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Sep 09 2011

Prodding the feral otaku

The Skeptic Lawyer has discovered the dirty little secret of nerd boys…only it’s not really a secret. This has been a problem for a long time.

While doing the research for this post, I found that the largest gaming convention in North America has to remind attendees to wash daily and use deodorant in its program. I’ve seen a man who a woman rejected on the basis of his online gaming hobby tell her she ‘needed a good raping’. And there was worse than that in some places, which had to be closed down on the basis that they had reached the incitement stage. Incitement, in case you didn’t know, is a crime, and I’m afraid saying ‘it was only on the internet’ will not impress any judge of my acquaintance.

I am amused that she’s just discovered this. Every SF convention I’ve attended posts hygiene warnings: it’s not just in the program, but they’ll mention it in the opening program and drop frequent hints during the day. It is a significant concern — try attending a panel or a screening, only to have some guy (it’s always a guy, sorry) sit down next to you who hasn’t bathed or brushed his teeth in a few days, hasn’t changed his clothes, and has been subsisting on a diet of cheetos, peanut butter sandwiches, and beer. And don’t you dare to point out that he’s not fit to be in human company — normal people would sheepishly admit that you’re right and go slink off to the showers, but these are self-righteous nerds who will shriek at you indignantly that they must not miss this essential discussion of the Thundercats or zombie survival or the Doc Savage canon.

It is not a purely male problem: I attend science conferences that are bigger, and unfortunately sometimes even more male-skewed in the attendees, and yes, professionals can manage to take a shower every single day. It is not a purely nerd problem: the majority of attendees at these events are perfectly capable of civil behavior and basic hygiene. This is a problem of a a small subset, the feral otaku or savage nerd, and it’s going to emerge in every subculture that attracts privileged and obsessive males and rises above a certain level of popularity: comic book and science fiction conventions have been there for a long time, and skeptic and atheist groups are just rising above that critical mass that brings in these people.

I don’t think atheism/skepticism has a special problem with nasty sexist nerds — but it’s a real problem that has just begun to rear its unkempt, unwashed head, and it’s good to see that major organizations are taking preemptive steps to deal with it. And then, of course, there are these deeper problems that need wider cultural responses to address. Yeah, we’ve got to occasionally talk back to those oblivious nerds who will reply with the indignant shrieks.

However, of late I have started to encounter ‘geeky’ men (I’m sorry for this appallingly inexact term, but that’s all there is, alas) who demand–even when others find their geek-activity completely boredom-inducing or otherwise irritating–that women date them. This is like women who demand that their large dogs complete with muddy paws be allowed to take up residence on sundry boyfriends’ beds. It is rudeness, pure and simple. Just as the woman in question needs to find a dog-loving boyfriend who doesn’t mind muddy paw-prints, the geek needs to find a girlfriend who shares his interest in whatever geekiness happens to be his passion. And if he finds that men outnumber women in his particular geek environment, then I suggest he learn a little bit about the law of one price and modify his behaviour accordingly.

In an efficient market, all identical goods must have the same price; however, when there are fewer women than men in a given market (and assuming that most people in that market would like either sex or a relationship), then their relative scarcity presents women with an arbitrage opportunity. In financial markets, if the price of a security, commodity or asset is different in two different markets, then an arbitrageur will purchase the asset in the cheaper market and sell it where prices are higher. Women, when they have scarcity value in a given market, do not have to tolerate bad manners. Similarly, the male who shows that he is not ‘an identical good’ by exhibiting courtesy and charm will be able to make the most of the market in which he finds himself, always acknowledging however that arbitrage profits will persist until the price converges across markets (something that may never happen; it is often argued that perfect competition and efficient markets only exist in economics textbooks).

In other words, geek boys, smarten up your act. I mean, really smarten it up.

In related news, John Scalzi is about to get widely reviled by the ferals: he’s written a post titled Shut Up and Listen. Sound familiar? I’ve still got angry people protesting my insensitivity to men’s needs.

286 comments

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  1. 1
    Gord O'Mitey

    Jumpin’ Jeesus, now you tell me!

  2. 2
    Glen Davidson

    I thought that gaming was invented in order to keep the unwashed away from the public.

    Glen Davidson

  3. 3
    Steve LaBonne

    Oh jeez, here we go again…

    Pre-emptive response to whiny MRAs: fuck off and die, assholes.

  4. 4
    Carlie

    Skimming the thread in Scalzi’s post, watching a couple of guys saying that they did too have important things to say about everything, I found one comment marked “deleted for uselessness”. I heartily approve of that moderation category (at least, when someone like Scalzi’s wielding the hammer).

  5. 5
    Hillary Rettig

    As I was writing my book on overcoming writer’s block, procrastination and perfectionism, I realized that EVERYTHING I was writing, especially regarding perfectionism, also applies to weight loss and body image.

    I could write a whole book on this – and will! – but in a nutshell, perfectionists:

    *set unreasonable standards for success, and punish themselves harshly for perceived failures
    *overidentify with the work, which leads to hypersensitivity
    *and
    *are grandiose: expect things that are difficult for others to be easy for them, and
    *deprecate the true processes of growth and success.
    (and a lot more)

    The last two are particularly interesting because I think many nerds and geeks devalue and even resent their physical/corporeal existence. Many would definitely dispense with their bodies and download themselves onto the net or a robot it they could. I’m sympathetic to that viewpoint, actually, but it’s not only unrealistic but grandiose to think you can be happy and healthy in the physical world while severely deprecating your body’s physical requirements.

    of course, there are other issues (loads of them) but I really do think perfectionism (which is hugely reinforced in society), is at the core. another example of it is the idea that “since there is only a small range of body types that are acceptable in our society, I’m not even going to try to compete.”

  6. 6
    Hillary Rettig

    argh, no edit button! oh well, here’s a link on perfectionism, listing yet more symptoms, in case anyone is interested:

  7. 7
    cynic04

    Someone needs to make a graphic about how there are good nerds and evil nerds, and being a nerd has no bearing on your ethics. Its one of those simple messages that some will never grasp.

  8. 8
    Nonsanity

    It’s not that a subculture has such people, it’s that such people exist and are part of every subculture.

  9. 9
    A3Kr0n

    I once heard a scientist tell the Deity that male humans are barely able to groom themselves.
    Then I saw in the credits who the scientist was.
    Now I’m here!

  10. 10
    jamessweet

    I was much more fastidious about daily showering when I was a lonely single videogame-playing nerd. Now that I’m married with two kids (and have virtually no time to play video games) sometimes a shower just seems like too much damn work….

    Not that this is at all relevant to the post, which identifies a real and important problem. I just thought my own (probably abberant) data point represented an amusing reversal. :)

  11. 11
    cicely

    I thought that gaming was invented in order to keep the unwashed away from the public.

    *looks disapprovingly over tops of glasses*
    Unwashedness is not a defining characteristic of gamers.
    Gaming is not a defining characteristic of the Unwashed.
    -

  12. 12
    Mattir-ritated

    For most humans, simply washing regularly will take care of bodily odors. Deodorant is an Instrument of Satan™Invention of Corporate Marketers™.

    Seriously, soap and water do wonders. And by using soap and water, nerds can save their deodorant money for Warhammer figurines AND maintain that delightful more-of-a-nonconformist-than-thou stance. AND, perhaps, not offend prospective romantic partners.

  13. 13
    Bob

    3/6/1. Three square meals, six hours of sleep, one shower. Simple.

  14. 14
    RahXephon, The Nuclear Feminist

    Gaming is no longer a niche thing. It’s not something sweaty nerds do in their basements (at least not exclusively). Video games are not Tetris anymore, but big budget spectacles that cost, and make, millions of dollars. How much more mainstream does it have to get before gamers stop being considered “nerds” by default?

  15. 15
    Brett

    I’ve never understood the “no bathing” thing. Even when I went through a heavy gaming phase, I still managed to make time to take showers every day (or every other day).

  16. 16
    Blondin

    I don’t need to be told. I bathe every Saturday night (whether I need it or not).

  17. 17
    Bronze Dog

    You can bet on me showering whenever I get around to attending a convention. I’d much rather nudge the geek community closer to mainstream by acting like a civilized person than deify the unclean anti-socials for being more “devoted” than thou.

  18. 18
    HMDK

    “Gaming is no longer a niche thing.”

    True.

    “It’s not something sweaty nerds do in their basements (at least not exclusively). Video games are not Tetris anymore, but big budget spectacles that cost, and make, millions of dollars. How much more mainstream does it have to get before gamers stop being considered “nerds” by default?”

    That’s not what’s happening here.
    What IS going on is pointing out a subset of gamers that is still very much that exact sterotype.

    Seriously, I’m an out of work alcoholic with several more problems in my life. Which is plenty pathetic.
    But the kind of people in ANY nerd community who get’s called out by their own, really may just be incredibly insane. If you want to watch this in action, just check out SomethingAwful’s thread about the idiocy of libertarian bitcoins.
    Don’t know what Bitcoins are? Google “Buttcoin”.

    It’s a hilarious tale.

  19. 19
    Marty

    As much as I agree that this issue is by no means unique to gamers (the unwashedness, and the sexism/rudeness SL was talking about), it does come out a lot in that forum, as the combination of anonymity, male predominance, young men without much experience of female companionship does make gaming a pretty damn sexist place (also racist and basically rude).

    I can’t speak for conferences, having never been to one, but as a woman who has spent way too much time in certain online games, once the anonymity aspect is removed, the rudeness problem lessens (not away, but significantly less) – so that a guild (yes, its mostly WoW) has a lot less nasty attitudes than general chat. The other factor I’ve noticed is numbers – once there are a few women talking in the group, its not cool to make “Get me a sandwich” comments.

    Not sure if this is exactly the right thread for this, but its the new sexism thread here, so I’ll add it – My brother in law (a much more dedicated gamer than myself, and also leaning towards the unwashed cheetos category), has got so much into this type of ‘humour’ (the women in the kitchen, lol type) that he makes one or more of these comments every time we visit. Anyone who thinks this attitude is not permeating society in general is just wrong. And it is not just for my own comfort that I think this should be addressed – if he continues to be immersed in this (through his own lack of thought and the reinforcement of the environment), then its quite possible that in his future it will reflect badly on him, whether in relationships or at work.

    Sorry about the long rant, read about 4 blogs on this, they’ve all kind of blurred together.

  20. 20
    Cat of Many Faces

    Ack, another relationships are an economy thing?

    I really hate this comparison as it basically doesn’t work. It works for sex I guess (still majorly creeped out by the thought though) but a relationship is not something that can be purchased.

    People may have some requirements for a relationship, but for it to be an economy relationships would have to be equivalent and exchangeable and that’s just not right.

    I mean, I don’t love my wife because she’s the ‘best I could get’ and vice versa. We are together because we ‘clicked’.

    I honestly think the whole economy thing adds to the problem. You shouldn’t be dehumanizing and commoditizing in the core analogy you are using in relationship advice!

    Ahh well, just my 2 cents.

  21. 21
    screechy monkey

    Is PZ implying that there is a correlation/overlap between the nasty unshowered nerds and the nasty sexist nerds? It seems plausible, as I suspect both usually involve disregard if not outright hostility to the feelings of others.

    And both seem to defend themselves, or be defended by others, using the first Geek Social Fallacy

  22. 22
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Mr Darkheart has some hair raising stories about übernerds from college. This was at the time that Everquest (remember that?) was popular– one of his friends had a roommate that rarely left the room, never showered, never cleaned up after himself, etc. After a shitload of complaints, he was eventually kicked out of the dorms and, IIRC, dropped out after a year.

    But, yeah. I’ve been gaming for a looooooooong time* and the stinky, unwashed geek is not the common gamer and it never has been.

    *Last time I was in Best Buy, the kid who was helping me out thought it was cool that a “girl” played videogames. I politely told him that I have been a gamer longer than he had been alive and took my leave.

  23. 23
  24. 24
    Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun)

    whops, broken html – that means no horrible 90′s eurotrash for you (just as well perhaps)

  25. 25
    Maidentheshade

    Friends of mine were just at DragonCon & complained on FB about the lack of hygeine. I thought they were exaggerating or just experiencing Atlanta humidity meets warm sweaty flesh encased in plastic. Guess not from what you’ve posted here. ( Also thought maybe lots of folks slept in their vehicles to save the cost of hotel)

    I’ve been to a couple anime/manga cons & encountered no funk. Bigger cons are a turn off just due to sheer size & distance needed to travel. Knowing about this isn’t making me want to go more.
    :p

    Please tell me this doesn’t happen at atheist/skeptic cons. Haven’t been to one yet & really want to attend.

  26. 26
    RichardAustin

    So, I attend Blizzcon every year. For those who don’t know, it’s the fan convention for fans of Blizzard games such as Warcraft, World of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo. Since these are some of the most popular games in history (“Starcraft: Brood Wars” once held the title for “most games ever sold”, and “World of Warcraft” pretty much mainstreamed MMORPGs), the fan base has its share of extremely devout people.

    I am completely, and honestly, convinced that some people get into gaming because it is (in general) a solo thing, and they are not suited for biological reasons to be around other people. Specifically, I’ve met people (such as my roommate) who can walk out of a shower, wearing deodorant and with soap film still under their fingernails (figuratively speaking), and still radiate a strong scent (to me it’s bad, but I don’t know how others perceive it). I don’t know if it’s diet, basic biology, or something else, but I honestly think some people can’t prevent it.

    Granted, I think there are a lot more people who simply have bad hygiene, but I do honestly assume that a subset of the malodorous literally cannot help it.

  27. 27
    etcetera

    @12

    No. Deodorant is a necessity. Especially in crowded spaces.

    You may not notice you own odor, but everyone else will.

    And how many sticks of deodorant would you have to skip before you could afford a new Warhammer figurine?

  28. 28
    The Lorax

    Just gotta speak their language. Example:

    Nerd: “Why won’t women date me?!”
    Woman: “Because you smell as bad as ET for the NES.”

  29. 29
    Cartomancer

    Well, okay, there are some severely autistic people who simply cannot tell that there are certain hygeine conventions that apply to situations when one is in company. And they are probably more likely to warm to geeky hobbies as a matter of statistical trends. I doubt that most of the people under discussion here are of that sort however.

    It seems to me a case of simple common sense. If I’m on my own, which sadly I am almost all the time these days, then I can and do let my standards slip. If I am in company then I make an effort to be clean and presentable. If I think there’s even a miniscule chance someone might be sexually interested in me (and a miniscule chance is all I’m ever likely to get) then I take even greater care. Perhaps it’s a humility and self-knowledge thing. I know I’m pretty repulsive to sexual partners, and hence I know that I will HAVE to make an effort if I ever want to enjoy that sort of thing.

    But, then again, I’m gay. Which changes the dynamic somewhat. I don’t think I’d have the nerve to make overtly sexual advances at nerd gatherings, and I don’t think that’s uncommon. Straight nerds have the considerable advantage that they can operate on the assumption that the majority of appropriately gendered fellows will be of an appropriate orientation. If I were naively optimistic then I would presume that, as male-dominated environments, nerd gatherings would be enriched for gay liasons over regular society. It doesn’t seem to be the case, and while I have never encountered overt homophobia at the ones I’ve been to, it’s not something that ever really gains purchase. Then again I’m English, and quietly hushing things up is how we operate here. Still, it turns out my uber-geeky best friend from school is also gay, so I’m fortunate in that I don’t need to trawl for the love of my life anymore. I’ve been waiting for ten years for him to become single again so I can have my chance to be with him at last, but the course of true love never did run smooth.

  30. 30
    skepticlawyer

    If what you say is true, PZ, then — as I’ve just pointed out in a brief update over at my place — then prisoners are better turned out than some of the people you describe. I saw a goodly bunch of them on Monday, in point of fact, just for recent confirmation.

    And this is in London’s currently over-stuffed-with-rioters gaols.

  31. 31
    lordshipmayhem

    Anime conventions are the same, hygienically speaking, as sci-fi conventions – you have to remind some in the program guide and in the opening remarks (which they never attend – they’re either getting swag in the dealers’ room or scoping out the video rooms.

    Fortunately anime conventions tend to have more cosplayers – and cosplayers tend to have a) a hall costume for Friday, b) a hall costume for Saturday, c) a hall costume for Sunday and d) a competition costume. At Anime North in Toronto, I’ve seen hall costumes for Thursday, the Pre-Registration Party night.

  32. 32
    Utakata

    I’m a modernist otaku. That is, an otaku who doesn’t believe in god.

  33. 33
    Michael Swanson

    Sometimes it’s not obvious…

    I remember being at a comic convention with some friends. We were all well groomed, good natured guys with reasonably developed social skills. And we were all desperately single. Then this walks past: you could smell him from several feet away; you could see the sheen from the grease in his hair and the giant flakes dandruff; his clothing was a perfect storm of rumpled and stained nerd goth. Even his mustache, and I use the term in a middle-school-mustsache, loose kind of was greasy! Stoop shouldered, plodding step…this guy is burned into my memory. Because his girlfriend? Drop dead bloody gorgeous. Charming smile, spring in her step. She just doted on him!

    The other guys wanted to make fun of him, but I pointed out, “She’s with him, and she’s not sparing us a glance.” He was doing something right.

  34. 34
    Jadehawk

    And by using soap and water, nerds can save their deodorant money for Warhammer Hordes figurines AND maintain that delightful more-of-a-nonconformist-than-thou stance

    FIFY ;-)

  35. 35
    frankboyd

    Oh, geez another one of these non-issues and fake crises. Leaving aside the general loserishness of a loudmouth portion of the atheist/skeptic crowd, something with which I agree entirely, see it around a lot myself, this is one of those fake crises that’ll get talked up by a certain portion.

  36. 36
    Carlie

    Well, okay, there are some severely autistic people who simply cannot tell that there are certain hygeine conventions that apply to situations when one is in company

    FUCKING HELL WHAT INCANTATION IS NEEDED TO MAKE THIS STEREOTYPE DIE????

    On behalf of autistic people in the world (if they don’t mind me doing so), fuck you.

  37. 37
    edmundog

    I can’t stand this subgenere of nerd, and am pleased to now have the term “feral otaku” to describe them.

  38. 38
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    I’m unsurprised that Skeptic Lawyer, being a libertarian, thinks human relationships are economic transactions. He and his kind never seem to notice that women have no more “leverage” when we’re scarce than when we’re plentiful. For example, female infanticide and abortion in Asia haven’t improved women’s status by making women more scarce; they’ve made women in affected countries more vulnerable to kidnapping.

    As for stinky nerds, I very seldom attend cons, but my friends often do, and I have heard tales of chairs that had to be thrown out and gaming rooms professionally deodorized afterward

    Mattir: Some people might do fine without deodorant. Many of us don’t, and crystals don’t work for us, either. It’s no more “evil” than any other grooming product. No matter what these sorts of people say.

    Michael Swanson: Yes, there are women who will date men who utterly lack hygiene. So? Some women themselves aren’t very hygienic. There are women who will date prison inmates whose guilt is not in question. There are women who will date heroin addicts. A lot of women have low self-esteem or other psychological problems (as do a lot of men, for that matter). That doesn’t mean the men they date are “doing something right.” Usually it just means they have a well-honed radar for women who are pretty beaten down. Men who think that’s something to be envied are not men I’d like to be around.

  39. 39
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Frankboyd, nobody here cares that you think basic hygiene is unimportant and misogyny is a non-issue. ERV might welcome your company, however.

    Also, everybody correlating autism and lack of hygiene can STFU KTHX. It’s about as true and as welcome as the assertion that women have to react to every unwelcome come-on with understanding for the poor, poor awkward menz.

  40. 40
    Jadehawk

    on that note though, I think if I’d been born male (meaning, without the extreme socialization towards pleasing others), that’s precisely how I’d have turned out. As it is, I’ve stopped showering and changing clothes unless I am leaving the house to be around other people, which is about twice a week right now, and less so between semesters.

  41. 41
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Though it’s not the majority of geeks, it is still a distinct subset thereof. And yeah, in my own experience, I’ve noted a lot of correlation between a disregard for hygiene norms and other displays of disrespect and rudeness.

    But yeah, the relationship-as-economy thing will never, ever stop skeeving me out too.

  42. 42
    Jadehawk

    Yes, there are women who will date men who utterly lack hygiene. So? Some women themselves aren’t very hygienic. There are women who will date prison inmates whose guilt is not in question. There are women who will date heroin addicts. A lot of women have low self-esteem or other psychological problems (as do a lot of men, for that matter). That doesn’t mean the men they date are “doing something right.” Usually it just means they have a well-honed radar for women who are pretty beaten down.

    or, they honestly don’t give a fuck. not everyone with vastly different standards from you have psychological problems.

  43. 43
    Fukuda

    As much as I agree that this issue is by no means unique to gamers (the unwashedness, and the sexism/rudeness SL was talking about), it does come out a lot in that forum, as the combination of anonymity, male predominance, young men without much experience of female companionship does make gaming a pretty damn sexist place (also racist and basically rude).

    I have been lurking a community formed by self-identified otaku and it’s basically the same. A lot of socially-inept(not even trying to interact with other people) nerds victimizing and using their comically skewed view of “feminism” as the main cause of their social failure. To them, the main reason why they are “dicriminated” by society are women, seriously.

    They are more or less able to behave for a moment but they’ll never forget to add sexist crap everywhere, with their male privilege oozing through all their posts.

    Just as an example of their good taste, the other day I was translating an old text and I wanted to find if there was a specific term in English for the term “非処女”(lit. “unvirgin girl”), it turns out that English-speaking otaku thought that changing the google translate answer to “used goods” was a funny thing….

    Now, this only applies to a small fringe of the community that is actually called “otaku” in the west, but pretty much applies to everyone who is actually covered by the japanese meaning(taku is home in japanese, otaku basically means a home-secluded nerd and is a very negative word).

    Some western nerds actually identified themselves with the japanese otaku and are well… Socially inept, sexist and lack some basic hygienic behaviors, “values” actually promoted by some of the sexist games they play and download and their own environment.

  44. 44
    edmundog

    @27, thank you, I was wondering is everyone was going to let that slide.

  45. 45
    lytefoot

    It should also be noted that the obnoxious behavior of the feral otaku (I love that term, by the way) doesn’t always come bundled. There’s really a trifecta: poor hygiene, obsessive geekiness, and raging sexism. In my time hanging around among geeks, I’ve seen every possible subset of those aspects.

    Really, I think the fundamental problem is that small subcultures promote a false sense of intimacy. Here you’re talking to a person who knows the same five hundred tiny, detailed facts about some obscure subject as you; it’s hard to remember that this person is a stranger, you’ve never met, this is not your friend. Behavior you would never consider in the culture at large seems okay when you forget that all 15,000 people in the convention center aren’t the four guys that hang out in your basement every Friday.

    Poor hygiene? Well, assuming you and your four buddies are all on the same page, and all keep out of each other’s space, there’s no profound need to stop and shower in the middle of your 72-hour sprint through the world’s largest dungeon. Sure, your coworker might not like it, but he’s not here. Fine for five guys in a basement, not true for a 15,000 person convention.

    Obsessive geekiness? You know your four buddies, know what they’re interested in and what they aren’t. They know you, and trust your opinions: if you think it’s cool enough to talk about for 45 minutes, they’ll want to look into it. And then, too, they know all your references and all your in jokes. And they know you well enough to throw something at you if you’re annoying them. Again, fine for five guys, bad for 15,000 people.

    The sexism (/racism/otherism) is more of a problem, but I think the problem we actually see is still an outgrowth of the false sense of intimacy, in a bunch of ways. More than anything, I think there are more …ists around than we actually see exposed in the culture at large, but people aren’t comfortable displaying that (and rightly so). If you feel like you’re in the company of your intimates, you’re more likely to let your freak flag fly, as it were; you’ll say things you’d censor in polite company. It’s the same sort of dis-inhibition that makes people look like flaming assholes on the internet: it’s easy to forget that you’re talking to strangers.

  46. 46
    Cartomancer

    “FUCKING HELL WHAT INCANTATION IS NEEDED TO MAKE THIS STEREOTYPE DIE????

    On behalf of autistic people in the world (if they don’t mind me doing so), fuck you.”

    I did not say “all autistic people”, or even “most autistic people”, I said “a few severely autistic people”. And I also limited this remark to a very general statement about not recognising certain social conventions. Which I would have thought was a fairly uncontroversial aspect of autism (though, obviously, not the entirety of it). I meant nothing negative by it, and I thought I was careful to distinguish that the problem being discussed here was not related to it.

    But I apologise if any offense was inadvertently caused.

  47. 47
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Jadehawk: “…not everyone with vastly different standards from you have psychological problems.”

    True per se, and I probably should have qualified the remark about heroin addicts, since it is possible to maintain a habit yet remain functional. Not advisable IMO, but functional. I should also have distinguished people in prison for victimless crimes from those in for other crimes.

    That said, IMO, if you’ve got a thing for murderers or for people who never wash, I’m going to side-eye you. Yeah, I’m “judgmental” like that, sorry.

  48. 48
    lorigb

    Maidentheshade: The one atheist conference I’ve been to had no problem that I noticed with this sort of thing. I mean, I didn’t talk to a crazy large amount of people because I’m kind of shy, but no one stood out as having awful hygiene and no one I stood near or sat next to smelled. And the few people I did talk to were reasonably personable and seemed very good-natured. Of course this was only one (the American Atheist National Con in Iowa last April), so others may be different.

  49. 49
    chigau (違う)

    Axe™ is NOT the answer.

  50. 50
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Axe is so fucking vile. And it’s like the uniting factor between dudebros and feral otaku, this miasma of chemical stench.

  51. 51
    Nea

    Bob,

    I’ve always heard that as 5/2/1, not that an extra hour of sleep is a bad thing.

    I guess I’ve been fortunate, but the SF conventions I usually attend don’t have hygene warnings, or nothing more elaborate than stating the 5/2/1 rule with a comment about how it’s bad for the convention and everyone in it if someone keels over from lack of food or sleep. (The soap part seems to go without saying.)

    The SF conventions I usually attend, however, trend towards 50/50 gender parity or sometimes even 60/40 in favor of female attendants.

    For the cozy mystery conventions, that skews even further to close to 80% female and there are no hygene or food/sleep warnings in the program… however, programming either shuts down around the lunch and dinner hours or incorporates food in the form of banquet and sleep in the form of a total programming shutdown in the evening.

    I can’t say if better hygene/health standards leads to more women showing up or more women showing up leads to better health/hygene standards. But I do think that there’s a correlation here.

  52. 52
    Otrame

    Mattir, dear,

    For most humans, simply washing regularly will take care of bodily odors

    is only true if you do not do any physical labor and live in well air conditioned premises. It is true that washing regularly takes care of a lot of it, but not enough, IMHO. I don’t like the way I smell after an hour outside watering my garden (not exactly heavy labor). I would not impose that on others.

  53. 53
    Jadehawk

    That said, IMO, if you’ve got a thing for murderers or for people who never wash, I’m going to side-eye you. Yeah, I’m “judgmental” like that, sorry.

    “murderers and people who never wash”? really? that’s the combination you chose to go for?

    I roll my eyes at you. Hard.

  54. 54
    Jadehawk

    Axe™ is NOT the answer.

    QFT

  55. 55
    PZ Myers

    I haven’t seen a good correlation between poor hygiene and sexism. The stinky guys you don’t want to get close enough to find out, and there definitely are well-dressed, tidy, sexist assholes.

    In all cases, the ripe boys are outliers — they do NOT represent the majority of convention goers.

    Atheist/skeptic conventions are nowhere near as bad as SF/comicbook cons, but it might be because they’re smaller.

  56. 56
    Thegoodman

    Is the Skeptic Lawyer giving nerds dating advice? The jist I got from this “advice” is “Do not be offensive in your smell or your words. Profit”.

    Is this so called advice worth even typing? Male sexist pigs who say chauvinistic things and have terrible hygiene are not good at getting girls? WTF! I am surprised I haven’t seen this news scrolling the bottom of ever major network.

    I do love the term Feral Otaku.

  57. 57
    chigau (違う)

    The Axe commercials tend to show Axe use in conjunction with cleanliness.
    I have not smelled this on public transit.

  58. 58
    b00ger

    This sounds like the problem I had in college. I went to an engineering school for undergrad and at that time (it has since gotten better) the ratio of males to females was something like 5:1. In this scenario the women could pretty much have their choice of men, while only the top 20% of the men really stood a chance. This led to somewhat of a superiority complex by a lot of the women who would refuse to even talk to you if you weren’t in that top 20% or so. After college, I returned to the real world and now I have a wife who is more beautiful and smarter than a good portion of those girls who ignored me in college.

    In conclusion, it really is all about the local dating market. If you can move yourself to another market with better odds, you chances are much higher. Also, showering and not being an asshole help a lot.

  59. 59
    gould1865

    Bathing histories, there are just a few.

    I recommend carrying a handkerchief with a wad of orange peels wrapped in it, like King Charles. Hold that up near your nose against wafting odors you don’t like. Works wonders, even works for those near bodies awash in capsicum and curry, will save you from gagging most of the time. The hint is unmistakeable. You can also use it for intellectual hints.

    There are degrees of stinkiness, with words to describe them, now lost to time, here, after being useful in the days of no running water in many houses. Just a general odor would be called “gamey.” A strong odor with a reach of several feet was called a “pong.” An overbearing odor was a “stink,” somewhat like a skunk— and those unfortunate persons existed.

    I for one, perhaps rare, am not offended by persons carrying odors, but then again, I’m not looking for intimacy with them. I see them as a type of Eliza Dolittle and wish them the best in finding a Henry Higgins. However, detected here is a hint of more, and a person might have to have had the experience of the intimate sit-down to understand the repulsions expressed by many. Not having had that experience at these meetings I will take your word for it.

  60. 60
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Jadehawk, you roll my eyes at me because I have a low opinion of murderers, as well as of people who don’t wash?

    If you want to read an equivalence of the two groups into my comment, go right ahead. If you want to interpret me to mean that those are the only two groups of which I have a low opinion, go right ahead. If you think I’m being mean and discriminatory toward the stanky, go right ahead. In any of those cases, I think I’ll cope.

  61. 61
    jj

    @Mattir-ritated #12

    For most humans, simply washing regularly will take care of bodily odors. Deodorant is an Instrument of Satan™Invention of Corporate Marketers™.

    Tell that to my armpits. I’m defiantly not part of that “most” category. If I don’t have deodorant on, I’ll be nice and stinky by 2pm (unless I go surfing, that strips BO off like no other. Then I just smell of seawater am seaweed).

  62. 62
    Ophelia Benson

    skeptic lawyer, by the way, is not a he.

    Color me clueless about this stuff too – I’m not up on gaming conventions and the like. Reading skep’s post and the Tiger beat down post yesterday was enlightening, especially about the ERV gang; there seem to be significant similarities. (Not hygiene-related – that I know nothing at all about.)

  63. 63
    Jadehawk

    Jadehawk, you roll my eyes at me because I have a low opinion of murderers, as well as of people who don’t wash?

    no. you’re welcome to be repulsed by whomever you like. that was never under discussion.

    If you want to read an equivalence of the two groups into my comment, go right ahead. If you want to interpret me to mean that those are the only two groups of which I have a low opinion, go right ahead. If you think I’m being mean and discriminatory toward the stanky, go right ahead. In any of those cases, I think I’ll cope.

    I see. It seems you have the reading comprehension of an overripe cantaloupe. Well, you’re welcome to reread my two responses to you if you wish to understand what my problem with your idiotic comments is.

  64. 64
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    JJ@ #61: Well said. Some people can get away without deodorant, like me in the winter or my girlfriend whenever. Some people do better without anti-perspirant, I found I smell way better with just a deodorant. but some folks need the Evil Corporate Pit Stick, and there’s no shame in it. As long as everyone takes care of their needs.

    Mmm, sea-smell. Mmm seaweed.

  65. 65
    Mattir-ritated

    For all those worried about the Mattir Family miasma, consider yourself warned should you decide to go to any of the various Horde gatherings at which we might be present. The Mr. and I haven’t used deodorant in more than 20 years, the Spawn own it, but don’t generally use it. People are supposed to have an odor, and unless you’re not bathing for days on end OR eating some very weird stuff OR have a health issue, your odor is probably mild and even pleasant.

    How did we get to this “the way people smell is icky” stuff? Isn’t that the same thing that gave rise to flowery douches and other stupid crap?

    And you d00dly nerd games who don’t change your clothes or wash regularly? Do this. Then worry about the other offerings from the Personal Care Product Industrial Complex™.

  66. 66
    David Marjanović, OM

    I think many nerds and geeks devalue and even resent their physical/corporeal existence

    Are you sure they simply don’t care? That’s what I’m pretty close to (when I’m not in too much company).

    3/6/1. Three square meals, six hours of sleep, one shower. Simple.

    Three square meals? I prefer “grazing” – one square meal, and the rest of the day eating in real time.

    Six hours of sleep? Speak for yourself. Some people need only 4 hours of sleep per night. Others need 12. I need 10. Most people, apparently, need 8. To chronically deprive people of sleep, which is commonly done in modern work life, is seriously counterproductive and chronically damages people’s health.

    One shower every day? Few people sweat so much that they need to shower that often when it isn’t hot or damp.

    No. Deodorant is a necessity. Especially in crowded spaces.

    You may not notice you own odor, but everyone else will.

    But make sure it really is a deodorant, not a perfume!

    Hint: I hereby jump on the “Axe stinks rather horribly” bandwagon.

    I’m fortunate in that I don’t need to trawl for the love of my life anymore. I’ve been waiting for ten years for him to become single again so I can have my chance to be with him at last

    …erm…

    …have you got any reason to think that will ever happen?

    FIFY ;-)

    Aw. Maelok the Dreadbound is a really cute attempt at a segnosaur. :-}

    As for stinky nerds, I very seldom attend cons, but my friends often do, and I have heard tales of chairs that had to be thrown out and gaming rooms professionally deodorized afterward

    :-D

    Mattir: Some people might do fine without deodorant. Many of us don’t, and crystals don’t work for us, either

    Make sure to let your alum crystals dry. If you don’t, they’ll start to stink (pers. obs.) when you’re probably breeding resistant bacteria on them.

    That said, IMO, if you’ve got a thing for murderers or for people who never wash, I’m going to side-eye you.

    I’m quite surprised you mention these two in the same breath.

    I’ve always heard that as 5/2/1

    Five?!?

    *HULK SMASH*

  67. 67
    drksky

    I follow Felicia Day on FB and was wondering why in several of her pictures posted from Dragon*Con, that she had this expression of having a turd waved under her nose. I think I now know why.

  68. 68
    Jay

    Very interesting. I know a guy in his mid-30′s who absolutely loves Transformers and is very angry toward women.

    There is another guy in one of my acquaintance circles who also has anger toward the fairer sex and he does smell like cheese and butt.

    Both have this “what’s wrong with me” attitude.

  69. 69
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Ugh …I read that post by John Scalzi, and mouth hanging open by the end of it, after having read his glowingly egotistical impression of himself and then his not at all humble realisation that he’s a privileged white man, I can at least be glad that he had the realisation at all.

    Still, there’s something about that post that has me gagging. Self-importance really stirs up bile. I can’t help but think, ‘Wow, this guy’s full of himself. How is it not leaking all …oh, right, it is; he has a blog.’

    On topic, I’m so glad we’re still talking about this, even if somewhat tangentially. I’m not being facetious, as regulars will recognise. I really think continued conversation is important. I certainly don’t want any feral otakus trolling about at any convention I attend. (I haven’t been to many convention yet. Why is Toronto left out of the sceptical and atheist circuit?) Awareness is key. Also, how awful would it be to even have to consider posting hygiene awareness? Gross and uncivilised. Not nearly as bad as having to remind conference goers that opposite gendered people are people, though.

  70. 70
    Shane

    The SkepticLawyer thread had some good comments, including one that points out that we do have a “strong culture in our society of male entitlement to female sexual availability.” It’s a culture that transcends facile dichotomies like nerd or jock; it should be addressed on its own rather than casually dumped onto a pile of stereotypical nerd features. Doing so creates an Other, one which no one imagines applies to himself; obviously not a good mechanism if we wish to correct contemptible sexism.

    As for criticizing hygiene – it’s a rather imperious moral judgment, isn’t it? There isn’t a good intellectual basis for its criticism. Sexism, racism, classism are contemptible within a western liberal framework, but cleanliness? I’m not fond of unclean people, certainly, but I can place my personal preferences over the sort of categorical imperative that SkepticLawyer is making. Don’t like people who haven’t taken a shower in a while? Don’t hang out with them. Same goes for the uneducated, proselytizers, and sewage workers if that floats your boat. Don’t get on your soapbox and tell them to change in order to conform to some “societal” norm.

    I would go on a tangent about the long history of various groups equating outside and insubordinate classes – homosexuals, gentiles, serfs – as unclean, but that’s really an entirely different point.

  71. 71
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Jadehawk: “It seems you have the reading comprehension of an overripe cantaloupe.’

    Nah. Your second comment was cryptic. Your first comment presupposes that I shouldn’t judge people who have “vastly different standards,” because OMFG WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE?!??!

    Uh, I’m a human being, I think, and therefore I judge. I think murderers suck, and I think people whose body odor can peel paint (and who have regular access to soap and hot water) suck on a different level. If you want to get your post-modernism on and make some Strange Git-like case that someone who enjoys the company of either type is Being Perfectly Fine And Rational And I Am Being Just Like A Right Winger, go right ahead. I’ll sit here and snicker.

  72. 72
    David Marjanović, OM

    I see. It seems you have the reading comprehension of an overripe cantaloupe.

    *looks up “cantaloupe”*

    *is disgusted and delighted*

    Mmm, sea-smell. Mmm seaweed.

    :-)

    For all those worried about the Mattir Family miasma, consider yourself warned should you decide to go to any of the various Horde gatherings at which we might be present. The Mr. and I haven’t used deodorant in more than 20 years, the Spawn own it, but don’t generally use it.

    Full disclosure: I haven’t noticed.

    How did we get to this “the way people smell is icky” stuff?

    Well, even I don’t like how my armpits smell when I sweat and haven’t applied a bit of alum beforehand.

  73. 73
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Mattir: “People are supposed to have an odor…”

    Naturalistic fallacy.

    There’s a huge difference between natural and inoffensive genital odors, which one can expect if one gets into bed with people, and overall body odor, which is not only unpleasant but which is an, ahem, intimacy that I do not care to have shared with me.

    David M: Mentioning them in the same breath does not mean I am equating them.

    Shane: I have a sensitive nose. I feel queasy when subjected to strong people-odors. I really don’t give a hoot if the self-appointed social justice warriors of the internet think this makes me a bigot.

  74. 74
    David Marjanović, OM

    overall body odor, which is not only unpleasant but which is an, ahem, intimacy that I do not care to have shared with me

    ~:-|

    David M: Mentioning them in the same breath does not mean I am equating them.

    Well, that’s what you made it sound like.

  75. 75
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Ms. Daisy Cutter #73:

    There’s a huge difference between natural and inoffensive genital odors, which one can expect if one gets into bed with people, and overall body odor, which is not only unpleasant but which is an, ahem, intimacy that I do not care to have shared with me.

    Now that’s an interesting shift in language…

  76. 76
    Steve LaBonne

    Or to condense #73: people have a right to smell bad. I have a right to stay the hell away from those people.

  77. 77
    skepticlawyer

    Thank you, Ophelia — no, I’m not a he (or my resoundingly heterosexual partner would have noticed by now), and I do take economic modelling seriously… when there is strong empirical evidence for it, and in this case, there is. Rather than go into lengthy diatribes, may I simply recommend Tim Harford’s The Logic of Life, which discusses ‘the law of one price’ when it comes to relationships in clear and compelling detail:

    http://www.amazon.com/Logic-Life-Rational-Economics-Irrational/dp/1400066425

  78. 78
    Marta

    Thomathy@69: There is a longish post by Scalzi, hundreds of words at least, where he launches a Jesus Christ rocket that had me clicking outta there as fast as I could. I mean, I’m reading along, nodding me head in agreement once in a while, appreciating the topic “shut up and listen”, and then, whammo, it’s as though an alien came and zapped Scalzi’s brain. It is genuinely knuckleheaded stuff. I want to get better at shutting up and listening, but egad. There are limits.

  79. 79
    defides

    I hate to be picky (no you don’t) no, I suppose I don’t.

    But surely people who attend a conference are attenders? Somebody who shoots is a shooter, somebody who plays is a player, somebody who drives is a driver.

    Somebody who refers is a referor and the person to whom reference is made is a ‘referee’.

    Why on earth would somebody who attends be an ‘attendee’? ‘Invitee’, perhaps, given that somebody else did the inviting.

    I blame Webster. He set out to distinguish American English from the real thing and now you’re all adrift in a sea of language without understanding the basics.

  80. 80
    Jadehawk

    I think, and therefore I judge. I think murderers suck, and I think people whose body odor can peel paint (and who have regular access to soap and hot water) suck on a different level.

    for fucks sake, can’t you read? I already told you your dislike for certain types of people is not under discussion; neither the “dislike” part, nor the specific types of people in questions. here, let me quote myself again, since you’re being obtuse:

    not everyone with vastly different standards from you [has] psychological problems.

    If you want to get your post-modernism on

    yep. accepting that people with profoundly different tastes from me aren’t psychologically damaged = post-modernism. you’re a fucking idiot.

  81. 81
    Shane

    Ms. Cutter:

    Well, yes. That’s surely fine. If I were allergic to dogs, I’d stay the hell away from dog owners. I probably wouldn’t propose that society looks into abandoning the concept of pet ownership

  82. 82
    SamB

    On the subject of hygiene in geek fandom, I’d like to remind everyone that women can be just as bad as men, even worse in certain circles. The use of ‘otaku’ is probably what reminded me of this – anime fangirls, especially yaoi/cosplay fangirls, are probably the worst offenders as far as female geeks go. It comes with the added problem of ‘glomping’, which is meant to be an enthusiastic jumping hug but tends to be more of an amateurish and downright dangerous dive tackle.

    Just throwing it out there. Not that it’s necessarily relevant to the main point of the article, but hey.

    My take on it? Assholes everywhere. Just some are more deluded about what they rightfully deserve than others.

  83. 83
    Brenden

    Problem? Yes. Only men? No. There are some gnarly ladies out there, too.

  84. 84
    Jadehawk

    Well, yes. That’s surely fine. If I were allergic to dogs, I’d stay the hell away from dog owners. I probably wouldn’t propose that society looks into abandoning the concept of pet ownership

    or suggest that the only reason someone would ever like dogs/dog owners is because they have low self-esteem or assorted other psychological problems…

  85. 85
    Alverant

    I put part of the blame on the nature of the cons themselves. Friday and Saturday night there are parties where people stay up late. They crawl into bed in the am then wake up because there’s somewhere they have to go in 20 minutes leaving no time to shower. Personally I don’t go to the parties and am hardly functional after midnight so I go home and crawl into bed earlier than many others. Even if I have to drive back, I would shower on Saturday morning, if not Sunday to keep the smell from getting TOO bad.

    Usually I don’t shower on the weekend. I live alone so who else is going to be bothered? If I have plans, then I’ll shower before hand. I think other people are the same way. Plus people may not realize how much they would sweat considering how conventions can be warmer than usual due to body heat and walking around. The reminders are probably necessary for people who aren’t used to that much physical activity.

    These days cons are like vacations. They’re there to have fun and don’t want to “waste” time by doing something as boring as showers.

    If I were to stay at a hotel and have a hot shower on their dime, I’d take advantage of it.

  86. 86
    Mattir-ritated

    For the record, my experience has been that I can only smell people, including my non-deodoranted Spouse, I am close enough to them that I could be touching them, sexually or otherwise. If I can smell you from more than a foot or two away, and we are not engaged in heavy physical labor of the weedwacker/carrying rocks/digging ditches variety, you should probably shower more or change your clothes or wipe your pits with a washcloth.

  87. 87
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Steve LaBonne: Thank you.

    Jadehawk: Yeah, actually, I do believe that people whose standards are THAT low are damaged. If you want to believe that they’re just free spirits who have extricated themselves from the societal burden of either soap and water or of not killing people, you go riiiiiight ahead. LOL.

    Shane: “One of these things is not like the other…”

  88. 88
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    or suggest that the only reason someone would ever like dogs/dog owners is because they have low self-esteem or assorted other psychological problems…

    or disingenuously shift from talking about how people in general are okay with cats to talking about how they hate dogs…

  89. 89
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Ms. Daisy Cutter:

    Yeah, actually, I do believe that people whose standards are THAT low are damaged.

    Standards as defined by your ego-centric ass.

  90. 90
    David Marjanović, OM

    Why on earth would somebody who attends be an ‘attendee’? ‘Invitee’, perhaps, given that somebody else did the inviting.

    Think of the licensee, who isn’t the thing that is licenced.

    -ee is becoming an absolutive ending. I find that mind-bogglingly fascinating.

  91. 91
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    AHAHAHHAHA, it’s “ego-centric” to believe that there’s something wrong with people who have no objections to horrendous hygiene.

    Okay then!

  92. 92
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    If I can smell you from more than a foot or two away, and we are not engaged in heavy physical labor of the weedwacker/carrying rocks/digging ditches variety, you should probably shower more or change your clothes or wipe your pits with a washcloth.

    I’d be showering several times a day. Not everybody perspires equally.

  93. 93
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Axe is so fucking vile. And it’s like the uniting factor between dudebros and feral otaku, this miasma of chemical stench.

    As I like to remind the men in my life, the women in those commericals going wild for the axe drenched man ARE BEING PAID TO PRETEND THEY LIKE IT

    Though, Axe does double as a douchebag alarm system. When you sniff, run as fast as possible in the opposite direction.

    Problem? Yes. Only men? No. There are some gnarly ladies out there, too.

    You mean like it says right in the OP: “It is not a purely male problem:”

  94. 94
    Ula

    (If I may cut in…)

    Yeah, it is egocentric to believe that there’s something wrong with people who do not share your exact concept of hygiene or your exact thresholds for what can or cannot be accepted as acceptable standards.

  95. 95
    RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire

    That’s not what’s happening here.
    What IS going on is pointing out a subset of gamers that is still very much that exact sterotype.

    Yes, I’m aware of that. My comment was more of an aside about the general shitty attitude gamers get from people.

    As far as the post itself, I didn’t even know that asking people to take extra notice of their hygiene at a con was an issue. Unless you’re a regular attendee of cons, or just someone who’s ever exercised, you might not be aware of the effect the extra physical exertions and the heat will have on your body. I’m sure most people take the notices in stride and adjust accordingly, but obviously the particular (and very small) subset are going to flout these suggestions out of…I dunno, defensiveness, spite, rebelling against authority, or generally being a spoiled douchecake. However, I’d agree with a few people upthread that this is a case of “there are people like this and some of them are otaku” than “being an otaku causes some people to be like this”, or some variation of that statement.

  96. 96
    Jadehawk

    standards different from Daisycutter’s standards = low standards. I shall continue rolling my eyes at your glorious display of head-up-ones-own-ass-ness

  97. 97
    TonyJ

    Oh jeez, here we go again…

    Pre-emptive response to whiny MRAs: fuck off and die, assholes.

    I have to ask: What is an MRA? Male Repugnant Aroma?

  98. 98
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Ms. Daisy Cutter #91:

    AHAHAHHAHA, it’s “ego-centric” to believe that there’s something wrong with people who have no objections to horrendous hygiene.

    NO, you disingenuous hack. What’s ego-centric is you claiming that people who don’t subscribe to the same standards as you are psychologically damaged.

    Seriously. Get that through your head already, and while you’re at it don’t disingenuously shift from talking about what people mind to talking about what you mind.

  99. 99
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    I think the social norm against stink is hardly the terrible and oppressive construct some folks here seem to be making it out to be. I think it’s more akin to not sprawling oneself over three seats when one is fine, or respecting personal space when conversing, or not eating onions like apples when you know you’ll be in very close quarters. Or farting loudly and stankfully. I mean, shit happens, but most people know to avoid that kind of thing.

    I hardly think proposing basic standards of courtesy that are not in fact harmful to anyone involved are as oppressive as some folks here seem to be making it out to be.

  100. 100
    SallyStrange

    I can’t speak to cons, but I’ve been going to folk music festivals since I was a little kid. Festivals where hundreds or thousands of people gather in gymnasiums to engage in contra-dancing, which, in addition to being an interesting folk art form, is also a vigorous form of exercise. Of course, the dancers all end up sweating like pigs. And it’s glorious. To this day, I have nothing but positive associations for the smell of a mass of extremely sweaty bodies. Good music, friends, and fun times! Ain’t no deoderant on the planet that’s going to keep THAT smell down.

    Halitosis from certain of the dancers, now… that’s another story.

  101. 101
    Shane

    Ms. Cutter,

    Well, perhaps I didn’t understand. Or perhaps I did not make myself clear. I meant only that you are free to choose to conduct your life as you wish, avoiding whomever you wish and at least I won’t consider it bigotry in any sense. When I discussed banning pets, I was referring to SkepticLawyer’s original piece (e.g. “geek boys, smarten up your act”).

    If SL was only speaking to the union of the unclean and sexist groups, then I’d say that taking a shower doesn’t make a sexist any less contemptible. To paraphrase Dawkins, not showering is zero wrong. It may be disgusting, but unlike sexism, there’s not much of a categorical moral stance that one can take unless we’re talking, like, cholera.

  102. 102
    David Marjanović, OM

    the societal burden of either soap and water or of not killing people

    And again you make it look like you equate not washing with killing people.

    Work on your optics, please.

  103. 103
    CJO

    I blame Webster. He set out to distinguish American English from the real thing and now you’re all adrift in a sea of language without understanding the basics.

    What idiocy. Attendee is first attested in 1961, so Webster can hardly be the culprit, and attender has historically had a sense closer to attendant. Furthermore, while it is indeed more common for the “ee” suffix to be added to a verb when the person so named is the object of the verb, there are other examples of its perfectly normative use, in both British and American English, when the person is the subject of the verb, notably absentee. Which incidentally, appears in Johnson’s dictionary. So blame your lexicographer, not an American, for that one.

    More generally, “the real thing”? Seriously? With thousands of varieties of English in the world, you’re provincially asserting that your particular version, which is as derived from Anglo-Saxon as any other variety, I’ll add, is somehow more “real” than another variety? Further, how have you adduced any “basics”? The French-derived suffix “ee” and its application, or not, to a verb, is a marker of some basic failure to understand English morphology? You’re a pedantic fool.

  104. 104
    RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire

    Though, Axe does double as a douchebag alarm system.

    Very true! It even has a very specific, horrible, acrid scent unlike any other real cologne that make it instantly identifiable, even on the street. I doubt it was intentional, but getting douchebags to label themselves as such saves us all the work. Brilliant.

  105. 105
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    What is an MRA?

    Men’s Rights Activist, which is just a euphemism for rapey misogynists.

    You can see them gloriously mocked at the Manboobz blog.

  106. 106
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    I doubt it was intentional, but getting douchebags to label themselves as such saves us all the work. Brilliant.

    LOL yes!!! Now, if we could just get Unilever to make

  107. 107
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    whoops! don’t know what happened there.

    LOL yes!!! Now, if we could just get Unilever to make a gLibertarian alarm cologne.

  108. 108
    TonyJ

    Some people might do fine without deodorant. Many of us don’t, and crystals don’t work for us, either. It’s no more “evil” than any other grooming product. No matter what these sorts of people say.

    Body Odor Rights? Really?

    To me, the smell of BO is just as bad as the smell of a cigarette (and sometimes worse)

  109. 109
    gothchiq

    Dear stinkbags, let me explain in simple terms why Daisy is right. Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins, and your right to smell like last week’s garbage ALSO ends where my nose (and Daisy’s) begins. You do not get to infringe on the rights of others just ’cause you’re too lazy to pick up a bar of soap and get in the damn shower. And no amount of name calling will change that fact.

    You = Forever Alone.

  110. 110
    David Marjanović, OM

    Dear stinkbags, let me explain in simple terms why Daisy is right.

    Wow, have you misunderstood the topic.

  111. 111
    chigau (違う)

    Your right to wear a mint-green polyester leisure suit ends where it meets my eye.
    —Fran Lebowitz

    and get off my lawn

  112. 112
    AJKamper

    I was with Daisy until she started saying that people who liked the low of hygiene are psychologically damaged.

    I do think it’s rude to inflict one’s nauseating miasma on everyone else… but that’s just a social norm, and so say that not caring about such a norm in one’s partner is a sign of psychological damage is indeed highly arrogant.

  113. 113
    RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire

    Now, if we could just get Unilever to make a gLibertarian alarm cologne.

    Ugh, can you imagine what that would smell like? A pile of Ayn Rand novels, glue from a Ron Paul bumper sticker, market deregulation, with just a soupçon of John Galt’s ball sweat mixed in.

  114. 114
    RichardAustin

    Offense is not equivalent to physical harm.

    Discourtesy does not equate to psychopathy.

  115. 115
    Jadehawk

    You = Forever Alone.

    lol

    the rest of that idiocy isn’t even worth addressing, seeing as it’s a pretty pathetic strawman with no connection to anything anyone has said to Daisycutter

  116. 116
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Ugh, can you imagine what that would smell like? A pile of Ayn Rand novels, glue from a Ron Paul bumper sticker, market deregulation, with just a soupçon of John Galt’s ball sweat mixed in.

    LOL,urgh. I just might lose my lunch.

    I was thinking, actually, that it could just be a bucket of hot cow shit. Tell the glibs that women love the smell of manure on man skin because . . . . uh . . . evopsych. Therefore, the objectivist man smelling that way will beat the scarcity of supply. They’ll buy it.

    Caveat emptor!

  117. 117
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    AJKamper: I’ll qualify. In a society in which nobody cares much about hygiene, and/or there is not sufficient access to hot water, soap, etc., it’s not a sign of “damage.”

    In modern Western society, however, if one has the economic privilege to wash regularly? At best, it’s really assholic. If you’re, say, a rich hipster who doesn’t give a fuck about being sanitary, you may not have any psychological problems that are categorized in the DSM. However, if you inflict your stank on others who do not want to inhale it, you are an asshole.

    If you like to be in the company of such people? Not just healthily sweating people such as in SallyStrange’s anecdote, but people who smell like an expressed anal gland on a cat? Yes, I question either your sanity or your nose. Washing regularly is a healthy practice. Someone who does not wash regularly is, all other things being equal, less healthy than someone who does, or at least is courting worse health.

  118. 118
    M Groesbeck

    So, since we seem to be on the general subject but I haven’t noticed anyone address the specific question:

    What are some recommended social events for the feminist and well-washed gamer/geek set? My friends are mostly, in descending order of abundance, a) feminist women who are geeks, b) pro-feminist gay men who are geeks (my BF and I are here), or c) pro-feminist and non-homophobic straight men who are geeks. And yet as a group we haven’t found many big geek gatherings that cater to our subset of the geek subculture. We have WisCon and Gaylaxicon, sure — but are there others?

  119. 119
    RichardAustin

    M Groesbeck:

    In all honesty, I’ve had a blast at Blizzcon, but it’s almost impossible to get into. There’s a decent gay community there (look up Rainbow Raiders if you’re interested).

    In general, I’ve perused gaymer.org a few times. Not sure if they’d have any recommendations. I don’t actually go to cons much.

  120. 120
    JJ

    Mmm, sea-smell. Mmm seaweed.

    Oddly enough, if I go on dawn patrol (surfing at dawn), I don’t need to put on deodorant afterwards. I have a few theories for this, mainly that a)The smell of seawater and seaweed act as a fairly decent cologne and b)The salt that dries on my skin keeps bacteria from thriving in my sweat, although, sweat is pretty salty on it’s own c)My skin always seems drier after I’ve been in the ocean. I tend not to wash off afterwards (unless it has rained recently and run-off is bad), and get a light sprinkling for salt crystals on my skin.

    Also, as a teenager, I used to get really bad “backne” (back pimples) if I went too long without surfing. I always chalked it up to the salt drawing oil out of my skin and keeping it cleaner.

  121. 121
    Phil

    I realize that a large portion of AXE users use too much of the stuff in densely populated areas, but I don’t think certain styles of it are that bad when used properly. Some smell like a mix of toxic chemicals, but some don’t smell all bad.

    I always wear stick-deodorant/anti-perspirant when I leave my house. And often enough, I’ll use a wee bit of AXE or Old Spice Spray. To this day, I’ve only got complements regarding how I smell (even from an elderly woman in a grocery store).

    But I pose a question to those of you who absolutely detest AXE. Would you rather stand next to a guy who reeks of BO, or someone who is clearly masking their BO with bodyspray?

    Or in other words: Maybe I’m not a douchebag simply because I have a BO-masking item I’m comfortable with sharing in the locker room. I just see it as the lesser of two evils.

  122. 122
    Waffler, of the Waffler Institute

    On an odor-unrelated note, did anybody else find the arbitrage analogy in SkepticLawyer’s post completely incoherent?

  123. 123
    KG

    I was thinking, actually, that it could just be a bucket of hot cow shit. Tell the glibs that women love the smell of manure on man skin because . . . . uh . . . evopsych. – illuminata

    I remember reading (in George Orwell’s “Benefit of Clergy”) that Salvadore Dali anointed himself liberally with goat dung boiled up in fish glue before going a-wooing his inamorata, Gala. Oddly enough, Orwell does not describe her response, but Dali and Gala certainly became an item at some point.

  124. 124
    Jadehawk

    Would you rather stand next to a guy who reeks of BO, or someone who is clearly masking their BO with bodyspray?

    I’ve yet to encounter BO that compares in vileness to an overdose of AXE. The combination of AXE and BO due to attempts at masking one with the other seems to increase the vileness synergistically.

  125. 125
    KG

    #122,
    Absolutely. You have to make allowances though: I understand SkepticLawyer’s a libertarian.

  126. 126
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    But I pose a question to those of you who absolutely detest AXE. Would you rather stand next to a guy who reeks of BO, or someone who is clearly masking their BO with bodyspray?

    Uh, neither.

    Or in other words: Maybe I’m not a douchebag simply because I have a BO-masking item I’m comfortable with sharing in the locker room. I just see it as the lesser of two evils.

    I . . . .don’t understand what you’re getting at here, but for the record, it’s not that Axe users are douchebags because they use Axe, it’s that a high density of douchebags use Axe.

    It’s guilt by similar stench, as it were. (And that’s me speaking just for me – not claiming a truth universally acknowledged, or anything.)

  127. 127
    RichardAustin

    Phil: I think the problem is that trying to “mask” body odor doesn’t seem to work most of the time: you can compliment it or remove it, but you can’t effectively bury it. You just end up smelling like BO+AXE or BO+perfume.

    That’s generally fine for normal body scents (and perfume or cologne should accent such scents, not overpower them), but generally doesn’t end up well with underarm-type odor (which I’m pretty sure is less about body scent than about bacteria and such).

  128. 128
    chigau (違う)

    Phil

    Would you rather stand next to a guy who reeks of BO, or someone who is clearly masking their BO with bodyspray?

    I’ll take the plain BO over the BO plus toxic waste.

  129. 129
    JJ

    @SallyStrange #100
    Ya’ know, that’s one place where humid-sweaty-stank never bothered me – shows and festivals. I frequent a lot of music festivals and shows, and the stank can get really bad.

    Case in point, a few months ago I went to see Furthur (Bob Weir and Phil Lesh) at Shorline with a bunch of neo-hippies. We got a single hotel room for some 15 of us. By the end of the weekend that hotel room smelled so horrendous, we’d been drinking, dancing and not showering for two days, but we were all cool with it. Funny thing, all the hippies referred to each other as “Wookies”, but only when they were smelly. “Hey, did you get a load of all the wookies in the room, it smells awful in there. Let go take a shot with them”

    So yeah, that little expirence showed me that a)it’s not just geeks, b) it’s not just men. The male:female ratio was something like 1:2

  130. 130
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Marta @ #78, the deterioration of this thread into two juvenile arguments, one about the merits of ‘natural body odour’ (for the record, I don’t care how anyone smells as long as I can’t smell them) over daily cleansing and deodorant and the other about the relative psychological wellness, or un-wellness, of people (women specifically, if I recall correctly) who date convicted murderers actually has me interested in this Jesus Christ rocket you mentioned.

    Do you care to elaborate? I’d rather not go searching for it myself only to be driven away as fast as you describe yourself being so driven.

  131. 131
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    I would just like to add here that I, personally, find a sweaty man intensely horny-making. Not all sweaty men, naturally, but more than a few excellent rolls in the hay started when a specific sweaty man (as in my boyfriend at the time), was post-work out, all naked to the waist and out of breath . . . . . . .

    *happy sighs*

    Are human pheromones bullshit?, because damn it sure felt like they existed right then and there. LOL.

    So, basically, I’m going to have to disagree with the anti-human-smell people.

  132. 132
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Phil: I’d take BO by itself over the BO plus Axe. That shit is the only thing that approaches Febreeze in sneeze-inducing badness.

  133. 133
    ChasCPeterson

    Whether or not some people “need” deodorant* to avoid stinking, nobody “needs” anything labeled ‘bodyspray’. That shit truly is a triumph of evil marketing.

    *on days that I care and remember I use Tom’s unscented, which definitely delays the onset of armpit aroma** without any masking perfume whatsoever.

    **which, btw, under certain circumstances I can find almost debilitatingly sexy.
    No, not my own (though I don’t mind my own).
    And, yeah, not an otaku’s either.

  134. 134
    Olav

    Like Mattir, I also don’t use deodorants. In general I hate all artificial smells that people douse themselves with and their houses, cars etc. Certain perfumes, even expensive ones, make me sneeze, they make my eyes water or they make me nauseous.

    If I can smell it from less than a meter away, and I do have a sensitive nose, you are definitely using way too much of the damned stuff. Being in a crowded underground railway car where everybody thinks they must smell like toilet cleaner or worse to hide their body odour, is hell for me. I would much rather that everybody smelt just neutral/natural, that is, like people. People who are convinced that they “stink” themselves most often do not do so at all. They make their odour bigger in their own heads, others do not generally notice anything or aren’t at all disturbed.

    The occasional unwashed and truly stinky can be ignored, or they can be given a hint. As long as you don’t attend certain events as mentioned in the article, it is not a big deal.

  135. 135
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    which, btw, under certain circumstances I can find almost debilitatingly sexy.

    JINX!!!

  136. 136
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    See, I don’t think we’re disagreeing, Illuminata. The people I’m attracted to smell good (to me) when they get a bit sweaty (though I dunno which came first). That said, 99% of strangers? I don’t wanna get that near them or know them that well.

  137. 137
    chigau (違う)

    Thomathy
    This thread started out with body odor and psychological health as two of the potential juvenile arguments topics.

  138. 138
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    That said, 99% of strangers? I don’t wanna get that near them or know them that well.

    Me neither, but I wonder how much of that is cultural. I’ve never been outside of North America, myself, but have been told by friends who have that, in other parts of the world, these masking agents aren’t unilaterally employed, and the attitudes towards them much different.

    And this was not in a “third world” country where such things would be luxury items.

    I wonder if our aversion to the way humans actually smell is part of our prudey puritanical culture.

  139. 139
    ChasCPeterson

    shows and festivals

    Back in the day* there was a sizable contingent of Deadheads and/or Phishphreaks that made it a point of pride not to wash for extended periods of time on tour. Stinking was a badge of honor and tribalism.

    I always thought they were fucking idiots.

    Now, a 3 or 4 day camping-out festival? It’s only charitable to apply a sliding scale. But even there it really is not a horrible onerous burden to occasionally wipe down with a moistened washcloth ffs. Why wouldn’t you?

    *maybe still; I don’t really hang with touring folk much any more.

  140. 140
    ChasCPeterson

    JINX!!!

    you can smell mine if…

    sorry.
    Would you care to join me in my room for a cup of bodyspray?

  141. 141
    Olav

    illuminata says:

    Are human pheromones bullshit?

    As far as I know, this is still somewhat undecided. Some effects do exist, how strongly they influence our behaviour is a big question.

    It is of course possible that you just really liked seeing your half-naked sweaty boyfriend. Visual cues seem to do it for most people in those circumstances ;-)

  142. 142
    jose

    People at conventions need to be reminded to take a shower and brush their teeth. I can’t decide whether that’s funny or appalling.

  143. 143
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    LOL congrats, Chad, you made me blush bright red. LOL Well played.

    It is of course possible that you just really liked seeing your half-naked sweaty boyfriend. Visual cues seem to do it for most people in those circumstances

    Well, YES!! ;), but I wouldn’t even have to see him. He would pass through the room behind me and, if I got a whiff, he’d be on his back in the hallway.

  144. 144
    The Countess

    Maybe it’s the science fiction conventions I’ve gone to as a speaker but I’ve never seen very many unwashed, unkempt geeks. There are a few here and there – and they tend to be the same guys (yes, mostly guys) who come back year after year – but not nearly enough to make it something I’d automatically associate with convention geeks. I tended to hang out with the writers and publishers so maybe I simply never found that subset. I don’t think there are as many of them as the stereotype dictates. On the other hand, I have run into rude guys who monopolize panel discussions and mainsplain everything to the women on the panels whether these guys are on the panel or in the audience. They do it in groups in the dealer’s room and/or after panel discussions as well. I don’t know if this is more common amongst geeks than in the general population but it’s a real problem. Showering doesn’t seem to be a problem from what I’ve seen but a severe lack of social graces and over-blown senses of privilege and entitlement are problems.

  145. 145
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    AXE’s marketing is pretty rank, if you ask me.

  146. 146
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    I’m very bored by the people reciting, ‘Odour is no big deal to me, therefor it’s no big deal …unless it’s an odour I don’t like.’

    It’s an immensely stupid thing to say. It’s also damned obvious.

    You shouldn’t be able to smell a person you’re not within a metre of. And when you smell that person, you shouldn’t want to have to tell them to take a shower. Nor should you want to have to tell them that their perfume is nasty.

    Have any of you ever worked in a scent-free environment? The standard is that you cannot, except intimately (and really, you’re at work …), smell your co-workers. It is a handy rule to apply in day-to-day living.

    The ridiculous discussion about whether anyone should or shouldn’t wear deodorant or perfume or about how people should smell just appears very silly and particularly self-centered of the people doing the discussing. There are some particularly egregious examples in this thread of people moralising about the non-use of deodorant. That’s stupid. Be glad you don’t smell bad, or be glad no one has told you that you do yet. But don’t pretend to a high ground merely because you don’t use deodorant (incidentally, I’m sure, because your nose is sensitive).

    I’ll say it again: I don’t care what anyone smells like if I can’t smell them. I’ll expand, too: Just because I don’t like your odour, doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with it. There is a difference between finding a smell personally unpleasant or unappealing and a person smelling like they need a shower either to get clean or to get their head-ache inducing perfume off.

  147. 147
    Tim

    I will disagree with this on only one point, PZ. It is not always a man. I have had the displeasure to be seated next to a female specimen of the feral otaku. They are generally no less pleasant than the male feral otaku, though thankfully far, far less common.
    The rest of it, though, spot on. Now if only they’d listen.

  148. 148
    Michael Swanson

    @#38 Ms. Daisy Cutter

    Michael Swanson: Yes, there are women who will date men who utterly lack hygiene. So? Some women themselves aren’t very hygienic. There are women who will date prison inmates whose guilt is not in question. There are women who will date heroin addicts. A lot of women have low self-esteem or other psychological problems (as do a lot of men, for that matter). That doesn’t mean the men they date are “doing something right.” Usually it just means they have a well-honed radar for women who are pretty beaten down. Men who think that’s something to be envied are not men I’d like to be around.

    When I say “doing something right,” I don’t mean anything devious or untoward. I mean that maybe he was charming, sensitive, intelligent, funny or an amazing lover. I have no idea. She struck me as genuinely happy to be in his company, and you assuming that he was probably predatory and she was likely beaten down is, I think, insulting to both of them and to what very well may have been a wonderful relationship. While is always possible that was the case, it not a kind assumption to make. “You’re with him? Please, tell me how you’re damaged and what devious things he did to trick you into fucking him!”

    And of course my friends and I were going to marvel at two such obviously different people. It’s what people do. Hip hop styled guy with a cowgirl? Gonna looks twice. Neurosurgeon with a guy wearing a paper fast food hat? Gonna wonder. Smelly nerd with a pretty girl? Gonna look twice! (And think about breaking out my Han Solo shot first! T-shirt and not bathing for a couple of days!)

    You state that men like this “usually…have a well-honed radar for women who are pretty beaten down,” and then judge me harshly — “not men I’d like to be around.” But can I tell you that I hope they were truly happy? That he was a wonderful guy? That she was a wonderful person who happened to be beautiful? That he saw much more in her than her beauty? That “doing something right” doesn’t have to be devious, but instead means “doing or being the kind of person that a beautiful, cheerful woman would find attractive?” Can I tell you that you think more poorly of him and her than I do, and you never met them?

    Oh, and I hope he doesn’t stink anymore. He smelled really bad.

  149. 149
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    It is not always a man.

    You mean like it says in the original piece:”It is not a purely male problem:”

  150. 150
    leftwingfox

    I figured if my girlfriend didn’t like my deodorant, I’d change for her. Then I found out she liked Axe. Gag.

    Personally, I have been to a convention art show with one particular biohazard zone. I swear he was smuggling the rotting corpse of The Man Your Man Could Smell Like under his clothes. You could see the 10-foot force field around this guy, as everyone shuffled through the art show at his pace.

  151. 151
    The Countess

    “In an efficient market, all identical goods must have the same price; however, when there are fewer women than men in a given market (and assuming that most people in that market would like either sex or a relationship), then their relative scarcity presents women with an arbitrage opportunity.”

    That’s the opposite of saying “why buy the milk when you can get the cow for free? I for one get tired of being looked at as “goods”. I’m not a product for sale to be bought by some man, and I resent this economic description of women’s worth I’ve seen so often that reduces women to objects. I’m a human being. Stop looking at me like I’m a cow.

  152. 152
    Dhorvath, OM

    Michael Swanson,

    The other guys wanted to make fun of him, but I pointed out, “She’s with him, and she’s not sparing us a glance.” He was doing something right.

    Nonsense. He was what she wanted and/or needed. Nothing more. To extend that to him doing something correct is missing a whole lot of support. He may have been lucky in meeting her when they were amenable to noticing their compatibility, but that’s really the closest he came to doing something right. Most of us are in the relationships that we are for similar reasons: luck.
    ___

    b00ger,

    In this scenario the women could pretty much have their choice of men, while only the top 20% of the men really stood a chance.

    So of course all of those women were looking for the same thing and that correlated with the top of the class? What the hell?

    After college, I returned to the real world and now I have a wife who is more beautiful and smarter than a good portion of those girls who ignored me in college.

    Oh, I see, it’s a competition. Urk.
    ___

    Ms. Daisy,

    Mentioning them in the same breath does not mean I am equating them.

    No but it does mean you are comparing them and doing so in that fashion has caused many people here to think that you are equating them. A person who was concerned with communication would take this as a chance improve their wording so that people don’t think they view BO and murder as similar. Continuing to defend the wording is not helping with that.
    ___

    Alverant,

    These days cons are like vacations. They’re there to have fun and don’t want to “waste” time by doing something as boring as showers.

    Showers are boring? Who knew? I will arrive late before I will skip that a.m. luxury.

  153. 153
    Tim

    @Illuminata- my comment, and I should have been clearer, was specifically in response to this segment of the post.

    “only to have some guy (it’s always a guy, sorry) sit down next to you who hasn’t bathed or brushed his teeth in a few days,”

    And “It is not a purely male problem:” seems, in context with the rest of the sentence the note that it’s not just a nerd problem as there are well groomed nerds, to be noting that this is a very specific group of male nerds, not that he’s granting that it happens with women too. I could be reading that wrong, though.

    My point was simply that it’s an attitude that crosses the gender divide, in contrast to his initial statement that it is always a guy. Almost always one, yes, but the exceptions to the rule are no less rank and foul.

  154. 154
    Dhorvath, OM

    The Countess,
    I am still trying to wrap my head around that paragraph. I certainly came away with that same impression.

  155. 155
    screechy monkey

    illuminata@131: “I would just like to add here that I, personally, find a sweaty man intensely horny-making.”

    There’s usually a big difference between someone who is “freshly sweaty” from a workout and that same person an hour later without a shower. I think it has to do with bacterial build-up.

  156. 156
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    I am still trying to wrap my head around that paragraph. I certainly came away with that same impression.

    Someone upthread said the author is a Libertarian. If that is the case, there’s nothing surprising about this view of relationships.

  157. 157
    darkstar

    illuminata says:

    Are human pheromones bullshit?

    If you mean commercial pheromone “potions” the answer is ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT.

    True human pheromones are pretty much bullshit, which doesn’t mean humans cannot respond to smells; but keep in mind those are functionally different sense organs. There are some mild smell-based effects that have been observed. Nothing like a true pheromone response though.

    The sense organ in question is the Vomeronasal organ

    Humans do have one and the question was uncertain for some time and there were even conflicting scientific reports. But it seems to be inactive in an adult human according to the most recent reports.

    Armed with these keywords you can find tons of papers like:

    Vomeronasal organ and human pheromones

    For many organisms, pheromonal communication is of particular importance in managing various aspects of reproduction. In tetrapods, the vomeronasal (Jacobson’s) organ specializes in detecting pheromones in biological substrates of congeners. This information triggers behavioral changes associated, in the case of certain pheromones, with neuroendocrine correlates. In human embryos, the organ develops and the nerve fibers constitute a substrate for the migration of GnRH-secreting cells from the olfactory placode toward the hypothalamus. After this essential step for subsequent secretion of sex hormones by the anterior hypophysis, the organ regresses and the neural connections disappear. The vomeronasal cavities can still be observed by endoscopy in some adults, but they lack sensory neurons and nerve fibers. The genes which code for vomeronasal receptor proteins and the specific ionic channels involved in the transduction process are mutated and nonfunctional in humans. In addition, no accessory olfactory bulbs, which receive information from the vomeronasal receptor cells, are found. The vomeronasal sensory function is thus nonoperational in humans. Nevertheless, several steroids are considered to be putative human pheromones; some activate the anterior hypothalamus, but the effects observed are not comparable to those in other mammals. The signaling process (by neuronal detection and transmission to the brain or by systemic effect) remains to be clearly elucidated.

  158. 158
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    screechy monkey – point taken.

  159. 159
    Bill Door

    In an efficient market, all identical goods must have the same price; however, when there are fewer women than men in a given market (and assuming that most people in that market would like either sex or a relationship), then their relative scarcity presents women with an arbitrage opportunity. In financial markets, if the price of a security, commodity or asset is different in two different markets, then an arbitrageur will purchase the asset in the cheaper market and sell it where prices are higher.

    It’s hard to imagine a scenario less like the dating ‘market,’ even if the the number of men and women were the same. All dollars are the same, and all new iPods as well; however, Jim is not Cloe is not Bob is not Francine, etc. I think it’s more like the Market for Lemons.

  160. 160
    David Marjanović, OM

    Me neither, but I wonder how much of that is cultural. I’ve never been outside of North America, myself, but have been told by friends who have that, in other parts of the world, these masking agents aren’t unilaterally employed, and the attitudes towards them much different.

    Oh, it’s much more complicated than that. One of my weird sisters likes Axe*, the other hates it just like I do.

    * No idea if she likes Axe on people who haven’t washed beforehand. Also no idea what amounts of Axe she likes.

    Well, YES!! ;), but I wouldn’t even have to see him. He would pass through the room behind me and, if I got a whiff, he’d be on his back in the hallway.

    But even then, it could (!) be that you just associate the smell with the sight: the smell makes you think of the sight, and that thought makes you throw him over.

  161. 161
    Mattir-ritated

    **which, btw, under certain circumstances I can find almost debilitatingly sexy.

    Oh, Chas, who knew you were so, um, interesting? But yes, debilitating is the word for how sexy such a thing can be.

  162. 162
    ombak

    @ defides

    I blame Webster. He set out to distinguish American English from the real thing and now you’re all adrift in a sea of language without understanding the basics
    ___________________

    I know this was long ago but it gives me an excuse to post this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7E-aoXLZGY

  163. 163
    'Tis Himself

    From the Skeptic Lawyer, quoted in the OP:

    In an efficient market, all identical goods must have the same price; however, when there are fewer women than men in a given market (and assuming that most people in that market would like either sex or a relationship), then their relative scarcity presents women with an arbitrage opportunity.

    Especially if we’re considering possible relationships then women are not identical goods so the analogy fails. There’s other problems with the analogy but since a basic assumption is false then we don’t need to go further.

  164. 164
    Ing

    In an efficient market, all identical goods must have the same price; however, when there are fewer women than men in a given market (and assuming that most people in that market would like either sex or a relationship), then their relative scarcity presents women with an arbitrage opportunity.

    My only problem. I find this reinforces the “Women are the supply end and don’t really like sex they just use it for trade” ideas.

  165. 165
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    But even then, it could (!) be that you just associate the smell with the sight: the smell makes you think of the sight, and that thought makes you throw him over.

    Hmmmmm, now that’s a good point. Or, maybe, if he worked up a sweat while we were bouncing the mattress springs, I would be incidentally conditioned to find that smell sexy by association.

    Kinda like how I taught my cat to sit on command, by associating the word with getting a treat. LOL

  166. 166
    Marta

    Thomathy@130: Here’s your Jesus rocket. (BTW, it’s post 230 or so over at his blog)

    Brad:

    “JS, bzzzt, secular fail. No quoting the bible if you don’t attend church, nor believe in God.”

    I find this statement exceptionally offensive, even made in jest. Why? Let me count the ways:

    1. It makes the assumption that there is no wisdom that I can glean from the words and life of Jesus even if I choose not to believe in his divinity. Such an assertion is both a slap against me as person and my ability to apprehend wisdom, and a slap against Jesus as a moral and philosophical teacher. I have never made a secret of my respect for and admiration of Jesus, for who he was as a man, and a thinker. That you would try to deny him to me, or discredit my use of his wisdom, is something I find appalling.

    2. It makes the assumption that I cannot be as Saul on the road to Damascus, which I find a deeply questionable position for a follower of Christ to take. Do I not deserve to read and hear and speak the words of the Christ? How do you believe, Brad, that people are brought to his light? As a member of a church who sends its young people to the doors of others to spread the Gospel, I’m very much of the opinion that you should feel shame that you would even with a self-defensive emoticon try to deny his words to me. I don’t believe in Jesus as Christ, but who is to say that will always be the case? By your own lights, swiping the Bible from me and saying “No Jesus for you” is to damn me eternally. I’m offended you apparently cannot even entertain the notion that Jesus, as Christ, might find his way into my heart. That is deeply uncharitable of you, and you should be ashamed.

    3. I don’t believe in Jesus as Christ but you do, and your attempt to deny the words of Christ because they are given to you by someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus as the Christ is still to deny the words of the Christ. Jesus’ words are no less true because I link them to you then they would be if you received them from Thomas Monson. That you would choose to discount and ignore the words of Jesus with a fatuous bzzt just because you don’t like source doesn’t say positive things about your apprehension of those words.

    I’m calling bullshit on you, Brad, right here and now. I say you were in a rush to the buzzer on me because I gave you words from Jesus Christ that made a mockery of your position, and you were discomforted by both the reminder that Christ asked you to be better man than those who you feel are set against you, and upset that I as a non-believer called you to recall words that you as a Christian should be trying to live. I say that Christ would say that when those who are set against you ask for an ear, you should give two — and I know I’m right, unbeliever though I am, because I know Jesus’ words and I know the Sermon on the Mount. Christ expects you to be the better man, and what you’re saying here, as far as I can see, is that you’re too worn down for that. What I have asked you to consider are the tenets of your own faith, and the words of your personal savior. And you want to disqualify them because you don’t see me as part of your tribe. That’s sad, that’s lazy, and that’s offensive to me.

    And yes, Brad, you have offended me, deeply and sincerely. Jesus — whether one considers him the messiah, or a prophet, or a great man — belongs to everyone, including me, and so do his words. As you are believer of him as the Christ, remember that he died for the sins of the whole world, not just parts of it, and that his grace is available to every man and woman who seeks it, not only to some.

    Brad, I offered you the words of one of the best and wisest men I have ever known, exhorting you to be a good man, and a better man than others. You threw them back at me and told me I wasn’t worthy of them. That was thoughtless, that was stupid, and it was wrong. It was also a thoroughly unchristian act. I am sorry for you that you chose to do it, for both our sakes.

  167. 167
    Ing

    Brad, I offered you the words of one of the best and wisest men I have ever known, exhorting you to be a good man, and a better man than others.

    Frank Zappa?

    You threw them back at me and told me I wasn’t worthy of them. That was thoughtless, that was stupid, and it was wrong. It was also a thoroughly unchristian act. I am sorry for you that you chose to do it, for both our sakes.

    Jesus was not a good teacher. he wasn’t wise he wasn’t NEW and he often wasn’t moral.

    Find me all the times int he Bible where Jesus smiled, k?

    I’ll spell it slowly for you

    WE DO NOT THINK JESUS WAS ALL THAT GREAT

    http://blogingproject.blogspot.com/2011/05/bigger-than-jesus-top-literary-and.html

  168. 168
    David Marjanović, OM

    In this scenario the women could pretty much have their choice of men, while only the top 20% of the men really stood a chance.

    So of course all of those women were looking for the same thing and that correlated with the top of the class? What the hell?

    After college, I returned to the real world and now I have a wife who is more beautiful and smarter than a good portion of those girls who ignored me in college.

    Oh, I see, it’s a competition. Urk.

    Yeah. Both of these things struck me as so bizarre that I couldn’t even articulate why.

    Showers are boring?

    Maybe I’m doing it wrong*, but, yes.

    * I know what you’re thinking of. That doesn’t work for me. :-)

    There’s usually a big difference between someone who is “freshly sweaty” from a workout and that same person an hour later without a shower. I think it has to do with bacterial build-up.

    Yes, they turn androstenol, which is said to smell like sandalwood, into androstenone, which has a very different smell and a quite interesting Wikipedia article; for instance, different people can smell very different minimum amounts of it.

  169. 169
    Ing

    Seriously, if I gave you a tissue that Leonard Nimoy sneezed in and you don’t like Star Trek why should you respond with anything but annoyance that I just gave you garbage?

  170. 170
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    skepticlawyer:

    …and I do take economic modelling seriously… when there is strong empirical evidence for it, and in this case, there is. Rather than go into lengthy diatribes, may I simply recommend Tim Harford’s The Logic of Life, which discusses ‘the law of one price’ when it comes to relationships in clear and compelling detail:

    I love this, from the book description:

    Using tools ranging from animal experiments to supercomputer simulations, an ambitious new breed of economist is trying to unlock the secrets of society. The Logic of Life is the first book to map out the astonishing insights and frustrating blind spots of this new economics in a way that anyone can enjoy.

    Funny, I would expect a journalist seeking to “unlock the secrets of society” to start with, oh, the mass of evidence from anthropology, history, and sociology rather than supercomputer simulations. I’ll pass, thanks, and in turn recommend David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years. But then, I think I recall you recently saying on one of Ophelia’s threads how stupid you thought the concept of privilege (probably the most ignorant comment on a thread in which several people were speculating about the extensive overlap between the Quiverfull people and S&M fetishists, so that’s saying something), so I suspect your level of knowledge in these fields to be rather low generally.

  171. 171
    'Tis Himself

    chigau () #111

    Your right to wear a mint-green polyester leisure suit ends where it meets my eye.

    <glances furtively at closet>

  172. 172
    CJO

    Jesus was not a good teacher.

    There’s no way of knowing whether he was or he wasn’t, or if he even was. The “teachings of Jesus” we have are the words of a mouthpiece figure in a collection of theological fictions. They are the words of the authors of the gospels, source unknown.

  173. 173
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    For most humans, simply washing regularly will take care of bodily odors. Deodorant is an Instrument of Satan™Invention of Corporate Marketers™.

    Citation needed.

  174. 174
    mikeg

    I dislike BO as much as the next person, but in my mind BO =/= sweating person. BO, to me, is that person who chronically neglects hygiene to the point where their stink actually infects the water fountain you are about to use.

    I agree with illuminata;

    My post workout girl friend is a sight to see. Mmmm. What can I say? Sweaty, naked bodies can be wonderful- in context.

  175. 175
    Waffler, of the Waffler Institute

    Later in the thread John Scalzi says this:

    Indeed, Jesus is a friend of mine, and I can certainly understand the surprise in finding an agnostic like me having knowledge of and admiration for him.

    Saying you have knowledge and admiration for Jesus Christ is like saying you have knowledge and admiration for Huckleberry Finn. Except Huck Finn was a much nicer guy.

  176. 176
    NitricAcid

    I used to know a fellow- brilliant chemist, did many years of post-doctoral work and admired by many who never met him- who honestly believed that showering would wash away the natural pheromones and interfere with his ability to score with women.

    Even other chemists could tell that he reeked.

  177. 177
    Cerus

    Growing up, the lifestyle I gravitated towards seemed as though it would come with some obvious drawbacks.

    I’m fortunate to have had the companionship of someone as nerdy and generally asocial as I am, the past 7 years have been awesome.

  178. 178
    Patrick Smythe

    As the father of a teenage boy (and uncle of two others) I wonder if this problem has something to do with retarded development in the gaming-obsessed young man.

    I have been trying to instill grooming skills and knowledge in my son (and related skills like how to iron a shirt and cook a roast) because i want him to be a capable, independent adult who can take care of himself. He’s great – cooks well, is socially very capable and doesn’t smell, but others I have met are vile. There is something piquantly unique about a teenage boy’s bedroom.

    Mind you – my son doesn’t game, he rides skatebords, goes out with girls and plays drums (very well).

    Oh – and the only dedicated gamer I know is a woman; a University lecturer in the Humanities. Well groomed, though, and I don’t recall her ever smelling bad.

  179. 179
    Teshi

    I used to spend a lot of virtual time with people who were close to being… challenged and once had an extended argument with someone who insisted he smelt good and so didn’t use deoderant. Pah. Ask others before you make this decision unilaterally.

    Also, I have come across women who have said to me, “I would date him, if he took more care of himself.”

    I find the vast majority of people, when cleaned up, with a decent haircut, well-chosen clothes and a polite manner actually are attractive. What many people, especially certain genres of man seem to struggle with is this concept. Many I think got into the mindset that because they were a bit dumpy, spotty and out of it in middle school that that is going to be how they are for the rest of their lives and so they have bad, greasy hair, bargain bin clothes when they can afford better, eat energy drinks and pizza, don’t keep a normal sleep schedule or exercise and take on weird affectations like refusing deodorant or growing an unkempt beard or bad moustache.

    It’s a serious problem becuase a lot of these people aren’t jerks at first and sadness/depression (either clinical or not) from the social problems they then encounter are, in many cases, avoidable.

    I am a woman who was geeky, spotty, socially inept and poorly dressed in middle school. I worked hard to pay (some) attention to my clothes, hair, personal hygiene and social norms once I realised how to do so and that it was beneficial to me in my every day life without even considering dating.

    These men put themselves at a disadvantage. Part of it is that they don’t fully realised how much of a disadvantage they are at and I think abscribing failure with women is easy when you can just label it on women’s shallow addiction to a chiseled jaw.

    But, as I said above, most women expect from men some evidence of effort, especially as women spend a lot of precious time doing things to look after themselves. It’s not fair that I’m going running, chosing my clothes to match/fit and eating fruit and vegetables five times a day for you to be offended that I won’t go out with your straggly hair, elderly t-shirts and energy drinks.

    So if you are struggling, think back to how you were as a teenager. If you still look and dress the same way, you are doing something wrong if you are now in your twenties, thirties or more. You were supposed to develop beyond that stage. Yeah, you spent that time doing something deliciously geeky but hears news, so did all those geeky women you moon over. They just put themselves out a little more and thought a little harder. Do them the honour of putting in the same effort.

  180. 180
    Hurin

    @ Marta, 166

    Assuming for a second that jesus was a real person and not some kind of Arthur-like legendary composite, then he was the first person in the Abrahamic tradition to employ hell as a rhetorical device, and his major concern was self aggrandizement.

    By way of example:

    Mathiew
    10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
    10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
    10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
    10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/mt/10.html#34

    If you think jesus was wise try reading some real philosophy.

  181. 181
    Sili

    3/6/1
    5/2/1

    David said much nicer than I could ever do.

    You fucktards.

    Makes me want to sleep a coupla hours or three more to avoid having to spend time with your kind of people.

  182. 182
    Brown Jenkins

    I once attended a small gaming convention in Minneapolis. My husband and I were invited by a friend to join a group of about 40 or so people. It was located at a large house. The all male owners of the house hadn’t cleaned the house, done the dishes in at least a week, nor cleaned the bathroom probably ever. There was pee all over the toilet– and get this…no toilet paper! I can’t remember the name of the actual convention, but I dubbed it SlobCon. I didn’t go back the second day because I was AFRAID. BTW, I was one of two women in the group of 40+.

  183. 183
    Jafafa Hots

    I have to object to the unfair implication that all of those of us males who are smelly and hygiene-challenged are somehow therefore nerds.

  184. 184
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Sili #181: Oh come now, we all know that human needs fall in restrictive definitions and anything different is just your fault.

    After all, if we changed that it would make it harder for the corporatocracy to exploit us by demanding more of our time. And that would be bad.

  185. 185
    bananacat

    This sounds like the problem I had in college. I went to an engineering school for undergrad and at that time (it has since gotten better) the ratio of males to females was something like 5:1. In this scenario the women could pretty much have their choice of men, while only the top 20% of the men really stood a chance. This led to somewhat of a superiority complex by a lot of the women who would refuse to even talk to you if you weren’t in that top 20% or so.

    Yeah, I really can’t let this slide. I went to an undergrad school where the ratio was far more skewed, about 10:1 in general engineering classes and about 6:1 when I finally got to my chemical engineering core classes.

    You sound like the very typical Nice Guy (TM). Any time you essentially call women uppity because they won’t look twice at you, the problem is probably with you and not with them. I’ll bet my entire life savings that you never even asked these women out, and you’re just pissed that they didn’t read your mind and walk up to you to offer sex.

    Sophomore year, some weird Nice Guy (TM) latched on to me, and I’m sure he thought that I was uppity and snobby towards him. He smelled really bad, and insisted on sitting thisclose to me in every class, I guess because he was afraid that leaving a seat in between, which was the standard at my school, would encourage someone less smelly to sit between us. Our conversations were incredibly boring because we had nothing in common and no similar hobbies. But I was the trophy so he wanted me anyway (I’m sure my large breasts didn’t hurt either). He wouldn’t ask me out so I could never technically reject him, and I’m sure he sat at home, infuriated that I would dare to date other men.

    But he was a rare one. I was friends with most of men in my class. None of them were ever perpetually single, even though there was such a skewed ratio. In fact, I don’t remember any of the chem eng women dating any chem eng men, not even the “top” ones. I had a fling with one guy freshman year but that’s about it. Most of the men in my class weren’t even interested in dating me because they had girlfriends, either in different majors or women that didn’t even go to our school. I rarely even dated men that I went to school with and found most of my dates outside the school.

    So if you were lonely in college, the problem was with you. It’s weird that it never occurred to you look outside of your own campus. Even if you went to some college with a campus in the middle of nowhere and you didn’t have a car, you could keep in touch with people from high school or meet people online.

  186. 186
    bananacat

    Your right to wear a mint-green polyester leisure suit ends where it meets my eye.

    This is a false analogy. It’s much easier to avoid a look than a smell. When you grow consciously-controllable lids over your nostrils, and turning your head suddenly makes smells go away, then maybe you’ll have a point.

    But odors permeate and can’t be as easily avoided.

  187. 187
    'Tis Himself

    SC #170

    David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years

    Another book I’ll have to read soon.

  188. 188
    David Marjanović, OM

    someone who insisted he smelt good and so didn’t use deoderant

    A particularly bad case of someone who thought everybody was like him.

    I find the vast majority of people, when cleaned up, with a decent haircut, well-chosen clothes and a polite manner actually are attractive.

    Don’t think everybody is like you. I find very few people attractive; and most of those who aren’t attractive to me cannot do anything about it. Clothes? I don’t necessarily remember what I am wearing if I don’t look, even though, when I go among people, I do try to suit my choice of which ones of my clothes I wear to the occasion and to each other in addition to to the weather.

    And I do hope you meant “friendly” when you wrote “polite”.

    bargain bin clothes when they can afford better

    There is such a thing as beautiful clothes, but if your clothes do nothing but look expensive, I’ll actually despise you for wearing them; I’ll consider you superficial and wasteful, and probably a fashion victim who buys whatever the fashion industry tells her to and may not even have a taste of her own.

    don’t keep a normal sleep schedule

    As long as you sleep for long enough, it doesn’t matter for your health when you sleep.

    someone who insisted he smelt good and so didn’t use deoderant

    A particularly bad case of someone who thought everybody was like him.

    I find the vast majority of people, when cleaned up, with a decent haircut, well-chosen clothes and a polite manner actually are attractive.

    Don’t think everybody is like you. I find very few people attractive; and most of those who aren’t attractive to me cannot do anything about it. Clothes? I don’t necessarily remember what I am wearing if I don’t look, even though, when I go among people, I do try to suit my choice of which ones of my clothes I wear to the occasion and to each other in addition to to the weather.

    And I do hope you meant “friendly” when you wrote “polite”.

    bargain bin clothes when they can afford better

    There is such a thing as beautiful clothes, but if your clothes do nothing but look expensive, I’ll actually despise you for wearing them; I’ll consider you superficial and wasteful, and probably a fashion victim who buys whatever the fashion industry tells her to and may not even have a taste of her own.

    don’t keep a normal sleep schedule

    As long as you sleep for long enough, it doesn’t matter for your health when you sleep.

    When you grow consciously-controllable lids over your nostrils

    I’m almost there… but unfortunately not quite.

  189. 189
    Marta

    Hurin @180

    My post you reference is a long comment written by John Scalzi, not by me. The link to Scalzi’s blog and that comment are provided by PZ, up top.

    You may find it helpful to read comments 69, 78 and 130.

  190. 190
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Maybe it’s just my (for real) OCD, but reading this thread made me forgo my planned quickie lukewarm shower for nice, long, hot one with a shave, deep-conditioning, foot-pumice, sugar scrub and the fancy body cream. AHHHH.

  191. 191
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Happiestsadist, obviously you are suffering from false consciousness. The corporations have brainwashed you to believe that hot water, soap, scrubby products, and nice-smelling moisturizers aren’t tools of oppression. (Lovely tools of oppression.) You can’t use the master’s soap to pull down the master’s shower stall!!!

    /I get screamed at for “appropriation” and “trivialization” in 5, 4, 3…

  192. 192
    DerelictHat

    Honestly, I’d be a lot happier at cons and with gaming and geekery in general if the misogyny could be gone. The smell is a lot easier to fix, and much rarer, than all the sexism. If you want to laugh in a horrified way, check out FatUglyorSlutty.com

  193. 193
    Mattir-ritated

    For the record, I was being silly in my Toiletries are the Instrument of Satan post. But I do think that toiletries are way overmarketed, the profusion of products for particular “needs” is absurd, and that much of this overmarketing has to do with making normal human odor taboo. This is not my own idea – I will track down references if desired, but I read such stuff in college, and that was 30 years ago now.

    I am not opposed to a bit of unscented deodorant, wearing clean clothes (and undershirts) and using unscented baby wipes from time to time between showers. But the oh-noes-my-body-smells-like-a-body-up-close stuff is just peculiar to me.

    I’ll be over in the corner with Chas…

  194. 194
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    I blame Webster. He set out to distinguish American English from the real thing and now you’re all adrift in a sea of language without understanding the basics.

    Oun thae outhre hand, at laeast wae spaell wourds like thaey’re fucking prounouuncde.

  195. 195
    consciousness razor

    If you think jesus was wise try reading some real philosophy.

    Are there any philosophy books with fictional stories which involve insulting and condemning random people, telling “sinners” to pluck out their eyes and cut off their hands, casting out “demons,” spitting in blind peoples’ eyes, smiting fig trees; and otherwise roaming around the desert aimlessly like an ignorant, pompous, delusional asshole?

    If not, well, what good is all your philosophy, then?

  196. 196
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Mattir – I can actually agree with you that toiletries are overmarketed for the most part. Soap and deodorant, plus of course toothpaste and mouthwash, take care of most unpleasant odors. A little perfume or cologne is not a big deal (“multiple chemical sensitivity” is nonsense), but nobody needs to leave a puddle of scent wherever they stand.

  197. 197
    David Marjanović, OM

    Oun thae outhre hand, at laeast wae spaell wourds like thaey’re fucking prounouuncde.

    LOL. You’re marginally closer. Still, all standard English orthographies remain the worst of any language that uses an alphabet or syllabary: worse than Tibetan, worse than Mongolian-in-the-Mongolian-script, worse than any Gaelic, quite a bit worse than French.

    Obligatory link.

  198. 198
    David Marjanović, OM

    Soap and deodorant, plus of course toothpaste and mouthwash, take care of most unpleasant odors.

    Few people need mouthwash.

    And… don’t take it personally, but I hate any implication of any connection between brushing one’s teeth and cosmetics. It’s for one’s health (and finances), not for one’s visual or olfactory appearance. Sorry, pet peeve.

    Sweat is water-soluble, so I don’t use soap at all unless I have something water-insoluble on my hands, for example when I’ve handled bike tires. But I digress. :-)

  199. 199
    ibyea

    @Ing
    Having read that entry and others from your blog, I have got to say, yours is already one of my favorites.

  200. 200
    Nea

    I’m surprised at the rage thrown at the notion that there are rules of thumb out there for a minimum amount of sleep, food, & showers at a convention (6/3/1 or 5/2/1). They’re minimums per day not some voice from on high saying “that’s all you get for the weekend” or (more importantly) “that’s how you’re supposed to live your entire life.”

    Of course people would keel over if they lived on the idea of two meals and 5 or 6 hours of sleep every day at home, but the point of a convention is that you’re not AT home. Which, to loop back to the original post, makes me wonder if the major problem with the feral otaku is that they’re not grasping that they aren’t at home. That what is acceptable in private is not necessarily acceptable in public.

  201. 201
    Hurin

    Marta

    My post you reference is a long comment written by John Scalzi, not by me. The link to Scalzi’s blog and that comment are provided by PZ, up top.

    You may find it helpful to read comments 69, 78 and 130.

    I actually did, but it was still unclear to me whether 166 was him or your response to him, and I ended up erroneously concluding that it was your reaction to him. My bad.

  202. 202
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    Bah, Daisy, LUSH are overpriced and underqualitied. There are much better body products to be had on Etsy for less money. (And anyone who likes sugar scrub should get a Salux cloth, which costs a third as much as a tub of sugar scrub and exfoliates approximately a billionty times better).

    Nea @200: you raise a good point, I think the attraction of cons to hardcore geeks is that it can feel profoundly like being “home” and “among one’s people”. Which is great and I am all for it but the problem is of course that one is not literally home.

  203. 203
    David Marjanović, OM

    rules of thumb [...] for a minimum amount of sleep, food, & showers at a convention

    Oh. I didn’t notice that that’s all they’re meant to be.

    Indeed, comment 13 doesn’t provide any context at all, and commment 51 does so only when I read it with hindsight.

    I’ve never been to any such convention, only at scientific conferences (where I never get enough sleep…) and at last year’s atheist conference in Copenhagen.

  204. 204
    Hurin

    Consciousness Razor

    Are there any philosophy books with fictional stories which involve insulting and condemning random people, telling “sinners” to pluck out their eyes and cut off their hands, casting out “demons,” spitting in blind peoples’ eyes, smiting fig trees; and otherwise roaming around the desert aimlessly like an ignorant, pompous, delusional asshole?

    Nietzsche totally should have done that with Zarathustra. I remember him coming off as more of a lecturing concern troll, and having him smite an occasional fig tree (really? I didn’t remember that one) might have made the book more readable.

    But no, I know of none.

    If not, well, what good is all your philosophy, then?

    Well, interesting me if nothing else.

  205. 205
    I'mthegenie!Icandoanything!

    This site is a huge success, by any reasonable standards.

    Why still chum the water with topics like this?

    Well, looking forward to the next science thingy!

  206. 206
    consciousness razor

    and having him smite an occasional fig tree (really? I didn’t remember that one) might have made the book more readable.

    I don’t know if it’d be more readable, but perhaps entertaining, so long as it isn’t taken seriously. Here’s the passage from Mark 11, truly a marvellous piece of Ancient Wisdom™:

    1And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, 2And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. 3And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.

    4And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. 5And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? 6And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go. 7And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.

    [vs. 8-11, everyone makes a big a big scene out of Jesus riding into Jerusalem, as if we care how some pompous asshole finds transportation]

    12And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: 13And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 14And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.

    [vs. 15-18, Jesus kicks some money-changer ass like a pompous asshole, which also probably never happened]

    19And when even was come, he went out of the city. 20And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. 22And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 24Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

  207. 207
    Meg

    Baking soda also works for some people as a deodorant.

  208. 208
    Nea

    David (re: 203)

    Ah! What I get for assuming everyone is familiar with the same things. To put the 5/2/1/ rule into the complete context when it was quoted to me: “At a con, thou shalt have AT LEAST 5 hours of sleep, two real meals, and a shower. Per day. You can go over, but never under. And no, you can’t change the numbers and try to have five meals and two hours of sleep.”

    At SF conventions, there are often things happening from 10 in the morning to about 3 the next morning (or even later) without break. You’re there, you’re talking to people who geek out about the same things you do, there’s lots of new, shiney stuff… it’s VERY easy to get swept away and forget to take care of yourself and you don’t even realize the stress you’re putting on your body even during what seems like a slow convention until it either screams for protein or starts hurting. (When I was very, very young, I went a whole weekend without a real meal. On Monday, someone called just as I was diving face-first into takeout. The guy on the other end of the phone started laughing in my ear: “With every bite, you’re getting smarter.”)

    I mentioned this years later to someone and got the 5/2/1 rule quoted to me as above. While I’m too old to get away with less than 7 for the sleep hours and can’t stand myself without the shower, even with decades of experience under my belt, I have to really pay attention to make sure I’m getting enough food on a regular schedule, because sometimes if I want to see what I want to see, I’m not getting a break for 7 or 8 hours of programming. (Fortunately, it’s not considered rude to quietly eat something that isn’t stinky or loud if you’re in the back. Fruit, nuts and hard cheese are the con-goer’s friends.)

  209. 209
    Nea

    Kristinc,

    Exactly! All those little habits and smells that your nearest and dearest may be used to aren’t appropriate. No matter how much you feel at home, you AREN’T.

  210. 210
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    David M:

    And… don’t take it personally, but I hate any implication of any connection between brushing one’s teeth and cosmetics. It’s for one’s health (and finances), not for one’s visual or olfactory appearance. Sorry, pet peeve.

    Well, yes, but mouthwash’s secondary use is for fresh breath on certain occasions, such as an impending kiss, a job interview, etc. (No, I’m not comparing the two. I have never had to french an interviewer in order to get the job.) It wasn’t designed for same, but some people do use it that way.

    Also, while oral hygiene will not leave you smelling like a sprig of peppermint 100% of the time, it does make it far less likely that you will eventually emit the odor of tooth decay.

    Nea: Many people, not just otaku, are unclear on the difference between private and public behavior. Or private behavior that affects one’s neighbors, like blasting a stereo at 3:00 a.m., vs. private behavior that doesn’t. It’s not a new thing; it just takes different forms depending on place, era, and individual personality.

    kristinc: This is true; there are many terrific bath products out there. Lush was just the first that sprang to mind.

  211. 211
    JediBear

    More nerd-bashing, PZ?

    tsk tsk.

    You know, I would be willing to bet that if we actually studied the matter, we’d find that nerds aren’t significantly less likely to maintain appropriate personal hygiene than the general population…we might even find they’re not significantly more sexist.

    In fact, we might discover that they’re actually better than the general population on both counts. That’s certainly been the case when other nerd stereotypes have been studied.

    Meanwhile, most crowds have worse smells than body odor. Many people are allergic to the perfumes others use to cover their natural odor, and a shocking number of people still smoke even in this century. I’ve seen both of these send dear friends to emergency rooms from conventions.

    Nearly nobody’s actually allergic to body odor, so I’m always amused when whiners act like it’s the Most Important Thing Ever.

  212. 212
    speedweasel

    @Hillary Rettig #5

    I really do think perfectionism (which is hugely reinforced in society), is at the core. another example of it is the idea that “since there is only a small range of body types that are acceptable in our society, I’m not even going to try to compete.”

    You’re on to something here. I used to have a very overweight and surly gaming friend who’s life motto was, “Cant win, don’t try.”

  213. 213
    Apit

    Can someone explain to me the remarkable change in social skills that happen when a closeted gay man comes out? I mean, this one, rather nerdy friend came out right after high school and now, instead of the lone gamer now I see him partying it up with friends and is one of the most fun people to hang out with that I know. How did he do it? I’d like to know that secret!

  214. 214
    DLC

    Then there’s the overperfumed prissy neatnick, who is every bit as obnoxious as the feral otaku nonbather.
    Ever been on an elevator or in another enclosed space with someone who’s got on half a pint of scent ? It’s nauseating, every bit as much as some nitwit who, knowing full well they’re going to be out in public, hasn’t at least bothered to change their shirt and add some deodorant.

  215. 215
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    More nerd-bashing, PZ?

    tsk tsk.

    You know, I would be willing to bet that if we actually studied the matter, we’d find that nerds aren’t significantly less likely to maintain appropriate personal hygiene than the general population…we might even find they’re not significantly more sexist.

    In fact, we might discover that they’re actually better than the general population on both counts. That’s certainly been the case when other nerd stereotypes have been studied.

    I, as a female gamer, highly doubt that bit about sexism. Because I have been subjected to it all the time while playing with other gamers online, no matter what the game or platform is. Hence, why I no longer game online or with other people, it honestly stops me from playing what I used to love. This isn’t a fringe group of people like the smell issue is. Sexism is an issue from the game makers down, almost universally.

  216. 216
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    I, as a female gamer, highly doubt that bit about sexism. Because I have been subjected to it all the time while playing with other gamers online, no matter what the game or platform is. Hence, why I no longer game online or with other people, it honestly stops me from playing what I used to love.

    But is it worse than the general culture, once you adjust for the effects of anonymity?

  217. 217
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    But is it worse than the general culture, once you adjust for the effects of anonymity?

    How would you adjust for anonymity exactly? That’s part of gaming and I would just stop playing all together if my info was out there for stalkers and such. Fuck that. My thought is yes but I don’t see a way to separate it from anonymity so it may just seem more sexism because its more outspoken. However, there is the idea that girls can’t game or shouldn’t so women take shit for just playing or worse for being good. There are other subjects where people think that women shouldn’t or can’t be involved like “hard sciences”. So are those male scientist more sexist than the general population or is it just that they are sexist and give female scientist hell or contribute to a chilly climate?

    The thing is, its not a matter of are the gamers more sexists because society is sexist. I think its just that gamers are subset of society and have an ability to discriminate harshly or just contribute to a chilly climate more effectively, since the group is smaller, add in anonymity, which makes it more outspoken. Gaming is seen as a boy’s club, with the female portrayed in skimpy outfits and ridiculous chest sizes because its all about marketing to men and fuck what the women who play want. Like comicbooks.

    I do feel that its more sexist? Yes, but I could be wrong. Societal sexism is generally more subtle and something that we have to learn about (how it was for me anyways) so maybe I just feel its more sexist because its so open and in your face. I will doubt that gamers score better than society on the sexism scale though. Just as sexist or more so? Ok, I can see that. Not as sexist as society? Don’t see that happening.

    Either way, I should have expanded my original comment more. Because my big issue with the comment I quoted was, Where did it say it was more sexist? Why does that matter? And even if its the same amount of sexism in the general population, does that mean we can’t speak out about it? Seriously we speak out against sexism in society at large, and in the smaller subsets of atheism, science and games because the group here is usually involved with several of those groups and because sexism is wrong and should be spoken against. The bringing up “But it isn’t more sexist than society!” just smells trying for a lame excuse to justify it or not to talk about it. I admittedly just jumped on it saying “Yes so shut the fuck up!” without actually explaining it all.

  218. 218
    Indeterminate Me

    The flaw with your argument, and Scalzi’s, is that, by your own standards, you should be ignored, since statements by privileged white males are inherently devalued, regardless of content.

    And that is where the problem lies. Asking people to listen to dissenting opinions is wonderful—when it is applied equally to everyone. Similarly, the merit of an argument should be evaluating on its own, not based on its messenger.

    There is a certain postmodern social justice 101 pathology that has taught the following, distressingly pervasive logic:

    A1) If you have attributes of a group that is generally underprivileged—regardless of your own circumstances, and you attack someone with attributes that are associated with a generally privileged group by attacking that group as a type;

    or,

    B1) If you are an actual member of a privileged group, and you attack that group as a type;

    then,

    C1) Your attack is automatically justified, and you cannot be criticized for prejudice

    (the most blatant example of this was an actual response I received to a comment on DailyKos, in which the commenter stated (actual quote): “All you whiteys are the same. You don’t understand that it is impossible for a black person to be racist”)

    Also,

    A2) If you have an attribute associated with a privileged group – again, regardless of your own circumstances, and you seek to focus attention to the objective merit of a comment;

    then,

    C2) You are a bigoted prejudiced bastard;

    If, on the other hand,

    A3) you happen to actually be a member of an underprivileged group yourself, and even faced significant personal discrimination and prejudice,

    but,

    B3) you attempt to draw attention to the actual merit of an argument, regardless of its messenger;

    then

    C3) You are a traitor to your kind/suffer from Stockholm Syndrome/are just posing as a minority

    Finally, and my favorite bit of faitheist nonsense that somehow the most otherwise reasonable, critical thinkers are seduced into (including you, PZ Myers),

    A4) If you have attributes associated with a generally privileged group, the louder you protest against prejudiced generalizations and point out faulty logic, the more that “proves” that the accusations against you are correct.

    As in, “if a white man says he isn’t a racist, it proves he is a racist. If he says, “no, really, I am not a racist”, then he is REALLY a racist.” (actual text on a slide presented by an actual professor of sociology at an actual conference in Portland this summer).

    The notion that individuals, no matter what they look like, the density of melatonin in their skin, the configuration of their genitals or their sexual preference, deserve to have their words evaluated on the merits of those words, not prejudged based on the attributes of the messenger, is considered, by this pomo pseudo-science crowd, to be an inherently racist/sexist/blah blah statement.

    I have heard Black Kos (that’s the name of their club) on Daily Kos declare that MLK Jr., was an Uncle Tom. I have heard young feminist academics whose entire careers exist thanks to the efforts of pioneering feminists dismiss Gloria Steinem et al as “tools of male privilege”; and, I have, most surprisingly of all, heard people like you self-censor and modify posts—not because of any argument about the merit of a sentence you wrote, but merely because it might be misconstrued by this loud but unrepresentative minority of people who speak the lingo of science but act in the manner of a cult.

    Believing that someone’s words are tainted by their penis is not more meritorious than believing that their words are tainted by their vagina. It is the same old bullshit in a new wrapper.

    EVERYONE’S words should be evaluated on the merits of their words. Period. Anything else is not rational, is prejudiced, and just perpetuates the superficialities which divides us, not the common humanity that unites us.

    P.S How sad that if I indicated my gender, skin tone, sexual orientation, age or ethnicity in my name, which, in this comment section, comes *before* the comment, that label would color your reading of this comment.

  219. 219
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    The flaw with your argument, and Scalzi’s, is that, by your own standards, you should be ignored, since statements by privileged white males are inherently devalued, regardless of content.

    I’ve noticed you’re sort of a moron who, failing to understand arguments, flails wildly at nothing. I have some suggestions for how you could fix that:
    1.) Try reading better!
    2.) Ask questions when you don’t understand!
    or, failing that,
    3.) Shut the hell up!

  220. 220
    SallyStrange

    postmodern social justice 101 pathology

    Oh lawdy! Sounds terrible! What is this awful beast?

    P.S How sad that if I indicated my gender, skin tone, sexual orientation, age or ethnicity in my name, which, in this comment section, comes *before* the comment, that label would color your reading of this comment.

    Totally unnecessary. Completely obvious from the content of your comment that you’re a member of a privileged group, upset about having been told once or twice to STFU and listen.

    An invisible violin is playing plaintive laments just for you.

  221. 221
    Horse-Pheathers

    Just_A_Lurker @217: Had a look at Lord of the Rings Online? I haven’t played enough to get much sense of the “sexist quotient” of the players there, but at least they have hugely toned down the “large breasted and revealingly clothed bimbo” female characters in the game. They’re actually plausibly proportioned and dressed largely _practically_.

    Might be worth giving it a try — they’ve at least made a little effort toward welcoming the female gamer and it’s free to play.

  222. 222
    consciousness razor
    postmodern social justice 101 pathology

    Oh lawdy! Sounds terrible! What is this awful beast?

    I do not know, but it is rumored to be caused by Mad Libs 5000 Word Salad Syndrome.

  223. 223
    Horse-Pheathers

    Statements “by privileged white males” are _not_ “inherently devalued” and I have no idea where you are getting the idea that anyone is even suggesting that.

    All I’ve seen is the repeated suggestion that we be aware of our privilege and how it skews our perspective and that we, instead of constantly asserting our privileged point of view, would do everyone a favor (including ourselves!) if we just shut up a minute and actually listened to what other people with different perspectives have to say.

  224. 224
    jrs

    I think these “feral otaku” are usually people with asperger’s or autism. See Christian Weston Chandler for an example.

  225. 225
    Bill Door

    #216
    I think you’re asking for quantification of something that doesn’t really lend itself to that, e.g. I’m not sure how you easily answer the question “is the Durok’s Dungeoneers Guild on WoW more or less sexist than the Twin Cities Bowling League?” It’s a difficult question, and actually the answer is not very helpful. The plain fact is that I’m a nerd and I’m not a bowler (not that they’re mutually exclusive); there is very little I can do to change the climate of the Bowling League and much more I can do within a community that I consider my own and spend time in. Bottom line, it is the responsibility of the members of a community to deal with these issues, regardless of what other communities are like. After all, we could just say “hey, we’re not as sexist as 4chan /b/!” or whatever and be done with it.

  226. 226
    SallyStrange

    Horse-Pheathers, don’t you get it? When you’re on top, someone telling you to move down a bit so we can all be on a level playing field is exactly the same thing as saying that your perspective has been “inherently devalued.”

    I suppose, if you’re going from a position of “my perspective is the only perspective that matters” to “my perspective is one of many that matter,” that could fairly be described as having your perspective being “inherently devalued.” It’s just ignoring the fact that your perspective was waaaaaay overvalued before.

  227. 227
    SallyStrange

    I think these “feral otaku” are usually people with asperger’s or autism.

    People with autism are capable of bathing themselves and respecting women. Stop it please.

  228. 228
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    I think these “feral otaku” are usually people with asperger’s or autism.

    In the absence of a citation, please stop spreading this stereotype. It is harmful to people on the spectrum, among other problems with it.

  229. 229
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    I think these “feral otaku” are usually people with asperger’s or autism.

    Hey numbshit, people on the autism spectrum are usually really invested in learning how to be socially acceptable. Aspies and auties aren’t the ones running around being unrepentantly creepy and/or gross.

  230. 230
    Horse-Pheathers

    SallyStrange @226

    Good point. :)

  231. 231
    Indeterminate Me

    #226,

    The presumption is that it is impossible for someone to:

    a) already have listened, and
    b) concluded that a particular argument lacks merit.

    For example, on DailyKos (used as an example only because it is so pathologically infected with pomo bullshit), the site owner has just conducted a purge of griefers and trolls.

    There is the predictably if disproportionately vocal group claiming that blacks are being disproportionately banned from the site, which, clearly, is confirmation of the inherent racism of everyone who opposes their intellectual arguments. this, despite:

    a) lack of any evidence over the entire history of DailyKos,that Markos, whatever his other numerous personal faults, is a racist, and

    b)lack of any evidence that people of color have in any way shape or form been disproportionately targeted, and

    c) lack of concern about whether those among the hate-driven shmucks who were banned who happen to be people of color, represent in any way the opinions of actual people of color.

    The debate there is replete with accusations that people of color who are actually defending Markos and/or questioning the evidence of discrimination are “Uncle Toms” or so victimized by their racist masters that they are too cowed to recognize their plight.

    For another example, need I remind you of the public treatment of alleged “gender-traitor” Stef McGraw, because she dared to challenge the opinion of a sister about a privileged white male leader of the skeptic community?

    The point is that perversely turning lack of privilege into the very things condemned by privilege is not progress toward equality, any more than an increase of women dying from lung cancer from smoking is progress.

    The sad thing about all the responses to my comment is the utter ignoring of the idea that statements deserve to be judged on their merit, and the utter ubiquity of prejudicial assumptions and their associated gender-based insults.

    If I turn out, in the end, to be a young black lesbian, that will not change the response except that I will be told I am a tool of the privileged white man, with no attention to the actual content of my argument.

    Ironically, most of those screaming at me the loudest to shut the fuck up will be the dominant demographic here – privileged white males.

  232. 232
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    The presumption is that it is impossible for someone to:

    a) already have listened, and
    b) concluded that a particular argument lacks merit.

    The presumption is actually that if you attempt to summarize an argument and fail miserably, then argue passionately against an unrecognizable strawman, you have not listened, not understood the argument, or not bothered being honest in your formulation of it.
    I don’t understand why you persist in leading off with absurdities and then descending further into painfully incoherent babble.

  233. 233
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Statements “by privileged white males” are _not_ “inherently devalued” and I have no idea where you are getting the idea that anyone is even suggesting that.

    All I’ve seen is the repeated suggestion that we be aware of our privilege and how it skews our perspective and that we, instead of constantly asserting our privileged point of view, would do everyone a favor (including ourselves!) if we just shut up a minute and actually listened to what other people with different perspectives have to say.

    I have encountered some people who clearly expected to automatically win the argument by having a lower Privilege score. Perhaps two or three of them.

    And a few more people who use the real or imagined privilege, and unawareness of the concept of privilege, of their opponents as a rhetorical club to shut down discussions that aren’t going their way, or at least that they don’t remain comfortably in control of. Apparently there really is no cause so noble that it won’t attract fuckheads…or garden-variety bullies.

    Kind of like how there are actually a small fraction of welfare recipients who genuinely abuse the system. And it’s equally disingenuous to dismiss the utility of the privilege concept in understanding unbalanced social relationships because a handful of bullies have recognized it as exploitable, as it is to argue that welfare should be shut down because of abuse. It’s really worth just about this much passing acknowledgment.

  234. 234
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    I think these “feral otaku” are usually people with asperger’s or autism.

    Fuck you back.

  235. 235
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    The sad thing about all the responses to my comment is the utter ignoring of the idea that statements deserve to be judged on their merit, and the utter ubiquity of prejudicial assumptions and their associated gender-based insults.

    From this shit, it’s painfully obvious that you didn’t actually read the responses to your pile of shit comment. You know, actually, it’s dawned on me. I do know why you have this obnoxious pattern going. It’s because you’ve got these ignorant little rants pre-written, and you are starting them off with a tossed-off, fucking useless response to another comment in order to pretend that they’re in some kind of reasonable context.

    The alternative is that you’re hoggling too vigorously to see your screen clearly.

  236. 236
    Avicenna

    Oh trust me, as a man with a girlie name we are a sexist bunch of people and do have problems with hygiene (I have this rash you see… Fine! No Dermatological jokes!)

    Due to the unfortunate issue with names (I have a sanskrit one) I have been mistaken for a woman on multiple occasions. It’s quite interesting to see, so much so that me and a friend decided to see how much “stupidity” we could catalogue by pretending to be women on a game.

    I assure you it was phenomenal. People still think that “Hey baby, Want to go out with me?” works ONLINE during a First Person Shoot-em up a thon. The rejection causes the most hateful barrage of anti-feminine nonsense to erupt. Mentioning that I was a man caused foaming at the mouth and accusations of homosexuality and how I liked it “from big black men” to ensue. I even had someone accuse me of terrorism. All because I had a slightly feminine sounding name. (We never changed the name, we just changed how quickly I responded to correct people regarding their initial idea on my gender)

    And it shows that we aren’t just sexist but racist and homophobic too.

    Telling people to get a shower daily seems like something that should have been done anyways but having never been to conventions either geek or atheist, I wouldn’t know if it is filled with unwashed denizens of the poor sanitiation brigade.

    But I have played table top wargaming before and have had to endure opponents in local stores who seemed to bring a biological warfare component to matches. Those were… not appreciated.

  237. 237
    The Countess

    FWIW, I met my husband, The Count, who also posts here, eighteen years ago at a science fiction convention (specifically Balticon). I was a guest speaker and he was an attendee. We both bathed, brushed our teeth, and even combed our hair. Very clean. ;) We’ve been happily together (living together and then married) for eighteen years so there is hope for geeks and nerds that you can meet decent people at science fiction conventions, fall in love, and even get married – and happily stay that way. :D

  238. 238
    Indeterminate Me

    #235
    Another alternative is that our opinions differ. In any case, attacks on the messenger in no way reflect on the message.

    Just as there is a presumption here that louder and more insulting means correct, so there is a presumption among some circles that the way to avoid substantive criticism is to use the accusation of “privilege” as a reflexive shield.

    The added irony is that (speaking purely anecdotally here, which does not constitute a meaningful dataset), in most cases, those crying the loudest tend to be those whose opportunities are incomparable to those really underprivileged, because of the actual, tangible efforts of previous generations of feminists to secure the opportunities for this generation of Ms. Watsons to attend college and build an academic career and a public persona, so that they can use their own position of relative privilege to publicly piss on a younger, less established Ms. McGraw.

    An additional irony is the fact that they also then turn around and, while using their claims of underprivilege-by-association to avoid being judged purely on merit, piss on those of us who fought to get them their equal rights and who work hard to ensure that their work and their opinions are both heard, and evaluated purely on merit, not gender.

    When white, privileged academics who happen to be women cry “sexism” because their boorish behavior toward another woman is judged objectively boorish—even when the people objecting to the boorish behavior supported her in her accurate admonishment of actual sexism by the shmuck in the elevator—then there is little to distinguish supposed “skeptics” from our faith-thinking foes.

    Just as privilege is no defense for a faulty argument or bad behavior, neither is lack of privilege.

    The fact that this rather obvious bit of rational thinking sparks such outrage on forums like Pharyngula, suggests, not that genuinely underprivileged people are asking to be heard, but rather that over-privileged, bored white American college kids are looking for the latest poverty-chic guilt-trip cause to get self-righteously riled about.

  239. 239
    Forbidden Snowflake

    c) lack of concern about whether those among the hate-driven shmucks who were banned who happen to be people of color, represent in any way the opinions of actual people of color.

    Wait, what?
    “Just because they’re people of color, that doesn’t mean that their opinions are the opinions of people of color”?

    For another example, need I remind you of the public treatment of alleged “gender-traitor” Stef McGraw, because she dared to challenge the opinion of a sister about a privileged white male leader of the skeptic community?

    She dared to publicly challenge R.W.’s opinion, and in return had her own opinion publicly challenged. And that is somehow cruel, inhuman and “boorish”, “objectively boorish” at that, because obviously your opinion is the objective one, and everyone who disagrees with you is just being biased and subjective.

    Did I get that right?

  240. 240
    CompulsoryAccount7746

    Regarding Seinfeldian drama that arises from avoiding conflict of informing oblivious taboo-breachers, who continue obliviously…
    Article – Everything Is Obvious, Once You Know the Answer
     
    There was a nice Social Psych Berkeley course, “Self and Society” by Robb Willer, but the school mangled their webcast site recently. Gotta google for individual lectures on youtube now or use iTunes.
     
    The early-in-the-thread observations of initial perfectionism or unworthiness progressing into depressed learned helplessness, compounded by others’ derision for having given up and sometimes defensive externalized blame… an interpretation I hadn’t considered for “feral otaku”. That’d be a sick cycle. The geek social fallacies were interesting too.
     
    In any case when judging or reacting to people, it’s important to try to distinguish the ignorant, from the depressed, from the malicious. Probably least explosive/damaging in that order, even if risking wasted time on the latter folk.

  241. 241
    Rasmus

    I think most of the problem would go away automatically, and the sales of soap and deodorant would go up, if the manufacturers would only change the labels on the containers to make them more appealing to the geek target audience…

    Problem solved.

  242. 242
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Indeterminate Me, are you the former dK poster known as “Random Acts of Reason,” who whined forever — in the same tone, at the same length — about privilege, then disappeared and left a message in your user info that dK wasn’t “rational” enough for you anymore? Because, you know, you were being asked to use empathy instead of logic occasionally, as both factor into moral reasoning?

    Or maybe not, because I don’t recall that RAoR being as sneeringly misogynist as you are in #238. Oh, well, there are plenty of fauxgressive douchecannons over on the Great Orange Satan.

    Many of the regulars on Pharyngula are straight white men, some of them with economic privilege. Rather than their comments being “inherently devalued,” many are some of the most loved and respected members of the community. That’s because, unlike you, they’re not assholes.

    jrs: This was addressed far upthread, you dipshit. Chris Chandler is not creepy because he’s autistic. He’s creepy because he’s marinating in male entitlement to women’s bodies. Like many neurotypical men, and unlike various people on the spectrum whom I know. Some of whom, surprise, are women!

  243. 243
    Mattir

    Just as privilege is no defense for a faulty argument or bad behavior, neither is lack of privilege.

    Now inability to form a single coherent thought, on the other hand, does lead to both faulty arguments and bad behavior. Insisting that you have the right to be taken seriously despite this would be, yes, Incoherence Privilege™.

    Have a porcupine…

  244. 244
    Jadehawk

    Ms. Watsons to attend college and build an academic career and a public persona, so that they can use their own position of relative privilege to publicly piss on a younger, less established Ms. McGraw.

    evidence for poster not understanding the concept of privilege, as no social power gradient exists between the two individuals.

    their boorish behavior toward another woman is judged objectively boorish

    all available evidence suggests that such “objective” judgment does not exist. Women will be judged as “boorish” for things men will not. The example previously provided is an excellent example of this, as no one ever accused PZ of using his fame to “publicly piss” on some idiot as an act of privilege or as “objectively boorish”

    over-privileged, bored white American college kid

    if would help your argument significantly if your projections at least hit a significant proportion of your targets, rather that producing this kind of epic miss.

  245. 245
    Sheesh

    I love this, if I understand correctly:

    The fact that [saying "lack of privilege is no defense for a faulty argument or bad behavior"] sparks such outrage on forums like Pharyngula, suggests [...] that over-privileged, bored white American college kids are looking for the latest poverty-chic guilt-trip cause to get self-righteously riled about.

    Does this spark outrage? Is that a fact? Is that what sparks the outrage and not something else, like say, assholes being assholes?

    But to the broader Elevatorgate (which I guess is what you’re talking about) — wanting to live in a more humanist society is “poverty-chic”? That gave me big lols. So, thanks for that.

  246. 246
    skeptifem

    Meh. I don’t mind stinky people, at all. BO isn’t such a bad smell, especially when compared to the average odor of a hospital patient. I do mind entitled assholes, though, that rape comment was really fucked up.

  247. 247
    skeptifem

    you should be ignored, since statements by privileged white males are inherently devalued, regardless of content.

    It isn’t that their opinions are less valuable, it is just their opinions are over-represented, to the detriment of other groups of people.

    Based on some key phrases being by Indeterminate Me used, I suspect that IM is a blogger who has made some pretty shitty posts about me, and rebecca watson, or is at least a fan of that blog.

  248. 248
    Indeterminate Me

    #239
    Restating someone’s argument, to omit a key qualifier (in this case “represent”) in order to significantly change the meaning of the argument, is a classic tactic used by creationists, religious apologists, charlatans like Deepak Chopra, and Rick Perry.

    Congratulations.

    #240,
    The propensity to reduce the complexity of human sexuality to binary sets is bad enough (what, my name was not clue enough for you?); the eagerness with which a binary view of skin color is embraced by the most vocal participants on a site run by a biologist of Myer’s stature is just sad testimony to the fact that atheism does not necessarily equate to rationality.

    #245
    No, wanting to live in a more humanist society is not “poverty-chic”. Imagining that yours is the only, true way to accomplish that, is religion.

  249. 249
    skeptifem

    For another example, need I remind you of the public treatment of alleged “gender-traitor” Stef McGraw, because she dared to challenge the opinion of a sister about a privileged white male leader of the skeptic community?

    I can’t find anything about stef mcgraw except people disagreeing with her about elevatorgate, and if that is the case then you should be outraged at the treatment of anyone who said anything about it. If a woman is being mistreated (based on her sex rather than say, acting like a shit) then I want to know about it. Cough up some proof.

    Is the “gender traitor” thing a reference to my post on the subject? That was aimed at ERV and other patriarchy supporting women. I won’t shut up about that kind of behavior because silence, in every practical way, means support. The kind of shit women get for deviating from what dudes want varies from criticism all the way up to violence. When women are acting against the interests of women (and therefore children and society in general) I fucking say so. What is a more pressing concern for you? It seems women like me speaking up is a lot more of an issue for you than the very real and scary consequences that I face for deviating from what men want. Your priorities suck. If you want to say that speaking up is wrong somehow go ahead, it would be nice if you provided a fucking reason though. It is much more wrong to not say anything when other people are doing something immoral. At no point do I blame women for the situation (patriarchy), they just deal with it the best way they can. I am suggesting a strategy that is more effective and moral than collaboration. It is possible to disagree and respect a person at the same time, you know.

  250. 250
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Just as there is a presumption here that louder and more insulting means correct, so there is a presumption among some circles that the way to avoid substantive criticism is to use the accusation of “privilege” as a reflexive shield.

    Maybe I wasn’t clear enough. It’s absolutely not true that no one ever does this, but there aren’t enough of them to make much of a “circle” and it’s intellectually, and borderline regular, dishonest to focus on these exceptions to the exclusion of what happens the other 9x% of the time.

  251. 251
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)
    Ms. Watsons to attend college and build an academic career and a public persona, so that they can use their own position of relative privilege to publicly piss on a younger, less established Ms. McGraw.

    evidence for poster not understanding the concept of privilege, as no social power gradient exists between the two individuals.

    There’s a small difference in that Watson had a podium at that point and McGraw didn’t, and a very small point that either using it as a soapbox to explicitly continue a personal disagreement, or at least running the risk of being perceived as doing so, was a somewhat less than admirable or tactically unsound decision, respectively. But it’s a small enough point to have been completely lost in the noise surrounding the incident.

    And speaking of small points…

    Restating someone’s argument, to omit a key qualifier (in this case “represent”) in order to significantly change the meaning of the argument, is a classic tactic used by creationists, religious apologists, charlatans like Deepak Chopra, and Rick Perry.

    Stopped clocks, and all that. Of course, it’s equally intellectually dishonest to try to taint it with guilt-by-association rather than accurately observing that this is an intellectually dishonest tactic (a somewhat subtle strawman argument).

  252. 252
    Akira MacKenzie

    I’ve been reluctant to post on this thread given that it come very close to home for me.

    Yes, I am a nerd and I sadly fit most of the stereotype. I enjoy science fiction, fantasy, and non-computer role playing games as well as miniature wargames. I have a layman’s interest in science, history, and philosophy. When I can scrape the money together I go to gaming conventions, but never in costume. I have some sense of dignity.

    Despite having a college education I can only seem to get hired for crappy, just-above-minimum-wage call center jobs that seem to end as soon as I can get them. As a result, I can’t afford to live on my own and I’m forced to live with my right-wing, control freak father at the age of 36. I was physically and mentally abused on a daily basis by my school mates from 3rd grade to my senior year in high school (sorry, it doesn’t “get better” for some). I shun social situations mostly out of fear of ridicule sinceI’m overweight, clumsy, and quite ugly. I also have some emotional issues: I’ve been diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar disorder and I have also have some very obvious–and disturbing–verbal and physical “fits” that occur when I’m manic or angry.

    My first and last sexual relationship with anything other than one of my hands was 14-years-ago. It ended rather badly with her leaving me after she got tired of all of my personal baggage. I’ve tried to get back into the dating scene a couple of times since, mainly when I’m in a manic mood, only to get ignored or shot down time. Frankly, I don’t blame them for not wanting to be with me. At this stage, I’ve more or less resigned myself to a lonely, sexless, life.

    I think that if you scratch the average nerd/geek you’re going to find them in a very similar situation as mine. A love for intellect an creativity, but burdened with emotional problems, both functional and/or acquired from years of abuse. Many of us don’t know how to act in a general social setting because we weren’t really were allowed to learn during our formative years. In a culture that worships physical strength and power, those who don’t fit the criterion of American perfection are cast as pariah. How can you be expected to properly behave around people when people don’t want you around?

    The hygiene issue is something I used to be almost religious about. I loathed going to a game session with someone who didn’t think it necessary to bathe everyday. However, as time went on, I started to feel more and more apathetic about the concept. It just seemed like a chore to please the noses a world that just doesn’t damn about you. Lately I’ve been showering less and less. On days I skip, I do give myself a general scrub down to keep the BO to a minimum and I keep deodorant handy.

    I don’t know what to say about the MRAs. I certainly don’t think I “deserve” sex. I want it. Hell yes, I want it bad, but I realize it’s the woman who get’s the choose who she takes to bed with her and “no” means ‘no.” Not that I’ve ever had that much of an opportunity to ask. The fear of rejection and getting hurt again is quite strong for me, so I just stopped trying.

    Well, I’ve rambled on long enough. For now, I’ll leave it to the rest of you to pick apart my tirade and tell me why I’m wrong.

  253. 253
    Dhorvath, OM

    Akira,
    Thank you for sharing. There is nothing that you just said which I would even attempt to pick apart or tell you that you are wrong. Life is hard, it sounds much harder for you than for many and I wish there was something I could do to help make it better for you.
    I think many of us could use your reminder that all people have stories that are complex and that much of the behaviour we see isn’t deliberately offensive, but due to lack of opportunities.

  254. 254
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Restating someone’s argument, to omit a key qualifier (in this case “represent”) in order to significantly change the meaning of the argument, is a classic tactic used by creationists, religious apologists, charlatans like Deepak Chopra, and Rick Perry.

    Your guilt by association fallacy has been noted above, but I don’t find that my paraphrase changed the meaning of your argument. You presented a weird dichotomy between the people who were banned and “actual people of color” and pointed out the fact that their opinions didn’t represent those of all people of color, as though they were supposed to. It’s still quite unclear to me what your objection c) was even about.

    That said, I don’t read dK and am not qualified to discuss whatever Myspace drama you have going there. Instead I’ll join Skeptifem’s question: what mistreatment, beyond being disagreed with, did S. McGraw receive?

  255. 255
    metasonix

    Wait till you folks find that out that Wikipedia is DOMINATED by people like this. And that after 3 years of really good encyclopedic article writing by outsiders and actual “experts”, it is slowly being ruined by the nerds. Because they have taken it over, and are now squeezing out anyone with reasonable viewpoints (or reasonable sleep schedules).

    If you’d like to know what sort of mutant controls Wikipedia, have a look at Orangemike. He loves to ban people for no good/apparent reason.

    Or Will Beback, a gay man who hates Lyndon LaRouche so much, he spends 10-14 hours a day patrolling Wikipedia to keep LaRouche followers out–real or imagined. An obsessive manipulator.

    Or David Gerard. Aging Australian punk-rocker, close personal friend of Jimbo Wales. Has spent the past 20+ years obsessively attacking the Church of Scientology–before Wikipedia, he did it on Usenet. He runs pornsites for a living, and is the owner of the notorious shock site lemonparty.org.

    They are all “typical Wikipedians”. They are arrogant trolls who will not discuss a dispute with others. And they seem to despise actual experts in various fields. As Wikipedia administrators/insiders, they have real power over something. They tend to be incapable of “reasoned debate”, preferring backstabbing and lying to get their way. And yes, many of them do not bathe often enough.

    I’d tell you about the “nerd bias” of Wikipedia articles, or all the projects that are dying at the expense of projects that are booming (military history, anime, football), or the pro-Jewish bias, or the inbuilt hatred of female editors, or any number of other disturbing things. Email me if you want to learn more ([email protected]).

  256. 256
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    metasonix #255: If you want to claim that Wikipedia is being dominated by nerds, bringing up three individual cases will not help you. Statistics, on the other hand, will.

    It’s also quite funny that two of the people you’re going after are going after known quacks, as if a perceived vendetta somehow makes them wrong. I smell a conflict of interests here.

  257. 257
    Dhorvath, OM

    metasonix,
    Are the people you brought up putting inaccurate entries on Wiki?

  258. 258
    Bill Door

    #255

    pro-Jewish bias


    A certain alarm just went off in my head.

  259. 259
    Overton

    A certain alarm just went off in my head.

    Pro-Jewish bias is wrong, its more a pro-zionist bias. The anti-zionist Jews get a rough time too.

  260. 260
    Horse-Pheathers

    Indeterminate Me, you are a textbook example of someone who needs to spend a little less time talking and a little more time listening.

    You know, listening — that thing where you not only hear the word-noises someone else makes but take a moment to think about them and try to grok the meaning they are trying to convey rather than just going off half-cocked reacting to your own assumptions. This does involve employing a a faculty known as “empathy”, where you attempt to see the point of view of another human being before you dismiss it. Communication is imperfect enough when everyone involved is actually, well, _involved_. Having someone like you pop in and spew while making no effort to listen dooms the whole effort from the start, and, sorry, is quite symptomatic of being in a position of social privilege while remaining blindly ignorant of it.

  261. 261
    nancy brownlee

    Dudes, simply showering once a day is not, no NOT, enough to control BO. Neither is the “natural” deodorant stuff they sell in the health food stores. Your mothers should have told you.

  262. 262
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Dudes, simply showering once a day is not, no NOT, enough to control BO.

    With a decent deoderant/antiperspirant it’s good enough that expecting more (except right after exercising) is unreasonable given the schedules people often keep.

    Neither is the “natural” deodorant stuff they sell in the health food stores.

    That one I believe.

    Your mothers should have told you.

    So men raised by stay at home fathers or single fathers are SOL? Good to know.

  263. 263
    nancy brownlee

    @262
    I (and their father) raised a couple of boys- now men. In my experience, it was always me who said, “Sweet Jesus, what is that stench? AAGH!! AAGH!! It’s you!” The younger son has, remarkably, said to me, “Oh man, Mom, you shoulda smelled Brian today. Thanks for making me take showers!

    The older one is still kind of ripe, sometimes.

  264. 264
    Jadehawk

    There’s a small difference in that Watson had a podium at that point and McGraw didn’t,

    that’s not a social power gradient. For example, anarchic, egalitarian societies don’t suddenly acquire power-gradients because they temporarily assign one person a more “leading” position for the duration of a task.

    a very small point that either using it as a soapbox to explicitly continue a personal disagreement, or at least running the risk of being perceived as doing so

    maybe, but that has fuck-all to do with silly claims about privilege on RW’s part; nor is it being argued in good faith by most people who are taking that stance.

    Dudes, simply showering once a day is not, no NOT, enough to control BO.

    teenage boys != men; and not even all teenage boys reek. your extrapolation from your spawn to the whole of dudekind is unwarranted.

  265. 265
    Indeterminate Me

    @azkyroth,

    You show what I have observed to be the distressingly rare ability to respond substantively and rationally to what others write, and to not harbor the illusion that intelligent discourse is explosive verbal discharge.

    I thank you for your quite accurate critiques of my arguments, pointing out their logical flaws while respectfully considering their underlying substance; and, for being committed to intellectual inquiry as an exercise in sharing diverse and honestly held viewpoints with the intent of mutual benefit for all participants.

    I can honestly say I’ve learned from your comments over the years lurking here, even if I have not necessarily agreed with your point of view.

    I can also honestly say that I find it depressing that the ration of noise to signal in Pharyngula comments seems headed in the wrong direction, much like the overwhelming majority of online conversation.

    One would hope that a site dedicated to science and reason would foster reasonable discourse. One would, at least, expect to find an understanding of the distinction between criticizing an opinion, or a class of opinions, vs attacking the person. One would, of course, be wrong, yet again.

    It is, of course, hard to always perfectly practice what one seeks to promote. But, having a commitment to try is, I believe, a good thing.

    On the other hand, those who view online conversation as merely a place for small-minded people to compensate for their personal inadequacies by imagining that “beating” someone on the Internet actually means something, well, they’re really not worth responding to.

    Thanks for reminding me of the difference between intellect and preening.

  266. 266
    Sheesh

    I can also honestly say that I find it depressing that the ration of noise to signal in Pharyngula comments seems headed in the wrong direction, much like the overwhelming majority of online conversation.

    Sturgeon’s Law strikes again. But, to keep the online conversation going use your new found humility to tell me more about humanism as poverty-chic.

  267. 267
    John Morales

    Indeterminate: such a meta comment you made.

    One would hope that a site dedicated to science and reason would foster reasonable discourse.

    One would, would one?

    So, whatever makes you think PZ’s personal blog is “dedicated to science and reason”? :)

  268. 268
    John Morales

    Indeterminate:

    I can also honestly say that [whatever]

    Perhaps you can. So, are you going to do so?

  269. 269
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Indeterminate, I usually find someone who meanders all over the place and is overly concerned with tone can’t offer intelligent comments. They lack science and reason.

  270. 270
    Indeterminate Me

    A helpful resource:
    http://atheismresource.com/wp-content/uploads/Debate-Flow-Chart1.jpg

  271. 271
    nancy brownlee

    What the hell happened to this thread?

  272. 272
    Sheesh

    What the hell happened to this thread?

    I think someone wanted to voice their concerns about Elevatorgate (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and the tone of this blog (boring), so of course instead of talking about smells we started talking about dumb, white college kids and poverty-chic. Amirite?

    Indeterminate, thanks but, we’ve been sourced already http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/12/why_i_dont_debate_creationists.php

  273. 273
    Ingdigo Jump

    Someone took an indeterminate crap on it.

  274. 274
    David Marjanović, OM

    Well, yes, but mouthwash’s secondary use

    Who uses mouthwash?

    :-)

    I have this rash you see… Fine! No Dermatological jokes!

    Linguist: I have this rash around my mouth.
    Dermatologist: Looks like perioral dermatitis.
    Linguist: *slightly puzzled* That’s what I said…

    Said to be a true story.

    There’s a small difference in that Watson had a podium at that point and McGraw didn’t

    Didn’t McGraw’s blog have more readers than there were people in the audience at Watson’s talk?

  275. 275
    Jadehawk

    Didn’t McGraw’s blog have more readers than there were people in the audience at Watson’s talk?

    yeah, but you see, the internet isn’t real so that doesn’t count. It’s ok to write horribly nasty shit about people on the internet, to a potential audience of millions; but it’s not ok to calmly and reasonably criticize anyone in front of a few dozen people in meatspace.

  276. 276
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    yeah, but you see, the internet isn’t real so that doesn’t count. It’s ok to write horribly nasty shit about people on the internet, to a potential audience of millions; but it’s not ok to calmly and reasonably criticize anyone in front of a few dozen people in meatspace.

    Did I say that?

    Didn’t McGraw’s blog have more readers than there were people in the audience at Watson’s talk?

    You really don’t see a difference between the social role of invited speaker at an event organized by a group intended to be broadly representative of at least a large part of the atheist community, and that of “person who has a blog and readers?”

    You’re working very hard at misunderstanding the point. What is it getting you?

  277. 277
    julian

    You really don’t see a difference between the social role of invited speaker at an event organized by a group intended to be broadly representative of at least a large part of the atheist community

    If you don’t mind me asking, what is it about being confronted with opinions you aren’t ashamed of in front of your peers that makes it off limits when the person doing the confronting is a speaker? And, sorry if you’ve already answered.

    @Intermediate Me

    This may not be your intention but you’re coming across as a passive aggressive nit.

  278. 278
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    This may not be your intention but you’re coming across as a passive aggressive nit.

    All tone trolls sound like that. Must be a common personality flaw.

  279. 279
    David Marjanović, OM

    You really don’t see a difference between the social role of invited speaker at an event organized by a group intended to be broadly representative of at least a large part of the atheist community, and that of “person who has a blog and readers?”

    Depends on the numbers of people involved.

  280. 280
    PZ Myers

    Oh, no, not this argument again.

    It annoys me for a couple of reasons. One is that Stef McGraw was in no way vilified: her ideas were criticized. We cannot take that function off the table and remain skeptics and atheists. I know people differ on this matter, but I come down strongly on the side of the fair game argument.

    There is a reason for that, and it’s the other thing that annoys me. Try searching the web for my name, or look at how often it comes up at meetings where tactics are discussed. Somehow, this idea that “you can’t criticize people in public” gets thrown out the window when it comes to me — I can find people who use “PZ” as a dirty word. Why don’t people rush to defend me as they do McGraw? Where are all the people saying “Hush, you can’t talk about PZ in this situation”?

    For the record, I think I’m fair game, and have no objection. It’s just the inconsistency that rankles.

  281. 281
    Jadehawk

    Did I say that?

    did I say I was talking about you?

  282. 282
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Gotta hand it to the latest bigot cupcake, IM. That poat @ 265 is one long “why won’t you stupid bitchez shut up and agree with me” lament.

    Congratulations on humiliating yourself like that. You must be very proud of your total lack of a grasp on this subject that you repeatedly tell us about it,.

  283. 283
    KingUber

    I have a psychological disorder that makes me feel intense pain when attempting to take a shower or bath.

  284. 284
    Therrin

    Why don’t people rush to defend me as they do McGraw?

    Tentacles. Definitely the tentacles.

  285. 285
    julian

    Why don’t people rush to defend me as they do McGraw?

    Probably because you are Dr. PZ Myers, the terror of the atheist battle front.

    Less jokingly, people do. It’s just we defend your arguments, position and behavior or criticize others for unfair caricatures and strawmen.

  286. 286
    David Marjanović, OM

    I have a psychological disorder that makes me feel intense pain when attempting to take a shower or bath.

    …and, assuming you’re not joking, you’re sure it’s not simply the temperature that hurts you? I’m very sensitive to water temperature.

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