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Apr 01 2013

Have you noticed that we’re always getting offended?

It’s an extraordinarily common accusation: those #FtBullies are getting offended, they’re reacting to something offensive, they’re so delicate and sensitive and ready to take offense based on moral outrage.

And now I’m accused of proliferating the stupid because I’m offended.

Maybe someone can help me understand the logic in this: P.Z. Myers disagrees with the message conveyed by a stupid meme on Reddit, and instead of ignoring or down-voting the post — or whatever it is people do on Reddit — he brings attention to it and even publishes the offending picture.

If you are offended by something posted on the Internet, why not just move on? Rather, Myers has effectively ensured that this piece of Internet trash will be further proliferated and cached online for years to come from his own site. That’s what I call a good feminist hard at work.

I’m really not used to that peculiar mindset. Why do you assume I’m offended? Why don’t you recognize that I’m pointing out that something is wrong?

I’m waiting for a student to come in and complain that I took points off for an incorrect answer on an exam. “Why were you offended at my answer, Dr Myers? Wouldn’t it have been better to avoid bringing attention to it, so that maybe I’d forget my incorrect answer in a few years?”

Gosh, I hope the author’s brain doesn’t explode when he realizes that by posting about my terrible perpetuation of the ‘offensive’ photo, he’s propagating it as well, and further, he’s promoting my dreadful gaffe! Quick, everyone, go silent and never publicly disagree with anyone ever!

74 comments

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  1. 1
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Quick, everyone, go silent and never publicly disagree with anyone ever!

    nonono. Not everyone, PZ! Just women and the people who don’t hate women. THEY have to be silent and never publically disagree with anyone.

    its cute, though, being told I’m offended by people who turn vague, mild criticism into a WITCH HUNT! They’re the kings of testerical overreaction.

  2. 2
    A Hermit

    I thought about posting a reply to Stangroom, but the first (and thus far only) comment there already says it all..

    Wow. The fact that you’re a massive hypocrite for posting this doesn’t even enter your head, does it?

    Case closed, I think…

  3. 3
    PZ Myers

    By the way, if you notice that we’re always getting offended…the problem isn’t us, it’s you. We’re not; you just think we are.

  4. 4
    Brandon

    The Streisand Effect is a thing, but I don’t think it actually puts a valid burden on people to just shut up and ignore stupidity.

  5. 5
    Inaji

    Gosh, I hope the author’s brain doesn’t explode when he realizes that by posting about my terrible perpetuation of the ‘offensive’ photo, he’s propagating it as well, and further, he’s promoting my dreadful gaffe!

    Ah, the incredibly difficult chore of thinking something through all the way! I guess when you don’t use your brain much, spending all of a few minutes mulling a matter is very hard to do.

    Quick, everyone, go silent and never publicly disagree with anyone ever!

    Oh, it’s much too late for that. I’m not shutting up now.

  6. 6
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I’m really not used to that peculiar mindset. Why do you assume I’m offended? Why don’t you recognize that I’m pointing out that something is wrong?

    But PZ, you must be offended, because they are offended since you exist. The projection they have is intense.

    Personally, I’m indifferent to them, as they are too pathetic to be worth hating, and with the inability to evidence their opinions, they aren’t worth listening to per the Hitchens quote: “That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”. They are dismissable, and they know it. And it scares the hell out of them to be that vulnerable.

    I’m still waiting for them to evidence that feminism is wrong, not just presuppose it is. That’s why they have to pathetically whine and aggressively and bullyingly demand their opinion is worth something, whereas you and the horde have shown evidence for the conclusion that the null of hypothesis is that patriarchy exists, and male privilege exists, and for an egalitarian society those with the privilege need to keep a good eye on not using it.

  7. 7
    Inaji

    Brandon, how’s your sarcasm meter? It might require recalibration.

  8. 8
    glodson

    I can only think they are using a strange and largely unknown definition of “offended.”

  9. 9
    ragarth

    @PZ Myers

    You do realize that now you’re going to have around 50 students pop into your office complaining about you being offended at their answers, right?

  10. 10
    Anthony K

    I can only think they are using a strange and largely unknown definition of “offended.”

    No, not at all. They’re using the conservative definition of offended.

    Consider the anti-FTB group’s actions over the past few years. Consider the manufactured outrage, the support for gender roles (including punishing those who step out of them), the claims that feminists are ruining AmericaAtheism/Skepticism, the delusions of persecution, the time-wasting obfuscatory behaviour, and the insistence that everything’s just a matter of taking offence; ignoring the religious differences, how does this behaviour differ substantially from that of the modern day GOP?

  11. 11
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Not everyone, PZ! Just women and the people who don’t hate women. THEY have to be silent and never publically disagree with anyone.

    To be fair, the MRAs are far more willing to let women who hate women talk.

  12. 12
    LeftSidePositive

    These people don’t seem to understand that it’s not that we’re offended–it’s that these kind of images and attitudes are objectively harmful, and to more than just us “oversensitive feminists.” Even if I never see that image, other people will see it: and it will make some guy think that everyone agrees with him that “tits or gtfo” is funny when he sees a female person on the internet. It will make some girl hesitate to share her political views. It will make some guy think that a girl who is open with her body is open for him…or that it’s unusual or threatening that she may have political views. It reinforces for guys in the college political clubs that it’s not that unusual for young women on campus not to be very political. It makes the guy who thinks his girlfriend should be dumber than him feel like everyone in his peer group agrees with him. It makes other guys who might otherwise like a woman who is open about her political views to be less sure, because he’s afraid his guy friends might call him a pussy. It will make a girl or young woman who sees this slightly less comfortable about her body image or aware there’s only a narrow range where her body will be accepted by her peers. It will lead to nasty surprises when young women who enjoyed the company of those who supported them free-spiritedly showing their boobs find out these same friends will go apeshit when they actually advocate an opinion (see McCreight, Jen…).

    Instead, when we highlight this, we are showing why it’s wrong. Yes, more people will see this image–but they will learn to critique it. They will be prepared to answer why it’s not just a joke. They will learn the difference between being attracted to people and objectifying them. They will understand why many young women are uncomfortable with sexualized attention. They will understand that it’s not just “more of a guy thing” that women don’t join certain groups. They will be better attuned to recognize when guys (and other women) in their social group assume a woman is less valuable or less intelligent because of her sexual history or choice of clothes. They will have something to throw in someone’s face the next time some libertarian douchebro declares sexism doesn’t happen anymore.

    The bad stuff in this image doesn’t go away if I don’t see this image. And the image itself doesn’t scar our delicate little feminist corneas. But this image can help show people why these very common attitudes are wrong, and very prevalent.

  13. 13
    Martin Wagner

    With the quality of their “arguments,” the anti-FtB crowd are quickly turning into atheism’s Tea Party.

  14. 14
    Jadehawk

    No, not at all. They’re using the conservative definition of offended.

    QFT. It reminds me of the way all state-and-church separation issues tend to be framed by US Christians as atheists being “offended” by nativities, prayer in schools, 10 commandment displays, etc.

  15. 15
    Worldtraveller

    If you are offended by something posted on the Internet, why not just move on?

    Wait…did Stankroom just post that? really? This was in a blog post he made, right, highlighted by him.

    Oh, I know…it’s just PZ using his mind control powers to make Stankroom look stupid. Nobody could be that utterly blind to their own hypocrisy.

    That’s the ticket.

  16. 16
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    So… this dude’s offended because you’re offended?

    For fuck’s sake.

  17. 17
    thetalkingstove

    Wow. These folks really will find any excuse to complain about sexism being highlighted, won’t they? I wonder how many are capable of being skeptical with regard to their own feelings, and wondering why they have the urge to kick back against criticism of misogyny.

  18. 18
    jamesfish

    Religious people are wont to claim offence when their bigoted beliefs are called into question. Unfortunately some sections of the atheist community have fallen so in love with the mythological speaking-truth-to-power self-image they’ve developed in arguments with believers, that they impose the narrative on every other conversation they engage in. Calling out ridiculous, stampeding misogyny? It must be because you’re offended. Stop trying to ban things.

  19. 19
    screechymonkey

    Anthony K@10:

    No, not at all. They’re using the conservative definition of offended.

    I’m not so sure about that. I think the image they’re trying to pin on us is that we’re the conservatives — at least, in the sense of the stereotypical blue-haired Church Lady, clutching her pearls and gasping “well, I never!” in response to some supposed moral outrage — and they’re the cool, internet-savvy, liberal/libertarian defenders of free speech from the bluenoses.

    I don’t think it’s a charge that sticks, of course, for two reasons. The first is that, as PZ’s post explains, sometimes you’re not offended (except in the general sense of being “offended” that SIWOTI), you’re just pointing out error or stupidity.

    The second is that, as a general matter, there’s nothing wrong with being offended by things. What matters is what things offend you — some things should trigger our moral outrage. I think most of the things the anti-FTB crowd does are more pathetic and silly than offensive, but yeah, from time to time there’s something that is offensive. Just as they would no doubt claim to be “offended” by #FTBullying.

  20. 20
    Inaji

    thetalkingstove:

    wonder how many are capable of being skeptical with regard to their own feelings, and wondering why they have the urge to kick back against criticism of misogyny.

    “Oh, that’s not misogyny! It’s just boys being boys, chill out already. Besides, you guys are the ones who hate women – look at how upset you are over seeing a pair of breasts! The women I know aren’t upset about it, they just laughed!” Yada, yada, yada.

    In the actual thread about the meme at Reddit, we had a woman drop by to say Reddit picked up a photo of her topless, and she checked it out, and yeah, there was some sexism, but it really wasn’t bad at all, and hey, go check out my awesome boobs!

  21. 21
    Jadehawk

    So… this dude’s offended because you’re offended?

    and he doesn’t even get the idiocy of this, even after it was explained to him by commenters.

    I’m so embarrassed that this guy is a Sociologist

  22. 22
    azpaul3

    And now you’ve done it again! If you weren’t so delicate and sensitive and ready to take offense based on moral outrage you would have let this one slide by. But nooooo. You had to draw attention to the stupid, didn’t ya.

    Now the cycle has started and needs to be broken. All you can do now is draw a circle 6 feet in diameter using a lump of charcoal made from an old oak tree, sprinkle a strong solution of salt water over the entire circle. With a shot glass of cabernet in one hand and a Nabisco Premium Salteen in the other you must stand erect in the center and, in turn to each cardinal direction recite from “King Lear”, scene IV:

    Thou think’st ’tis much that this contentious storm
    Invades us to the skin: so ’tis to thee;
    But where the greater malady is fix’d,
    The lesser is scarce felt. Thou’ldst shun a bear

    … wait.

    That’s for bunions.

    Never mind.

  23. 23
    frog

    Opus the Penguin: Offensensitivity.

  24. 24
    Jadehawk

    The only reason I bothered to point out PZ’s post was because I found it in poor taste and not helpful to rehash the image given his readership.

    lolwut

  25. 25
    okstop

    They want to believe we’re offended because that is something they do not have to care about (per their own ideas about how these things work, anyway). They can’t admit that you’re making a substantive critique, because that’s the kind of thing they purportedly DO care about… and they have no answer for it. So, lacking the ability to mount a cogent response to the actual complaint, they shift the game to one they can win with their own infantile version of the Courtier’s Reply: “We don’t care about people’s stupid FEELINGS, so NYAH.”

  26. 26
    yazikus

    I think that when people say things like “If you are offended, then just don’t read/see/talk about it” they are saying “Look, I don’t have any problems with it, so I don’t see why you do” or really- “I don’t think there is anything wrong with sexist imagery on the internet, and grossly misogynist memes are totes okay, just get over it already.” I know this has probably been said better by someone else, but it still bugs the shit out of me.

  27. 27
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    This should give you an idea of where Jeremy Styron is coming from.

    That said, feminists, particularly American feminists, when they take offense to Palin being called a misogynist slur, are conflating a specific case of childish name calling into some kind of ubiquitous crime against womanhood itself. Feminists who do this must admit to a high level of disingenuousness when they know full well that was not Maher’s intention, and female attendees to his shows, I would venture to say, have thick enough skin and big enough brains to be able to tell the difference between the two.

    You should not care that sexist terms were used against a woman when she has said and done enough to be legitimately criticized and mocked. After all, it is not as if this kind of name calling is ubiquitous.

    He goes on to back this up by quoting an other person about how feminists from the US expect … American men have to fucking pay for all the shows and dinners and then make sure the woman has the most fun in the bedroom.

    Yeah, he is one of those who thinks that feminists are demanding special rights.

  28. 28
    omnicrom

    As a matter of fact I am kind of offended. Sexism is a real issue and it isn’t just going to go away. So?

    I really don’t think they’ve thought this out all the way through. Yes, you find something you don’t like and you bring it up because you otherwise how are you supposed to get something changed? Yes, if you find something you don’t like and you have a blog you post about it. Is that not a thing you do with a blog? Yes, if there is a big offensive thing that’s present in many circumstances you will likely get offended about it. So?

    I’m assuming the double meaning here is that if you get offended about a lot of things you’re just “shrill” or something right? I sure hope this is a dog whistle because otherwise this screed against being moderately offended over someone else being rather offensive just comes off as desperate and small.

  29. 29
    Jadehawk

    I blame y’all for putting it in my head that this is Stangetoom’s blog. It seems to be a blog by some American, and Stangeroom is British, no?

    and then make sure the woman has the most fun in the bedroom.

    Oh Teh Noes, women expecting to have good sex!

  30. 30
    carlie

    “the most fun in the bedroom”?

    So he’s saying that it is not fun to help your partner to also have fun. Not surprising.

  31. 31
    Jadehawk

    and once again, the “only in America” bullshittery:

    American feminists want to have their cake and eat it. American men have to fucking pay for all the shows and dinners and then make sure the woman has the most fun in the bedroom. European women understand what EQUALITY means. It’s a celebration of the differences.

    I want a t-shirt now that says “I’m European and I support American Feminists”; because this is getting fucking tedious.

  32. 32
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    I want to make sure I give credit where it i due. That line about “fun in the bedroom” was not by Jeremy Styron. It was from a comment left in response to a Bill Maher clip on YouTube. But Jeremy Styron thinks the commenter makes a valid point about why feminists should not be offended that Maher called Sarah Palin a cunt.

  33. 33
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    I want to make sure I give credit where it i due. That line about “fun in the bedroom” was not by Jeremy Styron. It was from a comment left in response to a Bill Maher clip on YouTube. But Jeremy Styron thinks the commenter makes a valid point about why feminists should not be offended that Maher called Sarah Palin a cxxx.

    (My comment got caught in moderation. Guess how.)

  34. 34
    Anthony K

    I’m not so sure about that. I think the image they’re trying to pin on us is that we’re the conservatives — at least, in the sense of the stereotypical blue-haired Church Lady, clutching her pearls and gasping “well, I never!” in response to some supposed moral outrage — and they’re the cool, internet-savvy, liberal/libertarian defenders of free speech from the bluenoses.

    Sure, that might be a more accurate description of their self-perception, but the result is the pretty much the same: everybody these days is too thin-skinned, too politically correct, too easily offended, and if some brave soul doesn’t put his foot down and say “enough!” soon those humourless feminazis will win their war against fun and freedom, forever.

  35. 35
    Marcus Ranum

    Jadehawk@#21:
    I’m so embarrassed that this guy is a Sociologist

    Reminds me of a favorite joke.

    British civil servant works for the ministry of large round things for most of their life; an impeccable but not stellar performer – a solid cog in the great machine, largely unnoticed. One day they stomp into the boss’ office, close the door and announce their intention to file a grievance, “this is IT! I have HAD IT! I’ve worked here 20 years and my career has been held back over and over again by the fact that I’m a socialist! It’s unfair and I am going to file a grievance!” The boss sits back, surprised and chagrined, pulls out the workers’ personnel file and riffles through it for a moment then announces, “Oh, dear! There has been a horrible mistake! We thought you were a sociologist!”

  36. 36
    Jadehawk

    if you skim dude’s blog a bit, you’ll notice that “stop talking about it, you’re making it worse” seems to be a favorite theme of his. He also claims that a John Stuart Mill quote about “perfect equality, admitting no power or privilege on the one side, nor disability on the other” is about how neither feminism nor men’s rights should be given precedence over the other in social justice activism.

  37. 37
    LeftSidePositive

    and female attendees to his shows, I would venture to say, have thick enough skin and big enough brains to be able to tell the difference between the two.

    One: you shouldn’t have to “have a thick skin” to hear someone like Sarah Palin mocked, because the things on which Sarah Palin deserves to be mocked are not things I do, so they don’t reflect on me. If you are mocking Sarah Palin with things that could equally well be applied to me (please take as a given that I’m neither rabidly anti-intellectual nor a lying mean-spirited asshole), you are mocking her for things that aren’t actually bad, so what the fuck is the point of your mockery?!

    Two: It’s not that feminist media critics can’t tell the difference between Bill Maher insulting a (verifiably Bad) woman and all women, it is that we have a different theoretical framework for how misogyny operates. We’re not saying “It’s all the same!” We’re saying “Yes, we know it’s superficially different, but here are the deeper commonalities that make it harmful to all women.” It puts women on notice that their womanhood is a bigger insult than being a lying fucking rightwing asshole, and that if they step out of line, their identity will be used against them. It feeds into cognitive biases about womanhood being worthy of contempt. It feeds into assumptions about women “naturally” being less intelligent, more bitchy, more focused on sex appeal. I know you claim it doesn’t–I am COUNTERING that by saying “if you really didn’t think her gender was relevant to her behavior, you would have just called her a lying stupid asshole, rather than a bimbo.” Once you understand what my argument is, then we can get into the studies about how sexist language affects behaviors toward women in controlled environments.

    Three: sexism is so normalized in our culture that many of the women simply may not be aware of how sexist attitudes affect them, even when not directed at them. This is a lack of education in sociology, and of media literacy. People in a marginalized group are not automatically aware of all the processes and effects of their marginalization. Internalization is A Thing. Hell, most women in 1910 didn’t think it was bad that they didn’t have the vote, and thought the suffragettes were hysterical shrieking harpies, but I think we can all agree that those women were wrong and having the vote is actually kinda important? So, if social normalization can erase people’s perception of such an obvious act of discrimination as NOT HAVING THE VOTE, do you really think every woman will be automatically attuned to much more subtle instances of misogyny?! Even women who know their male colleagues don’t take them as seriously as equally-qualified men may not see how media like Bill Maher play into that. If you dispute the sociological research on the effect of sexist jokes and normalized sexist language, by all means address that (and good luck…), but something tells me if you could you wouldn’t have to fall back on “thick skin!” and “I know a woman and she totally doesn’t mind!!”

  38. 38
    carlie

    I, for one, am gravely offended that anyone characterizes my disdain as offense.

  39. 39
    glodson

    He also claims that a John Stuart Mill quote about “perfect equality, admitting no power or privilege on the one side, nor disability on the other” is about how neither feminism nor men’s rights should be given precedence over the other in social justice activism.

    So, he’s a Balance Idiot, looking for the middle ground that doesn’t exist. Men’s Rights shouldn’t be given any precedence because it is fucking stupid. The other side, which is a legitimate problem that exists in a systemic manner throughout our culture, needs to be addressed. If we were all truly equal, there would be no need for feminism. We aren’t all equal. And it has implications, all that people like this guy want to ignore.

  40. 40
    David Marjanović

    There are scarily many people who can’t even imagine any degree of SIWOTI syndrome. They, apparently, only point out mistakes when they happen to be offended by them, and I wonder if they treat the truth the same way – like British libel law, where (I’m told) truth is not a defence.

    For abovementioned fuck’s sake, PZ is a scientist. His entire career rests on discovering mistakes – and publishing and teaching those discoveries. But so few people know that’s how it works, and so few would ever find out on their own!

    These are the moments when I despair about humanity.

  41. 41
    David Marjanović

    those discoveries

    by himself, but especially by others in the case of teaching.

    …It’s dawning on me that I just demonstrated my own SIWOTI syndrome: I made a misleading implication and felt compelled to correct it.

  42. 42
    Rutee Katreya

    He goes on to back this up by quoting an other person about how feminists from the US expect … American men have to fucking pay for all the shows and dinners and then make sure the woman has the most fun in the bedroom.

    You know, I know this is a small thing to look at, but I wanted to point out that if dudes will put on makeup, and deal with the social expectation to spend hundreds a month and several hours on it, and deal with clothes that die from washing faster, and have social expectations to shell out a ton on clothes, then yes, going dutch on dates is almost totally fair, and should be done. In case you’re wondering why it’s ‘almost’ fair, it’s because they still have the various work gaps in their favor.

    As is, guys want not to pay for dates, because that’s ‘fair’, but think women should shell out a ton to exist in the public square.

  43. 43
    Ing

    Southparkism if you care about a topic you are wrong

  44. 44
    jamessweet

    Gosh, I hope the author’s brain doesn’t explode when he realizes that by posting about my terrible perpetuation of the ‘offensive’ photo, he’s propagating it as well, and further, he’s promoting my dreadful gaffe! Quick, everyone, go silent and never publicly disagree with anyone ever!

    Heh, it’s like those horrible Reply-All storms where everybody reply-alls with “Stop hitting Reply All!!!”

    Seriously, I don’t entirely know where I fall on this. Depending on how popular/obscure the original Reddit meme was, it could be true that PZ has contributed to its popularity. OTOH, if nobody ever publicly shames people for douchebaggery, nobody learns that its wrong.

    To be perfectly honest, it probably works best when some of the time hateful memes like this just get downvoted, and other times they get publicly shamed. Really, everybody should employ the strategy that is most comfortable for them, whether that be loud angry public-shame-y, or polite “civil” thoughtful nudging. It’s just too bad that so many people in the latter camp feel the need to rip on the people in the former camp. (the reverse happens too, but it’s only rarely unprovoked, I think)

  45. 45
    Ing

    Someone mentioned Streisand Effect erroneously. that’s when attempt to silence info draws attention to it. PZ was amplifying the signal for pointing and laughing

  46. 46
    athyco

    “I’m not offended; I’m contemptuous.”

    or

    “I’m not angry; I’m dissatisfied.”

  47. 47
    chigau (違う)

    It’s dawning on me that I just demonstrated my own SIWOTI syndrome: I made a misleading implication and felt compelled to correct it.

    Stand back!!!
    David M is going to explode!
    or implode‽‽‽
    I dunno
    run away!!!!1!!

  48. 48
    Rutee Katreya

    Southparkism if you care about a topic you are wrong

    …unless it’s the author’s topic, in which case you’re just being a decent human being. Betcha he cares deeply about ‘free speech’ on the internet, by which he means the ability of white men to say whatever stupid-ass thing floats into their heads without consequence.

  49. 49
    Jacob Schmidt

    Do these people think sexism somehow doesn’t get attention as it is? Do they think all attention is inherently equal?

  50. 50
    Marcus Ranum

    American men have to fucking pay for all the shows and dinners

    If they’re into pretending to be hyper rational, why don’t they recognize that as a mating strategy, and ask themselves why bower birds build bowers, why middle-aged men buy corvettes, and why some men cheerfully pick up the show tickets and the dinner check? It’s all sexual display, right?

  51. 51
    ck

    Someday, I hope to live to see an anti-FtB argument that doesn’t amount to stamping feet angrily and shouting, “SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP!”. It sometimes seems that if PZ came out strongly against genocide, random infanticide or some other nearly universally reviled horror, the anti- group would feel the need to defend it.

  52. 52
    billingtondev

    For what its worth – here is some stuff I learnt about bullys from being bullied in the workplace. I think there are some standard characteristics of the true bully. (I distinguish a bit between a true bully and those that join the bully gang and adopt bully behaviour – often in the belief that it will keep them safe from bullying.)

    The true bully does not actually know whether their target is ‘offended’ or not because they have very little comprehension of what the experience of ‘being offended’ is. They know it exists in the world and is real for other ‘normal’ people – but it is not something they have any personal insight into. It is not part of their internal experience. In fact the internal experience of bullies is often a dark, empty, blank and horrible space. A space that the bully will do ANYTHING to avoid looking at/acknowledging. Its fucking scary in there!

    But what they DO know is that this thing that is given the label of ‘being offended’ is important to ‘normal’ people and will get a response. They don’t know why – they just know it works. Its called divertion. So they ‘point their finger’ and yell ‘look at them – hahaha – they are all offended’ (or a bunch of other things they know get a response)! The bully supporters all join in the chorus. And then they all wait smugly for the response.

    The trick I learnt was not to ignore them – but to work out how to get the fingers all pointing back at them :-). Bullies rely on being able to generate emotional responses in others and creating ‘drama’ because it diverts attention away from them, gives them something else to focus on, something to fill up their lives so that they don’t EVER have to confront their own internal wasteland. Bullying is their survival technique. If they don’t bully they are terrified they may very well cease to exist.

  53. 53
    Lou Doench

    “Southparkism if you care about a topic you are wrong”
    I love it!

  54. 54
    ck

    The trick I learnt was not to ignore them – but to work out how to get the fingers all pointing back at them :-).

    Good technique. Similar strategies work well with trolls, it seems. Never give them exactly what they want (similar to the “don’t feed the trolls” adage). Don’t give them the “civil” debate they insist on, but don’t ignore them either.

  55. 55
    jeremystyron

    Jadehawk: So outright lying is a theme of yours, I presume? Very well: You said: “If you skim dude’s blog a bit, you’ll notice that ‘stop talking about it, you’re making it worse’ seems to be a favorite theme of his. I never said such a thing. So take your seat as a charlatan.

  56. 56
    Lofty

    Jeremystyrofoam, what a masterly sneer.

  57. 57
    John Morales

    [meta]

    jeremystyron, Jadehawk is no liar; at worst, she may be mistaken, and that I doubt.

    In this specific instance, she adumbrated the theme which she claims you favour in her own words — it is clearly not meant to be a verbatim quotation from you.

    (But your denial of her claim is duly noted no less than your indignant tone)

  58. 58
    John Morales

    [addendum]

    I also note jeremystyron’s indignant denial of the first claim apparently made her second claim moot: “He also claims that a John Stuart Mill quote about “perfect equality, admitting no power or privilege on the one side, nor disability on the other” is about how neither feminism nor men’s rights should be given precedence over the other in social justice activism.”

  59. 59
    vaiyt

    @jeremystyron: are you going to go on a tirade about how you didn’t say those exact words? Don’t even bother, nobody’s gonna buy it.

  60. 60
    cim

    David Marjanović:

    “like British libel law, where (I’m told) truth is not a defence”

    Truth is not an absolute defence. It works most of the time, but there are situations in which it doesn’t. A couple of examples from my old copy of Essential Law for Journalists:

    – if I claim that someone is taking bribes, without having done any work to establish this (i.e. it is a reckless claim intended to defame them), even if it later coincidentally turns out that they were taking bribes that’s not a defence (while if I’d actually had reason to believe it to be true when I said it, it would be)
    – for claims that someone is bankrupt, truth is not a sufficient defence for publicising that fact (though you can report it if there is a public interest)

    Most of the time, though, proving the statement to be true is a sufficient defence. (Especially so now that the archaic offences of blasphemous, seditious and obscene libel have been abolished)

    Bad as British libel law sometimes is, it’s not really comparable to the common political stance of standards only being important when the other side breaks them.

  61. 61
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    So this guy has a problem with the fact that PZ is “offended” by something on the internet and has drawn attention to it… and in response to that, he has decided to get all offended and draw attention to what PZ did?

    I’m just going to pause for a second and enjoy the delicious, delicious irony…

  62. 62
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    >That said, feminists, particularly American feminists, when they take offense to Palin being called a misogynist slur, are conflating a specific case of childish name calling into some kind of ubiquitous crime against womanhood itself. Feminists who do this must admit to a high level of disingenuousness when they know full well that was not Maher’s intention, and female attendees to his shows, I would venture to say, have thick enough skin and big enough brains to be able to tell the difference between the two.

    So the revolutionary Stangroom concept of when slurs are OK is whenever the man finds the woman in question deserves being called one…
    Well, maybe the women in the audience might be offended at having their vaginas equated with Sarah Palin
    BUt let’s play the old game of switching terms:

    That said, feminists, particularly American feminists black people, particularly African Americans, when they take offense to Palin Obama being called a misogynist racist slur, are conflating a specific case of childish name calling into some kind of ubiquitous crime against womanhood being black itself. Feminists African Americans who do this must admit to a high level of disingenuousness when they know full well that was not Maher’s intention, and female black attendees to his shows, I would venture to say, have thick enough skin and big enough brains to be able to tell the difference between the two.

    Works juzst as well, doesn’t it?

    Jadehawk

    I want a t-shirt now that says “I’m European and I support American Feminists”; because this is getting fucking tedious.

    QFFT
    Although I acknwoledge where experiences are different (like in the fact that the college-culture here is vastly different and that there’s no such thing as “dating”), the Everyday Sexism project is British, the Aufschrei was German.

    American men have to fucking pay for all the shows and dinners

    Given that they earn 25% more, sounds fair to me…

    If they’re into pretending to be hyper rational, why don’t they recognize that as a mating strategy, and ask themselves why bower birds build bowers, why middle-aged men buy corvettes, and why some men cheerfully pick up the show tickets and the dinner check? It’s all sexual display, right?

    Well, current Patriarchy puts as small amount of disadvantages and onus onto men. And they really, really don’t want that. They really want to change the system to a Patriarchy where the disadvantages for women stay just the same while those for (straight, cis, binary, white, gender-conforming) men are removed. So it#s kind of unfair to accuse them of defending the status quo…

    +++
    Very telling that the only thing Stangroom has to say is to be mightily offended at Jadehawk
    *falls over laughing*

  63. 63
    Ichthyic

    American men have to fucking pay for all the shows and dinners

    bullshit.

    what’s happening is that really stupid privileged men think they can lord it over women with chivalry, and most women are smart enough to let them and get free stuff, while laughing at them behind their backs.

    Others will simply let you know up front your idiotic attempts at chivalry are not just unwanted, they’re bloody insulting.

  64. 64
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    American men have to fucking pay for all the shows and dinners

    Let’s not forget the insufferable classism of assuming that American men are actually able to afford such things.
    Oh, wait, I forgot, if you’re not, you’re definetly not a man….
    My fault [/snark]

  65. 65
    Louis

    Offended? Erm no.

    I don’t really get offended. I think this whole offence thing is a massive red herring. Someone’s racism/sexism/homophobia/ableism/transphobia/etc and expression thereof doesn’t offend me. I don’t consider the words/phrases/thoughts Verboten or offensive or sinful or viscerally disgusting, even if they involve me personally. I don’t think they violate any grand moral law (although they might not accord with my personal morals, but that’s no big deal, much doesn’t), they might “offend” my tastes, but I’m not fanatical about my tastes so I can cope. Bigotry is no more “offensive” to me than the existence of Justin Bieber in matters of taste.

    What does occasionally happen is someone might irritate me. I don’t feel particularly displeased or resentful about that, but more than anything the poor logic and lack of appreciation of facts behind the bigotry are the only things that concern me.

    Why do bigots think they are edgy? Or revealing of novel truths, or somehow breaking some hideous politically correct code of silence with their free speech, censor busting “wisdom”? Why do they think a response to their ignorance and illogic is derived from offence? If emotion creeps into a response why is that because of offence, rather than, say, frustration? Don’t these buffoons realise that whilst their freedom of speech should be (IMO) encouraged, it also follows that that applies to everybody else in buckets too. Criticism of their dullardry is not censorship or offence. I want bigots to be open, I want their bigotry to be met with the censure it deserves, the exposure to ridicule it deserves, the dissection it deserves. Nothing else will demonstrate its foolishness.

    Louis

  66. 66
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    I never said such a thing. So take your seat as a charlatan.

    Well, in your rush to be offended, you made yourself look incredibly unintelligent. She wrote that such is a common THEME for you – not theme SONG, diddums.

    Take your seat a incompetent, useless fool.

  67. 67
    anchor

    “…reacting to something offensive, they’re so delicate and sensitive and ready to take offense based on moral outrage…”

    No, I’m afraid I’m not convinced their outrage has anything whatsoever to do with any authentic concern of morals, as any objectively honest person would conclude of that peculiarly common response to rational argument. I think there is a type out there – and the world is unfortunately crawling with them, horribly overrun by the TYPE – who have somehow been conditioned between birth and young adulthood by a certain and exceedingly pernicious traditional aspect of society to be able to make an EXCUSE based on a CLAIM of moral violation IN SPITE OF the fact that the very act of claiming such on the basis they pretend to is intrinsically dishonest.

    What they really hate (and yes, that’s precisely the right word) is simply the fact that they are called out on their chosen belief system or world-view or conceptual model of how they think things ought to work. They HATE the idea that anybody can suggest that they have adopted a ridiculously wrong view: it rankles their personal self-esteem, nothing beyond that pathetic circumstance is involved, let alone anything anywhere near as lofty as a dispute hinging upon a question of morals and ethics, no matter WHAT their preponderantly irrational thinking says.

  68. 68
    harrisonsalzman

    OK guys, money on the table: I’m an avid Redditor myself.
    I don’t subscribe to r/adviceanimals, so I would never have seen this image macro if PZ hadn’t posted it. Generally I hang out on subreddits like r/aww, r/eli5, r/monsterhunter and the like, and try to actively avoid jackasses.

    What can I do? I happily downvote misogyny and the like when I see it, but I’ve managed to successfully edit most of it out of my daily Reddit experience – and even when I do see it, I can only downvote a particular post or comment once.

    What the heck should I do?

  69. 69
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Important–The post in question is NOT by Jeremy Stangroom.

    It is by a guy named Jeremy Styron.

  70. 70
    vaiyt

    Why do bigots think they are edgy? Or revealing of novel truths, or somehow breaking some hideous politically correct code of silence with their free speech, censor busting “wisdom”?

    Isn’t it obvious? Sheltered by privilege, they equate the loss of undue advantages with loss of rights, and pushback against their atitudes with actual persecution.

  71. 71
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Important–The post in question is NOT by Jeremy Stangroom.

    It is by a guy named Jeremy Styron.

    Sorry, my fault, took it for a lazy abbreviation
    I apologize to Jeremy Stangroom

  72. 72
    John Morales

    harrisonsalzman,

    What can I do? I happily downvote misogyny and the like when I see it, but I’ve managed to successfully edit most of it out of my daily Reddit experience – and even when I do see it, I can only downvote a particular post or comment once.

    You’re doing something, then.

    (Up to you to determine how much more you want to do)

  73. 73
    Louis

    Vaiyt,

    Thanks, but those questions were rhetorical! ;-)

    Louis

  74. 74
    warispeace

    PZ Myers: “By the way, if you notice that we’re always getting offended…the problem isn’t us, it’s you. We’re not; you just think we are.”

    In other words don’t dare criticize this weenie. Because it’s always you. Always. What a self-centered authoritarian.

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