to hit on a woman that you’ve been drinking with until 4 in the morning at a bar (see: Elevatorgate), then when is it OK?

    Oh man, do you ever have every. single. thing. wrong. It’s all about context and how being unaware of one’s privilege leads you to inappropriate actions.

    First of all, Ms. Watson had given a talk that evening about sexism at conferences/meetings. EG (elevator guy) was aware of that. Later on, there was a meetup at the bar, where talks continued. Some people were drinking alcohol, others coffee, all that. EG was hanging out at the bar, but never said one word to Ms. Watson.

    Do you understand the difference here, from what you said? EG was not drinking with her. He was part of a crowd. He waited until she said she was exhausted and wanted to go to bed. He then decided to follow her down the hall, at 4 a.m., in a quiet hotel, wait until she was on the elevator, also got on, then waited until the doors were closed to say “I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but I enjoyed your talk, would you like to come up to my room for coffee?”

    Do you understand how fucking inappropriate and creepy that is?

    You can flirt all you fucking want, however, here’s an idea: how about treating women like actual, full human beings? How about getting to know them? How about acting appropriately and paying attention to the situation and context?

    Did EG give one damn about hearing Ms. Watson talk about sexism? No. Did EG give one damn about hitting on a woman who said she was exhausted and going to bed? No. Did EG give one damn (or a single thought) that waiting for a closed elevator in a quiet hotel at 4 a.m. to approach a complete stranger might be taken as threatening or unwelcome or creepy?

    Women need to to do risk assessment all the time. It’s part of every day life for us. Myself, I wont get on an elevator with a strange man. That’s because I have been raped and it’s waaaaay out of my comfort zone.

    Did EG display any empathy for the stranger he was going to hit on inappropriately? Did he stop to think once, about how the woman might feel about it? No. That is privilege.

    Don’t bother with the lameass excuses, oh, maybe he was socially awkward or autistic. NO. Autistic people know better than to do such a thing. By prefacing with “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…” he knew damn well what he was doing was inappropriate.

    Reading:

    Excellent explanation of privilege

  60. harold says

    harold, think about what you just implied.

    I implied that I didn”t get an answer to a blog comment quickly.

    Someone not responding to your post in what you consider a timely fashion could happen for any number of reasons, including that person leaving the discussion for another, more interesting discussion, or leaving the computer for meatspace reasons.

    Yes, this is bizarrely obvious and I do this all the time myself.

    You’re not entitled to someone else’s time just because you spoke to them, your post not getting a response you consider timely doesn’t have anything to do with whether you’re right, and if you thought about that for a few seconds you’d know it.

    Based in a snarky internet comment, you are trying to construct the image a “privileged male” whom you fantasize about exploding at in self-righteous outrage.

    It doesn’t matter what you think of me. We are strangers who don’t care about each other.

    However, since this is a blog about skepticism and reason, ostensibly, I will note that you do not have reasonable evidence to form this image.

  61. harold says

    Caine –

    The question I asked was “what do I have to do to convince you that I agree with you”?

    One thing I’m not going to do is pretend to advocate or apologize for a bunch of misogynist bullshit that I don’t advocate, and that my original comment, the faults of which I graciously conceded, did not advocate (I may have mixed class and gender privilege confusingly, but I did not advocate acting on gender privilege), and was not interpreted to advocate by other readers.

    Here, on this issue, I must, infuriating though it may be, insist on agreeing with you, on the issues that you have raised in this discussion.

    Perhaps you make the deeper point that no man can every really understand, no man can fully manage to avoid giving offense, or some such thing. Perhaps that is right.

    However, I do not advocate thoughtlessly making women feel physically threatened, demeaned, manipulated, or limited, and will not pretend that I do.

    People who do advocate that stuff are extremely easy to find, and if your objective is to argue with them, go find a real one.

  62. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Aw, is Harold feeling all butt-hurt because Caine didn’t respond to him in a timely manner and when she did address a post to him she didn’t respond in the manner to which he felt entitled?

  63. harold says

    Aw, is Harold feeling all butt-hurt because Caine didn’t respond to him in a timely manner and when she did address a post to him she didn’t respond in the manner to which he felt entitled?

    No, why would you think that?

  64. harold says

    Because of your whining.

    Could you point some out? I do not have the sensation of whining. Rather, I feel that I have articulated my point.

  65. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Exhibit A:

    Because I asked Caine, but I’m getting the old “sound of crickets chirping reply”. (That’s the reply I get when I ask creationists who the designer is, what the designer did, when that designer did it, how the designer did it, or what an example of something that isn’t “designed” is. And it usually means “You will never get a reply”.)

  66. says

    ‘Tis:

    Aw, is Harold feeling all butt-hurt because Caine didn’t respond to him in a timely manner and when she did address a post to him she didn’t respond in the manner to which he felt entitled?

    Seems to be the case. Abruti petit gâteau Harold can type until his fingers are blue, he has zero right to expect any response from me after his assumption filled tantrum.

  67. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    What’s the question again? I’m feeling somewhat patient. Harold strikes me as a bit whiny but not horribly so, not impossible if you will.

  68. harold says

    Exhibit A:

    Because I asked Caine, but I’m getting the old “sound of crickets chirping reply”. (That’s the reply I get when I ask creationists who the designer is, what the designer did, when that designer did it, how the designer did it, or what an example of something that isn’t “designed” is. And it usually means “You will never get a reply”.)

    You misunderstand.

    That was a prediction which has, in fact, been proven correct.

  69. Ing says

    @Harold

    Oh yes your prediction was proven correct. Because you whining about not getting an answer from someone recovering from surgery made them not want to talk to you period.

    Well played. Go fuck yourself

  70. says

    oh PZ, you do give me the warm fuzzies sometimes!

    I stumbled over a forum-post about sexism in atheism over at Nirmukta (Indian Freethinkers); at first I was mortified when the writer said she noticed the male-only composition of the admins of a pharyngula facebook group, and at the sexism that she encountered when she remarked on that. And then PZ swoops in and saves the day: http://nirmukta.net/Thread-The-Glass-Ceiling-in-Atheist-Circles-Few-Women-in-Positions-Of-Power

  71. says

    What’s the question again? I’m feeling somewhat patient. Harold strikes me as a bit whiny but not horribly so, not impossible if you will.

    there isn’t a question; harold just wants an apology because people have responded to his incorrect post even after he admitted that it was incorrect; it’s not something worth derailing even such a silly post as this

  72. drbunsen le savant fou says

    I guess the thing is I don’t see privilege as tied to morality some how…

    is it?

    No, not really, at least on an individual level (ie, “privileged person” =/= “bad person”).

    Privileges are things we enjoy that others do not. In discussions of social reality, the term is mostly used to refer to unearned privileges; those that we enjoy simply because of who we are (and who the others are not [ie, white]).

    Privilege is the free pass one gets in certain specific ways and situations. In some situations I get that pass – I’m white and male – in others I do not – I’m poor and disabled.

    It’s a number of different, overlapping structural realities of society that affects us individually – and affects others differently.

    Ignoring privilege – claiming that it doesn’t exist, that the problems facing those who don’t get our free pass don’t exist, or telling them their real-life issues don’t matter, can’t be that bad (*cough* “zero bad”) – that’s where it gets moral (on an individual level).

    The cliched example would be the white dude claiming racism and sexism don’t exist because he’s never experienced them. The ugly version of that cliche we’ve had a metric fuckton of around here lately is the dude who continues to claim it doesn’t exist after hearing ample witness testimony and being afforded links to quantitative data confirming it.

    So there’s two version of that that I’ve seen – straight-up reality denial, not massively different to other forms of science denial – and empathy failure, the inability to consider other’s persons, lives and experiences as being as real and important as one’s own. They often go together.

    The ethical question of the individual’s approach to the structural problem is left as an exercise for the reader.

  73. drbunsen le savant fou says

    (and who the others are not [ie, white]).

    That should be “eg”, not “ie”, shouldn’t it?

  74. harold says

    Ing – Fuck you, too

    Here is the conversation.

    Harold:

    As for the other two panels – “hittin’ on” women in a threatening or excessively intrusive way is a “privilege” only in the sense that getting away with something obnoxious is a privilege. This activity is associated with both privileged men, and with extremely non-privileged lower class men.

    Caine:

    :sigh: Educate yourself, petit gâteau:

    Excellent explanation of privilege

    Harold:

    Caine Fleur du Mal –

    I completely agree with your link. In fact, ironically, I’ve seen it before and have it bookmarked because it is so insightful

    I mixed apples and oranges. I referred to lower class men as not being “privileged”. But that, of course, refers to other situations. In the situation of being able to make threatening and intrusive approaches to helpless women, they are indeed in a position of privilege.

    Sometimes “privilege” refers to good things that it would be reasonable to aspire to. Here it refers to a bad thing that men should understand and never do.

    Caine:

    Harold, you are not getting it. Class privilege has nothing to do with male privilege. We all have privilege and need to be aware of it because that awareness makes us better people.

    Harold –

    I said I agree with this and I agreed that my original comment was in error for not reflecting this
    There is no possible thing I could do to “get it” more than that.
    But let me ask – what more could I do?

    Harold (snarky, I admit)

    I said I agree with this and I agreed that my original comment was in error for not reflecting this

    There is no possible thing I could do to “get it” more than that.

    But let me ask – what more could I do?

    Because I asked Caine, but I’m getting the old “sound of crickets chirping reply”. (That’s the reply I get when I ask creationists who the designer is, what the designer did, when that designer did it, how the designer did it, or what an example of something that isn’t “designed” is. And it usually means “You will never get a reply”.)

    So whatever. Shove a porcupine. Snarky to a regular. Everybody shove a porcupine up their ass.

    After that, I decided to make it clear that, this rather idiotic conversation notwithstanding (and it’s certainly largely my fault that it’s idiotic), my actual position is what it is.

  75. drbunsen le savant fou says

    Oh, FFS, you look away for five minutes to attempt a coherent answer and there’s another thread totally derailed by some dim bulb. Grr.

  76. harold says

    Jadehawk –

    there isn’t a question; harold just wants an apology because people have responded to his incorrect post even after he admitted that it was incorrect; it’s not something worth derailing even such a silly post as this

    That’s very pretty accurate, except for the “apology” bit.

    I didn’t expect an apology (believe me on this one), but I did get a little ego-involved, a little “Why, I admitted my mistake and someone failed to acknowledge that, how terrible”.

    I freely concede that I was a moron not to just say “I agree with your correction” and drop it at that.

  77. Nerd of Redhead says

    I don’t see a problem with hitting on women. I mean, maybe not “all the time,” and I know some guys are very annoying in that way,

    Then shut the fuck up. Anything past that point is idiocy. So, do yourself a favor, shut the fuck up, and just listen. Or, watch out for dancing hippos stomping you into the ground, and the Pullet Patrol™ scavenging the rest.

  78. Classical Cipher says

    Wow, harold – projection much? In response to a post that says absolutely nothing about maleness or privilege, and in fact has nothing to do with either, you complain that I am trying to construct an image of you as a “privileged male,” then kvetch about my lack of evidence for such an image? What in the hell is wrong with you? For what it’s worth, I care nothing for your possible maleness, and it has little to nothing to do with my thinking you’re a whiny, entitled brat who ought to know better. That’s based entirely on your posts, particularly the idiotic one I quoted above. And calling it “snarky” doesn’t make it any less wrong.

  79. harold says

    Ing –

    Harold, you’re being an asshole

    Maybe so.

    Ironic, given that my original goal was to express disapproval of asshole behavior.

    Anyway, I think I’ve made myself clear, so I’ll drop it.

  80. says

    That’s very pretty accurate, except for the “apology” bit.

    I didn’t expect an apology (believe me on this one), but I did get a little ego-involved, a little “Why, I admitted my mistake and someone failed to acknowledge that, how terrible”.

    I freely concede that I was a moron not to just say “I agree with your correction” and drop it at that.

    excellent.

    now, everybody please drop this line of conversation, it’s stupid. No need to start an argument over literally nothing now, when tempers are still frayed

  81. drbunsen le savant fou says

    Sigh.

    You know what’s happened, right folks?

    And it’s entirely relevant to the cartoon at the top of this post, and why PZ is presented as a darts target.

    The Slimepit’s hate warriors are coming over here to take a tilt at the Giant. PZ is, for some bizarre reason, the focal point of the insane conspiracy theory they’ve cooked up over there – perhaps as much (or more so, I mean, he’s a DUDE right) as Rebecca Watson herself. So the brave knights are coming to SAVE SKEPTICISM from teh eebil feminazis who have invaded PZ’s brainmeats.

    Expect a lot more of this:

    Yes, I can see how the Reimann tensors implicate an [n]-folded manifold in the p-brane, but why can’t I pick up chicks in elevators?

  82. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Oh. Well, never mind then.

    Harold, you did modify your statement so that it was more correct. Unfortunately people are grumpy and low on patience these days, for a lot of really good reasons.

    Did you read the comic I linked to?

    Now, as far as the slimpit’s hate warriors saving skepticism goes: what claims are they wanting us to be skeptical of? That women are people? That women are capable of signaling when they are interested in a sexual pairing-off? That women, like men, deserve to have their boundaries respected, even if other people think the particular boundaries they set are unjustified? Which claims, exactly? Nobody so far has really been able to explain how feminism is incompatible with skepticism. Usually when someone is trying to argue this, they want you to “provide evidence of widespread sexism in society,” to which the response is, “Go sign up for History of Western Civilization 101, for starters.”

  83. says

    Nobody so far has really been able to explain how feminism is incompatible with skepticism.

    oh, they have a new track now: “equity feminism” (AKA libertarian feminism) is skeptical; “neo-feminism” (AKA Radical Feminism and general manhating) is a cult.

    Basically, it’s only “skeptical” to treat the most blatantly obvious symptoms of sexism, not to try to eliminate the root thereof

  84. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Dudea, what’s going on? Where is everyone?

  85. I hate the login here says

    It’s ok Dr.Bunsen… I appreciated your reply. We opened this marvelous bottle of white win, Picpoul, I think. It’s just wonderful, but I’ve drunk too much of it to be coherent in my reply so I’ll just say that I think I agree with you!

  86. I hate the login here says

    Dudea, what’s going on? Where is everyone?

    I think the confusion has probably made people skittish. I’m conflicted as to which blog I want to post on right now too. It’ll probably sort itself out though… so long as we don’t break this site again.

  87. Nerd of Redhead says

    so long as we don’t break this site again.

    The new server has been stable all weekend. The test will come tomorrow Moanin’ (will be Monday ) when the regular weekday traffic comes in starting about 7 am ct. I expect the server to be much more stable than my PoS 10-year-old computer at work.

  88. baccyflap says

    Ever since the world ‘privilege’ came into prominence over the Elevator Guy incident, there has been someone to force it into every new topic. It’s become a bit meaningless, and it has the capability to turn any conversation into a boring witch hunt.

    Wondering whether eating meat (or chatting up ladies) is ‘privileged’ merely serves a semantic purpose, and perhaps wondering whether a thing is good or bad (and why, and how we should fix it) will get us a bit further.

    And because I don’t want to be that guy, here’s some actual substance.

    When I was twelve, I opted for ‘bad’ and became a vegetarian. I still don’t think the way animals are raised for human consumption is acceptable, and I think that there’d be a lot more vegetarians agreeing with that sentiment if there weren’t such a widespread, fundamental disconnect between a living cow and a vacuum-packaged steak in the minds of people.

    That being said, I’m also a vegetarian for another reason: I simply don’t feel comfortable eating animals. There seems something wrong about it to me that I can’t quite argue for; just a vague sense that I shouldn’t do it. I guess that reason plays up a bit more in the case of fish, which I also don’t eat.

  89. John Morales says

    baccyflap:

    Ever since the world ‘privilege’ came into prominence over the Elevator Guy incident, there has been someone to force it into every new topic. It’s become a bit meaningless, and it has the capability to turn any conversation into a boring witch hunt.

    You make it sound like a cold recitation of fact, rather than like what it is: your own opinion, for what it’s worth.

    No — the meaning doesn’t change due to familiarity; on the contrary. Whether it’s misapplied is another matter, and that will likely be corrected if it appears.

    Wondering whether eating meat (or chatting up ladies) is ‘privileged’ merely serves a semantic purpose, and perhaps wondering whether a thing is good or bad (and why, and how we should fix it) will get us a bit further.

    Polysemy determines the semantics and context determines applicability.

    [1] When I was twelve, I opted for ‘bad’ and became a vegetarian. [2] I still don’t think the way animals are raised for human consumption is acceptable, and I think that there’d be a lot more vegetarians agreeing with that sentiment if there weren’t such a widespread, fundamental disconnect between a living cow and a vacuum-packaged steak in the minds of people.

    1. You mean rebellious but virtuous by ‘bad’, right?
    2. Ah yes, picture those wild cattle prancing bucolically over the wilderness! :)

    That being said, I’m also a vegetarian for another reason: I simply don’t feel comfortable eating animals. There seems something wrong about it to me that I can’t quite argue for; just a vague sense that I shouldn’t do it. I guess that reason plays up a bit more in the case of fish, which I also don’t eat.

    Neat!

    You get to be ethically virtuous whilst indulging your disinclination for non-vegetarianism.

  90. Michael says

    Erm…am I the only on who thinks the first cartoon is on our side? Wasn’t PZ making a joke about not getting it and not knowing who the picture of the guy being used for darts practice was? WTF people?

    The character behind the table clearly represents a composite of ALL religions, faiths, superstitions etc. He is saying come to the table and pick one, any one, as long as you abandon rational thought.

    That PZ is on the table is a huge honour as the cartoonist clearly identifies Him (PZ) as being at the vanguard of the New Atheist movement (or whatever) and being one of the greatest thorns in the side of the bunk worldwide.

    Don’t get it? Really? Sheesh.

  91. I hate the login here says

    Ever since the world ‘privilege’ came into prominence over the Elevator Guy incident

    It didn’t “come in to prominence” then. That’s just the first time your ignorant self heard it I guess.

    Dang!

  92. harold says

    Sally Strange –

    Did you read the comic I linked to?

    Yes, I thought it was dead on.

  93. kennypo65 says

    Being a vegan is way more expensive than having a little meat in one’s diet, at least it is where I live. However, from my experience, those who choose a vegan or vegetarian diet come off as feeling superior. It is a dietary choice people, NOT a virtue. Let’s not pretend our shit don’t stink.