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Jun 07 2012

Why I won’t be going to TAM this year

Regretfully, I won’t be going to The Amazing Meeting next month. It’s a small thing; it’s a great meeting, I do think DJ Grothe has made a good effort to improve it over the years, but recent events have simply cooled my enthusiasm. It was a terribly clumsy mistake to accuse Rebecca Watson of undermining the meeting (a mistake he has apologized for) — she has not only cheerfully promoted TAM every year, but has been an activist doing fundraising to send more people to the meeting. Then we got the accusation that “one blog network” (this one) fosters the idea that going to skeptic/atheist meeting means you would be “assaulted, harassed, or worse“, which is simply not true. Every year I have promoted TAM enthusiastically, and as an activist, I’ve been encouraging people to attend these kinds of meetings everywhere…and I’ve been specifically encouraging women to increase their participation.

So I find myself a little less than gung-ho about flying off to Vegas next month. Sorry. Maybe next year.

I know DJ is wondering why fewer women are registering this year, and I’m sure he wants to keep the meeting lively and enticing for the coming years, so I’ll explain a little more why I can be lackadaisical, and it might help DJ understand where the problem really lies. It’s not in the people who offer constructive criticism — they’re the sensors who help the meeting be more adaptable — it’s simpler than that.

TAM isn’t the only game in town any more. There’s Skepticon, NECSS, SkeptiCal, and lots of local meetings. Atheist meetings have adapted and become a lot less dry and far more inclusive; I’d go so far as to say that the TAM style has been stolen and freely used, with atheist meetings becoming more diverse and including science and skepticism in their purview. Heck, science fiction conventions like Dragon*Con and Convergence are doing it. The success of the movement means we’re entering Darwin’s domain, and competition is growing fiercer.

It is a huge mistake to see attendance at one con experiencing a few rough spots, and to then turn to your most fervent, reliable participants and pin the blame on them. You’re in a situation where the little things can cost you your edge; adapt or die.

So, in this world of many great conventions, I simply have no difficulty at all in crossing one off my list this year. It’s not a condemnation, just a little “meh” from one potential attendee (I know, those can add up), and maybe next year the current wobble will be corrected and I’ll be back cheerleading.

Also, let me emphasize that I have no illusions that I’m ‘punishing’ TAM — in this happy world of an expanding movement, there is also no shortage of participants, and I certainly don’t consider myself indispensable. It’s also the month before the meeting, so most of you will have already made the commitment or not, so I’m not trying to dissuade anyone, either. I do hope DJ listens more attentively to this year’s attendees, though.

112 comments

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  1. 1
    Pteryxx

    Oh, this made me smile so hard.

  2. 2
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    a mistake he has apologized for

    I’m with Stephanie on this. I think it’s a mistake he notpologized for.

  3. 3
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    Read, Erülóra! Damnit, read.

  4. 4
    Pteryxx

    Technically, DJ apologised TO REBECCA… just not to the other women bloggers his statement smeared, nor to the much greater category of women quietly networking about their harassment “sexual exploits”.

  5. 5
    Matt Penfold

    PZ, I also imagine after all your travelling a weekend at home might be appealing.

  6. 6
    PZ Myers

    Yeah, like I said — there is no shortage of excellent meetings, and I seem to be going to a lot of them. Staying home for a weekend isn’t that bad.

  7. 7
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    I hope to see you at Skepticon again. :-)

  8. 8
    Martin Wagner

    I’ve done three TAMs, but will be missing this year, mainly because my “traveling to events” budget went to Reason Rally. I hope to make it back to TAM next year, as I just love a weekend in Vegas, although I’ve been a little turned off by the way the conference is marginalizing atheism while trying to be selectively accommodating to certain flavors of woo.

  9. 9
    gussnarp

    I have a dream that people will actually read all of this, see that it’s not a call for a boycott, but simply one man expressing his opinion in a very calm manner, and not leave an endless string of angry and accusatorial comments. How long before my dream is crushed?

  10. 10
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    3…2…1…

  11. 11
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    I have a dream that people will actually read all of this, see that it’s not a call for a boycott, but simply one man expressing his opinion in a very calm manner, and not leave an endless string of angry and accusatorial comments. How long before my dream is crushed?

    Yeah, well… he IS a man, so he might get the benefit of the doubt for a little longer.

  12. 12
    PZ Myers

    I am the beneficiary of vast amounts of privilege, yes.

  13. 13
    jjgdenisrobert

    I’m usually with you PZ, but on this, no. There is a real problem with real harassment; but the Skepchik starts lumping a couple passing a swinger’s card to a speaker AFTER THE EVENT IS CONCLUDED with real harassment, and the chorus dutifully cheers “YEAH, that’s what I’m talking about! How dare the organizers do nothing about this kind of harassment!!!”, it makes what DJ said 100% correct. There is a real problem, and I’m all for taking measures to address a problem.

    But a couple of adults making an unwanted proposition to another adult, without any sort of coercion or show of power, although clearly douchey, IS NOT HARASSMENT. It’s dumb, it’s disrespectful; but it’s not harassment. And the constant harping on events like this one does give the impression that atheist conferences are dens of iniquity where any woman must expect to be groped or otherwise sexually harassed.

    It’s that article that made me get of the train; yes, it made the author feel uncomfortable; so what: lots of things make me feel uncomfortable. That’s not a criterion by which we can judge whether something amounts to harassment or not. But the crowd read this article, and shouted “harassment” at the top of their lungs, proving that the shark had completely been jumped.

    Count me out of this choir of mindless acquiescers…

  14. 14
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand here we go

  15. 15
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Also most slimepitters are in the Dungeon already, so it might take a bit longer.

    It is sad that DJG seems to be unable to understand a few things:

    -That harassment is not an extraordinary event or claim.
    Actually, women are kind of required to put up with a lot of it if theiy want to participate in life.

    -What a safe space is and what not

    -That, with so much competition going on, one of the criteria women might look at is what they’ve heard about an organisation with regards to sexism and harassment in the last year and that he himself didn’t actually win a trophy.
    At least not for his achievements in anti-sexism.

  16. 16
    Matt Penfold

    jjgdenisrobert,

    Your clue went missing a long time ago didn’t it ? And it would seem you never actually got to the stage of knowing how to behave.

  17. 17
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    But a couple of adults making an unwanted proposition to another adult, without any sort of coercion or show of power, although clearly douchey, IS NOT HARASSMENT.

    Learn what harassment is, cupcake, then come back.

  18. 18
    Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun)

    I think Stakka Bo said it best

    And I still think PZ is a bit too forgiving towards JREF/DJG.

  19. 19
    gussnarp

    @RBDC, Improbable Joe – Thanks for putting the perfect finish on my comment.

    Only 13 comments in, dreams die young around here.

  20. 20
    baal

    Also most slimepitters are in the Dungeon already, so it might take a bit longer.

    I’m made nervous anytime anyone uses language like “slimepitters.” It’s a definitional group of “those people it’s ok to hate.” I don’t like statements where it’s ok to hate a group. At best, it’s lazy over generalization.

  21. 21
    MyaR

    So, how do I count in the JREF calculus — a woman who wasn’t particularly interested in TAM before, but am going because of the FTB and Skepchick past promoting of the event?

    Knowing that sexual harassment happens at TAM is no shock — it’s an entirely expected situation. Knowing that they had put a harassment policy (sort of — it doesn’t seem to have much policy behind the no-harassment statement) in place last year was good, and I thought they were serious about wanting to build a more inclusive atmosphere.

    To be clear, I do think DJ Grothe really does want to build a more inclusive event and movement. I’m not so sure about other individuals and factions within JREF, and it’s not at all clear who’s going to ‘win’ that battle between the old and new guard. (And I’m not including Randi as part of the old guard, aside from what looks like a lack of recognition of what’s been festering for a long time.)

  22. 22
    Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun)

    I’m made nervous anytime anyone uses language like “slimepitters.” It’s a definitional group of “those people it’s ok to hate.” I don’t like statements where it’s ok to hate a group. At best, it’s lazy over generalization.

    So, when people participate in overt, rank antihumanism you think that’s ok, and we should take time to judge each and every one on their individual merit?

    Pattern recognition saves time you know… It might occasionally lead us astray, but as long as you’re willing and able to correct when it does I’ll say it’s permissible.

  23. 23
    gussnarp

    FTR, I still think Grothe’s mistake was taking this to blog comments without really thinking about it or discussing it. I expect he was upset, had some feelings, and spewed it all out in a comment thread. The best thing for TAM, for Grothe, for skepticism, for women, for everyone involved, would have been for him to pick up the phone and make a few calls and ask questions and listen to the answers. He could have worked with all these bloggers, at least some of whom I think are his friends, to find a strategy that allowed open and honest and public dialogue about conference problems while improving TAM, making it more welcoming, and improving attendance overall. TAM has been a leader, and it could have taken a strong, forward leadership role in this as well, and attendance would be going up right now.

  24. 24
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I’m made nervous anytime anyone uses language like “slimepitters.” It’s a definitional group of “those people it’s ok to hate.” I don’t like statements where it’s ok to hate a group. At best, it’s lazy over generalizatio

    Your concern is noted.
    I mean, they’re just a bunch of people who heartily laugh at the idea of sexualized violence, who think that anti-harrassment policies are like the Taliban and who think that misogynist slurs are totes fine.
    But I’m sure that Abbie is nice to her dog, so I really should be kind to them.
    Does your concern also extend to the KKK and WBC?

  25. 25
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Hey, we got a whole 13 comments before the fail started.

  26. 26
    Sili

    I think it’s great that PZed isn’t going.

    More men should cancel their reservations.

    That way DJ will solve his problem of having proportionally too few women register.

  27. 27
    MyaR

    I still think Grothe’s mistake was taking this to blog comments without really thinking about it or discussing it

    I think his real first mistake was thinking Facebook comments are not public, and assuming he was among “friends” only. 1. Just because facebook calls them “friends” doesn’t make them actual friends. 2. Sometimes your friends disagree with you, and will call you on shit outside the conversational bubble you think you’re in. 3. Don’t say shit you don’t want to be public in a copy-pastable format, most especially if you’re head of an organization.

    Oh, and 4. don’t copy-pasta yourself all over the blogosphere, especially if you are neither pithy nor succinct.

    I think he’s just mishandled this in so many ways. I hope he learns (and JREF learns, and gets some sort of professional assistance for him on how not to do this type of thing) and makes JREF a better organization and TAM a better event.

  28. 28
    DLC

    I expected such an announcement. Don’t care much either way, myself, although the odd chance of meeting James Randi would be cool. Randi was one of the first people who I saw on TV actively promoting skepticism. In all likelihood, TAMs will come to an end in time, and I’ll still never have been to one. But that’s because I’m not the “Goes to meetings” kind of person, and because my extreme poverty over the last two decades has made any sort of travel impossible.

  29. 29
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Count me out of this choir of mindless acquiescers

    Translation: Put up and shut up, bitchez. You’re making me uncomfortable.

  30. 30
    Anthony K

    jjgdenisrobert opened with this:

    I’m usually with you PZ, but on this, no

    And ended with this:

    Count me out of this choir of mindless acquiescers…

    Do you know how fucking stupid that reads?

    What’s wrong with you fuckheads that you can only frame shit in terms of Freedom! vs. Groupthink™? Stop jacking off to Braveheart and grow the fuck up.

    The best reason for anyone not to go to TAM is the desire not to be surrounded by the man-children—every one of them a goddamn unique genius that coincidentally and reflexively chants “hive-mind” at everyone he disagrees with—that infest the atheist and skeptical movements.

  31. 31
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    I see jjgdenisrobert is being his usual clueless self.

    Baal, thank you for your concern, but I’m perfectly happy slapping a derogatory label on a bunch of persistently and virulently nasty people. If they’d been spouting racism instead of misogyny, I wonder if you’d be wringing your hands in the same manner.

  32. 32
    chigau (違う)

    jjgdenisrobert

    Count me out of this choir of mindless acquiescers…

    OK.
    {Does anyone know who jjgdenisrobert is?}

  33. 33
    Anthony K

    {Does anyone know who jjgdenisrobert is?}

    He’s usually with PZ, but on this issue he’s decided to stop being a mindless acquiescer.

  34. 34
    chigau (違う)

    Oh. That jjgdenisrobert.
    I haven’t been in a choir since junior high school.

  35. 35
    johnstevens

    This arguing is going to kill us.

  36. 36
    Anthony K

    It’s a definitional group of “those people it’s ok to hate.

    I hate a lot of people. You’ll receive notification by certified mail if my therapist and I ever decide I need your or anyone else’s ‘ok’ to do so.

  37. 37
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    every one of them a goddamn unique genius that coincidentally and reflexively chants “hive-mind” at everyone he disagrees with

    But never at those with whom he agrees. Odd, that. Well, not really.

  38. 38
    Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun)

    This arguing is going to kill us.

    If by “us” you mean the he-man-bigfootstomper-club and by “kill” you mean “make us change or be shunned by polite society”. I think you’re right (I certainly hope so).

  39. 39
    Anthony K

    This arguing is going to kill us.

    Who’s us?

    Because, in my experience, most people in this community thrive on argument. We argue with creationists, anti-vaxxers, climate change denialists, 9/11 truthers, religious moderates, conservatives, liberals, libertarians, scientists, interested non-scientists, and each other.

    I’m unaware of any studies demonstrating a clear and causal link between this love of argument and early mortality.

  40. 40
    chigau (違う)

    This arguing is going to kill us.

    How?

  41. 41
    Anthony K

    But never at those with whom he agrees.

    Of course not. That’s why, when jjgdenisrobert claims he usually agrees with PZ, it’s merely a positional statement, like citing one’s area of focus on a CV. When other people usually agree with PZ, however, it’s the femimarxist brain control serum at work.

    What’s amazing is the oblivious uniformity of the twits who make this claim. Almost as if they were all brainwashed at the same underground CIA lab.

  42. 42
    Rey Fox

    Treating strangers with respect is such in-crowd behavior. Let’s all compare notes on our clothing and accessories and giggle at the freaks now.

    It’s a definitional group of “those people it’s ok to hate.”

    If they ever stop self-identifying by congregating at one blog and behaving in a particular way, then maybe I’ll start worrying about them being labeled.

  43. 43
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Was #24 the subtlest Godwin ever, or is my pattern-recognition on overdrive?

  44. 44
    Ingdigo Jump

    Its a rather good idea to dislike people who do assholery.

    Where do all these fauxpassifist shit heads come from?

  45. 45
    Aratina Cage

    “those people it’s ok to hate.”

    Good one, baal. Have you been to the slimepit, like, ever? Why don’t you go there and tell them your cute little theory.

  46. 46
    pentatomid

    Brownian,

    Stop jacking off to Braveheart and grow the fuck up.

    Ha! This made my day! I’ve told you before how much I love you, right Brownian?

  47. 47
    pentatomid

    I don’t like statements where it’s ok to hate a group. At best, it’s lazy over generalization.

    If the things that unite said group are hatred, misogyny and general dishonesty, I see no problem with hating them. This is not an over generalization, that is just who the slimepitters are: hateful misogynist assholes.

  48. 48
    Aquaria

    Ha! This made my day! I’ve told you before how much I love you, right Brownian?

    The line grows ever longer. Since I’m not interested, I think I smell a money-making opportunity here: Get one of those portable coffee urns like at Starbucks, only putting beer or scotch in it, and selling it down the line. And bacon. Lots of bacon.

    I’ll be rich!

  49. 49
    julietdefarge

    Has anyone thought to poll the women who attended in previous years and find out why they are not attending this time? Could be due to completely mundane reasons like family, health, or work- y’know, got to work harder to earn 23% less than our male counterparts.

  50. 50
    Stephanie Zvan

    julietdefarge, Kylie did that. The answers have yet to be recognized by D.J.

  51. 51
    PZ Myers

    Errm, that’s what I’m saying. DJ was wrong to leap to the conclusion that it was a buncha baddies poisoning the well — it’s more like TAM is in competition with a lot of external realities that are making it less of a must-see event this year.

  52. 52
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Where do all these fauxpassifist shit heads come from?

    The top of Privilege Mountain, I suspect. Anyone at the foot of that particular mountain already knows that the “be nice!” argument is bullshit.

  53. 53
    nooneinparticular

    Like Matt Penfold said way up in 5. Hard to be away from home and the Trophy Wife so often.

    Overall, Grothegate; tempest, teapot. Still, from an outsider looking in, although there has been some ugliness and a lot of heat and anger, some good will come out of the frou-fa-rah.

    Consciousnesses have been raised. That is good. There is a problem and now no one involved in organizing these meetings can say they aren’t aware of it. That is good. Some of the people who have brought this problem to the fore are worth listening to and it seems that is being done. That also is good. I don’t remember which FTB blogger noted it but, IIANM, already organizers for nearly a dozen conferences have said they will have in place anti-harassment policies. That is good.

    I hope DJ Grothe takes away a lesson about listening to people. It can be hard amid a cacophony to sort out those voices worth listening to, but ISTM that he should have known who to talk to before writing what he did. I dunno. This appeared to me to be an issue that insiders have a much better grasp of (and a bigger stake in) than a mere outsider. Still, if he comes away with a new understanding of the POV of people like Ms. Watson, Mcreight, Cristina, et al, he can make TAM a better, more accepting place. That will be good.

  54. 54
    canadianchick

    Why is DJ surprised that enrollment by women is down? I dont’ know too many people who can afford more than one conference per year in terms of time & money, and given the successful first Women in Secularism conference just last month (not to mention, as others have said repeatedly, the huge number of other fun & successful conferences), I’d be surprised if it HADN’T gone down.

    TAM has never really been high on my list, given its size, but it’s DJ’s massive misdirection/over-reaction to this that has put it further down my list – NOT anything said about skeevy attendees or speakers.

  55. 55
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Overall, Grothegate; tempest, teapot.

    Overall, Nooneinparticular: Clueless, as always.

  56. 56
    dean

    …only putting beer or scotch in it, and selling it down the line. And bacon. Lots of bacon.

    You might need this (I cannot vouch for it: I won’t even put water in my whiskey or scotch).

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Bacon-Whiskey/

  57. 57
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Forbidden Snowflake

    Was #24 the subtlest Godwin ever, or is my pattern-recognition on overdrive?

    In that case the author herself didn’t recognize it ;)

  58. 58
    maddog1129

    One entirely ordinary reason why pre-registrations may be down is that the economy is still broken.

  59. 59
    Ichthyic

    Overall, Nooneinparticular: Clueless, as always.

    seems like it was just the opening line that seemed clueless.

    the rest seems like they have at least followed the issue?

  60. 60
    philosweeny

    Am I the only one who thought Rebecca owes DJ an apology? She basically accused him of lying about the reports, the victims come forward saying ‘Well we didn’t report it to anyone’, DJ says now that they’ve been told they’ll put it on the record and Rebecca now wants him to make a bigger apology, apparently for not having psychic powers and being able to read the victims minds.
    If a crime was reported and it was laughed off and ignored, then this level of reaction would be justified. That just isn’t the case but Rebecca IS giving the impression that sexual harressment is rife there. There was even a post from a father who was now concerned about his daughter going to TAM after reading Rebecca’s response. He was commending Rebecca but validating DJs sentiment exactly.

    The mentality seems to be that “the men think this is ok” which is complete bullshit. And if Rebecca really thinks that DJ wasn’t aware that everyone on the internet would hear about any apology made to her on a public forum then she gives him way too little credit.
    What does Rebecca actually want them to do? They already don’t tolerate that kind of behaviour and there have been no cases of a report that wasn’t been dealt with properly. And yes if you want a report to be dealt with you have to actually report it. What kind of magical thinking can make you think they can act on unreported crimes? (If you think that’s a ridiculous strawman read the skepchick comments)
    How on earth can anyone say the authorities are to blame for not reacting to a crime when nobody ever actually told them???

    They seem to actually expect the completely impossible, that DJ should be able to “Guarantee” the behaviour of every single person there. I say we put Rebecca in charge of the next TAM and see how she would actually apply her ridiculous unobtainable standards to the real world.

    If you want to help TAM and not just scare the crap out of everyone you might try emphasising that there are always on-site security guards who will take all reports seriously and it is in fact a safe environment for everyone. The drunk getting kicked out is proof of a secured environment, not a sign of something wrong.

  61. 61
    Ingdigo Jump

    You’re a fucking idiot.

  62. 62
    Ingdigo Jump

    You’re also exactly why people should stay the fuck away from TAM.

    Yeah, I said it. I not only would no longer reconmend TAM, but now if asked I’d say “Probably good speakers but there’s no real harassment policy in effect (note key words) and the crowds are hella creepy”

  63. 63
    arbor

    I am glad that PZ has decided not to go to TAM this year. I despise what Grothe has done and am very disappointed in JREF in general, so I hope that many others choose not to go to TAM for their own reasons.

    Grothe is merely a power-hungry politician who has no PR sense. If he is the best that JREF can do (he’s not), JREF should close its doors in embarrassment. He deserves to lose his job.

    I’ve been increasingly disenchanged with JREF for many years. It has drifted far from the mission that James Randi gave it, and I feel sorry for Mr. Randi, someone I still respect and like.

    It has been suggested that Grothe owed not only Rebecca Watson an apology, but all women as well. That doesn’t go far enough – we men (at least some of us) are people too, and Grothe has insulted and offended not only women but all skeptics and people in general.

    I don’t do conferences of any type – I can’t handle groups of people – but I wouldn’t go to any TAM if I were paid to. Grothe’s behavior and that of JREF doesn’t deserve to be rewarded, forgotten, or forgiven.

  64. 64
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    That just isn’t the case but Rebecca IS giving the impression that sexual harressment is rife there.

    sigh

  65. 65
    curtnelson

    It’s a crazy dangerous world and apparently TAM is one of the more dangerous places, especially for women, and probably men too, who would probably be at a heightened risk of attack by an angry woman.

    I notice that posters here who dare to argue that this issue isn’t just another pure and clear example of men acting badly toward women are viscously dispatched with rebuttals like being called cupcake, f’ing idiot, clueless…

    And no one says a thing, on this science/scepticism blog. Only agreement, cheering.

  66. 66
    mrianabrinson

    This may help some in clarifying, for DJ, why fewer women attend some atheists meetings- I’ve attended Skepticon 3 out of the 4 times it’s been held and really enjoy it. I go to it because it is close and is mostly free. Since I live in the area, I don’t have to pay for a hotel room either. So I save money, while meeting other non-believers. While not all gatherings have the same speakers, most do, so I don’t feel as though I’m missing out on anything by going to the one that is closest and saves me money. At the same time, I have not been harassed like some women have. I feel comfortable at Skepticon and with the money I save, I have less stress about it too.

    When Star Trek conventions were held here, I did the same thing. I don’t go out to Vegas to attend the Trek con there due to cost of travel, motel, etc etc. I’m always trying to find ways to save money, yet attend events that are close and I know there will be something I will enjoy about it. So I won’t be attending TAM either, but not because of fear of being sexually harassed. It’s mostly all about money, for me. In this economy, I don’t think DJ should expect a huge turn out anyway. Most, but not all, will probably be locals at any given atheist gathering.

  67. 67
    Amphiox

    That just isn’t the case but Rebecca IS giving the impression that sexual harressment is rife there.

    No she isn’t.

    What might be giving such an impression, though, are all the various slimepit denizens who have been attacking Rebecca. Because any reasonable person reading any of those comments cannot help but conclude that the person behind the pseudonym could easily be a sexual harasser in real life, and then you factor in the likelihood that any number of them could be attending a TAM, and you wouldn’t even know who they might be because of the pseudonymity.

    DJ was simply WRONG. If ANYTHING on the internet blogosphere was conveying at atmosphere of potential sexual harassment at TAM, it wasn’t Rebecca Watson’s posts, but the responses in certain quarters TO those posts.

  68. 68
    realitysarnia

    More Bacon and Crispy Creme Donuts for the rest of us!

  69. 69
    oaksterdam

    curtnelson:

    And no one says a thing, on this science/scepticism(sic) blog.

    Is that how it works now? We get to pick what kind of blog this is and then hold people accountable for not sticking to the program? The header at the top of my page says something about “…random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal” but fuck it, I say it’s a blog about bacon. And y’all are doing a piss poor job as of late. All this calling mansplainers and MRA’s and PUA’s and cupcakes “cupcake”. Unseemly for a blog about the traditional family values of bacon. I for one have had enough!

    If you could kindly link to or give me the posting number or point me in the general direction of someone who

    dare(d) to argue that this issue isn’t just another pure and clear example of men acting badly toward women

    in good faith and was called a cupcake, I will gladly apologize and take a good long look at my attitude.

    Go get ‘em, cupcake.

    (Sorry you were “viscously dispatched” there, the “angry woman” thing kinda earned you that one. Plus I had to. Hive, tribalism, in-crowd, whatever. I just don’t wanna get kicked out of the Dairy Queen meet-ups)

  70. 70
    oaksterdam

    realitysarnia, thanks for getting us back on topic.

  71. 71
    Ingdigo Jump

    Every time we get mouthbreathers in the thread who just illustrate why I wouldn’t subject my family to the crowds of SkepticINC

  72. 72
    Ichthyic

    And no one says a thing, on this science/scepticism blog. Only agreement, cheering.

    I disagree, and heartily boo you.

  73. 73
    onion girl, OM; social workers do it with paperwork

    How the fuck is this getting dragged around to be Rebecca’s fault again? Jen was the one to bring up the issue after WiS, Stephanie and Ophelia (among others) were leading the first reactions and agreements via their blogs (as far as I could see)–Rebecca joined in with the rest of the tide and then got singled out by DJ, but she wasn’t the one to start it! But it’s all her fault again? Ay! Rebecca Watson, the cause of all evil and strife Deep Rifts in the atheist movement. *sigh*

  74. 74
    Aratina Cage

    I wholeheartedly agree with Ing in #61. Obvious troll (philos weeny? Puuuurleeeeeeez, troll!) is obvious.

  75. 75
    DLC

    oniongirl@75 : because Rebecca Watson is the root cause of it all. She sits there in here lair under a volcano, sticking pins in her PZ Myers voodoo doll and making him say he’s not going to TAM this year. This after having stuck pins in the Jen McCreight doll and others besides that. For all we know, Watson probably has a DJ Grothe doll also, and has manufactured this whole thing as part of her plot to take over the world! .
    I’m Just Asking Qestions here, but isn’t it possible that Rebecca Watson wants to take over the world, by causing DEEP RIFTS in the Atheist/skeptical movement ?
    I don’t know how this fits into her Nefarious Plan but I’m sure it must. somehow.
    Right before Steal all the Underpants.

  76. 76
    Louis

    I won’t be going to (US) TAM this year because I have shit to do then. If people want to see this as part of a boycott and PZ sycophancy, they then can help themselves to a “fuck directly off” from my healthy pile of them. Not a single fuck will be given.

    I can’t remember if there is a TAM UK this year or not, and it’s massively unlikely I’ll go to it if there is. I’m privileged enough that cost and time are my biggest factors in this decision. It’s not my place to tell someone who has valid extra factors to consider that they are wrong.

    If the complaint about harassment etc were from a tiny proportion of people or was stupid (e.g. But the place was full of sceptics!) it might be tactically (not necessarily ethically) ignorable.

    But the complaint of sexism/harassment/lack of inclusivity is not coming from a tiny proportion of clueless jerks, it’s coming from hard core internal supporters and lots of them. Tactically, ethically or otherwise, you ignore THAT at your peril.

    That cluelessness on the part of DLG/JREF does have a cooling effect on my desire to attend these meetings, not massively as (selfishly) I am not the sufferer of this stuff…note already acknowledged privilege…and solidarity is more an intellectual than personal process, but noticeable. Given the fictional choice between a TAM and an equal but more inclusive TAM-like event, my sterling goes to the latter. But since, as confessed to, other considerations already outweigh this for me (selfish, privileged, hypocrite, flawed, all already acknowledged. I live on planet earth where I’m a human being, not planet perfect where I’m an angel.), it’s almost moot as far as my attendance goes.

    None of that speaks to approval of any specific tactics employed (or not) by DJG/JREF. It’s separate.

    I think DJG/JREF fucked up. It’s an easy fuck up to correct and it’s not exactly rocket surgery to grasp what the fuck up was. I wonder why the correction (to the best of my knowledge) has not actually taken place.

    Hell, even the appearance of correction is better than doubling down, victim blaming and notpologies.

    Louis

  77. 77
    foliage

    Aww, Pharyngula and The Skeptics Guide are the two thing that really got me into this stuff. And now the first conference I’ve expensively signed up for will be absent some of the activists I relate to the most.

    I’m going to go and cry in the corner.

  78. 78
    skeptifem

    I want to know why folks have to dig through comment threads and old blog posts to find his “apology” or the harassment policy. It is more behavior aimed at minimizing the problem in order to save face.

    It is also bullshit that he mentioned the idea that JREF supported trafficking without referencing the incident (again, in a comment thread somewhere) that could lead someone to draw such a conclusion. After I found him in the Krauss thread at skepchick it became very understandable that some folks would come away with that impression. Without mentioning any context it seems outrageous, and smears anyone not going to TAM because of DJG’s insensitive comments.

    I am having a difficult time thinking of JREF as a group of honest people at this point. Honest people who genuinely want to solve the problem do not behave this way. They feel sorry for fucking up and try very hard to make it right. It is clear to me now why they want all incidents handled in-house, it is so they can be covered up and denied.

  79. 79
    curtisnelson

    oaksterdam,
    I identified Pharyngula as a science/scepticism blog because this community specifically seeks to be rational and fact-based in its assessment of claims/arguments, and here I’m seeing off-hand dismissal of arguments accompanied by name calling, like you just did with me.

  80. 80
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Shorter curtisnelson: I don’t know what I’m talking about, so please excuse me while I dunning my Kruger all over your carpet.

  81. 81
    Pteryxx

    I’m not going to TAM because it’s a) boring b) expensive c) too far away, but whatever event(s) I CAN get to are going to darn well have a good harassment policy and enforce it properly or I’m going to ask them why. Heck, I’ll likely ask them pre-emptively.

  82. 82
    realitysarnia

    @77,Foliage,

    Likewise, make room in that corner. This will be my first TAM and it is a disappointment that this shit has happened. It is always nice to see and hear PZ talk in person. I always thought us atheists had tougher skins than most.

    Anyways, hope Penn brings more Bacon and Donuts to the party if it is going to be mostly men there – they won’t be afraid of stuffing their faces now with less females watching them pig out!

  83. 83
    curtisnelson

    What a man-hating post. And this thread is all about men disrespecting women. There’s sure a lot of hypocrisy here.

  84. 84
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    And the troll’s true color is revealed.

    I do not dislike you because you are a man. I dislike you because you are a spleen weasel.

  85. 85
    Amphiox

    and here I’m seeing off-hand dismissal of arguments accompanied by name calling, like you just did with me.

    Your mistake is in assuming without evidence that the dismissal of arguments is “off-hand”, and the result of significant deliberation, both “off-screen”, and extending back through multiple prior threads.

    What a man-hating post. And this thread is all about men disrespecting women. There’s sure a lot of hypocrisy here.

    Hypocrisy levels skyrocketed the moment you joined the discussion. And tripled with that post, right there.

  86. 86
    Amphiox

    And no one says a thing, on this science/scepticism blog. Only agreement, cheering.

    When the evidence clearly demonstrates only one viable position, then agreement is the natural and proper response on a science/skepticism blog.

  87. 87
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    I always thought us atheists had tougher skins than most.

    Translation: Y’all don’t mind if I don’t stick to my flounce, right?

  88. 88
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Which one was the “man-hating” post? It’s hard to keep up with the imaginary slights against men round here.

  89. 89
    sc_adfd8c8ec8090f2bcb65d004c9a22580

    Well regardless of all this crap I’m going to TAM, and I fully intend to have a blast with as many drama-free, non-misogynist atheist skeptics that I can find. DJ Grothe is, after all, one of the pivotal individuals who introduced me to skepticism as an organized movement through his earlier role as the Point of Inquiry host, around the same time I first started reading Pharyngula due to my awareness of the Expelled debacle. I find that many of these criticisms of him, while warranted, are negatively colored by radically trollish fools taking this situation to their advantage (Greg Laden, this means you).

    “Grothe has insulted and offended not only women but all skeptics and people in general.” Yeah, okay.

  90. 90
    Ingdigo Jump

    Well regardless of all this crap I’m going to TAM, and I fully intend to have a blast with as many drama-free, non-misogynist atheist skeptics that I can find.

    Cool have a good time. I really mean it.

    I find that many of these criticisms of him, while warranted, are negatively colored by radically trollish fools taking this situation to their advantage (Greg Laden, this means you).

    REALLY mean it

  91. 91
    sc_adfd8c8ec8090f2bcb65d004c9a22580

    Cool, you can also have a good time not going, and commenting on Pharyngula. I REALLY mean it.

  92. 92
    Ingdigo Jump

    So did you actually just want to throw out that you were going to TAM or were you swinging for a spat?

  93. 93
    sc_adfd8c8ec8090f2bcb65d004c9a22580

    This comments thread doesn’t have to be exclusive to crucifying Grothe; I just wanted to show that some people still intend to go out to TAM and have a good time this year. Also, I DO think ol’ Greg Laden is a real piece of work for taking the misogynist high-road and calling for Grothe to resign. Pot and kettle, and all that.

  94. 94
    Anthony K

    Well regardless of all this crap I’m going to TAM, and I fully intend to have a blast with as many drama-free, non-misogynist atheist skeptics that I can find.

    How exciting! How many sleeps until your big airplane ride?

  95. 95
    Ingdigo Jump

    This comments thread doesn’t have to be exclusive to crucifying Grothe; I just wanted to show that some people still intend to go out to TAM and have a good time this year. Also, I DO think ol’ Greg Laden is a real piece of work for taking the misogynist high-road and calling for Grothe to resign. Pot and kettle, and all that.

    Again good for you…but you’re posting this here rather than to Greg’s blog why now?

  96. 96
    Anthony K

    I just wanted to show that some people still intend to go out to TAM and have a good time this year.

    As opposed to the people who spend a half K plus airfare and don’t intend to have a good time?

    I’m pretty sure all the women who’ve talked about harassment also intended to have a good time.

    Hell, I’m sure all these people fully intended to have a good time.

  97. 97
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Brownian

    Well to be fair I am going to Disneyworld later this month fully intended to be miserable so as to spread that misery and hate to impressionable children.

  98. 98
    Anthony K

    Well to be fair I am going to Disneyworld later this month fully intended to be miserable so as to spread that misery and hate to impressionable children.

    I did that as a surly young teen at Disneyland. Have fun!

  99. 99
    Ingdigo Jump

    Also to tip over teenagers in cartoon costumes and laugh whilst they try to right themselves.

  100. 100
    Anthony K

    Also to tip over teenagers in cartoon costumes and laugh whilst they try to right themselves.

    I’m sure that won’t cause any problems since each of them will undoubtedly have come to work fully intending to have a productive and incident-free workday.

  101. 101
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Brownian

    Policy also keeps the Disneyland folks from fighting back which makes it more fun. Sea world has better costumes but they actually bite! That guy in the sealion costume was able to swim surprisingly fast!

  102. 102
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I once got booted out of Disneyland for figuring out where on the “Imagination” ride they took the picture of you in the little carts. We and about 15 of the rest of use little assholes dropped trou and mooned and worse the camera.

    Disney did not appreciate 15 or so men and women’s asses and naughty bits on the big screen they show at the end of the ride for everyone to see.

    The Mickey Mouse Police chased us out.

  103. 103
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Probably not the most appropriate comment considering

    But

    /shrug

  104. 104
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    The Mickey Mouse Police chased us out.

    Bwahahahahaaahahaha! best disney story ever.

    Did they chase you out to some delightfully bouncing music and wacky sound effects?

  105. 105
    Ingdigo Jump

    I like to imagine Pete was their getaway driver. They left as one of the security tossed his sailor hat down on the ground and jumped up and down on it while screaming unintelligibly.

  106. 106
    Anthony K

    You couldn’t get on “Flash” Mountain, Rev?

  107. 107
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I thought it was hilarious.

    The parents around us, not so much.

  108. 108
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Did they chase you out to some delightfully bouncing music and wacky sound effects?

    Yes.

    But that could have been the five strip I ate a couple hours before.

  109. 109
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I didn’t know they did it on Splash Mountain. Though this was my Senior year in High School so I have no idea if Splash Mountain was even there.

    Think it was Figment’s Imagination ride at Epcot because we had that fucking song stuck in our heads the rest of the day.

    IMAGINATION IIIIIMAGINATION IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIMAGINATION

    MAKE

    IT

    STOP

  110. 110
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Rev

    ~It’s a small world after all…~

  111. 111
    Anthony K

    My favorite theme park ride story involved Knott’s Berry Farm. We’d just gotten on the Soap Box Racers ride, in which two cars race side-by-side, with the riders leaning in and out of the turns to influence the speed. Four young teenagers got in the car next to us. Not understanding that the ride had a competitive aspect to it, we sat quietly, like good Canadians, and waited for the ride to start. Suddenly, one of the teenagers leaned over, scowling, and yelled “Hey! Fu-u-u-u-ck you!” with his middle finger out.

    And the race was on. My sister was barking orders like an Olympic coxswain. “Left! Lean left!” My brother-in-law was reefing on the car as if he could bank the rail by sheer effort. Even my six-year-old nephew was helping out as best he could.

    When we got off, the four kids were all smiles and laughs, high-fiving us and shaking our hands for giving them a good run for their money.

    Who says polite language is always the most effective?

  112. 112
    caseygaspari

    As I stated in my blog and during a short lived conversation with a Feminist/Atheist about the matter….

    “Im saying flat out, if you have your big girl pants on and your at a non-religious, furthermore anti-religious engagement, maybe you should learn to handle difficult situations a little better then blowing it out of proportion into a full on “TAM is not safe for women” epidemic. Alot of females resent having this put out as a sex issue when lets face it, we’re all adults, we all fight for freedom from social standards and morals set by religious institutions and yet when something out of the ordinary or “uncomfortable” happens it automatically becomes harassment and grounds for unsafe territory. Lets not forget what side of the fence we are standing on, and pit our own people against each other because someone couldn’t remove the “ages 4-6″ label from their Atheist edition of monopoly.”

    -Redd

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