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Hamza Tzortzis’s reputation goes before him

Ophelia is hosting a wonderfully entertaining guest post on Hamza Tzortzis and the UCL segregation debacle. I know that guy; Tzortzis seems to show up somewhere every time I’m in Europe to peddle his peculiar brand of ignorance, and he’s invited me to debate him a couple of times now. The article will make clear why I’ve turned him down every time, even though it would have gotten me an expenses-paid trip to London. There are some things I just won’t do.

Comments

  1. says

    Ain’t it great? The line about “he might as well have stayed in Arizona and talked to a cactus” made me laugh a lot.

    Those LSE atheist students are pistols.

  2. No One says

    Not engaging him is a no-brainer. He smiles and carries a knife. He’s clueless and an asshole.

  3. lesliegriffiths says

    Good ‘ol Hamster Tortoise.

    I have to wonder what the hell’s happening at UCL though. It seems they have a ascending scale of rights they want to protect, and the right to practice religious dogma appears to trump all.

  4. sonofrojblake says

    I’m curious. Is everyone here OK with the statement “women so viscerally offended by unthreatening male company in a public space would do well to stay home and spare others their sanctimonious conservatism”?

    Because on the one hand, it’s, y’know, a woman’s right to decide who she sits next to, or near, I guess. She’s entitled to her boundaries. Someone by the name Happiestsadist made that point forcefully to the troll on the earlier thread.

    But, if she decides she doesn’t want to sit next to, or near, someone because they’re black, or white, or Jewish, or disabled, is that OK? More OK than if she makes that decision based purely on their gender? Or less?

  5. la tricoteuse says

    There is a difference, sonofrojblake, between deciding who you sit next to, and having a section designated to your preference.

    Sure, some racist ass might make a decision not to take an empty seat next to a black man. He’ll sit somewhere else.

    A woman who does not want to sit next to a man can sit in an empty seat that is next to a woman. She can even put her bag on the empty seat next to her and tell any man who comes close that she’s saving it for a friend, and wait for a woman to come along looking for a seat and clear the seat then.

    It’s the setting aside of an entire section (and in the BACK, I understand?) that people are objecting to, I think, not that an individual woman might prefer not to sit next to a man. (And it’s my understanding that a similar all-men section was set aside as well? In the front? Side? Middle?)

  6. says

    Shorter sonofrojblake: “I’m curious — what’s a good way to insinuate that a woman who wants to choose her company is as bad as a racist? Just asking questions like a good skeptic…”

  7. says

    But, if she decides she doesn’t want to sit next to, or near, someone because they’re black, or white, or Jewish, or disabled, is that OK? More OK than if she makes that decision based purely on their gender? Or less?

    No one is saying that attitude is OK or not (although personally I would openly say it makes her a bigot).

    But if I’m running a conference, and I declare that you may not sit next to, or near, someone because they’re black, or white, or Jewish, or disabled, then I am not only being a bigot myself, but I am imposing my bigotry on you. And that’s definitely not OK.

  8. sonofrojblake says

    if she decides she doesn’t want to sit next to, or near, someone because they’re black, or white, or Jewish, or disabled, is that OK? More OK than if she makes that decision based purely on their gender? Or less?

    Um… this.

    Assume there’s no designated seating.

    And if a woman decides not to sit next to a man purely because he’s a man, does or does not that make her an “ass” to exactly the same extent as if she’d made that decision based purely on race?

    A racist can just sit next a person of their own race, or use the “I’m saving this seat” trick. I get that. There are ways of concealing one’s prejudice and hatred when out in public, obviously.

    My question was: is it or is it not OK for individual women to act to enforce such boundaries? And if so, is that qualitatively different from acting enforce those boundaries based on disability, race or sexuality?

  9. chadwickjones says

    Tzortzis and D’Souza should debate with each other on the sanity of insanity.

  10. sonofrojblake says

    Shorter Raging Bee: “what’s a good way to rationalise prejudice…? Ooh, how about ‘choosing your company’”?

  11. No One says

    sonofrojblake @ 10

    Let me paraphrase “And if a woman decides not to sit next to a man purely because he’s a man, because she was recently raped, does or does not that make her an “ass” to exactly the same extent as if she’d made that decision based purely on race?”

    But what does any of this have to do with islamist’s forcing not only seating segregation, but asking the persons religious belief at the ticket line, and having separate entrance doors for male and female, and lying to Professor Krauss about it? This is about enforcing islamic law on non-believers in a secular venue.

  12. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    My question was: is it or is it not OK for individual women to act to enforce such boundaries?

    Why are you asking such a pointless question? Given that the OP was about forced seating? Why not just get to your pointless point?

  13. sonofrojblake says

    Also, maybe you missed the original question, which was:

    Is everyone here OK with the statement “women so viscerally offended by unthreatening male company in a public space would do well to stay home and spare others their sanctimonious conservatism”?

    You *know* that the rape argument is irrelevant here. We’re NOT talking about the sensitivities of rape victims, and bringing that up is a dishonest appeal to emotion. We’re talking about the bigoted religiously-motivated prejudices of Muslims, male and female – because we’re told that Muslim women asked for a separate seating area (right at the back, natch) because they weren’t comfortable having to deal with a space which, like every other public space on the university campus, was unsegregated by gender. Now, I’m conflicted here, because one part of me is saying “yeah right, those women asked for that space, sure, it wasn’t forced on them by the men who organised the thing”, but another part is also saying “hey, hang on… they’d be perfectly capable of asking for it, and indeed evidence suggests that they’re so cowed by the patriarchy and so brainwashed that they probably would.” I feel sorry for them either way, but it doesn’t change my opinion that they’re benighted bigots.

  14. Ogvorbis says

    My question was: is it or is it not OK for individual women to act to enforce such boundaries?

    Yes it is. Her reason may be something from her past. It may be bigotry, racism or sexism. I may be perfectly reasonable, it may be completely assholish. But it is her decision. I may not agree with her decision or why she made that decision but she is a human being and has the right to make that decision. Just as you do. Just as I do. The original post was about forced segregation of seating which denied her, as a human being, the right to make her own decision to sit where she is comfortable. Do you see the difference between being told who you may, or may not, sit next to, and making the decision for yourself? Why she made the decision, her own personal decision, is part of her own autonomy. I’m not going to question why a woman, or anyone else, decides to sit where they do. But I will question any authority that tells me, or any one else, who I may sit next to.*

    *Obviously, if tickets are sold for specific seats, I go where my ticket tells me to go. But even in that case, those seats should not be segregated.

  15. A Hermit says

    sonofrojblake

    Assume there’s no designated seating.

    Was that a goalpost whizzing by?

    That’s the whole issue here; designated, enforced segregated seating.

  16. No One says

    sonofrojblake @ 16 “but it doesn’t change my opinion that they’re benighted bigots.”

    Me neither.

    My point (with the rape example) being that anyone can choose to not sit next to a person for a variety of reasons, we can’t police thought. The women could easily have chose to sit together as a block without making the political statement. But that’s not the point of the exercise, it’s about making non-believers submit to islamic law in a bastion of free speech and equality. Gender segregation just happened to be one of the vehicles they chose on this particular occasion.

    As for the “stay at home statement” it’s not something I would utter personally. They can come, go, or stay according to their own dictates as far as I’m concerned. But UCL would be the governing authority on that matter in this particular case.

  17. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    That’s the whole issue here; designated, enforced segregated seating.

    Bingo! That versus personal preference in open seating. Nothing prevents a group of women from coming early and sitting together on their own accord, without it being forced upon them. If they are required to deblock and mingle at the behest of the organizers, that is the equivalent of enforced seating. Open seating means exactly that.

  18. Adam says

    It’s interesting to see how many of the twitter responses and comments on this event (e.g. at HuffPo UK) have tried to paint this as a matter of “those bad atheists violating the rights of women by forcing them to sit near men!”

    Am I missing some sort of universal restraining order?

    A woman (or anyone for that matter) has a right to refuse to allow a person to sit next to them, or to refuse to sit next to someone for whatever reason (even if bigoted). Although availability of seating may put some constraints on this.

    A woman definitely has the right to not be bothered, abused or molested by the men around her seat (a right unfortunately ignored too often by the dickheads in this world).

    But no one, regardless of gender has the right to demand that entire sections of a public venue be cordoned off for their own preference, effectively enforcing a selective restraining order, especially if that preference is rooted in bronze-age fairy tales.

    If we take IERA’s claims at face-value (which we probably shouldn’t), and these women requested segregation from men, this could constitute one of those very very rare, genuine cases of prejudice/sexism against men.

    Of course the root of such a “choice” is brain-washing from a religion steeped in misogyny and the refusal to acknowledge the equality or humanity of women, so that might be a thin claim.

  19. Ichthyic says

    Was that a goalpost whizzing by?

    exactly. sonofrojblake wants to discuss something entirely irrelevant to the situation at hand.

    I think there are threads set aside for such discussions? Take it to thunderdome and THEN see if anyone is interested in what you’re talking about, sonofrojblake, because it has fuck all to do with the issue HERE.

  20. sonofrojblake says

    A woman (or anyone for that matter) has a right to refuse to allow a person to sit next to them

    In her house, yes. In a venue she’s paid for exclusive use of? Sure. In a public place, when that person has a ticket for a seat? I’d say no. If a person she doesn’t like the look of sits next to her, she has a right to ASK them to move, and if they refuse she has a right to go sit somewhere else. Merely sitting next to someone is not “bothering, abusing or molesting” them.

    And what I originally asked is anything but irrelevant to what’s being discussed here. What I originally asked was opinion on the statement, attributed to Krauss: ” “women so viscerally offended by unthreatening male company in a public space would do well to stay home and spare others their sanctimonious conservatism”?

    While I personally agree with that sentiment, I sensed there might be a consituency on this blog that would assiduously defend a woman’s right to entirely dictate everything that goes on around to an extent far exceeding what is normally accepted as reasonable. And so it has proved.

  21. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Does this make sonofrojblake a #bravehero.

    I mean, he had to ignore what actually happened in order to prove his premise.

    *slow clap*

  22. says

    Is everyone here OK with the statement “women so viscerally offended by unthreatening male company in a public space would do well to stay home and spare others their sanctimonious conservatism”?

    Ok, I’ll play. I think it’s an unfortunate statement by Krauss that comes a bit too close to victim-shaming, because that “sanctimonious conservatism” is a result of how that woman who asked the question was brought up and indoctrinated. Sonofrojblake’s equivalence @6 is ridiculous, see PZ @9. The problem is with the conference organisers who insisted on segregated ticketing and seating.

  23. Ichthyic says

    I sensed there might be a consituency on this blog that would assiduously defend a woman’s right to entirely dictate everything that goes on around to an extent far exceeding what is normally accepted as reasonable.

    ah, that’s what you thought happened here.

    well, that explains a lot.

    are you sure you’re actually not on some other site, reading some other comments?

    here, test your idea:

    ask the same person if they feel the same way regardless of gender.

    your fail at a “gotchya” moment is funny. pathetic, but funny.

  24. Maureen Brian says

    If the segregation of seating had been done entirely at the request of the women and solely to please them, would they have chosen the worst seats?

    I think not.

  25. Hooloovoo says

    Maybe it’s just me, but this joke from the B&W guest post made me uncomfortable:

    Undeterred, the guards piled falsehood upon falsehood, levelling slanderous allegations of harassment and intimidation, though it eluded many why any man without a Dementor fetish would choose such a gathering for sexual mischief.

    (I agree with the rest of it, although I, too, think Krauss’ line (or at least its wording) was unfortunate.)

  26. thumper1990 says

    @Hooloovoo

    Me too at first, but then I realised that if I can laugh at Mormons for believing they have to wear special pants then I can laugh at Muslim women for believing they have to smother themselves in old blackout curtains. In fact, it would be hypocritical of me to laugh at one and not the other. Then I felt better :)

  27. thumper1990 says

    Oh, for the American commenters (i.e. most commenters) I should point out that “pants” in my #29 referrs to underwear, not trousers.

  28. thumper1990 says

    @sonoffrojblake

    Ah, so you assumed that because this is a feminist site we would automatically knee-jerk and start villifying Krauss? Um, nope. For what it’s worth I agree with his statement.

  29. Adam says

    The issue of “victimhood’ is an interesting one in this situation, I think.

    If we take IERA’s word for it, which we shouldn’t, but let’s say we did for a discussion.

    If these women genuinely volunteered to be segregated from men, and insisted that this be enforced and men removed from “their area,” then they demanding discrimination against men.

    However, as I mentioned before, the root of this prejudice is a religious teaching that tells them they are unworthy to be amongst men, and that doing so is shameful/sinful. The displayed bias stems from the misogyny of their cultural upbringing.

    That being the case; if this is a reflection of their genuine beliefs is it wrong to say they are “sanctimoniously conservative.” After all, right-wing christians form their beliefs (e.g. on women’s rights and homosexuality) after generations of brain-washing by religion, but we label them as sanctimonious.

    Is a Christian woman who thinks women should do as they’re told and stay in the kitchen, any more or less sanctimonious than a Muslim woman who thinks she should wear a burkha and not speak to men?

    In terms of the root causes and cultural context these women are definitely the “victims,” but in this specific case the victims are the men who were thrown out for wanting to sit where they chose in a public space.

    Of course, this whole discussion rests on the idea that the women chose to be segregated in the worst seats available, which is likely bullshit.Everyone in the audience was a victim, to some extent, of the bronze-age mentality of the organizers.

  30. sonofrojblake says

    you assumed that because this is a feminist site we would automatically knee-jerk

    Not at all. I’d already seen opinions expressed in the other thread (the one with the Stubby troll) which surprised me and didn’t accord with where I thought lines should be drawn on relevant issues. What I was looking for was an idea of whether that was a consensus or minority opinion. Seems it’s a minority. Good. For what it’s worth, as I’ve already said, I agree with Krauss too.

  31. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    You do realize that Strubbe was basing his comments on an account that he pulled out of his ass.

    And the fact that you were basing your assumption on pure shit says very little good about your thinking process.

    Hey! Let’s have a talk about if women should dictate if a man can sit next to them based on an event where men set up a segregated event.

    *slow clap*