Mar 26 2012

Hey, that’s me at the Reason Rally

I hear there will be a slick and professionally produced DVD of the talks from the Reason Rally eventually. For now, though, there’s lots of stuff appearing on youtube, including this recording of my talk. I haven’t listened to it — I simply can’t listen to myself without cringing — so if some cunning rascal spliced in a soundtrack from a Donald Duck porn cartoon, I wouldn’t know it. So I fling this out, close my eyes, and run away.

I’ve got to go give a completely different talk this morning, anyway.


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  1. 1
    Dick the Damned

    Why two effigies of the pope that’re being hung? And was he drawn & quartered afterwards?

    Speaking of the pope, he’s a bit of a comedian. He was reported on Radio 4 this morning to have told Cubans that Marxism did not represent the World as it really is. I laughed my head off.

  2. 2

    I share your wrath.

  3. 3

    Speaking of the pope, he’s a bit of a comedian. He was reported on Radio 4 this morning to have told Cubans that Marxism did not represent the World as it really is. I laughed my head off.

    Yeah, apparantly he told the Cubans to give up the ‘oldfashioned’ ways of marxism and embrace more ‘modern systems’. I was quite amused!

  4. 4

    “so if some cunning rascal spliced in a soundtrack from a Donald Duck porn cartoon,”

    OH! So that’s what was up with the audio.

  5. 5

    Wow! That was even better than I expected. What a great speech. Wish I had been there.

    At first though, I thought you said “rap” was the sin. I got in after another sentence put it in context. But I was thinking you might start rapping for us. I’m glad I was wrong.

    A really excellent job!

  6. 6

    I heard “rap” too, and I thought, O-kay. But what I wonder about is the purpose of the two giant hot water bottles on either side of the stage.

  7. 7

    I thought he said rap too, and I was actually kinda hoping PZ would start rapping, but alas, no.

    Great talk though, even without rap.

  8. 8

    Too bad the rally wasn’t just a day earlier. Sunny and a nice 80 degrees. I was with group of people (who weren’t necessary atheists), who I know would have stayed longer if the weather was better.

    Death on a Buffalo

  9. 9

    Just got back home from the Rally. An amazing lineup of speakers and performers. The volunteers and those attending were all well worth meeting.

    I have been to the mountain and I have seen the promised land. Hallelujah! :)

  10. 10

    Great speech! And the audio sounds good, too, with only some minor digital distortion.

  11. 11

    I never would have thought of redubbing this with the soundtrack from — well, from any one of my extensive collection of Donald Duck porn, really. So thanks, PZ, I’ll get right on it.

  12. 12

    “On Point” now (at least on WBFO in Buffalo, NY) broadcasting coverage of the Rally in D.C. this past weekend. Sounds pretty positive so far. The Amazing Randi is supposed to be on later.


  13. 13

    Hail PZ. And hail Mary, too!

  14. 14

    I guess the sun was so strong you just had to wear that horrid hat, eh.

  15. 15
    Thursday's Child

    Inspiring. Wish I could have been there. Thanks for your passion, PZ.

  16. 16
    Ray, rude-ass yankee (now in HD-3D!)

    Great speech! That was as fire breathing as I had hoped! I hate that I missed so much while I was right there. Next time I go to one of these things (and there will be!) I need to find a better, more central, spot to observe from and turn off my phone so “emergencies” can’t find me (at least while the speakers I came to see are on stage). *grumble, grumble*
    I’m glad that they are planning a DVD. I’m sure you will let us know if/when we can order it.
    Surprisingly, not once during the entire event did I hear anyone wave their cane and say “You darn kids, get off my lawn!”

  17. 17

    Great speech, great delivery, really.

    I almost wonder if someone was passing around a bottle of Jack Daniel’s backstage based on the growly voices (that’s a good thing by the way) of PZ and the presenter…

  18. 18

    Really good speech, PZ. Bring the heat!

  19. 19
    Crudely Wrott

    What a fine, refreshing oration! Bravo, Professor, bravo!

    May your words be replayed until they have been heard around the whole of the earth; yea, preached unto every ear in every land.

    Er, should I edit that last sentence? I kinda think I might be ripping off something I read somewhere . . . Naaah. It’s a good sentence. It worketh; it will stand.

  20. 20

    That was a great speech, PZ. It was all that I was expecting (the rage was great), and more. It was, for a rage against irrationality, possibly even all-inclusive, and I thank you especially for bringing up the idiocy of the long and poorly run war on drugs. Yes we need rationality in everything that you called out. Thanks for speaking so well for me.

  21. 21

    if those who hold office and want to wield power know anything about “people” they understand what it takes for that many people standing in the cold rain all day.
    They will have understood that to get a large gathering of people on a warm spring is day to “petition the government” is easy corporate astroturf organizations do it all the time. To get a really large crowd out in the rain is really serious business. It was not a small bedraggled group of pathetic protestors it was a very large crowd of articulate dedicated people who were out there in the fucking rain all day. Who will vote and talk and work hard to be heard.
    It would be interesting to have been with the republican leadership watching the coverage of that rally. They may not acknowledge the rally publicly but they were very much aware of it, it is what they do.

    I will go out on a limb here hope that the effect of the rally will be similar to the effect of “the march on Washington” to protest the war in Vietnam had. It did not stop the war but when the likes of Dr. Benjamin Spock were involved and not just Abbie Hoffman the political powers new that a change was inevitable.

    uncle frogy

  22. 22
    Gregory Greenwood

    so if some cunning rascal spliced in a soundtrack from a Donald Duck porn cartoon, I wouldn’t know it.

    Wait… there are Donald Duck porn cartoons? This is something that I did not wish to know.

    Honestly, is nothing sacred immune to rule 34?

  23. 23
    Elwood Herring

    Delurking (and re-registering) just to say that was the best damn speech I’ve heard in years, possibly ever. I played it right the way through twice to make absolutely certain I hadn’t missed anything. That one deserves to be etched in stone. Bravo sir!

  24. 24

    PZ, did you hear me in the crowd screaming for you??!

    Well, I was far from the only one, so I guess you can be forgiven for missing my voice. Yeah, we drove down from Philly early that morning for the rally. I am SO glad we did – in spite of the traffic & rain & cold, it was a blast.

    And we loved your speech, PZ.

  25. 25

    The speech was great, and I’m glad I stuck around long enough to see you talk while wearing that soon-to-be iconic white hat. I just wished I’d stopped you while you were walking through the crowd in the morning to say hi.

    I think a lot of us are too self-conscious and self-critical to enjoy the prospect of hearing ourselves talk while we’re not already in the process of doing so. I remember taking a business speaking course and having to record, then listen to, every speech I gave for an entire semester. Much as I liked the class, I was happy to finish it and have not had to listen to myself since then.

  26. 26

    You sound great!!! You should pursue this angrier speaking style. I suspect you may have been drinking with Aaron Ra

  27. 27

    It was so fun. My wife and I even got to take a photo with PZ as he mingled with the crowd. (Clicky) Despite the rain, it was a great time.

  28. 28

    Ouch! It’s a good thing I wasn’t at the Reason Rally — my hands hurt just from applauding PZ’s video! Well done, PZ!

  29. 29

    I’m very wrathy today too.

  30. 30
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Astounding. Just astounding, PZ.

    But is it just me who heard a lot fewer male voices cheering your volley against sexism than they did your volley against racism?

  31. 31
    Akira MacKenzie

    Ironically, Yahoo news declared that the Reason Rally lacked “passion:”


    We can’t win. When atheists show any emotion or confidence we’re dubbed “militant.” If we try to be milquetoast and civil like the fucktarded American public want atheist to behave, we lack passion.

    This country deserve to burn.

  32. 32
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Wrathy? I’ve been wrathy almost all year.

  33. 33
    Akira MacKenzie

    Edit: “deserves to burn.”

    Needless to say, I pissed off.

  34. 34
    Akira MacKenzie

    Gah! Forget it.

  35. 35


    That’s easy for you to say!

  36. 36
    AJ Milne

    Honestly, is nothing sacred immune to rule 34?

    (Puts on ‘I play a scientist on TV’ lab coat… )

    So far as we can determine, no. It would seem therefore that rule 34 is not so much a ‘rule’ as it a fundamental, immutable physical law.

    Now it is true that as yet we’ve been unable to demonstrate that Rule 34 follows directly from the Standard Model. But, again, like so many of the apparent problems with the Standard Model, it isn’t so much that rule 34 is necessarily in contradiction to it…

    What is an open question, anyway, is whether Rule 34 must hold in all possible universes. Note that this is a very different question from whether Rule 34 will hold for all biologies in this universe in which sexual reproduction occurs. And a very, very different question from whether there could, theoretically, exist biologies containing nothing the TOS’ Kirk would sleep with*.

    (*/And no, there could not.)

  37. 37

    I just came over to read Pharyngula, and was so excited and surprised to see my video on his page! I was wondering how it had over 300 hits already. (Now I know!)
    I was pretty happy with the way it came out, the sound on it is crystal clear, but I had a hard time keeping it steady because I was wet and freezing!
    It does give a good perspective of how PZ’s speech was received by the people around us listening intently to what he said.
    That was a really good speech PZ.

  38. 38
    AJ Milne

    (Gets through speech…)

    (Wipes tear…)

    I’ve missed you, Mr. Ingersoll.

  39. 39
    Charlie Foxtrot

    “Donald Duck po…?”

    *flashes of repressed memory!*

    I remember now, a .wav file arrived by email… years ago…


    Ahah – YouTube provides! and the universe remains constant. I’m not sure this is a good thing…

  40. 40
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    Great speech, PZ. I think you did an admirable job of making up for the possible devaluation of the rally currency you were expecting with the addition of the more questionable speakers. Directly addressing the Westboring Baptists was a nice touch, as well as taking a punch or two at crank medicine and woo.

    Rounding all the bases on racism, sexism, global warming denialists and war industry were superb gravy on an already impressive meal of previously presented eloquent speeches and your own great start.

    I couldn’t think of how the rally presenters could have done better without the resurrections of Carl Sagan and Christopher Hitchens, but displays of that type would undo the definition of the rally.

  41. 41

    I thoroughly enjoyed everything in the youtube video but the closing statement. Quoth PZ, at 13min00sec:

    “I’ve been seeing signs around. They say,
    ‘You can be good without God.’
    Let me tell you: No one fought for change by being nice.
    I want you all to join me in being bad without god.”

    I understand what he intended: don’t be “nice,” don’t be a push-over,
    fight for change, don’t be polite and wait for change.
    But “Be bad without god” didn’t seem to quite work for me as a
    closing thought (and not just because it was a great soundbite
    for conservative/religious pundits).

    @Akira MacKenzie/31: I had the same impression, regarding the Yahoo
    review: “Atheists Lack passion.” Gee, I wonder if that reporter is
    a believer or not. In some of these reporters, their derision (or
    condescension) was only just barely concealed.

    Although, regarding Passion, if we wanted to be very snarky,
    we could say: literally, it’s true. (vis a vis, the Passion of Christ.)
    We certainly lack that (or a belief in it).

  42. 42
    Gregory Greenwood

    Fantastic speech, PZ. Never stop being ‘wrathy’

    *clenched tentacle salute*


    AJ Milne @ 36;

    So far as we can determine, no. It would seem therefore that rule 34 is not so much a ‘rule’ as it a fundamental, immutable physical law.

    Sounds about right – its effects do seem completely inescapable, at least without an Einstein-Rosen Bridge…

    And a very, very different question from whether there could, theoretically, exist biologies containing nothing the TOS’ Kirk would sleep with*.

    (*/And no, there could not.)

    Heh, too true – especially if it is green in colour.

  43. 43
    Randall Morrison

    Ha! The white hat from Calgary, right on!

    You must not have packed any hats of your own prior to departure, hm? =)

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