[Lounge #408] »« What I taught today: molecular biology of bat wings

Comments

  1. Taylor says

    Anybody taking bets on who the next pope’s gonna be? God’s being coy in his next selection, it’s been three rounds of voting and still bupkis.

    How does that work, by the way? If it’s God’s will that decides the Pope, but also a 2/3 majority in the Conclave, does God step in after a couple of rounds and mind-control the right amount of cardinals to elect his chosen vicar?

  2. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Anybody taking bets on who the next pope’s gonna be? – Taylor

    No, but if they’re still deadlocked after a week, I think the chances of my fancy, Silvio Berlusconi*, will start to rise. Meanwhile, the BBC has a live “smokewatch” at the Sistine Chapel.

    *He’s qualified (male, baptised Catholic), he speaks fluent Italian, he could easily solve the Church’s financial problems, he’s got a huge PR machine to put at its disposal, he’s come back from the (political) dead several times, and whatever came out about him afterwards, no-one would be shocked!

  3. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Currently, there’s a seagull perched on top of the Sistine Chapel chimney. That poor bird risks getting kippered.

  4. terrellk70 says

    How’s this going to work? Two Infalliable Popes! This is some really big magic. I’ve asked my Catholic friends how come God doesn’t say something about this and all I get to the deer in the headlight look. HMMMMMMMM

  5. Matt Penfold says

    … and whatever came out about him afterwards, no-one would be shocked!

    Unless he took the vow of chastity seriously!

  6. says

    I want to mention that I wasn’t aware of any discussions about race (and evo-psych?) where Chas has acted like that. I can’t be sure that I’d have the same perspective on it (if he said similar things), but I’m just not sure what that’s about.

    I do recall one long discussion about the “reality” of race, in the course of which I linked to the Social Science Research Council’s “Is Race Real?” exchange. I don’t know if Chas read any of it before he arrogantly dismissed it as rhetoric (his tendency is to present things that suit his biases as dispassionate data and those that challenge them, especially from the social sciences, as political rhetoric*). He at some point cited either the Rosenberg et al. or the Bamshad et al. studies, or both – I believe he linked to a post by Razib Khan. I referred him to a talk by sociologist Troy Duster that discussed problems with this work, which I think he proceeded to dismiss as rhetoric (I doubt he watched it; in any case he didn’t engage with the content). I then referred him to a chapter in Revisiting Race in a Genomic Age by Deborah Bolnick – “Individual Ancestry Inference and the Reification of Race as a Biological Phenomenon.” (It can be found in its entirety on Google by searching for the relevant terms.) This deals in depth with the issues with the Rosenberg and Bamshad studies and the use of the Structure program for this purpose. I don’t recall his acknowledging or addressing any of its arguments, but I could be wrong.

    In any case, that’s the pattern: he has little to say about deeply flawed research that supports the status quo and tends to regard it as objective scientific data while enjoying opportunities to criticize and smugly dismiss challenges. Even if in some cases he eventually concedes or changes his views without any explicit concession, it’s like pulling teeth, and his lack of appreciation for the harm this rubbish science causes and lack of interest in independently approaching it critically are difficult to deal with. It’s not that he explicitly says things that are racist or sexist. The problem is his basic approach to these questions – credulous toward racist and sexist positions and denying that they’re political, while condescending and dismissive to challengers, who he tends to regard as antiscientific ideologues.

    I know we’re all likely to be less critical of studies that align with our preconceptions, and should all work harder to address that. The thing with this vervet study is that it goes beyond deeply flawed. It really is so ridiculous that it’s shocking and profoundly disappointing that people don’t just immediately get it.

    *This is a simplification, but it’s the general pattern. And in reality there’s of course no clear dividing line between the social science and other sciences on these questions such that to camps can be defined and anyone could claim to be defending one against the other.

  7. dianne says

    @ Nick: I like it. He’s also probably more moral than your average Pope.

    I have this fear, probably unfounded, that the next Pope will be one of those American cardinals who keep trying to blame the victims in the sex abuse cases.

  8. says

    I just started watching season 1 of The Borgias on HBO (I’d watched most of the second season, so now I’m catching up on the background). It’s highly entertaining viewing at this moment.

  9. Owlmirror says

    Hm.

    Re the seagull mentioned @#5:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21776954

    The Rev. Thomas Reese of Woodstock Theological Centre, said the bird was a symbol of God.

    O RLY? Are you sure you want to go there? An animal that flies around and craps on the world below?

    I certainly hope the bird left a little something on the chimney.

  10. janiceintoronto says

    So I can say anything I want here?

    POOPIE POOPIE POOPIE!!!111!!!

    Hahahahah!

    Gotta run, late for surgery…

  11. ChasCPeterson says

    the bird was a symbol of God.

    O RLY?

    The Mormons think so.

    (I’ll think about cleaning up SC’s mess later.)

  12. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    New Pope is Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who is calling himself Francis I. He is 76, a Jesuit, and has the essential qualification of being a homophobic bigot. There’s an unproven allegation against him of conspiring with the Argentinian junta:

    On 15 April 2005, a human rights lawyer filed a criminal complaint against Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, accusing him of conspiring with the junta in 1976 to kidnap two Jesuit priests. So far, no hard evidence has been presented linking the cardinal to this crime. It is known that the cardinal headed the Society of Jesus of Argentina in 1976 and had asked the two priests to leave their pastoral work following conflict within the Society over how to respond to the new military dictatorship, with some priests advocating a violent overthrow. The cardinal’s spokesman flatly denied the allegations.

    Interesting to see if the digging which will undoubtedly ensue turns up anything solid on this.

  13. frankathon says

    I am sooo grateful about the fact that the Canadian : Ouellette, didn’t get picked.

    So how do you really pick a new pope, what are the criterias? Will we really ever know?

  14. Taylor says

    I like this part from the Wikipedia article on the new Pope:

    He has affirmed church teaching on homosexuality, though he teaches the importance of respecting individuals who are homosexual.

    And then:

    He strongly opposed legislation introduced in 2010 by the Argentine Government to allow same-sex marriage. In a letter to the monasteries of Buenos Aires, he wrote: “Let’s not be naive, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

    I respect you, gay people, but your desire to get married is a machination of Satan!

  15. eveningchaos says

    I can’t believe that the archaic and benighted Catholic church still has the following it does in today’s world. What a bunch of crusty, old, bigoted, benighted fools. I have spent the better part of the day criticizing these despicable men of the cloth and their followers on CBC’s forums. I have only enraged the flock into a frenzy over my reasonable criticisms of their belief system. I feel sick now and need to get some positive feedback here in the Thunderdome. Thank you for helping me cleans my palate from the awful taste of Catholic “logic”.

  16. frankathon says

    Good for you Eveningchaos!
    Keep fighting this fight. We all need to do our part to stop this rediculous pedophile cult from growing.

  17. says

    My meds are no longer working. Dunno what I’m gonna do.

    On the bright side, I discovered that sardines are delicious on a bed of aromatic brown rice.

  18. says

    SC: That’s been my experience as well. I link Chas to studies, he ignores them and claims himself to be representing a maligned discipline. And if I link to things he doesn’t like that he thinks he can pick apart, he pre-emptively declares victory (sometimes without reading it at all, or just reading the title or abstract.)

    Mostly, I ignore him. He’s not interested in an exchange, just in declaring victory, whether or not there’s anything there to feel victorious about (the least he could do is actually read the damn things, if he’s going to critique them, but he does not appear to have that much intellectual honesty.) Or he’s really busy. Either will do.

  19. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    SC, #8: You may have had that conversation with Chas, at one point, but the one you describe was definitely one you also had with me (I don’t remember Chas being tuned in). IIRC, I was the one who was at first dismissive, and later apologetic*, and thrashed and schooled and humbled. Or at the very least changed. IIRC, the vervets never entered that conversation.

    *Jeeze. I hope I was, given how dismissive I mos def remember being. Fraid to look. Anyway, let me take this opportunity to apologize for oafish arrogance.

  20. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Also, I don’t have anything rotten to say about Chas. Maybe there are reasons that others do, but my experience hasn’t been the same. I do know for a fact that he’s been trenchantly anti-slyme.

  21. says

    I found the response to the Bolnick chapter:

    SC, thanks for mentioning that book and its availability via Google. That looks like a much more balanced, better-rounded, wider-ranging and far more nuanced treatment than the SSRC essays you usually link.
    Wish I had time for careful reading of it.

    1) I’m sure I linked to materials other than the SSRC exchange. I linked to that more than once because a) it’s largely from a sociological/history of science perspective with which I’m most familiar and assume would provide new perspectives to Chas and others and b) it didn’t seem that he ever read the articles there when I linked to it previously.

    2) Note that instead of reading and acknowledging the substantive points made in that readily available chapter (which, as I said, I believe I posted directly in response to one of his links and which covers much of the same ground as the talk by Troy Duster I’d earlier called to his attention), he used it as an opportunity to slam the other materials I’d linked to as unbalanced, unnuanced, and narrow, despite the fact that he doesn’t appear to have read or engaged with them.

    4) He expects others to find critical sources that might meet with his approval rather than recognizing his biases and seeking them out.

    4) Having been provided one (possibly), he announces that he can’t be bothered to read even this allegedly superior piece.

    5) Exactly so, mouthyb. I can’t find the original argument and looking for it is wasting my time, but I did notice that Pygmy Loris was arguing with him about some of the more anthropological aspects and linking to sources, which he just ignored. It’s been a long time now since he volunteered that he was going to read Delusions of Gender. It’s not that this book is the be all and end all of gender neuroscience, but his lack of interest in reading these viewpoints while continuing to repeat his smug, ignorant dismissals is quite telling. (Of course, you don’t have to read any books to understand the ridiculousness of the vervet study and he doesn’t seem capable of that, so I fear it might not make much difference.)

  22. says

    Antiochus Epiphanes (nice name): I didn’t view myself as engaging in critiquing whether or not he is a slymepitter, simply that my conversations with him on the subject of evolutionary psychology have a certain form and that for me, it indicates a lack of intellectual honesty on a subject he obviously feels passionate about.

  23. says

    SC: I think it’s likely a point of internalized misogyny, myself, with the standard proviso that in a misogynistic society, everyone gets to display some on occasion.

    It does seem to me that he tends to dismiss issues of gender and society where they relate to this subject.

  24. says

    SC, #8: You may have had that conversation with Chas, at one point, but the one you describe was definitely one you also had with me (I don’t remember Chas being tuned in). IIRC, I was the one who was at first dismissive, and later apologetic*, and thrashed and schooled and humbled. Or at the very least changed. IIRC, the vervets never entered that conversation.

    The one with you grew directly out of the one with him (which had been chronic since at least 2009), though there was a gap for some reason so I think you came into it not knowing about the history, which led me to be angrier with and more hostile to you than I should have been and you to be less understanding of my impatience than you would otherwise have been. In contrast to Chas, you actually read the Bolnick chapter and said* that the Structure program in this context was a [bit of a?] kludge.** The point is that your actions were very different from his, and I hope I apologized to you for jumping down your throat.

    *In response to maybe windy?

    **Which I remember because somehow it was the first time I’d ever heard that word. :)

  25. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    SC: heh. I just found that thread and reread the whole thing. No apologies necessary. One of my favorite Pharyngula days.

    To quote Peter Brady, “I really learned a lot that day.”

  26. ChasCPeterson says

    It would be difficult to express how intensely I dislike being the third-person subject of conversation. If you have something to say about me, you ought to say it to me. I’m right here (off and on). It strikes me as fucking rude, to be honest. But whatever; it’s the ‘Dome.

    So but here I am going to address a few comments that have been aimed at me. If you don’t care–and who could blame you?–skip it. Fine by me.

    SC:

    I’ll ignore the rest of Chas’s post

    What a surprise. I’m sure you realize the parts you’re ignoring were far more substantive than the one sentence you address, and you probably feel this is somehow justified by my “stupidity”. Well, fuck you.

    I’m going to call for either its retraction or it’s large-scale scientific condemnation

    uh huh. Good luck with that project.

    SallyStrange:

    It happens to everyone. The smart ones deal with it, the stupid ones remain in denial.

    You think I’m stupid too? Then you deserve your own ‘fuck you’.
    Check your reading comprehension. If SC had said something like ‘he occasionally and inadvertently makes borderline racist and sexist statements that reflect the unconscious effects of socialization’ I’d cop to it. That’s not what she said. She imparted to me instead a “semi-conscious” (whatever that means) intent to “promote sexist and racist bullshit”. And that’s a lie. Why don’t “get over” your feelings about the lies pitizens tell about you? See what I mean?

    SC again, quoting C.F. Fine:

    it is entirely unclear why a female predisposition toward a toy pan should be anticipated in monkey populations, which do not enjoy the art of heated cuisine.

    in other words: COOKING POTS!!!11!
    Now I have to repeat yet again that this line of argument completely misses the point of the study and supports only the concept that the authors just…don’t..get it. I have tried to explain this until I was metaphorically blue in the face, to absolutely no avail. Fuck it.

    further metaquote:

    This raises the possibility that other sex differences in toy preferences may have been due to confounding factors.

    Indeed it does. But the human-relevant conclusion is that the same possibility is now raised for the human-infant studies that are used as evidence for early socialization! THIS IS THE WHOLE FUCKING POINT. But, fuck, I promised myself I wouldn’t get drawn back into this impasse.

    SC:

    I do recall one long discussion about the “reality” of race, in the course of which I linked to the Social Science Research Council’s “Is Race Real?” exchange. I don’t know if Chas read any of it before he arrogantly dismissed it as rhetoric

    I did read some ,and I skimmed the rest. It was almost entirely rhetoric, a series of sermons preaching the party line. And none of it had much to do with what I was arguing, which you never bothered to even try to understand (iirc).

    his tendency is to present things that suit his biases as dispassionate data and those that challenge them, especially from the social sciences, as political rhetoric

    LOL. No, my tendency is to present data as data and rhetoric as rhetoric. You really don’t understand the difference, do you? It’s kind of fascinating in a sort of depressing way.

    He at some point cited either the Rosenberg et al. or the Bamshad et al. studies, or both

    The former. On account of: the data.

    I believe he linked to a post by Razib Khan

    I did, but not in relation to either of the studies you just mentioned. I linked to a post of Khan’s not because I agreed with any opinions or interpretations he might have expressed (if I recall the post correctly, he ofered neither) but because he showed…wait for it…DATA.

    I referred him to a talk by sociologist Troy Duster that discussed problems with this work, which I think he proceeded to dismiss as rhetoric (I doubt he watched it; in any case he didn’t engage with the content)

    I don’t recall this, so I think I didn’t watch it. But if I didn’t watch it, I also didn’t dismiss it as rhetoric. That would be dishonest, and frankly I resent your implication.

    I then referred him to a chapter in Revisiting Race in a Genomic Age by Deborah Bolnick – “Individual Ancestry Inference and the Reification of Race as a Biological Phenomenon.”

    I don’t recall that either. Sorry.

    credulous toward racist and sexist positions and denying that they’re political, while condescending and dismissive to challengers, who he tends to regard as antiscientific ideologues.

    Fuck you. Show me the motherfucking DATA. Do you understand? Not words words words. I am fully capable of examining data and drawing my own conclusions from them (as I have done, consistently, wrt the vervet study). You, evidently, are not. You go with your political preconceptions every single time. It’s your training, I understand, but you really have zero standing to call me a political ideologue! You have little clue what my politics even are, whereas you wear yours on your sleeve. It’s the North campus thing to do, I get it.

    mouthyb, Vagina McTits:

    Fuck you too. If I critique it, I read it. If I don’t read it, I don’t critique it. Maybe you’d care to bolster your insulting assertions with an actual example or two?

    SC yet again:

    Note that instead of reading and acknowledging the substantive points made in that readily available chapter…he used it as an opportunity to slam the other materials I’d linked to as unbalanced, unnuanced, and narrow, despite the fact that he doesn’t appear to have read or engaged with them.

    Bite me. If I hadn’t read at least some of them, I would not have offered an opinion about them.

    he can’t be bothered to read

    *shrug* Look, I work for a living, which in my case means endless grading to do and writing that gets put off because of it, I have property to maintain and a family to support and enjoy, an internet jones plus mental-health and addiction issues; there is a huge backlog of shit that I really need to or should read, for professional reasons, and another huge backlog of shit that I want to read, for pleasure and edification. How ’bout I recommend a few books to you and then castigate you for years because you didn’t have the time or interest to read them? Asshole.

    Pygmy Loris was arguing with him about some of the more anthropological aspects and linking to sources, which he just ignored.

    uh huh. As I recall, PL was taking issue with my complaint that calling any old group of humans, whether a tribe or a continent’s worth, a “population” was misleading and antiscientific by linking to a series of hardcore anthropology articles about cranial measurements to show that it worked out OK. It was a peripheral, barely relevant point and I could not care less about freaking cranial measurements. So, yeah, I ignored that.

    It’s been a long time now since he volunteered that he was going to read Delusions of Gender

    .

    Yes, it has. As it happens I have a copy right here on the table next to me; bright yellow paperback from Norton. It’s third in the current stack. I’ll be sure to let you know when I finally get around to doing your fucking bidding.

    mouthyb, Vagina McTits:

    I think it’s likely a point of internalized misogyny

    Fuck you and your armchair psychoanalysis. Sincerely. I’ve had two feminist wives and a protofeminist daughter and although–again–I’ll cop to occasional inadvertent sexism, misogyny is not something of which I can be fairly accused. So fuck you.

    So…I’m done reliving threads of the past. Please stop talking about me. You can talk to me, but I refuse to repeat myself yet again.

    AE, thanks for your kind words.
    I’m going to the bar (with papers to grade).

  27. says

    Chas, I’m pretty sure you don’t actually read what I write. In a sexist society, everyone displays sexism at some point. In a misogynistic society, EVERYONE displays some sign of it.

    Moreover, calling yourself a feminist because you dated one is like me calling myself Iranian because of one of my girlfriends. You want to be considered a feminist? Demonstrate it from your own behavior.

    As for the quote you’ve attributed to me, can you tell me where I said that.

    And as for being discussed in third person, ain’t nothing here that you haven’t been told in discussion.

    And I teach college too, asshole, as in I draft the class, I choose the readings, I design the syllabus, etc. I’m also taking a better than full time load and I have a special needs child. But for some reason I manage to read.

    I’m guessing it’s because I’m not as arrogant as you appear to be.

  28. says

    Would you like an example of internalized misogyny, Chas? You’ve consistently refused to read the quantitative studies I’ve posted (as in, focused on data, method and outcome) and you just dismissed SC’s critique by calling it overly political.

    I mean, after all, it does concern judgements made from faulty evolutionary reasoning on women and on persons based on ethnicity.

    Why in the world would you, oh manly man, have to pay attention to it?

  29. cm's changeable moniker says

    mouthyb.

    As for the quote you’ve attributed to me

    I think that was a borkquote; it seems (to me) that it should be inline with the rest of the comment.

    (I could be wrong, tho.)

  30. says

    uh huh. Good luck with that project.

    Thanks! The latter at least will happen eventually – I’m just trying to make it sooner rather than later, in part because it affects my life (and your daughter’s, by the way).

    in other words: COOKING POTS!!!11!
    Now I have to repeat yet again that this line of argument completely misses the point of the study and supports only the concept that the authors just…don’t..get it. I have tried to explain this until I was metaphorically blue in the face, to absolutely no avail. Fuck it.

    Indeed it does. But the human-relevant conclusion is that the same possibility is now raised for the human-infant studies that are used as evidence for early socialization! THIS IS THE WHOLE FUCKING POINT. But, fuck, I promised myself I wouldn’t get drawn back into this impasse.

    Good grief, you’re a fool.

    How about this: Why don’t you write one or two short paragraphs explaining the study’s “point” – the debates in which the authors are intervening; the rationale for their methods, hypotheses, and interpretations of their data; and the study’s contribution(s) to “evolution and human behavior.” I don’t believe you’ve done this.

    I don’t recall that either. Sorry.

    If it helps refresh your memory, I quoted your response @ #31 above. I thought my link had worked, but I guess not; here it is. You’ll note my response just below to your claim about not having enough time to read it. At that time, you had dozens of posts on the Thread that were music links, were working on a project charting its progress, and never spared the opportunity to chime in with your little digs and opinions about feminist arguments. The Fine book can be read in one sitting; you’ve spent thousands of times that posting silliness here alone. Two things: I don’t give a flying fuck how you spend your time and you don’t have to account to me (of all people!). However, you volunteered to someone who posted about the Fine book at Coyne’s blog that you were going to read it (in fact, it might have been before I did the same), and you continue to spout off on these topics. If you don’t want to read a single feminist work, fine, but STFU about these questions when you don’t have and lack the time or inclination to acquire even a barely adequate knowledge base.

    For the record, I’m currently reading Fromm’s You Shall Be As Gods and still working through Matthew Scully’s book about animals. I adore Fromm and have no use for Scully, but both books make my blood boil. But I read them because they’re enlightening in some ways and I have a better conception of what I’m arguing with. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of racist and sexist books and articles I’ve read.

    LOL. No, my tendency is to present data as data and rhetoric as rhetoric. You really don’t understand the difference, do you? It’s kind of fascinating in a sort of depressing way.

    Set aside this distinction. What you’re saying is that anything that calls itself data simply is, as though it just handed itself to researchers – challenges to assumptions, methods, and interpretations are all rhetoric and to be dismissed. You would never say this in any other field, and your behavior when it comes to a handful of topics in which you have a political interest (which you deny) is inconsistent. Substantive criticisms of assumptions, methods, and interpretations are scientifically valid and important, even if you ignore (so busy!) the data presented by feminists and antiracists. Furthermore, the extensive historical and sociological evidence of the uncritical reception of sexist and racist so-called science is also something you should keep in mind.

    You think I’m stupid too? Then you deserve your own ‘fuck you’.
    Check your reading comprehension. If SC had said something like ‘he occasionally and inadvertently makes borderline racist and sexist statements that reflect the unconscious effects of socialization’ I’d cop to it. That’s not what she said. She imparted to me instead a “semi-conscious” (whatever that means) intent to “promote sexist and racist bullshit”. And that’s a lie.

    I am saying that, and it isn’t a lie. It’s a characterization of your behavior over literally years (which has been pointed out to you at great length more than once over that time), including your shameful defense of one of the most absurd examples of pseudoscience in modern history. Again, you would say the same thing about those behaving similarly with regard to other claims (anti-vaccine, AGW denialists, and so on). And you know it. At some point, you have to assume intent, at least intent not to be at all instrospective, and in your case that point was passed long ago.

  31. says

    So, Chas, since you’re attributing to me the opinion that you’re stupid, I guess you’re saying that you ARE in denial about your own subconscious sexist biases?

  32. great1american1satan says

    This whole recent brouhaha about social justice has been a real eye-opener for me, even more than the education of being in a real LTR with a victim of oppression. I’ve learned a lot. The most important thing I’ve learned, for my remaining self worth, is that it’s OK to be wrong sometimes as long as you listen to advice and try not to be wrong in the same way later. Stuff like that.

    Chas admitted he screws up sometimes, so that’s better than the typical Slymer would be about the subject. I’d grant him a cookie if I was allowed to do that. Or, at least, a nice chocolate chip.

  33. says

    I just want to be absolutely clear: I was only responding to that one passage in cr’s comment. I wasn’t suggesting, and would never suggest or think, that Chas is like the pitters. In fact, he’s been a very strong voice against that culture, including posting at the original. My only problem with Chas is with the pattern I talked about above. He’s long been one of my favorite commenters here, and I think he’s generally clever, funny, and a good guy. I don’t think he’s anything like that crowd, and I’d be upset if people thought I did.

  34. Esteleth, stupid fucking starchild Tolkien worshiping douche says

    Realizing that my opinion is not really necessary, I’ll nonetheless comment that – like all of us – Chas has some blind spots and weaknesses.

    *shrug*

  35. dianne says

    @44: Agreed. I wonder if he would say that the pain felt by a person dying of aplastic anemia was more important than the pain felt by someone being forced to donate marrow to save said victim of AA or if he would recognize that such an argument would put his bodily autonomy at risk and reject it? And maybe some day he’ll figure out that rejecting every argument made by a woman or someone he thinks is a woman, including referencing peer reviewed studies, as emotional is not acceptable.

  36. says

    It is becoming impossible to have any respect for Richard Dawkins.

    Yes – as I said in the Lounge, his tweets are offensive to me as both an animal rights advocate and a reproductive rights advocate. I don’t care for this part of her response:

    To simplify for those unable to view the video: anti-abortionists sometimes argue that a fetus is a person that demands protection because of certain attributes, including the ability to feel pain and suffer. Singer (and Dawkins) argue that an adult pig shares those attributes with (and to a larger degree than) a human fetus, and so anti-abortionists who eat meat are hypocrites.

    Generally, I agree with this idea, though there are a number of problems with it. The biggest one is that pretty much all anti-abortionists argue that one of the most important characteristics that makes a fetus a person is its ability to develop into a person. Obviously, pigs are not very good at this, and so you will probably not have much luck convincing any anti-abortionist using the pig argument. Also, the argument loses all its steam once it runs into a vegan anti-abortionist.

    The key point (Singer’s, at least) isn’t that they’re hypocrites, which they aren’t if they believe in human specialness;* it’s that they’re speciesists. The status “human” or “potential human” isn’t morally relevant – what’s relevant is the actual experience of the beings involved (well, a pregnant woman’s experience and the consequences for her apparently aren’t important in Dawkins’ consequentialist calculus). James Rachels covers this well generally in Created from Animals.

    *And if anyone’s a hypocrite here it’s Dawkins, who makes these arguments while continuing to eat animals, as he concedes in that video (which I’d also linked to in the past).

  37. says

    After thinking about some of the comments from the last Thunderdome thread let me clarify some of my thoughts here. I thank you for the criticism as my mental condition makes impulsiveness something of a problem. I have gotten by through life with the availability of discussion forums such as these in part. I find that I am pretty good at getting almost to where I want to be mentally, but need some critical nudges. (Stupid primate brain and this kind of thing making sense…)

    I call what I am planning Rhetorical Assassination because it involves the undermining of individuals who engage in carefully defined behaviors that are suppressive and have been called harassment here at FTB. The behavior defines the target(s), and they get undermined by their own weapon (in-your-face textual engagement) in an organized way. Those who want to claim the rights to free-speech should be able to take hyper-criticism and walk away. Ideally they will respond to criticism with answers to questions and challenges.

    I am also calling it Rhetorical Assassination because like it or not the hired killing of people who were bad for communities has been part of human history objectively speaking. This is the targeted killing of ideas and behavior that are bad for the community. The behavior is to be killed through use of human primate psychology to inform our actions (2). Sure we don’t know everything about the brain and the mind, but I try to let what we discover inform how I view human interactions as much as possible.

    I am proposing (and planning right now) the creation of a Rhetorical Assassins guild where these ideas, ethics, and techniques can be argued about in an environment that allows free-speech, but no emotional suppression. If an idea can not be killed through an intellectual challenge, no primitive primate poo-flinging equivalents like photoshopped pictures, pathetic persistent pejoratives, pretender twitter pages, or forced penetration will be tolerated. If an idea cannot survive challenge without emotional warfare the idea gets a voice. Period.

    Part of the guild will be devoted to discussing (critically eviscerating) ideas like, everything in this post. Part of it will be devoted to listing the blogs, twitter accounts, individual posts, facebook pages, any source where someone is having an idea suppressed by the above kinds of behavior. We wait until they act. We wait until people need support, we push away the immature assholes and actively try to engage the subject of the blog post, or some other way to constructively enable the person to keep their voice. This is also not about just voices that agree with us, or a particular issue like feminism.

    The specific Behaviors (feel free to add your own, I meant what I said about this being a group thing)
    In the last Thunderdome thread I listed this selection of behaviors that I saw for over a year at a general serious topic discussion board for adult, mostly male fans of the reboot of My Little Pony:
    *They avoid answering your questions, no matter how many of theirs you answer
    *They take more complicated issues and run off on incorrect tangents and pretend it is your subject to confuse readers
    *They load their paragraphs with assertions offered as fact and resist all attempts to link them to reality
    *When they do give you a link to reality it is usually more opinion! No actual primary sources!
    *When they describe the content of the position of another you discover that what is represented as paraphrase is dishonest hyperbole at best. You are made into an exaggeration.
    *They engage in projection over and over and over. What they do, they attempt to place on you while they obfuscate.
    *They strike the abused victim stand themselves and try to scream louder than the real victim while offering no evidence that they have been victimized

    This list focuses on broad logical bullshit that you can consider a cognitive flaw that results from a desire to defeat your foe, or “win”, instead of figure out who is more correct about reality.

    I would like to point out that this community spun-off from people that were mostly from 4chan/b/, and 4chan/co/. I had to learn to deal with not only trolls from 4chan who could not stand to see grown men love colorful ponies, but I had to deal with the same damn groups of people who want license to be as rude as they want from within the Brony community (anti-feminists and libertarians figured most prominently).

    So I’m a genetically pattern sensitive individual who has spent more than two years obsessively engaging in serious discussion attempts among the most emotionally immature people you can find. Really, really well meaning people most of the time but still as emotional as you can imagine “nice /b/-tards” being. I have also been a substitute teacher in a southern state for over three years trying to figure out what to do since Tourettes and ADHD have killed my attempt at a science career. I see patterns among emotionally immature people. Sometimes you are not just seeing things.

    The techniques
    During that year on the discussion board I had the opportunity to try to fling myself at people the way they say they love to in the the Pit. (Someone at Nugent’s blog tried to sell me on the Pit as a concept but I already have my place of free-speech. I can’t abide moral cowardice at criticizing your peers.) Except that this was a place that did not allow adult content and they were definitely willing to ban you for being a complete asshole. You see we like that Hasbro lets the people who make the cartoon play with the community in the cartoon. So at least some of the sites try to have more broad behavior requirements.

    I started responding to them with the tools that I got from watching the Creationism/Evolution debates. I stereotyped the “Take-Down” because that is what you do when you have something like I do and you want to argue about serious things with nice people. When I did this I started seeing really predictable responses. I then spent a year finding “best practices” like the ones that teachers talk about when it comes to curriculum. This is what I ended up doing. You have to focus it like a laser beam and I am still trying to refine it.

    Essentially you break up their comments into fact claims and you attack each of them individually. One short paragraph, one short take-down after another, for each dishonest, illogical, incorrect, or abusive comment. Its not as hard as it sounds because they are the ones making claims, therefore they are the ones who need to provide evidence. If you don’t want to be so OCD just do their most “strong” fact claims.

    Any refusal to do so can be answered with a dismissive “Then no one should believe what you say because all an opinion is, is an unsupported assertion” (or your flavor of rhetoric). You can assassinate rhetoric while using it. The difference is that only one side can be closer to reality, and only one side is using criticism without abuse. (This is why I mention the ethics, I actually try to think carefully about it)

    1. Identify the first logical problem, fact claim, or argument in their words. Quote them. This is the part that is an assertion all by itself. Common subjects:
    * Your position “restated” (any change in your wording must be defended)
    * An objective piece of reality (blog post, video, content of any kind, an event)
    * A “summary” of what some other group is like, or what they do
    2. Identify the supporting information statement and it’s nature. If it is absent, point out that this is an assertion and can be rejected without evidence. This is essentially the “why” statement that logically connects their opinion to something outside of themselves.
    3. After identifying the “why” statement identify the primary source for the point that comes from the connection between 1 and 2 and see if the source supports what they say. If there is no source than this is an asserted argument, but can still be rejected without evidence.

    Finally if you get an argument and a source you can do what we should get to do this entire time, assess a proper argument to see if it holds up. If I get the chance I try to point out why one should choose to avoid their tactics, and I point out the deception to the audience and make it crystal clear why no one should be interested in what they say. I even make psychological pragmatic arguments about why they should want to avoid these things if they actually care about argument.

    This is not at all based on deception because it is what I do online all the time anyway. The criticism does the work.
    http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/what-does-psychology-consider-harassment/

    This does not need to be abusive. I even tell my secrets to my enemies because when they discover that it reduces to becoming really good at figuring out how you compare with reality, they often lose interest in killing their own ideas. Fortunately my friends at the imageboard feel differently. There is room for discussion of what “ethical abuse” might look like, but lets just say that showboating does not work with an impulsive personality very well. I have had to be careful about my emotions.

    If there is anything new here, it’s probably just in how I am organizing it, and trying to organize people.

  38. says

    This was something I needed to respond to.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/02/22/thunderdome-21/

    mikmik 680

    I’m sorry if these ideas were not as clearly fleshed out as I had wanted. I kind of have a problem with that sometimes.

    What is the difference? I take it you don’t mean debate when you say argument, you mean some kind of battle of attrition, no? That’s manipulation, and manipulation is dishonest.

    Not if you admit to manipulating the other person. Say you are there to criticize specific things they say and do and that you have free-speech too. What many people online are suffering is attrition and I can’t afford to care about feelings when I am worried about what we are letting the future see as “useful behavior”. I call it “focused hyper-criticism”. It might work against hyper-skepticism as well.

    Treat them civilized. Preconceptions of battle sounds to me like a personal vendetta or agenda. Granted, it is possible to sway some through shaming them, or nailing their ass to the floor so that they can only get up if they admit to a few facts.

    I always start out civilized. I always let the other person show me what kind of a human that they are. If they act deceptively I point it out. If they mischaracterize others I point that out. You would be surprised just how often pointing out that something is deceptive with no implication of lying makes people go on the attack. Cognitive walls slam down and it’s time to get tribal and/or win.

    This also takes discipline, which is just a theory in my case, LMAO!

    Or a combination of military upbringing, scientific training, and a disorder that effects language processes. I may also just be a very stubborn asshole around people with stupid opinions.

  39. says

    If it has to be said, my criticisms are not for everything Chas does, they are specifically for his behavior during certain kinds of discussion. For all I know, Chas rescues puppies in his spare time.

  40. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    You guys, I am still hella mad at Richard Dawkins and his stupid Twitter mess about abortion. Not only does he get philosophical concepts wrong, he ignores peer reviewed science on fetal pain AND takes the woman out of the question entirely (wouldn’t a consequentialist response weigh the pain of the woman versus the pain of the fetus? He seems to think the woman doesn’t exist…like she’s just a vessel for a pregnancy. The whole underlying assumption is ultra-gross!) His whole reasoning rests on the premise that “Welp, we eat animals, so abortion should be okay too.” which basically reduces the autonomy of the woman to that *of a barnyard animal!* Nothing about her right to bodily integrity, or choice. The woman is totally a non-factor according to Dawkins.

    The whole thing was a mental masturbation exercise about MY RIGHTS, and he’s fucking being * congratulated* like he did some awesome feminist thing! FUCK DAWKINS, SERIOUSLY. I am so tired of his shit!!!

  41. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The woman is totally a non-factor according to Dawkins.

    Dicky Dawk does have a streak of misogyny in him, probably no more or less than can be expected of one of his age and upbringing.

    Which is why his OPINION on anything about women is *floosh* dismissed as fuckwittery. We true skeptics must even question those who are supposed to be our leaders…Right PoopieHead?

  42. Aratina Cage says

    Re: way back in the last iteration, #697 by Chas, thanks for saying that, and no hard feelings on my end. I guess I haven’t said it, but I really do often find your comments enjoyable, knowledgeable, and humorous, and when I do get upset by something you write, I have so far found that feeling to be something that doesn’t stick. There have been times, sure, but that happens. So, please, keep on doing what you are doing.

    Totally unrelated: Thunderf00t has a new video out that is just bonkers. It’s supposed to be a critique of Anita Sarkeesian but the non sequiturs he reaches for are just shameful, such as (paraphrased), “Did you know that a woman impales the bad guy’s crotch with her fist at the end of Double Dragon, so that means the opening where a woman is belly punched and kidnapped is totally balanced out and then what is Sarkeesian yammering on about?”

  43. Rawnaeris, FREEZE PEACHES says

    CNN just got done featuring a Rethuglican segment where they were bragging about starting to be pro-gay marriage. The talking head then went on to say that gay marriage is a personal belief. What the fuck is up with people thinking that civil rights are an option.

  44. says

    @aratina cage

    Gah no more gaming sexism mixed with thunderfoot…. must not watch. I’m just recently done argueing on a game site with someone saying calling a man a pussy isn’t sexist cause coward and female genitals are just 2 different definitions. How do people do these twisted arguments…..gah (in frustration). Goes off to look at bunnehs.

  45. says

    Christ on a fucking cracker I wish this worthless shithole of a country had something that vaguely resembled a healthcare system.

    Janine
    So what else is new? Every conservative group I’ve heard of in my lifetime has had people pushing that shit; conservatism is pretty much a philosophy for those who sympathize with slaveholders.

  46. says

    Well, this was fun:

    Wendy Kroy:

    It seems to me rthat you religious nut jobs are just using the shakesville article on atheism and misogyny to shoot cheap shots at and criticise atheism to reaffirm your unfounded that religion, fairy tales and superstition are the answer while atheists are these sexist subhumans even one of their own (McEwan) cant stand. Very good. But next time I suggest arguing an issue based on merits rather than piggy backing on someone else’s criticism because it is opportune for your agenda of massive religious bullshit.

  47. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    @ Nerd

    … true skeptics…

    I am skeptical as to whether I can legitimately be included in this category.

    I’m not wearing anything under my Kilt.

  48. Aratina Cage says

    @michaeld

    must not watch. I’m just recently done argueing on a game site with someone saying calling a man a pussy isn’t sexist cause coward and female genitals are just 2 different definitions. How do people do these twisted arguments…..gah (in frustration).

    I guess they could be challenged by metaphors and/or not understand tropes. More likely, the explanation is that they are unwilling to budge from their personal habits or family traditions, perhaps thinking if they do not back down, they will save face. Remember when Dr. Laura got in hot water because she repeated the n-word on AM radio a bunch of times in a row to prove she had the freeze peach to say it if she wanted to? We actually had a man do that on Pharyngula once with “pussy”. Birds of a feather and all…

  49. jonmilne says

    Okay, this needs to be highlighted on the main page:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2294292/Paedophilia-illness-NOT-crime-says-cardinal-just-days-papal-conclave.html

    I realise it’s very little different to the kind of fuckwittery we’ve come to expect from the Vatican, but seriously, having a cardinal involved in the conclave for the current Pope speaking out and claiming that paedophilia is not a crime but an illness is exactly the kind of incident following on from the whole Argentina Junta thing that almost makes me think that the Vatican is TRYING to undermine and discredit itself.

  50. says

    jonmilne:

    I realise it’s very little different to the kind of fuckwittery we’ve come to expect from the Vatican, but seriously, having a cardinal involved in the conclave for the current Pope speaking out and claiming that paedophilia is not a crime but an illness

    Pedophilia is an illness, or at least it’s currently classed as one. A person can have such an orientation and not act on it. Now, when someone acts on it, you have a crime.

  51. cm's changeable moniker says

    @carlie (and @GoogleReaders generally), I’m trying out Feedly.

    In Firefox, it was trivial: install, restart, whoa! there it is. Also available for Android and iDevices.

  52. carlie says

    cm – thanks for the suggestion. I just found this on Lifehacker, which runs through that and a few others too. I have to find something – I counted and I have 70 blogs to keep track of! (not that more than about a third of them are very active)

  53. pakicetus says

    @ Caine, Fleur du mal,

    You really think that. As Jonmile stated pedophilia is a crime, people that are pedophiles could have an illness, but pedophilia itself is not an illness.

  54. Ichthyic says

    His whole reasoning rests on the premise that “Welp, we eat animals, so abortion should be okay too.”

    hmm. When i first saw his argument, I assumed because of his wife’s beliefs and his readings of Singer, it was an argument that had less to do with abortion and women’s rights, and more to do with animal rights.

    IOW, pointing out that anti-abortionists that eat meat are hypocrites, since by their own admission human fetuses feel pain just like animals slaughtered for meat do.

    I really do think Dawkins is reaching to try and make his reading of Singer apply to the argument of pain in and of itself.

    Did he read Singer wrong?

  55. chigau (違う) says

    pakicetus
    If you are sitting at a computer you could try googling ‘pedophilia’.
    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is also useful.
    and it’s jonmilne.

  56. says

    Chigau:
    A little assistance with teh googling thingee even:
    ” As a medical diagnosis, pedophilia, or paedophilia, is a psychiatric disorder in persons 16 years of age or older typically characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest toward prepubescent children (generally age 11 years or younger, though specific diagnosis criteria for the disorder extends the cut-off point for prepubescence to age 13)

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedophilia

  57. says

    @jonmilne 71

    I have to agree with the others. The Cardinal is technically correct. It is an illness and there are likely many people with the attraction that do not act on it. Basically his comments are useless to addressing the abuse issue because the problem is with priests who act on the attraction, and the resulting coverups.

    It’s too bad that societies general problem with dealing with sex in general makes this one impossible to tackle rationally. I’m sure there are plenty of people who want help with such an attraction and won’t try to get it because it hits such deep emotional buttons. I recently had to deal with this issue while moderating. I take a very firm stance on allowing topics to be rationally discussed and someone wanted to make the claims that the harm caused by sexual activity between adults and children was over-rated. I thought it was a great opportunity to go into the data showing the harm done (as much as possible due to pay walls) and try to create conversation about how to actually reduce the harm done instead of ill thought out “solutions” like the Sex Predator status here in the US.

    I ended up having to battle my own community because of the emotionalism involved. It was worth it in the end though. There were some good discussions had. I really needed to keep an eye on that post though.

  58. joey says

    Late responding to old posts. Sorry for the delay…

    —————————-
    theophontes here

    If the right is taken away by their society, they then lack that right.

    Then saying that such a thing is a “right” is meaningless. If it is something that can be “taken away”, then it isn’t a right at all but rather a privilege. A right is something you always have that can be violated/infringed by others. A privilege is something that can be granted to you or taken away. You believe in human privileges, not human rights.

    I am afraid you are trying to make this a game of semantics, whereas it is a very down-to-earth practicality: you can only exercise your claim to anything if you have the power to do so.

    Semantics does play a role in this discussion since my intention is to discuss what people truly think/believe and whether they are aware/honest about it. As I’ve stated before many people, including atheists, live their lives and speak as if intrinsic worth/rights actually do exist (see the comments in this thread for an example). But if intrinsic worth/rights don’t exist, then why continue using rhetoric that implies that they do?

    Going back to the very first sentence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights…

    Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world…

    This statement should be repudiated by anyone who doesn’t believe there are such things as “inherent dignity” and “equal and inalienable rights”. Rather, it should be written

    Whereas recognition that giving equal privileges to all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world…

    Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, but at least it would be in line with your views.

    ——————————–
    Nick Gotts here:

    Let’s say someone doesn’t care about the interests and preferences of others, or at least a certain group of people. Is that wrong?

    Yes, in terms of my system of values, it’s wrong. What I mean by that is that I will try to stop them harming others by trampling on their interests and preferences.

    But if it doesn’t concern you, why exactly should you impose your system of values on others? For example, if abusive parents don’t want to recognize the interests/preferences of their own children, why should your value system trump the parents’ value system, especially if the children don’t concern you (or at least not nearly to the same degree as the children do to their own parents)?

    And what happens if a child is so young (in the case of an infant) that it can be argued that it is completely incapable of having interests/preferences at all? What does your value system say about these very young children?

    ——————————–
    Nick Gotts here:

    But the notion of human value underlies this “capacity of empathy” of which you speak.

    As so often, you have things exactly backwards. We know that some non-human animals have empathy, because we see them exercise it. We know that they don’t have any “notion of (objective) canine (or whatever) value”, because such a notion requires a linguistic capacity they do not possess.

    But the causes of animal behavior are not necessarily identical to the causes of human behavior. If you see a spider spinning a web, would you conclude that the spider is exercising the same type of rationality as a human building a cabin? Or based on your observation of a squirrel burying an acorn in the ground, would you conclude the squirrel is rational because the action is similar to humans making rational decisions to store food in pantries?

    It is empathy that underlies notions of value, not the other way round.

    Where is your evidence for this assertion? I have already given you examples why I feel its the other way around. What are the dynamics of a person changing his capacity of empathy, if changes in the notions of value don’t precede it? How does a racist cease from being a racist without first valuing the people of a different race as genuine human beings?

  59. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I see Joey still has no idea of the definition of “intrinsic rights”, and keeps trying to imbue them with his presuppositional imaginary deity. Not a smart move.

  60. Ogvorbis says

    Then saying that such a thing is a “right” is meaningless. If it is something that can be “taken away”, then it isn’t a right at all but rather a privilege. A right is something you always have that can be violated/infringed by others. A privilege is something that can be granted to you or taken away. You believe in human privileges, not human rights.

    Joey:

    Do you have a right to marry the person you love?

  61. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Sad how this happens.

    Back around ’87, I fell in love with an album called The Texas Campfire Tapes and the strange person who made it, Michelle Shocked. And, as a fan, I listened as she did her stylistic jumps over her first few albums. (Short Sharp Shocked, Captain Swing, Arkansas Traveler) Her concerts were different. In 1989, when What Is The Proper Way To Display A US Flag was the latest anti-american plot, her Chicago show became an public debate.

    But she became a born again christian. And I stopped listening and soon stopped listening to her. Except for my more nostalgia filled moment when I remember how good Anchored Down In Anchorage and When I Grow Up are. Also, like a lot of her old former fans, I assumed that she was a lesbian.

    Well, now we have this.

    The crowd had come, presumably, to hear songs like “Come a Long Way” and “On the Greener Side,” which got airplay on MTV back in the day. (“Greener Side” was even up for a VMA against Madonna’s “Vogue.”)

    Instead they were treated to a tirade that allegedly included Shocked announcing “God hates fags.”

    It is very sad to see someone who made music that, at one point in my life, meant so much to me; end up this fucked up. I am not sure if I am more saddened or more angry. Or if this is some sickening combination of both.

  62. joey says

    Nerd:

    I see Joey still has no idea of the definition of “intrinsic rights”…

    What is your objection with my definition of intrinsic rights?

    …and keeps trying to imbue them with his presuppositional imaginary deity.

    Actually I have done no such thing. So far I’ve simply been arguing that human dignity exists and that it is inherent in all human beings, and that many live their lives and speak as if those are true. Of course I believe that the source of human dignity comes from God, but where it comes from (if anywhere at all) is another topic of discussion once we first recognize that it exists at all. For now, the debate questions whether intrinsic dignity exists at all.

    —————–
    Ogvorbis:

    Do you have a right to marry the person you love?

    Depends on what you mean by “to marry”. If by “to marry” you mean that you and your spouse(s) obtain recognition by the state, tax breaks and other civil benefits that go along with government-sanctioned marriage, then these are civil privileges defined and handed out by the state. Marriage in this sense is a civil right, not a human right.

  63. Ogvorbis says

    Very good, Joey. You show signs of understanding the differences involved. But you call marriage a civil right yet the state has the ability to deny that right to people. Suppose you wanted a second wife? Suppose your proposed wife was only 10 years old? Suppose you wanted a same sex spouse? You have admitted that marriage is a civil right — like voting, it is a right. Think on that.

    What is the difference between a human right and a civil right? If something is a human right, can it be denied by a law or a court?

  64. says

    Jesus, Matt accusing me of lying and wanting a rapist go free has seriously triggered me. I haven’t been this bad in a while. I’m crying, shaking, and on the verge of a fucking panic attack. Breathe, gotta breathe.

  65. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    That has me fucking angry also. Not that it will do much but I told him to back the fuck off.

  66. joey says

    Ogvorbis:

    But you call marriage a civil right yet the state has the ability to deny that right to people.

    Yes, but only based on the civil definition of “marriage” that I gave above.

    Now, if my wife and I consider “marriage” as a sacrament in the Christian sense, then the state can take away on a whim all our civil rights of government-sanctioned marriage at any time. But that doesn’t mean at all that my wife and I would not consider ourselves married in the sacramental sense.

    What is the difference between a human right and a civil right? If something is a human right, can it be denied by a law or a court?

    Like I said, a human right is a right you have simply for being human. A law or court can’t take away your humanity. A human right can be “denied” in the sense that you’re legally restricted from freely exercising that right, but that doesn’t mean you cease from having that human right. If all governments around the world vanish overnight, civil rights would disappear along with them but human rights would still exist.

  67. joey says

    Blockquote fail. The bottom half should be this…

    What is the difference between a human right and a civil right? If something is a human right, can it be denied by a law or a court?

    Like I said, a human right is a right you have simply for being human. A law or court can’t take away your humanity. A human right can be “denied” in the sense that you’re legally restricted from freely exercising that right, but that doesn’t mean you cease from having that human right. If all governments around the world vanish overnight, civil rights would disappear along with them but human rights would still exist.

  68. says

    Janine:

    That has me fucking angry also. Not that it will do much but I told him to back the fuck off.

    Thank you, Janine. I can’t even look at that thread right now. I keep getting images of me opening the cell doors and letting the man who raped and almost killed me out. Very close to freaking out. Good thing Mister will be home tonight. I fucking hate taking pills this early in the day, but I think I better…

  69. says

    I don’t remember Matt acting like that before, have I been missing something or is this aberrant behavior for him?

    And comfort-food-of-choice through the USB port for all those getting upset by that.

  70. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Chris Clarke has just come down on the side that Matt is being a shithead.

  71. mythbri says

    @Caine

    Matt’s stupid misconstruction of what you and Pteryxx were saying is not going unchallenged, if that helps at all. I’m sorry that his asinine pedantry triggered you.

  72. Esteleth, stupid fucking starchild Tolkien worshiping douche says

    I’m signing my name to the “baffled at Matt’s antics” list.

    WTF?

    *hugs* and *support* to Caine & Pteryxx

  73. says

    Tossing my support in for Caine and Pteryxx, here as well as over there as much as I could before I was reduced to blind rage…

    I think I’ve seen Matt pull something similar before, on a smaller scale. Just sort of a “I’m sure I’m right, so other people must be lying” stomping-about.

  74. Don Quijote says

    @Caine, Fleur du mal;

    As a (mostly) lurker, I would like to say that I have learned a great deal from you (and others) about many subjects but especially feminism and rape culture.

    Jamon, tortilla, queso, tarta de santiago, vino y conñac de españa sí tu quieres.

    Don’t let the buggers get you down.

    Y Pteryxx tambien.

  75. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    human rights would still exist.

    Joey, you keep trying to slip your imaginary deity in as a presupposition and granter of those human rights. Since it doesn’t exist, as you haven’t evidenced it, it should not even be part of this discussion, or anywhere in the background of your arguments if you were an honest debater. All human rights are defined by and enforced by humanity. There is no other choice. They can change and adapt as situations change.

  76. Rey Fox says

    have I been missing something or is this aberrant behavior for him?

    There is precedent.

  77. says

    I just ate my first real meal of the day. Got up late, been snacking only. Feels excellent. I hope this is like the feeling you get from your sedative, Caine. Feeling very relaxed.

  78. omnicrom says

    Caine I really hope you feel better. You’re a really cool poster and I want to say that my feelings are with you.

    Matt in my experience is usually pretty good so I have no idea of how the hell they completely jumped the tracks and landed at to such an ugly wrong conclusion about you.

  79. mythbri says

    @Caine

    Amelia was just laying in my arms, boggling away.

    Plz to explain “boggling”? I’m not sure what it means, but it sounds cute.

  80. says

    Mythbri:

    Plz to explain “boggling”? I’m not sure what it means, but it sounds cute.

    You can find a ton of vids on yootube if you search “pet rat boggling”. When rats are particularly happy or content, they brux, which means they grind their teeth. It’s the rat version of purring. Bruxing leads to boggling:

    Eyeball vibrates rapidly in and out of the socket. Occurs during high-intensity bruxing (soft, repetitive grinding of the incisors). The rat’s masseter muscle, which passes through the eye socket behind the eyeball, moves the jaw rapidly up and down during bruxing. When bruxing is intense, the contractions of the masseter vibrate the eye in and out of the socket in time with the incisor grinding. Usually considered to indicate pleasure and contentment.

    A boggling rat is a *very* happy rat.

  81. says

    Thanks, Ogvorbis. The same to you, always. I’ve now eaten (chicken rice and vermicelli), my favourite “comes in a box” comfort food, shared with the rats (who love it too), and made hot chocolate for me (with whiskey in) and hot chocolate for the rats (sans whiskey). Much better now.

  82. rq says

    *safehugs* to Caine and Pteryxx, too… Piling on here as well, left some in the Lounge too.
    I don’t often get out of the Lounge, but I had to on that one. Just a little bit.

  83. cm's changeable moniker says

    Caine, Pteryxx, et al., that was bit of a shocker. It seems to be calming down, but I don’t want to post about it on that thread for fear of firing it up again. So … um … yeah.

    Safe hugs to you.

    Hugs in the Thunderdome?! This will not be tolerated!

    Maybe fight-to-the-death rib-cracking bear hugs. ;-)

  84. cm's changeable moniker says

    Apparently, bold is the new italic. Or bbXtra’s playing up. Let’s see. Italic.

    Ahh, PEBCAK

  85. Portia, it's not Monday if I say it's not Monday. says

    Oh, he’s still going. Going strong in the direction of the center of the earth.

  86. says

    Portia:

    Oh, he’s still going. Going strong in the direction of the center of the earth.

    Holy cow. Now I’m extra glad I decided to take a sedative. And I’ll remain far from that thread.

  87. rq says

    Don’t go near it. He’s still got several hundred kilometres to go, and then, of course, right out the other side…

  88. Portia, it's not Monday if I say it's not Monday. says

    Yeah, good choice staying away. I am astonished at this persistence in digging.

    Glad you are warm and safe and contented. *hugs*

  89. elltee says

    Caine and Pteryxx,

    Just adding my voice of support here to you both. You’ve both given this almost-always lurker tons of strength. Thank you thank you thank you so much (and to the other awesome commenters here as well) for speaking up for those of us who always felt alone.

  90. cm's changeable moniker says

    I was quite pleased though, on that thread, to grok this instantly:

    WTF dude? Are you looking for Redstone?

    … since we seem to have Minecraft on every device in the frickin house.

    Kid #1 has been building increasingly elaborate Redstone-powered Sucker Punches everywhere.

  91. says

    Portia, Elltee & LykeX, thank you. I normally hate sitting out threads like that, but I just can’t deal with this one. I didn’t expect to be triggered in the first place, and that’s the worst episode I’ve had in quite a while.

  92. Ogvorbis says

    I just gave up. Surrendered.

    How the fuck does this happen? Paul W. and now Matt. What the fuck?

  93. carlie says

    I’m so sorry, everybody. Avoid that thread like kryptonite – he’s digging in deeper than most trolls we’ve seen in a long, long time. Armchair diagnosis, but it seems that something about this is affecting him really deeply. I’d rather think that some emotional investment in it he doesn’t want to mention is the cause, rather than just being an entitled douchecanoe, but whatever is his motivation, it’s about to start sucking small nearby meteors and asteroids into its gravity well.

  94. says

    Caine and Pteryxx and Ogvorbis and everyone else too… I so fucking angry right now. You folks have been through so much, opened yourselves up so much, and fought so hard against so many absolutely horrible people… and you’ve still found the compassion to be kind and good and generous to a whole bunch of people, myself included.

    And then this clown shows up to crap on all of you? There aren’t words for how furious he makes me. And he won’t fucking stop?!?! FFS, how can anyone be so cruel? I just want to… but I can’t, and won’t. I just wish he’d at least get the point that he’s hurting people, and just stop.

  95. Rey Fox says

    I was a little leery about talking about Matt behind his back before, but not now. He has pulled this shit before. Not quite as blatantly and hurtfully, but I can remember wanting to vote for him for Molly back when that was a thing, but every time I did, he went on some ridiculous tear over something.

  96. says

    Caine,

    I can hack it, because while I’m damaged… this is not something that triggers my particular traumas, so it is stress that I’ve got an advantage with. I sometimes sit things out because I feel like it isn’t my place to speak out, because these aren’t “my issues”. But you are my friends, and that makes it my issue. I can’t talk to the cause of your pain specifically, but by fuck pain is pain and I know pain, and Matt should know he’s causing pain for absolutely no good or useful reason.

  97. Jessa says

    Fuck. Just read that thread. I haven’t been triggered in years, and I’m scared because I’m not quite sure what did it. Fuck.

  98. Jessa says

    Thanks, Carlie and, Caine, and Improbable Joe. I’ll take a hug, a small bit of chocolate, and a small bit of space in the sedated bubble.

    (rot13 because I don’t want to drag things from that thread here for those that don’t want to deal with it and I don’t have the strength to post there)

    V svtherq bhg gur gevttre. Vg jnf gung, qhevat nyy gur nethvat, Zngg frrzrq gb gnxr vg nf n tvira gung n ivpgvz’f grfgvzbal jnfa’g fhssvpvrag.

  99. says

    Jessa:

    V svtherq bhg gur gevttre. Vg jnf gung, qhevat nyy gur nethvat, Zngg frrzrq gb gnxr vg nf n tvira gung n ivpgvz’f grfgvzbal jnfa’g fhssvpvrag.

    I can see how that would work as a trigger. He really, really needs to shut up.

  100. Esteleth, stupid fucking starchild Tolkien worshiping douche says

    So I leave work, go to yoga, then go to neighborhood potluck and come back to discover that he’s continuing?

    GREAT.

  101. mythbri says

    @Caine and others

    I’ve reached the abandon-ship point in that thread. I shared the information that there were two people triggered by Matt’s incessant, stupid and pedantic accusations – I didn’t mention specific names, and I hope that wasn’t over-stepping.

    But he is going to keep digging until he “wins” the thread. Captain Ahab, that one.

  102. says

    Mythbri, it’s fine on my part. I doubt he cares, or it would even make a dent in whatever the hell he’s trying to prove. I’m afraid Matt is now off my future reading of threads (thank you, killfile!), I won’t risk another event like the one today. It might be the cowardly thing to do, but I really thought I had this mostly under control. I feel like I was hit by a frigging train.

  103. mildlymagnificent says

    it seems that something about this is affecting him really deeply

    Not sure on that. I’m always a bit wary of people who avoid the “I think you’re wrong about that” discussion gambit and go straight for the “you’re a liar” bald accusation. (It might be, in this case, that that deeply halfwitted move was prompted by some unstated impulse. But judgmental me won’t buy it.)

    Me? I take it as a signal that such a person is so invested in finding and taking offence that they’re totally blinded to any and every offence that they cause another person(s). They can’t even be bothered to go through the conversational niceties to persuade nor to give others opportunities to develop or explain the points they made. It may be unfair on my part, but the “liar” accusation means we’ve already overstepped any mark you might name.

  104. mythbri says

    @mildlymagnificent

    That’s possible, but I don’t think that’s likely. Matt has caught people out in “inconsistencies” and logical follow-through before, and presented them as evidence as that person’s dishonesty. The word “liar” is used frequently. I think this is a tactic or argument style of his, and apparently he lacks either the judgment or humanity to use it appropriately.

    @Caine

    If all he’s going to do is be a pedantic asshole towards people, then nothing of value will be lost. Again, I’m really sorry that this caused you distress.

  105. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Completely changing the subject. But in light of the recent revelation of Richard Nixon talking South Vietnam pull out of a peace agreement, my opinion of him has dropped lower than it already was.

    Sad to think that a man I already thought of as evil was even more evil than I gave him credit for.

  106. says

    Janine:

    But in light of the recent revelation of Richard Nixon talking South Vietnam pull out of a peace agreement, my opinion of him has dropped lower than it already was.

    He certainly didn’t exemplify his so-called Quaker ideals.

  107. mythbri says

    Okay, I just watched pet rats boggling on YouTube.

    They looked like very happy ratties, and now I feel a little better.

  108. Jessa says

    mythbri : If I was one of the ones you had in mind as triggered people in that thread, I have no problem with your mention of it. And thank you for fighting where I couldn’t.

  109. Pteryxx says

    I just got back; it’s my habit to disappear when I feel triggered or threatened, so I haven’t caught up yet (and given y’all’s reports on how that thread is going, might be prudent not to). But I want to thank you good folks of the Horde, for holding to the argument when I left it, for your righteous anger, for your expressed sympathies to Caine and me and to others known or unknown affected by Matt’s implosion. But especially, my personal thanks to you for your esteem. I tend to assume I’m just a reasonably tolerated outsider here, even after all this time, but seeing y’all express that I’m valued gave me something to take with me when I left. I probably wouldn’t be back so soon if not for having that as a buffer. Thank you.

  110. mythbri says

    @Pteryxx

    I would caution you against reading the thread. Matt has exponentialed-down. As I said above, Captain Ahab.

  111. says

    Pteryxx, you’re very valued by me, know that. If you decide to re-visit that thread, take these anklehugs with you.

    Mythbri:

    They looked like very happy ratties, and now I feel a little better.

    Rat boggling should be considered a medicine. It makes most everyone feel better.

  112. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Pteryxx, seconding mythbri. Do not go back to the thread. People have tried to point out to Matt just what he was doing but he just kept plowing.

    I am sorry this have happened. I would have thought, knowing what you and Caine have shared of your pasts, that he would not have accused both of you of that blatant bulslhit.

  113. says

    And Pteryxx, you should know before you go back to that thread, that Matt accused both of us of lying and preferring to see a rapist go free, rather than use the video evidence. From what I’ve been told, he’s since insisted that we owe him an apology.

  114. Pteryxx says

    Caine, I do know that much; I held my silence and just watched for a bit before deciding you had the right idea. (Especially with the rats, which I sadly lack, but I’ll be remedying that someday.)

  115. says

    Pteryxx:

    I tend to assume I’m just a reasonably tolerated outsider here, even after all this time, but seeing y’all express that I’m valued gave me something to take with me when I left

    “reasonably tolerated outsider”?
    Not by a long shot.
    Your contributions are quite significant and do not go unnoticed, nor unappreciated.

    Speaking for no one but myself, there are two regulars here at Pharyngula (among many, but I call specific attention to these two for a reason) that I value tremendously–in part for their handy links for a cornucopeia of topics. These links are often very helpful in my understanding a give topic. I think the same *may* hold true of others.

    Those commenters?

    So Pteryxx, please, as one random internet stranger to another: I value your presence here.
    You, Pteryxx, and SGBM.

  116. Pteryxx says

    And thanks again, Janine, mythbri, Tony, Joe… there’s even names I don’t recognize up there as I read back. (something in my eye is slowing down my reading. *snif*)

  117. says

    Janine @172:
    That’s one thing I do not understand.
    Both Caine and Pteryxx have spoken before about their respective sexual assaults.
    The accusations that Matt has leveled at both of them are damn near inconceivable. If the discussion were not about rape, it would almost be funny. That the two of them would even come close to suggestiong that rapists should go free?
    I’m not fully caught up in that thread, but I dearly hope Matt doesn’t continue down the Paul path.
    I don’t understand why he is so invested in his {misguided, at best] opinion on this subject.

  118. says

    Pteryxx:

    (Especially with the rats, which I sadly lack, but I’ll be remedying that someday.)

    For now, consider yourself boggled silly by Amelia. That little girl always seems to know when I’m seriously in need of care.

  119. Pteryxx says

    Tony: that’s another reason I *could* just leave when I did. I can trust that nobody in THIS crowd is going to buy ridiculous accusations like those, or let them li- stand unchallenged.

    It’s a shame Matt imploded because that UK law sounds interesting. I won’t go back there, but the next time a discussion about alcohol and rape arises, those of you who *did* stick with that bloody mess of a thread will spread whatever knowledge y’all gained from it.

  120. says

    Pteryxx

    I tend to assume I’m just a reasonably tolerated outsider here, even after all this time, but seeing y’all express that I’m valued gave me something to take with me when I left. I probably wouldn’t be back so soon if not for having that as a buffer. Thank you.

    You tend to assume wrong. I tend to assume that you’re worth about 10 of me, based on your public persona and the private emails we’ve shared, where you’ve risked your own emotional/mental safety to try to be protective of me when you saw that I needed it. You are an amazing, wonderful, powerful, courageous person. You’re not an outsider, you’re an integral part of the heart and soul of this place for me. I’d gladly walk away from here and never comment here again, even though this place has saved my life, if walking away was what it cost to make room for you here.

    Pteryxx, you’re not a random person or a meaningless outsider. You represent the best of us, you’ve done the work of 100 people to provide links, you’re lovely and awesome and kick-ass and wonderful and my life will be less without you in it.

  121. terryg says

    Tony! @ 175: seconded.

    Caine & Pteryxx, *hugs & support* I am shaking with anger and crying for you both.

    likewwise for Ogvorbis, Jessa, JAL & everyone else harmed (eg triggered) by that fucking asshole.

    Fuck you Matt Penfold. i *HATE* you, with an intensity that horrifies me.

    By attacking Caine & Pteryxx you have:
    – chosen two victims who are demonstrably least likely to be lying,
    – chosen two victims who are demonstrably most likely to be greivously harmed by your attacks

    and have gone on to prove conclusively that you, personally, are as vile & disgusting as humanity gets.

  122. says

    Terry:

    Caine & Pteryxx, *hugs & support* I am shaking with anger and crying for you both.

    Oh Terry, thank you. Many hugs to you, there’s room in my sedated bubble for another, and happy little ratties to make you feel better.

  123. Jessa says

    terryg: Thanks so much. Tony: I’m fine and I’ll see you on PET if yoy’ll friend me.

  124. bluentx says

    Caine:
    Ignore my dumbass question over in The Lounge.
    Had not been in Thunderdome today until a few minutes ago.
    Apologies for adding to your discomfort!

  125. chigau (違う) says

    I’m only at #96 and I may never find the bad Thread but
    *virtual hugs* for Caine
    [and Amelia, you go girl]

  126. Unholy says

    Hugs (if you’d like them) to Caine, Ogvorbis and Pteryxx (and any others that have been triggered). I’m sorry you had to endure that.

  127. says

    and have gone on to prove conclusively that you, personally, are as vile & disgusting as humanity gets.

    Ok, what did I miss that would earn such stupid hyperbole?

  128. chigau (違う) says

    Caine #189
    re: do you deny Thread
    read it, punched my innocent net book, deleted the tab
    *hugs* for you and all the other maligned
    [jeez, hugging in the Thunderdome ( ref#126)]

  129. chigau (違う) says

    IJoe #191
    Caine linked to the thread.
    It wasn’t about you.
    [you just got "lucky"]
    —-
    rorschach #193
    Did you comment before reading the thread in question?

  130. says

    Chris:

    Good ratty.

    She’s the best.

    IJoe:

    Did I do something wrong there?

    No, no. Sorry, the tab to that thread was still open, I refreshed it and grabbed the url, I didn’t mean to link to a specific thread post, just the end of the thread. I’m on the somewhat altered state side here.

    Rorschach:

    Ok, what did I miss that would earn such stupid hyperbole?

    Considering that people have been talking about being badly triggered, you think you could hold off on the nasty shit like “stupid hyperbole”? The thread in question has already been linked.

    Chigau:

    re: do you deny Thread
    read it, punched my innocent net book, deleted the tab
    *hugs* for you and all the other maligned
    [jeez, hugging in the Thunderdome

    Yeah, that thread’s not good for anyone. As for the hug, consider my ribs cracked.

  131. says

    So I’ve read this thread. Looks to me that Matt Penfold for some reason chose the least charitable and most outlandish interpretation of what Caine and Pteryxx said:

    To argue against the use of the video evidence to establish inability to consent is to argue Evans should not have been convicted.

    And then it got personal and deteriorated when Matt kept going and going. He knows the people he was writing this to, and he should be aware of the triggers.

    Hugs if you want them.

  132. says

    Does Matt venture to the Thunderdome much?
    I wonder what the odds are that he’ll see more evidence of how he triggered many people *and* if that would matter to him.
    I have only had limited dealings with him in the past, but I know I’ve read many comments by him, and he’s always been a worthwhile commenter. This is beyond the pale. I could accept that he might have a differing opinion (yeah, even one based on insufficient evidence), even an opinion that others might strongly disagree with. But to double down on the hurt? To continue to trigger people? That raises asshattery to a new level.

  133. says

    So … no apology from you rorschach, for implying people were exaggerating, before you even read the thread? What the fuck? Almost as bad as Matt. *eye roll*

  134. says

    no apology from you rorschach, for implying people were exaggerating

    Are you serious? I specifically called terryg’s @183 “as vile and disgusting as humanity gets” hyperbole, because Matt Penfold may be an asshole, but he’s not Pol Pot. I did not imply that anyone other than terryg was exaggerating, why would I do that?

    I’m out of here.

  135. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Perhaps I am being unfair and just a bit mean but I cannot stop laughing at this.

    I didn’t read that comment but it sounds nice Zenspace, Michael should totally read it.

    And, yes, read it. Did you know that Pharyngula has a core leadership and that it is rotten? Did you know that because most of us will counter the Slymies at the pit or at Nugent’s blog, it proves that our argument is bad. (We will ignore are of the argument that has been had everywhere else.)

  136. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    No time to read all three threads now (Loung, Thunderdome and DO you deny….), so I’ll just drop lots of *hugs* and *chocolate* and *warm blankets* for everyone.
    I’ll read up as much as I manage, but I’m hoping things got better through the night.

  137. terryg says

    Rorschach @ 199:

    yep. to be precise, Matt @99 pulled hir usual “trick” of conflating misunderstanding/miscommunication with lying. but xe did so @92 in reference to an absurd and appalling “interpretation” of what Pteryxx & Caine actually wrote.

    despite Caine @102 clearly stating this was causing her actual harm, and every other poster explaining the miscommunication, Matt @ 105 doubled down, then got exponentially worse. all while completely ignoring every single comment regarding hir ongoing torture (a word used deliberately and far from lightly). which was pretty much every single comment that wasnt about pancakes.

    that thread is a wonderful example of what makes Pharyngula great. NOBODY tolerated that shit, not for an instant. yet despite the total opposition, Matt plunged on regardless, with a textbook mansplained rules-lawyering response utterly devoid of even the tiniest shred of empathy, decency or even humanity.

    its worth saying again:

    that thread is a wonderful example of what makes Pharyngula great. NOBODY tolerated that shit, not for an instant.

  138. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Someone should check UK for the invasion of Body Snatchers.

  139. terryg says

    dont go Rorshach. nor do i feel you owe me (or anyone else) an apology.

    Sure the immense differences of outcome, scale etc. make it hyperbole, but is it really stupid? I didn’t mention Pol Pot, but your interpretation is both legitimate and warranted, and alas there is a vast pool from which that name was plucked; any other (Stalin, Dahmer etc) would be equally valid, and the deeds of whom all seem to share the underlying characteristic of an utter lack of empathy – the total dehuminisation of their victims.

    its not like Matt couldn’t or shouldn’t have known; the tolerance shown by others was quite extraordinary, far beyond that given to any mere troll**, yet Matt plunged on regardless. literally zero regard.

    ** wonderful responses. i, too, was utterly gobsmacked, and couldn’t believe what was unfolding. triggered? oh fuck yes. and at the worst possible time.

  140. Ichthyic says

    Almost as bad as Matt

    uh, no.

    hope that was a joke?

    Rorsach was actually being quite supportive, and adjusted input after reading the thread.

    in fact, the exact OPPOSITE of Matt, who refused to adjust his input no matter what anyone said.

  141. John Morales says

    joey:

    If all governments around the world vanish overnight, civil rights would disappear along with them but human rights would still exist.

    What a stupid assertion; they’re both in exactly the same category.

    (Your fucking god is in the same category, too)

  142. Ichthyic says

    one does have to wonder how one would go about exercising those rights without a government to protect them?

  143. John Morales says

    Joey:

    Like I said, a human right is a right you have simply for being human. A law or court can’t take away your humanity. A human right can be “denied” in the sense that you’re legally restricted from freely exercising that right, but that doesn’t mean you cease from having that human right.

    Might as well have written “Like I said, a human soul is a soul you have simply for being human. A law or court can’t take away your humanity. A human soul can be “denied” in the sense that you’re legally restricted from freely exercising that soul, but that doesn’t mean you cease from having that human soul.”

    A soul is of course an idea — but it is also nothing but an idea.

    (Reification is a fool’s game)

  144. John Morales says

  145. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Cross-posted from “Do you deny that rape culture exists”:

    In retrospect, I don’t think (particularly as a man who has never been the victim of rape or anything remotely like it) I should have included the last paragraph of my #177, or subsequent posts on the same legal point, since Matt’s outrageous behaviour was a far, far more important issue. I apologise, particularly to Caine and Pteryxx.

  146. Lofty says

    Urrgh, people wanting to minimise the crime of rape make me want to throw up. Keep safe peoples.

  147. says

    Big fat safe hugs to Caine, Pteryxx and the other people harmed by Matt’s assholishness.
    What’s on the other side of the planet from the UK. Shouldn’t we warn life there that soon there’ll be an eruption of asshole once Matt finished digging?

  148. thetalkingstove says

    What’s on the other side of the planet from the UK

    Somewhere off the coast of New Zealand (thanks, antipodr.com, and sorry, Kiwis).

    Matt’s performance in that thread was reprehensible. Much sympathy to those affected.

  149. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    But the notion of human value underlies this “capacity of empathy” of which you speak. – joey

    As so often, you have things exactly backwards. We know that some non-human animals have empathy, because we see them exercise it. We know that they don’t have any “notion of (objective) canine (or whatever) value”, because such a notion requires a linguistic capacity they do not possess. – me

    But the causes of animal behavior are not necessarily identical to the causes of human behavior. If you see a spider spinning a web, would you conclude that the spider is exercising the same type of rationality as a human building a cabin? – joey

    Of course they are not identical; if you read what I said again, you will see that I mention the human linguistic capacity other animals do not possess. But you were claiming, without the slightest evidence, that the notion of intrinsic value underlies the capacity for empathy. However, we see that empathy can and does exist without any such notion. Do you suppose that our ancestors first lost the capacity for empathy, then somehow acquired a notion of intrinsic value, then redeveloped the capacity for empathy on that basis? If so, what is the evidence for this bizarre hypothesis? Or are you perhaps a creationist, and have been keeping that quiet? That would be in keeping with the systematic dishonesty about your own beliefs you long displayed on this blog.

  150. thumper1990 says

    @Pteryxx

    I tend to assume I’m just a reasonably tolerated outsider here, even after all this time

    I don’t see that at all. Everyone here seems to respect you, and for good reason. I’ve probably learned more from you and Caine than anyone else on Pharyngula, though every regular commenter has taught me something. And for what it’s worth, I appreciate that a lot.

  151. thumper1990 says

    @Jessa #151

    I haven’t seen your username before, are you new? If that’s the case, I’m sorry that had to be your first experience here. It’s not normally like that.

  152. dida says

    Hi, I have never commented here before, but I have been a reader for the past 5-6 years.

    Count me as one of the lurkers you have helped to see things they didn’t see before when it comes to feminism. I had the general idea, and agreed for the most part, but I was resistant to a few things. Not anymore. And for that I thank you. I see things so much clearer now, and this will help me improve my life and those around me.

    I never commented before, usually by the time I get there what I thought has already been said, and better than I would have. I now realize I should still say something, because it helps. It helped me, and I know I am not alone in this.

    I live in the US, but I am an immigrant. I moved here two years ago (from Europe) to live with my American husband. I should have seen it sooner, shouldn’t I? I knew better. I was in denial. Long story short: I am trapped in an abusive relationship, and I am scared. I have no friends or family here, they are all back in the country I came from. I can’t tell him I want to go home, I don’t know what he will do to me if I do. I won’t go into details, unless asked, but I want to know where I can get help. There are some circumstances that makes it very hard for me to leave. Like no place to go until I can get home, no passport, a baby, and so on.

    I thought about the police. But that still leaves me with no place to go. He is for the most part not physically abusive, so I have no evidence either. My embassy, maybe. I am scared to tell them anything in case they can’t actually do anything, but maybe still has to report it somewhere and all hell will break loose, and I still have nowhere to go.
    I checked the site for domestic abuse in my state, but all their advice depend on having a friend or family to help.

    Is there an organization or something that can help me escape, and help me get passports for me and the baby (I think I have all paperwork needed, and I don’t think he’ll resist once I’m gone, I just can’t be in the same house as him, it is potentially very dangerous for me and maybe even the baby)? I think I can get the money I need for plane tickets and passports. I just need help getting away from him, and to get home (trying to keep it short, and scared to put too much detail out there).

    Any suggestion on who to contact is very much appreciated. I don’t know what to do, and figured it is worth a shot to ask here.

  153. dida says

    I am sorry, I forgot to say: I will be back later today to check for any replies. Thank you.

  154. says

    Just dropping in on my way to the lounge to give big safe hugs to Caine and Pteryxx over Mr. Right Fighter back in the awful thread. I’m new and have been avoiding the Thunderdome, but when I heard you guys were in here over that I had to drop by and give support.

    8^/

  155. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    I have no useful advice to give (not from US), dida, just *hugs* and hopes that you escape soon.

  156. Pteryxx says

    dida: I’m so sorry. IMHO your escape plan seems basically sound to me, and I’m impressed that you’ve prepared so well on your own.

    Many US shelter networks have resources for immigrants, even undocumented immigrants. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 They’re staffed with volunteers 24/7, they handle all calls confidentially, and they can recommend resources local to you – in fact, that’s what they’re for. Also see their website: http://www.thehotline.org/

    Best of luck to you and your little one.

  157. says

    I live in the US, but I am an immigrant. I moved here two years ago (from Europe) to live with my American husband.

    What part of Europe is this that you can’t just go back to? If you have monetary problems and have a place to go back to but are stuck in a loop of financial dependency, let us know and I’m sure we can come up with something to help you out. If you can narrow down your location a little bit, there will be a Pharyngulite somewhere to help out, I’m sure.

  158. blitzgal says

    Just popped over here to also offer my support to Caine and Pteryxx. I haven’t been posting here long but since I’ve started you two really stood out (among several others) as very welcoming and supportive people. Penfold is flat out ignoring the many, many people telling him that he owes you two an apology. It appears no lessons will be learned by him. Internet hugs to you both, if wanted.

  159. says

    @dida

    That sounds horrible. I don’t really have any advice to give, but I hope you can get it sorted out. I think you’re definitely right in getting away from him. If it’s bad enough for you to think this way, it’s bad enough that you need to get out, physical abuse or not.

  160. says

    A friend of mine was recently in a similar position in the US(in Texas). I had asked Aquaria for help at the time and last thing I heard they at least communicated, not sure what happened since. Getting women away from abusive husbands is a cause worth supporting.

  161. Esteleth, stupid fucking starchild Tolkien worshiping douche says

    Dida,
    *hugs*

    A few questions, if you don’t mind:
    (1) What is your immigration status? That is, if you are here on a Visa, what is the class (A, B, H, etc)? If you are not here on a Visa, do you have permanent residency (i.e. a “green card”) or citizenship? This status changes your options.
    (2) Where in the US – roughly – are you? Are you near any major cities?
    (3) Are you willing to go back to your birth country, or would you prefer to stay in the US?
    (4) You mentioned a baby. Was this baby born here (i.e. a citizen)?

  162. Pteryxx says

    I’m wary of discussing those details here; a state and visa status might be specific enough to compromise her safety. Maybe rot13 them to prevent searches? Or take it to a chat?

    ———-

    Not all abuse is physical… there’s also emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and even financial abuse (such as forbidding the person to hold a job, have their own bank account, or spend money at all without express permission from the abuser). Some survivors that escape have never paid a bill or written a check before. *shudder*

    http://womenshealth.gov/violence-against-women/types-of-violence/emotional-abuse.cfm

  163. says

    Not all abuse is physical… there’s also emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and even financial abuse

    Indeed, and any one of them is good reason to get the hell out. Some forms might be harder to prove, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it.

  164. Walton says

    Dida:

    I don’t know your current immigration status – but if you’re not a lawful permanent resident but want to stay in the US, you could maybe consider doing a VAWA self-petition? See the explanation on the USCIS website. I can’t advise you on how to go about it – I’m not a qualified lawyer in the US and can’t give legal advice. (I know a bit about this only because I studied for an LLM in the US, and worked on immigration cases there through a law school clinic.) Maybe look into options for getting access to legal advice in your area, such as a domestic violence charity or a law school clinic – I don’t know where in the US you’re located (and won’t ask, for the reasons Pteryxx mentions).

    As regards not having a passport, I don’t know what to do on that front – you’d have to contact your own country’s embassy, since each country has its own procedures for issuing passports.

  165. Walton says

    (Basically, the VAWA self-petition allows immigrants who have been abused by a spouse or parent, and whose abusive spouse or parent is a US citizen or permanent resident, to file for lawful permanent resident status without the cooperation of their spouse or parent. The link has more details.)

  166. dida says

    Thank you everyone who answered so far. I will keep coming back to check.

    Pteryxx:

    I will check that out, thank you!

    rorschach:

    I very much want to go back to my country, I have friends there who will help out until I can get back on my feet once I get there. The problem is somewhere to stay while I get passports and that stuff organized. He makes sure I can’t save up any money, but I think a friend back home can help with the financial part of it.

    Esteleth:

    I am a permanent resident. I have the green card.
    I am near a major city. A couple. I don’t know if I should write here where that is?
    I want to go home to my birth country.
    The baby was born here, dual citizenship, and he is the father. I don’t think he will resist me taking the baby with me once I get away from him.

    Beatrice and LykeX
    Your support is also highly appreciated!

  167. thumper1990 says

    @dida

    I knew better. I was in denial.

    None of that; this isn’t your fault. How were you supposed to know?

    I’m afraid I’m not from the US and so am poorly placed to offer advice on helpful organisations or immigration policy. However if you have all the documentation needed, and the financial and physical freedom to get away with it, could you possibly pop down to your embassy on the sly and get passports printed? Is it possible to have the Embassy hold them so you can pick them up rather than mailing them to the house?

    Other than that, I’m afraid all I can offer are my sympathies and sincere good wishes. Good luck with your escape.

  168. dida says

    The reason I don’t have a passport is because he destroyed it. I can get a new one, but have to meet up personally at the embassy/consular, and that is far far away from here.

  169. mythbri says

    @dida

    Please take Pteryxx’s excellent advice and see if there is a resource that will help you get to the embassy and stay safe while the paperwork goes through.

    Does your home country have any resources for its citizens abroad? That might be looking into.

  170. Ogvorbis says

    Hugs to Caine and Pteryxx. Splash damage is bad enough. Intentional aimed damage? Even more worserest.

  171. says

    Ogvorbis:

    Splash damage is bad enough. Intentional aimed damage? Even more worserest.

    Both are bad. Sounds like that damn thread got to you, too. At least Matt hasn’t been back today to continue digging.

  172. Ogvorbis says

    Sounds like that damn thread got to you, too.

    Yep. Didn’t realize just how much until the dreams. But, on the down side, now I remember a super-8 movie camera.

  173. Portia, it's not Monday if I say it's not Monday. says

    Tony

    Does Matt venture to the Thunderdome much?
    I wonder what the odds are that he’ll see more evidence of how he triggered many people *and* if that would matter to him.

    He said he doesn’t come here, nor does he intend to. This was after I metaphorically beat him over the head with the harm he was doing and where to find evidence of it and he stuck his fingers in his ears and went “LALALALAICANTHEARYOU”

    *hugs for Og*

  174. Pearson says

    I’ve never posted here before, but I’ve been a lurker for several years. I don’t know why I’ve had a hard time working up the courage to post and meet all of you regulars, but I caught up with that “Do you deny…” thread and I knew that I needed to come here and post today.

    Caine and Pteryxx: I really just needed to post to let you know that I am so sorry about what happened in that thread and that it has harmed you both. You two have been some of my favorite regulars for a very long time. I was floored to see the comments in that thread but so happy to see so many others push back against it. You both have been incredibly instrumental in helping me think through some things that have led to quite a bit of personal growth. I wanted you both to know that you’ve had another supporter who has been silent until now.

    To the other regulars (who are too numerous to name, particularly those who posted to support Caine and Pteryxx in that other thread): I just wanted to thank you each also for being voices that have helped me learn and grow as a person. I’ve been meaning to introduce myself and share my stories with you all for quite a long time, but have lacked the courage to do so until now. What happened in that thread has me reeling quite a bit, so I am not feeling ready to share just yet, but I hope to stick around and get to know you all better and add my voice to those already here.

  175. says

    Ogvorbis:

    But, on the down side, now I remember a super-8 movie camera.

    That’s not surprising, given the other things you have remembered. I’m very sorry you get to deal with yet more shit.

  176. Ogvorbis says

    Pearson:

    Welcome.

    What happened in that thread has me reeling quite a bit, so I am not feeling ready to share just yet,

    I feel comfortable, here (and only here), sharing what happened to me. Do not feel in any way pressured. I tend to use what happened to me as a way to educate but that is just my way of dealing with something that is almost unbearable. The most important thing is for you to be safe.

  177. says

    Hello, Pearson. Thank you very much. I’m really happy you finally decided to post, that just made my day. Please, post more whenever you’re ready, it’s always good to have new voices.

  178. says

    I finally got through that thread and this one, and…

    I don’t even…

    Caine, Pterryx, Og, and everyone else affected… I really, really hope y’all are okay. That was absolutely disgusting and pathetic and… it was sick.

    Pterryx, you are one of my favorite posters here. Your posts have helped me check my own privilege numerous times, and I’m indebted to you for that. Relatively tolerated outsider? No. Absolutely valued commenter? Beyond the shadow of a doubt.

    Same goes for Caine, actually.

    Y’all are amazing. *safehugs* if you want them.

    dida… I wish I was in a position to provide some kind of aid, but if you need anything from anyone, please don’t hesitate to ask. And no “I should have known better”. How could you have? You did nothing wrong and don’t deserve this. Stay safe.

  179. Ogvorbis says

    That’s not surprising, given the other things you have remembered. I’m very sorry you get to deal with yet more shit.

    TRIGGER WARNING

    Really doesn’t surprise me, either. Which is weird considering what trauma accompanied remembering the still camera. I had forgotten about the night of skits (we performed for our parents and then spent the night on the top floor of the community center). I think I have seen the super-8 my dad took of our den’s skit, converted to VHS, but luckily I have no idea what happened to the film the rapist took later that night. Sorry for the details.

  180. Portia, more snowbound (damn lake effect) says

    I nearly neglected to add my voice to the “Pteryxx is totally amazing” chorus. You are valued and wonderful. Don’t forget it.

    Og, don’t be sorry. Get out whatever you need to get out.

  181. Ogvorbis says

    Yeah, adding my voice to the ‘Pteryxx is amazing’ chorus (second tenor). If Pteryxx is a barely tolerated outsider, there are damn few insiders here.

  182. says

    Ogvorbis, don’t apologize. It helps to talk things out. Maybe this didn’t read as traumatic as the camera because your parents were there, at least for the filming part? That may have added a sense of safety, at least that one time.

  183. Ogvorbis says

    Maybe this didn’t read as traumatic as the camera because your parents were there, at least for the filming part?

    My dad had his own camera with which he filmed us on stage.

    TW

    The scout leader had his own camera. Later. Amazing how much he could make us do in those short three-minute reels.

  184. thumper1990 says

    @dida

    No problem at all. I’m sorry I couldn’t be more help. Did Pteryxx’s link help?

  185. Pteryxx says

    Aww, you folks. *blush*

    Og: I think I get ‘you’re an outsider, they barely tolerate you’ from my demons speaking up, the same way you start apologizing for everything when your dark reminders come back. I know that perception can’t be true, but I don’t grok it, y’know.

    And yeah, talk out whatever you need to talk out. You’re wise to consider what to engage and when.

  186. Ogvorbis says

    I think I get ‘you’re an outsider, they barely tolerate you’ from my demons speaking up,

    I can see that. Makes sense.

    the same way you start apologizing for everything when your dark reminders come back.

    Right now I have an almost uncontrollable urge to apologize for apologizing too much. Feeling a little down today.

  187. Portia, more snowbound (damn lake effect) says

    Ogvorbis:
    I don’t remember where I read it (may have been Pharyngula, possibly CA) but this is the best suggestion I’ve ever heard for over-apologizing. Instead of saying “I’m sorry” when the urge strikes, go with “Thank you for your patience/understanding/etc” It’s really helpful to me, because it’s usually way more accurate and it relieves a lot of angst for me personally. YMMV and hugs

  188. Walton says

    In that case, Dida, it sounds like obtaining passports is the biggest problem. I don’t really have any information about that, since it’s a matter for your own country’s authorities – I can only suggest contacting your country’s embassy or consulate and asking them what you need to do.

    But maybe try seeking help from a charity in your area that works with domestic violence survivors? I don’t know anything about the resources available in that regard, so I’ll leave it to those who do.

    Anyway, best wishes. I’m sorry I couldn’t be more help, and I hope you and your baby get out of this situation safely.

  189. UnknownEric is high on Mountain Dew. says

    I want to apologize to Caine and Pteryxx (and heck, everybody) for not calling out you-know-who on the other thread. But every time I tried to type a response, all that came out was “GRRRFUCKASSHOLEJERKGRRR!” But I should have tried harder.

  190. says

    UnknownEric, pfffft, you owe me no apology. It’s okay, not everyone can handle every incident at every moment. Thanks for giving me an excuse to stop cleaning up the rat’s playstation for a moment. :D

  191. UnknownEric is high on Mountain Dew. says

    Thanks for giving me an excuse to stop cleaning up the rat’s playstation for a moment.

    I want ratties (again) so bad, but we want to wait until we’re not pulling nickels out of the couch cushions to pay for milk to have some more. I miss having a bruxing rat on my shoulder.

  192. ChasCPeterson says

    Walton and Ogvorbis! It’s like a meeting of Apologizers Anonymous over here!

    (sorry)

  193. Millicent says

    I feel the need and obligation to delurk as well (I have been reading here for years, delurked briefly to thank the regulars for their incredible work during 3D5K, then relurked). The thread that melted down was horrible, and I need to tell Caine and Pteryxx that I value you, that you, along with many other regular commenters, are incredibly awesome, and that you have made a real difference for me. The thread was somewhat triggering for me, and I was just lurking! It was actually *aimed* at you, and I just can’t even. It was sickening. I am so sorry.

    There are survivors everywhere, and splash damage is real. I am a rape survivor myself. WE’RE EVERYWHERE. Thank you so much to the regulars who make this a space where bullshit isn’t tolerated, and where a person can actually learn something. If they care to try. My thanks to Caine, and Pteryxx, and Ogvorbis, and everyone else who works to make this community what it is. This lurker is very grateful.

  194. Pearson says

    Thanks for the welcomes.

    Ogvorbis, thanks for your words and also for the things you’ve shared. I’ve been able to relate quite a bit to some of the things you have shared and how you have been working to overcome the damage. I find myself going through a lot of the same mental processes. It helps me a lot to hear that I am not alone on that.

    To any others who were harmed by that thread, I’m sorry I forgot to mention you in my first post. I’m thinking of you all and am sorry that you were hurt by what was posted. I really hope you all feel better soon. Please know that you have my support.

    Caine, I happened upon your blog with the beautiful embroidery a few months back. It is incredibly beautiful and artistic! I was inspired by that to try and learn more about embroidery. I taught myself to crochet and sew over the past few years. It’s nice to have another goal to work on. I’m glad my comment made you happy. You should know that you’re inspiring in many ways.

    Pteryxx, it was a bit difficult for me to decide to jump out into the public, but I figure that the more people that can help hold up some weight, the less weight will be needed for each individual to carry.

  195. says

    UnknownEric:

    I want ratties (again) so bad, but we want to wait until we’re not pulling nickels out of the couch cushions to pay for milk to have some more. I miss having a bruxing rat on my shoulder.

    Aaaaw. I know, I know. I swear, I’m addicted to them.

  196. thumper1990 says

    The Thunderdome is getting altogether far too squishy these days ;) and it’s making me feel all fuzzy inside.

    Anyway, I’m off. G’nite, all!

  197. Rawnaeris, FREEZE PEACHES says

    Dog Save Me from privileged assholes.

    Male acquaintance,  “Do you consider me a feminist?”
    Me, “We haven’t really discussed feminism, so I don’t really know.”
    Acquaintance *butthurt*
    Me, “OK, what is your opinion on the pervasiveness of Rape Culture?”
    Him, “What is Rape Culture?”

    Seriously, blinded by privilege much? Oh and this led into an hour long discussion of rape culture. Which he in turn doubted, Dear Muslima, “intent” by which he ment well if she went there alone with a guy and was dressed like she wanted to, doesn’t that muddy the issue?  and but I have a friend of a friend who was wrongly accused of raping this one girl, so surely there are more false accusations than true ones.

  198. Ogvorbis says

    Walton and Ogvorbis! It’s like a meeting of Apologizers Anonymous over here!

    Sorry.

    And shouldn’t that be ‘unanimous’, not ‘anonymous’?

    My thanks to Caine, and Pteryxx, and Ogvorbis, and everyone else who works to make this community what it is. This lurker is very grateful.

    Safe hugs and sympathy.

    Ogvorbis, thanks for your words and also for the things you’ve shared. I’ve been able to relate quite a bit to some of the things you have shared and how you have been working to overcome the damage. I find myself going through a lot of the same mental processes. It helps me a lot to hear that I am not alone on that.

    Nice to be appreciated. Thank you.

    I have no idea if I will ever overcome the damage. That is part of who I am. And I have no idea where this will go next. I spent 35 years ignoring and denying. I have spent the last two discovering, remembering, crying, hurting, and, to a small extent, healing. But whether I heal, or cope, or undo damage, or whatever phrase is right, it will still be part of who I am.

    Thanks for the kind words and support. That was a scary thread.

    =======

    g’night, thumper1990

  199. says

    Speaking of, Amelia just grabbed my hand and started biting (not serious) my fingers in between peeing all over them. She’s not happy about the cleaning. “It will take me days to drench all this with piss!”

  200. says

    Wow. Just read the awful thread. Hugs and baked confections to anyone who needs them. That was just disgusting.

    Perhaps we (people in general) tend to allow or ignore terrible behavior from those we consider close to us, or friendly, until that behavior is so ridiculous that it can’t be ignored any longer. As an actual outsider (you’re so not that, Pteryxx), every time I see that particular horrible commenter’s name pop up, I wonder, “Who’s xe going to call a liar for absolutely no reason today?” Seriously. This person does it all the time. For no good reason. I was surprised it was directed at the two of you (Caine and Pteryxx) this time, because xe usually pulls that pedantic, self-serving, overwrought nonsense on relative unknowns.

    I’m so sorry that person hurt you. I hope today is a better day for you.

  201. Ogvorbis says

    every time I see that particular horrible commenter’s name pop up, I wonder, “Who’s xe going to call a liar for absolutely no reason today?” Seriously. This person does it all the time.

    I had actually not noticed it before yesterday. Maybe that was why I kept trying to explain, kept trying to defuse, kept beating my head against a rhetorical wall. I guess I need to start actually paying attention around these parts.

  202. says

    Millicent:

    There are survivors everywhere, and splash damage is real. I am a rape survivor myself. WE’RE EVERYWHERE.

    We Are Legion. I remember you, Millicent, it’s good to read you again.

    Caine, I happened upon your blog with the beautiful embroidery a few months back. It is incredibly beautiful and artistic! I was inspired by that to try and learn more about embroidery. I taught myself to crochet and sew over the past few years. It’s nice to have another goal to work on. I’m glad my comment made you happy. You should know that you’re inspiring in many ways.

    Oh, thank you! Oooh, crochet. I learned when I was very young, but I don’t remember how to do it anymore. One of my fave embroidery blogs is Rene’s at Nerdbroidery. She does some beautiful stuff, which I haven’t even gotten close to attempting yet.

    Rawnaeris:

    Me, “OK, what is your opinion on the pervasiveness of Rape Culture?”
    Him, “What is Rape Culture?”

    :Headdesk:

  203. Pteryxx says

    Aww, welcomes to Millicent and Pearson. Caine’s said before (and I’ve said, and others have said) when a few lurkers from the Invisible Horde step out to say how much they’ve learned, that’s how we know all the noise and fuss is worthwhile. (reflexively inserts link to Greta C’s ‘Why we have to talk about this’ here)

    Pteryxx, it was a bit difficult for me to decide to jump out into the public, but I figure that the more people that can help hold up some weight, the less weight will be needed for each individual to carry.

    That’s exactly why I de-lurked right around the beginning of 3D5K… because the regulars, mainly Caine, were dealing with the flood of BS alone and needed my help.

    By my estimate, somewhere between 60 and 75 survivors have come forward since then.

  204. says

    evilisgood:

    Seriously. This person does it all the time.

    Huh. I think Matt and I have usually been deeply involved in different threads for the most part over the years, because I hadn’t noticed that. You aren’t the first person to confirm this is standard behaviour for him. I don’t feel so bad about placing him in the killfile now.

  205. Millicent says

    Hi Caine and Pteryxx! Thanks for your kind words. I have MS, and have been in a relapse, so I just haven’t had any spoons to be able to do what you do. But I have been SO GRATEFUL that you do it.

    And since this thread is long and unwieldy, and everything I have to say is warm and fuzzy right now, I will head over to the Lounge. :)

  206. Ogvorbis says

    By my estimate, somewhere between 60 and 75 survivors have come forward since then.

    Wow. That’s a lot of pain. Hugs to all of you.

  207. Rob Grigjanis says

    I haven’t ventured into Thunderdome before, but I saw some of that thread last night for the first time, and I was gobsmacked. I can’t imagine (not even close) how horrible that must have been for Caine and Pteryxx, and others who saw it happening in real time, and tried valiantly to deal with it. I don’t have the words, but I have to say something. What you were put through was totally unjustified. Adding my voice to support you all, for what it’s worth.

  208. David Marjanović says

    Pteryxx!

    I think I get ‘you’re an outsider, they barely tolerate you’ from my demons speaking up

    *hug* *squeeze* ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ ^_^

  209. glodson says

    I came late to the party. I saw the thread, and I just want to add my voice to those already supporting Caine and Pteryxx. I wish I had more to say than that, but really, that blew my mind.

  210. mythbri says

    A disclaimer about this comment of mine: this is not an attempt to bag on Matt while he’s not here in the Thunderdome. He was invited to come here and survey the damage he caused yesterday, and he declined. No one’s stopping him from responding here if he wants to, and if he has a problem with what I’m about to say then I’ll own it. In short, I’m trying to make this up-front in the appropriate off-topic thread.

    Regarding Matt’s pattern of behavior: there was another thread where I particularly noticed this tactic and Matt’s subsequent persistence in calling someone a liar when it wasn’t really warranted. It starts here, with this comment:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/07/24/a-poll-on-kitty-experimentation/comment-page-1/#comment-408790

    If you scroll up you’ll see that Matt had just two interactions with that other commenter before deciding that they were a liar. Nearly perfect example of what happened yesterday.

    This isn’t isolated, and now I feel badly because I didn’t say anything about it before – only when he aimed his pedantry and accusations at commenters I like and respect.

    That’s my bad.

  211. Pearson says

    Caine, thanks for the link. With a name like nerdbroidery, there is no way I cannot check it out.

    mythbri, thanks for pointing that out. I’ve been lurking for quite some time, and I’ve come across a lot of posts by Matt, but I had never seen that before. Perhaps that is part of why I found it personally so upsetting. I may have only been a lurker, but there was a feeling of betrayal there much like those horrid posts by Paul a while back. Sadly, this went a step further by targeting Caine and Pteryxx specifically and in posts that I couldn’t even stretch my mind to misinterpret the way he did.

    This might get a tad long, so apologies in advance.

    Also, a very large TRIGGER WARNING

    I found what Matt was posting personally triggering because of the way he was implying that the victim could not be taken at her word. Further, when he implied that the police investigating was proof that she was believed, I think my jaw hit the floor. The cops should investigate regardless!

    When I was 6 years old, my family visited my aunt, uncle, and cousins in another state. During that visit, one of my cousins spent every night I was there climbing on top of me and forcing his hands into my pajamas. The adults let me sleep on the top bunk one night (which I asked to do so I would be away from him I hoped) but made me sleep on the bottom bunk the rest of the nights because they were afraid I would fall off. About two years after that, that family moved back to my state and stayed IN MY HOME with us for several months while they set up a place back here and moved their things. My cousin continued with this abuse during the stay whenever he found the opportunity.

    One particular day, I was at another cousin’s house playing video games with this cousin and my brother when I was grabbed by him and forcefully digitally penetrated. While I screamed for help and tried my best to break away, my brother just continued playing games (I assume to scared to help as he was only 6 years old or so at the time). I managed to get away and run a few houses down to my house. I went to my father first because he was my superhero and got up the bravery to tell him what happened. He told me he was busy and to go talk to my mother. Of course, my mother was sitting with my aunt (my cousin’s mother) at the table at the time. I was mortified as I told her through sobs what happened. They both assumed that I was the one who misunderstood what happened and told me he was only playing. All of the adults in my world, the ones who were supposed to protect me, betrayed me by not listening to what I had to say. It didn’t come out again for years until I was triggered at school during a film in gym class about rape. Many years of therapy with my mother followed that. My father has yet to apologize to me for letting me down or acknowledging what happened.

    As a result of this clear betrayal, I’ve never reported the other instances of abuse. Two different boyfriends pressured me into doing things I did not want to do. My ex-husband frequently waited until he thought I was asleep to grope me and penetrate me digitally while he pleasured himself, always careful to not wake me (because he clearly knew it was wrong). Before I found the strength to leave that marriage with my three girls, I would even go as far as to sleep with him every so often to try and allow myself to get a few nights sleep. The PTSD that I did not acknowledge I had was so bad that I would lay in bed every night for hours before falling asleep frozen in panic the moment he came to the bedroom. My heart would race so badly that I was never sure if it was my heart beating or him doing things next to me. It was 4 solid years of PTSD to get over that I only recently was able to acknowledge that I had.

    Luckily, my now husband is wonderful and has grown (and become quite the feminist ally) with me. I told him about my ex because I needed him to know never to try to quietly please himself anywhere near me without my knowledge and expressed permission. He knows that my parents betrayed me when I was young, but he does not know about the other times. It is hard that there were so many. People refusing to believe me guaranteed that I would closely guard my pain for life. It has taken quite a lot to be willing to share these things with my husband and my best friend (and now all of you).

    Matt may not have realized how he seemed so dismissive of the victim’s side of the story, but it was clear as day for me and hurt my heart because I had no reason to suspect something like that from him. But thank you all for letting me share. I feel a lot better having done so. Thanks for hanging in there through this very lengthy post.

    Next time, I think I might even give blockquoting a try.

  212. says

    Jesus, Pearson. I’m so sorry, that must have caused devastating pain. I’m glad you feel okay to share here, and I’m sorry you were also triggered by Matt’s bullshit.

    Quoting is easy – just use these: <blockquote>Place Text Here</blockquote>

  213. mythbri says

    Pearson, I’m sorry that happened to you. But I’m happy that your now-husband is wonderful, and is your ally.

  214. carlie says

    My god, that behavior in the linked thread is eerily identical to his behavior this week. That’s kind of creepy.

    Pearson, I’m so sorry for what you went through.

  215. carlie says

    Is “martinet” the right way to describe that kind of behavior? Because, ugh. Somebody who shouts “liar!” anytime they misconstrue something somebody else said, and then continues to yell “liar!” at them without listening for the next couple of days, isn’t someone I want to have a conversation with.

  216. says

    Carlie:

    My god, that behavior in the linked thread is eerily identical to his behavior this week. That’s kind of creepy.

    It went to show just how few threads I have been in with Matt. I certainly won’t be in any with him in the future. I think “Asshole” covers that behaviour just fine.

  217. cm's changeable moniker says

    Pteryxx:

    It’s a shame [...] because that UK law sounds interesting

    If it helps, the primary legislation is here (consent is sections 74-76), and there’s a brief summary on pp 36-39 of the Stern Review (PDF). (The Executive Summary is probably worth reading, too.)

    The nature of prosecution means that in the end, it’s down to a jury’s opinion, but the judges have clear direction to give, and there is a big effort to make the whole system, from reporting to medical treatment, to prosecution and trial, work better. This is (IIRC) the only crime category that went up in the statistics last year, and people generally agreed that was a good thing because it was driven by more reporting and better prosecution.

  218. says

    cm:

    This is (IIRC) the only crime category that went up in the statistics last year, and people generally agreed that was a good thing because it was driven by more reporting and better prosecution.

    More reporting is always a good thing, and we can all hope for better prosecution all over. Here’s hoping it continues to improve and people don’t rest on the current changes, but refine them to aid in prosecution, and work to remove them from their current dependency on rape culture.

  219. Pearson says

    Caine:

    I’m glad you feel okay to share here, and I’m sorry you were also triggered by Matt’s bullshit.

    Thanks for the support. I’m glad too. Given how much it triggered me being just a lurker, I knew I had to come out of hiding to show my support. I’m already glad I did.

    mythbri, Beatrice, and carlie, thanks for the hugs and support.

  220. mythbri says

    @carlie

    In the thread I linked, the commenter that Matt was accusing of lying called his behavior “weirdly aggressive”, but I think “martinet” works, too.

    I don’t think that commenter’s (in the linked thread) arguments were well-reasoned, but they weren’t lying.

  221. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    ladyatheist gave us a lecture yesterday in the We get some suggestions thread. In the context of Matt’s behavior, it’s really funny how she accuses us of never questioning the regulars (“queen bees”), no matter how wrong they are.

  222. Walton says

    Hi Antiochus! *waves* I know I haven’t been around here for months. I’ve been busy with this thingy, in the (possibly futile) hope of becoming an immigration lawyer someday. While also battling depression and so forth. But someone on FB alerted me to this thread.

    (Now I must go back to work, since I have exams. Alas.)

  223. ChasCPeterson says

    Regarding Matt’s pattern of behavior

    His choice of a bulldog as avatar seems appropriate. Don’t let go!

  224. carlie says

    ladyatheist also went whining at Shakesville how mean and awful we all were, and how she was treated so terribly. I wouldn’t waste time on anything she says.

  225. glodson says

    Caine: you are welcome.

    Pearson:

    Thank you for sharing, wish I had more to offer than that.

  226. says

    Beatrice:

    ladyatheist gave us a lecture yesterday in the We get some suggestions thread. In the context of Matt’s behavior, it’s really funny how she accuses us of never questioning the regulars (“queen bees”), no matter how wrong they are.

    She claimed in that thread that she didn’t read the comments, so how in the fuck would she know? Almost every regular here has been tromped on at some point.

  227. glodson says

    ladyatheist also went whining at Shakesville how mean and awful we all were, and how she was treated so terribly. I wouldn’t waste time on anything she says.

    Yea.. I don’t get it. Since I became active, I’ve felt nothing but welcome. And in my lurking, once I got past my religious attitudes and all that, I saw more given and take than one might expect. If one had evidence and reason, it was generally well taken.

    Once I realized that if I disagreed with a point and had evidence to back up my reasoning, I wouldn’t have to worry about being torn apart. Even if I was mistaken, I never felt that I would be torn apart unless I seriously fucked up.

    At least, that’s how I’ve been reading things.

  228. says

    It’s interesting how Pharyngula, which the slymers and MRAs and the tone trolls keep telling us is a horrible place full of nasty people, is a place where abuse survivors feel safe enough to share their experiences.

  229. Muse says

    Pteryxx – I think you already know I think you’re awesome, but I think you’re awesome. Maureenbrian wrote up a pretty good summary of the laws in that thread. If you’d like I can link you to just that comment so you don’t have to skim the rest of the damn thread to read it.

  230. David Marjanović says

    Regarding Matt’s pattern of behavior: there was another thread where I particularly noticed this tactic and Matt’s subsequent persistence in calling someone a liar when it wasn’t really warranted. It starts here, with this comment:

    *lightbulb moment* That’s what I was thinking of in (well, a few comments before) my essay on vileness back in October! Instead I dragged Nick Gotts into it, who is much less prone to jumping to such conclusions.

  231. David Marjanović says

    Pearson… I’m out of words. Apparently literally so, because I completely failed to comment on that in my previous comment.

    *happiness tea* (cocoa shells, cinnamon, rooibos, vanilla, and more)

  232. says

    Myeck:

    It’s interesting how Pharyngula, which the slymers and MRAs and the tone trolls keep telling us is a horrible place full of nasty people, is a place where abuse survivors feel safe enough to share their experiences.

    A lot of that sense of safety comes from the fact that refuse to take any bullshit, and when it comes to things like rape apologetics, they are mercilessly torn to shreds.

  233. Pearson says

    glodson and David, thanks. No words are necessary really. I am just glad I could get that out; it is important for us to just be there to listen and for more lurkers to see that these experiences come in all forms from people of all types. It’s definitely not all dark alley stranger stuff. I am pretty amazed to read the variety of stories I have come across here myself. I figured mine would stand as another example of how pervasive the problem really is.

    A lot of that sense of safety comes from the fact that refuse to take any bullshit, and when it comes to things like rape apologetics, they are mercilessly torn to shreds.

    Definitely this, Caine. Also, at least for me, lurkers can see those who speak with passion and not condemnation. Lurkers can see the failings of arguments when they’re so eloquently and vociferously put out there. I’ve learned so much here just by reading the variety of ways that people can make the same points. I’ve learned to start unpacking my own privilege and to be unafraid of holding those around me to a higher standard. “Don’t feed the trolls” never helped me; the active condemnation of bullshit has been the real lesson for me.

  234. glodson says

    I’ve learned to start unpacking my own privilege and to be unafraid of holding those around me to a higher standard. “Don’t feed the trolls” never helped me; the active condemnation of bullshit has been the real lesson for me.

    Unpacking my own privilege has been both rough and enlightening. And I’ve found that the person I’ve held the an even higher standard than before has been myself, largely as a consequence of my atheism, but also in noticing issues with our culture that I’ve taken largely for granted.

    Sometimes we need to turn the heat up on those that defend the status quo as to get others to see this. Some people might get shocked and upset when accused of engaging in rape apologetics. This might get these people to see the problem with what they are saying, but I’m almost certain it will hit someone lurking hard enough to see past the veneer our culture puts on rape culture.

  235. says

    Awwww. Caine, that was the sweetest thing I’ve read in… *snif* *snuffle* Dammit, I think my allergies must be acting up, someone get me a tissue. *snif*

  236. glodson says

    Caine

    That was sweet. Thanks to Amelia for being there when you needed some help.

  237. rq says

    Pteryxx
    Before I forget: as a commenter, you’ve always been up there for me together with Caine. Not on the sidelines, but one of the names to look out for.

    Welcome, Pearson, and while I can’t say much, I can offer sympathy, *hugs* (but only if wanted) and also pancakes.

    dida
    I hope your situation works out for the best for you!!!

  238. Portia, more snowbound (damn lake effect) says

    Pearson
    Lots of whatever expressions of support you prefer. So glad you have a good partner now.

  239. Pearson says

    Wow, Amelia is awesome. It’s wonderful that you two have each other. One of my cats likes to give hugs like a person would. He puts an arm on either side of my neck and snuggles his head into my hair. It always cheers me up. It sounds like boggling is just as wonderful an experience.

  240. says

    Pearson:

    One of my cats likes to give hugs like a person would. He puts an arm on either side of my neck and snuggles his head into my hair.

    We have one like that, Ophelia. Great hugger, that cat.

    It sounds like boggling is just as wonderful an experience.

    It is. You can see rats boggling by searching ‘pet rat boggling’ on yootube. Everyone (mostly) loves a boggling ratty.

  241. echidna says

    Caine:

    Almost every regular here has been tromped on at some point.

    True. The moment I read this, I ran through an imperfect mental list of regulars, and only Cuttlefish slipped the “tromped-on” net. And even there, I can’t say I am aware of every comment to anyone.

  242. John Morales says

    cm:

    Aww, the dome’s gone all squishy. ;-)

    It has more degrees of freedom than the Lounge.

    (Therefore, it is superior)

  243. cm's changeable moniker says

    only Cuttlefish slipped the “tromped-on” net

    Maybe so, but the DC was on the receiving end of comments-in-verse from me.

    Think hard about which you’d prefer. Seriously. ;-)

  244. says

    Pearson @289

    Fuuuck, that’s awful. *Appropriate physical gesture of support*

    And it’s threads like this one that really hammer home all the rape culture shit. In sharing our* triggers from one asshole, we can see all the people who have these rape traumas in our pasts, the obscene percentages and the commonality in the stories. People who haven’t believed us or reasons we had to let our rapist go free or so on.

    Yeah, we wish we were just making it up. That rape really was something so rare that false accusations occur more often. But it’s not and it fucking sucks how many people have to carry those scars because we as a society can’t seem to wrap our mind around something as simple as enthusiastic consent and standing behind rape victims as a matter of course.

    *Yeah, me too…

    TRIGGER WARNING

    I’ve been having a lot of rape flashbacks in the last couple of months, so I don’t know if it’s related to the thread, but last night I had a dream that I was back in the convention hall where I was raped and my rapist was raping me, just like it happened. But then afterwords, the whole convention hall turned towards him and cheered him before carrying him out like a hero while I was left alone in what was now a featureless black void. At this point, with everything else in my life, I almost found that little bit of mind-self-fuckery almost cute in a way, like aww, who’s a little traumatized mass of grey matter…

  245. Hekuni Cat, MQG says

    Caine, Pteryxx, Ogvorbis, Cerberus – *piles of safe hugs and chocolate* And thank you.

    Pearson – Welcome and *safe hugs and chocolate*

    Dida – I don’t have any advice that has not already been given. Keep safe. *safe hugs and chocolate*

    Walton – *pouncehug* Good luck with your exams!

  246. giuocopiano says

    @Caine 338 – you mean you think they’re kind of sucking up to him for PR purposes even though they don’t like him? Not sure how to read it.

    @Cerberus 334 – :-) Interesting – thanks.

  247. ChasCPeterson says

    Nothing’s for certain
    It could always go wrong
    Come in when it’s raining
    Go on out when it’s gone
    We could have us a high time
    Living the good life
    Well I know

  248. says

    @ Walton

    *pouncehug*

    @ Theo

    Dear virtual son. It appears Amelia is trouncing you in the battle for world domination. You need to redouble your efforts to win the hearts and minds of the Horde ™ . I suggest starting with Caine and working your way out from there, throughout the interwebz. Go on, right away, and give her a big rat hug! And that “labrador puppy eyes” thing you spoke of last, sounds excellent. Time to bring out the big guns. And watch that Amelia, you may pick up some pointers. If she gnashes her incisors, gnash louder, if she bruxxes, brux more flamboyantly. Another suggestion… when the hoomins are asleep, go online and send out virtual hugs onto the webz. Don’t forget to sign them (in your case a paw-print will have to suffice). Yours in iniquity, Pappa Theophontes

    @ All

    *leaves large box of chocolate covered hugs*

    @ Self

    {notes with concern the rising level of kindness and consideration on the thunderdome. what has this place become? what have I become‽ Aaaaaaaargh!!!}

  249. mythbri says

    The couple that lives in the apartment below mine is having a huge fight – screaming and yelling. They do this sometimes, but it’s been a while since the last time and I haven’t slept well since the Daylight Savings time change. And listening to their yelling is making me feel the way I did when I was eight years old, before my parents divorced. I feel the same sick feeling in my stomach.

    I worry about what might happen if my current boyfriend and I get into a fight like this. I’m not going to be able to handle it if he starts yelling.

  250. says

    HI folks
    Dida
    I don’t know what country you’re from, but most European countries are much more interested in the rights of their citizens when abroad then when at home, so they take things like destroying passports serious, so they might be quite helpful if they know more about your situation than “I need a new passport”
    *safe hugs*

  251. says

    Schwyzer is scum who some feminists chose to forgive because dudes are given far more grounds to screw up than women.

    And for the record, I’m mostly just floating in because I was considering an entirely out of place rant on subject matter nobody here would give a shit about, but would let me say it at least, and I looked up to see if I was intruding. Then I realized I’d rather just wait for my girlfriend to wake up since she’d understand the rant.

    …regulars here not questioned. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Uo ho HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO

  252. Ogvorbis says

    Good morning.

    Well, morning.

    Hard night. Nothing new, just same old same old same old same old.

    Matt managed a slow-release trigger for me. I thought I was okay but the more I tried to save him from himself (does that even make sense?) as he went down the mine shaft, at high speed and accelerating, the more I felt like I was doing something wrong. Which feeds itself. Yesterday I fed on it, last night I fed on it. Having a hard time convincing myself that, somehow, I didn’t cause that whole thing. I know I didn’t, but depression lies. And it knows exactly which lies will work.

    Sorry.

    Pearson:

    Safe hugs.

    When I reported being raped to another scout leader, I was told I was lying, I was told that I would ruin his life, and I was told that he is such an upstanding man that it could never happen. Then I was forced to apologize, in person, alone, to him. I know how you feel.

    I’m so sorry that the splash damage from Matt’s meldown triggered you.

    Chas:

    His choice of a bulldog as avatar seems appropriate. Don’t let go!

    I was thinking the same thing. Bite and hold. And the thread linked to shows the same behaviour.

    myeck waters:

    It’s interesting how Pharyngula, which the slymers and MRAs and the tone trolls keep telling us is a horrible place full of nasty people, is a place where abuse survivors feel safe enough to share their experiences.

    Odd, that. This is still the only place I have ever told. When I came out by accident (honestly, I was responding to a comment and there it was on the screen and the memory was just suddenly in the open) I was supported. And my neverending breakdown has been met with support and, more important, help.

    Caine:

    We find ourselves having to explain, over and over, that “don’t feed the trolls” is bad science.

    I just found myself wondering how much damage trolls could do to the survivors here if they were allowed free rein. Scary.

    John Morales:

    It has more degrees of freedom than the Lounge.

    (Therefore, it is superior)

    No, just different.

    Cerberus:

    Safe hugs and support.

  253. Ogvorbis says

    evilisgood:

    I know. Sorry. I’m just in a blame myself mode right now. This shit will pass.

  254. says

    Regarding Matt, I get the impression that he reaches a private conclusion that someone is lying and then goes on autopilot to expose the liar without listening to any explanations or clarifications.
    It’s one thing to go after someone you think is lying, but doing it on such a flimsy basis; in circumstances where misunderstanding is much more likely than dishonesty; and then not listening when the matter is clarified, is counter-productive, to say the least.

    Caveats: I haven’t been paying attention to Matt before, so I’m going off these two incidents only. This post represents my impressions, not necessarily the truth from on high.

  255. thumper1990 says

    @Ogvorbis

    Mate, please stop apologising. You haven’t done anything wrong. If you feel you need to share, share. That’s what this (and Lounge) are for. Personally, I’m not much help but there are other commenters here who can be.

    I hope you feel better mate.

  256. thumper1990 says

    @LykeX

    I think there’s some truth in that. I’ve seen this from Matt before (“Care to explain your dishonesty?” seems to be a favourite line of his) and once he’s decided someone is lying he will keep coming back to it. To accuse the people he is accusing of lying is normally exceptionally uncharitable rather than outright innaccurate, from what I can recall. I can’t name any threads in aprticular, I’m afraid my memory isn’t that good.

  257. Ogvorbis says

    Mate, please stop apologising. You haven’t done anything wrong.

    I know. I just have a hard time convincing myself of that.

  258. Pearson says

    rq and Portia, thanks.

    Cerberus, thanks. I am so sorry to hear about that dream. Wow, that must have been horrifying. I really hope you feel better soon.

    Ogvorbis, I’m sorry to hear that you were brave enough to speak up also and were unfortunately not listened to. It is so damaging regardless of age but particularly when you are young and don’t fully understand. And I still have times where I very much blame myself, particularly with what happened in my past marriage. I made choices to engage with him physically and I know that I did so out of exhaustion and self-preservation, but I also know that most people would use that to point out that it was not rape or that it was all my fault. Like you, I still have good days and bad. Hope things get a bit easier for you soon and I’m sorry you were triggered so horribly too.

    As for Matt, much of his pattern of calling people liars and digging that damn hole because being right was the most important thing reminds me exactly of my ex-husband. He had a pattern of emotional abuse and that was a large part of it. I would imagine this is a large part of why that thread was very triggering. I spent two years after I left my ex convinced that I had him all wrong… that he was a nice misunderstood guy and that I was losing my mind and that the problems were all from me. What a head fuck that was. I’ve honestly found that as hard as it is to shut up and listen when you are being told you are doing something hurtful, the feelings you get from taking it in and genuinely listening, learning, and then apologizing more than make up for it. I much prefer the person I am now. And of course, my relationships now are so much the better because of it.

  259. Ogvorbis says

    And I still have times where I very much blame myself,

    One of the things that I fight myself on, constantly, is that I didn’t do enough, I should have told my parents, I should have told my teachers, I should have told anyone and everyone what was going on and since I didn’t I bear part of the blame for those who were raped in the years to come. Most days I can shout that one down. I also blame myself because I enjoyed the attention (usually), I willingly joined scouts, I didn’t quit scouts, I abused others for him, etc, etc, etc. It gets so fucking hard to fight that day after day after night after night.

    I’ve honestly found that as hard as it is to shut up and listen when you are being told you are doing something hurtful, the feelings you get from taking it in and genuinely listening, learning, and then apologizing more than make up for it.

    I do sort of the same thing. I know that, no matter how painful the truth is right now (even if the truth is that I am hurting someone, or being an ass, or being obtuse), denying it, lying, will, ultimately, hurt far more. Of course, I tend to use that to be hard on me so it doesn’t always help.

    Safe hugs and support to you.

  260. UnknownEric: A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama? says

    One of my cats likes to give hugs like a person would. He puts an arm on either side of my neck and snuggles his head into my hair. It always cheers me up.

    My cat Sophie doesn’t tend to care for people so much (except me for some reason), but whenever my daughter cries, Sophie goes right over to her and rubs against her. It’s really sweet, especially since my daughter adores the kitty.

  261. Polistes says

    Hi everyone. De-lurking here to offer my support to all who were triggered by that mess on the other thread. I used to post here as “Bonnie” and for a short time as “BMS” a few years ago. Life intervened and – well – anyway, it’s good to see a lot of you folks who are familiar to me from back then. *hugs* and/or beverages of choice if you’d like.

  262. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Damn! It is good to see you here again, BMS, err, Polistes. Have not heard from you in years.

  263. Pteryxx says

    Pearson:

    As for Matt, much of his pattern of calling people liars and digging that damn hole because being right was the most important thing reminds me exactly of my ex-husband. He had a pattern of emotional abuse and that was a large part of it. I would imagine this is a large part of why that thread was very triggering.

    …Dang, I think you’ve exactly nailed it. Unlike many survivors here, my rape itself didn’t involve any gaslighting or being called a liar, solely brute force from someone I trusted. However, emotional abuse was very much a factor. And completely unfounded accusations of lying are par for the course in both rape investigation and emotional abuse… in fact that constitutes emotional abuse in a relationship of trust. And police and investigators are formally accorded the community’s trust through the powers they’re afforded as part of their jobs.

    Thank you; that’s a capstone to something I’ve been wrestling with for days.

  264. says

    giuocopiano:

    @Caine 338 – you mean you think they’re kind of sucking up to him for PR purposes even though they don’t like him? Not sure how to read it.

    It was pretty plain to me that they were trying to get him into an *actual* feminist, secular event. It’s obvious he didn’t want to go, either. *shrug*

  265. says

    @ Theo

    Dear virtual son. It appears Amelia is trouncing you in the battle for world domination. You need to redouble your efforts to win the hearts and minds of the Horde ™ . I suggest starting with Caine and working your way out from there, throughout the interwebz. Go on, right away, and give her a big rat hug! And that “labrador puppy eyes” thing you spoke of last, sounds excellent. Time to bring out the big guns. And watch that Amelia, you may pick up some pointers. If she gnashes her incisors, gnash louder, if she bruxxes, brux more flamboyantly. Another suggestion… when the hoomins are asleep, go online and send out virtual hugs onto the webz. Don’t forget to sign them (in your case a paw-print will have to suffice). Yours in iniquity, Pappa Theophontes

    Oh now, Theophontes! There’s no telling what Theo will do online, that boy will get me in trouble. Theo is a big part of the Rat Support Network. Both Theo and Chester tend to specialize in “we’ll help you sleep” comfort. They’ll wait until I lie down, then both come in, dive under the covers, snuggle in tight and commence with the bruxing and boggling.

  266. carlie says

    Dida, I know nothing about anything that would help, but maybe someone else can weigh in on my possible suggestion – I’d say to contact a domestic abuse shelter before contacting your embassy, and asking the shelter if they can have someone go with you to the embassy. Even though the embassy people should be helpful, they might not think of possible land mines like, say, calling your home number and leaving a message for something you forgot to leave with them, and someone from an abuse shelter would be able to clue them into things like that.

  267. says

    Polistes:

    Hi everyone. De-lurking here to offer my support to all who were triggered by that mess on the other thread. I used to post here as “Bonnie” and for a short time as “BMS” a few years ago.

    I remember you! It’s good to see you back again.

  268. Polistes says

    Hi, Caine! Thanks! I hope you’re doing better today – definitely stay away from that thread.

  269. says

    It was pretty plain to me that they were trying to get him into an *actual* feminist, secular event. It’s obvious he didn’t want to go, either. *shrug*

    Which is actually slight improvement in his self-awareness. Two years ago he’d have marched right onto the speaker’s roster despite knowing people didn’t want him there because Jesus. And Daniel. And the lions.

  270. says

    Chris:

    Which is actually slight improvement in his self-awareness. Two years ago he’d have marched right onto the speaker’s roster despite knowing people didn’t want him there because Jesus. And Daniel. And the lions.

    I think the write up at Manboobz and subsequent posts and reactions was a shock to his delicate system.

  271. says

    Ogvorbis @348

    Matt managed a slow-release trigger for me. I thought I was okay but the more I tried to save him from himself (does that even make sense?) as he went down the mine shaft, at high speed and accelerating, the more I felt like I was doing something wrong. Which feeds itself. Yesterday I fed on it, last night I fed on it. Having a hard time convincing myself that, somehow, I didn’t cause that whole thing. I know I didn’t, but depression lies. And it knows exactly which lies will work.

    You, your actual self, is right. You didn’t cause a single moment of his self-destruction. It can be hard to remember in a space of self-blame, but other people are also responsible for their actions and what they do. Matt decided, fully on his own, to attack and keep attacking rape victims over a bizarre leap of logic and a twisted sense of ego that placed being “correct” over anything and everything else. Just like your rapist chose and decided to manipulate and violate a little boy, taking advantage of a gap in world experience and knowledge to get away with something he knew was wrong. And I know you want to imagine that with some certain knowledge or experience earlier, you could have done the right thing to stop it, but we can’t control the entire universe like that. When I was violated, if I had known what coded raised female messages my partner and mom were trying to send, I might have walked away. But I didn’t know them then. And that doesn’t make it my fault any more than your attackers manipulations made it yours.

    On Matt, you can’t always save people from themselves. Sometimes they insist on self-destruction. You didn’t cause that. You didn’t make him suddenly decide to attack rape victims. Because you don’t control the universe. You can’t make others do things retroactively before you started engaging, because you’re not a time wizard.

    I know you know all this. And I know how badly trauma and traumatized spaces can warp and twist things to encourage self-blame in all circumstances, even ones where it doesn’t at all make sense. I know because I’m still struggling with the “my pain hurts others, I need to hide it so I’m not hurting people” self-blame myself. I wish you good luck and supportive appropriate physical contact.

    Sorry.

    Yeah, I’m right there with you. I’m doing better than the last two days on that, but even now I have the urge to say I’m sorry back even though I have no idea what I would be apologizing for.

    It may be hypocritical of me to say this, but you don’t need to apologize for being yourself. That’s not to say you’re being bad if you are stuck in a space of apologies, but that you are a wonderful, brave, caring individual who does not deserve to be going through as much pain as you are. If I could take your pain onto myself I would, but sadly, I don’t control the universe either.

    *Appropriate Physical Gesture of Support*

  272. says

    Polistes:

    Hi, Caine! Thanks! I hope you’re doing better today – definitely stay away from that thread.

    Much better today, thank you. No worries, I haven’t been anywhere near that thread.

  273. Pteryxx says

    *massive threadrupt essay-dump ahead*

    Continuing on from my #361: I’m trying to parse out the connections between toxic masculinity, bullying, athlete-worshiping, social support (specifically victim-blaming cohesion versus victim-supporting cohesion) and rape culture, and it’s starting to leach over into religion and warfare. And this all started with the massive Steubenville coverage and, specifically, Don McPherson’s press release yesterday: (emphasis mine)

    We must challenge how we raise boys regarding masculinity, as it is often at the expense of women. I’ve realized that society doesn’t raise boys to be men; we raise them to not be women.

    http://www.shakesville.com/2013/03/quote-of-day_19.html

    *warning for discussion of basically all of the above*

    Basically, toxic masculinity and all these other things seem to cohere into venerating victimization. The way to prove oneself a Realman (where “man” = “person” and “woman” = “object”) is to victimize and depersonalize others, keep doing so, and cheer doing so, with the penalty of withdrawal of protection from same for failure. It’s the same dynamic as original sin: everyone’s a sinner but you can earn your way out of it by following a set of rules that involve shaming others. Same dynamic as hazing, which happens mainly in fraternities, sports teams, and militaries. And it seems tightly conflated with specifically sexualized victimization: guns being treated as penis-substitutes, victory being equated with raping the opponent, and religious condemnation focusing on masturbation and slut-shaming instead of mixed cloth or unclean food. (mostly.)

    The TIME article I linked in the Lounge (“What about the victim’s recovery”) emphasized that social support for survivors, including being afforded credibility, increases their resilience and improves their recovery from trauma, while attacks and betrayals worsen their prognosis. The author of that piece, Maia Szalavitz, linked to an interview she’d previously done with Jessica Stern, author of Denial which I’ve referenced before. In the article, and in the 2010 interview, Stern compares her recovery with the much smoother recovery of another survivor of the same rapist.

    From the current piece, Szalavitz writing:

    In Stern’s case, sharing her experiences rather than bottling them up could have saved her from the personal turmoil that resulted from her heightened sensitivity to threats and her tendency to distance herself emotionally in relationships.

    Indeed, Amy Vorenberg, who at age 13 was raped by Stern’s attacker, had a much more open recovery experience. Her parents immediately surrounded her with support: the day after the incident, a group of her friends from the neighborhood slept over to protect her. She slept in her mother’s bedroom for years (her parents were divorced), and all her classmates and teachers were aware of what had happened so that they could be sensitive to her needs. She was “frightened but felt held,” Stern writes in her book about Vorenberg, who is now a law professor and reported a much smoother path to recovery.

    Amy Vorenberg spoke about her experience, and the effects of silence, in a 2010 op-ed: (source)

    Four years ago, I decided to learn anything I could about the rapist. I talked to the Harvard and Cambridge Police and the Radcliffe administration, and they were well aware of these crimes. However, while some short articles appeared in a campus newspaper, there was no systematic attempt to alert the community at the time. A few days before my rape, my 10-year-old sister said she’d seen a man looking in an upstairs bathroom window. We thought she was imagining things.

    During my search for information, I crossed paths by chance with Jessica Stern, who was on a similar search. Jessica had retrieved her police file in Concord, where her rape took place, and where a diligent detective took it upon himself to investigate her decades-old case. He assembled evidence from many towns showing that dozens of unsolved rape cases from Cambridge to Natick fit the same pattern. No DNA evidence was collected back then, but the description of the perpetrator, his gun, and his distinctive MO left little doubt that the crimes were the work of the same man.

    Enduring rape at 13 was rough. But to realize now that I was one of 44 is just hard to process — a fact made harder by the knowledge that my two sisters and I were essentially sitting ducks. Having heard nothing from the police or the university, my parents had taken no extraordinary steps to protect their daughters. Yet the same man who attacked me raped two more women the next night. In the same neighborhood.

    Stern is currently investigating factors that affect survivors’ recovery, such as social support versus betrayal. But she also claims that certain aspects of PTSD can be adaptive for soldiers, battlefield medics, and other professions involving exposure to traumatic experiences. From the 2010 interview, Stern speaking: (source)

    It’s really about working in danger. The capacity to remain calm when under threat and to also be able to be quite aware of one’s environment. If you think about what it takes to stay alive for a soldier — they call it PTSD when the soldier retires — but if he didn’t have hypervigilance and dissociation while on the battlefield, he’s a danger to himself and everybody else. Those are exactly the qualities we need them to have. If you are a military commander, you would be upset by soldiers who didn’t have those qualities.

    Stern goes on to theorize that sexual abuse is linked to terrorism, her previous field of expertise:

    [MS]: So what role do you think being traumatized plays in terrorism?

    [Stern]: I don’t really know but I’m putting out a hypothesis, which I hope that other people will be able to test because I can’t. One thing I’ve known about but was in denial about myself was the sexual abuse of boys at madrassahs. [It's so routine in Afghanistan that] Thursday night is considered “man loving” night [because everything is believed to be forgiven when people go to the Mosque on Friday]. I have to ask myself, “Why did it take me so long to recognize that this could be important?”

    I’m not saying that this is the cause of terrorism. My main finding in regard to terrorism is based on what terrorists themselves say. They talk about humiliation, mostly in political terms, the humiliation of Islamic civilization. It wasn’t until I wrote this book that I thought, “What if kids who have been abused are more susceptible to the [political] argument about humiliation?”

    Something is going on here, and it has to do with the conflation of what I’d call institutional power (as opposed to skill, respect, or training) with sexualized abuse. It just doesn’t make sense that so many people with positions of power involving institutionalized trust – military superiors, religious authorities, coaches, scout leaders, law enforcement officers, doctors, and parents – would turn out to abuse that trust by sexual predation if sexual urges, and not power, were their motivation. It doesn’t make sense that sexual shaming should be so entwined with military culture, jock culture, and organized religion (not to mention organized atheism). Consensual sexytimes aren’t that difficult to comprehend, or that threatening. They’re just not. So what is all this rape culture really trying to accomplish?

  274. says

    Ogvorbis… I know I’m just repeating others here, and I don’t mean to turn this thread into a broken record, but, as I know you well know, this isn’t your fault. The only person to blame here is Matt. That thread was the first (and I sincerely hope last) I’d ever read of this Matt Penfold, but he seems to be… erm… uh… a piece of work (because the phrases I’d like to use may be a bit too impolite even for the Thunderdome).

    You did an awesome job in that thread and should be proud of yourself for the way you handled him and the subject. Your treatment of the crap Matt was saying and using was a beautiful sight to behold. You are amazing.

    Caine… I’m glad to read you’re doing better today. That’s a relief. And props to Amelia. Never before did I think I could find rats pet-worthy, but now I want one. You’ve sold me on the pet-worthiness of rats. :D

    I’m also glad to see that the thread is dead, and I dearly hope Matt chooses not to return.

  275. Pteryxx says

    Dida: seconding Carlie above:

    I’d say to contact a domestic abuse shelter before contacting your embassy, and asking the shelter if they can have someone go with you to the embassy. Even though the embassy people should be helpful, they might not think of possible land mines like, say, calling your home number and leaving a message for something you forgot to leave with them, and someone from an abuse shelter would be able to clue them into things like that.

    DEFINITELY THIS. Well-meaning people who don’t understand abuse make screwups like that OFTEN. I wish I’d thought to say it so well.

  276. Pteryxx says

    Ogvorbis, I owe you thanks as well. It wasn’t lost on me that you came in at the risk of your own demons to defend me and Caine, *and* to press Matt on the elision he was using to justify his attacks. You did beautifully and it really helped me, personally, that among all the Horde you specifically got involved. I do hope you can be proud someday; you deserve it. Thank you.

    And also Joe. And Crip Dyke and Cerberus, who I tremendously respect but don’t know very well. And a dozen or more who took on Matt, and even more who just offered support. Seriously, the support directly helped me weather that mess, and I can back that up with citations. *points to #371*

  277. says

    Pterryx at #371

    Wow. That’s fascinating.

    Trigger Warning ahead for discussion of rape…

    It reminds of that debate on YouTube and elsewhere a few years back over whether or not rape exists because it has some kind of evolutionary advantage to reproduction, with the main argument being that it was actually so common amongst the animal kingdom. I remember think the whole time “so what if it does? That doesn’t change the fact that it’s a heinous crime that needs to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

    Why are their rapists is a fascinating question…

    It doesn’t make sense that sexual shaming should be so entwined with military culture, jock culture, and organized religion (not to mention organized atheism).

    Erm… I realize that this is the cynic in me talking, but I disagree. I’m not surprised at all by the pervasiveness of rape and rape culture in military, jock, and religious culture. In fact, it makes perfect sense to me. The military and sports both place a premium on maleness. Maleness is the desired quality, and if you aren’t male enough, you can be mercilessly destroyed by both cultures.

    Religious culture seems to be almost unanimously Patriarchal (are there such a things as matriarchal religions at all, at any point in our history?). Women are quite simply undervalued, especially as compared to men.

    So that man-on-woman rape is basically normalized in all three types of cultures seems to me to be entirely expected, and as an extension, it pushes that men cannot be raped by women.

    Of course, expected doesn’t mean inevitable. It can, and has to be changed. We will never go anywhere as a society if these patriarchal attitudes aren’t addressed and quashed.

    Anyways… I’m heading out now for work, but I’ll maybe expand when I get a chance later this evening…

  278. says

    Caine @370

    Yay for doing better!

    Pteryxx @361

    Sorry for going all me, me, me off of your comment, but your comment made me think of something.

    TRIGGER WARNING. When I was raped, I didn’t fully understand what was happening. Only that my mom and partner were acting weird, but assuming that’s because I needed to stay and be with the oddly forceful gentleman who was kinda creepy (I was really bad on those subtle signals raised females are trained on to escape situations like this (oh the existence of this subtle code language being trained to the point of expected, totally not a sign of rape culture)). I only put it together afterwards and it took me years before I could fully process what that meant, that the actions weren’t minor just because I wasn’t forcefully digitally penetrated like my partner. I never knew my attackers name and if I had known what he was doing early enough to be able to try and do something, then it would have been easy to internalize as my fault for staying and letting it happen (a lot of my flashbacks have tried adding my post-hoc knowledge to the event to make it more soul-crushing, but I remember well that I just didn’t have that at that time). And even if I had more immediate realization of what happened, I know that with the internalization of the rape culture, I never would have believed it would have done any good to fight for prosecution even if I had been aware at the time. And I spent years minimizing the rape as a “minor sexual assault” because I internalized all that rape culture as well and I thought what happened to me was so minor compared to things that happened to my partner or other women.

    TRIGGER WARNING. And yet, it still didn’t save me from the exceedingly common life experience of being called a liar about my rape (rape culture? Nah, no such thing /sarcasm). Some of the fellow olds on the site might remember the thread wherein I was talking about the details of my rape (which I at the time stressed was the most minor of sexual assaults, because yanno internalized minimization) on some thread as some illustrating example of something (probably rape culture) and somebody became very very invested in the notion that I made up my rape because the way I froze and was befuddled about the situation as it happened were obvious signs of fabrication. So yeah, even when rape victims internalize rape minimization, avoid prosecution, avoid emotionally abusive or manipulative people in their daily life, and only occasionally relate their stories, they are still often assumed to be liars about what happened to them.

    TRIGGER WARNING. In short, a rape victim is always assumed to be lying, no matter what. And that sickening aspect of the rape culture is present in everything. From the twisted souls crying for the Steubenville rapists, to the media painting the most obvious of victims as a vindictive whore who ruins other people’s lives by daring to get raped, to the well-meaning laws doing their part to improve things still operating from a “she’s lying” first standpoint, to the internalized monologues rape victims give themselves*. It’s always there. But somehow to those who want to be blind to it, that’s not the rape culture or worth acknowledging and respecting, because… reasons.

    *TRIGGER WARNING. I’ve been thinking a lot because of my dual traumas lately about the similarity to the games of on-the-job discrimination and sexual assault. Both are emotionally traumatic violences upon the autonomy of the victim. Both are treated with an assumption that the victim is lying or oversensitive or vindictive. With my employers, they have “looked into it and discovered that what I thought was happening isn’t”. It’s all in my head, made it up because I just can’t handle criticism. That the scars were just an incredible coincidence (odd timing, they can see how I might have thought it was rape, but baby, it was just a conflux of events, oh wait, sorry, there I go crossing the two). And both leave me feeling guilty for retaining scars. It’s almost like both are related by them both being abuses and violences of power, exploiting a social loophole that looks the other way for this type of behavior. That they are both emotional abuses first and foremost, regardless of the additional damages they enact on body and mind. Or maybe I’m just conflating the emotions of the two because those are the two strongest traumas I’m dealing with right now. I dunno. Sorry for jumping off on this giant me-tangent.

  279. Pteryxx says

    The military and sports both place a premium on maleness. Maleness is the desired quality, and if you aren’t male enough, you can be mercilessly destroyed by both cultures.

    But that’s the slippery concept I’m trying to nail down here. Why maleness of all things? Being male, without the toxicity, has little or nothing to do with dehumanizing and destroying opponents. (As a sportscritter I really hate this. You can win OR lose a game without humiliation on either side. Having sex without humiliation is even easier – no keeping score!) Why should merciless destruction have anything at all to do with the construct that includes penises and shaving?

    I’ve met a couple of (civilian) demolition experts. They were the friendliest guys you ever saw (and the least aggressive or careless, believe me.)

  280. Ogvorbis says

    Cerberus:

    Oh, I know I didn’t cause the breakdown. I just found myself blaming me because I wasn’t good enough at expressing myself and thus the misunderstanding continued which I know is bullshit but that doesn’t stop me from blaming me for failing to be good enough.

    It may be hypocritical of me to say this, but you don’t need to apologize for being yourself. That’s not to say you’re being bad if you are stuck in a space of apologies, but that you are a wonderful, brave, caring individual who does not deserve to be going through as much pain as you are.

    Y’all do good things for my self esteem. When I’m down, everything seems to be my fault even if I had nothing to do with it. Which, the way my twisted mind works, makes me a sorry person. And, when I let my guard down, when I fail to be vigilant enough, it comes through. Which scars me.

    Pteryxx:

    We must challenge how we raise boys regarding masculinity, as it is often at the expense of women. I’ve realized that society doesn’t raise boys to be men; we raise them to not be women.

    TW all through this. Sorry.

    My rapist’s rationale for raping us was that there were two kinds of people on earth: men and children (and he included women under the latter). Children exist to give pleasure to men and if they don’t do it willingly, men are entitled to take it. And he showed us just what our life would be like if we didn’t become men like him.

    He tried to raise me to not be a woman. He tried to raise me to not be a child. I think (I hope?) I ended up being human.

    The way to prove oneself a Realman (where “man” = “person” and “woman” = “object”) is to victimize and depersonalize others, keep doing so, and cheer doing so, with the penalty of withdrawal of protection from same for failure.

    Bingo. Did someone interview my abuser?

    You did an awesome job in that thread and should be proud of yourself for the way you handled him and the subject. Your treatment of the crap Matt was saying and using was a beautiful sight to behold. You are amazing.

    Thanks. There is a part of me, though, that thinks, If I had only been better at expressing myself, Matt would have realized what was going on and on and on. . . . which, as Cerberus points out, is BS as I cannot save people from themselves. Which hurts.

    I owe you thanks as well. It wasn’t lost on me that you came in at the risk of your own demons to defend me and Caine, *and* to press Matt on the elision he was using to justify his attacks. You did beautifully and it really helped me, personally, that among all the Horde you specifically got involved. I do hope you can be proud someday; you deserve it. Thank you.

    You’re welcome.

    I liked Matt. He and I had some good conversations in the past (not many, but enough). When I saw what was happening I didn’t want to see him go down that hole. But, whether through bad writing on my part or whatever was going on on his part, I failed.

    The military and sports both place a premium on maleness.

    Not just maleness, but dominating the enemy, forcing the other to your will, making the other player/soldier your bitch. At least, that’s the terminology I got in both youth and jv football and in the army.

    a lot of my flashbacks have tried adding my post-hoc knowledge to the event to make it more soul-crushing,

    Oh, shit, Cerberus. I do that to me, too. And when I see someone else do it, I can see how wrong it is. When I do it, it seems right.

    You have my profound sympathy. What you went through should never happen to anyone. Ever. From the act itself to the denial, not good. Be safe.

    Why maleness of all things? Being male, without the toxicity, has little or nothing to do with dehumanizing and destroying opponents

    Because for some, like my scout leader, like my football coaches, if you can’t rape the world, you aren’t a real man.

  281. Pteryxx says

    Cerberus: no need to apologize, especially for you whose insight I value to be apologizing to me who’s new at this. It’s clear that sharing in a supportive environment is essential to both recovering and learning; and lots of us are survivors, and learners, in here.

  282. says

    Pteryxx @371

    TRIGGER WARNINGS THE WHOLE RESPONSE

    I think you’re on to the crux of the matter right there. Toxic masculinity and the way that being a man is defined by avoiding anything feminine or female is a huge part of the problem and can only be hurting the rape culture if it is not directly responsible for it. Especially when you consider that the solution presented to many men as the easiest least effort of proving your “man card credentials” is to do an act of violence against a woman (something to make them cry or suffer or separate their experiences from yours) or to “sexually succeed” by “banging” a woman creature you consider beneath you (dudes, I fucked that one slut at Jamie’s party and know I don’t even pretend I know her, acknowledge me as more manly). Rape combines those two methods into one.

    In addition, it also reinforces hierarchies, punishing those who stray outside or who haven’t learned or are actively resisting the “correct social conditioning”. Are you a female thinking she can hang in environments that some toxic masculinity believers consider masculinity proving environments? Well, then we’re going to rape you and blame your intoxication or poor decision making for it. Are you non-traditionally feminine or queer or too-traditionally feminine if you are interpreted as a boy? We’ll show you your place. Are you a child or young and trying to find out who you are and what you want like a real person? We’ll straighten that right out with a little trauma.

    These combine to create a scenario where not only can abusers rationalize their abuse, but ordinary men are encouraged to support and look the other way, because they don’t want to be considered honorary women and given the punishment of rape for it by calling out “successful men”*.

    The entrenchment makes it harder for all to fight back against it, both victims of rape and non-rapists-who-are-also-not-rape-survivors who recognize how fucked up and inhumane the system is to fully detangle all the roots and assumptions that go into reinforcing it.

    *I’m sorry if this comment sounds like I’m bashing men. I’m really not. I’m more talking about the culture of toxic masculinity which most men here are already working hard at trying to root from themselves and society at large.

  283. says

    Cerberus:

    Some of the fellow olds on the site might remember the thread wherein I was talking about the details of my rape (which I at the time stressed was the most minor of sexual assaults, because yanno internalized minimization) on some thread as some illustrating example of something (probably rape culture) and somebody became very very invested in the notion that I made up my rape because the way I froze and was befuddled about the situation as it happened were obvious signs of fabrication.

    I remember. After Paul W’s continued apologia in Teadome, I finally told the story of the assault which has always been in my mental “not rape” box. Briefly, I woke up with an acquaintance’s fingers in my vagina. In 34 years, I had never told Mister about that. I had never told anyone about that. Last night, we were talking about the Steubenville case and Mister brought up reading about her being assaulted digitally. He shrugged and started to say that wasn’t rape, though, and…I looked at him and said, “it is.” “It happened to me.” I then told him the story. He shook his head and said “you’re right, it’s rape.” He apologized three times, and was amazed at how much of a mental mindfuck it was, that he’s bought into this part of rape culture for his whole life. Rape culture is a terrible thing, and it affects everyone.

  284. Pteryxx says

    *more WARNING*

    These combine to create a scenario where not only can abusers rationalize their abuse, but ordinary men are encouraged to support and look the other way, because they don’t want to be considered honorary women and given the punishment of rape for it by calling out “successful men”*.

    *nodnodnod* And women, too, can gain partial honorary-man status by slut-shaming other women and/or putting “bros before hos”. Conversely, honorary-man status isn’t automatic even for men – they can be challenged by, say, accusing them of being gay (see the current NFL-policing: here for example) or by pushing young women (conscious or unconscious) at them and expecting them to react appropriately or else.

  285. says

    Nate @375

    Yeah, definitely, and on a side note, fuck the fucking fuckers who try and go “oh rape is just a natural part of life, we’ll never be able to uproot it, because all men are naturally conditioned to go there”. No. No, they are not. And it always boggles my mind (no, it doesn’t, because I understand it’s more about silencing those speaking truth to power than actually making an argument) that feminists are considered “man-haters”, when it’s rape apologists who regularly argue that men are just these slavering lust beasts who can’t be reliably trusted not to abuse and violate people (and yet should be in charge of everything everywhere because somehow despite this they are naturally the best at everything and fuck that horseshit).

    Pteryxx @378

    I wonder if it’s also the capitalist society bit? The idea that life is a zero-sum game and there must be winners and there must be losers. More equatable countries (such as the Scandanavian countries) have a reduced incidence of rape, slightly better gender relations, and more social support of socially marginalized peoples. Similarly, workplaces seem to be way worse on gender-relations, discrimination, and dealing with in-community harassment and rape. I don’t think it’s the sole or primary reason, but I wonder if the capitalism isn’t making things worse by allowing the construction of mythologies where masculinity and homosocial respect (and privilege and the benefits that come with being “good” with the social group with all the social and financial power) are finite goods that will only go to a certain amount of in-group members and if you’re not constantly making a “profit” on your terribleness, then you’re in danger of being cut out by someone willing to be worse.

    It might explain why so many men seem to have disproportionate investment in things they’ve worryingly considered key to their man portfolio and why so many are in constant fear of losing that with the slightest “mistake” or “misstep”*.

    *I bring up my partner’s boyfriend who is in constant fear that he’s not enough of a man and will start losing romantic and sexual partners and never get any more, despite the fact that he’s an extremely diverse poly person with a huge number of partners entirely because he nonetheless sticks to being a very sensitive and partner-focused sexual lover who is respectful, especially, of where his female partners are and what they need and knows when to back off and just be supportive emotionally and physically.

  286. says

    Pteryxx:

    Why maleness of all things?

    Reading Manhood in America really helped me to understand why. It really does come down to being differentiated from women, from not being susceptible to the dreaded feminization. Masculinity is more toxic now, because all of the spaces traditionally considered to be male sanctums have been encroached or feminized. That’s the main reason the backlash is so severe. Also, traditionally, autonomy has been the reserve of men, and the more autonomous women become, the more masculinity is threatened.

  287. Pteryxx says

    yikes, Caine, I’m sorry. *even more rattie boggles*

    Well, I’m not sure how much maleness is predicated on insecurity, but bullying definitely is. Also I read Crommunist’s vignettes of times he could have had sex with someone where impairment of consent might have been a factor, but didn’t because he chose not to. Unspectacular as such narratives are, aren’t they important? Because as Giliell’s said, one’s trusted partner could rape at any time, but they don’t. Not because the forces of justice would leap on them if they did (not-spoiler: AS IF) but because they’re good and decent people who don’t want to rape anybody.

    …and now I’m back to religion again. *ponders*

  288. says

    Pteryxx @384

    Yes. THIS. It’s also why when my middle school mates were dealing with signs that I was asexual and transfemale (I was ignorant about these things until college), the attacks were all about me being a gay male and therefore honorary female, because the antithesis of not being a horndog seeking approval along toxic masculinity lines must be being those categories.

    Caine @386

    That makes sense. If masculinity has been defined by an absence of femininity. And cis-men (and trans-men who don’t get caught) are the ones allowed autonomy. Then women gaining that autonomy makes autonomy a female-tainted activity much like certain categories of video games, certain comic book styles, or styles of atheism and if men want to prove their masculinity, then they must reject reflexively something they enjoyed and blame women for the loss. And since losing autonomy is also a feminine activity in this stereotypical assumption, it places them in a double-bind where they see nowhere to retreat “to”, but no less angry at the perception of reduction of options.

    On a positive note, that means that those attitudes will start blowing themselves up much like bigotries in the past have when pushed into a similar situation. And we’re seeing that with the number of men looking to this toxic masculinity model and going “gosh, that’s really toxic” and striving to find new models. Some are terrible retreads (MRA movement) and some are positive steps (hesitant movement towards the feminist movement or feminist self-improvement), but that the motion and discussion is happening is a good step towards breaking the hold toxic masculinity has over so much of the culture at large.

    Caine @383

    *Safe hug*

    That’s awful. I’m glad your Mister was able to root out that internalized rape culture and become better, but you never should have suffered either the initial rape or his initial dismissal of it.

    On a side note, it’s kind of odd what ends up fueling admissions. The way I came out to my parents were very similar with my dad saying some internalized sexism thing about women and I ended up asking if he would think the same thing if I was a woman, cause, [insert coming out here]. It all speaks to a culture where those marginalized, victimized, or doing or being various things shouldn’t have to default to silence all the time waiting for a moment of triggering to “bring it up”. This disproportion of social comfort of broaching subjects tells the tale in and of itself on what our society overall supports better.

  289. Pteryxx says

    Yes. THIS. It’s also why when my middle school mates were dealing with signs that I was asexual and transfemale (I was ignorant about these things until college), the attacks were all about me being a gay male and therefore honorary female, because the antithesis of not being a horndog seeking approval along toxic masculinity lines must be being those categories.

    *wince* That might explain something from my experience… I’ve gotten LESS shit than I would have expected for being genderqueer, and given your explanation I suspect it might be because I’m still a horndog. Talking about sex all the time might have bought me honorary-man-points, and thus more tolerance, from some of these quiescent jerks. They were fine with unloading on my friends, for instance.

  290. Pteryxx says

    O_o check Lynna’s latest post in the Lounge (quoting someone)

    I cannot hate men. I have three sons whom I love as much as if they were daughters. But I mourn for them a thousand times more than I do for my daughter. . . . My sons do not understand what is happening to them, the insidiousness of it defeats me, defeats them. It is everywhere–in the very air they breathe–that they must be tyrants to be real. Benevolent, gentle tyrants, perhaps–if they are lucky, they get that message, though many men do not–but still tyrants. And always at the mercy of their egos.

  291. Esteleth, stupid fucking starchild Tolkien worshiping douche says

    One of the more pernicious effects of the patriarchy and rape culture is the definition of male and masculine = neither female nor feminine.

    That is, what it is to be “male” and “masculine” (and “a man,” and all the other associated terms) are defined in the negative, by what they are not.

    This, inherently, sets up opposition between the very concepts of “masculine” and “feminine.” If to be “a man” is to not be “a woman,” then to be “a man” one must be ANTI-WOMAN.

    Inherently.

    It also sets up the process whereby something is claimed by women (access to something, right to have a particular habit or practice, clothing styles, etc) and men are allowed only what is “left over.” Because once something has been claimed by women, it is tainted with womanliness, and therefore unfit for men. So men are left with the “correct” options of either (1) surrendering and retreating from whatever-it-is, or (2) defending it against female encroachment. Sharing – if it happens at all – is grudging, and subtypes of the “men and women both can X, but men Xa while women Xb, and na’er the twain shall meet” quickly form and are swiftly codified.

  292. says

    Og @379

    He tried to raise me to not be a woman. He tried to raise me to not be a child. I think (I hope?) I ended up being human.

    You did. You really did. And we’re all incredibly proud of you.

    Bingo. Did someone interview my abuser?

    It’s unfortunately common… too unfortunately common.

    Thanks. There is a part of me, though, that thinks, If I had only been better at expressing myself, Matt would have realized what was going on and on and on. . . . which, as Cerberus points out, is BS as I cannot save people from themselves. Which hurts.

    I understand and empathize. My partner has the same feeling all the time, but especially with trying to support me with the various traumas going on at work. It hurts accepting that the world is chaotic and arbitrary and sometimes often bad things happen to good people. It can seem comforting to assume that you have some direct control over all of it, that instead of this big frightening place, it’s all down to you not being awesome enough to save yourself and save others. But it’s just a lie and a cudgel that makes bad things hurt worse because your mind ends up assuming control and blame that simply isn’t there. The world being chaotic may seem scary, but acknowledging who is truly responsible for bad deeds helps bring it into focus. This world doesn’t need to suck as much as it does, but some people insist on making it so by doing acts they know are wrong. And while you can’t prevent those actions, you do have power in speaking truth to power, in rallying others who have been wrong and snail-like making the world more like a place where those bad things never happen than the place where they happened all the time. And I think your brave actions have been doing that. Consistently. You should be proud for what you can affect and how you’ve touched the lives of those it was in your power to touch. Like Pteryxx earlier this thread.

    That meant something. That meant everything.

    Oh, shit, Cerberus. I do that to me, too. And when I see someone else do it, I can see how wrong it is. When I do it, it seems right.

    You have my profound sympathy. What you went through should never happen to anyone. Ever. From the act itself to the denial, not good. Be safe.

    It’s ironic how that works, isn’t it?

    I know how wrong it is when it’s happening to you. You know how wrong it is when it’s happening to me and yet we can never seem to internalize it strongly enough when it’s ourselves, especially not to the parts of ourselves that hate ourselves and seek to perpetuate the abuse.

    We didn’t do anything wrong. We didn’t deserve what happened to us. We weren’t at fault. It can be hard to remember that, but it’s good to do so.

    Because for some, like my scout leader, like my football coaches, if you can’t rape the world, you aren’t a real man.

    Fuck them all. And fuck how they’ve hijacked so much of culture to their insecure exploitative bullshit. *Spit*

  293. says

    All trigger warnings continue to apply, here…

    Pterryx at #378:

    But that’s the slippery concept I’m trying to nail down here. Why maleness of all things? Being male, without the toxicity, has little or nothing to do with dehumanizing and destroying opponents.

    In theory you’re right, but in practice, maleness is associated with those things. I really don’t know why. I wish I did. It honestly makes zero sense to me. And I want to see it change.

    (As a sportscritter I really hate this. You can win OR lose a game without humiliation on either side. Having sex without humiliation is even easier – no keeping score!)

    (Don’t get me started on sports. Sports in the US is yet another fucking religion. I can’t tell you how much I honestly hate sports culture… with a seething passion. Something needs to happen to change the way people in the US and the world deal with sports, otherwise shit like Penn State and Steubenville and what happened to that cheerleader in Texas and so on will continue to be viewed as “just another day in sports”, as opposed to the heinous crimes they actually were and are.)

    Why should merciless destruction have anything at all to do with the construct that includes penises and shaving?

    Is there any point in history where violence was not associated with maleness? For whatever reason, being violent is one of the biggest measures of being a man. And it seems to have been that way for as long as Homo sapiens have existed… which is depressing as all hell…

    Caine at #386:

    Reading Manhood in America really helped me to understand why. It really does come down to being differentiated from women, from not being susceptible to the dreaded feminization. Masculinity is more toxic now, because all of the spaces traditionally considered to be male sanctums have been encroached or feminized. That’s the main reason the backlash is so severe. Also, traditionally, autonomy has been the reserve of men, and the more autonomous women become, the more masculinity is threatened.

    I think this may be right, but wow is it insulting, too. Not only is it misogynistic, but it’s harmful to men, too. It’s pathetic.

    As a note: I don’t mean you were insulting, Caine… I mean the concept that you highlighted. I hate it…

    I’m going to have to read Manhood in America

    Cerebus at #385:

    Yeah, definitely, and on a side note, fuck the fucking fuckers who try and go “oh rape is just a natural part of life, we’ll never be able to uproot it, because all men are naturally conditioned to go there”. No. No, they are not. And it always boggles my mind (no, it doesn’t, because I understand it’s more about silencing those speaking truth to power than actually making an argument) that feminists are considered “man-haters”, when it’s rape apologists who regularly argue that men are just these slavering lust beasts who can’t be reliably trusted not to abuse and violate people (and yet should be in charge of everything everywhere because somehow despite this they are naturally the best at everything and fuck that horseshit).

    The conversation over why rape is so prevalent, why it’s so ubiquitous in the animal kingdom, and if it has some kind of evolutionary explanation, is fine as long as it comes with the caveat that none of that changes the fact that rape is a heinous crime that needs to be minimized if not eradicated. Once the conversation starts being used as an excuse to do nothing, then yeah, it’s time for that conversation to be over.

  294. says

    Esteleth @392

    Yes, THIS!

    You can see this in real time with the behaviors in the atheist community, the gaming community, the comic books community, and the general geek convention community.

    When women are more present and visible and “tainting things” the men retreat and smear the thing they used to praise as “girly” and the men who still enjoy X thing, because they enjoy it, as being girly men who aren’t “real” community group members. You can see this constantly with regards to gaming, where each genre that women enjoy gets added to the roster of “casual gaming”.

    Or they destroy everything, as you can see in the comic books industry, which has at least twice, completely douchebro bombed their industry and become reactionary against female or minority-group-member fans because a period of tolerance and support lead to too many female and minority group member fans in a way that freaked out the male fans.

    And you can see it in the atheist community in the simultaneous attempt to create “real atheism” which is atheism kept in a box and never contaminated by the real world and its applications, while also trying to push the women back out with harassment, and very begrudgingly sharing with regards to conventions.

    It sucks that this cycle keeps on repeatedly happening, but I guess the push and retreat is necessary to reach the day when those insecure men run out of places to retreat and have to face that they can either deal with the existence of women or be a small insular community of bigots doing the equivalent of ranting about the perfidy of the Irish (sorry for American-centric example, UK residents).

  295. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    I’m really enjoying reading the current discussion.
    ————-

    UnknownEric,

    Ugh. I shouldn’t have followed your link.

  296. UnknownEric: A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama? says

    Beatrice,

    Yeah, it’s just awful. I probably should have put a warning on that link.

  297. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    UnknownEric,

    Considering who you mentioned, I should have expected nothing less.

  298. Ogvorbis says

    You did. You really did. And we’re all incredibly proud of you.

    I wish I were really who you think I am.

    And I think your brave actions have been doing that. Consistently.

    I see myself as a coward, though. I write, here, because I am too frightened of letting my friends and family know about this; to protect myself from me. Can someone be a brave coward?

  299. Pteryxx says

    Can someone be a brave coward?

    Yes.

    Parents of Steubenville victim want ‘Everything Over’

    and

    The Steubenville rape victim, when offered money for her legal expenses or counselling, asked that people donated to a shelter for abused women and children in her county, Madden House, instead.

    http://createourownlight.tumblr.com/post/45684185068/steubenvilles-jane-doe-asked-people-to-do-something

    I’m starting to think ‘brave’ doesn’t mean what honorary-man-culture implies that it means. (And ‘coward’ minus the shaming doesn’t seem to have a meaning at all.)

  300. says

    Og @400

    Can someone be a brave coward?

    Bob, I hope so. Considering I’m needed to be so much braver than I am while hitting the peak of my bravery, it better damn well be possible, or I’m going to be letting down a lot of people who need me to be even better, even more pitch perfect. Sorry… I didn’t mean to make it about me.

    I wish I were really who you think I am.

    I’m going by what I’ve seen here, by the actions you have taken here, under the stresses you’ve had and shared. Maybe I don’t know who you “really am”, but I think it’s a lot closer to the truth than you give yourself credit for. You’ve shown remarkable humanity on these threads and I have no reason to doubt that’s who you are.

    I see myself as a coward, though. I write, here, because I am too frightened of letting my friends and family know about this; to protect myself from me.

    What you are dealing with is hard. Really hard. And there’s a lot of social shame and internalized self-shame surrounding it. You shouldn’t beat yourself for failing to complete exceedingly difficult tasks because you imagine someone dealing with a more mundane problem would be able to accomplish them easier. You’re not dealing with a mundane problem. You’re not in a good head space. These things matter in making these tasks and the bravery earned by working through them so much greater.

    I tell my partner the same thing when she’s dealing with ghosts from familial emotional abuse and wondering why I can deal with my memories of childhood better. The only secret is I didn’t have parents who abused me.

    The same is true for you. The only reason others seem like they’re doing things easier and you feel like you can’t complete what seem like they should be simple tasks is because they aren’t really simple tasks and you’re dealing with an extraordinary stress.

    But you’re decision to at least tell us about it and seek us for help, shows that you have far more bravery than you give yourself credit for.

  301. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    I wish I were really who you think I am.

    You’re a good person, Ogvorbis.
    I’m looking forward to the day when you realize that.

  302. UnknownEric: A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama? says

    I’m starting to think ‘brave’ doesn’t mean what honorary-man-culture implies that it means.

    You mean it doesn’t refer solely to people who hurl insults on twitter under pseudonyms?

    P.S. Og, you are not a coward. Dealing with what happened to you takes a lot of bravery and strength, and you’ve shown a lot of both. One lurker’s opinion.

  303. Ogvorbis says

    Sorry… I didn’t mean to make it about me.

    This is about all of us. I pesonalize things all the fekking time around here. I think that I like Hawkeye Pierce’s definition of bravery — some one who is terrified but does what needs to be done.

    You’ve shown remarkable humanity on these threads and I have no reason to doubt that’s who you are.

    I feel like I’ve been pretending for so long that what I pretend is real.

    And there’s a lot of social shame and internalized self-shame surrounding it.

    Ah, the smell of rape culture in action, right?

    You shouldn’t beat yourself for failing to complete exceedingly difficult tasks because you imagine someone dealing with a more mundane problem would be able to accomplish them easier.

    Oh, I can generally accomplish what needs to be done. I just have this idea that I should always be able to accomplish what I set out to do. Yesterday, I set out to ‘save Matt’ from his own actions (which is not my job and, as he is a free agent, not something I had any real chance of succeeding at) because I liked him from my previous encounters and kept trying to take his hand and point him towards an honourable exit.

  304. says

    There are a lot of different kinds of courage. Physical bravery’s been tainted by its cooptation by that honorary man culture, but it’s still valuable. Emotional and social bravery are distinct from the physical kind, though related. There’s also honesty, which coincides with courage in the area of emotion — the commitment to introspective honesty is a form of courage too little valued. There’s also perseverance, which is mainly distinct from other kinds of courage: the courage to continue after experiencing setbacks.

    It’s not all about hurling spears at charging mammoths. Even if we allow for the existence of rhetorical spears.

  305. Ogvorbis says

    There’s also honesty, which coincides with courage in the area of emotion — the commitment to introspective honesty is a form of courage too little valued.

    I’m honest because I’m a coward. A little pain now, or a lot of pain later.

    Which is odd, because I spent 35 years lying to myself, very effectively, about being raped. So I guess I earned the ‘lot of pain later’ that I’m getting now.

  306. Pteryxx says

    Chris: THIS! Honesty is a form of bravery. Speaking up at all is a form of bravery. Now that you said it, I agree it takes bravery to self-examine, because ratgods know it’s much easier to go right on being proudly and loudly wrong (or silent).

    Ogvorbis: but that wasn’t your lie. You were told as much by your abuser, who was supposedly a trustworthy adult – that this was just the normal way of the world and so on. A lot like being told hell was real.

  307. Jacob Schmidt says

    Ogvorbis

    If you’ll forgive my lurker status:

    I wish I were really who you think I am.

    One thing I’ve learned is that “who I am” has little meaning outside the effects of my actions. Your actions around here have done a great deal of good. I can’t tell you how to feel, but in my opinion it should involve some measure of pride.

  308. Ogvorbis says

    By that rationale, going to the dentist is cowardice.

    Speaking of which, I really need to get that broken filling dealt with. Someday.

    In case you haven’t noticed, Chris, there are some things I don’t approach logically. Who I pretend to be is one of them.

  309. says

    In case you haven’t noticed, Chris, there are some things I don’t approach logically. Who I pretend to be is one of them.

    Heh. Believe me, I know how that one works.

    Rereading, I see my tone was lecturey, and I apologize. What I mean is: stop giving my friend Ogvorbis too little credit, man.

  310. Pearson says

    I’m back from my weekly home visit (two of my girls are on the spectrum and my second has weekly home visits with her ABA teacher) and I see I missed quite a bit. Just a few things I want to touch on:

    Pteryxx @ some number way up there, sorry

    I’m glad what I posited about the emotional abuse helped in some way. At times, I find patterns with people’s behavior that so closely mimics what my ex did to control me that it’s like getting hit with a brick wall. I imagine that there are variants of this that I do not pick up on as easily, but in Matt’s case, it was very spot on so it clicked right away for me.

    Esteleth:

    It also sets up the process whereby something is claimed by women (access to something, right to have a particular habit or practice, clothing styles, etc) and men are allowed only what is “left over.”

    This ^ so very much explains also why so much of the pushback against addressing sexism and misogyny seems to adopt a position that equality is a zero sum game. So many people seem to have the idea that if women have something, men cannot also have it or it must be altered or reduced in some way. Many people seem to believe that even if men and women were equal, they would still need to prove their masculinity or femininity. I wish we could really get away from those concepts because of how they box people’s identities in. If we could get true equality, anyone should be free to be, feel, or express as much masculinity and femininity as they want without any ill effects. I’m hoping this all made sense. The ideas are still tumbling around in my mind quite a bit right now.

  311. Esteleth, stupid fucking starchild Tolkien worshiping douche says

    Erm.

    I debated where to post it, and decided that the Dome was probably the best place.

    For a long time (even though I “got” why trauma was bad, and “got” that this wasn’t something you just “got over”), I didn’t “get” triggers. Like, I got the concept that you could receive a stimulus (image, word, sound, smell, etc) that would remind you of the traumatic experience. Sure. No problem. But the idea that this wasn’t something you could just “ignore” or whatever, and that receiving this stimulus was intensely painful, was beyond me. I didn’t get it, and my response to people complaining of triggers was either one of (1) scorn or (2) pity, thinking that they hadn’t “healed” from whatever experience it was they’d endured and were weak. I also thought people asking for trigger warnings (or deliberately avoiding situations that produced triggers) were weak, and that this shouldn’t be “coddled.”

    I was a shithead on the topic, basically.

    One of the things that Pharyngula has taught me was that I was wrong. I am a better person for this, and I am able to be a better friend to the people I care for who have vulnerabilities to triggers.

    It also helped me recognize that I have such vulnerabilities, and that there are things that will reduce me to a quivering mess. Recognizing this has helped me confront just what this is, and query and unpack the experience(s) that make me vulnerable to those triggers and – hopefully – begin the process of recovering from things I just wanted to ignore and forget about.

    Thank you, Horde. ♥

  312. says

    Ogvorbis:
    You do yourself a disservice my friend.
    The strides you have made in recognizing your privilege, your deep empathy for others, your steadfast rejection of patriarchy, rape culture, misogyny and sexism, your willingness to jump into the fray to help others…

    I see no coward.

    I see a BRAVE man.

  313. mythbri says

    @Esteleth

    I learned a small thing about triggers, too (see my comment above about yelling/fighting neighbors).

    I hated it when my parents fought, and I would beg them not to. It never even got physical, but I’ve realized now that I can’t bear to hear people yelling or screaming in anger. It makes me want to get away as soon as possible.

    Which is why one of the “get to know you” questions I ask the men I date is “How do you deal with anger?”

    Because if they think they can shout at me, cool down and think that everything’s fine, that’s not something I would be able to handle.

  314. says

    Esteleth:
    That is awesome.
    My hat is off to you. Being willing and able to accept that you were wrong and work to change is admirable.
    (The following is a direct result of your post. I hope it is not taken as trying to overshadow your achievement.)

    Ironically, reading your post made me realize I did the same thing in the past. I remember when I first got here and saw trigger warnings on some posts, it made sense. Other times it didn’t. I would read a post and think “I do not see anything triggering in there.” Therein lay my mistake. In fact, I may have understood on some level where I was wrong because I never blurted out “why is there a trigger warning on this post?” (I am so glad I never said that).
    In time, most likely do to the influence of the Horde, I realized “it is not about you, Tony. Other people have life experiences that are tragic or painful. TW’s serve as a red flag for those people, whoever they are. They exist to minimize the suffering of others. ” It was incredibly self centered of me to frame things around my existence to the extent that I discounted the pain others have gone through. Part of being a Humanist or a supporter of the A+ concept-IMHO-is seeking to reduce the pain and suffering of others.
    That comes around to your part in this.

    I never articulated all of the above until literally when I read your comment. Oh, all the pieces were rolling in my head, but to group them into a coherent form…? Not so much.

    Thank you Esteleth.
    Thank you, Horde.

  315. says

    Esteleth:

    Thank you, Horde. ♥

    Thank you for being willing to open minded, to think, and to understand. That’s incredibly valuable and it makes the world a better place.

    Tony:

    Your Mister sounds like an amazing, supportive, compassionate person. The world needs more people like that.

    He’s a good person, all the way.

  316. John Morales says

    I remember (((Billy))) the Atheist — was a good commenter.

    (Ogvorbis is a better one)

  317. says

    Pteryxx @402, Ogvorbis @407:
    There is some idea percolating in my head right now based on both your comments about the word ‘coward’. I am trying to work it out because it feels important. Rambling ahead:

    I have, to the best of my knowledge, never heard of coward used in a non-shaming way. It has always been used to shame an individual for their actions.

    But isn’t that simply an individual passing negative judgement on the actions of another? More, to cast such judgment without access to all relevant facts regarding that choice is to make a snap negative judgment of someone. A knee-jerk reaction that may-in some cases-be used to reaffirm that the ‘judge’ is not fearful like hir. That the ‘judge’ is better because xe would never do such a thing.
    ‘I can’t believe he ran away from that fight. I would never do that.”.
    ‘Did you hear? The shooter committed suicide. Took the ‘cowards’ way out.’
    Somewhere amidst this idea is the effect gender roles and toxic masculinity play on our actions.
    Why would avoiding the dentist be ‘cowardly’? Is there any way it could be?
    Why does Oggie feel his honesty is due to ‘cowardice’ on his part. From where I sit, I see him trying to avoid the largest amount of pain to himself and others by being honest.
    If coward is always used to shame others, why would you shame someone for avoiding pain? Avoiding pain is something I imagine most of us have done before.
    Are we all cowards?
    Then thrre is something in there about expecting others to react to some situation in the matter you choose, not in a way best suited for them.

    apologies for the mess of incoherence. I am a bit tired, but felt an urge-spurred on by my refusal to believe Ogvorbis is a coward-to get this ‘out on paper’ if you will. None of it was meant to draw firm conclusions and I am aware of assumptions I made.

  318. Pearson says

    Tony:

    If coward is always used to shame others, why would you shame someone for avoiding pain? Avoiding pain is something I imagine most of us have done before.

    Sadly, Tony, while it makes sense to a lot of us to question why avoiding pain would be something to shame, a lot of people seem to think that experiencing pain, and further, experiencing pain without wincing, flinching, complaining, etc. as some sign of strength or “courage.” I’ll be 34 week pregnant on Friday with #4 and this is a common element to the natural childbirth movement. This idea that pain can be good for you in some way… it’s rather perverse if you ask me.

    Natural childbirth as held up as some spiritual, natural thing of awesome. Women who make the mistake of saying they’re planning on an epidural are often talked down to as though they are not sufficiently martyring themselves for their baby. The whole thing drives me up a wall. Frankly, childbirth is like what I imagine a day of torture would be like, so to glorify it the way they do just seems odd. But I think there is this natural drive to prove oneself in some way and taking a hit or pushing past some pain seems to be one way to do this proving. I’ve known too many men in particular who refused to seek medical help because showing pain is apparently such a great weakness. The whole pain = weakness thing is really so toxic that I try to point out ridiculous it is whenever I encounter it.

    I don’t know if I really built off of what you were saying there, but I just wanted to get those things out.

  319. rq says

    Pearson
    All I know is that the pain of childbirth with no epidural 3x made me fucking terrified of the whole process (but it was a matter of finances not ‘cowardliness’, frankly I would have gone the ‘easier’ way, had I a real choice). You’re far braver than I am, going for #4, also for everything that will come after. Good luck, and may you and potential-human be in the best of health!

    +++

    to so many of you that I should list:
    The conversation here is absolutely riveting, but difficult for me, so I would like to tip the hat to all of you for whom all of it has far more personal impact. I look up to you and I admire you, and you’re all good excellent people (yes, even you, Ogvorbis!).
    So while it may not mean much, you have my support, spoken or unspoken, and I wish you all the very best, always.

  320. cotton says

    I tend to lurk more than comment, and I’m probably going to encounter a lot more bullshit than I generally enjoy putting up with. But hey, its the internet. Yeehaw, right?

    So I was told to come here with a question / post. This was a response to kate_waters in the “Apparently, I need to clarify myself” thread. I was post 51 she was 54.

    @54[kate_waters] quite possibly. I’ve had a long LONG road out of privilege-ville and I’m still on it. Along the way, I’ve met some truly great people who helped me out and some people who were right, but, IMO, a bit jerky about it. There seems to be a lot of people who feel the privileged (me) have an obligation to a.) fight against the Kyriarchy (hope I’m using that right) on behalf of those oppressed by it and b.) put up with a lot from those people b/c they don’t have privilege and can’t trust anybody. I honestly can’t tell if I’m evading responsibility or needless masochism.

    The message I get is best summed up by Crommunist in one of his comments on his Idealogical Purity post: “Meh. I would say that part of the job description of ally means that you’re going to get smacked around by your “own team” a bit. It’s going to happen. You’ve got to be in the game because it’s the right thing to do, not because people are nicer to you as a result.”

    My knee jerk is: I don’t owe you or anyone this. Am I wrong?

    It now occurs to me I probably derailed this thread. I have an old email if anyone has something interesting to say about this w/o further deralin’ : tekman_38668 at hotmail dot com. Also, up for any suggestions on where (forum / site) to go about this. This entire post is weeks built up pressure of not being able to figure it out. >.<

  321. says

    Cotton:
    First- this is the Thunderdome. Unmoderated free for all with no set topic. Obviously the conversation upthread is one many chose to take part in, but the nature of this thread means you cannot intertupt it.

    Second- before I can comment on the rest, I am very curious about what type of belief system you have. Obviously you owe me no explanation, but if you are a Humanist or any type of Social Justice Warrior, I would question how committed you are if you take a “meh’ attitude to the ills of the world.
    The flipside is that if you do not have a belief system where equitable treatment of all humans (animals for that matter, too) is of great importance or if you have a belief system that does not involve minimizing the pain and/or suffering of others, I would ask “why do you hold the beliefs you do?”. After all, we do not live in a bubble. Striving-in whatever way(s) you can, to whatever deugree you are capable of-to make the world better for others benefits you too.

  322. John Morales says

    No worries, Cotton. Good idea, I’ll respond to roro80 there here.

    For…what exactly?

    For her misinterpretation and ensuing reaction.

    Sorry, so somehow you and other male atheists are “members of a group that have been shat upon by members of your group for all of recorded memory”? No? Then whatever irony or hypocrisy you were implying is pathetically misplaced.

    Framing, not irony or hypocrisy.

    Well, fuck, then it’s settled then! John says so.

    If you say so.

  323. Pteryxx says

    “Meh. I would say that part of the job description of ally means that you’re going to get smacked around by your “own team” a bit. It’s going to happen. You’ve got to be in the game because it’s the right thing to do, not because people are nicer to you as a result.”

    My knee jerk is: I don’t owe you or anyone this. Am I wrong?

    My take is, no you don’t owe anyone forbearance by default. You (general you) decide whether your forbearance, or theirs, is more important to you.

  324. says

    Also, and more importantly, if you understand the various axes of oppression that make up kyriarchy, but do nothing aside from say “ok. I get it now. It’s all good.” and proceed to do nothing then you willingly support a status quo that oppresses minorities across the globe.
    IMHO, someone aware of privilege who does nothing different than they did prior to their understanding is worse than someone who does not grok it.

  325. cotton says

    I guessed people would talk around me. It was suggested I come here by Caine, Fleur du mal. Am I supposed to answer or is that more interrupting? Inasmuch as you asked… I don’t know wtf I am. I want to do the right thing. I was bullied as a kid. It sucked. Presumably, it sucks for other people. From there I’ve tried to to grow my moral understanding to be able to comprehend more complex systems of “bullying” (i.e. sure the Klan is racist, but systemic racism is a problem, and probably a bigger one considering its size and relative stealth).

    As far as the Vegan vibe I got from you….if a precursor to consider talking to me is putting animals in the same moral sphere as humans, well I don’t.

    The succinct way to put my original question is this: Look I want to help people. I want to help them b/c its right and I would want them to help me, not so they can build a statue in my honor or give me a cookie. However, I don’t feel obligated to help those that will never do anything more than tolerate my presence, assume the worst in what I say, and cut me no slack when I inevitably fuck up.

  326. John Morales says

    cotton:

    The succinct way to put my original question is this: Look I want to help people. I want to help them b/c its right and I would want them to help me, not so they can build a statue in my honor or give me a cookie. However, I don’t feel obligated to help those that will never do anything more than tolerate my presence, assume the worst in what I say, and cut me no slack when I inevitably fuck up.

    Hm.

    What you’ve written is that you don’t feel obligated to do X but you want to do X.

    What I think you’re trying to express is that you only sometimes want to do X.

    Are you conflicted because you imagine you should always want to do X?

  327. consciousness razor says

    What you’ve written is that you don’t feel obligated to do X but you want to do X.

    What I think you’re trying to express is that you only sometimes want to do X.

    I think what it actually means is that cotton (sometimes) wants to only do a subset of X, where X is a very broad, vaguely-defined set of behaviors like “being liberal and rational.” If I recall correctly from the gun control threads cotton was in before, he considers himself a “liberal” (and maybe a “humanist”) in many respects and wants people to give him a break when he “inevitably” fucks up by having particular fucked up conservative views. Whether or not that’s “inevitable,” the assumption doesn’t seem to be that those views can or should be changed. We should just accept it and be nice about it, because in some ways he’s sort of an “ally.”

  328. cotton says

    Cool, Caine :)

    Pteryxx: I would say equal. Golden rule and all that. I expect neutrality and, after some time, a certain amount of trust. I don’t expect to walk into a room full of feminists, declare that I’m a feminist, and instantly get my “good one” card. At the same time, I often hear from the oppressed the charge that potential allies just want to be heroes or get their “one of the good ones” card. I’m REALLY wary of that last sentence, b/c that has been my interpretation of it. Maybe they meant something else that, in the context of queery theory / gender theory / race theory I just didn’t get but thought I did.

  329. says

    Ogvorbis,

    You’re not a coward. Look at how you stood up to that bully in the awful thread. Look at how you’ve done the same on countless threads. That’s not cowardice, but its opposite. And just because the bully (and probably others) refused to listen to you and other people, that doesn’t mean you failed. The bully failed to pay attention. He failed to examine his own behavior and understand what he was doing wrong. He failed, not you. That shit is on him, all the way.

    I hate how depression causes us to internalize everything, like every little thing in the universe, including the behavior of others, is our responsibility. It’s something I struggle with, too, and it’s so rough. You’re a good person, and none of it– not the behavior of pedantic assholes, not the horrible things that happened to you, none of it– is your fault.

    You know this. It’s just something that bears repeating.

  330. cotton says

    Morales: Maybe, and that’s what I’m afraid of. I find myself doing the right thing, sometimes. I’ll have a debate in my head “should I stand up against this bullshit or not?” It’s hard to risk alienating people who like me or who employ me for the sake of people who open the conversation with “what do you expect, a cookie? praise? a label? No, this is merely the bare minimum for being a decent person”. Again, I might have that point of view all wrong. My big fear is that I’m just trying to rationalize not doing anything. I ate from the tree of progressive knowledge and now have responsibility. Shit.

    Razor: No. I don’t think I “inevitably fucked up” in regards to my stance on guns. I inevitably fucked up when I introduced my friend Brad as “my gay friend” (*wince*). This was a fuck up. Brad called me out, but he did it in private and he didn’t brow beat me about it. I realized I fucked up, apologized for fucking up, and vowed to not fuck up in that respect again.

  331. mythbri says

    @cotton

    What do you value?

    Defining your values will tell you what you’re willing to fight for, what you’re willing to just accept, and how much criticism you will hear from the people you’re fighting with.

    Be honest in what you value. If you’re not willing to commit in some discussions, I would recommend you don’t participate.

    Because when it comes to arguing for human rights, it’s worse to encounter milquetoast allies than it is to encounter those who are diametrically opposed to you.

  332. says

    As far as the Vegan vibe I got from you….if a precursor to consider talking to me is putting animals in the same moral sphere as humans, well I don’t.

    Ta, then.* (FYI, we’re animals. Not animals+. Animals. Therefore, the idea of anyone putting animals in the same moral or any other sphere as us makes no sense. We’re animals.)

    *From me. I don’t know or care who you’re addressing.

  333. carlie says

    cotton – are you conflating individuals with groups? It’s one thing to say “I want the world to be a place where members of X group are treated the same way and as well as as members of the traditionally dominant group”. If that’s the case, then it shouldn’t matter if one specific member of that group treats you badly. There are assholes in every demographic, and you’re bound to come across one or two. But if you claim to (or want to) advocate on behalf of an entire group, yet let the treatment you get by one or a few of them make you think that group isn’t worth being an ally of, then that’s the worst kind of tokenism. (“Well, if members of that group are all like that, then forget it.”)

    If, however, you’re only wanting to help out specific individuals, then fine, if they treat you like crap then you can stop helping them individually. That’s how social interactions work. But again, if that interaction makes you then suspect every other person who is ethnically/socially/physically like that individual, then you have a lot of unconscious biases to deal with.

    And then there’s the possibility that you don’t understand why they’re mad at you simply because you don’t know enough about what that group has gone through yet, and instead of that person being an asshole, you need to learn more if you want to be an advocate. (e.g. “Why’s she so mad just because I touched her hair? Her hair is pretty! It was a compliment!”)

  334. cotton says

    In terms of relevance to this conversation, I value fairness, justice, and what works. When I see the oppression in this country it pisses me off. On my “more liberal” side it pisses me off b/c it is just wrong. Morally indefensible. And yet, the overwhelming majority of people not only perpetuate it, they don’t even see it or understand it. On what I would call my “more conservative” side, it pisses me off b/c it tears at the social fabric of w/e society it takes place in. For me, its the US. I would love to live in a country where every minority could say that they live in the most understanding and progressive country in the world; where if they are not always understood they are at least given equality and left unmolested to live their lives and “pursue happiness”.

    I have more than most in terms of privilege, money, and freedom. I would love to use some of it to help accomplish those goals. However, I recognize the danger. I could be alienated. I could lose friends. I could be fired. Do I really want to seriously injure the happiness of my life standing up for someone who wants to make damn sure I don’t feel too proud about it? Even if the answer is yes, how far do I have to go? If I don’t go all the way am I just a milquetoast ally who shouldn’t be wasting anyone’s time?

  335. consciousness razor says

    No. I don’t think I “inevitably fucked up” in regards to my stance on guns.

    I only brought up guns because that’s when I remembered you stressing this point before, about how much you should be coddled.* There’s no need to go into guns, if your concern is something else or something more general. The point is, I think your stance on guns is fucked up, and you’re basically confirming what I was saying above. So whether or not I’m right about guns (etc.), we can move on from there to get to whatever your issue is.

    *Sorry, not “coddled.” That’s hardly an impartial description. How much we shouldn’t “brow breat” you for it. Much better. *eyeroll*

  336. mythbri says

    @cotton

    Do I really want to seriously injure the happiness of my life standing up for someone who wants to make damn sure I don’t feel too proud about it?

    Do you want to do something because it’s the right thing to do? Or do you want to do something so that you can say that you did the right thing?

    And with regards to “what works” – there are plenty of things that “work” and yet are not fair or just. How do you reconcile this conflict with your other values?

  337. John Morales says

    cotton:

    Maybe, and that’s what I’m afraid of. I find myself doing the right thing, sometimes. I’ll have a debate in my head “should I stand up against this bullshit or not?”

    Well then, given your stated ethos, I put it to you that by the time you feel impelled to consider whether you should act or not, you already know you should act, absent pressing reasons of consequence.

    Do you consider it such a pressing reason not to act when the beneficiary will never do anything more than tolerate your presence, will assume the worst in what you say, and will cut you no slack when you inevitably fuck up?

  338. Pteryxx says

    cotton, I did read your #438 and I’m considering how to explain.

    You’re familiar with how chilly climate works? In the classic case w.r.t. sexism, a woman in a male-dominated environment gets hit on, creeped on, dismissed, talked over, or some similar microaggression frequently. The behavior is cumulative and systemic – generally no one person is the source, and part of the chilly climate is that nobody takes it seriously or seems to care. In fact, plenty of men say things like “It’s a compliment! I wish strange women would hit on me.

    But when a given person’s been hit on 10 times in a single meeting*, how much consideration should they give to the well-meaning person who unknowingly is number 11?

    Consider how this sounds if it’s the lone woman in the physics department talking to you.

    However, I don’t feel obligated to help those that will never do anything more than tolerate my presence, assume the worst in what I say, and cut me no slack when I inevitably fuck up.

    (and I really do recommend reading Crommunist’s “shuffling feet” post again.)

    The thing is, unless you’re one of the major assholes, this toxic, chilly climate isn’t personally your fault. It’s not your fault that someone may have been traumatized in their past, or that someone’s on their last nerve when you make some unimportant little screw-up. It’s not even your fault that you don’t see how anyone could be upset by whatever you did. But the systemic, diffuse, pervasive problem is still very real. That’s why, even though any individual interaction may be unfair to you, in the larger picture it’s not fair to expect one person to politely endure 10x the microaggressions when the other ten people only have to ride out one apiece.

    *Not an exaggeration. Someone reported this from an atheist meeting she attended.

    Do I really want to seriously injure the happiness of my life standing up for someone who wants to make damn sure I don’t feel too proud about it? Even if the answer is yes, how far do I have to go?

    How far do you have to go for what exactly? How much you risk, in your job and life, is entirely up to you. Risk depends on how secure you feel and how much effort you can expend, and satisfaction depends on the goals you’ve set for yourself and your own conscience.

    If your conscience urges you to risk more for someone who’s grateful and polite to you, instead of someone who’s snippy*, then what are you actually helping for?

    (*I’ve rescued abused hamsters. Not fun. *shrug*)

  339. John Morales says

    cotton:

    If I don’t go all the way am I just a milquetoast ally who shouldn’t be wasting anyone’s time?

    In the context of pseudonymous blog comments, yes.

    (Going all the way, eh? )

  340. Pteryxx says

    Aaaand you got piled on, whoops. I won’t mind if you don’t reply to me specifically.

  341. carlie says

    I could be alienated. I could lose friends.

    If they’re racist or sexist friends who would dump you for saying “hey, that’s racist”, are they really worth having?

    I could be fired.

    Could you give an example? I can’t think of any usual circumstance where this might happen.

    Do I really want to seriously injure the happiness of my life standing up for someone who wants to make damn sure I don’t feel too proud about it?

    That’s back to individuals v. groups again. Are you doing it just for that individual? Are you doing it for their entire group? Are you doing it for your group, to try to make your group better at inclusivity and thinking about people other than themselves? Does that person really despise you, or do they see the spark of an ally in you and are trying to push you to the next level?

    Even if the answer is yes, how far do I have to go? If I don’t go all the way am I just a milquetoast ally who shouldn’t be wasting anyone’s time?

    What kinds of actions are you thinking of here? A decent amount of what kinds of actions are usually taken are things like… not letting racist/sexist/etc. shit stand without it being commented on as a Bad Thing. Do you mean “all the way” as in yelling at a person? As in saying it even in the middle of a socially awkward situation? As in saying it even if it’s your potential mother in law? I’m not being snarky, I’m trying to figure out how much of an imposition you think it is to reject that kind of thinking and how it would actually affect you.

    Just for fun, you might want to check out the Yo, is this racist? blog. Nice and cristal-clear ways to respond to racism, if a bit blunt. Might work as a control set for the kind of interactions you’re thinking of. :)

  342. mythbri says

    I rescued a kitten once. She (a tortoiseshell, so definitely she) was in the middle of the desert, and I was just coming out of a no-kill animal sanctuary after volunteering. I cornered her in an old shed – it’s incredibly unlikely that she could survive in a desert climate, regardless of how young she was, and she was practically skin and bones at that moment anyway. So, I grabbed her, after backing her into a corner.

    She didn’t like that. She bit me good, right on the thumb.

    But I wrapped her in a towel (which I should have gotten out at the beginning), and walked back to the animal sanctuary. Lots of people will abandon unwanted pets in that area, because they know there’s animal-minded people around. They don’t care enough, though, to actually ensure that their unwanted animals get there in one piece.

    So no – this kitten did not thank me. But I did it because it was the right thing to do. I didn’t do it in the best way for me or for her – if I were a more experienced animal rescuer, I would have. But I visited the sanctuary a few weeks later, and she snuggled right up to me after weeks of food and care. But she didn’t owe me that (and she probably didn’t even recognize me, anyway). I didn’t do it for snuggles. I did it because it was right.

  343. Pteryxx says

    And I acknowledged the piling and am backing off in hopes of decreasing the pressure.

  344. cotton says

    To Mythbri and Morales: I think an interesting argument could be made on whether or not the Falkland Islands should be Argentine or part of the UK. Practically though, its nuts to ask all those people to empty out the island so it can be repopulated by people who owned it in the past but have none on it now. Similiar idea for all the white people in the US and Native Americans. Did we steal this land? Yes. Therefore, shouldn’t we, as the inheritors of stolen land, return it to the inheritors of those it was stolen from? I can’t see why not. Therefore do I think all white people should vacate the US with haste? Hell no. Justice is just too expensive a proposition there.

    And that sums up me, I think. I see bullshit. I want to stop it. I’m willing to help, but I’m not willing to go all in. If, for example, my boss said something racist that pissed me off, I would probably not call him out and resign in protest. Car payments and rent don’t pay themselves.

  345. mythbri says

    @Pteryxx

    Is it really piling, though? cotton is asking questions, and people are giving them answers. I’m not seeing this as an argument – cotton asked for help in understanding their role/obligation as a potential ally.

  346. says

    I would love to use some of it to help accomplish those goals. However, I recognize the danger. I could be alienated. I could lose friends. I could be fired. Do I really want to seriously injure the happiness of my life standing up for someone who wants to make damn sure I don’t feel too proud about it? Even if the answer is yes, how far do I have to go? If I don’t go all the way am I just a milquetoast ally who shouldn’t be wasting anyone’s time?

    These are excellent questions. I could yammer on for hours about various subjects you raise here, but I won’t. They’re serious considerations. One I think is off: I don’t think you should assume anyone’s intent is to keep you from being proud of your contributions – people have other goals that can have a humbling effect even when this isn’t the intention. It’s not always about you. But it’s good to go into it with clear vision – without assuming that your every well-meaning act will meet with praise and gratitude. Many will meet with condemnation or criticism, and this might be justified. Probably the best approach is to enter into it with this understanding – since you seem to have good motives for activism – and treat these responses as opportunities to learn and grow. We have no guarantees that our actions will have positive effects for ourselves or others – it’s in the nature of things. The worst possibilities can happen. They have happened, to millions of people. Knowing that, we have to decide how to act.

    One course is unacceptable, though, and that’s trying to tell people who are far more affected by how things go, whose ally and supporter you’re trying to be, how they should respond to your actions, or suggesting that they bear responsibility for what follows from your choices.

  347. consciousness razor says

    And that sums up me, I think. I see bullshit. I want to stop it. I’m willing to help, but I’m not willing to go all in. If, for example, my boss said something racist that pissed me off, I would probably not call him out and resign in protest. Car payments and rent don’t pay themselves.

    First, it is possible to get another job, if the situation is bad enough that it warrants that kind of response. But has anyone said you’re obliged to resign?

    What do you think you should do instead? You should not “call him out” at all, or even raise the issue as something you’d prefer he didn’t do? If your boss is going to fire you or make your life miserable for something like that, it’s not a great workplace for you anyway, as someone who’s not the target of his racist garbage. So does it all come down to whether or not you have car payments?

  348. cotton says

    Mythbri: Ok I get that, mostly. My first response to this was: “But an oppressed person is still a person. Unlike the cat, they can tell I’m not a predator looking to eat / harm them.” After reading that….maybe they can’t o_0.

    Carlie: Possibly. Still, it seems to be rather a prevalent attitude around the blogs I’m reading. The attitude that “allies may have to just put up with some crap from us oppressed folks doesn’t seem to be some outlier position.

    Pteryxx: The idea I get, the term not until now. I admit, I have a bit of a cold streak towards things that “bite” me. I was a teacher and surrounded by kids who drove me nuts. They acted that way b/c they were raised in terrible environments. Some people are inspired to care more and make great teachers. I taught until the requirements for my education grants were satisfied and never looked back. Maybe I have to challenge myself to just get over that callous part of me :\

  349. consciousness razor says

    The attitude that “allies may have to just put up with some crap from us oppressed folks doesn’t seem to be some outlier position.

    It’s not considered “crap.” That’s your position, not theirs. Assume, for the sake of argument, that it isn’t crap, to see if that changes how you interpret what they’re saying.

  350. says

    The attitude that “allies may have to just put up with some crap from us oppressed folks doesn’t seem to be some outlier position.

    You need to define “put up with some crap.”

    I was a teacher and surrounded by kids who drove me nuts. They acted that way b/c they were raised in terrible environments. Some people are inspired to care more and make great teachers. I taught until the requirements for my education grants were satisfied and never looked back. Maybe I have to challenge myself to just get over that callous part of me

    Hmm. Is it possible that it’s not a matter of caring vs. callousness but of your expectations about the level of respect you’re owed by those you think you’re helping?

  351. cotton says

    The resign thing was sort of the thing that would hypothetically scare me the most.

    I do think about my job a lot in regards to this. I got it as a direct result of privilege / the good ole boy network. It’s also a family business, where the owner has his Tea Party sticker on the back of his truck. I often feel hypocritical talking about how racism is systemic and how the good ole boy network is a part of this when that is exactly how I butter my bread every day.

    I’m starting to think that maybe this is all just paralysis by analysis, backed up by a bit of teh lazy. Just b/c I can not do everything that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do something. I think maybe I’ve been a bit obtuse, distracted by my own guilt and ego. These things only matter if its about me, which it isn’t.

    Hmm. Ponder ponder ponder…..

  352. cotton says

    “Put up with some crap” was unfair. I regret that phrase. I think I have, admittedly, been frustrated by what I think about how others should act. I further think that came from my not really getting how trying it can be. For years after I was bullied I didn’t trust people, and now I’m expecting it from those that are still bullied today.

  353. says

    Pteryxx:

    (*I’ve rescued abused hamsters. Not fun. *shrug*)

    I’ve rescued more than one abused rat, and I don’t need to tell you about rat bites. Bad. Very bad. Even so, like Mythbri, it’s about doing the right thing. Sam was one of those, and I never did get any “reward” for it, Sam was fucking asshole to the end. It was still the right thing to do and I don’t regret that at all.

  354. says

    mythbri:
    Thank you.
    Cotton has presented himself in a reasonable manner. AFAICT responses to him have been as well. Given the open nature of this thread and the fact that multiple people across the world might be typing replies as the same time, I do not believe this is dogpiling. Hell, I just spent 35 minutes typing up a response to him that turned out to be TL;DR, but I was not logged in. And I am using my phone. Argh! In an.y case, my point is that my lengthy response *might* be characterised as dogpiling too, until one understands that more people commented in the time my response took to write up.

    Btw, anyone have a link to Miri’s recent post at Brute Reason. Cotton may find her advice illuminating.

  355. says

    cotton… I think I may be going off-topic, but I’m actually responding to your comment here. I hope that’s okay.

    Being an ally is not easy. It’s even harder when you (“you” being general here, not you specifically, cotton, especially since I don’t actually know your history) don’t really have any direct experience with most of the things the people you’re trying to be a good ally to have experienced.

    At best (well… worse, actually), I can say that, in grade school, I was bullied. Yes, I’m quite socially phobic, and it was a few times to the point of attempting suicide, but I don’t know if that’s a result of the bullying or if it’s the other way around; that is, my inability to be social is predicated on something else, and is why I was bullied.

    And I’m not trying to diminish bullying in any way (it’s fucking horrible and adults really need to step up and stop allowing it, period. The fact that to this day it’s still seen as “kids will be kids” is absolute bullshit; and “ignore it” is a useless advice predicated on a lie), but compared to most of the stories I’ve seen shared here since I started reading Pharyngula and FTB, I got off pretty fuckin’ easy.

    The only real way I can say I’m in any sense “underprivileged” is the fact that I’m a poor atheist from a half-Jewish/half-Catholic family (and actually, that half-Catholic comes with it own privileges).

    When you’re in a position where the people you are trying to be a good ally to are dealing with experiences you couldn’t even dream of, the best thing you can do is listen to them. And when you make mistakes, don’t double-down on them; accept it when people call you out.

    I made that mistake twice at Manboobz, and I won’t post there anymore not because I’m bitter at the commentariat for bashing me over the head with it (they were right to), but because I’m too embarrassed at my own stupidity and behavior at the blog especially the second time around (when I should have learned my lesson the first time around). They have every right to never trust me again because of how much of a shithead I was, and I’d rather just not impose my presence anymore, because that blog is a safe space for those commentators and I don’t want to ruin that for them. They deserve that safe space and if me not having a presence there makes it safer for them, then not having a presence there is the best thing I can do.

    So yeah… it’s hard. But you have to accept that those you are being an ally to just know best about their own experiences, and they know best how to deal with them. The best thing you can do is listen to them and, yes, do what they ask you to do; even if it’s doing some soul-searching to check your own privilege. And sometimes, you’ll be called out, and it won’t always be cordial. Sometimes it will come with cuss words and anger and spittle and rage. But all of that anger does not come from a void. It is justified. The best way you can get that anger turned off you is to listen, reflect and, if needed, change.

    And yes, you will have to learn that lesson the hard way. There is no easy way to this.

    But it is absolutely worth-it, because making the world a better, safer, more equal place is always worth-it.

  356. says

    Also, if my whole post is a repeat of others, I’m truly sorry. I didn’t really read the other posts because I just got out of a midterm and I have a pounding headache. I originally read your post, cotton, about 1 minute before the midterm started, and I had a strong desire to respond to you all while I was taking the midterm.

    Not an excuse, and I still should have read, but…

    Yeah…

  357. says

    The sad part is, it wasn’t actually that long ago (it was either then end of 2012 or beginning of 2013… I’d have to go searching… I can if you want to see what happened). I really should have known better. I practically relapsed to my “Nice guy” days, and I’m still, even now, angry at myself for it.

    The event that made me realize that I need to step back and stop being an idiot was in a discussion over all those things telling women what they should do to avoid being raped. I had had a discussion with a friend on Facebook before about it, and she told me that she follows them because she’s a cynic. To be clear, this was a friend who introduced me to George Carlin and cynicism/misanthropy in general. She told me that she simply doesn’t trust humanity to change. She doesn’t think “teach boys to not rape” would work because she doesn’t think humans in general are intelligent enough to take it seriously.

    Needless to say, I found this fascinating. And so I brought it up at Manboobz. I really shouldn’t have, but I did. Of course, I wasn’t trying to erase the fact that these things telling women how to avoid being raped are inherently misogynistic (even my friend readily agreed to that), and because of that, it didn’t occur to me until I came back to the thread two days later that this is exactly what I was doing. I was doubling-down, and then wrote this spectacularly shitty post and flounced. I came back two days later, and when I had read what I wrote, I couldn’t believe it. They were angry after that, and had every right to be. If I had been reading that from somebody else, I would have been just as angry as they were at me.

    So I decided to just stop posting at Manboobz, because I clearly needed to do some deep “soul-searching” (as it were) and because I was screwing up a safe space for these people. Yeah, the criticism and anger at me hurt, but it as my fault; I “earned” it.

  358. cotton says

    Thx Nate. That sort of all reinforces what I’ve been thinking about. The best thing I can say is, generally speaking, I’ve kept my mouth shut in regards to the reflexive bad ideas I’ve had while lurking here. I gave every idea that challenged me a few weeks to marinate.

  359. says

    No problem, cotton.

    And Tony… that was the second time I did that. The first time was in the comments section of a post by Dave where, if I remember correctly, he asked why some women would be against feminism. The question was meant to be rhetorical given the context of the post, but without thinking at all, I brought up the sex industry and sex workers. I apologized for that one, but only after digging a bit, and that only makes my behavior the second time around even less forgivable.

    I don’t expect them to forgive me because I don’t deserve it. The best I can do is learn from that, change, and hope to be a better ally than I have been.

  360. Pteryxx says

    mythbri, Tony, et al: my interpretation of ‘piling on’ included a bunch of commenters asking lots of questions simultaneously, which can also be intimidating to some, even without hostility. Maybe ‘flooding’ would be a better term.

    cotton, a thought:

    It’s also a family business, where the owner has his Tea Party sticker on the back of his truck. I often feel hypocritical talking about how racism is systemic and how the good ole boy network is a part of this when that is exactly how I butter my bread every day.

    In that situation, getting yourself fired might be a principled stand, but in practice it would really mess up your life without solving anything. This family’s not going to go hire a progressive feminist POC if you leave. As it is, at least whatever they pay you isn’t going to the Tea Party. ;>

  361. mythbri says

    @cotton

    Ok I get that, mostly. My first response to this was: “But an oppressed person is still a person. Unlike the cat, they can tell I’m not a predator looking to eat / harm them.” After reading that….maybe they can’t o_0.

    Exactly.

    For example, I’m a woman who is unequivocally pro-choice (I’m not trying to start a debate here, merely listing an example). I don’t like being in discussions with people who say “I’m pro-choice, BUT”.

    They claim to be an ally, and yet they say things that are very similar (if not outright verbatim) to the things that anti-choice people say.

    Why should I believe them when they say they’re on my side? They admit that they still have a sticking point at which they think it would be acceptable to force a woman or female-bodied person to give birth against their will. And that is a violation of human rights.

    Again, I’m not trying to start a debate here. Please take it as an example and leave it at that. I imagine gay people have similar problems with people who think that same-sex civil unions are okay, but gay people shouldn’t be allowed to adopt children. Or that people of color have similar problems with people who say that racism is bad, but you know those black people commit all those crimes….

  362. carlie says

    I’m starting to think that maybe this is all just paralysis by analysis, backed up by a bit of teh lazy. Just b/c I can not do everything that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do something.

    The perfect is the enemy of the good, maybe? Or choose your battles? Every little bit helps. Just because you bite your tongue in front of your boss because you don’t have a better job lined up doesn’t mean you can’t say “C’mon, don’t be like that” when your friend says something racist at the coffee shop.

  363. casus fortuitus says

    Just dropping by to share this article about a report into “lad culture” in UK universities:

    The Lad Culture project, undertaken by Dr. Alison Phipps and Isabel Young of Sussex University, has just produced a report entitled ‘That’s What She Said: women students’ experience of ‘lad culture’ in higher education’. The project involved investigating the scholarship around “lad culture” and the perceived “crisis of masculinity”, examining how far British universities have a coherent “culture”, and interviewing a sample of students about the way their lives are affected by it within higher education.

    Interesting stuff around the subject of toxic masculinity, which I see was discussed somewhere upthread.

  364. thumper1990 says

    @UnknownEric #395

    Oh Christ, yeah I saw that thread yesterday. I was too busy to get involved, and plenty of other people were calling him on his bullshit, but I swear every time he opens his mouth I lose a bit of respect for him. The only comments I’ve seen from him on here are him whining about how everyone thinks he’s a racist, and now I see him trying desperately to support Capital Punishment. Ugh.

  365. Ogvorbis says

    Things have moved on. This is good.

    I appreciate the support here. Not sure it makes sense on your part.

    Chris:

    Rereading, I see my tone was lecturey, and I apologize. What I mean is: stop giving my friend Ogvorbis too little credit, man.

    No, you were not lecturey. I saw it as humour.

    And I think you give me way too much credit.

    Tony:

    The strides you have made in recognizing your privilege, your deep empathy for others, your steadfast rejection of patriarchy, rape culture, misogyny and sexism, your willingness to jump into the fray to help others…

    I see it as I finally woke up.

    I see no coward.

    I do. My fear gives me impetus to do things I don’t want to do and can, sometimes, stop me from doing things I do want to do.

    Other times it didn’t. I would read a post and think “I do not see anything triggering in there.” Therein lay my mistake.

    When I first began commenting regularly here, I, too, could not grok trigger warnings.

    John:

    I remember (((Billy))) the Atheist — was a good commenter.

    ???

    Tony:

    It has always been used to shame an individual for their actions.

    And I do feel shame. My fear of who I might be changes how I behave. It stops me from doing things that I want to do.

    Why does Oggie feel his honesty is due to ‘cowardice’ on his part. From where I sit, I see him trying to avoid the largest amount of pain to himself and others by being honest.

    But that is just the point. I am so afraid of who I might be, how much X may hurt, that I allow fear to, basically, run my life. No matter how much I rationalize it (truth is less painful), I am desperately trying to avoid pain rather than facing it like I should and dealing with it as an adult.

    You’re not a coward. Look at how you stood up to that bully in the awful thread. Look at how you’ve done the same on countless threads. That’s not cowardice, but its opposite.

    But one of the reasons I try (and frequently fail) to stand up and be counted is that I am terrified of the alternative. If I let the facade I have created, the pretend-me, to crack, what will be left?

  366. Ogvorbis says

    chigau:

    Ah.

    Of course, back when I was Billy the Atheist, I was just generally depressed. I hadn’t remember any of what happened, so I would imagine that there has been a change in my writing.

  367. annejones says

    Science against evolutionism; Irreducible Complexity is the final nail in the coffin of evolution;

    The way our body makes sure it has enough oxygen and glucose for its cells is not just as simple as breathing in air and eating food. Neither is it just as simple as having lungs, a liver and kidneys, and a digestive and cardiovascular system. To control the transport of oxygen to the tissues the body must also have:

    (1) special kidney cells that can
    (2) sense oxygen and
    (3) make erythropoietin, and
    (4) bone marrow cells with
    (5) erythropoietin receptors that can turn into red blood cells and
    (6) produce hemoglobin.

    If any one of these above six parts is missing the whole system fails and the body dies because it can’t produce hemoglobin and transport enough oxygen to the tissues. To control its blood glucose level the body must also have:

    (1) beta and
    (2) alpha cells in the pancreas, that have
    (3) glucosensors and
    (4) produce insulin and
    (5) glucagon respectively, and
    (6) liver cells with
    (7) insulin and
    (8) glucagon receptors that can
    (9) store glucose as glycogen or release it at the right time.

    If any one these nine parts is missing the whole system fails and the body dies because it can’t control its blood glucose. Each part that contributes to the sensor, the integrator, and the effector is needed to perform its vital function for body survival. The systems our body uses to transport enough oxygen to the tissues and control its blood glucose demonstrate irreducible complexity.

  368. Dhorvath, OM says

    AnneJones,
    Are you suggesting that only red blood cell toting macro life uses oxygen? It’s not as if we leapt unbidden from primordial ooze, although that’s how you seem to think of it.

  369. says

    Science against evolutionism; Irreducible Complexity is the final nail in the coffin of evolution;

    annejones,

    you’re never going to pass your Disco tute “meet the enemy” exam with such a sloppy performance. Where’s your mention of the immune system, or the blood clotting cascade? Complexity, complexity!

    Do tell us, annejones, what’s your view on the recurrent laryngeal nerve, say, or the vas deferens? Well designed?

  370. glodson says

    Annejones, you got me. This simple talk about how the body works cannot possibly be explained, and these scam artist scientists are just a cog in the machine that is Big Evolution, getting all that sweet Evolution cash while selling us lies for Satan. There’s no way we can possibly explain all that, so Evolution must be false! QE motherfucking D.

    This may be irreducibly sarcastic.

  371. Dhorvath, OM says

    Hell, on the good design thing, what about breathing and eating through the same passage. That’s never gone poorly.

  372. Pearson says

    annejones @ 482,

    That really makes no sense at all. Sure, it just so happens that what is needed for human life to work has happened, hence us. Yet, we have no way of knowing how many times life could have occurred in which one or many of these “systems” have failed. I fail to see how we could reasonably assume that the fact that we are here and these systems have not failed prove anything other than it worked this time. Without knowing how many times the “system” has broken down and not worked out, it’s all a bit meaningless, now isn’t it. Without knowing that our existence has come about from the only possible time so perfectly with no failed attempts, all you can really say is that our existence and the way the “systems” work are proof that statistically, it worked out this time.

    Eh, hope I explained that right. Yeah, what you said just makes no sense to me at all. Irreducible complexity, pffff.

  373. says

    annejones:
    I know jack about chemistry and biology. I do know one thing:
    You, along with several nillion people on this planet have to produce any evidence for whichever god you have been forced to worship. Until you do (and extraordinsry claims require extraordinary evidence), your OPINION will be summarily dismissed.
    Perhaps you can come back when you have a new argument to use. Despite my lack of skill in the above fields, the takedowns of irreducuible complexity by experts has been done. And done to death.

    Besides, even if you were correct, it wouldn’t then be logical to say…therefore my god exists. It could be Ra. Or Zeus. You forget that your imaginary deity is one of thousands.

  374. Portia says

    Hell, on the good design thing, what about breathing and eating through the same passage. That’s never gone poorly.

    *snicker*

    As an aside, Radiolab did a really interesting piece on Dr. Heimlich, of the Heimlich maneuver.

  375. Anthony K says

    John Morales,

    I apologised for jumping all over you in the the “Apparently, I need to clarify thread”, but in case you don’t see it there:

    I’m sorry for being such an asshole and jumping on you in the way I did. It was unfair and rather mean-spirited of me, and you don’t deserve that. I am sorry.

  376. ChasCPeterson says

    The systems our body uses to transport enough oxygen to the tissues and control its blood glucose demonstrate irreducible complexity.

    By this you apparently mean that if you suddenly removed somebody’s liver, they wouldn’t work right.
    OK.

    Irreducible Complexity is the final nail in the coffin of evolution

    oops, but, see, no, it really isn’t.
    Systems and processes of proximate causes and programmed effects like those you have sort of clumsily summarized can quite clearly result from regular old piecemeal evolution.

    hey, look, it’s even on the internet!

  377. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    irreducable complexity is rubbish. It doesn’t even mean anything. Isn’t eamans taking irreducible complex forms and reducing them for repurposing?

  378. tccc says

    Audley Z. Darkheart (liar and scoundrel) @ 199, 204 from the troll thread

    Hey, asshole, in no way did I reduce anyone to their prosthetic, I mentioned to you that I do not think it is right to use someone’s prosthetic as an insulting term, people have feelings you know. Nice try though.

    The thing is, if you want to call someone a shit bag, have at it, but using someone’s medical device that also happens to collect stool as a funny/cute/edgy/educated/whateverthefuck euphemism for shit bag is not ok if you really are trying to avoid collateral damage in your insults. It is just that simple.

    I have direct experience working with young people and middle aged folks with a range of differences out doing daily activities and an ostomy bag was unfortunately a source of embarrassment or self consciousness sometimes.

    The best way to handle it in any circumstance was to treat it like the medical device it was, no big fucking deal, it is what it is, no problem. What was not helpful was the stigma attached to it by jerks like you.

    You don’t have to take my word for it, help yourself to the youth and young adult section here, or any of the literally hundreds of support groups for people with ostomeys:

    https://www.ostomy.org/forum/index.php

    Seeing as how you only get adult interaction 1 hour a day, that certainly explains your behavior and choice of insults. And not caring about other people’s feelings? That is just par for the course for assholes, no need to state it explicitly. Your incapacity for discussion has been well demonstrated, no need to reply unless it is just to make yourself feel better.

    In the mean time, if I want to call someone a sack of shit, I’ll do it without the increased potential for collateral damage and stigmatization.

  379. Helen Huntingdon says

    So is, “Sorry you couldn’t stick the flounce,” considered a rude thing to say on Pharyngula?